30 June 2016

#ISTE2016 Flooding - #100DayProject - Day 091

Image Source: Pixabay.com
I live in a desert and in order to survive, like everywhere else, we depend on the rain. However, different to other climates, deserts have a love-hate relationship with the rain. We desperately need it but we often don't get the best form of rain for our environment. So what happens? We usually get too much in a single storm that causes flash floods and we often end up having damage done in the process of receiving the needed moisture.

Look no further than this report by CBS News on some of the flooding that happened today in Las Vegas, just a short two hours Southwest from me. In fact, Investigative Reporter Vanessa Murphy from CBS Channel 8 shared the following tweet showing just one of many washes in Vegas that are normally dry.


Kind of makes you realize how important it is to be safe out there in the rain. But another area we need to be careful with is information and knowledge. The excellent #ISTE2016 just wrapped up today and it seemed to be a great success! While I was #NotAtISTE2016 this year, it seemed that my social networks were flooded with wonderful information about how to better myself and hopefully create a better learning environment for my students.

Even though the information was good and helpful, it was still a deluge of knowledge that will definitely leave me gasping for air for next little bit. And just like after a physical flood things have to dry out a little, we need to be sure and allow ourselves to "dry out" a little from all the knowledge collected. Now's the time to sit back and reflect on the good, bad, and ugly of the week and see what exactly is worthwhile and what was more hype and excitement. Let's all take a couple of days and let the new knowledge percolate a little so we can better utilize it because just like the excess rain can't all be absorbed into the dry ground, we can't possibly absorb all of the new information. By taking the time to see what fits best for us we will better be able to maximize our learning.

So take some time the next couple of days and allows yourself to reflect and maybe even disconnect a little to see what exactly is the best use of the new tools acquired at #ISTE2016.

29 June 2016

iOS Keyboard Shortcuts - #100DayProject - Day 090

Image Source: Pixabay.com
I've been asked how I am able to type phrases and email addresses so quickly on my iOS devices so I thought I'd share how here. It's not anything I created or invented, but it's a little tip on iOS that many don't seem to know about. It involves the shortcut menu in the Keyboard section of the Settings, so allow me to walk you through step-by-step with some images and all.

Now keep in mind, these directions are for an iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad) so they won't be the same on an Android device. Maybe I'll get some screenshots and do another tutorial on the Android side, but this one is for my Apple users.

Step 1: Settings


To start, you need to go to your Settings app. Your icon may be in a different location, so find the app with the cogwheel. 

Step 2: General Menu

Next, you want to go to your General Menu. It should be near the top in the 3rd section of Settings items. 

Step 3: Keyboard Menu


Now you want to scroll down a little bit looking for the Keyboard Menu. This menu has all sorts of great options that you may want to play with, but we only need one of them for this tutorial. 

Step 4: Text Replacement


You will need to select the Text Replacement menu for the next step. This is an awesome section of the Settings that many don't know exists. 

Step 5: Add New Text Replacement


This is the screen that will show all of your different Text Replacement shortcuts you've created. You won't have very many in your list when you first start, but may end up having lots after you see how easy it is to use these. 

Step 6: Create the Shortcut Phrase


This is probably the most confusing screen of the whole process, one that I have to remind myself each time what part is what, so don't feel bad if you have to re-refer to this image or open a completed Shortcut to remember. Next to Phrase (labeled #1) is where you write out the entire phrase you want to shorten, I used #PassTheScopeEDU here as an example. On the Shortcut (labeled #2) is what you put to have the shortcut text replacement happen. Notice I put "ptsee" to shorten it down. I just now listed it in quotation marks because if I didn't do that it would shorten to #PassTheScopeEDU right away since I am also running an app on my Mac called TextExpander by Smile that is amazing. If you really like this feature on iOS then you may want to consider purchasing TextExpander on your Mac. 

I mentioned above that you could use this same trick to make typing your email addresses easier, so here's a quick tip I use for mine. 


Notice, I used the "@@" as my shortcut to produce my full email address. This makes typing an email address really fast and easy. But what if you have more than one email address, then what? I feel your pain and am here to tell you it's totally possible to have the mess of email addresses cleared. Feast your eyes on the following image.


Just add another @ to the end so you have "@@@" for your 2nd and "@@@@" for your 3rd and so on and so on. If you notice above, I have five different accounts all working with this nice tip and it's great! I highly suggest you try it out. 

I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you tried it and just how much it changed your workflow on iOS devices. I know that this has made participating in Twitter chats easier on my iOS devices. While I still prefer to use Tweetdeck or Hootsuite on a desktop machine, it is nice to have the hashtags work with shortened strokes. The other place I really love this tip is when at conferences. Makes adding in the #ISTE2016 so much faster and less chance of me typing it in wrong. 

28 June 2016

Evernote Changes - #100DayProject - Day 089

I wasn't going to write about this topic, but I figured I might as well since the news just broke today. Are you an Evernote user? Do you even know what Evernote is? If not, here's a quick summary to catch you up to speed.

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Evernote is a digital notebook application that allows you to take notes of all kinds (text, pictures, audio, etc.) on almost any device and then have it all sync to your account and be available on all your devices. It's also great because you can forward emails to your Evernote account and have them show up in specific folders or notebooks so you can stay organized on different levels. It's a super useful tool as well because you could have multiple devices on the Free plan and were only limited to the amount of syncing on your account each month, kind of like a data limit. Not a major problem for me since I didn't use the service a ton, but still really liked having the content everywhere.

So what's changing? The cost structure and features. There will be three tiers, Basic (free), Plus ($3.99/month or $34.99/year), and Premium ($7.99/month or $69.99/year). Besides the change in cost, there are changes in what's offered in each plan. Check the official Evernote blog for the specifics, but here's what the Basic tier will now include:
The easiest way to get started with Evernote, Basic has been and will remain free of charge. Evernote Basic supports web clipping and note sharing, so you can capture memories, ideas, and inspiration and save them forever. 
On Basic, you can access notes on up to two devices, such as a computer and phone, two computers, or a phone and a tablet, as well as on the web, so you can continue to take your notes with you throughout your day. Passcode lock on the mobile app, formerly a paid feature, is now available on Basic as well.
I'm pretty sad to see the email forwarding and customer support via email disappear from the Basic plan since both were great features. One thing I didn't use that isn't available for free is the offline notebooks, although I do know many people who did really love that feature. Regardless, it seems that Evernote is stripping away the features for their Basic free plan. While I get why they would do it, I don't like it.

