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With testing on the horizon, within days, we are doing a massively insane “summit” to address the needs of our students taking the Geometry EOC. Using feedback from our students, I’ve worked tirelessly to design their online learning platform so that we maximize their ability to learn what they need in a more individualized format.
With that said, I am ALWAYS open to try new cool tools to get ideas across in ways that our kids have not seen. Enter Pixton.
Pixton is a free social comic strip creation platform. It’s also in the Chrome app store, which I LOVE. Using Pixton, I took a word problem and created a 3 frame comic strip. Pixton allows so much customization that I can’t even begin to type it all in this posting. You just need to play with it!
Once I completed my image, I used photoshop to add the hexagon and side length. This could’ve easily been accomplished using ppt or keynote. You just need to be able to save the image. I then loaded the image into thinglink where I linked to a couple of photobabbles and a showme video that I created using my ipad.
I cannot wait until our students get to utilize it tomorrow and Monday. As a matter of fact, I cannot wait until our students get to create one of their own. It’s a pretty cool activity for kids to do!
Below is the completed comic.
- Find distance between points using any method. (Formula or Pythagorean Theorem)
- Find midpoint between two points as well as finding a point given a midpoint and another point.
- Justify and explain the process!
- Create using what they learned!
2. I wanted an applet that would enable students to explore distance and midpoints between points. Looking at several paid options, including “gizmos”, I utilized geogebra because it was FREE and also because I could customize it to do what we needed.
3. Our ESC makes some AMAZING videos for the concepts that we were studying. Unfortunately, they are on youtube which would not be available to students at school. Screencast is NOT blocked so I placed the videos there instead so that our students could access them.
4. I needed to include some sort of “check point” assessment. I went with proprofs…I’m actually going to use a better alternative for the next one…stay tuned!
5. I needed to get authentic feedback from our kids and load 155 kids in a system to do it .I went with kidblogs because I could create an admin acct for myself, load teachers into the system AND easily upload all students via csv….at ZERO cost.
Below is what I came up with…
This post is dedicated to another passion: Family
This Saturday, we will travel to the great city of Hearne, TX to bury my grandfather. I think that I am more saddened by the fact that we were not close. My dad is the eldest of 14 children. Growing up two hours away from his hometown meant that we were unable to spend more than once a year with his family thus the normal closeness of grandparents to grandchild did not exist for us. As an adult, I could’ve traveled the 2 hours to visit on my own and I could have taken my children, but I did not. Looking back, it is my one regret…yet it is one that will be corrected through visiting my grandmother as she is still with us.
I asked my dad to share a memory from his childhood. Of every moment that he had, he shared that his favorite was watching his dad smoke a cigar for the first time because he was not a smoker. Apparently, my grandpa was “showing out” so when he took his first puff, my dad and his siblings waited because they knew that he would choke and sure enough, he did. I loved how my dad laughed while telling this story as his laughter is comforting.
I wanted to share this moment because it reminded me wholeheartedly about the importance of the family unit. We’ve often taken the relationship that our children have with our parents for granted. We all live in the same town so it was our “normal”. I don’t think that I’ve ever realized how much I miss not having this type of connection with my dad’s parents until now.
If you are reading this and are estranged from loved ones, please consider reconnecting. You never know how much you miss someone until you are unable to make that connection again. While I did not know my grandfather well, his essence lives in my dad and I know that I am partly the person that I am because of the legacy that he has left behind.
This is for you James A. Davis Sr.
Your loving granddaughter – Rafranz
Below is a pic of my dad and his brothers and sisters. My dad is on the bottom left.
Below is a nice widget of apps selected for initial implementation of our GPHS Law program iPads. Create your own widget of apps by using Apple’s Widget Builder. It’s very simple, however it does need a few changes, like icons in search. Other than that, gathering this list took about 10 minutes, compared to the much longer time needed to capture images, format and add links.
I was in a hotel room at TCEA two years ago when I participated in my first edchat. I was active for about three weeks then I stopped. It was last year during ISTE that I started tweeting again and I have been hooked since.
Twitter has enabled me to connect with an amazingly diverse group of educators. However, it was face to face conversations that have either opened doors or created paths toward life long friendships. This post is 100% about sharing my strategies for connecting. These are things that worked for me and it may or may not work for you. It is mostly serious, however there could be some humor. Take my advice at your own risk
1. Be yourself online and in person. I cringed as I listened to an educator diminish her classroom duties by claiming to be something that she wasn’t. Don’t do this. You can’t go wrong by being true to who you are, what you do and why you do it.
