Monday, November 24, 2014

Crash Course Week 12: Conclusion

We have reached the end of the Fall 2014 eLearning book club. This week, please share what you are taking away from this book: lessons learned, an idea that you are going to implement or already have.

Please have all of your comments made to all of the blog posts by 5pm Eastern next Wednesday, December 3rd. I will send out PGPs by the end of the month. Thank you all for participating. This has been a wonderful discussion!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Crash Course Week 11: Gratitude and Faith

This week we are reading the last two chapters of the book, "Gratitude" and "Faith." Now is the time of year when we really focus on gratitude. How do you encourage your students to show gratitude? Sometimes it's easy to get down and focus on the negatives. How do you stay focused on the important things in your life?

Next week is the last week of the book club. We will finish up with some concluding thoughts about the book. If you need to catch up on your reading and/or comments to blog posts, now is the time to do it. If you would like to receive 12 PGPs and be eligible for the $1000 professional development grant, you must have made a meaningful contribution to every week's blog post by the end of the day Wednesday, December 3.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Crash Course Week 10: Improvisation

This chapter was titled "Improvisation," but I think it could also be titled "Resiliency." This is a must for a teacher. Can you share with us an example of when a situation didn't work out how you had planned, but the result of your "plan b" was as good as, or maybe even better than, the original results may have been? Or share a time you've witnessed improvisation or resiliency in your classroom.

It's hard to believe, but we only have 2 weeks left in the fall book club. Now is the time to confirm that you introduced yourself (name and school) in the first week's post and that you've commented to all 10 weeks' blog posts. For next week we will read the last 2 chapters, "Gratitude" and "Faith."

Monday, November 3, 2014

Crash Course a Week 9: Bonding and Creativity

This week we're discussing chapters 13 and 14, "Bonding" and "Creativity." How do you build relationships with your students and encourage them to focus on their healthy, beneficial relationships? The chapter on creativity has me wondering what activities you have done with your students that got some of your more introverted or non-participatory students excited and involved. Have you seen any students really come out of their shells due to something new you tried?

After this week we only have 3 weeks left in the book club. If you would like to receive PGPs for your participation in the book club and be eligible for the professional development grant, be sure you have commented to every week's blog post. Also be sure you have introduced yourself in the first week's blog post, including your name and school. For next week we will be reading chapter 15, "Improvisation."

Monday, October 27, 2014

Crash Course Week 8: Expectations

It's important to have high expectations for your students. How do you set high expectations for your students and encourage them to succeed? Have you been surprised by a student who was able to step up to some high expectations that you set?

What great participation we've had in the fall book group! Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and ideas and also for encouraging your fellow participants. Please be sure that you have introduced yourself in the first week's blog post. This is how I am able to find you to send you your PGPs at the end of the book club. Please be sure to include your first and last name and your school and/or corporation. For next week please read chapters 13 and 14, "Bonding" and "Creativity."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Crash Course Week 7: Tenacity and Insight

Do you wonder if anything you're saying to your students is sticking? Have you had opportunities to follow up with former students? If so, what have you learned from them that has affected your teaching or your thoughts about getting through to students? And, related to chapter 11, how do you understand and celebrate the differences between your students?

We're more than halfway through the book club now. For next week we will read chapter 12. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Crash Course Week 6: Love and Generosity

This week's chapters really went well together. How do you show love and support to students in your classroom? I like Kim's question at the end of chapter 9 -- do you/how do you model a spirit of encouragement and support for others?

Our reading assignment for next week is chapters 10 and 11, "Tenacity" and "Insight." This week marks the halfway point in the book club. If you need to catch up on the readings or your comments, take some time to do that this week. Also, if you have friends or colleagues who would like to join the book club, they are more than welcome to. Just be sure they introduce themselves in week 1.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Crash Course Week 5: Talent and Optimism

More great stuff in this week's readings! Have any of your students surprised you with a hidden talent like Tyreece surprised Kim? How do you encourage your students to discover their talents and utilize them? As we all struggle with negativity and complaining, how do you improve your own attitude and encourage your students to be positive? I love Kim's suggestion to follow people's negative comments with postitive comments.

