Saturday, December 31, 2016

Wrapping up 2016 and thinking ahead to 2017

This school year Sept-Dec 2016 has been an exciting one with Freshman/9th-grade students arriving with Chromebooks. Our district piloted with 8th graders last year and students arrived ready to use! Teachers were onboard and ready to use this year.  We now have two grade levels that are 1:1 and I hope to see the high school expand next year.

For PD I introduced the EdCamp model to the high school staff, last spring and again this fall which included teachers and students sharing best practice and learning web-based tools to support the Chromebook initiative.  Many teachers used twitter to showcase their work and connect with their colleagues during our EdCamp and the momentum has continued.

I expanded my own professional development by teaching a class on G-Suite and Project-Based-Learning (PBL) and proposed our PLC during our late starts to focus on #PBL using the guidelines from the Buck Institute of Technology (BIE/PBL).  We even participated in a twitter slow chat with ASCD on #PBL.  While exploring PBL began connecting #designthinking and gaming techniques to offer teachers and student more voice and choice in assignments. I am currently reading Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and plan to implement with lessons over the next few months and I plan to incorporate into a spring graduate class to promote design thinking.

I also had the chance to test out "THE BREAKOUT EDU EXPERIENCE" with a few teachers this month. The Breakout EDU creates learning games and experiences for all ages. Games (Breakouts) teach teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking, and troubleshooting by presenting participants with challenges that ignite their natural drive to problem-solve.  We even reflected on the process recording students using Recap. December was the perfect month to test out some of these creative lessons with students.

For the upcoming 2017 year, I will continue to encourage teachers to use twitter, blog and thoughtfully integrate technology into their curriculum by modeling techniques, like the one below using Thinklink with links to resources to try for the upcoming year.  By clicking on the image and circles in the images,  it may inspire you to grow professionally this year!
What will you make happen this year? Click on the image and circles on the image for some inspiration (or here is the link )

I am looking forward to the new year and plan to continually work on my own learning in order to help my teachers and students grow during 2017!

Design Thinking and Creativity

I have been reading LAUNCH: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student Link 

Overview video

The book focus on Design Thinking and provides a process that can be incorporated into every class at every grade level even if you don't consider yourself a "creative teacher." Each chapter links to resources and videos to support the book.

Here is a video with an overview of the book.

More on the design process below.

Other Notes:
#busedu if you are intereseted in #gamification then I suggest you read EXplore Like a Pirate by @mrmatera #xplap

Restructure the way you present a new idea. Use design thinking—a way of approaching an idea with equal parts logic from past data and emotions concerning prospective success.

Reflection: Test out Use RecapThat see previous post  and/or 
FlipGrid to host Book club topics FlipGrid One new 2017
Note: Other book clubs and thinglink options
ThinglinkMODEL book club can be found using twitter with #launchbook study and #D100BloggerPD

Learning to use Storify to tell my #launchbookchat story

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Recap - Video response reflection

I have been exploring Let's Recap this month with a few classes.  Recap here is the link provides teachers with a creative way to gather evidence of student thinking using video. It helps create new learning connections between students and teachers and allows you to share that information! They have a great blog with lots of great ideas.  Our PLT has been focusing PBL (Project-Based-Learning) and had a great post on using Recap for Essential Questions (EQ).

I tested out this week with a few Spanish classes and the kids were very engaged.  
After they got over being silly with the webcam on them the teacher, Ms. Barr asked them a few questions and they were able to respond in minutes.  

We all got to review each other's video projecting them in class.  The teacher then has the option to share individual links, that could be shared with parents or share the entire class reel with other teachers.  Ms. Barr then shared the Review Reel with with me and other members of her department!

We could review all the video responses linkWe plan on showing at an upcoming staff meeting as a new and innovative way to use technology and the chromebooks.  

It was an awesome way to showcase the Spanish class and I am looking forward to future video reels! I see this as a great way for students to share their learning using video and it lends itself perfectly to language classes.

This also got me thinking about our 9th grade student using Chromebooks this year and how I could collect video reflections and share with our community. I have this a try in class today and here are a few samples of the responses (one /two) or watch the video reel!

Stay tuned for more video reflections with Recap!

NEXT compare with Flipgrid One (coming in 2017) blog

Sunday, December 18, 2016

What do you want to learn? - Adobe Spark Seven Creative Alternatives to Showing Movies Before the Break

I have been using Adobe Spark (Post, Page and Video) with several classes this month! I stumbled upon it on Twitter last August/September and I have found so many amazing uses for it. I have presented out of it using Pages and created invitations and awareness posts for my school.  My English, Social Studies, Business and Photography teachers have all explore this month and seemed thrilled with the lessons, projects and the creativity from students!

Adobe Spark announced a NEW feature this week.  The ability to add video footage into Spark Video.  This is without a doubt a great tool to use on Chromebooks and iOS for student creativity!

I created an Adobe Spark Page to model and tweet out about Breakout EDU and Adobe Spark  that I plan on using this week.  Link
Creativity - Collaboration and Teamwork

I saw with great tweet this week - by John Spencer
Seven Creative Alternatives to Showing Movies Before the Break - blog 
Giving Students Choice - Video

I think we were on the right track and this post inspired me to make a blog post about our upcoming week! If you want teachers to engage in taking the time to learn new things, you must model and allow others to observe!  We all need to take risks and reflect on our learning!

