Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March Madness: Tone of Voice

As I think I've mentioned in previous blog posts, I'm the mother of 2 middle school daughters. (Mix that sentence with the title of this post and I'm sure you can guess where I'm going with this!)

As you can imagine, sometimes emotions run high when it comes to which movies are appropriate, the right time for curfew, and what it means to "clean your room". Many times we end our family discussions, lively as they might be, by saying "it's not what you said, it's how you said it."

Around this time of year, that comment applies to our professional community. We get stressed out because of testing. The behavior of our students is often more difficult to manage when the weather gets nice. The year is quickly coming to a close and we still have so much to do! All of these things can be cause for short-tempers and sarcasm.

I have this quotation hanging on the bulletin board above my desk.

"Ninety percent of the friction of daily life is caused by the wrong tone of voice." Anonymous

It helps me to remember this. Just thought I'd share.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March Madness: Hungry Minds

Brantner student feeds body and mind during Family Literacy Night.

     Hungry for a good book? Pizza, books and theatre were on the menu for Brantner Elementary students during Family Literacy Night.

     Students and  families were treated to a book of their choice, a magazine, pizza and a performance of Hansel and Gretel by The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati. 

     Title 1 teachers Courtney Wallace and Martha Jackson organized the event with the help of Brantner staff. The goal of the program is to develop family literacies and encourage home-school connections.
     Check out this 5-star event!


Monday, March 29, 2010

Free Webinar with Sir Ken Robinson

For those of you who enjoyed the video clip by creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson on our February 26 professional learning day, or Tanny's blog post about it, great news:

Tune in for a FREE webinar with him Tuesday, March 30, at 8:00 pm EST.

The webinar room on Elluminate will open at 7:30 pm EST. Register at

For more information, visit Steve Hargadon's site.

See you, and Sir Ken Robinson, online Tuesday night!


March Madness: Why Skype?

Skype is an internet telephone service that allows people around the country and around the world to enjoy free video calls. For students, that means free access to resources and to fellow students worldwide. For teachers and administrators districtwide, that means video conferencing in real time without having to leave their schools.

"I was somewhat familar with Skype because we use it for my own children to call and see their grandparents in Florida," said Holly Hill teacher Heather Copley. "But I never thought about using it in the classroom until the Ohio eTech Skype session. Now I'm brainstorming how to use it!"

Copley shared about her recent Ohio eTech conference workshop on Skyping:

"The focus of this session was using webcams to connect to classrooms. By having a webcam and downloading the free Skype software, you can call anyone else on Skype, for free, throughout the world! Many ideas were presented on how to use Skype. Classrooms can connect to each other to do book talks, read to each other, or form online e-pals. The presenter had some of her students connect to a preschool room and read books to the younger children. Two classrooms connected students from Japan (one who was also fluent in English) to help with the language barrier for the student who only knew Japanese. The school also used it to connect the middle school band to the upper elementary school students to do an online field trip."

Kindergarten teachers Lori Van Eman and Joe Stahl use Skype to connect their classes to share and learn with one another. During the Winter Olympics they Skyped with classes in Kansas, California, and Canada.

Interested in connecting with other Skyping classes? Learn about Around the World with 80 Schools to open the walls of your classroom...for free!

Amelia's Kinder-Skypers were featured in the Cincinnati Enquirer in February:

By Cindy Kranz • February 26, 2010

AMELIA - When Lori Van Eman’s kindergartners first learned that Olympic snowboarder and gold medalist Shaun White is nicknamed “The Flying Tomato,” they giggled and laughed.

The Amelia Elementary kindergartners are still giggling about the reference to White’s red hair.

It’s the favorite fun fact they’ve learned about the 2010 Olympic Winter Games – and they learned it while Skyping with other kindergartners in White’s home state of California.

Since the Vancouver Olympics began nearly three weeks ago, the Amelia kindergartners have been Skyping – seeing and hearing each other over the Internet – with The Village School in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and Haultain Community School in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

They also Skype daily with Joe Stahl’s kindergarten class at Withamsville-Tobasco Elementary and have Skyped several times with Mary Lou Van Eman’s third-grade class at Mercer Elementary in Anderson Township. She’s Van Eman’s mother.

“We want to see the learning at home connect to the learning at school,” Van Eman said. “It’s letting them know they can go home and Skype anybody you want. It’s forming that friendship and that eagerness to learn what others are doing, what others are seeing.”

