I made it to Denver last night! After a very long day of working and traveling we made it into Denver around 10 last night very exhausted but ready to explore. Although we didn't do much exploring last night we did quite a bit today, from the Capital Building to Coors Field to Union Station and even more. It was a 20,000+ step day and I was exhausted but wow we got some great pictures and had a wonderful day.
Nothing excites me more than planning for upcoming PD, fun upcoming PD! We've been doing a little revamping of our PD and the way we run our PD and I am very excited at having the change to try it out. In reformatting our PD we are looking at doing more of a station rotation style of planning. This allows me to go in and teach a mini lesson at the beginning then moving into our station rotation model Our plan is to start out with various Google Apps models and move on from there! Be sure to check back soon as I promise to post pics of the PD model as well as give you updates on how it's going!
Well it's been a while but as usual life has been pretty hectic! I recently did a Tour De' Ohio and WOW! I started out traveling from Columbus to New Concord for a Cricut class, went from New Concord to my parents for the night, worked in Malvern for the day, traveled to Canton, then west side of Cleveland, from the west side of Cleveland to the very far east side of Cleveland then back towards Ashland and finally back to Columbus! What a week! I logged over 500 miles! Thankfully Memorial Day weekend is coming and oh wait, I'm back on the road heading north to the lake on Saturday! What a crazy life! :)
Shout out to Miss Erin's Kindergarten class for their amazing state projects! I've added pictures below but wow these projects turned out great and from what I've heard the kids loved doing them. I am not sure if it will work but give the qr codes a try because each student recorded a fact about their state and Miss Erin turned those recordings into QR codes that parents and visitors to the school could scan. I stopped in today to see how they were doing and how the projects were coming and the students are very excited about the work they've done (the parents are loving the projects as well).
Last weekend while I was home visiting my family I ran into a former parent of a student I had when I was student teaching. At the time I knew she looked familiar however I couldn't quite place her until she asked me and I quote directly "Does it make you feel old when your students are now graduating?" "UMM... NO, not until right now! Thanks!" I didn't say that but I did kindly reply that I hadn't really thought of it until now. Unfortunately yes, it's been nine years since I did my student teaching in Mrs. Stafford's third grade classroom. I still remember that group of students like it was yesterday and I now remember it was Nathan's mother that asked me that (crazy, insane) question. If I could offer one piece of advice to those graduating seniors it would be to never stop learning. Whether you're going out into the workforce, going to a college or university, or taking some time off never stop learning, being a lifelong learner makes you a valuable asset to whomever you choose to work for and whatever you decide to do. I'm 31 almost 32 (apparently I'm old, I'll get to that later) and there isn't a day that goes by where I haven't tried to learn something new. There are so many things out there that you can learn about in the world but whatever you do, never stop learning....because life never stops teaching you.
Speaking of being a lifelong learner, I always try to learn something new - I read a variety of books that will help me grow professionally as well as those that will help me in my personal life. I love learning, it's something that will carry you very far in this world. Well that being said, while in Miss Erin's kindergarten class today I learned quite a bit! I've compiled a list of things I learned from the kindergarteners today:
I am sure there was more in the time I spent with these kids however wow, I learned enough today so last me for a few weeks! I can only hope that these kids never stop learning, never stop questioning, and never stop having that love for learning. As for me, I am off to research the fastest bird in the world!
As I told you all a while ago I decided to participate in a book club, this is part of my New Year's Resolution and I thought it'd be a great way to connect with other individuals as passionate about education and technology as I am. That being said the book is wonderful, I love the concepts, ideas, and research that I have read in this book and a recent chapter fits in so well with a conversation I had recently with a teacher and another conversation I had with a Technology Coach and friend.
I often get asked to come into classrooms and show teachers and students how to use the various Google Apps or integrate technology into the lessons in a seamless manner. Unfortunately it often becomes a conversation about understanding that the lessons can be "fun" and that they do fit into the content standards. I can't count the number of times I've heard "If we do something fun like this, the kids won't want to stop and go back to their work"
As I walk through the halls of so many of the schools I work with this is the problem that I see; the kids aren't learning and having fun at the same time. I see students getting worksheet after worksheet, I see every student in the classroom working on the same book, or if they are having fun they are watching a movie or playing a game. All the while they're not engaged in what they are learning because it's not interesting or fun to them. Who out there decided that learning meant the kids all had to be doing the same exact thing at the same exact time while sitting in at their desks all lined up in a row staring at the teacher in the front of the room! Who decided this is the best way for kids to learn? I am not saying that what these teachers are teaching isn't great content and that they're not doing great work (with all the changes and testing and everything they are going through kudos to you guys) however it could be so much better. Research has shown over and over again that students' do not learn at the same pace and that the more our students are interested in the topic the more engaged they are yet here we are in this situation. We have to get teachers to step outside their comfort zone, step outside the fact that learning can't be too much fun but how?