So what's the deal? If I enjoy using the tool, why not pay for it? I am already paying for a number of different services that I feel are more instrumental to my daily workflow and Evernote, while important, isn't a daily use for me. Also, thanks to the fact that (according to this FAQ page) Evernote Web doesn't count as a device, I should be able to access my Evernote account from any machine as long as I go through the web interface, which isn't great, but it's not terrible. So what is a device then? This FAQ page states:
Device limits apply only to the following Evernote products:
  • Evernote for Windows
  • Evernote for Mac
  • Evernote for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch
  • Evernote for Android
  • Evernote for BlackBerry
  • Evernote for Windows Phone
  • Evernote on Android Chromebook
  • Evernote on desktop virtual machines of Mac and Windows
Other Evernote products, and third-party apps that use the Evernote API integration, aren’t affected by device limits. Examples: Evernote Web, Evernote on Apple Watch, Evernote for Windows Touch, Web Clipper, Skitch, and Penultimate.
One thing I'm glad to see is that third-party apps aren't going to count towards your Evernote device quote, at least not for now. I also use Skitch and am glad to see it's not going to be affected by all of this reshuffling of Evernote's cost structure.

So what happens if you can't make Evernote work on 2 devices and you don't want to have to pay for it? Richard Byrne of FreeTech4Teachers.com has decided it's time to switch to Google Keep. According to Richard:
For a long time I have used Evernote as my primary tool for personal bookmarks. That's about to change because today Evernote announced that their free plan will soon only allow you to use Evernote on two devices. As I use three devices or more in the course of a typical week, the new Evernote free plan won't work for me. So instead of using Evernote I'm going to start using Google Keep for bookmarking.
If you go check out Richard's full article, you can watch a great tutorial video about how you can use Google Keep and do some amazing things. While I'll probably stick with some form using Evernote, I may check out Google Keep after watching Richard's helpful video.

So what are your plans now that Evernote has changed their pricing structure? Are you going to pony up some money and continue to use the app everywhere or are you going to scale back and try to make it work on the Basic Plan? Or are you going to say forget it and leave Evernote completely for something else like Google Keep? There are lots of options and I'd be interested to know your plans. Let me know what you're thinking and let's see if we can get around this little hiccup in the use-case.

27 June 2016

Learning - #100DayProject - Day 088

What do you love? What is something you are super excited about and can get totally nerdy about? Does anything come to your mind? I know I have a few things. Now, think back to that thing or things, could you spend hours upon hours working on it? Could you get lost in our work? Would your work be amazing or just so-so? Without knowing anything about what you're thinking about (which, I hope you have something that makes you go gaga over!) I bet I know how amazing your project or work would be. If you're anything like me, you may even obsess over it so much that you never feel it is 100% complete and that there is always something better you could do for it. 

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Now, think about your group of students you just said good-bye to (unless they're still in school, in which case, I'm sorry you're still in school at this point in June!) do you think they have something they might be just as nerdy-obsessed with as you? Heck, it may even be the same thing as you. Have you ever asked them about that love, that obsession, that passion? While I don't love the word "passion" I do get why it's used so often, but I still think I prefer obsession. 

Take a minute and think back on some of the assignments your students turned in this year. Were they all amazing? Were they all stellar work? Would you be proud to display them all to your entire school? Not to make assumptions, but I bet your answers to some (or all) of the above questions was No! I know I answered that way. How do we get our students to present better work? Can they do better work? I think we can definitely get our students to do better work, but I think we need to be willing to open up a little and allow them to show us their way of better work. 

I'm not great at this yet, but I have a friend (she's kind of an #EduHero of mine) who is and I'm hoping to steal, I mean, borrow, all of her secrets soon so I can get prepped for next year. Her name is Jacqueline Rose and she's amazing! You should all start following her so you can also learn from her example. She is out of this world great and she does a lot of Periscoping of her class and even takes part in the #PassTheScopeEDU stuff as well every 3rd Thursday of each month. 

Join me as I work to allow more time for students to show me their obsessions/passions and give me some amazing work next year. I'm really looking forward to handing the reins over to them to see just what WE can accomplish instead of it being so much about ME

26 June 2016

Still Here - #100DayProject - Day 087

So I think I had some of you worried that I was about to cut out all social media and unplug from the 'Net after my last post coupled with the fact that I hadn't posted yet for the day. Don't worry, I'm still here and I'm not going anywhere, yet. Besides, do you really think I'd leave without saying Good Bye? I'm not that kind of a person. Rest assured that if I ever do leave, I'll leave this site up with a proper farewell note.

Now, don't go taking this some morbid way, I'm not suicidal or anything, but I have thought about taking some major time off from the online world and focusing on the physical one instead. My most read piece still is my article called Analog Love where I share my love of all things analog and how I actually like unplugging occasionally to recharge. In fact, if you were one of the lucky folks to attend #EdCampUT back in October of 2015 or #DigCitSummitUK in January 2016, you were able to hear me speak a little more on the NEED to unplug and recharge ourselves.

I think it's important that we all take some time to get back in touch with our analog selves and see what we really need and want to connect with. As much as I love all the Voxer groups, Twitter chats, and other online connection forums, sometimes I worry that I'm getting lost in the online world and forgetting that I have people here in my home that need me more.

I realize that part of this desire to unplug for me is that there is an overload of great things being shared due to #ISTE2016 happening now as well as the #NotAtISTE2016 group sharing what they are learning from their PLN in attendance. I think I just need to take a breather and realize this is a perfect opportunity to adjust my notifications on my social network apps so I'm not getting inundated non-stop but can instead choose when I want to look into the great resources being shared.

Thanks for letting me share some of these thoughts that cross my mind more and more frequently these days. Maybe it's just the Universe's way of telling me it's time to step back a little and cut out a few of my possibly excessive commitments I've set up. Whatever it is, I've gotta figure it out so I can better take care of myself.

