Blog Archives

Stop the Madness

We asked seven incredible educators to share one thing schools need to STOP doing….and we only gave them 30 seconds to respond! You’ll be surprised what they shared in this high octane episode of the #30SecondTake podcast!

Click the logo to view Episode 26.

Click logo to view Episode 26

Join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #30SecondTake. Be sure to vote for one of the guest hosts from Episode 26 to return next episode to tackle a new guiding question!

Creativity Reigns

This weekend our students demonstrated the power of passion! They used their imaginations and created an epic cardboard arcade from mostly used and recycled items. The entire project was inspired by Caine’s Arcade (a cardboard arcade made by a 9-year-old boy).

I was so impressed by the time and work our students put into their projects. I was humbled to see so many of our families converge on the school cafeteria to support their children’s innovative spirit. We had nearly 180 students participate and the school was packed with creative projects…and all of this on one of the nicest Saturday afternoons ever!

If you have a few minutes, please check out the video link above. While we were not able to capture every single arcade game in our video, the TouchCast does show just how amazing our students really are. We will be inviting a few students to bring their cardboard arcade games to our PTA Carnival this spring. (Some judging was done based on durability, creativity and the carnival “fun factor.”)

Congratulations to EVERY student that participated. I am really proud of your efforts and the passion you brought to your projects.

**Special thanks to the fabulous Mrs. Carrie Lunetta for bringing this opportunity to our entire school. Mrs. Lunetta is our Gifted & Talented teacher, and she also understands that each and every child has a “genius” and spark…it’s our job to help kids embrace their creativity. 

Digital Leadership Challenge

Digital Leadership Challenge: Driven to Collaborate

Digital Leadership Badge

 A car has one windshield and when it becomes foggy the driver’s response is obvious.  The windshield of today’s school leader is not so unidimensional.

21st century school leaders are charged with leading complex change and in doing so they must serve with multiple windshields, or lenses.  Traditional lenses have included instructional leadership, culture, and community partnership. We must embrace an additional lens; our students are counting on us to provide digital leadership!

A digital leadership lens requires each of us to see the road with a new set of eyes.  Nearly every situation we encounter should be considered with this new perspective.  The reality is that our students find themselves in a connected world with limitless potential.  And still, we have barely scratched the surface of how this translates to 21st century pedagogy.

 

“If we lead today as we led yesterday, we rob our schools of tomorrow.”

~Adapted from John Dewey

 

It is a moral imperative that we model the vision and skills necessary to help students prepare for their future.  By embracing tools and technologies that are ubiquitous to students outside of school we add relevancy to the educational experience.  This is precisely where the Digital Leadership Challenge can help!

There are eleven challenges listed below for you to try.  Each challenge was designed by a connected-educator in the United States.  Submitters do not espouse to be experts in any area, and instead embrace their roles as learners.  Challenges are based upon the pillars from Eric Sheninger’s impactful book, Digital Leadership.

Educators that participate in the Digital Leadership Challenge will be eligible for an electronic badge based upon the points accrued over the next 12 months.  This badge could be displayed on a school website, Twitter account, blog, or referenced on a professional vitae.  Most importantly, your efforts will directly enhance our students’ learning experience.

The journey of 1,000 miles starts today and you are in the driver’s seat.  Best of all…you’ve got a myriad of collaborative colleagues sitting “shot-gun” and we’re eager to help.  You can track your progress by adding your name to a shared document.  Click HERE to access the shared document.  Share this link and invite other educators to take the challenge!

 

Challenge I: A School Communication Vehicle

Created by Brad Gustafson, Elementary Principal, MN

@GustafsonBrad on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Create a professional Twitter account and follow each of the eleven challenge submitters from this article.  Observe how they collaborate with their personal learning network (PLN).
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Create a separate school Twitter account strictly for school Tweets.  Post one Tweet about your school each week for an entire year.  Share pictures and insights about the amazing work being done in your classroom or school.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Participate in MESPA’s real-time Twitter chat on May 16, 2014 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.  The chat will be co-moderated by Commissioner of Education, Dr. Brenda Cassellius.  Please use the #MESPAmn hashtag to join the conversation.  We’ll be following a Q & A format, and all educators are welcome.

 

Challenge 2: Make Your Commute a Learning Experience

Curt Rees, Elementary Principal, WI

@CurtRees on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Subscribe to an educational podcast.  There are many platforms to do this, but iTunes, Pod-o-matic, and Stitcher are the most popular.  I recommend these fine podcasts: EduAllstars, PrincipalCast, and Techlandia.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Share a podcast you enjoy with your colleagues.  Find an interesting episode and then tell your staff what you learned.  Model continuous learning by letting them know what you listen to in the car or as you run.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Record your own podcast or videocast for your school community.  It doesn’t need a lot of time or production.  Take your school newsletter and simply record yourself talking about upcoming events.  Audioboo makes it easy to record, upload, and share your voice.  YouTube Capture or TouchCast are all you need to send a video to your YouTube channel.

