Category Archives: Uncategorized

Where I Am From

In the next week, I plan to start my 25th year of teaching elementary students.  Teaching is about planning but in life, you can’t always plan how it will go.  I participated in a Paideia Seminar this week with my colleagues based on a poem by George Ella Lyon which inspired my own poem.  I am placing my latest “Where I Am From” poem below and outside of my classroom.  I am who I am because of my life experiences.  This poem looks back through my memories and tries to paint a picture about the moments that have shaped me and stayed with me.  My principal wants each teacher to compose their own “Where I Am From” poem and to post it for students, parents and staff to read as a part of our current school year’s theme of “I Am From Elon Park”.

Where I Am From by Lisa 

I am from Sunday visits to my grandparents’ houses at the end of a dirt road in the country where grandma shared her homemade apple jelly and her patchwork quilts. My favorite quilts were the ones that she made from my grandpa’s old shirts.

I am from piano recitals when Mrs. Matthews, my piano teacher, expected my best! I memorized each piece every Spring and played on the grand piano at the Alumni House at UNC-Greensboro while the azaleas bloomed.

I am from Sunday school, Bible verses, Worship songs and The Golden Rule.  

I am from going to church camp every summer in High Point, NC where I swam, sang, prayed, learned from spiritual giants and made great friends. 

I am from leading my church choir and being church pianist in my late teens and twenties.  

I am from prayer, hope and precious parents who love me because I am their only child.

I am from learning how to be a teacher at UNC-Greensboro and singing in Women’s Choir.

I am from the day I married Gene Maples 20 years ago on the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year because I didn’t want the day to end.

I am from the moments I heard my daughters cry for the first time and held them when they were born.  I am from 10 years where one or both of them came to school with me to Elon Park. 

I am from Family Movie Night every Friday night when we eat pizza together and relax.

I am from beach trips to Wild Dunes at Isle of Palms, SC where the sound of waves, sun and soft sand ripple into my heart, slowing me down, making me see what’s important.

I am from love, the kind that shows it cares. The kind of love that doesn’t laugh at me, but supports me. The kind of love that builds up. The kind of love that is patient and kind.  

I am from being a 3rd Grade teacher for 13 years in Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte.

I am from being a 4th Grade teacher during the first six years when Elon Park was opened.

I am from being a Technology Teacher for the past four years at Elon Park, my home away from home. I am from caring so much that students create digital projects to make learning fun!

If you’d like to read another “Where I Am From” poem, I wrote one on my personal blog in December of 2015 at http://www.intendtospend.wordpress.com.  I would encourage you to ponder your life experiences and compile them in your own “Where I Am From” poem.

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Lego Love

My third graders walked in my class last week and squealed with excitement!  Why?  They saw our Lego Storymaker Kits out around the class.  In groups of two to four students, they built a Story with settings such as a pet store, a restaurant, a park, an air port to name a few.  They decided on a goal for their character or characters then devoted their time to creating three scenes.  They managed to build a beginning, middle and end scene.  I provided a graphic organizer for them to communicate their ideas for their collaborative stories on paper.  Due to having 45 minutes maximum class time, they took apart their scenes but then rebuilt them during our second class time.  In between our first and second classes, students worked on their graphic organizers in their home rooms.  When they arrived for their second class, they logged into their Google Drive accounts on iPads and took individual pictures which will live in their Google Accounts until our third class when they will build a Google Slide presentation and type their story ideas.

I blogged about this last year, but found such passion with my students again as they worked together this year!  The Lego Storymaker Kits inspired them to create interesting stories and promoted a way to write with a visible kind of prewriting. It felt more like we were playing in the Lab which sparked an amazing time of communication, collaboration and creativity!  I decided to share pictures of where we are at this juncture.  It is definitely a process!

