• ISTE Standards for Coaches

    Redesigning Math Courses for Distance Learning

    Nearpod  Nearpod is an ingenious platform that allows teachers to create tech-infused lessons. I believe Nearpod can help teachers deliver quality instruction during distance learning that is also fun and engaging for students. You can find Nearpod online or by downloading the free app. There are synchronous and asynchronous options for teaching. On their website, Nearpod advertises: “Easily synchronize and control live lessons across all student devices. Seamlessly use your favorite web conferencing platform for distance learning settings.” However, there is also the option for asynchronous lessons that can be assigned to students so that they can access them anytime and anywhere. Perhaps you’ve also been trying to figure out…

  • Teaching, Learning and Assessments

    The Power of a Podcast

    Ever wonder what it would be like if sharks had legs?  How about if it was possible to teach science through silly songs?  Or where you can hear music from the Jelly of the Month Club and the Boogers?  Then you need to check out podcasts. From exploring little-known moments in history to discussing questions like “Is it okay to fight bullies?”, podcasts will get you thinking, laughing, and questioning. Why podcasts should be a part of every classroom: Podcasts are a great way to give students voice and empower them to creatively share what they’re learning about. They can become a summative performance task for virtually every subject. For…

  • Teaching, Learning and Assessments

    The C’s of Distance Learning

    Exploring Best Practices This worldwide pandemic has pushed millions of teachers and students into the realm of distance learning. While the concept of distance learning is not new, it is for many of us and it offers a new set of challenges that differ from classroom instruction. So today I would like to explore the question together: What are best practices of distance learning? My principal has asked me to lead a professional development session on this very topic. And my first thought was “Me? I don’t feel equipped.” I wouldn’t want to stand and lecture as the “expert”- I am by no means the expert on distance learning. So…

  • Teaching, Learning and Assessments

    Should I Join the Maker Movement?

    And the Learning Sciences Behind Them What is a MakerSpace? Makerspaces have been a hot fad in the educational world for the past couple of years. What are they all about and are they worth our time and money? What do the learning sciences tell us about makerspaces? Jennifer Gonzalez, the author of the popular blog Cult of Pedagogy, interviewed John Spencer on his expertise in makerspaces. Spencer has co-authored two books, Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student, and Empower: What Happens When Students Own their Learning. When asked to explain what a makerspace was Spencer (2018) said: I see a…

  • Teaching, Learning and Assessments

    Scoping out Skype

    A collaborative tool that gives students authentic, real-world learning experiences. Our world is smaller than ever. No longer are we limited by geography, our social-economic status, or level of education. With the advancement of technology we now can collaborate with people from different countries and cultures, tap into the web’s medical database to solve complex problems, or start a revolution overnight through social media. Likewise, teachers in the 21st century can harness the power of technology to connect their classroom with people from around the world, exposing their students to different thoughts, cultures, and beliefs. One way teachers can do this is through Skype in the Classroom. This multifaceted resource…

  • ISTE Standards for Coaches

    The Ultimate STEM Challenge

    The Plan Last year my school decided to adopt the Code.org curriculum K-5 to help equip our students with basic coding skills. This year, our technology teacher has teamed up with classroom teachers to teach the plugged and unplugged lessons in this awesome and free curriculum. To support them in this endeavor as the digital learning coach on campus, I worked with staff to develop curriculum that incorporates more Computer Science (CS) skills. Therefore, I had the fun idea to plan and lead a school-wide STEM challenge that focused on coding. I thought it would provide support to staff as they learn more about CS themselves, and give the students…

  • Teaching, Learning and Assessments

    How to Harness the Power of Global Collaboration

    Back in 3rd grade, I had a pen pal. I remember the thrill of getting a letter in the mail and tearing it open to find some girly stationery, most likely covered in stickers and written in gel pen (you guys know what I’m talking about, right?). Third-graders today have no need to hand-write a letter and wait the subsequent weeks to hear back. With the increase in technology and accessibility to devices, students can now participate in a digital world and communicate with others in a plethora of ways (i.e. “liking” a Facebook picture, retweeting someone on Twitter, archiving their style and interests on Pinterest). I think we should…

  • Teaching, Learning and Assessments

    Computational Thinking and Play

    I had an “Ah-ha!” moment this week. You know, one of those moments when you connect the dots or it feels like a light bulb had just been switched on in your brain. Previously when I heard the term computational thinking it was usually in the same conversation as computer science. So I had believed that computational thinking was part of the computer programming process. However, after learning more about ISTE student standard 5 this week, I found out that the two are frequently used together but are two separate things. At a glance: Let’s dig in deeper: So what is computational thinking?  In a Google education video, What is…

  • Teaching, Learning and Assessments

    Using STEM to Encourage Innovative Designers

    The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) highlights in standard 4 the importance of encouraging students to be innovative designers. Laura McLaughlin (2017) commented that by encouraging students to think through problems and come up with creative solutions, we are helping foster adults who will be open-minded, flexible, self-directed problem solvers who can make a difference in their own communities and the world.   One way to give your students opportunities to be innovative designers is to do STEM challenges in your classroom. What is STEM?  The acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM instruction is a unique approach to learning that allows students to work through a…

  • Teaching, Learning and Assessments

    Training Our Students To Be Internet Search Masters

    You’ve probably encountered something similar in your classroom. Just imagine…. You’ve just shared with your students a research project you’re really excited about. Perhaps it’s geared towards exploring a current event in the news, learning more about animals in the Amazon, or letting students loose online to explore their own inquiry question for Genius Hour. You’ve explained expectations and have just given them the green light to start searching the web. However, to your dismay, as you wander the room you watch students typing full sentences into their search bar. Hands quickly fly into their air as they become click happy selecting websites, advertisements, etc. They struggle to summarize and…

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