Sunday, June 30, 2013

Interesting ISTE Insights

I just returned from several eventful days at ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) ISTE promotes the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) that will guide teachers and students in the digital age.  Every moment at ISTE was filled with thinking, learning, and discovering! 

Here are some highlights from my educational adventure:

1.  I must first acknowledge Promethean for making it possible for me to attend ISTE.

Photo by Ms. Peyrot

Photo by Joe Talaiver

Promethean's Thank a Teacher Contest sponsored me at ISTE, and they made it possible for me to learn alongside educators from all over the world. My students submitted  thoughtful essays on my behalf, and it was an honor to be selected. To read my blog post about the contest, click here. Here is a video my principal made when she revealed I was the Thank a Teacher winner:

Educational blogging with my elementary students is something I am passionate about. Promethean invited me to speak about blogging at their booth.  Although I don't have a video of that presentation, here is a video I made with my second and third graders about the benefits of educational blogging:

Promethean allowed me to bring a fellow educator along, and I was thrilled that @JenPeyrot was able to join me! We had a grand time attending sessions, sharing knowledge, and supporting one another.  Here's a photo with Sue Wyatt, Julie Hembree, and my roomie, Jennifer Peyrot.

Photo by Joe Talaiver

During an evening event, I was fortunate enough to meet and chat with Cameron Evans, the CTO of Microsoft. I thanked him for the Microsoft Surface I was given when I arrived in San Antonio. Approximately 10,000 tablets were given out to registered ISTE 2013 attendees!

2.  ISTE was a fabulous place to meet up with friends and discuss educational interests. The Bloggers' Cafe was always buzzing with lively discussion about new apps and ways to enhance student learning.

Photo by Mrs. Yollis 
I was able to meet Andrew Vanden Heuvel at the Bloggers' Cafe and give his Google Glasses a test. Andrew was the first teacher to have a pair of Google Glasses, and he is creating lessons and sharing learning through this incredible technology.

I enjoyed chatting with @suewaters and @ronnieburt from Edublogs!  

The Bloggers' Cafe was a great place to meet teachers from the southern hemisphere!  Here's Anne Mirtschin Sue Waters, and Sue Wyatt

Many attendees set up CoffeeCues in the morning. These are informal gatherings for educators. Anyone can start and promote a @CoffeeCue and all educators are invited.  My roommate, @JenPerot, got up early and therefore got to meet ISTE's amazing keynote and EduClipper founder, Adam Bellows!

Photo by Alice Keeler

I arrived late, and therefore did not meet ISTE's amazing keynote and EduClipper founder, Adam Bellows!

Photo by Alice Keeler

Throughout the conference, there were opportunities to attend people's sessions and sometimes chance meetings occurred between presentations. Here we are meeting a forward-thinking principal from Canada, George Couros.

Photo by Joe 

At the end of the day, there were opportunities to continue educational conversations. Here I am at an event with two Ed Tech leaders, Tom Whitby and Steven W. Anderson. 

I was thrilled to meet Shelly Terrell at this conference. Shelly gives so much professional development and encouragement to educators around the world, and it was a real pleasure to personally thank her for her contributions to education.

3. The ISTE sessions were numerous and thought provoking.

I worked at a poster session promoting Sue Wyatt's  Student Blogging Challenge and Edublog's Teacher Blogging Challenge.  This provided an opportunity to share these great blogging challenges and to meet up with Julie Hembree, Tracy Watanabe, and good old Davo Devil, the traveling Tasmania Devil!

Julie Hembree shared her award-winning Kid Lit Movies!

I enjoyed many fabulous Ignite sessions. An ignite sessions is a five minute presentation using 20 images. Each slide is shown for 15 seconds and then the presentation must go on.  One session called Open Doors for Students by Wes Fryer can be heard here.   Wes Fryer encourages teachers to open the digital door for students and even encouraged me to publish a project! 

I enjoyed speaking with Wes Fryer after the presentation. 

I attended a terrific session about Evernote by Nicholas Provenzano. He writes about his Epic Evernote Experience here.  He explained how Evernote helps him with organization and access to important resources. He also uses Evernote with his students. He recommended moving slowly into a new system. 

Here is one idea he shared:  Set up a notebook called Lesson Plans. Within that notebook, make notes for each unit. Within each "Note" use headings like Day 1, Day 2, Day 3... rather than Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, so the plans can be used yearly. In addition, he adds reflections or changes to the notes in red so he can modify lessons for the following year. I set it up for use!

4. The power of play was something I have always believed in, but was confirmed here at ISTE. Children and teachers need time to explore and play and learn on their own. Teachers should not be directing everything.  Play and failure allow for discovery and mental growth.