Comparing with Venn Diagram app

During November, I had my third grade classes investigate and compare the lives of Pilgrims in 1621 and Wampanoag families.  They investigated types of houses, food, chores, games and schooling of both cultural groups at an amazing website then they typed about them using the Venn Diagram app on the iPads.  I had them read at the Scholastic website which describes both groups as portrayed at Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Massachusetts.  The website also has video and images of the model of the Mayflower ship, the journey from England to the New World, examples of housing like the English cottage and the Wampanoag wetu and interesting historical letters.  The link to it is here:  http://www.scholastic.com/scholastic_thanksgiving/daily_life/

As they read or listened to the narrator read the text about houses, food, chores, games and schooling or the Pilgrims and Wampanoags, students took notes in the Venn Diagram app from Read Write Think.  My next step is to have them take a virtual field trip to Plimoth Plantation and become a historian by reading and finding out more using the following link:  https://www.plimoth.org/sites/default/files/media/olc/intro.html

Earlier in the year, I had students read and compare two books using the same Venn Diagram app.  They were able to smoothly access the Venn Diagram app and create a new project because of their prior use of the app.  You can explore the Venn Diagram app at the following website:  http://www.readwritethink.org
/files/resources/interactives
/venn_diagrams/

Here was the lesson that students had done prior to using Venn Diagram app to compare Pilgrims and Wampanoags:
Listen to the videos of “Cook A Doodle Doo” and “The Little Red Hen Makes A Pizza” then  create a Venn Diagram in the Venn Diagram app comparing and contrasting the books:
Cook A Doodle Doo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaJ2dEF5xVA
The Little Red Hen Makes A Pizza   
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzQVs3hzjho

I think that having students compare and contrast the lives of Pilgrims and Wampanoag Native Americans is a great way to teach them about the history of the United States while providing grade level appropriate and interesting video and text.

Recently, I had a PD on “Academic Conversations” to encourage schoolwide discourse about texts.  So prior to having them launch into their own research, I had students read about the mishoons, or canoes, that the Wapanoag would create out of logs using fire and tools at the following link on my big screen:  http://capeandislands.org/post/wampanoag-indians-continue-burn-and-scrape-method-build-mishoon-canoes.  They turned and talked then shared a “Golden Line” or a significant part of the text.  Many of them thought it was interesting that 400 years ago, there were no horses in the New World until the 1630s-1640s.  As a result, the rivers were like modern day highways and required canoes to maneuver.  Students often grabbed these lines as their Golden Lines from the text allowing them to determine parts of text which spoke to them.  I had them do this Golden Line activity at the beginning of the lesson to involve them in reading a portion of shared text and excite them about the reading that they would be doing independently at computers at the Scholastic website.  Here is another link to using Golden Lines:  http://www.hendersoncountypublicschoolsnc.org/elementary-education/files/2012/02/the_golden_line_20110329_115744_106.pdf  

I liked how students could make choices about words that spoke to them through the Golden Lines Academic Conversations and how it was the perfect way to guide them to discovering their own Golden Lines as they researched at the Scholastic Website about the Pilgrims and Wampanoag.

 

 

The School Experience

This week I’ve been sharing “My Teacher Is A Monster” by Peter Brown with first graders.  They love the story.  Here’s a reading of it on You Tube:  https://youtu.be/iu8lMajbigQ

I encouraged my first grade students to draw pictures with text on iPads in the Storymamker Free app to share moments from the story. When the teacher reprimands the boy, Bobby, in the story, we see that he envisions her as a green monster. The teacher yells, “Robert!”, which is Bobby’s real name. Bobby had thrown a paper airplane in class which was clearly not a good choice for Bobby by the way Ms. Kirby states his name rather sternly. It wasn’t until a chance counter that Bobby had with his teacher in the park that he began to realize that she is nice. He recuses her hat when it blows in the breeze. She calls him her hero. They quack along with the ducks. They climb to a special spot where Ms. Kirby pulls out a sheet of paper and encourages Bobby to fly his paper airplane. As the story progresses, the illustrator brilliantly shades the teacher to look less green and to have an even skin tone. When Monday rolls around after the weekend park play time, Bobby sees his teacher so much differently. She is someone who will lead his learning and will give him what he needs to succeed. Ms. Kirby took the time to bond with Bobby and recognized his way of learning which is personalized learning at its best.

It really caused me to think about the way that children perceive their teachers.  Kids create their own interpretation of the adults who talk to them at school.  They see their teachers one way which is sometimes not the way teachers perceive themselves.  I know that they go home and share stories about what their teacher did or did not do.  Even parents begin to paint a picture of the teacher.  