My goal in my past and present role is to share with educators the benefits of technology when used effectively. From a blended classroom to incorporating PBL into your classroom there are so many benefits. I just don't know how to reach some of these teachers? In my role as a coach, it was the trickle effect, one tried something and then someone else tried it and another person and so on however when I only get to see these teachers once a month? And how do we get them out of the idea that we can't have too much fun learning because we have to go back to our regular work? It's something I have been struggling with not just all weekend but for quite some time.
Those of you that know me know I won't give up on this fight, I'll get through to these teachers one way or another! These types of teachers are my greatest challenge but they're the ones that I want to get through to the most because if you can change their way of thinking, you can change anyone's! (Insert my smirk face). If you are reading this, please take a moment to ask yourself are my students really engaged? Are they problem solving? Thinking outside the box? Are they working together to collaborate on a topic or problem? Are they enjoying what they're doing and having fun? If not, lets sit down and talk!
I want to copy this page and share it with all the teachers who have said to me "That lesson is too fun." OR "It needs to fit in the standards."
As I was reading through my ISTE daily digest emails I stumbled across a post from a Cincinnati teacher who shared their districts Blended Learning Website. In looking through this website it seems to be a nice resource sharing which of their teachers are fully implementing a blended model as well as what they using for resources. I am currently working to schedule a visit to this school for my coworkers and I however since the end of the school year is almost here (CRAZY) it may not be until next year. This couldn't have come at a better time as I get ready to teach another Blended Learning course! Can't wait to share this with my class participants and thought I'd share it with all of you! :)
Have a great week everyone!
What a week! Although, this is pretty much what every week is looking like as I look ahead to the month of May! The weekend started off with PowerPoint which was a pretty decent class and the participants seemed interested in the product as well as some of the features it offers. The class started out when the participants get a copy of a Volcano presentation I had made (a REALLY bad presentation I had put together) and they were to go through and make notes of things they like and didn't like. From there I did a short mini-lesson on PowerPoint How To and then let them recreate the Volcano presentation focusing on building a presentation that was more aesthetically pleasing (not as loud of a theme, less wording, less transitions, etc. Each participant shared what they changed in their presentation (we had a smaller group so we were able to share this presentation and the presentation they put together in the afternoon). After lunch the participants created a few videos using a screencasting tool and then created their own presentation that they could use in class with their students. Not to bad of a day! :)
Voice and Choice was my favorite class I taught this week because not only was this my idea for a class but it's a topic I feel very strongly about. The class started out with me giving the participants a link to Today's Meet where they shared ways they give the students in the classroom voice and choice. We spent some time discussing this and feeding off each others information shared. The participants then had three videos and three links they were given, and had to pick at least 2 videos to watch and one article they had to read, jotting down thoughts as they went through this. We then talked about the videos and articles and discussed various topics from the video comparing those to what they already do in their classrooms. Some of the topics that were introduced to the participants were:
The participants were required to pick a standard and design a lesson that involved more voice and choice by giving the students a choice board. Participants had to create a choice board for the students summative piece as well as the rubric that would be used for this project. While working we talked a lot of the design of a choice board as well as the fact that the rubric needed to be able to cover each item on the choice board (focusing more on whether the students showed they have knowledge on the concept and less on the specific tools). I think it was a very eye opening class for the participants and I can only hope they take a little of what they learned back to their classrooms for implementation!
Last night was my former school's Cultural Art Show and being that I'm still very close with many of the teachers there and the art teacher happens to be my best friend I got to help out with the event! I've done this now for three years and every year it amazes me the talent that the students at GIS have, from the paintings and drawings they do to the music they sing and play it's unreal. Kudos to Amanda and Emily as they put a wonderful event together each year full of over 800 pieces of student work and kids who knock the rough off with their musical talent. I also love that the Journey North butterfly tradition has continued, maybe not as much but it's still continuing! Fourth grade students in science and reading are learning each year about the Monarch butterflies and their habitat and putting what they learned into practice in the Art Room! Hopefully one day they'll put what they've learned into creating the habitat in the land lab. I was able to get a few pictures!
