Help for Getting Caught Up

Hi there! I'm sure that I should have made our first class post here a "Welcome to Splendora High School!" one. I hope you do feel welcome and comfortable in class. Please reach out to me if you are struggling or need help with anything. I wanted us to get off to a fast start, and I believe that we have done a lot in just two weeks. I said that I'd post the videos for the first and second weeks here, so they are available below. Here are the missions that you should have completed at this point:
  • Create and publish your blog site
  • Edit your About and Contact pages
  • Create your image for the #onelittleword project in PicMonkey
  • Create and post your #onelittleword image to your blog as your first post and included 2 paragraphs of text with it (see Hillbilly Day video)
  • Create a quote image with your favorite quote and a suitable image using Canva
  • Post your quote image along with an accompanying paragraph as your second blog post
  • Choose images to layer in GIMP
  • Open the images in GIMP and begin manipulating them as layers and using appropriate tools to make the image look as realistic as possible

Of course, there are many better GIMP videos to explain how you may best use the tools. Check them out as well.

Change the Nomenclature: An #EduLS Challenge

Hi, there! Thanks for visiting! I am excited to be a part of +Todd Nesloney's Educator Learning Series and offer this week's challenge. I am a bilingual educator, and I love language. I've been considering the nomenclature of education for quite a while and even more so since the #OneLittleWord Challenge that began this series. I believe that words are indeed powerful and that the language we choose to use with our students can make a profound difference on the culture and climate of the classroom and extend throughout a school.
My challenge to you is to consider the names or labels that we use for spaces within our classroom, rules, procedures, or any aspect of your class or school and to explore the connotations that students have for those names. If that name connotes a negative image for students, how can we modify it to better reflect our intentions?

Shelly Terrell challenged us in Challenge 10 of this series to send our students on a learning mission. Two years ago, in my sixth grade World Cultures course, the students decided to create a Minecraft theme for the classroom, and we began referring to each of our objectives as missions or quests. In fact, we changed the nomenclature for nearly every aspect of class to align with the theme, and its impact was quite powerful for us. Referring to homework as a "bonus round" was not the best idea, but at least it was not "homework".
Dr. +Justin Tarte recently tweeted that instead of referring to classrooms, perhaps we could use the term "learning studios". Navasota Intermediate School's library is named La Biblioteca Fresca. If that name invokes a mental image of a quaint cafe, you are not alone. It is a wonderful and inviting space. Dr. +Joe Mazza encourages school administrators to refer to themselves as "lead learners." Many educators are creating transformational learning spaces in their classrooms and naming their "caves, campfires, and watering hole" spaces to fit classroom themes. Teachers are giving their maker spaces all kinds of creative names to represent the way those areas are intended to be utilized.

What part of our educational nomenclature irks you? How can you rename it? What could we call warm ups, anticipatory sets, focus or sponge activities? Is there a certain center, station, or rotation that students typically try to avoid? What aspects of school frighten students or raise their respective affective filters in class? I believe that thoughtful consideration of these issues and applying a new label to just one thing can have a profound impact on school culture. 

We all know that words have great power. Sometimes words mean different things to different people. Everyone that has not written a book with the word "rigor" in the title knows of the incredibly negative connotations (and literal denotation) that the word holds and would never be pleased by having his or her classroom described as rigorous. 
We cannot save the all fairies in our professional development sessions when we return to school in the fall, but we do have the power to promote a collaborative creative community of learners within our classroom. We can create a positive academic atmosphere beginning with the words that we choose to use.

Please share how you will #renameEDU in your class or school by double-clicking on the padlet below, and share on social media with the #EduLS hashtag. Thanks for embarking upon this challenge and allowing me to take part in this great learning series! I'm excited to hear your thoughts and probably steal all of your great ideas. #YouMatter :-D

Gum in the Library

Gum is an iOS app that allows people to have conversations around actual physical things. With the app, a user can scan the barcode of any object and make a comment on it. It is like Reddit in that users can upvote or downvote any comment. The tagline given to it on Product Hunt was “the social network of things.” The app allows users to provide any username that can be changed. I was very excited by the potential of this seemingly simple idea when I first tried out the app.
I scanned my coffee and commented on it. I scanned soup cans and commented on them. I scanned and commented on everything I saw. I scanned my favorite books and added quotes and comments and glowing reviews. I imagined being able to scan items in the store to read reviews about them. Like I said, I got excited.

