Ah, the February issue of MiddSouth Innovates (Issue #6) was so much fun to write. I got to talk with Mrs. Fischer’s Art class about their creative urban planning project created by upcycling materials. I was fascinated by how creative the students were and they innovative ways they used the materials. There was even a section that had working solar panels that powered LEDs. I also found some great resources related to reflective practices for students, something that I feel we don’t do enough of in school.
One of the best aspects of my job is getting to talk to teachers about the amazing things their students are doing in class. The Teachers always get excited as they share the students’ work because they are so proud of how innovative the students have been. This is exactly what happened when I talked to Mrs. Bach about her MP1 projects. She pulled out a bunch of projects for me to look at and had a hard time organizing them because they were all so good for different reasons. The podcasts and cell cities were particularly impressive. In this issue you will also find a great alternative to Grammarly called ProWriting Aid.
Sorry for such a delay in posting about the MiddSouth Innovates. The last 2 months of school was crazy and it just slipped my mind. I have the summaries for the last 3 issues going out on consecutive days for you to peruse. Hope you enjoy and have a great final days/weeks of your summer!
I love this issue because it really focuses on something that is important to me: getting kids to do more in the classroom. We talk about shifting from a flipped classroom (teacher and video centered model) to a flipped learning model (more activities, less teacher talk) as well as active learning strategies for teachers who are not ready to try a flipped model. There are even ideas for more effective lectures!
While many are lamenting the end of Spring Break, I am excited because that means another issue of the MiddSouth Innovates is ready for your viewing enjoyment!!
This issue is more of a ‘Did You Know?’ type of thing. I was having a conversation with several teachers right before break and I figured this might be something useful to discuss at the start of MP4. In this issue, we talk about Google Extensions like Tab Scissors/Glue, Keyboard shortcuts for desktops and Chromebooks, Brain-based learning strategies like brain breaks and guided-inquiry, and E-waste recycling programs. As always, feedback is appreciated and I hope you enjoy!
I can’t believe it is Spring! Well, the calendar says it is Spring, but we just got 12″ of snow so I am not sure anyone bothered to send Mother Nature a reminder. Speaking of sending people reminders, Issue #10 of the MiddSouth Innovates is here and we are focusing on Remind. Did you like that transition?
Remind is a fantastic messaging app that allows you to keep your class up to date on everything that is happening at a moment’s notice. But, you can do so much more than just send out reminders. We talk about building relationships with parents, Back-to-School Night, sub-plans, and more. We also take a moment to talk about Spider Web Discussions–a spin on the Socratic Method from Alexis Wiggins. She wrote a book titled The Best Class You Never Taught where she explains how Spider Web Discussions gets the students actively involved in a class discussion and moves the teacher to outside observer. As always, I hope you enjoy!
Apparently I forgot to post about Issue #9 of the MiddSouth Innovates so here it is, just a few weeks late.
It is research paper season in our building so our tech integration section focuses on how a pair of teachers are using tech tools (Google Forms, Choice Eliminator, Piktochart) to change how the research paper process looks for the students. Teachers are also getting frustrated with how the students are using their cell phones during the day so we discuss various ways personal devices can be used in the classroom other than to watch videos and play games.
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!