Microsoft Innovative Educator

Microsoft Innovative Educator

Monday, June 26, 2017

ISTE Ignites

Yes! I am breaking my conference wrap-up tradition with a little #NOTATISTE17 sneak peek. I was inspired and awestruck by the ISTE Ignite Sessions with Stacy Lovdahl on Periscope. Be sure to check them out if you missed it. There was a good mix of presenters from professionals to students with a variety of messages. This Blog Is Why you shouldn't be sad or upset that you didn't make it to #ISTE17, come on over to #NOTATISTE17!

This year is my second year attending/participating in #NOTATISTE. The first year there was definitely a learning curve, but I still enjoyed it. I even won a prize! This year, I feel as though I have a better handle on things. And the great thing about participating is that you can do as little or as much as you like. There are challenges, ignite presentations, even online conference sessions that you can choose to host or view. Last year I didn't get my selfies, so I am working overtime to get some this year. Fingers crossed. Come on PLN. Don't let me down!
                                      **Update: Special thanks to Darla Murinchack. You ROCK!!**

On Sunday, as I tuned in to Stacy Lovdahl's livestream (great seats!) of ISTE Ignite Session: Round One. These were some of my take-aways:

1) My favorite was Bonnie McClelland's presentation based on the childhood favorite The Gingerbread Man. Her focus was on student recipes of success using the 4 C's to cook, bake,  and stir up learning. Her kindergarten students created a class gingerbread man that suddenly disappeared overnight. They used the "magic" of technology to locate him on his journey back home. The class used tools such as Buncee, Seesaw, and Twitter during the adventure. What a great way to connect students with a real audience! Loved the selfie at the end.

2) Another stand-out presentation for me was Nathan Kraii and his plea to "Bring back the "F" Word. He wants us to "F-up" our classrooms for the sake of our kids. And you know what? I'm with him! Kraii believes that there has been a shift in schools to focus on adults and an obsession with seriousness. To counter that, we should "transform a place where imagination, passion, and fun intersect and curriculum can come alive." How do we bring the fun back to schools? If you are ready to "F-up" your classroom, check out and share your happiness on twitter #5mins4fun.

3) Next was Kim Pollishuke speaking about BreakoutEDU. I love Breakouts, so she was speaking to my heart! The connections she made were powerful. Breakout is not about play, but deep learning. She explains that the deep learning comes from students' successes AND failures. It comes from students realizing in the process, "We haven't struggled enough" (wow, what a moment). Pollishuke shares how implementing Breakouts unlocks a variety of mindsets in students: growth, collaborative, innovator, and educator. And she leaves you with this call to action, "Ignite their natural drive to problem solve. Use that spark, to begin shifting mindsets. Unlock the risk takers. Unlock the collaborators. Unlock the innovators and unlock the fun. Unlock the potential."

After watching, if you are not amazed by the educational excellence of the adults, then you will be blown away by the maturity of the students. And remember, they are standing on stage alone presenting to a room full of educators at THE biggest technology conference. WOW!

A few words of student advice:
-Allow your 2nd graders to talk/share/learn about code
-Find out who your students are
-Discover their passion
-Ask how we like to learn
-Put us in front of authentic audiences
-Publish our work
-Encourage us to connected learners in a connected classroom
-Let us share our voice with the world
-Let us empower other kids
-We can solve problems and create solutions
-"Don't ask me to memorize things, I can google."
-Ask yourself: "How are you using technology to make a real difference in people's lives?"

Throughout these 5 minute talks, the overarching message is: As you go through this conference, the challenge for you is to take what you learn back to your classroom. Your students deserve it and they are ready and waiting.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Conference Wrap-up: SC Midlands Summit

This week was my first time visiting the Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2). One word can describe that experience: Wow! I love the idea of combining a student-friendly/community-friendly environment with the administrative (district level) office spaces. A great way to build community. I was there attending my very first SC Midlands Summit. Although, I was not a presenter this year, I look forward to the opportunity in the future. This Blog Is Why you should add the SC Midlands Summit to your list of must-attend conferences, I know I am!

