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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Let’s Catch up at #iste2016 : Here’s how



From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

ISTE 2016 is here! I hope to catch up with so many of you out there. Here’s the schedule of where I’ll be presenting and sharing this year. It is always great to go. Since I only go every other year, it is always extra sweet to see people that I’ve not seen in a while. Say hi!

If you want links to these events to register, go to my ISTE 2016, Presenter Page.

See Vicki’s ISTE 2016 Schedule

 

Workshop: BYOA: BUILD YOUR OWN APP (WH021)

  • Fee: $113 ($123 after May 1)
  • [Explore and create: Workshop]
  • Saturday, June 25, 12:30–3:30 pm
  • CCC Mile High Ballroom.3A
Vicki will be talking about mobile app development with Alefiya Bhatia, co- founder of Crescerance. Vicki was one of the educators that recently collaborated on the MAD About Mattering Project, which involved student app development in response to student heartbreaks.

Special Interviews at ISTE

While I’ll be interviewing lots of teachers and educators for the show, I’m also adding something new this year. I’ll be doing a “live from ISTE” set of interviews with some cool companies. This is a sponsored series and will run on the Every Classroom Matters show. I’ll be on the showroom floor taping these (and perhaps a few others) on Tuesday morning.

  • Laurie Nathan the Executive Director National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. They have an excellent free digital citizenship training program for teachers, Netsmartz.
  • Horacio Ochua, the Head of Quality Assurance at Bloomz, Inc.  I use this app for my parent-teacher communications.

Make sure to subscribe to Vicki’s podcast, Every Classroom Matters, to hear interviews taped at ISTE in the near future.


The CTN Playground with Crescerance and MAD-Learn

  • Sun, Jun 26
  • 1:00 PM MDT
  • CCC Concourse E
Alefiya Bhatia from MAD-Learn and Vicki will be talking about mobile app development and web design during this Playground session organized by the CTN Leadership at ISTE.

BLENDED LEARNING CLASSROOMS: PEDAGOGIES, SKILLS, AND TOOLS FOR TEACHING

  • Monday, June 27, 8:30–9:30 am
  • CCC 302
Vicki will be moderating a panel featuring Thomas Arnett, Jonathan Bergmann, Mike Gwaltney, Aaron Sams, and Stephanie Sandifer about the best practices in blended learning.

SKETCHNOTING IN EDUCATION: THE BEST PRACTICES, BENEFITS AND HOW-TO’S OF SKETCHNOTING

  • Wednesday, June 29, 8:30–9:30 am
  • CCC 502
Vicki will be moderating a panel of superstar sketchnoters. They’ll discuss how visual learning and sketchnoting can improve learning with co-panelists Carrie Baughcum, Sylvia Duckworth, Judi Holst, Marie-Andree Ouimet, and Kathy Schrock.

MINDSETS AND CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT FOR MAKING AND INVENTING IN EVERY CLASSROOM

  • Wednesday, June 29, 10:15–11:15 am
  • CCC 113
Vicki will be moderating a panel sharing how to create a culture of innovation in your classroom with co-panelists Joli Barker, David Jakes,  Erin Klein,  Karen Lirenman, and  Sylvia Martinez.

ISTE is always so busy but a great time to connect and share. I’ll admit that I’m a bit tired from somewhat of a travel disaster trying to come home from Iowa, but I’ll be around. Please say hello and introduce yourself. Let’s learn together but remember — don’t get caught up in the hype — it is about helping as many kids as possible learn and do meaningful work. We are in the life improvement business.

The post Let’s Catch up at #iste2016 : Here’s how appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Monday, June 20, 2016

What Is Your Mental Momentum About Teaching?



What has to happen before you can make your classroom better

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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We have a problem in the hearts and minds of many educators everywhere.  I’m guilty of it sometimes, too. Sometimes my momentum is not moving forward. I can wish for something that never will be and not do what is right in front of me.

Alvin Toeffler said,

“you’ve got to think about the ‘big thing’ while you’re doing the small things, so that all the things go in the right direction.”

What is your mental momentum about teaching?

The big thing is that students have changed. We don’t have to like it. We don’t have to enjoy it. But we do have to face it if we’re going to teach kids.

People who relate to technology by saying “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” are burning their bridges with kids before they even start the trip.

