Saturday, March 21, 2015

Guest Reader Via Google Hangout

Today I was a guest reader via Google Hangout (GHO). I read to the Kindergarten classes at Wood View School in my school district. The teacher and I did a practice run with the help of our K-5 Technology Integration Specialists. I have done MANY Google Hangouts, but it was nice to practice before the kiddos were present. Also, I'm usually on the "teacher" side of the read aloud via GHO and I wanted to practice how to hold the book.   

The book I picked to read was called "One Duck Stuck" by Phyllis Root.  I was reading to all of the kindergarten classes at the school and I know it is hard to stay quiet for long with that may kiddos in the room. The book lends itself to lots of predicting, counting, and letting the kiddos help read parts because it is repetitive. The book is also from 2001, it is older and isn't read as much as some of the newer books at the library. It is still one of my favorites for my younger primary students.

I had a BLAST! The kids seemed enjoy the book, too. They really got into the parts that they helped read. 

I love that my district is GAFE (Google Apps for Education)! Using tools like GHO can really break down the walls and connect classrooms not only around our district, but around the world. I believe that this experience might give the teachers in that room the confidence to try a GHO with another school outside of the district, maybe even in another country! 

It was also a confidence booster for me as well because after the hangout I received emails from not only the teachers involved, but I also received them from the Principal and the Assistant Principal. 

VVSD Facebook

Friday, February 20, 2015

Keeps Getting Better

As I reflect on my day, "Keeps Getting Better" by Christina Aguilera keeps playing in my head. Today was better. Was it perfect? Nope, but it was BETTER. 

Today we did "Take Two" of our Google OnAir Hangout Broadcast of our morning announcements. We gave the kiddos who were part of our first ever broadcast a chance to actually get OnAir for the entire announcements. They were excited to give it a second chance!

This time I was able to use the account that uploads to my existing YouTube Channel. Yay! I installed the "Keep Awake" Chrome extension so my ChromeBook did not fall asleep during our broadcast. Yay! Our secretary held up cue cards so the kiddos could look straight ahead instead of looking down at note cards. Yay! A majority of the staff still had problems with "safety mode" in YouTube causing their inability to see the OnAir Hangout. Boo! However, 3 staff members reported having no trouble turning off "safety mode"and being able to watch LIVE! Yay! The entire broadcast uploaded to YouTube and the rest of the staff was able to view it later. Yay!

Change is hard. If we all lived within the limits of our comfort zone, nothing great would happen. Awesome happens outside of our comfort zone! Was I worried about another failed outcome? Yup, but I was EXCITED to get back up and TRY AGAIN! Little by little, each time we do this we will continue to have more and more success! My goal is to have a staff training on OnAir Hangouts so we can troubleshoot  and practice together in a not-so-rushed environment. 

I'm excited about the success I had today, and will continue stray far from my comfort zone to make AWESOME things happen for my students and staff!

Friday, February 13, 2015

It didn't go as planned...

(picture credit: Ana Wilson)

This morning I had high expectations! Our district has gone GAFE! Yay! I have been a fan of Google for a long time, and was ready to gain access for our students because of the endless possibilities. 

My principal approached me about trying a Google OnAir Hangout to broadcast our morning announcements. I have used OnAir Hangouts many times before when I've worked with authors "in" the library virtually, so this idea didn't scare me. I was really excited. I did a test run with the instructional techs for our district and it ran smoothly. I created the event and sent out the link for teachers to be able to watch it live in their classrooms. 

The kiddos and I headed to the office to do something that had never been done before. I'm not afraid to try new things, but get that "butterflies in the stomach" feeling before I do something for the first time. I had done an early morning training, so one of our tech's was still in the building to provide support if needed.  The kiddos had their notecards, and were ready to begin. 

I started the event and all seemed to be going along fine...until it wasn't. At about 1:33 in to the announcements, my Chrome Book went to sleep. I was so proud of the kiddos. They noticed something was wrong, but continued on like real troopers. I also didn't burst into tears because this morning didn't go quite as I had planned for it to go. When the event ended, staff reported that they couldn't view it live because they couldn't turn off "safe mode" in YouTube. 

Was it perfect? Nope. Would I do it again? Yup, we are scheduled to do it again next Friday. :) Between now and then we will come up with a plan to make it go a lot smoother. 

We live in a culture of error. It is OK to fail. In a way I’m glad it wasn’t PERFECT the first time through. We keep telling kids IT IS OK TO MAKE MISTAKES, but what are we really telling them if we never make a mistake in front of them? Kids need to see adults fall down and GET BACK UP. This will not be a “one an done” experience for Tibbott School. We are going to learn from what didn’t go right today, and make it better. Someday other schools in the district are going to be asking me “how did you do that?” and I will be able to provide a “how to” guide for them. A few years ago, I heard Kevin Honeycutt speak (such an inspirational speaker-- if you aren't following him on Twitter, you should be!!!). I have taken something he said to heart, “Don’t wait for perfect, PERFECT destroys more dreams than failure ever will.” I will continue to dream and TRY new things.
I loved that our college bound word of the day was COURAGE. I was courageous today, and I will be courageous next Friday when we try it again. There will be bumps on the road, but each time we head out on that highway, it will get a lot smoother.   
If you would like to see my F.A.I.L (first attempt in learning) using OnAir Hangouts to broadcast morning announcements, click on the link below: 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Today was one of those AWESOME days in the library. I was co-teaching with a fourth grade teacher. Today was the 4th time working together in this particular project. It started last week with an intro to research using the Super3. Yes, I know that Super3 is aimed at primary grades.  However, the teacher and I are new to this type of research model. We all have to start somewhere, so this is where I started. 

The kiddos came to the library last week with their group pre-determined by the teacher. We created a plan for their research and gave them a checklist of what they needed in their final project. 

They already knew which simple machine they were going to study. Instead of handing them the book they needed, the kiddos had to use Destiny Quest on our library iPads to locate the books themselves. 

During the next few work sessions, they researched their simple machine in books, on websites, through BrainPop videos. They learned to write a definition in their own words and come up with real life examples of their simple machine. Some of them even took pictures of their simple machine in the library with the iPads to be included in their final project. They learned about Creative Commons and copyright. 

Today we started putting all of their research into a ThingLink and they were rocking it! I was so impressed at how great they were doing! They were SO excited! Kiddos that finished the required number of tags continued to search out more images, videos, and sites to add to their project. It was amazing to watch them evaluate the videos... the teams were questioning if what they were looking at matched what they were researching. The students were using what they learned and applying it. 

The kiddos were so engaged that there were no behavior problems. There was no arguing about one partner hogging the computer. Nobody was off task. "Give me a break!" is what you are thinking, but I'm serious, the kiddos were working like well oiled machines, pun intended! Look at their faces in the pictures, pure joy...WHILE LEARNING! 

I really believe that knowing that their projects are out there in cyberspace ready for ANYONE in the world to look at increases work production! The classroom teacher agreed that work production with this group has improved since we started working together and producing works for a global audience. 

On Friday we will finish up this project by citing our book sources with a tag with a bibliography. They will use to create the citations. The kiddos will be given their rubric to self-evaluate before the teacher does a final evaluation of their work. 

I don't have the ideal situation for co-teaching. I'm on a fixed schedule. To work with classes on projects  I sometimes give up my "duty free lunch" in order to work with their block schedule. On days like that I pack easy to munch on snacks so I don't starve. I don't mind and happily do it over and over because of experiences like this! I make the best of the situation I have and it is great!