Update: A few examples from AP English with Ms. Panarelli @MrsPanarelli 

Article post on Tell your Story with Adobe Spark and Portfolios

Beakout Edu and the idea behind it

I attended a Digital Day of Learning (DLD) in Medfield last spring and participated in a session using a game/box called Breakout Edu. About 20 educators gathered in a room and had to look for clues to unlock all the locks on the breakout edu box. About five minutes into the game I thought I had signed up for the wrong session and I was out of my comfort zone.  Fifteen minutes into the game and watching people collaborate and brainstorm and use teamwork to solve the problem I was intrigued.
The idea is that you are “locked” into a room with a time limit. There are clues scattered around that you must find and figure out. These clues eventually lead to a key or passcode that you can use to escape from the room and win the challenge. Escape rooms are great examples of the research that suggests the brain loves solving problems and novelty. When we experience new and intriguing tasks, reward chemicals are released – cementing learning and retention.  

A group of teachers adapted the escape room idea to their classrooms. James Sanders and Mark Hammons developed an activity that they titled BreakoutEDU. But instead of escaping from an actual room, BreakoutEDU players solve clues to open a series of locks and boxes with the ultimate goal of getting into the final Breakout box.  
When teaching a course last summer we implemented Breakout into our class and it was amazing to observe, the quiet student taking the lead, the team building and collaboration was impressive.  So, I decide to order for my high school and plan to test out this week.  I thought it would be a great activity before the holiday break. 


Breakout EDU games teach critical thinking, teamwork, complex problem solving, and can be used in all content areas. The Breakout EDU Kit was created to get you going and hopefully answer questions you might have. Check out the video here  to see some tips about how you can get started with your Breakout EDU kit.
The Media Center/Library will have a box set up for you to sign out. In order to view how to setup the games you will need a password.  You will want to familiarize yourself with the available game to play located here.  

The teachers who created the idea sell a a BreakoutEDU kit. Everything you need to start your own game – locks, clues, boxes, ideas, links to downloads and games (some need extra locks and supplies so plan ahead).  They’ve done a great job of making the process very open-source and collaborative. So you can create your own kit, create your own game, share your game, borrow someone else’s game, adapt a game, adapt the kit – pretty much take the idea and use it in a wide variety of ways.  

My first game I participated in was:  TIME WARP -You will need a Password, once the school has purchased. The Story: In Time Warp players are lost in time and need to navigate the history of communication in order to return to the present
  • Game Designer: Mark Hammons & James Sanders
  • Ages: 14-Adult
  • Ideal Group Size: 5-15
  • Content Area: History / General Interest
I plan to start with the game this week.  The site provides a video on how to setup, resources to play and any addition items needed for the game.  I needed an additional lock with 4 codes and twine to setup.  These items can be found on Amazon or at a local hardware store.  

Be sure to use the Facebook group to get resources and to ask questions.
There seems to be a ton of things that are possible with BreakoutEDU. And the powerful thing about all of this? It’s great for the brain and good for kids.

Another scchool in our district has been using for faculty meetings and with one of my former social studies teachers from the high school, Laura Pagington.  She has been using with 8th grade students in social studies and we plan to collaborate next month with a large group of teachers!

I will be tesing out with two teachers in my department this week,Taryn in business and Jacquie in technology.  i think this will be a great activity before the break and a great way to get feedback before introducing to the rest of the building. I hope we implement during one of our PD days this year!

We hope to implement #ObserveMe so teachers can see it in action before planning a Breakout!
Stay tuned for reflection on this process!
Update ... We broke out!!
A student's reflection using Recap on the process of playing Breakoutedu.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

#ObserveMe Model on Twitter

 Are you doing something creative in your classroom and want to share with your colleagues. Then share on twitter using #observeme.  If you see a sign on a door the teachers door or if someone tweets out #observeme with a school hashtag then use this as PD option.
Here is some inspiration from I found on twitter from Robert Kaplins Glenrock Consulting blog.  
The blog suggests we lack an openness to collaborate because of the fear of being judge.  If you work in a culture like this then consider starting a change. The blog post suggests "the change starts with us leading by example and checking our insecurities and pride at the door. We must acknowledge that one of the best ways to improve practice is to have colleagues observe one another and provide suggestions for improvements. We should welcome others’ constructive feedback and practice giving it as well. Without it we aren’t able to adjust our practice and improve".  Below are a few tips to help get you started.

  • List what you want feedback on.
  • Consider including an observation tool like this Levels of Classroom Discourse one from Principles to Action so it is easier for observers to give you actionable feedback.
  • Print out the sign and put in on your door or window (maybe with a pile of observation tools nearby).
  • Then, take a picture of it and tweet it out using the hashtag #ObserveMe.
I  am doing this later today!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Hour of Code and Edcamp model at Nashoba!

What is the Hour of Code? #hourofcode
The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts. 

I decide to organize and Edcamp model with my Computer Science teacher, Pat Clark and Librarian Tracy Landry. I was able so solicit teachers, students and members of my department (Andy LeBlanc, Dan Berube and Bob Austin) to participate and showcase coding and STEM.

We offered session on the library site 

You can view the calendar offerings here   and signup your class here

There has been so many great posts and tweets this week and I am fortunate so many of my colleagues joined in!