Sunday, April 24, 2016

Discovery Education Board Builder

Multicultural Day Discovery Board

To access the Multicultural Day Discovery Board, click here and use the assignment code: TAAF5-43AE our use the assignment URL:

Discovery Education Board Builder

Discovery Education provides a wide variety of content for both teachers and students. You have the option to stream numerous videos not only related to the core content areas, but also Careers/Work Place skills, Research/Study Skills, Visual and Performing Arts, and World Languages. The resources range from kinder through high school levels.

After using Board Builder, I am amazed at how easy it is to manipulate. I know that my students, even as third graders, would be able to use this resource to present information effectively. The board I created is intended to support our school’s annual Multicultural Day. Each year we host visitors and performers from different cultures and celebrate our differences. Each teacher chooses a different country to study and on that day, students rotate from classroom to classroom learning about the different cultures and traditions.

Using Board Builder for this day specifically helps our students develop a respectful and ethical mind. They are exposed to various customs and traditions and learn to respect those that are different from who they are. Board Builder allows an integration of images, videos, and links which gives students a wide range of resources to draw their learning from. Additionally, teachers must take what is being presented in any lesson and have a discussion with students about respecting different cultures. Often while reading a text about a different country’s food delicacies, a few students might respond by saying, “Ewww, they eat that!” It’s important that I address these comments immediately. My students forget that some of their customs, which are the same as mine, may be seen as they see others. They are reminded that they may not like or agree with what they learn, but they must respect it. After this first conversation, they are more welcoming to learning about new customs.

Having access to Discovery Streaming is something that I wish to continue outside of the Instructional Media courses. It is a subscription that is valuable and I wish that it could be available to my district at a reasonable cost. I know that the teachers and students would benefit from all that it has to offer.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Spotlight on Strategies

Spotlight on Strategies

The strategy I highlighted is the ACES strategy. I came across this strategy while researching an effective way to help my students develop deeper responses. The Smore newsletter design tool was simple to use and offered many options to incorporate video, links, images, etc. Including digital media to present this strategy makes it more appealing and can capture the attention of educators or students.
Reaching all learners

Allowing students to access digital text (PDFs), video (the online story) and Padlet, I am able to meet the needs of all my students. The digital text provides three levels of complexity and it's their choice as to which they will access. Using the PDFs in Google Classroom, which is where they will be accessing the Smore link, they have the option to have the text read to them. The Library Lion story is very beneficial for my struggling readers. This relieves the stress of having to decode. They can focus on comprehension and mastering the strategy. By using Padlet, my students can share their responses with the class and it opens us up to discussion. We regularly share responses and score them based on the rubrics being used. Although Padlet does require them to include their name, they can add and edit their response from the comfort of their desk and not have the spotlight on them through oral sharing.

Anchor Charts

By including the Evidence Based Terms, ACE, and student response anchor charts, my kids have a model for what their answers might look like. With this being digital, their resources are at their fingertips. The walls in my room are covered with whiteboards and space for anchor charts isn't an option. Including the anchor charts as images, allows them to access support when they need it. It's done privately without them worrying about needing it in front of their friends.

I created both a teacher and student version.
SMORE ACES for StudentsSMORE ACES for Teachers

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Heart of a Hall of Famer - Mr. Randall McDaniel

"L is for loving what you do." I believe in this. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I love what I do. I put my heart and soul into my practice and do my best to give my kids what they need to be successful. 

One of those opportunities this year has been through participating with the Heart of a Hall of Famer program. The program was initially brought to my attention by my husband and one of the PR directors at Banner Health. As he got to know the people at his new job, it came up that I am a teacher and it was suggested that I look into this program for my students. I was connected with Mrs. McDaniel and encouraged to proceed with signing up. 

Initially this program is geared towards 4th grade and up, although, Mrs. Daniel supported my vision to allow my students to see that they matter, their character matters, and that the values honored by the Hall of Fame would support them, despite the challenges they face in their community. My third graders were welcomed with open arms and we participated in a live Q&A with Mr. Randall McDaniel in October.

You gotta love our webcam set up! Talk about innovation. We needed the webcam, from my laptop, at the front of the room, so this was what we came up with. 

I believe we were among seven schools participating in this chat and were able to ask about five questions. Mr. McDaniel commented that our students had very good questions that "made him think." Kids love to make grown-ups think and enjoyed the hour long conversation! They walked a little bit taller that day knowing they had spoke to a "real-life football player." They were in awe that Mr. McDaniel now spends his time as a teacher and wished they could attend his school.

Of course in the days of social media, I couldn't miss the opportunity for a selfie. We had a hall of fame football hero as a guest in our room, how could I not get a selfie? Mr. McDaniel wasn't quite ready for the camera, but I snapped a shot anyway.

On a serious note, it was an experience my kids needed. Often children put athletes on a pedestal, which is respected and deserved. They are amazing athletes and show dedication to a sport that requires them to give so much of themselves physically and mentally. 

What I admire most about the Heart of a Hall of Famer program, is that while honoring these men, they are also honoring and speaking to the values they have. The Gold Jacket Standards of Character are commitment, integrity, courage, respect, and excellence. Most importantly, they not only focus on what it takes to be successful on the field, but off the field as well. That is the key for my students. They realize now that no matter how famous athletes may be, they are still people like us and they have to make decisions like we do that reflect our character. 

Mr. McDaniel's message was inspiring. He focused on making education a priority, encouraged helping others, and working through challenging opportunities. They learned that school was hard for him, too, and how to deal with criticism from others. These were important lessons to many of the kids in my class. Mr. McDaniel is also an ASU alum and we gave him a proper Sun Devils shout out...

"Go Sun Devils!!!!" (Those are pitchforks, in case you can't tell.)

To our surprise, Mrs. McDaniel reached out to inform us that Mr. McDaniel would be in town and would like to meet our class! Can you imagine our excitement?! The kids couldn't believe that they were going to be given a chance to hang out with him, in our very own classroom! So, we started to plan his visit. Nothing fancy, but we wanted to make sure he felt welcome.

I got a real selfie and he was ready for the camera :-)

The kids were able to ask more of the important questions they didn't get to ask in October, like, "Do you like McDonalds?" By the way, yes he does!

They were able to try on his Hall of Fame rings...

and compare hand sizes!

The best part for them was receiving a personalized autograph and a individual photo with him.

We presented Mr. McDaniel with a digital story, G is for Gold Jacket Standards. After participating in the Heart of a Hall of Famer program, we wanted to create this book to highlight all of the things we learned, A to Z, from Mr. McDaniel. 

It truly was an experience we will never forget and it was the "best day ever!" 

I am forever grateful to Mr. and Mrs. McDaniel for extending their kindness to my kids. Taking the time to visit was never part of the plan, but they have made a difference. 

Thank you, both, for showing my kids that they matter.

Be Amazing! 

Digital Portfolio

I've wanted to create a digital portfolio for some time now, but haven't had enough to add to it. This is my final course in my ma...