Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

#edcampldr NC – Connecting and Learning to Improve Leading

Originally posted on mccoyderek:

Edcamp LeadershipJuly 10, 2015 promises to be a historic day of learning and connecting for North Carolina educators!

Friday July 10th, we are hosting the first ever Edcamp for School Leaders! Edcamps are not new to North Carolina – for years, dedicated educators have been coordinating and hosting these ‘unconferences’ across our great state. These edcamps have brought in educators from different school districts to share, connect and ultimately help others improve the learning and teaching in all our schools. Talk to any participants in these edcamps and they will tell you that these experiences have been incredibly valuable and significant to their personal/professional development.

Edcamp Leadership NC [held Friday July 10 at the @FridayInstitue] is the first of its kind in NC and we have some great reasons to be excited:

This is a first NC unconference targeted for school leaders across the state. Make no mistake…

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Creating Culturally Responsive Classrooms

“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.” By Gandhi


Last week #21stedchat on Twitter was about creating Culturally Responsive Classrooms. Throughout the chat I could see many educators ‘favoriting’ a lot of the tweets/resources but were not participating with their own teacher voice. I soon realized it was because educators are still not comfortable talking about culture diversity in the classroom. In response to this I want to share all the resources from the chat to help educators start feeling more knowledgable around this topic because the more we discuss and share, the better we will get as an education system to become more culturally responsive.

What is a culturally responsive classroom? It is a classroom that purposefully acknowledges the presence of culturally diverse students and the need for relevant connections among them and the content being taught.


Five-Minute Film Festival: Culturally Responsive Teaching

Creating Culturally Responsive, Inclusive Classrooms

A Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching from ASCD

Teaching Tolerance Website 

The Best Sites for Learning About the Word’s Different Cultures by Larry Ferlazzo

Relationship Building Through Culturally Responsive Classroom Management

Uncomfortable Conversations: Talking about Race in the Classroom

How Cultural Differences May Affect Student Performance

Culturally Relevant Teaching Resources

Cybrary Man’s Culture Resource Page

Culturally Responsive Lesson Plans


Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders

Other People’s Children by Lisa Delpit

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race by Tatum

Please share any resources you have in the comments to help educators have a more culturally responsive classroom.

10 Creative Play Gadgets to Add to Your Classroom

“I love technology, and I love new gadgets. I can no longer figure out how to use ay of them, but I love them.” Jerry Zucker

New technology gadgets are always coming out; check out some of these creative play gadgets to add to your classroom.

1. Ozobot

2. Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spider Blue*

3. Spheros*

* Bonus both the MiniDrone and Spheros can utilize Tickle App to teach programing.

4. LittleBits

5. Fascinations First Time Clock Puzzle

6. Rubik’s Slide

7. Osmo

8. Roominate

9. Cublets

10. Moss

Be on the lookout for Bloxels which is coming soon! Please share any gadgets that you are utilizing in your classroom in the comments section.

Digital Storytelling Tools Sequel

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” By Robert McAfee Brown

A few years ago I wrote a blog post on Tools for Using Digital Storytelling in the Classroom and a lot has changed in digital learning so I wanted to do a sequel. Many of the tools in the first digital storytelling post I still use along with Digital Storytelling with Tellagami App. Below are a few more I have added to my FREE Digital Storytelling Tool Kit.


ChatterPix Kids: Is a user-friendly app that allows students to chose a picture and make it talk in 3 easy steps. One take any photo, two draw a line to make a mouth, and three record your voice. (They also have a ChatterPix for students that are 13 and up).

Imagistory: Is a wordless app where students become the creator of the story based on the pictures they see. It is a great way to see if they have mastered plot diagrams.

Storehouse – Visual Storytelling: Is an app that allows you to use picture to create a story. It is a great way for students to present using just pictures and let them show mastery of the content.  I had a student app smash using ShowMe and Storehouse and present (explain) on how to multiply and divide fractions only using pictures….now that shows true mastery!

Adobe Voice: Is an app that records your voice, imports pictures, and allows you to write text to create a short video.


Google Story Builder: Is a great collaborative web tool that can be used in so many ways. One of the students favorite ways I have used it was updating the old school “story carousel” where you start a story and then pass the paper to a classmate after two minutes and repeat a few times and see what the story ends up as. Instead of passing the paper, the students do it collaboratively in the document.

Storyjumper: Students can create ebooks for free. (If you want it as a hard cover book, that is when you have to purchase)

Fodey: The site isn’t visually pleasing but it gets the job done. Create a newspaper articles using this site.

Dvolver Moviemaker: Using avatars create a story and turn it into a movie.

Both App and Webtool:

Make Beliefs Comix: Who doesn’t love creating comic books! This is a simple user-friendly

Please add in the comments your favorite FREE app/webtool for storytelling so we can add it to the toolkit.

Looking at Glows and Grows to Make Improvements

“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” By Benjamin Franklin

If you are en educator you have gone through some-type of implementation process, be it a new initiative or program. In order to make growth in any type of implementation we need to look at what is going well and what is not going well. I like to call these, glows (what is working well) and grows (what do we need to improve on). This is a best practice reflection that should be used in all aspects of implementation from the classroom with students, to teachers at schools and with administration for the district.

How can you implement this in your classroom, school or district?

  1. First block off time and make sure to have these discussions often and regularly.
  2. Make sure to set up a safe environment so people will be honest and have authentic discussions.
  3. If you always look at only the grows, people tend to become negative. If you only look at the glows, you are not being realistic to making growth and change. Make sure you have a discussion about both.

In a classroom: Ask students what is a glow and what is a grow they feel about their learning experience. This helps not only the students reflect on their learning but also the teachers get an informal data point to see how they can maybe change their practice to better meet their students needs.

With teachers: Block off time during a staff meeting, and as grade level or individually discuss what is a glow and what is a grow of the school or of an implementation you are rolling out to see how you to best move forward.

As a district: Ask schools/admins what is a glow and grow of the district or of a specific implementation.

Below is the template I have used with students and educators I work with. To save time, I have also sent this to them ahead of time to fill out so when we are together we are having discussions to help improve us.  (*This also helps model a best practice that educators can use with their staff or teachers with their students.)  Reflecting on experiences encourages insight and complex learning.


My Education Summer Reads

“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.” By Will Rogers


Reading is not just important for our students but for everyone. Here is a quick article about why reading is important: ‘8 Reasons Why Reading is So Important‘. As the school year is winding down, I like to create a summer reading list because it is important to always work on your craft. This is my education summer 2014 list:

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller &  Jay Papasan 

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead But Don’t Leave by Barnett Berry

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath by Dan Heath

Relationships + Rules + Routines = Results by Philip Vincent and Doug Grove 

Influencer: The Power to Change Anything  by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

I would love to know what books you are planning to read this summer!


Student Content Creation – Flowboard

Originally posted on Matt Coaty - Educational Aspirations:

Using Flowboard in Math Class Using Flowboard in Math Class

This year my math students have been creating and publishing math content.  Most of the creation has taken place on iPads through different presentation apps.  While finishing up our math comic strips I came across the app Flowboard.  At the time of this writing Flowboard is a free presentation app that gives users 200mb of space. My first thought was that students could potentially create a project and use Flowboard as the medium.  After experimenting a bit with the platform, I concluded that the class could create a presentation that would include different templates, images, text, videos and links.  I found that the links can be part of the presentation or send the viewer to an external site.  This is huge because students could potentially create a table of contents and the viewer could view parts of the site that they prefer. Or possibly, students could add links…

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