We’ve written previously on our decision to implement a Responsible Use Procedure rather than an Acceptable Use Procedure. And while we’ve shared some of the philosophical reasons why we believe in the idea of a Responsible Use Procedure, we’ve not spent much time on strategies to make that move successfully.
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Yesterday I attended my first edcamp (
#edcampsc) in Rock Hill and it was awesome! To me, attending a place with like-minded people is not work, it is fun, so the fact that it was a Saturday didn’t faze me. So what is edcamp? The Edcamp model is a FREE educator-driven unconference format. You do not know what or who will facilitator the sessions, all you know is learning will take place and you can choose your PD sessions. Learn more about edcamp: http://edcamp.org and http://edcamp.wikispaces.com
I loved that for edcampsc two Principals LaToya Dixon and Michael Waiksnis took a risk (neither had attended an edcamp before) and organizing their first EdCamp. There was all types of educators that attended from teachers, to administrators, to Professors.
When we first came in we were sent to the cafeteria for breakfast and session sign up. Chart paper was all over the room divided into three columns, session idea, facilitator and votes. You could add sessions that you were interested in to the paper but it didn’t mean you had to facilitator a session. I added Google Apps for Education, #GAFE, since that is a topic that I wanted to know more about but I didn’t want to facilitate it. I also noticed that Digital Portfolios was a session but had no facilitator. I decided if no one signed up close to the time when we started voting I would do it. After all, I tell people all the time they need to take risk because that is how you learn and I need to also practice what I preach! No one signed up so right before voting, so I put my name down thinking I will watch the first few sessions and learn how this works (remember I have never been to an edcamp before).
We were given stickers to vote on which topics we wanted to narrow the sessions down. We then went to the auditorium where the keynote was being held. (During this time the edcampsc crew were working hard to determine the schedule.) The keynote was Eric Sheninger (very well-known in the Twitter world) who Skyped in for the event. He talked about making the most of the edcamp experience and explained we need to be the educators that help our schools transform into change agents.
After his keynote, the session Google Spreadsheet was revealed and the session on Digital Portfolios was not only chosen but also the first session. That meant, no time for me to learn from the other session facilitators. I went to the room and made a circle so we could collaborate better. The room started filling up fast and soon we had no more desks so people started sitting on the floor and standing all around.
The session went well. I started off the conversation by talking about what I know about Digital Portfolios (see previous post) and then it took off from there with everyone participating, sharing ideas, asking questions etc. I took a risk and I learned a lot from facilitating the session and was able to get some of my questions answered along with sparking new ideas such as, how can we make student portfolio’s standardized but without hindering the creativity and we want student’s to show mastery but that wont look the same, so how do we know it is true mastery from one school to the next? Great questions to have leaving a session and to continue to think and talk about.
The in-between the sessions were just as valuable because you were able to network and build your PLN. You also got to meet many of your virtual PLN face two face. Like this picture below with @cbeyerle, @TrippsGOL and @GChamplinAP (Along with so many others, too many to add to the post)
The second session I attended was Augmented Reality with Karen Ogen. This session Karen presented apps, software and ideas that you can use in the classroom. Her presentation is here, AR, filled with lots of resources.
During lunch was a great time to eat and collaborate. (I do need to give a shout out to Newks for an awesome free lunch, thank you!) During this time it was great to discuss what other schools were doing and also talk to people from my own district to discuss about how we can help the transformation of our schools.
The last session I attended was, collaboration and connecting students around the world through tech integration with Stacy Lovdahl. During this session we shared resources, discussed ways to collaborate and some of the pitfalls in global collaboration such as timezones. A backchannel was created in todays meet with all the resources that we shared, here.
It was hard to choose just one session but thankfully for social media, other session review blog posts and back channels helped me be able to ‘attend’ all sessions. Here are some of the resources:
#edcampsc Google Hangout Video
Over, all I got to meet and learn from a lot of passionate educators including one of my virtual BFF Alison Reichert. Now just imagine if we did this model in the classroom! I think it would be awesome!
Thank you to everyone that made #edcampsc a success! I look forward to the next one!
