One of my all-time favorite twitter handles to follow is @Graphite which provides direction and ideas of “how to” immerse technology into one’s growing pedagogy. This resource shares with educators great resources for Apps and websites that cross over every grade level, content, and student learning topics, such as student engagement, collaboration, inquiry, research, writing, speaking & listening, plus specifics for ELA, Math, Social Studies, and Science. It is a service that is FREE and provided by Common Sense Media who aim to foster digital learning in education at schools and home. This organization is much more than just digital connections –it includes movie and book reviews, tools for educators and parents, and digital literacy & citizenship to prepare students their digital footprint creation. Check out this brief video clip that will introduce you to Graphite and Common Sense Media.
If you follow me @NoBigShakes, you will notice my re-tweets and favorites for @Graphite tweets. If I have not convinced you yet to join Twitter or at least check out Graphite.org - more features may convince you about @Graphite that will make it a digital must-go-to for you. With Graphite, teachers review and rate the Apps, you may even create your own bulletin board, write notes about App Flows and lesson design, plus follow other tech savvy educators. In learning more about @Graphite – read the blog post by Kellie Ady of Cherry Creek School District who is a Graphite user and advocate or watch this video clip on App Flow to better understand how digital immersion can take place in your instructional practice.
If you are not on Twitter, get on it or check out Graphite’s website to learn more. Two of my favorite tweets from 2015 from @Graphite Apps include:
Some other great resources to check out include: Teacher Toolkit 2015, Inspiring App Flows, and Data Driven Instruction to just name a few. So, if interested in knowing my other re-tweets of @Graphite, follow me @NoBigShakes and review my tweet history and even better join Twitter and follow @Graphite.
About the Author: Dana Faye Serure is a member of the IES Team as a Staff Development Specialist and Curriculum Coordinator for E2CCB Alternative Education and Special Education programs. Her major work focuses on Social Studies, literacy across the content areas, and research in education. Be looking for upcoming literacy and digital workshops in February plus Social Studies Mondays in March. For Social Studies Framework implementers, check out professional learning in Part 3 of Social Studies Implementation coming in April and May.
Right after I started working at E2CCB, I received an email from a teacher who attended my 3 - 5 Math Forum asking if I could find information on different strategies to teach math vocabulary. As a secondary math teacher I believe that being able to communicate mathematically is one way of assessing a student’s understanding of mathematical content. Pat Wingert (1996), journalist for Newsweek stated; “It boils down to this - if you can’t talk about math, you are unlikely to do well.” Pat’s statement resonates the mission of the CCLS; student’s need to be able to make viable arguments for the decisions they make while problem solving. Students need to have the mathematical language in order to make accurate arguments.
As teachers we know that Pat’s statement is an accurate one; however, as a secondary math teacher I was not armed with a plethora of research based strategies on vocabulary acquisition. As I came to this realization, I worried that I would have nothing to present at my next math forum. Once I reflected on this a bit more, I found a great book, Teaching Mathematics Vocabulary In Context by Miki Murray.
Murray’s book is an excellent resource for including vocabulary instruction as part of every math lesson. Murray believes that vocabulary instruction should not be treated as an add - on to a lesson but rather as a format for teaching mathematics. I encourage you to watch a video my colleague shared on content literacy; this one, Developing Academic Language demonstrates how a middle school math teacher seamlessly includes vocabulary in her math lesson. Including vocabulary into our math lessons is crucial for our students, as they need to be able to make viable arguments to justify their problem solving as expected by the Eight Mathematical Practices of the CCLS. In 1987, the United Kingdom’s Mathematical Association commented that “mathematical language may play little part in the conversation at home….many children are disadvantaged linguistically in mathematics in comparison with other areas of their experience “ (Murray, 2004, p. 11). Based on this information it is clear that our students are not coming to school prepared to engage in mathematical discussions; as teachers we need to address this need in our classrooms.
Robert Pondiscio recently published a blog post titled, It Pays To Increase Your Word Power. Pondiscio talks about vocabulary as a tiered hierarchy. Tier one words are common words that are familiar to all native speakers, whereas, tier three words are words that are specific to a certain profession or field; like equation in mathematics. Tier two words, like “justify”, “explain” or “verify”, are words that bridge the two tiers, these words are perceived as everyday words by adults; however, these words tend to be difficult for students. Therefore, we not only need to focus on the words that are essential to mathematics but also those words that allow our students the ability to make viable arguments as expected by the CCLS.
