Wednesday, June 30, 2010

#ISTE1o: See You Laters

This is the post were I get sappy and thank everyone for being awesome. I normally hate thanking people for all that they did for me because I always leave people off the list because my memory is terrible or I include people I really don't like but have to.(Which one are you?) ;-) Anyway, here are some people that you should follow on twitter if you don't because they are not only top notch educators, but they are darn good people and there are not enough of them in the world.

@ktenkely, @amandacdykes, @buzzgarwood, @web20classroom, @kylepace, @mrplough07, @ejulez, @mbteach, @tgwynn, @simoncrook, all of #VanMeter, @michellek107, @mrskpeters, @mwyman, @bethstill, @SNweco, @simpleK12 there are so many more!

All of those people, and the others my tiny brain have forgotten at the moment, are amazing educators. I cant thank them enough for taking a #ISTE newbie under their wing and sharing some important ideas about education. I cannot wait to take what I have learned and share it with my district and beyond.

Thanks to all of the new followers from #ISTE10. I hope I can keep my tweets interesting and my blog posts informative with a touch of humor. I look forward to sharing ideas with you. Do not hesitate to send me a message or @reply. I'm fired up to work with the amazing people out there. Just let me know how I can help.

If anyone questions the validity of social media in education, please send them my way. I feel I'm a great example of what social media brings to the table. I was just a nerdy guy looking for some tech ideas and stumbled upon a world of educators changing the world. No small feat, but we can all do it together and that is what social media is allowing us to do. Thanks Social Media, you rock!

I wanted to title this post Goodbyes, but I realize that this is a brief pause before we pick up right where we left off. Is it too soon to start the countdown clock to #ISTE11 Philly? Safe travels everyone!

-@TheNerdyTeacher

#ISTE10: LOL at ISTE10

I went to my favorite session of ISTE10 yesterday. It was called LOL @ ISTE: Bring Popcorn and an Open Mind. The session was run by Saul Rockman, Michael Jay (Who needs to get a twitter account ASAP!), Heidi Rogers, Ferdi Serim, Elliot Soloway and surprise guest Gary Sager. I have to tell you that my words here will not do enough justice to the comedy that took place in this session. So I'm not going to re-tell all of the jokes in the hopes of being half as funny as those guys, but I'm going to write a little bit about the importance of humor in what we do.

The panel got ready to go and Saul Rockman started off with the introductions and we were off. The jokes and quotes were flying faster than anyone could tweet them. Even on my magical iPad, I had a hard time keeping up. :-) The panel sat there exchanging barbs and snide remarks as if they have spent the past 30 years together on panels. @AmandacDykes said that was going to be me in 30 years. I can only hope that I'm nearly that smart, funny and important to sit on a panel like that. I really thought about that though and wondered who I would sit on a panel with and realized that I would be honored to sit on a panel with any of the people I have met this past week and some I still only know from Twitter. That type of connection that was on stage for LOL was evident and important. As teachers, we all have to work together and play nice. It's not easy all of the time, but find those people that you see eye to eye with and get together. From there, all thing are possible. Connections are part of what makes education work. We are told to make connections with our students, but it is equally important to make those connections with your fellow educators. So, @Tgwynn @ you game for some panel action next year?

The session continued on at a furious pace after the intorductions and Gary Stager would play his vuvuzela app when he felt like giving another speaker a hard time. They all acted like it was cast reunion of Monty Python. Some funny NYC report card quotes were placed on the screen and shared with the audience. You can find all of them here. Here are a couple that really stood out to me; "The Wheel is still turning, but the Hamster is dead." When your daughter's IQ reaches 50, you should sell." "I would not allow your students to breed." Those quotes are hilarious and we all wish we could use them for some of our students. Even though we can't, it's important to share those ideas with others. Our profession is not an easy one. I think everyone that reads this knows that to be true. Some teachers I know do not think that it's ok to laugh at the situations we encounter. I feel that if we don't laugh, we would spend too much time crying. Many of us are in districts or buildings that are dealing with so many different problems at once that is hard to choose which fire to put out first. We need to joke and laugh at some of the things that come across our desk because we need a coping mechanism. Well, a coping mechanism besides heavy drinking. I'm not saying teachers should go around making fun of students, but teachers should feel ok joking about the situations we encounter to let others know they are not alone in the absurdity. I think that this session really showed that part of education.

Michael Jay passed out 3D glasses so we could look at the important data found in grade books. Large charts of numbers were placed on the screen and nobody could read them. After putting on the glasses, we saw different words pop out at us. One that stood out was, "More Tests!" The point that he was trying to make, was that we can all read data how ever we want. It was an important idea to discuss and is worthy of it's own post, but the delivery is key. We were all able to laugh at the fact that schools are moving toward this data driven collection concepts, but the process is incredibly flawed in many cases. We needed to get a good laugh a t a serious issue and that made as all think, in 3D.

Gary Stager is awesome. Follow him on twitter at @garystager. That is all.

The LOL session ended with a group sing along. We were rolling. Oh, I should say ROTFLing right? I have never laughed so hard at a conference, keynotes excluded (Too soon?), in my entire life. It was so great to be in a session with people that shared the same sense of humor. It was even better to see some veteran educators talk about education with a comedic tone. We all need to change the educational world we live in, so why not do it while putting a smile on everyone's face?

-@TheNerdyTeacher

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

#ISTE10: Between the Sessions

I've been in Denver for 48 hours now and it has been a blast. I've been to some interesting sessions and picked up some great ideas for later blog posts and I'm booked into sessions from 12:30 until 4:30. I'm excited to see what I can take back to my school and share with those who could not make it to #ISTE10. Despite the amazing sessions, I feel like I have learned far more from the friends I have made. This post is about the time Between the Sessions.

I hate to say that there is down time between sessions because it implies that nothing is going on. That is far from the truth. People are constantly networking with people and tweeting out great ideas as they hear them or think them. We are all working to share the information we gather to everyone at all times. The best connections I have made have been made sitting right here at the Blogger's Cafe chatting it up in real time and on Twitter. One great example was a conversation I had with a new friend from Sydney, @SimonCrook.

I ran into Simon at my first ever Tweetup at Marlowe's on Sunday afternoon. We reconnected on Monday at the Google Party and he picked my brain a bit about 1:1 iPad use in schools. I have played with my iPad in my class at the end of the year and shared some of those experiences with him. The more we talked, the more ideas came to me about how I would use the iPad in the classroom. We talked for nearly 20 minutes and I feel like we both walked away with some great ideas that we can hopefully implement in our schools. Simon, you rule!That was just one of many different conversations I've had over the past couple of days.