“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” By John Dewey
Using iMovie maker can open many doors in the classroom for students to use their 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking along with using technology. This week I am going to show you one way how you can use iMovie in your classroom.
Using the green screen feature is easy and makes learning a little more fun. For years in the classroom we have had the students doing Readers Theater, making their own skits or commercials etc; well now they can do this in front of a green screen and bring their work more to life. As far as materials you will need to purchase a green screen which is cheap, we paid under $10.00 for ours (some people even go to a store and purchase a big green sheet) and a video camera, a flip camera being the easiest to use. The steps are so easy that any student in grades 3rd and up can do them. If you teach K-2, I recommend sitting with them.
Step 1: Shoot the video of the students doing their skit, play commercial etc.
Step 2: Plug in your camera, if it is a flip, put it into the USB drive. iMovie will open up and ask you if you would like to import the video, click import. Name your project and click create.
Step 3: Once you imported the video it will be seen in the bottom portion of iMovie. See screen shot below.
Step 4: Find a picture or use one of your own that you want for your background. (Make sure it is not copyrighted). Save the picture to your desktop and then drag it into the project library, which is in the top left side. Once the picture is in the library, click on it and change the duration to double the length of the video clip. (Ex. If your clip is 30 seconds make the picture 60 seconds)
Step 5: Highlight the portion of the video you would like to use (I usually use the whole clip) and drag it on top of the picture. A side bar will pop up and this is where you can click on green screen effect.
Step 6: Edit the clip how you see fit, cutting out the background until you have the movie the way you like it. (You can do voiceovers, add music etc. I always start off basic and then as I learn the program I start “playing” around) Press the play button so you will see what it will look like in the right corner.
Step 7: Once you have the video to your liking, go to the toolbar up top and click on share. Share the video the way you would like. I created a You Tube account were I share all my videos. I like that I have the option of how much privacy I want on the video.
That is it! The first few times will take you about 10 minutes but I have now gotten it down to 5 minutes, unless I play around with the editing features. Some things to remember when using iMovie in the classroom is that you want to make sure that you have parent’s permission to share the video. The best part is if you ever get stuck, you can look up ‘how to videos,’ as there are plenty out there and that is how I taught myself.
At our school, we started using the green screen to make videos to also connecting fitness, geography and technology! The students can choose to run laps at recess; these laps are converted into miles. We then add up all the classroom miles to have Mr. O (assistant principal) Mr. Higgins (PE teacher) travel the world based on these miles. They started off, at the school, in Charlotte, NC and have traveled to many places. Each place they travel to we shoot a different video using landmarks as the background, along with other clues and the classrooms have to guess, ‘Where in the World Mr. Higgins and Mr. O are?’ Check out some of the videos here http://ow.ly/9IVRV
“At the core of being a 21st Century Teacher is being a Master Learner.” By David Warlick
This week I was not only lucky to be able to present at North Carolina Technology in Education Society Conference (#NCTIES12) but also attend! I loved being surrounded by the excitement of learning and fantastic techies. I attended many sessions but thought that I would narrow my focus onto these three sessions I attended and how I am going to use it to better my teaching. I am going to save my favorite session for next week’s blog when I am done playing around and creating with it.
Ken Shelton- Digital TLC: Igniting the Fire
- Mr. Shelton found six information things in 6 secs proving the point we need and can get information right now. But obtaining information doesn’t mean nothing if you don’t know what to do about it! We need to teach students to critical thinking. Fast data access is no good unless students have the skills to use it.
- I am going to read: Raw Materials for the Mind: Teaching & Learning in Information & Technology Rich Schools by David Warlick
- Use Google Earth to take virtual ‘fieldtrip’.
Mashups: Creating New Classroom Content Using Freely-Available Digital Media by Patrick Cripsin
- Hype cycle is a graph that shows the social application of specific technologies. It also shows you when technologies move beyond the hype, offering benefits and becoming widely accepted. This is good to keep in mind when in the classroom so you don’t fall for the ‘hype’ of a specific technology you want to try in your classroom. Below are the stages of the cycle.
