Monday, April 28, 2008

Safe, Free Emails & Blogs

Safely connect, collaborate and learn using protected email and blog solutions for schools and districts.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Great show

Here's a great presentation (without the great presenter, unfortunately) on teaching in the 21st century. You can get the idea, even without audio explanation.

Making Kids Googlable

From weblogg-ed:

...what are you doing to insure the kids in your classrooms are “Googled well” when they go for their own interviews? And I don’t just mean telling them NOT to post certain things online. I mean what are you doing to help students shape their online portfolios so that when their future employers or future mates run the search, what they find is not just a lack of negatives but a potential plethora of positives? Not surprisingly, the answer is basically “not much.”

Google Earth 4.3 Released Today

With this updated version, you can now know the date the satellite pictures were taken.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Online Resources for Advanced Placement Teachers

Michelle Mehlberg, DOE, is an excellent resource for teachers, administrators and guidance counselors. She possesses a thorough knowledge of the Advanced Placement Program, APEX Learning and Learning Power. Michelle encourages AP teachers to register for the AP Listserve on the website to receive information from her specific to AP Courses. In this session, she walked participants through the website to familiarize them with the student, parent and educator information centers. College Board offers resources to teachers and Michelle said the resources can be trusted and are solid. School districts need to be certain their AP courses have passed the AP Audit so their students may take the AP Exams.

Focus on Learning from Allison Knox keynote

Think about this--workers of tomorrow need to be motivated self-learners. In what ways can teachers utilize the 21st century skills framework to provide students with the skills and knowledge and abilities to succeed in a global economy, in their 21st century futures?

Read How People Learn by Dr. John Bransford to find out more about:

  • Teachers must draw out and work with the preexisting understandings that their studnts bring with them.
  • Teachers must teach some subject matter in depth, providing many examples in which the same concept is at work and providing a firm foundation of factual knowledge.
  • The teaching of metacognitive skills whould be integrated into the curriculum in a variety of subject areas.

If you are doing these things, great! Are your colleagues? As teacher leaders, do we help each other to make sure these things are happening in our classrooms? How many of us have the courage to throw out what's not working? Do we even know if something is working or not?

And remember--21st century skills does not equal technology. Technology is a major player, but it's about good teaching and learning, it's about authentic learning opportunities, it's about formative assessment, it's about critical thinking, creativity, and innovation.

Teach to the Beat

I attended this breakout session facilitated by our very own John Swanson. John offered several ideas to the participants on making the lessons meaningful and productive. First and foremost, we must decide just what is it that we want to get across. Once we've chosen an objective, it is then we can begin our song selection. When allowing students to choose, it's very important to review the lyrics to insure classroomm appropriateness. We want our students to contribute, but we want them to be responsible as well.
Using music in the classroom has limitless classroom applications from the language arts classroom to the sociology classroom. It's the delivery that is important. John modeled the Socratic Seminar: ask a question, then wait for discussion. If discussion doesn't take off right away, be patient. It may be necessary to rephrase the question, then wait. When using the Socratic method in the classroom, seat everyone in a circle so the discussion and ideas can circulate amongst the participants.
Using a medium that students are familiar with will enhance the experience; they will be engaged. Students will have a chance to showcase their lyrical favorites. Those who do not usually contribute to class discussion may feel comfortable and knowledgeable to speak. Almost everyone has a song or album or artist they identify with. Find out why. Get them to share. Scaffold the learning: how does music reflect the world's activities? Each and every student has an opinion. Geting them to share and feel comfortable doing so is key.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Curriculum Mapping: Moving on and Making Use of the Data with PLCs

Curriculum Mapping: Moving on and Making Use of the Data with PLCs
Tim Mitchell, Chamberlain School District & Tammy Bauck, Three-Rivers Special Svcs Coop
Tim Mitchell called professional learning communities and curriculum mapping a match made in heaven. These two vehicles encourage staff members to engage in the important professional conversations that are essential to improving student achievement.
Mitchell said there is a need to work on collaboration skills as well as the content. He said it just doesn’t work to put teachers in a room together and tell them to collaborate and come out with a product.
Tammy Bauck said PLC’s still answer the questions, What do students need to know? How do we know they know it? What do we do when they don’t know? What do we do when they do know?
Go to Tim’s Website to see slides and resources.

Second Life for Education‎: ‎A virtual learning environment

In this breakout, Julie Mathiesen demonstrated the online virtual world, Second Life, a fascinating representation of the future of human interaction in a globally networked world. As a noob (new) participant to this environment, it was exciting to see the teaching/learning potential as we explored the human genome, jumped into a eukaryotic cell, and were teleported to the Lourve Museum …very cool!!

Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works

In answering the question, Why Technology? Roxanne Everhard made the statistics from Marzano’s work easy to understand and builds a case for reading and using the texts: What Works in Schools, Classroom Instruction that Works, Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. From her experience, Roxanne explains to us “Our students and children these days demand technology, they don’t just want it, they demand it.” From Survey Monkey,,, Wikispaces, to blogs, Roxanne leads us through some Web 2.0 technologies. For more information on Using Classroom Instruction that Works, sign up for the online graduate course at ESA 6 or TIE. You can also call the TIE office or email Roxanne Everhard or Jackie Jessop Rising for more informaiton.

Podcasting: Easy to Do, Big Outcomes

Post by Julia: In Dr. Tyson's breakout session he showed us a podcast that a calculus teacher (Mr. Levy) does for his students. For each class Mr. Levy uses a digital white board and records everything he writes on the board with screen capture software. He also records his voice with a small microphone that he just clips to his shirt and plugs into his computer. By subscribing to his calculus podcast, each lesson is automatically uploaded by a computer or mp3 player. This is a great way for students to review material or look at something a second time if they need to practice the skill. (If I had had this in high school, maybe I would not have needed a tutor for calculus and maybe I would not have shed so many tears of frustration!) If you're at all interested in integrating podcasts into your teaching, definitely come to Podcasting 101 Breakout session on Tuesday. I attended the Podcasting In-Depth and was really pleased (and surprised) to find that it's easy! The software does the hard work for you. I feel confident in saying that if you have a computer with internet, you too can podcast. I think your students will really benefit and most likely get excited about creating their own podcasts.

Dr. Tim Tyson - Monday morning keynote at TIE08

Dr. Tyson's presentation was rich in story, and his stories reflected our current point in time. From his great grandfather to his current students, Dr. Tyson challenged us to think about our perspective of school. One resource he mentioned is Daniel Pink's book, "A Whole New Mind" and how that book makes the point that our schools are preparing students for work and workplaces that no longer exist. He also shared some intriguing statistics like one-third of the U.S. workforce is made up of independent contractors. While Dr. Tyson shared his vision of school and what students should be doing, I was wondering how the student products of his project-based learning might look. I was happy he shared several of his students' two-minute videos. (These can be viewed at and iTunes.) The films showed the students' questions about the issues they were studying...including child slave labor in the Ivory Coast and stem cell research. The questions posed in the videos were rich and deep. And showed the students had grappled with REAL and COMPLEX issues. What I'm left wondering is where the learning went from there...I will check out the videos when I'm not rushing to my next TIE Conference session to find out the answer to that question!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Pat McGill - TIE 2008 Sunday Keynote Speaker

Here we are at TIE 2008! This is very exciting for me as this is my first TIE conference! After the afternoon indepth sessions, we participants have gathered in the Convention Center to hear Pat McGill. Several things Pat said have stuck with me:

1) Listen. When you scramble the letters of the word "listen" you get "silent." That's what we as teachers need to be; we need to be silent when we listen.

2) Model. Mentor. Monitor.

3) 80% of Baby Boomers who leave the classroom will open a business or find a nother profession. None will retire.

4) Pat's 5 r's: Real, Rural, Ready, Reachable, and Remarkable

5) Sometimes we don't have to say anything, just being present is enough.

6) After showing us 5 shapes, Pat asked us to choose the one that we most identified with. Then she revealed what those choice mean:
Boxes keep us on task; they are not time wasters.
Rectangles are in transition or change; do not stay in rectangle mode for more than two years.
Triangles will take charge when something is falling apart.
Circles (70% of South Dakotans are circles) are great listeners, great team players, and whole- brained.
Squiggles are creative; they ask why?

6) Pat suggested reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Speak with Integrity.
Quit Taking things Personally.
Don't make assumptions.
Always do your best.

If you ever get a chance to see Pat McGill, I would encourage you to do so.