Showing posts from May, 2015

The Dos and Don'ts of Professional Development

As educators shift their practice to more collaborative experiences for their students, they are demanding a similar shift in their professional development.  Dr. Will conducted a 3 part series of Google Hangouts on Air from varying perspectives on the value and changes in professional development in education today.

Part 1 Carlie Stigler is wrapping up her first year in the classroom and spoke from the perspective of the new teacher.  See her conversation with Dr. Will here.
Part 2 Ibrahim Baig of Bright Minds Connect provided the perspective of someone who creates and delivers professional development for educators.  See his conversation with Dr. Will here.  Ibrahim also provided this excellent Review of Literature on Professional Development as a resource.
Part 3 Dr. Will invited me to provide the veteran teacher perspective on professional development since I have been in middle and high school classrooms for 13 years.  Here is the final cut of our episode.

Take Student Notes to the Next Level

I typically don't write tool-based blog posts since I prefer to focus more on the philosophy and pedagogy behind teaching with technology.  On the other hand, sometimes there is a tool that is just awesome and worth writing about.  In my classroom, one of those tools we always come back to is Skitch.

Skitch is an image annotation and creation tool.  If you are interested in giving it a try yourself after reading this post, here are some tutorials:

Basic how-to from Rockets Help DeskPaperless rubrics with Skitch tutorial
My students and I have found many uses for it.  Here's a list of some of them, with examples from my student Katie, who gave me permission to post her great work.  If you'd like to see more you can visit her blog at Using History to Make History.

Creating and Labeling Charts & Graphs My students have access to all class notes and resources on our website.  As we work through an analyze the information during a lesson, they like to add their learning to th…

Guest Post: Building a Wall of Collaborative Learning

by Shelley Lynch

Recently, I presented a workshop at Reading Memorial High School’s Blue Ribbon conference for educators on tips, obstacles to achievement, other challenges in our profession.   Envisioning how to best facilitate this workshop, I sought the help of Kerry Gallagher, a Reading Memorial High School history teacher and expert in using technology in the classroom.
As a workshop presenter, I could not anticipate the number of attendees, their role, grade level, experience, needs, and so on.  I knew I wanted participants to have control over how they could share their best practices and challenges and that I would serve in the role as facilitator.   I also wanted to have available an easy to use online tool (versus flip chart paper and markers) where teachers could share tips and challenges if desired.   
Kerry suggested I use Padlet, a free program that allows participants to express their thoughts by collaborating on a virtual wall.  The program is very easy to use with lots o…

The Student Data Privacy Balance

The opinion piece originally published by The Hill was reposted today by EdSurge.  My hope is that this small article will continue to circulate so that lawmakers, policy advisors, parents, and students can consider the educator voice in the student data privacy conversation.

Given other recent articles, such as this one in the Washington Post and this one in EdWeek the discussion is heating up.  It is essential that we protect our children's privacy while still making it possible for educators to access formative data that informs instruction and allows for personalized learning. This important conversation must continue in a meaningful way that will lead to best practices everyone can agree on.

June 2015 Update The op-ed from The Hill was cited in a whitepaper from The Center for Democracy and Technology.  You can download and read it at Privacy and the Digital Student.

Finding Your Niche #beyouEDU

As part of the #beyouEDU movement, Dr. Will is featuring the theme "Finding Your Niche" this month,  The theme challenges educators to be true to themselves as they practice their profession and journey through their careers.  He kicked everything off with a vlog in which his passion for making connections in the education community was apparent.  I was honored that he asked me to write about what finding my niche means to me.  The resulting post is published on his blog.

Cue the Suspense: Student Created Movie Trailers

You are in the midst of the most important personal and professional challenge of your life.  Everyone doubted your abilities at the outset, but you've actually had more successes than anyone expected... perhaps even beyond what you believed yourself.  You could win this thing!

This was the thinking of General Robert E. Lee in 1863 as he planned to go north and execute a stunning victory in enemy territory. Gettysburg.

Unfortunately for Lee, Gettysburg would turn out to be a devastating blow to the Confederacy, and it would be just the thing President Lincoln needed to rededicate the Union cause.  So my students needed to find out why.

Why was Gettysburg a turning point in the Civil War?
Just as the opening paragraph of this post was meant to create suspense around the Battle of Gettysburg, I want my students to see the drama and suspense behind every document and piece of evidence we study in class. What creates suspense more than movie trailers? Here's how we made our own dr…

Guest Post: Thank You To Our Teachers

By Dr. John Doherty

The week of May 4-8 is Teacher Appreciation Week. This week is an opportunity to reflect on the impact that teachers have had on our own lives when we went to school and to also thank our children’s teachers for their hard work and the positive effect that they have on our students. Please join me for the next few minutes, as I share with you some stories of a few of our current students who, through the support of many of our teachers, have overcome challenges and blossomed as students.

First, meet Ottavio, a first grade student at the J.W. Killam elementary school. In September, 2014, Ottavio was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a highly malignant brain tumor. Since September, this little boy has endured numerous surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments. Through it all, whenever possible, he attended school and was happy to be with his Killam friends. Currently, he attends school on a part-time basis and is doing better, although some days are more d…