Friday, September 27, 2013

Rebel U 2013: Guest Post

This a post in a series about Rebel U 2013.

As part of the Rebel U 2013 evaluation, we asked participants if they were willing to be a guest blogger on our Godfrey-Lee Technology & Media blog.  We were not only interested in hearing (and sharing) first hand accounts from attendees and presenters, but also introducing some teachers to collaborating in an online environment and being a part of an online professional learning community.

Today's guest post is written by Lee Middle School English Language Arts teacher, Alissa Huggins.  You can find Alissa online here.


This year, I presented at two Rebel U sessions and was able to attend two. I chose Libbie and Erica's "Tech Tools for ELLs" because I attended the SIOP training earlier in the summer and I want to be able to focus my instruction for this huge population in LMS. Libbie and Erica have an abundance of tools, tricks, and information for teaching these students. I knew that this would be a valuable session that I couldn't miss.
So what did I learn? They introduced us to a wide variety of glossaries and dictionaries that will help students learn and build their vocabularies. These resources include both verbal and visual tools. I can't wait to start using them with my students. What's awesome about the tools they share is that all students benefit from them, not just ELLs.
Some of the other tools that they shared with us are awesome visual organizers and presentation resources. Some of the tools also allow students to narrate a video or presentation without having to speak in front of the class. I think this is a great way to get students speaking without the fear of messing up in front of their classmates.
I'm looking forward to post-SIOP trainings this year, and incorporating these tools and strategies into my daily instruction.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rebel U 2013: Your Questions Answered!

This a post in a series about Rebel U 2013.

At the end of the day at Rebel U, we ask each teacher to complete an evaluation form.  We cannot stress enough the importance of this evaluation and need each attendee to complete the form.  Despite what people may think, we take the time to go through and read each and every response.  We listen to your concerns and try to address any issues or questions you may have as we plan technology professional development for the year and start planning for future Rebel U days.

Below are some of your questions or concerns that were voiced on the evaluation this year.  We wanted to take a moment to share some words on these to keep lines of communication open.

I would love for tech people to do some sessions.
Our Tech & Media Team each presents a session. We have learned from past Rebel U's that by presenting more than one session, we are over-extending ourselves. In order to effectively run a full-day, district-wide professional development, supply lunch, and provide tech support, it takes many hands. To see what members of our Tech & Media Staff presented this year, check out our sessions below.

It was good, but we need more presenters.

We open a call for presenters months in advance of Rebel U. We extend invitations to teachers, Kent ISD professionals, and other educational technology professionals. As Rebel U takes place at the beginning of the year, it is often difficult to bring in outside presenters as many interested presenters are tied up with their own professional development in different districts. We rely heavily on our own teaching staff to share what they are doing. If you know of someone who is doing something awesome with technology, please encourage them to be a presenter for Rebel U!

Keep sessions focused, it doesn't help to have a bunch of resources with no time to explore.
Each session is planned by the presenter. The Tech & Media Team does not require a particular presentation format. We feel that there is so much that teachers can take away from watching their peers present and seeing different teaching techniques and methods. Much like students, teachers also have their preferred learning styles. Even though a presenter doesn't present the material in a way that meets your preferred learning style, it equips you with a new tool for your teaching tool belt that you might be able to use in the future with a student. We encourage everyone to present because we know everyone has a different teaching style and can bring something new to the table!

You called the afternoon project a collaboration project, but I didn't understand how it was collaborative when I was in a room with people that were not part of my grade level or content area. I felt it was an individual project that I had to complete and it was difficult because I did not have my standards with me.
As described at the movie reveal, the purpose of the collaboration block was for everyone to have a common topic that is relevant to our district and classroom and determine a way to integrate that topic into your curriculum. The project was meant to be a little challenging and make you think outside of the box and try out a new tool, resource, or method that you learned during the day. We randomly assigned people to rooms so that you would not be with others in your grade level or content area so that you could talk to the people in your room and get a different perspective and feedback than your usual team (an example of cooperative learning). We also asked each teacher to complete a slide with their ideas so that you could go back to your grade level or team and discuss several different ways of implementing something and then potentially create something that would be feasible to do with your students. We knew people would not be bringing their standards with them, but also understand that they are all online, so that anyone could access them. We also understand that this was something new and different than past professional developments, but we like to stay on top of current trends and help model and bring ideas and concepts to you in a way that might be useful in your professional practice.

