Start a Discussion on an Edu Ning

10/03/2009 Leave a comment

Once again, I am reorganizing the tabs above and thought that this information deserved a permanent home.  And as always, I will continue to add sites as I find additional examples so feel free to leave a comment with your favorites.

General Education

Art Education

EFL Education

English Education

Mathematics Education

Science Education

Social Studies Education

Technology Education

Categories: collaboration Tags:

Professional Development Meme Update

09/22/2009 2 comments

No surprise…I’m a bit behind in getting to this.  Nevertheless, here it is:

My Goals

  • Rework my class websites (here and here) so that they better compliment one another, allow for a deeper understanding of class content, and create more opportunities for collaboration both in and beyond my school.  Look to the Maine Holocaust Education Network as an example of what can be done.

I am actually quite proud with how my iClassroom Wiki has shaped up.  It has a nice, clean look and allows students…and their parents…to access class materials and updates.  Students have even started building their own encyclopedia on the site.  The iClassroom Ning, however, has not been touched.  I can’t get past the fear that we will walk in one day and find it…and all of our materials…blocked by the District filters.  I have requested a hosted WordPress blog as a replacement (in May), but I’m still waiting for access to it.

I am getting more and more comfortable with Google Apps and plan to introduce them to students as soon as they are officially trained to use District email, allowing them to register for their own Google accounts.  And students will use Voicethread to encourage discussion in their encyclopedia entries.

  • Connect with other educators…
    • Online via Twitter, I Teach Social Studies (which I have seriously neglected lately), and all of the other Ning Networks that allow me to lurk in the shadows.
    • Face-to-Face via NECC

I continue to contribute to Twitter and a variety of Nings on a semi-regular basis.  And NECC was an incredible experience that has encouraged me to attend other conferences this year, including NCSS in November and EduCon (hopefully with my principal) in January.

I finished both Outliers and Tipping  Point, but got a bit stalled on the rest.

In my spare time, I also plan to add links to the various pages on this blog, annotate the bookmarks I’ve saved via Delicious and Diigo, and redesign my freshman social studies course in order to make more connections with the other teachers on my team.

I did start tagging my social studies bookmarks with Kentucky Core Content numbers, but never got around to properly annotating them all.  I guess it’s still a work in progress.

What are the chances of adding an extra couple of weeks to this summer so I can actually make it to the end of this list?

While I didn’t complete everything on the list, I am still proud of what I did accomplish this summer.

I am actually quite proud with how my iClassroom Wiki shaped up.  It has a nice, clean look and allows students –
Categories: prodev Tags:

TED Talks with Sir Ken Robinson

09/21/2009 Leave a comment

This has been around for nearly 3 years, but I think it’s worth watching again.

Ideas Worth Sharing:

  • We all have a vested interest in education.
  • We are preparing our students today for a tomorrow that we can only begin to imagine.
  • Creativity, the process of having original ideas that have value,  is as important in education as literacy.
    • Our current education system strips children of their creativity.
    • We must encourage risk-taking – in our students and ourselves.
  • The entire structure of education is shifting, requiring us to rethink our views on intelligence.
    • Intelligence is diverse.
    • Intelligence is dynamic.
    • Intelligence is distinct.
Categories: inspiration Tags: ,

Build an ePortfolio

09/20/2009 Leave a comment

While Kentucky has required students to produce a writing portfolio since the mid 1990s, I have long felt that the assignment needs to be overhauled in order to incorporate more digital skills.  That’s why is was thrilled to learn that Classroom 2.0 Live was taking on ePortfolios with Dr. Helen Barrett.  The slides for the session are embedded below, along with link to some additional resources on the subject.  I also plan to share my experiences in future posts.


For more resources on using ePortfolios, try the following resources:

A Little Perspective

09/08/2009 1 comment
Obama Ed

Wordle Created with President's Obama's Speech to Schoolchildren

Somebody please explain to me why this is a controversial message?

Categories: inspiration Tags:

Tour the World…for Free!

08/30/2009 Leave a comment
Virtual Tours

Google Map of Virtual Tours & Webcams around the World

Click on the image above to explore more than 60 sites around the world.

Tips for a Successful Cafe Conversation

08/27/2009 1 comment

1. Create a classroom climate that supports meaningful discussion first. Before you attempt a Cafe Conversation in your classroom, spend a time teaching your students how to talk to one another. Remind them that they are going to be more mature than the people they watch on television. I share my Classroom Discussion Guidelines with my students, then we practice…everyday.

2. Prepare thoughtful, open-ended questions. Each group should contribute something new to the discussion. Be sure to write questions that allow for this.

3. Structure the conversation to fit both your own and your students needs. Think about your own personality and that of your students. Can you function, even thrive, in a chaotic environment? Can your students? I am a very organized person, and I teach freshmen. As such, my Cafe Conversations follow very specific guidelines. Each group is assigned to a very specific area on the posters. Each group member is told to write in a different color. A discussion count-down is projected in the front of the room. Posters move, students don’t. This works for me and my students. Find out what works for you.

4. Monitor student progress and adapt as necessary. As the discussion progresses, walk around the room. Answer questions. Clarify meaning. Nudge students back onto the task at hand.

5. Debrief the conversation. The end of the Cafe Conversation should not be the end of the discussion. Require that students briefly summarize the thoughts and ideas that ended up on their original poster. Have them look for patterns, question one another’s assumptions, and correct any errors. Then require them share their findings with the class. I have students record this information in their individual notebooks, allowing them to take the discussion with them.