Friday, January 9, 2015

SC Midlands Summit Call for Proposals OPEN until February 28, 2015

Have you had the opportunity to share the amazing things you are doing in your classroom?  This is your chance!  

The 4th annual SC Midlands Summit which will be held June 10-11, 2015 is accepting proposals now.  We are planning for over 120 sessions throughout the two day conference focusing on the use of Google Apps for Education, research tools, digital tools, and technology integration in the classroom. So feel free to fill out the form more than once if you would be willing to share more than one presentation. Submit your presentation proposals by February 28.  Notifications of acceptance or regret will be e-mailed on or before April 1. The main presenter will receive a complimentary registration.  

Please join us to make this 4th annual summit a memorable experience for participants and to ensure that the conference becomes an event that all teachers in the region look forward to attending every year by filling out the 2015 SC Midlands Summit Presentation Proposal Request Form.

Help spread the word. If you know of any other presenters that would like to join us, feel free to pass on this email. Visit the website for additional information about the SC Midland Summit.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Technology Spotlight, Tiffany Hawthorne, Lonnie B. Nelson Elementary

Tiffany Hawthorne is working closely with Dawnn Turner, the Technology and Learning Coach at Lonnie B. Nelson Elementary through peer coaching. During the time she and Mrs. Turner have worked together Tiffany has increased student use of the technology with her daily lessons. Tiffany is very eager to add a variety of teaching strategies to ensure her students are involved with technology in all of the content areas. Her students are very excited to be using Chromebooks. Tiffany's students are becoming very confident using technology and the students are excited to share what they are doing with the Chromebooks. Tiffany is using SMART Notebook along with a variety of Google Apps for Education tools. She was also the first person to show interest in planning for the hour of code. Tiffany works with her students to create Google Draw and Slides. Most recently the students created their own version of a Thanksgiving plate in Google Draw. Then wrote a description of the drawing.

Tiffany is in her 7th year teaching and is currently teaching 3-5th grade at Lonnie B. Nelson Elementary. She recently was named National Board certified.

-Submitted by Dawnn Turner

Friday, November 14, 2014

Learn about the Belk Service Challenge and Network with your Colleagues!

Join Discovery Education and Richland School District Two to learn more about this exciting service-learning challenge for students in grades 6-8. Let’s collaborate to share the details of the 2015 challenge, brainstorm ideas for meaningful classroom use, and kick things off over a meal. Dinner is on us!

The Belk Service Learning Challenge, is a way for middle school students to apply what they learn in their core subjects to their communities. Help your students apply science, technology and social studies concepts to their local area with this new video challenge. Students will create a 1-2 minute video that tells their service learning story for their chance to earn $10,000.

December 4, 2014
6:00 – 7:30 PM
Longleaf Middle School 
1160 Longreen Parkway
Columbia, SC 29229
Multipurpose Room

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Technology Spotlight, Karen Brown, L W Conder Elementary School

Karen Brown has made teaching child development students her career for very good reasons - she understands 4-year olds and how to provide engaging and meaningful experiences for them! Karen has taught in the Clemson Road Child Development program for 10 years both on the Clemson Road campus and currently at L W Conder Elementary. Her love of nature led her to the Congaree National Forest where she was a teacher ranger for two summers and she continues to bring her students to the outdoors through grant funded projects and many recycled materials.

The name of Karen's classroom is the Terrific Turtles and her class has already learned a lot about sea turtles in particular, one of her favorite animals. In order to provide her students with the opportunity to meet a turtle expert and to learn more about their class mascot, Karen arranged a Skype session with a west coast authority on turtles. He presented lots of pictures and stories and the Terrific Turtles answered questions and shared their turtle school family song with him. The two-way exchange made possible by Skype was very helpful in keeping student engagement high!

Skype, Google Hangouts, Facetime and other video chat applications are a great way to bring experts to your classroom. How have you used applications like this in your classroom? 

Thank you to Debbie Brady for nominating Karen Brown. If you have a teacher or project on technology you want to showcase at your school in Richland School District Two, fill out the Spotlight Form .

Monday, October 6, 2014

October is Connected Educator Month!