The CCLS expect students to have a deep understanding of mathematics; I believe embedding math vocabulary into our practice will foster mathematical growth in students. Another way to foster vocabulary acquisition is through word walls. No matter what age level you teach, word walls can be an effective way to visualize important mathematical vocabulary. Listed below are a few ideas on ways to make your word wall interactive so that the wall can become an integral part of your daily lessons.
1. Turn the classroom lights off.
2. With a flashlight select a word.
3. Call on a student to define the word.
The definition of _____ is ....
1. Divide students into groups of 3 or 4.
2. Give each student a card with a different word from the Word Wall.
3. Have students stand and form a circle.
4. In turn, each student announce his vocabulary word and explains how it is related to the word held by the student to his right.
5. Repeat until each student has had a turn.
My word is ____ and their word is ____.
They are related because....
Flashlight definitions and circle up are two of my favorite ways to make a word wall interactive. I encourage you to read Miki Murray’s book to get a thorough picture of how to make math vocabulary the context of your math lessons so students can deepen their understanding of mathematics.
About the Author: Rebecca Farwell is part of the Integrated Education Services Team at E2CCB where she serves as a Staff Development Specialist with a focus on Mathematics. In addition, she serves as a STEAM liaison and is embedded in the Ripley and Forestville school districts as a Curriculum Coordinator. Prior to coming to BOCES, Rebecca was a Secondary Math Teacher and a Dean of Students. Follow Rebecca on twitter @rfarwell1 or contact her at email@example.com
Take notice of your body language. Are you sitting up, making yourself big, taking over the space or hunched over, making yourself small? “Let your body tell you you’re powerful and deserving, and you become more present, enthusiastic and authentically yourself,” said Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and associate professor at Harvard Business School.
While gathering resources for an upcoming workshop about managing student stress, I came across a New York Times article by David Hochman, “Amy Cuddy Takes a Stand”, a follow up to viral Ted Talk, “Amy Cuddy: Your body language shapes who you are.” The research presented reveals high power poses like the "Wonder Woman” (hands on hips, legs wide) or sitting back with your feet up and fingers laced behind your head increase levels of testosterone and lowers levels of cortisol when compared to low power poses like holding your neck or crossing your legs tightly at the ankles. Higher levels of testosterone lead to increased feelings of confidence while lower levels of cortisol lead to decreased anxiety and an improved ability to deal with stress.
If power poses are helping adults be more successful at job interviews, then why not encourage our students to strike a power pose before a test or other potentially stressful situation? Stressors in the classroom take many different forms and teachers are charged with equipping students with different coping strategies. Incorporating power poses into your classroom procedures is an easy and fun way your students can increase their confidence and lower their stress levels. Read on, learn more about power poses and get started in your classroom.
What high power pose will you adopt?
About the Author: Kelly Wetzler is a Staff Development Specialist with the Integrated Education Services Team at Erie 2 - Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES with a focus in elementary education and is embedded with the Pine Valley CSD as a Curriculum Coordinator. Prior to coming to BOCES, Kelly was a primary classroom teacher with a passion for student centered learning. Follow Kelly on twitter @kellywetzler.
In the past, collecting data on students’ formative and summative assessments has been a tedious and time consuming process. This is not the case anymore. Gone are the days of hand grading tests and creating your own graphs and charts. Technology allows educators to have the power to assess their students throughout the learning process.
Using apps such as WISE, Quick Key, and Gradecam allows educators to easily collect data to monitor and track their students’ progress. This data can then be used by the educator to reflect upon their instructional practices, create flexible groups, and provide appropriate remediation to their students.
One of these applications for assessment analysis is WISE. The WISE App allows users to scan bubble sheets using a mobile device or tablet and immediately calculate the results. This is a great way to quickly assess students and see the most frequently missed questions on an assessment.
Quick Key is another application that allows teachers to collect students’ answers on each question for analysis.
Finally, the Gradecam app collects data for student summary reports, item analysis, and diagnosing how students performed on individual learning standards.
Technology gives educators the power to enhance their instruction by quickly collecting and analyzing student data. These are just a small sampling of the resources available for teachers to collect, analyze, and create action plans around data.