- Stage 1: Technology trigger- oh’s and ahhs of what is new
- Stage 2: Troughs of disillusionment- Technology fails to meet expectations, becomes unfashionable and media interest decreases.
- Stage 3: Slope of enlightenment- Focused experimentation leads to a true understanding of the technology’s applicability, risks, and benefits.
- Stage 4: Plateau of productivity – When you use the technology without even realizing it. Real-world benefits of the technology are demonstrated and accepted.
- When using and creating mashups (such as edu.glogster/wikis) we as educators need to be aware of copyrights and creative commons. Creative Common is a nonprofit organization that works to increase the amount of creativity available in public such as school. Pictures, videos etc are available to the public for free and legal sharing, use and remixing. We need to teach digital citizenship and this is an important lesson for students to be made aware of. Teaching them about creative commons will help them understand that there are places they can take pictures from to put into their edu.glogster etc and it is not breaking copyright laws.
- Sites that you can search for creative common use:
- YouTube Creative Commons- put phrase you are searching then comma, creative commons
Engaging , Creating, Collaborating and Organizing-Now! By Lynn Keith, Suzanne Blaszak and Jennifer Keith
- Here I learned about a few new sites that I could implement into my classroom.
- http://www.jigsawplanet.com Here you can create your own jigsaw puzzle and use it multiple ways in the classroom such as, having the students put the puzzle together (collaboration) and appears a vocabulary or site word they have to learn.
- http://www.flipsnack.com Have students create their own flip book on a concept that they have learned to use as an informal assessment that turns into their study guide as well. Also great for e-portfolios!
- http://remind101.com Text message your students/parents a reminder that a test is coming up or a project. It is not attached to a phone number so they For more information on how it works watch this short video http://remind101.com/learn_more
All the sessions I attended were fabulous and there wasn’t one session that I went into and didn’t learn something new. I can’t wait to go next year! Mark your calendars as it is March 6-8th 2013 in Raleigh, NC @ the Convention Center and you won’t want to miss it.
“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Yes, my Principal is a follower of my blog and no this is not why I am writing this post. I truly feel more Principals need to be like mine. All great Principals have visions, goals and high expectations for their school but it takes more to be an excellent Principal. Here are three reasons why more Principals need to be like mine.
The first reason is all Principals care about test scores but my Principal understands that test scores are not the ‘be all, end all’. He let’s his staff take on challenges and risks by letting is try new things without having to worry about if it ends up not working. For example, last year, I had heard about the concept of ‘flipped classroom.’ I thought it was interesting and wanted to try it in my classroom. I ran it by my Principal and he not only told me to go for it but sent me articles about it that he found to help me. Through my data and reflection, I found how well it worked. He then started using the concept for our staff meeting so they were more productive. He sends us videos or articles to watch/read before the meeting so when we met we could work in our professional learning groups and be more productive. The best part is when things don’t work when we took risks was it was okay as we used that as a learning tool as well, with no repercussions.
The second reason is all good Principals try to set up their teachers for success and growth but my Principal goes the extra mile. He has implemented this time called ‘innovate time’ for his staff. This time is for teachers to request (by simply writing an email) asking to explore something they feel will benefit their classroom but need time to best implement it. During this time the teacher gets three different- 45 minutes sessions during the school day to explore something they want to try in their classroom. For example a teacher could request time to look at ways to best implement kid blogging. The first session the teacher might research and upload their students into the site they think is best for them to use. Then on the second session they might create a rubric and expectations they want to use when rolling out this idea to the classroom. Then after implementation the third session could be a reflection time and to make any changes they feel need to take place. As long as the teacher has a plan, he approves it. Who teaches the class during those 45 minute sessions…he does! He believes in our visions and values our time.
The third reason is plain and simple, he honestly loves what he does and it shows. This makes working for him easier and more enjoyable. He is always trying to better his practice by keeping up with current trends which in turn makes you as an educator want to be better. My Principal also distributes leadership roles as he believes in his staff while also promoting professional development.
