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27 Days of Professional Development: Day 3 Short History of Finnish Education

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, professional development, Reform Symposium Conference | Posted on 10-08-2011

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I’m continuing to spread the Reform Symposium inspiration and professional development through a blog post series here!  Today I’m sharing a fabulous opening Keynote from the Reform Symposium about the history of Finnish Education by Timo Ilomäki and Aki Puustinen.  I continue to be amazed at the educational approach and model in Finland.  If you aren’t familiar with Finnish education I urge you to view the recorded keynote and follow-up with some Googling of “Education + Finland”.

The keynote was really fantastic.  I loved catching a glimpse of what education looks like in other parts of the world and this was no exception.  We have so much to learn from and with each other.  My favorite portion of the keynote was when one of Timo Ilomäki and Aki Puustinen’s students answered questions from educators around the world.  Even if you can only catch part of the keynote, definitely make sure to catch that portion at the end!

To view the keynote click here: Short History of Finnish Education

This will download the recorded Elluminate session to your computer using Java so that you get the full effect of video and chat box during the keynote.

Math Pickle: Put your students in a pickle encouraging genuine problem solving!

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Create, Evaluate, inspiration, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 09-08-2011

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What it is:  Math Pickle is a FABULOUS site for mathematics inspiration that I learned about from @davidwees Reform Symposium session.  Math Pickle features mathematics videos for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.  The videos feature real students engaging in inspiring math problems and puzzles.  The videos often speak to unsolved math problems throughout history that students work to solve.  In the unsolved problem, students must use developmental level appropriate math to work out the problem.  Math Pickle is the brain child of Dr. Gordon Hamilton who wants to abolish elementary mathematics as a subject and push the idea that problem solving is at the very heart of mathematics. The videos featured on Math Pickle do just that, put your students in a math “pickle”.  If you think about the purpose of mathematics, this makes perfect sense.  What we really want is students who are great problem solvers and can use mathematics to help solve those problems.

How to integrate Math Pickle into the classroom: Math Pickle is the most excellent mathematics inspiration I have come across.  It approaches mathematics from the standpoint of a problem solver instead of from the standpoint of a rules follower.  Already that shift in thinking makes my brain happy.  Brilliant.  Math Pickle has problems and videos for every grade kindergarten through twelfth.

Use these videos to pump some inspiration into the way you approach and teach math or show them to your students and encourage them to continue solving the problems.  Don’t forget to film your students working through their own math pickles!

The Inspired page of Math Pickle is a must see.  Students can take a look at what mathematicians do in real life.  They can also learn about the source of Math Pickle problems.

Tips: Be sure to check out Muse, news and reviews for additional ideas, puzzles and reviews of math products, puzzles and games for the classroom.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Math Pickle in  your classroom!

27 days of professional development: Day 2 Multimedia and Interactivity in Mathematics

Posted by admin | Posted in inspiration, Math, professional development, Reform Symposium Conference | Posted on 09-08-2011

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To keep the Reform Symposium learning and inspiration going I decided to do a 27 days of professional development series.  Day 1 was my Keynote about how a blog post and a Twitter conversation started a school.  Today is Multimedia and Interactivity in Mathematics by David Wees.

In this session, David examined the role of multimedia and interactivity in mathematics education.  I love the way that David looked at how photography can make such an impact (particularly for visual learners) in the math classroom.   Capturing math in the world around us can help students view math differently.  Toward the end of the session I asked David if he had created a Flickr group for math photos…working on twisting his arm to start that one for all of us.  :)

This was a fantastic session!!  During the session, David mentioned Math Pickle.  Math Pickle is such a great math website that I’m going to do a second review post just for it.

To view David’s session, click the link to the right: Multimedia and Interactivity in Mathematics*

*This link is to an Elluminate recording, it will ask to download the session to your computer and requires a Java plugin to run.  Well worth the effort to open it because you get to see everything (chat included) as it happened live!

 

Keynote: how a blog post and a Twitter conversation started a school #RSCON3

Posted by admin | Posted in professional development, Reform Symposium Conference | Posted on 05-08-2011

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Last week at this time I was getting ready for my Reform Symposium Keynote.  It was fun to share with everyone but what I really enjoyed about the weekend was learning from everyone else!  The Reform Symposium recordings are now live!  To keep that learning going I’m going to do a 27 days of professional development series.

For the next 27 days in addition to sharing a tech tool, I’m also going to share one of the Reform Symposium sessions.  Last weekend was such an incredible time of learning and sharing that I want to keep the momentum going.  It is also a GREAT excuse for me to attend all of the sessions I missed out on during the conference.

If you missed my keynote last week about how a blog post and a Twitter conversation started a school, you can view it here.  This is a link to the Elluminate session (a Java download).

Below are the slides I used in my Keynote.  For those who asked, I made the slides using Apple’s Keynote.  I just drew a timeline, inserted some pictures, text and voila- timeline!

 

 

Moneyville: Economics and money virtual world for elementary students

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Evaluate, Math, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 04-08-2011

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What it is:  Moneyville is a fantastic site I learned about from iLearn Technology reader Tania.  This is an impressive site from the UK that teaches young kids (5-9 years old) about money and economic principles.  Moneyville is a fun interactive environment/virtual world where students can explore where money comes from, what money is worth and how they can prioritize spending and save (perhaps the US government should be playing this game?).  Throughout the game, students are asked to make a number of decisions that can affect their finances for the year.  In Moneyville students can make money by picking apples and selling apple juice, work at the post office to sort packages according to value, work at the city gates where they can earn money by painting, purchase items for their virtual room with the money they have earned, visit with a wizard who can reveal a secret treasure and add items to a wish jar where students can place items they are saving for.  Students will also find a time machine in Moneyville where they can journey to ancient Rome, ancient Egypt, the Middle Ages, or to the time of the dinosaurs.  The money in Moneyville is generic so it can help students of any country the principles of where money comes from, how to prioritize money, the value of money, and why it is important to save.

How to integrate Moneyville into the classroom: Moneyville is a fun way to help young students understand the basics of money and economics.  The site is a fun way for students to explore economic principles.  It provides a great place to start discussions about what it takes to make money (work), why money is important, why saving is important and how the economic cycle works.  Moneyville would be a great site for students to play on individually in a lab setting at the beginning of a money/economics unit.  Expand the game into other disciplines.  Students can learn about persuasion and advertising by creating advertisements for their businesses in Moneyville using a paint or word processing program.

Don’t have time/resources at school for students to play Moneyville in the classroom? Introduce them to the game using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer. This is the type of site that my students begged to be able to continue on at home.  I never made it homework but rarely had a student who didn’t play at home!  If you do have an IWB or projector, create a class Moneyville account.  Let students take turns making decisions in Moneyville and talk as a class about the consequences (and unintended consequences) of those decisions.

Tips: Students create a username and password so that they can play in Moneyville with all of their progress and money saved.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Moneyville in  your classroom!

Project PLN is Back! Be a part of #projectPLN this year with a post

Posted by admin | Posted in Project PLN | Posted on 03-08-2011

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Project PLN is on it’s way back! @thenerdyteacher and I met on Skype today after our brief summer hiatus to plan the upcoming year of #ProjectPLN.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Project PLN, it is an online magazine that publishes articles from members of our personal learning network from all over the country and world!  Project PLN is totally free to you but the ideas, inspiration and people you will meet as a result…well that is just priceless.  Each month the editors (that is me and @thenerdyteacher) choose a topic for the next issue.  We ask our PLN (that is you) to share their thoughts in the form of an article (or blog post you may have written).  We publish every post we receive as an article and put it in one convenient location where we can then share with the world.  My favorite part of Project PLN: being introduced to new educators and ideas from around the world.

Last year we used Openzine to host our magazine. We had such and incredible response that sometimes we caused some Openzine fails.  This year we are moving the whole operation to WordPress.  You can find the new site for Project PLN at http://projectpln.com.  We are still playing with the layout and formatting so you can ignore the mess while we are tinkering.

And now to announce your part in all of this: we are accepting posts for the September 2011 issue!  Our theme for the September issue is getting started.  We would love to hear from you about how you get started for the school year.  This could be activities you do with your students, staff development, classroom decorations, or even how you pump yourself up for a new year.  There are so many creative ways to get ready for a new year and we want you to share yours with the rest of the PLN!

Here are the bits you will need to know to be included:

Please send the post to ProjectPLN10@gmail.com

Please provide a bio of yourself to be added at the end of the post, this should include where you are in the world, your Twitter ID if you have one, and a link to a blog, website, etc. if you have one.

Please include a picture with your post (it makes them so much more appealing!)

Please send us your submissions by Friday August 26th.

If you have questions you can always send us an email, contact us on Twitter (@ProjectPLN), or find us on Facebook.

 

I cannot WAIT to share what we have cooked up for October-December.  It is going to be fun!

Don’t hog all of the fun to yourself, share with the rest of your PLN.