My hat's off to the awesome presenters of this conference. They truly made their sessions interactive and I came away with many great ideas that I am ready to implement for the 2017-2018 school year. The kick-off event to the conference was a keynote by Matthew Luhn (@MatthewLuhn). He is a writer known for some of your favorite children's movies (Toy Story, Cars, Finding Nemo---just to name a few).  His presentation focused on the power of story. He states that story is 22 times more memorable than facts alone. In order to be meaningful, stories should also have impact and be personal as well. Luhn also shared what makes a good story. These key elements include: The Hook (8 seconds), a promise of change, connection, authenticity, and structure. What is structure? The Basics: beginning, middle, and end. Sounds simple, right? Finally, he shared "The Story Spine" which are sentence stems to help give your story that flow, if you are struggling with putting your thoughts together coherently. The life story that Luhn shared was definitely made for Disney. I hope you get a chance to hear him speak some day and learn his story.
More About Matthew Luhn

My favorite session of this two-day event was "GoNoodle 102: What's New" with GoNoodle Ambassador, Jessica Lopez (@SeaTurtlesCD4). One of the reasons that I loved this session, was because I THOUGHT I knew GoNoodle, but she introduced me to a whole new world. I wish I had known! I feel like I have been cheating my students. This session was the perfect combination of free swag, movement/dancing, selfies, and tons of valuable information. If you want students who are awesome, engaged, and ready to learn, try these short movement videos. You can find getting-to-know-you activities, exercise (Zumba), mindfulness videos, and academic minilessons. The Plus option expands your access to resources and features. You can get a one-month free trial before making a financial commitment or use the free version. As you try something new in GoNoodle and love it, share with them on social media using the hashtag #betterwithgonoodle. Great videos shared on Twitter if you follow @SCMSummit.
Free GoNoodle Printables

The staff from Jesse S. Bobo Elementary in Spartanburg was another favorite for me. I was inspired by the work of Ms. Alisha Bridges from an Edcamp that I attended. She shared some phenomenal Lego resources with me and I wrote an Impact Grant to get started with using LEGO's WeDo 2.0 kit. Now, I want my own LEGO Learning Lab! I enjoyed hearing from the teachers about how they incorporate the use of LEGOs into the curriculum starting from Pre-K classes. The team offered some helpful tips including management in the classroom, where to get additional resources, how to get started and lessons for elementary students. Again, more freebies and a fun activity creating a storyboard featuring a fairy tale/nursery rhyme. Can you guess mine?

Some other conference highlights: 
1) I love hearing from Nick LaFave! He always shares a variety of great tech tips. I will be checking out Screencast-O-Matic and you should join Nick's website (link below).
Nick's Picks

2) If you are attending the Upstate Technology Conference (#2017utc), stop in to see Shalonda Blakeney (@sblakeney3). She shares great resources for using @Seesaw in the classroom. Her sessions are interactive, so you can practice while you learn. Don't forget to bring your device!

3) If you are planning an EdTech event, "It's as Easy as 1-2-3"! I enjoyed the un-conference set-up for this session. The discussion was engaging and informative. As we are preparing for Edcamp Palmetto, I will use the tips, tricks, and resources shared in this presentation.  A special thank you to Irene Bal and Jennifer Thornsberry!
Edcamp Palmetto

4) I cannot forget about my best laugh of the day with Dr. Lee Green (@itsleegreen). Not only did I learn about Google's Explore Button and Add-ons, but I learned the new terminology "chompey-chompey's" (insert laughing emoji). Dr. Green shared some easy ways to make your research look professional and thorough in a matter of minutes. When I begin work on my doctorate, I am using these time-saving resources. In the meantime, can't wait to explore Autocrat, Flubaroo, Doctopus, and Orange Slice. It's a whole new Google language!

5) Another gem from the conference was the Digital Citizenship session presented by Janelle McLaughlin (@Ms_Mac4). I personally learned the most in this session. There is a lot of talk about digital citizenship and cyber security, but I must be honest that I have not put enough emphasis/focus on them. That changes now. I am more aware of my responsibility than I have ever been and I have the resources to make more informed decisions. My final share from the conference and call to action for you all: Pledge today to be better digital citizens. Our students/children are depending on us.

