Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Teachers Pay Teachers

I’ve used Teachers Pay Teachers throughout my career in education. It’s a fairly self-explanatory resource, but it provides a platform for educators to share the work they’ve created in the classroom, whether it’s a how-to for an instructional technology tool or a lesson planning template, with other educators for free or for a small fee. I’ve decided to start adding some free and for-pay resources of my own creation. Here’s my online store:

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Donor's Choose STEAM project

In my library and technology program, our K-5 students work tirelessly to think critically and solve problems. We do this through STEAM projects and the engineering process. When the students work through the engineering process, one of the steps includes searching for possible solutions to their problem. With the help of these STEAM books and resources, my students will have the opportunity to discover possible solutions through printed materials.

I've witnessed first-hand the excitement of my students when engaged in the engineering process.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) projects provide an excellent opportunity for cross-curricular projects where students apply all disciplines into their projects. They are willing to read as much as they can about the problem they're trying to solve. They'll apply mathematics to their problem by measuring and drawing items to scale. With the help of these materials, our students will continue this engagement through the engineering process.

LINK TO MY PROJECT: https://goo.gl/id5X9i

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

FREE trainings from Google

As Google has grown as a company over the last 20 years, so has many of the public's mistrust in their data collection and sharing practices. Although as an educator, I appreciate the amount of free resources and training they offer through Google For Education. They recently released training sessions in the following areas:

1) Chromebooks -- these devices are taking over the educational technology landscape by offering an inexpensive, cloud-based, simple alternative to Apple and other PC's. In this training, users can expect to learn:
  • What are Chromebooks and how are they different from other computers
  • How to manage and take care of Chromebooks in schools
  • How to personalize your Chromebook
  • How you can integrate technology in your classroom using Chromebooks
  • How Chromebooks and G Suite for Education work seamlessly together
  • How teachers can find and assign apps to students
  • How to troubleshoot simple Chromebook issues, and where to find support when needed
2) Digital Citizenship and Safety Course -- Many adults went through an educational world without a readily available internet (at least those of us 35+) so many don't have the necessary skills to teach online safety. This training can help educators learn:
  • Why teaching digital citizenship and online safety is important
  • How to teach students about internet safety and privacy
  • Online safety through mobile devices and public Wifi networks
  • How to evaluate online resources
  • How to avoid potential phishing and other online scams
  • How to manage online profiles


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hacking Project Based Learning #HackingPBL

I recently finished the Hacking PBL book from Ross Cooper and Erin Murphy. I’ve used Project Based Learning in my classroom for the last few years, but I felt as if there was more to learn about the process. Hacking PBL helped me create a planning tool and framework for each project I try with students. I really enjoyed the chapter on having students create questions. I highly recommend this book for any teacher looking to implement PBL in his/her classroom.
My notes from Hacking PBL: https://goo.gl/XX3jCV

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

InnEdCO 2017 -- Makerspaces/Innovative Learning Lab

Building an Innovative Learning Lab:
1) Meet with teachers to come up with a plan to use the library

2) What projects can students collaboratively working on in my space?

3) Partnerships: who can I meet with to make my Makerspace better?
     -EdTech specialists
     -Maker materials donations -- could the Steck community help?
     -Local Business sponsors
     -Hill MS teachers

4) Storage -- research how to have functional storage
    -reach out to others that have the same issue with space
    -fund through Donor's Choose/PTA grant?

Amazon storage shelves

InnEdCO 2017 -- #COllaporative -- energized PD

For the 1st session, I attended the #COllapportive panel session.

Presenter's slide deck: bit.ly/copdrev
#COllapportive website: http://www.collapporative.org/ 

#Collapportive is a social learning group
-meet once a month in a space in Lakewood, CO
-more of an EdCamp model where the participants set the agenda
-community building setting for educators

 *Build a website just for PD -- great way to house resources & archived notes
Ideas around PD:
-more choice for teachers
-app/tool sharing
-showing Ts tools they can make their own: Twitter, District-paid websites, Donor's Choose, Engagement tools/ideas

mindSpark Learning -- free Professional Development space
-teachers can attend free sessions on a wide array of topics
-meeting/hangout space for teachers

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

InnEdCO 2017 -- My presentation -- 3D printing

This morning, Paige Dersham and I presented about our experience with 3D printers, TinkerCAD, and Donor's Choose. I was fairly anxious about having to present for 2 hours, but it went really well.