This past Friday I decided to try out a new idea I had using Google Drawings and Google Docs with a group of third graders. This is a group I have been working with all yea so I knew they would not only be excited to be my beta testers but they'd be more than willing! I introduced the students to Google Drawing, showing them a little bit about the product and some quick how too's. I gave the students about 15 minutes to come up with a drawing, whatever they wanted. From there I showed them how to download the drawing as a .png or .jpg and then we opened a Google Doc. The students titled the Google Doc whatever their picture was and then inserted the picture into their Google Doc. They gave the document a title and put themselves as the author. Then the students had about 15 minutes to write their story based on their drawing. It turned out to be an awesome quick little writing project! I can't wait to try it again and see how the kids do the next time with a little more time! Check out my sample and a few student samples below!
Project, Challenge, Problem, Placed - So Many Based Learning's What's the difference and which one is best??!
BI have been doing a lot of research of the various Based Learning's and I even had a question recently about what the difference was and which one is the best? AND another article just popped up in my email today so I figured it's a blog worthy topic.
There are numerous based learning's out there right now:
In all honesty and after reading numerous articles there really isn't a huge difference between the various based learning methods (unless of course your looking at Zombie-based - I have not done my research on that one so give me some time to experience with that one). Of all the methods listed above the one that we see used the most is Project-based learning where the students are:
Placed Based Learning
Challenge Based Learning
It's been a crazy week since I last posted so bear with me, this one may be a long one! My last posted talked about my upcoming PD with a larger school district and the plan I wanted to implement while there. I had that PD session on Friday and although the day was a complete blur and I was exhausted at the end of it I think it very well. Each session was 2 hours with about 35 people in each and as I said before in my post I was to cover SAMR Model, Blended Learning (specifically Station Rotation), basic iPad information, and Google Classroom (insert the Kevin McCallister and the famous Home Alone face because that's pretty much how I felt). My original plan was to model the Station Rotation model while taking part in lessons that focused on each level of the SAMR model and I worked on these PD ideas for weeks so I really wanted to follow through wit this. Knowing I couldn't do this alone I asked Sue our office manager to join me, there wasn't anyone else in the office or I would have had someone with me but we're crazy busy and I knew Sue could handle the iPad questions. The first session went okay, the class was full of k-2 teachers who had a harder time seeing how this would fit into their daily classroom routine so I spent a little bit longer with them explain and giving ideas. The second session went a lot better, it was grade 3-4 and these teachers really seemed to be excited about the opportunities that would come about with these new devices. Overall I think the day went really well and the teachers go excited for what's going to happen over the next couple of years. Check out the pictures below that I "borrowed" from Brian Seymour.
Today was the Schools Re-Imagined Leadership Symposium and it was held at the Mansfield Reformatory. The whole concept behind the day was: Are our schools are beginning to feel too much like a prison and how can we change that? District administrators from around the state came together to talk about the barriers we have, the challenges we run into daily, and how we can re-imagine these learning spaces. The morning was spent touring the Mansfield Reformatory and having discussions about how quotes from the movie Shawshank Redemption fit into the current education system. Each ITSCO consultant was stationed at a specific spot in the prison with a specific quote from the movie, mine being the chapel and the quote being this one:
I was pretty excited about this one because there was a lot that I saw in this quote and the fact that hope is mentioned so many times! Each group that came through my session saw one common theme that being seniors excited about the end of the year and what's coming next. I had a few others, I saw one of my former students and some many students in this quote and the fact that they can't sit still yet are often being asked to sit all day long. What happened if we didn't make them sit so long or we let them sit wherever they want and wander when they wanted? Guess, what they still learn! My students in my classroom sat everywhere, some sat on the couch that I brought into my room, some sat in bean bag chairs, some on exercise balls, some on desks, some on the floor - basically wherever they could learn best they sat. The students in my classroom over the years knew they could sit wherever they wanted but they had to be able to learn and handle where they were sitting. I even had one student who would walk the halls. This student still learned every bit of what I was teaching but while wandering the halls.
I also saw that hope, the hope of what lies outside the four walls and if we don't prepare out students for the world they will enter they will quickly lose that hope. Our students need to have the 21st century skills such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, creativity skills. All the skills today's world utilizes daily.
I did get to go on a quick tour of the reformatory, which was crazy and yet pretty awesome at the same time. Check out my pics below!
And finally to the Book Club I joined! Those of you that know me know I love to read, like LOVE LOVE to read and would stay up all night to finish a book. Part of my New Year's Resolution was for every one fun (James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, Mary Kay Andrews) book I read I needed to read one book that would educate me in my profession. So....I joined a book club, a professional book club. I thought this sounded interesting and the topic was one that struck me as being beneficial HOWEVER I did not realize this book club required me to take part in weekly discussions, monthly webinars, a final project, AND a meeting with everyone in Denver. What was I thinking!? However, after the Leadership Symposium today and the topics discussed I am excited to see where this book will take me. The book is all about re-imagining student learning spaces to promote 21st century skills and as I am only in chapter 2 I am very excited about what's been discussed so far. I promise to post updates as I go through this.
