Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ted TV

I love Ted TV.  I could spend hours watching a variety of videos.  Here is an interesting one that I stumbled across from David Kelley.  You will want to check it out and build your creative confidence!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

November Learning--The Digital Learning Farm

There are a handful of organizations that put out high quality of material--and November Learning (in my opinion) is one of them.  I went to a 1:1 workshop where they talked about the Digital Learning Farm and how to use students as contributors.  While I could summarize it here, it would be way better for you to check it out yourself.  It's a quick read--you will enjoy it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Have you heard of Diigo?

Have you ever found a webpage that was really helpful to you, but later could not find it?

Have you ever read something really great, but then when you went to look for it again, could not find it?

Diigo is free, allows you to bookmark, research, take notes--and share it all online.  I'm not at all an expert in this, but I watched someone use it and realized that I needed to check this out and start storing things all in one place!

Certainly it has lots of use for students and teachers, too!

Let me know if you use it and like it--and then hop over to my office and teach me!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mobile Phones in the Classroom

It's amazing how far mobile phones have come in the past few years.  I remember my first mobile phone--it was big and clunky and the only thing it did was make phone calls, which is what it was designed to do.  Now, most days my phone is also my personal computer.  It stores files, surfs the web, emails, tells me how to get places, and also makes phone calls.

All that power in one little device.

Does that powerful device have a role to play in our classrooms?

Here are some tips from teachers that are trying to harness that power!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Department of Education Flipped Learning Conference

Even the IDOE is getting into the Flipped Learning Thinking.  The IDOE is hosting a workshop on the concept this Saturday at Beech Grove High School from 8-4.

Want to register, find out more, or learn about the free stuff you could get by attending?  It's all online through the Department of Education or by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Flipped Classrooms, Part 2

In researching classroom flips, it appears that there is critique of the process--and the originators of the flipped classroom concept have been working to clarify what is and is not a flipped classroom.  They have published many blog posts and articles on their blog The Daily Riff.  Click on the link about Flipped Classrooms at the top and you could read for days.

One segment I enjoyed was from the post, "The Flipped Class:  Myths vs. Reality"  The excerpt below is taken directly from that post (click to the website to read more!):

The Flipped Classroom is NOT:

  • A synonym for online videos...
  • About replacing teachers with videos
  • An online course.
  • Students working without structure.
  • Students spending the entire class starting a the computer screen.
  • Students working in isolation.
The Flipped Classroom IS:
  • A means to increase interaction and personalized contact time between students and teachers.
  • An environment where students take responsibility for their own learning.
  • A classroom where the teacher is not the "sage on the stage" but the "guide on the side".
  • A blending of direct instruction with constructivist learning.
  • A classroom where students who are absent due to illness or extra-curricular activities such as athletics or field-trips, don't get left behind.
  • A class where content is permanently archived for review and remediation.
  • A class where all students are engaged in their learning.
  • A place where all students can get a personalized education.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Flipped Classrooms

 Have you heard about the "Flipped Classroom" concept?  I'm not much for jumping on the latest and greatest educational bandwagon, but this one made me stop and think.  For those of you who may not be familiar with the concept you can find a great explanation of it on Knewton's Adaptave Learning Website about Flipped Classrooms. (If that peaks your interest and you want to read more, try The Flipped Classroom or Exploring the Flipped Classroom or just watch for more posts to come!)

Basically, a flipped classroom means students do homework during the day in class, and watch the lectures or lessons at night.  

I'm going to post more about flipped classrooms this week--so check back tomorrow!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Smarter by Struggling?

I recently was recently intrigued by a video title about the Khan Academy, as I like the resources that Khan produces.

This video really made me stop and think.  First, I'm a big believer that sometimes students (and me for that matter) have to be uncomfortable and struggle with a topic in order to truly grasp the concept.  I'm a big believer in using inquiry-based methods in instruction--and in pushing that there are multiple ways to get to an answer.  I have seen student's mathematical reasoning skills and grasp of number sense greatly increase when they struggle through the problem and then share with each other the multiple methods used to arrive at the same answer.

In a conference I attended this summer, I heard about a teacher that had started an after school club targeting the idea presented in the above video--the students would take a problem, find a way to solve it, and then upload a video of what they did to find the answer.  There were multiple videos for each problem and students priding themselves on finding another way to get the same answer.