Tech problems at the end of the day were the only down point of the day. 
(This comment is in regards to too many people trying to access and edit one Google Presentation at the same time.)
Although encountering technical difficulties is never ideal (especially for our team on this big day!), sometimes it is almost a blessing in disguise. When something unexpected happens, it teaches us to think on our feet and react quickly. When you taking steps forward to integrate technology into your classroom, you can never observe others too much. Even though there were technical difficulties, it was great to see how others came up with their own solutions without being given direction or giving up on the project (emailing information, creating own Google Doc and sharing it, working off someone else's computer who had access to edit, etc.). This problem solving and communication demonstrated that we have amazing teachers who are proactive and willing to create solutions to problems.

I did like the fact that there was training in other things rather than technology only.
Such a compliment to receive! Our team strives to not only make technology integration meaningful and relevant, but help teachers understand that it is nothing more than a tool that can enhance learning and instruction. If you attended a session where you did not feel it was about technology, hats off to the presenter for making it a seamless integration where the technology utilized complemented the curriculum!

It would be nice to have my own iPad and laptop to be more fluent with the things you would like me to learn.
The district tries to provide all teachers with a device. Although this district-provided device may not be uniform across the district, it can be a powerful tool in your learning environment. We understand that your device may not be the one that you wish it would be, but one of the things we pride ourselves on with Rebel U is the fact that it is self-directed learning and everyone can use the device that works best for them. You get to pick sessions that are interesting or relevant to you, not what the district feels you should have or should learn. Mobile devices offer portability and some different capabilities, but many of the same ideas or concepts can be implemented on a desktop as well, sometimes just a little bit differently or with a different resource.

Please feel free to ask your questions about Rebel U! We are continually evaluation the program so that our professional development is meaningful and relevant.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Back to School

I recently sent out a survey to our teachers asking them how they have implemented technology into their classrooms and professional practice in the first two weeks of school.  I was curious as to what many teachers were doing in their classrooms, as much of the first month of school our Tech Team is spread a little thin trying to make sure everyone is situated with what they need in their classrooms and everything is working properly.

Some of the implementations and resources that were shared with me are listed below.

  • Fruitnotes; Online syllabus/class webpage
  • Twitter
  • I used flip cams for students to create videos after doing a "MacQuest" to get to know their Macbooks. The videos were shown to the class as a teaching tool for them.
  • This year I created an opening day powerpoint including images to help my students learn my PBIS expectations. I also included procedures for fire, tornado, and code red drills. It was very helpful for the visual learners and it was a very user-friendly way of introducing expectations to every class so that I did not forget anything important.
  • Google Docs and additions to my Google Site
  • Moodle; Google Docs; I will be trying to record my lessons and posting them on my youtube channel.
  • Google Earth tours.
  • Using the IPEVO to project assignments or explain activities. You tube videos for counting, and PBIS videos on the shared drive.
  • We've been using more Kagan Techniques in my classroom.
  • Keeping documents online for easy organization and access. And, creating a google form.
  • Used internet websites.
  • I took their pictures on the first day of school and put them on the screen for them to get to know each other, then printed them off to use for centers and for work that will be put up for parents to see.
  • Trying to integrate Discovery Ed Techbook.
  • Had students do some exploring of different websites and apps and how we could use the, to learn English. Also, I usually start out with a unit to help Newcomers become familiar with the school and incorporate technology as we go. I will still do this, but this year I started with some basic technology instruction such as basics of an iPad and logging in to RebelNet. Students with experience in these areas were tutors for Newer students.
  • Adding the Apple airplay capability to classroom instruction
  • Attempting to hook up more web links on our school page.
  • We're using ClassDojo to track behavior and participation. Comments from ClassDojo data will be added to report cards at the end of the tri.
  • I have completely changed the way that I instruct the marching band, while using technology. The use of the iPad has changed my life. I am still working on integrating the audio part, but the growth is happening.
  • I began storing my lesson plans, links, and documents in Dropbox to help me with organization. By putting everything relating to my units and lessons in organized folders in Dropbox, I can easily bring up a document or link relating to the unit. I also started using DocScan on my phone to take a picture of documents I am using so I can easily store them in Dropbox to add to my lesson plan. This also came in handy one day when Edmodo was down. I was able to quickly pull up the scanned document in Dropbox and email it to the students. I didn't learn about either of these directly in a Rebel U session, but after MEAP, I do plan on having students create videos and use the editing tools in YouTube that I learned about from Ron.
  • I'm trying to keep all my calendar items online.
  • Because this is the first year that I have had technology to use in my special education classroom I have been able to use a lot of different tech based resources that I have never been able to use before. Having resources is absolutely wonderful and I think my special education students will really benefit from having access to them.
  • I have used a Prezi! I have thought long and hard about how to use remind101

If you are interested in viewing some of the data about those that replied to my survey, please click here.