The kindergartners have been Skyping once a week with the California and Canadian schools since the Olympics began two weeks ago. Sessions last around 8 minutes, which is about their maximum attention span, Van Eman said. During that time, they exchange information about athletes and events, plus track medals won by the United States.

On Thursday, Van Eman’s students Skyped with their California friends. The first time Van Eman’s students Skyped with the California school, they couldn’t understand why they were wearing shorts.

“The kids could not get over that the climate was different there,” she said.

To give their new friends a taste of snow, Van Eman’s class made a video outside and threw snowballs at the camera.

The students also keep Olympic journals and graphs of the number of gold, silver and bronze medals won by the United States, which allows Van Eman to test their language and math skills.

Van Eman writes a classroom blog, which is now populated with photos and information about the students’ Olympics lessons.

After the Olympics, she and her students have an appointment to Skype with Kelli Stack of Brooklyn Heights, Ohio, a member of the silver medal-winning women’s ice hockey team.

Although the Olympics end Sunday, Van Eman’s class will continue Skyping with their new California friends. Plans are to become reading buddies with the children.

A year ago, Van Eman didn’t have any of the resources that she does now.

“I can honestly say that it has changed my students’ learning 100 percent,” Van Eman said. “There is little need for redirection when we are working with the SMART board technology or Skyping because the students know that if anything is going to happen it is going to be happening on our board.”

“Their eyes are always glued to see what is coming next.”
This is post 21 out of 23 in our March Madness series.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ohio's Science Standards for Review

The second draft of the revised PreK-12 Science Education Standards for Ohio has been posted for public review. The documents include the PreK-8 grade-by-grade descriptions and the high school syllabi. The high school syllabi were developed based on the requirements of the Ohio core but do not represent all the possible courses for the advanced science requirements. All of the materials, which illustrate what science content is recommended for each grade, may be viewed by clicking here.

The second draft materials will be available for public comment from now until April 19, 2010. You may use the feedback questionnaire, located at the same site, to provide input from your review of this latest version of the science standards. Feedback from this round of public review and comment will be part of the ongoing revision process. The final version of the PreK-12 Science Education Standards for Ohio will be submitted to the State Board of Education in May for adoption during the June 2010 State Board meeting.

Public response on the first draft of the revised science standards was received from 103 focus/discussion groups (1184 individual participants) and 456 individual survey responses, for a total of 1640 individuals. As a result of the public feedback and the National Expert reviews, ODE staff reviewed and incorporated suggested changes when appropriate. The Science Standards Working Group, made up of teachers and science content and science education faculty from institutions of higher education also reviewed the feedback and contributed to the current draft.

Examples of changes include a reworking of content statements on energy at the elementary-level in the physical science standards to address energy in a less abstract, more observable manner; illustrating more explicitly the relationship of scientific inquiry to the revised science standards, and providing more clarity in the high school syllabi for physical science and biology. Additional research was conducted at both the national and international level to ensure that the latest revisions reflect the accepted learning progressions for the main themes within the science disciplines.

Technological design and 21st-century skills are critical to the teaching and learning of science and help to ensure that students are ready for careers or college. These important components will be blended with scientific inquiry and applications in the Model Curriculum. This next phase of the science standards addresses “how” science should be taught. The Model Curriculum will also emphasize real-world applications and making science relevant to students. The combination of the “what” of the revised science standards and the “how” of the Model Curriculum will contribute to increased depth of student learning and provide the components essential for encouraging scientific literacy for all students.

The third phase of the science standards revision will include the development of the “Eye of Integration.” (The “Eye” is illustrated in the PDF introduction to the second draft of the science standards.) This tool will be designed to encourage teachers to think about how content can be integrated between different disciplines and provide examples of possible cross-curricular integration. This cross-curricular integration has the potential of increasing the depth of the content, adding relevancy and helping to develop real-world and global connections. The integration includes engineering, technology and universal skills that ensure students are learning what they need to succeed after high school.

No revised standards will be implemented until new assessments are in place (probably around 2013). Given the proposed timing on the national standards, there will be time to make any needed adjustments before teachers are confronted with revised science standards. The emphasis for teachers between now and about 2013 will be to teach the current standards, using scientific inquiry in conjunction with the 5Es, emphasizing content depth. Click here to see the Ohio Science Matrix, a good reference.

Source: ODE Science Initiatives Administrator, Constance K. Barsky PhD, with permission to share.

