Thursday, March 31, 2011

April is National Poetry Month

What is National Poetry Month?
Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April, when publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools and poets around the country band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and non-profit organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.

30 Poets, 30 Days: Throughout each day during National Poetry Month, a selected poet will have 24 hours to tweet his or her daily insights before passing the baton.  Poem Flow/App   

What is National Poetry Month?: Frequently asked questions about NPM.
30 Ways to Celebrate: A month's worth of poetry activities that any community can take part in.
Celebration Highlights: Reminisce about Academy events and promotions of Aprils past.
Poem In Your Pocket Day: Join thousands of individuals across the U.S. by carrying a poem in your pocket on April 14, 2011.
Poetry & the Creative Mind: Each April, The Academy of American Poets presents a star-studded celebration of American poetry.
30 Poets, 30 Days: Throughout each day during National Poetry Month, a selected poet will have 24 hours to tweet his or her daily insights before passing the baton.
Poem-A-Day: Great poems from new books emailed each day of National Poetry Month. Sign up for your daily dose of new poems from new spring poetry titles.
Spring Book List: Check out the new books of poetry available each spring.
Poem Flow for iPhones: Available through the iTunes store, this innovative mobile app features daily poems presented as both fixed and animated text.
National Poetry Map: Find out what is happening in your state by visiting our redesigned and updated National Poetry Map. Massachusetts

Use Technology, Collaboration, and Creativity to Inspire Students for Poetry Month
Poetry Lessons, Ideas and Resources from Edutopia

If you have been looking for lessons, new ideas and resources, and maybe a little inspiration to ignite your celebration of National Poetry Month
Read/Write/Think – I’ve been a long-time fan of this NCTE (National Council for Teachers of English) site and have come to expect outstanding teacher-tested, research based resources like the ones posted for National Poetry Month. I recommend checking out the “interactives,” such as Diamonte Poems or What’s an Acrostic Poem? and then move on to sample some lessons, such as Poetry Portfolios for your primary students, Composing Cinquain Poems with Basic Parts of Speech for elementary students, or Is a Sentence a Poem? mini-lesson for secondary students. In addition to hosting the Read/Write/Think site, NCTE also posts a National Poetry Day page with podcasts from last year’s entries.  More links

Prom - Choose your Adventure Video

Earlier this month I wrote a blog post about learning from others on twitter. Pat Larkin @bhsprincipal at Burlington High School, and Greg Kulowiec @gregkulowiec from Plymouth tweeted about creating 'Choose Your Own Adventure' using YouTube/Spotlight, to learn more about the technique go to  "How to Make an Interactive Lesson Using Youtube" On the site is an example of a "GMAT Choose Your Own Adventure".

Two students in my graduate class (Amanda and Craig) created Adventure videos for math.

A student in my high school, Courtney created an Adventure Video on Prom ChoicesAlthough this video was not part of the contest, it was an alternative assignment, allowing students to further explore the choices and consequences of drinking and driving.  The assignment was motivated by the  Dance Don't Chance video contest that is part of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), in partnership with the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Public Health that aims to make the prom/graduation season safer for teens on Massachusetts' roads. 
The Adventure Video allowed Courtney to create and link several videos together to show students have choices to make around drinking and driving.  Her message, drinking and driving is illegal and stupid. I would have to agree.

It was great to take an idea that Greg tweeted and blogged about and apply directly to the classroom.
I believe the class plans to incorporate more Adventure videos into their assignments.


Watch Apple unveil iPad 2 at a special event on March 2, 2011, in San Francisco. iPad 2 is thinner, lighter, and faster with two cameras for FaceTime video calls and HD video recording.
I have started a new page on this blog

Friday, March 25, 2011

Learning Goals

Today I am attending a Professional Development day in my district.  Tom Daccord is presenting on Assessment 2.0  Follow along with me on twitter!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

ipad Apps for Special Education, Adventure Videos and more

In a graduate class over the weekend Bob Tucker showed the ipad and several Apps for Special Education. MEPSA will be offering Spring Classes on the ipad2 for Special Education, Administrators and Teachers.

