Ok, yes…the sound of Netflix went through my mind as I started typing. Each year, Jess Gilcreast (High School librarian), and I think of creative and different ways to provide professional development for the staff that we work with. We have tried it all, or at least seems that way. Whether it is providing ‘learning at your own time’ opportunities through Google Classroom, in person trainings, or online book chats through Twitter. We strive to keep things ‘fresh’ and continuously push the limits.
Continue reading “PDFlix: Providing ‘On Your Time’ PD Opportunities”
At the beginning of each school year, I am given two hours of training time with the staff at the high school to share new tech ideas, good to know tips and tricks tricks with existing tech resources, as well as helping set up that good ole’ grade book in Power School. Two hours can be a long time if you don’t set up the time appropriately. Teachers cannot just sit for two hours and absorb information. I know that I would want the presentation to be as interactive as possible, if I was the learner, so I keep that in mind when I deliver professional development.
Continue reading “Teachers are Students Too”
The title of this post should speak for itself. “Stepping Outside My Comfortable Limits” – it is a statement that we hear from time to time. Well, I can say that I have done this recently. As a kid, I always dreaded reading. It just was not my thing. Give me some math problems to solve and I was right there ready to go with my mechanical pencil. Yes, I LOVED mechanical pencils! Well, fast forward to March 2018…who knew that I would be co-leading an online book chat with the librarian in my school, Jessica Gilcreast, as a means of delivering professional development. In fact, when I told my family about this, my brother thought I was lying and my mother smiled. In the end, once I truly convinced them of my task at hand, they were impressed with me. Put a smile on my face.
Continue reading “Stepping Outside My Comfortable Limits”
Last Friday, the Bedford School District hosted its second annual Future Ready Conference where over 100 sessions were offered by its own staff as well as a few outside presenters. This day reminded me yet again at how fortunate we are that our district is willing to provide an opportunity for all staff members in the district to get together in one place to learn and share ideas with each other. We modeled our day off of Medfield’s Digital Learning Day – thanks again Neal for the inspiration!
Most importantly, I am also proud and thankful that we have a staff who are willing to take the time, out of their already busy lives, to share their own experiences and knowledge on particular concepts/tools/ideas. Let’s face it, our day would not be as successful if we didn’t have staff who were willing to go above and beyond to put together engaging sessions to inspire others. What I think is also cool is that we had a couple of sessions where students were presenting to our staff, thanks to the National Honor Society and DECA students. Hands down, this staff development day is by far my favorite as we all get together to not only learn from one other but to also support one another. Below, I have curated some tweets to highlight #sau25discovers.
On another note, if you are inspired to try something new in your classroom and you would like assistance or want to talk things through, you know where to find me. And that is my spiel…
Link to Storify HERE
(Also a big thanks to Kerri Lunn for putting together this animoto slideshow capturing the day.)
Sure, it is the end of the school year. Sure, we all are exhausted from all of the tasks that we have been asked to do along the year. Sure, we are tired from the work that has been completed outside of the school day hours. But it is important to take the time to reflect on the awesome work that has been accomplished in 16-17 school year.
Over the course of the year, I have enjoyed hearing about the success stories that teachers have had after a lesson. Not staying in the same place and doing the same lesson can be very beneficial. Pushing one’s self is an important trait for all teachers and learners to have. It is like the Blockbuster vs. Netflix situation. Blockbuster did not move with the times and push themselves to think differently with their business model. Netflix however decided that it was important to change their business model as human interest and demands changed over the years. Netflix is still around because they decided to push themselves.
I know that I speak on behalf of the tech department at BHS when I say that we are very proud of what has been accomplished tech wise. Bulldogs have done some GREAT work! Here is just a sampling of some of the great things that have been implemented this past school year…
- More teachers this year implemented Google Classroom into their courses to help students and teachers keep organized
- Wellness 1 teachers used PearDeck for the first time to get student viewpoints with the topics at hand
- French teachers used PearDeck as a vocabulary enforcer where they had to ‘dress the snowman’ based on the clothing vocabulary that they were learning
- Students in The American Dream classes used Adobe Spark Video to produce a PSA
- Students in Marine Biology used Adobe Spark Page to curate information based on their findings from a field trip to the Boston Museum of Science (they documented their experience by taking pictures to use in their Adobe Spark Page). The teacher also created an Adobe Spark Page to curate all student work from the class to share with everyone else.
- Students in Power of Nature classes used Adobe Spark Page to showcase information about particular volcanoes.
- Adobe Spark Post was used to share information to the bulldog community through its social media accounts
Presenting at Conferences
- For the first time, the Bedford School District hosted its own Tech conference on a district workshop day where all employees in the district got together to talk about best practices with tech integration. There were many, many staff members at the high school who stepped up and presented at the conference. It was a cool experience for everyone to learn from each other!
- Many high school staff presented at Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference for the first time. Topics included: The Changing Landscape in a 1:1 Classroom, Librarian & Tech Collaboration, and #GoogleAddict.
- Several staff members have already agreed upon sharing their knowledge at our 2nd annual district conference next school year in October
Becoming Social Media Savvy
- Counseling department helped produce a topic a month relating to social media for students and staff. These topics were discussed in advisories.
- At the beginning of the school year, staff participated in a Breakout EDU. Since then, many teachers used the Breakout boxes in their classes.
- Some teachers challenged themselves to participate in a digital Breakout during a Workshop training.
- Staff members throughout all disciplines created hyperdocs to help students discover, explore, apply, and share their learning
- Several teachers have stayed organized over the year with using Google Keep
- A couple teachers have explored around with DocStickers
- Geometry teachers used GeoGebra this year to help students visualize their learning – seeing as though all students have Chromebooks and the tool that they had before did not allow students to use with their Chromebook
- Several teams and committees, such as the Leadership Team and the Self Management Committee, realized that they could be more efficient if they utilize the Team Drive feature in Google Drive
- Counselors gave college virtual tours to Juniors in advisories
- Google Expeditions were also given in math and science classes
- Google recognized Toni Taylor’s use of Google Expedition in a weekly Tuesday tweet
- Film students explored around with creating 360 films for the first time
- Teachers traveling with students to Machu Picchu during intersession used a 360 camera to document the experience – this will then be used in Spanish curriculum in the future
- Several teachers in different disciplines implemented screencastify chrome extension. This was used either to film a project, record oneself with a piece of writing, or record a presentation. This has particularly been helpful in American Sign Language, and Humanities courses.
- Our life skills students were exposed to Osmo for the first time this year. They have had fun with making pizzas and giving change, using tangrams, exploring around with coding, spelling, and performing math operations.
- Teachers willingly opened up their classrooms to visitors from other schools who were interested in learning how Chromebooks were used in BHS classes
LOTS TO BE PROUD OF! Obviously, I do not have every single new thing that happened this year. This is just a sampling of what I could remember. (If you think of something that I should add, let me know). Good things have been accomplished. Looking forward to the new possibilities next school year. #proudbulldog
And that is my Spiel…