Tuesday, November 6, 2018

EdTechTeacher Summit 2018

It's #ettsummit time!

EdTechTeacher always puts on a great conference. This year Dr. Ayana Howard kicks off the 2-days of learning with a great keynote about STEM education and the future of robotics in education.

My colleague, Christine Boyer, and I are at the #ettsummit to share some things we've done, but more importantly to get feedback on our process as well as gather new ideas and different ways of approaching things.

It's always important to get out of our own echo chamber and see the awesome going on in the world outside out own building and district.

During the summit I am presenting on storytelling and movie making, from paper to YouTube. Christine and I are also doing a joint session on student presentations beyond tri-fold boards. Christine did a session on blogging and an Ignite about Makerspaces.

The slide decks for all of these sessions are below...

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Fall 2018 Chromebook Buyers Guide

I originally wrote this for my class blog @HeathcoteTech. After receiving multiple emails from parents with personal device/Chromebook questions I figured I'd turn my email replies into a more structured "buyers guide" of sorts. The thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and crafted with 2nd-5th graders in mind, as that is the population I teach. This is in no way meant to be a comprehensive list of the "best" Chromebooks on the market.

As the years have progressed there has been an ever increasing interest from parents to purchase Chromebooks for home use. Awesome!

I think it's an excellent idea and a great investment, we use them every day at school and I have three at my home.

Before I get into some device specifics I want to touch on a few common points of interest from parents...

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Student headphones: an overview and some recommendations

I often get asked about headphones for students. It's a difficult question to answer on many fronts. Price is one concern, but so is durability. A microphone is an important consideration since students use apps like Seesaw to record their learning. And their age. A kindergartner has different needs than a 5th grader in terms of size, fit, and functionality.  

Here is a breakdown of how I approach the K-5 headphone question...

Thursday, June 21, 2018

CapCon! 2018 - 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 used to end with a tri-fold board... But not any more...

Once again the 5th graders were amazing and rocked the CapCon! Capstone event.   

CapCon! a capstone learning conference is our yearly 5th grade culminating activity. For years it was a traditional tri-fold museum, but we just wrapped up the 3rd year of the switch from tri-fold Capstone to CapCon! which is all about student voice and presentations; TED and Ignite style...

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Screencasting - a quick tutorial

Screencasting is the act of recording your computer screen. This is done for many purposes. My students mainly use it to explain their learning or the purpose of a project/file they are working on, or they use it to record virtual interviews to refer back to later.

This is a quick tutorial/resource document I created for them to reference anytime the want or need to screencast...

Monday, May 14, 2018

An Ignite about Teaching with Ignites

I recently wrote about how we use the Ignite format of presentations in my school. After a few years of working with students on this particular format I felt it was time that I actually gave an Ignite talk in front of an audience that wasn't entirely my students.

I had the opportunity to give an Ignite talk at the LHRIC Tech Expo 2018 event. The closing session of the event was a 5 Minutes of Fame or Epic Fail session, which was pitched as an opportunity for participants to speak for 5 minutes about a great success or fail from their classroom or school. I decided to take the title, 5 Minutes of Fame of Epic Fail, literally and use it as an opportunity to give an Ignite about how I use the Ignite format with students. I was either going to get through it or fail epically... but I had to do it to show my students we all walk the same path.

So, here it is, my Ignite about Teaching with Ignites:

It took a lot of work, a lot of rehearsing, a lot of editing and revising; all the things I always push my students to do with their Ignite talks. And I took the big stage.

Did it go perfectly? No. I stumbled a lot and missed things I wanted to cover. Nerves. But, I'm glad I did it, and I love the fact I now have my own Ignite video to use with students as a mentor text.

Looking forward to doing another one...

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Teaching with Ignites

Over the last few years I have being using the Ignite Talks model with my students.

Ignite Talks are


Presenters get 20 slides, which automatically advance every 15 seconds. The result is a fast and fun presentation which lasts just 5 minutes.

Ignite events are held in cities around the world.
"Enlighten us, but make it quick.? 
Why use this format with 4th and 5th graders? Why not? We talk about preparing students for the world, so why not let them use tools of the world within the classroom...

Friday, May 11, 2018

Comic Books: Thinking Outside the Presentation Box

For this year's LHRIC Tech Expo I presented some of our work around comics books and graphic novel style projects using Google Slides and Google Drawing.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Inspired Learning Convention

Today was a great day.

I spent the day in Upton, MA at the Inspired Learning Convention.

The incomparable Beth Holland kicked off the day with an awesome keynote address. Rebellions start with rebels...

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Every project is a story...

Every project is a story

Lately I've been coalescing my thinking and teaching around this single notion. That every project is a story. Students are telling stories about their learning. Some are written stories; poems, reflections, personal narratives and so on. Some are media based; presentations, videos, music. Regardless of the medium and regardless of the expectations and rubric, any good project a student creates, that truly demonstrates their leaning ,is one in which they tell a story. They tell their story of their learning.

And with any story, start with the why. Why am I telling it? Why am I making the choices I'm making? Why is this the way I telling it?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Hello, 2018! Here's what we've got to do...

Happy New Year!

Albeit a few days late. Historically I've never been the most prolific nor timely blogger, so I suppose I'm being consistent if nothing else...

It's a new year and everyone is always posting resolutions, goals to hit, mountains to climb (sometimes, literally and for very good reasons) and in general, things to put out there to the world.

I've never been good about a) making resolutions nor b) keeping the ones I do make. So I'm going to try a different tack in 2018. I'm making a list. A simply to-do list. This post is that list. I am going to keep adding to it and when I do things on the list I'll cross them off (and, when possible, link to the item).

So here it is, my personal to-do list for 2018...