Moving from Insulated to Connected to Connecting

a CC Licensed Flickr Photo Shared by reynermedia

Insulated

2013 was amazing year of change for me as an educator. Having always been driven to continue learning and growing, I eagerly consumed new publications, watched new and old TEDs, and followed a few education related blogs.  I felt it was my job to share pieces of the learning I gleamed from these sources by facilitating faculty learning session that were aimed at producing thoughtful discussion, reflection and questions as opposed to answers.   This has been the way I learned and led for the past 5 years.  I do not want to disparage this is as our students, teachers, school, and I were learning, growing, and exceling.  That being said there was room for more…

One of the first and still one of my favorite post that got me thinking this was Amy Burvall “There’s No Copyright for Cookies: Why Educators Should Embrace Sharing.” Amy presents a compelling argument that instructional ideas, student work, and resources, much like homemade cookies, are indeed enhanced through sharing their “sweetness” with others.

Connected

As an educator, I learn more each day from the educators that I’m connected to via Twitter, global Facebook groups, and the Partners in Learning network than anywhere else. While I have sat in many traditional professional development workshops and gained many valuable insights from them that I have changed my way of thinking about teaching and learning, I still hold on to the value that global networks provide me. I need a place to ask for help, explore opportunities for discussing latest research and trends, and a place to just chat with educators that are experiencing some of the same issues that I face each and every day in education.  For me, professional development is ongoing. It’s the opportunities for just in time learning that challenge me to be a better educator, learner, and leader (Learning, Leading, and Connecting via @RobynHrivnatz).

This summer I was fortunate to attend both The Martin Institute and Building Learning Communities Educational Conference.  It was at these gatherings of passionate and dedicated learners that I truly began to understand the learning potential for myself and fro my team that connection provided.  This revelation was both the result of the immensely skilled presenters as well as the audience of educators attending the sessions I was in, sessions in other locations and even those not in attendance who were engaging in shared learning via twitter and other tools.  Having spent the past two years using twitter as a communication tool between school and parents to document and share highlights of our school field trips, this repurposing left me excited and eager to dive in. And we did…(A compilation of the Why, How to Get Started, and How to Get Connected with Twitter)

  1. All teachers created handles (those already on twitter, creating a new handle for professional use)
  2. We designated grade level hashtags for all of our teachers to use (#Davisme, #Davisk, #Davis1, #Davis2, #Davis3, #Davis4, #Davis5, #Davisms ) to connect our parents and classrooms on a more regular basis
  3. We used special hashtags for all school initiatives to build excitement for the announcement of our annual musical and ruach (spirit) week
  4. We shared some suggested PLN/follows for each teacher based on their own area of interest and/or assignment
  5. We had multiple sessions with parents on Social Media and your Child discussing the importance of digital literacy and sharing how we are engaging our students as digital citizens.
  6. …and so much more

Connecting

b

Connected educators may be the worst advocates for getting other educators to connect. Too often they are so enthusiastic at how, as well as how much they are learning through being connected, that they tend to overwhelm the uninitiated, inexperienced, and unconnected educator with a deluge of information that both intimidates and literally scares them to death (Patience for the Unconnected via @tomwhitby).

Both Julie Smith’s tweet and Tom’s quote (a piece of a fabulous post) completely resonated with me. The flow of information is overwhelming, the learning potential is even more so, and the enthusiasm of those who have tapped in to the power of connectedness may be more all-encompassing then both.

Realizing and understanding the implications of this, I feel like this is my role…

c

CC Licensed Flickr Photo Shared by ImipolexG

I feel is not enough to be connected, if I am not actively connecting others to people, resources and/or ideas that will benefit their own growth.  Moreover, in order to increase the likelihood of sustained connections, the sharing must represent a knowledge of the receiver’s personal interest and preparedness for the material being shared.

The last 5 months I have spent far greater time engaged in the following activities:

  1. Reading tweets and blogs and sharing these with the teachers on my team.
  2. Retweeting and connecting the questions of my teachers to other teachers and thinkers around the globe.
  3. Creating and sharing Great Twitter Classroom Connections (a list of over 300 active classrooms that are using twitter to engage students in global learning)
  4. Researching and helping my teachers begin to engage in connected learning (#mathstory #mlap, #grammar911, #vocabaz, #gloablgarden…etc)
  5. Helping my team build their own PLN (this is both an altruistic desire to build the capacity of all the educators on my team and a selfish desire to have an ever growing circle of learning for myself)

Though my team and I have only been truly engaged in getting connected and connecting for the first half of the school year, the payoffs are already tangible and exciting.  Students are engages with other students around the country and globe; teachers are both getting there questions and idea-searches answered by practicing teachers and sharing their own answers to the question and searches of others; lastly, I get to stand on shoulders of giants (colleagues, PLN & anyone willing to share knowledge or insight).

Thank You

Thank you to all who have contributed to my learning in 2013 and I look forward to the learning, sharing and growing that are ahead for us all in 2014.

Incredible #hourofcode Learning @Davis_Academy (guest post via @21ststacy & @caterclass)

The Davis Academy: The Hour Of Code Part 2 from Stacy Brown on Vimeo.

 

 

This week students at The Davis Academy participated in Hour of Code.  Five months ago the idea of Hour of Code started with one individual who wanted to get 10 million students to explore computer programming.  With the support of celebrities, CEO’s, and world leaders, Hour of Code grew to exceed the initial expectations.  Hour of Code brought together experts in computer science who designed websites and apps for every age to experience computer programming.

Why Hour of Code?  According to code.org, “Computer Science develops students’ computational and critical thinking skills and shows them how to create, not simply use, new technologies”.   Computer Science is one of the fastest growing industries with over 150,000 job openings annually and 1,000,000 more jobs than students by the year 2020.  A core piece of The Davis Academy experience is teaching students to develop problem-solving skills, cultivate critical thinking, build resiliency, and encourage inquisitiveness.   Technology integration allows us to practice real-world skills in a digital format that raises student engagement.  The Hour of Code has provided us with a unique opportunity for global connectedness.  The Davis Academy joined with 15 million students who participated in Hour of Code.

a

The Hour of Code initiative spread through Davis from mechina to eighth grade.  At the Lower School, mechina and kindergarten students practiced programming basics with the Kodable app on the iPads.   First grade programmed a puppy’s journey home with Tynker’s interactive courses designed for children to learn programming skills.  Second through fifth grade used drag and drop programming with self-directed tutorials.  They learned repeat-loops, conditionals, and basic algorithms.

Middle School students participated in Hour of Code through a variety of different applications based on their interest and experience.  Some of the programs include Light Bot and Blocky utilizing drag and drop programming to teach core basic skills.  Lastly, teachers throughout the school participated in Hour of Code side by side with their students.

Can’t stop talking about Hour of Code?  The learning continues online with Code.org.  Students can click here and pursue their interest in coding through a variety of tutorials with different programming languages.

And now it is your turn.  Join Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Cater and Mr. Frank in January as we present the “Davis Parent Hour of Code Challenge.”  Come explore and learn the coding skills through the challenges your children engaged in these past two weeks.  This will be a hands on hour of coding open to all Davis parents.  We have 20 slots available for the first session on January 31st at 9:10.  Please RSVP to Janice Durden.

Click below to see the fun and learning that was had this week, and the fun that is in store for all up for accepting the parent challenge.

Stacy Brown (@21ststacy)      21st Century  Learning Coordinator

Rebecca Cater (@caterclass)  Coordinator of Curriculum and Innovative Learning

 

 

Homework Club & Eleven Challenge

I appreciate the honor and assignment that I received when Matt Wachel  @mattwachel nominated me as blogger to join the Homework Club/Eleven Challenge.  Similar to Matt I often find it difficult to carve out time to do as much blogging as I would like to do, but I do enjoy the process and result when I do make it a priority. While Matt is not as frequent a blogger as he would like to be, he routinely contributes to my learning through sharing resources and ideas via twitter.  If you are not already following him, you should and will be glad you did.

 

My First Task – 11 Random Facts about Me.

1. I love playing video games with my kids (or without them)

2. I love playing any game with cards, die or tiles.

3. I am a huge Calvin and Hobbes fan.

4. I am an insatiable reader who loves reading pedagogy, leadership, philosophy, and humor books.

5. I enjoy fiction novels that are a part of series so as to allow a longer investment. (a few of my favorites are The Courtney Series by Wilbur Smith, W.E.B. Griffin’s The Corp Series, and unashamedly a huge fan of the Potter and Artemis Fowl Series).

6. I am a huge fan of George Carlin’s humor and books.

7. I am a compulsive computationalist.

8. I have great admiration for the power and impact of inspirational videos and I love to find and share these with friends, parents and colleagues.

9. I love improve and musical theatre.

10. Cowboy boots are my greatest vanity.

11. I believe Sriracha sauce is a great condiment for everything from breakfast through desert.

This was a bit challenging to answer because I don’t like to talk about myself very often.  But here goes:

My Second Task – Answer Matt’s Questions

1.  What book have your recently read?

My most recent read is a fabulous book that I read and I am now sharing with me teacher and admin teams, Great Ways to Sabotage a Good Conversation by Paul W. Schenk.

2.  If you could sit down with any two people from history, who would you choose and why?

With only 2 selections this is an exceedingly challenging question.  I am split between the amazing leaders of movements and people who showed faith and determination in the face of insurmountable challenges and personal risk (Mandella, MLK Jr., Dali Lama, Ghandi), the incredible thinkers who have so contributed to our current understanding of the world around us (Socrates, Plato, Euclid, Edison, Einstein), the legends of sports and culture (Jackie Robinson, Bobby Jones, Jim Morrison, M.C. Escher, Michalangelo), and my own family members who I never had the chance to meet or left this world when I was far too young.  In the end, I think if given the opportunity to sit down with two people for history, I would likely choose my father and grandfather who both passed when I was only 12 years old.

3.  Hamburgers or Hotdogs?

If this were hamburger or Italian sausage, I may have to deliberate, but I am definitely a burger over dog person.

4.  What is your favorite season of the year and why?

Fall: Start to the school year, fall holidays, and football.

5.  Which person in your PLN do you find most interesting and why?

I am not sure I can identify or single out one person.  I have such admiration for the divergent thinking and strong opinions that many of those who are close and dear to me share with me on a regular basis.  I have great admiration for each of these for the times they challenge my thinking as well as the times they agree with it.

6.  What song/album have you recently listened to?

Embarrassingly, I have been listening to a bunch of minecraft parody’s on youtube thanks to my sons who are in love with everything minecraft.

7.  Who influenced you to be an educator?

I think the most influential people in my decision to become and continue to be an educator are the incredible students I have had the opportunity to work with in the past and the ones I hope to continue to work with in the future.  I was originally an actuary, but I did not like the cubicle.  Then I was a bartender, but I did not love the industry.   While bartending, I was offered the opportunity to volunteer with some gifted math students, and I almost instantaneously new I had found my place.

8.  What are you most proud of this past year?

I think I am most proud of the culture of learning and growing that I see amongst all members of my school community.

9.  If you did not go into education, what profession would you have chosen and why?

I think I would have likely either stayed in the world of actuarial science or accounting.

10. If you could switch shoes with one person, who would it be and why?

My 6 year old.  I think the learning and growing that our students are going to be exposed to in our culture of information and connectedness is going to be mind-blowing.  I would love to go back and learn it anew.

11.  What is your New Year’s Resolution for 2014?

I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions for the same reason I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day.  I think every day we need to be setting goals for improvement and growth just as every day we need to be letting the people we love and cherish know.  My resolution for today is the same as it will be for the 31st, which is to be better every tomorrow as a parent, husband, educator, friend and human than I am today.

 

My Third Task – Nominate 11 Bloggers to Join the Homework Club

Krissy Venosdale @venspired  http://venspired.com/

Suzy Brooks @SimplySuzy  http://blogs.falmouth.k12.ma.us/simplysuzy/

Suzanne Gibbs @Suz_Gibbs http://suzanneclassroom.blogspot.com/

Shawn Storm @sstorm01 http://reachingyourdream.blogspot.com/

Stacy Brown @21ststacy http://5davistech.blogspot.com/ (one of her class blogs written by students)

Terri Eichholz @terrieichholz http://engagetheirminds.wordpress.com/

Devon Caldwell @india0309 http://kinderdiva.blogspot.com/

David Culberhouse @DCulberhouse http://dculberh.wordpress.com/

Cathy Jo Nelson @cathyjo http://blog.cathyjonelson.com/

Diana-Grace Morris @dianagracenz http://exploriosity.blogspot.co.nz/

Shannon Miller @shannonmmiller http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com/

My Fourth Task – Questions for you

1. What is your favorite movie of all time?

2. If you could go to have attended any concert anytime in history, what would it have been?

3. What do you do for fun?  Hobby?

4. What two guests would make the best comedic pair as co-hosts for the Oscars?

5 .Cat, Dog or Goldfish? Why…

6. How do you caffeinate?

7. Favorite twitter chat?

8. Best place you ever vacationed?

9. Best book you’ve read in 2013?

10. Favorite television shows?

11. What is one thing you never/rarely share that you are exceptionally proud of?

Here is your Task

1.Acknowledge the nominating blogger.