 

Challenge 3: A Window into your School

Patrick Glynn, Elementary Principal, MN

@GallyGopher on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Establish a Facebook page for your school.  Create one Facebook post each week describing student learning in action…and be sure to include photographs!
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Market your Facebook page to families and collect 100 “Likes.”
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Link your classroom or school’s Facebook page to your school Twitter account using Facebook’s setting options.  This will be a huge time saver and it will offer parents a window into your school.

 

Challenge 4: Public Relations in Overdrive

Jessica Johnson, Elementary Principal, WI

@PrincipalJ on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Start a UStream account at www.ustream.tv and explore how the site works.  Read this post or this post to get ideas about what types of school events you might broadcast.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Use your new UStream account to broadcast a school event. Set up the channel ahead of time and add a description. Advertise that the event will be broadcasted and provide your channel’s URL so parents know how to tune in.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Make broadcasting a regular school routine.  For example, if you want to increase engagement at PTO meetings, create a school PTO channel that will always broadcast the meetings. Then advertise this.  Share this as a tool for teachers to try with their classrooms to engage parents for special events like Readers Theater or other classroom activities.

 

Challenge 5: A 21st Century Bumper Sticker

Tony Sinanis, Elementary Lead Learner, NY

Joe Sanfelippo, District Superintendent, WI

@TonySinanis & @Joesanfelippofc on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: A twitter account is a wonderful way to tell your school’s story. Create a school or district hashtag and incorporate it into your school tweets. For example, every tweet Tony sends out about his school includes #Cantiague and when Joe tweets about his district he includes #GoCrickets! Tweet pictures of WHAT is happening in your space and explain the HOW and WHY too.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Encourage at least four (4) colleagues to join Twitter to tell the story of their students’ learning. It is imperative that the same hashtag is used throughout your organization to ensure that the brand is understood. When more than one member of the staff begins tweeting the WHATs, HOWs and WHYs of your organization, it becomes clear to the community that the brand promise matches the brand experience.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Provide at least one (1) new way to amplify your students’ voices so they can tell the story of their classroom or school. By doing so we are promoting critical thinking and communication skills while laying the foundation for students who will be college and career ready. Tony started doing video updates using the Touchcast app at #Cantiague. Students from each class are spotlighted every week. Give your students the microphone (or other communication tools) because they are the ones living the WHATs, HOWs, and WHYs of your learning organization. The goal of school branding is making everything about kids; that’s the perfect bumper sticker!

 

Challenge 6: Learner Engagement in the Fast Lane

Dwight Carter, HS Principal, OH

@Dwight_Carter on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Use TodaysMeet to create an engaging back-channel (real-time online conversation alongside a primary lesson, training, or event) in a class or at a staff meeting. Allow students/staff to post questions during a presentation or text-based discussion. Use the archive of the back-channel to assess learning and plan next steps.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Use at least three (3) monthly staff meetings as a platform for students and staff to share practical ways they integrate web 2.0 tools in the classroom to amplify student voice and increase engagement. Sample web 2.0 tools include Glogster, Edmodo, YouTube, Twitter, Skype, Polleverywhere.com, Socrative, and Facebook.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Use a current multimedia class or create a club to develop four (4) or more student-centered videos or Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that highlight learning experiences at your school. Post them to a school YouTube channel and share the link on your school Twitter and/or Facebook page. Collaborate with a teacher who is passionate about multimedia to guide the student group. Here’s an example!

 

Challenge 7: Increasing your Social Media Mileage

Dave Zukor, Integration Specialist, MN

@DZukor on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Your class can use Skype or Google Hangout to connect locally with another class somewhere else in your state.  Research information about classroom Mystery Skypes to learn about one engaging option.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Have your students work collaboratively online to create a cross-state project with students from another class in the United States. Use Google Docs, Skype, or any online tool.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Use a social media site to reach out to classrooms around the world.  Share your learning and build opportunities for your students to collaborate.  Start a classroom Twitter account, Google+, or another social media site.

 

Challenge 8: Fueling the Engine of Reflection

Rafranz Davis, Instructional Technology Specialist, TX

@RafranzDavis on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Create a professional blog site using a blogging tool like Blogger, WordPress or Weebly. Write your first post about what you hope to gain through blogging. Share your first post using a social media tool like Twitter.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Publish one (1) blog post per week for a month. Share reflections about the process, success and failures in your classroom or school. Share each of these posts using a social media tool like Twitter.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Connect with blogs written by other educators. Write six (6) blog postings reflecting on other educators’ posts.  Be sure to leave a comment in the original authors’ comment sections listing the URL to your related blog reflection/response. Share each of these posts using a social media tool like Twitter.

