Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Morning Missions is Launching TODAY!

Good morning! I am super excited for my morning professional development to begin! This year the theme is Morning Missions. As I sit here and wait for teachers to file in the high school media center, I am thinking to myself.

  1. How many teachers will be in attendance for our launch? 
  2. Why will they come?
  3. Why won't they come?
  4. Have I created a professional development opportunity that will enhance what my teachers do in the classroom?
Only time will tell if I have created an atmosphere were teachers can thrive. Here's to another year of morning professional development for the teachers at #ELCMidgets! A new year, a new plan and a fresh beginning!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Two Great Projects Going On!

Here are ELC our students and teachers have been creating content like never before! I am so excited as to how far we have come in the past two years! Two awesome projects going on right now that I can't wait to share out the final projects are:

1. Iowa History ~ 5th Grade ~ Landmarks
Students are using PicMonkey, ThingLink and Google Maps to showcase their Landmark. Students get to choose their landmark and then report out on it. The projects are coming together so well. Mrs. Reeves and I got the idea from the My Tech Adventure Website. We modified to meet the needs of Mrs. Reeves and her classes. As soon as we finish up these projects, we will be sharing them with our community and others around the world!

2. Persuasive Newscasts ~ High School Speech
Students are creating newscasts using a green screen and the iPad App TouchCast. Mrs. White and I rolled this out today to the students and they are flying with it! We even had the students teaching us, which was GREAT! These won't be done for a few weeks but as soon as they are finished we will be sharing them.

Our teachers here at ELC are doing some amazing things and I am only highlighting a couple here. We have come along way and still have things to work on but we are improving each day. I am so proud of our staff and how they have embraced integrating technology into their classroom purposefully. We have only just begun!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Blogging Buddies

Currently I am working with High School Contemporary Reading teacher, Mrs. Wheatley and 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Christensen on blogging. The seniors and 1st graders all have their own blog. High school students are using Blogger and the 1st grade students are using Google Docs. Today the 1st graders commented on the high school blogs. In the seniors first blog post they talked about their favorite book and asked their readers to tell them about their favorite book. The first grade students enjoyed writing back and talking about their favorite book.

Why should students blog? Here is a great post from George Couros that explains just five reasons that students should blog. There are so many benefits that we gain when we blog. Student authentic voice, writing practice, composing, creating, connecting, acquiring of digital skills are just some of the benefits I can ramble off the top of my head.

What do you see as the benefit to blogging?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2015 is going to be GREAT!!!

Well, it has been a while since I last updated my blog...no excuses but I have been busy!

I am so excited to see our teachers embrace technology and infuse it within their curriculum. The best thing the technology is not the center of the lesson. The technology is just a tool to help them achieve the learning! I know we have things that we can and will make better in regards to technology but we have come along way in 1.5 years.

We just received another shipment of Chromebooks. We are trying to decide the best model to go with although they essentially do the same thing.

We will be busy this spring getting ready for our roll out to our 9-12th grade students this fall. Our high school teachers have done a great job of trying some new things within their classroom to get ready for the 1:1 environment.

Today, Mrs. Wheatley (High School English) & Mrs. Christensen (1st grade) teamed up to work with Storybird and write stories. This is a first step in a collaboration effort between these teachers that is only emerge with awesome learning! Here are some of the pictures of the high school students helping the 1st grade students get logged in and begin their first story.

2015 is sure to be a challenging but awesome year!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

ELC High Scool Chrome Cadre

High School Chrome Cadre members have been busy at ELC. With our implementation of Chromebook carts this year and going 1:1 next year, these staff members have been spending roughly an hour each week discussing and working together to ensure success with our 1:1 initiative.

On Wednesday, they helped teachers understand the works of Google Classroom. With staff at many different levels of knowledge and usage of "GC", our Cadre members took one area and helped our staff dive in. The staff rotated around and were able to get the instruction they needed. Thank you to Mr. Hewitt, Mr. Leonard, Mrs. Condon, Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Wheatley and Ms. Schnoes for all their time and efforts! It makes my job as a district wide technology integrationist a little easier.

Enjoy the pictures of our Cadre at work!


Friday, October 3, 2014

It is a Mindset, Not an Age Thing

Image Credit: Google for Education Newsletter
Many times as I work with adults I hear them say, "I am old and it is hard for me to learn these new technology things or I am too old to do this or yadayada." I don't believe it is an age thing, it is a Mindset.

Are you willing to open your mind and see the world that our students live in? Are you willing to teach today's student in today's technology driven society? Are you willing to let go of your old practices that you used 5, 10, 15 years ago?

Check out Sister Rosemarie DeLauro (pictured on the left), who has been teaching for more than 60 years. I received the 1st ever Google for Education Newsletter a couple of days ago and she is the educator spotlight. Age doesn't limit you but your mind does!

I understand that it is not going to be easy and flawless. It is okay to take risks and make mistakes if it is going to better our students' learning. Relax and enjoy the ride. Our students today have so much to contribute to the world they live in. Give them opportunities to Create, Collaborate, Communicate with the World!

Check out how Google Classroom is being used in her school here.

Sign up for the Google for Education Newsletter here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Blogging Excitement is in the Air at Estherville Lincoln Central Middle School

(Cross posted at http://rethinkredesign.org)

Blogging is a powerful medium within our education system. So many things can be learned through blogging. Students use blogs to reflect, tell a story, share their learning along with giving them a voice. Blogging can be used at any grade level and in many different ways.
It was about 2.5 years ago that I as a Business Education teacher fought to get Blogger unblocked in our school district.  I wanted them to blog about their projects and reflect on their learning. I wanted my students to have an authentic audience and write for the world. I struggled to understand why they would not open it up for my students. I almost gave up.

Fast forward to April 2014……
It all started in April of last year when Mrs. Reeves, a 5th grade teacher asked about using Kidblog with her students. So we started to have conversations on what that would look like and experiment with the website. We talked about what she wanted from her students and the blog. I remember having the discussion about do we open the blog up for the world to see or do we keep it just within the classroom? This can be a scary jump for teachers to open their classroom and go beyond their four walls. We decided that her students too needed an authentic audience to write for, so we decided to open it up. She introduced it to her students and started having them blog and comment within their class blogs. We also began to talk with her students about the purpose of a blog and how to comment and write posts. The students enjoyed their short experience with the blog and some even wrote on their blogs over the summer! Can you say AWESOME?!?!

Amazing things are happening in Mrs. Reeve’s classroom. She is innovative and ready to interact with the world. Last Friday Mrs. Reeves came to me and said I spent over an hour approving comments from students from around the country! I said what? Do you know these people? She said no. Tears came to my eyes (and I am not kidding), I was so excited and threw my arms in the air and yelled “YES!” She is active on Twitter and tweeted her blog along with the hashtags #geniushour #5thchat and whola!

Her students are participating in Genius Hour and are blogging about their passion projects. Other classrooms from around the country are helping them by providing feedback and questions concerning their projects.

The comments are amazing! In a 36 hour time frame, some blog posts had 15+ new comments on them. The students are excited. Even students who are normally not assertive went to Mrs. Reeves and said, “Mrs. Reeves, you have to see this, I have comments on my blog.”

And what is really cool….
Other teachers are hearing of the good news and want to begin the journey! Other 5th grade teachers are wanting to start this process. The 6th grade team has begun blogging also and I cannot wait to see how these other blogs take off!

You can read Mrs. Reeves and her students blogs here. Her students would love to hear from you! You can also follow Mrs. Reeves on Twitter here.