Sunday, December 7, 2014

This Week @Elkmont & Beyond! November 30th-December 6th, 2014

It is amazing to me just how quickly December has arrived this year. I started out my week doing GoNoodle BrainBreaks with Ms. Walker's 3rd Grade students.  They had been working on a particularly tough skill all morning and decided to give their brains a break with GoNoodle! It was fun to stretch and give my brain a break too!

I like looking for GoNoodle activities via Tags and even using them for myself when I need to de-stress, change my attitude, or just get my blood circulating.  You can find activities by grade level, subject area, amount of time, etc.  

Our 3rd and 4th grade teachers meet this week to reflect on our Digital Passport Initiative (DPI) notable achievements and plan out our target areas for the second semester.  

Notable Achievements:

3rd & 4th grade DPI Teachers have done an outstanding job this semester getting acclimated with using MacBooks in the classroom.  

My favorite quote from this semester came when I walked into Ms. Adams’ room and she exclaimed: “Look what we did without you!”  This is exactly the goal of DPI.  Getting teachers to the point where they feel comfortable exploring and applying technologies to lessons on their own.

Their positive attitudes and willingness to explore and learn right along with the kids is to be commended!  In my 23 years as an educator I haven’t worked with a better group of teachers.

Target Areas for Second Semester:

Finding “time” to use the MacBooks is still a struggle for some of the 3rd and 4th grade teachers.  Getting to the point where the MacBooks are used as a naturally as a textbook, worksheet, etc will come with time and practice.  Some suggestions include using the MacBooks:

  • Morning Work
  • Reading Centers
  • Small Groups
  • Think: How could I use technology with this lesson?

These suggested times could also be used to give students time to work on individualized learning paths to help improve skills for Aspire testing.

3rd grade wants more opportunities to work with Ms. Pam Hammock to improve student  writing skills.  3rd grade teachers are also going to use Google Classroom and Kaizena to improve student writing skills and build eporfolios to show student writing progress over time.  4th grade would benefit greatly from doing this as well.

During the 2nd semester we will continue to work with the technologies below so that teachers feel comfortable using these with little guidance next school year:

  • Google Drive/Classroom

  • Moodle
  • Symbaloo
  • Power My Learning
  • Kahoot
  • iMovie
  • StoryBird

DIY Professional Development

This week I participated in two professional development opportunities.  The first was using a brand new format, ShinDig, with the #EdChat group.  

What is a ShinDig? 
Shindig is a NYC start-up committed to unleashing the unrealized potential of video chat. Shindig's proprietary technology enables you to give an online reading, talk, or interview in front of an online group of 50 to 1000. In Shindig, you can share the stage with fans and take questions from audience members. Additionally Shindig adds a unique social dimension to events by allowing fans themselves to also interact with one another in private video chats.

What is EdChat Interactive? 

Edchat Interactive started with Steven Anderson, Tom Whitby, and Mitch Weisburgh. 
The three of us saw an opportunity to conduct PD more in tune with the way we learn, and to use technology to bring the skills and knowledge of education thought leaders to hundreds of thousand of educators. 
People don't learn just by watching. We need to interact, reflect, and participate. That's our model, in 45 minute segments that fit into the busy lives of educators.

This week the topic of the EdChat Interactive PD Session was "Collaboration Beyond the Classroom" and was lead by Mark Barnes using his book, Teaching the iStudent, as a framework for the conversation. The format using ShinDig was exciting and quite easy to use as a participant.  

Steven Anderson got the session started by introducing Mark Barnes. Mr. Barnes introduced the topic of conversation and explained briefly how ShinDig works. After a few minutes, Mark presented the audience with two questions and had us partner up or form small groups to discuss our thoughts regarding the questions.  

I partnered up with Stella from Argentina and Tami from Hawaii. We were able to see and talk to each other quite easily, although there may have been a bandwidth issue with Stella's connection from Argentina. It was cool also to see thumbnails of the other partnerships/groups that formed outside of our own.  

After a few minutes Mark brought all the groups together again and then asked for a spokesperson from each group to summarize what their group had discussed.  

This method of presenting, grouping, sharing was the pattern for the evening. I found this webinar method to be engaging, fun and just outright COOL!

If you would like to participate in one of these events sign up HERE.

The second professional development I participated in was a #ptchat Twitter chat session discussing the very serious subject of Ferguson and how to deal with this topic in schools.  I feel that I came away from this conversation more prepared to talk about it with students yet saddened that the event happened at all.  

Here is a link to the Twitter chat archive or you can view it below:

#iCONNECT Tech Tips Newsletter

Each week I create a newsletter for my school using S'more.  Here is our latest issue:

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