Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Now It's Your Turn

I just finished my post "2009 in Review". I am posting a challenge to some of the members of my PLN. I want them to reflect on how they did with the resolutions they made at the beginning of 2009. I hope they will pass on the challenge to 5 or so members in their PLN, and so on and so on. Are you ready for the challenge?

The people I am tagging are:
Beth Still
Jen Wagner
Jan Wells
Richard Bryne
Crista Anderson
Alec Couros

Your PLN wants to read about how you did with last year's (2009) resolutions. Please let us know when you post your response. Happy New Year!!!

Be Successful with Your New Year's Resolution

Professor Richard Wiseman found out about 10% of the 5,000 people he tracked last year were successful at achieving their resolutions by following these steps:

1) Break your goal into a series of smaller steps.
2) Tell your friends and family about your goals. This increases the fear of failure but also elicits support from them.
3) Regularly remind yourself of the benefits associated with achieving your goals.
4) Give yourself a small reward when you reach one of the smaller steps you mapped out.
5) Have a way to track your work - use a spreadsheet or a journal (blog).

Also check out these 5 tools at Make Use Of to help you with your resolutions.

2009 in Review

I just finished reading Sylvia Martinez's blog post "Circle of Life: the technology using educator edition". It got me thinking about where my tech journey took me this year. My New Year's resolutions for the year 2009 were:
to build a personal learning network (PLN)
to expand my technology skills
and to start presenting at conferences.
Below I have put the highlights of how I accomplished my goals.

I waited patiently as other 4th grade teachers in my district accepted the invitation to the Ning I created for us (on New Year's Eve). I wanted us to have a place to share resources and ideas. I watched like a proud mama as our membership grew to 31 during the year. Read about it and other things I did to begin to build my personal learning network (PLN) here.

I attended the GNOTM Conference. The best session I attended was one about special math days like Square Root Day, Odd Day, 100th Day, and Pi Day.

I joined Twitter. At first I was just a lurker because I didn't "get" it.

Somewhere along the line I learned about Classroom 2.0 Live and attended my first webinar using the Elluminate platform. I discovered that I'm not very good at multitasking. How does everyone listen, read the chat, and type all at the same time?

I created a Ning for the faculty of my school - Bissonet Plaza. I posted quite a lot of stuff, but there was not much interest from the other teachers.

I added two posts to my classroom blog about Twitter and how valuable I was finding it to be. I kept thinking that I needed a professional blog for posts like this.

My 4th graders participated in the Earth Day Grocery Bag Project.

I made my first VoiceThread with my students. I entered the lesson in our district's technology lessons competition and I won second place, between two high school lessons. I was thrilled to learn that I had won my very own Flip camera.

I am asked to present about Nings and blogs at our district's technology conference in August.

I became a STAR Discovery Educator.

I applied for and was elected to the DEN Louisiana Leadership Council. I am one of four people on the LaLC and part of the blog team.

I attended a two-day inservice "Working on the Work Web 2.0 21st Century Skills" put on by my district. I learned more about Google Earth, Glogster, Voki, Blabberize, Photostory and other Web 2.0 tools.

I completed a four week online class to become a PBWorks Certified Teacher.

I started my professional blog. I realized that I wanted to post some things that are not appropriate to put on a classroom blog.

I attended "A Day at School" presented by Discovery Education at their headquarters in Silver Springs, Maryland. Then I traveled to Washington, D.C. to catch the tail-end of EduBloggerCon. I spent four great days at NECC09 and got to meet many of my online PLN face-to-face. I also attended my first TweetUp.

I applied to attend the Google Teachers' Academy that was held in Colorado. I put my heart and soul into my application and video, but sadly I was not selected. Many members of my PLN helped me with the application process and consoled me when I wasn't selected.

I did my first district-wide presentation at our Technology Training in the New Orleans Convention Center. I'm proud to say that it went well.

I completed a very successful collaborative project via Skype with our buddy class in Kansas. I found Jan Wells and her fourth graders at one of the Ning's I belong to and we decided to work together this year.

I found out that my proposal to present had been accepted for LaCUE {Louisiana Computer Using Educators).

I completed the Technology Model Classroom Grant that was being sponsored by my district.

Jan's class and mine did another Skype project.

I completed my application for graduate school.

I completed my presentation for LaCUE in December.

Jan's class and mine completed our "Paul Revere's Ride" VoiceThread project.

I presented at LaCUE with Alexis Western (one of the TI's from my district). I also helped Carl Gaines do a live stream session (via ustream) of one of Brian Mull's sessions.

I applied for Technology Leadership Master's Program at Southeastern Louisiana University and was accepted.

I participated in Jen Wagner's Holiday Card Exchange Project. I was one of 24 schools is Group Four. My students loved getting cards from all over the country and Canada.