The responses to one question in particular I found to be interesting. On the Wednesday before school began (which was on the following Tuesday), our Technology & Media Team put on Rebel U for technology professional development for teachers. When asked if what they had done in the first two weeks of school was something that they had learned about at Rebel U, there was a decent number of teachers who responded "yes" to the question. This was very encouraging to me to see that some teachers were so excited about something new that they learned, that in less than a week, they found a way to try it in their own classroom.
So, how did your school year begin?  Were you able to use technology in a new way?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Learning Design Web Resources

Come visit me over at my blog to check out some resources that can be used as part of a universal lesson design model!

Summarizer Idea: Memes

Come visit me over at my blog to check out how memes can be used for summarizers!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Rebel U 2013: Guest Post

This a post in a series about Rebel U 2013.

As part of the Rebel U 2013 evaluation, we asked participants if they were willing to be a guest blogger on our Godfrey-Lee Technology & Media blog.  We were not only interested in hearing (and sharing) first hand accounts from attendees and presenters, but also introducing some teachers to collaborating in an online environment and being a part of an online professional learning community.

Today's guest post is written by Godfrey Elementary Special Education teacher, Doug Boone.  You can find Doug online here.


Rebel U is an opportunity to see what my peers are doing with technology to promote education. It is a day long event with a wide variety of sectionals. I am always amazed at the capabilities and enthusiasm these people have to show how technology can add more tools for educators to work with. It is always fun and makes me think you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Rebel U 2013: Guest Post

This a post in a series about Rebel U 2013.

As part of the Rebel U 2013 evaluation, we asked participants if they were willing to be a guest blogger on our Godfrey-Lee Technology & Media blog.  We were not only interested in hearing (and sharing) first hand accounts from attendees and presenters, but also introducing some teachers to collaborating in an online environment and being a part of an online professional learning community.

Today's guest post is written by High School ELL teacher, Brenda Caballero.  You can find Brenda online here.


I am very grateful that our district provides us with quality technology PD opportunities and resources.  I learn so much from my colleagues that have experience in technology topics that are relevant to our district.  I also had a great experience presenting iPad tricks to fellow staff.  They were very enthusiastic about helpful hints that we talked about which was very rewarding to me.  We also had an opportunity to explore and learn new things together based on their questions.


Brenda was also a presenter at Rebel U this year, presenting on iPad Tricks for the Low Intermediate   If you would like more information about the session she led, please check out her presenter page here.

Rebel U 2013: Teacher Learning & Experiences

This a post in a series about Rebel U 2013.

As part of the Rebel U 2013 evaluation, participants were asked to complete the following sentence, "If you were at Rebel U 2012, you would have learned, witnessed, or experienced..." (similar to the question Scott McLeod posed on his blog, Dangerously Irrelevant). We received many responses that really spoke to the learning experience that teachers encountered during the day.  We had also asked our teachers this question in previous years (2011 and 2012) and it evoked such great responses that we had to ask again this year!

So... if you had attended Godfrey-Lee Public Schools' Rebel U 2013, you would have learned, witnessed, or experienced... 
  1. A dynamic staff sharing knowledge.
  2. Multiple ways of improving classroom instruction.
  3. Current resources relevant to the teaching profession and important for 21st century learning.
  4. I learned that I have a pretty basic understanding of technology but there is so much more that it can be used for to increase instruction and learning.
  5. All the resources available to bring real life lessons into the classroom and be able to share with colleagues at the "click of a button."
  6. Amazing teachers teaching teachers about the tools they use daily in their classrooms to ensure that students are LEARNING.
  7. Educators working together from many buildings and grade levels towards a common goal: learning and becoming the best we can be for the benefit for our students.
  8. Teachers learning how to become better teachers from each other.
  9. How to implement technology into your classroom in a meaningful and purposeful way.
  10. How to think of a variety of tech tools to enhance what I already do. More options/tools for the toolbox.
  11. Teachers sharing ideas and learning new ways to be more effective.
  12. Real, practical ways to use technology to improve student learning.
  13. Laughter, learning, how to use the iPad.
  14. A lot of great tools to make our job easier.
  15. Ways to use technology to enhance services to teachers, students and families.
  16. Teachers teaching teachers!
  17. Staff members using devices to gain a deeper understanding of technology.
  18. I learned how to allow technology to make my life as a teacher more enjoyable.
  19. Renewed friendship and collaboration for student success.
  20. Excellent technology strategies to incorporate in daily lessons.
  21. Amazing access to tools found and used by our amazing staff!
  22. A host of different ideas and resources available to teachers and student support services that can be implemented in very practical, efficient, and creative ways!
  23. How to use technology to better engage students.
  24. Multiple ways teachers can use technology to enhance their lessons and engage their students.
  25. Teachers finding and sharing websites and others being excited about it.
  26. Awesome MEME's, Tech talk galore, Townsend "acting" and Lambert @ the grill.
  27. Teachers learning (which is the true sign of great teachers!)
  28. Some amazing ideas that we are implementing here!!!!
  29. Some fabulous presenters!
  30. Technology can be used in a multitude of ways.
  31. I learned that opening yourself up to learning is fun!
  32. Different strategies to incorparate cooperative learning in the classroom.
  33. Collaboration between teachers of all grade levels
  34. The power of collective knowledge in our district that far exceeds my own and invigorates me with the possibilities.
  35. Great teachers and presenters sharing knowledge! Passion for education and student success!
  36. New pathways to creating experiences with technology.
  37. Creativity, professionalism, innovation, and talent.
  38. Awesome sessions about creating movies and wonderful time to collaborate with others.
  39. That technology needs to be embraced in the classroom and we all need to get on board!!!
  40. Many new ways to integrate technology into your classroom for engagement, instruction, reflection and assessment.
  41. Educators sharing amazing ideas and experiences with other educators.
  42. Teachers leading the way toward new ways to meet student need and engage teacher and student interest in learning.