Connected Educator month is October! Are you excited or what? "Or what?" You say. You don't even know what Connected Educator month is? So here is the skinny Connected Educator Month is brought to you by the U.S. Department of Education and it's partners to offer highly diverse and engaging professional development activities for all levels of educators. It is in it's third year. 

The goals of CEM include:
  • Getting more educators proficient with social media to improve their practice
  • Deepening and sustaining learning among those already enjoying connection’s benefits
  • Helping schools credential/integrate connected learning into their formal professional development efforts
  • Stimulating and supporting innovation in the field
Check out the web page to see all that is available for your to participate in ... Connected Educator Month. Don't forget to share what you learn. Be sure to hashtag it on Twitter with #CE14 and #RchlandTwo!

If you are new to Professional Learning Networks, Richland Two is offering a T for 2 online class - R2 Connected Educator - The goal of this course is to build a professional learning network, where you will build relationships and collaborate with other educators around the world, through various social networks. We will focus on 4 different social media types, Google+, Twitter, Blogging, and YouTube. This course is designed for you to work at your own pace, but collaboration is ongoing. Renewal Credit: 10

This class starts October 8 - Sign up in PDExpress today!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Technology Spotlight, Keighley Wingard, Bridge Creek Elementary

Keighley Wingard is in her 9th year with Richland School District Two and currently serving as the Technology and Learning Coach at Bridge Creek Elementary. This year, Keighley working with her school has started a video newsletter to share Bridge Creek news with parents, the community, and the world! 

After being inspired by George Couros to "take the digital leap," Bridge Creek Elementary school is now communicating with parents through a video newsletter called The Cougar Roar. Students are given leadership opportunities each week by having speaking roles on camera. All of the newsletter footage is captured on a flip cam, and then imported into WeVideo. From here, chroma key effects are added and the video is published. The published link is posted to Twitter @BCETeam121 and it is also embedded on the school's homepage. The September 5th edition, has now been viewed over 2,000 times!  

What a great way to involve everyone with what is going on in your school! Share the positive #RichlandTwo

If you have a teacher or project on technology you want to showcase at your school in Richland School District Two, fill out the Spotlight Form .

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

NEW class in PDExpress! Reading in the Middle

Do you enjoy reading Young Adult Literature? Do you teach middle school? Do you want to learn more about technology tools you can use in your classroom? If you answered yes to at least two of the questions listed, YOU HAVE TO TAKE THIS YEAR LONG CLASS! 

SIGN UP IN PD EXPRESS today! The class starts October 1, 2014 online!
Instructors: Media Specialists Michal Hope Brandon, Christina Willson and Lorena Swetnam
Course Description: Ever wonder what your middle schooler is reading?  Get to know what’s trending in middle grades literature while learning some hot tech tools to help you implement these popular titles in your classroom.
Method of instruction:  Each month teachers will select a book to read from a different genre and will learn how to use a different technology tool.  Teachers will visit the Reading in the Middle blog each month to review the book lists and technology tool for the appointed month.  Each month teachers will write two posts and submit them to the Google + Community: 1) a reflection on the title he/she read and a connection to his/her students 2) a reflection on using the technology tool for professional learning and/or in the classroom.  If applicable, teachers will share a product created using the featured technology tool.  Teachers are encouraged to comment on the posts to build a conversation about the learning experience.  
Course Objectives:
  1. Encourage teachers to read popular middle grade novels that their students are currently reading.
  2. Facilitate online discussion between teachers to share ideas and resources for incorporating different titles in the classroom.
  3. Teach teachers about technology tools tied to literacy and reading.

Credit:  The course will be held from October through April for a total of 7 months. Teachers will earn 3 credit hours for each class in which he/she participates through their posts on the Google + Community.  Teachers may earn up to a total of 21 credit hours.  This is a monthly course that teachers will sign up for each month they wish to participate.

Friday, August 22, 2014

DENapalooza in COLUMBIA! September 20, 2014

Please share with all your colleagues! 

If you haven't heard, DENapalooza is coming to Columbia, SC on Saturday, September 20 from 9-3:30! 

