Sunday, July 29, 2012

Magnificent Monday!- Popplet

I set up a challenge for myself of pretty much doing some type of blogging EVERY Monday!  If I can blog more than that.. then that is fantastic, but I knew I wanted to be better and share more.

So, for my FIRST Monday I wanted to share a website that I found out about at DENSI2012. Karen Ogen shared a TON of fun resources in her session Media Makes Learning Fun, but my brain is already spinning from all of the ideas that I have to use this in my classroom next year.  You can read Karen's blog about it here

So, what is my first Magnificent Monday going to be about? Popplet!
Popplet is like an online bulletin board where you can add words, videos, pictures, and collaborators.  I just finished making my first one by sharing my summer travels.  I can easily embed it (see below), print it, or save it as a pdf or jpeg.

For my students I am always looking for a way that I can assess their learning and skills.  I am also always looking for ways to differentiate my instruction and expectations depending on their level and learning.

Some ideas I already have:
-Monthly Units- have each student add something to a Popplet about what they learned that month.  This could be drawing a picture, taking a picture, video, or written words.  We use the Unique Curriculum, so this would be a great end of month assessment piece.
-At the first of the year I am thinking about doing this with different places in the school. Have students import pictures and then write a sentence about each place in the school.
-A great all about me and have the student picture in the middle and then describing words on the outside.
-Do the alphabet (letter a week) and students help create study guides- for older students spelling words.
My list could go on!

How could you use Popplet in your classroom?  What websites/apps are you excited about using next year?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Brain Overload

This morning finished up our last keynote for #DENSI2012.  I have been on the road since last Tuesday.. and I have to admit I am ready to be home.  I am kind of excited, however, that I have 5 more hours until my first leg of the trip gets started.  This is giving me a chance to reflect on the past 2 weeks and also share my plans for next year.

This summer, as I have mentioned in several previous posts, have been one with ups and downs.  Many more ups than downs.  I have been very blessed (a word I don't use often enough) to attend many different conferences and meet a ton of new people!  I went into this summer thinking that I wanted to get out of the classroom, but that was not meant to be.  So, I really don't know where my path will lead this year other than to a rocking classroom! As my friends have all said.. everything happens for a reason.  So, although I am not going to move up to administrative position.. my goal this year is to SHARE even more with my readers!

So, here if you follow my blog, here is what you can look forward too:
I am going to work on doing a daily 6 word memoir.  I will be posting these on twitter (and possibly my youtube page) so be watching!

Each Monday of the month is going to have a different theme! This will start next Monday!
The first Monday of every month I will be Magnificent Monday.  I will be posting a review of my favorite app or website or both.
The second Monday of the every month will be Movie Monday. I will create a movie and share about something that I am doing in my classroom.  This could be lesson plan ideas to setting up a classroom.
The third Monday will be Make It Monday.  This will be a day where I share something that I have made for my classroom or home.
The fourth Monday will be Mail Call Monday.  Do you have a question that I might be able to answer? Do you have a question that you would like to add to the blog? Email me at

One Tuesday a month I will have a tutorial Tuesday.  For that Tuesday I will create an online tutorial on computer information.

Every Wednesday will be a wordless Wednesday.

Some of my other personal goals for this next year are:
Cook at least one meal a week.  I know that sounds super crazy, but I am married to a chef.. so I haven't cooked in 8 years.  I want to change that.
I also want to work on scrapbooking one page a month.  I have several ideas for this, so be watching for updates.

What are your goals for this year?  What do you want to accomplish?  Be watching next Monday for me to review a website that I found out about this last week at DENSI!

Check out Flickr and search DENSI2012, podstockphotowalk, and podstock12 to see some of the awesome pictures from this summer!  Sure did enjoy spending the last 2 weeks with Elaine Plybon.  I am very lucky in the friends that I surround myself with... and I know that I am going to reevaluating where some of my professional and personal friends lie within this next year.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Podstock 2012

This year I officially dubbed myself the Podstock Stalker.  There is no way to really describe Podstock other than the most AMAZING conference you could ever attend.  Podstock is that conference where you walk in, and you are automatically family.  The 6 hour drive that I have made every year for the past 4 years is well worth it to be home.  To be among other educators that are making the change.  The ones that don't mind trying new things, thinking outside the box, the grassroots of education change.