Rebel U 2013: Recap

This a post in a series about Rebel U 2013.

This year was our fourth year for Rebel U.  As our district continues to grow and add different technology devices and resources, it is vital that we provide our teachers with relevant professional development that supports the use of technology in their classroom.  Each year, we ask teachers to complete an evaluation at the end of Rebel U.  We use the information gathered from this evaluation to improve weaknesses, continue the areas that were deemed important or positive, and make each event entertaining and filled with relevant learning.

Our theme for this year was "A Day with the Stars".  There are many great things that are happening in our small district, and this year we wanted to celebrate the accomplishments, amazing teachers, and the learning and instruction that takes place everyday.  We understand that each classroom, grade level, subject area, and school look different in our district and as the supporting Technology & Media Department, we try to support the needs of teachers and students to the best of our abilities.  Each teacher (and student) brings a different knowledge base and comfort level when it comes to using and implementing technology and what may work for one classroom, may not be as successful in the classroom across the hall.  Regardless of how it is used, at some point, we had to learn how to use different kinds of technologies.  We wanted to focus on celebrating the successes of technology implementation and be able to share those ideas, resources, and methods with each other.  We heard many comments from teachers about things they learned throughout the day that they couldn't wait to start using in their classroom!

Some of the highlights from this year:

  • Schedule: We had a great line up of teacher presenters, administrators, Kent ISD professionals, and GLPS Tech & Media Team members.  To view the agenda as well as session descriptions and presenter handouts, please click here.
  • Photo Booth: Back by popular demand, we brought back the photo booth!  We had many teachers stop by during their lunch to have a little fun and a brain break before heading back to their afternoon sessions.  To see pictures from the photo booth, please click here.
  • Data: This year we restructured our program a little as well as our evaluation so that it fit with our learning design model.  We were able to capture some great data about the sessions being presented, as well as data about the attendee's opinions of their sessions and the overall day.
  • Collaborative ProjectAs a way for teachers to take what they have learned during the day, the GLPS Tech & Media Team designed a project where all teachers in the district could design a lesson around a central topic - bullying.  The purpose of this project was not only for teachers to have set work time on a professional development day, but to delve further into some of the tools and ideas they learned, collaborate with other teachers in the district, and create an idea or project that they could walk away with to use in their classroom.
    The project centered around a video that was designed and produced by the GLPS Tech & Media Team.  In the video, viewers were posed with the question of, "What are the colors of a bully?" in an attempt to find a cure or remedy for bullying.  With their classrooms, students, and curriculum in mind, teachers were challenged to propose a solution to bullying that also integrates with their curriculum.  To view the video that was made, please click here.  To view more about the project, please check out our project page here.
  • Twitter: We had many of our teachers using Twitter throughout the day and sharing what they were learning.  To see what our teachers were tweeting about, please click here.
  • Swag Bags: We had some great items donated that we were able give away throughout the day to engage our teachers in their learning experiences throughout the day.
  • More Pictures:  We had a lot of great things going on throughout the day!  To see more pictures from our day, please click here.
  • What did our teachers think of Rebel U?

If you wish to keep up with our on-going effort to provide relevant and meaningful professional development for our teachers, please "Like" our Facebook page!


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