Thursday, September 5, 2019

Classroom Wish List Links

So, a major social media site won't let me share my wish list links, so I'm getting creative.

STEAM Lab Wish List 2019-2020

STEAM Lab Book List 2019-2020

If you are able to help out with supplies for the STEAM Lab, I'd really appreciate it!


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

NSTA 2019


I’m writing this on the plane home from St. Louis, and finally posting it weeks later. I have to admit that I was not excited about the fact that NSTA was in the Show-Me-State. This is my third NSTA conference, and it was one of the best organized conferences that I have attended. Don't get me started on the food! We ate at so many fantastic places in downtown St. Louis. Yummy!





The conference kicked off with a keynote from retired astronaut Scott Kelly. His message was inspirational and informative. “I was trained not to focus on the things you can control, not the things you can’t.”




The results of the “twin study” were released just the next day. It was pretty neat to have heard his story and then to see him on the morning news the next day.


On Thursday I also had a Technology Advisory Board meeting. I am excited to get to work with the team this year.



The plane ride home is always my favorite time to reflect on what I’ve learned and to make plans for how to implement changes in my classroom. I attended two sessions in particular that made me think.

I actually attended a session that I had seen last year. I love the idea of holding a School Maker Faire. The team from South Orangetown Central School District was back again this year to explain how they hold a district-wide Maker Faire. With all the maker-resources we have on our campus, I think it would be amazing to showcase the work we are doing to the entire school community. The presenters talked about how many of the projects are done in school and saved, but others are done by students at home and brought in.



I also really like the “Science Fair of Optimization.” The 4-6 grade team from Captain Samuel Douglass Academy told of their science fair woes and how they were able to make things easier for the teacher, but still meaningful for the students. The developed group projects based on a problem that requires students to apply the engineering design process. Students are presented with a scenario based on a problem facing a cleverly named fake company. As a group they must decide what variables to test to solve the problem. Each student then completes a “science fair project” where they test the variable using the controls set by the group. At the end, the students come together to create a prototype using the information they learned from the individual projects.


Our school has not had an elementary science fair in a while and we are trying to move in that direction. Once of the problems is helping student to understand variables. I love that this project focuses on identifying variables and creating a way to test a single variable. I look forward to talking with our upper elementary teachers about the idea.

Our Bringing Student Creativity to Life in the Elementary Science Classroom workshop presentation was one of the best that Cara and I have done. Just a few weeks ago we were panicked because HP Reveal Studio is in transition and we cannot create augmented reality projects using that website. At FETC, we learned about Thyng. We sent them a message and the responded almost right away. They have been great to work with and even stayed in the office late on a Friday to be “on-hand” during our workshop. The projects look great and we think they are going to be a great tool for our First Grade Garden next month.




The workshop was a lot of fun. We set up the green screen and demo-ed how simple it is to use the Green Screen app by DoInk. We were the last session of the day, but we had a nice crowd and got some great feedback.


Saturday morning Suzette joined us to add her middle school perspective to Transforming Your Science Classroom with Technology. It was an 8am session on a Saturday morning in a very large room.






We had a nice crowd and got some great feedback. After the session, a STEM Coordinator stopped us to ask questions. She said that her district had a lot of the tools and resources that we talked about, but that the teachers were not using them in a way that connects to the standards. One of the greatest compliments to me was the fact that beyond all the tools we told about, it was the way we used the tools that stood out to her.





We did have time to enjoy a little bit of the city. We walked to the Gateway Arch one evening.





We also made it to the Botanical Gardens and the St. Louis Zoo.



The biggest surprise of all though was the weather on Sunday.


We knew it was going to be cold and rainy, but the temperature dipped and we actually saw some snowflakes and winter mix. For three teachers from Florida, that’s a big deal!


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!