Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Rigor ISTE2016

I'm in my final session of ISTE2016 before the Closing Keynote speakers. It's been an unbelievable few days of learning and growing.

Rigor, Meet Relevance by Janel McCormick and Jessica Herring


Essential Questions:
-What happens when rigor meets relevance?
-How can you bring greater relevance to the work you're already doing in the classroom?

Using tools like iMovie, Sphero, Aurasma to show character emotion, mood, etc => shows relevance

Rigor = empowered learners, innovator designers, & creative communicators (new ISTE standards)

Skills developments = creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking

Excellent rubric to measure rigor:

Inquiry Based Learning ISTE 2016

After roaming the Vendor Hall upstairs (I'll write a post about the cool thing I found up there later), it's onto my 2nd session of the day:

Using Inquiry for Deeper Understanding by Adina Sullivan

Adina's website and Adina's Inquiry presentation

Essential Questions:
-What conditions do you need to learn something that isn't your favorite subject/topic?
-How is this same or different for your students?
-How do you learn differently when you are interested vs when you are just doing as you are told/expected?

-Problem-solving and critical thinking skills
-Facilitates a transfer of knowledge and concepts through creativity and reflection
-Self-directed learning skills using communication and collaboration
-Deeper levels of engagement and understanding

Inquiry Cycle = Questioning =>Research => Discussion => Creating => Reflection => back to Questioning

Science Leadership Academy -- school in Pennsylvania strictly inquiry-based

Inquiry Based learning resources

LittleBits and Design Thinking ISTE2016

It's the third and final day of ISTE2016. For my first session, I'm attending:

Creativity, Innovation, and a "LittleBit" of Design Thinking

LittleBits website

I recently received 4 sets of LittleBits from a Donor's Choose project and am excited to see how other educators are using them. They're essentially small circuits that piece together. Students can build all sorts of things with them.

Little Bits Design Challenge:
-students work collaboratively with LittleBits to create something that makes the world better

Design Thinking:
1) Exploration (empathize & define) -- where do you see problems? Can you define it?
2) Ideation (ideate) -- brainstorming
3) Prototyping (prototype) -- building their first model
4)Modification (test) -- testing and making changes to the prototype
5) Sharing -- could they share beyond the classroom? video? podcast?

Design Thinking => Constructivistm (makerspaces) => Inquiry-based learning

My thoughts:
Design Thinking can work in almost any classroom, content-area, or grade level. In literacy, students can take a stance, research their stance, write an essay explaining their stance, rewrite after constructive criticism, and share it with the world through a blog. The more time spent around the exploration and ideation process the better. Students need to become comfortable with asking questions and thinking deeply on how to answer those questions. This will, hopefully, foster life-long learning in our students and give them the confidence to be curious explorers.

Extra Resources:

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Literacy and Personalized Learning ISTE2016

My last session of another amazing day at ISTE2016:

Creating Passionate Literacy Environments Through Personalized Learning in Meeting Hall 504

Presenter: Pernille Ripp

-moving away from "teacher knows best & knows everything"
-"50% of HS students bored EVERYDAY" -- Gallup surveys support this (44% bored)
-most kids don't want to read or write -- we should be asking why not? How could we do better?
-26% of adults haven't read a book in 12 months
-enjoyment = engagement; How do we bring enjoyment back to reading/writing?

5 tenets of choice:
1) choice in engagement
2) product
3) setting
4) timeline
5) assessment

-Whole class novels -- Why do we make kids read at a certain pace? Why does every student in the class have to read a chapter a night? If they finish the book in a day, how do we challenge them? If students abandon the book, is it their fault or ours?
-It's a kid's right to abandon a book, BUT if they continually abandon books, they don't know who they are as readers and writers. Do we provide opportunities for students to understand themselves as readers/writers?

Classroom Redesign ISTE2016

Ready for my 2nd session of the day:

Classroom Redesign: Future-Focused & Student Centered in Meeting Hall 707

-How do we define learning space?

1) Active learning ecosystems
     -How do we exhibit student work to reach an authentic audience? blogs, podcasts, websites
     -Having flexible furniture arrangements -- tables can easily move away to open space, small group vs. large group space
    -Spaces within spaces -- full group, small group, individual work -- student should have choice
    -Pedagogy, Technology, Space


Student Centered Classrooms ISTE2016

After a fantastic Keynote speaker (Dr. Ruha Benjamin, she was inspiring!) this morning and some wandering around the Vendor Booths (tons of fun upstairs), I'm ready to attend my first session of the day:

Student Centered Classrooms in Meeting Hall 707 with Nichole Carter and Jon Samuelson

Jon's podcast =>

Today's Presentation

What is Student Centered?
-student in control = collaboration, PBL, tech, choice, making/creating -- ENGAGEMENT
-teachers = facilitator, coach, find student passion

1) Classroom Redesign
     Apps for designing a classroom = Classroom Architecture, Kaplan Floor Plan, Adobe Draw

2) Blended Learning
     -HyperDocs -- create links for students to explore on their own
     -Pinterest Board -- different ways to provide online avenues to pursue their own learning

3) Student Unconferences
     -Pinterest Boards
     -Adobe Spark -- quickly create animated videos, memes

4) Genius Hour

5) Making & Tinkering
    -Bloxel Overview

made with Adobe Spark

Monday, June 27, 2016

Personalized Learning ISTE2016

For my final session of the day, I'm attending:

How Personalized is Personalized Learning? in Meeting Hall 201

Here's a link to their presentation: 

"How do you determine if the online content we teach is truly available to the learning needs of all students, especially those struggling learners and students with disabilities?"

