Saturday, July 6, 2013

My Summer MUST Reads!

My goal for this summer is to read at least 2-3 books for fun/professional development. These are at the top of my list:

The Book Whisper 
by Donalyn Miller

Donalyn Miller says she has yet to meet a child she couldn't turn into a reader. No matter how far behind Miller's students might be when they reach her 6th grade classroom, they end up reading an average of 40 to 50 books a year. Miller's unconventional approach dispenses with drills and worksheets that make reading a chore. Instead, she helps students navigate the world of literature and gives them time to read books they pick out themselves. Her love of books and teaching is both infectious and inspiring. The book includes a dynamite list of recommended "kid lit" that helps parents and teachers find the books that students really like to read.

The Passion-Driven Classroom 
by Angela Maiers and Amy Sandvold
Discover ways to cultivate a thriving and passionate community of learners – in your classroom! In this book, educators and consultants Angela Maiers and Amy Sandvold show you how to spark and sustain your students’ energy, excitement, and love of learning. Learn how to move away from prescription-driven learning toward passion-driven learning, and begin to make a real difference in the lives of your students. These strategies will help teachers in Grades K-12 put the "heart" back into teaching and learning – and make a lasting impact as educators.

Untangling the Web
By Adam Bellow and Steve Dembo
After attending #ISTE13 and hearing both Adam Bellow and Steve Dembo speak, I am excited about reading this book! Discover 20 free online learning tools and how to leverage technology to transform your classroom. Includes eBook component with hyperlinks, additional examples, and embedded videos.

Teach Like a Pirate
by Dave Burgess

Based on Dave Burgess's popular "Outrageous Teaching" and "Teach Like a PIRATE" seminars, this book offers inspiration, practical techniques, and innovative ideas that will help you to increase student engagement, boost your creativity, and transform your life as an educator. You'll learn how to: Tap into and dramatically increase your passion as a teacher Develop outrageously engaging lessons that draw students in like a magnet Establish rapport and a sense of camaraderie in your classroom Transform your class into a life-changing experience for your students This groundbreaking inspirational manifesto contains over 30 hooks specially designed to captivate your class and 170 brainstorming questions that will skyrocket your creativity. Once you learn the Teach Like a PIRATE system, you'll never look at your role as an educator the same again.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
by Daniel Pink

Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of our lives. He demonstrates that while the old-fashioned carrot-and-stick approach worked successfully in the 20th century, it's precisely the wrong way to motivate people for today's challenges. In Drive, he reveals the three elements of true motivation:

*Autonomy—the desire to direct our own lives
*Mastery—the urge to get better and better at something that matters
*Purpose—the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

I'm Participating in the 20% Time Academy (MOOC)!

photo source: 20% Time Academy
What is 20% Time?

Also referred to a Genius Hour or Passion Hour- Back in 2006, one of Google’s Technical Solutions Engineers wrote about how the company was “enabling engineers to spend one day a week working on projects that aren’t necessarily in our job descriptions. You can use the time to develop something new, or if you see something that’s broken, you can use the time to fix it.”
Many educators, since beginning to use Google Apps and other Google products, have adopted this concept into their classrooms. (Lisa Thumann - Thumann Resources)
What's a MOOC?

A MOOC is a Massively Open Online Course - anyone can participate and it's free

What is the 20% Time Academy MOOC about?

This course offers two outcomes: Teachers will learn about the research behind Google's 20% policy and how it can be applied in K-12 education. Learners will also participate in their own 20% project throughout the course and present as a final product.

Where can I learn more about 20% Time?

Check out this GoogleDoc

How do I attend class?

Live classes will be held via Google Hangout Monday July 8 and Monday July 15 - both at 8:00 pm EST

Are there assignments?

Yes, in fact this blog post is the first assignment - invite people to participate.  The other assignment for the first week is to browse Joy Kirr's Live Binder and learn more about 20% Time.

Where do I sign up?

Sign up at Schoology - use this access code: ZXQ2B-8CWMV

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Twitter Chats Made Easy with Twubs

There are so many education-themed Twitter chats but many new Twitter users do not know how to participate. When I began using Twitter over two years ago, I learned about Twitter chats by following hashtags. Hashtags are labels that help categorize tweets. For instance, I use #globalclassroom and #2ndchat hashtags quite frequently depending on the content of my tweets.

Twitter chats are designated times for tweeters to come together and chat. There are hundreds of chats that occur daily. @cybraryman1 does a great job of keeping up with the educational chats, but new ones are cropping up daily. 

Once you find a chat you would like join, just jump in. When I first started, I would "lurk" and not say much, but when I finally got the courage to jump in, I would inevitably forget to add the hashtag. Without the hashtag the tweet becomes part of general news feed, but the chat participants won't see it. 

I recently found Twubs, which is a great site for managing twitter chats. Twubs allows you to follow one hashtag at a time and adjust the feed speed from fast to slowest. Using this will keep you from getting overwhelmed with all of the tweets that can come so quickly during a chat. Enabling "chat mode" gives you a nice big screen with just the tweets. You can type your tweet into the box at the top and the hashtag is automatically added! You can also reply to, retweet, and favorite any of the paricipants' tweets. From my personal account, I can add all of the chats I follow and find new chats in the directory.

Chat moderators can also register a hashtag. I love this feature because it allows you to set up a personalized page with photos and links that relate to your chat. I also like that it shows all of the contributors who have tweeted using the hashtag. You can also schedule your chat and it becomes part of the Twubs global calendar and you can embed a live feed widget on to your website or wiki. 

Here is a screen shot of the #2ndchat Twubs page:

Try for your next chat!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

#ISTE13 Reflection and a New Goal

Learning from and collaborating with like-minded educators: Karen Lirenman, Melvina Kurashige, and Paula Naugle
I have read some great reflection posts this week as I have been, as Paula Naugle calls it, "decompressing" from #ISTE13. What I have discovered is that so many of the educators who I encountered at ISTE were there for the same reasons: To follow their passion, to connect with like-minded educators, and to learn new things that they can use in their classroom to create learning environments that spark curiosity and imagination.

The overriding theme that I kept encountering was, while all of the technology and tools are important, the relationships we have with our students and finding ways to inspire and engage them are far more important than the technology itself. Many of us are in school districts with limited resources or where we are the "lone wolf'" on campus, but we are still able to connect globally and engage our students in new and innovative ways. Our hope is that our actions will inspire our colleagues to get on board.

For the past two years I have called my classroom a "global classroom" because of the connections we have made through blogging, Edmodo, Skype, and Twitter. My students have global awareness because they have communicated with students around the world.

My goal for this next year is to not only make connections, but to take it to the next level by teaching my students how collaborate and create with other students. I want them to be able to create, solve problems, innovate, and find their passion!

How will I do this? I am comfortable with the tools, now I have to change with way I teach by giving up some control and allowing for some messiness. My students will take the lead and I will challenge them find their passion.

It won't be easy...I like structure. I like calm and quiet. But I also like creativity and that can't always happen in a calm and structured environment. I will have to find time each week for this to happen.

There! I've put it in writing. Now I can't turn back!  In order to meet this goal, I will be actively learning from other educators this summer by staying connected through Twitter and other online professional communities.  

What goals have set for the summer and upcoming school year?