Wednesday, November 13, 2019

i Heart BrainPop

Seriously.  I do.

I've been using BrainPop since you could get a two-week free trial by signing up with your email address.  (Thank goodness for free email addresses!)  I've been using BrainPop since the teacher login was the only option!  I've been using BrainPop... well, for a long time.

And I love it.  Even more now that I've spent time becoming a Certified BrainPop Educator (CBE) after a training in spring 2018.  It gave me the chance to do a deeper dive into all that BrainPop offers now.

And let me tell you... the platform is pretty spectacular!

If you haven't explored BrainPop in a while, you might not know that teachers can create their own classes, kids get their own accounts, you can assign and track progress, they have a whole coding platform, and yes, you can even make your OWN BrainPop movies!

Last year, our 4th graders published a writing piece using BrainPop's Make-a-Movie feature.  They did such a great job with the project, and were so excited to publish their writing as a BrainPop movie!

Next week, we are introducing BrainPop student accounts to the 3rd graders and

Friday, November 8, 2019

MiGoogle 2019

My Tuesday started extra early with a very long drive, which is not fun for this non-morning person.  However. 

It was a worthwhile drive to a very worthwhile day at the 8th annual MiGoogle Conference.  A few years ago at this conference, I got to meet Alice Keeler for the first time.  This year, thanks to the opening keynote, I became a new fan of Jake Miller and his Educational Duct Tape, In fact, I almost got whiplash because I found myself nodding so vigorously at much of what Jake spoke about, including this:


This is my new mantra.  Or, really, it's a new way to express the message in which I firmly believe - tech is not the goal of a learning experience, instead, tech should enhance the learning experience while the skill, lesson, or content is the goal.

Jake had *so* many good tidbits and reminders that it was kinda hard to keep up.  The best thing I can offer you now is to follow Jake on Twitter, and check out his podcasts and website, paying particularly close attention to his gifs!

Gifs.  I am now obsessed with learning to make them.  Yeah, there are tons and tons of them out there, but the way Jake uses them, for those mini-lessons, snippets of learning, and digestible bites of knowledge... yep.  Gotta get me some of that.

Aside from fangirling over Jake, I spent time learning about Soundtrap (post coming soon!), Google Keep (finally!), and exploring Shared Drives (an awesome organizational assist!) in addition to presenting on Google Tour Creator and Google Slides.

Interestingly, something that echoed through both MiGoogle and last week's Mercy Tech Talk was the concept of coaching, modeling, and gradual release.  As educators, we model for our students, coach them, and gradually release the responsibility of constructing knowledge to them.  The same applies as leaders in an educational community.  
I do, we do, you do.
This mantra should live within all who work in an educational setting.

Thank you to John Sowash and Sowash Ventures and Lake Fenton High School and all the sponsors who helped make MiGoogle 2019 possible!  Looking forward to next year!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Mercy Tech Talk

I had the privilege of attending not one, but two conferences in the past 7 days.  Yes, I am that lucky!

On Friday, November 1, I spent my day at Mercy High School's Annual Tech Talk Conference.  After sharing some wisdom on Google tools, I spent a session with Director of Curriculum Innovation, and Grants for RCSD, Jason Gribble.  He talked about the importance of leadership coaching and modeling teacher expectations.  We looked at some great tools to support communication (newest Voxer fan here!) and talked about how Twitter Chats can profoundly impact one's learning network. among other things, entertained with some pretty funny video clips that are all too real in the world of educational leadership!

After a delicious lunch of tacos (something I am only now learning how to eat in public!) I spent an hour with Jeremy Badiner.  An hour with Jeremy is never long enough, and always goes way too fast!  This particular session focused on tools to expand the ever-changing tech toolbox, and I think I might need to build a bigger garage to hold all these tools!

Here are a few of my favorites!

Mercy Tech Talk is a local (Farmington Hills, MI) conference hosted by Mercy High School.  They do a fantastic job showcasing all layers of education - from student presentations to engaging workshops.  Look for it next November if you're in the area!

Sunday, November 3, 2019

A Letter from Mr. Potter

The September 7 "Daily Shouts" from the New Yorker may have been a letter from Harry Potter... yet I have a hunch that educators everywhere can relate... The Daily Humor column hit one out of the Quidditch Pitch with this one!

A few of the more memorable lines...
"Let me first acknowledge the obvious: last year, James struggled with his broom-flying. Happily, we have solved that problem. He has been diagnosed with flying-attention deficit—he’s overly distracted by birds, clouds, and whatnot."
And this one...
"I hope you’ll forgive a father these requests. More than anyone, I know what a privilege it is for my kids to attend my alma mater. After all, I had to drop out of school to collect the horcruxes and unite the Deathly Hallows before defeating Voldemort."

"Dear Minerva,

When I drop off James and Albus for the new school year, I’m so looking forward to seeing you and delivering the Golden Snitch that I signed for the silent auction. I hope it raises a few galleons toward refurbishing the Sorting Hat, which was looking dodgy even back in the day, when it gave me a sword to kill that basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets. Mad times—but I’m glad I was able to help, in whatever small ways, to save Hogwarts from destruction."

You gotta go read the rest - you won't regret it!
Hello from Harry Potter - The New Yorker