Tuesday, August 15, 2017

So I have these sweet ceiling speakers, now what?

Like you, my music tastes are pretty wide. One minute I'm listening to old punk and the next Taylor Swift. Sometimes these artists are not exactly classroom friendly. This post is dedicated to finding some great music to play over the speakers that won't cause any issue.

Top Picks
     Quickly play some mellow tracks on Google Play Music. Make sure you pay attention to how to toggle off the explicit lyrics, very nice. This same idea applies to Pandora but I can't seem to find the setting within Spotify.
     Piano Guys - a modern take on many original hits
     2cellos - similar to the Piano Guys
     Yo Yo Ma - classical instrumental music
     The Vitamin String Quartet - new versions of well known songs played on string instruments
     George Winston - mellow piano music

Don't forget to check out all the noise generators that are a click away. These range from white/pink noise to background sound that simulates a coffee shop. The idea is to generate just enough noise to help many in your room focus.
     One thing that might be missing from our alternative seating classroom - simple noise generator.
     Sometimes time off isn't a good thing - create a soundscape that makes your classroom feel like a coffee shop or a college library.

Friday, August 11, 2017

What is LindberghBYOD?


This summer technology has updated the network and the process for connecting your personal devices has changed.

Open your WiFi settings and connect your device to the LindberghBYOD network.
It will say connected but that is only the first step.
It may show that you are connected but you have to move to step two to fully authentic into the network.

Try to connect to a website. I usually pick something short and quick, like CNN or Google.
The above screen should appear.
Click or add your Lindbergh email address.
Then add your Lindbergh email password if it asks.

After entering or selecting your credentials it is now fully connected to the LindberghBYOD network.

My Daily Process:
     1. Connect to LindberghBYOD. I wait until it says Connected before moving to the next step.
     2. Open a random website.
     3. Click on my Lindbergh Google account.

There might be another way to connect but this is the method I have found to be effective.

Note: It will kick you off the network after maybe twelve or fifteen hours. You will have to reconnect using the method above at least once a day.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sometimes I need more than potato chips.

While I'm not a huge chip fan I like them from time to time. Maybe a better title should substitute chips for cupcakes. I'm pretty sure I could eat cupcakes from The Cup for all three meals a day. Not as a dessert but for the actual whole meal and then have a cupcake for dessert.

It might be fun for a while, I know in the long run eating that many sweets would not be a good idea. I apply this same concept to twitter, too much junk in my feed and my overall health declines.

I hit twitter a few times a day and each time I find gold. The treasure I find is mostly due to who I follow.

Here are a few people that have given me great ideas, insights and hope.

Jo Boaler - I was not a huge math fan until I was maybe 20. I think if I could have followed Jo I would have seen things in a much different light. Even if you do not teach math I would encourage you to still follow her.

Alice Keeler - I get so many new Google Classroom ideas by following Alice. Not a week goes by that I don't learn a new idea from this feed.

Washington University - Institute for School Partnership - They share out what is happening across St. Louis when it comes to STEM and science education. To top it off, they offer free classes! We have taken one on app creation and another on the eclipse. Not only did they serve coffee we walked away with great ideas.

livbits - This makes my day every time I read the feed. What if our kids created videos and posts like this? I am so thankful for Sarah telling me about this one.

Edutopia - You might already visit their website, did you know they also tweet links to them? Now I don't miss the posts and most of them blow my mind.

Heinemann Publishing - After following them I saw some great live chats about all things literacy. I have learned a lot in only minutes. This is another feed I would encourage everyone to follow.

Try just adding these to your feed and reading what is tweeted. I guarantee it will change you. I would also recommend read who they retweet, that is where you can find some additional hidden gems.

Need more people to follow, just hit us up. We have suggestions.

Hint - I also do this on Facebook. I follow a few educational people and brand filling my feed with gold!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Communicating without saying a word.

I was at the gym today and this memory of a video hit me. I was standing by some equipment and a guy came over and nodded towards the bench. All I had to do is shake my head. Nothing else needed. No words, just minor head movements.

This whole thing made me wonder how often I allow my nonverbal expressions to tell a story. I wonder how many times my students weren't met with a friendly smile, did that put a damper on their day? How often do I turn teachers away just by some expression I'm not even aware of?

A few years ago we came across this video. We played it during a training and then I forgot about it. Maybe a month later I was walking through Truman and I saw a bunch of signs posted. I spent maybe twenty minutes walking the halls looking at each one. These simple posters changed my whole attitude, made me think and feel differently. My whole week was more energizing just by reading a few words.

I wonder... what if we held signs like in the video? How might that change the day?

I sometimes worry that a single sign or friendly gesture might be the only kind thing some of us experience all day. I think we could change lives with ideas like this. One simple sign at at time. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

One thing the might be missing in alternative seating classrooms...

We have visited a number of modern office buildings, businesses, schools and labs over the past few years. Most have many options for seating. These options ranged from tall stools and chairs to sitting on pillows. All of these are pretty sweet choices for people to make.

About two years ago we visited a design firm that offered one last layer to this modern work space feel, sound. Think of any open work space, like a classroom, and you have a ton of noise. Even if no one is talking, the classroom still produces a lot of noise. What this firm had was an active noise canceling system which is similar to the headphones a lot of people wear. The speakers emit a very low, soft white noise that helps soften the sounds within the space.

I thought it might be a gimmick so they told me to just look out over all the workers in the open space. They pulled out a device and shut the system noise canceling system off. Within seconds all these heads started popping up looking around. When the system was active it helped people focus and when it was cycled off there was a dramatic change to the overall environment.

This memory came flooding back the other day when we saw the same system in a different office. I though there has to be a way we could bring this idea to the classroom.

So how can you add this last layer to your classroom environment? Check out this sound generator.

HipsterSound - click on this

Getting started is wicked simple, just click the play button on the right side of the screen.

I clicked on two sounds and then adjusted the little slider below it. 

There are a number of different soundscapes you can create by adding and subtracting sounds. Just try it out and see what results you get. One tiny bit of advice is to keep the overall volume low or very low to have the biggest impact.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Got two hours and $45?

I have no idea what to expect but I know it will be amazing. I have seen these two talk twice before and I left super inspired. It is also taking place inside Ikea!

How can you top that? We will be inside Ikea BEFORE IT OPENS! That alone is pretty sweet.

The event is sponsored by Connected Learning. I would recommend liking their Facebook page to stay informed about all the upcoming learning events. You can also check out their website.

There are a few teachers going already, will you join us? Sign up here.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

10 Super Cool Google Classroom Things

I know a bunch of us use Classroom for a number of reasons. Check out ten of the newest features just released. Don't forget to update the app on your mobile before school starts.

Side note, do you check for app updates like fifty times a day like me?

We would highly recommend checking out Practical Ed Tech on Facebook and YouTube. That is where we found the above video. 

Want to dig a little deeper? Check out the official help site or the What's new in Classroom page. A great option would be taking a look at Alice Keeler's blog. Super helpful to follower her on Twitter also. 

So I have these sweet ceiling speakers, now what?

Like you, my music tastes are pretty wide. One minute I'm listening to old punk and the next Taylor Swift. Sometimes these artists ar...