@mbteach has a great post on Dissecting the 21st Century Teacher It's not very often that you get a chance to hear someone talk about their blog post and explain their thinking behind it. It was cool to listen to her talk about what she learned. It's something I love to see people do. That excited look on a person's face as they pass on information they love is something that I have seen plenty of times around here. Learning is contagious! Our attitude toward education will influence skeptical teachers. Those teachers will take that fire and pass it on to their students. What we learn here is important, but it must be passed on to others. Knowledge is worthless in your head. Free it up to the world. Thanks Mary Beth for the info and general awesomeness the past two days. You've got me thinking about education in different ways.

@Amandacdykes and @michellek107 have been great to hang around. These ladies know their stuff and have a great sense of humor. I always feel like I have learned something every time I walk away. Sometimes it's even edtech related. :-) I could go on about @web20classroom, @kylepace, @bethstill, @tgwynn, @mrplough07, @ktenkely, @buzzgarwood and everyone else I have chatted. They have inspired in many different ways. You have all challenged me to think about education, instruction and technology in different ways. I only hope I have brought nearly as much to the table as all of them.

I'm excited to see where the next few sessions will take me and the posts that will grow from them. I can't wait to follow the backchannel for the sessions I can't make it to. I have never been so excited about PD in my life and I hope I can bring the same enthusiasm to my district. The sessions will continue to be amazing and I will tweet the ideas that flow from them, but when it is all said and done, I will have learned so much more from the people I have met Between the Sessions.

Share your thoughts on the time Between the Sessions. What have you found valuable? Thanks for reading. :-)

-@TheNerdyTeacher

#ISTE10: Man in the Mirror

I was sitting at #ISTE blogging and listening to music the other day when Michael Jackson's song, "Man in the Mirror" and made me think a little abbot about what teachers do and what the educators at #ISTE10 are doing.

"If you want to make the world a better place/Take a look at yourself and then make a change."

This was the lyric that stood out most to me. I had a moment in the classroom where I realized that I could do more. After another MC test, I was frustrated that my students were not getting the material. Students in previous years were taught the same way and took the same test and did just fine. Clearly, the problem had to be with the students. Well, I was right and wrong. The "problem" was the students. They were not the same students from years past. It might have only been five years, but that is a generation in school years. It jus thit me that I needed to change the way I did things. Once I forced myself to evaluate my pracitces for one lesson, I started to look at my others lessons, then my units, then my projects, then my carreer. I decided that I was going to change the way I have taught for years because a teacher cannot remain static. I then decided to take my change and share it with the world. Now I'm at #ISTE10 surrounded by educators that want to "Make a change" as much as I do.

As the educators of #ISTE10 move from session to session, all of us have looked in the mirror and decided to start with ourselves. We need to be the change so we can make the change. The change can be small, district based movements or they can be large, conference based sessions. I've seen educators learn from others and it brings me the same joy as watching a students "get" a concept for the first time. The fact that we are all here shows that we are starting to make the change to make the educational world a better place.

Now, you don't have to be at #ISTE10 to start the change in yourself. Start small. Reading this blog is one way to change. Follow amazing educators on twitter. Follow the #ISTE10 stream to see what others have to say about sessions and best practices.

Being an educator is about having the passion to not only teach, but to learn. We all need to strive to grow and the Internet has allowed us to all come to gather through Social Media to accomplish that task. Do not be overwhelmed by the scope of #ISTE10, just stop and focus on the "Man in the Mirror" and you can be part of the educational change.

Let me hear about your thoughts on making the change and what made you decide to do it. Thanks for reading and I hope to share ideas with you in the future.

- @TheNerdyTeacher

Monday, June 28, 2010

#ISTE Session on Classrom Creativity

I attended the Creativity in the Classroom presented by @GaryStager. I like to think of myself as a creative person. I can't draw beyond stick figures, but I like to create. I went into teaching because it allowed me to create lessons and projects. That freedom is something I cherish and worry about as my school, and others, continue to move more and more toward standardized lessons and curriculum. These are a few ideas that stood out to me and my thoughts on them. You can find more information on Gary's site here www.stager.org/iste

Can we ask and expect more from children?

I know that sometimes I'm guilty of setting the bar too low for students at times. I focus on my desire to see them do well instead of forcing them to grow and possibly fail. I think it's ok to challenge students because they can achieve almost anything we put in front of them. We have to be ok to allow students to fail, as long as we don't set them up to fail. It's time that we ask more of our students because if we don't, who will?

Is a quiet child an engaged child?

Raise your hand if you have given quiet time to students and assumed they were on task with their work. As I put my hand down to continue to type this post, I'm guessing many others had their hand raised as well. Don't get me wrong, there is some benefit to allowing kids to have time to work on time, but how does being quiet equal engagement? Creation is a loud process. I talk aloud. @Tgwynn is looking at me from time to time because I speak out loud while typing sometimes. Let the kids talk! Let them move around. Let them write on the board. If a teacher has solid classroom management skills, there should never be a problem allowing kids to be noisy while being engaged. I'm kicking myself over all of the times I've told kids to quiet down as they worked in groups creating projects. Having a quiet kid is not the answer to engagement. Plus, I was usually up to no good when I was too quiet.

Making things is better than being passive.

Duh! We learn when we create. We learn when we attempt to create and fail. Sitting and listening to the teacher is not helping anyone. Allow the students to be active participants in the learning. Let them create a lesson. Let them design their project or essay rubric. Let them be a stakeholder in their learning.

Creativity 2.0 takes time.

The curriculum in some schools is so jammed pack, we are at a rush to hit them with everything and hope that something sticks. True learning happens when students are allowed to emerse themselves in the content. Some of my best results from students came when I allowed them weeks to create their project and present it. I saw growth. I saw learning. It took time, but the kids walked away with memories and new knowledge.

Creativity requires teacher autonomy.

Hey admins, get off our backs! You hired us because you thought we were the best person for the job, so let us do our job. I fear that there will be a day that districts will start handing out approved lessn plans to assure that everyone teaches the exact same thing the exact same way so test scores will be great. I love the freedom to create. Why do we want to take that gift away from students?

All media creation mirrors the writing process.

OMG! Yes it does! I never ever thought of it that way. As an English teacher I should have seen this. This means there is no excuse not to work with media creation in any class. The writing process is important and can be used as a way to help those students who might think they are not creative. We stress the writing process to their kids as an important skill to have for college. Isn't Media Creation just as important to students as they head off to college and the job market? It really is time to start looking at what we do as teachers and see how they apply to the new media out there. We don't need to change everything, but maybe we need to tweak what we have.

Creativity is so important in the world of education and the world in general. We cannot stifle our students creativity. We need to allow them to feel like it's ok to create and be different. I would hate to create a group of students that will end up being stagnant thinkers or creators. We need them to create the net great change. We have to encourage this thinking to make the world a better place. That might seem a bit sappy, but I feel that is my job and I'm starting to today. Old lesson plans look out, you are about to get a dose of creativity Nerdy Teacher style!

-@TheNerdyTeacher

#ISTE10: Friendship Formed in the Clouds

I just read a great post from @web20classroom and it made me think about friendships made through social media. Are these people less of a friend because I talk with them through twitter, email, blogs, Skype, etc? I think I might actually be in contact with them more regularly than my face to face friends.

Having arrived in Denver I have never felt out of place or alone Some people question the "realness" of friendships formed in the clouds. Can they last? I think that if we all taught in the same district, we would all be very close friends because friendship are not about where you met, they are about what keeps you together. We all share a core belief in education and technology and want nothing more than to change the landscape for the students of today and tomorrow.

I would never classify these people as "Social Media" friends. They are just friends. How do you feel about your friends from the cloud?

Off to a session! Tweet ya later!

-@TheNerdyTeacher

#ISTE10 Keynote Dies by PowerPoint

I'm sure this will be one of many post on the ISTE Keynote. Jean-Francois Rischard is the former Vice-President of the World Bank. He was there to offer is perspective on 21st Century Global Education Systems. That is all I know about what happened last night. There was little room in the Auditorium, so I was with some tweeps at the Bloggers Lounge getting ready to Tweet amazing insight from the Keynote. None came. What we all saw was a series of Power Point slides that were filled with text and the same cartoon earth Gif over and over again. The crowd went wild. Not because we loved it, but because we all thought this was a joke. This is ISTE! We are pumped to get rolling and here a motivational and dynamic speaker tell us about the power of technology in education and we got a series of slides.

Shame on ISTE for not checking the Power Point before hand. Heck, even I glance through a student's presentation before I let them go in front of a class. The sad part is that he probably had an amazing point, but none of us could see it. We were distracted by the poor presentation skills. I tweeted, "I have failed student's for projects better than this." and I wasn't kidding. At one point, he had a list of 10 points on a slide that were filled with text and more text. People in the first few rows sent tweets to us asking if we could read them because they could on the jumbotron!

The one thing everyone should walk away with is this, know your audience. We are a bunch of techie teachers looking to be inspired. We ended up with a good laugh, but in a sad way. If you want some pics of the power point slides to see what I'm talking about, drop me a tweet and I will send them out. The bar was set low with that opening Keynote, so the rest of ISTE is going to be stellar. Right.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

#ISTE10 Observations: Episode I

I might love people watching more than I love 80's movies and pop culture. I have some down time while I charge my various batteries and thought a blog post on some #ISTE10 observations would be of interests, and possible entertainment, to those who could not make the trip to The Mile High City.

Apple

You would think that Apple was the only sponsor here. People are walking around with the iEverythings as the look for people to chat to. MacBooks are on tables and iPads are being cradled in arms. It really is a sight to see. My district is a Dell district. I'm not going to say negative things here about Dell, but I'm a Mac guy and I think schools should be 1:1 Mac schools. Out of the box and ready to go. Anyone can use a Mac out of the box. With all of the teachers with Macs, you think there would be more districts that are Apple. Maybe it's just my Metro Detroit area. IDK.

Hugs!

If you do not want hugs, #ISTE10 is not the place for you. My last post talked about this, but educators are friendly people. Everyone is so happy to be here and meet old friends and new friends. I've been to a few different conferences for educators, but this reminds of the Michigan Association of Student Councils/Honor Societies (MASC/MAHS) Conference I attend with students. Students from all over the state meet up and exchange ideas they have about student government, fundraising, etc. The kids hug, high five, exchange Facebook info, etc. The kids are just giddy to be there and meet like minded people. #ISTE10 is like that. We are just a bunch of teens excited to meet like minded people to share ideas. If you see me, feel free to greet me however you feel comfortable. :-) (I should warn you, I've been told I'm an excessive high-fiver. You have been warned.)

Get Comfortable

As I type this, I'm on the ground leaning against a wall. I was lucky to find an outlet to charge my batteries, but others are no so lucky. People are all over the place. If there is a spot, someone is in it. People are sitting crossed legged next to people they have never met (but probably follow on Twitter). I'm currently looking at a guy (creeper alert) as he sleeps across from me. His rests on hid backpack and seems very content. I'm sure he is resting up for a tweetup after the keynote. (To Sleeping Guy: If you are reading this, find me and I'll buy you some coffee.) (Weird! He woke up while I was typing about him. Can he read my thoughts!?) Anyway, being comfortable is not easy for everyone. However, at #ISTE10, people have no problem curling up on the floor with a Macbook or iPhone and getting work done. Is that something teachers do because of school or is it something we do because we ARE teachers? IDK. @Simplek12 was rocking bunny slippers. She knows how to get comfy.

Swag

Is it bad to take free swag if I have absolutely no intention of using their product? I feel guilty, but they won't let me NOT take it. I'm not sure how a ruler is going to make me want to buy a district set of X technology, but I do like me some rulers. The #ISTE10 canvas bag is pretty sweet. Anything to make grocery shopping easier on Mother Earth is cool. Not sure what else to say about Swag, but use your moral compass. If it points you to free Swag, more power to you. :-)

Those are just a few observations of the first day of #ISTE10. Remember, if you see me, say hi. I'm the educator with the Smart Phone. :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

- @TheNerdyTeacher

First Impressions

I've been in Denver for almost 5 hours and I have plenty to Blog about. First, I would like to thank @ktenkely for picking @amandacdykes, @buzzgarwood and myself from the airport. Without her, we would all be walking towards the mountains searching for 3G service.

I entitled the post First Impressions because that is what really struck me as I arrived at the Marlowe's Tweetup. Our group (Kelly, Amanda, Buzz and myself) did not have a hard time finding the noisy group of educators in the corner. It has always been my experience that teachers are the noisiest group of people. We spend all day telling kids to be quiet, I think we try to make up for the lack of noise with out own.

I guess I should say that I wasn't surprised, but we were all greeted warmly. Not like you might be greeted at a Walmart, but like this was a 20 year High School reunion. Mary Beth (@mbteach) greeted me with a hug and my Nerd shirt! Hand shakes, guy hugs, high fives and I think Becky (@MrsBMG) might have even curtsied. Educators are a warm bunch of people. That is a natural state for us. Every year, we open our classroom to new students and need to make them feel welcomed. We have to let them know that it is ok to learn and share. Creating a s learning environment is key to education.

#ISTE is no different. We have all gathered here to share our ideas and learn from one another. As an #ISTE newbie, I have no idea what to expect. I'm almost like a deer in headlights as I look around the convention center. Despite the largeness of the event, I know that I can count on Kyle (@kylepace), Steve (@web20clssroom), Cindy (@cindybuchanan), John and Deron (@johnccarver and @derondurflinger), Gerald (@geraldaungst) and others that I'm forgetting at the moment to help me grow as an educator so I can come back and not only help my district, but my state during #edcamp Detroit.

My first impression of #ISTE is a good one because of the people here. I know people that will be running sessions and I can't wait to see them present. I feel confident that I will learn something new and that I might actually teach something to a few people. (Probably 80's trivia, but it's something.) I look forward to the next few days. If you see me wondering around, stop me and say hello. My first impression will not surprise you. :-)

Side Note: Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1) sent the Tweetup group deserts. He called from Florida and sent us food. I already knew this guy was amazing, but sending dessert pushed his awesomeness off the charts! Thanks Jerry, they dessert was amazing.

- @TheNerdyTeacher

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 21, 2010

#ISTE10 Irrational Fears

I was tweeting with @amandacdykes and @tgwynn yesterday about irrational #ISTE10 Fears and I thought it would be fun to follow up with a post on some very silly fears for #ISTE10. Here are some of mine and please feel free to post your in the comment box. I can't wait to see all of you in Denver.

What if my avatar is better looking than I am in person?
What if people cannot handle "the way I roll"?
What if someone follows me on Twitter but will not be my Facebook friend?
What if my witty Detroit t-shirts are not as witty as I think they are?
What if I am not as nerdy as I claim to be? Will I need to forfeit my URL?
What if I'm too funny to hang around?
What if my knowledge of obscure movie and tv trivia intimidates people?
What if I'm not as tall as people had hoped?
What if I forget to not capitalize the "I" while typing about an Apple product?
What if I'm asked about Ghost Busters and I quote a line from Ghost Busters II?
What if glasses are not nearly as nerdy as I claimed them to be?
What if people cannot understand my Midwest accent?
What if my knowledge of old Muppet Babies episodes does not come in handy at the conference? (Editors Note: Not likely!)
What if there's no room left at the cool table? Do I make room for others?
What if people do not like my deodorant?
What if people want to only give me a five on the flip side?
What if my thumb war skills are not needed after months of training?
What if I bring my collection of Zebra Gum wrappers and nobody else wants to share their collection?
What if nobody wants to talk about their favorite Indian Cricket players? (Editors Note: Praveen Kumar is my favorite!)
What if my years of Beer Pong is put to the test and I lose to a Canadian, or worse, an Avs fan?
What if I'm asked to solve a Rubik's Cube and I do it I 15 seconds instead of 13 seconds?
What if everybody assumed I was left handed but they find out I'm actually right handed?
What if everyone finds out my favorite color is actually blue and not green?
What if I do not get a chair when we play musical chairs and I'm the first one out? (There's musical chairs at #ISTE10 right?)
What if there is no musical chairs?
What if I'm asked to speak to someone face to face?
What if I use the wrong emoticons when sharing my feelings with the world? :-/
What if people think I'm really good looking instead of reallyreally good looking?
What if someone does not think that Dumb and Dumber is the funniest movie set in Colorado? Should they be kicked out of the state?

Those are just a few of my #ISTE10 fears. What are yours?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, June 20, 2010

One Stop Shopping

Some other people have posted this link, but I figured I would pas it along as well. A site, onlinedegrees.com, has put together a list of the top 100 technology blogs for teachers. When I started out in January, I had not idea where to look for blogs to follow or which tweets I should listen to. This site did some research and put together a stellar list of educators and their blogs. I read many of these blogs, but was happy to find some that I had not been following. They were immediately placed on my Reader so I can learn from them. Take a look at these blogs and see what you can learn and share with these great educators. Oh, except for #39. That blog is terrible! ;-)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why I Teach...

It is that time of the year where people start to give you dirty looks at me because I'm a teacher and "I get summers off." I'm not going to waste space in this blog refuting that stupid comment. People that read this blog know better and I do not need to preach to the converted. However, I do want to share with everyone a few things that have happened over the past week that are the real reason I teach.

The first thing I want to share is something that happened to me today. I had a great group of kids in my 5th hour this year. The worked hard, but found the time for a good laugh. I promised them a bagel party before their final exam today because of their year of hard work. Some kids trickled in before the start of the final exam and I was called away to answer some questions for another teacher. Normally, I do not leave my room unattended, but I trust these kids enough to give them my car keys to drive to my house to bring back my wallet. They are that good! Anyway, while I was talking to the teacher, the kids shut the door and quickly covered the room with these,




You see, Justin Beiber has been a running joke in class all year and I can't stand this kid. Why is he trending on Twitter ALL OF THE TIME? Anyway, I have a few girls with Bieber Fever and they thought it would be funny to have a Bieber themed Final Exam. They also made me a giant cupcake seen here,


This connection with a group of kids is just one reason why I teach. Here is another.

In High School, it's rare that you get to know a student over the course of four years. You might have them in class for only 1 year and they bounce around to other teachers. Every so often, you get a chance to teach a kids for three or even four years. It's great because you really get to see them grow and mature. I had this opportunity to work with a student over the course of four years and she is easily one of my favorite students of all time. This quick story is how I first got to know this student.

Freshmen year, I give my students an assignment to create their own Origin Myth after having read some Greek stories. These are Freshmen, so I expect a bunch of spelling and Grammar issues, but that's fine. They are here to learn. I impress upon them the importance of proofreading to catch silly mistakes before I get them and find them. Well, this student failed to proofread and this is a sentence I found in her paper, "The mother raped the baby in the blanket." She assured me she meant wrapped, but it was a great teaching point about the importance of proofreading.

Over the years, she has always been very kind and come to me with questions and guidance over various things. This student is graduating this year and is going on to to great things. She wrote me a note and said something that, to me, is the reason why I teach. "Thank you for impacting my life in ways I never thought you would." It was simple. It was sweet. It means the world to me.

The last thing I want to share, but is far from the last reason why I teach is another note from a student. Much like the odds of having a student for four years are steep, getting to know a student that you never teach is next to impossible. I worked with this student over the course of 4 years through various clubs and I would let them pick my brain about school, club stuff, etc. They are one of the smartest students I have ever know and they are going to change the world. One day they came to room to chat and we started talking about the 1,000 greatest books in the world and which ones I have read or want to read. I mentioned I wanted to read Life of Pi and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Two days later I received a gift bag from the student that had both of those book and a note. This sentence is another reason why I teach, "...while you never taught me while I was sitting in a desk, you taught me while I was sitting on one."