25 June 2016

Totally Connected? - #100DayProject - Day 086

While listening to Chris Nesi's great podcast #HouseOfEdTech, Episode #63, Chris talks about the need to be a connected educator. It's a real raw moment and I was glad to have heard it because almost all of what Chris shared is what I've been thinking about lately. I love being a connected educator, but I have to wonder what I'm missing out on when I'm trying to connect online. Is it bad? I don't think so. Is it totally necessary? I don't know. Like Chris, I've been pretty absent from most of the social media world and yet, I don't know if I've been missed. Other than this site and an occasional tweet or Facebook share, I haven't done much and yet, I'm fine.

We are on the cusp of #ISTE2016 and the deluge of social media posts by amazing educators who will be there learning and sharing their learning. Is it wrong for them to share out like crazy? Not at all, as long as they are learning first and sharing second. While at LEGOLAND this week my wife asked if I wanted to take a picture of something and I responded that I wanted to experience it myself first and then determine if I needed to take a picture at all. I didn't take the picture because it wasn't that important after all.

I want to re-evaluate my online presence and decide what needs to be shared and what needs to be kept to myself. That's one of the reasons this is posting so late, barely in time for the "day" to count. I was tired and didn't get it posted last night and then spent the day with family, without worrying about my post. But I want to make sure I do like The Minimalist say, "Love people and Use things because the opposite never works."

24 June 2016

Field Trips - #100DayProject - Day 085

Today is a travel day for me and it makes me wonder, how much longer will I be able to take my students on field trips? Does your district allow for field trips or have they banned them due to budget cuts?

Image Source: Pixabay.com
I love going on field trips because it helps bring lessons to life for my students. It's one thing to read about things in books or online and another TOTALLY DIFFERENT thing to allow your students to get out of the classroom and physically be somewhere. While I support the use of technology like Skype, Google Hang Outs, Google Cardboard and other VR environments, but there is something special about getting out and seeing and feeling the world.

I think that is one of the reasons why the Driven2Teach program was so amazing for me because I was able to go to historical landmarks and BE where the history books were written and where the story of our country actually happened. Taking kids somewhere has that same power and ability, while maybe on a smaller level, it's still of the same idea.

Image Source: Pixabay.com
While roaming around New York and Philadelphia I was shocked at how many locals had never been out to see the Statue of Liberty or the Liberty Bell! What? You live a short subway ride away from these important artifacts and you've never seen them in the flesh? And yet. when I took my students a short drive away to see Zion National Park about half of them had never been! This is why we NEED to keep the funding for field trips because they help to teach our students in ways that can't be done through a textbook or even VR.

Now, with all that emotion out, please excuse me so I can get on the road before the freeway here in California becomes another parking lot. And to think, I used to want to live in a big city.

23 June 2016

Sunburn - #100DayProject - Day 084

Ouch! That is the main word I would use, to sum up, my day yesterday. It should be fun, wet, family, adventure, or something good because I spent the day with my family at SeaWorld San Diego and had a great time. So why is my word "ouch" then? Because I got a nasty SUNBURN on parts of my body! Even with applying sunblock, I still got burned, the worst of it being my knees (dang shorts moving up when I sit down!) and neck. Why didn't I burn the previous two days while at LEGOLAND? Both parks were outdoors and I was all over the place both days. I don't know, but maybe I didn't apply enough sunblock or maybe it was just lots sunnier than the previous days. Whatever the reason, I'm in pain today and will be headed to the beach anytime soon!

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Is there an analogy to getting sunburned to something educational? I'm not sure, but I think it could have to do with lesson planning or as I like to do, weekly/monthly/more planning. Think about it, you can usually avoid a sunburn if you use plenty of sunblock and reapply throughout the day as needed. Planning is the same way. If you plan out your day/week/month/more then you are less likely to fall into a mess of not knowing what to do and you'll be ready for each day to help make it more productive and successful for your students. 

In both of the examples above I used the words "usually" and "less likely" instead of "always" and "never," but why? Because "only a Sith deal in absolutes." While that is true, that's not the reason, though it's a great one. No. I avoided absolutes because even with the best of intentions, things can go wrong and that's part of life, especially in a school. How often do you have your week all ready to go and then you get a last-minutes email letting you know about a bunch of assemblies that somehow didn't get added to the school Google Calendar and you have to revamp the entire week so that you can make it all work after all? But by making those initial plans, you now have an outline of what you want to be done and can work through all the distractions and assemblies and etc. 

Image Source: Pixabay.com
While I don't always have super detailed lesson plans, I do have a nice outline of my week so I can keep myself about where I want to be by the end of it. And when (notice I've now decided to plan for SOME form of a distraction) that certain distraction occurs (I'm talking to you monthly fire drill!) I can more quickly get back on track. And just like my regular weekly schedule, I will now take some extra time to make sure my body is fully protected from the sun's harsh rays. Now, if only I can survive the beach and not come back flame-broiled then I should be just fine! 










22 June 2016

School Family - #100DayProject - Day 083

I love using social media to catch up with friends online and see what's new in the world of EdTech and sometimes I even learn a little while I'm at it. That was the case last night after I returned from another amazing day at LEGOLAND California. I was hanging out on Twitter when I suddenly saw a massive mic drop come from one of my Canadian friends, Dean Shareski. His tweet is below.


Did that just blow your mind? I know it did mine and I was so glad to be pushed to think about it for a while. It forced me to consider my own school where I teach. Does the school leadership help to make its school delightful for all of the students and teachers there? I think I could answer yes to this, although I have a caveat or two.

I think a good building admin helps a school to feel like family if they want the highest level of success amongst teachers and students. Why would I say a family instead of a group of pals? Families are more consistent and hopefully change less frequently than friends. Blood runs deep. Also, I think you make deeper connections to family members than friends, not always, but again, hopefully, you're closer to your family than friends.

When thinking of my own school family, I don't always get along with them 100% but I know that when it matters. they have my back. When I need them for something they are there to assist and help bring the success and learning. But there are definitely times when I think, "I can't stand these people," just like I'm sure they feel about me on more occasions than I'd like to admit. But even with those moments of frustrations, we can still work together to make sure the best learning is in place for our students. Besides, life isn't always about "rainbows and butterflies, it's compromise that moves us along." (Thanks, Maroon 5 for that awesome lyric that I LOVE to use!)

