Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#NerdySpaces Reflections #EdChat #LearningSpaces

I'm constantly thinking about my learning environment right now. Every time I'm in my room, it's what I focus on. I moved my desks around after Back to School Night to a new formation and I'm not sure if I am sold on this. The students had mixed reviews, so more changes might be on the way. One student said it seemed too much like a conference set up. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. I do not like the fact the students have their back to the front of the room, but I'm trying to move away from the idea of a "front of the room". It really has me conflicted as I push myself away from the traditional classroom arrangement and more towards an open floor plan. This allows me to have an open space to move and I have a mobile lectern coming shortly that will allow me to have my devices with me as I move around the room from table to table.


I'm sure there will be more adjustments. 

I do want to give a shout out to VS for sending me the stool below. It is called Hokki and it is part of their Shift + line of furniture. It allows me to move freely without falling over. Students love it and other teachers have tried it out and have loved it. I am a fan and am seriously thinking about getting more for my room. VS also has other great furniture to check out if you are looking for some new additions to your classroom. 

VS also has a great book they put together with the help of OWP/P Architects and Bruce Mau Design called the The Third Teacher. The book is about learning spaces and how important they are to education. There are so many great examples and innovative ideas in the book. It has helped me rethink they way I look at my room. Take a look and see how it might help you. 

That is it for now, but stay tuned for more updates and check out my #NerdyCast on YouTube for weekly updates/reflections on my week teaching. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The @BlackboardK12 BITS Learning Sessions #1 #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!

Enabled, Engaged, Empowered: The New Student Vision for Digital Learning

By: Julie Evans, Chief Executive Officer Project Tomorrow

Julie Evans has been CEO of Project Tomorrow (, one of the nation’s leading education nonprofit organizations, since 1999. She developed the Speak Up National Research Project in 2003 and has served as the chief researcher on this project and other digital learning national research projects. Previously, Ms. Evans enjoyed a 17-year career in national and regional sales and marketing management with Unisys and two education technology startups. She is a graduate of Brown University and serves on the Board of Directors of Project Tomorrow, the Reaching At-Promise Students Association Advisory Board, and the TechSETS Advisory Board. She is a frequent speaker, writer and commentator on K-12 and higher education issues around digital learning. Ms. Evans was named in April 2008 as one of the Top Ten Most Influential People in Education Technology over the past 10 years by eSchool News.

Twitter: @JulieEvans_PT & @SpeakUpEd

When: Monday September 15 3:30EST

Sign Up

The dynamic profusion of emerging technologies, both in school and out of school, is propelling today’s K-12 students to make new demands on their schools for a dramatically different kind of educational experience. Enabled, empowered and engaged, our students have a unique vision for 21st century education that reflects their desires for social-based learning experiences that are un-tethered to the traditional classroom, and rich in digital media and content. The annual Speak Up National Research Project provides an exclusive window into the views of students on personalized learning and new classroom models. In this webinar, we will share the latest Speak Up national findings from over 403,000 K-12 students, parents and educators with a special emphasis on the how today’s students want to be engaged with mobile learning, online and blended learning, and e-textbooks and digital content. The discussion will provide new insights into the digital disconnect between students and educators, and stimulate conversations about how to effectively leverage new classroom models of innovation to drive both increased student achievement and teacher productivity.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

First Day Reflections

Yesterday was the first day of school and I thought about it and wanted to share some reflections.

I was able to see my #NerdySpaces in action for the first time and I have some mixed feelings.

The Good:

I was moving around the room much more than before. I had over 16K steps. That is crazy for my classroom. I was able to freely move around the center of the room.

Not Sure:

The students seemed a bit crowded. I told them the room would be changing based on their feedback, so there is plenty of room for change.

Marshmallow Challenge:

The Good:

For the first time ever, I did an ice breaker to start of the school year. I normally just go over class procedures, but decided to change I up. The students had a blast and my new principal stopped by and even helped out. You can find some pics searching the hashtags #MRPAL and #MRPFROSH.

The Bad:

I felt like I did not have the same flow I normally have going over this information. I felt my timing was off. I'm not sue, but it was something I noticed and I wonder if the students did.

The Students:

The Good:

I've got great kids and they seem excited to be in my class and they all have a pretty good sense of humor. At least they were good at giving me a pity laugh when I needed it. :-)

Looking Ahead:

There is so much promise in meeting your classes for the first time. You do not know the students and you think every single one of them are capable of amazing things. I'm excited to learn about all of my students, their dreams, passions, and everything else that matters to them.

I hope others who started yesterday had an amazing day.

Hugs and high fives friends,


Monday, September 1, 2014

Welcome Back Butterflies

The school year is starting today for many teachers and students around the country. After 13 years, I still get the butterflies. I used to think I was nervous about my lessons or the impending grading of assignments, but I think the butterflies are a bit different.

I think I have the butterflies because I'm excited about the untold possibilities in the coming year. With 20 Time starting its second year in my class, I'm excited to see what my students will undertake. I'm also excited to start trying some of the fun things I learned from my friends over the summer and I can't wait to see how my dedication to learning spaces is going to influence my daily routine. There are so many possibilities, that it is hard to concentrate! 

Another thing I will be doing is creating a short video on my #NerdyCast to reflect on the week. I have one up already and I look forward to adding more as I really try and dive into my practices this year in an attempt to look deeper into what I'm doing and not doing. I'll still be doing longer podcasts with Tim, we just need to flesh out the schedule.

For everyone starting today, I hope you have an amazing day and I look forward to learning and sharing this school year.