Monday, July 25, 2022

Seesaw Connect 22!

If you're in education, particularly elementary or middle school (though this is a great tool for high school, too!) and you're not aware of or using Seesaw, you're missing out. And if you've heard of Seesaw but aren't using it, this is the perfect time to jump in and try it out!


Because today kicks off Seesaw Connect 2022! Register now (if you haven't already) for this incredible, on-demand conference that runs between today and August 14th. Best of all, it's free! Best of best of all, it's a great way to learn more about the incredible platform that is Seesaw. Best of all best of all best of all, Seesaw has a completely free version for teachers to use (in addition to a paid and a school-wide platform) that has more features than you can imagine!

Why use Seesaw? Well, that's a whole separate series of posts, but in a nutshell, it provides families with an inside view of student learning, provides teachers with an easy to use tool to assign, collect, review, assess, and provide feedback that students and families can read (or hear!) in an effort to streamline communication, facilitate growth, and maintain transparency into student learning.

I love it.

But don't just listen to me, join the thousands of educators across the globe that use Seesaw, and connect with some of them during this year's Seesaw Connect and the very cool Seesaw Meetups taking place throughout Seesaw Connect.

And I can't close without mentioning that I'm hosting a Seesaw Meetup specifically geared toward tech coaches and tech teachers on Friday, August 12th at 11:00 am EST. Oh, and I've also got a session, too!

"See" you at #SeesawConnect!


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

And Again!

Welp. I tried this year. But yet again, I got sucked into the chaos of the end of the year and let the blog go silent for a while. I think next year, I'll just post a scheduled hiatus mid-May, since this seems to be an annual event! Better to be prepared than be bummed after the fact!

Anyway, the end of the school year felt normal for the first time in two years, which meant the normal amount of intense business and exuberant fun. Excitingly, we collected all student devices, as usual, and as long as the order comes in on time, all of our lower school students will be getting new iPads in the fall! The ones we collected just completed their 6th year of classroom use... yep, time for a retirement party.

End of the year highlights include...

  • 3rd Grade Fairy Tale Ball
  • 4th Grade Michigan Celebration
  • 6th Grade Fashion Show in Hebrew
  • 8th Grade Graduation
  • 2nd Grade Robot Days
  • 1st Grade Boddle Baddles
  • 7th Grade CoSpacesEDU project
  • and so much more!
Now we're in close down mode and readying for the coming school year. All the plexiglass in the building is coming down, the Chromebooks in need of repair have been registered and sent in, and we're updating the technology handbook for the fall.

And I'm chomping at the bit because in a few short days, I head out to my first ISTE!

I hope everyone's school-year has wrapped with more positive notes than otherwise!


Friday, May 20, 2022

Photo of the Week

The smile on this kiddo's face as she 
completed a challenging level on 
reminds me of why I love 
doing what I do!

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Wednesday Wit

 It's all about perspective... always....

If this is yours, please message me so I can provide proper credit to you!

Monday, May 2, 2022

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Now that we've moved on past COVID protocols, and kids can work together again, I've had to review my tech teamwork policy.

Help with your words, not with your hands.

I love how much the kids love to help each other. In fact, one of the lessons in's curriculum has kids doing something called paired programming. I use the analogy of pilot and navigator a lot as well, directing one student to use the controls while the other is in charge of the "map."

There are a ton of unplugged ways to practice this as well. When I taught third grade, we had a fun (yet old fashioned!) team building activity that involved one student giving directions to a second student. The first student had to direct the second as to where to place shapes to build a picture. The "direction giver" was not allowed to say what the picture was, they were only allowed to say things like "put the blue circle below the red rectangle." The result was often comical, and drove home the importance of clear communication (a lesson we can use at any age!)

Communication is one of those critical life skills that kids begin developing at birth, and the finessing of communication skills can take a life time to achieve. These kids are so helpful (for the most part) and are more than happy to jump up and help out a classmate, especially with technology. The challenge comes when kids want to grab their friend's device and do the work for them, instead of explaining how to complete the task at hand. 

Yes, it can take longer to explain something to someone. Yes, it can seem tedious, especially when you (or the child helper) can get it done in one or two clicks. But it's so much more than just the time factor. It's incredibly important for each child to learn those basic tech skills. And it's even more important for everyone to learn how to clearly explain something to another person.

It's part of why I love teaching coding so much - if the directions aren't crystal clear, the program won't work. Plain and simple. And while communicating in real life isn't as black and white as coding is, it's definitely a skill worth honing.

Help with your words, not your hands.

Making the time for this kind of practice is worth it, because in the long run (or even just a few months down the road) the payout is huge. Not only that, but it crosses curriculum and content areas - because if you can explain a fairly complicated tech task, maybe explaining your thinking for that math problem won't be so challenging!