It’s About The Connections!

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Thoughts from Mrs. Moses

One question, Are you connected? Ok so maybe two, How do you utilize your connections? I’m on my couch at home sick as I write this and I’m still connected to educators locally and around the world. How you ask…..by being connected! I have been thinking about the evolution of teaching! What has changed since the beginning? How have the changes affected our students? What is this new movement of educators reclaiming their learning and classrooms? I know, more questions! That’s how we find answers. I want my students to do the same, just ask if you don’t know the answer. These changes do not all happen instantly! It’s a gradual change that just starts with one person. It only takes one voice. Be the voice, model for your students, and be the positive leader for other teachers. A lot has changed since the beginning of the education system. It’s not the teacher up front, not the students in rows, and not the skill and drill. The change is that students are the focus and the teacher is the mentor in the center. Teachers learning along with students. Teachers showing students it’s ok to fail, and learn from those failures! That’s what makes us stronger. My students know that I don’t have all the answers. If we don’t know we ask or we Google. The students actually collaborate in the classroom. It’s ok to talk. Communication is how we learn. I’m blessed to work at a district that allows for me to make these changes in my classroom. It’s amazing to watch our district grow together. All educators at all levels working together for the betterment of ALL students. Since becoming connected, my students have experienced amazing things. We have Skyped all over the world, had a Google Hangout with Kodable, projects with 2 classrooms across the world, and found multiple resources to grow and learn. I have have grown as well! Thanks to Remind101 I had the opportunity to go to TCEA14. Being connected will open many doors for educators. Daisy and I won awesome tablets from HVEConnections. I have met many of the educators on my PLN, (personal learning network). Our Family Reading Night was awesome. Our students were able to Skype with Jena Ball and Marty Keltz to learn about kindness from Critterkins. When I began teaching they would just be a face in the crowd at a conference. We may have met but weren’t connected on level that we are now. I’m learning far more than years past. The amazing thing is it’s what I want to learn. How wonderful it is to learn as teachers what we need to help in our classrooms! Being connected is wonderful for resources. There are tons of great tech tools for teachers. Tools like Write About This, Remind 101, Educreations, Aurasma, Popplet, and Animoto. These are al great tools to start with in your classroom. You can connect with them on Twitter and you instantly have their help for any questions you might have. I have one word on why you should become connected….STUDENTS! We were called to do this job. It is the most special calling. I get to see students grow and learn. I’m excited when they are. We go through ups and downs! It’s an amazing journey to watch unfold. Be connected, be positive, and never stop learning! Be the positive leader and connect! We are better together, always!

Techer Testimonial – Jana McEachern

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I am Jana McEachern and I have been teaching in some way, shape or form since I was in college. It started with twirling (yes, I was a twirler, don’t judge, it’s a lost art) lessons my freshman year of college, then morphed into teaching Criminal Justice in 1997. I didn’t go the traditional teaching route – I was an alternative certification teacher after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University. I loved teaching high school kids, the opportunity to watch them grow over their four years of school is something I treasure, and when I see or hear from those kids today I feel like such a proud mom. In fact, I taught Daisy Middlebrook Marino and her sisters, and watching her grow into who she is makes me beyond proud to have been a part of it.

As with teaching, I didn’t come into the technology field the traditional way. I became a Technology Mentor and Curriculum Facilitator on my campus and discovered I had an affinity for the techy stuff. From there, I went back to school, got my M.Ed. in Educational Technology and never looked back. I started teaching teachers at Region 5 Education Service Center after 10 years of teaching and I can honestly say I truly love what I do. I learn just as much from teaching them as I hope they do from attending my trainings.

Currently, I’m working with a middle school campus on implementing their 1:1 iPad initiative. This is some of the best, hardest work I’ve ever done. We’ve had some big mistakes, and some big successes and I’ve learned so much from the people I’m surrounded by. I, along with some great educator friends, recently started moderating #reg5chat – a Twitter chat for all teachers in the Region 5 ESC geographic area (Southeast Texas). This has been an amazing experience for me – we’ve had educators from all over the world attend our chat who amaze and inspire me with their ideas and their passion. I’ve learned more on Twitter in the past year than pretty much all my teaching years combined. I’ve been to some awesome conferences, but Twitter and the people who passionately share their experiences and ideas on it are the most powerful resource I have.

Lately I’ve become passionate about developing teacher leaders and lead learners on the campus/district level. I’m married to a school superintendent who I truly believe embodies the definition of lead learner, and he influences much of what I do with the campus I’m on. I believe that building a strong culture of teacher leaders and lead learners on a campus or district is the best way to foster success. Those who lead, act. And those actions have a powerful effect on school culture.

My Favorite Things: Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, all things Google, ExplainEverything, Remind 101, Educreations, Zite, Pocket, ThingLink, eBackPack, Smart Boards/Smart Notebook.

Ways to connect with me:
@janamac
http://www.justjanamac.wordpress.com
#reg5chat

Upcoming Projects: EdCampESC5, March 29, 2014 – Warren HS, Warren, Texas.

Antonyms + Animoto = Opposites Attract!

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http://animoto.com/play/49vSto5as7ciZB0DzZf0ZA

Mrs. Moses’ 2nd Grade Classroom

Antonyms are fun to teach! So many ideas go through my mind when I start planning! From antonym socks to antonym webs, it is hands-on learning! I wanted to have students create something fun while being engaged during the lesson. On this particular day we were matching words to the opposite meaning. I had a spur of the moment idea, they usually turn out to be the great “light bulb” moments for learning in my classroom. I thought, let’s pair the students with the opposite word and create a video. I divided the students and gave them a partner. They were then given one word. The students had to find an opposite word. I had them come up one at a time and rotate in a circle to show the opposites. They loved the concept spinning in a circle to get the effect of each pair of antonyms. We then created our Animoto video and added a cool song to match the theme of antonyms. What makes this spur of the moment idea better…..sharing it with parents! This is a great way to involve parents in what’s going on in the classroom. This is just one example of how Animoto videos are beneficial for students. There are multiple ways to use video in the classroom!

Techer Testimonial – Stacey Huffine

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Stacey Huffine is a campus technologist at Fields Store Elementary in Waller, Texas.  Stacey has been with Waller ISD since 1994.  The first four years were as a 3rd grade teacher teaching math and science.  She then took a position as the campus technologist on an elementary campus and has loved doing that ever since.  She is a constant learner who is always looking for great ways to bring technology seamlessly into the classroom.  Stacey also helps teach GT and is currently leading the 4th grade group on her campus. She is also the co-founder of the technology training company, The 3 Tech Ninjas.  Stacey also helped start the top rated iTunes podcast, EduAllStars, and travels around the state speaking at different conferences and events with her fellow ninja, Todd Nesloney.

 Stacey co-hosted EdCamp Waller in 2013,  and is co-hosting EdCamp Region4 on May 3rd, 2014. Since becoming a connected educator in 2012 a whole new world has opened up.  It has made her job easier in finding ways to help teachers with classroom activities and has helped her get some of her teachers on her campus to see the benefits of becoming connected.

 

Favorite Tech Tools:

http://ninite.com/

www.twitter.com

https://evernote.com/

http://www.wix.com/

http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html

https://www.educlipper.net/

https://www.remind101.com/

http://www.sophia.org/

http://soundgecko.com/

http://www.edmodo.com

Google Apps, Google Apps, Google Apps!!!

 

Upcoming projects: After doing the Hour of Code on campus,  I am planning on diving deeper into coding with my GT kids as well as helping a coworker (Todd Nesloney) with an after school Tech Club once a week.

