Podstock 2015 was a great event as I worked towards many goals. Last year my team was lacking in spirit for the Make Create Do Teach Challenges. I remember dragging them out for the team events. So I made an honest effort to do EVERY individual challenge.
I think the hardest one was connecting with every vendor. That took the longest for sure.
The best one was stretching my photography background to create a collage spelling out STEAMPunk.
If I could sum up Every Session I attended I would do it in so:
Don't just focus on STEAM Add in the Tinkering and Aesthetics for your students so they connect and fail with their work. "You WANT to kick them... with Love," @GingerLewman.
"You have to let things go," @russkahle. You need to be able to rewind yourself so students can go at their own pace. Let students create without your control.
"I don't teach this; They Explore It." @McCall_Kelley. #BeBrave and let the students set the pace (even in coding).
"If you don't use an app, you won't remember it." @KSLibraryGuy Be problem solvers and find ways to use what you have like McGuyver!
"Feel free to stalk the grantees and ask questions." @vperezy For that manner let your students have those same opportunities to ask questions.
And no matter what it is about THEIR Future. Think about the changes we are undergoing what will it be like for the class of 2028 who is in Kindergarten right now. @glennw98
I remember my first Ed conferences three years ago. It was a chance opening for another male so that we filled every room we were renting. That first year I was a wanderer just floating between sessions absorbing it like a sponge. I was handed an iPad to use for the conference only two weeks before it began.
However, the conference (MACE) was hard to establish a bond. The 50-minute sessions were rushed and constantly changing. It wasn't until Podstock that summer that I started to blossom out of my introvert shell. I had no clue. I didn't know about the vendor dinner. The moonlight madness. Nothing.
Last year was the first year I fully participated. I finally acted like family at the precon weighing in on topics, building a Batmobile for the pinewood derby, even dressing up as Superman and going to the dinner too. I get it now!
I had so much more fun that this year I did tons of research with friends and made several Themed Accessories for the day. I applied to be a presenter and even was accepted!
This year Podstock 2015 is Steampunk Themed. Think Wild Wild West - victorian with industrial - clothing.
My Advice for Fellow Introverts
1: Ask Questions.
This is the core of the Growth Mindset. You learn by doing and asking. If you just sit and get you won't maximize your learning. You can always ask afterwards too when eyes are off the presenter or exchange social media accounts.
2. Find a Friend.
Do not be afraid to find someone new and talk. Your comfort level goes way up if you know who you sit next to. Don't be afraid to find new people, but don't latch on to the same crew every time.
3. Dabble in the NEW
Last year I sat in on a great Vendor presentation from Two Trees on their 3D printers. They answered tons of questions about the process and design setup so I can dabble with it in the future. Experiment and study what is interesting!
There is a variety of drinks/snacks you can access but be prepared to roll out for lunch. If you have food allergies research ahead of time or you will get stuck in a restaurant with no REAL choices for lunch. I still had fun with the group I went with but I didn't have a real meal.
It has been a whirlwind of a week as my son just about turns one. He was born on 6/18/15 and joins my PLN. He had to be evicted. There have been many changes in my schedule already as we realized once he is out he is KOed. On one occasion we fell asleep and thought he would wake us up and we slept 7 hours straight and we still had to wake him up to eat!
This little guy has quickly become part of the family. He has seen all 14 of his cousins before he was one day old.
I am a reader. Straight up I love to read. The most common things I give my numerous nieces and nephews are books on their favorite topics. So I was surprised when all of the pregnancy and life after birth books skipped that portion of development. They didn't mention reading to the child until late in the book. I am a firm believer in books - so much so that my family hosted a baby shower of books for my wife!
I hope this passion for books passes onto all of my children whether they are mine, my nieces and nephews or my students. I always see the reports from the Book It Program about how reading with a child improves literacy ten-fold.
I hope to get back to regular routines in July once we get used to the constant up-and-down motions of child rearing.
The year is over but the communication hasn't stopped.
Though I don't fully embrace social media I have been using Edmodo for 5 of my 5 years of teaching. As it has evolved so has my use of it. My first year I only used it to publish links and reading assignments for the computers. Every time we restarted a computer it went to default and so I lost all shortcuts.
By my second year I was using it for posting assignments.
Two years ago I dove into pen pals and partnered with groups around the U.S. We were less than impressed with others dedication and had our best group partnership with an Australian School!
Now we use Edmodo for multiple projects, we attached finished work and we communicate daily.
Every day (of the last two) I have had students posting on the site since we were out on Summer break. I am posting work too so the students can see all the variety of things I am learning and sharing with them.
The most common question this month:
TELL ME the baby's name Mr. H? I won't tell anyone else.
My wife is pregnant with our first child and the students are invested in our relationship. They want updates so they can find out the name. No one knows it but us. I feel like if you aren't building a relationship where they ask about your family then it is not a true relationship!
Every year there is one classroom in every building that is a revolving door in my district. Students move in and out like the phases of the moon. This year it is my room with 7 different changes in my roster between additions and losses I still have kept my class size about the same.
This newest one will be tough though. Today is May 1 - his first day in my classroom. We only have 14 more school days left in the year though....
So this is the question for all of you in the world: What would you do if you only had 14 days with a student? Tag #14dayStudent to share your thoughts and ideas for others who might run into this conundrum of education. List 3 things you will do with that student:
1) Form a bond
2) Find a friend
3) Let him breathe
1) When he first walked in he was shy, bashful and timid. Who wouldn't be?!To counteract this I immediately pulled him into my room and kept him 1:1 while parents toured the building. We talked about my classroom pets, favorites, books, our upcoming field trips, anything and everything to establish a bond. We both like comic book heroes (Batman) and Football.
2) Once school was started I gave a very short introduction of him to my class. I didn't have him stand up and talk just had everyone say Hi and anyone who was new stood up. It showed he was not alone in my room. The very next thing: Art. What better way to get a student excited but to start Part 1 of our Art Project with him. He worked 1:1 with the student in my room elected as one of our leaders by peers. Within 15 minutes he was comfortable and had a bond with a person in my room.
3) I plan on continuing this trend for the next 14 days to help him find comfort and friends. To help him find something to look forward to next year. I will test him - like everyone else, but I won't be filling out a real grade card so he won't hate school at the end of the week. I want to give him some breathing room so he doesn't have this instance connection between school and testing.
Learning Management Systems are sites you can use for admin, documenting and reporting e-learning. I have been using a LMS for over 5-years and just now realized it! I learned about LMS in a global chat this year. This weeks #ksedchat is about this topic so I thought I'd go into detail about it.
My first year teaching we were given Netbooks set to a student profile. There were 5 per room and they would always default to the student profile at restart. I was struggling at the time communicating web links. Every day I would have to review typing in hyperlinks or adding in shortcuts onto the desktop. I remember the most horrendous one was always the BBC Multi-Syllable Factory at:
I finally started teaching them keyword searching at that point and still felt like I needed a shorter, more efficient delivery method. That is when @cmaytic referred me to @Edmodo. It was sold to me as "Kid Facebook" and that is how I sold it to my students. They absolutely loved it and I enjoyed giving them an outlet for communication.
The moment I had one student post a video link and music video the kids were amazed. They saw its potential and dove into the work.
Over the last 5 years, Edmodo has evolved in my classroom as new features became unlocked. I have never paid for any of the main features I use. I remember the first time I learned about the restriction tab. I put 3-students on it immediately so I could screen anything they post. It was always:
Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and very random. 2-3 times a day they post it to.
I would reject those posts then respond with a clear reason. This is not a text message site. I want a sentence or thought with good grammar. Our class rule is only one ! per page and I still enforce that here.
Now we use Edmodo for so much more. The main features my kids crave:
Multiple classrooms - we share with two different sets of pen pals this year on Edmodo. We post on a joint page and get feedback on our publishing efforts.
Shortcuts - Anytime I need a specialized shortcut for a site I use this to launch their efforts.
New Ways I will use Edmodo next year:
Badges - we are starting to add badge awards for hallway behavior, fast reflexes, etc for behavior in my rooms.
Writing Progress - Now that Edmodo ties into apps we are going to use For All Rubrics so parents can see grades on our #PBL. I also want students to use it as a reporting option where we will send out reports and photos from our weekly work.
Yesterday, I came across several responses to Scott McLeod's post called We Have to Stop Pretending. Scott lists five things we have to stop pretending.
The more appropriate term is a Growth Mindset. This shift in terminology has made an enormous impact. Especially on how I approach intervention. I preach this to my students and even showed this great video to explain the process.
I am a 2nd Grade teacher with years of experience in digital editing and film. I have a 2nd Degree Black Belt, am a professional wedding photographer, and instruct fine art painting classes.