Monday, December 17, 2012

Thoughts and Prayers from Argentina

The world grieves with us over the unspeakable tragedy in Newtown Connecticut. One of our Argentinean colleagues, Analia shared this picture with us.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Celebrate Instituto Jose Marie Paz de Idiazabal

So thankful for being able to connect with the students from Idiazabal, Cordoba in Argentina!! From the emails, pictures, videos and Skype sessions, they bring a new dimension to why it's so important to learn languages. We wish them happy holidays as they finish up their school year and look forward to reconnecting next February/March!

A special thanks to the two incredible teachers who made all of this possible, Analia Fissore and Ayelen Soliani. They worked late into the night many times with us to plan each and every magical moment!

This video is to celebrate you!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Something for Everyone

If you're wondering what's hot in the tech world...Click the top Apps & Websites of 2012 to see the list according to Technology Tidbits: Thoughts of a Cyber Hero 

On another note, check out this graphic.  Where are we? This may help us think about how and why we might use technology in education.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cuba - So Close, Yet So Far Away...

My trip to Cuba continues to inspire! Friday I spent the day in Ms. Reed's classes sharing stories about my Cuba experience. The pictures and video clips really gave students an idea of the today's Cuban reality. I'm so thankful I had the opportunity to spend nine days there learning more than I could have ever imagined. Here's one of the video clips I showed of a busy intersection in Havana.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Best Part of the Student Skype Experience...

After skyping with our ePals from Argentina on Tuesday, we asked each student to answer 3 questions about the event.

1. What was the best part of the Skype experience?
2.  If you could change one thing about the experience, what would it be?
3.  Where do we go from here?  How do we keep our Argentinean connection alive?

Below are just some of the responses to #1.

"I thought that it was really cool to have a visual of the people we had been emailing. I liked listening to their dialect and learning about their school day."

"The best part of this Skype experience was that we saw the kids from Argentina, and have a first hand experience with Spanish speaking people in their country."

"The best part of this Skype experience was to learn about the different lives of people from Argentina. It was cool to compare and contrast their lives with ours."

"I most enjoyed seeing Lucas, the person I was emailing with my group."

"I got to talk to native Spanish speakers in Spanish, having them understand me and me them."

"The best part of this Skype experience for me was that we got to see the Argentinean kids and hear about their culture."

"It was really fun seeing everyone else on the monitor. I was surprised that their lifestyle and culture is a lot more similar than I originally thought. It was also fun listening to their answers in English - they were pretty good!"

"For me the best part of the Skype was hearing them speak English and us communicating back in Spanish. I thought it was very neat how we brought both languages together."

"Seeing how excited the Argentineans were to see us."

"The best part of this Skype experience was getting to meet kids that you would never be able to see unless you flew to Argentina."

"I got to see what teenagers from Argentina were like and we learned what school was like for them."

"Being never across the U.S. border in my life, I cannot wait to travel to a new country. This was a great experience to talk to someone who has never live in the U. S. The best part of this was the discovery of a new culture and the interaction with someone who originally couldn't speak English."

"Getting to hear what the Argentinean students do and how well they speak English."

"It enabled two different groups of students to interact across continents. It gave us the opportunity to use our Spanish."

MacBook Air Rocks!

Well so far I have nothing but good things to say about this MacBook experience! Got my files, Dropbox and iTunes working as well as print capability within 24 hours! All of my photos and videos are in iPhoto which makes for easier uploading when blogging. Next I need to check on hooking up to a projector and ActivBoard but don't anticipate trouble there. I'm thinking the honeymoon will only be over on April 18th when I have to return this beautiful machine! So here is my current desk set up, I'm using my monitor as a dual screen for now!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Leap of Faith!

Well I am happy to report that I am one of thirty people piloting the MacBooks for 6 months. We turned in our Dell laptops today so there's no turning back. I got one of the 10 MacBook Air laptops and am test driving it tonight by loading up iPhoto with pics, posting on my blog, checking email and moving my documents over to this lovely machine. Not to worry, I double backed up everything just in case...So we're in the honeymoon phase right now, let's see if I can make it last a lifetime or at least until they make me return it on April 18, 2013. I'm off to the races!!!