March Madness: The "T" Word

In Ohio, it's just about that time. TEST time. Like I need to remind you! Here are a few things on my mind this time of year.

Two of my instructional heroines, Stephanie Harvey &  Anne Goudvis, suggest teaching "test taking" just as you would any other genre. The ideal time for teaching it is 3 to 4 weeks prior to a high-stakes test. Teach pacing, format, key words, types of questions and general guidelines for navigating through a test. And don't forget stress management!

Remember: Your students need you to appear calm (even if you're nervous on the inside)...and to show confidence in their abilities. Believe in the strong instruction you've provided all year long.

David Pearson said it best. "Never send a test out to do a curriculum's job." (Pearson, 2005). The very best test preparation is, and always has been, building strong readers, writers & thinkers. Not just for the test, but for life.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

March Madness: Teach Every Child About Food

I'm all for handheld devices for our young learners. But there's one handheld I'm eager to see less of: fast food. Nachos, french fries, burgers, burritos, Little Debbies, and the like. Some of you know that I call myself an "aspiring locavore" and that I've committed myself to more "slow food." That means I'm working to eliminate, as much as I can, fast food from my diet. And especially I'm trying to stay away from processed foods and to cook from scratch, staying as close to the source as possible. I'd say I'm about 70% there.

And so, I'm looking forward to Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution starting on ABC this week. It's about teaching our children about real food and life skills.

Won't you join me in taking small steps to assuring that our children learn about real food, not just "handheld" food, about good taste, easy recipes, and healthy eating.

Bon appétit!

PS One quick and easy guide is Michael Pollan's Food Rules.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March Madness: The Halls & Walls Talk

A thoughtfully designed, inviting classroom environment speaks to the students who spend time there each day. It tells them that their teacher cares enough to create a space where learning can thrive! Case in point: the classroom of Clough Pike Elementary 2nd grade teacher, Robin Blamer. The halls and walls in and around Robin's room are filled with authentic, student-driven writing, charts and drawings. There's never a doubt about what Robin's students have been learning. Just look around. It's all right there!


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Welcome to Reading Street

Thank you to the West Clermont Board of Education for adopting Reading Street for our young readers, grades one through five at the March 22 Board meeting. The Teaching & Learning Department shared teachers' and students' voices about the program via a VoiceThread. Hear what they had to say:

Credits: Cheryl Turner, producer
Lisa Canter
Natalie Crawford
Cathy Cumbow
Jody Davis
Krista Devine
Devon Glassburn
Jeanne Halladay
Jackie Hospelhorn
Mimi Ladenburger
Gail Matheny
Layna Stiles
Mary Taylor
Stephanie Walker
Monte Wilson
West Clermont third graders

March Madness: In Search of Spring Reading

Spring break is coming and for some people that means time—at last—for pleasure reading. I took my bibliophile curiosity to work today to see what our colleagues are reading and recommending. Hope you get some ideas here for your spring break beach reads (readers' names in parentheses):

The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl (Nancy Maher)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Tim McGonagil)
Prey by Michael Crichton (Gary Bertsch)
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier (Tanny McGregor)
Under the Dome by Stephen King (Gary Brooks)
Copper Sun by Sharon Draper (Jill Hartard)
Apollyon: The Destroyer is Unleashed by Tim LaHaye and JerryJenkins (Sarah Bose)
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (Kendra Herdtner)
World Without End by Ken Follett (Katie Hauer and Courtney Gelter)
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriell Barbery (Kathy Stemmer)
South of Broad by Pat Conroy (Pat Crahan)
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien (Jake Riordan)
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs (Cyndee Westermann)
The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult (Becky McCammon)
I Alex Cross by James Patterson (Tracey Collins)

Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times by Ralph Stanley and Eddie Dean (Rudi Smith)
Linchpin by Seth Godin (Laura Nazzarine and Cheryl Turner)
Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath (Jeff Riel)
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (Jim Beshalske)
The Explosive Child by (Kathy Ballitch)
New Found Land by Allan Wolf (Steve Brungs)
Death in Yellowstone by Lee Whittlesey (Jim Mason)
What the Dog Saw by Malcome Gladwell (James Shelton)

What are you currently reading? Comment, below, with your spring break recommendations.


