Friday, August 29, 2014

This Week @ Elkmont & Beyond: August 25-29, 2014

Learning With Friends

The always inspirational, Jennifer LaGarde, shared the video below and I just had to share it with my teachers.  I want to be just like Tim every day and do the Dance Off Of Magic on my way into work!  What about you?

My friend, Tom Murray (Alliance for Excellent Education), used Google Hangouts to kick off the back-to-school series of Project 24 leadership activities. Project 24 is a systemic planning framework around the effective use of technology and digital learning to achieve the goal of “career and college readiness” for all students. This initial Google Hangout explored how school leaders can deploy strategies that use data, support teachers, and use technology to provide more robust, student-centered learning opportunities for every student.  Tom's special guest was the incredible Eric Sheninger from New Milford High School.  If you missed this event you can watch below or catch it HERE as well as mark your calendar for more great webinars to come.

Although Tom Murray is super busy in Washington DC now, he took time out Friday morning to walk me through the  workings of Project 24.  It is incredible what Tom and his team have been able to put together!  If you are a school thinking about a 1:1 or BYOD initiative OR if you already have  a 1:1 or BYOD initiative it is IMPERATIVE that you connect with Project 24.  Project 24 is completely FREE and will assist you in not only evaluating the technology needs of your district but also provides easily clickable resources to help support you as areas that need to be addressed are discovered.  Not using Project 24 leaves you flying blind and hoping you are doing the right thing.  Project 24 provides with with a framework or roadmap for success.  Did I mention that it is FREE?!

Tuesday night I went to see Dr. Tommy BiceAlabama State School Superintendent, speak at Lee High School in Huntsville, AL.  While not a personal friend of mine, Dr, Bice is a friend to innovative teachers who have been trapped in antiquated schools with administrators who are more comfortable towing the line rather than rocking the boat.  I love that Dr. Bice has given us the freedom to rock the boat, shed the antiquated, ineffective means of teaching and empower students to be masters of their own learning! 

Our Week in Pictures


Learn, grow, and share with us by following the Limestone County School's Digital Passport Initiative Blog as we bravely move forward this year as a 1:1 and BYOD school district.


Congratulations to Ms. Candi Holt! Her Dive Into Technology Donors Choose project was successfully funded!

Donors Choose project was successfully funded!

PLC Leaders used a Google Document to schedule a date and time for our first PLC Meetings in September. We will build our professional learning goals within our PLC to compliment growth goals set in our Educate Alabama PLPs.

Kenny Jordan learned about Weebly to create a website for parents of children with disabilities. He will use this site to create a place for other parents to learn about, celebrate, get advise and support each other. I am looking forward to seeing the final website Mr. Jordan puts together using Weebly.

Ms. Pat Gartman has set up a Google Calendar for teachers and is ready to start using it. next step is to train teachers just how easy it is to plan on a shared Google calendar!

Katherine Pankey uses Remind messages with links to video tutorials to help students to review what was covered in class. This is very helpful for students who were absent! Ms. Pankey also sends attachments via Remind so that parents can see what will be on this week's test!

Linda Smith and Beth Bates are embracing the wonders of Kahoot! Here is a quote from Beth, "You may have already heard of this, but if you haven't, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, take a minute to check it out. It's awesome and it's FREE! And it's great for BYOD!"

Harnessing The Power of BYOD

One quick and easy way to use the devices students bring to school is as clicker/response systems. By using teachers are able to gather information quickly to drive instruction in real time, provide ongoing feedback and help students identify their own strengths and weaknesses. Basically, BYOD is a great formative assessment tool.

Socrative is a system that uses cell phones and or laptops (user's choice) for gathering feedback from students. You can post as many questions as you like in a variety of formats. One of the more "fun" question formats is the "race" format in which students can work individually or in teams to answer questions as quickly as possible.

Kahoot! allows learners to both respond AND create with any device that has a web browser and works over wifi or 3G/4G, creating a variety of trusted learning spaces.

Poll Everywhere is a service that allows you to collect responses from an audience via text messaging. The free plan for K-12 educators provides selection of features and quantity of responses that is adequate for almost any classroom. One of the neat ways to display feedback gathered through Poll Everywhere is in word clouds. The word cloud feature integrates with WordleTagxedo, and Tagul.

For more BYOD ideas follow my BYOD Pinterest Board here:

6 Things We Need To Stop Saying in Education from Dr. Justin Tarte's blog 

  • Instead of saying 'teaching,' let's start saying 'learning.'

  • Let's stop saying we are trying to increase 'rigor,' and let's start saying that we are trying to create an environment that 'appropriately challenges' our students.

  • Instead of saying 'professional development,' let's start saying 'self-directed growth

  • Instead of differentiated instruction start saying 'personalized or customized learning.

  • Let's stop saying 'assessment' and let's start saying 'input and feedback tool.'

  • I challenge you to replace the word 'meeting' with the word 'gathering.'

To read more about the 6 Words We Need To Stop Saying in Education click here:


The first 25 Elkmont High School teachers to add how they are using technology in their classrooms will receive a free Flocabulary tote bag!

Must include your name and HOW you are using technology in your classroom to alter learning for students.

Adding pictures and links will get you a special BONUS PRIZE!

Our Weekly Smore!

Each week I send out to faculty and staff an #iCONNECT Tech Tips Newsletter made with Smore.  Please feel free to share these with your teachers as well.

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