#edblogaday 1 Lots of Cs

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Why is blogging important to teaching and learning?

Consider

Teaching is all about learning, and discovering what works to inspire learning is a thoughtful, reflective process. What works? What doesn’t? Will it work next time? Will this lesson work for each learner? Blogging helps teachers consider the how and what and why of their craft to improve for the next day and the next learner. Blogging — writing — helps us think through our process as it affects our learners. Blogging about teaching and learning allows me to critically think about my plans, processes, lessons, successes, and failures to improve my craft to improve the learning in my classroom. Example: Considering Feedback

Communicate

Blogging about teaching and learning communicates to others what could be if adapted in their classroom; we communicate our ideas so others may learn. And we read others’ posts to learn and share how we adapted others’ ideas. We communicate our stories so others may discover the real world of teaching and learning. Example: Communicate an idea: Drama

Create

As educators consider, communicate, and reciprocate their ideas, they create strategies and lessons which others can adapt. The act of writing is an act of creating: it sets in words for others to consider the possibilities and opportunities for everyone’s growth. When I read someone else’s idea, I consider my own place and adapt and remix the ideas to fit my world. I reflect and credit others who then may try my idea or the original, and remix to fit their world. It’s a reciprocal, creative remixing to improve the experience of learners. Example: Create and Remix: Notetaking

Connect

Educators blog to connect on different levels: connecting educators in similar disciplines, connecting families to schools, connecting classrooms for collaboration or conversation. Blogging for teaching and learning creates a connected web of resources, a virtual online library of ideas for educators, disciplines, families, and students. Example: Connected Classrooms = Connected Writers

Blogging about teaching and learning connects us to learn life together.


Image Credit: Sheri Edwards 

WC: 342

Please join the 140WC challenge

Cross-posted at AskWhatElse

 

 

#Digilit Sunday Google Apps and iPads

 

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DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, September 21, 2014.

 

 What I learned on Twitter on Sunday….

Tips for Using Google Apps on the iPad

Note: the most common tip from the experts:  Use Google Chrome app.

To keep up with all news Google Drive, follow their blog: Google Drive

or the official Google Blog

 

1. Five Tips for Google + iPad: Click here to go to article: Tips


Summary:

1. Download Google Apps: Install all of the featured apps on this page: Google Apps for iOS. All of Google’s mobile apps work as a team. Links will open in Chrome instead of Safari.

2. Google Search App: Enable hands-free, voice search trigger for the Google Search app.
Now simply say, “Okay, Google,” your device will beep, and start “listening” for your search query. If you ask a question, Google will read the answer back to you! Think of how much this can help students.  “Okay, Google,” can be enabled in Google Chrome on the desktop. Chrome on the iPad can also do voice search, but not “Okay, Google.”

3. gMail App: Use the gMail app, not the native iOS Mail app, which sucks up your storage space. The Gmail app is better, faster, and is cloud-based. The Gmail app will also let you connect multiple gmail accounts. If you don’t have a personal gMail account, consider getting one for all the benefits of the spam filters, speed, and the other apps associated with it.

4. Use a Google Calendar App: Google Desktop Calendar plays nicely with most other calendar applications out there, but to get the gcal functionality you have on the desktop, use a Google Calendar app.  Although Google does not offer an official Google Calendar app for the iPad, choose one with gcal functionality. Kasey recommends Sunrise (free) or Calendars 5 by Readdle ($6.99).

5. Google+ Google Plus is currently the fastest growing social network. With Google+ app on your iOS device you can auto-backup your photos and videos to Google! What is the number one storage hog on iPads?  photos and videos. Let Google+ back up to your Google+ account.

Also, Google+ is builds your personal learning network and your collaboration with like-minded educators. Kasey’s 5 Reasons Educators Should Use Google Plus.

2. Add images to Google Docs on the iPad

 

Watch the video in the link; read the directions.

Summary:

1. Chrome app works best.

2. In Chrome choose “mobile site” and go to drive.google.com to log in.

3. Create a new document– stay in Chrome; don’t go to the Drive app.

4. Choose Document and add a title, click create.

5. This is the important part: When the page loads with your new document, click on ‘Desktop’ for the page mode type at the bottom of the page. See bottom of above image.

6. Now you can click “insert —> image” from the menu. [screenshot]

7. Click the blue Add Image button in the middle of the pop-up that appears. Choose Camera Roll.  [screenshot]

8 Choose your picture.

 

3. Google Drive’s Magic ‘i’ — the iPad and Google  = Collaboration

On the desktop, when you click a document [pdf, slides, document, spreadsheets] in  the list on your Drive, the new Drive asks “Open-in” from which you can open virtually any document.