- To be personalized = competency-based, flexible learning environments, personal learning paths, and includes learner profiles
- 90% of schools use personalized learning through a vendor -- product/curriculum given to teachers
      -This seems scary. How do we make sure it's not just a prescribed product and geared more towards student need?
-Universal Design for Learning
     -the WHY of learning (engagement)
     -the WHAT of learning (representation)
     -the HOW of learning (action & expression)

Extra Resources:


I'm here for the EdTekTalk which features 5 presenters from the the world of Ed Technology.

Here's a link to the presenters:

I'm excited to hear from: (REMEMBER -- a video of the presentation will be available on the ISTE website)

Ayah Bdeir 
"Ayah Bdeir is the founder and CEO of littleBits, an open-source library of modular electronics that snap together with magnets. Bdeir was born in Lebanon, currently lives in New York City, and earned her master's degree in science from the MIT Media Lab. As an esteemed engineer and interactive artist, Bdeir is one of the leaders of the maker movement. Her career is focused on advancing open-source hardware to make education and innovation more accessible to the entire population."


Marley Dias 
"Marley Dias is an 11-year-old from West Orange, New Jersey, who grew tired of reading books in her middle school classes about “white boys and their dogs” so she created a plan, with the help of her mother and founder of GrassROOTS Community Foundation, Janice Johnson Dias, to do something about it. They gathered 1,000 books with relatable female characters, particularly strong, black girls. The movement is incredibly successful, with the trending hashtag #1000BlackGirlBooks, and the collected books have made their way to schools in need around the country."

Makerspaces ISTE2016

After a quick lunch break, I'm headed to my 3rd session of the day. It's my first PANEL session where there are multiple presenters on one topic. Excited to check it out:

MAKE Today and Tomorrow in Meeting Hall 707:
-Are makerspaces a fad or the future of hands-on education?
-How do we align making to curriculum?
-How do we create flexible, dynamic space for students on a limited budget?

**They're using to back channel the panel (we can ask questions/discuss/poll during the panel)**

1) Start small -- find smaller projects, few materials
2) Find a community of makers -- have already tried (
3) Be OK with failure
4) Ask teachers, parents, community for "junk"
5) Find used/obsolete equipment to harvest wires, parts, etc. -- think of safety first (gloves, eyeglasses, etc.)
6) Find carts w/ carts & bins -- making materials mobile
7) Project storage -- racks w/ hanging bags (see pdf below), hallway, tall bins

Extra resources:

Shake Up Learning

After wandering through the Poster sessions in Lobby D (highly recommend), I'm ready for my 2nd full session of the day:

Digital Differentiation with Google Apps in Meeting Room 710: Shake up Learning

Every student learns in different ways and speeds, so we need to create different paths to learning:

1) Choice boards/Menus -- students have a wide array of choices in how to reach the learning goal
     -use google docs to make a TIC-TAC-TOE board -- students choose how to meet the daily goal
     -it works for any subject area/grade level
     -make sure to include different intelligences in each space of the board

2) Chrome Apps:
    -pixton -- comic book creator
    -wevideo -- web based video editor
    -canva -- design tool

3) Differentiating by Reading level:
    -Newsela -- current events/non-fiction based on lexile levels (login w/ Google accts)
    -Books that Grow -- novels/fiction at different reading levels (NOT FREE but worth it)

4) Differentiating w/ Google Contact Groups:
    -group students by interests, readiness, levels, etc.
    -need to setup groups prior but can easily share out to each group

5) Differentiating w/ Google Forms
    -exit tickets, surveys, polls -- allows to know where students are
    -"go to page based on answer" -- if you answered C, you go to another page from someone who answered B -- this called Conditional Branching

6) Google Classroom
    -Parent portal is coming!!!
    -create groups within GC
    -each leveled group could have their own Google Classroom -- send assignments, templates, docs through each classroom

Whew!!! That was a whirlwind sessions. So many slides to go back through and review!

ISTE 2016

It's been a while since I've written a blog post. I've traveled a little bit this summer, but I'm officially back to it this week at ISTE 2016 in Denver!!! So excited for this opportunity to learn and grow.

First up today:
Liberating Genius with Angela Maiers in the Mile High Ballroom 4C
It's all about the Genius Hour movement where students work through inquiry-based projects on any subject of their choice. The power of the Genius Hour projects lies in student choice. All students have something they're passionate about, a topic they're a genius in. They need it to be liberated!

3 phases to unlock their genius:
1) Accept -- Students need to know and accept they're a genius.
2) Accelerate -- Students need to know others are a genius as well and can help others reach their potential.
3) Act -- Students need to act on their passion.

Learn more: