#LIVedChat-Start Connecting, Keep Connecting! Wednesdays at 9pm EST

IMG_2260 2A chat based on education, pre-K through 12+.  All are welcome to join, it is an open community.  We cover a wide range of educational topics, and occasionally (often) get off topic.  That is part of the fun of this chat, and a good one for those new to twitter education chats.  We often are a cozy group and it often moves at a more moderate speed.  This can change depending on several factors, such as when we team up with other groups like #SSDchat and #UDLchat, but often it cools back down between those weeks.

Sticking with our welcoming objective, we aim to look at more than one side of issues with respect.  We want to learn and understand each other and pedagogy, so we welcome debate, share fact, pose opinion, and facilitate discourse.  For example, our chats on homework bring folks from both sides, and often I leave with better understanding and a change or alteration in my practice.

Furthermore, many of us participate in many larger or more focused chats.  Some of the chats that folks from #LIVedChat participate in are #MichED, #IowaEdChat, #5thChat, #TLAP, #SSTLAP, and the list goes on and on.  Ideas from the larger chats inspire many of our discussions with this smaller group, and that can take the discussion in new directions.

One of the most helpful parts about finding a chat that works for you is understanding the name.  Since we don’t just teach, we live education, #LIVedChat is a place to share thoughts, feelings, and ideas relative to that.  It is no coincidence that this chat originated in Livingston County, MI., but unlike the county, the chat has no borders.  I look forward to connecting with you there!

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Frayer Model-Vocabulary Study Google Doc!

I like to make technology and learning interactive.  While working on ideas for science vocabulary, I began thinking about using Frayer models.  I wondered, “Is there a way that students could collaborate on a digital version?”  Well here is my first attempt at an interactive Frayer Model in Google Presentations.  If you like it, click the image and feel free to ‘Make A Copy’ and you can have your own editable version.  Let me know if you make any improvements.

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 12.47.51 PM

 

Click the picture and it will take you to the Google Doc:

 

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Get Writing! (Note to self)

Have you been overwhelmed and running crazy at work and school?  I know I have, but it’s time to get writing again.  Lot’s of exciting things are happening, I’ve been reading and learning tons from Nova Now, #MACUL14, and teacher blogs.  So I have some reflecting to do on all of that along with blogging about what’s happening in my classroom, where I’m taking some steps into STEM, blogging, learning about different LMS (such as Moodle) and our Third-Fifth grade Writing Collaborative with @MIsenegger.

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11 Things

Thank you to Will Gourley (@WillGourley) and Todd Bloch (@blocht574) for nominating me in your posts.  What an honor to be mentioned in this way.  I enjoyed reading their posts and then double enjoyed responding.  Please check out their blogs called What and Why are Everything and Sweat To Inspire.

Here is how it works:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.

  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.

  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.

  4. List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!

  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)

11 Random Facts About Myself:

  1. I play many instruments: piano, guitar, mandolin, banjo and drums.  My philosophy on that is that I can have as much fun as anyone with my instruments and that exempts me from the worry about being ‘good’ and I’m happy to perform with or in front of just about anyone.  The only times that gets tough is with high speed old time music where I just can’t seem to follow the chord changes.

  2. Currently my recent favorites in music are classical and jazz.  I can’t get enough of Miles Davis or Frederic Chopin.  I also have an Elliott Smith phase that comes in and out, love his voice.

  3. Something about Counting Crows reminds me of being at MSU and in East Lansing in the mid-90s.  I’m surprised by this since I didn’t listen to them then.  Nostalgia?

  4. I’m happily married even though I once told my wife I would never get married.

  5. I’m addicted to coffee.  I’ve tried to quit it, and it’s the only thing I can’t quite let go of.

  6. I can play piano for up to 3 hours.  I’m teaching myself and also working on my ability to play by ear.  It’s a fun hobby.

  7. I love Smartwool socks.

  8. I get cold easily.

  9. I enjoy being alone.

  10. I can camp for over a month, but I like to go to restaurants during this time to visit civilization.

  11. I’d rather read a book than watch a movie.  I love great movies, and I have no time or patience for average (or less) movies.  I rely heavily on suggestions for this from friends and family

Now my questions to answer, first from Todd, then from Will…

1. Why do you teach?

So many reasons.  I enjoy purposeful work, fun, challenge, ups, downs, technology.  I wanted to be a teacher in third grade.  Also, It’s my second career, after being a wildlife biologist in training for years, and then working as an environmental consultant.  I moved back to the city and needed a job, so I went for subbing in Kentwood and then later Walled Lake.  I liked it, outside of my terrifying first day.  People said if I liked subbing I would really enjoy having my own class so I did.

2. What was your favorite book as a child?

Surprisingly, I didn’t read much as a child, so now I’m catching up on that, recently reading Wonder and The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  I still have my childhood copy of My Side of The Mountain, and I vaguely remember reading it.

3. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go? and why?

Jackson Hole, WY for skiing and snowboarding, later heading to the Mangy Moose where I used to get chili cheese fries.

4. Favorite dessert?

Dulce De Leche Ice Cream, or Black Cherry Ice Cream in A Waffle Cone

5. Describe the inside of your car?

I have really been working on that.  It’s neat now, unlike my wallet which is now known for it’s excessive clutter.

6. Where were you on 9/11?

Driving with my former boss, Mark, on the way to a smokestack testing job somewhere at a auto plant in Indiana (or was it Ohio).  We were listening to it on the radio.  Mark stopped at an ATM and consequently tore the rooftop A/C unit off the trailer which made it even more memorable.

7. How many states have you traveled to?

That would be 32.  Highlights would be Alaska, Maine, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon.

8. What was your first blog post about?

My MACT portfolio at MSU.  I believe it was one of the first and it gets the most hits of any of my posts, by far.  I think that I still have some friends at MSU that direct students to it.

9. What was your Best Christmas gift ever received?

Making it special for someone else.  That may sound cheesy but I usually get a little down after Christmas.

10. Describe your standard work attire?

I love to wear a suit and tie, jeans on Friday.

11. Favorite store to shop in?

Elderly Instruments-I bought a Cajon there last year.  It’s amazing.

From Will:

1. If you could do anything knowing you would not fail what would you do? Why?

Live as an artist in the Upper Peninsula or Wyoming.

2. If you could have lunch with anyone living or deceased who would it be? Why?

Bela Fleck.  I met him very briefly and listened to him talk about the banjo and his experiences and he had really good energy, really nice and genuine guy for someone considered to be a virtuoso.

3. What is your favourite childhood memory?

At my family cabin, we would hike to ‘the meadow’ which was really someone’s private undeveloped property.  It has some trails, an old fallen down shack, and a studebaker.  There is a pine tree that has boughs that reach the ground and you can get into it like a fort.  Nearby there is a hemlock forest with a stream that is quite dark and beautiful, and easy to hike through due to that.  I’d say exploring those areas.

4. What is the nicest thing that a teacher ever did for you?

Dr. Besaw took me as a teaching assistant to the U.S. Virgin Islands.  He was an amazing teacher, inspiring storyteller, and a professor who was 100% about teaching.  He wanted us to succeed, and taught us to study, and learn.  Knowing his students, he spent the time helping us freshmen understand how to navigate college courses and accel.

For the trip, it was an amazing experience and I learned a ton about ecology and group dynamics.  All expense paid, the only catch was that I was supposed to police the ‘underage drinking’ and since there was no real drinking age there to speak of that was a considerable task, really more about keeping the ‘kids’ quiet and somewhat under control in the family campground, which consisted of open air screened in rooms, so that was also a challenge.  That was a great learning challenge.

5. What was the most unfair thing that a teacher ever did to you?

One teacher to be unnamed, who I also had for three years, seemed to be my rival.  At times he would send me in the hall at the start of class sometimes.  I probably wasn’t playing that nice either but I’ll leave out the details to protect both of us.

6. If you could teach anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

I’d go somewhere warm all year by the ocean, it really wouldn’t matter, but as long as I could have year round sun and warmth, I’d be good with that.  I’d also be good with a snowy place if there was mountains or fun winter activities like cross country skiing.

7. Have you ever taught a lesson using a Simpsons episode?

Great idea.  I’m open to suggestions on that.  On engaging lessons, I did recently teach a cause and effect on this article which features a programmer teaching a person who is homeless how to code, and he releases an app.  I hope he finds employment in the field and look forward to hearing about it.