Next week's reading assignment is chapters 8 and 9, "Love" and "Generosity." It's so exciting to see all the great comments to my posts and other people's comments. Keep up the great work!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Crash Course Week 4: Play and Recovery

When was the last time you laughed out loud or were just silly with your friends, children, or students? It is amazing how, when you let yourself relax and have fun, you just feel better! Do you have some examples of how you incorporate play, fun, silliness, etc. into your classroom? Or do you have thoughts or plans as to how to do this?

Recovering from a set back is incredibly difficult, especially when you let (or feel you let) others down. How do you recover when you make a mistake in your school or classroom? Or how do you move on and forgive when you are wronged?

Next week's reading assignment is chapters 6 and 7, "Talent" and "Optimism." If you are behind in your reading or commenting, just catch up as you are able. Or if you have a coworker who would like to join, tell them to jump in. Just be sure they start with an introduction in week 1. We are still very early in the book club so there's a lot of time to join in and get caught up.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Crash Course Week 3: Magic and Courage

This week we are discussing two chapters, "Magic" and "Courage." Wow, Kim is creative and certainly makes her classroom a magical place! The House of Ing! Use your imagination to come up with ways to add magic to your classroom. Share those ideas or ways you already use magic in your classroom.

Jumping into the chapter on courage, I like the quote, "It is okay to be introverted, but every child must be able to communicate effectively." Share how you can support your students in overcoming the fears that are holding them back.

Next week we will read and discuss the next two chapters, "Play" and "Recovery." Have a great week!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Crash Course Week 2: Chemistry

"Relationship building isn't always easy, but I have learned that it is the single most effective way to engage and motivate my students."

"The most powerful relationships occur when we willingly give of ourselves and seek to understand others wholeheartedly."

These are two quotes that really jumped out at me in this chapter. Relationships are so important in education and life in general. What thoughts do you have about relationship-building in your classroom? Do you have an example of a student with which you struggled until you were able to build a stronger relationship? What advice do you have for other teachers who are working on building relationships with students?

Thank you all for the tremendous participation last week. We've got over 70 people participating already. If you know of others who would like to join us but were not able to participate last week, please let them know it is not too late. For next week, we will read and discuss chapters 2 and 3, "Magic" and "Courage."

Monday, September 8, 2014

Crash Course Week 1: Introductions

Thank you for joining us for the Fall 2014 eLearning Book Club. The book club will last about 12 weeks and each week we will read 1 or 2 chapters, depending on the chapter length. A discussion question or prompt will be posted in the blog every Monday morning and you should post a comment back to it. You are also encouraged to comment back to other participants' responses. All participants who make a meaningful contribution to every week’s discussion will be eligible to be awarded a $1000 professional development grant and will receive 12 PGPs.

Today we will start our discussion of Crash Course: The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me by Kim Bearden. Let's use this week to meet each other. As a comment to this post (click on "Comments" below this post), please tell us your name, your school/corporation/organization, and what your role there is. (If you have any problems commenting, please email Meri Carnahan at carnahan@doe.in.gov.) Your reading assignment for next week is chapter 1, Chemistry. Happy reading! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fall Book Club Begins Soon

You've still got some time to prepare for our fall book club. Beginning this Monday, September 8th, we will begin reading and discussing Crash Course: The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me by Kim Bearden. This book is available for Kindle and iBooks and is available in hard back. We will begin with a week of introductions, and then each week a discussion prompt will be shared in the blog and participants will be invited to respond, sharing their thoughts, ideas, and/or questions. All participants who make a meaningful contribution to each week’s discussion will be eligible to win a $1000 professional development grant and will be awarded 12 PGPs. More than one grant will be given, so buy the book, join the blog (by clicking on "Join this Site" or "Follow by Email"), and dive into the discussions that begin on September 8th.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer Book Club Conclusion and Fall Book Selection

Thank you all again for a great summer book club! I hope you got a lot out of it and are energized and ready for the 2014-15 school year. Just a few last items to finish up this book club. I sent out PGP emails last week. If you participated at least 6 of the 7 weeks, you should have received a message from me. If you did not receive your PGP email, please contact me at carnahan@doe.in.gov.

I'm happy to announce the winners of the $1000 professional development grants, Jodi McClure and Tara Ulmer. Congratulations ladies, and thank you for being such great contributors to our conversations!

