Sat.Aug 01, 2015 - Fri.Aug 07, 2015

Back to School Savings with #Teacher Appreciation Event at #Staples

The CoolCatTeacher

Sponsored by Staples Back to school already? Yes it is! I go back to school August 10, so I’ll so be hitting Staples for their Teacher Appreciation event August 2-9. Hopefully, you’ve all already joined the Staples Teacher Rewards Program.

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Vocabulary Strategies for Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic Learners

Ed Tech from the Ground Up

When it comes to vocabulary instruction, most of the commonly-used instructional techniques, particularly at the middle school and high school levels, tend to favor visual learners. But what about all the auditory and kinesthetic learners? Click the headline to read the full post. Questions?

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Ed Talk: Connect to an Authentic Audience

Catlin Tucker

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of delivering an Ed Talk at the California Teacher’s Summit. My talk was focused on the importance of helping students find their voices and connect with an authentic audience. The California Teachers’ Summit was for teachers by teachers.

A New Model for Coding in Schools

Digital Promise

Erica is the communications manager at Digital Promise. You can reach her on Twitter at @EricaLawton. “It happened one fateful rainy day” sounds more like the start of a romantic comedy than that of an ed-tech transformation. But in South Fayette Township School District , Pa.,

5 Costly Inventory Management Mistakes Schools Should Avoid

If your school is like most, inventory and/or asset management plays a critical role in daily operations.

Leading With Video

A Principal's Reflections

There is no denying the power of video in society. In a 2014 Forbes article , Richard Tiland makes some significant points when it comes to video and leadership. For example: The use of video is so ubiquitous in our everyday lives; it has become part of our subconscious.

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More Trending

Tech Tip #109: Five Second Back-up

Ask a Tech Teacher

As a working technology teacher, I get hundreds of questions from parents about their home computers, how to do stuff, how to solve problems. Each week, I’ll share one of those with you. They’re always brief and always focused. Enjoy! Q: I’m paranoid of losing lesson plans, report card comments, and other school work. I back up, but is that enough? A: Truth, I am the most paranoid person I know about technology.

Back to School Like A Boss! 10 Survival Tips!

Teacher Reboot Camp

When starting with a new group of learners, I am hardly able to sleep the night before. Next week, I begin a new course and trust me I’m pretty nervous. However, I welcome the excitement, because I know as a teacher, I have the important mission of guiding the learning journeys of many. According to Teachers Count, the average teacher impacts 3000 students within a lifetime. How many will you impact this year? What kind of impact will your students have on others and the world?

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How Big is My Dinosaur?

Battelle for Kids

August 3, 2015, Volume 2, Issue 9, Number 1. Driving Question: How can a 2nd grade teacher team design a new way of learning for their students?

Beyond "Ditching the Desks," 9 Creative Ways to Avoid "The Cemetery Effect"


