Sunday, November 29, 2015

TIES 2015 - Do. Not. Miss. It!!!

  Every year I have the opportunity to attend THE BEST CONFERENCE; The TIES Conference in Minneapolis!  There is NOTHING worth your money more than this!  The BEST of the BEST come to Minneapolis to showcase their technology wisdom!!!  Everything from iPads, to apps, to the Four C's, to totally amazing website - you can SEE IT ALL!  I literally have to decompress each night and then again when I get home because of all the terrific things that I am exposed to.  Now - really, it's no one different from us - they just have the guts to display and show what we may of may not.  MANY of the things down there I have seen but MANY of the things I have not - THAT'S THE BEST PART - you can pick and choose which session you want to attend - walk out if it isn't what you thought - and jump in on another one you think you might like instead.  TWO DAYS OF TECHNOLOGY NERDS!!  That's right - ya'll - fellow teachers, technology specialist, media peeps and more - AMAZING!!!  If you ARE able to get down to Minneapolis - DO IT!  IT will be worth your time!

I don't know about you, but I was able to get some much needed rest and am SO ready to roll tomorrow with whatever troubles and problems might jump my way - YAHOO!!!

Take care and Happy Night all -
Mrs. I:)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Trojan Turf - Our School's Online Newspaper

    I can't remember if I have talked about our school newspaper, Trojan Turf, but it is SO fun and SO worth looking into if your school doesn't have an online paper.  Mrs. Gross, one of our English teachers, teaches a Journalism class.  Students in grades 10-12 can be in the class as an English elective.  The students learn the ins and outs of newspapers, writing stories, taking photos, and editing documents.  She has all the students write in the class, she chose two editors, and one student does all the online publishing, which I help mentor.  They also have to keep a blog and write on that every week.  The topic is his/her choosing, but they are responsible for keeping that up to date.  I love this as it teaches them how to become online writers and see the importance of it.
     Our site is hosted by SNO, which is an online and mobile publishing site.  I want to say we pay like $300 each year for them to host this.....really not that much for what the students are gaining
from this.  Check out the interface below - and BE SURE to check out the link of OUR online paper!

Happy Thanksgiving all - take care
Mrs. I:)

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Few Great Math and Social Studies Websites:)

    Mr. Hermes, one of our Math teachers, attended the NCTM Conference a few weeks ago and came back with some great websites I'm not sure everyone knows about.  He mentioned in his write up the following, "Some of the key points I took away was the attention span of the average person is five minutes.  What I took from this is that we have five minutes to hook them and get them vested in our lessons/discussions, or whatever we are doing for the day.  How our students brains work are changing.  A majority of our students are “gamers” so they are used to failing.  To be successful we must incorporate failing into our classrooms.  Most video games you play, you get so far, then fail.  Start over get so far, and then fail.  Start over again get so far, and then fail.  Sooner or later you figure it out."  Which I TOTALLY agree with - and he shared the following websites:

1. Sumdog - an entire website based on the idea of gaming and failing and playing some more
2. Greg Tang Math - I think I have mentioned this one before - but it is WORTH.  THE.  LOOK!  It is a great on to not only play and work Kakooma! (GOOGLE THIS ONE AS IT'S SO AMAZING), it has many things to offer in the areas of math - go check it out!

  So I totally follow this guy on Schoology.  His name is Greg Semmens and he does a Three Things on Thursdays and it is GREAT:)!!  The websites that he showed this week that I really thought were great were:

1. D-Day to Victory - this one is SO SO AMAZING!  It follows the journey from the beaches of Normandy to the siege of Berlin.  You'll LOVE LOVE IT:)!!
2.  Theban Mapping Project - an interactive map of every known tomb in the Valley of the Kings - again - really neat!

That's all for tonight - Happy weekend and I will blog next week about FRUSTRATIONS, HAPPENINGS, and THINGS THAT ARE ROLLING! Have a great one -
Mrs. I:)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Making Gains with Makey Makey

I HAVE to brag about two students (Jimmy and Ethan) that worked to create switches for some students.  I wrote a blog a month ago about a device called a Makey Makey.  The idea is that you use electricity to create a switch for students that maybe can't use a computer mouse or keyboard.  By plugging the Makey Makey into the USB of your computer, these students can then activate the space bar or click button to moves things, play games, make music, etc.. on the computer.  So here is what Jimmy and Ethan came up with:

Here is an example of a joystick type switch where they can play PacMan, or mover directionally.  They used cardboard and then glued tinfoil onto it to attach the alligator clips to.  They also took markers to draw arrows on the tinfoil to show directions.

This shows them playing a "piano" that was created again with cardboard covered in tinfoil.  You will notice that when they play they are wearing a "bracelet" that they made to clip on the ground clip.

 Finally, two switches were made to create tap spots for simply clicking or activating the space bar for various things - in this case, bongos.

The WHOLE idea is to give students the ABILITY to DO things that they might not otherwise be able to do with traditional technology - LOVE THIS:)!  CHECK IT OUT.....

Have a great one,
Mrs. I:)

ClassCraft - Heard of it??

  Today, Mr. Schmitt, a science teacher here, asked about a web based program (with an app component) called ClassCraft.  I have NEVER heard of it.  So, he sent me the link and I have been doing a little "learning:)!"  The idea is that your entire class is a "ClassCraft" team where each student has a character in the game.  The students are also in a team of 3-5 that is trying to complete certain "tasks" through acting appropriately, getting homework done, volunteering, and behaviors that you WANT the students to do.  You as the admin can also take away points and values for UNWANTED behaviors such as not completely homework, acting out in class, and being disrespectful.  When they earn points they can purchase thing and power up their characters and teams.  When they do unwanted behaviors, the teacher can take away points which then demotes the characters and teams.  The whole idea is to encourage and motivate kiddos to do what they are supposed to do.  Now, I realize that it's a game, right?  But with ALL the gamification going on in EVERYTHING in our lives, and students REALLY diving into this, the concept is valid!  SO - we are going to purchase this which is ONLY $96 for the year, and have Mr. Schmitt and his 7th graders give it a go!  I think it's something worth looking at, and I will be SURE to keep you posted as he uses it to let you know what he and his students are thinking about it:)!!

Happy Thursday All,
Mrs. I:)