“When you love people and have the desire to make a profound, positive impact upon the world, then will you have accomplished the meaning to live.” By Sasha Azevedo
This week I was asked to describe a specific situation in which I questioned my decision to become an educator. After thinking about my eight years of teaching I could only think of one time I had questioned my decision, which ironically was my first year of teaching, yet I remember it as if it was yesterday.
To give you background on my first teaching job, I taught in an inner city school that was K-8. The school was title one and not in a safe neighborhood. The school held night classes for parents by the teachers, to help the parents learn English and receive their GEDs. The school had child care to help these parents attend these classes. We also held Saturday school, every Saturday, for students that needed extra support and that were in danger of failing.
I was teaching 8th grade science support for the state test, basically I had the group of students that were on the cusp of failing and/or dropping out. Many of the students were already affiliated with gangs and we had a police officer in the hall at all times due to so many fights that would break out. We, as a staff, had been trained to look for certain colors, logo’s and clothing that would represent certain gangs. I knew that if students came in basic clothes, such as a white t-shirt, that it could mean they planned on fighting, as they wouldn’t fight in their ‘good cloths’. I knew when girls wore their hair back and no earrings this was also a sign. The biggest sign was when they would be wearing Vaseline on their face, so when someone threw a punch it would “slide off”.
I like many educators, poured my heart and soul into trying to make my lessons fun, exciting and hands on. I cared about these students and spent many hours before and after school along with on Saturdays trying to help the students. It took me a while to gain the trust of many of the students and I never gained all of their trust. I did see a change, and a more passion for learning, within many of the students as I let them complete hands on experiments verse only book work, which many of the other teachers did at this school in order to keep control.
Even though the school was title one and it was in rough neighborhood, I loved teaching. I enjoyed what I did everyday. I loved seeing the excitement when the students figured out how force and motion worked through making their own roller coasters. I loved the discussions they would have when they were trying to work together to build a bridge that could hold the most books using just toothpicks and marshmallows.
Then in late May of my first year teaching, I did question myself and my decision to be an educator. I was on my way back to the school as there was going to be a talent show. It was about 6:00 in the evening and I was almost to the school when I came to a dead stop. Coming down the middle of the street I saw a boy being chased by several boys (many I recognized from being in my class) that were holding baseball bats and bricks. They stopped right in front of my car and started beating him. I called 911, who said they knew about it and were already on their way. It was only a minute (maybe less) but it felt like an eternity that the police came. I watched as they handcuffed several of the boys and saw some had gotten away. I was scared and shocked
The next day, I was teaching about solid, liquids and gas and having the students being the atoms, when in walked one of the boys that got away. He came right up to me, standing only inches away and said, “I will cut you up and put you in a body bag and send you down the river,” and then just left the classroom. I somehow kept teaching the last 15 minutes of class and then broke down. I started thinking about if this job was really for me and worth all the stress. I didn’t want to be scared to come to work. I thought long and hard that night about what I wanted to do. I could always just quit but what kind of message would that leave for the other students that were working so hard. I couldn’t let one person change what I have always wanted to do since I was little.
I didn’t quit and I worked harder then ever to get those students to pass. Out of the twenty-two students, fifteen passed the science portion that year, but that wasn’t the best part. One of the students said that she wanted to become a science teacher so she could always have fun at work like I did; that meant more to me then anything and I knew not only did I do the right thing by sticking with teaching, I knew I was changing at least some kids lives.
I have been teaching eight years now and no matter what has been thrown at me, I have never questioned my decision to be an educator again. It is my passion to teach and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” by Oprah Winfrey
A New Year’s resolution is a goal a person sets to achieve within the upcoming year. We usually hear about New Year’s resolutions such as losing weight and quitting smoking. It may seem impractical to be making goals in the middle of the school year for the ‘New Year’, but I believe that continuing to reflect and making your self a better educator can never be a bad thing. I think the key point many people miss about making resolutions is they don’t reflect about HOW they are going to accomplish the goal. Below are my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions along with how I plan on accomplishing them.
1. I want to continue to learn about the most current technology and guide teachers on how they can use technology in the classroom to create a more personalized learning path for students. I plan on doing this by attending Professional Developments, webinars and continuing to develop my PLN. I also want to be able to share my findings with others.