Here's our slide deck: 

If I was to change anything, I would want to add a Google Doc where we could share out all the tricks we learned while working on TinkerCAD. I had teachers showing me tricks I didn't know someone could do. It would be great to have one spot, like a Google Doc, where we could share all those fantastic ideas.

InnEdCO 2017 -- Classroom Redesign

For my second session of the day, I attended a Classroom Redesign session with Paige Dersham and Meegan Bennet

Slide Deck:

My notes:

Redesigning My Classroom

-tables are tough to move
-electrical cord for projector cart stretches under tables
-teacher desk takes up too much space
-old promethean board doesn’t work & needs to be removed
-no area to write on the walls -- make thinking visible
-not much room to store makerspace materials
-Where to I put the RedCat speaker system?

Old promethean board -- turn it into a mobile green screen?

Learning Landscapes:

Layout of my room:
I have 2 classroom which make up our Library/Computer lab where the students work with laptops. Below are the layout of both spaces.

  1. In red, I labeled the changes I’d like to make to both spaces. The biggest change would be removing my look-up stations & teacher desk.
  2. I’d like to add storage along the wall in place of the teacher desk\look-up stations for our makerspaces
  3. I’d like to make the extra space a place for students to work in small groups -- I need to come up with norms & expectations around this extra space

Monday, June 12, 2017

InnEdCO 2017 -- Snapshots

Infusing Engineering into a Science classroom
Paige Dersham
Presentation link

Create your own Coding Club Using Google CS First
Megan Cosmos
Presentation Link

Tips & Tricks:
  • Use Google Forms
  • Record logins asap
  • Get parent permission
  • Encourage sharing & discussion
  • Logged into Google CS First and Scratch
  • Prepare - Plan - Play

Their materials:
  • are completely free and available online
  • are targeted at students in grades 4th-8th (ages 9-14)
  • can be tailored to fit your schedule and needs
  • involve block-based coding using Scratch and are themed to attract students with varied interests


InnEdCO 2017: Google Expeditions

All Aboard: Google Expeditions

A hyperdoc to work through during the presentation:

I'm Cardboard: http://www.imcardboard.com/
-different types of Google Cardboards

Uses in the classroom:
-virtual fieldtrips -- students can visit the places they're studying
-not recommended for students younger than 3rd grade
-presentation tool
-could use it on an iPad instead of the Cardboard (iPad app)
-can we create our own expeditions?

Ways to fund:
-Could the district buy a couple of class sets (including cardboard & phone)?
-Could we use just a small station of Cardboards?
-Donor's Choose to crowd fund it

The Planning Process:

Pre-Expedition Prep
  • Preview the expedition from both the teacher and student perspectives, establish talking points and supporting activities
Before the Expedition
  • How are students building background knowledge to prepare for the expedition?
During the Expedition
  • How are students recording and processing what they learn from the expedition?
After the Expedition
  • How are students synthesizing and analyzing what they learn from the expedition
  • What additional learning / inquiry was inspired by what students experienced on this expedition?

Additional resources:

InnEdCO 2017 - Google/Chrome Apps, Extensions, Add-ons

Google/Chrome Apps, Extensions, Add-ons:
Pam Herr

Google App -- similar to apps on your phone but work on the Chrome web browser
-access them on the left hand corner of the top toolbar in the Chrome web browser
-some are free, some paid
1) Google Keep: allows to take images in Google Keep and covert to editable Google Doc
    -snapshot of newspaper clipping: now interactive in Google Doc
    -Ss learing different types of  angles: taking pics of angles in Google Keep and adding them to Google Docs
    -ELL students building vocab by taking pics in Google Keep and adding definitions in Google Docs
    -Grading papers in Google Keep: allows you to store pre-loaded comment w/ explanations (ex., comma splice with link to understanding comma splices)
2) WeVideo: like iMovie for Google but it's cloud-based (limited free storage)
3) LucidChart: web-based mind mapping
4) ClassDojo: student behavior software
5) Padlet: online version of a cork board messages or mind mapping -- good way to show student's thinking
6)Blendspace: create lessons in a blended learning environment in 5 minutes
7) EdPuzzle: make any video your lesson by including questions (MC, short-constructed response) and explanations
8) Brainitz: similar to EdPuzzle

