Thursday, September 8, 2016

Empowered Learners

Last week I was working with Leanne Boddie's awesome 3rd grade class at Leon Springs Elementary. We were recording the students' sharing all about themselves for a parent night activity. I was so impressed with these kiddos! As we were brainstorming in small groups, I noticed them saying they were "Gamers" and how they love to watch Youtubers. In talking with the students more, I found out they watch YouTubers to figure out how to become better gamers. They get tips and tricks on how to create amazing Minecraft worlds. They naturally use YouTube as the awesome learning tool it is! When they have a question about something they are passionate about, they use YouTube to find the answer. They are empowered learners.
Here are some pictures of these amazing students on that day (they loved the headsets!):
In our district we will soon deploy ipads for every teacher! As an Academic Technology Coach, it will be my responsibility to provide 'iTeach" professional development to the teachers at the six campuses I serve this Fall. While I am super excited about this initiative and can't wait to begin working with my teachers, I have to admit that I've been a little anxious about not being able to provide the kind of follow-up coaching that I usually do. With 6 campuses to train, my time between training will be limited. Then it dawned on me... our students are naturally empowered to seek out their own learning on YouTube, from each other, or wherever else they can find it. I know our teachers can do the same! 

With technology, teachers can figure out how to do pretty much anything with their new iPads. This is exactly what we want our students to be able to do- to be empowered and to own their learning. When I have a question about something technology related I immediately turn to Twitter (thanks PLN!) or YouTube, if I want to see the play in the big game I missed I again turn to Twitter or YouTube. I'm excited to provide iPad training to my teachers but I'm even more excited about the opportunity to encourage them to take risks, jump into new things, and help them become more empowered as learners. I'm looking forward to jumping into some new learning myself this Fall with an #InnovatorsMindset online course (#IMMOOC). As it turns out, "You don't have to have it all figured out to move forward." Now off to YouTube... gotta figure out how to change the headlight on my truck!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Meet the Teacher! #Relationships

Meet the Teacher was always one of my favorite days of the year as a classroom teacher! Everyone is a mix of nerves and excitement. You want to learn everything about your students; what excites them, what makes them tick- it all begins on Meet the Teacher night! Your students also want to learn about YOU. A good friend of mine and 5th grade teacher, Melissa Spiekerman, created this AWESOME Thinglink to introduce herself to her students (and parents)! Such a cool way to get students excited about your class. 

Thinglink is an awesome storytelling tool. Every image contains a story and Thinglink can help you tell those stories. Use Thinglink for Education to create your own interactive image- for FREE! You can embed your Thinglink on your teacher website. As the school year begins, your students can even create their own Thinglink to introduce themselves to their classmates.

My amazing Teacher-Mom and my first Administrators taught/modeled for me the importance of relationships in education. I love this quote from Mark Rustan, "Profound learning occurs when you touch a student's mind and heart simultaneously" and this one from The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros, "Fifty years ago relationships were the most important thing in our schools, and fifty years from now, it will be no different." The beginning of the school year is such an exciting time to start making those connections! I hope you all have a wonderful Meet the Teacher night and first week of school!

Friday, April 1, 2016

2-5: Newsela- Relevant Expository Articles

Newsela is an amazing reading resource. The nonfiction articles on this site are relevant and current including real-world news from major news publications. Newsela makes it easy for an entire class to read the same content but at a level that is just right for each student! 

Newsela also works seamlessly with Google Classroom. When you first sign up for your account, you can import your Google Classroom roster as your class list and then assign articles/quizzes using the Newsela website.  

Check out this Newsela article about the safety of hover boards. You can see at the top of the article, underneath the title it shows the grade level as 2 with 244 words. Now try changing the lexile level (on the far right hand side) to 900L. The content is the same but now the article is a 5th grade reading level with 712 words.

Check out this Newsela Quick Start Guide to get started!
Blog post from Alice Keeler about Newsela/Google Classroom.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

I just loved reading Dr. Seuss books when I was little and now I get to share those same books with my son! Read Across America Day is held each year on Dr. Seuss' birthday, March 2nd (He would have been 112 years old this year). 

On this site you will find a little more about Read Across America Day, including some fun activities: NEA's Read Across America

This post from Shannon's Technology Rocks! Seriously blog- (And YES, it seriously does rock!!) has TONS of Dr. Seuss themed games, activities, & lessons.
Seussville offers some fun online games for students.
Seussville Story Maker helps students create Dr. Seuss like stories.
Scholastic has lesson ideas using Dr. Seuss books.

