Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Do You Need a Pick Me Up?

A Few New Favorites Things that are Making My Day

It's often the little things that keep me going on a positive vibe throughout my day. Today I'm going to share a few things that I've discovered lately that help to make my day inspiring and also give me just the pick me up that I sometimes need.

Momentum - This is an extension that will replace your new tab page with a personal dashboard featuring a todo list, the weather, an inspirational quote and a beautiful picture from somewhere in the world.  Here are two screen captures of my Momentum from today:

Elle Luna - If you're anything like me, you often have ideas swimming around in your brain. Sometimes I wish I could make those ideas a reality or simply stop whatever I'm doing and follow my heart to dedicate my time to these ideas.
Elle Luna is an artist and self starter who delivered the Keynote at the Alt Summit this past winter. If you have an hour, or even if you don't, please watch this video of Elle's keynote. It will change the way you think about ideas and what you do with them. At least it did for me.

Alt Winter 2016 Closing Keynote with Elle Luna from ALT Summit on Vimeo.

Pocket - This used to be called "Read it Later". This extension and website lets me save things I come across while on the Internet. My day is so much nicer when I can open the app on my phone and view the items I've saved while sitting at an appointment or waiting for a meeting to happen. Remember, it's the little things that can make my day inspiring and purposeful.
Check out this person's view of Pocket:

Can you share something that makes your day a bit brighter or more inspirational?  I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Our Students Can Solve the World's Problems!

Sit and Get - Lecture and Listen - Information Overload

Today's students are in need of a change when it comes to how teacher's teach and what students actually do during class time.  If we truly are to call ourselves educational professionals, then it is time for us to do what other professionals do in their line of work. Grow in our practice, advance our skills, learn new methodologies and provide our clients (students) with the most effective and up-to-date experiences that we can.  

Today, I am sharing with you one method that can make a change in your teaching and more importantly, make a difference in student learning. 

Design Thinking - What is it?

Design Thinking a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems, and find desirable solutions for clients.

The Design Thinking Model can be broken down into 5 steps:


Imagine a classroom lesson where students become aware of a problem or issue that affects others. Students spend time getting to know and understand the people with the problem and empathize with them. Students work together to research and find solutions for the problem. Not just any solution, but creative, sometimes unimaginable solutions for the problem. Students design prototypes and test the solutions to see if they have helped others with the problem. 

Resources and Examples

Empathy and ideation are at the heart of Design Thinking. Here are some examples and resources to help explain Design Thinking further.

Powtoon Video Explanation 

An article about Design Thinking from Edutopia.

The blog of Dan Ryder, a high school English teacher, who writes about his students using Design Thinking in his class.

Mary Cantwell's Deep Design Thinking website full of resources and information.

A Livebinder by Thomas Riddle

The Teacher's Guild - a place for educators to come together to solve the biggest challenges in education today.

Solve for X - From Google - these are real life examples of Moonshot thinking, some of which fit very well into the concept of Design Thinking.

I challenge each of us teaching students today to give Design Thinking a try. No matter what your discipline or who you teach, every student can be guided to use Design Thinking to solve problems.  And along the way, students will learn how to use their thinking skills, creativity, cooperation, empathy, and determination to solve the problems of the world that they will encounter later in life.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Making it Personal in Five

Personalized Learning - Five Simple Ways

Sometimes it is the simple tools that can make a big impact on personalizing learning for teachers and students.  This Chat with Deb will show five simple ways to make the learning personalized by academically supporting each learner to their specific needs.

Click here to view the presentation.
If you decide to use any of the tools shared in this Chat with Deb, let me know how it goes. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you to Intel Engage for sponsoring this Chat with Deb.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Concrete Poetry Sites - This Is So Much Fun!

Poetry Month is Right Around the Corner

Are you getting ready for Poetry Month in April? If so, I have some resources to share with you for creating concrete poems. Concrete poems are words written in a shape to convey a poem. They look like this:

Recently I went on a mission to search for a site to use with a fellow colleague and her students. They wanted to make concrete poetry on their Chromebooks.

There aren't many sites that allow the user to actually write words into any shape.

 There is the Read, Write, Think interactive for Theme Poetry.  Here is what it looks like. The words can be added inside of a shape. The interactive guides students through the writing process

There is a site from WildAboutWoods.org where a person can choose a shape or draw one of their own and add words inside of the shape. There are word banks to choose from or a person can type in their own words to add to the shape. I like that adding words is as simple as click and drag for young learners.

My favorite site that I found for creating concrete poems is from LanguageIsAVirus.com. Don't judge a site by it's interesting name. This site offers many resources and interactives for students, which they call writing gizmos.  One of the writing gizmos is called Visual Poetry, which allows a person to enter text and then draw any shape with that text. 

Before launching the Visual Poetry interactive, it helps to read the directions on how to use it.  Once you know the basics, this site is simple to use.

Watch this video of me creating a simple image using the Visual Poetry Interactive.

This is by far the best digital creation site for creating a concrete poem.  Do you have a favorite site for creating poetry? If so, please share with us.