2.Share 11 random facts about yourself.

3.Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

4.List 11 bloggers.

5.Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you

Sunshine Award

UKA5

I am honored to be nominated for a Sunshine Award by a blogger/tweeter who so regularly contributes to my own learning, Seth Berg.  Seth’s reflective and informative blog can be found at http://bergseyeview.edublogs.org/ and he tweets @BergsEyeView.

The Sunshine award gives others an opportunity to learn more about me as a blogger and then, in turn, I will send sunshine the way of 11 other amazing bloggers for you to get to know!

Here are the rules listed by Brenda on her blog:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  4. List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)

11 Random Facts about me…

  1. I love playing video games with my kids (or without them)
  2. I love playing any game with cards, die or tiles.
  3. I am a huge Calvin and Hobbes fan.
  4. I am an insatiable reader who loves reading pedagogy, leadership, philosophy, and humor books.
  5. I enjoy fiction novels that are a part of series so as to allow a longer investment. (a few of my favorites are The Courtney Series by Wilbur Smith, W.E.B. Griffin’s The Corp Series, and unashamedly a huge fan of the Potter and Artemis Fowl Series).
  6. I am a huge fan of George Carlin’s humor and books.
  7. I am a compulsive computationalist.
  8. I have great admiration for the power and impact of inspirational videos and I love to find and share these with friends, parents and colleagues.
  9. I love improve and musical theatre.
  10. Cowboy boots are my greatest vanity.
  11. I believe Sriracha sauce is a great condiment for everything from breakfast through desert.

Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

What is your favorite movie of all time?

Tough question.  I would have to say Field of Dreams due to how it resonates with me as one who lost my father early in life as well as the incredible messages about faith , courage, and love for baseball.

Which teacher inspired you most as a k-12 student?

I had a number of wonderful teachers who shaped the educator and person that I am today, but I believe Paul Myers, advanced math teacher at Woodward Academy, impacted me most.

Are you a sports fan?  If so, season?  Team?  If not, what does get you fired up?

Completely.  I am into anything that has score and can be kept up with in a statistical fashion.  First and foremost I root for anything Chicago based, next I am a University of Georgia fan,

How many siblings do you have?

3 siblings (two sisters and a brother) and 3 great brother/sister-in-laws.

Eat out or cook at home?

I love to cook, so I would say home would be my preference.  I spent about 10 years in the food industry and I love to prepare elaborate meals for friends and family.  That being said, time is a scarce commodity, so I also love to dine out with friends and family.

Where do you go to get away?

I do not do this enough, but we have enjoyed great family trips to Orlando, Great Wolff in Concorde, and recently a 10 year anniversary trip with my wife to Cancun.

What do you do for fun?  Hobby?

My hobby/fun is gaming (card or video) with my sons and friends, watching movies and TV with my wife, and/or reading for myself or with my kids.

Read any good books lately?

Yes, definitely. Shifting the Monkey by Todd Whitaker and Great Ways to Sabotage a Good Conversation by Paul Schenk

Favorite pizza toppings?

Italian sausage.

Addicted to any television series?

Way too many to be healthy. Survivor, Castle, Hawaii Five-O, Scandal, Big Break, Sing Off ..etc.

What would you have your readers know about you that you haven’t shared?

I vacillate between being the poorly behaved child who makes faces in the hall windows of the classroom and being the principal who has speak with children who make bad decisions and get sent to me.

Now it’s time for me to nominate 11 bloggers who deserve the Sunshine award.  I read and appreciate so many. 