How do you get to the “open-in” on your iPad?

When you click the “i” button in an iPad app, you discover the choice to “Open in.”  Almost any product you make on the iPad can be uploaded to Google Drive and housed in the cloud.

Example: Students [or teachers] create an iMovie. They go to Google Drive, choose the upload button and then upload that iMovie from the camera roll into their Drive accounts using the “Open in” choice. They can share that file and/or movie/photo with their peer from Google Drive, and now the students can collaborate in iMovie — or what ever app file you’re working with.

As you can see, I’ve added to my knowledge from the experts on Twitter, where anyone is an expert if you know an answer to the questions asked. It’s an open forum that levels the field: experts and novices become collaborators with their own expertise.

Sunday, I focused on learning about Google Apps with the iPad since our teachers use their iPads with our Google Apps for Education.

How do you start Twitter? Start with a personal account. Here are several resources:

Twitter 101 

Twitter Prezi 

Twitter Handout

Twitter Post

As Steve Jobs said, “Just ask.” What are your questions?


Please remember this is a school-related site. Model digital citizenship. Thank you.

#clmooc #light #constellation collaboration

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Chief Astronaut: Kevin Hodgson

In Week 5, our challenge was light. How do we make and write with light? Under the inspiration of Kevin Hodgson , we were invited to remake the night sky with our own constellations and stories. How? He created directions, and let our imaginations take us to find in our #clmooc sky, the stars and stories hidden inside our own worlds. Click on the Star Sky Chart above to enjoy the constellation stories created by us.

Listen to the sounds of our space, courtesy of Kevin: G+Post. Kevin’s Post. Sound Cloud Audio.

Remember who we are.

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden   …..   Joni Mitchell  on Rock.Genius

I think this is my favorite Make of all the #clmooc cycles. It brought people together with different tools. Problems arose and people hacked the solutions. For example, the story length was an issue, so members wrote blog posts of their stories. We were challenged, we were interested, we helped each other, and we created a sky worth viewing.  It brought us to places in memories and imaginings that we shared, like Jennifer Sharpe’s snowstorm and my Three Brown Dots. Thanks you Kevin.!

CLMOOC StarChart Complete

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#clmooc #constellation Three Brown Dots

constellationThreeBrownDots

 

Three Brown Dots

of the Southern Sky

 To say the name is to say the story.

Three Brown Dots

Long ago when we people struggled for survival, we found a friend in the wolf. Yes, often he tagged along as we hunted, waiting for what we left, but soon we discovered that in the morning the fearsome creature left tracks to the new trails of the herd we followed. And soon our relationship grew, each helping the other feed our families.

Around the fire at night, we would see their eyes out in the tall grass or peeking by the pine.

The children would throw scraps to them, and soon they moved in closer, but not too close.

One day, our small one slept under the stars, and when she opened her eyes in the morning, there, a few feet from her, lay a small pup, his head facing her, nose pointing to her as its head rested between its front paws. Brown eyes blinked.

“Three brown dots,” she called out.

The pup’s tail curled up, but all else did not move.

“Three brown dots,” she called again, and tossed a scrap of dried venison to the pup.

And so it was, “Three Brown Dots” and the child became friends, keeping their distance, but knowing each other.

Many moons later as the child became a woman, her friend did not return one morning, and so after days, our people mourned the loss of our “Three Brown Dots.” As we told the story, the young woman looked into the sky and saw there in the southern sky, three twinkling brown stars. And soon she saw her friend, walking in the sky, looking down at her, tail curled.

And today you see Three Brown Dots walking.

See, just there.

And if you say the name, say the story.


In Memory of Our Three Brown Dots

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Have you created your constellation? Or your story? Please join the 2014 Constellation Collaboration by

Kevin Hodson’s CLMOOC’s Constellation Collaboration

#clmooc #k6diglit Invitation to Stay Connected

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Margaret Simon asks a question: Tapping Student Connections

How do we tap into student interests and create online learning environments for them to connect to and learn from? 

That is the question for DigLit Sunday bloggers from Margaret Simon.  And I’ve written an invitation to stay connected as Middle School educators here. This post continues that invitation.

What about a hub — a blog of prompts for students?

One way I thought of is to form a group of Middle Level Educators who collaborate on a blog of prompts from which students respond, connect to other students, and perhaps plan collaboration on the prompts. The blog would be the hub of student choice, or teacher guidance, a Make Bank of our own. I created such a blog for us to develop to get us started and, for #clmooc-ers, to stay connected:

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Connect 2 Learn

If you’re already interested, here’s the spot to join by sending me an email: Contact Connect2Learn and choose “Facilitator Request” so I can add you to the blog as facilitator.