This year the theme was the 80's.  So my friend Elaine Plybon and I headed to goodwill to try to find a few outfits. It is SO much fun to dress up for the theme. Do you have to dress up, no... but if you have a chance.. why not?

There were a couple of pre-conference options this year for people to attend.  I was lucky enough to attend Launch Me.  Kevin Honeycutt created Launch Me to help teachers/presenters/and other professionals to grow presentation skills, market them to move toward local, national or global audience and to develop the capacity to really connect with audiences. I am still percolating on all that I learned.  I did, however, change my presentation style up a bit.. and really watched other presentations in a different light.   This year I had 2 presentations.  One for BrainPOP (one of my favorite websites ever!)  The other one was Stump The Presenter with Elaine!
Photo taken by Nedra Isenberg

I always learn so much through this conference, but the keynote and the last session that I watched were so powerful.  Brad Flickinger was the keynote this year.  He talked about creating passion in students.  He also said that to create the passion in students there needs to be a coach available.  A student can be passionate about swimming and be willing to get to the pool to practice early in the morning or late in the evening, but there is always a coach there to make sure it happens.  A coach does not just have to be for sports.  A coach  can be that teacher that pushes and inspires students to try new things.  A coach can be the parent that supports and stands behind the student when trying new things.  A coach could be anyone.  What a great way to explain what teachers can be.  Are you an educator that ignites passion in students or others?  I hope that I am.  The keynote was amazing, and it came full circle when I attended my last session of Podstock. It was so hard to choose the last session, but I knew that I wanted to learn more about the Open World Project.  I had been following this project for almost a year.  Click on the link to find out all of the information about it.  There were several reasons that my Podstock ended on such a powerful note.  I had started the event with Brad talking about how he found his passion again because he was able to coach students to find theirs... and I ended it with 2 19 year olds talking about their idea and passion to provide a school, internet and connections in a school in Nepal.   What a full circle this ending session gave.  In the audience at the beginning of the conference I saw participants eager to learn. In the Open World Project I saw the audience realizing what our passion can do for students.

This has been a summer of ups and downs.  I loved hearing about teachers who were finding their joy in teaching and then seeing  how that could help students find their own passion was pretty awe inspiring.  I have been working on this blog for almost 3 days now.  I learned SO much more at Podstock.  This year we had a Rocking gift exchange with even more people and more stories! We also had an AWESOME photowalk that Nedra Isenberg helped give some expert photo advice on.

I am just so thankful for all of the ESSDACK crew and all of my Podstock family for all the happiness and joy that these 2 days of sessions bring me.


I am currently filling my brain with even more goodies here at DENSI2012!  Hopefully I will have a short blog up tomorrow :)  You can find a ton of information on my twitter feed of all that I am learning! @akbusybee

What conferences have you gone to this summer?  How do you make your heart happy and get ready for an upcoming school year?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Countdown to #Podstock and #DENSI2012

This morning is like Christmas! I woke up before my alarm clock went off because I am SO excited about heading to #podstock and #DENSI in just a few hours!

I have been super lucky to have been able to travel so much this last year, but these 2 conferences are ones that I have been looking forward to the most!  So, soon @eplybon will be picking me up so we can start the first leg of our road trip.

Are you going to #Podstock?  If you are.. you should think about joining the #PodstockPhotoWalk that @gingerlewman, @Nedra_I , and I are working on.  If you are joining you should grab this picture for your blog.  Find out more information HERE

Want to follow along in our adventures? Here is how you can do it :)
Follow me on plurk @ilovechefbill
Follow me on twitter @akbusybee
Follow this blog
Follow my Zapd blog for quick updates

With that being said... @eplybon (who you should follow too.. she ROCKS!) will be here in just a few hours.. and I still need to finish packing!

Monday, July 16, 2012

ISTE 2012- Final Thoughts

Okay, so I started writing this blog over a week ago.. and had SO many things go on (and tomorrow I leave for Podstock and DENSI) So, I have decided that this blog was going to be way to long... so I am just going to put in links.  Want to know more, let me know what questions you have!

