Sunday, August 23, 2015

The best articles & resources I've found this week (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

CUE Rock Star Black Label - TOSA: Sunday afternoon (Shareology- Exploring the Art of Effective Communication)

Shareology- Exploring the Art of Effective Communication
Lisa Highfill
Lisa's Website

  • Idea with padlet: students just write their names on the padlet post and then drag it to one part of the "graphic organizer" you have put as the background (yes/no columns, 4 corners, etc).
  • How do you communicate? Padlet Idea Wall
    • Ideas I use already that I love:
      • Trello
      • Doodle
      • Slack
      • Voxer
      • Remind
    • Ideas shared on this Linoit wall and this Sharefest Doc. Some that I want to look at or try:
      • Droptask
      • "Sometimes I send emails and it is too hard to explain what you want in great detail. I use Movenote- an extension that will add a video message to your email!"
      • "Hashtag in your google calendar. It's easier to search. For example, monthly dept meetings #CIA, all your meeting with show."
      • Tech Minute YouTube playlist

CUE Rock Star Black Label - TOSA: Sunday morning (Pretzels and Peanuts: How to make sure everyone at the bar is thirsty: lessons from a seasoned drink mixer)

Pretzels and Peanuts: How to make sure everyone at the bar is thirsty: lessons from a seasoned drink mixer

David Theriault
David's Blog

  • Always take your pictures landscape.  Why? Because you're going to put them in a presentation or a keynote, and you want to use them later :)
  • For PD with teachers:
    • DON'T talk about the APP first, talk about the PROBLEM first!
    • "Do you struggle with _____________"  "I have an app for that"
    • Rather than "Come learn about [this app]"
  • Use short videos at the beginning of PD that will help set the mood and get teachers ready for the day.
    • Find them on YouTube, Vimeo
  • Speed Dating / Speed Geeking
    • Traditional Speed Dating Setup
    • 10 rooms, 10 topics to choose from, 10 minutes only.  1 minute rotations.  4 sessions (less than an hour).  Students can do things!!  Don't all have to do with tech.
  • Twitter Chats on campus
    • All in the same room (cafeteria) - thread projected on screen.  For those that aren't on Twitter, write their answer on paper and have someone on Twitter take a picture of their writing to include them in the chat.
    • Run a "Slow Chat" (weeklong twitter chat)
  • Takeaways from PD sessions:
    • Write down what they want to implement on the block.
    • Write down the "stumbling block" that will hinder them from implementing it
    • Discuss and decide how to change the "stumbling block" to a "building block"
  • Thinklink:
    • Use for sharing resources 
    • Interesting idea about a way to present information to teachers... hmm...
David's Thinglink

Our Thinglink

See David's Thinglink above for links about these.
  • Getting Teachers on Twitter 
    • David used a Bacon Doughnut Twitter Hunt... tweeted that there were doughnuts hiding in teacher's classroom who did use twitter.  They could go get a doughnut if they learned about Twitter.  Got a few more teachers on Twitter ;)  Find the "bait" to pull them in.
  •  High Five Challenge: Give high fives or handshakes to every single student every day for a month.  
    • Empathy is huge - they have to know you care about them and not just your job.
    • Even if it seems like it's not "productive" (going out to lunch, informal conversation) - this is huge because it shows you care about them and not just getting them to do things.
  • Involuntary Curiosity Sparks - read this article later
  • Javier Perez on Instagram - draws pictures out of ordinary objects.  We all had to do it... here is my attempt at drawing...

Saturday, August 15, 2015

CUE Rock Star Black Label - TOSA: Saturday afternoon (Re-tool and re-engage your math instruction with 3-act lessons)

Re-tool and re-engage your math instruction with 3-act lessons
Jed Butler
Jed's Blog
Perris Union High School District

Act 1
Engage, inspire, get students thinking and asking questions

Act 2
Students asking questions
Teacher gives information that students ask for
Students solve / answer the question

Act 3
The reveal

The Sequel...
Flip the Question

"Here's a file cabinet, how many post-its?"
"Here's a pile of post-it's, what size of file cabinet could it cover?"

Teacher notes and considerations for facilitating a problem-based lesson (3-act task) from our district's recent summer institute - led by Robert Kaplinsky.