1st International Skype Experience with MHS Students

What a great day! We had 140 MHS students communicating with our Argentinean ePals in Idiazabal, Cordoba! Although not everyone was able to speak on camera, it certainly wet our appetite for more! Check out these pics!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

'Life Goes On in Argentina' with Stupeflix Studio!

Had to share all of the photos we've received from our friends in Idiazabal, Cordoba in a quick easy way that wouldn't take up too much class time so bring on Stupeflix Studio! It was easy top upload pictures and music, choose a theme, and then let Stupeflix Studio do it's magic! 

In trying to determine which version of the video is better in the blog, I learned that inserting the the HD version or the regular version is not the way to go.  Both play a blurry version of the video. Using the embed code got the best results. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

ePals Excitement in the Air!

So it seems like the students are as excited as we are about connecting with our friends in Idiazabal, Cordoba!  It's been a real learning experience as we were able to trouble shoot around the technology issues. Not only did students write some great questions in their emails, many also shared group pictures too! Here are a few pictures of 7th period as they are writing emails on the iPads and netbooks.

Monday, October 1, 2012

"Why I Kiva" in World History

Mrs. McCall invited me to talk with her classes on Friday about Kiva and the possibilities of investing in small businesses through micro loans. Nothing says it better than this video! I think this will be my opener for her classes.

Friday, September 28, 2012

"We've Got Mail" from Idiazabal, Cordoba in Argentina!

Well our students have received their first emails from our friends in Idiazabal and I cannot wait until Thursday when they actually get their mail.  I'll spend the day with Marlyn and her students as they write their replies.  There's so much to learn about life in Argentina, I hope our students are as excited as we are!

It's probably a good thing that no one sees us as we Skye with Analia and Ayelen, we are like little children in a toy store!!  We talk and laugh and ask lots of questions. The time flies!  Before we know it, we've been skyping for 2 hours sometimes!  Along the way we've met both Analia's and Ayelen's family and taken pictures too!

Here are Analia, the computer teacher and Ayelen, the English teacher.  These two are the greatest, we are so lucky to have found them!! You've got to love how technology makes the world so much smaller!!

And here's Ayelen's family who joined us for a few minutes this evening!

Can you tell we are having a great time?

We also shot some video using Jing to capture the story of the Grand Opening of the new library at their school, Instituto Jose Maria Paz. Ayelen's uncle played a huge part in getting it funded through revenues from a book he wrote about his struggle through some very difficult times in Argentina. It's almost 5 minutes long and I'm having some trouble loading it but will continue to troubleshoot.  Keep your fingers crossed that I get it figured out.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Algebra and Real Life

Had to share this blog post!

"There are real-life applications for algebra, Patrick Honner writes in this blog post. In response to an essay that argued against the necessity of algebra, Honner offers common-core-aligned lessons on how algebraic concepts can be used to, among other things, tackle home mortgages, evaluate colleges and recalculate recipes."

Click here to read more about it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Assessment and PBL - Great Ideas to Consider

The sharing of  information and ideas is a great way to learn and continue to grow professionally!  Check out this link a colleague shared with me from one of my favorite blogs, Edutopia.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Cuba Project

Who could believe that I would get a chance to visit Cuba, let alone return with the hopes of having our MHS students communicate with a high school in Havana?  Well it's true.  I did go to Cuba.  And I did write and deliver a handwritten letter to the Minister of Education for the Republic of Cuba.  My letter requested permission to correspond with students at a Aristides Viera Gonzales High School in Havana!  I should hear back from the Minister within the next 50 days or so.  In the meantime, I'm continuing to learn more about our neighboring island and plan to share my experiences/stories with some of our social studies classes in October!

Monday, September 24, 2012

More with Analia in Argentina!

Just got off of another Skype video conference call with Marlyn and Analia from Argentina!  It is so interesting to learn about life there in a small town, smaller than our school!  Can't wait for our students to start communicating!!  Here's a picture of the 3 of us Skyping!  Analia in her kitchen and the two of us in Marlyn's classroom.

