Friday, February 24, 2017

Booksnaps

I heard about booksnaps on twitter, introduced by Tara Martin and wanted to try them out.  This is a strategy where you take a photo of the portion of the text that you want to annotate and then add graphics and write some text to explain that piece of the text.   This could be done as a way to analyze primary documents in history class as well.  Vocabsnaps is another take on it this strategy.

The problem was i did not want to encourage the use of snap SnapChat with my middle schoolers and not everyone is using SeeSaw so I needed a more universal approach.  Adobe Spark seemed promising, but the user policy states you need to be 13 to create an account.    I read suggestions that Google Draw could be a possibility and we are a GAFE district so that seemed to be a good solution.  I could not find examples or directions with using Google Draw, so I decided to make some.



I am introducing this to teachers next week and am hopeful that I will be seeing Booksnaps  and vocabsnaps on campus soon.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A place to reflect and share

My word of the year is "intentional," and adjective that means to do something on purpose or done on deliberately.   I am trying to do my job with intention, not to just let things happen, but to plan and have a purpose for what I am doing and how I am doing it.   As part of this plan I have implemented the use of a bullet journal to keep me focused on what needs to happen and what I would like to happen each day.  This is working well and I may share my system in a future post.  Another thing I am doing is finishing the educational books I started reading earlier this school year.   Kid's Deserve It and Innovator's Mindset are the two that I was half way through and had stalled out due to lack of time.  I have since finished the first book and two-thirds of the way though the other. Both of these books have helped me refocus on what is most important about my job, the students!   
Sunset at Newport, RI - photo Credit Dale Young

Being an Instructional Technology Specialist, my students include both the kids in the school and the teachers that I work with.  The teachers are the ones that I have been called upon to teach and facilitate growth in the area of technology integration. I have longed struggled with how do I do a good job working with the students and the teachers and have come to the conclusion multiple times, I cannot do both well.     One or the other usually suffers.  Lately I feel like the teachers are suffering the most and I need to refocus my attention on them.  I have a plan in place to address teachers these last 4 months of the school year and I am looking forward to working through that plan and seeing the results.

Another thing those books have made me think about is the power of reflection, something I do not take enough time to do.  I have started this blog with the intention (see - there is my word again) of reflecting on systems I put in place at school, technology I share, and my thoughts as I work through how to serve the needs of the students and the teachers on my campus.  I also hope to connect with a few folks along the way to challenge my thinking and keep me growing.