Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Fall CUE

This past weekend was the CUE conference, my first one!

First, I was blown away by the number of educators who, in the current climate, still showed up for a weekend education conference.  Us teachers, we just. don't. stop.  (And I know, that's part of the problem, but that is a whole different post!). At the presenter pre-meeting we were warned that there was a chance people might not show up to our session, in which case, we should pretend we are creating a recording for others to watch later.

Second, I loved how organized the conference was!  From the backend presenter resources and support to the conference website - it was so easy to pop in to sessions throughout the weekend.  There were tons of options, too, which made the organization even more important.

Third, I was really nervous about presenting online.  I mean, I've done PDs and Workshops for my local school and community, but this?  This is a mid-western girl from Michigan presenting via Zoom to the great state of California!  It was a little intimidating!  Both of my sessions were new ones (which was so not smart on my part - new conference and new sessions?!) and so I wasn't sure how they'd go.  Thankfully, everything went smoothly and I got solid feedback from the attendees.

Session one was on using Scratch to create video games.  Session two was all about integrating technology into curriculum.  I featured four tools - Seesaw, Flipgrid, Screencastify, and Book Creator - that all cross subjects, disciplines, and ages.  It was fun to present them, and I'm already tweaking them for the next opportunity.

Finally, the sessions I went to were fantastic.  I know that COVID has sucked the life out of a lot of people, events, systems, and structures.  I also know that for the events that shifted to an online platform, that's some pretty good stuff there, and the fact that I can go back and watch the recordings for the sessions I missed is even better.

If CUE is virtual again, I will be adding it to my list for sure.  If it shifts back to solely in person, I'd happily accept anyone's offer to fund my trip to the Golden state!


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Wednesday Wit

 Ahhh... the good old days....

(If you know the source for this, please let me know so I can provide credit!)

Friday, October 8, 2021

Cross-Curricular Engagement

Q: What do you get when you cross a computer and a life guard?  

Wait, wrong question. Q: What do you get when you focus on cross-curricular engagement? Lots of powerful learning!

First things first - what is cross curricular engagement? The way I like to define it is when you take content from one curriculum area and address it in an "unrelated" curriculum area. Like when you talk about reading during math class. Or when you ask kids to solve a math problem during tech class and they say "Ms. Diem, I thought we were doing technology, not math!"

True story.

If we want things to stick, it helps to make connections. So when we're asking kids to read a science text, it's helpful to remind them of reading strategies. Or when we're designing a model in art class, it helps to remember how to measure precisely.

And technology is one of those unifying tools that can make cross-curricular engagement super-duper powerful. As a matter of fact, this week, I got to speak with the people at Osmo for an upcoming episode on their podcast! It was so much fun to speak with Michael and Ross about how engagement soars when learning isn't siloed. 

For example, sequencing comes into play in every. single. subject. To introduce sequencing to kids, or to review it, try using something like Osmo's Coding Awbie, or even Osmo Numbers!  Then you can remind students when they're reading, to put things in order like they did with Awbie. Or in science, to follow the steps of the scientific method.  There are so many tools, Osmo and beyond, that weave content together in a way that creates a new level of engagement.

The more we connect learning experiences to other learning experiences, the more memorable, and powerful, they become!

A: A screensaver!

Monday, October 4, 2021

Seesaw in Second

Last year, I spent the first 2/3 of the year teaching remotely.  And while I still got to teach my 3rd and 4th grade, I really missed teaching the littles!  It was SO much fun finally being back with 2nd graders, and even more fun, introducing them to Seesaw!

When they were in first grade, much of the posts that were made were done by or with the teacher.  (It was a lot of extra work on the teacher's part!)  This year, second graders are en route to becoming masters of their own Seesaw!

The first part of this journey involved learning how to take a selfie (because despite all the tech time younger kids have, some skills still need teaching) and resizing it properly to fit in a specified shape (remember: always stretch from the corners, no giraffe or hippo photos!)  They also learned how to use the drawing tools.  Next up we will explore shapes and the video camera, before practicing taking pictures of written work to add to our Seesaw journals.

I love how easy Seesaw is to use, and integrate, into everything school.  And I love how the kids are so adept at using their resources to complete their work!  These second graders are well on the road to becoming Seesaw Masters that can show off their learning in a few clicks or snaps of their iPads!

To see the activity I used, click HERE and add it to your Seesaw collection!