Monday, June 10, 2013

Creating Learning Environments 13 - Project Based Learning Day1

logo designed by FencePost Graphics
 What a great way to start our week!

Kevin Honeycutt and Ginger Lewman gave us an overview of Project Based Learning. As they shared from their experience teaching both students and teachers they painted a picture of how effective and enjoyable Project Based Learning is.

We were introduced to the idea of emotional learning...the deeper the emotions the deeper the learning.  Can you remember where you were and what you were doing on 9/11?
Emotion + Learning = Forever Learning.

image from The Locket

We also explored what our current social consciousness and responsibilities are to our kiddos. We need to take that responsibility on ourselves in the digital world - just like our parents and grandparents did in
the physical world. Kevin has this great example of mentoring grandmothers to provide them with the tools to watch out for their grandkids!

And that was only the first part of the morning!

He also demonstrated ways for students to find their authentic audience - the entrepreneurship of self-publishing and selling art work on line!

image from the Locket
And then it was time for some hands on practice! Ginger Lewman challenged the group to create an emotional hook that will grab the attention of your students and make them want to answer the more important questions.  As the participants worked on these projects they experienced that first jump into PBL.  And that continued after lunch when one of the groups bravely shared their project with the rest of us and we were able to praise and to wonder - the exact activities that students participate in during PBL.

To view these amazing projects and to follow us - check out our twitter hashtag  #cle13.

And the truth is, the afternoon flew past.  Participants were able to self-select their work environment...the library to go deeper in a small group with Ginger or the cafetorium all together with Kevin.

And so our week begins...and our journey down the path of Project Based Learning.

Check out our conference website  or follow us on twitter to join the conversation!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


This is such a cool tool!!   AutoMotivator allows you to create those motivation posters that you have seen everywhere.  You start with one of the site's photos or one of your own and choose from two fonts to create this polished looking poster.

I can see student using this for lots of different possibilities.  You could have them create posters summing up different topics from a chapter or unit, or illustrate vocabulary words, or demonstrate steps in a process.

Or - they could create their own posters to illustrate their phrases to live by.

Thanks FreeTech4Teachers for reminding me of this great tool!!

Is educational blogging dying??

I read a post recently on the demise of library bloggers.  It was interesting to me because my Google Reader is almost always full of 1000+ unread blog posts.  So, I sort of bristled at the thought that people weren't blogging anymore.

But, that didn't make me read the 1000+ posts - it was the end of the year, after all and I had other things to do.

Today, as I begin the first day of my summer break, I decided to hang out on twitter for a bit.

And that's when I think I got it.

I have used my Google Reader feeds as a way of keeping up with what is going on in education.  My connection has been very one-sided... I read many blogs, but rarely comment.  And therein lies the problem. I think the conversation in edtech has moved on. It isn't that static, one-sided one. We are promoting a change in teaching from the sage-on the stage to more learner participation - yet the forum of blogs doesn't really model that.

Twitter does.  I sat in awe, last night, as the edtech chat flew down my tweetdeck. I could not even keep up.  The comments and questions flew.  The discussion was lively and full.  There were plenty of people referencing blogs and websites, but it was in the context of the conversation not in isolation.

But, I still only watched. I was too overwhelmed to attempt to take part. By the time my tweet was crafted the conversation had moved on and my thought was not even on the page anymore.

That experience helps me understand that it is a process.  Both blogs and twitter have a place and a purpose. Twitter is so fleeting - the content hangs out for a while and is gone. Blogs feel more permanent, more weighty.  You can really think about what you want to say, you can edit and redo.  Twitter doesn't move that way - it is vibrant and alive.

Anyway, I know that I will stay with my blog feeds - although not in Reader much longer.

Which brings me to the next problem.
I have spent way too much time trying to figure out what to use to replace Reader. I LOVE Diigo and am having a problem finding an RSS reader for the computer that plays nicely with it.   I do like Mr. Reader for the iPad - it is slick.

For now, I will my voice will live in blogs more than twitter. That is where I feel the most comfortable with the format. But, I will watch and attempt to interact on twitter more and more.  That is my challenge for the summer!

Now back to twitter - I might have missed something in the creating of this post!


Looking for a way to keep track of tons of information?

Looking for a way to organized tons of online information?

Looking for a way to share tons of information online?

Feeling nostalgic and missing the filing cabinet of your early days of teaching?

LiveBinders is the perfect fit for all these needs.  And it adds a very important component that my filing cabinet in the corner of my room didn't...I can have access to other people's filing cabinets.  Live Binder has a very robust community that freely shares information!

Here are a couple of searches for livebinders you might find interesting...

Education                Technology Links                 Standards Based Grading              iPads in Education

Monday, June 3, 2013

A post of posts

There are bloggers and then there is Larry Ferlazzo.  He stands alone in the world of incredible blogs.  He creates these amazing lists of resources on a topic and shares them with the education blogoshpere!  His lists are very pertinent to events and thoughts churning through education online and in the news. 

I am sharing this with you - because today he has a post on Education Week on his most popular posts from this school year. It's interesting to look over this list and see the topics that have risen to the top - and how many of these are in our conversations as well.

What are those topics?
  • Common core
  • homework
  • Growth Mindset
  • Differentiated Instruction
  • Interactive Whiteboards
  • Curricular Areas
  • Good student writing
  • teacher observations
If you are looking for someone to add to your PLN - I would strongly recommend Larry Ferlazzo 


 I think this is such a good idea!!!

I love pinterest and I am deeply embedded in education - but i haven't been all that keen about having my professional world of school and my private world of pinterest collide.  I felt a little like George Costanza from the old Seinfield show.  It just made me a little creeped out.

What if I pinned student work to my pinterest board and they started looking through my other boards...they may happen across something that is not completely schoolish!  :)

So - I could make some of my boards private - or I could have two accounts. But the truth is that neither of those choices come very naturally.

Enter EduClipper...

It looks a lot like acts a lot like pinterest...and it's just for teachers and students.

One of my concerns is that it isn't as well known as pinterest and so may not be as user friendly.  For example if you make a movie in Animoto - it has a share to pinterest button.  That is super easy.
My belief is that if educators embrace the more specialized world of educlipper - it will work just like pinterest.

So, the more of us who begin using EduClipper the better it is for all of us!

It is one of the tools I want to explore more this summer.