Last, but not least, I am happy to announce our Fall eLearning Book Club selection. Beginning the week of September 8th we will be reading and discussing Crash Course: The Life Lessons My Students Taught Me by Kim Bearden. This book is available for Kindle and iBooks and is available in hard back. Please join our conversations beginning the week of September 8th.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Thrive Book Club Updates

It has been a record-breaking book club. We had 133 people post over 900 comments! There have been some great connections made. Feel free to share your Twitter handles here, follow each other, use the #INeLearn hashtag, and continue to communicate with and support each other there. Also, if you are an eLearning coach, please join our eLearning Coach Community. If your school is currently a Google school or you are moving that way, you might want to join the Indiana Google Educator Group. And if you're looking for support with the new standards, there are over 50 Communities of Practice that you can join.

Over the next few days I will be pouring through the comments and sending out PGP documentation to participants. The winners of the professional development grants will also be selected. And we will be announcing our fall book club selection. Stay tuned for all of this information.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Thrive Week 7: Conclusion

It's hard to believe, but it's time to wrap up the summer book club. The discussions have been rich and enlightening and it has been wonderful to see so many connections made. Feel free to share ways that you can be found outside of the blog -- Twitter, blog, etc. For this last week's discussion, please share what changes, additions or enhancements you are going to make in your teaching this year due to reading this book. Please have all of your comments to all blog posts completed by Friday, July 25.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Thrive Week 6: Empower Your Students

How are you giving your students a voice in your classroom? What ideas do you have to empower your students to take more interest in and control of their education? What questions or concerns do you have that others in the book club could help with?

This is the last chapter of the book, but we still have one more week for the book club. Next week come prepared to share your take aways from the book.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Thrive Week 5: Listen to Yourself

Do you have a hard time listening to yourself over the other loud voices and opinions around you? What about overcoming the fears that you have as a teacher or finding alignment between your values and actions? What tools and ideas have you used to accomplish these things? Or are you still struggling with this and would like some suggestions from your network?

We only have one more chapter to read and two more weeks of the book club. Please catch up on your reading and comments to posts (including comments to other participants' comments). Also, if you did not introduce yourself the first week of the discussion, please do so.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Thrive Week 4: Keep Your Work Intellectually Challenging

What really spoke to you in this chapter? How are you keeping your work intellectually challenging while finding a balance between content and your focus on your students? Are you utilizing any of the methods Meenoo mentioned in this chapter?

As I was reading this chapter I was reminded again of two opportunities that we have in Indiana that I mentioned last week, but I think they pertain to this chapter, too. They are the new Online Communities of Practice in Google+ and the Summer of eLearning conferences. Both of these offer opportunities for teachers to share the wonderful things that they are doing in their schools and classrooms, encouraging other teachers to try new things, but hopefully also getting feedback from their network.

Next week is 4th of July, so we will take the week off. For the week of Monday, July 7 read chapter 4, "Listen to Yourself." If you are behind in your reading and commenting, don't worry. Take the next two weeks to catch up. And while you're commenting to blog posts, don't forget to read comments from other participants and comment back to them.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Thrive Week 3: Join and Build Networks

As I was reading this chapter, I was thinking about all of the networking opportunities that Indiana educators have right here at home. Some that I know of are:
If you know of any other networking opportunities, please share them with the group.

How have you connected with a network of educators? Are you connecting with a local group or a national group or both? How are utilizing your networks?

I just found out about a couple of opportunities to connect with Meenoo Rami and others reading Thrive. The first is a Twitter chat this Wednesday at 7pm Eastern at #EdThrive. (Thank you to Liz Chatwell for sharing that on Twitter.) Also, the publisher of Thrive is hosting an online summer book club and will be reading four of their books, including Thrive. There will be a free webinar with the authors to kick off the book club this Friday at 4pm Eastern. Find more information on the website.

For next week, please read chapter 3. Also, if you have not introduced yourself, please jump back to the first week's post and introduce yourself to the group.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Thrive Week 2: Turn to Mentors

Meenoo Rami shared some great thoughts about mentors in this chapter. Have you found mentors to be important in your career? How have you found your mentors? Have you been someone else's mentor? If so, how has that affected your teaching?

