Monday, August 14, 2017

The Sun and Publishing Student Created Books

He is making uv bracelets with the class.
Personal Connection

At the end of the school year, my son came home with a project. He was asked to design and teach a lesson to his kindergarten class.

We spent time talking about the things he knows a lot about. My son knows a lot more about the sun than the average kindergarten student. I'm not talking about facts like the size or temperature. He has to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before he goes outside, wear a hat, and wear long sleeves daily to keep his body safe. He is very sensitive to ultra violet rays.

Together, we worked on a book writing project. He read the story to his class and created uv bracelet kits to try out a few challenges with his classmates.

Here is his book, The Sun, on iTunes.
Here is his book, The Sun, in BookCreator On-Line.

Sharing with Teachers

During the summer, Kirsten and I shared the process of publishing student created books with the Book Creator App. You can view our examples and others that we discovered while preparing for our session. You'll also find a collaborative book that was created by our teachers during the session. They are so talented!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

EPISD Blended Learning Conference

This summer I had the opportunity to teach and learn at the EPISD Blended Learning Conference. Blended learning is a blend of face to face and on-line learning that allows students some control of the time and place, their learning path and pace. Essentially, if you begin small, blended learning can give a teacher more time for small group targeted instruction, allow for personalized instruction, can foster student agency, and the opportunity for students to have authentic audiences.

Catlin Tucker was the Keynote for our district Blended Learning Conference, organized by the Instructional Technology Team. We were so excited to have her, because she relates well with teachers. She is a teacher!

Catlin Tucker agreed to meet up for an on-line interview. We shared a few of the videos with teachers leading up to our conference to create a little excitement about her visit to EPISD. I've linked them below.

Getting to Know Catlin Tucker 1
Getting to Know Catlin Tucker 2
Getting to Know Catlin Tucker 3
Getting to Know Catlin Tucker 4

Catlin Tucker Interview Question 1
Catlin Tucker Interview Question 2
Catlin Tucker Interview Question 3
Catlin Tucker Interview Question 4
Catlin Tucker Interview Question 5
Catlin Tucker Interview Question 6

I've challenged myself to Sketchnote this year. Taking the time to go back to my notes and finish up a Sketchnote after a Keynote has been a great way for me to review and organize my thoughts. Here is the Sketchnote I created after listening to Catlin Tucker inspire our teachers.

I'm still learning all about Blended Learning. The books I'm reading are Blended Learning in Action and Blended Learning in Grades 4-12. Notice, that Catlin Tucker is the author!

To read more about the EPISD Blended Learning Conference, read  Blended Learning conference draws hundreds of teachers, EPISD Community Engagement.

Please share your feedback, blended learning ideas and tips in the comments below. :)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Back to Blogging

I haven't published a blog post for a very long time. I don't want to make excuses, but life happened. There were so many other commitments that began to take priority. I will not apologize for taking care of my family first.  I've climbed to the top of the mountain and things are looking pretty great from here. It's exciting.

I've really missed blogging about the things that are happening in my technology integration world. During my time away, I've encouraged great teachers to blog and share what they are doing in the classroom. Teachers have amazing ideas and the world should know about them! I made a deal with one amazing teacher, I will blog if you will. She did!

This teacher shared a blog post with me over spring break, Blank Pages, by @TechNinjaTodd. You should read it. It's our "get back into blogging" inspiration from Todd Nesloney. I want to share what inspires me and what frustrates me. I want to keep learning and striving to improve. When things do not work out as planned, I want to be human and share the experience and what I've learned.

Recently, a teacher and Todd inspired me to return to blogging. Who inspires you to blog or want to begin a blog? 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Getting Started with Wonder Workshop- Dot and Dash

I've been wanting to learn more about coding in elementary school and introducing teachers in my area to integrate robotics in the curriculum and during the school day.  I'm loving and feel like I'm am only in the beginning phase of exploring and learning.  My goal is to work with the Wonder Robots and turn around sessions to share with my area TCEA Community and spread awareness in my school district and surrounding districts. 

Most of the time, the extra learning has to happen at home.  I really don't mind when learning is this much fun and includes bonding with my children.

I've spent two short time frames over the last two weeks working with my 4 yo son. We've been using the Go and Path App.  So far, I think they are great for pre-readers.  It is visual and enjoyable for a child to explore.

I will document our learning here in my blog as I continue to explore and learn.  Here is the first video that shares my son's trouble shooting and first challenge with Dash.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Coding for Beginners

I'm enjoying a few days of learning at TCEA's Tots and Technology. Here are my take aways, from a coding beginner and the resources I collected from TCEA Tots and Technology.

Getting Started
I've decided to get started with coding at home with my children.  We've enjoyed the board game, Robot Turtles and several iPad Apps.  Robot Turtles is a great way to get started with coding in an analog way.  My children enjoy making sound effects as we play.  Their favorite beginning coding app is My Robot Friend by Leapster. I like it because there is room for four profiles.  This means, I get to learn without affecting their progress.

Hour of Code
I attended a 6 hour session called "Building a STEM Foundation for Elementary Students."
It was a great session for teachers that are coding beginners, like me.  We spent a lot of time learning about the Hour of Code and using in the classroom.

I had heard about, but I was not aware of all of the lessons that were available through the training. In the workshop, I received great "unplugged" lessons that I can use when teaching students and teachers.  These lessons introduced coding vocabulary and really made the concept of coding easy to understand.  I was most impressed that a lot of those lessons were analog and just plain fun.

I spent time hands-on, learning how to code by playing a lot of the coding puzzles that students could solve while learning to code.   

If you are getting started with coding as a teacher, you should create an account in and get started.  It's also okay if you do not know much about coding.  We can learn and it's okay it we learn along with or from our students.  ;)

Taking it Beyond
I attended another session at #tceatots called "Robotics on the Cheap," with Jered Martinez.  This session focused on inexpensive ways to code and was at a higher level. Here is the sketch note Jered created to start us off.  My additions are not as fancy.  :)

Jered Martinez created this to start us off, I added my notes at the bottom center.

I learned about brush bots, little robots made out of inexpensive parts that can be purchased at Radio Shack.  I can't wait to gather the materials and create a fun, home, problem solving project to learn with my kids at home.  I also quickly created my account in Tynker and Scratch  to begin coding.  The neatest thing I learned is that Scratch is open source and the code that is written there can be used to program Raspberry Pi.  For example, check out 25 fun things you can do with Raspberry Pie from CNET.  A participant in the session shared Code Combat as a more advanced coding program.

I think I'm ready to continue learning.  After I build up my basics in, playing Robot Turtles with my kids, and enjoying a few coding apps when I have time, I'll move up the coding ladder.  It's exciting to think about the possibilities and what I can create if I learn to code.  Imagine how much it will help our PreK-12th graders if we give them all the same opportunity. After all, they need to be prepared for today's world and coding is apart of it now.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

So You Want to Be an Instructional Technology Specialist

The past two weeks, I've had the opportunity to talk with Dr. Will on Saturday Morning.  I've enjoyed connecting to share my experiences and to learn more about his experiences as an Instructional Technologist.

Dr. Will asked me to be on his Show for an episode called "So You Want to Be an Instructional Technology Specialist."

You can find the original post by visiting So You Want to Become an Instructional Technology Specialist.