Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mail Call Monday- International Dot Day

My favorite station that Alex Alkire thought up!
It is only 27 days until the 5th Annual International Dot Day!  Last year was my first year to participate in International Dot Day, but it won't be my last (and truthfully.. I think every day should be Dot Day!)

What is Dot Day?
International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009.
The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe. (The Dot
I have written several blogs over it here and here.  I even had the FOUNDER T.J. Shay write a guest post for me too!
Finally got to meet T.J.Shay and Becky Conners! Some of my amazing Fablevision Friends

Last year our school celebrated by having a Dot Day Celebration and invited students to make their mark at different stations (glow stick station, coffee filter station, thank you for helping us make our mark note station and of course a cookie station!).  Some of the staff even decorated our own Dot Day shirts to wear as part of the celebration.
Only some of the staff that celebrated last year from our school

But the reason that I love Dot Day the most is because of the reminder that no matter how big or small you are, you can make a mark in this world.  I am a believer (this is my motto) that every man, woman, and child that I come in contact with has some bigger greatness inside them... even if I can't see it.  It is so very important for us to BELIEVE in all those that we meet.    Last year my students created a video to celebrate the day.  

Want more information?  Check out the International Dot Day facebook page connect with others through twitter using #dotday and sign up at The Dot Club.  But most importantly.. Connect the Dots and encourage those around you to Make their Mark and see where it takes you!

Love a Reynolds' Wrap with Paul and Peter Reynolds
 Have you celebrated Dot Day before?  Do you want to get connected?  Check out these other resources:
I could not talk about Dot Day and also mention Angela Maiers with Choose2Matter
The Busy Librarian talks with Shannon Miller
Shannon Miller
Kelly Hines

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Tech Challenges and Goals for 2013-14

We are just days away from the first day of school, and I am so excited about my new adventure as the Instructional Technology Specialist on campus!  I do know a couple of things about myself:
1. I am a believer
2.I am extremely patient
3 I am EXTREMELY passionate about using technology (are you shocked)

Now, the believing and patience go hand in hand. I know that as long as I remind people that I believe in them and that I am patient that we accomplish a ton together.  The 3rd thing is a little harder... only because I get so excited about different things.

Something that I have been mulling around is doing tech challenges for the staff at my school. I realize that everyone is super busy, so I want to make them fun and meaningful.  Thank goodness for google and twitter to get the ideas flowing.  I connected with Cynthia Treichler who pointed me to Dave Tchozewski.  He had created some great challenges for his schools.  You can find them here  As I did a little more digging and  Amy Mayer posted a GREAT resource of Simple Sticker Staff Development Project

So, taking those all in mind I created my first challenge this summer.
Here are my ideas for this year:
Each month there will be 4 challenges. I realize that not everyone is going to be super excited about trying technology.. but hopefully these challenges will help staff think outside the box!

Challenge 1- Will be a non-negotiable.  This challenge will be whatever is required by the district or the school.  Everyone will complete this challenge
Challenge 2- Web 2.0 tool.  This will be over a web tool that would work in any classroom.  I don't want any of these tools to be add ons, but to be helpful to instruction
Challenge 3- Data based- This will vary month to month as what educators are working on 
Challenge 4- Science based

I plan to release each of these challenges at the first of the month allowing staff to work on them at their own pace and time (and this way I can enter classrooms and help them with these challenges too!)  Now, it is all fun and games for completing a challenge.. but there have to be some goodies involved too.. right?

I am going to do something like what Amy does with badges (still working on how I want to do it)  If the teacher completes challenge 1 they get the badge (what is in the circle on the challenge page.. but I think I might change this to squares so they look more like apps)  A staff member completes 2 challenges they get a little item.. complete 3.. bigger item.. and complete 4 challenges they get a goodie (have ideas for prizes.. PLEASE let me know!) and get their name in a drawing.   Still working out ideas for prizes and goodies!

You can find some of the challenges on a Pinterest board Nancy Mangum and I created for a Collaborative Project Session  that we presented on at Podstock (well.. I helped virtually).

With all that being said.. I have some big ideas next year.. but I know that I need to tone it down some too (not too much.. but I don't want to scare people right away :)
I am going to stick with the same blog themes I had last year- I will blog at least every Monday
Magnificent Monday- Favorite tool/app/website or anything at the time
Movie Monday- Something for the classroom or a tutorial
Mail Call Monday- take email questions or have guest bloggers
Make it Monday- share a how to one of my crafts

My Goals for this year-
1. Cut down on emails to staff (I am going to go for one a week.. of course I will respond as needed.. but will save all my excitement for tools to one a week!)
2. Be conscious of my time on the computer and other devices.  Yes, I want to be connected.. but do I need to be connected 24x7 (some days I think yes!)
3. My last goal would be to lose 15 more pounds!

What are your goals this year?  Do you use badges/challenges with your staff or students.. what type of goodies do you have. Do you have any words of wisdom for new Instructional Technology Specialist?