My session was about how using various apps can enhance communication and language skills within the classroom. Here is the link to my presentation website. If you have any questions, please let leave a comment or use my "contact me" form.
I was fortunate to be asked to present again at the iLearn Conference sponsored by several amazing organizations around the Cincinnati (and Tri-State Area). As a result, I attended 2 great morning sessions. As a means for note taking, I created my own hashtag (#iLearn2013) to that I could "tweet out" the information so that all my followers could benefit from the presentations and the discussions that were taking place. (See below for the archive of my tweets through 2 sessions.) This is the third year for this conference. If you would like to reference past conference session, you can find them here.
My session was about how using various apps can enhance communication and language skills within the classroom. Here is the link to my presentation website. If you have any questions, please let leave a comment or use my "contact me" form.
Haiku Deck is an iOS app that allows you to make simple, yet striking presentations. My students were recently exploring the life cycle of the butterfly and the goals was for them to identify each of the 4 stages. As an ending project, each student (with my assistance) created there own presentation about the Butterfly Life Cycle. Check out the presentations below!
Well, it has been a while since I be able to blog here. I have been quite busy keeping my classroom blog up to date to keep parents informed about classroom happenings and the changes in the reading cycle. I have also been busy introducing my two kids to blogging. My DD is 7 years old and in 1st grade. She was getting tired of reading the same stories and studying spelling words the same old way. My husband and I decided a blog would be just the thing for her. We decided to set her up with a traditional blog where she could post text, photos, videos. My 5 year old son (who is still in preschool) couldn't be out done by his sister, so he too, wanted a blog. We decided that tumblr would be a little more appropriate for him. It would be a simple to take photo with phone or iPad, add a word or simple sentence, and post to tumblr.
With that being said, I thought it only fitting to share an experience I had with my daughter and her blog as the perfect post for the first one of 2013.
As a way to get my daughter ready for going back to school, I wanted her to reflect on her winter break while getting back in the swing of reading and writing. She loves writing stories so I thought it only appropriate for her to write a story about her time off from school. For the project, we used an iPad app called Book Creator (currently $1.99 for iPad app). It is book creation app that provides an interface that is easy enough for kids (or novice book creators) to develop ebooks. With some initial set up by me (organize photos onto iPad, help with pre-writing and editing), Bitty was able to explore the app and create this ebook within an hour. Bitty wasn't happy with a cover photo, so she found the photo of a Christmas tree that she decorated and took a picture of using the Toca Boca app called Toca Hair Salon - Christmas Gift (free iPad app).
I will be writing a full review of this app within the next couple of days. From this first experience with it, their is some great potential!! We only explored the app by adding text and photos. There are more features that
(**Some photos have been edited to protect the privacy of Bitty and other family members. It's never too early to teach and be respectful of one's digital footprint. Thanks for understanding!**)
It is back to school time!!
I thought I would share a cute book idea for young students transitioning into a new school or classroom. If you follow this blog and website, you will know that I am intervention specialist for students with multiple disabilities. Often, my students require a little extra help transitioning to new environments. Each year, I create something I call the transition or Welcome book. I have found that this book helps the parents as much as the students with the transition into my classroom, which often means a transition to a new school.
If you would like to view an example of my Mary, Mary, What do you see? book, click for the dropbox link. Otherwise, you can click below for the .pdf version.
*This book is meant for instructional purposes only. It is not to be sold or used for profit.
Each day of August, Connected Educator Month, I plan to tweet about one person who has impacted me as I have been on this journey to become a more connected educator and how they have been a part of my global professional learning network (PLN). Now some tweeps I have met face to face; some I have emailed, DMed (direct messaged for the newbies), and interacted with on facebook. Yet, still others are part of PLN and they may not even know that they have shared something of interest to me or tweeted something that impacted me as a person or as an educator.
There have been several “who to follow on twitter” posts floating around the blogosphere. I wanted my post to be more personal. As mentioned in The Connected Educator (by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach & Lani Ritter Hall), PLN’s are for personal growth. I wanted people to see the personal value that I have gained by creating and engaging in a global PLN. Over the course of this month, I will revise this post to include (hopefully 31) individuals who have inspired me, challenged me, and help shape the educator I am today. If you are just getting started on your own connected journey, any of these individuals would be a first great step.
** Listed in no particular order
8-1-2012 @improveschools ~ thanks for supporting my classroom over the past couple of years, You will be missed! I wish you the best in "retirement"!
8-2-2012 @Room5Friends thanks for being my online #EduBestie! You have inspired me to become a better teacher & made the #sped world a little smaller
8-3-2012 @techinspecialed thanks for "finding" my blog & allowing me to be part of your site, congrats on #AppyMall, continued success! #ce12#iosed
8-4-2012 today's PLN is more of a group ~ I am luck to have found a great grad program in @MAET & several amazing #maet PLN members in past weeks!