A bit more on Connect 2 Learn:

When we write, we often write first for ourselves to gather ideas [inside/personal], and then share and discuss with others [responsive/connective]. Next we may share out to inform [purposeful/informative/narrative], and we may also share out to  help others or make the world better [social action/argumentative/persuasive].

I thought perhaps these purposes would be good ways to organize the blog:

Do I want to be reflective / personal and perhaps share that with others [responsive]?

Do I want to take what I know, add it to others idea’s? [responsive]

Do I want to share information or a story? [purposeful]

Do I want to make the world better? [social action]

Of course, these are recursive — each of us moves through these frames of writing, these frames of thinking about writing — as we develop our projects.  These frames are not my ideas, but rather are the work of Liz Stephens and Kerry Ballast (Liz Stephens and Kerry Ballast (2011). Using Technology to Improve Adolescent Writing: Digital Make-Overs for Writing Lessons) who present this new paradigm for writing lessons that includes the four frames, four lenses to view process writing and assignments. I thought they made a great way to organize our collaborative prompts.  [I’ve written about this here and here [scroll down].

But: it would be our blog. Join, and help build it: Contact Connect2Learn and choose “Facilitator Request” so I can add you to the blog as facilitator.

But how do we discuss and plan our projects?

Many people have commented on how difficult it is to follow  threads of conversations — and find them again on Google Plus. So I researched and discovered another platform — MightyBell that serves as a focal point for general members, allows for smaller communities within the larger one [think planning projects with a team of educators], and even smaller circles of projects. That sounded like a possibility for better conversation and collaboration. Of course we would always stay connected throughout the year with #clmooc.

So I created Connect in the Middle community at Mightybell with a circle for planning the collaborative blog called Connect 2 Learn, same name as the blog.

An invitation

Please consider joining with myself and others — for planning and collaboration, join these two communities:

Connect in the Middle community

Connect 2 Learn Circle

and the collaborative blog hub:

Connect 2 Learn  Contact Connect2Learn

Hopefully, these will help us stay connected as Middle School educators, planning projects with and for our students, to identify the entry points for play and learning, and  to lead them towards a connected learning path.

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#nablopomo #nablopomoed Day 21 Learning Strategy

targetclip#nablopomo #nablopomoed  Blog A Day  21 A great strategy for encouraging learning is…

collaborative groups.  There is one thing I like about the Common Core State Standards. That is that they expect students to work collaboratively to build understanding, share concepts, and use those ideas to develop their own responses. I’ve always thought it sad that with our old standards and their tests, that the students weren’t allowed to discuss and converse about the possibilities and content. Now, it’s supposedly built into the testing format. I don’t have all the details, but this is a good thing.

My students sit in groups [or can quickly arrange themselves so] and have learned about possible roles [ reader, recorder, task master, morale manager, statistician, etc. ] [an old list here ]. Each student has their own writing journal, graphic organizer, or other note manager for their own ideas about the essential question for the reading. Students then share and discuss their individual responses in their groups, and a recorder writes the team’s response to a group question, prompt, or activity on a different organizer. The group sheet / organizer requires a synthesis of the individual responses of the team.

For example, while reading a book as a class, each individual student answered questions for a chapter or group of chapters. Students then discussed and shared their responses. They then determined the key ideas of each question, which the recorder wrote on a different organizer. Finally, the team pulled out the recurring patterns of ideas as “theme topics,” which we later used to develop the theme of the book.

Individuals chose one of the “theme topic” words from the above activity and wrote events and character behaviors that supported that theme topic. As a group, the students discussed their evidence and helped each other write theme statements, with the recorder indicating which theme topics had been covered.

Students now had plenty of vocabulary and content to create their “brosters” [brief posters] with images, evidence, and theme statement. We then placed those brosters into keynote and recorded additional information in text or audio for a theme video. And here’s our theme video.

I’ve mentioned graphic organizers, so I’d like to thank Jim Burke for his amazing resources. Here’s a link to some of those he shares on his blog. My favorites, always available, are the Target and Conversation Roundtable. You’ll see a list of his books on the left — all worth their weight in gold. And do join the English Companion Ning and follow Jim on Twitter. [I really don’t know him to personally call him Jim, but he has truly influenced my teaching and my students’ learning — his work is always there for me to learn more.]

So, a great learning strategy is the use of collaborative groups to understand text, develop content, and create demonstrations of understanding as groups use various graphic organizers to dig into the essential learning together.

What is a learning strategy that helps you or your students?

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#leadershipday13 Answer: How Do Busy Administrators find time?

