Just Because it is Not on Your Radar, Means That it is Invisible

The months of September, October, and November are a high concentration of conferences for me.   Between edcamps, the regional CUE’s, and other conferences…..I could be at a learning opportunity every weekend and if I add online opportunities, wow, it is learning abundance.

Because of this, I get to meet a lot of people — old friends and new — and because I enjoy observing people and situations, I am able to notice some interesting circumstances and also hear some interesting conversations as well.

At a recent conference, I over heard two people talking about which session they would attend next.   One mentioned that they wanted to go to “fill in the blank” and other other mentioned “I don’t know who that is, lets go to “fill in the blank” because I have heard about him.

And off they journeyed.

I have to admit I found that most interesting because I was the “I don’t know who that is” person they were talking about.

Funny thing is, they ended up coming to my session after all when the other speaker was giving a session the one had heard already.

It got me to thinking about the fact of learning opportunities and if we are becoming what we so do not wish for our students.    Are we listening to the same information, provided by the same people, and then regurgitating the same content to the same people to repeat?

And if perhaps we are ignoring opportunities just because it is an ‘Un-known” source.   It cannot be an unreliable source (at least at a conference) because there has been some screening to choose the speakers.   And were we not all at one time the “i don’t know who that is” person?

In addition to this, I wonder if people become ignored or even dismissed because they are “unknown” or “not in the current group of acceptability”.   How does a person earn the right — not only to be heard, but then to be repeated?

So I ask you this — who is someone on your radar that you are paying attention to — whether it be on twitter, facebook, blogging, podcast — that you might feel is invisible to others?   Please share here (and please provide a link) so that we can expand our learning opportunities.

Thank you


SGVCue Thoughts

This past Saturday, I journeyed down to the San Gabriel Valley Cue conference.   I was to share out about the Spaghetti/Marshmallow Challenge and help with the Green Screen Area.

The day began very early in the morning as I met up with Brent Coley to carpool over to the conference.  Brent has been a good friend for almost 10 years now and our conversations are always wonderful.

We talked a lot about our campuses on the way and LOTS of chat about changing homework policies — both our campuses are looking at this situation!

Once I got to the conference — it was great to see lots of friends!

The opening keynote was good, some nice conversations with neighbors as we discussed some of the questions thrown out.

After the keynote, I wandered over to help with Green Screen area and meet up with Anita (new friend).   As we got acquainted and looked through the ipads/apps/etc….she showed TOUCHCAST to me.  (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/touchcast-studio-present-smart/id603258418?mt=8) and it was a HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY moment.   Another happy moment was when a large group from a school came up to take a group shot — which we showed how to do this — and then another member walked up — after the shot — and we were able to add them in by using the green screen.

Quick lunch and then on to share about the Spaghetti/Marshmallow Project.  It is one of those “non-tech” projects but a wonderful opportunity for collaboration!  There were about 30 people in the session and EVERYONE participated.   Some with great success (24 inches high) and some with great learning (it fell just at the 18 minute mark).










(picture courtesy of John Martinez)

A lot of learning — a lot of fun — a lot of collaboration — and almost everyone saw how this could be used within a variety of grade levels.

The final session was spent again at the Green Screen area — and I teamed up with a few of the teenagers in the Robot Area to fly their drone in front of the green screen and then merged with a picture found in Photos4Class.





Before we knew it — the conference was over and we were driving back home.   Most of the conversation on the way home was more TV based — Walking Dead (Brent’s topic) — This is Us and Designated Survivor (me).   But still a very nice chat.

It was a nice conference….good to see friends — learned two very good new ideas and also met some new people — and what I shared out was received well.

Nice day!   And we get to do it again in a few weeks for San Diego Cue!



October 1 — EdCamp San Diego — So Happy I Decided to Go!

It’s been a while since I have enjoyed an edcamp as much as I did today.  To be honest, it has been a while since I was not “involved in hosting” an edcamp so that I was able to enjoy the edcamp.

So today, that was the opportunity. I had no responsibilities at all….so I was able to just enjoy.

I did have a “session idea” that I wanted to throw out there, but it was 100% something I needed help with – so I knew that I would welcome, start the conversation, and then sit back and learn.

Which is exactly what happened.

I arrived at EdCamp San Diego to see Adina and then Jo-Ann and then Ryan and then Kevin – all with hugs and hellos.

Within moments I had met someone new and then journeyed down the hallway to grab some water and some fruit (okay, and some banana bread) and then sat down at a table with 4 more people – all new to edcamps – but not new to EdTech.

Two were google innovators, 1 was an IT who just rolled out 1:1 for (I think he said 180 campuses) and another highly involved educator.

One of the teachers also was involved in sketch note and WOW, I wished I had taken pictures of here sketchbook – but I was able to grab Jo-Ann (another sketchbook-er) to say “LOOK AT THIS.”   Oh, and the teacher is a pen/paper sketchbook artist on graph paper books.   No app involved. It was IMPRESSIVE!

And as I was eating, someone tapped me on the back — and it was Vicky S…..super surprised to see her!