Can't celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday without a little Green Eggs and Ham!!
Green Eggs & Ham Interactive Read-Aloud Video
Dr. Seuss biography in Pebble Go (contact me or your librarian for username/password): 
Technology Coaches Michelle Fikac & Elizabeth Garvic created this amazing resource- The Tech in the Hat! All of the activities are centered on technology integration using the works of Dr. Seuss! 
This is an example of one of the activities:
Another exciting idea would be to connect your class with another class via Google Hangouts (kind of like a Skype session). You could read a Dr. Seuss book and then discuss with the other class.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

3rd: Festivals

Students can use this Symbaloo to research the Texas Festivals. They can also use the attached brochures. Last year my 3rd graders created iMovie Trailers to advertise for the festivals. Let me know if you would like any support with a project like this!  
Texas Festival Brochures
After researching the festivals, students could write a postcard home pretending they were enjoying a day at one of the festivals. This is a Google Drawing template to assign in Google Classroom. To change the image, students will click, Insert, Image.
Interactive Games:

Monday, February 1, 2016

100th Day of School Activities

The 100th day of school is Wednesday, February 3rd. Here are some links/activities your students might enjoy!

Technology Rocks! Seriously! 
Fall Into First

I especially love this Free "If I Were 100..." idea from Teachers Pay Teachers & Angie Neal. You could use the Aging Booth app for the picture. Just be careful...I tried the app on myself and YIKES! ;)
Click image to see blog post by Angie Neal- Fall Into First
Click the downward arrow to download!

Friday, January 22, 2016

2nd-5th: Text Features

I just came across these Text Feature resources from Mrs. Warner's blog.
Scholastic also has some resources designed to assist students with navigating non-fiction texts.
Tech project idea- Have students create an article in Google Drawings (similar to Microsoft Publisher) and include text features!  Students will love writing a newspaper style article. 

Here are a couple Google Slides presentations you could assign to students in Google Classroom. (Click on the image & then click File, Make a Copy in order to use). 

K-2nd: Story Maker

ABCYa has a really cool and easy to use Story Maker!  Students can use the paint tools to create a picture or import an image. Then they can use the text feature to add their writing.  The image and text will print on one page.  

Check out all the other goodies on ABCYa!  GREAT stuff!

Ditch That Textbook!

Matt Miller @jmattmiller, a high school Spanish teacher from Indiana, has an AMAZING blog called (he also has a book with the same name). On the blog you will find ideas of how to engage your students without the typical textbook, pencil & paper activities.  If you are using Google Classroom with your students, you might enjoy this amazing list of 15 Graphic Organizers your students can use.  Paper graphic organizers are great, but by making them digital in Google Apps, they instantly become customizable. Students & teachers can collaborate in real time and they can be shared easily. "In short, digital graphic organizers are more versatile."

3rd-5th: Blackout Poetry

Blackout Poetry is so cool!!
I read this article by a writer from Austin, TX who uses this technique with his students- Austin Kleon- "To Be a Teacher and Remain a Student"
On Twitter search #newspaperblackout and click "photos" for some additional examples!
Inspiring Video
Additional Videos:
Blackout Poet- TX Country Reporter 

This is a Google Slides presentation showing more about blackout poetry:
Your students could use Google Drawings to complete a blackout poem! This template was shared by Tech Coach Mohler. Click on the image and then click File, Make a Copy to use.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Resources

The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Kid President:

PebbleGo has a Martin Luther King, Jr. article (see your librarian if you need the username/password):

Google Slides activity- Assign as "Students Can Edit" (all students will be working on the same google slides presentation.  See slide 2 for details!
Check out these How-To Videos:
Student created video- possible project!

Reading Rainbow- MLK Jr. Story

Twitter Tutorials!

Twitter is an AMAZING resource for teachers!
Check out the following videos about using Twitter in education:
I created these quick video tutorials to help you get started. 

K-1: Jobs

PebbleGo is a great resource for learning about jobs in the community.
Let your librarian know if you need the username/password!
PebbleGo-Jobs in the Community

Possible project ideas: students can use one of the following ipod/ipad apps to create a video teaching others about a job in the community- chatterpix, tellagami, YakIt.  
Students could use to record their voice and print a QR code to post with a picture they have created of a job in the community. 
Please let me know if you need assistance with any of these projects!

2nd-3rd: States of Matter

Your students might enjoy these States of Matter games:

States of Matter Google Slides activity (Click File, Make a Copy to use):

Google Drawings (Click File, Make a Copy to use) Students can add additional images by clicking Insert- Image.

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