Edcamp Downingtown Finds!

As part of my professional learning this summer, I attended my first EdCamp at the Downingtown STEM Academy last week.  My take-away is that every educator should be REQUIRED to attend an Edcamp once a year.  I walked away so inspired, energized, and valued and I want to share a few of the highlights with you!

EdCamp Calendar & Sign-Ups  If you have never heard of EdCamps before, I recommend you start here to read about them.  This link also contains a list of upcoming EdCamps and links to sign-up.  I recommend checking back this fall for more local dates.

EdCamp Downingtown GoogleDoc  During each EdCamp, attendees take notes on a collaborative GoogleDoc, which allows those who couldn’t attend also benefit from the collaboration!  Click on the link in each session you are interested in to read the GoogleDoc notes on that session.

Graphite.org  This is a resource that was discussed in my Makerspaces session.  It not only gives you great recommendations for how to utilize Makerspaces, but it also provides projects that tie to your area of curriculum.

The Extraordinaires Design Set  If you are new to Makerspaces, like me, this design kit was recommended to me as a great place to start.  All of the planning and preparation is in the box, and is relatively cheap (hopefully you have a modest teacher budget from your district!).

Worlds of Making  This is a book that was spoken very highly of by both teachers in the Makerspace and PBL sessions.  I have not bought it yet, but it looks like a fantastic starter guide for Makerspaces and project-based learning.

Authentic Audience Finds!

KQED DO NOW  Allow students to explore and answer controversial topics, and give their responses an authentic audience through the KQED DO NOW activities.  I linked to the KQED #2nextprez DO NOWs because I think it is best worth your click.  I learned about #2nextprez in Arcadia’s #ED677 course.

Issuu.com  This website allows users to upload multiple Word or PDF pages and it publishes them to look like an online magazine.  This FREE service is another perfect way to publish your students’ work for a greater audience.

Unique & Equal  This past semester, I used Issuu.com to publish my ESL Intermediate’s classroom magazine.  The magazine was completely student-driven and student-created.  We shared the link to the magazine out on social media and got meaningful, positive feedback from all over our district!

Twitter in the Classroom Finds!

Twitter to Connect and Collaborate– a professional development presentation

Twitter in 60 Seconds– YouTube video

How to Create a Twitter Account 2015– video tutorial

Hastags in 60 Seconds– YouTube video

Cybrary Man– List of education related hashtags and a calendar of all hashtag chat sessions

33 Education Twitter Accounts You Should Be Following

Using Twitter or Facebook for collaborative learning activities

Educators on TweetDeck

Guide to using Twitter in Your Teaching Practice– a resource to expand your knowledge on using Twitter in the classroom

Digital Citizenship Finds!

What I love the most about technology in education is the opportunities it presents for my students to publish for authentic audiences!  One such site I just found is Instructables.com.  On this site, students can follow instructions to create a project, or they can create and upload their own project instructions!

Issuu.com is another FREE site where you can create documents and then upload them for free public view on the web.  My students are currently creating a classroom magazine that we will distribute digitally as their final project via Issuu.

Being able to publish on the web is a privilege that comes with the responsibility of digital citizenship.  I think that digital citizenship is two fold: students must know how to responsibly post online and know how to access and evaluate credibility of other users’ posts on the web.  I love the idea of using Snopes.com stories and asking students to investigate online and report back whether it is true or not.

Social Media & PBL Finds!

A Princeton psychology professor has posed his CV of failures online  Intrinsic to the PBL process is inevitable failure and the necessity for students to start over again in a new direction.  However, I believe we work in a system where students are taught to recognize failure as something they cannot recover from, instead of something that they can learn from and try again.

8 Switches to Update Project-Based Learning in the 21st Century  A great resource for framing your thinking and approach to relevant PBL design.

Personal Interests Finds!

Periscope: Connecting Classrooms to the World  This was a great find for me because I keep seeing Periscope videos pop up in the feed of my teacher Twitter account, but I haven’t had a clue what the app was about!