After the welcome, I wandered into the 1st session – which was my suggestion – “Reaching the Reluctant Campus” and learned learned learned. So many ideas were shared – but it mostly narrowed down to
a) meet each teacher where they are,
b) catch them with a time saving idea, and
c) get parents involved so that they also encourage the teacher.
Not new ideas but IMPORTANT REMINDERS!!   I left with a bit of a lift to my step and ready to encourage my own teachers ASAP.

After the 1st session, I wandered into the Maker Space and played with cardboard – but to be honest, I watched someone sketch out and build a cardboard chair, I saw a cardboard laptop holder, and I chatted with new friends and Elizabeth G.   (so great to catch up with her)

Onward to lunch and a nice conversation with 6 or 7 other educators.   One teacher in that room, when finding out my name, started sharing praises of Projects By Jen – which was unexpectedly nice.

From there, I went to Google Forms – and my mind was blown.
a.   You can click on the grid lines above 1 or to the left of A – drag down or drag over – to lock the rows – so you can scroll & still see headers!
b. In New google forms (I still gravitate to old) you can see responses and INDIVIDUAL responses (so that you can read their comments easier than in a spreadsheet.
c. There is an add-on called ROW CAL <?> that allows you to gather info from 1 form & disperses it over several sheets due to filter. (This will help with O.R.E.O. by grade results)
d. Conditional Formatting – not new to me – but the fact you can find it UNDER the bucket (as well as under FORMAT) was new to me.
This class became many conversations overlapping so I know I lost a lot of ideas.
But I did work with a new Jen and we created a homework collection form for her.
We created a simple form – first question was Homework (with a text answer option) and then she had student names listed with grid choices of Done, Incomplete, Absent, and one more heading.
She then could open the form herself, type in the homework title for the 1st question and then click the right grid choice for each student.   And she will use this MONDAY.

The final session started on Google Expeditions.   Though the wifi was a bit sketchy – we saw how it works and WOW, you don’t need to use google cardboard to use this.
LINK: https://www.google.com/edu/expeditions/#about

Love the add in of questions for teacher to start conversations about what they see.
LOVE that you don’t need to have cardboard to do this. (We do have 8 but not enough for 1:1 – but we do have 1:1 ipads)
Cannot wait to show this to a teacher next week. – already have one booked for Friday morning!   J

We then wandered into Google Geo – which I thought was google earth (been there, done that) but found out I am VERY BEHIND in google earth options.
So first – Google Tourbuilder – I have been doing this in google earth – but don’t need to any longer — Tour Builder is better!!

Then on to Google Earth Engine – time lapse of ANY LOCATION since 1984

And that is when My Mind said “NO MORE” – I am overwhelmed with ideas!  My brain went “poof”!

It was such a day of learning!
And I cannot wait to get to work on Monday!

Oh, and also, at about 20 minutes into the beginning of the day, I met @TeachingTechNix — (Cynthia)
who I am hoping will be a mentor to me and help me be a much better coach to the teachers on my campus. She works at private Christian school too.

And I won a door prize and got to choose what I wanted, so I took a copy of Jen Robert’s book and got her to autograph it for me – since she was sitting right in front of me!

THANK YOU so much to the EDCAMP San Diego team! Wonderful day!!!


PS — I am sure I forgot something, so look for an addendum soon!

A New Year — Room Changes

My superintendent wanders into my classroom a lot before school actually begins — because he knows, each time he wanders in, the room setup will probably be different.   And my previous principal always knew that each time she came in, to not be surprised if the room had changed.   I have already warned my new principal not to get to comfy with my room set up — because everything is movable.

It’s not that I move desks/tables/cozy area every week — but probably about 6 times a year, the room changes just a bit.  Sometimes because of necessity — we need room for DOT DAY and ROBOTS and sometimes just to keep things from getting boring.

So, I thought it might be interesting to wander through some old photos to see my room — from when I first started teaching in 2013 until now.

Here is how I inherited the room.  Notice the tables are 4 stations long and students are only one one side.  Also, there are towers and flat screens and a round table for the ipads.  And I sigh at the bulletin boards.  But I also found out about a week before school started that I was teaching.


The next year, when IT decided to bring in laptops, I decided to resize the tables down to 3 sections on each side of the tables, paint one wall green…..and tried different layouts of the room.

tearingapartsidewalltablesThat lasted about 1 week.

And we moved to this setup.


Which we can also move so they are flat against the wall — or wherever we wish (for instance, pushing 2 together to make a larger working area for groups)


My desk bounced from the left of the room to the right to the left to the right.   From a white desk (like students) to a smaller brown desk and then back again.

3We needed more — so I turned a white board into a green screen…..
greenscreenughBut luckily, that only lasted about 3 weeks and then we removed the white board, painted the space green, and added a picture window.




Then this year, we added new wood flooring, we removed the back cabinet, we moved in a nice teacher desk (that is much more than just a desk), added a green book shelf for maker’s fair/robots, and moved stuff off the sink counter (to eliminate my clutter)

Where cabinet was:
4Where green bookcase is now — oh, and it is chalk paint:

Teacher Desk (stuffed animals, speakers, gifts from students, Dash is there for now, but he will move soon, etc)



Clutter Gonecounterspace

….who knows what will happen in the next day or so.

So, that, is the journey (so far) of a classroom.