Saturday, May 14, 2022

Exploravision, Cart Life, and Green Screen Summit

I am working on another post about my new favorite project from this school year, but I realized as I worked on it that my "occasional blogger" status means that I hadn't updated on things in a while.

First, my students won 2nd place in the 4th-6th grade division of NSTA/Toshiba's Exploravision competition. We are one of eight nationally recognized teams that will be heading to DC for an awards celebration next month. I am SO proud of The Replenishanator team and all that they accomplished! 


In other good news, we have 10 days left of school. Due to the pandemic and then to construction on our new building, I've taught from a cart for the last two years. Last year I pushed into classrooms and my cart had an extra monitor connected to the students at home on Zoom at the same time. This year everyone is in person, but I lost my classroom when others were relocated when the portables were removed to make way for the new building.

While this year has been just a little less crazy than the last, I think this video is still relevant. Look out for my specials team. We are the unicorns pushing carts at the 1:39 mark.



Speaking of summer, If you happen to be looking for a fun virtual PD opportunity during your time off, I suggest the Green Screen Summit.


I attended last year because one of my edtech creative heroes was presenting. I was absolutely delighted when she asked if I would present this year! Whether you are a newbie or a green screen addict, you will love this virtual event! Early bird pricing ends 5/15.  The event this year is July 20-23, but the sessions are recorded so you have flexibility in viewing. If you do sign up, please use my affiliate link so I get credit for it.

I hope that the end of the school year goes smoothly for you!


Thursday, March 24, 2022

Back to "Normal"

When things shut down in 2020, I decided that there were some things that I wasn't upset about missing. I really focused a lot on work/life balance. I have always been an ambitious person, but I discovered how much I like going to bed at a reasonable hour instead of working until I can't keep my eyes open. After the first 6 months or so when I took up making sourdough bread, I started going around my neighborhood trying to walk off the extra weight I put on due to my new hobby. I carved out time for myself and things that made me happy.

I found Twitter wasn't good for me at that time. While I usually love finding out the newest edtech ideas, there was too much noise. I had to step away.

In the last few weeks, things have started to feel more like "before." I have been staying up later. Events and projects that haven't happened since 2020 (or even 2019) are returning. One one hand it is exciting. On the other hand it has me reassessing my priorities.

Next week I am going to NSTA in Houston. I've missed conferences and the ideas I always come home with afterwards. I am also venturing back to Twitter. I have an exciting opportunity this summer and am realizing that it is time to reconnect.

I call myself an occasional blogger, but I guess this break was a little more than that. I think I'm ready to dip my toe back in the water and see where it takes me.


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!