Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Professional Highlights of 2013

As the calendar year comes to an end I like to take the time to look back on  2013.  It truly has been an incredible year for me for so many reasons. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Face to Face Meetings

This has been another crazy year of face to face meetings. If I started to list off all the incredible people I was able to meet face to face this year I'm sure I'd forget some along the way.  Here are just some of my many face to face meetings in 2013.

Laura, Kristin, Joy and I
Theresa and I
Kristen, Me, and Val
Me and Miriam

Denise and I

Jen, Me, and Sue
Linda and I
Melvina, Me, and JoAnn
Sara and I
Kathy and I

Preston, Louise, Me, and Anne
Me and Tina
Drew, Me, and Brad
Joan and I
Me and Julie
Peter and I
Joan, Krissy, Cheryl and I
Matt and I
Me and Rodney
Me, Melvina, Louise, and Paula
Kristin, Kristen, Me, and Kathy

Tanya and I

Me and Jenn

Tanya, Me, Marcie, and Kristen

Colleen and I

2. Conferences and Learning Opportunities

In 2013 I was very fortunate to attend many workshops, conferences, and learning opportunities.  Highlights include:
  • Days spent in Kathy Cassidy (Moose Jaw) , Kristen Wideen (Windsor), and Kristin Ziemke's (Chicago) classrooms
  • Surrey's Digital Dinner Series
  • Discovery Ed Hangouts with Dean Shareski and Friends
  • Connected Ed Canada (Calgary)
  • ISTE (San Antonio)
  • Apple Institute (Austin)
  • ECCO (Niagara Falls)

Kristin's Classroom
Kathy's Classroom
Kristen's Classroom

Airport Pick Up for the ADE Institute
The crowd I presented to at ECOO
3. Recognition and Accomplishments

In 2013 I was recognized for three major accomplishments. These included receiving my twenty year coaching award, being chosen as an Apple Distinguished Educator, and being awarded the ISTE Kay L Bitter Award.

20 Years of Coaching Recognition
ISTE Kay L Bitter Award
4. Other Crazy and Other Exciting Things

A few pretty crazy, exciting, or lucky things also happened to me in 2013. These included:

Using face time to bring a video game programmer into my classroom, while at the same time Skyping in a #1stchat friend's son so he could learn with my class too.

Presenting for an on-line course through Skype to a laptop in Ontario Canada since I couldn't get into the blackboard collaborate room where the "live" session was talking place.

My computer as my voice was skyped into a session I couldn't get into.
Being in an interview with Alec Couros and then crashing Dean Shareski's Discovery Ed Google Hangout with Alec. I loved the look on Dean's face but I especially loved the magic Discovery Ed Mints which passed through the computer screens.

Brings a surprise guest to a Discovery Ed Google Hangout
A surprise lunch with Kathy Cassidy, Alec Couros, and Dean Shareski. It pays to make the trek to Moose Jaw.

Lunch at Dean's with Alec and Kathy too.
Trying Google Glass!

Yup, that's Google Glass

Eating Texas shaped waffles.

State of Texas Waffle
(Well not exactly with the right plate placement)
Being asked to do the very first Edu Slam and having so much fun with Tanya and Holly.

Winning my conference registration for ISTE 2014 at ISTE 2013.

Being on TV during the morning show with  Jill Krop of Global TV talking about using Social Media in my grade one classroom.

Eating the craziest breakfast in Portland of fried chicken and waffles. But don't worry, it was shared.

Fried Chicken and Waffles for Breakfast

Being part of not one, but two lip dubs. Well I guess technically it was just my class in the second lip dub.

So as you can see 2013 was a pretty incredible year for me and I can only begin to imagine what is in store for 2014.  Wishing you and your loved ones a healthy, happy 2014.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Global Read Aloud - Creating the Project I Wanted to Join

When the Global Read Aloud was set to begin early last fall I signed up my class and started looking for teachers to collaborate with over the chapter book Marty McGuire by Kate Messner.   If you don't know much about the Global Read Aloud you must check out the official blog created by Pernille Ripp.  Last year my class connected with several different classes for a variety of purposes.  This year I wanted to do something different.

Over the past year my class and I have dove quite deeply into co-creating with others.  I've figured out ways to make it work over different devices and operating systems.  When there was a challenge, or issue, I found a way to solve it.  This year for the Global Read Aloud I wanted to see what would happen if I invited the world to co-create with my class over Marty McGuire.   I created a project and invited the world to join along.

I had this brilliant idea that I would ask classes to take ownership of a section or two of the book and then I would combined all the contributions together into a movie.  I set up a google doc with information and shared it on twitter and the various sharing sites Pernille has set up for us to connect with one another over the shared book. I was over whelmed with the responses I received as the project filled up quite quickly.  Those who had signed up for more than one section were great though and gave up sections to let others join along.  Every thing was moving smoothly and over 40 different classes were involved.

I purposely left the parameters of the project wide open because I didn't want to add any pressure to teachers, and I also wanted to see (and learn about) the different ways classroom teachers were documenting their learning through Marty McGuire.  The submissions that came in covered so many different aspects of Mary McGuire. Plus they were all so different which was exactly what I was hoping for.

In order for me to collect classroom submissions participants could either send me a link to shared folder where their contribution was stored and I could download from, e-mail me their contribution directly, or use the dropitto.me I had set up.

At first contributions were really slow to come in and I was worried.  Were my e-mails getting through to the participants? Were people creating anything? Was this project going to be a flop?  Thankfully my worries were calmed when submissions started to come in.

I had trouble with some of the submissions I received. Some classes created entries with apps or websites that I could not download from.  I could view them but I couldn't  add them to the project in the format that they were in. I did  some problem solving and "google/twitter research" but eventually I was able to do something with most of the entries I received.  You'll notice that the quality in some of the entries isn't ideal because I had to screen cast them in order to add them to the final project .  In other cases it was the audio I received. I played a fair bit with audio tracks but for so many of them I just couldn't get them sounding as clear as I would have liked.  As a whole I think I did a pretty good job with all the submissions I received.

After several e-mails reminders about submissions, and stretching deadlines I had all the submissions I was going to get.  For some chapters I had more submissions than others but as a whole I had plenty of submissions.  It was then time to put the project together.

This past summer I was fortunate to attend the Apple Institute in Austin, Texas where I learned a ton about Apple software.  Final Cut Pro x was one such piece of software. I used it to create  the final project because it has way more options for creation than iMovie.  It was a great learning experience for me to play with the program and get to know it even better.

With the project complete I created a quick time movie and attempted to share it to youtube. At that point it was HUGE in size and would have taken days to upload to youtube.  I had a quick panic (yes, I had a few of these over the course of the project), did a bit of "google research" and found a way to make it smaller in size.  Unfortunately when I made it smaller the quality also dropped a lot and it still took over 12 hours to upload to youtube.  But it was what it was at that point so I sent it out to the participants.

Unfortunately at that point I realized I had forgotten to add one of the submissions  I had received. I felt awful and quickly added it to the finished product.  I waited a bit too in case I had forgotten others.  I didn't hear anything so I felt it was safe to go through the uploading process again.  The second time around I was a lot smarter. I was able to make a much clearer smaller version and so instead of taking 12 hours to upload to youtube it only took five or so (not exactly sure as I did it while I slept).

The final version is now complete and ready to share with the world.  I will admit it is much longer than most primary students can sit through but I highly recommend you take the time to watch the different entries. It's broken down into chapter sections so that may be a way to watch it in small installments.  In hindsight I could have created movies for each chapter or every so many chapters.  I toyed with the idea but there was quite a discrepancy with the number of entires I received for each chapter. For some chapters  I received every single entry plus some I didn't know I was receiving, and for other chapters I received very little.  I didn't want to make those missing entires seem so obvious. It is certainly something I'd think about for next time.

So, are you curious to see how the final version turned out?  No problem. Here it is.