I hope that one of our new kindergarten students will remember the patient woman who took her by the hand and talked to her about her new class as the student dried her eyes this morning.  The child had just left her mother in the car pool line.  The little one is learning a new morning routine and seeing new faces as she enters school each day.  My friend and colleague, Kelly, masterfully walks children in daily and is a difference maker.   Her heart to show love is evident.  She shows kindness and does not shame students for having a difficult time with separation anxiety or the stress of arrival at school.  I also have the privilege of greeting children each morning as they arrive.  I am one of many who create the school experience for students.  I know that the adults who guide and reassure students are the ones which help set the course for our new Kinders as well as all students and make them want to come back each day.  I hope that they talk about their smiling and positive interactions with adults at school when they get home at night.  

I have had teachers whom I may have viewed like Bobby viewed Ms. Kirby at the beginning of the story.  They talked so sternly that I had trouble focusing on the content.  Being organized is a key quality of a teacher, however, I have felt so much stress by teachers who had to have me do things their way with not much regard for my style.  I think that it matters as to what our students think of us.  How a teacher treats a child will either unlock a trust filled relationship or it will build a barrier to learning.  Teachers should hold high expectations while taking into account the way that their words are received by their students.  Words matter.  Children matter.  

I try to notice the interests of my students and listen well. I hope that my students see me as positive, encouraging, welcoming and one who notices them and the effort that they give. It is when teachers build trusting relationships with students that students will buy in to the school experience.  

I included some of the pictures that my students drew of scenes from “My Teacher Is A Monster”.  They are so creative and give us a glimpse into how they understood story events.   Ms. Kirby realized that she needed to try a new strategy to win Bobby over after some initial moments at school when she reacted instead of seeing Bobby’s choice of flying a paper airplane as something to redirect into something positive.  She began to see that she should build on his strengths and interests.  Building on strengths should be our focus as we interact with our students too.

Science Olympiad 2016

Discover. Play. Build.

This past weekend, my school’s Science Olympiad team competed against 26 other Varsity Teams at a local university. Our team placed 10th overall! I am so happy that our team earned medals in 10 out of 19 events! Fourteen out of 18 of our students won individual medals where they placed anywhere from 2nd to 9th in their events. They had worked so hard to learn all that they could about 19 different events ranging from weather, force and motion, fossils, landforms, CSI, electricity/magnetism, animal adaptations, insects and plants, outer space, circulatory/respiratory systems and data collections to building a Pasta Tower out of hot glue and dry spaghetti, folding paper airplanes and flying them, designing a blueprint to build a rollercoaster out of K’Nex blocks, catapult building and launching marshmallows to specific distances, shooting bottle rockets after engineering the best designs after multiple test launches day after day and building a structure while following written directions from a partner. To see short descriptions of each event, go to this link: http://www.sciencenc.com/2016%20NCSO%20Elementary%20Event%20Descr

I took a chance when I decided to be their Head Coach this year. I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed but sometimes have been known to bite off a bit more than I can chew what with also being a wife and mom in addition to being a Technology Teacher.  Nineteen students were on this year’s team which was a much more manageable amount of students than when I had coordinated it in the past. My youngest child really wanted me to get the club started again like I had done when her older sister had gone through fourth and fifth grade. Back then, I organized around 100 students for each of the two years when I had done Science Olympiad Club three and four years ago. It was exhilarating while also feeling overwhelming as a classroom teacher to fourth graders. In past years, I devoted at least three hours for each event (except a few events that teachers and an expert parent coached) to create Smartboard files about each event which I shared with parents after school and then they used those files to deliver the three weeks of lessons on the events. My husband insisted that I not do it again until there was more support because of the time it took away from our family on weekends to prepare the S.O. lessons and afterschool while I met with each parent coach.

So, in the Fall of 2015, I asked my principal if I could send an email to each fifth grade teacher for them to send to each parent email list in their respective classes. I included a Smore digital poster with a link to which 19 parents responded. I included each of the 19 students in this year’s S.O. Club. I also put an announcement in the PTO newsletter announcing S.O.Club.