Jed's Resources - too many awesome links!  Check it out.
Jed's Slides

CUE Rock Star Black Label - TOSA: Saturday morning (Beyond Closed Doors & Echo Chambers: Creating a Culture of Collaboration and Sharing)

Beyond Closed Doors & Echo Chambers: Creating a Culture of Collaboration and Sharing
Adina Sullivan
San Marcos Unified School District

All Resources

1. What are the barriers / biggest hurdle preventing teachers from collaborating and sharing?
  • Time
  • Fear
  • Competition
Time may be the excuse that people make, but I think of the quote I had posted in my classroom: "If it's important to you, you will find a way; if not, you'll find an excuse."  I think it goes back to "collaboration and sharing are not valued by colleagues".  If they saw the value that comes from it, they would make the time.

2. How do we move from a culture of "Me" to a culture of "We"
  • It is "OUR" work, they are "OUR" kids
  • FOUR ESSENTIAL CONDITIONS (summary sheet):
    • They need a reason.  Why should I change?
    • There must be value. What is the value to me? How is this valued by others? Why is this even good for me?  Is what I do even valued by anyone else?  If not, why bother?
    • Opportunity. When would I do this?  We are all busy and have too many things on our plate? How can I fit it in?  It will feel like something "extra" you are asking the to do.
    • Models.  What does it look like? What could it look like?
3. Examples shared
  • Diigo - to share articles
  • Staff Wikispace - to share lessons and curriculum
  • ScoopIt! Boards - added link to certain boards on email signature.  Can make group ScoopIt page for all to add to
  • Teacher lesson Share (use AwesomeTable to make it easily navigate-able)
  • EdTech News website (EdTech Newsletter is just a blog)
    • everything links back to the same place.  Lesson share, newsletter, demo slam, teacher spotlight, etc.  You get them there for one reason and they have everything else at their fingertips.
  • Demo Slam with Technology Leader Teachers
    • A lot of times they just share what they are doing.  What about what others on your site - what are they doing?
    • Two minute share-out.  It's timed :)
    • Post about all of the slams publicly to share with those who weren't there!
  • Teacher Spotlight every month
    • Don't pick the teachers everyone already knows are "stars"
  • Google Plus - create communities for teachers to participate in
Other Takeaways:
  • Pull new teachers in early.  Show and teach them things and they will think "oh, everybody does it here".  As they start talking and sharing about it, the other teachers will start feeling like they are "behind" and (hopefully) will want to learn about the new things.
Our Ideas:
See our slide and all the others here
  • Demo Slam
    • During late starts, have 2-3 teachers volunteer to be a part of a "traveling slam" and visit each department to share a tech tool or strategy they are using.  
    • Other setup could be like "Speed Geeking" in that the first 15-20 minutes of a late start (before department time) is in a central location and teachers rotate through 3-4 stations with other designated teachers sharing their tool/strategy.
      • If size of staff is concerning, split it up so half the departments come for one Wednesday and the other half the next Wednesday.
    • Last option could be TeachMeet style where one teacher is sharing with the whole staff at one time (whole group) at the beginning of a late start.
  • Look at Jon Corippo's Iron Chef Slides for how he does this with students

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The best articles & resources I've found this week (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The best articles & resources I've found this week (weekly)

Wow, so many great articles and links this week!  I actually had time to look at a lot, and there's just a lot of great stuff coming in!  Enjoy!

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tech Toolbelt - Is it holding you up or weighing you down?

As the year went on, I started to develop a "Tech Toolbelt" for teachers of different subject areas. I found it helpful for me when working with them as a point of reference, and a way for technology to not be as overwhelming to teachers because they only need a few good tools in their toolbelt to start off with. I have only shown this to a few teachers directly; I mainly use it as a point of reference for myself as we begin our conversations.

Please note: just because there are "#" tools in the "Math Toolbelt" doesn't mean every math teacher needs all "#" tools.  They are just tools that I have found to be effectively used in that subject area.  There is a lot of overlap between subject areas as well.  I'd rather have a teacher have 2-3 tools in their toolbelt that they use really effectively and efficiently, than a bunch of tools that they don't use well.  (This is one of the reasons this document is just a point of reference for me to have in conversations and not a document I share with teachers openly).

