February 22nd is National Digital Learning Day. While the event focuses on the integration of technology into learning, the piece from the site that resonates with me the most is “It emphasizes high-quality instruction…“. As I say often, learning needs to be the focus. After discussing this with our Media Specialist, we both agreed that we wanted to turn the Media Center into a collaborative learning environment for groups of classes to work on innovative projects. The Media Center should not be just for research, but a place where any class, or groups of classes, can come to work on an activity. Since in Middletown we “live digital learning every day” (thank you to my edtech colleague for that quote) we were looking for a little more. Luckily, we have plenty of teachers itching to try something new this year and be a little more innovative.
In this issue, we highlight the work of 3 Biology teachers who developed a collaborative jigsaw activity based around various evolutionary scientists. It involved going paperless, Google Docs, Google Classroom, Google Expeditions, and Flipgrid. Students from different classes and different levels came to the Media Center to participate and it was a great change of pace for everyone. As one teacher said, she has been in the school 13 years and it was the first time she ever brought a class to the library. Now she is looking to see how she can do this type of activity every marking period!
I hope you enjoy MiddSouth Innovates Issue #8!
I had such a great time making Issue #7 of MiddSouth Innovates! I love getting the chance to sit down with passionate educators to talk about learning activities in their classroom. These world-class educators were so excited to talk about their students and their classrooms.
In our tech-related classroom highlight, I talked with a Journalism I class about LucidPress and how it helped them publish their class newspaper. In our non-tech related activity, I talk with an Art teacher about how she is using Perspective art with an Autistic class. Included at the bottom is a feedback form. If you are reading my MiddSouth Innovates, I would greatly appreciate you filling out the form so I can improve. Enjoy!
Another Monday, another issue of MiddSouth Innovates.
In this issue, we look at some of the classes that are using Google Expeditions to take students around the world to look at both the past and the present. We discuss storytelling and how it relates to giving good presentations. And we highlight some of the amazing work that’s being done in the Media Center.
My favorite part about writing each issue is getting to work with amazing educators and students, and helping them find awesome technology to enhance learning. I hope you enjoy all of the work the #middsouthnation is doing.
Assessments are being heavily debated in my district right now. When PARCC first arrived, we switched from Midterms/Finals to Marking Period Quarterlies. Now Quarterlies are up for discussion again. So, with assessment being so heavily discussed, I figured that should probably be the focus of this issue of MiddSouth Innovates.
First, you will find a glimpse into Mrs. Bach’s Biology class as we look at Thinglink and how she used it to provide more meaningful feedback on student-created study guides. Second, you find some key points from the book How To Grade For Learning, K-12. This book focuses on the research and writings of a variety of influential educational scholars and what they have learned about assessments in schools.
Happy New Year!!! And remember to click the image below to see the full MiddSouth Innovates Issue #5.
I apologize about forgetting to post our end of the year MiddSouth Innovates. One of the best parts about my new role as Educational Technology Specialist is going into classrooms all over the school and seeing how technology is being used. In this issue, I had a chance to join one of our math teachers in an Algebra I lesson using Desmos. In the last 2 years, Desmos has moved from simply being an online graphing calculator to a full activity hub for math teachers. As you will see below, this math teacher runs the entire lesson from Desmos using direct instruction, individualized feedback, and both individual and group responses. I was really impressed with both the lesson and tech application.
National Computer Science Week is upon us (December 4-10) which means it is time for the Hour Of Code!! I absolutely love the activities they have developed to get students solving complex problems. That’s right! Coding isn’t about typing words on a page. It is about figuring out how to put together a puzzle when you don’t know what the puzzle looks like. For the past couple of weeks, my students have been tackling simple and complex coding HW in an attempt to expose them to both Scratch and Python. First, they had to animate their name using Scratch. Now they are drawing snowflakes with Raspberry Pi Foundation.
I created the following Smore to remind my staff about the Hour Of Code. We are going to setup stations in our Media Center for students to participate, and have Certificates and 3D Printed badges for anyone who completes the full hour. Enjoy the Smore and check out #middsouthinnovates for pictures from our activities.
Innovation (noun): a new method, idea, product, etc.
The first issue of MiddSouth Innovates (#middsouthinnovates) was a success! We had 293 views from 23 unique locations on 3 continents!! At least 1 member of every department in my school made a comment about something they saw in newsletter which definitely shows it is having an impact. So on to Issue #2:
The more I discuss ideas with Educators, the more I realize that innovation is relative. Being innovative is not a thing–it’s a mindset. It’s about waking up and saying ‘Today I will try something in my classroom that I have never done before.’ Maybe it will be with technology, maybe it will be with classroom management. Whatever you choose to do, it is about trying to improve. So, in this issue I highlight a physical modeling technique that one of our Chemistry teachers was super excited about, and the website Smore which is what I use to make the MiddSouth Innovates newsletter. Enjoy!