Monday, February 15, 2016

Presidents Day 2016

Last year I said that I would be switching to clean-shaven presidents and doing two portraits a year. So, without further ado, here is one portrait of a bearded president. I guess that's what I get for putting it in writing.

This year's portrait was inspired by this photo of Ulysses S. Grant taken by Matthew Brady circa 1870
Accessed from The Miller Center Presidential Portrait Gallery



Sunday, February 14, 2016

Inspiration from #IETA16

My head is still swimming from all the education awesomeness I experienced at my first Idaho Education Technology Association (IETA) Conference. Between the sessions, exhibit hall, and networking, it was one of the best conferences I've attended. Rather than leaving with a mile-long wishlist of technology, I have ideas that I can use in my classroom and share with my colleagues.

I was lucky enough to attend along with my wonderful wife, Sarah Windisch. Since we're both always looking for ways to improve our schools and classrooms, the learning never stopped. We're still talking about all of the things we're inspired to try out.

Monday opened with Darren Hudgins' keynote presentation "The Merchant of Someday." He highlighted just how rapidly access to information and communication is changing the world.
Although the world has changed immensely in the last few years, schools have been much slower to adapt. He challenged us to use our vision of someday to guide us as we sell learning to our students. It definitely set the right tone to kick off a technology conference.
I also got to learn about Hyperdocs from Lisa Highfill on Monday. The basic idea of Hyperdocs is to create an all-in-one digital document that gives students the instructions and resources to explore and learn on their own. Then students can share the basic information with each other online leaving your class discussion time for making meaningful connections and digging deeper. This was my biggest takeaway from the conference. I'm putting this right to work in my classroom for third grade literature circles. I also loved hearing about Lisa's Teachers Give Teachers Twitter account. It's basically a repository for re-tweeted free resources from other teachers. It's a great concept, and I hope it really takes off in Idaho.

The #IDedchat crew got together Monday night. Discovery Education hosted a nice reception for the group and it was fun to spend some time with my usually virtual PLN.
My favorite Tuesday session was almost another keynote as Rushton Hurley talked about making memorable projects. He encouraged us to get students asking interesting questions.
When students are interested, they're willing to produce excellent work. In addition, constructing a memorable project sets the stage for greater student learning.
The rest of the second day was full of great ideas, too, but the highlight was the IETA Teacher of the Year award. It went to a fourth grade teacher from my district who has done some amazing things with technology in her classroom. I always look forward to learning with her at our district technology meetings. Congratulations, Kelli Ogle!

There was so many things at IETA that I want to bring back to my classroom. It will definitely keep me trying new ideas through the rest of this school year and beyond. And I'll keep you updated as I continue to experiment and refine...

For #IETA16 learning, check out Janet Avery's Storify of Day 1 and Day 2.