About the Author: Robert Ryan has recently joined the Integrated Education Services team at Erie 2- Chautauqua- Cattaraugus BOCES as a Data Specialist, where he also supports the Pine Valley CSD as a shared Data Specialist. He comes to Erie 2 BOCES with a background in Elementary Education and data driven instruction. Currently Robert is working with districts within Erie 2 BOCES on the implementation of protocols for data analysis. Be sure to follow the IES Team on Twitter and Facebook for additional technology tips and data resources!
I used to think, but now I know.
Two years ago, I had heard of Google documents but was too “busy” to learn it and certainly too busy to use it. However, I was put in a position that required me to introduce myself to this technology; so I jumped in, head first.
What is this “Google Drive”? It is a cloud based storage for documents, files, powerpoint, and many, many other types of files. This virtually means you can access it on any device that connects to the internet and the files are not stored on your device, consuming important memory, having to lug around a laptop, finding the right thumb drive, or clogging up your email. Google allows you to share any document with anyone without having to email, so much easier. Setting up a Google account is very quick and painless as you can see from this video.
How I use Google professionally.
We all have a plethora of extra time for another meeting, right? Google Drive helps you save time. Frequently, I collaborate with my colleagues, but we don’t have time to physically meet face to face. In order to complete projects and other assignments, we create a document, share it and we can all be working on it at our leisure or at the same time. Here is an example of how to collaborate on a document avoiding email. Considering we share folders through Google, I am no longer emailing documents to my colleagues. That perpetual list item, “clean-up email” is now gone for me!
Using this tool as a teaching strategy.
In workshops as well as in the classroom, by using Google Drive, you will be able go go virtually paperless. In my workshops I share folders with participants where they can pull up materials, take notes and have access to these documents forever by accessing their Google Drive. I use the Google slides ( PowerPoint) so I’m not carrying around 37 thumb drives or lugging my heavy laptop around. Similarly, any classroom teacher could create class work at home and access it from school, without having to email. Teachers can collaborate on assignments, without that constant emailing back and forth. Students can collaboratively write or prepare a presentation. A teacher can create a self-grading quiz or test (YES, I said self-grading!) Have you ever had a student say, “I would love to turn in my paper, but you see, my computer crashed and my paper didn’t save!” Well, an interesting tidbit of information is that Google updates constantly so work will never be lost. Classroom applications for Google are endless! Here is a list of ways to utilize Google Drive in any classroom.
Why is this important for our students?
Ok, if I still have not convinced you that learning Google Drive is essential, what if you never taught your students how to hold a pencil, pen or any writing instrument? Would they be at a disadvantage entering adulthood? Would it impact their ability to get a job? Enter college? Google Drive and other similar cloud base storage and sharing systems are all that are used on College campuses (no more paper) and as of June 2014, Google Drive has 190 million users and is is used by 58% of the fortune 500 Companies (Kokalitcheva). When my boys returned from their first few weeks of college, I asked them “What has been the biggest change between high school and college?” Their response was profound, “I wish I had used Google Drive in High School where the teachers had time and wanted to teach us. We have to use Google for everything and everyone at college assumes we know, we don’t!”
Kia Kokalitcheva (25 June 2014). "Google Drive now has 190M users & a brand new tablet app for presentations". VentureBeat.
About the Author: Marcy Sweetman is a member of the IES Team as a Staff Development Specialist and Curriculum Coordinator for both the North Collins CSD and Westfield CSD. Her major work focuses on Social Studies, literacy across the content areas, and technology integration. Be looking for upcoming Introduction to Google Hangouts and Apps workshops facilitated by Marcy.
I was at a conference last month where an article about The Shackleton Expedition was shared. This article summarizes the expedition of a man who had a goal to be the first crew of people to walk across the continent of Antarctica. He posted an ad in the London Newspaper recruiting men to accompany him on this expedition and he explicitly wrote:
"MEN WANTED: FOR HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. SMALL WAGES, BITTER COLD, LONG MONTHS OF COMPLETE DARKNESS, CONSTANT DANGER, SAFE RETURN DOUBTFUL. HONOUR AND RECOGNITION IN CASE OF SUCCESS. SIR ERNEST SHACKLETON"
Surprisingly, he had a massive turnout of letters on interest for this dangerous work. While there were many hazards that resulted in them never actually stepping foot onto the continent, his leadership allowed them to all survive and continue positive moral despite this. This leadership style from over 100 years ago, has implications for our work today as we are the leaders in our work leading a “crew” to a final destination of College and Career Readiness.