Okay, I am off to read and post discussions because I'm already failing at this book club! I've received two emails in the last 3 weeks because I am late on my posts :(
I posted a week or so again about working on a big project for a district that needed to hit on SAMR, blended learning, and the purpose of giving students an authentic audience. I am finally finished with prepping for this and am very excited to share this with the district on Friday! Some background on the actual PD - I have two hours (yes, two hours get all this information to them) with K-2 and two hours with 3-4, about 35 teachers in each session and I need to introduce them to the SAMR model, blended learning as well as station rotation model, some general iPad information, and the importance of giving students and authentic audience. That's A LOT of information in two hours. That being said, because I am not (and never have been) a fan of the sit and get method and I have such little time I wanted to create an atmosphere that would allow them to get as much information as possible - in comes the station rotation model. Why not use this method that I they are to being learning about?
So the plan: We'll do a quick mini lesson on SAMR model (we'll do the SAMR swimming pool, I prefer the this model because it doesn't make teachers feel like their constantly at the bottom where as the swimming pool keeps everyone at a horizontal level). The teachers will be split into groups and each group will go watch a video explaining SAMR and then take part in a Padlet discussion. Once the teachers have been given enough time to do this we'll come back together and discuss thoughts. I'll also do a quick mini lesson on blended learning and the iPad apps they will use. At that point, I'll hand out my general no tech lesson for them to look over and discuss. Teachers will stay with their groups and we will begin modeling station rotation - each station will focus on a part of the SAMR model (see the website I added for the lesson plans). My station will focus on the purpose behind giving students an authentic audience and how this really pushes that M lesson into the deep end of the pool making it an R lesson. We will also talk about how this really changes the work students do; when they know individuals outside the classroom will be seeing, watching, or reading what they've done it takes on a whole new meaning for them. Finally we'll come back together after and discuss the various stations as well as thoughts they may have had. One big focus will be explaining to them that it's okay to stay in the S and A levels, it's not always about just getting to R and that sometimes the lesson may be better served without technology and that's oaky too!
Very excited to see how this plays out, be sure to look for updates.
I'm currently working on preparing a pretty big SAMR PD for a school district in a few weeks, I will have more to come as I put together resources for that but came across this today (those of you that know me, know my love for ThingLink hence the reason for sharing).
This original penguin expedition was designed using Glogster, however since I no longer have a Glogster account and unfortunately the cost to have an account is more than I'm willing to pay I've redesigned this to fit in as a Google Drawing activity! When I first did this lesson it was as a whole group and small group lesson but I had so many students want to use it at home that it became more of an individual student lesson as well. Various pieces on this poster are activities that the students can do on their own but some are for whole group/small group use too. This is just a sample and can be changed to fit the various needs of teachers and or students but our unit for this project was penguins, discussing living and non-living things, their needs for survival, and basic facts about penguins.
Been doing some research on badging and offering badges for various trainings, anyone out there using a badging system? Would love to learn how you're using it!
Could someone out there help me identify this new piece of technology? I went into a classroom to do my PD training today and found this!
We toured the PAST Foundation today and I'm in love with this building! It's exactly how a school should be set up - from the garage doors that open up to a large common area, to the barn style doors that allow for classrooms to collaborate together, to the huge whiteboards everywhere for students to just write down thoughts or work out problems, or create ideas. I wish more schools would come look at this facility because if we want out students to become better at problem solving and collaborating we need to not only offer lessons that promote those skills but also a learning environment that promotes this. If you have a free minute stop by and ask for a tour or sit in on a class!
Anyone using OSMO out there? Trying to come up with some ideas for workstations using OSMO for my upcoming PD class. It's a pretty cool tool just trying to see how others are using it. Let me know!
Taught my first iPad Pro class today! I'm in LOVE with this device and can't get enough of the artistic apps that it offers. I have so many favorite apps for this that I love but I think my favorite is Adobe Photoshop Mix - it's free, you just have to sign up for an account. I created this awesome image by taking some free images from Flickr and mixing them together. I am working on some images of my own but need to get out with my camera and go visit some of the metro-parks so I can get good images.
As I sit here I am watching Grease Live and LOVING it! Hope you are too!