So what exactly is DENapalooza?DENapalooza is a full day professional development event organized by the Discovery Educator Network team with assistance from local DEN community members. The goal of the day is to provide educators with new skills to improve their use of technology in the classroom and increase the use of Discovery Education in the classroom. The day consists of formal presentations in the morning, lunch, and an unconference in the afternoon. The morning sessions will be set by the presenters. Some presenters are from the DEN Team and others are educators like you. The great thing about the unconference in the afternoon is that attendees drive the conversation and discussions. Those in attendance choose the topics they want to explore. The day is low key and provides a great networking, sharing, and learning environment.
What is the format/agenda?The day will begin with a light breakfast following by a few opening remarks from the host. There will be morning presentations following the opening and then an opportunity to plan the unconference prior to lunch. Discovery will provide lunch on site and attendees can use this time to reflect on the morning, network, and enjoy the company of fellow DEN members. After lunch, the unconference will take place. There will be several options for attendees to choose from based on the schedule set up prior to lunch. The day will end with an appy hour, cool tool smackdown, or some other opportunity for attendees to share something fun.

How much does it cost?
IT'S FREE!!!!!!

Where do I register? 
Visit the DENapalooza site!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Be a part of the DEN Ambassador Program

Richland School District Two Teachers,

We would like to invite you to participate in a pilot of an innovative Discovery Education program.  Are you looking for ways to learn more strategies for integrating digital media and technology?  Do you want to share and hear success stories from across your district?  Ever wondered how other districts across the nation are using Discovery Education?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then we have the program for you!

The DEN Ambassador Program is designed to fully support teachers as they integrate digital media and technology into their teaching practice. During this program, participants will come together for three face-to-face meetings. A variety of learning experiences will be provided throughout the program, as well as the opportunity to connect and learn via a private Edmodo group. To learn more about the program visit the DEN Ambassador Program.

This program is being supported by Richland School District Two and is being led by DEN STAR MaryAnn Sansonetti-Wood. This is a blended class with online assignments and in person meetings. The 3 in-person dates will be held on Thursdays - October 2, November 6, and December 4 from 4:30-6:30 pm. We are only accepting 40 participants from across the district for this program so RSVP ASAP... we only have a few spots left :)

The online portion of the class runs September 22 through December 15.

If you are interested in being a part of this innovative program please fill out this form. Sign up by September 15.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mini Maker Faire Road Trip

Cross blogged at Life is a Maker Faire

One of the latest crazes to hit is the Maker Faire. What is a Maker Faire you ask?
Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement. Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. All of these “makers” come to Maker Faire to show what they have made and to share what they have learned. (Maker Faire)

On a whim when we were planning for our back to school meetings, we decided to have a mini maker faire. I took the idea and ran with it. Now it seems to become a road show. The maker faire road trip is a bit more about learning new ideas than a traditional maker faire with makers showcasing their work.  It has made its appearance at two trainings in the last week.  What is included in my mini maker faire? I have between 5-6 stations depending on the space. Presently, I have the following stations:
1. Coding: Creating a flappy bird game14775472990_f7ddae7cc6_o
2. Creating a Hovercraft
3. Building a 60 cup structure
4. Games (board games, dice games, logic)
5. Green screening with WeVideo
6. Circuits with Snap circuits and Roominate

From my vantage point, the maker faire was an engaging time for the participants to Collaborate, Communicate, Create, and Think Critically. The 4Cs were embedded throughout the faire.  Here is a flappy bird game created by Nikki, one of our Technology and Learning Coaches (TLC). Emily, another TLC said, "I loved the circuit building activity!  I was avoiding it at first because it seemed a little scary the idea of building a "circuit," but the activity showed that I could learn something new and construct my own knowledge through collaboration with other team members and access to a direction book. My colleagues were my co-learners in creating something new"

What has this Maker Faire shown me? It's demonstrated to me that the hands on activities are a way to get everyone involved in the learning. The learning is more than the standards and we need to teach critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity in our classrooms at EVERY level, not just elementary because they have learning stations/labs. It also brings a lot of questions to mind. How can we turn our classrooms in to maker faires? How do we model this learning for teachers to begin to have this mindset?