Tuesday, July 3, 2012

ISTE Notes

As promised I am posting some of my notes from my experience at ISTE2012. This is a compilation of some of the presentations, links, and resources that I enjoyed and want to share with my colleagues. Enjoy!

Links to check out:

Innovative Technology in Science Inquiry by Carolyn Staudt, The Concord Consortium
**This is a must! Free online inquiry activities and projects you can set up for classroom. You need probes but they are not too expensive. 

Making Innovation Teachable by Suzie Boxx

Tools to Bookmark, aggregate, curate by Shelly Terell

Roundtable Notes by Mike Gallaway

Learning Visually with Critical Thinking (Infographics) presented by Diana Laufenberg

Free Teacher website (place to share lessons)

Project Based Learning websites 

Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything

10 Useful iPad Resources for Educators - SimpleK12

Apps that look good:

Puffin Web Browser http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/puffin-web-browser/id406239138?mt=8  Allows you to view videos that need flash on the iPad! (I tried it and it works!)

Kid pix for iPad http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kid-pix-deluxe-3d/id406222580?mt=12
Good for storytelling! Kids can record themselves as the characters and add costumes.


ISTE Videos posted on YouTube channel

Sophia: Free memberships for teachers allows you to use instructional videos or post videos for you class (flipped classroom)

Tubechop allows you to grab video clips from YouTube, chop them, and share so you are only using the part that you want to use

Student Projects:

Students at ISTE

Students Promoting Agriculture

Memorial Elementary School Weekly Podcasts

Friday, June 29, 2012

ISTE 2012

Earlier this week I had the amazing opportunity to participate for the first time in the ISTE conference. By participate, I mean attend, since I was not actually presenting. As a first time ISTE attendee (newbie) I was overwhelmed with choosing which ticketed workshops to attend and with filling my planner with non-ticketed sessions throughout the day. Luckily, I had my good friend, Jennifer, at my side to navigate through the mass techies. The very first workshop was a bit of a disappointment. However, that was not due to the material or the presenter, it was because I was a novice and had chosen a workshop that was geared towards technology system administers and not classroom teachers. From that point on I was pleasantly surprised to see that the workshops I had chosen where right up my alley. I learned a ton and gained way more resources then I will be able to use. I quickly realized that I need to pick a few key areas to dial in on and implement next year. Therefore, I  plan to implement QR codes and Science and Math inquiry using technology throughout my projects and curriculum. I also hope to expose my students to SketchUp, info graphics, and many more cool tools. My wheels are certainly spinning while I try to organize all the ideas and resources I have attained. I hope to post all the notes I took shortly, but until then, I want to leave my final thoughts about ISTE 2012. First, I was so impressed with all the presenters that I was lucky enough to see. I am sadden that I was able to attend a small fraction of the workshops offered. I also wish the free ticketed workshops were not limited to one a day. On top of that, each free ticketed session was limited to one hour when they clearly had three hours of material to cover. (The conference certainly makes money off the paid sessions and Exhibition floor.) On the flip side, I loved meandering through the Student Showcase and Poster sessions. The students were inspiring and such a true representation of what PBL and authentic teaching/learning can do. My goal is to have my own students presenting at ISTE in the years to come! Stay tuned for my notes.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


For our final project of the year we wanted something that would allow students to apply the 21st century skills they have learned and also provide a sense of closure to our school year. With two months left we still had to cover the Social Studies standards addressing American symbols and knew this would be our launching point. So, after covering basic facts about several American symbols and how they unite people, our class began to investigate our driving question, “How are we represented through symbols?”  

Our students, supported by the teachers and several experts in the field, studied symbology and explored different types of symbols and icons in order to understand how common interests, values, and beliefs are represented. Students then applied these abstract concepts to the real-world when they determined that “collaboration” was a common value at our school that could be represented by a symbol. Students were excited that they would design a symbol for collaboration that could highlight our school’s commitment to the 21st century skills.That was when the real work began. As a class we decided to collect evidence on how different groups of people collaborate at our school by creating a video of interviews from students, teachers, administration, parents, and board members. In addition, we wanted to document our class’ collaborative experiences by publishing a book. The class was broken into six different teams consisting of the Symbol Design Team, Interviewing Team, Video Recording Team, Video Editing Team, Writing Team, and Publishing Team. Every student participated in each part through continual feedback. This week we will be presenting our symbol, which has been incorporated into a wall hanging, at our school's Town Meeting.

I was so impressed by the students’ level of interest and engagement throughout this project. In addition, it was a wonderful learning experience for myself. I found that by creating teams in which tasks had to be completed at separate times made it much easier to manage and support each team. This final project was a true reflection of students’ development of critical thinking, problem-solving, self-management, communication, and collaborative skills. Here is a little from the last page of our first grade book.

“Well here is what we have learned.  What you need to do to collaborate is share ideas with your teammates.  Responsibility is important when collaborating.  You need to set goals in your team.  And the last thing is you have to be able to work in a team.” -Reid

“This is what we have learned about collaboration:  do not be off task and practice being in a team.  We have to work together in a team, do not goof around, do not fight, set goals with your team, participate and listen to your teammates.” -Coco

“I learned that sometimes it can be hard to collaborate with others.” -Reagan
“What I learned about collaboration is to never give up and keep focusing on what you are doing.” -Landon
“It is hard sometimes to collaborate because it is hard to think of ideas to share, but it is also fun to collaborate.” -Will

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Help Save our Oceans

It has been a long time since I posted to my blog. Way too long! I spend so much time following what other's are doing via Edmodo and Twitter but I thought I should finally share the cool things my first graders are up to. Here is a brief snapshot of our latest project. We will be presenting to the public at the Festival of Whales next month. 
My first grade students are really fired up about our current project where students are  investigating how we can protect our ocean and encourage our school community to create less trash. For this project, our class is using a project calendar to ensure that everyone is aware of our project goals and deadlines. We launched it just over a month ago with our entry event. Students came into class and encountered a carpet littered with trash! Immediately they were intrigued, and wanted to know how we could have so much trash end up on the ground instead of in the trash cans. Students formulated hypotheses of what they believe happens to trash that does not make it into the trash cans. The following week, students took photos during a nature hike of everything that was man-made and not a part of the natural environment. Then they sorted, organized, and graphed the data. This past week, our class took a field trip to our local beach that is directly affected by our watershed. We put students' ideas into actions and spent some time cleaning up the beach. We also did scientific testing of the water. Students tested the dissolved oxygen level, ph level, nitrate, and phosperus. In teams students are working on a variety of products such as informational pamphlets, a song, a PSA video, Keynote presentations, a watershed model, a pledge form, and posters. Each product was selected by students in order to create high levels of interest. We also brought in experts from OC Waterworks, The Ocean Institute, and The Surfrider Foundation to present.