While I'm not always 100% happy at work I know that as long as the positive days outnumber the negative ones I'm doing fine. Besides, who doesn't enjoy a little struggle once in a while to help them push forward and become a better person? I know I don't always enjoy the struggle in the midsts of it but am almost always grateful for the challenge once I've overcome it.

So here's to school leadership teams everywhere helping to make school a more enjoyable place for the teachers and students who call it their home away from home. Just remember, it's okay to have a little struggle and challenge occasionally to show you how amazing that home and family truly are!

And just because I love all you readers, here's that Maroon 5 video for She Will Be Loved that I shared the lyric for above. Enjoy the greatness!



21 June 2016

Hands Up - #100DayProject - Day 082

I came across an interesting article on Hand Raising thanks to Angela Maiers that has me thinking about how I have been handling my class participation so far in my career. While I do use the traditional class ritual of hand raising, I also use a number of other methods that I feel are pretty decent.

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Before I share my thoughts, if you haven't yet seen the great Medium article Hands Up: Examining a Classroom Ritual by Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg, please go check it out now because not only does it have some great ideas, it's also done in a clever manner. It's a comic strip. That's why I didn't blockquote any of it. Please go now and read through it, I'll wait.

Okay, you back now? Here are some of my thoughts.

While I agree with the article on the need for more than just hand raising, I do see it's usefulness and ease. I think that's one of the main reasons the raised hand has withstood the test of time and is still used to this day. It's an incredibly easy way to check things with your students. Although, due to it's simplicity, I find the raised hand to be quite vague. Because of that, I've set up hand signals so I'm not land-mined with a HUGELY LONG comment that has NOTHING to do with the topic. My signals are below:

  • Standard Raised Hand
    • I have a question. 
    • Again, the ease of this use case is without question, so why mess with it.
  • Raised Hand with Index Finger Pointing
    • I want to answer a question. 
    • This is a great way to quickly see is going to answer my question versus who still has a question.
  • Raised Hand in a "C" shape
    • I have a comment. 
    • This is one of my favorite signals if my students remember to use it because I HATE when we're having a good discussion but someone kills it with an off the wall comment about nothing in the lesson. So good!
  • Raised Hand in Sign Language Letter "P"
    • I have to use the bathroom. 
    • While I don't always require my students to ask permission to use the bathroom, it's nice to know why they're getting up in the middle of the lesson. Also makes it easier to use the bathroom without pointing out they are headed to the bathroom.
Other than raised hands, I also LOVE pulling popsicle sticks with their names on them so they can't accuse me of always calling on the same person over and over. Quick tip, add your own name so you can use it as a wild card and call on whoever you choose or use it for the new student you forgot to add a stick for. I've done that more times than I'd like to admit. 

I also love using the Class Dojo app because it has a randomizer built in that also helps to keep things from too much repetition. Plus by using the Class Dojo app for calling on people, it's easier to then assign some Dojo points for their participation. Lots of love for the Class Dojo Team. It's a great app and you should consider using it for your classes. 

So, what are your views on hand raising? Do you use it at all? Let me know so I can continue to grow in my profession. I love hearing from readers who both agree with me and also disagree with me because regardless of their choices, I learn from them sharing it with me. 

Thanks again to Angela Maiers for sharing the Hand Raising article on Twitter, It has caused me to do a lot of thinking. While I still like my method, it seldom hurts to consider new ideas and methods in your teaching. 


LEGO Fun - #100DayProject - Day 081

I've just had a realization, I need to make my classroom more fun next year. How am I going to do it? I'm not totally sure yet, but I hope it involves LEGO bricks in some way because those things are incredibly fun and engaging! 


Hanging out at LEGOLAND with Mojo!
I spent the day at LEGOLAND California and it was a blast! We're headed back for more tomorrow, but today was so fun. We went on rides, played at playgrounds and of course, built a ton of things with LEGO bricks. And it wasn't just my kids playing with the LEGO, I was right there with them enjoying them alongside MANY other adults. I think LEGO is so great that way, they bring out the child in all of us.

And with all the fun of LEGO bricks, we need to remember they are also incredibly educational. In fact, LEGO has a special Education website just to help you see how you can use their blocks in your classroom. And if you need more help convincing yourself or someone else (administrators, fellow teachers, parents, etc.) you should definitely check out Quinn Rollins' new book Play Like A Pirate: Engage Students with Toys, Games, and Comics for more ideas.

Me and the LEGO Death Star!
Okay, enough on the convincing you to use LEGO in your classroom. I need to get back to building some of the awesome sets I purchased today. I will warn you if you visit LEGOLAND, you may be tempted to spend ALL YOUR MONEY on the fun LEGO sets. Consider yourself warned.











19 June 2016

Happy Father's Day - #100DayProject - Day 080

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Today is a special day, it's the day we give thanks and honor our Fathers. While most people look to Mother's Day as more of a celebrated day, I think we need to be sure to remember our Fathers as well. I don't just say this because I am a father to three amazing children who keep me on my toes, but because I recognize that life without my Father would be pretty awful!

My Dad is simply amazing and I am so lucky to be his son. He is an outdoorsman who LOVES hiking. In fact, he's hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim more times than I could even count! He enjoys taking people on the hike as well as spending time in nature. In fact, I was even lucky enough to go with him twice, once to hike the Canyon and once as a driver to assist others in crossing off an item from their bucket list. But he also just loves hiking around town and spending time with his family, helping to encourage us to get out and enjoy nature.

My Dad is one of the hardest working people I know. He has successfully run a business alongside my Mom since the late 80s and yet he has always found time to help others as well as keeping his skills up. Always the creative, he recently found his way back to painting, something he enjoyed in his younger years and with time has been able to find time again to reacquaint himself with that skill. While I believe he has the talent to make a name for himself in the art world, he is very humble and instead focuses his efforts on self-improvement over commercial success. One day he'll be famous for his art and I'll be just as proud of his talents as I am now.

