Now is the sad, sad day we have been dreading. Day three of CUE Rock Star La Jolla. Luckily, there is still a lot to learn today. There is no doubt that you will walk away from this day with a new mindset and some amazing new skills to bring back to your school. That being said, let's see the schedule we have lined up for this amazing day!
Shred Sessions start at 9:30 am- 10:00 am
Session One starts at 10:00 am- 12:00 pm
Session Two starts at 2:00 pm- 4:00 pm
And that is a wrap for all of the sessions at CUE Rock Star La Jolla! So many great sessions and I will be keeping you in the loop via Twitter and this blog sharing anything that goes down during the Shred Sessions, anything that goes down at lunch and beyond. All of the information will be compiled into a Storify at the end of each day as well. We can't wait to have you join us for these three amazing days!
See ya there,
Day two is all about STEAM! Presenters will take the day to talk about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics otherwise known as STEAM along with showing you ways you can use your favorite tools to incorporate STEAM into your own classroom.
Like the first day, each session will be repeated twice so that there is again, no FOMO ;) I forgot to add in yesterday that the day always starts with a Shred Session where presenters battle it out to get you excited about their sessions.
Shred Sessions start at 9:30 am- 10:00 am
Session One starts at 10:00 am- 12:00 pm
Session Two starts at 2:00 pm- 4:00 pm
Below is the eduawesome sessions that will be going on for day two and much like day one, you don't want to miss out on these amazing sessions! For a look at their presentation, click on the presentation link below and check out the "Session Web Page" button.
Woo hoo! Day two is going to be so exciting, I can't wait to see this train go full STEAM ahead. That ends the corny STEAM jokes for the day. Be sure to click on the presenter link to check them out and don't forget to chat with us during the conference!
See ya there,
"I feel so stuck. Nobody seems to get my ideas or feel my passion for teaching."
If you are like me I am sure you have said this at least five times a day. What is a lone nut to do? I was surrounded by others who were great teachers, but didn't want to change. I was stuck. That was until I found the magic of a PLN (Professional Learning Network) and since then I haven't had to utter those words anymore. I finally feel accepted, understood, and supported by amazing educators.
How can you do it you ask? Easy. Here are the ways that I built my PLN, just take the first step and you will never want to go back!
1. Twitter: Sure, some merely think of Twitter as a website used for those who want to stalk their favorite celebrities' every selfie and food habits, but the site has take a new turn for educators. Using Twitter in an educational setting for the past year has been my best asset. Whenever I have a question, need help with a lesson plan, or need to find the coolest thing to do in my class, Twitter is where I turn.
Once you are on the site, go find some of the educators you look up to (and tweet to them), find companies you use in your school (tweet to them as well), and join an "edchat". There are "edchats" for just about everything in education ranging from state-specific discussions (Like #NVedchat for Nevada educators) to edtech (#edtechchat) and grade-specific. There is bound to be a chat that you can join and learn from.
The golden rule with Twitter is you don't have to follow everyone, only follow those who will help you become a better educator.
Sign up right this second (Seriously, stop reading and go sign up).Don't know where to start? Tweet to me @MsGeekyTeach and I will help you out.
2. Meetups: Meetups are a great way to connect in real life with friends from Twitter, emails, and more. Meetups can be anything from a small meetup like BrewCUE, CoffeeCUE, or EdCamp, to a large conference like ISTE, NCTM or the annual CUE Conference.
Some are free, while some you have to pay for, but I'll tell you this--it’s well worth your money and time if you get to connect with other educators, especially those you otherwise would have never come across.
3. Voxer: Voxer is, simply-put a walkie-talkie application. Why not just text or call, you ask? Well, Voxer allows you to ensure that your question or comment gets the love it deserves. With the Voxer app, you can send text messages, photos, and instant voice messages to individuals and groups.
My PLN, I use this with many other educators to throw an idea around or to get feedback on a failing lesson plan. Since my message is there for them to listen to when they get the chance, I don't have to worry about my message being forgotten about. This also ensures that I will get a thoughtful response once my PLN members get the time to respond.
4. Point: How about sustaining your PLN by sharing articles? Point is a newly discovered favorite Chrome extension of mine. You can share articles with friends, highlight parts of the article that you find interesting, and with the extension you can easily retrieve your favorite reads.
