Thursday, January 30, 2014

iPad Center - Here is what I saw at Crestwood and it will blow your mind.

I had an amazing experience this week in a first grade classroom at Crestwood.  The students were working in centers so I naturally gravitated towards the students using iPads.  I am always interested in how the students share the devices and how they know what to do once it is their turn.

The first thing I noticed was a checklist each student had to help them self select what station they need to move to next.  The whole idea of self selection kept the students moving from one station to the next without any downtime!




At the iPad station there were the usual six iPads waiting for the students to pick them up.  The thing that really blew me away was the cards on top of each iPad.  When a student picked up the device they knew exactly what they should be doing once they sat down.  This card also serves as a simple reminder of what tasks and the choices they can make as they work independently. 


Now for another layer of amazing.  The cards are laminated so the tasks that are written on them can be changed at any time!  That is such a great way to quickly alter the learning tasks at a moments notice.

I can't thank Christy Kelsch enough for the opportunity for me to learn along side of her class.  I look forward to a future visit!

Power Up Literacy Engagement with QR Codes

Power Up Literacy Engagement with QR Codes

I read this great article today about the use of QR codes.  I know we have all seen these types of articles before but I learned something new.  These teachers but a few QR codes within some books.  When a student got a certain page within an informational text they could scan the code linking them to a vital resource.  It could be a video explaining a complex idea or a link to Ranger Rick.

Where can you find this article?  It can't be found through Google.  You will need to visit your school library and ask how you can access the Ebsco Host database.  This particular article was found in the Dec/Jan Reading Today magazine.  I think there are about ten relevant articles in this one issue.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The SPED Secret is OUT: Universal Design for Learning is TRULY Universal!

Based on the idea that everyone thinks and learns in a unique way, Universal Design for Learning is an instructional framework that "can assist anyone who plans lessons/units of study or develops curricula (goals, methods, materials, and assessments) to reduce barriers, as well as optimize levels of challenge and support, to meet the needs of all learners from the start." Not a bad pitch... especially since UDL serves as a quick guide to (painless) differentiation!

Below is a collection of resources to provide some context to UDL and it's application beyond its intended population to our unique learners of all abilities.

The Three Primary Guidelines of Universal Design for Learning:

Embracing Variability with UDL: Examines the brain science and posits an interesting Rubik's cube analogy to explain UDL.

"Sped-ucators" Show How to Get Creative with Common Core: An article after my own heart- UDL in combo with CCSS's “use technology and digital media strategically and capably.”

50 Blogs Special Educators Should Know: Title says it all!

Image above borrowed from: http://www.udlcenter.org/aboutudl/udlguidelines.



State of the Union 2014 - This is an interesting way to see the text transcript.

How do I help my kids understand this address from the President?

Step 1 - Find the transcripts from his speech.  I picked the Chicago Times.
Step 2 - Copy the text.
Step 3 - Visit Wordle and paste the text into the box.  I had issues when I was using Chrome so I used IE to create this amazing word cloud.  It is interesting to see which words he used most often.


Wordle: SOTU 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

$5100 in 2012 dollars



Have you seen the post floating around the internet about the 1991 Radio Shack ad?  It states that everything within that ad you can now do on your phone.   If you added up the cost of all the gadgets it would come out to over $5,000 in 2012 dollars.

The ad pictured items like a computer, an answering machine and a VHS camera to name a few.  All of these are now contained in that little device most of us carry everywhere.

What do you do with your phone/smart device?  I really started to think about how I use my device and I assume I am not getting the most out of it.

Here is where I need your help.  Can you post a few ways you use your phone?  What I am hoping is that we can generate a few ideas to help our fellow educators get the most out of the computers we carry every day.

Here are a few ways I have used my device today.  How have you used yours?

  • Fitbit - tracked how many steps I have taken so far.
  • Clash of Clans - a game I have been playing.
  • Netflix - rewatching Lost on the treadmill.
  • Google Hangout - my default texting app.
  • Pocket Casts - podcast app.


Monday, January 20, 2014

What can you REALLY learn in 6 seconds?









Nearly a year into the microvideo trend, it's hard to see past the multitude of pet videos to the incredible educational value behind these social media tools. With apps like Vine and Instagram, brevity is more important than ever. Imagine the conceptual mastery and creativity displayed in a 6 or 15-second window!

Check out what these folks are doing with Vine and Instagram in their classrooms in EduTopia's article Five-Minute Film Festival: Vine and Instagram in the Classroom. There are some incredible real-classroom examples for classroom implementation.

Want to learn even more? TeachThought answers the question "What Is Vine and What's It Doing In My Classroom?" and shares "Three Ways to Use Vine in the PBL Classroom".



Reading with my ears - free from the county library!

So many books... make more time! Too many great books to read and so little time. I started to listen to books at the gym and in the ca...