2. I want to be persistent about reading, learning and sharing regarding education in terms of curriculum development. I plan on doing this by reading more educational book and articles and sharing with not only my schools grade levels but also my district through different communication methods such as Yammer and blogging.
3. I want to create more Problem Based Learning (PBL) Projects. The few I have created the students have really enjoyed and I have seen a difference in the quality of work. I am no expert when it comes to creating these types of lessons so I do want to learn more about PBL’s through websites, books and from peers.
If you have any suggestions of sites, books etc. to help me complete my New Year’s resolutions please do share. I enjoy reading your comments and emails. I also would love to hear what your New Years resolutions are as well. As you make your New Year’s resolution, don’t forget to think about how you are going to accomplish the goals.
I hope you have a happy, healthy and successful New Year!
“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” by James Levin
I truly believe that you always have to reflect and improve on yourself, not only in education practices but also in our daily lives. This tends to happen around this time of year. Today, I sit here thinking about all the things I have accomplished this year and I am proud of myself. I have grown as an educator. One of the biggest changes I have made in my practice is writing my own blog and reading others.
I have found that writing my blog weekly has made me more aware of my education philosophy and practice. When I started writing my blog, my goal was to write once a week and I have stuck to this. I have also learned through this process of writing my own blog that it is just as important to read others. Recently there were blog awards and I agree with some of the ones that have won but I chose blogss that effect my thinking and drive me to be the best educator I can be. Below are the blogs I believe are worth following.
1. Venspired Learning (Formerly Know as TeachFactory ) http://venspired.com
2. Cool Cat Teacher (Vicki Davis) http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com
3. Using Data for Meaningful Change http://usingdata.wordpress.com
4. Kleinspiration (Erin Klein) http://www.kleinspiration.com
5. A Fly on the Classroom Wall http://aflyontheclassroomwall.com
6. Corkboard Connections Blog (Laura Chandler) http://corkboardconnections.blogspot.com
7. The Agora: Thinking about Learning, Learning about Thinking http://agora.edublogs.org
8. 21st Century Skills and Tools with Technology Tim http://technologytim.wordpress.com
9. EdTechStandish http://edtechstandish.wordpress.com
10. Web 2.0 Classroom (Steven W. Anderson) http://web20classroom.blogspot.com
Do you have a blog you love to read? Please share, as I am always looking for great reads! I wonder what my biggest change will be for 2011. I hope all my readers have a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year! Thank you for being apart of my biggest change in 2010!
“A good teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.” Thomas Carruthers
My last three posts have all been about using data to drive instruction. I believe that not only should the teachers use data to drive instruction but that students should use data to gage their learning as well. I consider one of the most important things a teacher can teach a student is to take control of their own learning.
How do you let students use data to drive their own learning? You teach them to track their own data and have conversations about it through mini-lessons and conferences.
The mini-lessons should be about goal setting and why it is important. I taught the students how to make SMART goals. I also taught the students how to use the teacher objective boxes to guide them. (For more info about objective boxes see Using Data to Dive Instruction: Part 1) If the student did not master an objective on the assessment, the student’s goal that week was to work on the objective through homework or contracts in workshop. Everything I used had objectives on it so the students were well aware what the objective numbers meant. For example, if a student did Not Master (NM) objective 2.05 then the student’s responsibility was to work on objective 2.05. If they were working on a reading response, I had at least 3 question prompts per objective that they could use for a response that matched the objective they needed to work on using their own novel. I also had objectives on individual contracts. I did this for math and science as well. If the student needed to work on a certain objective skill, they would pick up the contract for workshop or do the homework assigned to the objective skill they needed to practice. The students were all engaged which made workshop run like clockwork. This style also helped with my differentiation because all the students were working on what they needed as individuals.
Many teachers have conference data logs for writing, where the teacher writes down where the student is in their writing process and what their next steps are going to be etc. I kept conference notebooks for every subject, for every student. When the student and I conferenced, they knew I was keeping notes on them and they helped me write the notes in them. It was no secret and shouldn’t.