Next week we'll read and think about networks. Read chapter 2 and we'll start discussing next Monday.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Thrive Week 1: Introductions

Welcome to the 2014 Summer eLearning Book Club. Today we will start our discussion of Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching by Meenoo Rami. Let's use this week to meet each other. As a comment to this post (click on "Comments" below this post), please tell us your name, your school/corporation/organization, and what your role there is. Your reading assignment for next week is chapter 1. If you have not purchased the book yet, you can buy it in paperback or as an ebook. Happy reading!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Summer 2014 eLearning Book Club Selection

Dive into learning this summer and Thrive! Join our eLearning Book Club and read Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching by National Board Certified teacher Meenoo Rami. Our online weekly book discussions will begin on Monday, June 2nd and will end Friday, August 1. (No discussion 4th of July week.) We will begin with a week of introductions, and then each week a discussion prompt will be shared in the blog and participants will be invited to respond, sharing their thoughts, ideas, and/or questions. All participants who make a meaningful contribution to each week’s discussion will be entered into a drawing to win a $1000 professional development grant and will be awarded 12 PGP points. More than one grant will be given, so buy the book (paperback or ebook), join the blog (by clicking on "Join this Site" or "Follow by Email"), and dive into the discussions that begin on June 2nd.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Invent to Learn Book Club Winners Announced

After 9 weeks of thought-provoking conversations, our Spring eLearning Book Club has come to an end. Thanks to all of you for participating and sharing your ideas on adding making to your classroom. Three book club participants who shared every week of the book club were selected at random to receive a $1000 mini professional development grant. The spring book club winners are Rosa Sparling, Alison Kent, and Michelle Sparling. Three winners were also selected from the Fall eLearning Book Club. They are Ingrid Saxman, Jamie Guillaume, and Julie Myers. Details about our Summer eLearning Book Club will be announced soon.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Invent to Learn Week 9: The Final Week

Thank you all for participating in this book club. Hopefully you each have learned something and are ready to implement some making in your classroom or school. As we end our spring book club, please share with the group what your next steps on the road to making will be. As you think about your future plans, be sure to check out some of the resources listed in chapter 14.

All book club participants who have made a meaningful contribution each week of the book club will be eligible for a prize. Winners will be selected and notified early next week. Be sure to have all of your comments posted by Friday afternoon, March 28th. PGP documentation will be sent to book club participants in the next few weeks.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Invent to Learn Week 8: Making the Case and Do Unto Ourselves

"The design of professional development, especially efforts involving technology, is too often predicated on a presumption of adult inferiority. We are told that teachers are digital immigrants, that they need more professional development, and that our expectations need to be modest." What do you think of this quote? Have you been given or have you sought out opportunities to learn by making? After reading chapter 12, do you have thoughts on how you would "make the case" for the maker movement to members of your school community?

Next week we will celebrate the first full week of spring with the end of the Spring eLearning Book Club. We'll finish up our conversation about the book next week.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Invent to Learn Week 7: Student Leadership and Make Your Own Maker Day

I was glad to get to chapter 10 because I feel like the focus of our discussions has been on the teachers. How do you see students being leaders in your classroom and, ideally, in your maker classroom? After reading chapter 11, I want to go to a Maker Day! I can see a Maker Day as being a great way to introduce parents (and community members) to a move to making in your classroom or school. What do you think of sharing this with your school community? If you hear of any Maker Days or maker activities, please let this group know.

For next week, read chapters 12 and 13, "Making the Case" and "Do Unto Others."

Monday, March 3, 2014

Invent to Learn Week 6: Stuff and Shaping the Learning Environment

These two chapters were all about setting up your learning environment. What kind of "stuff" do you have in your classroom? Are you encouraging making in your classroom simply by offering supplies to your students? And after reading chapter 9, what ideas or plans do you have for your new or improved making learning environment?

Next week we will discuss chapters 10 and 11. We only have 3 weeks left in our spring book club. (Will it even be spring by then?) If you haven't been keeping up with the readings and commenting to the posts, be sure you take some time to do that. We will award PGPs at the end of the book club and those who have participated in every weeks' conversation will be eligible for a prize. All the more reason to participate!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Invent to Learn Week 5: Making Today and The Game Changers

This week we read chapters 6 and 7 in Invent to Learn. Chapter 6 helps us dip our toes in this new/old idea, sharing lots of ideas of no- or low-tech ways of making. What about the boy who created a video game out of boxes? What amazing creativity! After reading chapter 7, who else wants a 3D printer...or a robot? Chapter 7 discussed fabrication, physical computing, and programming. Do you have ideas on how you can use any of these things in your classroom? What kind of ideas do you have for a student project?