I knew that I could use any number of online barcode generators to create my own and attach them to assignments. I quickly thought about our school library and how each book is assigned a barcode by the district. This meant that while I used the official barcode from the publisher to comment to the entire world (potentially), my students could recommend or comment with the school barcode. Other students in the district could scan and view the comments from their peers.

I took this idea to our school librarian, and she was interested in trying out the app with the school book club. Students had been reading The Fault in Our Stars and were meeting to discuss it. How awesome is John Green by the way? Did you see that they’re making a movie for Looking for Alaska too? Sweet! Anyway, some students chose to write recommendations to others, and others added their favorite quotes. This is an incredibly simple way to integrate technology into our library, but the social aspect makes it incredibly powerful. If every student turning a book in to the library would leave a comment or recommendation, we would quickly have thoughts shared around every book. This would make this new augmented layer of social reading become even more powerful.

In the online learning lab, I tried out Gum by adding some barcodes that I created to student Algebra assignments to see what students would do with it. They collaborated by posting the answers to sets of systems and expressed their strong feelings about spending their valuable time solving the equations. It didn’t go very well. I do believe that it could be very helpful to students and be an effective backchannel tool for them if they were given more direction or specific tasks to accomplish.

Today, a few students were reviewing different forms of poetry. For fun, I had a small group of students write haikus about Cheetos. Cheetos are by far the most popular food item on the campus, and the vending machine outside my classroom door has difficulty keeping them stocked. I had the students submit the haiku poems via a Google form, and I added the poems with the Gum app to the barcode for the Cheetos bag. This was fun and silly, but it allowed the student work to be shared with the world. Those with iOS devices downloaded the app so they could go upvote their poems. You can see how Gum works by downloading the app, scanning the Cheetos barcode below, and upvoting a student haiku. You can also just scan one of my favorite books to see my reviews.

I feel like this simple app has many powerful implications for the library and in the classroom. I remember StickyBits and how I wished that it would become more popular. Well, now I hope that the popularity of Gum will surge in the coming months. At least in the library.
I wanted to wait a bit longer to publish this as the folks at Gum will be releasing a big update and adding new features, but I figured that if I go ahead and do so, maybe the update will be available sooner. Follow @justgumit on Twitter to hear as soon as the update is out.

Texas Immigration and Migration

Lesson Plan for Immigration to Texas
Seventh Grade

Learning Objectives: The student can explain immigration and migration across multiple centuries in Texas. The student will analyze how immigration and migration to Texas over the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries have influenced Texas. TEKS §113.23. Social Studies, Grade 7. (11)(B)

The learner will understand the importance of immigration to Texas. TEKS §113.23. Social Studies, Grade 7. (b)(3)(A)(B)

The learner will understand the geographical significance of immigration to Texas. TEKS §113.23. Social Studies, Grade 7. (b)(9)(A)

The learner will apply critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of sources, including electronic technology-based primary sources. TEKS §113.23. Social Studies, Grade 7. (21)(A)(B)(C)(D)(F)

The learner will communicate in written and oral forms, incorporating main and supporting ideas. TEKS §113.23. Social Studies, Grade 7. (22)(A)(B)(C)(D)

Language Objectives: The learner will utilize key vocabulary in small group discussions and in presentation of the student's creation. (immigrate, emigrate, migrate, migrant, et al.)

The learner will use terminology from elements of culture lessons to demonstrate prior knowledge.

The learner will acquire vocabulary from the parlance of the time of cultural group studied and apply them to today.

Assumptions: Students will have an understanding of diverse immigrant groups, demographics, and settlement patterns in Texas.

Driving Questions: How has immigration to Texas changed over time? How have those patterns affected the culture (and cultural elements) of Texas? Who were these people that immigrated to Texas? What was life like for them?

Materials: Students will work with primary source documents (online newspapers) to learn
more about immigration and migration to Texas.