Check out this town of about 1500 people. It's surrounded by farmland.

Maps & Graphs of Linear Inequalities

Check out this application for adding some real meaning to graphing linear inequalities.
Thanks to Jonathan Claydon at NHS!!

ePals in Argentina

Can't be more excited about connecting with 2 teachers in a tiny town in Argentina through ePals.  Marlyn Hernandez and I had a one hour Skype call with them last week to get the planning details down on how our Spanish III students will be emailing back and forth with the English and computer students there.  Sometimes communicating in Spanish and sometimes in English and eventually the students will meet face to face via Skype!.  We've got to get this going now because they have their summer break at the end of November and won't be back in school until March!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kick-Off Rigor and Relevance Aug. 2012

Had a great time with our faculty as we began our journey through the Rigor & Relevance Framework and our five year plan, T-2-4.  Check out the action in the pics below.  I'm planning to chart our progress through time as we all gain more experience with the framework and implementation!

Monday, September 17, 2012

NHS Video Interview - Sideways

Just testing to see if I can upload a video I made on an iPad.
Note to self, keep the iPad in the portrait position so you don't have to look at videos sideways!
Size of the video file seems to be an issue too. Under 100MG works great!

This original video was larger than 100MG but I used Handbrake to convert it to an MP4 video which got it below the size limit!  Handbrake is a program that can be installed on teacher machines.  It is in the Kace software librbary but I had a tech person install it for me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

After the Tools

Just got the iPad a week ago and have started exploring.  One of my Tech Think Tank students helped me make a quick video on the Show Me app. I created a Show Me account and was able to get the embed code from our video so you could see a very simple first attempt.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tool 11 - Reflecting and Assessing

My Favorite tools...there are so many! Edmodo, Wikis, DropBox, Google Docs and Forms, I have been using all of these in my work with teachers and students. As an iCoach moving forward, my goal is to incorporate a new tool in each campus wide staff development I design. So far I have used a Wiki and Dropbox and am considering things like Today's Meet and Edmodo for upcoming events.  With my student group, Tcubed (Technology Think Tank) I'm hoping to launch a Google site!  We want to create a website that will teach about 2.0 tools and helpful internet search tools that students can use. We're hoping to introduce our site in Social Studies classes as students begin work on a project in March.

My vision for staff development in general has shifted this year.  I have come to realize that when I incorporate technology, the level of engagement increases and I become a conductor instead of the preacher. It is actually refreshing to take a new and different approach, especially in extremely large groups. 

As for 11 Tools, I have really enjoyed the ride! It has given me lots of ideas and given me reason to go exploring. What surprised me is how much I like tinkering around with all of the tools. I've learned a lot along the way! I would highly recommend leaving the 11 Tools blog up indefinitely so we have it as a reference.  Thanks to all who put the 11 Tools blog together and continue to maintain and improve it!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Tool 10: Underneath it All - Digital Citizenship!

1. Discuss at least three things you would want to make sure your students understand about being good digital citizens.
ISTE says it well in these points below for students.
Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.


a.advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
b.exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
c.demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning.
d.exhibit leadership for digital citizenship.
2. Share at least one of the resources mentioned above or on the Ed Tech website that you plan to use instructionally.
I really enjoyed the video on Wes Fryer's Moving at the Speed of Creativity blog about the digital dossier we all have whether we realize it or not. I think it sends a subtle message that could have an impact on students. We don't tend to think about the tracks we are making as we go about our daily lives in this digital age. It will be interesting to get my My Tech Think Tank students' thoughts and opinions on the video.
3. Explain briefly how you would "teach" the idea of digital citizenship to your students.
Sara Wilkie and Alan November shared some great resources with the iCoaches that could be used to teach digital citizenship. For example, knowing how to decode URLs to check validity of websites is an extremely valuable and necessary skill for students and educators to have. That speaks to the safe and responsible use of information.