I decided to share these stories because it is too easy for teachers to be at the end of their rope in June and wonder why they do what they do. I DO NOT teach to get these nice cards from students. However, they are the things that I will cherish until the day I retire. They are the reason I teach and I hope all of you have your reasons.

Have a great summer everyone!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Miss a P/T Conference and Go to Jail?

I just read this article in the Detroit News. Wayne County Prosecutor wants to put a law on the books to force jail time on parents that do not attend Parent/Teacher conferences. The City of Detroit is in Wayne County and there are serious problems with the school system there and other suburbs. Here are my thoughts on jail time for no show parents. Please feel free to share yours in the comment section of the post.

I'm blessed to teach in a school district where parent involvement is high. One of the biggest complaints is that parents are too involved, if that's possible. Despite the high involvement of parents at my school, I can't nail down the parents I need to talk to. The students who are struggling or are behaving poorly have parents that refuse to meet or stay in communication. It's frustrating when you want to reach out to students and there is little to no support at home.

We have one Back to School Night in October at the High School. This is the only set time for parents to come by at night and go through their student's schedule and meet their teachers. We are given 17 minutes to explain the class, tell a joke and ensure that their children are safe in our hands. Sadly, I never get to meet the parents that I need to. The parents I have already sent emails to asking for support or information. I understand that everyone has different problems and coming to school to talk to a teacher might not high on their "to do" list, but that involvement can do wonders for a student.

A part of me says yes, jail time for parents that skip out on teacher meetings. Let's threaten them with jail time and force them to be involved in their kid's education. On top of that, let's fine those parents and send that money directly to the teachers they skip out on to make up for the lost time. That is a great way to get teachers to want to teach in struggling schools. Think of the revenue stream that could be created from delinquent parents. Steak dinners for all teachers!

I apologize for the biting sarcasm, but the idea is nice, but would not be helpful. Have we really come to the point where we need to mandate that parents take an interest in the education of their children? I realize that my frustration will continue as I teach students that have parents that don't give a damn. All that forces me to do is get more creative in reaching out to those students to hopefully stop the cycle. Nobody would every recommend fear and intimidation as the why to educate students, so why should we treat parents the same way? We need to get to the root of the problem as to why parents are disinterested. Is it because they lack an education as well? Is it because they work 3 jobs and are doing the best that they can? Is it because they are still kids themselves? Yes, there are even parents that just flat out don't give a damn. Whatever those reasons are, the teacher's job is to find a way to reach out to those students and make a difference because a teacher is all they have.

Ask yourself this question, do you want to meet with a parent that is being forced to sit across the table from you by a judge? Neither do I.

Wordia is Vocabulary Coolness

Wordia is a site I only recently found through Twitter and I'm still exploring. I have high hopes for this site and it is currently working on a school version for users. The gist of the site is that it takes everyday words and gives you the standard dictionary definition. Next to the Standard Definition, there is a video of a person's view of the word, the connotation. The idea behind the British site is to make stronger connections to words beyond the standard definitions. The word Pitch is a great example of SD and Connotation. While the Lion is a bit goofy, the point is well made that there are words that have other meaning besides the SD.

The site has one vocabulary quiz game and a couple more on the horizon. It's always good to see more vocabulary games on the Internet. The more practice students can have with new words, they will become stronger readers and writers. The school version will help build those skills as well.

The school version of the program, once it's up and running, will allow schools to upload their own videos and share within the school or district only. This keeps the site safe for kids to use at school or at home. Comments can be moderated and approved to keep the site safe and appropriate for all ages.

I would love to use this in conjunction with my daily vocabulary words. I could have students record their own meaning of words and post them to the site and have other students comment on them. This would allow students a different way to learn vocabulary instead of looking up words and staring at a page. Working with the vocabulary words will hit far higher on Blooms than staring at a piece of notebook paper with definitions. As this site grows, I look forward to seeing what other things it has to offer for students and teachers to help grow vocabulary.

- @TheNerdyTeacher

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Nerdy Teacher's Epic Romeo and Juliet Unit Idea

I have this idea for a unit on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It would involve all 3 sections of my Freshmen English Students (Grade 9). That would be around 80-90 students. By dividing the play into thirds, each class would be responsible for putting on their piece of the play by the end of the semester. Using Web 2.0 tools and class time, students would be working within the class and with the other classes to create 1 performance. This idea is still in its infancy stages, so there is still plenty of stuff to work out, but I'm really excited about where this lesson could go. Please take a look at my ideas for the different parts of the play and let me know your thoughts.

Acting - I will have about 90 students in my 3 classes. Not everyone will be able to, or even want to, act. I will divide the play into thirds and students can audition for the various parts per class. This way kids that want to act will be able to act. We have a great Drama and Show Choir group at my high school, so there will be plenty of students that will want to have a role. By dividing the play into thirds, the classes will  be able to work together in their class without having to worry about meeting with other students in different hours. These students will do research by watching other versions of the play and researching the historical basis of the characters. This will allow them to have a sense of the history of these type of characters and it will provide them a better understanding of what Shakespeare wanted to see performed on the stage.

Directing - I'm not sure about this one. If I don't have a student do it, I would have to. I don't mind doing it, but I would like the students to have as much ownership of the entire play as possible. I would provide guidance to the student director, but I would allow them to run the show. This is something I would need to give more consideration.

Script Writing - (Maybe) I'm considering allowing students to take the play and adapt it or update it. I will be doing this lesson at the end of the year, so I will have a good idea on who the best and strongest writers are. This would allow these students to have a role in the project they could excel yet. This would be tough to do because of dividing the play into three parts, but a Google Doc or other collaborative sites could make this easier.

Costumes - There are always students who want to design costumes. This would be a great chance for students to design and put together costumes for their 1/3 of the play. Depending on whether there is an adaptation of the play or not, students could do research and present rationales as to why they dressed the actors in certain ways. This allows those artistic students a chance to express their understanding of characters and the roles they play in the story.

Set/Prop Design - Designing a set is not an easy task, but broken into thirds will allow students the room to be creative and manage their time. The really hands-on students will have a chance to design and construct a set for the play. They will need to explain how they built the set and the reasons they chose to include or exclude props.

Advertising -I'm really excited about this part of the project. This will really allow those students with various talents to shine. I would love to see students create a blog updating the progress of the actors, the set, the script, etc. A twitter account designed to creat interest in the play. Posters, fliers, websites, etc would be created by the students to help promote the production. The sky is the limit for this part of the production. This could involve so many different types of technology. This would require a little more collaboration between the classes, but work for this part of the project could easily be divided and worked on using various sites to facilitate collaboration. Viral marketing campaign would be great to start. Creating Facebook accounts for the characters and having them interact with actual students in preparation of the play would be fun. Twitter accounts could be used the same way. Again, the sky is the limit.