                                    (Courtesy: Creative Commons & @misskyritsis-Eleni Kyritsis)
**@ = Twitter connections

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Time is Now

Summertime! Many of you may be gearing up for vacations, camps, or professional learning opportunities. Whatever you decide to do with your time, don't forget to relax and enjoy. It has been a while since my last blog. You know that is always the case in my busy season(s). But, not to worry, I still have plenty to share. It also gives me something to look forward to with my summer blogging series. This summer, I am looking forward to sharing some amazing experiences with you. This Blog Is Why my advice is to bookmark this one for future references for some money-saving resources.

                    (I borrowed this from the MIE Facebook group. Hope you don't mind!)

Graduation season is here as well. If you know anyone in college or planning to go to college, please share this post with them. I am highlighting the work of Melinda Mihlbauer. You can find her on Facebook. I discovered her in my PLN as a guidance counselor in my state who has a resource of scholarships. I know the importance of harnessing those untapped resources to help with funding education and she has compiled those into a book. Please support her and she is also available to host events. This particular book is designed for SC high school students (Website link below).
Paces Scholarship Academy

Ms. Milbauer shares the following stats from last year:

Shocked? In the future, let's make sure there is NO Money Left Behind! As I mentioned before, I hope you will save or bookmark this post. Be ready to search and apply for the many scholarships available to support students.

The Scholarship List: (April 30th deadline) (Essay Scholarship) (Essay Contest) (30 scholarships annually) (Tennis Scholarship) (SC Nursing Scholarship) (Engineering) (SC Engineering Scholarship) (May 1st deadline) (148 Scholarship opportunities) (UNCF scholarships) (Congressional Black Caucus Scholarships) (Scholarship and free Dell laptop) (Denny's; September deadline) (Jane Austen Essay Contest) (Breast Cancer Awareness) (Military Dependents and Spouses) (Taco Bell Scholarship) (March 1 deadline) (Black Engineers Scholarship) (Grades 3-5; Poetry Contest)

Do you know of any others? Please share and add to the list.
Bonus Link: (Thanks to my classmate for sharing!)
Bonus Link: Scholarships for African-American Students
Bonus Link: IP Video Contest 2017

Is Your Child in this Video?

This video may cause some controversial conversations. But, the more important point is that it should spark some conversations. The focus is on the importance of Summer Learning and how it can help address achievement gaps. This Blog Is Why I hope you are making plans to extend a child's learning. Let's help them all to be successful.

Need some ideas? Check out my blog post from last year:

Sunday, April 16, 2017

MsClassNSession Exclusive

I have an exciting opportunity to present and deliver a keynote address during the Ignite Cocktail Hour at the Tomorrow's Classrooms Today Conference in New Jersey (Rider University) on May 20th.
I am also h
onored that my presentation has been designated as Future Ready by the Alliance for Excellent Education in Washington, DC.
Finally, you can join me there and receive $10 off when you register with the code: FutureReady (deadline: April 22nd). 

Register Now (Click Here)

Support MsClassNSession (Click Here)

Interested in sharing your story? Click the link below:
Share Your Story

Friday, April 14, 2017

Dear Microsoft

s that time of year again. Conference Time. And I love it! In the past, I have incorporated Sway as a presentation tool in my sessions. This time, my focus was dedicated solely to Sway. I hope that my audience walked away with some useful information, because I know I did. This Blog Is Why I am sharing feedback from: Digital Storytelling with Sway.

First, a Recap ICYMI (in case you missed it):
My goal for any session that I present is to find out what my audience needs and provide it. This one mainly focused on beginner level skills. You can take a look at the Sway presentation used (adapted from a PowerPoint) and get a general overview.

TLC Session: Digital Storytelling with Sway (Click Here)

We focused on the following:
*features of Sway
*uploading a document
*uploading a PowerPoint
*Voice/Audio feature
*Image sharing
*Video sharing
*Search options
*Microsoft Forms as an assessment tool

When the opportunity to host a session for Winthrop University's Teaching and Learning Center presented itself, I was excited for the opportunity.  In my recent session titled, "Digital Storytelling with Sway" one of the positive points for me was the level of engagement, sharing, collaboration, and thoughtful conversation during the session. I would even venture to say, these were some of the best participants I have experienced (overall). Professional Development should be a time for sharing and thoughtful conversation. I believe we mastered that. I hope to hear more in the future about some of the ways these college personnel use Sway professionally to connect with students and other colleagues.