2. Authentically communicate your vision clearly when given the opportunity. It was probably a 7-minute conversation that got me on the radar as a possible attendee at Beyond the Textbooks. The thing is that it wasn’t planned, nor was it fake. In case you missed it, be yourself online and in person and your vision, passion and personality will shine through.
3. If Scott Floyd puts you on the spot, take the risk that you just might suck and say yes. I led a session at edubloggercon at TCEA. I’ve never done this in my life nor was I prepared. However, it was Scott Floyd…end of story. Could it have been better? Yes! Will it be next time? Absolutely! I learned that day to always be prepared for anything and I have been since.
4. It is just weird having someone randomly in your face taking pictures. Don’t do that. (Sorry Adam)
5. Be careful about putting even the most fabulous educators on pedestals of perfection. Even if twitter, blogs and maybe a TEDx talk appear to make your twitter connection walk on water, chances are that they don’t. We are all in education and one thing to remember is that education is messy. It is not perfect. Don’t be let down by this. Embrace it.
6. It’s always best to begin a first time meeting with “Hi, I’m _______, it’s so nice to meet you”. Maybe it may cause a bit of awkward silence if you immediately go into, “I follow you on twitter and I love your post and…” yeah….sorry Kyle
7. Doing a little dance is always great for breaking the ice as long as it’s not the Harlem Shake. You will regret that someday. I did Just Dance 4 at TCEA with @TechninjaTodd, @TechninjaStacey and @AKBusyBee. If there is video, I regret this now.
8. Paul Wood is the most genuine human being that I have ever met. If you meet him, please tell him that I said hello…every time!
9. When you are headed to a conference, start watching the hashtag. This will tell you who will more than likely be there as well as where the tweetups will be. Go connect.
10. When the time comes that you are out to dinner or at lunch with a group of rock star educators that you admire, be a rock star too. Engage in the conversation. Connect with actual words and leave the tweeting for later. (most important tip yet)
BONUS tip: Always respect the privacy of those that you are with. NEVER tweet out information not meant to be public. This is critical to your trustworthiness as a connected educator…
My thoughts after the Discovery Education Beyond the Textbook Forum…
Why does a company, that has two other subject-area techbooks in place, bring a group of people together to prototype something vastly different?
The race to be innovative is one that starts from an unknown space because it has to be that way to be truly innovative. At any given time, we could have been given access to the science or social studies techbooks but we weren’t. We could have analyzed the “bone structure” of the techbook design that already existed but we didn’t. Instead, we went with the “blind leading the blind” method and ideated with sticky notes, markers and tablet paper. As a member of the DEN, I do have access to the science techbook but out of respect to this process, I purposefully stayed away from that idea. What was forming before my eyes with the thoughts of every stakeholder in the room was amazing to see.
Were there questions about the “meat” of the techbook…YES! I was one of them. However, after speaking with Discovery’s STEM director, I was less worried. In fact, most of the representatives of Discovery Education had some sort of educational background and that was promising. Then again, that is not why we were there yet it was good to know that the actual math of the techbook would be in good hands.
The general consensus of everyone was that we wanted something that felt more like a classroom and less like an actual book or any current version of a digital book. The learner was at the forefront of all conversations, with that being defined as both students and teachers. How do we get this “super hero sized” version of change implemented into classrooms where most of its teachers still think overhead projectors equate to technology? This is a thought that must be considered as we progress.
I spent time yesterday reviewing the science techbook and comparing our notes from our planning sessions. I was pleased to see that many of our “must haves” were already a part of the science book. However, our vision took what was there and asked for even more…like adaptability, customization and social learning structures. I would give specifics but for some reason that just seems wrong to place those ideas in black and white right now. I will say that if Discovery can do what we envisioned, even pieces of it, along with what they are already doing…the math techbooks will be astronomically outstanding.
We talked a bit about utilizing class badges in some way shape or form. There were mixed feelings about badges and rightfully so. As my son so eloquently put it, “why would I want that?”. My hope is that we see this implemented in some form for teachers who are topical experts. In other words, as I am planning a lesson I can see a list of who is online depending on the unit. Then again, who decides who the real topical experts are? More questions…
Wonder seemed to be on everyone’s must-have list. We want kids to wonder and explore in math. I loved this idea. In addition, I want kids to have the ability to explore further, create and communicate as they wish. What I am afraid of is this becoming a mandate for some teachers. You can’t mandate wonder. It happens because a child wants to know….WONDER should be organic.
I left 1DP, no longer questioning my place in that room. I left thankful for the experience because I found that I did have quite a bit to offer and collaborating with such an esteemed “dream team” was a phenomenal experience in and of itself.
I want to go back.