Monday, June 30, 2014

Made 4 Math: Composition Notebook iPad Cover

I am so excited to be back in the blogosphere again! I've done the easy posts (#MyFavFriday) for the last few weeks and thought that I had better step it up a notch for Monday:) I was inspired by my trip to #ISTE2014 and I wanted to make something both tech-y and school related.  Since nothing says back to school like the familiar sight of the black and white marbled cover composition notebook, I thought that I could transform one to hold my iPad. I found several online videos, shopped for hours looking for just the right supplies and then opted for the easy way... (The easy way also included what looked to be a much more SeCurE WaY for carrying my iPad through the airport, conference sessions, and up and down the sidewalks of Atlanta.  Due to my extreme geekiness, I really didn't want to trust the safety of my digital device to a few ponytail holders. Yikes!)
So here is the easy way:
I found a composition notebook look-a-like at Walmart and scrapbooking goodies from Hobby Lobby,
grabbed my glue gun to attach cork, ribbon, a fuzzy chenille sticker and metal letters,
and voila, I am ready for the ISTE Conference!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

5 Things I Learned at ISTE Today

It is Day 2 of #ISTE2014 and my head is already spinning with so much information that I thought I had better take a moment to reflect and write down at least 5 things that really stood out about the day before I went back tomorrow to pack more in:)
So the top 5 things I learned today are:
1. Ron Clark Academy students pray before they begin a presentation.

2. Thinglink is pretty cool (I have seen my Texas tech-y friends use it for a while, but I never quite "got it" until today). It is an app and it's online. The purpose of Thinglink is to allow you to place interactive icons linked to text, URLs, and websites on a static picture OR beginning tomorrow inside a video (like to ask guiding questions or assess understanding). I got to meet the founder today and she gave me a sneak peek!

3. Thanks to Al Pajak, I learned that you can embed a You Tube video inside a Google form. He uses the forms to verify students completed a flipped learning assignment.

4. From QR Code Scavenger Hunts for teachers to the Amazing Race, @AngelynCheatham and @JessicaBranch are taking a fun approach to professional development with the Extreme PD Makeover Edition.  They shared ideas that I will definitely incorporate!

5. It is important to make time to really connect with people. I had the amazing opportunity to talk with some wonderful EdTech Women over dinner tonight. It reminded me that it is always about people. So often at a conference, I get caught up in heading to the next session to hear about the next hot tool and I forget that there is more value in relationships than there can ever be in the next great whatever.  Thank you Sehreen Noor Ali and Margaret Roth for facilitating a fantastic conversation tonight.

      As I read back over my list of 5 things I learned, I think their commonality can be summed up in one word: connection. In some instances, I learned things that helped me connect the dots like that you can embed stuff in a Google Form and I honestly can't wait to try it. In others, I connected with people and with connections to people the learning is limitless. 
     Thank you to all who shared with me today through your conference presentations, your tweets, and your stories.  It was another great day at #ISTE2014!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Exit Tickets and CCSS Resources

Another two great finds this week: one to make and one to fill in the gaps as you transition to the Common Core State Standards.  While pouring over Pinterest this week (a perfect summer activity!!!) I came upon Shannon Reardon's idea for an exit ticket organizer in which students file their responses to two questions that she poses on the interactive whiteboard. If they know it, great! They can file their ticket in the "Got It!" folder. If not, students can choose to place their exit ticket in the "Kind Of", "Almost", or just plain "Nope". 
I love that it makes quick work of seeing who knew or thought that they knew the answers and let's you know where you need to start the next lesson!
When I stumbled upon this next jewel, I was actually smack dab in the middle of writing for my second job. As a curriculum writer, I experience quite a workout.  It requires me not only to read the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS), but actually teach them through example problems and modelling and then write assessment items.  All I can say is  that sometimes interpreting the CCSS takes me as much time as actually writing for the lesson.  So, to say the least, I was overjoyed, ecstatic, thrilled beyond belief to find Saginaw Valley's K-12 Connection.  The university partnered with educators to pull together online resources that matched the CCSS.  This week, I used their online pacing guide for 7th grade which was full of relevant links to help fill in the blanks. Awesome resources for more than just math!!!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Voxer and Ted Ed