I decided that for this school year, with my own younger daughter being in fourth grade, I would start a club but allow students to be in the driver’s seat for many of the events. I created web links to support materials in a Google Classroom for my students and had them create collaborative Google Slides on their topics which they worked on during and outside of our Tuesday morning practices.  I am so glad that I personalized their experience by allowing them to choose the two or three events that they wanted to learn about and compete in then had them build Google Slides to curate their knowledge.  It was the way to go!  For the events that needed more hands-on participation, I was blessed with three parent coaches who helped them create Marshmallow Catapults and test them to reach various assigned distances, design a rollercoaster with K’Nex cubes in 40 minutes using a blueprint which they created and hot glue dry spaghetti pasta together into the form of a Pasta Tower to see how much sand it could hold at the tournament!

I was so glad that my daughter chose the 3,2, 1 Blast Off Event!.  I saw her go through the project based learning cycle and facilitated each step with her.  She had engineered bottle rockets and tested them several times at school.  We spent many weekends at our house with her cutting out wings from pizza boxes and taping them on numerous empty soda bottles.  We purchased clear cylinders from Lowes and taped them to the end of the bottle.  The rocket that she chose to launch at the tournament stayed aloft longer than any of her other test rockets!  It stayed up for around 12 seconds which was combined with her partner’s rocket time too for a final score.  They placed 11th out of 26 teams which was a great joy to us!  My daughter and I had to leave during the Science Olympiad tournament and drive to her Dance Recital.  She performed beautifully!  After taking pictures with family, she changed clothes, grabbed a snack and we headed back to the Science Olympiad Tournament. It was a very busy day but it was worth every minute to see her face not only as she retrieved her rocket after it performed so well but also to see her dance her heart away on stage!  She is a “Maker” reminding me of Krissy Venosdale’s description of them:

makerspace1.jpg

Image Credit:  http://krissyvenosdale.com/2016/05/12/you-might-be-a-maker-if/

When this year’s S.O. Team came to my classroom from 8:15-8:45 this Monday morning for donuts with me to celebrate, I had them share their experiences about participating in the tournament during the past weekend. They were smiling as they wore their team tee shirts and talked about what went well and some things that didn’t go well.  I praised them for their effort to be at club meetings before school from January through May every Tuesday morning, to meet at each others’ houses for practices for certain events, for creating Google Slides about their Events then studying them and for giving amazing effort to be at UNC-Charlotte at 7:30 a.m. and competing all morning this past Saturday! It was a great day at the Tournament, however, very disappointing for the STEM Design Challenge team whose rollercoaster did not function as they had planned resulting in them not earning a medal. They had spent many practices together outside of school so this was very sad for them. It gave me the chance to praise their effort because it was never about earning medals. It was always about growing as problem solvers, collaborators, communicators and creators!  I decided to have this club to engage students in STEM topics and further their interest in STEM related careers. The process of meeting to learn about the 19 science topics from January through May of 2016 gave students opportunities to persevere, to work together on a shared project and to enjoy the journey.

They also appeared on our school news show today which elevated them as role models to rising fifth graders who will hopefully want to follow in their footsteps! I hope that by putting the S.O. Team on the morning news today, it elevated interest in the S.O. Club for next year for rising fifth graders. I have also been seeing more students wondering what the bottle rockets are which have been in my classroom and for me to explain a catapult that I have in my room.

In order to have a Science Olympiad club, there must be Administrative and parental support. My principal and Admin Team have been very supportive of me and encouraged me to not put too much on my plate. I was able to handle 19 students in a before school club much better than around 100 students which I had three and four years ago when I first ran a Science Olympiad Club. There is a lot of preparation and time that must be devoted to preparing students for the events.  It is my plan to continue to have One Varsity Team in the future because I can handle that amount of students and not feel like I am over extending myself with all of my responsibilities as a Technology Teacher to over 1,000 students. I will also have to gauge whether or not I can have the club next year based on the amount of coaches who will volunteer. I was able to manage this year with three parents as coaches. I know that one of those parents who will still have a child at my school is eager to help next year with the rockets and catapult events, but I will just need more help.

Our kids, overall, placed consistently higher in most Science Olympiad events than many other schools. Since I had run this club with only three coaches besides me, I couldn’t be happier with the results! I am celebrating my students and all that they learned in the process of preparing for the tournament.  I plan to announce the possibility of having an S.O. club in the PTO newsletter, on the school news and by parent email lists in the Fall of 2016 to gauge interest for having the club in the next school year. I hope we can do it again!
To see more about the Science Olympiad tournament, visit this link and look for posts around May 21, 2016.