8. If you could, would you extend the school day or year? Why? Why not?

No.  I think that kids need out of school learning, and time with family and friends.  Time to reflect, build, create, and play.  We can do those things in school too, but I value my time in and out of school, lets have a balance.  I’m a bit torn on the year round school issue, I feel that kids would have a more consistent learning experience, but I would not increase the number of days.

9. What is your ultimate vacation destination?

I think I’d like a Pacific Island right now.

10. What are you reading right now?

The Te of Piglet and Love, Ruby Lavender.  (Update: I took longer working on this so now I’m reading Young Fredle)

11. What do you think is the greatest invention ever made?

The coffee cup is pretty awesome.

Bloggers that inspire me:

Note: This was the toughest part of the blog!  It felt like a snap to write all of the above, but I’ve spent more time on this part than I imagined.  So many great blogs!  If you are on this list below, you are invited to respond to this sunshine blog post, but most importantly know that you have impacted my teaching and my students.  Thank you for the inspiration.  

Ben Gilpin

Aaron Koleda/Jason Hart

Manan Shah

Kimberly A Hurd

Ryan Horne

Ben Rimes

Kit Hard

Todd Nesloney

Erin Klein

Brad Wilson

Drew Minock/Brad Waid

I’d love to write a little about why I chose the above, or how they have impacted my teaching, but as my students love to write: To be continued…

or

Please visit their blogs to find out!

My Questions for nominees:

1.  First city you lived in outside your hometown?

2.  Coffee or Tea?  Why?

3.  Where do you go to study, learn, create?  What’s your workflow?

4.  When did you decide to teach?  What inspired that or why?

5.  Do you have a ‘bad experience’ that turned out to be good at a later time?  What challenges propelled you or helped you learn something?

6.  Do you have a favorite quote or saying?

7.  In teaching, discussions, or jokes, what book/movie do you often reference?

8.  What is a book that we should all read, in your opinion?

9.  Something to avoid when teaching/presenting is…

10.  Something that helped a student who was struggling…

11.  What is the most recent compliment you received?

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Fostering A Love Of Reading

I love reading.  I didn’t always know this, as a child I was considered a good reader, however I rarely cracked a book I didn’t have too.  But books interested me, I loved to look at them and stroll through the out of the way bookstores and libraries, such as the one in Topinabee, MI, which resides in an old train station.

It was sometime much later, and I don’t recall, that I realized that books were not just for looking, they were for something deeper.  That something may be different for for all of us, just as the meaning of life.  Not remembering ‘the first,’ I remember a significant experience.  I picked out a book on a DIY rock band.  It was in a Mt. Hood, a really cool book, that was at times inappropriate and other times mirrored my experience in a go-nowhere rock band.  It wasn’t a great book by many other standards, but I had found one for me.

Then there is my beloved author Jim Harrison, who writes about exciting out of the way adventures in Michigan and beyond.  I’ve read my way through all sorts of places in the Upper Peninsula in where I have been real life and also characters I’m sure I’ve met.  I began collecting his first editions and I have many.

So how do we foster a love of this in children?  I have some ideas, and I’d love to hear yours.  I’ve been spending some time on MrSchuReads for inspiration, and being a passionate reader, I’m at times distracted with so many things.  I’m feeling the need to reflect on my reader’s workshop.  The reader’s, librarians, and students featured in that blog are a strong example of a vibrant reading community.  Please consider joining us as we chat on this topic this Wednesday, 12/18, at 9pm on #LIVedChat.  Impact students with your voice and ideas, by inspiring their teachers!

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Writing With Mead on Write About This

When I get up in the morning, early, this is my time for reading books like Mindset or playing around with new apps and inspirations that my friends and PLN have passed on to me, or even things that I just stumble upon.  So I was reading, and Mead comes in and she says, “Want me to show you what’s cool about the new apps that you downloaded?”

“Yes.”  Was my answer.

So she showed me some drawing apps, and then I said, “My turn!”

So I opened up Write About This.  You can check out all about the app at the link.  Check out what we created using the app:

 

Needless to say, I’m buying the full version and can’t wait to get this in my students hands.