How to Fill Out the FAFSA  Teaching both ESL and 12th grade English makes not only the difficulty of applying to colleges apparent, but it makes the struggle of applying to college as an immigrant VERY clear.  I have went back and forth this year about how to best assist my students with this issue, and I love the possible solutions this article presents.

How to Use Twitter in Your Classroom

Never attempted Twitter before, or you have, but your Twitter account is collecting dust somewhere out on the Internet?  Great!  Utilize the links below to help get yourself started on how to use Twitter to connect with other educators and collaborate with your students.

Click here to access the Screencast-O-Matic presentation.

Click here to access the GoogleSlides version of the presentation.  This is the version that will allow you to click on the links and video I provide.

Click here to access the hand-out.  If you make a copy of this document into your own GoogleDrive, you can add your own additional notes!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @mstubiello!

A Lesson from My Mentor, Thank you Ashley!

This year one of my favorite tech tools that Ashley showed me was the application, “Plickers.”  Available, free of cost, I would highly recommend any teacher to use this super easy, super efficient tool!  Plickers integrates seamlessly into the way you already teach, and serves as a formative assessment!  No grading, no hand-written work!

Great for Pre-Assessment, Survey, Exit Slips

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About Us
Plickers grew out of a shared belief that teachers shouldn’t have to teach blind, data
doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and students shouldn’t be afraid of being wrong.We believe that deep learning can happen when we measure our progress and use
data as a starting point, not just an ending metric.


A big thanks goes out to my mentor, Ashley, who put me in touch with this amazing assessment tool!

To watch a clip about Plickers, click below!

Chapter 3, Keep Your work Intellectually Challenging

Chapter 3 is about keeping ourselves grounded, regardless of the demands of teaching.  Many of us entered the world of teaching with expectations that quickly did not come to reality.  As Meeno Rami states, “it’s just a different intellectual challenge than many of us anticipate.”  I would certainly agree!

Year after year, teachers tend to do the same things.  Whatever worked last year will work again, right?  This isn’t always the case!  In our chapter we read about a high-school teacher who changed an assignment ever so slightly which resulted in forming an incredible classroom community.  As teachers, we often overlook the results of changing ourselves, or our student’s opportunities.  The reality is, however, WE hold the power to redirect the course of learning in any given second.  I feel that our classroom’s energy is directly correlated with how we present ourselves as teachers.  I know that on days I’m overwhelmed, tired, stressed, or anxious about my own personal life the vibe in my classroom is significantly different.  The same goes for classroom management.  The second I slack off on staying on top of behaviors, the behaviors tend to go towards the negative side.  Both the the level of energy and the intellectual decisions we make as teachers creates success (or failure) in our classroom.  Having a strong internal motivation is really the most important characteristic of teaching.  Chapter 3 spent time talking about how we can make our work more intellectually challenging by making it student-centered.  Although prepackaged curriculum has a lot of knowledge, it also takes away from real-world challenges.  Our students need to be given current issues, and asked to come to their own conclusions about the work.  As teachers, it is our job to keep our curriculum intellectually challenging.  Integrating our own ideas, projects, and inquiries allows learners to own their education.  Over time this sense of accomplishment, of collaboration, and of challenge instills a passion for education and creates life-long learners.

The big take away from chapter 3 is that as teachers, it is our job to continue to learn ourselves.  It is our job to take on new inquiries, new investigations, and to welcome change as a way to spark challenging and fresh activities.

Questions from Chapter:

  1.  After reading the section, “How Do We Maintain Our Motivation,” reflect on your own teaching practice in terms of classroom autonomy.  Was there ever a time you felt the loss of autonomy, yet continued to keep an open mind?
  2. Why doesn’t mastery mean perfection?  What is the difference between the two?
  3. What does it mean to have a student-centered classroom?  Give an example of how you could change a lesson from content-focused to student-centered.
  4. Why is prepackaged curriculum not as effective as teacher-written curriculum?  Is there a way to use prepackaged curriculum effectively?