Now that I am back it's been busy as ever! Most of my time is spent catching up on my missed coaching days. I was able to work with first grade on a Google Drawings venn diagram and the students did a great job! They were comparing Cats and Dogs and the items they chose for the venn diagram were great (first graders are a hoot). The third grade class I worked with also used Google Drawings but did a fraction activity (see below for samples). It's great to get back into the classroom at least once a week and share some of these ideas with teachers!
My favorite story from this week however is while working with a student on a class website, Cinderella (clearly I nickname all the students I work with) added her contribution to the website and as I told her to be sure and add her name as the author she told me she needed to put "copied by" because she just copied it from a website. The whole conversation cracked me up and I couldn't argue with her because she was honest!
So glad to be back on here! I promise to do better; you guys deserve that! Have a wonderful week and enjoy Grease (we are)!
The conference is over but WOW - what an amazing experience! Between listening to speakers like Kathy Schrock, Leslie Fisher, Reshma Saujani, and so many more it was truly an unbelievable week and I am so sad it's over (especially as I sit here in this sunny 75 weather and Ohio is in the teens). I was able to sit in on sessions about Blended Learning, Coding in the Classroom, Makerspace, Office 365, iPads in Education, Project Based Learning, Tech Tools for Today's classroom, Using Twitter, and so much more. I think the most motivational and amazing story was the one of Reshma Saujani - founder of Girls Who Code. Please check out this website because what she's doing for girls in education today is amazing!
Oh and I spoke! I almost didn't have a presentation as the presenter before me walked off with my dongle; he was using a Mac, I was presenting on a Mac and he accidentally picked up my dongle when he was packing up. Luckily my mother (God love her) had a spare. I told her that's why I keep her around. The presentation went extremely well and I felt like the almost 100 participants in my session really enjoyed the information I gave them. There really is tons of educational value in Google's Geo Tools one just has to figure out how to tie it in and which product is best to use! And I got my dongle back, thanks to the wonderful people at FETC and the wonderful tool Twitter I was able to locate the guy presenting before me and get my dongle back.
We made it and I got my speaker badge! This is so exciting, I can hardly contain myself. I can't decide if I am more excited that I am down here in sunny Orlando with all these wonderful educators who are just as excited about technology as I am OR if I am just excited to share my love for Google's Geo Tools. We had a free day today as the conference doesn't start until tomorrow so we went to Epcot. Epcot was the one park my mom and I had really wanted to visit because of all the different countries you can walk through. We had an amazing day and I know tomorrow will be great too.
I'm off to Orland to speak at FETC - Can't wait! My mother and I are on our way to Orlando, unfortunately there wasn't anyone else in the office who could come with me but my mom decided to join. She's amazing and I love her for that. Be sure to check back for Orlando updates!
Merry Christmas! Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year! Check out my latest idea for using Google Sheets (or Microsoft Excel)! Either will work.
I just found out today that I will be presenting at ISTE! I can't believe I actually got accepted to speak, I still feel like I am making this all up but no matter how many times I go back to the website it says I'm presenting. FETC was exciting enough and I never thought I'd get accepted to present at that conference but ISTE is more than I ever thought would happen....WOW Denver here I come!
I'm back! The wedding was amazing and absolutely beautiful congrats to my brother and his new wife!
I recently taught a Sphero and Makerspace class and as I have said before if you haven't checked out the maker movement do so! NOW! I want someone I know to start a makerspace area so I can help design the area as well as pick out the items that will go into that space. All my teacher friends out there if you're reading this please please please think about at least looking into starting one. The easiest and cheapest way to start a makerspace is to start with things like Legos, old containers, tooth pics, popsicle sticks - all that junk you have in your house or classroom you want to get rid of - put it in your makerspace area.
If you have a fund and can spend some money on items for your makerspace area I definitely recommend a couple of must have items:
I taught the participants in my class how to use the Makey Makey for intro to circuitry, the Kano for building a computer and then learning to code, Hummingbird for programming, Minecraft (because who doesn't love Minecraft and there is a huge amount educational value in Minecraft if used correctly), Sphero for coding and be sure to check out all the educational lessons for Sphero on the website I listed below. Lego Movie maker is another last one I like to throw in because students learn stop animation film and when tied in with digital storytelling it's a great lesson!
Check out some of the videos and links for these wonderful products.
Jennifer L. Furey
My name is Jennifer and I work for one of Ohio's Ed Tech Organizations. We are a non-profit organization that services mostly Central Ohio however we do tend to travel around Ohio for our PD and conferences. Prior to this position I taught second and third grade reading for six years and then became a technology integration specialist for a little over a year.