PS For me it's a nonfiction work The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Photo credit: "Reading on Tangalle Beach" by via Flickr Creative Commons

Monday, March 22, 2010

March Madness: A Vision of 21st Century Teachers

Video by Mahoning County (OH) Educational Service Center:
Creative Commons License

    We know what 21st century students look like. But what about 21st century teachers? Some of our younger colleagues don't have to reinvent themselves... they grew up with 21st century technologies and literacies. And then there are the rest of us, teachers who still remember the smell of fresh mimeograph ink and the sound of an Underwood typewriter.

   What does it mean to reinvent ourselves? According to Alvin Toffler, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

   We can all be 21st century teachers if we are willing to learn, unlearn and relearn. Wipe the mimeograph ink off your fingers and check out A Vision of 21st Century Teachers... maybe you will see yourself!


Friday, March 19, 2010

March Madness: Thanks, Warren!

From Warren Bennis, an encouraging quotation:

"One of the marvelous things about life is that any gaps in your education can be filled, whatever your age or situation, by reading and thinking about what you read."

This is good news. I didn't pay much attention in Problems of Democracy in 11th grade.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

March Madness: Life-long Learner

   Learning is a lifelong process. Ask Joy Mansfield, art teacher at Brantner Elementary. After 29 years of teaching, Joy decided to get a Masters' Degree in Educational Technology.

  While she used to be afraid of technology... of pushing the wrong button... Joy has now embraced it! Her new learning has energized her, resulting in a huge boost of enthusiasm for teaching. Some of the technology applications Joy has been integrating in her instruction includes Web Quest, Photo Story, and Movie Maker. Joy states, "I started with what I had and what was free."

   To see more of Joy's passion for learning check out the The Brantner Studio website. There is no teacher "burn-out" here... Joy Mansfield is on fire!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Patty's Day 2010

When you meet on St. Patrick's Day, you can count on lots of green.
Happy St. Patty's Day from the Reading Street Green Team.

March Madness: It's Delicious

Is your browser bookmark list too lengthy or messy to manage?

Organize your favorites using a social bookmarking site. I recommend Delicious. It's free. It's easy. And it's a really handy way to tag, find, and share websites.

The best reason to use Delicious is that you can find your saved sites from any computer, at home, work, a friend's house, on your mobile. Your favorites are available anywhere your have connectivity.

Haven't used it before? Take a look at my bookmarks here.

You can get started in 3 easy steps:
Go to
Open an account
Start saving sites
You can click here to get started with Delicious

Check out these tips and tutorials:
Social bookmarking in plain English on Common Craft by the LeFevers
Social bookmarking with Delicious by Dave Fleet
Ultimate guide to Delicious by Robin Broitman

It's a great way to capture your thinking while you're surfing or researching, tagging your finds for future reference.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March Madness: Passion is Power

These days in education it's easy to feel discouraged. Disillusioned. Powerless even. Overwhelmed with paperwork, mandates and curricular changes, we sometimes forget that WE ARE the face of literacy to so many students, day in and day out. For some, we're their only hope.

High school teacher, literacy coach and author Penny Kittle carries a message for us. Everywhere she goes, she relays this simple, encouraging reminder:

"Literacy is a magnetic attraction. And the force of the attraction is the passion of the teacher."
(August 18, 2009, keynote address, Toronto, Canada)

Penny reminds us that we have the power to charm a child into a lifelong relationship with language. We ARE reading, writing and thinking to our students. And our influence goes on and on and on.

So, show your love of reading and writing, in big doses, every day! Read with expression. Talk about your favorite genres and authors. Read aloud a recent email, note or text message you've written. Share photos of your bookshelves at home. Bring in your favorite childhood book. Fill sticky notes with literacy quotations and place them on student desks. Tell stories about how you learned to read. Make sure your students know how reading & writing have changed your life.

Don't hold back. Literacy passion is literacy power.


Monday, March 15, 2010

March Madness: I Didn't Know They Came with Instructions!

   If you've been in a classroom lately you know what I mean. Today's students are wired differently. They process information differently. They communicate differently. They are a generation on fast forward.
  Have you ever wished these students came with an instruction manual? Maybe it isn't exactly an instruction manual, but this Digital Native Map from Frontline comes pretty close. The interactive website show how life in a hyperconnected world impacts students' bodies and minds.

   It also explains a lot about what we see (and don't see) happening in the classroom. For example, did you know students read text on websites in a completely different pattern than text in books? Did you know students from ages 13-17 average over 1,700 text messages a month?

 If you would like to read the "user's manual" for your students, check out the Digital Native Map.