I was impressed with an app called Proloquo2Go. It is an application which provides adaptive communication for non-verbal individuals. I have a particular student in my school that I believe will benefit from using this technology on the ipad.  I plan on connecting with her speech therapist and teacher.  Note: I believe the cost is under $200.00. Some of the other Apps we reviewed Life Skills Sampler, Bob's Books and Mathination.  There is a Special Education Section in the itunes Store that I plan hope to explore with teachers.  I am hoping I can figure out how to get the ipad/iphone to work with the SMARTboard and plan to checkout LogMeIn Ignition.

In addtion, I was able to view many of the great projects students created.  Some students were inspired by a Social Studies teacher Adventure Videos in Tube, check out Greg's Social Studies blog post modeled after The Knewton Edtech Blog which  has a great walk through and example on how to make these videos.

I enjoyed the YouTube Advenure video by two math teachers in my class this month Parallelograms with Sheil and Benware.  I have a few high school students workin on adventure videos and hope to post soon, 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Reading on the ipad

I belong to a neighborhood book club.  We normally share books.  My neighbor had a gift certificate for the Barnes and Noble so she downloaded the Nook App for her ipad. This month's selection,  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night -Time . She was kind enought to let me borrow her ipad yesterday in order to read. The book was only 120 pages and I was able to breeze through reading the book on the ipad.  It was interesting to see firsthand how I could change the font size, highlight, take notes and hyperlink within the novel. 
  Learn more about iBooks – A novel way to buy and read books.  You’ll be even more well read once you get your hands on iBooks. Download the iBooks app from the App Store. Load up on books from the iBookstore. Take them to more places than you’d ever take a regular book. And right when you pull one out on your iPad, you’ll be pulled right in.

Learn more by watching

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy St. Patricks Day - Design for Global Learning Conference

MassCUE and METAA’s 6th Annual Technology Leadership Symposium 2011 - March 17th, 2011 - College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA
Design for Global Learning - AGENDA - Follow on Twitter #TLS2011

Morning Panel Discussion

Sunday, March 13, 2011

21st Century Traits and 10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning

I was following Twitter this evening and came across a post from Derek Keenan on the Developing Education blog.  Derek lists 5 traits that are essential for teachers who are working with changing students and practices.

5 Traits of the  21st Century Teacher  
  1. Driven to Learn - Educators absolutely must be driven to learn in order to teach effectively in the 21st Century. It is no longer acceptable to teach only from a textbook, to rely on the same worksheets an methods year after year without at least questioning them and researching why they are the best resource available. There is simply too much new information, too many new strategies, and new learning available to us to ignore the implications it may have for students in our classes.
  2. A Media Creation Expert - Whether posted online or simply used in the classroom, our materials must be highly engaging and effective. Powerpoint and Word are becoming antiquated as newer and more powerful presentation and editing suites become available to teachers. It is our responsibility to compete (where necessary) with the quality of video games and media construction in order to hook students into great learning. As media conscious teachers, we can win student attention by working with them, not against them, for their learning.
  3. A Digital Navigator – Not many teachers would consider themselves digital natives, but we must understand enough about digital content and how it is used to effectively operate in our student’s world. This means having social media accounts and understanding how they are used, even if you don’t use them specifically for learning. We must be familiar enough with the new digital landscape that we can help students navigate their journey online, even if we don’t (or can’t) join them.
  4. An Empathetic Mentor – Gone are the days when teachers dole out assignments and send students on their merry way. A modern educator realizes the plethora of factors impacting students in our current world, and strives to tailor learning where possible toward individualized needs and interests. This student-centered focus also creates learning opportunities for the teacher to learn with students, developing their teaching and collaborative skills.
  5. A Technology Harmonizer – As teachers of our time, we must realize the implications of pervasive technologies such as smart phones and highly mobile tablets/computers. In addition, we must find ways to ‘make it work’ with technology, which may include enlisting students to help or (as in trait 1) learn more about the technologies we are using. One of the keys here is that we work at making the technology work (in the best way we can) so the lesson becomes about the learning instead of the management of machines
I was thinking about the number of PD and graduate classes I have taught over the last few years and I've been impressed with the way teachers are driven to learn, especially after being introduced to twitter and social media tools.