Happy Friday!  I am so excited to share two technology tools this week.  Both are new to me and have my head spinning with ideas for application AND both originated from summer collaborations (which is why I love making connections through online platforms). My first find...Voxer. I stumbled upon Voxer quite by accident.  When I signed up for a #PTcamp online book study (Beyond the Bakesale: The Essential Guide to Family/School Relationships) with Joe Mazza. I eagerly began searching for details about the book, the study, and the people involved. I heard Joe talking about Voxer on  iPadSammy's Techlandia podcast (okay, I admit...I thought that they kept saying Boxer, Boxer.  I googled and I couldn't figure out what the heck they were talking about that was going to help with a book study.) Voxer has been around awhile.  One of my favorite bloggers, Erin, even wrote a great post about how it can be used in the classroom. How I have missed it, I'm not sure.  I downloaded it, started playing and quickly saw a solution to a problem in our building - emergency notification.  We have tried different walkie talkies for the past several years and none seem to get the job done.  We have cell signal on our phones, but we can't seem to communicate via the school's walkie talkies. Go figure!
Anyway, long story short, enter Voxer, an instant messaging system that I think would be a much easier tool to use in time of emergency.  Truly with a push of the button inside the app, you can send a voice message, photo or video to others on the service.  Even if the recipient's app is not opened, they are notified that you have sent a message.  Love, love, love this!  I would think you would get more info from the sender than you would by text if it were a real emergency or during a classroom disruption.  I am back at work on Monday and I can't wait to try it out.
Second find...Ted Ed.  Being a total geek who absolutely loves learning, I have also signed up for a summer course, an online MOOC on Flipping the Classroom in hopes of flipping PD next year. In the course discussion forum, someone mentioned TedEd. Now, this may be like Voxer in that it has been around a while(not sure), but it is new to me and oh so exciting! Ted Ed allows lessons to be built around any You Tube, Ted Talk, or Ted Ed original video. You can insert directions and info for students prior to viewing, questions and quizzes for after they view it, and so much more!  I've included the video tour so that you see for to get IT to unblock You Tube (heavy sigh). Until then, off to find more :D

Friday, June 13, 2014

Events in Instruction and Hands-on Ideas for Math

It has been a while...not because I do not love my blog or school stuff anymore.  Actually, it is quite the opposite.  This year I have had an opportunity to write middle school math curriculum for online learning.  It has been quite an adventure and an excellent way to really begin to understand the Common Core State Standards.  Praise God for LearnZillion and there many models of how they interpreted the new standards.  I highly recommend adding them as a go to place if you are ever confused.  My last full time writing assignment was completed on Sunday and I am eager to catch up on my reading and learning from everyone else.
My first place to hit was Pinterest. which got me excited to share #MyFavFriday.  I am gearing up for the analog Pinterest board  in the teacher workroom and I have found some great additions this week.
First up, Mia MacMeekin's incredible infographics on Events in Instruction. From ideas for gaining attention to assessing, she provides almost a menu of sorts for over 25 concrete suggestions per topic.  I loved the variety especially for those days when I realize that I am stuck in a rut and need to change it up a bit.  For example, need to gain attention?  Try singing, dancing, watching a video clip, relocating your class to a spot other than your classroom, do a demonstration, ask questions, engage students' senses, make content current, give them a dare or challenge, act out a portion of the content, connect with others via Skype, or invite a guest speaker into your room.  These are definitely worth checking out!!!
As one who prefers hands-on activities to worksheets, I loved this idea via Sarah Schriefer Dexter for using student desktops to annotate on polygons, coordinate planes, and parallel lines and transversals.  There is something about writing on desks that gets kids engaged.  By adding the colored painter's tape, you could extend this to create comparison charts or graphs (we are working on this for the science portion of the ACT).
Finally, I found Katie Powell's idea for a giant floor graph made from a plastic drop cloth and masking tape.  In her blog post, she describes using it with hot wheel cars in a Cityscape Challenge, but from graphing lines to graphing trig functions, it could be used to get high school students up and moving.