This is post 11/23 of our March Madness series

Friday, March 12, 2010

Mrch Mdnss: Hyphaeresis

"Kids these days! Text messaging all the time and using crazy invented spelllings. What is the world coming to?"

Have you had similar thoughts or overheard comments such as these? Well, guess what? There truly is nothing new under the sun! Kids have been using hyphaeresis for a long, long time.

hyphaeresis (noun):  the omission of sounds, syllables or letters from words.

In the 1830's, American teenagers and college students deliberately misspelled and abbreviated words, changing the English language to "make it their own". Some examples were published in the March 23, 1839 (that's right...1839) edition of the Boston Morning Post:

NS: 'nuf said
OW: oll wright
OK: oll korrect (for more information, click here!)

Remember: language is never static. We use new forms of words, written and oral, to express ourselves, to feel part of a group, to start trends. It was that way in March 1839 and now, in March 2010, we're still at it! OMG!

Thx 4 readn,

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spotlight: M. Fogelson

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Amelia Middle School teacher Mark Fogelson has taken advantage of students' digital learning style by integrating an audience response system in his eighth grade history classes.

Realizing the different learning needs of digital students - students who spend over five hours outside the school day accessing technology- Mark began using the audience response system this year. The system allows students to respond to questions projected on a screen with "clickers" or small, handheld devices. Student responses to quizzes, polls, questions, etc. are projected instantly, providing immediate feedback and allowing Mark to assess students' comprehension.

Colleague Brian Wallace convinced Mark and fellow teacher Erin Cupito to give the audience response system a try. Now students actually look forward to taking quizzes. "It's a video game culture," stated Mark. "If there is one thing every kid knows how to manipulate, it's a remote control."

Now that's a Learning Channel!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March Madness: Free Tech 4 Teachers

Short and sweet. If you bookmark only one teacher website, let it be this one: Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teachers.

Here's why:
1. It's free.
2. It shares free stuff.
3. It's written by a teacher for teachers.
4. It always shares the free stuff, plus it explains applications for your classroom (what + so what).

Take a look at today's free tech, here.
Take a look at Richard's Twelve Essentials for Technology Integration.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March Madness: Thinking in Pictures

Pictures for Summarizing and Note Taking Voice Thread were captured using Google Images.

   You've heard it before, but it's true...a picture is worth a thousand words. Especially for today's students who prefer processing pictures, sounds, color and video before text.

   If you are looking for that "just right" picture to complement your lesson, try Google Images. Thousands of images are available at the click of a mouse... pictures that can help students visualize abstract and complex concepts.  

   Dirk Bogarde stated, "The camera can photograph thought." So here's to thinking in pictures. But don't take my word for it... check it out here!


Monday, March 8, 2010

March Madness: 21C Taxonomy

One of the very best Bloom's tools I've seen came across Twitter last week. These two flash tutorials offer a quick overview for and application of the revised Bloom's Taxonomywith a representation of 21st century skills and a recognition of Creating as the ultimate outcome for learners of all ages. 

Source: Bloom's Taxonomy Tutorial Flash via the CCCS Faculty Wiki.

BTW, for a downloadable classroom poster of the new Bloom's, see this earlier TLC post.


PS Thanks to Jeff Riel, GEHS, for helping me with the embed codes for this post.

Friday, March 5, 2010

March Madness: Gotta Keep Reading

On December 11, 2009, students at Ocoee Middle School near Orlando, Florida recorded a video to inspire kids to read. With over 74,000 views on YouTube, their message of literacy has spread around the world! These kids were granted permission from The Black Eyed Peas to use the melody of the hit song, "I Gotta Feeling". They rewrote the lyrics, choreographed a routine, and stepped out into the warm Florida sunshine to have some fun.

Ocoee Middle School's Gotta Keep Reading on TeacherTube.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

March Madness: Consider Twitter

If you think Twitter is only about celebrities, chitchat, gossip, and idle talk, read on.

If you'd like a way to connect with educators from around the world who share your interests, questions, subject area, problems, and perspectives, consider Twitter.

In the year that I've been tweeting I've built a professional learning network (PLN) that's taught me about technology, teaching, leadership, and learning and helped me make connections never before possible.

When Joe and Lori were looking for kindergarten classes to Skype with, for instance, I put out this tweet:
By the end of the day we'd connected with schools in California and Kansas and the Kinder-Skyping project was underway.