Chrome Extension -- live on the right side of the url address bar of the Chrome browser to enhance the web environment (some extensions will slow down your browser) -- find them in the Chrome web store
1) Save to Google Drive: allows to save anything your viewing on the Chrome browser to your Google Drive
2) CleanPrint: control how you want to print a web page by eliminating images, advertisements, etc
3) Save as PDF: save any web page as a PDF
4) InsertLearning: turn websites into interactive lessons ($$$)
5) Shareaholic: share the website your viewing
6) BetterTube: makes the YouTube home page wider, lets you remove videos from feed, quick video watch mode and more.
7)Read&Write for Google Chrome:  allows text to speech - play, pause, stop buttons - annotation features

Google Add-ons: run along side Google Apps like Sheets, Docs, Slides, Classroom and Forms
-10 Add-ons for Google Classroom:
-Add-ons for Google Docs:

InnEdCO 2017 -- Keynote Speaker

Building Blocks for the Future of Schools
-Dr. Scott McLeod (Dangerously Irrelevant)

Amazing vs Normal
Kids doing amazing things outside of school:
-Student blogging about school lunches
-Students creating video tutorials on video games

How do we give students the opportunities to do amazing things?

Formal learning vs Learning outside of school (often far more engaging and meaningful)
-How do we begin to give students voice/choice in what they learn?
-Project-based learning -- Genus Hour projects
-Engagement is the key - How do we increase engagement in our classrooms so kids aren't bored out of their minds?
     **Coming from a person who didn't care for school growing up - the most important thing we can do is increase student engagement**

4 Big Shifts:
-Higher level thinking -- moving away from regurgitating facts to solving problems
-Student agency -- student have voice/choice
-Authentic work -- real world application within the larger community
-Technology infusion -- technology allows for the 1st 3 shifts (above) to happen in innovative ways

Helpful resources:

Friday, May 5, 2017

Backwards Design - PBL

Here are some of my ideas around Project Based Learning and the Backwards-Design Process:

I use the backwards design template (attached) to provide students with Project Based Learning opportunities within my library program. With the planning process, I consider the learning objectives for each day but also consider the goals students set for themselves during each Project Based Learning opportunity. Many of the projects I create have a component where students are setting daily goals for themselves and reflecting on those goals at the end of the lesson. It allows for students to make choices about their learning, and I find it raises engagement and provides an opportunity for students to advocate for themselves. The Project Based learning opportunities provides meaningful and authentic learning for students because they have a voice and a choice in what they learn, while exit tickets give me the opportunity to reflect on what the students have learned to engage them even more.

Here's a Backwards-Design Unit I used with my 5th graders to design a tiny house: https://goo.gl/2pG3cd



 I came up with the design from one of John Spencer's Design Challenges:

Exit tickets allow me the opportunity to check in with my students and reflect on how well the lesson went. More often than not, the data I receive from the exit ticket at the end of each lesson informs and drives the learning for the next day. The data collection after each lesson allows me to differentiate the next day’s lesson. I creates screencasts of the rigorous tasks based on the feedback (exit tickets) I received from students. The screencasts are made from the questions students ask or from tasks the students didn’t understand. I host each screencast on my website to allow the students the opportunity to choose which video they need to watch each day. Exit tickets are what start the differentiated instruction process. They inform me of where the students are, what their needs are, and what might be causing them confusion. I use this information to create videos (screencasts) for the next day for them to choose which videos they need to watch to complete the daily objective.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

SAMR - Redefinition

We are officially back from Spring Break!! It was a much needed break and I'm feeling ready to finish the year strong.

