Sunday, June 30, 2013

So Inspiring - RIP Dr. Rita Pierson

I only recently discovered Dr. Rita Pierson as the link to her inspirational TED talk made the rounds on Twitter. I have watched her talk several times and know it is one I will continue to revisit and share with others. What a great message! As we mourn her passing, let's remember to celebrate her life by truly living her message -
"Every child deserves a champion - an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best they can possibly be." 

Read messages left by some of the TED community on their blog in loving memory of Dr. Rita Pierson.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Newbie/Social Butterfly Lounge Calendar for ISTE13

I am so excited to be attending ISTE13 in San Antonio this year. This will be my seventh ISTE, but I clearly remember my very first one. As a newbie, I wish I had known about having a PLN (personal learning network) back in 2004, when I attended for the first time in my home town of New Orleans. I didn't attend again until 2008 and still didn't have a PLN, so I enjoyed it, but again wished I could have had a better way to network with others.

Things were different when I attended in 2009 in Washington, D.C. My PLN (lead by @bethstill) made that ISTE experience so much more rewarding. Every year since then I have made an effort to help newbies in any way that I can. 

This year at ISTE I plan to volunteer much of my time in the Newbie/Social Butterfly Lounge which will be located in the West Registration Lobby. Please look for me and I'll help you in any way that I can. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Love This Google Doc Extension

If you're like me and use Chrome as your browser and Google Docs with your students, you're going to love the Chrome extension Read&Write for Google Docs. You simply go to the Chrome Web Store and search for Read&Write. Click on the Add to Chrome button and after a few prompts you have to respond to it will be added. When you open a Google Doc you will see a new addition to the toolbar. 

Now all of your students have access UDL features such as a text-to-speech tool, a dictionary and image dictionary, a fact finder, and a translator while working within a Google Doc. 

My favorite feature is the Vocabulary builder (the last icon on the toolbar). I tried it out and created a vocablary list. What I really love is that a student can add notes to the last column and the vocabulary list can be saved, printed, or copy and pasted into a new Google Doc. (I noticed the date, which is automatically added, is in the European format. I created this list on June 8, 2013.)

Check out all of the assistance the Read&Write extension offers our students by watching this YouTube video

(Click here to watch if you are unable to view it. )

If you would like to learn more about Google Tools to use in your classroom check the blog post 10 Creative Ways to Use Google Tools to Maximize Learning. This is where I learned about this awesome extension. 

So what do you think? How could you use this with your students?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Let 2013 Begin - Part 1 - 2012 in Review

The words to John Lennon's song keep swirling in my head
"...And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun." 

Yes, indeed what have I done? And what plans do I have for the new one that has just begun? Well, here in Part 1 I will review my Year 2012. Tomorrow I will post Part 2 about what I am planning for 2013. 

Decided my #365Project for the year would consist of me grabbing a screencast of a tweet that I found inspiring each day. As usual, I did not complete the entire project but I continued longer than most. You can see my posts here. **Bonus - I received a DENny award for this series of posts. 

I was a featured presenter at METC in St. Louis. I enjoyed my time connecting with members of my PLN and making new friends at that event and I even got to see snow. 

I celebrated my third Twitter anniversary. You can read more about that here

I celebrated another birthday. 

As I prepared my students for the annual high stakes test that is a part of the Louisiana educational system, I couldn't help but be excited for when it would be over. My students did very well on the LEAP test. 

Thanks to a discussion on #4thchat, I began #ImpromptuSkype calls

I received a beautiful trophy for the DENny PL DEN Award from the Discovery Educators Network. Read more about it here

I was invited to join a Skype group called Hello Little World Skypers. There are roughly 100 members from around the world who are par of this group. They are very active and enjoy sharing and learning with and from each other. My students were able to do their first international Skype call this year with Mr. Steve from South Africa. 

School ended for my thirty-sixth time and I attended the Bayou Country Fest in Baton Rouge with my dear friend, Janet. 

ISTE is always the highlight of my summer (and my year), but this year it was especially memorable. I finally got to meet my Skype Buddy, Jan Wells, face to face. You can read more about that here

I had such a wonderful time in San Diego and would love to send hugs and kisses to Beth Still. She included my on her presentation panel again this year. She also made all of the arrangements for the #educrib we rented while in California, where I got to bond even more with Jan and all of my other house mates. 