Most people want what used to be, not what can be. They spend their time fondly thinking of the past instead of dreaming about the future. If we’re going to start thinking about big things, we need to give ourselves permission to head in a new direction, break new ground and try a new way. We have to remember that there is more out there in the world than our way of teaching. We must be willing to get out there and try it out.

For those of you out there trying new things already — way to go. And for those of you realizing that you’re exhausted by trying to push a car with square wheels — no guilt. You can’t do anything about the past. If you know you need to change some things, start today by changing your own mind.

Examine your mental momentum.

  • Are you frantically trying to run back to a past that will never be your present again?
  • Or are you running towards a dream in the future of a better classroom and a better life?

I kind of think someone driving in reverse down the interstate and looking in the rear view mirror would be headed for a wreck. Live is meant to be lived looking out the front windshield, not the rearview mirror.

I love, respect, and appreciate you, teacher. We all have to struggle to grow and learn and have an open mind to new things.

But when presented with a new idea, don’t say “I’ve already tried that and it didn’t work” when you’re just making an excuse not to change. We need to reach every child in our classroom. We may not accomplish that in the end, but if we don’t start with that as our goal, we don’t have a chance.

Just want to encourage you to be forward facing today and to try some new teaching ideas soon.

The post What Is Your Mental Momentum About Teaching? appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Things Every Teacher Should Know About Digital Citizenship



Educate yourself to prevent the nightmare

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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Picking the wrong technology tool can unleash a nightmare. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. what every teacher should know about

If you look over the shoulder of one of Gord Holden’s 10,000 students,  it looks like they are playing a video game. They are not. They are learning. They are safe, too. Let’s dig into Gord’s three things about digital citizenship that every teacher should know.

Listen to this show on BAM Radio Network | iTunes 

Show Notes – Things Every Teacher Should Know about Digital Citizenship:

  • A simple explanation to parents about Internet safety.
  • Why some online spaces are like “Lord of the Flies” and what to do about it.
  • How to use 3D worlds to help autistic spectrum students interact in real life.
  • Teaching French, Science, and Democracy in a 3D world. (great stories!)
  • Nightmare things that have happened when teachers pick the wrong tool! (Oh my!)

Today’s Sponsor: Netsmartz Free “Teaching Digital Citizenship” Course

Netsmartz is a free online training program from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. This free course is designed to help you teach the latest in internet safety and digital citizenship for your students. It is free. It is online. Learn at your own pace. Most people can complete this course in just an hour.

What is stopping you? Every school and teacher should take the time to go through the Netsmartz course this summer. Just enroll here:www.netsmartz.org/training.  

About Gord Holden

Gord Holden@gord.holden has been working in education for 35 years, beginning with using early Apples with Special Education students. He was recruited by Heritage Christian Online School 5 years ago to be the founder and Director of their Immersive Technology (IMT) Department. IMT currently has 12 staff and close to 200 students participating.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

 

The post Things Every Teacher Should Know About Digital Citizenship appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

VIDEO TUTORIAL: How to Quickly Transcribe Audio Files [Video]



From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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Video Post
I have been looking at testing the transcription of a podcast. There are services out there that will do it, but I have concerns about accuracy. So, I’m doing it manually this first time to see if people like it (or not).

After some research, I found a service called oTranscribe that is pretty nifty. So, I made a quick tutorial.

What I love about this service is both the time stamps and how it links to the audio file. I can even have my daughter help me on it and share the file with her. When I’m done, I can export it to Google Docs! Awesome!

The post VIDEO TUTORIAL: How to Quickly Transcribe Audio Files [Video] appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

5 Tools To Make Your Website Faster (and Better)



Tips and Tricks for Educators Establishing a Personal Brand

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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Websites crash all the time. It is a common problem for everyone from schools to teachers to businesses to anyone who has a website. Here are some tools that I recommend to help figure out why your website is crashing or just to double check to make sure it is configured properly.

5 ways to make your website faster and better
Dr. Jim Beeghley has been my go-to guy since this past October when he helped me untangle the technical behind-the-scenes mess of my blog. It wasn’t that my blog wasn’t awesome behind the scenes – it just wasn’t growing to handle the traffic (and sadly the hackers that sometimes come with the territory.) 