Another new source to review
What are the 10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning ?
The Digital Learning Council has just released the “10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning” which recommends major changes to state education policy that include eliminating seat-time requirements, making a move to competency based learning and assessment, reconsidering funding and tools we provide students for example, funding and providing infrastructure for the real tools of the 21st century for those without access i.e. netbooks rather than textbooks, internet for all, and harnessing the power of tools students already own such as cell phones.

Upcoming Live Webinar -
Harnessing the 10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning for Your School District
Wednesday, March 30, 1 p.m. EDT
Also available "on demand" any time 24 hours after the event.

Free registration is now open.

Edchat Topics this week

Voting is now open for #edchat on Tuesday evening at 7:00 PM in Twitter.
Item five is leading with votes this evening and links directly to information covered in our class.
Link here to vote.
  1. What role does homework play in your curriculum? Is it part of the summative assessment, assigned a grade, or a percentage of a grade?
  2. Does collective bargaining have a positive or negative effect on education?
  3. What things can a teacher best utilize for a single connected computer in a classroom to develop students' needed skills? )
  4. Is the economy creating a climate of antagonism toward teachers that is impacting what and how teachers teach today?
  5. What are some specific ways educators can incorporate social media as a tool for learning into a content-driven curriculum?

Using Word Clouds

101 Ways to use Tagxedo (presentation). To learn more, go to  and enter the address of your blog.  You can then pick a shape to best suuport you theme. You can move over the words on the image below and they will expand.   There may also be a delay with the image loading, be patient. Note: Microsoft Silverlight must be installed to view in the interactive mode.

Click here to learn how to embed in your blog.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

World Read Aloud Day - Skype Project

Today is World Read Aloud Daywhere classrooms around the world will be using this amazing technology to connect, share stories, and celebrate the power of our words and voices with Skype.  (Learn more about Skype in the classroom). So what are you waiting for? Grab your favorite class read aloud and find a classroom here to share it!  Thanks to a tweet and some inspiration from Angela Maiers @angelamaiers that's exactly what we did today.
Nashoba and Hollis, NH (1st Grade)
Our school librarian, @tracylandry, coordinated with students to participate in two sessions today.  The first connection this morning was with a 1st Grade Class in NH @nicoletomaselli. We read "The Puriri Tree" (online format)  It was great!
See a segment of the Video  Additionally, other students in our high school took a trip to an elementary school in our district and read to the students.

Nashoba and Maynard, MA (Special Education)
In the second session we connected two Special Education classes. The students read "Alaska's Big Race" by alternating reading paragraphs. The students were so excited to see their friends from  Maynard.  Now that the teachers have used skype they plan to continue to connect their classrooms in the future. 

Upon reflection of this process both Ms. Landry and I felt so proud that we had connected these classes and would encourage other teachers to use skype for classroom collaboration in all content areas.

I am so grateful that @angelamaiers tweeted about this project and we were able to part of World Read Aloud Day experience using skype.

The motivation for this project was found on Twitter #edchat Tuesday's @7:00 PM.  Connect and get inspired!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Another day of learning

Yesterday was our second session at #MESPA in Marlborough, the class, Using Web 2.0 and Social Networking in the Classroom. I started the day by direct messaging Pat Larkin on twitter (@ Burlington High School Principal, blog) to connect with our class for a discussion on Professional Development and building a Personal Learning Network/PLN.  Little did I know, Pat was presenting in New Jersey and had a ustream session setup.  We connected with Pat's session via ustream  joined the discussion and the chat in google docs. Later in the day, Pat skyped with us while on his train ride back home.  While skyping with us, Pat continued to tweet late into the evening.  I hope everyone enjoyed the opportunity to connect with Pat and the conference.

On another note, I enjoyed all the presentations by everyone yesterday and look forward to our next class on  3/19.   I will keep you posted on my "adventure video" thanks to a tweet and some inspiration from Burlington's #ntcamp last week with @ and @ . Greg's Social Studies blog post about his class adventure and how to setup the process.

Reminder -  World Read Aloud Day Skype Project | Angela Maiers Educational Services, Inc. Wednesday, March 9th @angelamaiers Sign-up and read!