I hope you take a few minutes today to call your Father, if he's still alive, and thank him for all he's done to help you. Take a few minutes to spend some time with him if he's close by and love on him a little. While I'll be in the same state as my Father, I won't be able to see him at all. We're both in California for short-ish visits, but we're in different parts. I knew that and spent some time with him on Friday as we roasted marshmallows and taught my kiddos about S'mores. Again, I have the best Dad in the world, but I'm sure you feel the same way about your Dad.

18 June 2016

#PassTheScopeEDU Recap - #100DayProject - Day 079

As many of you know, I have been part of a growing educational experience called #PassTheScopeEDU each month on the 3rd Thursday. We just completed our 3rd event and it was amazing! While I'd love to say I've watched and studied each of the 30+ Periscopes by some of the best educators in the business, I haven't had the full chance due to my single-parenthood this week. So I don't think I can give you a full-on reflection of the event, but don't worry because you're in luck. Three of our amazing edu-scopers have taken the time to reflect on their experiences both in front of as well as watching the event unfold. So I thought I could pull a Marzano on y'all and just give you a recap of their recaps.

To start, Stacy Lovdahl wrote about her struggle to decide on just one Big Idea as well as focusing on Global Connections. Stacy wrote:
The topic on PasstheScopeEDU this month was One Big Idea and Global Connections. I have to confess that this topic had me stumped mostly because I’m terrible at narrowing things down to just one thing. There are so many tech tools and I want to learn all of them. There are so many things that need to be done in education. There are so many books that I want to read and every time I tune into EduMatch I add a few more to my list. And what about conferences; the list of conferences that I wish I could go to is long and expensive.
You really need to read through the rest of Stacy's great post because she not only discusses #PassTheScopeEDU, but she also brings up a couple other events that helped her finally narrow down her thoughts for her scope.

Next, we have Cynthia Day shared some of her experiences with the event and why she had to spend her day cleaning her windows.
Why did I need to wash the exterior of all my windows the morning after periscoping during #passthescopeEDU’s June episode? Why was that the first thing I did upon waking and drinking coffee? 
The answer is that I had been impulsively inspired to write all over them with dry erase markers as a way to provide visual back up to my scope. Why window? Because they were there.
Again, be sure to go back and read the rest of Cynthia's post as it has some great thoughts on the day as well as some great pictures of her windows covered in her thoughts.

And last but not least we have Brian Smith's excellent reflection on the day's events even though he wasn't able to participate as a scoper this month. Brian used his post to not only reflect on June's #PassTheScopeEDU event, but he also took some time to give a great background on the event itself. He even started piecing together a video with some of the scopers, as seen below.


Brian is also the talented artist responsible for many of the logos we've been using. Be sure to hit up Brian's post #PassTheScopeEDU reflection and maybe learn a little more about what it is all about.

Thanks to all the amazing educators who have taken time out of their busy schedules to either join us as a scoper or watch along and learn with us. If you would like to learn more about #PassTheScopeEDU, be sure to follow the Twitter account @PassTheScopeEDU or feel free to direct your questions to either me, @lars3eb or the founder, Valerie Lewis - @iamVLewis. We can't wait to see how July's event turns out, but first, we need a little rest.

17 June 2016

#FatheringNotBabysitting - #100DayProject - Day 078

Image Source: Pixabay.com
As I've spent the last couple of days playing single-parent while my beautiful wife made a surprise visit to her sister, I've had some amazing experiences with my kiddos. I love my kids very much, but being home and doing the parenting thing solo really makes me realize how amazing my wife is to do it as often as I am gone, which has been a TON as a late, and yet never complain. It's made me think as well about how often people assume fathers are just babysitting their own kids, except it isn't babysitting when the kids are your own, it's parenting.

My pal Lewis Young, an amazing educator from Northern Utah, recently had a similar experience and shared a lot of it via Instagram and Facebook. While that's fun and kind of a cool idea (why didn't I think of it?) what really got me was the hashtag he used for all his posts, #FatheringNotBabysitting. And with that, Lewis re-established the fact that being a parent isn't babysitting, it's parenting YOUR children and doing what parents are supposed to do, parent. While all parents get this grief, it seems that fathers get it more often, so I'm proud of Lewis for placing that emphasis on the important role of fatherhood and helping people see it's not about babysitting but fathering.

Next time someone asks you about your need to babysit your own kids, please remember my pal Lewis and remind them #FatheringNotBabysitting or #MotheringNotBabysitting. We need to remember the importance of our role as parents. I've really enjoyed this time with my kids, but I'm super excited for my wife to get home so we can be a team again! Plus, I'm worn out!

16 June 2016

Determination - #100DayProject - Day 077

Image Source: Pixabay.com
Today was incredible! Not only was I able to participate in the #PassTheScopeEDU Episode 3 alongside over 30 other amazing teachers and learn about so many excellent tools and ideas, but I also had the chance to learn an impressive lesson from a very small and cute little 1-year-old.

My daughter Vivian is only 14-months (Why do we count months when kids are little? It's not like I go around telling people I'm 402-months old!) but she taught me so much in a couple of different moments today. She's a firecracker and that's one of the things I love most about my youngest child and she knows what she wants, so stay out of her way. She walked (really, she's already walking!) right up to one of the toy cupboards and reached as high as she could until she grabbed a bag of wooden puzzles. While these weren't difficult puzzles, they were above her level of puzzle, and yet she didn't care. She was so determined to complete her puzzles she was going to succeed. So she brought me the puzzles and handed me the bag to open them and there was no way I was going to stop her. She had NO business playing with those puzzles and couldn't even complete her goal and yet, she didn't care, she was determined to play puzzles.

Then, later on, she decided she was going to play outside with her older siblings. Only one problem, they closed the door and didn't wait for her. She wasn't happy, but she did what she could to join them. She tried that door and it wouldn't budge so she went to another door and tried that one. She did this over and over until she ran out of doors and realized she was sunk or was she? She then went back to the door her siblings went out of and then proceeded to pound on the door until they came to see what was happening with her. As then checked on her, she ran out and was free. And just like that, she had succeeded and was happy.

How often are we quick to give up when something doesn't go our way? What happened to us that we lost our desire to keep working until we achieved our goals? I want to get back to that in my life. I want to make some goals and then have the determination of my 1-year-old firecracker of a daughter and get things done, no matter the level of work to do.

