Last year it was Edcamp Sparkle. This year, it was like a kick-off event to the Edcamp Palmetto mini-tour. No matter the name, it was still a great time! This edcamp holds a very special place in my educational heart because it was my first time experiencing an edcamp. And now, I am hooked. This Blog Is Why you should review my first Edcamp Sparkle experience and meet me at one of the upcoming locations (Rock Hill, maybe?!). See you soon.
What is an edcamp? You may be asking yourself this question. This is a FREE, professional development event for educators. Participants in attendance determine the topics for the day. When the sessions begin, everyone in the room becomes an expert or a part of the discussion. You won't find one speaker standing in front of the room ready to go with their Google Slides presentation or Microsoft Sway. Instead, educators share best practice ideas and resources. During the day, there may be a few anchor sessions that are pre-planned presentations or a demo of a product. And the best part of all, there are FREE door prizes donated by businesses who support educators. Whether you walk away with a prize or not, everyone is a winner. There is so much to gain in addition to that: confidence as an educator, a new friend/colleague, meeting your connected educator friends, or a new idea to implement in your classroom/school.
Equip. Encourage. Empower. These are the main tenets (as described by organizer Jed Dearybury) of EdcampPAL, where PAL = playing and learning.
Equip-Your edcamp experience will provide you with tools, resources, and strategies to meet the needs of your students. There's nothing like coming together with like-minded educators on a Saturday morning fired up for a great day of learning and growing.
Encourage-Those same like-minded educators will push you to new limits. At an edcamp you are encouraged to learn and try new ideas. Step outside of your box and think outside of THE box. Want to learn about ozobots or 3-D printers? Speak to the representative. Want to start up a Lego Lab? Talk to Ms. Alisha Bridges from Jesse S. Bobo Elementary. Have an arts-inspired idea? Come play and explore with the team from Lily Sarah Grace (@LilySarahGraceFund).
Empower-Last, but not least. Leave feeling empowered. Empowered to accomplish your goals. Empowered to help your students achieve. Empowered to pursue your dreams. And empowered to be a better you. A better educator who changes lives. That is the power of edcamp.
But wait! It's not all about learning. Remember the "P" is for playing. Have fun with the latest craze. That's right, a GooseChase. Download the app and prepare to be silly. I must admit, I was totally distracted during this year's edcamp because the GooseChase was so much fun. And more fun things kept being added by the minute (it seemed)! But it did make people interact more. It was great to see people collaborating to get the most people at the Step and Repeat or completing the arm wrestling challenge. And if you weren't completing a challenge, then you were snapping a picture or recording a video for someone who was. Such great fellowship.
When all the fun is over, be sure to say thanks to everyone who makes the event possible. The hard-working team and the generous supporters. Also, if a session sparked an idea for you, don't forget to apply for an Impact Grant. From Edcamp Palmetto, check out the team and the sponsors:
Meet The Team
Thank The Sponsors
On the Fourth of July, DonorsChoose enthusiasts were tempted with an offer we couldn't refuse. Just follow @craignewmark on Twitter and receive a $10 code for DonorsChoose to support classrooms with children from military families. Sounds easy enough. Right? As an educator and member of DonorsChoose, it is always great to give back. Thank you to @craignewmark for this campaign and I look forward to more great news about your mission. This Blog Is Why getting the code was easy, finding the project to support not so much.
So, how did I solve my problem? Interested teachers were encouraged to enter a contest with simple rules: 1) "Like" the MsClassNSession Facebook blogger page 2) Comment with a link to your project. View the video below to see the winner:
I wish I could do more to support these classrooms and help them get funded. One of the ways that I have been able to get my own projects funded is by sharing, sharing, sharing. So, as an additional show of support, I am sharing all of the projects entered in the contest through my blog and social media platforms.
**Fully Funded** Project: Being The Best Me I Can Be
**Fully Funded** Project: Tolerating Each Other, And That Sound a Chalkboard Makes
Project: Seeing Is Believing--Impairment Goggles (Will expire soon)
**Fully Funded** Project: Experiencing Life Through the eReader
**Fully Funded** Project: We Need a Rug for a Comfy Place to Sit
**Fully Funded** Project: One Chance. One Dream. One Team.
**Fully Funded** Project: Carpeto Equipo
**Fully Funded** Project: StoryWorks for Small Group
**Fully Funded** Project: Hands on Learning to Start Our Day (Donations are matched)
Project: Learning Innovative Techniques In Our Reading
Best of Luck for funding your projects! #kidsdeserveit
My #notatISTE experience just keeps getting better and better. I hesitated at signing up to share an Unplugged Session. I actually waited until the last minute and decided to take the plunge. This Blog Is Why if you missed my session, no worries, you can check it out here.
A special thanks to Blackboard Collaborate, Steve Hargadon, Peggy George, Michelle Dragalin and everyone else who made this event possible. Of course, I enjoy meeting and interacting with my audience, but I enjoyed my experience with ISTE Unplugged LIVE. The launcher for the event, Blackboard Collaborate was super easy to use. I know I had some "technical difficulties" but those were strictly user error! I liked the ability to schedule your own event with a day and time to fit your schedule. I was also able to select my time zone which is really important when you are dealing with people coming from all over the country/world. After scheduling your event, there are links for training and a practice room. Pure genius! Once again, I could use the links to access the training at my convenience and enter the training room on my own time. I liked that the practice room allowed you to set your preferences, make audio adjustments as needed and then save them. The practice room provided a simulation for the actual presenter's room, so you knew exactly what to expect. Finally, on the big day, there were helpful assistants in the room to help,as needed, and make sure that your session moved along smoothly. Again, thank you Peggy and Michelle! I hope this continues to be a part of the #notatISTE experience and I look forward to another opportunity to present.
Below you will find resources from my session and a link to view the recording:
Google Slides Presentation
ISTE Unplugged Live: Welcome to the Blogger's Cafe
http://www.isteunplugged.live/recordings.html (All Sessions)
LiveBinder (Courtesy Peggy George)
If you get a chance to watch the recording of my session, please complete the survey. Thanks!
Yes! I am breaking my conference wrap-up tradition with a little #NOTATISTE17 sneak peek. I was inspired and awestruck by the ISTE Ignite Sessions with Stacy Lovdahl on Periscope. Be sure to check them out if you missed it. There was a good mix of presenters from professionals to students with a variety of messages. This Blog Is Why you shouldn't be sad or upset that you didn't make it to #ISTE17, come on over to #NOTATISTE17!
This year is my second year attending/participating in #NOTATISTE. The first year there was definitely a learning curve, but I still enjoyed it. I even won a prize! This year, I feel as though I have a better handle on things. And the great thing about participating is that you can do as little or as much as you like. There are challenges, ignite presentations, even online conference sessions that you can choose to host or view. Last year I didn't get my selfies, so I am working overtime to get some this year. Fingers crossed. Come on PLN. Don't let me down!
**Update: Special thanks to Darla Murinchack. You ROCK!!**
On Sunday, as I tuned in to Stacy Lovdahl's livestream (great seats!) of ISTE Ignite Session: Round One. These were some of my take-aways:
1) My favorite was Bonnie McClelland's presentation based on the childhood favorite The Gingerbread Man. Her focus was on student recipes of success using the 4 C's to cook, bake, and stir up learning. Her kindergarten students created a class gingerbread man that suddenly disappeared overnight. They used the "magic" of technology to locate him on his journey back home. The class used tools such as Buncee, Seesaw, and Twitter during the adventure. What a great way to connect students with a real audience! Loved the selfie at the end.
2) Another stand-out presentation for me was Nathan Kraii and his plea to "Bring back the "F" Word. He wants us to "F-up" our classrooms for the sake of our kids. And you know what? I'm with him! Kraii believes that there has been a shift in schools to focus on adults and an obsession with seriousness. To counter that, we should "transform a place where imagination, passion, and fun intersect and curriculum can come alive." How do we bring the fun back to schools? If you are ready to "F-up" your classroom, check out www.5mins4fun.com and share your happiness on twitter #5mins4fun.
3) Next was Kim Pollishuke speaking about BreakoutEDU. I love Breakouts, so she was speaking to my heart! The connections she made were powerful. Breakout is not about play, but deep learning. She explains that the deep learning comes from students' successes AND failures. It comes from students realizing in the process, "We haven't struggled enough" (wow, what a moment). Pollishuke shares how implementing Breakouts unlocks a variety of mindsets in students: growth, collaborative, innovator, and educator. And she leaves you with this call to action, "Ignite their natural drive to problem solve. Use that spark, to begin shifting mindsets. Unlock the risk takers. Unlock the collaborators. Unlock the innovators and unlock the fun. Unlock the potential."
After watching, if you are not amazed by the educational excellence of the adults, then you will be blown away by the maturity of the students. And remember, they are standing on stage alone presenting to a room full of educators at THE biggest technology conference. WOW!
A few words of student advice:
-Allow your 2nd graders to talk/share/learn about code
-Find out who your students are
-Discover their passion
-Ask how we like to learn
-Put us in front of authentic audiences
-Publish our work
-Encourage us to connected learners in a connected classroom
-Let us share our voice with the world
-Let us empower other kids
-We can solve problems and create solutions
-"Don't ask me to memorize things, I can google."
-Ask yourself: "How are you using technology to make a real difference in people's lives?"
Throughout these 5 minute talks, the overarching message is: As you go through this conference, the challenge for you is to take what you learn back to your classroom. Your students deserve it and they are ready and waiting.
Summertime! Many of you may be gearing up for vacations, camps, or professional learning opportunities. Whatever you decide to do with your time, don't forget to relax and enjoy. It has been a while since my last blog. You know that is always the case in my busy season(s). But, not to worry, I still have plenty to share. It also gives me something to look forward to with my summer blogging series. This summer, I am looking forward to sharing some amazing experiences with you. This Blog Is Why my advice is to bookmark this one for future references for some money-saving resources.
Graduation season is here as well. If you know anyone in college or planning to go to college, please share this post with them. I am highlighting the work of Melinda Mihlbauer. You can find her on Facebook. I discovered her in my PLN as a guidance counselor in my state who has a resource of scholarships. I know the importance of harnessing those untapped resources to help with funding education and she has compiled those into a book. Please support her and she is also available to host events. This particular book is designed for SC high school students (Website link below).
Paces Scholarship Academy
Ms. Milbauer shares the following stats from last year:
Shocked? In the future, let's make sure there is NO Money Left Behind! As I mentioned before, I hope you will save or bookmark this post. Be ready to search and apply for the many scholarships available to support students.
The Scholarship List:
https://www.shawncartersf.com/ (April 30th deadline)
http://www.iapmo.org/pages/essaycontest.aspx (Essay Scholarship)
http://hazingprevention.org/home/awardsandgrants/high-school-essay-contest/ (Essay Contest)
http://www.navywivesclubsofamerica.org/scholarships/ (30 scholarships annually)
http://www.southcarolina.usta.com/Community_Tennis/scholarships/ (Tennis Scholarship)
http://www.tricountyblacknurses.org/scholarship.html (SC Nursing Scholarship)
http://scspe.org/educational-foundation-2/scholarship-applications/ (SC Engineering Scholarship)
http://www.cpscholarship.com/ (May 1st deadline)
https://www.fftc.org/scholarships (148 Scholarship opportunities)
https://www.uncf.org/scholarships (UNCF scholarships)
http://www.cbcfinc.org/scholarships/ (Congressional Black Caucus Scholarships)
https://www.jecsrf.org/scholarship-application/ (Scholarship and free Dell laptop)
http://usascholarships.com/dennys-hungry-education-hfe-scholarship/ (Denny's; September deadline)
www.jasna.org (Jane Austen Essay Contest)
http://homekitchenary.com/share-story-with-homekitchenary/ (Breast Cancer Awareness)
https://www.scholarsapply.org/thanksusa/ (Military Dependents and Spouses)
http://usascholarships.com/taco-bell-foundations-live-mas-scholarship/ (Taco Bell Scholarship)
http://www.scpta.org/scptatoolkit/Stokes_Application_for_Scholarship_Fund.pdf (March 1 deadline)
https://connect.nsbe.org/Scholarships/ScholarshipList.aspx (Black Engineers Scholarship)
http://www.scholastic.com/poetryismypower/?linkId=36592223 (Grades 3-5; Poetry Contest)
Do you know of any others? Please share and add to the list.
Bonus Link: (Thanks to my classmate for sharing!)
Bonus Link: Scholarships for African-American Students
It's that time of year again. Conference Time. And I love it! In the past, I have incorporated Sway as a presentation tool in my sessions. This time, my focus was dedicated solely to Sway. I hope that my audience walked away with some useful information, because I know I did. This Blog Is Why I am sharing feedback from: Digital Storytelling with Sway.
First, a Recap ICYMI (in case you missed it):
My goal for any session that I present is to find out what my audience needs and provide it. This one mainly focused on beginner level skills. You can take a look at the Sway presentation used (adapted from a PowerPoint) and get a general overview.
TLC Session: Digital Storytelling with Sway (Click Here)
February is the month that we place specific emphasis on honoring and recognizing the history of African-Americans. It is also a great time to look around and see who will be the change agents of tomorrow. That is just what Shana V. White (@ShanaVWhite) did during this short, powerful month of celebrations. If you missed the popular Twitter hashtag #hiddenvoicesofedtech, be sure to check it out and add these inspiring educators to your PLN (Professional Learning Network). This Blog Is Why it is my honor to celebrate the people who inspire me. Who inspires you?
It was a special treat to log in each day to see who would be spotlighted in this list of hidden gems. The list included a wide variety of EdTech professionals. You will find women and men, teachers, technology specialists, administrators, college professionals, authors, and so much more. Not only did this hashtag shed light on people, but also programs and honors that are available for educators who go above and beyond the call of duty. These are the professionals working hard every day to bring innovative experiences to classrooms, schools, and teacher programs from coast to coast.
Carla Jefferson, SC
Regina Schaffer, NJ
Patricia Brown, MO
Christian Padgett, GA
Rachelle Wooten, TX
Cicely Day, CA
Brian R. Smith, TX
Courtney Teague, GA
Shaina Glass, TX
Keasha Grant, SC
Darren Clay, GA
Keri Hennessy-Wilson, NJ
Kimberly Lane, TX
Nicol Howard, CA
Leon Tynes, CT
Chanel Johnson, GA
Stephanie Jacobs, SC
Marcus Borders, GA
Crystal R. Morgan, TX
Dr. Valerie Jones, GA
Dr. Elford Rawls-Dill, NJ
Summaya Knight, GA
Kali Alford, GA
Terri Webb, GA
Rafranz Davis, TX
Shana V. White, GA
This was not only a spotlight of educators, but also programs that you may have missed. In the past two years, I have applied for some and found it surprising how easy it was to complete the process. I know that as educators we may struggle with finding time for the 'extras'; but I have found the groups that I have joined to be motivating and full of ideas that I have implemented in my own classroom. Some of the ones showcased here include: Google, Apple, Seesaw, ClassDojo, Microsoft, PBS, and Code.org. This is just to name a few! As I looked over the various profiles I found myself asking, "What is that?" or exclaiming, "I didn't know about that!" Educators are a sharing community, so I hope that you find a professional connection here or become involved with a learning community that will stretch you and your students (or school). Finally, I am going to leave you with another resource that outlines some of the certifications that are available to EdTech educators. Spread the word!
Guess That Certification c/o Patricia Brown
This first week of January has been busy, yet motivating. I want to thank everyone that shared in the journey of my Blogs A-Z. It was hard work, but so much fun. Now, I have a new challenge: The 30 day blog challenge. One of my goals for the new year is to keep the momentum going with this blog and continue building my audience. This Blog Is Why I think I have found a new blogging family (or two) and I am excited for the journey.
If you want to participate or learn more about the 30 Days Blogging Challenge with A. J. Juliani, click the link below. In a nutshell, you will set a goal for yourself to write a certain amount each day and pledge to post X number of blogs per week. There is also a list of other bloggers who are participating (check out #52) so you can read and comment on their blogs for some support/encouragement.
30 Days Blogging Challenge
I will also be a blogger for EdChange Global Classrooms, an online conference. You can register to participate as well. The conference sessions run from February 28th-March 1st (24-hour event). I am excited for the opportunity to share with the #EdTech world about the exciting work in my classroom. Be on the lookout for my blog post in February.
EdCamp Global Classrooms
Last, but certainly not least, I am ecstatic to join the #CompelledTribe. From my initial interactions with this group of educators, the vibe that I get is extremely positive. I have joined and tried some other groups or "tribes" in the past with little success. The group members did not seem to be as dedicated and eventually just fizzled away. You may have heard or seen many people talking about their #OneWord2017. My initial word was "driven" because I am more driven than ever to accomplish the goals that I have set for myself. My discussions about the topic made me think about my runner-up word and "vulnerability" (I stumble over saying this word, even in my head!) was a great candidate. I am looking forward to being more vulnerable in 2017. Not only sharing my successes, but also sharing my stumbling blocks. Those events in life that have made me stronger, more determined and even more DRIVEN. With this new tribe, I am looking forward to sharing ideas, learning from professionals who have a variety of experiences, and of course blogging!