This has changed the way that I read articles, but it's even better for my PLN: I can now share the coolest new edtech findings with all of my edtech friends with one, simple extension. It's like sitting next to another person and chatting about the latest newspaper article!
These are just some of the ways that I stay connected to my PLN. I challenge you to check out new ways to connect, and if you find one, let me know in the comments section below!
NOTE: This article is part of EdSurge's Fifty States Initiative (representing the state of Nevada). Interested in representing edtech in your state? Apply here.
It's over. How is it over already? In a flash it is gone.
"You should really plan an Edcamp for Las Vegas" or something along those lines is what got me started. I was hesitant but promised I would have lots of support. Flash forward to yesterday, August 2nd, 2014 and who knew it would all come together?
I woke up at 5 am after not being able to sleep for the past three nights, butterflies and a slight feeling of nausea decided to join the party. I loaded up the car and was only having a slight freakout as I pulled into SWCTA.
I was surprised to see so many volunteers there at 7 in the morning. We unloaded and started setting up right away. Craig and David started on the session board while everyone else did things from opening up rooms, hanging signs, setting up food and even starting to register people who showed up at 7:30.
The event got rockin' and rollin' really quick, folks were talking, brainstorming ideas, checking out Twitter, and of course jumping on that free coffee and bagels. As the session board was made, I tried to get the 200+ attendees excited for this new experience. Once we went over the basics I let em' loose.
As session 1 and 2 were going on, I was interacting in the sessions, loving the ideas, hearing great discussions from tech in the class to Genius Hour. It was a lot of fun! During session 3, Craig and I decided to do a Things That Suck session and it was awesome! We talked about Las Vegas Buffet (Great idea Craig!), Frozen, School Uniforms, Unfiltered Wifi, and so much more.
Finally it all came to an end once everyone was back in the ballroom. We did a raffle with amazing prizes from our sponsors, announced that Nevada FINALLY has and EdChat (@NevadaEdChat), and my good friend Devin told everyone they needed to take a selfie with me. All in all it was a whirlwind of a day. I got the feeling that you get when your student has an "Ah-ha" moment and your heart swells, tears of joy come to your eyes, and you see your labor of love transform into a reality. This is by far the most stressful, exciting, invigorating, and amazing thing I thought I could never do. Thank you so much to those of you who helped out and those of you who attended. I hope that if you didn't go that next year you will be sure to join us!
Check out the pictures below!
I have never been one to stay super organized and that includes my multiple inboxes. That is...until I stumbled upon Unroll.me. This website is amazing and will change your inbox forever.
Every time you go to just about any retail store they always ask for your e-mail address. Don't you love getting those great coupons especially when you really need them? What about when you get them every single week? Maybe you are too busy to unsubscribe or maybe you are like me who suffers from fomo on those great deals when I really need them. Well, unroll.me has answered your inbox prayers.
When you sign up for unroll.me, you can not only save those fabulous deals but you can even unsubscribe from those annoying e-mails you get day after day. When you first sign up you simply put in your e-mail and it gives you the list of all websites you are subscribed to. From here, you can decide to do the following: Add to Rollup, Unsubscribe, or Keep in Inbox. Then once a day like magic, all of the items you decided to add to your rollup appear in one beautiful e-mail. I can now take a quick look at all of my steals and deals instead of archiving them like I normally do.
Ever had a crazy ex, junk mailing grandma, or just wanted to block someone? Unroll.me also allows you to block specific contacts that are driving you nuts. The insanity is gone!
Now what happens if you delete your rollup in your e-mail you ask? Unroll.me has your back and you can go into the archives to find the missing e-mail. You can also go and find a previously unsubscribed website and resubscribe to your desire. Also, you can decide do you want your rollup morning, afternoon, or evening as well as a grid form or list form.
I have used this will all of my e-mail accounts and will never go back to the old way of getting my inbox cleared out. I get to keep all of my favorite subscriptions and sanity as well, what more could I ask for?
Have questions about Unroll.me? Feel free to comment below and I will be happy to assist. You can also check them out on Twitter and Facebook as well.
Happy Rolling Up!
