Day 2: My Earliest Memory

I love makeup.  For special occasions, I entrust my face to the amazing hands of Nena Steward, founder of MakeUp Fetish Studios in Chicago.  Nena even hosts classes for DIY makeup.  I highly recommend taking one.

I needed Nena in my life about 38 years ago.  I was about two or three at the time.  I had watched my mother regularly open one of the bottles on her dresser and put some stuff on her eye with a brush.  Afterwards, she would come out looking even prettier than she already was.  I wanted to be pretty, too!  Feeling confident that I had watched my mom put on her makeup long enough to do it equally as well, I slid into her room, climbed on her dresser and opened the bottle with the brush, and put on the make up.  My screams are what brought my parents running into the room.  They found me with my eye painted shut.  It wasn’t mascara that I had grabbed.  It was red nail polish.

Fortunately, a trip to the emergency room allowed me to see another day, literally and figuratively.  It’s amazing that I love makeup the way I do after that experience.  I even like red nail polish!


Day 1: Five Problems With Social Media

Social media can be a wonderful tool.  I’ve found many great recipes, reconnected with friends and family members, and even found this writing challenge via social media.  However, for all of its greatness, social media can also be problematic.  Here are five problems I see with social media:

  1. People have a hard time distinguishing fact from reality – Posters can create whatever mood or persona they’d like from behind a computer or cell phone screen.  Likewise, those who read post, can also have difficulty sorting through what’s fact versus fiction. This results in a lot of misinformation being transferred, resulting in useless posts, countless arguments, and sometimes severed relationship.
  2. People no longer understand social norms outside of social media – I am a 40-year-old woman.  The majority of my friends are in my age range.  In the world of social media, everyone conceivably can be your friend.  The result is a generation of children and young adults who do not know how to engage in age-appropriate conversations and behaviors in the presence of their elders.
  3. No one engages in true research anymore – if it was on social media, then it must be true, right?  Thanks to social media, people do not take time to read newspapers or magazines, or engage in in-depth research.  If it was on social media, then it must be true.  As a result, we have said R.I.P. prematurely to countless celebrities, as well as changed our Facebook settings without merit.
  4. Social media has made us less social – we’re connected with hundreds of people online, but connected far less with the people we can easily encounter on a regular basis with minimal effort.  Examine any dinner table in America and what will you see?  Yes, you’ll see families and couples having dinner, but how many are doing so without some type of electronic device in their hand?  And for those that do manage to engage in meaningful activities sans a device in hand, a check in via social media likely occurred before or after the activities commencement.
  5. There’s nothing sacred anymore – people tell or show EVERYTHING!  Just because you can say it, doesn’t mean that you should.  Just because you can take a photo of it and instantly share it, doesn’t mean you have to.  Some words should be left unspoken, and for the sake of our eyes and stomach, some photos should not be shared either!

These are just a few of the problems I see with social media.  There are others.  Despite the problems, I think the good out weighs the bad.  I will continue to use social media in ways beneficial to me.



Final Day of ICE 2015

When I tell you that this year’s conference has been tremendous…WHEW!  I’ve gotten so many nuggets of wisdom that I can’t wait to try in my classroom and beyond.

My battery drained before I could post about the workshop I attended yesterday afternoon.  While the presenter taught high school, there were a lot of things in her presentation that could be adapted to younger grades.  The best find from that session was a site called Video  This site allows you to watch videos and take notes at the same time.  I’m not sure of its value to high school students, but graduate and doctoral students will find it to be a lifesaver!  I used it last night to do MY homework!

My first session today is: Five Fantastic Features of Formative Assessment and Supporting Tech Tools.  This session started with a pre-assessment that then took my responses and created a note-taking sheet using Google documents.  That document was automatically e-mailed to me using autoCrat, a Google add-on.  Goobric is another add-on that can be used with Doctopus to create rubrics and provide feedback. Doctopus is a virtual copy machine that copies and sends a document that you can send out, have students complete, and then you can store the document to your Google Drive.

Teaching as Art: Sparking Curiosity and Facilitating the Hero’s Journey

This is the 3rd session I’ve sat in today at the 2015 Illinois Computing Educators Conference.  Ramsey Musallam is the presenter.

Educator vs. Entertainer…which one are we, or is there a choice?  As educators, we often put information before application. We need to flip those two, and draw a two-way arrow between them.  It’s a constant exchange of application and information. In movies with great teachers (Good Will Hunting, The Karate Kid), the teacher does not appear until 25 minutes into the movie or greater.  We do not need to come first for learning to take place.  Think of ways to get students to develop questions before lecture/teaching takes place.  Issuing challenges is one method of doing this.  And…you do not have to provide the answer!  It’s ok to leave things open-ended.  That adds curiosity.

Cognitive load theory of multimedia learning focuses on motivation and cognitive focus.  It helps teachers to find ways to organize task to maximize learning.  It explores ways to balance curiosity and information.  Withholding just the right amount of information can peak curiosity and increase learning.

Use Google Docs to allow students to anonymously evaluate your class.

Global Collaboration: 2nd Workshop of Day 2

Before I begin, I want to share that ICE has created Google Docs that are being updated all day with notes from the presenters as well as attendees from the many sessions each day.  Be sure to check them out!

Global Collaboration deals with our favorite C-word: collaboration.  We’re always trying to find ways to work together, be it teacher-to-teacher, student-to-student, or a combination of ways.  The purposes for collaboration are varied, as our its outcomes.  Begin the process by reflecting on what your desired outcome is.  Discuss what it means to collaborate, and foster opportunities for students to collaborate within the classroom before going global.  This includes establishing student-created classroom norms.  Use of circling, an aspect of restorative justice, can be useful in collaborative reflecting as it relates to student behavior after a collaborative moment.

We don’t necessarily need more technology in our classrooms.  Let’s explore ways to use what me do have more efficiently and effectively.  Don’t always feel like you as the teacher have to be the expert.  It is perfectly o.k. to let the students use technology they are most comfortable with and knowledgeable of.

Tackk allows students to collaborate in the creation of a single-page website.

Animoto for educators is another collaborative animation tool.

Kidblog is great for student collaboration on a classroom blog.

Looking for ways to get started?  Check out Projects by Jen, The Global Read Aloud, The Traveling Rhinos, The Digital Human Library, Skype in the Classroom, a hashtag collaboration on Twitter.

What can collaboration be used for?

  • An open-ended question
  • Discussion around a common topic
  • A challenge
  • A presentation
  • A contest
  • A community
  • Create your own way

Build your own network of administrators and teachers.  There’s tons of existing groups on social media.  Share ideas/opportunities for collaboration.  Be vulnerable yourself.  Try the activities you want your students to try, and share your successes and failures.