Will you join me? Will you decide to take a stand and do what has to get done so you can be more successful and happier?

#UENmakers - #100DayProject - Day 076

I spent the last two days in a training on Makerspaces and the Maker movement. Not only was I part of the training, I was asked to help out with the instruction, a little strange considering my lack of experience in a Maker classroom. Although, throughout the training, I realized just what it means to be involved with the Maker scene and how close I already was to using many of the ideas in my own room.

My pal Jared Covili from Utah Education Network (UEN) was the instructor tasked with helping the participants to see what they might need to get a Makerspace started in their own classrooms and/or schools. And while we did many great modules and activities, the main thing I took away is that a successful Makerspace doesn't need all the tech and tools, but is more about the mindset we help our students to establish. Don't get me wrong, we did some awesome activities involving Hour of Code, Sphero, Dash and Dot, Makey Makey, Little Bits, Arduino, and others, the main idea was to help our students regain that spark of excitement that too often times is lost within the very walls of established educational buildings.

So how do we help our students regain their love of learning and their creative spark? We need to make sure and allow time for creativity to flow. We need to quit being so focused on the pre-arranged lessons and more on the Genius Hour or 20% Time type of activities. The more we can find ways to shift the control of the classroom back into the hands of our students the better. We need to allow for creativity and the subsequent mistakes that will be made.

I'm reminded of one of my favorite books for creativity called Rosy Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and the struggle Rosie has to get back into creating and building after she's laughed at and embarrassed. Are we helping to build the confidence of our students, or are we part of the problem of laughing at or extinguishing their creative fires? Take time to see where you fit in the story. Hopefully, we can all be the uplifting and positive role that students actually need. Here's to more positivity and greater creativity.

15 June 2016

#PassTheScopeEDU - Global Classroom Connections - #100DayProject - Day 075

Image Courtesy of Brian Smith - @1to1Brian
We are back again for this month's #PassTheScopeEDU which will happen this week on Thursday, June 16th. After the success of the first two events, we now have a number of additional educators who will be taking part this month and I'm sure that trend will only continue as we go forward.

But what is it and how do I take part? #PassTheScopeEDU is an event where educators use Periscope to create a live broadcast (called a Scope) and share their thoughts. Each person participating will be using their own Periscope account and those of us following along will use Periscope to follow and watch their scope wherever we want, making #PassTheScopeEDU a truly personalized PD opportunity.

For our #PassTheScopeEDU event, we're gonna keep each scope live stream to about 5-10 minutes. When the first person finishes their scope they will tell you who is next up and what their Periscope user information is so you can go watch the next part. This continues until the last person finishes and the event ends. We didn't invent the idea of #PassTheScope, but we are very excited to do another one and share some great educational ideas.

If you are more of an auditory learner, check out this great episode of the Hack Learning Podcast by Mark Barnes, who is also participating in this month's edition of #PassTheScopeEDU. It's a great explanation that is short enough you can listen just about anywhere.



Who is involved and when are the times? Often a #PassTheScope event happens all at once, back-to-back, but we are going to do it a little different and have people throughout the day so feel free to jump in whenever you have time. The schedule and lineup are below:

** This list will be updating for the next couple of days until our #PassTheScopeEDU June Event!**

Thursday, June 16th

12:15pm EST / 9:15am PST:
Jennifer Bond
Twitter: @TeamBond
Periscope: @TeamBond
Website: TheEdTechCheerleader.com

12:30pm EST / 9:30am PST:
Derek Larson ( That's ME! )
Twitter: @lars3eb
Periscope: @lars3eb
Website: EdTechBabble.net

12:45pm EST / 9:45am PST:
Heather Campbell
Twitter: @hqcampbell4
Periscope: @seriousgiggles

1:00pm EST / 10:00am PST:
Kiana Porter-Isom
Twitter: @EdupreneurToday
Periscope: @KianaPorterIsom
Website: EdupreneurToday.com

1:15pm EST / 10:15am PST:
Shelly Sanchez Terrell
Twitter: @ShellTerrell
Periscope: @ShellTerrell

1:30pm EST / 10:30am PST:
Judy Arzt
Twitter: @JudyArzt
Periscope: @JudyArzt

1:45pm EST / 10:45am PST:
Jennifer Williams and Katrina Keene
Twitter: @JenWilliamsEdu and @TeachinTechGal
Periscope: @JenWilliamsEdu and @TeachinTechGal

2:00pm EST / 11:00am PST:
Heidi Carr
Twitter: @carr_8
Periscope: @carr_8

2:15pm EST / 11:15am PST:
Lisa Dabbs
Twitter: @teachwithsoul
Periscope: @teachwithsoul

2:30pm EST / 11:30am PST:
Sarah Thomas
Twitter: @SarahdaTeechur
Periscope: @SarahdaTeechur
Website: SarahDaTeechur.com

2:45pm EST / 11:45am PST:
Tara Linney
Twitter: @TaraLinney
Periscope: @TechTeacherT
Website: TaraLinney.com

3:00pm EST / 12:00pm PST:
Jacqueline Rose
Twitter: @JRose_Edu
Periscope: @JRose_Edu

3:30pm EST / 12:30pm PST:
Makisha Rogers
Twitter: @kisha4tech
Periscope: @kisha4tech
Website: MakishaRogers.wordpress.com

3:45pm EST / 12:45pm PST:
Jess Martin
Twitter: @whimsicalteach
Periscope: @whimsicalteach

4:00pm EST / 1:00pm PST:
Mark Barnes
Twitter: @markbarnes19
Periscope: @markbarnes19
Website: HackLearningPodcast.org

4:15pm EST / 1:15pm PST:
Jessica Esposito
Twitter: @jesespo
Periscope: @jesespo

4:30pm EST / 1:30pm PST:
Kami Buttterfield
Twitter: @kamibutterfield
Periscope: @kamibutterfield
Website: TeachingWithAppitude.weebly.com

5:15pm EST / 2:15pm PST:
Shaina Glass
Twitter: @SVicGlass
Periscope: @SVicGlass 
Website: ShainaVGlass.com

5:30pm EST / 2:30pm PST:
Jason Bretzmann
Twitter: @jbretzmann
Periscope: @jbretzmann
Website: BretzmannGroup.com