Feedback from the session:
*One hub that houses search options. You can find images, videos, etc to add without leaving your work space (Sway).
*Ease of use-You can create a professional presentation in a short amount of time.
*Possibilities-Participants shared how they can incorporate Sway in the classroom for students to use, creating an interactive syllabus, etc.
*Student/User-friendly-You are able to easily manipulate items without losing your work. Risk-taking!
*Participants like the "Start from a Topic" feature because it gives a good outline/suggestions

*How is Sway different from some other tools that are available to educators (ex. Office Mix, Adobe Spark, etc.)?
*How secure is the information that is in Sway? For example, if a project includes sensitive or confidential research, who would have access to that information?
*As Sway is changing, will there be an option that analytical data will be provided. For example, being able to see how long a viewer watched a video and/or embedded quizzes with scores.
*Is there a way to export your Sway as a PowerPoint, PDF file, or other option?

What's Next:
In May, I will be at the Tomorrow's Classrooms Today Conference at Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. I hope you will join me there! For a limited time, get $10 off registration by using the code FutureReady. This code is valid through April 22, 2017.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Yeah, THAT Edcamp!

Another awesome Edcamp experience and job well done to the team at Edcamp Greenville: Kelli Coons, Austin Greene, Hamilton Parks, Sarah Liebenrood, Victoria Salvat, and Fran Rogers. It was definitely worth the drive, worth getting up extra early on a Saturday, and worth missing out on (some, not all) my #satchat ritual. I am looking forward to pitching in to bring an Edcamp to MY area. Hey, my Rock Hill area peeps! This Blog Is Why you need to be a part of the Edcamp Palmetto experience.

**For exclusives and a sneak peek into the conference, go to Twitter: #yeahTHATedcamp **

Photo credit: Kelly Hines @kellyhines

Positive Energy, Engaging Conversations, Free Food, Prizes, Freebies, Meet Ups, Music and Free Food. Yes, I said Free Food twice because it was just that good!! There are so many great things that I could share from the event. When I got out of the car, I could hear the music and laughing. It came outside, tapped me on the shoulder, and said, "Girl, come on in". And you know I am not a morning person!! Just being honest. Check out the planning board below. As ideas for the conference were coming together, the DJ set the tone for the conference by getting us out of our seats to "Cupid Shuffle" and "Wobble" into the day.
Photo credit: Lachelle Brown @LachelleBrown80

There were a variety of sessions to participate in and a few of my favorite topics from the day included: flexible seating, Twitter for Educators, Engaging Activities, Guided Math, and DonorsChoose. I also enjoy meeting my Twitter PLN in person and I hope to see you all at #2017utc. The ideas that you get from other educators can inspire you to try something that you may not have done otherwise.The classroom below has a variety of flexible seating options and we learned the logistics of how this teacher makes it work for her fifth graders. 

Photo credit: Hamilton Parks @IC_at_AJ

The conference also sponsored four anchor sessions that ran throughout the day. These were hosted by: LilySarahGraceFund @LSGFund, Discovery Education, Lego Education, and Breakout EDU. This was my first breakout experience and I was not the genius behind our group's success, but we had the fastest time of the day...10 minutes. Can you beat that?

Photo credit: Matt Johnson @EduCaptAmerica

A special thanks to all of the vendors, companies, and restaurants that support teachers and make these learning experiences possible. My prize for the day came from the Peace Center and I cannot wait to share with my students. Shhhhh!!
Lunch provided by: McDonald's, Papa Johns, Firehouse Subs, and Arizona's

Call to Action:
1) After you read the FREE book you received, Every Child A Super Reader, share out on Twitter using the hashtag #BookCampPD.

2) If you are in the Rock Hill, Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville (SC) areas, click the link below to be a part of the planning committee for an Edcamp near you. Deadline: April 30th
Edcamp Palmetto Volunteer

3) If you attended Edcamp Greenville, don't forget to apply for an Impact Grant. Were you inspired by a session or presenter? Here's your chance to bring that experience to your school or students. Deadline: March 31st
Impact Grant Application

A huge shout-out to my other half who gave up a Saturday just for me. <3 <3 <3