One place where students are doing this type of thing is at Math Train TV.  Other students are using resources like Jing and Screenr.  If you want to learn more about this idea, google "Brian Mull" and you will be certain to find some of his resources.  He is the one that got me started thinking down this path...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Fun...

I like to write fun posts on this blog sometimes, too!  Today I'm adding one of those posts.  What's life without fun?

As most of you know, I'm a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers!  It has been good for the past couple of years to live in Bears country and be a Green Bay fan.  This year has been no exception.

It all began when I was able to meet former Green Bay Packer (who played in the 1996 Superbowl) Mike Prior as he came to celebrate PTSC Coach Tony Tinkel, the Indianapolis Colt's Coach of the week.  How often does one have the opportunity to hold a Superbowl ring in their own hands?

On top of that, I was able to celebrate the Packer victory over the Bears with Mr. Ivanyo, Assistant Principal at BGHS.  This celebration resulted in journal topics (or so I hear) in BGHS English classes and alleged yearbook photos being snapped.  It is a good day to be a fan of the Packers!  Enjoy this photo that I snapped today!
Have a great weekend!

Asking the Right Questions

I read an article this week on a blog by Scott McLeod.  His blog (Dangerously Irrelevant) is one that I follow in my blog reader and one that often causes me to have to take a moment to really consider what he wrote.  Honestly, if I only have a couple of minutes to spare in my day it is the first blog I click to from my reader.

In this post, he is brainstorming a list of questions which we should be asking as educators.  I'm a big fan of rigor and relevance when it comes to evaluating instruction.  I think these questions help us to get at the heart of examining this in classrooms.

Hopefully you are curious about these questions, too!  Click the link below to read more!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Great Websites for Students

Looking for some ideas for kids on computers?  Check out some of these that I've recently stumbled across--learning and fun can be a great combination!  This is by no means exhaustive--what great websites have your found?  Add your ideas in the comments section! (OK...this one is great for teachers--interesting ideas!) (Grades 3-8 Math) (Grades 3-8 Math) (Grades 5-12 Math) (Find games based on state or common core standard) (Grades 6-12--lots of interesting thinking games) (Grades 3-6 Science) (Grades 5-12--simulations, Civics related, pretty cool!) (Grades K-5, teacher created games, lots of games divided by grade level) (Has some interactive games for the whiteboard) (lots of games, kids can create their own games, too) (mainly for younger students--some games are not free) (NASA) (educational, interactive, and yes, some games!) (Music--from the San Francisco Symphony) (K-6 Collaborative book writing) (listen to books being read to you--by people like Betty White!) (great for emergent readers) (K-8 Math) (find lots of great facts) (creating graphs) (grades 3-8) (Vocab and Spelling) (Science)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Calling Guest Bloggers!

I love having a place where I can share great things I'm reading, watching, and observing.  I know that I'm only one person--and that others may have something very beneficial to share with my readers.  If you are interested in being a guest or even frequently featured blogger on this Educationally Speaking blog--shoot me an email at and we will schedule a time for you to post!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Indiana Fallen Heroes

PRESS RELEASE--From Mr. Schlottman, Principal at Boone Grove Middle School

Volunteers Needed to Honor Indiana Fallen Heroes
Indiana Fallen Heroes – honoring those who gave of their live to ensure our freedom

Valparaiso, IN – Members of the Boone Grove Middle School Honors Society and the Indiana Fallen Heroes project would like to invite everyone to march with them this Saturday in the Valparaiso Popcorn Parade. Two hundred and one participants are being sought to honor the memory of our servicemen and women by carrying aloft the images of fallen Indiana soldiers.

The Indiana Fallen Heroes project debuted in its first parade last 4th of July in La Porte, where the group was successful in marching the images of all of the 185 soldiers in the project at the time. The project hopes that the Valparaiso community will support the memories of our Indiana soldiers and their families with the same enthusiasm.

If you would like to participate, please meet the project organizers at 9:00am this Saturday, September 8th on Bush Street just west of Calumet. If you would like to make a reservation or would like more information about the Indiana Fallen Heroes project, they can be contacted at

Data Walls in Schools

As you know--I love data!  Here's a YouTube video from Durant Road Middle School on how they use data walls.  Of particular interest to me was to see how the students used the data wall!  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

RtI Data Team Meetings

Here's a great video segment from Renaissance Learning showing an RtI Data conference at Brown Elementary School. I liked how they discussed data!