5:45pm EST / 2:45pm PST:
Heidi Samuelson
Twitter: @SwampFrogFirst
Periscope: @SwampFrogFirst
Website: SwampFrogFirstGraders.blogspot.com

6:00pm EST / 3:00pm PST:
Karen Corbell
Twitter: @CorbellHiAk
Periscope: @CorbellHiAk
Website: Weebly.CorbellHiAk.com

6:15pm EST / 3:15pm PST:

Dene Gainey
Twitter: @dene_gainey
Periscope: @dene_gainey
Website: DeneGainey.wordpress.com

6:30pm EST / 3:30pm PST:
Tracy Brady
Twitter: @mmebrady
Periscope: @mmebrady
Website: ChangingMyRealmOfControl.blogspot.com

6:45pm EST / 3:45pm PST:
Ron Madison
Twitter: @madison_ron
Periscope: @madison_ron

7:00pm EST / 4:00pm PST:
Stacy Lovdahl
Twitter: @braveneutrino
Periscope: @braveneutrino
Website: ScienceToybox.blogspot.com

7:15pm EST / 4:15pm PST:
Cynthia Day
Twitter: @msdayvt
Periscope: @msdayvt

7:30pm EST / 4:30pm PST:
Valerie Lewis
Twitter: @iamVLewis
Periscope: @iamVLewis
Website: iamvlewis.wordpress.com

7:45pm EST / 4:45am PST:
William Jeffery
Twitter: @CoachJeffery
Periscope: @CoachJeffery

8:00pm EST / 5:00pm PST:
Cassie Reeder
Twitter: @reeder_cassie
Periscope: @reeder_cassie

8:15pm EST / 5:15pm PST:
Knikole Taylor
Twitter: @Knikole
Periscope: @Knikole
Website: www.KnikoleTaylor.com

8:30pm EST / 5:30pm PST:
Rusul Alrubail
Twitter: @ RusulAlrubail
Periscope: @ RusulAlrubail
Website: RusulAlrubail.com

8:45pm EST / 5:45pm PST:
Jordan Pedraza
Twitter: @RemindHQ
Periscope: @RemindHQ
Website: Blog.Remind.com

9:00pm EST / 6:00pm PST:
Toutoule Ntoya
Twitter: @ToutouleNtoya
Periscope: @ToutouleNtoya
Website: Toutoule.wix.com/Toutoule-Ntoya

9:15pm EST / 6:15pm PST:
Michael Benavides
Twitter: @MBenavides33
Periscope: @MBenavides33
Website: MichaelBenavides.weebly.com

9:30pm EST / 6:30pm PST:
Justin Schleider
Twitter: @SchleiderJustin
Periscope: @SchleiderJustin

Wanna see another great video ad for #PassTheScopeEDU? Thanks to our very own Stacy for another awesome video.



Come join us for #PassTheScopeEDU and don't forget to follow each of these amazing educators on Twitter and Periscope! Also, if you follow the #PassTheScopeEDU on Twitter at @PassTheScopeEDU you'll see reminder tweets so you don't have to worry about when the next scoper is starting. And remember, if you watch, feel free to give lots of hearts because we love you!

** Update June 16th **
Added a video by Stacy Lovdahl.

** Update June 15th **
Added in Justin Schleider and removed Brian Smith from the list.

12 June 2016

#D2T16NYC Ending - #100DayProject - Day 073

Image Source: Driven2Teach
When this posts, I will be finishing up one of the most amazing professional development experiences of my career and heading home to my family. I am so grateful to have been able to take part in this experience with the Driven2Teach program and I promise I will be sharing some of my reflections with you, but I wanted to start my reflection story with the end.

If you want to fully learn something, you have to immerse yourself in it. Do you have to physically go somewhere to have that immersive experience? No, but it certainly doesn't hurt. But you don't have to physically be anywhere because you can allow yourself to fully commit to the latest learning. But being able to physically move yourself to the location you are learning about doesn't hurt the learning but instead increases it exponentially. 

What were my big takeaways from this experience? Relationships are crucial to the level of success you allow yourself to have. I came to this learning moment alone and yet I'm so excited to have been able to meet amazing teachers from across the great state of Utah. So I feel like coming alone was successful for me? Yes. Would I make that same decision to come alone without my grade-level team? Yes because it forced me to get to know the others in the group.

Another takeaway is you have to be willing to try new things and not get embarrassed by silliness. Life is messy and the sooner we realize that the better because it will help us open up and share. I spent time with people I didn't really know before Sunday and now we're great pals. I did certain activities that I may not have done before and really enjoyed them. Give new people and new things a chance because you never know what will change you.

The final takeaway is being prepared and willing to share your knowledge and skills with others around you. I always travel with an assortment of tech gadgets and yet I don't always use them. But I love the fact that I'm prepared and was able to, in fact, share my cables for all sorts of things happening with the group. I also carried a first aid kit the entire time because you don't want to be stranded. 

Be on the watch out for chances to learn from those things and people.

Sing Street - #100DayProject - Day 072

On Saturday night, I took a little time to myself and watched a movie I didn't think I'd get to see in the theaters, Sing Street. Right down the street from our hotel in Philidelphia, was a movie theater that showed some very small and more indy movies and that location was perfect for me. 


Above is the trailer for the movie so you have the basic idea of the storyline. I first heard about the movie a month or two ago and immediately fell in love all the songs that were available on YouTube and would watch them over and over again. Why did I want to watch it so badly? I'm not fully sure other than the fact that I too have been in bands and understand the desire to write and perform music. But I think it was also because I could feel a bit of what the lead character is going through, not completely, but a little. 

Without ruining the movie for you, because I want you to go see it, I wanted to write about one aspect, how we see the fellas in the band change throughout their musical journeys. As someone who has been in a number of bands, this is normal for bands and part of the fun. When the guys start out, they are just straight up copying some of their favorite bands and then as they find their own voices it's fun to see how they've changed. This is often how our students are as well. They start out their educational careers just going with the flow and wanting to do what their older siblings (or friends) have done. By the time they hit 4th and 5th they start to find their own voice and want to do things their own way. 