ISTE- International Society for Technology in Education hosts a conference every year, and this year I had a chance to attend.  I was able to go because I was helping with the Great Thinkers hosted by Follett on Tuesday evening.

I arrived on Sunday afternoon and found myself in Blogger's Cafe for the keynote.  It was so nice to see some of my other friends. Monday I chose to find some of my favorite booths in the exhibit hall.  I didn't have to long because Lori and I had signed up for ISTE Unplugged at 10:30am!
Favorite Booths:
BrainPOP- did you know there is a new BrainPOPJr. app!
ESSDACK- I LOVED their booth! I had a chance to bling my badge.

I am usually all about the free tshirts, but I knew that my luggage was already heavy... so I actually walked away with NO t-shirts or other freebies!

After the quick trips to the booths I headed to meet my awesome partner in crime to get ready for ISTE Unplugged!  We did a short little presentation over digital storytelling in the multi-ability classroom.  You can find the video here  What a cool way to actually present at ISTE, but in a much more laid back atmosphere.

Have to be honest, do not remember much more of Monday afternoon... gotta love having allergic reactions!  Apparently a very common oil that is used in San Diego is soy oil.  Migraines are what I get for not asking! I do remember that I made my way to one session for Adobe Youth Voices  Although it was a vendor.. and they were promoting a product.. I did get some good ideas for editing, questioning, and creating videos.

Monday evening was FANTASTIC!  I had signed up for several events that evening.. migraine was finally gone.
First event: Start Up Party for Class Dojo, Educreations, Remind 101, and KidBlogs
I am a HUGE nerd and LOVE meeting people that think of these super cool things!  It was So awesome to meet the creators and minds behind these awesome websites.  It was even more fun to actually sit down and talk to them.
Class Dojo- I had already been using this in my classroom to work on appropriate learning behaviors.
"Class Dojo is a classroom tool that helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily.  It also captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators.  Better learning behaviors, smoother lessons and hassle-free data- and it's free!" From Class Dojo Website
I love it because it does keep track of data, but it also is a great way to help students self motivate by having them watch the point status.
Educreations-Create and share great video lessons with your iPad or browser.
Remind101- Super excited about using this!  A safe way for teachers to text message students and stay in touch with parents. FREE!
Kidblog- This is a website that I have shared with other teachers, but haven't had a chance to use myself.  Excited about checking it out even more. Kidblog is designed for elementary and middle school teachers who want to provide each student with an individual blog.

Much like other ISTE goers, there were some awesome sessions, I really enjoyed the Poster Sessions and CONNECTING!

Tuesday was So cool! It gave me a chance to be behind the scenes on helping with an event. What an AWESOME opportunity!  Rebecca did an amazing job of getting some really cool panelists.  What was even better was that it was not just from the education world, so it was a different take.  I LOVED it!  The panelists that she found do some amazing things!

Leslie Fishlock, CEO and Founder, Geek Girl Corporation- Geekgirlcamp
Chance Roth, CEO/Chief Architect at Cloud Canvas
Joel Elad, Author LinkedIn for Dummies and Facebook Advertising for Dummies, So Cal Comic Con
Chris Corriveau, CTO of StockTwits
Rick Calvert, CEM, CEO and Co-Founder of Blogworld and New Media Expo

Of course a visit to San Diego would not be complete without having some adventures!  We did make it to the beach and we had the BEST cab driver!  Overall ISTE was an AMAZING experience! Thanks for all of the great friends that I met, the new things I learned, and the adventures that I was able to have!

Although ISTE was amazing, it was also tough.  I had applied for a job that would move me out of the classroom, and I didn't get it (and truthfully.. still don't understand the interview process and how people are chosen).  I was crushed!  After being down.. I know that this just means that next year is going to be a different kind of adventure in my classroom!  I look forward to it and to all the different things I am going to be able to share!  Tomorrow I leave for Podstock and DENSI! Follow me on twitter @akbusybee for all of the updates on the road!