On Twitter I learned about free or very low-cost web tools like Voice Thread, Animoto, Delicious, and Google Forms. On Twitter I met Ken Royal (@KenRoyal) from Scholastic who met with our Ohio eTech team and Peter Pappas (@edteck) of Copy/Paste who agreed to work with West Clermont teachers next fall. Yoon Soo Lim (@DoremiGirl) helped me with Flip Camera and You Tube filter questions. On Twitter, I discovered online conversations with thinkers like Daniel Pink, Seth Godin, Kylene Beers, and Alfie Kohn.

Twitter was my window to Web 2.0 learning.

It's not everybody's cup of tea. But I invite you to spend a little time there just to "lurk and learn" for a while.

Get started with tips from these terrific teachers:

Why Teachers Should Try Twitter by teacher William Ferriter (@plugusin on Twitter) in the February 2010 issue of Educational Leadership

What Did They Tweet? by teacher Shelly Terrell (@ShellTerrell) on her award-winning edublog

Seven Ways to Find Teachers on Twitter by teacher Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne) on his site Free Tech 4 Teachers

Twitter? Professional? ...C'mon!!! by teacher William Steltz (@jpsteltz) on his blog

And if you decide to open an account, click here for a list of teachers, administrators, or  PLN builders to follow.


PS Follow me on Twitter. You'll find me @steelepierce.

This is post 4/23 in our March Madness quest

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March Madness: Spotlight on A. Vaughn

Anita integrates technology with her daily message.

   What causes a "veteran" teacher to embrace the use of technology in the classroom? Of course, today's digital students thrive on instruction supported by technology, but how does a teacher make this shift? This was my question as I visited Anita Vaughn's classroom first grade classroom at Holly Hill Elementary.

   According to Anita, a 25 year veteran, it started with curiosity. She heard about SMART Boards while completing her master's program, but didn't know much about them. Then opportunity knocked. When Nancy Parks, Holly Hill principal, asked Anita to become a member of the district's SMART Board pilot team it was game on!

   Anita began integrating the SMART Board in her math class. She discovered many interactive activites and images that were helpful in viualizing math concepts. She began using dice for addition practice, base ten blocks, clocks, calculators, graphing, measurement, sorting, etc. Even students walking down the hall would wander in to check out the interactive math lesson!

   Once Anita saw how the use of technology increased student motivation and learning, she began to explore other ways to integrate technology and instruction. She now uses technology to project virtual dice with short vowel letter chunks for skills group, projects decodable books from websites, shows author interviews and has students interact with the SMART Board during daily message.

   "At first I was frustrated with some of the technical aspects of the SMART Board, but once I got it up and running, I used it regularly. Now everytime I explore I find something new I can use in the classroom. I find new uses everyday," stated Anita. 

SMART Board... SMART Teacher!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March Madness: Making Mistakes

Last Friday I got to hang out with the West Clermont art, music and  tech teachers during a professional learning session. Make no mistake: they are a fun group to spend time with!

We viewed a video clip of creativity enthusiast Sir Ken Robinson. Talk about an interesting guy. He is as informative as he is entertaining. And with this quotation, he reminds us that being wrong is very...well, right!

Sir Ken says, "If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never create anything."

His speech totally made me want to dig in, mess up, and create something amazing! Next time you see me, don't hesitate to ask, "What mistakes have you made lately, Tanny?"


PS In case you're curious, Correct, Indiana is a little town situated between Madison and Versailles. Only go there if you're ready to be "in Correct".

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Madness: Getting to Done

Okay, it's the first day of March, and I have a crazy idea and a challenge: Can we create a blog post for every school day during the month? That's 23 posts. And that's madness.

But, I think we can do it. We have lots of ideas from Friday's Professional Learning Day, from our February trip to Ohio eTech, and from our recent reading.

We're currently reading Seth Godin's Linchpin. Great read!

Godin writes about "shipping," that is, moving from thinking, talking, planning, resisting, etc etc to DONE. Now I know that it's true in education that we are always "in process," and that we don't always see results right away. BUT, it is true that there is always an end-of-the-day or end-of-the-project, that is, there are lots of things that we CAN get done.

Godin shares Bre Pettis's Cult of Done Manifesto. Here it is is list form (you can see it in graphic form, here):
 1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
 2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
 3. There is no editing stage.
 4. Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.
 5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
 6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
 7. Once you're done you can throw it away.
 8. Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.
 9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
11. Destruction is a variant of done.
12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
13. Done is the engine of more.

So in the spirit of getting it done, let the March Madness begin.