I have enjoyed attending edcamps for the last ten years or so, attending #edcampBoston, #edcampCT, #edcampKeene, #edcampNQ, #edcampwesternmass, #edcampGrafton, #edcampWorcester, #edcampAccess and more. What do I find appealing about edcamps? I get to choose what to learn, get to share what I have learned/tried, get to find answers to questions that I have, make connections with others who face the same challenges, brainstorm ideas. I don't have to sit 'n git through presentations that have nothing to do with me; I can get up and leave a presentation that isn't working for me and find a conversation that works. If I cannot meet my needs at edcamp, it is on me- not the fault of a well-meaning admin team who is trying to meet the disparate needs of a district and failing to address my needs.
So- what did I learn at #EdCampBoston?
My biggest take away by far was a session with Laura Beals D’Elia, one of the tribe of library goddesses on
Diversity in Picture Book Collections.
Laura is now over at Westborough and she has created an amazing padlet of diverse books. She led us through her discovery of how to assess a collection and how she is addressing diversity in her library. Not being a librarian, I hadn't a clue. I wish I lived closer so that I could take her course, sounds like an intense learning experience that we could all benefit from. So- what did she share? Here are the notes that Nancy et al took for the session. Here is the searchable database. One thing to note- this is a database- a list... not a list of recommended books- just a list. You can learn more about the way this came togetherhere. Laura's padlet has various categories, from family and friends to poetry to science. These are books that she has chosen to buy for her school library. Below is just a small sample of what you will find https://padlet.com/lauradelia11/tx9e8r7f2x0z
Another session that I enjoyed was Streamlining Classroom Routines with Tech. This seemed to be more middle/high school teachers, but there were things that I have not tried that seem to work for others, thus are well worth checking out.
We started out with using QR codes for sign out sheets- bathroom, hall passes, etc. I have seen various versions of this over the last few years. Since not all classrooms allow student cell phone use- a simple way is to have a spare chromebook with a link for the qr code- or just to the google form for the hallway/bathroom/nurse pass. This will document who signs out- when and where. Joli had a blog post with examples a while back.
A lot of teachers were excited to share their success with ZipGrade and GradeCam- neither of which I have used ( nor anticipate using). If you have a lot of this kind of grading to do, these apps must be a godsend. https://www.zipgrade.com/ or https://gradecam.com/
Teachers seem to promote using the chrome add-on -Pear Deck for Google Slides This is a quick and easy way to change a static presentation into an engaging lesson.
Another site that I haven't used is ClassCraft. The teachers who use this- love it. It is not free. The teachers at edcampBoston were talking about $60/year- but it sounds like it double that... It is gamified PBIS as far as I can see. You can add quests- like school work and give points for all sorts of things, collaboration, etc. So check out the videos below and see if you like it.
There were several others shared, EdPuzzle, Flippety.net, etc. You can check out the noteshere. And these were just 2 of the sessions I attended on Saturday. It was worth driving down to the Microsoft HQ in Burlington, learning and connecting with friends.
But, you don't have to travel that far if you live in western Mass, because EdCamp North Quabbin is right around the corner. Check it out here: https://www.smore.com/dhv24-edcamp-north-quabbin-is-coming?
One last thing to share...
Lisa Highfill created a great multimedia text set for Read Across America 2020. Check it out here Remember you can just go to file>make a copy to have your own copy of this that you can share with your students. It doesn't matter if it's March 2nd or not... great resources.
I enjoyed meeting old friends and lots of new folks at EdCampNQ on Saturday. This edcamp is relatively small, with about 40-50 teachers. This is the link to the Board with the topics. Some have great notes associated with them, others not so much. What I found interesting- one session about SPED/Gen Ed pretty much reinforced what I see at our school- in both positive and negative aspects. There was a lot of discussion about push in vs pull out. I enjoyed the session on makerspaces since we got to visit their new space. This is new this year (or maybe last year), but has a bunch of rooms- for CAD, for woodworking, etc. It is a required semester course for middle school. Right now it really seems like a choose your own adventure space, where kids come up with projects and work with their teams to make "stuff". It much more about entrepreneurship, problem solving and working collaboratively than robotics or electronics. I'll be curious to see where they go with this.
One other new thing I enjoyed over in Orange was seeing a demo of Jamboard. "Jamboard is a collaborative digital whiteboarding experience, available through a physical board, tablet and mobile apps as well as on the web." So, it's a very fancy interactive whiteboard- but it is easy to use and you can collaborate with folks anywhere. You don't actually have to have the fancy board to try this out. You can use the app, use the web interface, etc. Check it out.
Trying to keep up with the constant changes in Google tools isn't always easy. Even when you learn how to do something, unless it is something that you use all the time, it's often hard to remember. One solution, of course, is to Google it... watch a YouTube video, etc. The Applied Digital Skills curriculum is a great place to start for many. Now Google has a new place to find training, The Teacher Center where even your students can earn digital badges. Teachers who are interested can do these tests as well, but they recommend that adults go through the certification process. The tests are not free. What I like about this site: there are two paths- fundamentals and advanced, and most importantly there is a whole section called First Day. If you are new to Google Docs, Google classroom, etc... this may well be a great way to start. This is an example- First Day in Google Classroom.
Student Chat via GDocs
This is not news to most of us who are actually in the classrooms, but has gotten a ton of media attention of late. Yup, no surprise, kids use docs to chat in class. It should not be a big surprise is that they sometimes use these digital tools inappropriately, even using them to bully others. You can read more of the hoo-ha about this in The Atlantic, Inc, Gadget, Parents, Lifehacker and more. So, is this a problem? It is a violation of most school AUPs and can be and is addressed that way at our school. There are several different software solutions to help schools monitor this- for example Securly. In the classroom, it is just another classroom management issue, at least at the elementary level. However, if students are unsupervised at home, or if their parents assume that if they are on Google Docs that they are just doing school work, that may be a parental issue. Just as we cannot control all other things that come along with using technology, we cannot control ethical use, aside from educating our students, ourselves and the parents and guardians in our community.
PBS- Inspiring Young Scientists Series
Starting today- March 19th, PBS will be showcasing a new 3 part series Inspiring Young Scientists through STEAM Education. Read more about all of them and register here.
"Data,data, data..data is everywhere! How do we teach students to care about data? To interpret data? To understand all the cool things that can be done because of data? Look no further: join us on this LIVE conversation with NASA experts to explore how they brought visualizations of the Earth to the palm of our hands all by using, you guessed it, DATA!"
Part 2 “Live-Learning” Experience #2: Teaching Computational Thinking
March 26, 2019
“Live Learning” Experience #3: Exploring Models Inspired by Nature
April 2, 2019
Ideas to Share
VoiceIn Voice Typing
Science and Social Justice
Western Mass Science for the People with Arise for Social Justice
A two-part workshop on integrating science and social justice in
elementary and middle school classrooms. This series features
presentations and facilitation by community organizers, K-12 teachers,
scientists and historians of science on themes including:
* ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
* WORKING WITH COMMUNITY EXPERTS
* INTEGRATING SOCIAL STUDIES AND LANGUAGE ARTS INTO SCIENCE CURRICULA
* TRAUMA-INFORMED YOUTH LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Participants will be provided with concrete examples and resources,
guidance on fulfilling NEXT GEN SCIENCE STANDARDS, and time to develop
and workshop individual plans for innovative curriculum units.
Saturday, April 13 and 20, 8:00 am - 3:30 pm
Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center
100 Bigelow Street, Holyoke, MA
BREAKFAST AND LUNCH PROVIDED!
Space is limited to 30 participants and registration is required!
More Info an REGISTER HERE!