I remember the first experience I had with differentiating in a classroom and man was I horrible at it. Three weeks after graduating college I was put into a second grade inclusion classroom with students who had already had three...yes three teachers before me. It wasn't easy and I got a lot of support from my team. In those six months that I was there, I learned that differentiating isn't easy but is necessary for every child.
Now enough of that, what I'm sure you want to know is how am I making it work now? Now differentiating is easier for me, while it is still not flawless, I have developed a system that has worked for me. Be forewarned, we don't do math rotations every single day. If my kids are struggling with a concept, we do it whole group and just nix the rotations.
Back to the rotations.... I'm sure that most of us have heard of the Daily 5 Reading and if you haven't, it is essentially a different way of looking centers and you let the students have their own choices. Really cool stuff if you ask me. I use the ideas from Daily 5 Reading to create my own version of Daily 5 Math. As you know, I am super geeky so of course there is technology included.
When first starting out, I assessed my students using a variety assessments; AIMS Web M-Comp, 3-minute math quiz, Discovery Education Assessment, and my own simple observations. Once I had decided where my students were at when it came to math, I created the sacred chart. Students were grouped depending on their scores from all of these different assessments. Once the groups were made, the fun began!
Typically, we do a Number Talks for the first part of our math session. My kids sit on the floor while I write a problem for them on the board for them to do mentally. After that, we usually go into a mini-lesson of what we are learning this week. This can range from 5 minutes to up to 20 or so. I just gauge where my kids are at and some days we end up skipping our math groups because I feel that they need more time.
On the days that we do our math groups my students have four rotations: Meet with Ms. Boucher, Sumdog.com (Computers), Math Worksheet/Math Facts, and Math Games.
When going on Sumdog.com (Computers), the students get to play for 10-15 minutes participating in contests, reinforcing their core skills, or practicing the standards that I have picked for that lesson. I can go onto Sumdog and decide how long I want my lessons to last as well as what standards I want my students to work on.
Meeting with Ms. Boucher is the most flexible of the four rotations. We will usually do a math problem in our math notebook (and more recently using the Educreations Application- Free on iTunes) and then reinforce the mini-lesson that we did that day. My students in the past two sessions have learned how to use the iPad and have even recorded their own math problems. (If you would like to see examples, please feel free to contact me).
Math Games come from K-5 Math Teaching Resources and are easy to use. Each game is linked to a standard, has instructions, and even has the materials needed for the games. The kids love to play these and have 2-3 games to pick from each week.
Math Worksheet/Math Facts can be done independently or with a partner, this is really when the students show what they know. The math worksheet is whatever we have learned about that day and should only take 5-10 minutes. I wanted to keep all of my rotations under 15 as I have 11 boys who are bored after that amount of time ;)
When they are done, my students do Math Facts which is just flash cards that I have made out of construction paper. They get a new set every 2-3 weeks, one to keep at home and one set to keep at school.
After I have rotated with all of my students, they get ready to transition into the next subject. I have found this system to work much better than typical lecturing and doing everything with the students. When learning a new skill like we did this week, I kept the students at their desk majority of the time and we used manipulatives and went through each problem together.
I am not opposed to doing this when needed, but I have found that I can really see where my students are struggling when they come back with me that I never want to go back to the old way. I love my math groups, I love the technology used, and I also love the independence that my students are learning.
How do you structure your math time? What works for you and what doesn't?
I would love to hear what you use in your classroom!
Have a great rest of the week and
First off, I apologize for not putting up a blog last week and being a few hours late this week. I had family in town and forgot to post before they came in.
Secondly, I had such a great time at the EMU (Educational Meet Up) sponsored by CCSD last week and can't wait to attend another one! Check it out and join us if you are a CCSD teacher, you won't regret it!
Anyways... enough of that awesomeness (It's a word right?) and on with the show! Here are 5 things (applications, websites, etc.) that have changed the way that I teach both in and out of the classroom.
So there you have it, my list of 5 things that have changed the way I teach. There are a TON of resources out there and there are a lot more that have changed the way I teach. I hope that these 5 are diverse enough to get you started thinking about doing cool and exciting things in your classroom
Keep on searching the internet and share your favorite websites with me!
Have a great rest of the week and don't forget to share your favorite resources with me, I can't wait to see what you use in your class!
Sara Boucher is a Robotics and Computer Programming Teacher in Los Lunas, NM who is developing her own set of super geeks.