 

Stacey Huffine

Campus Technologist – Fields Store Elementary

District Web Facilitator

 

Any teacher that can be replaced by a machine, should be.” – David Thornburg

Aurasma + Adjectives = AWESOME

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Mrs. Marino’s 4th Grade Class

I have been trying to do this lesson for two weeks. Strangely, school in Texas has been canceled several times due to snow. What?? Finally, finally, finally we got the chance to proceed with our awesome adjectives.  Before I explain my lesson let me just say that it only took me about 30 minutes to make all the images that I used in the Aurasma Studio. That is nothing. Teachers spend more time on cut-outs etc. So, what I wanted to do was bring adjectives to life. Really make my students visualize  the effect adjectives can have in their writing. Before we started our Augmented Reality, I put two images of a dinosaur up on the big screen. One was in black and white, and the other was 3d and multicolored. We gave descriptions. We talked about which image we liked better. Then I asked them to compare the images to writing. Which would they rather read? The answer is obvious. I felt that by showing them these visuals and connecting them to actual writing, I had a great opportunity to target some higher level thinking in Bloom’s.  Next, I passed out a packet of five images. Five plain, boring images. The students had to write one sentence about each plain picture. Then they picked up their iPads and using the Aurasma app they hovered over the image. What happened next was magic. A vivid, brightly colored, detailed image popped up out of the plain image. The students exclaimed. They oohed and awed. It was great. They were excited. And every reluctant writer in my 4th grade class wrote and completed their ten sentences that day. They wanted to describe the images. They wanted to write so that they could move on and see what the next picture had in store. Teachers sometimes think that tech is just tech. They ask when will students actually put pencil to paper? This is a great example of how you can utilize both. They can go hand-n-hand. Students are not necessarily excited about the tech. They are excited about what you are doing with the tech. The same goes for pen and paper.

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2nd Grade Inventors + Animoto = Weird Science

Mrs. Moses’ 2nd Grade Class

http://animoto.com/play/vyMqKWy7Jwwo10fcjW3K1Q

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What happens when you do not follow through with an idea?  When I asked my 2nd graders this question last week it really made them think.  They had several answers, some more in depth than others.  One student said, “Well I guess it will just stay an idea and that is sad.” This student made a valid point.  The most amazing inventions started with a simple idea.  I want my students to believe in themselves and  know that anything is possible.

How do you move from idea to creation? How do we show our students that it is possible?    I gave them the chance to do exactly that….create, be inspired, and invent!  I wanted them to create an invention that was original and creative.  A hands-on project that was student driven to become whatever they wanted.  We have been studying inventors for the past few weeks.  The students have been excited about learning how things are made.  We researched different inventors and the process of each invention they created.

The projects were due this past Tuesday.  The excitement has been building for their presentations.  I was just as excited as the students for the “BIG” day.  Then it came and nerves were starting to settle in their little tummies.  The presentations started, and I recorded them like I always do.  They amazed me!  So original and creative! I feel most importantly that they truly enjoyed this project while learning in the process!  It was the best day…..just listening and being inspired by my students!

Techer Testimonial – Brett Murrey

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@Sciology

Brett Murrey is currently a 4th Grade teacher in Royse City ISD.   He is currently in his 7th year of teaching.  He has taught Reading/ELA, social studies, math, and science.  Brett’s favorite subject to teach is science.  He enjoys teaching the other subjects within science to keep the discovery of new information exciting for his students.

Brett has been married to Brandi (@techchique) for 20 years.   They both received their Bachelor’s on Interdisciplinary Studies in from Texas A&M- Commerce in 2007.  They both recently graduated from Lamar University with Master’s Degrees in Education Technology Leadership.  Brett and Brandi have two daughters.  Their oldest is a freshman at Dallas Baptist University, and their youngest is in 6th grade in Royse City.

Brett is a passionate educator who enjoys teaching his students how to think for themselves.  He often tells his students, “I will not always be your teacher, so my goal is to assist you in finding your love for learning that lasts a life time.”   Integrating technology into the content areas has become an area of interest for Brett.  He has used My Big Campus, a learning management system, to create flipped lessons for his students to complete at their digression.  This year, he added the same concept to his math class.  Creating a fluid, student centered learning environment has allowed his students to choose and complete assignments when they are ready.  He has also moved the instruction from being teacher driven in the front of the room, to small groups or one on one instruction, with student lead discussion on needs during whole group instruction.

