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Showing posts from 2015

Edutopia My Pedagogic Trainer

So, you're scrolling through your Twitter feed and come across an interesting headline.  You hope to read it later so you like it, flip it, pin it, or email it to yourself.  But of course you never get around to reading it.

I discovered that the majority of the posts I plan to read come from Edutopia.  So I decided to try something this week. For 3 days, I'd spend 20 minutes reading posts directly from Edutopia's site and RSS feed. I limited myself to 20 minutes to see how much I'd get out of it. I was surprised by how many posts I burned through and got great insights from. I've listed some takeaways below:


Feedback should focus on effort not simply intelligence. This is feedback for a growth mindset.Space should be given for teachers to try new things and make mistakes and reflect. This is growth mindset for professional development.Am I willing to focus on motivation as a goal for unmotivated students? If so, I have to spend time focusing on it outside of the co…

The JOY of STEM

It's almost like once you're made aware of how broad STEM fields are, one starts seeing them everywhere.  Today, we went to see the new film Joy by David O. Russell which tells the story of inventor, business mogul, and STEM girl Joy Mangano. 




Joy's ideas come from the world around her.  Her innovations solve authentic problems she faces. At a young age, she saw that her dog would tie itself up and choke itself. This was a problem of importance to her and she looked for a solution.  So, her first great invention was a dog collar that had reflective tape for visibility and an anti-chocking release.  Sadly, she didn't have the resources to have it patented and others eventually sold a similar collar idea to be manufactured by the Hartz Mountain.
The invention that brought her success was the Miracle Mop.  A truly innovative device I remember from my youth.


The idea was born from a need that Joy had.  Her creativity made her see that there had to be a better design for a mop…

The STEM Girl Awakens

"Examples of gender inequity are abundant in school texts and children’s books and movies, classroom experiences, exposure to science toys, and other science-related experiences." - The Franklin Institute


I've been a Star Wars fan for a long time.  In fact, it was my first movie experience I can remember.  Darth Vader entering the Tantive IV. So it was with great pleasure that I really liked The Force Awakens.  After seeing the film, I felt the need to write about it.  But not about the Physics of the Starkiller Base, but something much more real world.  The part of the film that brought me the greatest joy was seeing a the Return of the Heroine to Star Wars.




Rey (last name? Skywalker? Solo? Episode VIII you're my only hope) is the type of hero boys have been getting for ages.  Heroes who have no problems fending for themselves, learning new skills on their own, and demonstrating these skills.  Think James Bond, Indiana Jones, Robert Langdon, the action heroes played …

The Golden Ticket.

Three years ago I received an invitation to a meeting. The invitation was scant on details but it inspired a great deal of curiosity in me.



You can't imagine how confused I was about what was to come.

The first question was, "What's and Un-Committee?"

We were given this video link to watch in advance.


Little did I know, I would learn about how progressive the leadership in my district was. The meeting would fundamentally change educational practice in my classroom.  It would give me license to create my ideal learning environment.


Over the next couple of weeks, I hope to look back on the process through which I was introduced to the framework of personalized learning and reflect on my initial proposal for change I made almost 3 years ago.

And a Partridge in a Pear Deck Tree

About a month ago, I was introduced to Pear Deck.  It is an incredible tool for allowing students to engage in a presentation.  There are many great things about Pear Deck.  Students are able to follow along with presentations on their devices and respond directly to questions posed by their teacher on the device. The device does not have to be a laptop.  It simply has to have access to a web browser.  My student have used iOS and Android devices with ease.

In the spirit of the season, I'd like to highlight some things Peak Deck has given me.

On the 1st day of Christmas Pear Deck gave to me, the ability to create a new deck.
It is simple to create a new deck once you have linked your Google account to Pear deck.


In addition, you can import a Google Slide Presentation into Pear Deck.



On the 2nd day of Christmas Pear Deck gave to me, the ability to create a new slide. When creating a slide, you have the option of making it a normal slide with no interaction, a Draggable slide, a d…

Harmonious Instruction

Today, my 2 sections of AP Physics traveled down the road for a day of physics fun with the 4th grade class at Swanson Elementary.  This partnership all started last year when then Swanson teacher Jessica Ebert posted her students studying sound in our Google+ network.  I commented on it, and that started our brainstorming about the possibilities of my AP Physics students running some sound instruction after their AP test was finished.  It was a great success. Probably one of my proudest days as an educator.
This year, Angela Patterson and Kate Sommerville (a.k.a. TEAM Togetherness, my educational compass) reached out about maybe bringing our kids together while the 4th grades were working on the sound unit.  It just so happened that our timelines in covering sound were in harmony (or sync, or whatever sound pun you like best).  So, what better time to bring the students together.  My AP students would be presenting on sound topics that they had just started studying.  It would be up…

Last on the SLATE: Classroom Ecology

Although the final day of the SLATE conference was a 1/2 day it was just as filled with educational wisdom and hacks.
Infographics - Visual Communication is a Powerful ToolWhen I was looking at which sessions I would be attending today, I was immediately drawn to infographics because they are a wonderful tool for allowing students to demonstrate content mastery by creating a non-traditional text. Then, I saw Danielle Brannan's presentation and knew that's what I was doing first thing. The presentation is filled to 11 with information and resources. If you have time to walk through it, do now! Otherwise save it for later. I'll highlight some of the takeaways for my high school classroom.




As a teacher who is trying to have students create authentic public products, infographics are a great option.  But never having created one myself or even analyzing the formats and flows of varied infographics, I am at a loss for where to begin.  I know that they are a great device for c…