As I've stated in prior blog posts, I'm on the hunt for examples of how educators have used the SAMR model with educational technology to change their practice.

I stumbled upon Matt Miller, educator and famed author of Ditch That Textbook, discussing the importance of using technology to transform the learning in the classroom in a blog post, 10 Ways to Reach SAMR Redefinition.

To start, it's difficult to reach the transformative stage of Redefinition with technology where everything the students produce is a "new task, previously inconceivable." I know many teachers, myself included, who use Google Apps to have students type an essay and turn it in using Google Classroom. Although, the task of typing an essay online is really just substitution on the SAMR model, but I would also argue the ability to provide instant feedback on a permanently saved document has real value and couldn't be done before this type of technology. We could also take the task one step further by sharing the student's essay to a wider audience through a blog or podcast. Then we're moving towards the redefinition stage.

Here are some of my favorite "Redefinition" ideas from Matt Miller that I hadn't thought about before reading his blog:

 “Aid the community” competition: Students from various countries engage in a project to tackle an issue in their communities (i.e. reducing the carbon footprint of their communities). Students share ideas on a wiki, discuss ideas together via video chat on Skype/Adobe Connect/Google Hangout, and partner with researchers at local universities or companies. They share the findings of their yearlong endeavor in a documentary on YouTube. (Source: ECISD Technology)

 Global perspectives: Students connect with a class in another part of the world to discuss a historical event — preferably one that affects both their own countries. Students write — in shared Google Documents, blogs, wikis or any other writing tool — factually about the event and then share opinions about it. They can compare how it’s perceived in different parts of the world. (Inspired by this post.)

Read more from Matt Miller's blog: http://ditchthattextbook.com/2014/04/03/10-ways-to-reach-samrs-redefinition-level/

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Virtual Reality Videos

I've recently been exploring ideas on how to implement virtual reality videos into the classroom. There are actually plenty of 360 videos on Youtube right now (you can just search 360 videos to find them), but I was struggling to find how educators have put them to use until I discovered Monica Burns' blog post about virtual reality.

According to Monica Burns, here our some great places to start with virtual reality videos:

1) The New York Times Virtual Reality App -- they provide content and news resources through the app

2) Nearpod Virtual Reality Lessons --  My students love Nearpod! They have a large selection of interactive lessons

3) CNN Virtual Reality Videos

I find engagement to be high through these lessons. Students love the feeling of being in the action and these virtual reality videos (especially with the VR cardboard or other VR equipment) allow students to move within the world they are studying. It's truly a powerful tool.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

InnEdCO Conference

The great Paige Dersham and I are officially on the books for this summer's InnEdCO Conference from June 12-15 in Keystone, CO. Our session is on Tuesday, June 13 from 8-10 am.

During our workshop session, we'll present how our students use TinkerCAD to design 3D objects, how we print those objects using a 3D printer, and how other educators can fund this through Donor's Choose. We want educators leaving our workshop with the ability to create a 3D object using TinkerCAD and to create a project on Donor's Choose to start funding their own 3D printer.

Session Title: 3D Designing, Printing, and Making
Date: 06/13/2017
Start Time: 8:00
End Time: 10:00
Location: Crestone 3

Monday, February 13, 2017

SAMR -- integrating technology

Over the next few weeks, I'll be digging to find ways teachers are integrating technology into their classrooms. Specifically, I'm looking for activities and ideas teachers implement to move from "Subsituting" technology for paper to a "Re-definition" of their classroom. The SAMR model is a great way to see whether or not your activities or assignments either Substitute, Augment, Modify, or Re-Define the activity with the use of technology:

Image credit: Sylvia Duckworth, via @DavidGuerin

Alice  Keeler has some excellent ideas on how to re-define your classroom using technology. She suggests using a classroom website (I use http://stecktech.wikispaces.com/). According to Alice Keeler, this allows for:
  • students who are absent to access the work
  • differentiating directions and tasks
  • making information accessible anytime anywhere
  • helping parents to support their children in their learning
  • collaborating with other teachers
  • consistency between class sections
  • the near elimination of downtime in class
  • the teacher to work one on one with students or in small groups
  • the teacher to provide more high-quality feedback
I'll be continuing to gather ideas for the next couple of weeks to see how others have integrated technology and re-defined their classrooms with it.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

EdCamp Denver -- Session 3 -- Genius Hour

How do students have voice/choice in their learning? Have we set up time for students to choose what they learn?