5.   I thoroughly  enjoyed using Twitter throughout the conference. According to the ISTE site, there were 47,000+ tweets that used the #ISTE13. I used Twitter to tweet out or RT (retweet) interesting ideas or resources I was hearing about in sessions. Here are some of my tweets from ISTE:

I had a humdinger of a  time in San Antonio, Texas! Not only did I learn a lot, but the city itself was lovely. The River Walk was a beautiful addition to the city, and the Texans were most hospitable! 

I look forward to applying my learning in September when my third graders return to the classroom.

Oh, and I almost forgot...I visited the Alamo! ;-)

What did you enjoy most at ISTE?

Please share!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

School's Out for Summer!

Today was the last day of school! 

Parsa feverishly typed away earning an AlphaSmart completion certificate! Way to go!

Sean wore a shirt from the 100th day of school. I loved his 100 right angles!

Chloe, Shayna, and Aashi created a fabulous class diorama! Check it out!

Everyone enjoyed a final game of Jeopardy! Thanks to Bennett's mom for finding Jeopardy Labs. What the fun learning site!

A final group hug, and summer vacation officially started!

This was a humdinger of a year!  :-) 

Here is Mrs. Yollis' annual goodbye video! Enjoy!

What are some happy memories you have from the 2012-2013 school year?

What fun activities do you have planned for the summer?

If it is winter in your hemisphere, what winter activities will you enjoy? 

Wildlife Experience, 2013!

Post and photo credit: Mrs. Ranney

As part of our animal adaptation science unit, Beverly Critcher 
from Wildlife Experience brought wild animals
to Mrs. Ranney's class for careful
scientific observation.

Wildlife Experience  is a non-profit wildlife education organization that brings native and exotic animals to schools and teaches children about the importance of our natural world.

This is Vincethe veiled chameleon. Chameleon's are carnivorous reptiles that cannot run but can climb well. They have prehensile tails that help them hold on to branches and a tongue like a rubber band to help them catch a tasty meal. Do you remember why they eat the skin they shed?

Here is Awesome, the four-month-old opossum! Opossums are a special kind of mammal called a marsupial, and they are the only marsupial found in North America. They are omnivores. Do you remember what happens when opossums "play dead?"

Here is Tuck, the hedgehog. Hedgehogs got their names from the fact that they live in hedges or bushes and that they grunt like hogs!
They roll into balls and bump from side to side to protect themselves. Hedgehogs are insectivores. Do you remember what their quills are made of?

This leopard gecko is a lizard that stores fat in its tail. It wiggles its tail at would-be predators. Do you remember why?

Punk, the skunk, a nocturnal mammal lives right here in our community! Skunks are omnivores and will eat just about anything. Do you remember what skunks do with their tails when threatened?

Another animal found in our local environment is the red-tailed hawk. This one, named Shasta, was found injured near the Shasta Mountains. Hawks can see clearly 8 times farther than we can! Why might they need to do that?

Ball pythons, like this one, are carnivorous snakes found in Africa. Snakes are reptiles, which we know means they are vertebrate animals. They can swallow something whole that is 3 times the size of their heads! Pythons are constrictors. Do you remember what that means?

What did the skin feel like to you?

Squirrel monkeys are the smallest monkeys in the world, weighing in at only around 2 pounds! To this monkey a smile is threatening, so we could not show our teeth! Squirrel monkeys are omnivores that live in the rain forest in groups of up to 250. Do you remember why they like large groups?

Sally, the tiger salamander, is the largest kind in the United States. Salamanders are amphibians which means they must stay wet. Do you remember how salamanders breathe when underwater?

 Our final visitor, Moose, the fennec fox, is the smallest fox in the world but has the biggest ears! Foxes, like other dogs, do not sweat, but pant to release heat. Do you remember another way that the fennec fox releases heat?


Thanks, Ms. C. for another wonderful wildlife experience!


What was your favorite animal and why?

What other fabulous facts can you share about our visitors! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Wonderful Wingspans!

Nate’s North American Anthology of Wonderful Wingspans

Nate (a second grader) has an interest in birds. Ansel (a third grader) and her father are birders too. Below is a mix of Nate's wingspan data and Ansel's father's photographs.

After looking at the bird photos and talking about the wingspans, we went outside and drew life-size wingspans of several birds.

Check out the photos, the facts, and the life-size wingspans!

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle 80” 

Black-footed Albatross
Black-footed Albatross 84” 

Brown Pelican

Golden Eagle
Golden Eagle 79” 

Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron 72” 

Greater Sandhill Crane

Laysan Albatross

Laysan Albatross 78”

Lesser Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane (lesser) 73” 

Short-tailed Albatross
 Short-tailed Albatross 87”   

Turkey Vulture
 Turkey Vulture 67” 

White Pelican 
American White Pelican 108” 

Addition wingspans:

California Condor 109”
Whooping Crane 87”
Trumpeter Swan 80”
Brown Pelican 79”
Sandhill Crane (greater) 77”
Mute Swan 75”

Here are the life-size models:

What surprised you about the wingspans?

How did you convert the inches to feet and/or yards?

What is your favorite bird?