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Showing posts from February, 2017

Going lightspeed or kidspeed?

I sometimes wonder why I am in such a hurry. Are the deadlines real or somewhat flexible? Some days I find it nearly impossible to slow down.

I picked up Sam from school then headed over to Sappington today. I needed to get to a classroom and she was dawdling in the hallway reminiscing about the school store. I rolled my eyes and told her to step on it, we were burning daylight. I really actually say that, some holdover phrase from the Corps.

Did I need to be in a specific classroom at a precise second? Of course not. I'm not sure why we feel we must rush from thing to thing, appointment to whatever comes next.

I have no idea how I can slow down or allow things to just happen but I can sure try.

What about you? Feeling rushed by real or phantom deadlines too? How do we get off this crazy train and just enjoy the wonders of a random school store or that funny squirrel outside the window? Is it possible to just enjoy the seconds that pass without feeling rushed?

I remember watching NASA launch rockets in the classroom.

I remember my teacher rolling in a tiny TV on a huge cart so we could watch NASA launch a rocket into space. We spent what seemed like hours just waiting for those few explosive seconds.

I'm not sure why but it does not seem many of these launches are covered anymore and that is really unfortunate.

A few minutes ago Aidan, my 10 year old son, noticed that SpaceX was going to launch in less than an hour. He assumed it would be on TV but I'm pretty sure it won't. We have never had cable so that isn't an option.

I stumbled across the NASA live site. We discovered they live stream a lot of these launches. Check their website, maybe your students would be interested.

Better spelling predictions in your email.

We all multitask. Sometimes we even take ourselves up a notch to a supertasker. We type emails as we talk and take notes which sometimes leads to errors. Try this simple tip to add an additional dictionary to Gmail.


1. Compose a new email. 2. Right click in the body of the email. 3. Click Spellcheck. Make sure both options are checked. 

Are you prepared to be in the Path of Totality?

Hinode Solar Eclipse
21 August we will be totally covered. The sun will be blocked by the moon. The temperature is said to drop maybe 10-15 degrees. Birds will start to roost. All of this will occur while we are in school.

Want to learn a little about this? Washington University offers a class that meets on one of the below dates for a few hours. We went a few weeks ago and left amazed. Why not check it out, I promise it will be absolutely worth your time.

 This event is free but you must register. Pick one of the below dates and sign up.

25 Feb. 8:30-12:00
25 Mar. 8:30-12:00
22 April 8:30-12:00

All the spots were full or you can't make the above dates? Why not come to the Solar Eclipse Expo in Queeny Park on 17 June between 10:00-5:00. It is free but you need to register for it.

How do I keep some rando from posting on TodaysMeet?

TodaysMeet is an easy to use powerful learning tool. What makes it so easy is the site does not require you to use a password.

So how do you keep randos from posting?

I wanted to create a room for the kids to talk about Hatchet, a book we are reading. I could use the room simply called hatchet but someone not in my class could stumble upon and post.
It appears you can't use punctuation or random symbols in your room name, which is kinda unfortunate. I just added my room number after the name. For more information about naming your rooms refer to their FAQ page. The more random the room name the more invisible it will become.

20 Useful Ways to Use TodaysMeet in the Classroom - this comes from the DITCH that textbook blog, definitely worth your time to read it. Many of these ideas are adaptable for your classroom.

Best learning event ever - this weekend!

I have been attending Edcamp for years now and I have never left disappointed. I would highly recommend signing up and joining a few hundred of your educator buddies for a few hours this Saturday.

Edcamp is unlike anything else, one way to describe it as more of a conversation than presentation. I think that is key, talking about what you are interested in and learning from others is huge.

What do you have to lose? Sign up and don't let this opportunity pass you by.

Miss the Facebook Live event? Check this!

Did you miss Jennifer Serravallo last night? I would recommend checking Heinemann Publishing on Facebook, they posted the video!
I watched most of the live broadcast while waiting for a super fun dentist appointment. While I am not totally familiar with her work I was blown away! If you are interested in additional writing strategies, check out the video.

6 Feb. 2017 - Tonight ONLY and just 30 minutes.

Have you taken a look at Jennifer Serravallo's reading strategies book? Tonight Heinemann is doing a Facebook live event from 7:00-7:30. This event will cover her new writing strategies book. Why not join and listen in.

