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Community and Baseball

7 Nov

So it’s been a while since I’ve blogged – because, life. And I’m steering away from my typical tech posts to share an amazing experience I had over the weekend.
If you’re friends with me on FB you know I LOVE The Skimm. Every morning I look forward to getting my news for the day from The Skimm. When you share The Skimm enough, you get invited to be a part of a private FB community of Skimm’bassadors. This is where the goodness of Skimming happens. We’re 8,000 strong and use each other for advice, recommendations, celebrations, post things that we don’t want to post on our personal accounts, etc. It’s like having 8,000 best friends you’ve never met in person.

So, I was perusing my feed and this post popped up:

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This wall. I’d seen the pictures. Names, written in chalk, of loved ones who loved their Cubbies, but missed the chance to see them shine. Names overlap covering every inch of every brick. People sharing chalk, taking pictures, touching the name they wrote, remembering their grandma, grandpa, uncle, son cheering on their beloved Cubbies, telling stories, staring at the bricks or at the sky. If you haven’t been there yet, go.

The post came through the night before the big parade. The rest of my family were already down there, but had just left to come home. We had plans to watch the parade and I knew we’d be in Wrigleyville on Saturday, too.  So, the thing about a post like this is that it catches on. What started as one name of a passed Cubs fan turned into 12 amazing stories of hope and love and loss.

12 names. 12 stories. 12 legacies.

I couldn’t let my Skimmies down. What brought together a community of 8,000 from across the world? A wall….in Chicago….at Wrigley Field….for a baseball team….a World Series Championship baseball team.

It still gives my chills. Not just the win, but the impact that win has had on people in my family and beyond.

I made it down on Saturday. We first walked around the whole stadium, watching people write names, post pictures and think about the whirlwind of the previous 4 days. My husband, Jay, had to write the majority of the names (I make him do the craziest things sometimes).

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All 12 names we wrote are on this section of the wall on Sheffield

All 12 names we wrote are on this section of the wall on Sheffield

This was more than just a good deed for my Skimm’bassador friends. I’m still amazed by the posts – “this would make their family’s day,” “it would mean so much to the whole family,” “this would mean the world to her,” “I’m in tears right now! You have no idea how much this means to me.”

But I think I am starting to know how much this means to them.

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Friday Blogging For Instructional Tech Leaders

10 Apr

One thing I’ve learned in this position is that I need to be a part of a community of others in similar positions.  There is so much knowledge and experience that I can’t possibly keep up with.  I have had the privilege of having a professional learning network of technology coaches, facilitators, directors and coordinators that are constantly sharing, collaborating, troubleshooting and encouraging.  One such group is made up of area HS coaches and coordinators.  We recently started a blog and I’m very excited that I am their Friday blogger!

Today was my first post on the Instructional Tech Leaders blogspot.

Head on over there and check out the resource I blogged about and the resources that have already been shared!

Welcome 2015!

5 Jan

Today’s the first school day of 2015.  I’ve never been much of a resolution maker, but I’ve been thinking a lot about my personal and professional goals for the year.

  • Become a Google Certified Teacher – I have to take a couple tests that will show my proficiency using Google Apps with teachers and students

  • Facilitate at least three professional development courses for our teachers
    • Flipped classroom?
    • Maximizing the efficient use of digital resources?
    • Google integration in the classroom?
    • 21st Century Design online course?
    • What other tech driven classes would you like to see offered?
  • Get myself into a classroom at least once a week (I really miss working with students on a regular basis!)
  • A Tweet a day – this one is hard for me, I don’t want my tweets to be contrived and I want them to be somewhat spontaneous

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  • Blog 3 times a month – well, this is a good start, right? I still feel like teachers don’t really know who I am or what my position is.  I think this blog can be the transparency I need and help me define this position.

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What are your goals for 2015?!

Megan

iPods in the Classroom: Differentiation (Part 6 of 7)

5 Feb

Differentiation is a huge buzz word in education – as it ought to be. We don’t have cookie cutter students, so we can’t have cookie cutter activities. If we’re in the habit of differentiation, we need as many tools and resources as possible to help students succeed. We need to provide opportunities to students to work to their strengths, but also balance it with activities and assignments that make them think. The apps below give students a chance to use tools they may feel more comfortable with. These apps are supported with the iPod Touch and students have access to them at home as well as in school.

Voice Memo
The voice memo app provides an alternative way for students to communicate. Writing requires good fine motor skills. When a student’s fine motor skills prevent them from communicating through writing, it can be difficult to assess the student’s work. Voice memo allows students to respond to literature in a way that is more comfortable for them. Voice memo is simple to use and can be a personal communication tool between the student and the teacher. Below shows you how voice memo can help a student achieve. On the right side is a written sample of the student’s work. In this case, a written reading response. On the left, is the same student recording their response.
Example of DG’s written reading response:

DG’s oral reading response the same day in response to the same pages read:
Much more meaning and reflection was noted in the oral response than the written response. When I asked the student why the responses were so different, she indicated that it took too long to write her thoughts, and she was fine with getting a “1” (on a 4-point scale) on the assignment because she “just didn’t want to write it.” Now, this could be a case of the student being a bit defiant to the assignment, but I would address that with behavior characteristics rather than giving her a 1 for her thinking. She clearly demonstrated better thinking when given the option to talk about it.

Overdrive
From the personal technology survey results, 87% of the students indicated they would like to see eReaders used in the classroom more. The Overdrive app allows students to check out books from the public library for 14 days at a time. Students can choose from eBooks or Audiobooks, which adds to differentiating learning. Overdrive allows students to highlight important passages, type notes about the book, and is in a preferred format for students. Students can use Evernote in tandem with Overdrive as they get comfortable with switching between apps. When they are done reading the book, they can rate it and include a book review.

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Differentiation is a huge buzz word in education – as it ought to be. We don’t have cookie cutter students, so we can’t have cookie cutter activities. If we’re in the habit of differentiation, we need as many tools and resources as possible to help students succeed. We need to provide opportunities to students to work to their strengths, but also balance it with activities and assignments that make them think. The apps below give students a chance to use tools they may feel more comfortable with. These apps are supported with the iPod Touch and students have access to them at home as well as in school.


The voice memo app provides an alternative way for students to communicate. Writing requires good fine motor skills. When a student’s fine motor skills prevent them from communicating through writing, it can be difficult to assess the student’s work. Voice memo allows students to respond to literature in a way that is more comfortable for them. Voice memo is simple to use and can be a personal communication tool between the student and the teacher. Below shows you how voice memo can help a student achieve. On the right side is a written sample of the student’s work. In this case, a written reading response. On the left, is the same student recording their response.


Example of DG’s written reading response:


DG’s oral reading response the same day in response to the same pages read:


Much more meaning and reflection was noted in the oral response than the written response. When I asked the student why the responses were so different, she indicated that it took too long to write her thoughts, and she was fine with getting a “1” (on a 4-point scale) on the assignment because she “just didn’t want to write it.” Now, this could be a case of the student being a bit defiant to the assignment, but I would address that with behavior characteristics rather than giving her a 1 for her thinking. She clearly demonstrated better thinking when given the option to talk about it.

From the personal technology survey results, 87% of the students indicated they would like to see eReaders used in the classroom more. The Overdrive app allows students to check out books from the public library for 14 days at a time. Students can choose from eBooks or Audiobooks, which adds to differentiating learning. Overdrive allows students to highlight important passages, type notes about the book, and is in a preferred format for students. Students can use Evernote in tandem with Overdrive as they get comfortable with switching between apps. When they are done reading the book, they can rate it and include a book review.