After seeing the excitement for STEM in this before school club, I began to view our time together as Maker Time.  Students made designs, made Google Slides and made time to create!   Krissy Venosdale expresses her thoughts so well from her own Launch Pad experiences in her Texas school.  I wanted to end my post with one of her posters which has caused me to think about bringing out the maker in each child which is exactly what happened for five months during Science Olympiad preparations:

CRjrPLlWIAErPG0

Image Credit:  http://krissyvenosdale.com/2016/05/12/you-might-be-a-maker-if/

Thanks to Ruth Ayres who provides a linking space to share our Celebrations!

Top 10 of NCTIES 2016

I was privileged to attend the NCTIES (North Carolina Technology in Education Society) 2016 Conference in Raleigh, NC March 2 – 4 whose theme was “Innovation”.  There were around 3,000 registered participants who filled the Raleigh Convention Center with excitement and engaged educators.  Why did they come?  They came to dive deeper into STEM and expand their understanding of best practices.  I would like to share the 10 best tips that I saw and learned.

  1.  Code Studio – I have participated for the last three Decembers in the Hour of Code at https://code.org/.  It was my goal to explore the site more and understand the pieces of Code Studio.  I enjoyed the all day Pre Conference training where I learned how to enroll students in Code Studio found at code.org.  Hadi Partovi, founder of code.org, and his team have developed lesson plans to support teachers as they prepare students for the Courses for Elementary Students.  In groups, we prepared a lesson to teach to our colleagues from the support materials and taught each other non digital ways to do computational thinking.  I learned the 3 C’s and 2 P’s of Computational Thinking Practices:
    • Creativity
    • Collaboration
    • Communication
    • Persistence
    • Problem Solving

    I loved how the trainers shared practical information like creating a Symballoo to link every Class in a school where students are enrolled in Code Studio courses.  The training fueled my interest in coding.  I am so excited to create classes in Code Studio for my students so that I can track their progress and they can see how they are doing.  I love that there are lessons to share to promote development of the 3 C’s and 2 P’s in non digital coding opportunities before students dive into the digital piece of coding.  There is ongoing training around the USA so check out the http://www.code.org for more information.

  2.  https://sites.google.com/a/cravenk12.org/envision/ – Google Drawing Presentation from NCTIES.I asked the presenters if I could share their Slide Show at the link above to show examples of using Google Drawings.  I love their ideas to build a corkboard for students to use as a collaborative Exit Ticket, to annotate screen shots of documents, to add speech bubbles to images, to create graphic organizers with Google Drawing Tools and to design Infographic ideas to make using Google Drawing Tools.
  3. Choosito is a website which Richard Byrne shared that helped me see the power in gathering websites that can be searched by topics or reading levels to help students in doing research.  It allows teachers to curate playlists for students based on topics and reading levels.  Visit https://www.choosito.com/choosito-class – Scroll down a bit to see the words “Personalized Instruction” then scroll down more to see “Real Time Data Tracker” to see how students are doing research using the links that teachers can curate.
  4. Cubetto Wooden Robot – http://www.primotoys.com/cubetto – This website shows the Cubetto wooden robot and the box which students use to program the robot.  Visit this link to learn more and see video of children coding with Cubetto:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/primotoys/cubetto-hands-on-coding-for-girls-and-boys-aged-3?token=e3978e14  
  5. Pernille Ripp – I was able to have lunch with this amazing teacher.  I have followed her work and appreciate not only her blog about teaching middle school, but also love that she created The Global Read Aloud.  I was able to discuss school and my family with her as we ate together but also was able to go to her Connected Literacy session where she shared many ways that she ignites a passion for literacy in her students and connects them to themselves, each other and the world.  Some of her most poignant comments:“Teachers can ruin the love of reading and writing.  We have to own it first.What am I doing to kill their love of reading and writing?

    I need to bring my passion of reading and writing to my students and to my own kids.

    It is what we decide is the most important that speaks the loudest.

    If I deliver all of the information that tells kids that the class is about us not about them.

