Friday, August 10, 2012

Mobile Devices in the Classroom....just the beginning

What does a classroom look like when every kid has a technology device in their hand?  What can be done in that class?  How do we manage a class such as this?  Is it effective?  Does pedagogy change?  Is a tablet or a laptop more effective?  All of these questions and more is what we hope to discover in our 1:1 laptop/tablet pilot!

This is an exciting time in education because we are moving away from the traditional classroom of teachers and students to a community of learners.  With this paradigm shift comes many shifts in education.  The teacher is now a facilitator and a learner.  The students learn from each other and also facilitate their own learning.  Pedagogy shifts from recalling and remembering facts to evaluating, analyzing and applying content to their own lives.  Students and facilitators are no longer confined to the 4 walls.   Their community now includes 7 continents and a few planets.

Feel free to join us in our adventure of creating this environment for our students.  Join us as we climb to the higher elevations of Bloom's. Join us as our students soar to limits unknown.  We look forward to sharing our ah has and uh ohs.  We also would love for you to join our community and sharing tips or best practices you have experienced in your classroom.  I am so excited to learn this year with our community of learners.  You can follow the community's blog at

Thursday, May 17, 2012

This morning I asked peers to share the first 2 words that come to mind when they thought of formative assessment.  This is what they came up with.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Are you hungry for learning?

Do your students have an appetite for math or does math make them sick to their stomach?  In middle school we see both ends of this spectrum.  In searching for a proportions lesson I stumbled upon some snack food that will help feed our students in math classes.  The tool I'm about to share is really cool and engaging BUT the way I found it can give any teacher power to find new ways to engage students in math and all other subjects. (So stayed tuned to the bottom and find out a powerful tool to help find ideas for ALL teachers)

Math Snacks is a really cool website: that is produced by New Mexico State University.  Math Snacks have engaging animations, a learner guide and a teacher guide with each math concept.

Take a look at this math snack on ratios and proportions.
I know that kids will love this video and it gives them an opportunity to experience ratios and proportions in a new light.  This particular math snack comes with a learner's guide that will them from the examples used in the video to other real life applications.  The teacher's guide is a detailed lesson plan with directions, answer key and extension activities.  Explore and check out this website.  It is still in development and currently has 9 available snacks and plans to have at least 20 by next school year.  It is sure to satisfy some of your most reluctant student's appetite for math.

Now for the really good part.  As a teacher, finding quality resources was sometimes difficult.  One of the biggest problems with finding them was TIME.  I would spend some time doing a typical Google search and in the end have no results.  I found this and several other activities using EdmodoEdmodo is an incredible social media platform for schools.  In the past I have used Edmodo as a collaboration tool for my students.  I have recently explored the communities in Edmodo.  Once you sign up for an account you can browse many different communities.

Once you see a community of interest, click on it and explore.  These communities are full of other teachers around the world who are searching and sharing innovative ideas.  You can choose to follow particular communities.  You can post a question.  For instance, if you were looking for new ways to teach inference, you might ask in a post for ways to do this.  Other teachers then share their ideas with you and the need for a Google search has been eliminated.  The resources and ideas shared are typically great and inspiring. 

So if you are appetite is for math, check out  If your hunger is for learning some new teaching ideas then check out the communities

Bon Appetit!!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Learning is so much fun!!!!

As teachers it can sometimes be difficult to find the time to really dive in to learning or honing in on our practices.  As a classroom teacher I always looked for learning opportunities that fit the personal and professional goals I set for myself.  Because it is so difficult sometimes to actually attend some of the conferences and workshops that I wanted I have found several opportunities to learn on my own and at my own pace.   

Webinars through the Siemens STEM Academy have been amazing.  From finding ways to Put the M into STEM to actually interacting with Danny Forster from “Build it Bigger” the Siemens Academy has been a great resource for my personal and professional growth.  They also archive their webinars so you can watch and learn in your own time and at your own paste.  Click Here for direct access to the webinar page.

Another great tool for learning is twitter.  This to me has probably been one of the most beneficial tools I have when it comes to learning.  The twitter approach allows complete autonomy in learning what you want when you want.  I simply follow folks in the science, technology and education world.  They provide links and ideas.  Those that interest me I read and learn, those that don’t I simply skip.  When I find items of interest I tweet those out.  This method of learning for me has been very beneficial but also very fun.  To find a list of educators to follow, Click here

Sometimes finding the time to learn during the school year can be quite difficult.  I have a rule for summer time learning.  If I am going to take my time to participate, It’s going to be great.  In the past 2 summers I have had 2 great opportunities that are currently accepting applications.

In 2010 I was a Siemen’s STEM Institute Fellow.  This fellowship included a trip to Washington, DC to spend time at Discovery Communication’s US headquarters.  The week was full of fun, collaboration, fun, inspiration and more fun.  We had the opportunity to have conversation with the White House’s Director of Science and Technology, Dr. John Holdren and  many other leaders from various science and education department and agencies.  We participated in a architecture tour of DC led by Danny Forster and had lots of mini workshops on Web 2.0 tools and their uses in education.  To top it all off it was Shark Week on Discovery.  This is an incredible and fun opportunity whose deadline is fast approaching.  February 9th

In the summer of 2011 I was a Kenan Fellow through the Kenan Institute for Science and Mathematics.  The general gist of a Kenan fellowship is the fellow is submerged in to a real world or research entity to learn current skills and research.  The end product is to create lessons to share with other teachers around the world that will ready our students for the real world.  This fellowship comes with real world experience as well as top notch professional development.  Their development is based around inquiry based learning, goal setting, how to become a powerful presenter, and engineering principles.  The deadline for this application process is January 23. 

Learning in our industry is a necessity.  I still hold to the belief that our learning can be fun also.

Photos used through Creative Commons Permissions