Mini #edcamps for School Level PD

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” By Henry Ford

Edcamps are free unconferences where educators lead/facilitate the discussions based on topics they are interested. Edcamps started about five years ago and are modeled after bar camps (it has nothing to do with liquor). Now there are parent, student and leadership edcamps! Edcamp’s vision and mission is:

Vision: We are all self-directed learners, developing and sharing our expertise with the world.

Mission: We build and support a community of empowered learners.

Check out this great Edcamp 101 Video to learn more in just a few minutes.

The first edcamp I attended was edcampsc. I later attended Charlotte’s Bar Camp and both were well worth my time! Because of these great learning experiences; I have been replicating “mini” edcamp style PD sessions at schools. (I will also be hosting a full edcampcms in the Fall of 2014)  These mini edcamp PD session have been very successful and I think more schools should do them as it builds school culture, teacher leadership and is differentiated based on teachers needs.

How I set up a “mini” edcamp PD is I send the Edcamp 101 Video prior the PD session. This allows teachers  to have background knowledge on what it is going to kind of look like plus they start thinking about topics. When they walk into the PD session, on tables I have sticky notes where teachers can write down topics they want to learn/discuss (just like a real edcamp) and they place them on a large white board or chart paper. As they are writing and posting them on he board, I move the topics into session sections. Each session section has three to four topics per session depending on the size of the group. If I get topics that are similar, I put them together and give them a category name. For example, if one teacher writes conferring and one writes guided reading – I might put them together and call it balanced literacy.

What makes them “mini”are the edcamps sessions are only 20 mins because after school PD is usually only  an hour or an hour and fifteen minutes. (Typical edcamp sessions are 50-60 mins)

Schedule Template for Mini “Edcamp” if you had an hour and fifteen minute PD: 

8 mins introduction reviewing rules and giving input

20 min session

2 min rotation

20 min session

2 min rotation

20 session

3 minute wrap up/closing

Here are more resources that can help you start your own edcamp or “mini” edcamp:

Edcamp Foundation

Why Edcamp?

An Elementary Edcamp- An Unconference for Students

ParentCamp and A Guide to Hosting Your Own ParentCamp

Edcamp Leadership

Introduction to Edcamp: A New Conference Model Built on Collaboration

The power of ‘edcamps’ and ‘unconferencing’

Unconference: Revolutionary professional learning

 

#NCTIES14 Recap

“Live your life in beta! Be your best today and be better tomorrow.” by Adam Bellow

This week I attended the North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NCTIES) and like all conference I learned a wealth of information. If you are on twitter, you can also follow #ncties14 for all the tweets/resources shared. My favorite moment was meeting my PLN- #nced chat members (Tuesday @ 8:00 pm)  that attended the conference.  My second favorite moment was Adam Bellows closing keynote. I didn’t take any notes because I was so engaged. Below I decided to share my top 10 resources I learned but not in order as they are all awesome.

#NCED chat

1. Building Entrepreneurs by Kevin Honeycutt. Kevin shared a lot of great ways to build entrepreneurs such as researching entrepreneurs by study their biographies trying to crack their code to success. Make sure you check out his presentation by clicking here.

2. Minecraft Resources by Lucas Gillispie including assignment ideas.

3. Google Stuff: 1. Google Newspapers: Google has newspapers from everywhere and from all time periods. Great for non-fiction! 2. Google a Day Challenge question each day, good for morning work or when you have a few minutes after a lesson 3. Google Story Builder  create stories with others.

4. Edtalks: Collaborate, Innovate and Educate by Kevin Honeycutt

5. Maker Space Thinglink with great resources and ideas.

6. Intel Education Resources has a teaching program with tools for student centered learning.

7.  Organizing you Digital Life: The Personality Test

8. White House student Film Festival. Look what kids are making on their own and how creative!

9. Math Class Needs a Makeover 

10. Technology in Education: A Future Classroom

Playlists in Education

“To provide children with the different support they need, a school has to be able to draw on resources that lie beyond its walls.”  Charles Leadbeater

The term ‘playlists’ is becoming more and more popular in education because it is a way that teachers can personalize students learning based on standards and interest. But when most people think of  playlists they think music but it is taking on a new meaning in education.