Avoiding “The Cemetery Effect” a collaborative post via Thomas Murray and Erin Klein - click here to download Erin's FREE 18 page eBook with images, templates, printables, and more - This first segment reads from the Voice of Thomas Murray : State and District Digital Learning Director for the Alliance of Excellent Education , Washington D.C. A few months ago while driving through back roads in Pennsylvania, I came across a carefully laid out cemetery. Each stone was equidistant from the other. Rows were impeccably aligned, all seemingly facing the same direction. The plot of land was a perfect rectangle. With the exception of some updated landscaping, the space remained seemingly untouched for a number of decades. My heart sunk when I thought about how this space - a cemetery - resembled the first classroom learning environment that I had created for my first class of fourth graders. No, the students weren’t zombies, nor were my thoughts morbid. The physical environment - the learning space - that I created early on as a teacher, would have looked almost identical to the cemetery if drawn on a map. Add some tennis balls to the bottom of the stones, a large, oversized, wooden teacher desk in the corner, an interactive white board and American flag on the front wall, and not only does one have the first classroom environment that I created; but an environment that resembles many of today’s classrooms. These classrooms are seemingly suffering from what I’ll coin, “The Cemetery Effect”. Spaces like the one in a country field in Pennsylvania are not the only thing that have remained virtually the same for decades or longer. Side-by-side images of classrooms from 1915 and ones from 2015 yield eerie similarities, even after 100-years of life changing research and innovation. 1915 Image Credit: (via Google Images); 2015 Image Credit: (via Google Images) During the industrial era where students were essentially trained to work in factories, “career readiness” meant preparing for jobs where a worker would spend hours a day performing the same task, often even spending his/her entire career at the same company. The one-size-fits-all, sit and get instructional model where the ability to regurgitate was the key to success, was a sufficient paradigm for that world of work. But that world of work no longer exists in our nation. With such changes, the need to redesign our students’ learning environments becomes not simply an idea from the latest Pinterest board, but one of necessity. How can schools and classrooms transform from an industrial era model yielding teacher-centric environments with desks in rows and all students facing forward, to ones that are student-centered, personalized, and leverage the power of technology? Freebie for Kleinspiration Readers. Simply Hop on Over to Tom's Blog to Download My Free 18 Page eBook with Printables, Classroom Photos, and More! Classroom design consultant and Classroom Cribs co-founder, Erin Klein , shares the following tips to help educators avoid “The Cemetery Effect”. Thank you - Tom Murray 9 Creative Ways to Avoid "The Cemetery Effect" For All Classrooms Being a current elementary teacher, I strive to create an environment that is highly engaging and interactive for my students. The last thing I’d ever wish for is to cultivate a class culture that supported a factory-based instructional model where students sat in desks in rows, answered only when called upon via raised hands, and where I was the sole delivery method of content. Instead, together, we aim to develop a space that is different each year: one that suits the needs of each class. Because the class is different each year, the space must be flexible enough to adapt to the users of the environment with each changing year. During our first few days together, we sit together to think about what would work best for our learning objectives. We discuss the value in creating a space where all voices are equal and sharing is an organic process: not one that happens only when we are asked to “turn and talk” at designated times during the lesson. My second grader’s voice is instrumental in the design process. After all, they are the ones who will be utilizing the square footage, so it only makes sense to consult with them regarding their ideas. They understand that in order to have the level of collaboration we want, we need to design a space that not only encourages conversation but allows for it. As educators, we must realize that our traditional spaces will only continue to reinforce traditional teaching and learning. We have an opportunity to transform teaching and learning within the confines of our classroom spaces. What type of learning space would you want to learn in? What would you want for your own son or daughter? Prior to becoming a teacher, I studied Interior Design for a number of years. As a designer, I’ve learned the importance of satisfying your customer's vision. We all have unique styles; however, what makes one successful is when he or she can translate that customer vision into a shared, tangible idea which can be observed and felt. Stated differently, how can we take the ideas of our children and help them come to life in our schools? The following tips are successful and simple ideas I’ve curated from students and educators over the years working to transform learning environments and enhance student engagement. Incorporate the Student Voice Think about your space. What is your student to teacher ratio? Who do we ask to do most of the work within this particular space? I start each presentation I give explaining how becoming a mother changed the way I teach. I paraphrase the famous quote, “Everyone in my classroom is someone else’s entire world.” It is important for me to let others know the reasons behind the decisions I make in my classroom. Parents send me their most precious joys each day, trusting that I will make the best decisions for their child throughout the year. I promise to be the type of teacher that I’d want for my own Jacob and Riley. That means I vow to give my students my very best each day; however, part of what I’ve come to realize is that sometimes (most times). it’s not actually about me at all - it’s about the kids. Before I was a parent, I was the teacher who had “the perfect classroom:” all set up and ready to go weeks before the first day. Name tags were on desks. Desks were perfectly organized into rows or small groups. Posters were laminated and displayed on every wall. Copies were made weeks in advance. Lesson plans were written for at least the first month. And… my name was proudly displayed outside of my classroom door. Now, I cringe at how I launched those early days of my career. Don’t get me wrong. I’m an advocate for being prepared, planning ahead, and taking pride in one’s work. Being clinically diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, it’s in my nature to be such teacher. However, the day my son came home from school so excited about being able to pick his own seat, add his art to the classroom wall, receive a “cool, meaningful, authentic” classroom job, and being used as a model for good ideas shared during a class discussion was the day I began to think differently about my practice as a classroom teacher. Thank you Mrs. Fleer! Jacob has had many wonderful and inspiring educators in his early years of school, but what Mrs. Fleer did for him was give him voice. His ideas mattered. It wasn’t “her classroom;” it was their classroom. This was evident. I encourage you to hold off on finishing your classroom library. Allow your students to help separate the books into genres. I bet they’ll be more willing to put the books back in the correct spots. How about leaving some walls blank, encouraging a space for students to add their contributions. What if we didn’t have name tags on desks on the first day of school? Instead… students picked up their nametag and selected a spot around the room where they felt comfortable - whether in a desk, rocking chair, or cozy nook in the corner. What if students got to share their learning goals on the first day of school instead of “being taught the classroom expectations” or “putting their names on their