Each year Scott McLeod challenges us to challenge our administrators to move forward with technology for the learning processes of our schools. Thursday, August 15, 2013 is #leadershipday13.

How do busy administrators find time to do all the tasks expected with their school board of directors, their staff, their students, and their communities?

Administrators have many stakeholders to consider throughout their day — it’s difficult to juggle these expectations. How might technology help?

Our administrator focuses on communication and collaboration with our community and staff. He writes “Thoughts to Share” for school board and staff and sends home a calendars of events.

Paper handouts often wind up tacked to a fridge or cabinet door, piled with other handouts, or stuffed in a briefcase or book bag, or filed in a folder. What if all those communications could be organized and accessible as needed? How could a busy administrator find time to share, communicate, and collaborate? Perhaps technology can help.

1. Public Google Calendar on the school website

What’s next? What have we done? When is that meeting? that track meet? Embed the school calendar to a page in your blog and to the website for quick access.

Why? By adding the important school events to a shared, public calendar, all members of the school community have access to school events (sports, meetings, field trips, trainings, conferences, etc.).

2. Start a community blog (public) 

Our community loves to hear what is going on. What would you share? How about blogging once each week, just a paragraph, on four different topics (listed in categories)?  What categories would you choose?

While making rounds in the classroom, writing thoughts to share, or considering upcoming events, make a note of those things and perhaps snap a picture on your iPad.

Once a week, schedule a time to write a brief post in one category:

 Possible Categories

Vision — How are we’re doing?

Classes — What learning and engagement do you see in classrooms to show the vision and progress?

Parents — What are students doing? Who can you thank? What happened at events?

Next month— What’s coming up? What’s the focus? What should we expect? How can families and community help?

By creating categories, readers can view the category needed and review the year in those posts.  Add polls for parents to complete and accept or contact by email for ongoing open communication.

Of course the public calendar would be embedded a blog page.

Why? Open communication, photos and blurbs, and ongoing information contribute to showing and sharing the daily efforts of students and staff towards learning and growing as a community; it brings the outside in and the inside out.

3. Start a Staff Blog (private) or Website

With so many items that must be attended to as we strive for school excellence, what can an administrator do to share and organize information? Administrators, especially principals, have weekly thoughts and ideas to share, meetings to plan and attend, questions to ask, and strategies and documents to share. How can all of these be shared in a timely manner– and be available as a reference when needed?

How about a blog accessible to staff? Ask questions, share documents, link to collaborative, shared Google Docs for input, provide upcoming events, etc. It would be the “goto” place for the most current information and expectations, organized and accessible to staff in one place whenever it is needed.

Perhaps a page could be added for all document links. Provide the information needed ahead of time for staff meetings so everyone is ready and prepared for discussion and action. Embed the calendar on another page.

Again, use categories, tags, or Table of Contents to organize the information: announcements, documents, meetings, items due, queries, readings (for example). What would you use? Would a site or blog work best for you?

Why? A paper trail gets lost in a folder or pile. A “go to” place allows access and organization whenever needed. The trail is clear and available. In the busy times of teaching all day, the ability to find and refer to important organizational needs and focus is paramount to building a professional community where everyone is part and everyone has access so the vision of that community is embraced and lived. Pop open your laptop or or tablet device, and you can review any of the items or add to the conversation on shared documents.

4- What about Collaborative Documents?

Link to documents in the blog or embed them in the website for staff (or community). Provide information or ask for input:

Staff meeting questions or readings before meetings?

School Improvement documents

Google forms to ask for input

Instead of waiting for meetings or emailing staff, use the blog to post questions and link to the shared document with your domain. Staff can subscribe to the blog to receive each update.

Why? Collaborative documents and Google Forms provide a means for communicating and sharing ideas without calling a special meeting or waiting for a staff meeting. It allows everyone to participate and share their voice; it inspires ideas that might otherwise be lost: it helps build the professional community that drives improvement and teamwork.

Which step would you take?

These are four ways busy administrators can connect, communicate, and collaborate with various stakeholders in the school community. The blogs/websites are hubs of outreach and input for an ongoing conversation and report of school events and progress for the community, and are hubs of communication and collaboration with staff for continual progress and sharing of programs and events that can eliminate meetings and provide the place for building a community of practice that includes all staff.

The extent and depth of participation and collaboration will be up to each administrator, but these ideas provide keys to keeping communication current — and curated for review.

Why? Your time is valuable; a place to post relevant information for different stakeholders saves time for you in distribution and organization; it builds community and trust through your input. It builds a history of possibility and progress.

What do you think? Could these four ideas help stamp out the “im” and make possible better, more organized, and curated communication for your school’s professional learning community? Which one could you start?

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Cross-posted at AskWhatElse