I have no idea what to expect but I am sure it will be just want I need.


Sometimes you have to see and hear it before there is understanding.

That saying about a picture is worth a thousand words therefore a video must be worth ten times that can be actualized using one simple tool, EDpuzzle.

EDpuzzle is a quick way to take an existing video and embed a question(s) into it as it plays. This type of formative assessment might be right up the alley of your video watching kids. Seriously, I'm pretty sure 98.6% of all our kids consume tons of videos when not at school.

Watch this 1:13 overview video.
Best Features: Students use their school Google account to login.You can use existing YouTube videos.Analytics are easy to read.This can be done at home or in class.Easily links to Google Classroom.
Getting Started Start by visiting EDpuzzle and go through the tutorial screens. Sign in with your school Google account.


1. Search or paste a URL to a video.
2. Choose a video. You can also click on the video to preview it.
3. Or pick from one of these additional video options.


The video I selected is only 2:28 long but I might want to …

Why the teacher told his class, "it was worthless to me."

While prepping for an upcoming PD session, this shocking video of a middle school teacher speaking to his class:


Ok, not completely shocking.  But at first, his "it was worthless to me" comment threw me for a loop.  Who would tell students that their work was worthless?

He brings up a great point.  There is a window of opportunity for providing useful feedback.  As more and more time passes between learning and feedback, that window continues to close.

Two weeks was way too long, so he solved his problem by using GoFormative to provide quick, formative feedback.

GoFormative is:
a free, web-based (no apps), formative feedback systema way to create engaging multimedia lessons and assessmentsa real-time window into student work as it is happeningeasy to grade with and to give live feedback through Try a sample assignment on the upcoming solar eclipse right now!  Go to goformative.com/join and enter the code RUDM322 to begin.

Watch this video to see the creation of the assignment…

I have this important thing coming in nine months and I'm afraid I'll forget!

I'm afraid I'll forget to get ready for the Global Read Aloud and I don't think using my Google Calendar is enough of a reminder.

I use a ton of sticky notes but after a while I have sticky notes on top of sticky notes.

One option could be to use an add-on for Gmail called Boomerang. I had totally forgotten about this until Sarah reminded me during our last Digital Reading Workshop LindberghU session. This is such a great idea!

Getting Started
Start by downloading and installing the add-on.

Compose an email as you normally would.  Make sure you put your address in the to section. Click the new red Send Later button.

Click the little calendar button.


Add a date and time. This is when the email will automatically send to you or anyone you address the email to. Click Confirm.
It looks like the email just disappears. To find the email click on the Boomerang-Outbox label.

I could click on the email and edit if needed.

Like your ELMO but with an iPad (elementary classroom teachers)

I used AirServer to create the infinity mirror effect.
We were in a meeting today and Dominic told us about this fantastic idea. As we discussed all things technology he explained one method of using the iPad as a portable ELMO. It was too cool not to share.

Step 1
Make sure you have AirServer running on your laptop.
1. Click the Windows key on your keyboard or click the icon in the lower left of your screen. 2. Just start typing AirServer. 3. Click AirServer.
Don't see it? Contact technology or your building tech person.

Step 2
Connect your teacher iPad to your laptop.
1. Swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Start by swiping in the bezel, the black plastic part surrounding the screen.
2. Click AirPlay Mirroring.
3. Click your name.

Step 3
Open the camera app and instant portable ELMO!
Anything you see in the camera's len will be broadcast to the big screen.
I just used this method to take a picture of my notebook as a demonstration of how cool this is.

One of the most interesting literacy ideas I have seen in a long time.

Global Read Aloud - One Book to Connect the World
Have you heard of the Global Read Aloud? Simply, a time when you pick from a list of books, read that book then make as many global connections with other classes who read the same book.

Pernille Ripp explains her creation - the GRA
The project will start 2 October 2017 and run for six weeks. We would definitely recommend signing up now and setting a boomerang reminder and mark it on your Google Calendar so you don't miss out on this opportunity.
What does this really mean for your class? Reading By Example - Start by reading this blogpost illustrating how one teacher ran his GRA. He offers some very solid advice that will be worth the 8.4 minutes of reading it requires. One part that really jumped out to me is how the class used Edmodo, huge implications for teaching digital citizenship and how to leave meaningful comments. The second idea is how he started using Skype to bring experts into the classroom.
2017! I can't wait that l…