What went into these conference notes? The conversations the student and I had along with their goal! I would first model goal setting the first quarter by looking at the student’s data and discussing with them what goal I thought they should work on and why. The second quarter, we would discuss the data and choose the goal together. By the third and fourth quarter, the students would come to me ready for their conference with their goal. I did this for every subject, every week.
The next question most of you are probably asking right now is HOW?
I would set up a schedule of 7 students a day (I had 32 students in my class) and during workshop I would meet with them. It took me about 20 mins, as each conference was only a few minutes, which still left me time to pull my small reteach groups; as my workshop was typically 40-45 minutes long. The students loved having these conferences (and so did I) because it also gave me time to really get to know them as individual learners. The students like having a say in what they are learning and want to learn plus it teaches them responsibility.
Many teachers often say to me, ‘This is all such a great idea and I am glad it worked for you but it wouldn’t work in my classroom.’ I often respond with; why? The first thing usually they say is I don’t have time. My answer to this is make time as it saves time in the long run. This is what learning is all about, you will literally watch your students begin to love learning because they are apart of it. Start small and work on goal setting in one subject and then move into others. I didn’t keep these long professional notes in my conference binders. I wrote the date and a few sentences about what we discussed and the student’s goal and I did all this during the conference which took no extra time.
The second excuse I get is, ‘My student’s are too young.’ I have seen Kindergarten teachers do goal setting. Yes, maybe it is not as detailed as above but you can tier this style to make it work for the grade level you teach. Every grade can at least do individual conferences and I believe grades 3 and up can handle understand what skills they need to work on.
Students using data to drive their own learning is a 21st century skill student’s need. It teaches them to be responsibly for themselves and gives them confidence in their learning. It also teaches the students that each learner is not the same and that is okay. Try it in your classroom, let the students take educational ownership and watch what unfolds!
Please share in the comment section if you, as an educator, have other ways that you have students using data to drive their own learning. I love learning from others!
“It is my belief that we all have the need to feel special. It is this need that can bring out the best in us, or the worst in us.” Janet Jackson
I was recently awarded Bank of America Outstanding Teacher for STEM along with 42 other teachers in our district. It was an immense honor!
The day was filled with activities and we, the teachers and our one guest, were treated like celebrities. We were served amazing lunch where we also participated in a raffle with to pick the driver we would be paired up with to ride a lap around the track. I chose Jeff Burton, because I recognized his name when it was my turn. I have to admit, I do not know much about NASCAR besides I use the sport to teach force and motion to my students because a lot of my students are NASCAR fans. The teachers, our guests and I got to go into the “pit” and view the pit crews working on the cars before the race. We received amazing gift bags that included Bank of America-NASCAR shirts. We got to be announced with our drivers, walk across the stage and carry their flag. We stayed with them until the race began.
Some of the drivers were very nice (Landon Cassill was amazing to everyone that he passed, teacher, fans etc) while other drivers blew by us like we weren’t even there. During this time, I was reminded how amazing it feels to be treated so special. It got me thinking about our students. It stroke a chord with me that we need to make sure that everyday we are making all students feel as special as I felt yesterday. Even a hello in the hallway can make a students day, just like it made my day when Landon Cassill said hi. To the students, we are their celebrities, if they are student in our own classroom or not. If students are feeling special, they will feel happier and it will lead to better behavior, test scores and less drop out rates. I know all teachers try to make students feel special but sometimes it is hard when so many things are thrown at us such as testing and district mandates along with the many “hats” we wear.
Here are 5 ways to make students (or anyone) feel special daily:
1. Say Hi to all students when passing in the hallway. Even if your hallways are silent, you can do a silent wave!
2. Listen to what they are saying! We are all busy, but take the time to really listen; this goes for your co-workers as well!
3. Eat lunch with them, even if it is once a week. They will feel important, which they are!
4. Ask questions. Most teachers take time in the beginning of the year to get to know your students by asking questions, but why stop. Students are always changing. Run out of thinks to ask them? Ask them how their
night was or weekend?
5. Remember details about your students and then use the details you learn in conversations with them.
Many teachers do this often, but even the best teachers forget how important it is to help students feel special everyday!
Landon Cassill’s Trailer