Kelly and Nick

Editors-Project PLN

Science Toy Maker

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 02-08-2011

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What it is:  Science Toy Maker is a teacher-created website with fantastic instructions and ideas for science toys and projects.  These are mysterious, kinetic, noisy, do-it-yourself science projects that spur scientific investigation.  The science toys and projects are inexpensive (seriously so cheap that anyone can make them!) and don’t require special skills, tools, materials, or work space.  Each toy or project has a “more about” page that includes explanations, historical context, related activities, and high-quality links for more research.  Each toy/project also has a clear step-by-step video directions or text instructions with helpful pictures.  This is a GREAT resource for the classroom, for students interested in science and for parents.

How to integrate Science Toy Maker into the classroom: Science Toy Maker is a fantastic place to visit for fun science projects and inspiration.  These simple toys/projects demonstrate powerful science concepts and can be used as an introduction to a new concept or an illustration of a concept.  They are easy enough to follow for kids to do them independently making this a great stop for a center activity.

Do you have students who just can’t get enough science?  Send them to Science Toy Maker to continue that passion inside and outside of school.  Parents will appreciate the resource to keep their kids learning and students will enjoy the continued exploration and creating.

I love sites like this one, it may not be the most visually appealing site, but the content and ideas behind it are wonderful.  Why not have your students create their own science experiment site?  Throughout the year, students can record science experiments with photos or videos and add information and research they have gathered.  This can be added to a class wiki for reference later in the year and to share with other students.

Tips: The most developed projects and toys are at the top of the site with those that are still a work in progress toward the bottom.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Science Toy Maker  your classroom!

Pinterest: My new obsession

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, collaboration, Create, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 01-08-2011

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What it is:  Pinterest is a new obsession of mine.  I signed up for the invite-only version a while ago but hadn’t done anything with the service since.  In between Reform Symposium sessions I wandered back on to check it out.  Wow. I know there are other tools out there that do what Pinterest do but none that are so immediately user friendly and visually appealing.  I am impressed and addicted.  Pinterest lets you “pin” things from around the web on virtual pin boards.  You can create as many boards as you want and share them with others.  Each time you pin something you can give it a description and tags if you want. Pinterest does the rest and automatically cites the source and provides a trail to get back to the original.  As a teacher I love Pinterest for pinning all of those great ideas I find around the web visually.  I can write a quick reminder to myself about what I was thinking when I pinned it or how I want to use the tool.   SO great!  A lot of times I come across some random craft or picture that spurs an idea for something I want to do for the classroom.  Because it isn’t a tech-tool or related to education it often gets lost.  Pinterest is helping me grab all of those ideas and keep them around so I actually put them to use.  Very nice.

How to integrate Pinterest into the classroom: Pinterest is a great way to organize yourself as a teacher.  Gather up all those ideas you see online and then share them with other teachers (who may or may not be Pinterest users…it really doesn’t matter).

Because you can share Pinterest boards with non-Pinterest users, this is a great way to share things with students.  The resource could be anything- pictures, a website, a video.  Create a board for every unit that you do and share those boards with students so that they can continue exploring and learning.

Students can use Pinterest too, invite young students to help build boards in a class Pinterest account.  Create a board for every letter of the alphabet and let students add pictures that they come across to the letter board that it matches.  Pinterest has a bookmark tool that you can put in your bookmark bar to make this as easy as one click!  Students can put their first name in the description so you (and other students) can keep track of who found what.  Like a year-long web scavenger hunt!

Older students can create their own Pinterest boards.  Pinterest would be a great place for them to collect images that they feel say something about them-an identity board.  These boards can be shared with others and added to all year.  Not only will you get to know your students better, but other students will find connections they didn’t know they had.

Pinterest is a nice visual way for students to share their web findings.  Pinterest even lets students decide if they want to be the only contributor to their board or if they want to open it up for collaboration so others can add their findings to the board.  Way cool.

I have two Pinterest boards that may be of interest to you, one is Classroom Inspiration where I am keeping ideas of things I want to do with students or for our classroom.  The other is School Design where I am collecting inspirational designs that I want to see in our school when we build our own building.

Tips: Right now Pinterest is an invitation only site.  You can sign up to receive an invitation (I received mine in about 10 min) or you can let me know you are interested in an invite and I can get you on the list.  See that? It is worth reading to the bottom of posts- VIP access! Leave a comment if you want an invite and be sure to use a real email address because that is how the invite gets to you.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Pinterest  your classroom!