    If a child hates reading, let’s not worry about whether they are using our strategies, let’s worry about the fact that they hate reading.”

  6. Quizziz.com – This site is similar to Kahoot, but allows teachers to set up a Quizziz for homework instead of face to face and allows students to see choices on their screen not just the teacher’s presenting screen.
  7. Google Classroom – I learned an incredible amount from two technology facilitators from Union County, NC. I asked them if I could share the link to their presentation and they agreed.  You have to go through it to see the practical ways that they coach teachers to use Google Classroom:  https://sites.google.com/a/ucps.k12.nc.us/ucps-google-classroom-get-personal/home
  8. I enjoyed the incredible tag team of Brad Waid and Drew Minock.  I have followed them on Twitter for several years and loved www.twoguysandsomeiPads.com website.  During their opening keynote, I heard them say this powerful quote:  “Education means inspiring someone’s mind not just filling their head.”  They also showed several awesome videos with my favorite on “Giving as the Best Communication” found below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPOVwKPMG8o

In their Thursday session, they shared the Innovation image which I posted at the top of this blog post and they discussed the wonderful opportunities to inspire innovation in students as they explore the following apps or programs:

Mystery Island

Blockly

Code monster

Google CS First Clubs (3rd through HS)

The Foos

Hopscotch Code Academy

Video Game Creation at www.PixelPressFloors.com

At this website, students can draw their own video game.  Each rectangle is a floor.  Once you draw it on paper, you hold a device above it, scan it and it will pull it into app.  You can customize and build a game. 

Bloxels, at http://www.bloxelsbuilder.com/incorporates a physical object on a board with colored cubes.  Student build using those cubes and design a video game.  You can even build with the iPad app.  They scan what they build with cubes and it will put it into the app.  Students will gain greater understanding of topics like design logic and computer science and demonstrate their knowledge of history, science and math and more through the games they create.  It’s enjoyable like the old fashioned Light Brite!  Once you build a sailboat in an old fashioned Light Brite, you can’t scan it to see the boat sail but in the Bloxels program you can scan it and the boat would sail!

9.  Canva is a simple way to design posters, invitations, business cards, blog graphics, flyers, presentations, book covers, and more!  There are teacher created lesson plans at the Canva website and multiple tutorials are available.  The most exciting news to me:  Students can sign in to Canva through their Google Apps for Education accounts!

10.  The highlight of the conference for me was at the closing luncheon.  My family had driven that morning to be with me in Raleigh.  I was very excited to be awarded the NCTIES Outstanding Teacher Award for 2016.  The organizers had told me that I had 30 seconds to give my own comments.  I am placing the biography that was read about me and my comments below as they express my heart for being chosen for this award.

Lisa Maples is the K-5 Technology Teacher at Elon Park Elementary School in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.  After earning her Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree from UNC-Greensboro, she spent the next 20 years teaching 3rd and 4th grades in Greensboro, Raleigh and Charlotte.  For the past three years, she has become her school’s Technology Teacher where she uses iPads and computers to teach 1,100 K-5 students.  Lisa is a wife, a mother, a National Board Certified Teacher, a past Teacher of the Year, a blogger about teaching, her faith and her family, a teacher in the Governor’s Teacher Network, a PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator, an Ed Camp participant, a Twitter fan, an NCTIES conference presenter during the past two years, a Science Olympiad organizer and coach, a Summer Church Camp counselor, a Girls on the Run Assistant Coach, a mentor and a fan of the N. C. State Wolfpack along with the Carolina Panthers.   As a recipient of a $3,000 grant last year by the Charlotte Hornets, Fox Sports and Lowes, Lisa purchased 12 Sphero robots to teach her students how to code and 8 Lego Story Starter Kits which she has used to provide digital storytelling opportunities for her students.  It is evident that Lisa loves to use technology to engage students and to provide them with digital creation projects. She is thrilled to celebrate the 2016 Outstanding Teacher Award today with you, her family and friends.  

My comments:

It is my great honor to accept this award.  I have discovered that I can do what I do because of my support system. Psalms 139:8-10 reminds us that God guides and holds us.  I would like to thank God for guiding, holding and helping me, my family for supporting and loving me, my students for learning alongside of me, my principals and Dean of Students who believe in me, my dear friends and colleagues for helping and encouraging me and for the NCTIES committee for selecting me for this incredible honor.  Thank you.

