Sunday, April 29, 2012

Great article from Dennis Hong it reminds me of what I always tell parents after they spend an hour or day with my class. "If everyone could do it, they would."

Inspiring kids? Inspiring kids can be downright damned near close to impossible sometimes. And… it’s downright damned near close to impossible to measure. You can’t measure inspiration by a child’s test scores. You can’t measure inspiration by a child’s grades. You measure inspiration 25 years later when that hot-shot doctor, or lawyer, or entrepreneur thanks her fourth-grade teacher for having faith in her and encouraging her to pursue her dreams.

Maybe that’s why teachers get so little respect. It’s hard to respect a skill that is so hard to quantify.

So, maybe you just have to take our word for it. The next time you walk into a classroom, and you see the teacher calmly presiding over a room full of kids, all actively engaged in the lesson, realize that it’s not because the job is easy. It’s because we make it look easy. And because we work our asses off to make it look easy.

And, yes, we make it fun, too.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:The Hardest Job Made to Look Easy

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Know and Show

Our kids are working on a Know & Show project. We brainstormed all of the things we learned this year. Then talked about what, of those things, did we learn well enough to be able to show others. They have all mostly chosen a topic and played with story boarding on the iPads. Some of them used Notes, some used Doodle Buddy and one kid found the storyboard option in my iMovie. What is really cool is even for this individual project, they are collaborating on the content, process and creation of the product.

Can't wait to share them at iOpen House and here!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Those who know me know what a huge support my husband has been though everything, but in this case, through my journey in this, my encore career. The iPad Academy is no exception.  I told him recently I wanted my kids to make movies with the iPad but it is hard to hold still.  Look what he found!

Although the mount is nothing fancy, for the price it can't be beat!  The stylii (Styluses??) are pretty handy too. They really seem to help my left handed kids.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


This weekend I went to a two day conference, Lead3.0 put in by TICAL, CUE andACSA (my cousin, George Manthey is the  the Assistant Executive Director of Educational Services, of ACSA and the event co-organizer, an amazing guy).  

The first session I attended talked about Common Core Standards. The second session was near and dear to my heart.How Two Superintendents Collaboratively Launched an Initiative to Maximize Classroom Effectiveness in the Digital Age
Dr. Jacqueline M. Horejs, Superintendent, Union School District & Dr. Deborah L. Blow, Superintendent, Cambrian School District: Aware of the importance of collaboration as a 21st Century skill, Dr. Debbie Blow.. and Dr. Jacqueline Horejs, ... decided to initiate a 21st Century Digital Media Academy to provide professional development for teachers in both of our districts.  Teachers from each district applied and were selected to participate in a year long academy to learn how to effectively use digital media in their classrooms.  ...  Management team members are also collaborating on book studies including Trilling and Fadel’s 21st Century Skills, and workshops on the effective classroom use of iPads.

It was so cool to hear Dr. Blow talk about what we are doing and I honestly have never felt more proud of my school district! It was interesting to hear some of the background behind the thinking of the Academy concept & design, which basically is "feeding the rabbits" or as my previous Superintendent called us, "fire-starters".  Find the people who want to use it, they will use it and thus excite and teach others.

The keynote speaker at lunch was Alan November. If you ever get a chance to hear him speak, DO IT! Here are some notes I took, but doesn't really do him justice. If you have time - watch the video recording they made.
  • Teach by asking not telling
  • Unlearning misconceptions is a phenomenally difficult thing to do.
  • Math 6th grade teacher site .for kids to make movies about math.  We so have to do this
  • Teach not only content but courage.  We have to teach them to be fearless learners.  Global publishing.
  • Children would prefer content provided by children when they are learning something new.
  • Unleash an army of creative problem solvers creating problem solving across the curriculum.   Kids work for free.
  • Check out Prime factorization by bob on  She says she learns more doing the videos that the kids watching because she "really has to learn it."
  • Kid who per teacher is not a Good 6th grade because she is lazy, as to why she is not doing school work but literally publishing content to a world-wide audience, "I have to decide, do I publish for my teacher or for the world?"
  • What is the proportion of work that has purpose and adds value to the world vs work that is done for a grade?
  • YouTube Dan Pink drive rsa animate   3 motivators...purpose, autonomy and mastery
  • Seed and tree. did it get there?  Kinder give same answer as harvard grads.  And they went to school between then!
  • If they don't have internet access, download to DVD and send home.
  • Mrs. Cassidy classroom blog   In Moose Jaw, 1st graders reaching a global audience creating documentaries of how they learned something.
Later I attended Technology Tools to Support Academics in RTI by Sheri Wilkins, Program Manager, Desert/Mountain Special Education Local Plan Area.
This workshop will provide participants with opportunities to explore technological solutions that will extend the effectiveness and efficiency of a Response to Intervention (RTI) model. The session will focus on tools for assessment and intervention in the areas of reading, writing, and math. Participants will be given time to explore the tools that are shared in the presentation.  I was hoping to find some good technology sources for reading intervention. This session focused mostly on assessment and not strategies.  I did talk to a vendor who has something similar to SuccessMaker but it runs on an iPad, so I might trial it.

I also attended a session with an innovative PD model between San Bruno Park SD and the Krause Center for Innovation.  I am a MERIT graduate so was interested to see what they did, which was produce an accelerated program to create tech savvy teachers. Creating Affordable and Timely Professional Development by Skip Johnson, Principal, Steven J. McGriff, Teacher-in-Residence, KCI, Gay Krause, ED, KCI and two teachers from the district: Providing high quality professional development to promote the use of technology is a challenge. In the San Bruno Park School District we created a partnership with the Krause Center for Innovation housed on the junior college campus of Foothill in Los Altos Hills to provide low cost professional development through the establishment of the Danford Center for Innovation.

The final highlight of my day was collaboration time with Jason and Martin.  We did some brainstorming about apps, they gave me encouragement about being laid-off, again, and then we went to the Apps for Apps mixer, where it was like speed dating but with iPad apps.  We learned about some really cool apps. I'll add links later.
  • App. Home 3d. To build a mission
  • App. Reflection can display whatever is on your iPad onto the computer, than project it.  Not as big a deal if you have appleTV
  • What we then brainstormed is to use a free app...Join me. It shares my screen with the kids they sign with a code.   Can also log in remotely.  This might be the solution Sheila and I were wondering about if we want all of our users on the same "page" at once, for example with a read along.
  • App. Classroom management. Can assign Badges, kids see how they are doing..they get points.  Could display using 2 windows so kids cn always see their status.  It can also be set up to send parent emails.  Maybe useful for 'that kid'.
  • app.  Educreation.  Just like show me. A little simpler. can't download videos with show me so if you want to embed them in something else, you may want to use Educreation ..both are free.
  • App Explain everything. 2. Cool app to annotate presentations, images, etc.
  • Doceri 3 versions can edit with the video then record   Export to an mov. Free $25 no ad, $30 also controls computers
  • If you are going to make movies, there is a Case/tripod mount/adapter for lenses. $64 Makayama. iPad 2. You can attach a 37 mm lens.  Kinda cool.  You can also attach external mic with $20 dongle
  • Cosmonaut. Stylus. A bigger handle for little kids.
  • App and web based tool  take notes and store them in the cloud for anywhere access..  It is where imam typing this!  Evernote. Shared folder so you can share assignments with kids that they can access anywhere...maybe much the same as Google apps though frankly docs is super slow and awkward.  Jon from Minnerette high school.   Taking notes in the cloud. 
  • Assignment: using Ask a friend three questions and record. (t has a voice feature) Then write summary. They have to stay on task because they have to produce soemthing!  
I am so happy I went to this event. It was engaging and re-invigorating. Will post later about the closing session with Steve Dembo 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Re-united and it feels so good...

Yesterday we were able to sort out why my student iPads weren't syncing. It was simple, IT had disabled them to add or delete apps, which totally makes sense. But when toggled off, I can't sync! So we fixed that. Then decided instead of syncing, we'd make a student master then just restore all the machines to that image. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love our IT guys at Cambrian! While he was there, my Magic Man solved another mystery we've been having on our CreaTV Mac. Moving from windows to iOS is quite the learning experience. But what fun!

We are on spring break this week, but five of us were able to come together to sort out the syncing, talk about and try out apps, and share ideas for classroom management and projects. It is an amazing, exciting opportunity to collaborate with colleagues on a program that is so meaningful and important to me. I feel energized!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Classroom Rules for iPad Use
We hope to get our iPads this week. The kids came up with the following. Not sure if we will need to add to them or further define? Maybe too many?  Suggestions?