I’ve gotten to know Jim even better over these past few months. He has a lot that can help all of us make our websites better. Here is his advice on what he did to fix my site. I recommend you check yours with these tools. If you need help with your website, I highly recommend contacting Jim. He’s great. — Vicki Davis

If you are having issues with your website, here are 5 tools to make your website faster and better. Even if you’re not having issues, these tools can help improve your page load speed and make sure your website is configured properly. If you’re getting results you don’t understand, contact me or someone you trust that is technically proficient. Some results can be handled by anyone, but if in doubt — give a shout to @beeghleytech.

1. DNSstuff

dns-stuff

DNSstuff is one of the best web-based tools used to check and monitor DNS issues. DNS stands for Domain name service. Think of DNS as the Internet’s phone book. Every website has a number (like a phone number) and a name. Could you imagine the confusion if the wrong phone number was published with a person’s name? Well, this sometimes happens in the web and even a little mismatch means your site looks like it is down (even when it may not be.) The good thing is, you don’t have to really understand DNS, just use this tool to see if you have problems.

First and foremost, DNSSTuff  allows you to quickly see all of the information related to the DNS (Domain Name Service) for your website.  DNS is the Internet’s phone book and DNS records maintain a directory of domain names and translate them to IP addresses. While some of their tools require a paid account, they offer a free trial to test all their features.  

2. Pingdom

pingdom-picture

Pingdom has a free Website Speed Test to analyze the load speed of your website and provides recommendations on how to make it faster.  Page load speed is how fast does your website fully appear for your visitor.  To put it another way, page load time is the time it takes from when someone clicks that link to your website in a Google search until it fully appears in their web browser.  

Since no one wants to wait around for a slow loading web page, a faster loading website is better. Pingdom offers both a free and a paid service but the details from their free service are very helpful when it comes to identifying problem areas. Especially helpful is the information on the number of requests, the page load time and size of various files.  All of which can impact your page load speed.

 

3. Google Developers PageSpeed Insights

page-speed

Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a quick tool for analyzing your website’s performance on both desktop and mobile devices. Specifically, the tool looks at how your images are being presented and how different parts of your website are being displayed.  Since we want our website visitors to enjoy their time on our website, we need to make sure that it looks perfect on both desktop and mobile devices.

Using a simple scoring system, Google makes recommendations based upon their analysis.  The tool also provides easy to follow recommendations for each potential optimization.

4. GTmetrix

gtmetrixGTmetrix generates a report that will show you a complete history of the website’s loading speeds, along with a detailed report with suggested ways to improve your website performance. One little caveat is that this process can get a little detailed and geeky depending on the recommendations.  One nice thing is that GTmetrix gives you an explanation of each issue and suggestions on how to fix.  You can often Google how to fix the error but if you are unsure of how to fix it, you might want to look at hiring someone or just skipping that recommendation.

5. YSlow

yslowYSlow is a browser plugin that provides a series of tests that looks at different aspects of a website based on Yahoo’s guidelines for web developers.

 

 

BONUS TIP:  Find the right web host!

The final tip that will help you is to find the right website hosting provider.  There are many different options available to you.  Do not settle for the cheapest solution as this can often lead to problems.  Ask for recommendations, talk to others about what they use and simply do your homework!  In the end, we moved http://ift.tt/17f4vxI to SiteGround and within a few hours, the website performance and stability improved significantly.

Dr. Jim Beeghley is an educational technologist, a blogger, education consultant, and keynote speaker. He specializes in helping educators improve their personal online brand by helping them create websites and enhance their social media presence.   You can find him online at http://ift.tt/1XVnGpt or follow him on Twitter @beeghleytech

Disclosure of Material Connection: The author of this post, Dr. James Beeghley has an affiliate relationship with some of the companies included in this post. Dr. Beeghley has helped me on my website and this is a guest post written by him and edited by Vicki Davis. Regardless, I only recommend and allow guest authors to recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers and are from companies I can recommend. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

The post 5 Tools To Make Your Website Faster (and Better) appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.

5 Ways to Make Learning Personal



with Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

Follow @coolcatteacher on Twitter

Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey share five very important concepts in today’s show. In their book, Make Learning Personal, they talk about how you enlist the support of learners beneath their own process of learning.

