Stop Motion for Transformations

The CDFMS makerspace has been busy! We recently completed a project with 6th grade science using stop motion to show their knowledge of potential and kinetic energy (future blog post).  One of the math teachers came in, saw what they were doing, and said "I think we could do something like that for transformations.  Could you create something for us?"  Could I? Of course I can!

Since we have iPads in our makerspace, my first completed project was an app-smash between Educreations and iMotion.  Educreations had the coordinate plane background that I needed for my screenshots and iMotion is a free, easy-to-use tool that makes GIFs! (I didn't know that before.. but now I am using it constantly!)

Here is one of my finished projects:

Then I looked at the calendars and realized that some of science teachers have the makerspace booked the days math was hoping utilize the space.  I wondered, "Could I create something similar that they could do on their own?"  Recently,…

#IMMOOC Post #2 - Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset

Task: Take one of the “Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset” and write an example of how you exemplify it in your own work.

Part of my job as an Instructional Technology Specialist is to instruct teachers on technology tools/activities that they can use in their own classroom.  When I am planning a training session, the first thing I think is - "Would I get bored/distracted in my session?".  As I have gotten older, I think I have acquired a little ADD, so sometimes it is difficult for something to keep my attention for very long, especially if it is someone up front talking, all the while referencing a Google Slides/PowerPoint presentation. I need something different, and I bet most of my teachers do as well.  I am empathetic to my learners - I know that they need different things (especially those like me who get distracted and want to check email/Facebook/Twitter.)
In my sessions this year, I am using that thought while planning.  I don't want to be a sage on the…

#IMMOOC Post #1 - Why is innovation in education so crucial today?

It is round 3 for #IMMOOC, round 1 for me!

I started reading this book a few weeks back, and posted this as a #booksnap 

This really resonated with me - teachers need time to learn and grow and they need to feel like it is all hands on deck (as it should be).  Sometimes it feels like the time isn't there or not everyone is on board - and that can stifle the positive changes that could be happening.  
We were posed this question: Why is innovation in education so crucial today?

So I thought... and I thought... and I thought.  I have a thousand buzz words going around in my head, and yet nothing sticks to the answer of that question.  So I started thinking about changes and new experiences in my own life. 

I went to my first NCAA Women's Volleyball game this week - my family went out to cheer on the Texas Longhorns.  I've been to many, many football games and quite a few basketball games - but never volleyball. We went because my youngest daughter started playing volleyball …

Super Stuff for Students to try in Slides!

Google Slides is an useful tool in the classroom for both teachers and students. When I started using Slides, I saw it mainly as a way for teachers to present information to students. But as GSuite usage grows in my own district and throughout the country, I've have come across some Super Stuff for student use of Slides.

As a classroom teacher, I wasn't the best at teaching vocabulary. I didn't focus on it as much as I should have. I wish I had seen this Frayer Model Exampleback when I was teaching and read Meagan Kelley's blog post. I think something like this would have made vocabulary a little easier for me and more engaging for my students.

When working with vocabulary, matching the word to a definition or picture can be good practice, but all that cutting and gluing of paper drove me nuts.  So when a fellow teacher asked if I could create something similar, I said sure! This Matching Game is my creation.

Although I never taught language arts or reading, I alway…

Self-Service PD

Regular professional development does not always reach everyone. Sometimes it covers material the learner already knows; other times it goes to fast and is too advanced; and may not even be applicable in the learner's classroom.

When this happens to you, how can you learn and grow as an educator on your own?

Reading:  There are several books that can help teachers learn new engagement or management strategies.  Here is my Amazon book list.  Some of the books, like Shift This, have weekly chats on Twitter (sign up for the #ShiftThis Remind to get notifications about the chat)Podcasts:  There are lots of educational podcasts that are available, based on what you want to learn.  I suggest checking out Google Teacher Tribe, Sustainable Teaching, The 10 Minute Teacher, and Kids Deserve It. Conference Handouts:  After conferences, a lot of presenters will share their work, either on their personal website or on the conference website.  Search for TCEA, ISTE, and SXSWEdu as a starter fo…

Google Keep - it is a Keeper!

In my current position, I take notes all day long on my phone. With most of them, I need to be able to access them on one of my work devices.  Luckily for me, I live in a GSuite district and I can use Google Keep, which is a note-taking service. Basically, it is digital sticky notes accessible on any device. It has become my lifesaver.

In episode 11 of of #GoogleTeacherTribe podcast, Kasey and Matt talked Kasey's blog post about personalizing your Google Keep.  They talked about using Canva to make pretty pictures to organize Google Keep.  I loved that idea - and used it the same day! I even have a Google Keep Note where I jot down things I want to try from the podcasts I listen to and another one for when I get inspired by more seasoned ITS in my district. 

And all of this has even bled over into my personal life.  I use Google Keep to stay on top of my grocery list. I love the check boxes - I can check off each item as I pick it up! And I can see what I have purchased prior (if…

Digital Notebooking

As I have been learning more and more about technology usage in the classroom, I have become really interested in Digital Notebooking.  I didn't attend TCEA, but many of my colleagues did, and they shared with me Jessica Worley's presentation about Digital Notebooking. This has definitely inspired me a in a lot of ways.

So in order to learn more and share with teachers, I took the first unit I taught last year in 7th Accelerated Math (all 8th grade Math TEKS) and made a digital notebook. I used Google Slides, since we are a GSuite for Education district. Below are some of the steps I took to create the notebook.

I created a basic title page and table of contents (TOC) page. I broke the unit into sections (which we usually do, it is a hodge podge unit) and created slides for those sections, and then hyperlinked to those slides on the TOC page.Since I have my TEKS, I know what students need to be able to do. I started planning how I wanted them to learn/practice.  I created a comp…