Sunday, August 26, 2018

Use Reflection Signs to Sum Up & Celebrate Learning

Looking for an efficient and effective way for classes to reflect upon what they've learned that works for introverts and extroverts alike. Then you might want to try this fun reflection sign technique. 

At the conclusion of a workshop, class, or unit, ask participants to speak in pairs or small groups about what they learned that they are excited to put into practice. Give participants an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper with a reflection prompt.  This helps them keep their reflections focused and concise.  They record their reflection then share however the teacher/facilitator thinks would best work.  

Two options are:

  1. Circle Up:
    Students stand in a circle and hold up their reflection sign.
  2. Exit Ticket: The exit ticket for the class requires students to come up individually or in pairs holding up their reflection sign for a photo opp, then place it on the end-of-study bulletin board.

Student Voice

What is nice about this reflection is that it gives everyone a voice, even if they don't choose to use their voice. Students are given time to read the signs around the circle or on the bulletin board. Anyone is invited to speak up to share more.  After the activity students are invited to talk with one another about their reflections.

Remember Your ABCs (Always Be Capturing)

The reflections can be captured using technology.  Below you can see this as a video or posted on a bulletin board. This gives participants a useful way to remember what they learned after they learned it.  If you're doing this with school age students, you can share it with parents using their preferred method i.e. Facebook, Remind, ClassStory, etc, to give them a lens into the classroom.  

Video created by Sean Arnold

Here are some photos of participants with their signs:

Here are the signs posted on the bulletin board. 

See all the reflections here.

Consider This: Icebreaker Activity

How might you use this activity as an icebreaker?  Perhaps there is a question you ask at the beginning of a learning even that people respond to in the same way.  It could be interesting to see the responses at the beginning verses the end.  The other benefit with this type of icebreaker is it honors both introverts and extroverts and contributes something meaningful to the learning experience. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Learn from 11 Innovative Educators in The #NYCSchoolsTech Podcast Episode 2

Cross posted at the #NYCSchoolsTech blog.

Learn about the innovative practices going on with some of New York City’s most passionate educators and supporters.  The latest #NYCSchoolsTech Podcast was recorded live at our annual #NYCSchoolsTech Summit where NYC Schools most innovative teachers come together to share ideas, network, and learn from one another and about what’s new in the world of ed tech.

#NYCSchoolsTech Podcast host, Nancy Ribak Altadonna  interviewed notable attendees and presenters who shared ideas about innovation, inspiration, who they give thanks to, expectations for students in the future, and their favorite tech tool or resource that they plan to use this year.  

This podcast features 11 innovators who work for or with NYC Schools. They share their ideas, insights, and best practices. 
Check it out on your preferred platform: YouTubeSoundTrap
You can listen to the time stamped highlights of what some NYC ed tech leaders said at the links in the caption above. Check out what they had to share. If you find something of interest, you can jump to exactly what you want to hear in the podcast.

Nancy Ribak Altadonna (Intro)
Social Studies Special Educator at Fort Hamilton High School in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Nancy is the host of the #NYCSchoolsTech podcast. She is the one to provide opening remarks and interview today’s guests.  

DeNora Getachew (1:36)
Keynote speaker and New York City Executive Director of Generation Citizen
Denora talks about... her vision for every young person to be given the civic knowledge necessary to be prepared to participate in a 21st century democracy.

Brook Wallace (3:36)
NYC program Director for Generation Citizen
Brooke talks Generation Citizen was able to use technology to support non-verbal students with special needs in being able to weigh in, express their ideas, and have their voice heard.

Richard Carranza (4:36)
@NYCSchools Chancellor.
Richard talks about...
an example of a school that successfully incorporated technology into learning by actively demonstrating, creating, and making meaning in a math class.

Eileen Lennon (7:00)
Tech teacher at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 in Bayside, Queens
Eileen talks about...
why the annual #NYCSchoolsTech Summit is an important event for her, educators of all grades and subjects across the city, and our vendor partners to attend. She also discusses whether “technology” should be a little T or big T when we think about STEM, STEAM, STREAM...aka school.  
Find out why her favorite technology this year is: EverFi
Find out how she believes students will use technology to change the world.

Ellen Goodman and Kristy Bernardo Lauriat (12:05) National Teacher Ambassadors and technology teachers in Brooklyn
Ellen and Kristy talk about…
how to help teachers reach citizen philanthropists via Donors Choose for teachers who don’t have the funding through their schools to best help meet their student’s needs. They also teach a class in New York City teaching educators to do just that.

Meredith Allen (16:53)
Soundtrap Education Specialist
Meredith talks about..
connecting classrooms globally via global collaborations through music and why it is so important for our digital citizens to understand that there are others out there around the globe that are both very different, yet very similar.

Jay Strumwasser (21:00)
Jay is the Director of Technology at Challenge Preparatory Charter School in Far Rockaway
Jay talks about…
the power of the the #NYCSchoolsTech professional network for learning.
Find out why he's excited to bring Google’s Applied Digital Skills to his school this year.

Jackie Patanio  (24:26)
Jackie is an EdTech Instructional Lead at the Staten Island Field Support Center
Jackie talks about…
how our #NYCSchoolsTech group has harnessed the power of social media to make meaningful connections and learn deeply with peers, experts, and expert peers.
She also discusses the importance of vendor partnerships and develop relationships.
Find out why her favorite tech resource she learned about this year at the Summit is podcasting to make a change and involve in civic engagement.

Katrina Gordon (30:44)
Katrina is a technology teacher at PS 181 in Queens
Katrina talks about…
what the #NYCSchoolsTech award means to her and the power of collaboration, knowledge sharing, resource sharing, and vendor relationships in the #NYCSchoolsTech group.
She also explains how pursuing certification has been helpful to her professional growth.
Find out why she is excited to bring digital storytelling to her classroom with podcasting.

Your Turn
If you attended the Summit, or another ed conference this year, what did you think?  How would you answer the questions this episode's guests discussed?
  1. Why were you inspired to attend the #NYCSchoolsTech Summit? 
  2. What’s the best part of being involved with #NYCSchoolsTech?
  3. If you could thank someone from your #NYCSchoolsTech learning network, who would you choose and why?
  4.  Technology Implementation: Think about your classroom and finish this sentence:“In the next ten years I expect my students to…….”
  1. What is one innovative tool or practice that you learned about today that you plan to use to ensure your students are civically activated and educated?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Toss the Smartboard. Here's The Best #BacktoSchool Teaching Tool: @ClassroomScreen

ClassroomScreen which I will be using at all future learning events. ClassroomScreen basically allows me to ditch my former toolbox of presentation tools as it combines them into one nice, simple place.  Just visit and you have access to a timer, random number generator, work symbols (i.e. silence, work together, ask a neighbor), QR code, class sound level, and more.  

Here's the toolbar.

Here is what a screen might look like.

In one place you have directions for each group, work style, timer, time, and the information on where to access their work  No one in the classroom is unsure what to do, because it is projected in the room. 

The tool was created by a teacher in the Netherlands named Laurens Koppers who wanted a simple tool with all his favorite interactive widgets to help him teach and his students learn more effectively.  Nothing existed, so he made ClassroomScreen. 

You can check out all the features in this two-minute overview.