Tag Archive for staff memo blog

Using Educreations for Screencasting

I’ve previously written about using the Educreations app in the classroom, but now the app got even better! I’d like to say to say that I had a part in it, but it’s only because I tweeted to @Educreations about a feature that I hoped would improve and they responded quickly that the change update would come soon (wish I saved that tweet for this post!)

Previously if you made a mistake in recording your voice, if you needed to start over, it also meant your screen would start over.  The update now allows you to clear the screen or clear the audio recording which makes the process easier if you make any mistakes.

In effort to keep supporting my teachers with our 1:1 iPad implementation, I’ve added an “iPad Tip of the Week” to my Friday Focus post for staff.  So far, I’m just starting out with very basic tips. Last week was how to add bookmarks to your homescreen and how to create folders. This week I wanted to share how to change the default email signature so it no longer says “sent from my iPad.” To also show my use of the iPad, I used Educreations to create a quick screencast to show teachers how to change their email signature and to show that I am also using an app that they can use with their students. The beauty of this? It took me less than 5 minutes to create! Thank you Educreations!

I’m Not a Tech Expert -from the Monday Musings Post

Just sharing with you this week’s “Monday Musings” post to my staff from my memo blog:



Image from Venosdale

I’ve always felt pretty tech savvy…I love learning about what new web 2.0 tools or iPad apps are out and I catch on pretty quickly.  I feel like that all changed when I got my new laptop a few weeks ago…it was only 5 minutes after Brad brought me my new device that I called his office to ask “how do I scroll?” Yes, you heard that right, I couldn’t even scroll down on a webpage.  Go ahead and laugh (I know I did).  You were all witness to my lack of skills with this MacBook Pro in our first staff meeting when I couldn’t get anything to work right.  After a couple of weeks with it now, I am getting used to it, but still turning to google, youtube or “phone a friend” almost daily to learn how to do things that are different than on a PC.  I am also learning really neat features that I could never do before.

Why do I share this with you? Because I know that, for some of you, going 1:1 with iPads might feel the same way.  I know that it’s hard to say “don’t worry,” but I do encourage you to not be afraid of them and model your learning for your students.  As teachers, we don’t have to be the experts of everything that gets imparted to our students.  When we show students that we don’t always know how to do something, but learn until we figure it out, we are modeling for them exactly what lifelong skill we want them to have.
I know I’ve said this in a previous Monday Musings post, but want to share it again:
We do not have to be experts at the tools…we have to be experts at learning and show students what it is like in real life to not know the answer or not know how to do something. To be successful in life you need to know how to find it out. Or as Will Richardson says we have to be able to “learn, unlearn and relearn.”
Image from Venosdale

Know you’re in the good old days…

Here is cross-post of my final Monday Musings post from my staff blog for the school year…inspired by one of my favorite t.v. shows…

This year was the final season for one of my favorite t.v. shows, The Office. I’m sure you can all relate to having one (or more) shows that you have come to love, have watched every week for years and then feel a great sadness when it comes to a close.  You’ve grown to know each of the unique characters as if they were actually a part of your life and can even make connections to events in real life.  It sounds silly…I know, it’s just a t.v. show.

 If you are not familiar with The Office, the character Andy Bernard in the image above had left the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company to pursue other ambitions and returned for the last episode as the crew said their farewells.  When he came back to all of his colleagues and friends he realized how good he had it before he left and said, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you leave them.”

As I watched this final episode, I couldn’t help but think of our Dodgeland Family.   Just as any year, we’ve taken on a lot this year. There were times where we may have felt stressed, overwhelmed, or thought that the grass might be greener somewhere else, but as I’ve shared before, “the grass is greener where you water it.”

 The work that we do at Dodgeland every day makes it a truly amazing place for our students to learn and grow each day. It is a school that I am proud to be a part of and to send my own children to. I want to thank each of you for the hard work you have put in every day to help each of your students achieve their greatest potential this year. Use this last week together to enjoy your students and colleagues or as Andy Bernard says, “Know you’re in the good old days before you leave them”

Encouraging a growth mindset

Here’s a cross-post from my staff memo blog…

Last school year I learned a great deal from the book Mindset, by Carol Dweck and shared my learning with you in this post. I don’t know if anyone else also read this book, but I am starting to notice a lot of classroom practices and teachers talking in ways to encourage students to have a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset.

In one classroom, students were discussing the following quote: “We all make mistakes. That’s why a pencil has an eraser.”  I’ve been lucky enough to get into several classrooms during the math talk time to hear students explain their thinking or to see students writing to “Puzzled Penguin” to tell him what math mistake he made.

In another classroom during science stations, students were told “Don’t worry if you get it wrong, just try to think of what it might be and then check to see if you’re right. Think about the new things you’re learning.”  At the end of this class period, students’ exit slips included listing 3 new things they learned.  What was most amazing to me is throughout this class period, one student stood out to me as the model reason of why we need to encourage students to have a growth mindset.  During an iPad quiz, I watched this student answer questions as quickly as possible and when she got them wrong, moved on without even paying attention to what the correct answer was so she could learn from it.  When she moved on to a partner quiz with student-made notecards, she was proud to share that she had 15 right and only 5 wrong. When I asked her what she learned from the 5 wrong she said, “oh, I guess I should look at them.”  At the end of the class period when students were given the exit slips on 3 new things they learned, everyone started writing, but this student said, “I didn’t learn anything new.”

The teacher did everything she could to encourage students to focus on what new things they were learning, however, this particular student has already become so used to focusing on getting the right answers, that she hasn’t learned how to learn from the wrong answers.  She was my “aha moment” of why we need to continue our work on helping our students to become passionate about learning, develop a growth mindset, and learn from mistakes.

If you’re looking for great posters/quotes on this topic, I found great ones from Krissy Venosdale.  Here are some of my favorites: