Video Writing Prompt: No Friction

Jan 29, 2015 by

Disclaimer: If you’re a science teacher, you won’t want to read this post, or watch the video…..honestly, you’ll cringe. In the following video, I directly imply that ice has no friction. There, I’ve said it, and I’m not happy about it, but it’s done. Now, for everyone else; I had an ice day! Huzzah! I took to my driveway this morning to enjoy the sheet of ice that had covered the entire drive, and road, and most of the town. It was a “low friction” wonderland, and I captured my antics on camera to share with others. As I was sliding, waving like an idiot to my neighbors who surely thought I was attempting to injure myself, I thought about creating a video story problem; I hemmed and hawed about the incredibly low coefficient of friction that allowed me to glide shuffle down the driveway, and how someone might...

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Blogging for Success!

Nov 6, 2014 by

Apparently my post earlier this week sharing Jessica Winstanley’s ideas for student blogging was rather popular. So I’m going for broke, and sharing a tool that I created last week to help new teachers start blogging. Again, we’re going to focus on “why blog“, not on the mechanics of blogging. Why? Because it’s far easier to fail by just setting up a blogging space and telling yourself that you’re going to blog, then develop an actual plan for using it as an important piece of your blended learning environment. I’ve been helping teachers in my district get started with blogging for a few years now, and some kick butt right out of the gate thanks to a healthy background of previous blogging experience. However, many are new to both the concept of openly sharing thoughts on the web, and the dedication it takes to blog regularly with or for students....

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“Weird Al” Just Made Every English Teacher’s Perfect Video

Jul 16, 2014 by

If you haven’t seen “Weird Al’s” newest video yet (and I’ll forgive you, it was only released yesterday), you owe it to yourself to watch “Word Crimes“, one of eight videos he’s dropping this week in celebration of his latest album, Mandatory Fun. I dare say it’s the quintessential realization of every Grammar Nazi, English Nerd, and K-12 teacher’s pet peeves when it comes to mastering the English language in written form. Sure, it comes a bit late to be parodying Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines“, but as usual, when Al spoofs a song, he does it with a level of detail and musical perfection that it’s often difficult to distinguish it from the original….if you aren’t paying attention to the lyrics that is. I was never one to harp on grammar when I was in the classroom. I had the luxury of never having to teach it, and while many...

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One Word Comments – Going Beyond Awesome

Sep 12, 2013 by

How do we encourage good “netiquette” among our students? I use that term as it pertains specifically to conversation that takes place online, but in truth encouraging positive, constructive discourse and conversation among learners is essential in all environments. I try to look past the distinction between commenting on a blog, and having a face to face conversation around a table, but there is a difference. The medium (blogs) are seen as cousins of typically more terse electronic modes of conversation; texts, messages, snapchats all encourage short, punctuated quips. Face to face conversation in a classroom is expected to be the opposite of that. So it was with great pleasure that I sat in the back of one of Melinda Boydston’s Tech Literacy classes at our middle school today. I try to make it a point to plant myself in a classroom and observe  a few times a week...

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Read Around the Planet Makes Me Happy!

Feb 26, 2013 by

I’m helping facilitate a wonderful series of video conferences this week and next in my school district, and I wanted to share a little bit of the excitement as students in Michigan connect with others in Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, Oklahoma, and many other states! Read Around the Planet is a huge collaboration in celebration of reading that happens alongside many other celebrations in the U.S. and schools for “March is Reading Month”. Students get to work on real world presentation skills, public speaking, and share their love of literature with their peers in the next school over, the next city down the road, or the neighboring state or country! I created a Storify to share what we’ve experienced thus far in our district, and if you can’t see it below, I encourage you to check it out here. If you’re participating in Read Around the Planet as well,...

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This is How I Start a Blogging Project

Jan 30, 2013 by

I work with many different teachers in my district that in turn work with many different grade levels of students. While most of the teachers call for my technical skills for a project to take care of the nuts and bolts of getting the students up and running with a technology-rich project, I usually bring my former teacher self as well to the classroom. When I present students with a potentially new work space, especially one in which they may be connecting with one another through comments, blogs posts, and Google Doc collaborations, I want to make sure that both the students, and the teacher(s) I’m working with understand why we’re shifting to a blended learning environment, and what is expected of them. This week I had the opportunity to introduce a brand new semester of our 8th grade Writing for Publication students to Blogger, with the help of...

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