 

Challenge 9: Interstate Professional Development

Daisy Dyer Duerr, PreK – 12 Principal, AR

@DaisyDyerDuerr on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Join #ArkEdChat (Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. CST) or another great Educational Twitter Chat. Participate in online, on-demand, professional learning with educators across the globe through social media.
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Participate in an Educational Twitter Chat three (3) weeks in a row; consistency will help build a PLN and give you an understanding of what to expect from the chat’s moderators.  Then, introduce two colleagues or “edufriends” to the world of online Twitter Chats for Professional Development.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Administrators: Formulate a plan allowing your teachers to use Educational Twitter Chats for Professional Development; e.g. credit for participation in existing chats or use of stand-alone chats within your school/district. Teachers: Bring an Administrator who has never participated in this type of Social Media Professional Development to an Educational Twitter Chat like #ArkEdChat (Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. CST).

 

Challenge 10: A Unique Space to Park

Terri Eichholz, Teacher of K – 5 Gifted Students, TX

@TerriEichholz on Twitter

 

Challenge 11: A Golden Opportunity for our Students

Eric Sheninger, High School Principal, NJ

@NMHS_Principal on Twitter

  • 1 “Badge” Point: Leverage your social media connections to form at least one (1) strategic partnership that benefits your school (i.e. pilot Edtech program, unique professional development opportunity, guest speaker, authentic learning experience, donation, etc.).
  • 2 “Badge” Points: Form at least two (2) strategic partnerships and write a school Twitter or Facebook post sharing the benefit to your school.
  • 3 “Badge” Points: Form at least three strategic partnerships and present at a local, state, or national conference on school initiatives.  Write a blog post, media release, or website entry sharing the benefit to your school.

 

How to Earn Badges

 DigiLead Badge 3DigiLead Badge 2DigiLead Badge 3

15-29 points earn the Gearing Up Badge: Awarded to Digital Leaders for their collaborative efforts.

30-49 points earn the Road to Relevancy Badge: Awarded to Digital Leaders for outstanding efforts in collaboration and connectivity.

50-66 points earn the Spark Plug Badge: Awarded to Digital Leaders demonstrating innovation & exemplary 21st century practice while serving as agents of change.

 

Reprinted with permission from MESPA. Click HERE to view the original article published in May, 2014.

The Positive Power of Social Media

 

Episode #4 Coming Soon!

Click the Image to view Student Podcast – Episode #4

 

Our students have been collaborating on cross-state podcast projects this school year.  Kids from Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York have created video podcasts in the TouchCastApp to become more connected learners.  We’re learning how Social Media can be utilized to inspire, connect, and share the amazing things happening in our schools.

Our next podcast will feature an exciting new interactive element…we’re inviting students EVERYWHERE to join us in a celebration of creativity based on a “Squiggle.” A Squiggle may appear like a simple wavy line…but using your imagination a Squiggle can turn into anything!

Squiggle Pic

Squiggle PDF for Connected Classrooms Project

Here’s how your classroom can participate:

Watch our podcast about what a Squiggle is and see some examples from our creative kids. The podcast will air in May, 2014.

  1. Print the Squiggle PDF from the link above and encourage your students to flip, turn, color, and create using the Squiggle. The more creative their designs the better!
  2. Take a picture of each Squiggle masterpiece and Tweet it out using the hashtag #StuConnect
  3. Check back often to see what other creative kids and classrooms are doing…we’ll be selecting one random classroom to receive a classroom pack of new Crayola art supplies. Anyone that submits a Squiggle art drawing to our hashtag this school year is eligible for the art prize pack.
  4. Spread the word…we want our students to see the positive power of “connectivity” while simultaneously celebrating the creative genius in EVERY child!

Help us provide students an authentic audience for their work!  Be sure to use the hashtag #StuConnect when submitting your students’ Squiggle artwork.

AR Collaborative: World Book Talk Tips & Project Letter

#WorldBookTalk Channel

Welcome to the AR Collaborative: A World Book Talk.  I’m including a parent letter below for any school or classroom wishing to participate.  The informational letter provides key details of the project and allows parents the option of opting out of the video submission portion of the World Book Talk.  Click the link below to print a Project Letter PDF:

World Book Talk Project Letter

Who:     Students, teachers, principals, authors, grandparents; anyone that loves reading!

What:    Record a 60 second book talk video of your favorite book.  Any book you’ve read will do.

Where:   Send book talk videos along with a clear photo of the book’s cover to i35collaboration@gmail.com

When:    We are launching the AR Collaborative now.  Feel free to e-mail your videos anytime.

Why:      To foster a lifelong appreciation of reading while modeling meaningful technology integration.  Book talks also activate students’ prior knowledge and help them make important connections to a text.

Top 10 Book Talk Tips:

  1. Speak loudly and be clear while creating your 60 second video.
  2. The target audience is PreK – 12 students.
  3. Be creative & have fun.  Your audience will sense your passion for the book and its theme.
  4. Mention the title and author during your book talk.
  5. Students creating videos should only mention their first name.
  6. The beginning of your book talk video should include a “hook” or attention grabber.
  7. If you have a special connection to the book or author you could mention that.
  8. Plan your closing in advance so it’s clear and keeps potential readers interested.
  9. Book talks help readers make decisions about what to read; do not give away your book’s ending.
  10. Please remember to keep videos to 60 seconds or less.
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