Note: Indiana has a statewide grant from SketchUp Pro, giving all Indiana public schools free access to the pro product. If you are interested in utilizing SketchUp Pro, please contact your school or district technology support person or your school industrial technology or graphic design teacher and see if your school is already using SketchUp Pro. If they are interested in more information about the grant, have them contact Meri Carnahan at carnahan@doe.in.gov.

For next week, we'll read chapter 8, "Stuff," and chapter 9, "Shaping and Learning." We're now halfway through the book. Make sure you're keeping up on your reading and commenting on each week's post if you would like to receive PGPs for participating in the book club.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Invent to Learn Week 4: What Makes a Good Project? and Teaching

There is so much great stuff in this week's chapters. What project(s) do your students do that they talk about when you run into them at the grocery store or mall years later? What do you think of the matra "Less Us, More Them"? What is your biggest concern about moving to a making and tinkering classroom? For next week, read chapters 6 and 7, "Making Today" and "The Game Changers."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Free Kindle Version of Invent to Learn

Do you know someone who would like to join the book club, but doesn't have a copy of Invent to Learn? Today is their lucky day. In honor of  the birthdays of Thomas Edison, Jules Verne, and and Charles Darwin, today only you can download the Kindle version of Invent to Learn for free. Check out this site for details.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Special Announcement -- Webinar with Invent to Learn Author Sylvia Libow Martinez

Tomorrow is your chance to learn with Sylvia Martinez, author of Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, which has been referred to as "the bible of the Maker Movement in schools." 

Atomic Learning is hosting a free webinar and they'll be chatting with Sylvia about her passion for learning through the Maker Movement: what it is, what it looks like in action, and how it impacts student learning. Details and registration information can be found here.

Invent to Learn Week 3: Learning and Thinking About Thinking

There were a few quotes in chapters 2 and 3 that really jumped out at me. First in chapter 2:
The reason for all this structure is not that it benefits the learner. In reality, it benefits the teacher-as-manager and the administrators in the system. The structure makes it easier for one teacher to teach a one-size-fits-all curriculum to large numbers of same age students. None of the constraints of school are for the benefit of learning - they create a more manageable, homogeneous, efficient platform for teaching a predetermined bit of content.
Chapter 3 discusses thinking about thinking. I found the section interesting when the authors talk about the rigidity of the scientific method: learning the steps, learning the definitions of the scientific method vocabulary words. Then they go on to say that "This is not science. Science is about wonder and risk and imagination, not checklists or vocabulary memorization." And chapter 3 ends with, "The deepest problem for us is not technology, nor teaching, nor school bureaucracies -- it's the limits of our own thinking." What are your thoughts on the idea that we (the adults) should get out of our comfort zones, lessen the rigidity of the educational system or how we teach, and give our kids the freedom to be creative, to tinker, to create? Do you feel comfortable doing this? What other thoughts do you have about chapters 2 and 3?

For next week, let's read chapter 4, "What Makes a Good Project?" and chapter 5, "Teaching." Happy reading!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Invent to Learn Week 2: The History of Making

This chapter was jam-packed with wonderful information. What did you learn about the history of the maker movement? As you were reading this chapter, were you reminded of any making or tinkering that you did in your own K-12 education? For next week read chapters 2 and 3, "Learning" and "Thinking About Thinking."

Monday, January 27, 2014

Invent to Learn Week 1: Introductions

Welcome to the Spring 2014 eLearning Book Club. We hope you are all excited to read Invent to Learn by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary S. Stager. This week is our introductory week, so if you haven't purchased the book yet, you have some time to get the paperback or Kindle version from Amazon.

Let's use this week to meet each other. As a comment to this post (click on "Comments" below this post), please tell us your name, your school/corporation/organization, and what your role there is. Also tell us what you know about making and what experience, if any, you have with that in your school or classroom. If you don't know anything about it, that is fine. The next 7 or so weeks are your chance to learn about it. Next week, we will discuss chapter 1. In case you're interested, last week our #INeLearn Twitter chat was on the topic of the Maker Movement. Click here to see the archive of that chat.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Spring 2014 Book Club Begins Soon

Whether you are working with Maker Spaces in your school or classroom or are new to this idea, you will want to join the spring eLearning book club. We will be reading the book Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom by Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary Stager. Learn why you should support making in your school and how to do it. The book club will begin on January 27th with weekly discussions here in the eLearning Book Club blog. Choose to join the site or follow by email to be notified when posts are added to the blog. PGPs will be awarded to book club participants.