Reform Symposium kickoff, prizes, iPad giveaway-what could be better? #RSCON3

Posted by admin | Posted in Reform Symposium Conference | Posted on 28-07-2011

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The countdown is over, tomorrow is the kick off to the Reform Symposium virtual conference!!  The virtual part of that name means that everyone is invited to attend, no matter where you are in the world, what time it is, or what you are wearing.  So, no excuses.

I’m doing one of the Keynotes tomorrow and I hope that some of you will stop by and cheer me on.  I love presenting in Elluminate and I also hate it.

Love:  I can wear my jammies, I can be cuddled up with my pups, I can interact with people from all over the world, no travelling.

Hate: I can’t actually SEE anyone so it is hard to tell if I am boring people to tears.  You can let me know I’m not by chatting and emoticoning during my Keynote.

As if the incredible line up of presenters and Keynotes wasn’t enough, we have prizes.  Check out this prize page for the lineup.  Even better? There is a Grand Prize.  It is GRAND. How would you like to win yourself an iPad 2 including a bunch of fabulous edu apps (including an app from yours truly)?  You would?  I thought so.  :)

I’m not quite finished with the great news…even if you don’t win that outstanding prize, you can be a part of creating an iPhone and iPad app by filling out a survey (this also happens to be the way you register for the prize).  The Reform Symposium is a worldwide community of educators who believe in the mission of authentic 21st century learning, and the exchange of ideas and resources. By filling out a 5 minute survey with your thoughts of teaching creativity, innovation, collaboration, empathy, citizenship, digital literacies and student assessment, we aim to publish your thoughts within a FREE Reform Symposium iPhone and iPad app and accompanying mini-site late August/early September. This survey will be available at the start of the Symposium and closes at the end of the last session on the 3rd day. (So please don’t start looking for the survey to fill out just yet.)

The fun starts tomorrow, join us for any or all of the days.

The app donated by me was actually an app that my brilliant husband @jtenkely created.  A digital version of pick up sticks…I’m only a little addicted. You can check it out in the app store here.  There is also a Classic version of Pickin’ Stix without all the fancy stick choices.

 

 

Ideas to Inspire

Posted by admin | Posted in Classroom Management, Grade Level, inspiration, professional development, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 27-07-2011

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What it is:  Ideas to Inspire has been a favorite of mine for years, it recently got a design boost that makes it even more useable!  Ideas to Inspire comes to us from @markw29, Mark invites teachers from around the world to share their inspiring ideas for using technology in the classroom.  These are pulled together as a presentation that teachers everywhere can benefit from.  Ideas to Inspire has a handy new filter tool that let’s you find the exact resources and ideas you are looking for easily.  Inspiring ideas include: Amazing art, A to Z of ITC, audio, books to engage boys, ideas for classroom blogging, games to enhance learning, creative geography, geography gaming, get to know your new class, GIS and GPS, Google forms, Google maps, Google search, ICT control and modelling, ICT in the early years, interesting images to use in the classroom, incredible science, inspiring writing, interactive math, Internet safety, iPad, iPod Touch, learning platforms, making your lessons ESL/EAL friendly, mobile phones, Moodle, netbooks, Nintendo DS and DSi, Non-tech strategies, ways to present Internet research, Prezi, Primary Pad, Purple Mash, QR Codes, student voice, super science investigations, super snow day activities, supporting math, supporting spelling, techy tips for non techy teachers, things to do with digital images, Twitter, using backchannels in the classroom, using video conferencing to support the use of quality texts, Wallwisher, webcams, web conferencing, Wii, wikis, Wordle, document cameras, supporting writing, search engines, marvelous music, interactive whiteboards, Google docs, ICT shopping list, creative curriculum topics, pocket video cameras, teaching reading comprehension, Voicethread, YouTube and (if you can believe it) more!

The new filter let’s you filter by curriculum linked presentations or interesting ways to use: hardware, software or online tools in the classroom.

This great resource is not to be missed!

How to integrate Ideas to Inspire into the classroom: Sometimes we could all use a little inspiration.  Ideas to Inspire is just the place to stop for some guaranteed inspiration! I love that the ideas shared on Ideas to Inspire are collected from classrooms and teachers around the world.  That tool you have been using forever in your classroom? Someone, somewhere has thought up a great new innovative way to use it in your classroom for learning!  Does not get better than that!

For those of you who are enjoying the last few weeks (gulp) of summer, be sure to stop by Ideas to Inspire while you have some time to be inspired and make plans for the upcoming school year.

Tips: Fair warning: this website will suck you right in and make you want to spend hours exploring. :)

 

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