Room 7
iPad Rules, Ideas and Stuff

  • keep water bottles under desk
  • do the right app at the right time
  • only take over apple tv when invited
  • be gentle and DO NOT run with it
  • follow the Bagby Bee’s
    • Be Respectful
    • Be Responsible
    • Be Safe
  • return ipad to the cart and plug it in when not in use
  • Close it, and Walk. Close it, and Walk
  • Mild (by the week)
    • 1st warning = $2 McC
    • 2nd warning = lose iPad for the lesson
    • 3rd warning = lose it for day
    • Final warning = lose it for 5 days
  • Serious
    • Lose it for day
    • Lose it for week
    • Lose it forever

We are in!

Despite union politics and me being a temp, our application to the academy was accepted and I am in! We had our first meeting and got our teacher iPads and MacBooks on the 26th.  Needless to say, my kids were very happy!

iPad Academy Background

So to catch up, a few weeks ago our superintendent, Dr. Deborah Blow, announced an iPad Academy. Our district! Cambrian Union in San Jose, CA, has implemented a hybrid Professional development(PD) model where teachers who are interested in an area of study can apply to an 'academy' where they will learn a lot and get the tools to use what they learn.

Here is a description of the academy:
Purpose: To provide Cambrian teachers with a collaborative learning opportunity to develop their use of technology as a powerful teaching and learning tool for the integration of 21st century skills.
Requirements of participants
•Completed application for the iPad Action Research Academy•Commitment to integration of technology into instruction•Participation in the 21st Century Learning iPad Academy Kick-Off Event – Monday, March 26 from 3:30 to 7:30•On Time, required participation in monthly sessions (2 hour sessions, 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm) on Monday, April 23 and Monday May 21. Additionally there will be monthly meetings next school year, dates TBD.•Maintenance of a digital journal/portfolio•Attendance at end of year Colloquium in Spring of 2013
Components of Professional Development/Areas of Study•Through action research, investigate the use of iPads to individualize learning forall students•Components of instruction necessary for our 21st Century Students•Building upon the integration of technology into standards based instruction that leads to measurable student achievement gains•Challenge-Based Learning•Increasing student creativity and innovation•How to increase student collaboration and problem-solving skills•Fostering the use of engaging learning environments
Each participant in the academy will receive:•A class set of iPads•An iPad for teacher use•An iPad Cart for storage and charging•An Apple TV, which will allow you to project from your iPad to the White Board•Opportunity for further incentives in technology if participating in 21stCentury Learning Academy in future years.
Here is my application.

As soon as the iPad came out, I knew I wanted them for my classroom. They bring a level of student motivation, engagement and learning possibilities that was unprecedented before. I have used my own iPad as a productivity tool and have let students use it to play educational games and to make teaching videos (that is, students teaching other how to do something – like a mini-khan academy). I have also had BYOT days where I had 2:1 “iThings” (touches and pads) for math and literacy centers. I am interested in the iPad Action Research Academy as a way for me to learn new ways to harness this tool but also as a way to find out what works and what doesn’t. Some teachers are apprehensive or unaware of the benefits of using technology in the classroom. I’d like to be able to share tools, procedures and apps that will help allay some fears of implementation in their own classrooms. I see the role of teachers in the iPad Academy as being tech evangelists. Learning with an iPad provides additional opportunities for differentiation and compacting as well as an opportunity to present information to students in a variety of modalities. They provide access to information and research that is too expensive to do with books and hard to access with only seven old PCs or even the C.O.W., including access to regularly updated core content, without waiting for the next textbook adoption. With iPads, students can create their own learning opportunities and teach each other. I would love the opportunity to bring this technology, and these opportunities, to my students.

Ideally, Ms. +sheila monger and I will both be accepted into the academy. S. and I both are impressed with the apps we have used in the classroom individually and would love to collaboratively work on implementing some projects within our co-teaching structure.

I believe I am a good candidate for the iPad Action Research Academy because I am an open minded, tech-savvy, and extremely enthusiastic. I have taught other teachers how to use technology on my own time, including a summer website building workshop. Once I learn how to use something, I want to share it with anyone. I am also committed and organized which will help as we explore and establish ways to manage iPads in the classroom going forward. It is an exciting opportunity to be involved in the early stages of this project with the district and even though I am a temp, I hope you will seriously consider my application.