I loved the excitement and being surrounded by my family and dear colleagues, Jen and Melissa, from my school and from around the state and country.  Two other colleagues from my school district were also awarded a Principal Leader Award and a Media Coordinator Award!  Within minutes of the Award being given, my principal who has believed in my vision from the beginning of my journey as Technology Teacher, announced my Award to my school colleagues in his weekly letter.  Throughout the afternoon and evening, I was humbled as I read comments on my school’s Facebook page or on my Twitter account (@edu_maples) from parents, teachers and friends as they shouted out their support.  I am thankful to be surrounded by so many people who have celebrated with me!

Innovation Image Credit:  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/04/35/a8/0435a870bf2f4d5f1cd821733261e689.jpg

 

EdCampQC – September 19, 2015

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Today I experienced my second EdCamp in Charlotte, NC, also known as the Queen City (QC).  It is known as EdCampQC.  Many educators have begun to own their learning by being a part of thIs “un-conference” model of learning around the USA.  At the beginning of the day there are no set topics for sessions.  The Room numbers and time slots are planned before the EdCamp begins, but the attendees share topics that they are interested in hearing about, leading or participating.  Topics are then written on chart paper and attendees vote with circular stickers placed beside of their favorite topics.  The organizers of EdCamp then assign topics to each time slot and room, then share the session schedule board at their website, http://www.edcampqc.weebly.com.

Some of my favorite sessions today were on using comics in the classroom, Google Apps For Education and Green Screen using the DoInk app.  There were facilitators in each room to help guide conversations, but the participants shared their ideas, questions and stories.  Sometimes the Smartboards were used to share Livebinder resources like the one I loved about Comics in the Classroom, Google extensions or Green Screen student examples.   Educators provide their Twitter handles in the shared Google Documents that were linked to the session names. I was so proud of my colleagues in my district who had organized every detail.  In the end, participants heard from teachers who, in some cases, were experts on session topics which helped them see new possibilities to bring to their classrooms.  I love how that even in the hallways, I connected with teachers who, I had just met or had known from a previous district training.  The positive energy of these conversations in the halls and in the classrooms injected a breath of fresh air in my teaching outlook.

I have included a variety of pictures that I took today either as screenshots on my iPad from the EdCamp or from Twitter posts that occurred during the EdCamp.  The Twitter handle for this EdCamp was #EdCampQC.  You could search Twitter for the #EdCampQC handle and see the awesomeness as well as links to resources.

One of my favorite times of the day occurred during lunch when I wandered into the “playground”.  This room was filled with amazing materials such as 3D Printers, Little Bits kits, Sphero robotic balls, Ollie robots, Osmo, CoLAR app, and 3Doodler.  It was so exciting to see and touch the BB-8, the newest version of Sphero who is a robot which is a part of the upcoming Star Wars movie.  My pictures below show some of what I saw and manipulated.  Making 3D glasses and maple leaves with the 3Doodler pen, much like a glue gun, gave me a glimpse of what I want to write a Donors Choose Grant for this year!

Ultimately, I left with my mind swirling with ideas.  I heard about Alan November’s book title, “Who Owns the Learning?” at this EdCamp and plan to read it soon.  Because educators came to share and learn, we all went away owning learning about topics that we chose to be a part of in our self selected sessions.  I also met new educators that I added to my PLN on Twitter so that the learning can continue into the future.  I hope you will scroll through the images to get a feel for how I felt.

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Educational Tools – Coolio Toolios!

I have spent the past three days learning about Google Tools, apps and websites to use with my students in a Tech Leader Training.  Although it is the middle of July, I can’t wait to use the tools with my students when school starts in August.  I discovered an awesome video by two of my district’s instructional technology team members during our training.  They share 10 apps or websites that teachers can use with students to deepen engagement with content and allow for content creation by students.  I would like to share it so that all of my friends in education can get ideas on some amazing web tools.