Playlists are tasks complied using multiple media resources such as urls, videos, articles, images, files, assessments etc. Often playlists are a unit or concept broken down into tasks for students to be able to learn at their own level, pace and time. Playlists are often used in a blended learning classroom when the teacher is facilitating a small group other students are working on their playlist that is individualized for them based on their needs.

Playlists is a very new concept and is also in beta mode in education. Educators and different web tool developers are still being ‘perfected’.  Below are a list of FREE Playlists web tools that I have been testing out. I have not found a favorite yet but OpenEd and Sophia are at the top of my list.

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OpenEd: There are three reasons I really like OpenEd. One reason that makes OpenEd different from other playlists is that it works with many other learning management systems (LMS) such as LearnZillion, You Tube and IXL. You can also choose by Common Core Standards as well. Another reason is because you can create courses which is great for teachers in the older grades or as a PD tool. The third reason is because the company is very responsive to suggestions and has teachers, like me, as Ambassadors to continue to make their product the best. I ask questions and they have responded both via email and twitter (@OpenEDio) within 24 hrs. They do have an Android App and are working on an iPad App but this site works on all devices using any browser. Adding your own resources is something that’s “in the works.”

Sophia.org: I have been using Sophia for years for the flipped classroom, recently I have started creating playlists. I like how user-friendly it is and they just added Common Core and NGSS-Aligned Content which has made a huge difference in using this web tool. I also like that Sophia provides Professional Development for teachers as well.

Other Playlists web tools:

Lesson Paths

Khan Academy

Activate Instruction

EDLE 

Blendspaces

Before playlists web tools were available I used Google docs to create playlists. I used the feature ‘Table of Contents’ (under insert) and added the resources for the students. This is something you can still do, the down fall, it takes a lot more time then having resources already curated for you. 🙂

If you use a playlists web tool in your classroom that you love, please share in the comments section so our blog readers can add it to the list.

20 Digital Citizenship Resources

“Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use.”  by Mike Ribble

Digital Citizenship is a concept which helps educators and parents to understand what student users should know to use technology appropriately. There are 9 elements of digital citizenship such as digital rights & responsibilities, digital law and digital etiquette. With more devices and blended learning, teaching Digital Citizenship in the classroom is apart of the hidden curriculum that should be infused with the schools/classrooms current Character Education program.

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Other Blogs and Resources on Digital Citizenship:

1. Curriculum: Understanding YouTube & Digital Citizenship

2. Know the Net Site

3. Digital Citizenship: There is more to teaching than three R’s

4. Common Sense Media

5. FBI Cyber Surfing

6. Live Binder of Digital Citizenship Resources

7. Educational Origami – 21st Century Pedagogy

8. Digital Passport

9. Copyright Website

10. Plagiarism.org

11. Internet Saftey

12. Educational Technology and Mobile Learning Digital Citizenship Posts

13. 20 Basic Rules For Digital Citizenship

14. 5 More Places To Help You Find Quality Creative Commons Images

15. Digital Citizenship in Schools

16. 10 Interactive Lessons By Google On Digital Citizenship

17. Digital Citizenship Comic

18. Brain Pop: Digital Citizenship (Free)

19. Teachers Channel – Super Digital Citizen

20. Ideas for Digital Citizenship PBL Projects

I would love to know how you teach digital citizenship. Please share in the comments.

Utilizing Mathigon Site in the Classroom

“Math is like going to the gym for your brain. It sharpens your mind.” By Danica McKellar

world

Mathigon is a new STEM website that consists of interactive eBooks, videos, slideshows and animations, with the aim of making advanced mathematics more accessible, entertaining and applies real world application. This website is FREE, works on all devices and has a Chrome App extension and can be made into an iOS App (by saving to home screen). Follow them on TwitterFacebook and Google Plus.

You can choose from a variety of activities, lesson plans and slideshows that have been designed specifically for the classroom. This site is created out of the UK but meets many Common Core Math Standards,  Math Practices and NC Science Essential Standards.

One of my favorites is the ebook,  “World of Mathematics” which was also 2013 Lovie Awards Gold Winner. It is a great, engaging way to add non-fiction text, class discussions and writing tasks into the math or science classroom. Another favorite activity, that the students also love, is the Math Treasure Hunt (Middle of Page).

“This essay (The Value of Mathematics PDF) explores the practical, intellectual and cultural value of teaching mathematics at school, examining a wide range of research and with many examples.”