8-5-2012 Thx 2 @cgregoryrun @LoveThatMax 4 providing me w/parent perspective on raising a special child,your stories have impacted me as an educator
8-6-2012 @NoahsDadDotCom thx 4 sharing your amazing son w/ world,your family is an inspiration 2 ALL parents,My family has enjoyed watching Noah grow
8-7-2012 It has been great to connect w/ @teachntech00 over past yr ~ the resources you share have been useful in class & for parents Thanks! #ce12
My apologies for the break in tweets. I was a training for the past 2 days and was unable to post.
8-10-2012 Happy #FF to @artgigapps ~ Day 12 of #CE12 thanks for a great supporter of my classroom and allowing me play a small role in the app world!
8-10-2012 Happy #FF to @janefarrall ~ Day 12 of #CE12 thanks for being great resource for AT, apps, & AAC! Thankful for connecting w/ you via twitter!
8-10-2012 Happy #FF to @PaperclipRobot ~ Thanks for providing such simple "invention" that helped my Ss learn how to utilize iP@d more independently
8-11-2012 @jedipadmaster thanks for provide great insight on edu, your perspective as parent, teacher, & admin helps me see beyond my own experiences
8-12-2012 @judykmck thank you for opening up your class to my students, a glimpse into a "global" classroom provided my Ss w/ an amazing opportunity!
8-13-2012 @brooks_jones thanks being such a great host of #storyappchat & for making anyone who joins feel welcome! I have enjoyed learning from you.
8-14-2012 @st50moore thank you for supporting Princeton! Your dedication to staff & students is appreciated! Looking forward to a great 2012-13 year!
8-15-2012 @LLacrosse glad to have met another teacher w/passion for tech, thanks for sharing classroom as well as "mom" advice! so glad we connected!
8-16-2012 @MrMatthewRay thanks for providing insight into education, your blog posts often make me think & reflect on my own views, glad we connected
8-17-2012 @singoffpitch glad we connected, your passion for helping others & your drive to get "Cherry on Top" up & moving is amazing, con't success!
Ok, so school started up and I feel like I have barely come up for air!! I apologize for the lapse in posts and tweets. My daughter starts 1st grade tomorrow so hopefully the whole family will be back on routine soon!
8-18-2012 @SpecialEdAdvice Thanks for providing parents w/guidance on how to navigate world of special edu & support teachers who love what they do
8-19-2012 @mattprichard Thanks for taking time out of the "edu and tech talk" to chat a little baseball! Let's Go #Reds!!
8-20-2012 @powell4thgrade It has been great 2 connect via twitter & was extra excited that you were #MAET student as well, maybe see you at #COETC12 ?
8-21-2012 @JasonSeliskar Excited that we were able 2 connect (even if you are Browns fan), thx 4 sharing great info & also 4 supporting #edcampCLE
8-22-2012 @mggoldencom i was so happy to connect w/ a "local" app developer! thanks for being part of my PLN 7 sharing info about apps & SLP! #apped
8-23-2012 @dancallahan thx for providing educators w/amazing PD that encourages self-driven learning & networking! Proud to be an #edcamp participant!
8-24-2012 @thenerdyteacher thanks for providing great information about education and technology, I still talk about your #schooldidagoodthing
8-25-2012 @irasocol thx 4 begin part of my PLN, your tweets, RT, & @'s have stretched my thinking, it has helped me become more reflective educator
8-26-2012 @gravesle thanks for MAKING #MSU #MAET so accessible for students around the world! Your willingness to help & answer ?'s is appreciated!
8-27-2012 @iPad_storytime thx 4 providing wealth of infor on children's book apps as well as your blog The Digital Media Diet, glad u r part of my PLN
8-28-2012 I am excited to embark on adventure called #GLRead12, slowly adapting Charlotte's Web w/pix & looking forward to interacting w/other classes
I am very excited for the upcoming blog posts for August. August brings a lot of exciting topics. The first one on my mind is BACK TO SCHOOL. Yes, it is that time already. I will be working on posts with back to school suggestions as well as simple ways to take those first beginning steps to trying something new in your classroom. I will be having a couple guest posts relating to using technology in therapy, such as in occupational therapy and speech & language therapy.
There wil be some great Back to School app events going on over the next few weeks as well. Keep an eye out for Technology in (SPL) Education and AppyMall events.
August is also Connected Educator Month. I just finished reading The Connected Educator by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach & Lani Ritter Hall. I will also be adding posts relating to my reflections on being a connected educator as well as my reaction to the book. I will say that highly recommend this book if you are starting out and want to learn more about how to be a connected educator. Even with twitter account, LinkedIn account, and 2 blogs, I learned that have a long way to go before I am truly a connected educator.
