Monday, September 18, 2017

My toughest day as a teacher - part 2

A few years ago I wrote about my toughest day as a teacher. The first day of school. The first day of my daughter going to Kindergarten. The original post is here.

September 5th 2017 was the second toughest day. My son started Kindergarten. Big day for him. Big day for my daughter too, she started 2nd grade. We have moved out of Brooklyn to be closer to where I teach. One of the biggest benefits is my kids can attend school in the district where I teach. It's an awesome district and I am grateful for the opportunity for my kids to experience it.

It means my son starts Kindergarten and my daughter starts 2nd grade. New house, new town, new school. Lots of new things...

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Hello, 2017-2018 school year!

The 2017-2018 school year is underway! The lab is full of iPads, Chromebooks, MacBooks, and iMacs...

   

This past Friday, the first Friday of the school year, we were able to get Chromebooks into the hands of every 5th graders. Over the next few days we will be rolling out Chromebooks to the 3rd and 4th, graders too. All 3-5th graders should have their Chromebooks by the end of next week!

This coming week is also the week to do the introductory lessons (Acceptable Use Policy and lab procedures) with K-2. Then it's rolling iPads into the K-1 spaces and getting everyone up and running on those too.

Busy times. My goal is that by Friday September 15th all tech will be deployed and utalized. It'll be fun once I can get classes back in the lab after all the start-up requirements are out of the way...

It's going to be a great year. Feel free to follow my class Twitter account @HeathcoteTech to see our year in tweets.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Comic Books with Google Slides

Last year I posted about the 3rd grade Cultural Tour comic books project I did. It was a first attempt and it went well. But as with anything there is always room to improve.

This year I created a tutorial for my students and colleagues to follow to allow them more time to work independently.

The below Slides presentation is the comic book I made for colleagues as part of a professional development series we call ST@C.

There are also links to various examples of student work. Google Slides is an awesome tool, not just for traditional presentations but for pushing the bounds of possibilities.

Hope this helps other teachers and students get started creating comics with Slides...

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

In light of this latest GMail phishing scam...

With this new email phishing scam rearing it's ugly head it's always a good time to pause and think about how these things happen and how we can prevent them.

How do they happen? Usually because we are so accustomed to interacting with email from people we know that clicking on a "Open in Docs" button from a colleague doesn't even faze us.

So what happened and what do you do...?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Portable sound booths: audio cubes

In an effort to provide students with a better way to record audition (for movie narration, video reflections, screencasts, and so forth) I have experiments with a few ideas.

Let me preface this by saying I have no illusions about the audiophile quality of these experiments, they are by no means perfect. What they are, instead, is a way to lesson the din of a classroom, and improve sound quality, when recording audio. My sound booth solutions will win no acoustic awards but they do a surprisingly good job in a few areas:

  • limiting background noise
  • providing more depth/richness to the student's voice since it forces them to be closer to the iPad/laptop microphone
  • make everyone else in the room more aware of recording happening
    • it was surprising to see how quiet the rest of the room got when everyone noticed the cubes being used
Here's what I did...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

On the eve of Spirit Day...

Today I left work, as an educator.

I drove home.

I then went to my daughter's school, as a parent, for Family Night.

I left Family Night feeling disheartened, angry, and sad. But I also left hopeful.

Tomorrow I go to work, as an educator, on Spirit Day. And it makes me thankful and hopeful...


Monday, September 5, 2016

Gearing up for Day 1

Tomorrow is the first day of the 2016-2017 school year.

My 14th first day of school as a teacher.

I'm excited. These last few years I've been re-energized about the profession and my place in it.

My students and colleagues have pushed me a lot these past two years. I hope I've pushed them too.

I've been thinking a lot about the why and how of what I do lately. I want my students to think about their why too. To not just do. But to understand the purpose, the why of what they do.

I think I'm going to make this a poster in my lab this year...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

CapCon! 2016 - a capstone learning conference

Every year the 5th graders of Scarsdale participate in Capstone. Capstone is the last two months of school, post-standardized testing. Students choose a topic, research it, and create a final product. It is designed to be a self-directed, passion/interest based assignment. And it ends with a tri-fold board...

This year our school decided to turn it on it's head.

No more tri-folds.

We created CapCon! a capstone learning conference. The vision was to create a professional learning conference experience driven by students, their research, and their work.

We spoke a lot about Ignite talks, TED Talks, professional quality documentaries (we used 60 Minutes and Real Sports as reference points). We created flyers, posters, and all the traditional marketing material associated with conferences like ISTE, ASCD, FETC. We wanted our students to create professional-quality research projects, so we treated them as professionals. Professional learners, creators, makers, and presenters.

And the students were amazing!

Here's how we did it...

Monday, August 8, 2016

Thinking about my why: I am a purveyor of geekery

I am not a computer teacher.

I am not a technology teacher.

I am not an integrator, facilitator, technician, or guru.

I am a purveyor of geekery.

Why?

I am a purveyor of geekery because I am more than any of those first items listed. I am more than a pigeonhole of knowledge or experience. I am a teacher, a techie, a learner, a nerd, a student, a person with a passion. It is that passion, for the geeky side of life, for the things that aren't limited to electronics but still wave the geek flag with pride, that makes me a purveyor of geekery.

I've been reading Simon Sinek's Start with Why and it has really opened up my thinking and my approach to what I do.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

School Technology Summit 2016 presentation - #NYCSchoolsTech

Welcome to my portion of the School Technology Summit 2016, presented by the New York City Department of Education.

This is the fourth year for the Tech Summit. And just like the previous events, it was a great day of learning and connecting. It was also day of great conversations, and a reflection will be forthcoming, but the purpose of this post is simply to share the resources I used during my sessions...