Soundtrack - We have a great orchestra and band at my high school. I could have some students in one class learn and play music for certain parts of the play. If I'm lacking in band kids, I could have students create a playlist for their third of the play and submit it with detailed explanations as to why certain songs are chosen for certain scenes. If it is a period piece, students would research period music and explain its role in the play.

These are just a few of the ideas I've had cross my brain since Wednesday afternoon. I'm sure there are more things I can add and eventually subtract from this lesson idea. In theory, it would be the best lesson I've created since my Mock Trial of Mark Twain. Many hours will be spent planning and organizing this project, but I think this project will allow all students access to a great literary work that is too often dismissed by students. Please leave a comment after reading this post if you have ideas, concerns, questions, suggestions, etc. Your help in making this lesson a real thing would be very much appreciated. Bonus: If you help make this idea happen, you get to read my posts about next year. It's win-win for everyone. :-)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thank you!

I have never before in my life been hit with so many birthday wishes in such a short period of time. That sounds sad when I read that line, but it's not. My PLN sent me Birthday wishes from all over the world and it was such a wonderful way to start a 31st birthday. Thank you Kelly and Shelly for putting together this Wallwisher for my Birthday. Leave it to the Tech Godesses to come up with the coolest Digital Birthday Card Ever!



Thanks to everyone that left a funny little video, picture or comment. My PLN is growing every day and I feel very lucky to have met all of you over the past few months. For those of you that will be in Denver in the coming weeks, I owe you one or all of the following; high five, handshake, hug, beer, wine or friendship bracelet. For those who I will not see in Denver, we will all get together in the future in some crazy exotic locale. #edcamp Bermuda anyone?

Thanks again for the Birthday wishes. :-)

-Nick Provenzano

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Collection of Links

Chemical Elements - This is a fun site for Chemistry teachers to share with their students or use in class when discussion the periodic table. It's an interactive chart that allows the user to select an element and it will take you to a new page where it will display a host of information. Here is an example of our friend Oxygen.




This could be useful for review or possibly introducing new elements to students. It would also work well on Smartboards since the entire Periodic Table responds to clicks. Take a look and see if it would fit in with your Science lessons.

Curriki is a great website that is filled with wonderful lessons for all grade levels and content areas. It is a free site that works as a wiki. Teachers can upload various assignments and lessons and other teachers, like you, can browse lessons by subject and grade level to see if there is anything you could use for your class. You do need to sign up with an email address, but you do not have to pay for anything and you should make sure to click the box that says you do not want emails from the site or their buddy sites. I've used this a few times to look for ideas and get my creative ideas going. You might not have used the exact lessons found, but I have used some as a jumping off point for other things I have done in the classroom. Everyone could find a few things to use in their class with Curriki. Also, don't be afraid to upload an awesome lesson you have to share with the rest of the world.

Create a Coat of Arms - Here is a fun site for teachers and students. It is a very simple site that allows you to create your own coat of arms. With the proper lesson in place before hand, this could be a fun lesson for students to create a Coat of Arms. Here is one I created in just a couple of minutes.



Here a few things I've seen the past few days that I thought I would pass along to those that might not have seen them. I have less that two weeks left of school and can't wait to get to #ISTE10

-@TheNerdyTeacher


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mrs. Nerdy Teacher Movie List

The following are the views of Mrs. Nerdy Teacher @jenniferpro and are by no ways a reflection of the views of @TheNerdyTeacher, unless she tells me so. :-) Thanks Jenny for the guest post.


Okay…When my very own Nerdy Teacher shared his list of movies with me, I can’t say I was totally surprised. It was a loooooong list (succinct he is not), but it was filled with movies that I both adore and despise…hence, the either rousing success or abysmal failure of “movie time” in our house. Don’t get me wrong, my movie list is by no means haiku-length (What can I say? We’re chatterboxes.) It does, however, offer a little yin to his yang, and brings some much needed “girl power” to his list full of war, zombie and superhero flix. So, ladies – this one’s for you. Fellas, feel free to agree with my picks as well…at the end of the day, good taste is good taste. I’m certain it’s missing many classics, but keep in mind that I’m a 30-year old woman who spends much of her time with a self-proclaimed uber-nerd. Hope you’ll enjoy some of my picks anyway. Finally, thanks to the Nerdy Teacher for sharing some of his creative space with me & for being my very own Lloyd Dobler ;-)

Comedy:
The Jerk, Anchorman, There’s Something About Mary, Office Space, Waiting for Guffman

Science Fiction:
ET, Alien, The Never Ending Story, The Abyss, Independence Day

Horror:
The Shining, Psycho, Scream, Saw, The Silence of the Lambs

Coming of Age:
Sixteen Candles, Stand by Me, Dirty Dancing, The Goonies, Clueless

Suspense/Thriller/Action:
Pulp Fiction, Jaws, Taken, Jurassic Park, Fight Club (I know I’m cheating but I have to include “The Sixth Sense” too…it’s worth bending the rules for!)

Musicals:
The Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Across the Universe, Grease, The Sound of Music

Animated:
Shrek, Toy Story, Fern Gully, Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid

Romance/Date-Night:
You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, The Notebook, Love Actually, Serendipity

Tear-Jerkers:
Forrest Gump, Titanic, Ghost, Terms of Endearment, The Champ


Feel free to agree or disagree with this list. Have a great weekend everyone!

Flickr for Homework?

I was walking around my classroom the other day and noticed some kids looking through pictures on the an iPhone. They were pictures of the weekend and were just shots of kids being kids. The phone was passed around from kids to kids and they were laughing and making comments. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I started to think about using pictures in my class. Pictures are worth a 1,000 words they say and that is perfect for an English Class. Below is an idea I have for incorporating digital photography into my class. Please leave your thoughts on my idea and any way you think it could be tweaked, improved, etc.

I have used photo essays in my class before and the kids always get a kick out of them. I have had kids create a poster board with quotes from "Walden" and corresponding pictures they would take of nature. They would take the pictures and decorate their poster board and bring it to class. I hang some in my room and it's a fun assignment overall. However, what if I could create a large collection of photos with my students and have them comment on the pictures and the quotes accompanying them?

My idea consists of creating a class Flickr account and allowing students to upload their photos and descriptions. Students could then view all of the photos and comment on the work of other students. If I give the students enough time to work on the project, about 1 week, they should have plenty of time to take and upload pictures to the site. Once the images are on Flickr, I could do many different things with them. I could take them and make  photo mosaic using Big Huge Labs and post it to the class website for everyone to see. Here is an example of a mosaic from a Spring trip I took with @JenniferPro to Rome.


I would love to give a photo assignment to my students after reading To Kill a Mockingbird or Romeo and Juliet. After spending some time discussing the themes of the stories, I could have the students recreate scenes from the story that represent the themes we have discussed. Class discussions could be held with the focus on the the pictures and how they represent the themes. Lively debate would occur as kids analyze the shots taken by other students. They could acquire a deeper understanding of the themes as they work with them in a different way. No longer would they be stuck expressing theme in essay form alone.

I think this is just another weapon to add to my arsenal as I try to connect kids to literature. As I typed this post up, I realized that I could also have the students take the pictures and post them to a Glog and they could share them with the class. I think both of these ideas would be cool and I plan to explore both of them next year.

Feel free to tell me what you think of this idea and how you might improve or tweak it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My Favorite Movies

I was talking with some students and the topic of movies came up. They wanted to know what my top five movies of all time were. I had a hard time telling them because I don' think you can compare The Godfather to Ghost Busters. Both are quality movies and are great in their own right. As I sat down to write out my list with a few genres, it turned into 17 Genres that could have grown if hadn't stopped myself. I want to say that these are my favorites movies. I'm not declaring these to be the best, just my personal selections. Now, there are many movies I left off the lists and it breaks my heart to do so. I basically went with the desert island concept when choosing which I wanted. The other factor was if I found it accidentally on the TV, would I stop everything and watch the rest of the movie. Here are the top 5 in each category in no particular order.

Comedy
Clerks
Ghost Busters
Groundhog Day
Dumb and Dumber
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Drama/Suspense (This is an odd category, but it works for me.)
The Godfather 1 and 2
Fight Club
The Departed
Se7en
Reservoir Dogs

Action
Die Hard
The Warriors
Terminator II: Judgment Day
Kill Bill Vol 1
Casino Royale

War
Glory
Full Metal Jacket
Saving Private Ryan
The Dirty Dozen
Apocalypse Now

Action/Adventure (More light hearted than just Action)
The Goonies
Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Romancing the Stone
Ladyhawke
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Horror
The Blair Witch Project
The Omen
Poltergeist
The Ring
The Exorcist

Science Fiction
Star Wars Episodes 3-6 (Really only the last 30 minutes of Episode 3 and the original theater release of Episodes 4-6. Han fired first!)
The Matrix (First one only. The other two are not needed.)
Gattaca (Underrated)
Aliens
Star Trek: The Wrath of Kahn

Christmas Movies
Christmas Vacation
Love Actually (Can't help it, I love this movie.)
Gremlins
Scrooged
A Christmas Story

Musicals
The Wizard of Oz
Across the Universe
Labyrinth
South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut
Grease

Zombie Movies
28 Days Later... (Not really undead creatures, but act like zombies despite the running and the living part)
Night of the Living Dead (The Original)
Shaun of the Dead (Yes it's a comedy, but Zombies play a major part. It could also fall under the spoof category.)
Dawn of the Dead (I actually like the re-make more than the orginal)
The Evil Dead

Teen Comedy
Clueless
Can't Hardly Wait
Weird Science
American Pie
Varsity Blues

Spoof
Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Life of Brian
Spaceballs
The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!
Airplane!
This is Spinal Tap!

Superhero/Comic Book
The Crow
The Dark Knight
Hellboy
Superman II
Sin City

Animated
The Lion King
Shrek
Finding Nemo
Toy Story
The Simpsons Movie

Westerns
Young Guns
Tombstone
Unforgiven
The Magnificent Seven
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Shakespeare
10 Things I Hate About You
Hamlet (Ken Branagh Version)
Romeo + Juliet (Claire Danes and Leo DiCaprio)
Richard III
Othello

Romance/Date Movie
The Princess Bride
You've Got Mail
The American President
Father of the Bride
While You Were Sleeping

Sports (Yes, there is 7 but I love them all for different reasons)
Slapshot
Bull Durham
The Natural
Major League
Raging Bull
Brian's Song
Happy Gillmore

Coming of Age
Stand by Me
The Outsiders
The Breakfast Club
Rushmore
Dead Poets Society

Prison
The Shawshank Redemption
Cool Hand Luke
The Great Escape
The Green Mile
Escape from Alcatraz


@JenniferPro, my wonderful wife, will be writing a guest post where she will have her own list of movies with what she calls, "a feminine mystique". Look forward to the Mrs. Nerdy Teacher list shortly.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Episode 3: Return of the Nerdy

It just so happens that I'm at my 100th post and I need to finish my Nickelodeon/Tech Integration Post to complete my Trilogy. I wanted to share my first post before I finish off this epic adventure. Here it is below:

I've decided to create a blog. I'm a 30 year old English teacher that is currently working on my Masters Degree in educational technology. I spend tons of time helping other teachers in my building incorporating technology into their teaching and thought it would be nice to share these new concepts with the world out there. Also, I'm sure this blog can help me with my Masters Program.


If you have any thoughts or ideas you would like to share, please feel free to email me or post a comment. Let's see where this thing takes us. 

"Let's see where this thing takes us." Huh. After only 6 months, I can say it has taken me to places I have never imagined and it will be taking me to Denver in a couple of weeks. I want to thank all of you that read, comment, tweet, retweet, etc my blog and wacky ideas. I hope I've had a small impact on me because you all have had a huge impact on me.

Everything I Learned about Technology Integration I Learned from Watching 90's Nickelodeon Episode 3: Return of the Nerdy


Wild and Crazy Kids/Double Dare/Finders Keepers/Nick Arcade/Make the Grade

These games shows that were on Nick were some of my favorite. I know that there are some missing, but I will be saving those for later. The one thing about Nick is that is was clearly kid centered. The programming was designed for young kids. They did an amazing job capturing that audience and running with it. There is a generation of adults that can remember those shows fondly. Hell, some even spend months blogging about them with other teachers. (Nerd Alert!)

Many of us spend time reading blog after blog that talk about best practices and studies that show what can impact student achievement the most. The one thing that seems to be overlooked is the simplest fact. Make learning student centered. These shows have amazing followings because they were designed for kids to consume. Content needs to be designed for students to consume, not for teachers to teach. There is nothing worse than a teacher that will only teach the way that they learn. I see too many teachers that use that method in the classroom. It's flawed. Some will get it, but many will be left behind. These gameshows have burrowed a special spot in my brain because they were 30 minute activities that had a clear purpose in mind. If you think about, those shows were the ultimate lesson plan. Have a cool opener to hook everyone, hit them with the content in the middle, but make it interesting and wrap everything up with a culminating assessment at the end.

I think most of us have used Jeopardy in class for review and the kids love it. I'm not suggesting that every lesson be a game, but the fundamentals that make games work can be incorporated into every day lessons to hook the students. That is where technology comes in. The cool things about those games hows was that they were always showing something we had never seen before. With Double Dare, it was a gigantic nose that needed to be picked or a crazy physical challenge (Side Note: I had the home game and it was awesome!). Finders Keepers trained our perception on a very primitive IWB (Stretch). Nick Arcade was a master at combining video games and learning. Make the Grade made learning school content cool! These shows were great because they used some cutting edge tech to hook the audience to get them to pay attention to the content. Using a IWB or a Prezi to grab a students attention is not a gimmick, it's smart. Injecting small amounts of tech into your lessons might be the perfect way to imprint the content in a students brain like Nick did with us and their game shows.

Salute Your Shorts

I have been wrecking my brain for weeks on end to find a creative way to work Donkey Lips into a tech integration post. I realized earlier today that I had the answer;  Donkey Lips and Budnick are actually a good example of being a good teacher! I know you just thought, "Ok, TheNerdyTeacher has lost his freaking mind" but if you bare with me, I will make a hell of a point. (I hope.)

After digging around on the interwebs, I found some old episodes of Salute Your Shorts and caught up with some old friends from Camp Anawanna. I loved seeing all of the old characters be the same kids from years ago. The one character that really stuck out to me was Sponge. Sponge was the nerdy kid who brought his computer to camp. We all seemed to know that kid, or maybe you were that kid, and they seemed fine with who they were. Sponge was the same way. He stood up for himself when Donkey Lips and Budnick tried to give him a hard time and he owned his nerdiness. He really sets a great example for Tech friendly teachers everywhere.

Sponge was more than happy to help anyone with a problem and loved to use his vast knowledge of everything to solve the issue at hand. As teachers, we seem to be so reluctant to reach out and help other teachers with their problems. I was very reluctant to reach out and offer tech help to other teachers because I didn't want to be pushy, but I realize that I needed to because teachers are also terrible at asking for help.  We should take ownership of our Nerdy Powers and help those who want it and ask for it and those who need it but are afraid to ask. I get a few one liners from my teacher buddies when I send out my Tech Updates, but I have also received thanks and questions from people I have never met in my district. Heck, I'll even brag and let you know that the Superintendent sent me an email of appreciation. (Quick side bar: I can't stop from giggling whenever I hear the word Superintendent because I think of the time Ralph from The Simpson said, "Hi Super Nintendo Chalmers.") Stepping up and being the Sponge of your school is an ok thing and it should be encouraged in others. Don't be afraid to be the Sponge of your school. Everybody needs a Sponge.

Rugrats

The funny thing about Rugrats is that I did not really get into them until the re-run phase. I think I just aged out of them when they started to to air and was more concerned with whether or not Donna and David where ever going to get back together after he dated Val. The more I thought about Rugrats in a tech integration sense, the more the show made some sense to me.I was always frustrated that the parents had no idea what the kids were saying. I realize that its not that they did not hear the kids, it was that they did not understand what they were saying. I think that is where some teachers are in their classroom when students and other teachers talk tech. Tech integration will allow teachers to understand the environment around them and it can make them a better teacher in the long run.

Integrating technology into the classroom allows the teacher to hear what the kids are saying. Tech is the language that students are speaking and it is important for teachers to listen or they miss an opportunity to learn themselves. I have learned so much from my students since I started using more tech in my classroom. I have not taught my students to use Web2.0 Tools, but they became pros at using Prezi, Animoto, Glogster and others. I have asked them for help on occasion and they loved showing me how they created their work. The kids are dying to speak  and we just need to listen to them to learn more than we could have ever hoped.

Students want to be heard. Sometimes its through asking annoying questions over and over again. Sometimes it's by talking about their favorite show despite your lack of interest. Technology is something that the majority of kids want to talk about because tech allows students to make what they want out of it. For High School, kids are trying to find themselves and tech is one way that allows them to explore and express. Integrating tech into the classroom offers students the chance to tell the class who they are while presenting core content on any subject. The Rugrats, even an babies, wanted to be heard and wanted to express themselves. Their frustration was that the grown-up weren't listening to what they were saying. Well, we are the grown-ups now. Are you listening to the Rugrats in your classroom?


"All Good Things..." (Here is a Star Trek TNG nod)

My 100th post draws to a close and it has been a wild ride. I think I will be taking a break from Tech Integration Posts. They are starting to feel a bit forced and I'm not sure they have the same impact as they did a couple of months ago. Thanks to everyone for all of the support you have offered me over the past few months. It's cool to know that there are many like minded people out there that love the same nerdy things I do. I don't know when the next Tech Integration Post will appear, but when it does, it will blow your mind.

- @TheNerdyTeacher

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

#ISTE and My PLN

The Twitter edu-world has seen ISTE chatter pick up over the past few days and I have to say that I'm excited about it. I started blogging and tweeting 6 months ago and have learned so much in that that short period of time. I never would have guessed that I would be attending a huge conference in Denver. I'm very excited about the different parts of the conference I will be attending and the new ideas I will be bringing back to my district. To be surrounded by so many like minded people is very exciting. It will be the best PD I could ever imagine attending. Despite the excitement that ISTE brings, I cannot pretend that it is the part I'm looking forward to most.

My PLN is awesome! I am so excited for all of the tweet-ups I have scheduled and will be scheduling. I'm meeting with some #edcamp Tweeps to talk about all things #edcamp and #nerd related. I have an 80's Movie Crew Tweet-up that plans to be epic! I will finally get to meet face to face with so many of the amazing people I have been learning from day to day. I learn so much when I go through my Reader and see the thoughts and ideas of other amazing educators. Seeing these Tweeps face to face will be weird for a moment, but it will solidify a connection formed miles away. I will admit that I do have some questions about meeting these people though.

Isn't weird that I will have to tell everyone my name is Nick and not @TheNerdyTeacher?

Do you hug, guy hug, half hug, high-five, handshake etc. when you meet a Twitter friend?

What will these people look like from the chin down?

What if their head is actually proportional to their Avatar?

Should I tweet the people that are standing next to me?

How long into ISTE is it OK to refer to people as, "My brother from another mother?"

Is it weird to say that to a girl?

What if I blank on the name of the show Mario Lopez was on before he starred as Albert Clifford on Saved By The Bell? (P.S. It's Kids Incorporated)

What if I am not all of the Nerd that I have built myself up to be?

Despite all of this anxiety, I know that the members of my PLN will be awesome and help me through what nerdy lapses I might have. If you are attending ISTE, please send me a tweet because I would love to meet you and say hi and put a real body to that Twitter ID.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad