My 2 Suggestions for the Bammy Awards

Just Jen's Thoughts 4 Comments »

It is here again — the Bammy awards —

and the deluge of blog posts, DM & eMail  solicitation for votes…..has begun.

Rather than be the curmudgeon on awards that I can easily slide into — I decided to write a blog post on 2 suggestions for the Bammy Awards.

1.  Let people vote without having to provide any personal information.
Your website says “Select the category in which you would like to cast a vote from the list below. You will be able to vote with your name and a valid email address. However, to submit a new nominee you will first need to register and log in.”

For me……well,  honestly I have a wee bit of a problem with this –
you see, and perhaps I am wrong, and feel free to correct me — but why do you need my personal information to cast a vote — or to log on, other than the fact that could this be a marketing strategy for you?  I know that it is important to make sure that it is a real person rather than a bot who is submitting information

– but hmmmm, personally, I just have problems with an awards program that “makes” me log on.

Call me old-fashioned…..but I do.  So, I will not vote — but I will call attention to your site and write letters of thanks to the nominees thanking them for what they do.
(And thank you for letting us view nominee info without having to log on.  THANK YOU!)

However, honestly, if you could get away from the entire “voting” process and just use your site for showcasing great people doing great stuff with students, wow, I would be very happy.

2.  Cancel the big event and donate the money that would be spent at the event to scholarships for educators!
I figure that the cost of the Washington DC event has to be pretty big — and though I am sure you get donations for this event to cover the costs — could that money be used in a more lasting way than a “red-carpet” event?

Let’s pretend that the cost to host the red carpet event in September in Washington, D.C costs $25,000.
Now, lets look at one of the most “popular” educational conferences — the ISTE conference in June.   The cost is $339.
You could pay the registration fee for 73 people.   OR you could scholarship airfare/travel/registration for 25 people.

And I know that $25000 has to be a low figure……
So, let’s see— one night of red carpet fun — educational (perhaps), meet ups with great minds (of course), but in the long run…………………..
Hmmmm … which would be money better spent?

Or, lets not even think conferences — what if we talk teacher supplies, school playgrounds, etc?

So, there are my 2 suggestions —

And honestly, it is not that I do not like the Bammy Awards.
I am grateful to ANY organization that takes the time to salute educators…….
but I hope my 2 suggestions are taken seriously and thought about before Bammys 2015.



PS:   There are some wonderful names on the Bammy Nomination List — and even if you don’t wish to vote — take a look at them – — and check out what they are doing to make schools a much better place for students.

Here are some other Bammy Posts you might wish to read:

Our First Book Trailer

Classroom 1 Comment »

I will be the FIRST to admit that my students were lacking in video skills — and I will also be the FIRST to admit it was because of “my fear” of video…….again, keeping them at my comfort level rather than being brave.

So, when our ipad cart literally rolled in — I made the decision to no longer be afraid and to attempt to tackle video — with a bunch of eager students just willing and wanting to dive into the deep end.

So, here is a sample of our first BOOK TRAILER.   Now, before you start reprimanding me for not using copyright…..these first ones were made for us only — but I had to show you — so know, that in the future, we will DO MUCH better with adding the image information regarding copyright on the movies.   (and if anyone knows an easy way to do this — please let me know.)

And thank you very much to Trenton Lee Stewart – — several students made book trailers on your book!!

PhotoWalk — I Spy — 1st Grade

Classroom, Just Jen's Thoughts 2 Comments »

To be honest, the parent helper looked at me with “really??” eyes when I mentioned that we would be taking a photowalk with our 1st Grade Students.   (to be honest, I was seriously wondering if I had lost my mind too).

Before we began, I reminded the students of our rules “TWO HANDS” and made sure they knew it was a SHAPE walk not a SELFIE walk.   We practiced taking pictures around the room — had to show how to fold back our covers that blocked the camera — and then, headed out.

And took shape pictures ALL around our elementary playground, etc.

One of our students asked if they could draw shapes in our “wood chip area” — and suddenly they were all drawing shapes.

After about 10 minutes or so we walked back into the classroom.

I asked 1 student for his ipad and projected it up on the board — showed students where the photos were and how to swipe through them — and we began to play “I SPY.”

We started off simple — do you have a picture with a square, with a triangle, with a rectangle, etc……..  it was great to hear the excitement of “yes, I have that”….. or “I do but mine is different.”  etc.

After about 5 pictures, I switched his ipad out with another and we continued — but got a wee bit harder with choices — do you have a shape on a shape, do you have words on a shape, do you have a shadow on a shape, do you have a person on a shape, do you have more than 3 shapes in one picture.

And again — the excitement of “I do” and “yes!!”

Working our way through a dozen or more ipads — we had a great class of collecting pictures & then reviewing them and sharing them.

Whew, exhausting but absolutely such fun — and next time — we might go for a shadow walk.



Overheard at OCCUE

Just Jen's Thoughts 1 Comment »

I go to conferences for conversations — to get new ideas, to share some thoughts — but mostly just to listen to great stories.

And here are my top two from yesterday!
(Disclaimer — please remember this is through my listening ear, so Dennis and Scott, feel free to clarify anything I might have construed – Jen)

First Story:
Dennis Grice was hosting Mystery Skypes at his school this week.  12 to be exact — as an experiment and an example to show the teachers the power and opportunities as Mystery Skype could bring.

For the 7th graders — they had to find out more than just the State — they had to find the CITY and the SCHOOL NAME.

So, after several (SEVERAL) minutes of asking lots (LOTS) of questions — the other school had figured out who Dennis’ school was — but his 7th graders still did not have an answer.

So they asked for a hint…….

And the other school turned the monitor/camera around — and there sitting now in full view was a student that HAD been at Dennis school that had moved to the school with whom they were now skyping.  And the students at Dennis’ school rushed up to the monitor to shout their “hellos”.

This story made my cry a bit.   The power of friendships — the power of mystery skype.   It just was a great story.

Second Story:

Scott Bedley is a teacher in Orange County, CA (4th graders I believe) and he  had twittered out — a while back about mystery skype — and Microsoft noticed and contacted him to ask if they could video his students for a “promotional” video they were working on.

Scott went through all the right channels….contacted admin, contacted district, contacted parents, etc — and it was a go.  They came out and filmed for 3 days (after school), said “thank you very much, we will be in touch, etc” and poof, gone.

The Friday — TWO DAYS BEFORE THE SUPER BOWL, Scott gets a phone call that the footage would be used on Sunday — as part of a Super Bowl COMMERCIAL.

You can view that commercial here:

His kids are the 3 in the blue shirts and the 2nd group of waving students!

And this happened all because of a tweet.

Smiles — conversations at conferences, I love them.

Wondering — are you taking the time to listen!?!



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