Sunday, April 14, 2019

FETC 2019 Reflections

In my bio, I call myself an "occasional blogger." I supposed that blogging about a conference months later just reinforces that point!

This year our school sent a team of teachers to FETC. Towards the end of the trip, the elementary team was sitting at dinner and I brought out a notepad and pens. We each sketchnoted something that we learned about that we wanted to try in our classrooms.

Many of the ideas overlapped. (Cara was mad that I wrote down the Alexa Skill Blueprints before she could do so.) What was fantastic was the fact that no one batted an eye when I suggested the sketchnote. We had meaningful conversations about Flipgrid, OneNote, Kinful, Loom, Immersive Reader, thyng, Merge Cube, and Alexa Skill Blueprints. We brainstormed ideas for using these tools in the classroom. It was one of my favorite moments of the conference.

I also got to meet Paul Reynolds. We recently purchased Fab@School from Fablevision Learning for the STEAM Lab, after years of trying to find funds for the purchase. I love the STEAM focus of Fablevision Learning and the STEAM books that Paul Reynolds has written.

I am a huge fan, so it was wonderful to have some books autographed. I also talked with Peggy Healy Stearns, who created Fab@School, about ideas for using the program.

This conference was not all fun and games. Cara and I presented a two hour workshop called Bringing Learning to Life with Green Screen & Augmented Reality. It went well, even though we got an email from HP Reveal the FRIDAY AFTERNOON before we left letting us know that HP Reveal Studio will soon stop working. That is not news you want to hear before you present a 2-hour workshop on how to use green screen (DoInk) and AR using HP Reveal. (I'll blog soon on our recent replacement)

I also presented a lecture session on STEAM in Action. I had only 30 minutes between sessions, so one of the ladies in my session made this meme for me.

We also got to cheer on Nicole.

It was a wonderful few days of learning in Orlando. Many of the ideas we learned about have already been applied in our classrooms. Thyng has been the biggest find for me so far, but that will be a blog post of its own. I hope to make it to #FETC20 in Miami!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

ISTE 2018 Resources and Reflections

I've been back from ISTE for a week now and *almost* had enough time to reflect on the experience.

 It was a very busy few days, but it is still one of my favorites! Chicago was fun. It wasn't my favorite conference set up, but the non-conference food/fun was top notch.

We started with the pre-conference Seesaw Connect event. The opening Ignite Sessions were great and we made some great connections. Cara and I added several ideas from the opening session to our annual plane ride home list of ideas. (More on that later!)

If I present a session, my school will let me attend the conference. Knowing the ISTE conference acceptance rates I decided to submit multiple proposals. As luck would have it, all my proposals were accepted. It made for a hectic few days!

(Photo credit to @madbenjenmar)

Cara posted the link to resources from our AR + Green Screen = App Smashing Success session on her new blog. Be sure to check it out!

She also made this video for our session. It gives an overview of two of my favorite STEAM projects and collaborations.

I finished off Monday afternoon at the Tynker booth and then at the Google Teacher Lounge.

Here is the Tynker and Google Classroom: A Perfect Match! presentation I did with Daniel Rezac. Google had someone sketchnote each of the session in the Google Teacher Lounge. Post conference Google for Edu has been sharing a few of the sketchnotes on Facebook and Twitter each day. I cannot wait to see the sketch from my session!

Debbie and I presented Special Project Enrichment Courses: Giving Elementary Students a Choice in Learning on Tuesday. The resources are available here. After that poster I ran into Leslie Fisher in the bathroom. I overheard her talking about the next session she was presenting. I was disappointed that I didn't make it to any of her sessions this year due to my schedule, but I sent Debbie. Wouldn't you know it, she shared a good music resource for the session I recommended to our music teacher. 🎶

I had only 30 minutes between poster sessions. I was exhausted after 4+ hours on my feet, but I met some wonderful people. STEAM in Action is always one of my favorites to present.

I have to say one of my highlights was getting to see Nicole Rubin present during the Young Educators Ignite Session. This is just the first few seconds of her Ignite. I was in charge of recording and got a notification on my iPad that covered the time stamp at the top. I panicked and thought it was not recording when in fact it was recording. Oops! So for now the video is in two parts. Sorry Nicole!

I spent most of my time presenting and did not make it to many sessions, but I still have a list of takeaways. Last year Cara and I planned all the LEGO SPEC courses that we then presented this year. Here are our second annual ISTE reflections.

Links mentioned: 

Links mentioned:

Links mentioned:
Wonder Projects - Seesaw Ignite from Michelle Flicek
Everyday Excellence - Seesaw Ignite from Andy Leiser 

We also wrote out two pages of plans for our next big project ideas, but those aren't ready to share yet. Hopefully those will be blog posts of their own in the next year.

Another of my favorite parts of ISTE is meeting people and making connections. This year I got to meet some of my favorites IRL.

I've become a big fan of the #ShukesandGiff podcast.  I was the one that took this picture for them at their poster. I may have geeked out about about meeting them. I'm still disappointed I missed their Ignite sessions, but I think the idea behind their poster session may be a good fit for my school. We've been talking about documenting/sharing what we do using Google sites and their district has done a great job of doing just that.

I've long admired the projects that Tricia Fuglestad has shared on Twitter. I was thrilled when I got to talk to her at our AR + Green Screen poster. She even posted about one of my projects in her Ten Takeaways from #ISTE18 blog post. I have already tried out her idea for drawing with Keynote for iPad. I also have plans this summer to try out the DoInk Animation app. My 8-year-old has seen me playing with both of these tools and is begging to have a turn.