Graphic Organizers: KWL chart, Compare and Contrast, Mapping Diversity

Anticipatory Set: Lino wall for students to list reasons that people move from one place to another.

Instructional Input: Using firsthand accounts, students will discuss various aspects of immigration to Texas. Students will research by exploring online newspapers and articles by using the permalinks to read about actual events related to immigration.

Instructional Strategies: Brainstorming, Peer Discussion, Cooperative Learning Groups, Role Play, Journaling, Storytelling, Games

Ideas for Activities and Assessments: Creating game based quizzes, presentations of sites, blog posts, and student creations, storytelling through videos, cartoons, comics, etc. My expectations for your activities to include will vary from partner group to group. If you are unsure if you have met the expectations for your creations, please let me know through any of our various communication methods (Celly, Edmodo, class backchannel), or do more to demonstrate the knowledge that you have acquired through this project.

Ideas for Student Technology Use: Creating Maps, Graphs, and Charts utilizing Google Sheets or cloud based charting or graphing applications, Blogging about research process and presentation on own site, creating presentations with Google Slides, Metta, eMaze, or any number of cloud based presentation tools

I would like you to create a web site (Weebly, Wix, Google Site) to demonstrate your understanding of the influence of immigration and migration on the state of Texas. You will include your research and your thoughts and opinions that came from your time spent researching. You may embed a video that you create as well as any relevant YouTube videos. You must utilize a technology tool to tell the story of an immigrant coming to Texas to be included in your post. You may link to the resource that you created if you cannot embed it. Below you will find a Symbaloo with approved resources and tools to help you get started, though you may use others that you find as well. You will need to keep notes from each day of research in your own row of this Google doc.

To submit your site or blog post, you will need to reply to the assignment post in Edmodo, add your post to this Listly to share with other teachers and students across the globe, and complete the Reflection Google form. We will present our findings and creations with another Texas History class from El Paso, Texas via Google Hangout on Friday.

Cultura con la Aplicacion ColAR

Hoy todos los estudiantes en las clases del Sr. Duncan escribió sobre un país en el mundo que les gustaría visitar. Tenían que escribir con el mensaje "Me gustaría visitar ..." y "Yo sé que en este país ..." Ellos escribieron su párrafo en una página para colorear de un pequeño avión que utiliza la aplicación ColarAR hace que el avión viene a la vida a través de la realidad aumentada. La aplicación es gratuita, pero sólo funciona con una imagen de un pájaro sin tener que comprar una actualización. Le ofrecí los estudiantes imágenes del pájaro para llevar a casa y compartir con los hermanos y hermanas.

Hablamos de algunos de los elementos de la cultura de todo el mundo, hablamos de nuestras reglas de la clase, y hablamos de la carta a los padres que se envió a casa hoy. En la carta, menciono a los padres que me gustaría que mis estudiantes sean capaces de utilizar las herramientas tecnológicas que se han incluido celulares, iPods, ordenadores portátiles o tablet PCs. Los estudiantes no tienen que llevar estas herramientas. Los padres pueden decidir si quieren que sus hijos usarlos o no. Ni la escuela ni yo seré responsable de los dispositivos de los estudiantes. Será la responsabilidad del estudiante para cuidar de su propiedad. Yo creo que desde que estos estudiantes utilizan estos dispositivos en el hogar y en cualquier lugar fuera de la escuela, los profesores tienen que mostrarles cómo pueden usarlos para aprender.

Estoy muy emocionado de practicar el trabajo en equipo con la aplicacion de Spaceteam y la creación de canciones para los siete continentes y los cuatro océanos a finales de este semana. Escribí sobre la aplicación Spaceteam recientemente aquí. Una vez más, los estudiantes no necesitan tener esta aplicación para participar en la clase. Es sólo una manera para mí para hacer el aprendizaje más divertido para los estudiantes.

Tuve un maravilloso primer día con estos jóvenes increíbles y estoy muy emocionado por todas las cosas que vamos a lograr este año. Gracias a los padres por haberme permitido enseñar este maravilloso grupo de estudiantes. Por favor, póngase en contacto conmigo si usted tiene alguna pregunta acerca de nuestras clases. Estoy muy emocionado de conocer a todos ustedes este año.