Skype Tip of the Day

For the beginning Skype for Business user:

Skype can be used for reoccurring meeting events. If you get an email invitation to the event and add it to your Office 365 calendar, you do not have to go to your calendar to attend the event. I have an event that happens every morning and my laptop is the SLOWEST to boot in the AM. Skype for Business (which is connected to my Office 365) is the first window that pops up though. So I attend the meeting this way –

skype home 1_LI
skype meeting 1
You can still get there through your email or calendar, but this is a bit more efficient.

Fun Sites

In October, we talked about finding safe sites that are just right for kids (elementary). The internet can be a great place for children to learn and explore and it can also be a dangerous place to learn and explore. We compared websites to field trips. Some places would not be safe places to visit on a field trip. We used the example of going to a construction site with 125 1st graders. While it might be fun to look at, it wouldn’t be safe. In order to make sure students are safe, they should ask a trusted adult about a site before going to it. They should ‘stay with the group’ and stay on the site that is just right for them. They should also let an adult know right away if something seems wrong. We visited two sites that were just right for them – the San Diego Zoo Kids website and the Museum of Modern Art website. Both great resources for students. I may even be a bit addicted to the live cams on the San Diego Zoo website. I love watching the giant panda!

Not August but everything after

So my personal goal of blogging a minimum of once a week has been blown out of the water. August has been a blur of starting back to school and taking on additional outside ID development projects. A great and challenging August but not good for the site. This summer I attended professional development for using Engineering thinking in schools and I loved the ideas people shared and their projects in development. But that was the summer. Now we are in the school year and between switching to standards based grading and the amount of testing and curriculum adjustments being given to teachers so far this year (I believe the phrase is ‘building the plane while flying’), there is little room for more. My goal then is to take the engineering thinking and model it in my technology time with my students. I am working on creating a curriculum that includes engineering thinking, technology, digital literacy, and digital citizenship in the 30 minutes I see students each week. I will be working on this curriculum this year and sharing some of the lessons (what works and doesn’t) here. I would love to hear suggestions from anyone who has implemented these ideas in their classroom curriculum. I am looking forward to the challenge and building something that benefits students and supports what teachers are doing in their classrooms as well. Hopefully, you’ll hear about it more often than every other month.

Solar Eclipse Resources

August 21st is the big day here in Nashville and, while we initially not going to be in school, we will have students that day. Here is a list of resources for learning about the eclipse and some activities that can be done in your school/classroom. I will keep adding to it as I find ideas and info.

American Astronomical Society – links for K-12 educators to learn about the eclipse

NASA – links with info and printables and activity ideas

Article on Preparing for the Eclipse (elem)

The Big Eclipse (elem age book that explains and comes with a set of glasses and how to build a simple solar projector) and The Big Eclipse Activity Book

Austin Peay has some great curriculum resources for teachers. (Brainpop, Nearpod, Socrative) More here.

More to come…




Safe Youtube

Day Two Conference Fun Tips (well one of them anyway)

So many good videos are posted on youtube


you never know what ads or followup movies will pop up while you are showing them in class.

So here are two sites you can use to safely show youtube videos. The idea is that you copy the link of the youtube video you would like to show and paste it on one of these sites. The site will then give you the opportunity to watch the video safely. It will also give you another url (website address) that you can copy and paste in your address bar. That link will take you to your video without ads or unrelated video clips popping up. This is great if you are creating a resource guide for students and you don’t want to direct them to youtube.


Summer PD (professional development) Day 1

Well, it did not look like this, but it was refreshing in focus and allowed time to build a good list of ideas for the 17-18 school year. One thing that always strikes me at conferences or meetings where we work in groups is how great collaboration is for the greater educational system. So good to listen to ideas being shared and new ideas being incorporated into already amazing classrooms. Our focus is design and innovation with a subtext of STEM (or STEAM) which also focuses on design and innovation. I’ll post links to resources as the week goes on, but the main idea I took away from today came from a table mate as we talked about optimism in designing and innovating for the classroom. She said something to the effect of new projects require optimism to succeed – the bigger the project the more optimism you need. Here’s the video we were watching and discussing (among others).

How valuable is optimism to the success of your school? What about the greater field of education?


Buh-bye May, Helloooo Summer

Summer is a generous term for June and half of July (not to mention the PD days I’ll be subtracting from those few weeks). But that’s okay, ’cause SUMMER. I listened to a great podcast recently that talked about ways to use your summer to get organized. I’ll admit I have a list on my desk with all the things I am going to get caught up on over summer and I’ll also admit that if I check one box I will dub this summer a success. But that doesn’t keep me from making lists.

Back to the podcast. Angela Watson from Truth for Teachers has a great episode about ways to get organized. My favorite – getting your files organized in a cloud based setting such as Dropbox. I love this idea especially since I have two computers (work and personal) and two jobs (tech coach and instructional designer) so this has the potential to make me twice as crazy. I have a pretty good file system set up on my computers, but it would be great to have one space for it all just in case. Anyway, I love the ideas in this podcast and think classroom teachers would benefit immensely from the advice. Maybe you could add it to your checklist of things to get caught up this summer…