4. Explain briefly how you plan to share the idea of digital citizenship with your parents.
Since I'm not a classroom teacher I have fewer interactions with parents but my webpage on the school's website is a good place for me to start posting things to address the ideas of digital citizenship.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tool # 9 - Incorporating Classroom-Based Devices as Tools for Learning

Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective?
It's important to tie technology to lesson objectives when appropriate for several reasons. Technology can grab students' attention, engage students in active learning and it allows students to stretch beyond the classroom to learn. Technology is an integral part of our world today and classrooms should mirror that world. When we can be more efficient, interactive and creative using tech tools, why wouldn't we?

Why should we hold students accountable for the stations/centers?
As with all learning, the accountability piece is a crucial part of the puzzle. Having some sort of accountability ensures that the students will be on task and have a concrete way to demonstrate their understanding.

Visit 2 of the applicable links to interactive websites for your content/grade level. Which sites did you like. How could you use them as stations? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?
Although I don't have my own classroom, I can certainly see classroom benefits to using interactive websites as stations. MangaHigh works well in math classrooms, PhET is a great resource for science teachers and Thinkfinity has something for just about everyone. Record keeping sheets and/or summary sheets describing the learning can work well for the accountability at stations.

List two to three apps you found for the iPod Touch/iPad that you can use in your classroom. What do you see that station looking like? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?
Slideshark and LiveBinders are 2 great iPad APPS that could be used at stations. Slideshark works like PowerPoint where students can create/view/edit slide shows. LiveBinder allows students to create electronic binders to hold all kinds of information. The products students create can serve as the accountability piece for stations that involve these two APPS.

What about other ways to use the iPod Touch/iPad? Share another way you can see your students using the device as a station.
Another way to use an iPad as a station is to use it as a research tool or video maker.With the evolution of APPS the sky's the limit really!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tool #8 - Taking a Look at the Tools

As an iPhone and MacBook Pro user at home, I'm pretty familiar with the functions of the Apple devices already but am looking forward to using the iPad with students.  It's nice to know that the SBISD Ed Tech page has a place to search for APPS by grade level and content area.

Nice to know that the net books can be directly connected to a projector and they have a webcam and an SD card reader.  Makes it easy for students to create and communicate, I can hardly wait!  My Technology Think Tank group will be ready to rock and roll with these devices!

Getting a tech management system in place in classrooms will be important and I have confidence that our students will be more than happy to comply.  Having a visible storage area that can be easily checked at a glance would be my 1st recommendation.  It will also be important to label the devices with a classroom number.  I also like the idea of designating some technology managers in each class to check out and then check in the devices each period.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tool #7: Reaching Outside your Classroom: Online Digital Projects

Here's a potential project for a Spanish I class.

Content objective 
Students will demonstrate fluency with school related vocabulary by communicating via Skype with a class in Mexico to compare opportunities with extracurricular school activities/organizations.

When you plan to implement
sometime after spring break

What tool(s) you plan to use

A brief description of the project (plan - two or three sentences)
Have students prepare statements about school related organizations in Spanish/English (which ever language the class is studying) to share with students from Mexico/USA. 

Use Skype to hold discussions about the extracurricular activities available to students in their respective schools.
Have students write questions to be answered by the other class.
Have classes prepare video responses to posed questions as a culminating activity.

Tool # 6 - Using Web Tools to Promote Discussion in and out of the Classroom

Edmodo is one of the tools I have used with classes. I helped one of our Social Studies teachers get her students started with Edmodo and they've been rockin' and rollin' with it ever since! Looks like there have been some quizzes lately to take online.
The nice thing about Edmodo is that engages all students in an educational facebook sort of way. So you are hearing the voices of everyone, not just the most vocal, outspoken students. It's easy to set up online discussions, homework assignments, surveys and quizzes that students can access anytime they have internet access. There's even an iPhone app for that!
Twitter is another tool that can be of great value in the classroom. I personally use it to keep up with the latest educational news and research. Here's a sample of organizations I follow.
Twitter can be used in the classroom to get real time information about current events. It also offers the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world.  It might be something you could challenge students to use to seek out opposing viewpoints etc.
I continue to find new ideas as I do my research for 11 Tools. I recently learned about Photo Pin on an educator's blog. It's an easy way to insert pics in blogs. There is so much to learn about and lots of avenues in which to learn!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tool #5 - Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

Here are some ideas on how Wordle could be used in the classroom.

