A Classroom Reflection

As I approach the last week of our school year, I am taking the time to look back at this past year and what we did well and what we can do better next year.

1. Spend a bit more time in Office 365
We spend a bit of time in Word, Excel, and Powerpoint but I find it problematic now that we have student logins w/ 365 and since the students share logins…..its just been a bit more chaotic than I prefer…….but I do need to figure this out and spend more time w/ the programs. And also introduce the kids to One Note (which they will be using in JH/HS.) I had intended to introduce SWAY to the students this year — but again, the logins made me frustrated enough to just walk away. So, I need to figure this out so next year it will go more smoothly — for the kiddos and also for me (and any other teacher using the programs.)

2. Open up our lab w/ Hangouts and Skype.
For someone who is great at connecting other classrooms, I am horrible in connecting mine. We have participated in Virtual Field Trips but not in connecting w/ other classrooms. I HAVE TO BE better at this!

3. Work with teachers more so that classroom learning overlaps w/ computer.
This year, several of the teachers DID take the opportunity to overlap a class project with a tech option. Our 5th grade created State Discovery Boards rather than paper posters. Our 2nd grade created Vertebrae books w/ Book creator rather than a worksheet. Our 6th grade made Book Review imovies. So, 4 more grades to help with ideas that overlap….and then we can go from there!

4. Continue to encourage the teachers to not see the ipads as “filler” time but LEARNING time.
Always always always a continual goal! I need to continually encourage them to “KNOW” the apps so that they can see a student’s learning and be aware of what the apps are teaching.

5. Figure out our 3D printer and use it with ALL grades not just 4/5/6.
I am very much a newbie to our printer and tinkercad and we need to 3D print with more purposeful plans. I love that the students are creative. But with that creativity we need to include planning and reflection.

6. Expand our robotics and coding beyond December.
To be honest, we could CODE all year long! And Robotics too. But to be honest, so far we are free driving and working with templates in coding.
In 2017/2018, we will take the next step to “higher-level” thinking with both coding and robotics.

7. Encourage students to story board more.
I am realizing that I tend to be a “jump in the deep water” with my kids and we need to backtrack a bit to more planning. I love that Tony Vincent has shared out imovie templates (those are so helpful), but we do need to use them more efficiently.

8. Expand our stopmotion opportunities.
We added Stop Motion to our 3rd grade curriculum this year and WOW, I was amazed at my kiddos! And we need to add even more!!

9. Have more PD opportunities for teachers to learn ways to use ideas in their classroom!
This past year, we had Thursday ipad meetings for about 1/2 the year…..we need to expand this to the entire year. I am toying with the idea of putting out a Tuesday Tech Memo.

10. Showoff student work via TV, blog, newsletter.
I was very invisible this year — and so were my kiddos. They will be putting a TV in my room this summer that we can upload student work to. I also need to use our classroom blog more (and encourage the students to share on it as well.)
And I need to share more with parents and YOU!!

Yep — those are my plans and goals.

Changes to ProjectsByJen

I started hosting Projects by Jen — at that time “technospud” — in 1999.   It all began with a cookie — the oreo cookie — and 17 years later…I am still hosting that project….however now at projectsbyjen.com.

Since 1999, I have hosted over 50 different projects.
St. Patrick’s — we sort Lucky Charms
Pumpkin Seed — we count Pumpkin seeds
Holiday Card — we create and share themed holiday cards
From Me to you — we created and shared valentine’s day cards
Picture It — all classes create one section of a collaborative piece of artwork
O.R.E.O. – we stack cookies to reinforce math skills
Etc.

I have hosted projects for important historical events:
Gettysburg Address Anniversary, Lewis and Clark bicentennial, Wright Brothers 100th year celebration, National Parks birthday, etc.

I have hosted projects to assist with the aftermath of tragedies:
We collected school supplies for teachers affected by Katrina, We wrote letters of support for teachers who taught at Sandy Hook….and more.

You can find an archive of projects by clicking HERE!