After attending Ed Camp Waller in March of 2013, Brett began using Twitter as a tool to connect with other educators.  Doors that were once closed to connect with likeminded, progressive, passionate teachers were now open wide.  Twitter has allowed Brett to learn about Ed Camps, & other exciting ways of learning.  He has attended seven different Ed Camps with many more scheduled in the near future, including @edcampESC5.  He has also facilitated several sessions at different Ed Camps on different subjects such as, using @aurasma, using technology in Math & Science, and Teach Like A Pirate by Dave Burgess (@burgessdave).  Twitter and Ed Camps have allowed Brett to expand his Personal Learning Network to include a wide range of individuals.  He participates in several Twitter Chats throughout the week and is a co moderator of #scitlap- Science Teach Like A Pirate.  He has also assisted others with beginning their own Twitter chats and has even guest moderated chats in other states.

My Favorite Tech Tools:  Twitter, Weebly,My Big Campus, Edmodo,  Socrative,  Evernote,  Remind101, KidBlog, Ted-Ed, Google Earth, and Aurasma, Camtasia Studio- Techsmith, Google Chrome

My Favorite Apps: Groovy Grader, Bloom’s Taxonomy, eduTecher, lead4ward, Science Vocabulary, Science Facts, 3D Brain, WeatherBug,  The Elements, Show Me

Upcoming Projects: Brett is looking forward to increasing the use of technology in his classroom.  He wants to create more videos for both Math and Science to assist not only his students, but other students that are struggling.  He is also hoping to present at Region 10 Tech Conference and iPadpalooza in the summer.

Connect with me through:

Twitter: @sciology

Website: sci-ology.com

Professional Portfolio: btmurrey.wix.com/sciology

Google Plus: google.com/+BrettMurrey-sciology

Blog: Sciology.wordpress.com

Pinterest: pinterest.com/sciology

Class Twitter: @MrMurrey132

Class Blog: MrMurrey132.blogspot.com

Email: btmurrey@gmail.com

Techer Testimonial – Andi McNair

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@mcnairan3

Andi McNair is currently the gifted and talented teacher at Bosqueville Elementary.  She works with students in 1st – 5th grade.  Andi has been teaching for 14 years.  Before becoming a GT teacher, she taught 4th and 5th grade Math and Science.   She also helps encourage teachers on her campus to use technology in meaningful ways.  

 

Andi is married to her junior high sweetheart (yes, you read that correctly).  They both graduated from Bosqueville ISD, where Andi currently teaches. They have been married for 15 years.  She and John have three children – two boys and a girl that keep them very busy.  

 

After joining Twitter a few months ago, Andi has found her passion for teaching again.  Twitter has allowed her to connect with amazing educators that encourage her to work hard to engage her students each and every day.   Many of these connections with other educators have led to Andi and her students participating in Genius Hour and Innovations.  Allowing students to pursue their passions has changed the way that she teaches and the way that her students learn.  In her student-centered classroom, Andi’s students take the lead and learn about things that are meaningful to them.  This has resulted in a learning environment that is engaging, motivating, and so much fun!  Collaborating with other educators on Twitter has been a huge turning point in Andi’s career and she encourages anyone that will listen to start building their PLN and get connected.  You can follow her at @mcnairan3.   

 

My Favorite Tech Tools:  Twitter, Weebly, Popplet, Edmodo, Trello, Socrative, Class Dojo, Evernote, Screencast-O-Matic, Remind101, Padlet, DOGOnews, KidBlog, Ted-Ed, GoNoodle, Skype, Scratch, Google Earth, and Aurasma

 

Upcoming Projects:  Andi shares tech tools with her colleagues each week by sending out an  email called Classroom Power Tools.  In an effort to help them utilize the tools, she hopes to hold after school meetings with teachers that want to incorporate more technology in their classrooms.  Andi is also very excited about attending her very first EdCamp in February.  She and three of her colleagues registered for EdCampAwesome in Royce City.  Andi also hopes to write more often and share ways to integrate the Classroom Power Tools on her blog, A Meaningful Mess.