Keynote: Jaime Casap #ArcadiaInnovation

I went to a great tech conference today sponsored by the Arcadia school district. #ArcadiaInnovation Here are the notes from the keynote:
Jaime Casap, Chief Educational Evangelist from Google, @jcasap
Discussing the importance of education.  Education lifts you up.

Did you know the graduation rate in 1910 was 8%.  The amount of knowledge that kids need to know today has grown exponentially.  Think about it...when do parents stop helping kids with their homework?  

We can we build an educational system that supports jobs for the future. That’s our job.  And the future involves computer science.  Parents (9/10)  want their kids studying computer science.  Computer science graduate makes 40% more than a regular college graduate.  Today, there are 68,000+ computer jobs open today.  In 2015, only 4,000+ kids graduated with CS degrees.

Research on good education says it must be engaging and relevant and personal.  Tech will let us do this. Today, computers revolve around the core of everything we do.  

Generation Z doesn’t know what the world was like before wifi.  They are the first true digital generation.  They think about learning in a different way.  Think about VR and AR and the possibilities there!  Because jobs are not being replaced by people, they’re being replaced by machines/robots.

What are the skills needed by generation z, as stated by major corporations:
  • Problem solving, team working, communications, critical thinking, creativity, literacy, digital literacy, leadership, foreign languages, emotional intelligence

Stop asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, instead ask, what problem do you want to solve?  And What do you need to learn to solve that problem?

Iteration is the result of critical thinking.  Constantly making things better.  We live in a team based world.  Collaboration is how problems are solved.  Google looks for leadership-can you influence, build consensus, take a step back to let others lead.  We need digital leaders that can learn from tech in smart ways. For example, do they know the difference between sponsored sites and news sites.

We need a culture shift.  Converting information into intelligence.  7% of Americans can name the first four presidents: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison.  Don’t ask that!  Ask, what did the first four presidents agree on?  They’ll remember that.

Student centered learning.  Nothing is more important than moving away from our current model and move towards iteration and innovation.    Iteration and innovation drives transformation.  And transformation has no end point.  This is Google today!

Think about a five year old and your current technology...and this is the worst tech they will ever see.  In 20 years, they will find this in the thrift

How do you plan to allow transformation to occur in your classrooms?

Strengthening instruction by sharing best practices for innovative classrooms!


Innovation Lab for LRA!!

Innovation Lab

Hey!  So our school is making an innovation lab!!  An innovation lab is a place where students focus on STEAM and explore, create and design!  Here is what we're thinking...

SMART board
I was given a SMART board SB 685.  I know, huh?  Yes, I said given.  We hope to mount it this summer and learn to use it.

Green Screen
So here we plan on having an area that has a green screen permanantly up. Then students can use iPads and apps such as Tellagami, VeeScope or Green Screen by Do Ink to put together videos to transport them around the world. 

We are eternally grateful to Eaton for awarding us a grant to purchase robots for our students.  With these robots, students are able to code.  We have Dash, Dot, Spheros, Ozobots, Code-a-pillars and Ozmos.

Maker Space
A maker space is an area with materials and tools for design and creative thinking.

Claymation/Stop Motion Animation area
This area will have an ipad and a television for students to create video.  They will either create with clay or using stop animation.

We are just starting.  Do you have any other ideas on how this space can be used?  I'm so excited!!  It'll be great!

Strengthening instruction by sharing best practices for innovative classrooms!


Why CGI? A Quick Intro

CGI Mathematics
A Research based Approach

So I'm taking an online course with Megan Franke. OK, she doesn't know who I am but I know who she is and I'm super excited!  She is THE CGI Guru from UCLA (my Alma Mater)!!  We have been doing CGI in our school but haven't had formal training outside of pd at our school meetings.

Here is what I've learned so far...
First, it's not a curriculum.  It's more an approach to teaching math. 
Guiding Principle
Make sure kids explain their thinking.  Give them time to explain how they got their answer.  They may not have gotten there how you think.

Things to think about!
How can we create ways to allow kids to participate? Allow for all different modalities and preferred methods for tackling math.  We want all kids (and adults) to feel competent in math.  Let students put the work together as they wish.  Say you tell them to take out 12 blocks... they can organize in a line, groups, a mix up- let them do it as they wish.  If you stop them, it can gum up the works!