I hosted an online Professional Development opportunity for just over 30 members of the #4thchat community. As different people talked about using Edmodo with their students during our weekly Twitter chats, there were just as many who wanted to learn about Edmodo. So I started the #4thchatPD group on Edmodo, and ran the course over the eight weeks of June and July. Yes, I used Edmodo to teach others about Edmodo. It was a great learning experience for everyone involved. 

This month marked the second #EdcampLA. I am one of the organizers for this exciting and different form of PD. We had a great turnout and can't wait for our third one next July.

I began to learn how to use Google Hangouts with various members of my PLN. I knew this would be a tool I would want to add to my toolkit and had fun learning it with others. 

I attended several training sessions on the Common Core State Standards both in person and online. Louisiana will be transitioning to the CCSS with full implementation during the 2014-2015 school year. 

Also during this month, I started collaboratively working on a virtual PD that was being hosted by Theresa for her teachers in Illinois. Ten educators from the HLW Skypers group were involved. We used GHO and a wiki to doing the planning. I agreed to present about Edmodo. 

I participated in the Connected Educators' Month. You can read more about that in this series of posts I wrote. I was even the guest tweeter for the day of August 5. 

It was a short summer as I headed back to begin my thirty-seventh year of teaching on the second week of August. I found out that I would teach two blocks of math and science and one class of social studies this year. Woohoo - this science minor finally gets to teach some science. 

I was so proud of my students, who after just a short time in school, were able to do a masterful job presenting virtually to a group of teachers, most of whom were located in Illinois. My kids told them how we are using Edmodo in our classroom as our learning management system. Check out our presentation here by scrolling down to the Edmodo part. Thanks, Theresa Allen, for this amazing opportunity. 

We missed seven days of school thanks to Hurricane Issac. When we returned it felt like we were starting the year over again. 

I signed up to have my students participate in Quadblogging this year. Unfortunately the time out of school threw me off schedule and I never had my students fully participating as I had hoped to. Here is my one and only post for our group.

During this month I worked collaboratively with a group of educators to start the Global Collaboration Network. Jefff Bradbury of TeacherCast fame worked closely with us to build this website. Bill Krakover, Nancy Carroll, Dan Curcio, Jerry Blumengarten, Jessica Baumburger, Kim Powell, and I met weekly in a GHO to create the projects and try to build the website. We were hopeful that we would get accepted to present at ISTE. 

My students and I participated in Jen Wagner's annual O.R.E.O. Project and had fun with the Great Pumpkin Project. We started doing Mystery Location calls. We call them that instead of Mystery Skype calls because sometimes we use Google Hangouts instead of Skype. Read more about the name change here

We also had our entire fourth grade signup for and participate in a webcast by Scholastic featuring Taylor Swift. Our kids really enjoyed it.

During this month I worked collaboratively with a group of educators to start 

I prepared to attend and present at LaCUE, our state technology conference. I did four presentation and enjoyed time with my members of my PLN. We had a small tweet up at Deannie's and I enjoyed a stay at the Hilton.

Since I had become a presenter for Simple K12, I jumped at the chance to become an ambassador for them. They were thrilled to have me join their ranks, and I was thrilled to get my very own pair of bunny slippers. I wore them proudly during my LaCUE presentation entitled PD in Your PJs.

Mark, at My Town Tutors, invited me to write a guest blog for them. Here is my post.

I also completed my first formal evaluation under our state's new system and received a highly effective rating.

The Sandy Hook tragedy took its toll on me. I went into a depression and had a hard time gearing up for Christmas this year. One of the most hopeful things that came to my attention was this post by Beth Still's husband.

Bill informed the Global Collaboration Network that we were not select to present at ISTE. However, we plan to do a presentation for ISTE Unplugged while in San Antonio this summer.
So there is my YEAR 2012 Review.

My Proudest Accomplishments
All of my presentations (check them out here)
My DENny Award
Becoming a Simple K12 Ambassador
My collaboration with others

What were your greatest accomplishments in 2012?