The week before school started Mr. Cooper had a technology day for his students. Some of the fun things we learned about are how to make an iMovie on our iPods and transfer it to the MacBooks at school. He had us go into groups and come up with our own ideas for the movie. Most of the movies turned out to be very funny. My group’s movie was called “The Splinter”. The movie was about a girl who got a splinter and was very sad about this splinter. In the background there is a girl who keeps really getting hurt (fake of course) and has to keep going to the nurse. Creating an iMovie is fun and teaches us a lot of things such as, adding music and sound effects, adding titles and different backgrounds for titles. On technology day we enjoyed ourselves and made new friends.
A handful of years ago, my school district began a project based learning (PBL) initiative and has since continued these efforts in the form of an initiative on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. As a result of the district placing their stamp of approval on these approaches to teaching and learning, I have witnessed a noticeable increase in the number of teachers who are promoting classroom projects, inquiry-based learning, and collaborative education.
This year, my school’s professional development committee decided to make PBL one of the main focuses of teacher learning, and I could not be happier. This is an initiative that I am helping to lead, along with one of the fifth grade teachers in my school. My colleague and I are teaching three sessions on PBL (two of which have already taken place). All sessions are exactly the same (more or less), and each teacher is required to attend one of the three sessions.
A handful of years ago, my principal and I had the idea to start off Meet the Teacher Night with an informational video that would be broadcast throughout the school (as opposed to gathering all of the parents for a face-to-face informational session). Here is this year's video, which features one of my students and my principal. I completed all editing in Final Cut Pro X. Once the video was published, teachers were able to access it from our network shared folder and then show the video on their interactive whiteboards.
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In a previous blog post I wrote about The Daily Five and the ways in which its implementation can be enhanced through the use of technology. In this post, I would like to briefly touch upon other “teacher books” that can be used along with The Daily Five.
As of this moment, one of the bigger movements in my school district at the elementary level involves The Daily Five, by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. “The Daily Five is a series of literacy tasks (read to self, read with someone, writing, word work, and listening to reading) which students complete daily while the teacher meets with small groups or confers with individuals.” The book “explains the philosophy behind the structure,” and it shows teachers how to train “students to participate in each of the five components.”
As teachers begin to implement different aspects of the Daily Five into their classrooms, many teachers have been curious as to how one would integrate technology with the Daily Five. Here is a quick list that might prove useful (and I will probably refer back to this during my own literacy instruction):
As I continue to research how iPads can be used in the classroom, I have created a website that could serve as the basis for iPad professional development. Also, it is a resource that could be helpful when carrying out related lessons in the classroom, and students could use the website to do some exploration of their own.
Some of the website’s features include: an overview of the physical features and functions of the iPad; a collection of apps, which are organized by subject or topic; a list of various iPad-related websites that cover a wide array of topics; frequently asked questions; and exercises that teachers can perform in order to familiarize themselves with the ways in which apps can be used to support best practice.
Feedback is very much appreciated!
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Prior to the start of this school year, teachers in my district participated in two days of professional development. On the second day, I was supposed to co-present on unique ways in which Google tools can be used in the classroom. Unfortunately, other segments of the professional development ran longer than expected, and my presentation did not take place. (Nonetheless, there was time for me to show Tony Wagner’s TEDx Talk from last April.) Throughout the course of the year, I hope to present the Google information across various faculty meetings. Here is a quick snapshot of the material.
On April 4th and 5th, I attended this year’s Google Teacher Academy (GTA), which was held at the Google office in London, England.
“The Google Teacher Academy is a free professional development experience designed to help K-12 educators get the most from innovative technologies. Each Academy is an intensive, one-day event [with an optional second day] where participants get hands-on experience with Google's free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in an innovative corporate environment. Upon completion, Academy participants become Google Certified Teachers who share what they learn with other K-12 educators in their local region.”
Recently, my Pinball Wizard project was chosen as the Grand Prize winner for the Primary/Secondary Cross-Curricular category in the Adobe Education Exchange 2011 Educators' Choice Awards. This is a contest that features innovative teaching and learning materials, which are created with the help of Adobe products. Many of the teachers in my district and students at my school helped to support me in this endeavor, and I cannot thank them enough. As a result of the contest, I have won a 15-inch MacBook Pro (which I am typing on right now) and the Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection (which I am still waiting for in the mail). Also, after the contest, the PR manager from Adobe contacted me about doing an interview with one of their bloggers. The interview can be found here.
Below is a description of the Pinball Wizard project. This description was a part of my entry, along with the project’s website, student samples, and a video of students playing on their pinball machines.
My district starts off every school year with two days of staff professional development, which takes place at the building level. This year, my principal asked me to share with the other teachers what I had learned at this summer’s Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) Summer Institute in Arizona. My presentation took place during the second day of our professional development, and it lasted for about an hour.