Mathigon is still being developed but many of the activities to coming soon look very promising such as Mathemagic, Carnival of Mathematics and more ‘chapters’ in the ebook called Motion and Matter.  I would love to hear what you think of this new site and how you will incorporate it into your classroom.

Work Sited: About Us – Mathigon | About.” 2012. 4 Jan. 2014 http://www.mathigon.org/about

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CIPA, COPPA, FERPA, Oh My!

“The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” Bill Gates

internet

CIPA, COPPA, FERPA, Oh My! These are the laws and policies that help to protect our students online that many teacher’s are not aware of. Below is an overview of each law along with some resources to better understand them.

Child Internet Protection Act: The school is required by CIPA to have technology measures and policies in place that protect students from harmful materials including those that are obscene and pornographic. Any harmful content contained from inappropriate sites will be blocked. http://fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/cipa.html

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act: COPPA applies to commercial companies and limits their ability to collect personal information from children under 13. By default, Google advertising is turned off for Apps for Education users. No personal student information is collected for commercial purposes. This permission form allows the school to act as an agent for parents in the collection of information within the school context. The school’s use of student information is solely for education purposes.http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/coppafaqs.shtm

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act: FERPA protects the privacy of student education records and gives parents the right to review student records. Under FERPA, schools may disclose directory information (name, phone, address, grade level, etc…) but parents may request that the school not disclose this information.

  • The school will not publish confidential education records (grades, student ID #, etc) for public viewing on the Internet. The school may publish student work and photos for public viewing but will not publish student last names or other personally identifiable information.
  • Parents may request that photos, names and general directory information about their children not be published. Parents have the right at any time to investigate the contents of their child’s email or web tools. http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa

Resource: 

Due to these laws, but also wanting our students to create using web tools and apps, we created a Webtool Permission Slip. This permission slip helps parents be informed as well.

Knowledge is Freedom: CIPA, COPPA, and FERPA Explained Succinctly

CIPA, COPPA & FERPA: Requirements Reexamined

World’s Simplest Online Safety Policy

Work Cited:

“Children’s Internet Protection Act | FCC.gov.” 2002. 1 Dec. 2013 <http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/cipa.html>

“Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.” 1 Dec. 2013 <http://www.ftc.gov/ogc/coppa1.htm>

“FERPA for Students – U.S. Department of Education.” 2010. 1 Dec. 2013 <http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/students.html>

Take-Aways from Visiting Schools Implementing Personalized Learning

“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.” By Doug Firebaugh

As many of you know, for the past few months I have been working as project manager for the Bill Gates NextGen Innovative grant. This past week we was able to travel to San Francisco and visit multiple schools that have started the process in their schools to personalize learning.

One school we were able to visit was Summit Public Schools. What I enjoyed must about this school visit was the students were empowered to drive their own learning, ensuring they are prepared for success in colleges and career. How Summit became invested in making sure students were driving their own learning was because they noticed that 100% of their students were attending a 4 year college but not a 100% were graduating from a four-year college; many dropping out within the first year. This sparked them to look at their teaching practice and realize that they were providing too much assistance to the students so that once ‘on their own’ they didn’t have the skills to be successful. To support the Personalized Learning cycle, Summit has changed classroom design and added personalized learning time.

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 10.29.50 AM

Summits classroom design is very open and most of the furniture is on wheels including the students desks and tables. This allows the teachers and students to redesign the room daily.

summit 

In this picture you can see students are working on individual learning tasks while the teacher is working 1 on 1 with a student. Notice there are devices but also there are books too. I think a fear many teachers have is that ‘traditional’ things will go away when they implement personalized learning and that is not the case.

We visited other school districts that also started implementing personalized learning and during these visits we had other take aways along with some revelations such as:

– There are lots of FREE edtech tools such as Khan that you can start using to transition into personalizing the students learning

– We are already doing a lot of personalization but it is not consistent such as balanced literacy, PBL’s and flipped classroom

– New support staff roles will help teachers optimize their instruction

– Training for everyone involved is a critical success factor for personalized learning

– Blended learning is apart of personalized learning and not  separate entity

These visits really drove home that the intentional shift to personalized learning is about fundamentally changing our approach to learning and teaching; technology is an important enabler but the devices we use are just one tool for delivering this instruction. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing more about personalized learning and starting to share my thoughts and resources on making this shift.