1. What is important on your school campus? Copy and paste your schools mission and vision statements into Wordle and find out.
2. Self Reflection; If you where to write a story about yourself, what would your Wordle say?
3. Current Study posters. What is curricularly important in your class this week? Create a Wordle that visualizes that.

Here's my Wordle. 

Animoto allows for images, video clips, text and music to be used to create a video. Students and teachers can use this tool to jazz up any presentation.

Here's the Animoto video I created.

Tool #4 - Moving Up to the Clouds

Below is a link to a form I created in Google Docs. Feel free to answer my survey at any time!

11 Tools Survey

Google forms make it easy to survey and collect data from teachers on campus. I created a Google form when we needed to know what types of training teachers wanted on ActivInsire and other Activ devices.  Google Docs make collaborating with colleagues seamless. Two heads are always better than one and with Google Docs, there are no emails flying back and forth. We can capture the best ideas from everyone in one place in real time! I introduced my Tech Think Tank students to Google Docs at our first meeting and they loved it! We are communicating through a Google doc in between meetings. I look forward to continuing to use the forms and documents in Google Docs with these students!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tool #3 - Finding Online Video and Image Resources

This is a fascinating video on Whole Brain teaching in an Algebra I class.

After viewing this lesson, I had to get some more info on this Whole Brain Power Teaching thing. So here are the 6 basic features demonstrated.

I found both of these videos on YouTube and it was very easy to embed them. Discovery Education also has lots of videos that would be great to incorporate into lessons.

Still playing with embedding videos so here's a link to Slope Dude , a video I found on teacher tube!

Next I wanted to see if I could embed a video from Discovery Education. I was able to do it by first downloading the video. It landed in my documents in the download folder.  To embed it, click on the 'insert a video' icon and navigate to the download folder in My Documents to select it. So the moral of the story is - if you cab download it, you can embed it!

Copyright and fair use regulations...Glad to know there are exceptions for teachers and students!  As long as we repurpose and/or add value to a copyrighted piece we can use it for educational purposes. Also if we are using a legal copy or reproduction of a legal copy AND can answer YES to each of these questions below, we are within our rights. 
Will the copyrighted work be performed or displayed in 1) the course of face-to-face teaching activities of a 2) non-profit institution in a 3) classroom or similar place devoted to instruction?

I have a Dropbox account and shared a folder of 8 files with the MHS staff as part of our Jan 3 staff development. All of the MHS teachers should now have a Dropbox account! I use Dropbox when I am collaborating with colleagues o presentations.

The Eiffel Tour is one of those great landmarks in the world.  Here's a pic I downloaded from a Picasa Web Album using Creative Commons.  Just wish I could claim it as my own!  

There are so many high quality photos on Picasa that could bring imagery to the classroom.  I'll start here from now on when searching for pictures!

Check out Photo Pin for a super easy way to get free pics (Creative Commons) on your blog.   

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tool #2 - Building Community in the Online Environment

Finally set up Google Reader, I've been meaning to do that for awhile!  I'm currently following the 2 sites below. They have all kinds of technology ideas to investigate.
Make that 3 sites I'm following on Google Reader. Just learned that when you 'privately' follow a blog, it will be added to your Google Reader automatically! So now I can see the updates on my blog dashboard (Reading List) or Google Reader!
And one last thing I'm really interested in staying on top APPS for my iPhone 4s.  So far the one I rate 5 star (that not many seem to know about) is CARDS and it's a free app!  You can design and send a card from your iPhone 4 or 4s without ever leaving home!  A high quality card actually is mailed through USPS for $2.99 on you Apple account.
I'm going to check out these apps described on the link below soon!
It's amazing what you can learn from others just by browsing around the web.  I'm okay with going public with blog comments and hope to get some feedback on things I post.

Tool 1 - Blog with Voki

Well I'm officially blogging!!!  The set up was fast.  I spent most of my time playing with all of the design options.  I enjoyed playing with the Voki but it took me a moment or two to get that pretty girl posted! I'm now looking forward to moving on to Tool #2 but that doesn't mean I won't come back and play some more with my design!