Sunday, July 31, 2016

P20 Conference: Reaching for New Heights

P20 Conference: Reaching for New Heights

I had hoped to have all of this posted right after the conference but that didn't work out so I am just now getting to it. The conference was great! One of the best things was getting to see Dave Burgess (Teach Like a Pirate) and M.K. Asante (BUCK).

Now That's Genius!
During the conference I was lucky to present about Genius Hour with a great friend of mine @irishslearners

Have you heard about Genius Hour? It is when students develop their own inquiry question about whatever it is they want to explore. It is passion- and inquiry-based learning all rolled up into one! Come learn how to introduce Genius Hour to your students.


Stop, Collaborate and Listen!

Google Apps for Education (GAFE) allows teachers and students to manage lessons, data, and collaborate in real time. Come explore how to use advanced GAFE tools such as: sites, forms, blogs, and sheets to collaborate with students and colleagues. Additional support will be available for other apps within the GAFE suite such as docs, sheets, classroom and slides.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

My How Time Flies...

.. when you're having fun!

This school year has just flown by! I wanted to blog so much more this year and I still have some things that I want to share from my classroom that I'll work on in the coming weeks. All of my state tests are done with the exception of some make ups and tomorrow is our first field trip.

We had a friend/local company print up shirts for all our fourth graders and the end of the year activities. They turned out AMAZING! I have done shirts for my students in the past and I love being able to find my students wherever they are in our activities. It is also a great memento for the students as they head into summer.

This year I've been able to watch an amazing group of 4th graders grow into independent learners. I have seen them explore STEM concepts including things like Hour of Code, LEGO WeDos, NXTs and EV3s. They've explored their passions through 20% time and more. 

This will be a difficult school year to see end because I have had so much fun watching my students learn and grow! But there's always a new year and a new group of students to feverishly get ready for once school is out in June. For now, it's feet on the ground and field trip season!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Site changes are complete

Thank you all for bearing with me while we updated the site. I have noticed that some of the images on the older posts didn't all copy over but that's not the end of the world. This week I am working on my proposal for the P20 Conference this summer as well as preparing for the end of the quarter.

Next quarter we will begin  a STEM unit that incorporates two different LEGO robotics sets: WeDos and NXT/EV3s. I'm really excited to see what the students come up with during these lessons. For many of them it will be their first exposure to LEGO Robotics and hopefully not their last!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Pardon My Mess...

I thank you for your patience while I handle some website changes. Hopefully it will bring a better experience for all of my readers out there! Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

IETA 16 Day 1 Recap

After the first day of the conference, I am so energized and ready to get back into my classroom! That is the effect that a great conference can have on an educator. So here are my favorite takeaways from day 1!

Student Voice & Student Choice
In the past, I was able to be a part of the Idaho Leads Project (#expectsuccess) and through that, I was able to learn a lot from Dr. Russ Quaglia and his people at the Quaglia institute. In one of the sessions today we watched the video  Ned's Gr8 8. There were two big things that struck me about this video: Students cannot be successful if they are not okay and we need to get back to a focus on mastery based learning. You can check out the video below or here.

Office 365
It's Microsoft Office... and it's FREE for educators and students! This is awesome! In the past I've purchased educator licences of Microsoft Office and installed it at home, but with Office 365 you can get it for free if you're an educator or a student. You'll just need to use your school email to get to it. Office 365 has a TON of features so I'm just going to highlight my favorites from the session today.
  • Groups - allows shared calendar and documents through One Note. It also puts all your emails from that group in one place.
  • Yammer - like Facebook for business but safe and secured within the organization. Turned on by default. All stored in case it is needed for tracking issues with students, teachers, or parents
  • Word has an Add in called Office Planner. It pulls in standards and brings up a template and incorporates those in the document. It even includes activity ideas!
  • Within One Note - working with Canvas and Blackboard to add the assignments directly. Grading done in One Note will go directly to these LMS
  • Sharing! Check out! It's a place where you can share any kind of Office document with the world.

StopMotion Math
This was just one tidbit found in Kim Miller's presentation about STEM and inquiry in the elementary classroom but it seems like something that I can easily implement within my classroom. The premise is that students create Stop Motion videos using an app that allows them to share their process and understanding of a math concept.

Answer Garden
I stumbled across Answer Garden on Twitter. It was featured at another session but I just thought that it was so awesome and something that I could easily implement in my classroom. You post a question and people answer it. Then the site produces a word cloud (like Wordle or Tagxedo) of the responses. This is great for a quick check of understanding or an alternative to polling the class with fixed answers.

For years I have done screen captures. My software of choice is the SMART capture that comes with the SMART Notebook suite. Until today! Today I learned about Snagit which is an extension for the Chrome browser that does EVERYTHING that SMART capture and other screen capture software does. You can pick a window, an area on your screen, or a tab. This is simple enough that I think that I will even use it with my students. I think it's pretty powerful when students are able to share and explain their thinking/reasoning and this extension will help get my class there.
The best part is this is free and it works with Chromebooks!

Monday, February 8, 2016

IETA 2016

It's the night before IETA and I am here in Boise. This conference is the one that I look forward to all year. This year's keynote is Darren Hudgins who is the Director of Instructional Technology for the OETC. I am really looking forward to tomorrows chance to hear his keynote: "The Merchant of Someday." I'm also looking forward to the chance to meet up with folks from the #IDEdChat weekly twitter. Look out for some great new information from the sessions this week!