Genius Hour: students have an hour each week to learn what they want to learn and present it in a way they choose.

How it's been implemented?
-"I Wonder" day: students create a higher level question, research it, share it at the end of class
-Bad Idea box -- share out all the bad ideas you can think of (gets students to be comfortable sharing their ideas
-Project Based Learning: create higher level questions to drive research, research their question, create a presentation to share through podcasts, videos, slide presentations, etc.

Bloxels: video game creation with an app
-build a map of the video game with actual blocks & take a picture of the blocks in the app
-set the rules of the game: how to jump, shoot, run, etc.
-similar to Minecraft
-students can create and share their game boards

20 Times: http://www.20time.org/ 
Launch Book: http://thelaunchcycle.com/ 
Project ideas: http://www.20timeineducation.com/20-time-ideas
Google expeditions: https://www.google.com/edu/expeditions/#about 

EdCamp -- Session 2 -- Audience for Kids

I'm attending my 2nd session of the day at EdCamp Denver:

How do students share their ideas and reach an authentic audience?

Sharing platforms:
-Kid Blog
-Seesaw -- this can be used as a digital portfolio as well

Ways students can use blogging:
-sharing essays beyond 4 walls (parents, community, etc)
-sharing their understanding of the daily goal and what they learned
-sharing resources they've discovered
-answering prompts
-sharing anything they've created (podcasts, 

Importance of students reaching an authentic audience:

Teaching how to blog:
-Citizenship -- how to share and respond appropriately
    -practice on paper --> write a post on paper; gallery walk w/ sticky notes
    -provide exemplars for responses
-Peer review & feedback -- have students use a rubric to guide their responses
-Writing in short, concise paragraphs

EdCamp -- Session 1 -- Project Based Learning

For the first session this morning (Feb 3), I'm attending a Project Based Learning group.

My overarching question or goal for the session:

How can you implement project based learning across curriculum with technology?

PBL ideas for Literacy
-Asking higher level questions -- power in having students drive their own learning
-Evaluating sources
-Discovering resources
-Primary Sources
-Note-taking skills

Can we move beyond the 5 paragraph essay to present learning (not that writing isn't a critical skill)? How does technology change the project? SAMR model can assist with this.
-Presentation of learning -- podcasts, website creation, movie making, blogging 
-Research -- finding primary sources online (databases), interviewing primary sources (skype, google hangouts, social media)

Project Ideas:
1) Man left a treasure in Rocky Mtns & wrote a poem with hidden clues
    ->analyze the poems for clues
    ->Google Earth to use their clues
    ->Present their theory

2) Mysteries of the world (crop circles, Galapagos Islands, etc)
    ->research, read articles
    ->presenting their argument

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mission 100%

I initially stumbled upon the Mission 100% blog in an attempt to find resources on "aggressively monitoring" students. It's a site housing short videos of exemplary teachers modeling a certain teaching strategy. According to the home page, Mission 100% "is an online video library and platform, with over 2,000 short, targeted observation clips from real classrooms that highlight best teaching practices." A user can subscribe to receive updates on videos, easily search for videos, or look through the categories for specific videos. 

Again, I viewed the video on Aggressive Monitoring. Right away, I noticed class size. I wish my classes were less than 20 (I'd take less than 30). But in all seriousness, I love the use of the clipboard to quickly evaluate what she sees. I need to be better at moving through the room with a clipboard (and not losing the clipboard as I go). I also appreciate how the video displays what we should include on our clipboard and what we should be monitoring. Overall, I found the video helpful and look forward to viewing more of the Mission 100% videos.


Friday, January 20, 2017

EdCamp Denver

I just bought my tickets to EdCamp Denver. It's in 2 weeks (Saturday, February 4). I can't wait!