Build on strengths instead of focusing on weaknesses.  Stop returning papers with all the wrong answers circled.  Let's look at what they did right instead.   That is a big aha for me!  Build on what they understand!

Overarching idea
We want kids to become great problem solvers!  To be successful at applying mathematical skills at real world problems.

Big Findings:
Explain your thinking orally or in writing
Explaining your thinking to others helps you and the other person too!



Becoming Google Certified

Becoming Google Certified

So it's Google for Education PD Week June 5-11

As part of this week, they are giving out a code to discount your certification!  So I decided to try it out!!  Once you register, they send you a link and you have seven days to complete the test.

There is a whole training center to prepare you and teach you things you may not have known!

So this is what to expect...At Educator level 1, you need to complete the fundamentals training.

First, there is the engage in professional growth and leadership component.  This has two units.

Then, there is the Increase efficiency and save time part.  It has 6 units. I really liked the Having a mostly paperless classroom.  I already use Google Classroom but it gave me some more tips I hadn't known.  Don't worry about the time it shows.  It didn't take me half that time.   Every component has a place to take notes and watch videos.  Then there is a lesson check.  Finally there is a unit review.

They last section is Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity, which has five parts.

Then you take your assessment and become a Google Certified Educator.  There is a level two, too, if you dare...

I think, all in all, it took me two whole, long afternoons to go through the training.  Right now I'm still practicing.  I hear the test will take three hours! I only want to take it once!

Good luck!



Great books to teach empathy for fourth and fifth graders

Monday Linky from Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers and Kathryn from Book Date!

Great books to teach empathy for upper grades!

These are some great read alouds every fourth and fifth grade teacher should know about.  Empathy is such an important topic/skill to teach our kids. Social media sort of helps kids disconnect to reality and each other.  I find read alouds to be the most effective way to get the idea to kids.  The conversations brought about by these books is amazing!

My number one pick!

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Kids love this book about Ivan the gorilla.  He's perfectly content until Ruby comes to live at the Big Top circus. He finds he needs to find his own inner strength to help her.  I cry every time I read it.

Ivan, The Remarkable Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate

This is the non fiction companion book for Ivan.  I really learned a lot more about the real Ivan.  My kids were mesmerized.

The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales

This book was honored by the Pura Belpre award, which is given to Latino writers that celebrate the Latino experience.  This book shares so many cultural experiences: Easter cascaronesDia de los Muertos, the Christmas nacimiento and, of course, the tequila worm.  My students are all Latino and every time we read this, it connects to them in ways that other books don't.  I love it.  Last time I read it, my kids were weeping (spoiler alert-Sophia's father dies) and it led to all kinds of conversations about cancer and unexpected deaths.  Really helped the kids connect to each other.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Classic about Auggie Pullman and his struggles in school.   If you haven't read this, read it now!  It's told from different points of view which make it great to teach perspective/ point of view.  How what may be true in your eyes, may look different in someone else's eyes.  Discussion points: empathy, friendship, family, so, so many things!



IMWAYR: The Dragon of the Month Club

Monday Linky from Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers and Kathryn from Book Date!

The Dragon of the Month Club

I love magic.  Bring on the wizards and witches because I love them.  This book is about the magic of a book.  Not magic because it metaphorically takes you away but this book actually has instructions on how to conjure dragons:  water dragons, steam dragons and more.

One day, Tyler and Ayana, who have recently become friends, are at the library. Ayana is really upset because some bullies destroyed her poems.  When she kicks at a bookcase, a thin book falls down into their laps.  They try to check it out but it's too late in the day and they end up stealing it.

These two meet in the library.  Ayana is having difficulty at school.  She's just moved there and is getting bullied at school.  Tyler comes upon her crying in the stacks.  Tyler is a timid kid who develops strengths as the book goes on and has a crush on Ayana.  Ayana is strong and always seems to be the one taking the lead. 

They are happily conjuring dragons when one day they end up making a mistake and they find themselves in a whole other world.  Luckily, they still have their book and are able to conjure dragons which help them in their adventures. These are amazing dragons that provide friendship and love.

I really liked most of this book.  However, I found the ending somewhat underwhelming.  Even if a book is part of a series, I need some closure and I felt like this one left me hanging.  One thing I really liked was the integration of other story settings like Sherlock Holmes and Grimm's Fairy Tales.

If you're looking for a book about friendship, bravery and a little bit of magic, you've come to the right place.  Find it here on Amazon.  

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