I was awarded a $15,000 Technology Model Classroom Grant from my school district.

As 2009 draws to a close, I sit here on my laptop thinking it was a good year - it was a very good year. What do you think? How was your 2009?

I Got the Technology Model Classroom Grant

I spent a lot of my Thanksgiving vacation applying for the Technology Model Classroom Grant being offered by my school district. Applicants could get up to $15,000 worth of hardware for their classroom. The time spent on that endeavor was definitely worth the effort.

On Monday, December 21, our assistant principal, Audrey Easley, called my room and asked if I had checked my email. When I told her I hadn't, she said I needed to do so right away. What I found was an email from Dr. Mabel Moore, Chief Technology Officier, that began "JPPSS Division of Technology is pleased to announce that you have been selected to participate in the Technology Model Classroom Grant." Attached was a letter from her which began with - "Congratulations! You have been selected to receive one of the first JPPSS Technology Model Classroom (TMC) Grants. Your current practices and plans to integrate technology into the curriculum have earned an award to outfit your class with the hardware and support you need to be successful."

Here is a list of the hardware that will be placed in my classroom:

ActiveBoard 1
Projector 1
ActiveVotes 1 set
Active Tablet 1
ActiveSlate 1
ActiveWand 1
ActiveView 322 Visual Presenter or other Document Reader 1
Laser Printer 1
Digital Camera 1
iPod iTouch 1
Flip Video Camera 4
Netbooks 15
Dell D18CFR 18 Station Laptop Cart 1
Portable GPS Unit 1
Webcam 15
Headset & microphone 15

Upon accepting the grant I am agreeing to the following:

JPPSS Model Classroom Grant recipient must agree to the following:
• commit to a minimum of three years to the JPPSS Technology Model Classroom environment which will involve ongoing administrative and peer observations;
• willing to submit the following classroom samples as part of an electronic portfolio in the JPPSS Blackboard site to be used as a staff development assessment tool: student samples, ongoing monthly journal reflections, digital pictures, digital video clips, and alternative assessment samples;
• post at least one lesson plan online at Promethean Planet per semester;
• participate and complete all activities in the JPPSS Blackboard collaborative environment (coming in the near future);
• satisfactorily complete at least one online course per year via the JPPSS Blackboard or other web-delivered course (cost covered by JPPSS Technology Department);
• integrate technology units and activities that utilize technology resources to support standards-based learning;
• attend the fall and spring JPPSS Technology Model Classroom collaborative meetings (release time is provided by the district);
• attend LaCUE Conference at district expense;
• submit a proposal to present at local, regional, or national conference during one of the three years of commitment;
• Applicants are required to produce a final technology “product” each year representing their progress towards their 3-year PGP (i.e. website, CD-ROM, electronic portfolio, video, multi-media presentation, etc. that will be submitted electronically or via CD/DVD).
• Applicants must assure that technology is infused into their PGP that:
• meets local and state content standards;
• contains direct links between content standards from two or more curriculum areas and the State Technology Standards.

I look forward to all the opportunities that being a TMC will afford me. I am so honored that JPPSS deems me worthy and am looking forward to 2010 and beyond.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

LaCUE09 TweetUp

Boutin's in Baton Rouge was the site for the annual LaCUE TweetUp. This event, that was organized by Brian Mull, was a small (about 12 people) but rocking event. Carl Gaines, who couldn't stay long, said that the number of attendees was up from last year. Twitter is slowly catching on among Louisiana educators.

Leslie Fisher, one of the top LaCUE presenters, entertained us with her frequent flyer stories. She is down-to-earth and humble, even when she told us about how she became "The Leslie Fisher". I love the fact the she can be just "one of us" when she is not on stage.

Brian Mull told us about his teaching career and how he started work for November Learning. He grew up a military "brat" and his dad retired to the Metairie area. His dad began a second career as an educator and his mom also teaches.

Other members of my PLN (personal learning network) who attended were Alexis Western, Lisa Dick, and Susan Gauthier. Hopefully next year the group will be much larger.

Dining with the STARS

As part of the Louisiana Leadership Council (LALC), I got to attend the annual "Dining with the STARS" dinner. This event is hosted by Susan Tompkins, Chair of the LALC. Susan invites the Louisiana STAR educators who are attending LaCUE (Louisiana Computer Using Educators Conference)to come and bring a guest. Unfortunately my guest was unable to attend, but I went anyway.

I was excited because I got to meet the rest of the LALC face-to-face. Susan Tompkins, Cindy Wallace, and Susan Gauthier were very welcoming to me. It is nice to be able to put their faces and names together. About 25 people attended the dinner. Hopefully some of the guests will consider becoming STARS educators.