  1. MathyCathy’s Blog – Mrs. Cathy Yenca http://www.mathycathy.com/blog/
  2. Mrs. White’s 5th Grade Class http://mesmrswhitesclass.blogspot.com/
  3. MorahKelly’s Blog http://tinyurl.com/n5j7dju
  4. Todd Nesloney’s Blog http://www.toddnesloney.com/
  5. What’s going on in Mr. Solarz’ Class? http://psolarz.weebly.com/
  6. The Principal of Change | Stories of learning and leading http://georgecouros.ca/blog/
  7. The Learners’ Perspective http://thelearnersperspective.blogspot.com/
  8. Rabbi’s Pen http://www.rabbispen.com/
  9. A Tech Teacher on a Mission http://www.techteacheronamission.com/index.html
  10. Beth Holland | Leading Change in Changing Times http://edtechteacher.org/blog/
  11. Inside the classroom, outside the box! http://insidetheclassroomoutsidethebox.wordpress.com/

Finally, according to the Sunshine award rules, it’s my turn to ask 11 questions of my nominees:

  1. What is your favorite movie of all time?
  2. If you could go to have attended any concert anytime in history, what would it have been?
  3. What do you do for fun?  Hobby?
  4. What two guests would make the best comedic pair as co-hosts for the Oscars?
  5. Cat, Dog or Goldfish? Why…
  6. How do you caffeinate?
  7. Favorite twitter chat?
  8. Best place you ever vacationed?
  9. Best book you’ve read in 2013?
  10. Favorite television shows?
  11. What is one thing you never/rarely share that you are exceptionally proud of?

A Message of Thanks

As we prepare to welcome grandparents and special friends into our school and in to our home, I wanted to take a moment to give thanks to all who have contributed to this fabulous start to the school year. 

It is such a joy to come to work each day and to get to work with such a committed group of professional and caring teachers and staff members.  I give thanks to the countless hours of grading, planning, and sharing that they commit.

It is such a joy to be greeted each morning by a throng of smiling student faces eager to experience the day ahead and excited about the learning opportunities that await.  I give thanks for their enthusiasm, love of learning, joy for Jewish practice, and unwavering ability to make me smile.

It such a joy to be able to partner with a parent body that is actively involved in their children’s education and willing to volunteer in the classroom, throughout the school, and in the community.  I give thanks for the trust you put in us and the support you give to us as we work to educate your children.

Lastly, it such a joy to be a member of a community that exemplifies the values of wisdom, courage, and honor that we teach in our classrooms.  I give thanks to all the great role models and Menschs who have reached out to one another to support other members of the community through both the joyous and challenging times of the past few months.

I wish you all a wonderful thanksgiving filled with good food, memories, and company,

Drew

Edublogs Award Nominations

My nominations for the 10th Annual Edublog Awards!

Thank you to all the amazing educators and thought provokers listed below for continuing to inspire me to be better each tomorrow.

  1. Best Elementary administrator blog – Chris Wejr The Wejr Board http://chriswejr.com/
  2. Best Middle School administrator blog – Seth Berg Berg’s Eye View http://bergseyeview.edublogs.org/
  3. Best ed tech/resource sharing blog – The Ed Tech Round Up http://www.edtechroundup.org/
  4. Best educational use of a social network – Zoe Bettess Instagram #ourcommunityed
  5. Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast – Shimi Cohen The Innovation of Loneliness http://vimeo.com/70534716
  6. Best free web tool – Twitter
  7. Best group blog – Two Guys and Some iPads  http://www.twoguysandsomeipads.com/
  8. Best Individual blog – George Couros The Principal of Change https://twitter.com/gcouros
  9. Best individual tweeter – Dr. Justin Tarte (@justintarte)
  10. Best Library/Librarian blog – Shannon Miller Van Meter Library Voice http://vanmeterlibraryvoice.blogspot.com/
  11. Best mobile app – TodaysMeet
  12. Best open PD / unconference / webinar series – #Edcamponline
  13. Best teacher blog – Kelly Cohen Morah Kelly’s Blog  http://kidblog.org/3-5JudaicStudies/4361969f-b097-41e6-a0a3-f0189daeb4f3/november-4-november-8/
  14. Best twitter hashtag – #21stedchat
  15. Best New Twitter Chat- #vided
  16. Lifetime Achievement – Tom Whitby My Island View http://tomwhitby.wordpress.com/
  17. Most influential blog post of the year – Matt Gomez “We Should Be Doing More Than Teaching Digital Citizenship” http://mattbgomez.com/we-should-be-doing-more-than-teaching-digital-citizenship/

Learn more about how you can nominate your favorite edutech people, places and things for an Edublog Award here!

 

Life, Learning, and Laughter Enthusiast

Skip to toolbar