Power of Google and My PLN

“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” By
Mattie Stepanek

This week I was asked to do a professional development (PD) on Google Apps for Education (#GAFE) for some educators. When brainstorming about the PD, I knew a lot of ways to use GAFE but I wanted the group see that lots of educators use it and not just me or our school district.

This made me realize that, I could use the power of my Personal Learning Network (PLN) – Twitter.  Within just two days, I had over 20 suggestions from educators in multiple states and countries! It was amazing how fast my global PLN came to my rescue! The PD was great and it sparked a lot of curiosity about PLN’s and using them to improve instruction….guess what our next PD will be on, that is right the Power of Twitter!

We are in education together and there is no reason we should not be sharing our great ideas with each other. Below is the ‘Ways to Use Google Docs in the Classroom’ document that my PLN collaborated on and I would love if you have ideas to please add to it by clicking here.

Let the Games Begin…Ecosystem Competition Lesson Plan

“Provide an uncommon experience for your students and they will reward you with an uncommon effort and attitude.” By Dave Burgess

I was recently asked about a Science lesson plan that I had presented on in the past called, Competition and I realized that I have never blogged about this lesson before. So I revamped and updated it to meet NC Essential Standards, Common Core, 21st Century Skills and added some Pirate elements. (If you are not sure what Pirate Elements are you need to read, Teach Like a Pirate and follow #TLAP on Twitter) This lesson plan is over a few days if you only teach science 45 mins a day, but can also be taught in a day depending on your schedule and flexibility at your school.

My Class in 2009-10 After the Lesson

Title:  “Let the Games Begin…” (For my TLAP Fans….doesn’t that sound so much better, then Competition) I would have this written on the board to help hook them.

NC Essential Standard: 5.L.2  Understand the interdependence of plants and animals with their ecosystem.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.7 Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.

Objectives:

–  Students will be able to give at least two examples of competition that takes place in a real world ecosystem through activity.

–  Students will be able to explain how and why competition takes place in ecosystems through activity.

– Students will  be able to explain ‘How can change in one part of an ecosystem affect change in other parts of the ecosystem?’

Materials:

Fruit Loops (or store brand)

Tape

Markers

Baggies (1 per student)

(Before activity the teacher will (TTW) need to spread fruit loops in a designated coned off area to represent an ecosystem outside area is ideal and more authentic)

Day 1: Engage/HOOK (#TLAP: I like to move it, move it”)

The students will review key vocab words such as food chain, food web, prey, herbivore, carnivore, omnivore, Predator, scavenger, procedures, consumers, decomposers by using ‘I have, who has game’ as TTW facilitate.

Exploration: ( I had this as a SmartNotebook File)

– TTW ask the students to choose an animal they want to be (deer, rabbit, fox, turkey buzzard, elk- without letting them know what the activity is) and write it on a piece of tape and put it on their shirt. [ Deer- Herbivore, Rabbit-Herbivore, Fox- Omnivore, Turkey Buzzard Carnivore]

– TTW explain they will be going outside in an area that is marked off as an ecosystem. There will be fruit loops on the ground.

– TS job is to collect fruit loops. When they are finished collecting fruit loops they need to leave the ecosystem. (Don’t time this, some students will collect a lot, while others will collect only a few and stop and some will only collect a certain color based on preference and that is okay)

– When the students are down, have them return to the coned off area of the ecosystem, they will need to sort their fruit loops in piles according to color. (Give them a few minutes to organize their fruit loops – I like doing this activity outside because it gets students in a different environment, moving and outside)

– The teacher will reveal what each color represents: (I usually bring out a chart paper and be Vanna White – Usually most don’t know how that is so it becomes a teachable moment 😉

Green: plants                                                  Blue: Water

Red: Predator Meat                                     Yellow: Shelter

Orange: Scavenger Meat                            Purple: Pollution

– TTW announce: Let the games begin….who will survive in this Ecosystems

– TTW explain if you are an elk, deer or rabbit you need to take away (put back in their baggies) the red and orange (meats) because you are a herbivore and these resource is not useful to you.

– TTW explain if you are a buzzard you need to take away green (plants). TTW also explain that if you are a buzzard you need to take away red as they are scavengers.

– At this point, “the game” really begins of who stays alive because now you make up situation such as the ones below.

– TTW say “For every purple (pollution) you have – it takes away one water or food source as it contaminates it. (Some may “die” at this point and they should go to the corner of the room.)