Here is a pdf that describes the 10 tools:  https://drive.google.com/a/cms.k12.nc.us/file/d/0B6s0t8HsJ8hlV2RBbjFlZ3pzaXc/view

My district also has a great way to assess apps and websites. Here is a link to the rubric that we use to assess educational apps and websites:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Fke-DxVuIDVZmw336ywX9iM2LwvETQEewJAtZNL0B-E/view   

I also like an iPad and Android app called Goose Chase!

Teachers sign up for a free account at https://www.goosechase.com/howitworks/organizing/ then they create challenges for students to do.  Students take a picture with their device and submit the picture as they go on a scavenger hunt to find things that the teacher assigns.  There can be up to 10 teams enrolled in a game so students are encouraged to work together.  Some of the examples that you could do in class:

Find your teacher’s website and take a picture.

Take a picture of a new student in the class.

Locate the place in our class where you turn in parent forms and take a picture.

Discover your teacher’s expectations on how to act in class.

There are so many possibilities to use this app with students and with staff at the beginning of the school year.

What are some of your favorite apps and websites for K- 8 students?

What a great year!

School is coming to a close for the 2014-2015 school year.  I have enjoyed teaching my 1,100 + students in grades K-5 using technology as a tool.  I have curated some third and fourth grade projects at my new school Google website at bit.ly/eagletech.  I am sharing the link to my school website today to allow others to take a peek at what amazing work our students created.

Third graders created iMovie Book Trailers after reading Mystery books in their Book Clubs.  Their iMovies are shown at my website under each third grade teacher’s name. The iMovie Trailers were carefully planned using the fabulous graphic organizers at Tony Vincent’s site.  They sketched scenes in the boxes of the trailers and wrote their scripts in their classrooms with their homeroom teachers after I had shown them a variety of iMovie trailers in my class using the iPad and Apple TV.  The Third Grade teachers and I collaborated on this project which allowed students to use a book that they read in their classes as a basis for their iMovie trailers.  Students were given class time to not only plan their scripts and images, but they also were given time to draw their iMovie trailer scenes on white paper.  They brought these papers to my Technology Lab where they took pictures of their scenes using the iPad’s Camera.  Next, they opened the iMovie app, selected their theme, and started placing each image into the correct slot within the iMovie Trailer.  Once they took turns typing their scripts, they had a finished iMovie Trailer.  We turned down the lights and shared the iMovie Trailers on the Big Screen in my room.  They loved seeing their hard work and effort while sharing with their peers.  I love how the iMovie Trailers turned out.  Some of them are good and some of them are great!  I hope you’ll have a look by clicking on movies under each teacher’s name at bit.ly/eagletech.  My hope is that students will continue to watch these iMovie Trailers during the summer which may persuade them to read books that they friends have read.

Fourth Graders researched N.C. Lighthouses then collaborated with a partner to take notes in a shared Google Doc.  They used a variety of websites that I had collected in a Blendspace.  When they visited my Technology Lab for a Special Class or went to the Media Center for their Special Class, they used the time to gather information on the Location, History, Construction and Interesting Facts about their chosen lighthouse.  They were able to paraphrase information from the websites and type bulleted notes into their Google Doc which was a great step in learning to research without copying and pasting exact sentences from the website.  Next, they turned their notes into paragraphs and placed their paragraphs in a Google Slide Presentation.  They found images and citations.  I am so proud of their hard work.  One student even visited Bald Head Island Lighthouse during Memorial Day which was the Lighthouse that she researched and brought back “I Support Old Baldy” stickers for her class.  She gave them the stickers after the class saw each others’ Lighthouse Presentations in a Gallery Walk around the Technology Lab.

My fourth graders also researched N.C. Symbols then wrote scripts as if they were the symbol.  Kids personified the Plott Hound, the Pine Tree, the Strawberry and a Stock Car along with many other N.C. Symbols.  They would research with me or our Media Specialist when they came to our Special Area Classes then wrote their scripts.  They recorded themselves reading their scripts into the Chatterpix app on the iPads, saved the Chatterpix as a video to their Camera Rolls, then uploaded their completed projects to their Google Drive accounts.

I hope you will enjoy all of these projects when you visit my Google Site at bit.ly/eagletech.  While you’re there, click on “Suggested Sites and Apps” to see a Smore Poster on Summer Reading ideas!

Image Citation:http://www.skylinepictures.com/Lighthouses_North_Carolina_Photo_li16_large.jpg