I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer! For some (like me) you may have only about 2 weeks while others have about 4 weeks left. If you need a little summer fun ideas, check out my Summer Sensory Fun post over at Technology in (SPL) Education.
Take time to reflect, refocus, and rejuvenate for the coming year!
I have read some great posts lately about using social media, especially relating to using social media in education. Recently, Amanda Dykes (@amandacdykes) wrote a reflection to her experience at the ISTE conference (International Society for Technology in Education) and how social media played a role. (It is a great read. I would suggest reading it if you are in doubt of the power of social media in education.) When at ISTE, she stayed in a house with 14 people from all over the world. She was fortunate enough to do her first presentation at ISTE (Congrats!) with 2 people who never physically met to prepare for the presentation until they were in San Diego!
Why am I giving you this information about someone I have never met? Why am I so excited to share her story about twitter? Because I have a similar story, on a smaller scale, but nonetheless a similar story. In honor of Social Media Day (yes, it really has it’s own day), I would like to share my story.
I started “tweeting” a little over a year ago. (My blog post about joining twitter, if interested.) I had been against it for some time because like many people, I thought it was about following Charlie Sheen or Ashton Kutcher. Or if you were my husband, twitter was the place where you followed every Cincinnati Reds player and anything about sports. After attending a technology conference where twitter was mentioned as a way to access meaningful information, I decided to try out this ‘new’ technology. Since then, my life as an educator has changed. Sure, I've had a few road bumps. Spammers, with not so appropriate pictures, would follow me. (I would block and report them.) I didn’t have many followers for a while which was kind of discouraging, I had to realize it takes time. Like any relationship, it takes a while to engage. I had conversations with a few “tweeps” (people on twitter for you non-tweeters) that ended up with some legal issues so I unfollowed them as well.
With that said, let me get back to my original story. After joining twitter and figuring out the hashtag deal, I started attending #spedchat (online chat via twitter where those interested in special education would meet and chat) and I met several special education teachers like myself. One in particular was @Room5Friends, Morgan Kolis (also known as my #EduBestie). It was like we were living similar lives in separate classrooms. Both of us live in Ohio, teach students with multiple disabilities, love technology (especially iPads), enjoy sports, enjoying blog, and are advocates for education. Over the year, our friendship grew. We shared classroom resources, send each other “free app alerts”, or just was there to vent because a lot of times when you are one of only a couple teachers in your building (if you are that lucky) that understand what it is like to teach amazing students who sometimes require more energy than we have to give.
As I got more involved in the “app world” and saw the excitement and progress my students were making while using the iPad, I entertained the idea about presenting at the state technology conference. Then I had a brainstorm idea. Morgan had seen similar results in her classroom. What if we presented together? But I had never met this person. Never spoke on the phone or via Skype. We knew each other in 140 characters phrases, but did I want to chance this presentation and invite someone who I didn’t know? I decided to take the plunge. I imagine it was a bit like asking someone out to the prom. Hey, I don’t know you very well, but......would you want to co-present with me at this tech conference? She said yes, although I think she had apprehensions herself.
Over the next several months, we began to chat a little more often through twitter and email in preparation for the presentation. We started a Google Doc to begin the collaboration and organization of our presentation. We used Prezi to create our presentation which has a collaboration feature so we could work on the presentation together. We started a protopage which we used to organize by category some of the apps we would be discussing. Through all this, we still had not verbally interacted. We eventually “Skyped” a couple of times to get the final plans in order, but we never met in person.
Fast forward through all the planning to February 2012, Sunday night before the start of the conference. Morgan and I met in the hotel lobby for the first time face to face to finalize our presentation. Was it scary or awkward? Absolutely not! It was like two college friends who had not seen each other for a while sitting down to chat! (At least that is how I felt.) Sure, at first it took a little bit for the conversation to get started, mostly because I think we didn’t want the other to think we were being “bossy”. We chatted for over 2 hours, mostly about the presentation, but we also discussed our classrooms, our schools, and our districts. It was refreshing to talk to someone going through similar successes and challenges as myself.
By the way, our presentation was well received. We were able to meet other “tweeps” from our twitter followers as they introduced themselves to us before, during, and after our presentation. Although next year, I think we need to do a session on our story of being a connected educator.
Why did I tell you this story? To prove that there is value in using social media. Like anything else, it is up to you to use it to your benefit. I often tell people, “Twitter is the best PD a person can have.” They look at me like I’m crazy because their reference of twitter is Sheen and Kutcher. Think about it. Twitter is FREE. You have control over who you follow and what you learn. You get to learn and interact with some of the best educators in the world, in your own comfort zone, at your own pace.
Twitter has connected me with amazing individuals from around the world. I have connections in New Zealand, Canada, Australia, England, India.....just to name a few. I can’t even put into words my excitement when Ian Bean, a technology and special ed guru who I “knew” due to the Priory Woods website I used with my students, followed me on twitter. It was like I met a rock star! With twitter, I now have a personal learning network (PLN) of over 800 individuals that I consider rock stars from around the globe who have helped shape me into a better educator. Not all my connections are teachers, some are app developers, some are educational corporations, and some are parents, but at some point each one of them have shared something that made me want to have them in my PLN.