5 Ways to Make Learning Personal

Listen to this show on: BAM Radio Network | iTunes | Stitcher (this show isn’t showing on the Stitcher feed, not sure why, if you like Stitcher, just listen directly on BAM for this show! Thanks.)

They argue that student should assemble a “personal backpack.” This is not a physical backpack, necessarily but includes tools and strategies that help them learn according to their own style of learning.

I think this is a fantastic evolution in our thinking, not only about technology but also about learning. Their approach empowers meta-cognition, something we know helps learners progress.

Perhaps the most important thing they argue is the use of the word “learner” instead of the word “student.” They believe that the word student is a much more passive word and the word learner requires more active thinking.

I highly recommend Make Learning Personal, it is an excellent book for your summer reading. It is a new way of thinking and a much more empowering approach teaching, that starts with a teacher’s relationship with students. The relationship is first. Great book and two amazing ladies.

Bios of the Authors of Make Learning Personal

Barbara Bray,@bbray27  co-founder of Personalized Learning, LLC, co-author of Make Learning Personal and founder/owner of My eCoach, is a creative learning strategist and futurist who is a writer, speaker, presenter, instructional designer, coach, and keynote speaker.

Kathleen McClaskey@khmmc is Co-founder of Personalize Learning, LLC, a futurist, education technologist, keynote speaker, professional developer, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL) consultant with over 30 years experience in creating learner-centered environments.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes

The post 5 Ways to Make Learning Personal appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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Friday, June 10, 2016

5 Ideas for Friday: Ideas for Teachers In and Out of School to Try Today



A sample Cool Cat Teacher newsletter

From the Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis

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Happy 5 idea Friday! Today is the day I send my newsletter subscribers the ideas to help them be better teachers. Right now, I’m actually sending 10 ideas — five for teachers in school and five for teachers out -of-school.

Five idea Friday

I’ve been getting emails with people asking me where this information is online. Five idea Friday isn’t online in a blog post. You can only get it in my newsletter.

Here’s insight on how this works.

Blog posts.I post my blog posts and shows here on Cool Cat Teacher. You’ll get great blog posts, how-to articles and information here that you can get in your RSS reader.

Newsletter. I have an email newsletter (you can sign up at the bottom) that I send 2-3 times a week. On Monday, I focus on motivation. On Friday, I share at least five ideas for teachers. Sometimes during the week I send one other newsletter email about something else of interest.  You can only get my newsletter by signing up for my email list.

I’m sharing today’s newsletter below in this blog post for all of you blog readers out there who are wondering about the difference.

(I hope the links work because I’m not sure that some of them will — but you’ll get the idea.)

If you want timely lesson plan ideas, freebies, and tips, just sign up at the bottom of the page and you’ll be included in future newsletters.

Today’s 5 Idea Friday from the Cool Cat Teacher Newsletter

Dear Friend,

One quick note, the Global Teacher Prize application process is open again. Some of you should consider applying for this million dollar teacher prize.

Today I’m sharing 10 ideas: 5 for those actively teaching, 5 ideas for those of you restoring yourselves. 😉

5 IDEAS FOR THOSE WHO ARE ACTIVELY TEACHING

Check out 5 Epic Endings of the School Year with Tony Kline on meaningful ways to end the school year.

1- Try some new music to teach.

You can use music to teach. Learn from Jon Schwartz and Rockademix or readSimple Ways to Use Mood Music to Amp Up Learning. You can also use Hip Hop to teach ELL’s with Jason Levine or Jed Dearybury’s ideas for engaging kids with music. Write some of your own or just play some music you love.

2 – Help Kids Be Safer This Summer

Try one of these indoor or outdoor safety games for kids. Remember that students will be in new and different places this summer. Many are woefully underprepared for the outdoors.

The American Heart Association has lesson plans for CPR. The Centers for Disease Control has a variety of lesson plans on health and wellness. When you help kids become safe, you save lives.

3 – Rio 2016 Olympics

The Rio 2016 Olympics kick off on August 5, 2016. Many organizations have already created lesson plans: Scholastic, Education World, Read Write Think, and many websites have Olympic themes. (Or search TpT or Pinterest.)