It was a busy few days, but I loved it. I've made new connections and am already making plans for next year!

Monday, June 25, 2018

ISTE 2018

It is just after midnight and I should be in bed, but I'm at ISTE! I just finished putting the final touches on the poster I am presenting with Cara tomorrow. No matter how early we start we always seem to find ourselves making last minute additions and tweaks the night before. I love working with her.

I actually have FIVE presentations scheduled in the next two days. This is what happens when you put in extra proposals to be sure that you will be selected to attend the conference. I'm excited to get to share my ideas with like minded educators.

If you are at ISTE, be sure to stop by and say hi! If not, I will be posting links to resources as soon as the conference is over and I can catch my breath!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

First Grade Gardens: Using Green Screen and AR to Put Students IN their Artwork

"Our First Grade Gardens" has become one of my very favorite projects in the STEAM Lab. This week was our annual gallery opening and I realized that I never properly shared the project here.

My friend Cara started this project in her first grade classroom.  It started as a mother's day project. When Cara got a grant to expand the project to the other first grade classes, I got involved. While it started with painting the canvases in the STEAM Lab, I came back with a "what if" that would have sent most people running, and Cara worked with me to sort out the details.

Cara and I will be sharing a poster session called AR + Green Screen = App Smashing Success at #ISTE18 but here is an overview of this particular project. (Photo credit to Cara for the awesome posters!)

Each first grade class read the book "My Garden" by Kevin Henkes as part of their author study project.

In the classroom the students designed their own themed garden and then paint their imaginary gardens on canvas. The awesome first grade team delivered the sketches to me and my part of the project began.

In the STEAM Lab each student used his or her sketch to paint the design on a canvas using tempera paint. Students used paint pens and glitter glue to add the details.

Using Google Slides, students typed up their gallery descriptions. These were printed and posted in the gallery next to each painting.

I used the PhotoScan app from Google to take a good picture of each canvas. Using the Green Screen app by DoInk, we recorded a green screen video using the picture of the canvas as the background. Our green screen is a green bed sheet that we hang using clothespins. We drape a second green sheet over chairs to give the illusion that students are sitting on an object in the painting.

Using HP Reveal Studio, I set the photo as the target and the green screen as the aura. The auras are saved to a campaign that is shared with the parents.

The end result is something like this:

This year we were able to work with FAU's University Galleries to display the student work at the Ritter Gallery. It was AMAZING!

We had a family help us with the set up. Both parents are artists and had the skills and equipment that we lacked. They met us at the gallery last weekend to hang all 54 canvases.

Tuesday night was the big night. Our student artists got dressed up and came with their families to view the art in the gallery. It was the third year we have done this, and each year is better than the last. The venue was spectacular. We have already reserved a date for next year.

It was a lot of work, but it was a lovely way to celebrate our students!

Friday, March 16, 2018

NSTA 2018

I'm on my way back to the conference, but I wanted to post links to my sessions from this morning. Thank you to everyone that came!

STEAM in Action

Transforming Your Classroom Through Meaningful Technology Integration

Feel free to comment or email if you have any questions! I'd love to connect!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

STEAM in Action at FETC 2018

Good morning from Orlando! I am at FETC getting ready for my first of two poster sessions. I have plans to update my blog with all my conference presentations, but it is going to take a little time to get that done. is the presentation I will share later today.

STEAM in Action at FETC 2018


Sunday, August 27, 2017

New School Year in the STEAM Lab

At the end of this week I sat down and realized that I had enough missed "tweets" to warrant a blog post. There were so many wonderful things happening in the STEAM Lab this week!

Full disclosure, I also saw this week that my blog bio said I had two children. My youngest will be two in the next couple of week, so I decided it was time to pay the neglected blog some attention! Either way, this week was blog-worthy!

Monday started with the eclipse. The school purchased glasses for all our students. The STEM coordinator also made these signs.

Once school was out for the day I was able to take my kindergartener and my second grader out to view the eclipse with me. It was pretty special!

I decided to bring back this project again this year. Instead of just self portraits like the onse in the picture below, I asked students to draw themselves as scientists. I started by asking what a scientist looks like. I typically got the answer I expected - a man in a white coat and googles. From there I showed the search results on PBS LeanringMedia for "Scientist Profile" and picked  few students to select a scientist to learn more about. Interestingly enough, very few of their drawing ended up wearing white lab coats! I have parent volunteers putting the project together next week. I'm excited to see how it comes out!

I always try to start the year with digital citizenship. A could of years ago I purchased the Nearpod version of the Common Sense Media curriculum. I love that I don't have to copy any pages before class starts. It is the perfect way to start the year in the STEAM Lab.

This year the elementary specialists got together and decided to try something new. I still see all elementary classes on a rotating basis, but we added a fourth day to the rotation. Instead of traveling to specials with the whole class, on the fourth day students go to Special Project Enrichment Classes (SPEC). Each quarter students have a different SPEC Class. We even had a team of teachers that have given up their planning once every four days in exchange for a stipend.

This quarter my SPEC class is all about LEGOs. My fourth and fifth graders get to travel into the high school STEM Lab. It has been a lot of work (and will be another post), but it has been worth it so far.

It was a full week, but it was the kind of week you look back at and feel good about. I've spent the weekend trying to distract myself from watching storm coverage and worrying about my mom and sister. I grew up in the Houston area and am praying for all those that are trying to deal with the effects of Harvey. Hang in there my Texas friends!

Have a great week!