– TTW then say, “You need to have 5 waters, 5 food source, 5 shelters to survive the first round.” Those who “die” from not having enough resources go to one corner of the room. Everyone else puts the fruit loops they used in the baggies because those are used resources.

– TTW say to the ones alive, “You now need 4 water, 4 food source, 4 shelters.”  A few more will “die”.

– TTW then say, “The buzzards can take 5 food sources from someone next to them that is ‘dead’.” (This is because they would have more food sources if things die off because they are scavengers)

– TTW then say, “You know need 4 water, 4 food source, 4 shelters.”  A few more will “die”.

– This will go on until you have a few left or even just one. The process will show how competition between animals affects an ecosystem.

Day 2: Explanation:

Think-pair-share In their science notebooks, the students will “think” about what this activity represents and why. TTW explain that the students will work with their partner (pair) to determine how it works and be able to explain competition using the terms. Each group will select a spokesperson to explain their group’s explanation as to why this represents competition. (Share)

In groups, students will critically think about the essential question:  How can change in one part of an ecosystem affect change in other parts of the ecosystem?

The students will  research, collaborate and create a presentation of their choice to demonstrate the mastery of the essential question.

Teacher Notes:

– Competition between organisms exists in every ecosystem. Organisms are forced to compete against their own species and also different species in order to survive. The stronger and fit organisms have an advantage over those who are weaker, and they have a better chance of surviving.

– Competition between the same species is called intraspecific competition. Many birds of the same species compete for the best nesting grounds. In cases when food or water is scarce, members of the same species will compete for food in order to survive.

– Competition between different species is called interspecific competition. Different species often compete for space, food, or water. For example the lion and the hyena both compete for zebra.

Day 3: Elaboration/Reflection:

The groups will present their knowledge to the class.

Evaluation: For the exit slip I have students communicate their mastery individually to see what they have retained themselves. I do exit slip questions many ways see this blog post.

Exit Slip Questions: How does competition affect an ecosystem? Explain.

Answer: Competition is when two or more organisms seek the same resource at the same time and they fight for the food/living space/and other resources they need to survive. It affects the ecosystem because of how the resources and organisms interact.

I hope you can use this lesson in your classroom, or a modification of it.

Makerspace in Education

“In a general way, you can shake the world.” by Ghandi

A typical Makerspace is a community-driven workspace, where people with common interests, meet and collaborate on ‘Do it Yourself’ (DYI) projects. In schools it would be school-driven. (The concept reminds me a lot of what Camp Invention is all about, which is a summer camp, I used to teach) If we created a workspace that had materials such as computers, makey makeys, Raspberry Pi and other tools for a hands-on learning; I can only image the ideas students would come up with if they had this space available. Here are three reason why I think schools should have Makerspaces:

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Teachers using a Makey-Makey to play Mindcraft that a student built.

1. Authentic Learning: DIY projects are real world and authentic. In Makerspaces, students can solve real-world problems with innovative solutions. Some Makerspace innovative ideas that have been successful and you probably have heard of or even used are: Square, Makerbot and Pebble Watch.

2. 21st Century Skills: Makerspaces allow students to critically think, create, collaborate and communicate. The student’s are able to work together to learn new skills, share expertise while developing their thinking and discovering new solutions. It allows students to have choice and voice.

3. STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math = STEM. By adding in Art Design and you get STEAM. Makerspaces allow all subjects to seamless work together. Art Design is the visual standpoint and can range from the art of coding a website to the esthetic of a project.

I am helping some schools set up there Makerspace area and I am excited to see what happens ( I am sure I will blog again about this topic with the results). One middle school is even making it a ‘special/elective’ the students can sign up for. I think this is a revolutionary idea and will happen more often in schools.

If you want to get started or learn more about Makerspaces for your school, I highly suggestion going to Makerspaces.com and also review their Makerspace Playbook Guide.

Other Great Resources:

Mt. Elliot Makerspace (Love his Makerspace section of his site)

www.makermedia.com

http://makerfaire.com

Makezine.com

A Librarian’s Guide to Makerspaces: 16 Resources

Creating Makerspaces in Schools

Livebinder on Makerspace

Tedx: Makerspaces – The Future of Education by Marc Teusch (4:35)

If you have a Makerspace in your classroom or in your school, I would love to hear your thoughts. I am excited to see where the Maker Movement will go.