We all realized when we signed up and decided to be educators that it is hard and important work, and then as Shackleton and his crew faced, problems arise and the course and goals need to change accordingly. I think this article and the leadership lessons that can be taken away from it are inspirational to educators in this time of flux. I have linked both the article as well as information on all of the crew that left on this expedition for your own reading. Enjoy the journey but remember when you consider jumping ship,the rest of your crew needs you.
More about Shackleton’s Team.
About the author: Christine Barth has recently joined the Integrated Education Services team at Erie 2- Chautauqua- Cattaraugus BOCES as a Staff Development Specialist with a strong background in elementary education, special education and module implementation. She is embedded with the Brocton CSD & E2CCB Alternative and Special Education Programs as a Curriculum Coordinator. Christine is also working with science and moving STEAM initiatives forward in districts through workshops. She is passionate about student learning and teaching with the learner in mind.
Padlet has long been one of my favorite interactive technology tools. Not only because of how useful it is but because it sends uplifting messages that brighten my day. Like this one.
See? Isn't that nice? But I digress...
Padlet is a FREE wall where you can post "sticky notes" for all sorts of classroom applications. Think about any time you have used chart paper and sticky notes - that is when you can use Padlet. They can be used for questions, for reflection, for brainstorming, for sharing resources and even for note-taking! I created the Padlet you see below to share examples of how they have been used.....feel free to add your own!
Creating a Padlet is fairly simple - I won't bore you with walking through that. Instead - let me tell you about some of my favorite features:
Theresa Gray is Coordinator of the Integrated Education Services (IES) team and a huge fan of sticky notes!
Last year, the IES staff ran a reading incentive/challenge: Battle of the Books. At the time, I did not have any idea just how important this challenge was going to be to me. It started me reading again…for enjoyment…for pure pleasure! Yes, it was for work…but nothing could have been further than the truth! Through this challenge, I realized how much I enjoyed reading dystopian tales, and how important it was for me to slip away into another world for a while. In the past year, looking at my ebook “shelfie”, I have devoured over 30 novels – most of which were dystopian.
Recently, after exhausting all I could find in that genre of interest, I was looking for a change. Since “Unbroken”, by Laura Hillenbrand, was soon coming out as a movie, it is part of the NYS modules, and my colleagues all raved about the book, I decided to commit myself to reading about Louis Zamparelli and the incredible story of his life as a WWII POW.
I am two-thirds of the way through this book and can honestly say that Zamparelli’s life and experiences gives one pause. Pause to consider just how fortunate we are today, and as Americans. Most of us, at one point or another, and perhaps more often than not, take our lives for granted. We move on autopilot. But our autopilot would not be possible if not for the sacrifice of so many. This is the first time I have read a book that helped me truly consider what my father and grandfather as veterans may have experienced as their friends and comrades went down or missing. As a child, I would often as them to describe to me what they experienced, but neither ever divulged much. Now I understand why. This story gave me a glimpse of the strength of our soldiers, especially those who were/are POW’s, and made me realize just how weak I would be, given the same situation. I would never have had the strength.
This book makes one reflect; such is the point of a work of art. I hope you will join me in reading “Unbroken” before venturing out to witness the movie. It will be well worth your time! In the meantime, please, thank a veteran.
Amy Bartell is a Staff Development Specialist with the IES Team and also serves as a Curriculum Coordinator for the Silver Creek CSD and Forestville CSD Elementary School. Look for another "Battle of the Books" coming from the IES Team in March! In the meantime, we have also started a 50 Book Challenge for 2015 on our Facebook Page! Join us there!
I love technology, especially when it makes my job easier or more interesting. My three favorite free resources for educators are NPR, Livebinders, and Blendspace.
NPR (website and app) - National Public Radio’s website provides a treasure trove of resources. Within the NPR website are a variety of radio shows, blogs, and special reports that can be useful for every content area.
Livebinders (website and app)- Livebinders provides for simple curation of internet resources by providing a direct pathway to web-links you cut-and-paste into an online “binder”. The search feature allows users to share “binders” publicly so that teachers no longer need to recreate the wheel but can borrow ideas from others “binders”. Livebinders even allows users to collaborate, add documents and create subfolders to purposefully organize content. Recent updates also make it a powerful tool for flipping the classroom and project based learning. Here is a sample of how I used it for a 10th grade ELA research unit. Learn more about Livebinders by watching this How-to-Video.
