Tag Archives: PLN

#ISTE2016 Unpacked, Unplugged, and Overshared

NEXT TIME DOWNLOAD THE APP FIRST, MORTAL!
NEXT TIME DOWNLOAD THE APP FIRST, MORTAL!

As my cutie-patootie fictional night-elf-turned-demon says, Illidan Stormrage says, YOU ARE NOT PREPARED! And if only I had listened to him when it came to ISTE. But, purpleman, I learned a lot, and had a blast. Now is the time to share the booty and swag I plundered.

Well, one word I heard over at ISTE that I adore is “medium agnostic,” which I’ve been a fan of for a long time. It’s one of those phrases that frames “I knew what I wanted but I didn’t know the name of it” idea. That is good news that our district is turning more medium agnostic — the work is more important than who makes the tools. In that light, KQUE/Mindshift posted this article this morning:

15 Tech Tool Favorites from ISTE:

15 Tech Tool Favorites From ISTE 2016

Google is all over the place. We’re not a “Google” district, but perhaps that’ll shift.

There are great links in this article, like this Google App poster link.

I missed a lot of the convention, but traded it for spending time with friends I hadn’t seen in years. I had hoped to meet up some folks from the district offices, but missed texts, etc. and it didn’t work out. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to share later this summer. I’ve put the invitation out there, so we’ll see. We all manage our to-do lists and idea files differently. This blog is my way of trying to collect those ideas and ‘let’s try this’ stuff. Need to start using my tags better. Put that on to-do list.

Some of my gems and confirmed tech love affairs:

Thinglink

https://www.thinglink.com/

I wish our district would get thinglink for staff and students. It’s interactive: the process of putting one together is engaging and well, cool. I made a point to talk to the Thinglink rep. I tried to get the special 360 deal, but it was being weird. When I have time I’ll write to the company to say I tried to order it with the ISTE code, but it was being buggy. Now that’ll have to wait for next payday, too.

I want to get more involved in 360 stuff.

Kahoot

https://getkahoot.com/how-it-works

How cool that I saw Leslie Fisher speak at the Kahoot booth, and show us all new and fancy tricks?

IMG_3188
@lesliefisher speaking for Kahoot

 

Mackinvia

We were introduced to Mackinvia a few years ago by a former librarian, and it seems to have some new features. I am going to ask our new librarian about it.
Brainpop and Girls/Coding
IMG_3196

Sigh. Okay. One thing. When I tweeted about ‘both genders’ (boy/girl) being discussed at the Coding/Girl Brainpop information, a Twitterbot informed me that perhaps I meant “all genders.” I appreciated the information, to be sure, and it forced to me to think. However, the information presented was binary: boy v girl. And then this was reported this morning:

Sigh.
Sigh.

The Keynote Speakers

Michio Kaku: Overall, it was pretty good. I think he’s great. Some of the information was a bit outdated for this audience, though.

Ruha Benjamin. I don’t know why I missed her talk, but was greatly disappointed.

Michelle Cordy: I missed her keynote address because I was too busy eating breakfast burritos at a restaurant with my friend. Although the burritos were delicious, wish I could have been two places at once.

http://hacktheclassroom.ca/

Hacking The Classroom with Michelle Cordy, aka, “Teacher on an Urgent Quest” from Connected Learning Alliance on Vimeo.

How To Sit at a Table By Yourself, Introvert Edition

Two ladies spilled a coke before I sat down.

How to eat by yourself like a boss.
How to eat by yourself like a boss.

The Artifact App

So flipping cool. 

IMG_3198

This…really.

Twittercasting

I have been playing with Twittercasting, but am not sure I love it. This ‘real time’ live feed video stuff is scary.  I could see its application, or ones like it, being used for weekly communication between students and parents. No more “I don’t have any homework.” I don’t give much homework, but usually a continuation of a project that doesn’t require WiFi/internet. When parents ask if their child has homework, the answer is a dodgy no. No more. A quick live-feed cast would have the students sharing with parents what they did that week. Along with Remind, communicating with busy parents may be a lot easier. The goal is to have students take ownership and use metacognition.

I bought a book

Digital Citizenship in Schools, Third Edition, by Mike Ribble. Time for some reading and making.

I also bought this poster.

digital-citizen_infographic_final

Other awesomeness:

I tried to meet up with Shelly Sanchez, too, an important part of my #pln, but alas, two ships and all that.

And met the amazing Pernille Ripp!

Since I looked tired, I replaced my normal beautiful face with a bear's face, courtesy of Animal Face.
Since I looked tired, I replaced my normal beautiful face with a bear’s face, courtesy of Animal Face.

Would I go to ISTE again? I’m not sure. Yearly membership is over $300, registering for the conference close to $400, and the airfare, etc. around $450. Am I glad I went? Sure! Next year’s is in San Antonio, and that’s close to my folks! So yes, maybe I will. I’ll certainly be more prepared, and curate with greater efficiency what booths I want to go to, presentations, and who on my PLN list I want to see. One lingering question I have is how did those educators get to the other side of the podiums? How do I better serve my students who are creating amazing things and show what they know? Maybe some of these apps and tools will support their thinking. Besides, it is my job to prepare them, night elf demons notwithstanding.

Swag bag.

Me, geeked-out preschooler before geek was cool. circa 1969
Me, geeked-out preschooler before geek was cool. circa 1966

Never Start a Post Like This: Back in the day…

Back in the day, I used to work in a small but potent marking company designing and executing trade shows for medical conventions. It’s still run by one of my first, and best, bosses. One thing that was always fun about those conventions was the swag –however, most of it was useless to me, not being a doctor or pharm rep, so it wasn’t until we did a booth for the American Booksellers that I got things that I really wanted — and I still have some of those books today. But that was long before I became a teacher. But these past three days, I have been to the mountain, and I am now going to do my utmost to share the treasures I looted, the swag I bagged, and the privileges of pillaging. The only thing is its all digital–and it’s awesome. Yes–I got to attend the NCCE.  Aside from leaving my classrooms for three days, and planning on going in on Sunday to get caught up, prepared for my post-eval meeting, reading story entries for my writing contest, fix some posts for another student blog (yet to be publically shared), and update the old grade book, and figuring out what is the first thing I’m going to use from this conference. (deep breath: we’re all busy)

Nutshell View: Here’s Who I Saw And Heard

 Chris McKenzie chrismckenzie.weebly.com Twitter: @mckc1 Chris’s presentation “Technology in the English Class: Ideas to Support Deeper Learning” showed me that students can write thesis statements that would make the ivory-est of ivory tower professors weep with joy. He showed me that themes and thesis can be taught with depth. He taught me, or rather validated, that my approach of trying to layer technology and not let technology instruction invade, interrupt or eviscerate content instruction is doable. Also, his literature blog in the voice of one “Mr. Cornelius McKenzie” is an engaging way to teach voice. (Sorry, I don’t have a link to this.) And– ultimately– that when listening to a poem, it can be a thousand times more powerful when viewed through Google cardboard.

…brother lead…and sister steel…

Thank you, Mr. McKenzie. Brian Cleary http://oldbrainteacher.com Twitter: @oldbrainteacher Brian spoke to my heart of my teaching philosophy: the story is the key. How many administrators have the past few years had to cut out science, play, social studies, play, PE, etc. so students could attend double or triple time in reading and math instruction? There was never any need for that, except for the draconian, punitive measure of NCLB. Not going to lie: makes me sick to my stomach. Why can’t every district, building, etc. have innovative librarians that know how to embed reading, science, history, and math at the same time? No more. Look up his website, go to his 90% lessons, and don’t ever tell me again you can’t teach with story telling again.  Morgen Larsen @MSLibrarian Lady Morgen is a wonderful speaker, who also spoke to me via my love of ‘whose story is it?’ in history. I knew we made a connection when we understood that we both think Pocahontas got a raw deal. Even in the Disney version. (Or perhaps especially.) She shared the Stanford History Education Group website — amazing source. Leslie Fisher http://lesliefisher.com @lesliefisher A force of nature. I am going to spend hours this weekend simply curating those amazing things she shared. Couldn’t download apps fast enough, or sign in or up quick enough. And yes, I have my Leslie lanyard. Or should I say “Lesyard?” No no no….however… We are a Cult of Leslie now. SBA, Now What?  @GEMalone The last presentation I went to was with Dr. Glenn Malone–from a sheer data and assessment standpoint, this was invaluable. I appreciate his candor and ‘what we can do’ approach more than I can express. Thank you, sir. He’s the current president of WERA, so I strongly suggest if you want your voice heard in data and assessment, pay attention to what these folks are doing. Twitter The other benefit of the days was buffing up my PLN again – lots of new Twitter followers and follow-ees. Sift through my list to check them out: @mrskellylove Okay all — I’m tired. It is Friday night. I turned 52 this week, and am feeling it. Yes, my birthday was spent at the NCCE, and for sure — I receive some great gifts. Thank you all!

Loss. Love. And Legacy.

John Spencer is one of my first, and lasting PLN colleagues. I read his words carefully, and it was he who over the weekend told of the sad news about Joe Bower. Otherwise, I may not have known, because over the years I’ve pruned my PLN down, and now I realize too far: growing this network again to sustain and provide professional oxygen must be my personal mandate.

During my own journey, sometimes I didn’t understand what Joe was trying to say, or understand how powerful his words are. Perhaps that is one of the cardinal tenets of educator reflection: if you feel uncomfortable, look closer. Stay mindful. I went to read his words again, and now seeing his intentions with clearer eyes, and how he was a guardian and paladin for children is even more profound.

Anyway, if you’re ever conflicted about grading, and wonder how to get the best work out of students, read Joe’s words. Sustaining and loving.

Diane Ravitch, professor of education at New York University: “He was one of those educators that you wish were in charge of an entire state or nation. He was kind, caring, compassionate, and loved children.”

Many of us should be heard, be counted: continue the good fight.

Inner voice logorrhea.

Teachers need one for Shame, Student Success Joy, Professional Guide, and Data Wrangler.
Teachers need one for Shame, Student Success Joy, Professional Guide, and Data Wrangler.

 

Come on old brain, learn some new tricks! Is it possible to re-program a brain to think differently, not focus on the negative, but wash away shameful thoughts and quickly suture confidence? Hope so. Remember, there’s no such thing as overnight success, people! I have faith–I’m a writer, after all. Whatever that means. (Maybe I need Journalist Inner Voice, too?)

The other day I had a gift of an opportunity to discuss ideas for next year: it was a good chance to listen to new directives and possibilities. My local professional circle is characterized by folks of immeasurable generosity, new connections and long-time colleagues. I have been attempting to do planning now for next year, anticipating and adapting for students’ needs. I have a lot of questions about new directions, and am desperately trying to sort out the most important things. But me and my big mouth. Unfortunately, I wrote something in an e-mail that was too strident in tone, and I wish I could have the chance to say it differently, because what I was trying to say matters. Because I said it in a matter-of-fact way the perception (and understandable) may have been that I was being petulant and stubborn, not action-oriented. From that point, what got lost, because of my own stupidity, was the potential for a great discussion about the bigger ideas. I mishandled it, and made it worse.  Talk about the alarm bells going off! There isn’t a homunculus personified emotion representation for how it feels to feel ashamed at allowing the conversation to veer off into personality ditches. Where is the “Beating Yourself Up” inner voice?

My new homunculus: Inner Monk
My new homunculus: Inner Monk

Here was the big idea: there are solid concepts, enduring understandings, and pedagogical foundations that transcend change. A few examples may be the concept of Name, Voice, Identity, Social Justice, History Repeats, Monomyth Studies/Archetypes, Storytelling Over Time, etc. These themes in the Humanities are transformative for generations of students. The time and place, however, for these deep discussions about instruction is something I need to work on, big time. But what steps to take, which direction to go?

As we shift toward focused, skill-based conversations about instruction and less about the means of delivery, I know I’m blessed–the empowerment of teacher choice and autonomy is huge, and that message was clearly communicated, for which I am grateful.

Keep in mind, the standards are helpful in guidance, but not necessarily these ‘big view’ ideas:

Before we myopically fixate on any set of new standards, teachers and administrators would be well served to remind themselves two things about the new standards: (1) teachers who religiously follow them are being asked to do things that are not in the best interest of our students, and (2) these new standards will one day be ushered out the door to make room for the next generation of “improved” standards. When first introduced, new standards come with a certain gravitas— a gravitas, however, that is unlikely to persist. One study, How Well Are American Students Learning? The 2012 Brown Center Report on American Education, notes that “standards with real consequences are most popular when they are first proposed. Their popularity steadily declines from there, reaching a nadir when tests are given and consequences kick in.

Gallagher, Kelly (2015-02-28). In the Best Interest of Students: Staying True to What Works in the ELA Classroom (Kindle Locations 157-162). Stenhouse Publishers. Kindle Edition.

 

Listening well is skill-based, too.

Most of the time I am in the role of listener. I listen to directives, agendas, targets, and translating subtext. (Translating subtext is a skill I wish I could shed, however. Blessing in the classroom when I’m listening to a student, a curse when I recognize others are not synthesizing or integrating concepts, or I’m failing at communication.) I am the receiver of others’ decisions and discussions, and no longer at the local ‘big kids table.’ And that is totally okay.

Choosing time and place is tricky. It was a great discussion about logistics and philosophies, and that’s really important. I listened, and listened deeply, to the bigger message. It’s possible, and perhaps preferable, to keep those big idea conversations in my own head as I clean out the mental teacher clutter. I am an ambivert, and need processing time. However, that internal monologue at some point needs to be external: I love my partnerships and collaboration, and am so grateful for PLNs (Professional Learning Networks). So the take-away: not all conversations should be about the means of delivery of instruction. This is where a PLN (Professional Learning Network) is a lifesaver.

Connected

Ah, but what a gift that is: I am free to create on my own, and collaborate with whom I choose. One of my passionate PLN connections has, and will forever be, with the National Writing Project. I can’t wait for the first of two workshops starting tomorrow. I have things to pack my lunch, and extra snacks! (I might even write myself a note to put in my lunch bag: they’ll command, “Make Me Proud!” and “Make Good Choices!”)

 PSWP Writing Workshop | One of the pillars of the National Writing Project is that teachers of writing should write. In this class we immerse ourselves in the writing workshop, focusing on ourselves as writers. We spend time writing, working in writing groups, sharing craft lessons, and reflecting on our writing process. Genre for your writing is open; craft lessons focus on memoir, article writing, and fiction. We welcome anyone who teaches.

writing

PSWP Reading and Writing in ELA and Social Studies | This class focuses on language arts and social studies content and how to approach the new thinking and skill demands of the Common Core. We explore strategies for teaching students to think, read, and write in English, social studies, and/or humanities classes. This engaging class is inquiry-based, hands-on, and practical.

This past June, one of the nicest things an exiting teacher told me was to keep her on my ‘tech tips’ e-mail list; she loves those tips, and wanted to make sure she was still included. No one pays me for those, and oftentimes I thought they were either annoying folks, or being sucked into a vacuum. This local PLN heartened me greatly.

I strongly encourage you to curate your own PLN: Three Steps for Building a Professional Learning Network by Brianna Crowley. My own Twitter account, @mrskellylove, has a wide variety of interest and friends, as well as professional connections. (I am not so great at delineating knowledge and curiosity from multiple sources.)

Here are some good folks to follow:

John Spencer @spencerideas

Phillip Cummings @Philip_Cummings

Cult of Pedagogy @cultofpedagogy

Valerie Strauss @valeriestrauss

Hank Green @hankgreen John Green @johngreen

Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension

There are hundreds of potential PLN connections, from politics, to social studies, authors, researchers, science, math, current issues to history. Caution: once you fall down this rabbit hole it’s tough to get back out. But you won’t want to–it’s a safe place to discuss big ideas. And the coffee is just how you like it.

Postscript:

Part II: