Monday, March 18, 2013

Storytelling Versus Lecturing #ASCD13 #EdChat

I have always thought of myself as a storyteller. If you have ever had a conversation with me, there is a very good chance that I hijacked the meeting and have told a crazy story that may or may not be on topic.

I have always believed that a good story can do more for a person than a lecture. Maybe that part of me comes from watching too many episodes of "Boy Meets World" or "Saved by the Bell" where the adult tells a story that perfectly sums up everything that has happened over the last thirty minutes. Those stories are also the reason I remember almost every episode of those two shows.

You see, lecturing, to me, is just the sharing of facts. A cold connection that might impart information, but does not connect with people. A storyteller uses events in their life to express the same points the lecturer is trying to do, but it is in a way that is far more personable.

I bring this up because I had a chance to see Maya Angelou speak at #ASCD13. At 85, she is still a rockstar that carries with her a presence that is hard to match. She talked to the audience about the value of teachers and how they can be the "rainbow among the clouds" for our students. Now, she just didn't say that. She told multiple stories about her Uncle who forced her to learn her times tables and what it was like to be asked to write a poem for the United Nations for their 50th Anniversary after longing to be part of the UN as a teenager. I felt a connection with every single word she said.

I have become more sappy in my old age thanks to my adorable son, but I'm still not easily swayed by speeches or videos. Maya Angelou on the other hand, moved me with her words. Although thousands were in attendance, I felt like she was talking to me. She made me part of her story and I felt like we were one on one when she read her poem.

This is the type of power I think every teacher can have if they look at themselves as the "rainbow in the clouds" as Dr. Angelou said in her speech. We need more storytellers and far fewer lecturers. So, the next time you think you are off topic with your story, keep going. You might be making a difference and not even know it.

#EdcampRogue Invades #ASCD13

It was bound to happen. I'm actually surprised it took this long. Edcamp invaded a large national conference, and it was a huge it.

A few enemy combatants were hanging out at #ASCD13 talking about the opening message of getting educators connected and thought that the conference was lacking something to bring educators together to not only connect, but to talk about topics near and dear to them. In an effort to give the masses what they deserve, #edcampRogue was born.

A space of the conference was taken over with very little resistance, a monitor and laptop were hacked and the session was spread using Social Media.

People attended by the dozens (4 dozen) and conversations were had. Social Media was discussed, grade level concerns were shared, common core was vilified by one organizer, and one person got to learn how to use a wiki. People came together to share an connect in a way they felt there were not able to do in the current conference format.

#EdcampRogue was planned and put on in under 5 hours. Learning and connecting can happen with minimal planning and the turnout shows that people want to connect. They are just looking for opportunities to do it. Edcamp allowed that to happen.

Everyone was really excited and engaged at the hour long session. At one point, someone asked if big conferences should be scared of the edcamp movement. What do you think?

Sharing with #Evernote at Conferences #ASCD13

For those of you who do not know, I am an avid tweeter. I love going to conferences and tweeting the day away sharing amazing resources with people around the world. That has worked nice, but I have always struggled with writing blog posts after conferences. All of my information has been spread out over a series of tweets and I do not write my blog posts until later. It is very hard to find the tweets I sent about a specific session.

I decided to try something new at #ASCD13. I would take my notes in a session on Evernote and then Tweet out the link to my Evernote Note to everyone out there using the hashtag. I received great feedback by using this approach to sharing notes from a session. I think people like the individual tweets, but the complete notes from a session are just as valuable to others.

Anyone can share an individual note at anytime with the share feature of a note. People will be able to view the note as long as I want them to and I can pull it back at any time I want. I do not see any reason why I might do that, but it is nice to have that option. Below you will see a screen show of the notes and the sharing option for Twitter and other Social Media buttons.

I still intend to tweet from some sessions and during most conferences, but I will start to do more of my sharing from Evernote.

In case you are interested in the session I was at, it was by @megormi and it was about technology in the classroom. Here is the link to the Evernote Note.

If you want to start your Evernote journey now, follow this link to sign up!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Teachers Solicit Undercover Students to Crack the Code on Student Engagement #EdChat #NerdyCast #Hooked #Premiere

Teachers Solicit Undercover Students to Crack the Code on Student Engagement

We have been teasing it out for weeks and it is with great pride that I announce the premiere of Hooked! on #NerdyCast. Hooked is the radio show that Tim and I host on BAM! Radio that focuses on Student Engagement in all of its forms.

Four our first show, we thought it would be a great idea to round up some students and give them a microphone. As you can imagine, silliness ensues, but some amazing ideas come out of this conversation. Sometimes the simplest solutions when it comes to Student Engagement involves just listening to students.

Set aside 16 minutes of your time, make some nachos and enjoy an awesome conversation about Student Engagement from the Student point of view.

You can find the show here and on iTunes.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Using my @IdeaPaint on the desks #EdChat #EngChat

I'm excited to share this lesson with all of you that had my students drawing on their desks!

At the start of the second semester, I painted my desktops with IdeaPaint so my students could have an extra paperless space to take notes, draw diagrams and doodle. All of their drawings and notes can then be saved directly into Evernote and become a searchable part of their notes system.

We are wrapping up our unit on Gothic Literature and I wanted to give my students a chance to be creative. Each student was given one dry erase marker and given 20 minutes to draw. The students were not told what to draw and they had no idea how the drawings were going to be used. They just needed to draw. It could be just shapes, trees, sunshine, or anything they want. After the 20 minutes, I had every student stand at the front of the room and I randomly selected students to find another seat at a different table. Once there, I told the students there assignment is to write a gothic story based on the image on their desk. They need to include at least four of the six Gothic Elements discussed in class and use imagery to describe the image in front of them.

There were some groans, but once students started to settle in to the idea, there were some happy faces. I changed it up the next hour and had students switch desks twice and added their own art to the desk and then told them to write a Gothic story based on that picture. I can keep changing it up for each class to keep it fresh. When it comes to creative writing, there are no limitations.

For those of you who do not have IdeaPaint covered desks, this works great with pieces of construction paper, computer paper or lined paper. Give the students one marker or crayon and tell them to get to work. The picture they have to write about can become the cover of their story.