I hosted STEM projects before STEM was STEM or STEAM or STREAM or SCREAM.   🙂

And I have met some EXTREMELY AMAZING TEACHERS who wanted to open the doors of their classrooms and let my ideas in.

I was touched — I was a bit surprised — I was grateful.

Since 1999, ProjectsByJen has gone through several changes — website design, name change (Technospud, Jenuinetech, ProjectsByJen) and we tried some things that worked and some that did not.  (so sorry that Ning started to charge)   We had some very well-populated projects and some with just a handful of teachers — learned a lot/shared a lot regardless.

And in 2017/2018, ProjectsByJen will be changing again.

No worries — PBJ is not going away — NOR am I going to start charging for projects!   PBJ will always be offered freely to teachers.

But, I am going to slim down a bit to 4 projects per year.

We will be keeping O.R.E.O. and HOLIDAY CARD PROJECT and PICTURE IT — those will not be going away.   Plus, I will be working on one NEW project idea that will be announced this summer.

By slimming down to just 4 projects — I hope to build these 4 up to become even better than they are now.   Lesson Plans, Online Opportunities, Video Chats, etc.

It has been my JOY to host projects.
It has been my PRIVILEGE to host projects.
It has brought me HAPPINESS to know that after 18 years, they are still making a difference.

I look forward to working with you again this fall.
Registration for O.R.E.O. will begin in July.
Registration for Holiday Card will begin in November.
Registration for Picture It will begin in February.
Registration for ????? will be announced soon!

Thank you
Jennifer

PS:
Right now, I am currently looking for someone who would be willing to head up St. Patrick’s Day and Pumpkin Seed.  They need to have a heart for projects and be willing to host these projects freely.  If this might be you — please email me at gmail (projectsbyjen)
Thank you

The “APP’les of my eye

To say that ipads are HUGE on our campus would be an understatement.   We had a cart of 30 — then we purchased an additional cart of 25 — and will be purchasing another 30 this summer.

We are a PC, ipad, and iMac lab — and I could not be happier.   The opportunities at my students fingertips are great and we enjoy much as we learn a lot.

So — I thought I would take the time and share with you some of the “APPS” my students and I both enjoy and learn with.

Some cost — but are worth every penny.
Many are free — and thank you thank you thank you to the companies who provide free apps.

DOINK GREEN SCREEN — $2.99
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/green-screen-by-do-ink/id730091131?mt=8

If I could only have 1 app on my ipad (besides the camera) this would be it.   It allows my students to create in so many different ways.   The usability of this app has echoed over into the classroom and at least 6 teachers used it OUTSIDE the lab this year.   (that is HUGE)

DUCK DUCK MOOOSE — ALL ARE FREE
http://www.duckduckmoose.com/educational-iphone-itouch-apps-for-kids/

The Duck Duck Moose app that I go most often is Draw and Tell.   The Duck Duck Moose app that my students love the most is Moose Math.
We all love chatterpix.   I had purchased some of these apps before they became free!  (but do appreciate that they are free now)

Tiggley Apps — ALMOST ALL ARE FREE
https://www.tiggly.com/pages/tiggly-apps

These apps are brand new to our lab/classrooms this year — and such fun + such learning.   The kiddos LOVE the chef apps and are reinforcing and learning math skills as they create yummy foods.  The Tiggly adventure was a bit hard for my students and it was good to see them struggle and then succeed as they figured things out and then shared their learning with each other.
**We have used Subtraction, Chef, Cardtoons, Adventure, Draw

Zoombini’s — $4.99 (and worth it!)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/zoombinis/id961739806?mt=8

I loved loved loved this program in the 90’s and still love it today.   The higher level thinking skills in this app are probably the best I have ever seen.   The students cannot just drag and drop in this app.  There is problem solving at every single destination w/ 4 levels of learning.   Students can play in JOURNEY mode or PRACTICE mode!

Keynote, Pages, Garage Band — ALL FREE
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/keynote/id361285480?mt=8

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pages/id361309726?mt=8

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/garageband/id408709785?mt=8

We had originally paid for these on 5 of our old ipads and then they came free on our new ipads…and now they are free for all!   YEAH!!
We are a 365 campus on our PCs and I am pleased that my students are learning skills rather than programs in that they can choose how they would like to create.   Kids are creating big time with these apps!