This is why I love twitter!!!! Oh, and Happy Social Media Day!
If you would like to join my PLN, you can find me @teachwtechbrox!
Thank you to my twitter PLN!
As part of our school's end of the year activities, the students participate in a track and field day. Well, it has transformed over the years and now it is more of a sack race, water and sponge relay, blindfold basketball day. The year our focus for the school has been cultural awareness.
This theme is going to carry over into our "One World" field day where each class will research a country and create a banner representing that country. My classroom was paired with a Kindergarten class to research New Zealand. So, I went to my favorite professional development, networking tool and gave a shout out for a teacher who would like to connect classrooms. Within 5 minutes (yes, 5 minutes...that is why I love twitter, but that is another blog post), I had made a connection with a teacher from New Zealand who was up to challenge.
Here is our first blog post introducing ourselves a little and asking a few questions. Additional updates, results of my first attempt at a #globalclassroom project, and of course pictures will be coming soon!
I am happy to report that our animal project glogs are complete! The 5th grade tech buddies were a great asset to the project. Not only were they helpful with managing some of the tech accessibility, they were great models and teachers for my students. They "instructed" my students on how to navigate Glogster. They encouraged them to "click here", "which one do you want?", or "where do you want this picture to go?", doing VERY little for them. They did a fantastic job guiding my students in creating their individual poster, then in the end, helping them make it a little more "showy" by adding graphics and resizing some of the objects. It was a great learning experience for all involved.
If you are an early elementary teacher or a special educator and want to begin exploring the web 2.0 opportunities with your students, I encourage you to chat with your upper elementary teachers or even high school clubs to become tech buddies. After this short partnership, I am positive this will be a more regular part of our classroom routines for next year!
Post from my classroom blog:
We have completed our animal projects with the help of some 5th grade tech buddies. The students chose the pictures and placements of the objects. The 5th grade tech buddies helped with some of the accessibility issues, spelling words, and navigating the school's "common drive" to obtain the pictures. It has been a great, collaborative project. I look forward to doing more of these projects next year! We will continue to talk about animals (food, habitat, environment) as we wrap up this school year.
We hope you enjoy our projects! If you have a second or 2, I know the students would love to receive comments! Thanks in advance!
Kamaiya's Elephant Glog created with the help of Joey from 5th grade.
Kearia's Giraffe Glog created with the help of Maggie from 5th grade.
Malone's Kangaroo Glog created with the help of Jeffery from 5th grade.
Jacob's Emperor Penguin Glog created with the help of Lucas from 5th grade.
At the end of the school year for the past couple of years, I let my students choose what will be the theme. Last year it was space and man, did we learn about space. Things have changed over the past "few" years since I was in school, so I think I learn about as much as the students as we did our research. Amazing how much information they students retained from lasts year's unit.
This year, we are doing zoo animals. I initially was just going to have the students do some basic things about the zoo and discuss animals and habitat, but them I thought having them complete a research project (slightly modified, of course) would really allow them to focus on one animal, be able to incorporate so many of their IEP objects, and be a perfect way to try out a new tech tool. This animal research project parallels the first grade classes animal research projects, but I wanted my students to go beyond a diorama. My students began some "guided research". I refer to is as guided because I was the one providing them with the resources so they wouldn't have to spend time navigating various websites. Instead, I organized photos on a common drive at school and I placed links on my classroom blog for video references. The students, with some adult guidance, used these selected resources to choose the information that was relevant to their specific animal. After we complete some research and students had complete their "data sheets" and typed a 5-7 sentence written report using the Abilipad (adapted keyboard app for iPad). I had the idea to try "Glogster" as a presentation method. In conversation, I asked a 5th grade teacher at my building if her students did Glogster. She said a few, but she wasn't even that familiar with it. With out thinking, I said, "wouldn't it be cool if some of the 5th graders could help my students create the Glogsters?" Without hesitation, she said "YES".
So fast forward about a week or so (due to state testing), the first meeting of our students to work on Glogster was great. I was amazed at how well ALL the students worked together. The 5th graders didn't take over, they allowed my students type and explore Glogster. They helped with spelling, moving some of the objects, and reading the options. The 5th graders were great! My students LOVED, LOVED, LOVED...did I say loved, the students helping out. They were eager to tell them about their animal. We learned about introductions and having to work together. Once the Glogs are completed, I will be sure to post. I will also be posting the steps and materials we used in our projects. Feel free to check out my classroom blog to see some of the resources organized.
We need to meet again to add pictures and video, but they are almost complete. I think this partnership is going to lead to great things!!