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Make A Choose Your Own Adventure

There was quite a bit of cool stuff at the migoogle conference in Brighton, one of the things I was inspired to do was learn more about using Google Forms in the Classroom.  Kit Hard (@kithard) presented on forms (Click here for the resources) and one really cool use is getting kids to make Choose Your Own Adventure books.  Remember those?  I do, and I still read them and share them with students.  Well, if you are interested in making these for or with your students, check out my example.

I needed to do this because I just started them on forms today, and they all want to write them next time we are in class.  I just spent a bit of time making this sample, I’m excited to see what my students might do with them.

What ideas do you have for use of this in the classroom?

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Educators: Check Out Twitter

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#Mindset13 Book Club

We are just about to begin our study of Mindset by Carol Dweck. All are welcome to participate and to add as much or as little as you feel comfortable. Feel free to chime in using the hashtag #mindset13 on Twitter. We also have a short Google form at to fill out to sign up for the book club. I’ll be sure to send out some tweets about updates and announcements. Another option to follow the feed on #Mindset13 when available.

I’ll be posting questions to this blog every Wednesday for the next eight weeks or more and the question format will be Q1.1 (meaning question from chapter 1, question 1) and it may help if you answered A1.1 but we can work out the bugs as we go. Are you interested in generating a question list for a week? Send me a direct message or tweet to me and we can connect. Some of the participants will be joining the #livedchat this week so if you’d like to meet some of us in the chat please jump in at 9pm!

Question schedule:

Chapter 1 questions will be done by me starting Wednesday 10/2
Chapter 2 -Ryan Horne- Wednesday 10/9
Chapter 3 -Maureen Isenegger- Wednesday 10/16
Chapter 4 -Kimberly Hurd- Wednesday 10/23
Chapter 5 -Brad Wilson-Wednesday 11/21
Chapter 6 -Sara Trotter- Wednesday 11/27
Chapter 7 -Open-
Chapter 8 -Open-

I’m excited to find out who will be doing some of the open chapters so contact me if you’re interested. Contact me by commenting or contact me on Twitter @bill_m_4

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#GAFE Launch Today!

So it has taken a bit longer than planned, but we finally logged into our own accounts today.  We have been on a selection of different devices, from our 20 laptop cart, a few Chromebooks, and some desktops.  The hustle and bustle of the year have delayed some technology upgrades and Chromebook enrollments, so we are struggling to get students who are very new to technology all heading in the same direction.  Even though it is minor to an experienced user about which device to use, it is really critical to the beginner.  What I mean to say is, I find it much easier to introduce a new technology when we are all working on the same device.  In a few weeks, I’ll be happy to tackle some BYOD or a Mac/PC/iOS trifecta, but now my fifth graders are not confident tech problem solvers.  At the end of last year, I can remember pulling together every different kind of device to pull together a 1:1 for a few hours, but my students were much more experienced after even a few short months of edtech learning.  

So I was able to get 30 laptops for the day, and we moved through all the steps of getting them logged on to the network, then into their Google Accounts, and then access the file that I had shared with them.  Last week, I started out by doing a team building lesson called Direct Hits.  It was an outgrowth of Morning Meeting, where in one version of greeting students write their names on paper and crumple them up.  We meet in a circle and they throw the paper, soon picking up another one and greeting the person who’s name is inside it.  After, we set up a box to shoot the crumpled paper into.  I used the table to record on a Chromebook, and the numbers magically appeared on the digital projector, connected to another computer (A PC!).  Magic!  Well not to Google Apps users, but it was to them.

The next lesson involved setting up their login cards and a contact list in my Google Account.  I then sent them a shared data table called My Favorite from the edte.ch blog.  Students use their cards to log into their accounts.  When they get into their Drive, the see no files, and I explain to them to click on “Shared With Me” and they should be able to find anything I send them. This lesson is a great introduction to online collaboration, I pair up my class and give them cards numbered 1-15 or so depending on my student count.  I gather them on the floor to discuss how the table works, and to use their number card to determine which row they need to work in.  Since they all have a space to input data, everyone can collaborate easily, and it is a snap to make some conclusions about what the class is into.  Here is a snapshot of the finished product:Image

 

If you haven’t already, good luck getting your tech on with Students!

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