 In addition, if your tech toolbelt gets too full because you are just trying every latest thing you hear about, your pants might just fall down!  (meaning the belt isn't doing your pants any good in holding them up, instead it's just weighing them down!)  Technology should be used to improve and enhance the teaching and learning in your classroom, not just used to "being using tech".  Teachers can reflect on the 4 E's when considering any of the tools in this list.

 At CUE2015, Jon Corippo said that it's hard to introduce students to new tech & new content at the same time. He suggested that we introduce students to new tech with something they are already familiar with. I came up with a list of ideas (definitely not fully finished, so please add any suggestions you have!) of ways that teachers could introduce new tech to students in non-content specific ways so they could get familiar with the tool. That way when they use the tool with content, they can focus on learning the material and not on figuring out the tool.

 This document is a work in progress (see below or access on Google Drive here). I'd love any ideas of things for the "beginning of year" or tools I'm missing that you think are crucial.


Slack: Awesome Group Communication Tool

My supervisor introduced Slack to our team near the end of the year and asked us to try it out to see if we liked it as our main communication tool for next year.  Within just a couple of days, I was hooked.

What I love:
  1. Threaded conversations through hashtags, which allows you to follow conversations with specific topics so it doesn't keep derailing.  We have conversations for #google, #haiku, #general, #random, #fridayflurry (to share out great stories from the week), and more.
  2. Ability to direct message people within the group.  This keeps everything all in one place - group conversations, individual conversations, etc.  You don't have an email there, a text there, and another message there.  It's all together!

How it could be improved:
  1. Voice comments.  I would love to use this instead of Voxer for a lot of things, but I love the ability to "talk" my message.  Currently on Slack, you can do text, pictures, and links.  I came across an article that said voice was coming soon but haven't seen anything yet.  There are premium versions, so maybe it's in there, or still in development.
  2. More administrator control.  I would LOVE to use this with my student tech team.  It would be a perfect way for communication, especially with the different hashtags for different needs. However, as the teacher, I would need administrator access to view the direct message conversations to ensure that everything is staying school appropriate.  That is not a feature available, and so I am not able to use this with my student team.  I am still on the lookout for a better communication platform that will allow students to easily communicate with each other besides sending out mass emails as the only option

If you haven't checked out Slack yet, head over to and give it a try!  There are freemium options, but I'm happy with the free version :)

P.S. Slack did not ask me to write this. I just love the tool so much I wanted to share!