Since it is in the news, you could also do an investigation of the Zika virus. (I doubt you’ll find this in your textbooks.) Get lessons from PBS (grades 7-12), New York Times, AES Education, or use the topic to teach English.

4 – Movie Making and Green Screen

The end of the school year is a fun time to teach movie making (as I mentioned in a previous 5 idea Friday.)

Do you know how easy it is to teach green screen? (Here are tutorials for: iMovie,Pinnacle Studio, Adobe Premier Pro)

“Green screen” is called chroma key. You can easily make a “green screen” wall by purchasing Chroma key fabric at Amazon (I bought some at Walmart) or painting a wall with chroma key paint.

If you’re wondering, chroma key is the technique used to put an actor in front of a background anywhere. (See this great explanation from Wonderopolis.) If you really want to have fun, have a student bring in a superhero outfit and follow the instructions in Videomaker magazine to do something super-awesome. (YOU could be the superhero in an awesome welcome back to school video that you could shoot NOW in post-planning.)

5 – Get into Making

The National Makerfaire in the US will be in Washington, DC June 18-19. Even if you cannot go, follow the hashtag #NMF16. They are kicking off the “summer of making.” Follow the tag on instagram and Twitter and feel like you’re there. Students could be virtual reporters about what is happening or could dig deeper into making.

If you can go, tickets are complimentary. (See How the Maker Movement is Moving into Classrooms.)

5 IDEAS FOR THOSE WHO AREN’T TEACHING RIGHT NOW

1- Enroll in a class to learn something new.

Every teacher should learn something new each summer. I’ll be announcing some webinars very soon, so stay tuned. Lots of resources are out there — at your local library, museum, art council or an online or face to face conference. (I set as a goal this year to take one class a month. I’m learning so much!)

2 – Wander Through a Library (or Amazon free titles)

Some of the greatest books I’ve come to love, I found on a random summertime stroll through the library.

Through such meanderings I discovered the Lady of Shalott by Lord Alfred Tennyson and A Man Called Peter by Catherine Marshall. I found 10 Fingers for God and became enamored with Paul Brand, the man who discovered the cure for leprosy. The essays of GK Chesterton inhaled me. This is the same technique I used when discovering Jane Eyre, The Odyssey, and Wuthering Heights when just a young teen. No one assigned those books to me until much later. I read all of James Michener’s books because I liked how one of them looked in the library.

Wandering through the library and reading the spines may not sound exciting but can change your life.

3 – Learn How to Take Epic Pics with your Phone

Meri Walker is Iphone Art Girl. I’ve learned so much from her about how to take great pictures with my iPhone, but the tips apply to any smartphone with a good digital camera. Listen to her show and download the apps she recommends.

4 – Learn How to Sketchnote

I’ll be leading a panel in a few weeks at ISTE of some Sketchnoting superstars. Read and try out some of these sketchnoting resources or just look up sketchnote on Pinterest and start drawing.

5 – Get Organized

Read an organization book like Sink Reflections or The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up or make your own planner like I do.

Happy June!

I’m excited to be heading to speak at the TICL conference in Iowa soon and then on to ISTE 2016. This week I’ve been sleeping and reading (a lot) as I am working on Design Your Day and spending time with Mom and Dad in the mountains. There’s so much to be done in the summer, but getting rest is a top priority when possible.

Thank you, as always, for your kind notes and amazing stories. You are truly an amazing bunch of people. Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter and telling your friends! Another 900+ people joined the newsletter in the last thirty days.

You are appreciated and you are awesome.

With much love and gratitude,

Vicki Davis
@coolcatteacher

You might wonder why I would do it this way? There are a variety of reasons, but overall — it is about giving things to people where they are most helpful. Blog posts are usually more effective if they are on a focused topic. Teachers are busy and sometimes don’t have time to go online to check my blog — so having a quick newsletter right in their inbox will help them most.

Hopefully, you’ll find helpful things when you see my name — that is my desire, anyway. Happy June and I hope you’ll join my newsletter and get great ideas in your inbox. Have a great weekend!

The post 5 Ideas for Friday: Ideas for Teachers In and Out of School to Try Today appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog by Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher helping educators be excellent every day. Meow!



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via Vicki Davis at coolcatteacher.com. Please also check out my show for busy teachers, Every Classroom Matters and my Free teaching tutorials on YouTube.
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