Just as every good film needs an antagonist, Sing Street doesn't fail to disappoint. I won't go into any more information about this "villain" but it made me question if I was the bad guy for my students' learning. Are we helping to encourage our students in their search for knowledge or are we the teacher who forces them to do the same old thing in the same old manner? One of the things I'm most excited about after watching this is that I now want to re-think my everything to make sure I'm able to give my full support to students for their own growth. It also reminds me I need to pick up a number of great 80s albums. 

Go forth and help your students learn and grow without excessive distractions. That and go and see Sing Street if it's available in your area. 

09 June 2016

Rape Culture - #100DayProject - Day 070

I haven't been able to watch the news lately due to traveling, but I watched some tonight. I was shocked to see news about the Sanford athlete rape case and the near-worthless conviction Brock Turner received! It makes me incredibly upset that this sort of thing could happen and the guilty receive such a minuscule sentence making it appear that the crime was not as terrible as we all know it to be.
Image Source: Pixabay.com

I'm suddenly asking myself, what is happening with our society? Why are we seeing such grotesque treatment of one another? And then it hits me, we as a society are living in a rape culture where people, both men and women, are no longer respecting one another. They are seeing each other as nothing more than a physical object to their own sexual desires. But there's more. My friend Brittany Plothow started a non-profit called We Are One In Three (WAOiT) to:
... create a safe and shame-free community for survivors of sexual assault of all genders while also educating the public on rape culture, its dangers, and how to combat these issues in communities. WAOiT offers free educational presentations to the public and believes in treating the source of sexual assault and not its symptoms.
Brittany is trying to help make a change in the world so we can end Rape Culture and help make it safe for everyone. I am so impressed by what she is doing with WAOiT I wanted to share her work with you all. She wrote a piece defining the term Rape Culture in more detail and how we can put an end to it. While it's not easy, Brittany suggests a couple of key steps to start changing the culture:
So, what do we do about rape culture? Education is the first step. Once we know what rape culture is we can start to recognize it in our everyday lives. We can then choose which media to participate in and where to give our time and money.
So why am I writing about Rape Culture on an educational site? Because as educators we all have a role to play here. The more familiar we are with the concept of Rape Culture, the more aware we can be in our schools to make sure we aren't adding to the problem as well as helping our students to see the negative effects of its dangerous ways.

One way we can help end the Rape Culture that exists is through more Digital Citizenship training for both students and adults in schools. I recently came across a link to a video that deals with men reading terrible tweets to female sportswriters in eye-opening PSA that really made me uncomfortable the first time I watched it. Please take a minute to watch the video below, but be aware, it contains some harsh language, although partially edited, that may be unsuitable for students. I do think you should watch it because it's incredibly important we see how awful some people act when they have a bit of anonymity online.



Did you see how uncomfortable the poor men selected to read these awful tweets to the female sportswriters? I can't even imagine writing those things down let alone tweeting them out to someone. And this sort of thing happens all the time with students. Maybe not so harsh or violent, but unfortunately, it's sometimes much worse. We need to help our young people realize words hurt and sometimes lead to death. Please take the time to help educate young people on the negative aspects of Rape Culture and how it can start very young and somewhat simple.

08 June 2016

Friends - #100DayProject - Day 069

One of my favorite parts of my trip out east has been the chance to meet up with friends who live on the opposite side of the country from me. Over the last two days, I've been able to meet up with two different groups of friends who help me to be a better person and a better teacher.

Image Source: Marialice B.F.X. Curran
On Tuesday, I was able to visit the both Liberty and Ellis Islands as part of my #D2T16NYC trip as I've been running around New York City in the search for U.S. History. Beyond the life-changing experience of learning first-hand about immigration, I was able to reunite with two of my #DigCitSummitUK colleagues, Marialice Curran, and her son Curran Central. Even though I hadn't seen these amazing people since January, we've had many digital connections that have helped us keep our friendships current.

After learning together at Ellis Island, we were able to head back to Manhattan and visit with some of the Buncee team. If you're an educator and don't know about Buncee yet, listen up because you're gonna need to change that, soon! Buncee is a drag and drop tool that allows you to create amazing multimedia presentations that are fun and extremely educational. Your students will thank you for letting them play instead of working and yet, you get the last laugh because they are learning and creating beautiful art that helps them learn. I was able to meet with Marie Arturi, the CEO and founder of Buncee, along with part of her team at their New York offices and was amazed at their level of concern for their product and customer care. While at Buncee, Curran Central was able to interview Marie on Periscope, so go check out how amazing he is and remember, he's an ELEMENTARY STUDENT! Wow!

As much fun as we were having, it was hard to say goodbye, but it was okay because I knew I'd see these awesome pals again soon. Hopefully, it will be at the next #DigCitSummit, scheduled to take place at Twitter HQ on October, 28th! However, I wouldn't mind if it was sooner than later.

Chris, Me, and Stacey after a great meal.
Then today I was able to hop on a train to New Jersey to meet up with the one and only Chris Nesi of the #HouseOfEdTech podcast! Chris and I have been friends ever since I was lucky enough to be a guest on episode 22 of his show and I've enjoyed that friendship greatly! After exiting the train I didn't follow the instructions very well because I got lost, but never fail, Chris showed up along with a special surprise, another friend, Stacey Lindes, who I was also hoping to meet up with but wasn't sure if I'd get the chance. It was so fun to finally get to meet these amazing educators face-to-face and enjoy some time together. After breaking bread, we went for a great walk around New Brunswick, the designated meeting place, and just enjoyed one another's company. It was like I was hanging out with old high school friends and yet, we had never met in-person. Again, it goes to show the power of connecting digitally and creating bonds that are more than just words typed into a computer.

Even though I came across the country to study about U.S. History, I was able to do so much more, I was able to increase my relationships with two different groups of education friends I met online. Creating an even stronger bond amongst friends due to the chance to meet in-person and learn from one another is one of the most precious rewards I will take home with me. So even though you can create friendships online, friendships that are real, be sure to take any chance you get to increase their strength by meeting face-to-face if possible.

Thanks friends for allowing me to be a part of your lives and thanks for being a part of mine!

Note: Due to my crazy #D2T16NYC schedule, I missed yesterday's post, so I'm just gonna add another day to my total and continue on. I've combined the two posts because they had similar content and worked well together.

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