Coaching: How to continue to support teachers in a multi-year process

This post is Part 5 of my year-end series on Coaching
Many people have asked me, “What happens to the teachers after you work with them for a year?”  A year is a long time, but at the same time, it’s a very short time.  Different teachers progress at different rates, because they come in with different skill sets and mindsets.  There are a few fellows who are just flying and I’m so excited to see them continue to soar “on their own” (knowing that I’m just a text/email away if they want to collaborate and reflect on anything).  There are others who are begging to have a second year of full-on weekly coaching. 
Because our goal is to reach more teachers, very few teachers get chosen as “second year fellows”.  We knew that we needed to have a structure in place that would continue to support them in their growth and learning. 
Goals & Monthly Meetings:
For next year, I will be meeting with each of my Year 1 fellows once a month to check in with them, collaborate, and reflect.   Each of them set between 2-4 specific goals for themselves during our final month together that will help keep them focused and give me specific items to check in with them on and to provide support in.
The goals that have been set are:
  •  Use laptops more effectively and more often (at least once per week per course) to get more feedback from students, not just as a replacement for a powerpoint or notes.  (Tools like Peardeck, Desmos/Padlet, Google Form)
  • Next year, I will use Google Docs at least once to have students provide immediate feedback to one another on an FRQ (not waiting for an “autopsy” for the assignment).  This will provide students with immediate feedback on their writing, rather than have the students waiting on my grading of their writing.  It will open a dialogue as a class to discuss concerns about the responses.
  • Create instructional videos using the document camera for modeling annotation, going over rubrics / expectations, MLA format, essay structure, etc so students are able to go back and review them at any point and able to learn it asynchronously.
  • Utilize Socratic Seminar at least once per unit (near end if only used once) before a final test.  Use Google Docs for students to annotate and make notes/questions ahead of time.  Time period: 3 days per seminar (2 days for prep & 1 day for discussion)
  • Utilize Doctopus as a document management system to push out Google Docs (text sections, journal entries, essays) to students.  This is an efficient way to manage and hold students accountable for their work.
  • Student presentations connected with novel/play units on connecting literary analysis with quotations.  Student use Google Docs for annotation (collaborative) and then Google Slides or Drawings to present their information to the class.
  • Develop a clear and consistent structure for students to be able to access the instructional content and units throughout the year.  The main tool for this will be Haiku, on which I plan to provide the schedules, learning objectives, lesson content, resource material, and access to daily assignments (and links to assignments) for each unit. Reorganize the Haiku page so that each unit of instruction is fully accessible in order by each course. Each unit should have its own page with tabs for homework, extra resources, activities, links to lessons (office mix, etc).
  • Use a google sheet to record daily/weekly homework points so as to eliminate extra paper and to allow students to see their cumulative homework points via a link to view the google sheet.  I plan to use student numbers in the google sheet to protect privacy.  Students will be able to access homework records via a link on Haiku.
  • Use Google Docs/ Doctopus to push out a Unit Assessment/Reflection Form for students to answer questions regarding learning objectives before/during/after we are working with each content unit.
  • Daily Warm Up Using Google Forms to establish a daily expectation for students’ engagement, use of laptops, feedback or input regarding content, and my sanity!
  • Use OneNote to have a virtual space for ALL my curriculum units.  This will create 1 location documenting my Units of study; I would like to share with my grade level.
  • Have students self­assess more of their work. I want to embed more time to practice writing, but not overwhelm myself w/ grading. I want them comfortable w/ the rubrics, so they can assess themselves. At beginning of the year, use rubrics (Response to Lit, Argumentative) with past papers.
  • Haiku wikiproject for student work.  Page created by lit circle (students will create when access the first time) as a  “class” wikiproject; new wikiproject for each quarter.  Their first assignment is students doing an introductory block w/ picture,about me, etc. There will be subpages for each project/assignment under the lit circle master page
  • Bring more activities that involve deeper thinking, collaboration, 21st century skills into teaching and learning.  Tools like Desmos or possibly Geogebra for exploration / conceptualization as well as activities I find on teacher blogs.
  • Become more efficient and create formative assessments that are auto­graded by using tools such as Haiku Quizzes, Socrative, GoFormative, and Peardeck.  Utilize these throughout class to drive and adjust instruction.
  • Go Formative and/or Socrative: To gauge mastery and points of struggle,then to use that information to pair students up in collaboration to meet each learner’s needs.  Remember collaboration instructions: “Don’t hold their pencil”  ,  “Don’t tell them the answer ­ ask them questions”,  WHOEVER IS DOING THE THINKING IS DOING THE LEARNING 
  •  Google Form Survey to be used to obtain feedback from the students about the class. In addition, the format may open communication lines with students that may need to talk to a trusted adult.
  •  I want to explore more online assessment, such as Kahoot, Socrative, and Haiku assessments with listening examples.  This would open up up entirely new ways of making sure students understand the musical environment we are studying.

Sharing & Learning Events
In addition to the monthly meetings, we are going to try and have 2-3 “events” for them to come together and continue to share and learn, possibly “EdCamp” or "TeachMeet" style.  We haven’t figured that all out, but it’s on the table.
Lastly, I started something called “Fellow Meetups” where once a month all fellows are invited to an after school, “meet at an outdoor coffee shop”, informal chat / share / learn with other fellows.  A Coach (this year, it was myself) facilitates the conversation and helps to ensure that everyone gets a chance to share and reflect.  Sometimes it was just “sit around and chat” whereas other times we had a little more structure with specific questions to reflect and share on.  We had fairly good success with it this year and are excited to spread it to involve more of the other coach’s fellows.  (Because I was the organizer, 90% of the attendees were my fellows.)  “Former” fellows will be invited to these meetups so they can continue to connect and collaborate with others.
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