#edchat Topics @tomwhitby
Okay, time to select a Topic for this week's #Edchat. Plz vote now!
What do you want to talk about during this week's (3/8)  - Vote now for Tuesday.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

2011 National Education Technology Plan

Goal: All learners will have engaging and empowering learning experiences both in and out of school that prepare them to be active, creative, knowledgeable, and ethical participants in our globally networked society. 

To prepare students to learn throughout their lives and in settings far beyond classrooms, we must change what and how we teach to match what people need to know, how they learn, and where and when they learn and change our perception of who needs to learn. We must bring 21st-century technology into learning in meaningful ways to engage, motivate, and inspire learners of all ages to achieve. 

What People Need to Learn - Education experts have proposed answers to this question, and although they differ in the details all recognize that what we need to know goes beyond the traditional three Rs of Reading, 'Riting, and 'Rithmetic. Whether the domain is English language arts, mathematics, sciences, social studies, history, art, or music, 21st-century competencies and expertise such as critical thinking, complex problem solving, collaboration, and multimedia communication should be woven into all content areas.  We are still evolving our understanding of what it means to be a 21st-century learner. For example, what does it mean to be digitally literate in an age of constantly evolving technologies and resources, and how we can teach learners to use new technology in ways that are productive, creative, and responsible.  One response to these essential questions is offered by the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE), which has published the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS–S).

Teaching Prepare and Connect  The best way to prepare teachers for connected teaching is to have them experience it. All institutions involved in preparing educators should provide technology-supported learning experiences that promote and enable the use of technology to improve learning, assessment, and instructional practices.
The plan under section 3.2 highlights the importance of leveraging social networking technologies and platforms to create communities of practice that provide career-long personal learning opportunities for educators within and across schools, preservice preparation and in-service educational institutions, and professional organizations.   Social networks can be used to provide educators with career-long personal learning tools and resources that make professional learning timely and relevant as well as an ongoing activity that continually improves practice and evolves their skills over time. Online communities should enable educators to take online courses, tap into experts and best practices for just-in-time problem solving, and provide platforms  and tools for educators to design and develop resources with and for their colleagues.
As educators it is imporant that we review the National Educational Technology Plan, ISTE Standards along with our states adoption of the 21st Century Overview: Readiness in Massachusetts.

In this Video David Rose the Director and Chief Scientist at CAST (the Center for Applied Special Technology) and a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. His talk touches on everything from how technology can help schools overcome their “print disability,” to how technology can individualize learning and help kids become “expert learners,” to how it helps with tasks that humans aren’t good at so teachers can embrace their creativity and spontaneity. For a few more information you can check out some  tweets from the Teacher Talk.

A few questions to think about:
Does the technology in your school support the goals in the National Technology Plan?
How does the material covered in our class meet the needs of all students? 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Learning from Twitter and inspired by others

I was online Sunday using twitter and found two tweets that sparked my interest.

1. Pat Larkin @bhsprincipal at Burlington High School, hosted a day of learning #ntcamp along with @gregkulowiec from Plymouth.  Yes, learning on the weekend.  The topic  'Choose Your Own Adventure' using YouTube/Spotlight. Here is an Intro video to the ntcamp.  The topic -  "How to Make an Interactive Lesson Using Youtube" On the site is an example of a "GMAT Choose Your Own Adventure"  In your Youtube account (you need to create the account), and then take some time to check out the Spotlight tool. Here is a tutorial that walks you through the process of using the tool. Greg Kulowiec @gregkulowiec particpated in the camp and blogged about his class social studies class implementing 'Choose Your Own Adventure'.  Greg was featured on WBUR's (90.0, Boston NPR Station) "Here and Now" program on February 18th.  This type of activity and learning connects to 21st Century Learning and Creativity as discussed with Sir Ken Robinson in this interview (Time 17:40 or on TED)
I tweeted the link out to a few of my teachers and today met with students to explain the concept.  The students are going to review the blog, video and tutorials and come up with their own Adventure and present it to me this week.

2. The second tweet that caught my interest was a project that incorporated Skype with the "World Read Aloud Day" which is scheduled for Wednesday, March 9th. For details Maiers send out a tweet looking for people to sign up.  I am looking to recruit teachers in my school and my graduate program to take part in this event.

I continue to be amazed at all the learning and  24x7 PD that I can access on twitter.

Please share something you found on twitter that inspired your teaching and classroom.