Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Open Thank You Letter To Innovative Educators

Dear Members of the "Developing a 21st Century Flipped Classroom",

Yesterday, we concluded our time together as of 3:00 PM.  On Day Two we...

Since then, I have been thinking about how blessed I was to be with a group of educators who were so willing to "think differently".  Many of you said before we started the class that you had a limited idea of what a flipped classroom meant.  This conjures up many different emotions...

  • Fear Of The Unknown
  • Uncertainty of Outcomes
  • What Will I Need To Do
Let me just say that ALL of you attacked these fears with a tremendous about of courage, dedication, and willingness to think differently!  

I am so proud of your eagerness to learn the background information of a Flipped Classroom, discover the power of Twitter and how connected you can be to other #Flipclass educators, be open to learning new tools that can be used at the right time to engage, empower, and educate our students all the time, and to adopt the tools that best fit your needs and your idea of how you can "best use face to face time with your students".  Top that off with reflecting on blog posts and articles by other educators and creating valuable lessons that can be implemented "right now" with your students and you have a full two days.

Jim Valvano, former North Carolina State basketball coach was battling cancer when he stated, 

"To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special. 

I felt we did that!  For us and for our students!  We worked extremely hard, encouraged one another, and were rock stars!  Don't let anyone tell you 
  • that you are not worth your paycheck 
  • that because of a flipped classroom, you won't have to work as hard
  • that "you teachers who flip just make students watch videos"
Be innovators, encouragers, facilitators, and rock stars for your students and their educational future.  Do what you can, with what you have, where you are at!

Thank you again for making my two days with you an inspiration and truly a great experience!


Monday, July 29, 2013

Flipped Classroom Learning Experience Day 1

I was blessed today to spend hours with seventeen teachers who want to get better!  Our motivation for getting better was the opportunity to learn about the flipped classroom.  I incorporated and modeled many tools that teachers can use as I thought modeling would be a great method for introducing and learning philosophies, methods of, and tools to produce exemplary flip classed environments.  Below are the complete presentations and resources that go with them that were used today!

History Of Flip Classroom

  • Provided a great beginning to what a flip class started out as and where it is going.
  • Introduced as a viable tool for communicating with students
  • Slide six was an Evernote that was created with Clearly Chrome Extension app
  • Slide eight provided a two minute video of the founders
  • Slide nine provided four minutes of multiple examples of Flipped Class content
  • Incorporated iTunesU Flip 101 to introduce three types of a Flipped Classroom
    • Traditional Flip
    • In-class supplement
    • Challenged Based Learning
  • Introduced as a viable way to gather video assessment or reflection
  • Thankful for so many people willing to share their knowledge and their questions
  • #FlipClass twitter stream was introduced
  • learning community introduced
  • Used Google Forms to acquire reflection on articles that participants found interesting
  • Also used music during the reflection time...once three songs played, reflection time concluded
  • Created "Turn In Folder" for participants...participants were the students
  • Google Drive became a clear cut favorite as a work flow solution
  • Provided numerous free and paid canvas creating tools
  • Provided numerous free and paid screen recording options
  • Additional iPad app resources were introduced and demonstrated
  • Video hosting tools were introduced and explained
  • Participants used the "Turn In Folder"to provide reflection on resources
  • Provided four (4) options for FREE Cloud storage of videos
  • Utilized Google Forms for students to ask questions; questions and answers will start Day 2
  • Homework
    • Bring content from participant's class to start planning a lesson
    • Participate in the #Flipclass chat on Monday night from 7-8 Central
    • Reflect on the #Flipclass chat using Google Document & the "Turn It In Folder" 

Friday, July 19, 2013

My Week As An Education Rock Star

During the last week, I have participated in the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute as a member of the Class of 2013.

There are many times in my classroom experience where something will be said and it reminds me of a song or phrase of a song.  I will then start singing phrases of that song much to the chagrin of my students.  It doesn't help that I stop singing and say, "You know, I should have been a rock and roll singer"  And as you can imagine, my students "boo me off the stage"  because I truly can't sing!

But this week was different.  Man, was this week different!

In 20 years of being an educator, I have humbly accepted praise for my good work, but I have NEVER been treated like a rock star!

Not this week.  Not this week.

Apple, Inc. treated the 400 participants in The Institute like rock stars.  We were provided with an AMAZING work atmosphere!  Music pumped through our ears as we entered sessions which always seemed to be the exact words to make you want to change the world.  We were praised continuously for our innovative ideas and thought provoking questions.  We never had to worry about eating!  We didn't need to "pay for our meal up front" and then wait for the reimbursement!

We had groupies!  Personal Learning Networks (PLN) groups that truly cared about where we were and what they could do to help.

We had security!  Men and women with white shirts and black pants provided us with that "we are important"stance and protection.  We had professional recording studios for creation of audio and video files.  We had famous creation and improv people inspire us with presentations and activities. We had really professional people, The Improve Lady and Duarte Group, constantly wanting to talk with us to provide feedback as to how we could create and innovate.  We were provided with so many human resources, from graphic designers (did you notice the bolder more beautiful iPaddiction header?) to coders to thought agents that made us Think. Question. Create. & Share!

All of this made me feel like a Rock Star if but only for a week and it really made me ask this question:

     "Why are educators in our society not treated with the same attention as the super star athlete        or the best lead singer of the best rock band?"   

I am sure the answer is different for all of you, but the one thing remains.  Most rock stars and athletes may not have achieved greatness without their teachers to guide, inspire, and refine their talents.  There are so many teachers deserving of the treatment that was provided to us this week.  Our society would do it self a favor if they treated teachers and the educational system with the same energy and passion as they do with a rock band or an athlete.

Teachers Are Rock Stars! 

This week we were treated like ones at the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute.  For that, I will do everything I can to encourage worthy teachers that innovate and inspire students to apply for the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute Experience because I too want teachers to be Rock Stars!
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