Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Missed Reflections #NerdyCast #EdChat

I've been working on reflection this year in an effort to be a better teacher. As part of that, I have been doing weekly video reflections on my YouTube channel. This past week, I missed my deadline to reflect. I was bummed, but told myself that I could just do it during the week and do another one a few days later. Well, like most failures, I learned from my mistake. I sat and tried to remember last week and all of the things that I did and the interactions I had with my students and I couldn't get much meaning out of it. I know we covered some cool things and I know we had some great discussions, but my brain has emptied out that info and started to replace it with the new info from this week. It was really crazy. No matter how hard I tried, I could not focus on anything from last week.

Reflection is such an important part of what we do and this missed week reminded me of how important it is to keep reflecting and not to let a week slip by. A missed week of reflection is a missed opportunity to grow. That is something I will focus on for the coming weeks.

Here is a playlist of the different reflection videos I have made this year. I am going to do one for every week of the year. I would love to see others start to do the same.


The @BlackboardK12 BITS Learning Sessions #9 #BbK12Live

I've partnered with BlackboardK12 to share out the awesome sessions they are having this Fall. Educators can sign up to attend and share with other great educators what they have learned. I'll feature the session and the description on my blog each week and on my Twitter account. If you have questions, feel free to shoot a tweet to @BlackboardK12. Have fun learning and sharing!

The Flipped Classroom: Growing Student Engagement in Elementary Instrumental Music

Learn how I use Blackboard to flip my elementary beginning and intermediate strings classes. My flipped classroom facilitates logistics, builds community and makes it possible for my students to find class materials with the click of a button. In these music classes, my students and parents have all materials such as handouts, videos, photos, sheet music and lessons available 24/7 on their computers and smart phones. The flipped classroom lets me get more done during class because “homework” experiences are focused and tailored to the students’ learning and my lesson planning

Kristin Gomez. MS, Orchestra Teacher, Arlington Public Schools, VA

Kristin Gomez is currently Director of Suzuki in the Schools at Abingdon Elementary, Director of the Junior Honors Orchestra of Arlington Public Schools and strings teacher at Ashlawn Elementary School. In her 20 year teaching career she has taught Middle and High School French, Guitar and Orchestra. She is also a busy freelance viola player in the Washington, DC area.

Twitter: @stringsteacher

When: Monday, October 27, 2014 3:30PM EST

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The @BlackboardK12 BITS Learning Sessions #8 #BbK12Live

I've partnered with BlackboardK12 to share out the awesome sessions they are having this Fall. Educators can sign up to attend and share with other great educators what they have learned. I'll feature the session and the description on my blog each week and on my Twitter account. If you have questions, feel free to shoot a tweet to @BlackboardK12. Have fun learning and sharing!

Making the Most of Your Technology Initiative: How to effectively leverage technology in a 1:1 classroom

This presentation will describe how teachers in the Piedmont City School District have gradually transformed pedagogy through their 1:1 laptop initiative. Learn how to effectively incorporate 21st century skills while still teaching state mandated standards in both an elementary and a high school classroom. Also, learn ways to apply the SAMR model for technology integration while using blended learning to personalize instruction.

Brandi Todd, Fifth Grade Teacher Piedmont Elementary & Leighann Ford, Instructional Technology Coach Piedmont High School


Mrs. Leighann Ford is a ninth grade history teacher and instructional technology coach at Piedmont High School. She earned National Board Certification in 2011 and has been teaching since 1998. Mrs. Ford has presented at the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools, JSU CORE Academy, Mooresville Summer Connection, Alabama Educational Technology Conference, and BbWorld 2014.

Mrs. Brandi Todd is a fifth grade teacher at Piedmont Elementary School. During her fourteen year career, she has gained National Board Certification in 2011 and Jacksonville State University’s Cooperating Teacher of the Year Award in 2012. Mrs. Todd has presented at the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools, JSU CORE Academy, the Alabama Educational Technology Conference, the School Superintendents of Alabama Conference, the National School Board Association Conference, and BbWorld 2014.

Twitter: @brandiatodd79 & @lford8

When: 3:30PM EST Monday, October 20, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The @BlackboardK12 BITS Learning Sessions #7 #BbK12Live

I've partnered with BlackboardK12 to share out the awesome sessions they are having this Fall. Educators can sign up to attend and share with other great educators what they have learned. I'll feature the session and the description on my blog each week and on my Twitter account. If you have questions, feel free to shoot a tweet to @BlackboardK12. Have fun learning and sharing!

Lunch & Learn: Kick it Up a Notch! Badges & Personalized Learning

Do you want to increase student engagement and achievement in your blended or online learning K-12 classroom?  Are you looking for ways to spice up your Blackboard class?  Learn how to kick it up a notch with badges and personalized learning.  This session will focus on the use of Achievements and Adaptive Release in your Blackboard Learn class.

Katie Gallagher - Senior Product Marketing Manager

Katie Gallagher is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Blackboard's teaching and learning products (Learn, Moodlerooms, ANGEL, xpLor, & Collaborate) for K-12. She has served as an instructional designer, teacher, and lead teacher in K-12 blended and online programs for seventeen years at Cathedral High School, Indiana Online Academy, and Johns Hopkins University CTY Distance education program. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame and earned her MS in Educational Technology at Indiana University. Katie was honored with a Golden Apple Award in 2007. Before moving to product marketing, Katie served as a Senior Solutions Engineer for Blackboard Learn K-12 as was the K-12 SE of the year at Blackboard in 2009 and 2011.

Twitter: @1katiegallagher

When: 12:00 PM EST Friday October 17, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Failing Loud and Proud #EdChat

I've written plenty of times about failure over the years, but I I feel there is always plenty to say since I still fail and learn from that failure.

The other day, I was trying to show students how to submit assignments using Google Classroom. I have not used it before and I am learning how to use it on the fly. I thought I had turning in a assignments figured out and I was wrong. I wasn't just wrong, I was wrong in front of a class of 32 honors students. My students were working in groups to create a Student Declaration of Independence and I wanted them to submit their work to Classroom. I thought anyone in the group could do it, but it turns out it needs to be the owner of the originally shared document that has to submit the work. All of my students looked funny at me as my attempts to have one of them submit the work and it kept failing. I took a minute collected my thoughts and did a quick search and found the solution. I told the kids that this was all still a work in progress and I appreciate them taking the time to learn with me.

I feel that some teachers are too resistant to making mistakes in front of students. Teachers are not perfect beings and we need to stop presenting ourselves to students (and other teachers) as being perfect people with no examples of failure. We want to push our students to take chances, but we might not be willing to take the same chance in front of students. I'm not saying that teachers should be unprepared for class and do things on the fly. I'm saying that teachers should own their mistakes in front of the class, show how it is a moment for us to learn, and encourage kids to take the same chances.

Students need to feel comfortable making mistakes and trying something new. Teachers need to model this behavior and own mistakes proudly. I will need to remind myself of this and not let the embarrassment of failure be the guiding force in my lesson plans or day to day interaction with students and staff.

How have you failed in class lately?