CloudArt App — .99cents
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cloudart/id598345649?mt=8

I am a huge fan of wordle…..always have been, probably always will be.  Probably one of the reasons why I love this app.   Students can type (or talk) in words or grab info from a website and then create a word cloud picture.  They have a large choice of formatting options and the ability to save and share in different ways.

TocaBoca — Sometimes free
https://tocaboca.com/apps/

Keep an eye on the Toca Boca apps and when one is free — grab it.
My students enjoy a lot of these apps but the one that STAYS on our ipads is Toca Builders:  https://itunes.apple.com/app/id652077009?mt=8

I check http://www.smartappsforkids.com/ every Friday and if there is a Toca Boca app for free, I download it.
Just a disclaimer — some of their apps have some (to me) unnecessary choices (like in the school, there is a bathroom and toilet area — which is a distraction to my students) — just FYI.

Hoopa City 1 — .99cents
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hoopa-city/id881404173?mt=8
Hoopa City 2 — $2.99
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/dr-panda-hoopa-city-2/id1116026071?mt=8

Another app we found for free and fell in love with!   Hoopa City is an excellent app for building, problem solving, and creation.  #1 has more things you can build (at this time) but #2 is more interactive (you can pick up your people and place them into buildings).   It is the #1 app my students ask for when we have “free” time in the lab.   It is the #1 app I go to when I have “free” time.

Often I will introduce an app in the lab (such as Mathseeds) and then encourage the teacher to use it within their classroom setting.   This is helping a great deal overcome teacher timidity with something new.   And this allows the student to help teach the teacher something as well.

Jen

I Don’t Teach Technology

Many years ago — I heard Chris Lehmann say at a conference “we don’t teach subjects, we teach students” — small paraphrase on my part….AND it made a HUGE impact on me.

To the point — that I often hear myself saying it — blurting it — when someone introduces me as

…..someone who teaches computer —
No, I don’t teach inanimate objects
…..someone who teaches technology —
Oh, I teach much more than that.

BECAUSE — 

I don’t teach coding — 
I assist students with adding and subtracting and angles and using the metric stystem and problem solving and if this/then what and cause/effect and patterning and creativity and teamwork and reading a grid and jotting down ideas and reading directions and writing directions….and more.

I don’t teach blogging –
I assist students with word choices and the power of the word and the power of a good comment and synonyms and antonyms and color choices and how to make a font stand out and citation of images and the power of an image and continuity and bravery (of pushing submit)….and more.

I don’t teach wordprocessing or spreadsheeting or presentations —
I assist students with knowing the best option to use to get the job done and addition and subtraction and formulas and text boxes and good font choices (and sometimes fun font choices) and getting your message across with a word and having your words agree with your visuals and the power of conversation and getting your point made and keeping your audience interested and engaged….and more.

I don’t teach video –
I assist students with sequencing and problem solving and creating timelines and looking forward and looking back and looking beyond the obvious and making something simple difficult and something difficult simple and how powerful music can be to share your story….and more.

I don’t teach robotics –
I assist students with being a good team player as well as a successful individual and higher level thinking skills and measurement and journalling and problem solving and troubleshooting and patience and planning and learning from mistakes and moving forward again and again and again….and more.

I don’t teach 3D printing –
I assist students with adding and subtracting and resizing and symmetry and coordinates and congruents and foundations and stability and how a solid becomes a liquid becomes a solid…and more.

I don’t teach digital citizenship –
I assist students with making good choices (regardless who is watching) and becoming skillful in finding information and discernment with that information and how to be kind and how to be honest but kind and how to protect themselves yet make themselves visible and knowing when to click OFF and what to do when they click ON….and more.

I don’t teach computers — 
I don’t teach technology — 

I teach my kids to see opportunities, embrace opportunities and then use those opportunities in a myriad of ways…..for their todays — and their tomorrows.

My thoughts today

Jennifer