Saturday, February 3, 2018

NCDLCN Virtual Learning

This is my third year participating in the North Carolina Digital Leadership Coaching Network. I've had the privilege to serve as a mentor for two of those years.  In every face-to-face meeting I grow as an educator. The topics are always presented in an engaging way and are relevant to my position. The leaders are enthusiastic and encouraging. I leave every meeting with a new protocol (often several), a new friend, encouragement, "food for thought", and sometimes an award or swag.

Most recently NCDLCN offered additional learning opportunities through the first NCDLCN Alumni Virtual Conference. Fortunately in our district it occurred on a snow day. This allowed me to participate in three sessions. This was a fabulous professional learning experience!  The Zoom format was perfect; allowing the presenters to share their screens and the participants to share questions and comments. I ended each session with relevant information and resources that I could implement and/or share immediately with the educators I work with.  Another plus is that the sessions were archived so that I can view additional sessions during a time that is convenient for me. You can view them here.  I appreciate the time that the organizers and presenters invested to bring this virtual conference to NCDLCN alumni. 

I am inspired to investigate this method of professional learning as a possibility for our district. We are already in the process of creating a YouTube channel where teacher leaders will share short videos that highlight strategies and ideas. Teachers can choose videos that interest them and view at their leisure. 

Encouraging teacher leaders to present a casual virtual session, similar to the NCDLCN Alumni Virtual Event, and then archiving the videos would offer additional learning opportunities to meet different learning preferences. Learners could watch live or archived sessions independently or as a group. 

This type of digital learning experience addresses many adult learning characteristics. 

  • learners have control and are self-directed
  • learners can choose relevant sessions that meet their individual goals
  • learners can choose a time that works with their schedule
  • learners can choose and personalize their learning environment

Learning and growing has never been easier and it's important to never stop learning because life never stops teaching. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Site Smackdown: Differentiation and Parent Help

Here are a few sites to use for differentiation and/or to help students review and extend their learning.  

Khan Academy- Videos for all topics. The search bar at the top allows students to search for any topic. Create a class and assign lessons.
LearnZillion- Instructional videos for all topics. Create a class and assign lessons.
Fact Monster- Many topics available here. You’ll find explanations of terms and concepts along with videos. Students can research, view timelines, use the dictionary, atlas, and more.  

Sites that Encourage Parent Involvement

Parent Tool Kit- A great resource with tips for helping children with homework. No login required. The 3 lines at top left will open the menu. Includes academic and social skills resources.
Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics - Fun activities to use with children from preschool through grade 5 to strengthen math skills and build strong positive attitudes toward math.
Scholastic - A variety of resources here for all ages and subjects.

Educators are the Best at Sharing!

Templates ~ Graphic Organizers ~ Hyperdocs

Learning Menus/Choice Boards

I am so thankful that educators are willing to freely share resources that they create or find. Here are a few resources that my PLN has shared recently.  I'm giving them credit by sharing their names and Twitter accounts. Add them to your PLN by following them on Twitter or following their Blogs.  #neverstoplearning

Check out the awesome Google Suite Templates created and shared by Darren Maltais.

Here are many Graphic Organizers created and shared by Kris Szajner and Beth Leighton.

Just make a copy and share with your students in Google Classroom or Seesaw. Better yet use these as examples and let your students create their own.

Hyperdocs are a great way to differentiate instruction. Here is a great Hyperdoc resource shared by Lisa Highfill, Sarah Landis, and Kelly Hilton. Be sure to check out the templates under the resources tab.

Having choices and allowing students to add their own creative flair to assignments helps them retain information. Find several examples of Choice Boards/Learning Menus on this blog by Kasey Bell.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Hour of Code ~ December 4th-10th

December 4-11 is Computer Science Week. The goal is for students to participate in at least 1 Hour of Code during the week. Here are some reasons why- 

Coding allows students to explore and experiment with hands-on, discovery learning activities. Coding incorporates literacy skills such as connecting, cause/effect,and sequencing. Skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and all 8 of the Mathematical Practices are also involved. Have students work with a partner (maybe even with another grade level) and encourage collaboration and communication. Students will practice perseverance and "failing forward."

Here are a few resources.

Seesaw Coding

Additional information worth checking out. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Current Event Sites

Get students connecting with their world through these current event sites. Check them out to determine which might meet your classroom needs, sign-in options and features.

Newsela     Review
DOGO News    Review
Tween Tribune Review
Youngzine       Review