supplies and finding out where you want them to go?” How would those small changes set the stage for the remainder of the year? Ann Landers once said, “It’s not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.” Ditch the Desks I’ve written a lot about removing the desks from our classroom. Our space use to be a music room. The room is long and narrow. No matter how I arranged the desks, I could never navigate my way to certain areas. Thus, some students naturally received less personalized support. Once we received a cart of iPads, it became logistically impossible to encourage learners to collaborate and share since the furniture inhibited the ability to be flexible within the space. That’s when I knew I had to not only “ditch the student desks” but I had to remove my massive desk that was merely a counter to hold our computer, printer, document camera, and stacks of papers. Doing so allowed for increased flexibility when working together, in small groups, or independently. To Foster Productivity and Creativity in Class, Ditch the Desks! Ditching the Desks in Second Grade Is it Time to Get Rid of the Desks in the Classroom? Ditching the Desk Redesign for a Brain and Budget Friendly Space Vast amounts of research has went into determining what sort of design works best for learning in various settings. My favorite research supports what I believe “just makes sense” for kids. Carefully select colors and patterns Creating a space that is gender neutral is important. Boys and girls alike should feel welcomed in their space. As tempted as we may be to outfit our rooms in hot pink chevron patterns, we must be cognizant of the student’s needs and level of comfort. Patterns should also be minimal in effort to not distract student’s attention from the content displayed. Save energy and headaches with lighting choices When possible, eliminate the use of harsh fluorescent lighting. A darker room will not only reduce the glare on your boards but may also be a more relaxing space to focus. Natural light is best. However, incandescent lighting (lamps) are easier on the eyes than bright overheads. Eye level displays Who loves to sit at the theater - front row, neck stretched, objects distorted? When we place items, like number lines, to border our ceilings (and laminate them) not only does a massive glare prevent us from seeing the resource, but the height makes the information inaccessible for learning. Bringing objects eye level allows students to touch, see, and use the materials to support their understanding. Indulge their senses Prior to having a son with a sensory disorder, I may not have paid much attention to this tip. But think about it… when you go to the spa, how are you able to relax? How does the environment affect the way you feel? When you walk into a children’s play facility like Chuck e Cheese, how does the environment change your actions? What colors do you see? What sounds do you hear? How does it smell? If you walk into the children’s corner of a Barnes and Noble, what does it look like? What is the clear focus of the space? Can you tell what is valued in the space? How is the environment setup? What are children doing? Declutter. Our classrooms aren’t a storage space for teacher supplies. They are a workshop for student learning and should reflect such. If there are more teacher files and binders seen in the classroom than games, manuplatives, and work areas for kids to create, collaborate, and share, what message does that say about what we deem valuable for that space? Whose space is it? Flexible seating Not just children, but all people, enjoy choice and comfort. Because students are spending a significant amount of their day in our schools, they should be afforded the opportunity to be comfortable as they learn. How do you focus best? What does your “just-right” work-space look like? feel like? Do you naturally gravitate towards blue, plastic chairs tucked tightly under a hard, small rectangular surface with limited space for your belongings? Continue Professional Learning As students suggest ideas, it’s up to us to have a professional toolbox comprehensive enough to know how to transfer their creative ideas into tangible applications to enhance curriculum and instruction. How do we continue to learn professionally when time is a factor? We are all very busy. How do we attend various conferences or continue to learn when budget resources are limited? What about once you’ve overcome the time and budget factors, how do you decide what conference to attend or even once there - which presenters to see or sessions to go to with so many choices? These are questions I’m often asked by fellow educators across the country. I always start by recommending their state reading association conference or state technology association conference. I also recommend attending an unConference like an EdCamp which is free and led by the participants who attend. Then I share a few of my favorites like Miami Device in November or one I’m excited about such as the What Great Educators Do Differently conference coming up in October. As far as which presenters to see once at a conference, I start by recommending sessions led by actual classroom teachers. This way, you’re more likely to see examples of what’s actually happening daily for kids in order to elevate their understanding and engagement. I also enjoy sessions by members of the National Writing Project because they tend to be more demonstration based on strong pedagogy and less tool or device focused. Lastly, my “must-attend sessions” always include my favorite authors. I’ve learned so much from attending sessions by incredible authors like Donalyn Miller , Troy Hicks , and Kristen Ziempke. But above all, it’s important for educators to know that now more than ever professional learning can happen anytime, anywhere. Anytime/Anywhere Professional Learning Books - an oldie but goodie Some of my favorite titles that have changed the way I teach or impacted me professional are: There Are No Shortcuts Best Year Ever The Book Whisperer Leading Professional Learning Assessing Students’ Digital Writing anything by Maria Dismondy Readicide Passionate Learners Unshakable Outliers A Child Called It Twitter - check out this full list of Twitter chats and times Some of my favorite chats are: #edchat, #edtechchat, #miched, and #ntchat Periscope - watch educators share conference highlights, classroom practices, and teacher tips live Here are some great educators to follow on Periscope ! You can find me @KleinErin on Periscope. What’s Periscope? You can click here to read more - awesome post and beautifully illustrated through images! Voxer - set up or join groups to discuss ideas, trends, and content that is related to your practice. I invite you to view the list of educators already Voxing that Joe Mazza has curated. TED Talks - sit back, relax, listen, learn, and enjoy! A few of my favorite Talks include: anything by Sir Ken Robinson (view all!) The Puzzle of Motivation - Dan Pink How to Fix a Broken School? (Lead Fearlessly, Love Hard) - Linda Cliatt Wayman If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn. -Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Estrada How will you decide to teach your children this year? What will your learning space look like? How will you continue to model lifelong learning? Connect with Erin and Tom Throughout the Year As Tom and I travel the country, presenting, consulting, and coaching, we will share insights from inside classroom spaces along with what leadership teams and fellow educators are doing to transform their learning spaces for teaching and learning. Be sure to also connect with our two Classroom Cribs co-Founders: AJ Juliani and Ben Gilpin. If you're interested in contacting us for any speaking engagements or consulting work, please reach out to either of us via the contact pages on our blogs. We'd love to work with your school or district! Lead Image Credit: Cemetery Effect Images: (via subscription), altered. class design classroom cribs ditching the desks educational consultants Erin Klein innovative classrooms learning spaces maker spaces setting up classroom the cemetery effect Tom Murray

Teachers’ Guide to Plagiarism

This article provides teachers with a step-by-step guide on how to handle plagiarism in the classroom: it examines the definition of the term "plagiarism" and its types with examples, describes common reasons students plagiarize, and provides tips for teachers to detect and prevent plagiarism among students.

6 Sites + 12 + 6 About Coin Counting

Ask a Tech Teacher

Second graders (sometimes first graders) learn about money. The only way to really ‘get it’ is repetition. Here’s a list of websites to provide redundancy for each type of learner: Coin Counting. Counting Money. Money—counting. Piggy Bank. H.I.P. Pocket Change. Cash Out. For a longer list that includes concepts like ‘economics’, try these: Coins and Counting Money. Brain Pop Learn about Money. Cashtivity. Coin games —from US Mint. Count Money. Face on money.

Teaching the Emoji Generation: 12+ Activities & Resources

Teacher Reboot Camp

Part of the Mobile Learning category ! Although an emoticon may look like a smile, a frown or any number of facial expressions, it doesn’t represent a face, as many internet users assume. It’s actually intended to convey a feeling (“I’m happy,” or “just joking”).” – Lauren Collister. Our students humanize their digital experience with text speak, emoji, and selfies.

Reframing Negative Experiences: 6 Questions that Help Kids Learn from Failure

Brilliant or Insane

Brilliant or Insane When students reflect in order to reframe negative experiences, they find themselves better able to learn from failure and eventually move beyond them.

It’s not that you don’t have enough money, it’s that you don’t spend it wisely

Dangerously Irrelevant

Like Kansas with its poor , Governor Terry Branstad wants Iowa schools to be more accountable for their spending of state dollars.

Custom eLearning: What to Consider as an L&D Manager

A custom eLearning project is an exciting opportunity, but any L&D Manager will also tell you it can be challenging. Inno-versity shares 5 points to consider before kicking off your project. These concepts are critical to addressing the most common pain points which, IF addressed, will ensure success.

Tech Ed Resources for your Class–K-8 Keyboard Curriculum

Ask a Tech Teacher

Overview. K-8 Keyboard Curriculum (four options plus one)–teacher handbook, student workbooks, companion videos–and help for homeschoolers. 2-Volume Ultimate Guide to Keyboarding. K-5 (237 pages) and Middle School (80 pages), 100 images, 7 assessments. K-5–print/digital; Middle School–digital delivery only. Aligned with Student workbooks and student videos (free with licensed set of student workbooks). Doesn’t include: Student workbooks or videos. __.

Let’s Get to Know You! 20+ Icebreakers for Kids

Teacher Reboot Camp

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” by Plato. The beginning of the school year is a great time to lay the foundations for transforming your young learner classes into peer communities. As part of their development, children need to learn how to play and disagree with each other respectfully.

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I Gave Every Single Student an A and Then.

Brilliant or Insane

Brilliant or Insane I Gave Every Single Student an A and Then. By Phil Hanney Last Year, I took advice from a Brilliant or Insane blog post and gave every single student in all of my classes an A. It was one of the most liberating experiences I have ever had.

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Are You A Follower of Craig Yen? If So… We Want To Hear From YOU! | @CraigYen


Are you an educator? Are you on Twitter? Do you know Craig yen??? Of course… if the answer to 1 and 2 are yes… the answer to 3 MUST be YES! The Setup. On August 1, the world participated in EdCamp Global.

Key Elements for Successful eLearning Projects

Discover how this rapid development process creates engaging, custom learning solutions on a timeline that works for you, why a strong learning culture is important, and how to showcase your Return on Learning (ROL) using data to tell the story.

PBL Is Not Your Grandmother’s (Or Yours Either) Project

Battelle for Kids

August 5, 2015, Volume 2, Issue 9, Number 3. Driving Question: How do parents and educators tell the difference between obsolete 20th Century instruction and new 21st Century instruction? Introduction of the letters "P-B-L" to many educators brings a highly predictable shrug. "So So what else is new?" they ask. We've been doing projects since time started."

3 tips on incorporating special education into your blended-learning design

The Christensen Institute

This week I had the pleasure of participating in a discussion with the National Center for Learning Disabilities on how special education teachers and advocates can champion and inform the rise of personalized and blended learning in K–12 systems across the country.

10 Things Veteran Teachers Want First Year Teachers to Know

Brilliant or Insane

Brilliant or Insane Shortly after posting 10 Tough Truths About Your First Year of Teaching, friends of mine began reaching out to share their own tough truths and a bit of hope as well. You need to tell new teachers how it gets better,” one of them suggested.


Dell Education Announces brand new Teaching and Learning Academy! | @DellEDU


Jeff sits down with Jon Phillips, Managing Director, Strategy of Worldwide Education at Dell Education to discuss their global strategy for educational professional development.

The Ultimate 12 Step Guide For Choosing The Perfect Learning Management System

Picking the wrong LMS can cost you. Don’t settle for a disconnected, hard-to-use, expensive system that doesn’t meet your needs. Follow these 12 steps crafted by Lambda Solutions' LMS experts, and find your perfect eLearning solution!

An Obstacle to the Ubiquitous Adoption of OER in US Higher Education

Iterating Toward Openness

Last week I enjoyed some quiet vacation time – sans wifi – on a lake in rural Tennessee with my family. This break gave me some time to think, worry, and write.

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Beyond Assessment: 3 Other Uses for Socrative – From Beth Holland


This post first appeared on Free Technology for Teachers and featured as a #TechTipTuesday. Socrative is a free student response system that works on any device. With its built-in quick questions and quiz options, it is an incredible resource for formative and summative assessments.

How should quality assurance for competency-based ed work?

The Christensen Institute

This post was first published on CompetencyWorks. As online, competency-based learning gains steam in higher education, a critical question is emerging. If the federal government will fund competency-based programs through Title IV dollars, how should it think about regulating these programs?

TechEducator Podcast Episode 100! | What Have We Learned… so far?


Welcome to the 100th episode of the TechEducator Podcast. Our show started in February of 2013 with an idea to create a demonstration based round table video/audio show. Sam Patterson, Jeff Herb, Jon Samuelson and myself created the first TechEducator Podcast.

Leveraging Learner Variability to Elevate Equity in EdTech

Speaker: Vic Vuchic, Chief Innovation Officer & Executive Director, Learner Variability Project

In this webinar, Vic Vuchic, Chief Innovation Officer of Digital Promise, will share his insights into the modern boom in neuroscience and learning sciences research. You'll discover how much more we know now about how students learn - and how we can use that knowledge to create EdTech-enabled classrooms that can meet the diverse needs of all students.