Blendspace (website and app) - Blendspace is the ultimate tool for flipping a classroom, differentiated instruction, and project based learning. Much like Livebinder, it is a resource manager. Unlike Livebinders, it allows teachers to create lessons/modules they can then share with their real-life classes. Within each lesson teachers can create individual classes to track student progress throughout each lesson, leave feedback, and even create online quizzes within the Blendspace lesson. Here is an example of how it can be used to teach ratios, rates and proportions in a math classroom. Learn more about Blendspace by watching this How-to-Video.
There are a plethora of resources available online for educators. Many, like these, are free to use and simple for the technological novice to incorporate into his/her practice. Erie2 - Cattaraugus - Chautauqua BOCES provides a variety of workshops to help educators incorporate 21st century skills, tools, and resources into the classroom.
Katy Berner-Wallen has recently joined the IES Team as a Staff Development Specialist with a focus on secondary ELA and technology integration. She is also serving as a Curriculum Coordinator with the Pine Valley CSD and a Technology Integrator with the Silver Creek CSD. Watch for her upcoming workshops including "Technology Potpurri" for more technology tips!
About a month ago, I picked up Tony Wagner’s book Creating Innovators (2012) and started reading. I am not much of a reader, but I was immediately captured by the centerpiece of the first chapter – motivation. It seems that we are always trying to use sticks and carrots to get others (not only students, but also other people in our lives) to do what we want them to do. Education professionals are always looking to capitalize on students’ or teachers’ intrinsic motivators, while still buying into programs based on extrinsic “rewards” systems such as PBIS or Incentive Pay. (Another thought-provoking read on intrinsic motivation is Drive by Daniel Pink (2009)).
Wagner interviewed many young innovators (along with their families, professors, employers, and military commanders) and wove the common threads into this book. Chapter 1 focuses on the innovators’ childhood experiences, and tries to distill the essence of innovation – MOTIVATION. What drives these people to be innovators in the first place? Wagner frames the rungs of play, purpose, and passion with the posts of motivation in a hierarchy beginning with play.
As children, the center of our life was play. I’ll bet you can even remember some of your favorite games and who you used to play with. There were some games you liked to play, and others that did not interest you. To get to the heart of your play now, you can ask yourself, “What do I like to do for fun?” Make a list of your responses. Don’t think about it for a long time; just jot down whatever comes to mind right away.
The second rung of the motivation ladder is passion. Play has evolved into a passion because of the “Why?” of play. As we grow, we try to give meaning to the things that we do. No longer do we do things “just for fun”, we do them for a more altruistic reason, while still having fun. The fun has moved into a secondary role, behind the greater passion.
Now, look at your list of things you like to do for fun. Why do you do those things? Try to keep your answer down to just a couple of reasons. You shouldn’t have too much trouble. Most people have few passions that drive their recreational time. Some even have careers that encompass their preferred “plays”. These “whys” point to your passion in life – the intangible things that give you the most satisfaction and make life worth living.
For the young innovators Tony Wagner interviewed, passion gives way to purpose – a single driving force that guides decision-making and motivates them to keep moving forward, despite the roadblocks and limitations. These young innovators did not lead privileged lives, and often live modestly, barely paying their bills. But, they believe strongly in their purpose and persevere through challenges. Does this sound familiar? It sounds like something I want to instill in my children, as well as my students. These innovators are not only interested in the final product (that they have a strong passion for), but are also paying attention to every turn on the road to reaching their destination. Every setback is a learning experience and offers lessons for improvement and character development.
I just wish that every book could engage readers on such a personal level, while inspiring the teacher in all of us. The rest of the book is a quick read and the anecdotes are entertaining and inspiring and does an equally powerful job at challenging our preconceived notions of innovation.
About the author: Marley Smith was recently joined the Integrated Education Services team at Erie 2- Chautauqua- Cattaraugus BOCES as a Staff Development Specialist with a strong science and technology background. She is also serving as a Curriculum Coordinator with Springville-Griffith Institute and a Technology Integrator with Silver Creek Central Schools. Her purpose is to make a difference in the educational climate of the day. She plans to hold an online book study this spring in order to explore the other principles of innovation presented in this book, and ways to transform learning for our students into tasks of play, passion, and purpose.
Integrated Education Services