Tuesday, December 23, 2014

We're BACK (in Early January 2015!) #EduLS

Well I am so thrilled to announce that the #SummerLS was nominated for an EduBlog award for Best Open PD, and WON!!!

Because of that exciting turn of events I have been inspired to bring back the #SummerLS to be a year round learning series, now re-branded as the "Educator Learning Series" or #EduLS.

You can find the new challenges, here: http://educatorlearningseries.blogspot.com

Happy Learning, and Happy New Year!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Challenge Week 11

Well, we've reached the end of our #SummerLS.  I can't express enough what an experience this has been from me.  From originally planning this for my staff of 36, to now having over 2,000 people from 8 different countries participate.

Thank you each and every one for learning this summer.  I DO plan on continuing this once a month throughout the school year (on this same blog), and we'll continue to use the same hashtag :)

This week's final challenge is brought to you by.....me!  And it's all about Google Hangouts!

You can watch the video challenge HERE.

When you're done with the challenge you can fill out THIS Google Form

(***On a side note: lots of people asked about not having a Google Form to fill out last week.  The goal was to have you tweet your Classroom Champions learning.  BUT I went ahead and created THIS Google Form for you to fill out from last week's challenge!)

See you online!

***like the video said, if you would like notifications of upcoming challenges, go to our first post and fill out the Google form (if you haven't already; most have)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Challenge Week 10

We are in our second to last #SummerLS Challenge!  Thank you everyone for following and learning with us.

This week's challenge is one that is very near and dear to my heart.  Almost 2 years ago I connected with an organzation called Classroom Champions.  This is an organization that I continue to work with to this day because of what they seek to do.  You can read several of my blog posts that talk about things my class was able to do by being a part of Classroom Champions.  You can read one HERE.  And if you read THIS post you can see how our athlete, Paralympic Gold Medalist Joshua Sweeney, changed an entire campus.

My good friend, and Olypmic Gold Medalist, Steve Mesler, co-found Classroom Champions with his sister Leigh.

And this week's challenge comes straight from Steve Mesler himself.  You can watch his video challenge HERE.

How do you complete this challenge?  Excatly what the video says, you watch his TED Talk, watch a Goal Setting video by one of two olympic atheletes, and then TWEET him and Classroom Champions about your learning using the #SummerLS hashtag.

Also, make sure you add Classroom Champions to your circle on Google+ to follow the journey of Paralympic Medalist Lex Gillette as he uses Google Glass this year to teach even more kids!

I can't wait to see the ideas you guys come up with!

Happy Learning!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Challenge Week 9

We're at week 9!  And also, August 1!  Man the time has flown by!  It looks like we only have 2 more weeks of the #SummerLS left.  But don't fret.  My plan is to continue doing challenges, once a month, throughout the school year.

First of all, if you missed Erin Klein's Classroom Design webinar last week, you can watch it HERE.

Here's this week's challenges...

Part 1:

This week's first challenge comes from Amber Teamann in Texas.  Her video challenge is about Smore.  A great free tool that allows you to make some cool online newsletters and such.  You can watch her video HERE.

Her next part covers how she has used Twitter on her campus as an administrator and the neat little function called "Fast Follow".  You'll definitely want to read THIS post to learn more!

Your challenge this week is to create your own Smore, and then to read Amber's blog post (and leave a comment).  Once completed you can fill out THIS Google Form.

Part 2:

I come across many great resources, but one of my favorite is Sophia.  Sophia is an online platform that I use for flipping my classroom.  They have over 40,000 videos already made by other educators.  Plus Bill Nye (the Science Guy) is a Sophia partner and has exclusive content on their site!

The best part?  Sophia has partnered with Capella University to offer FREE certifications.  You can get Flipped Classroom Certified, iPad Certified, Chrome Classroom Certified, or Virtual Classroom Certified....ALL FOR FREE!!!  And you get a nifty little certificate and t-shirt out of it! Go HERE to see the certifications.

What is your challenge this week?  Create a Sophia account, play around on the website, and choose 1 (or more) of the certifications to complete.  Once you've completed your certification take a picture with your certificate and tweet it to the #SummerLS hashtag.  Then fill out THIS Google Form.

Happy learning this week!  Remember to continue to tweet all your learning with the #SummerLS hashtag!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Challenge Week 8

Can you believe it?  We're already at the final full week of July!  I'm really excited about sharing the challenges with you this week.

As you know, since I started doing this Summer Learning series 8 weeks ago,  I've constantly wanted to show the power of connection.  The power of social media.  Every week I've brought you challenges and videos made by my friends.  And the coolest part?  Every single challenge, every single week, is by someone who I met online through Twitter.

This week is a 3-parter!  Don't worry, it's not a ton of work :) There's just so much goodness to share this week!  And remember TWEET out your learning using the #SummerLS hashtag!

Part 1:

My good friend Erin Klein (the author of Kleinspiration) is the educator bringing you the first challenge for this week.  It's all about Classroom Design!! You can watch here challenge video HERE.

The first part of the challenge is to sign up for Erin's FREE Webinar happening this Tuesday at 2pm CST.  You can sign up for the Webinar HERE.

The second part of Erin's challenge is to visit Classroom Cribs and sign up for the email list serve to know when the website launches!

Once you've signed up for Erin's webinar and the Classroom Cribs email list serve fill out THIS Google Form.

Part 2:

Two weeks ago, Chris Kesler made you a video teaching you about Google Forms.  Well this week my good friend (and fellow Tech NinjaStacey Huffine has created you a video teaching you some tips and tricks about Google Docs.  If you haven't used, or aren't using, Google Docs, I can't express enough how much easier my life has become since using all the great Google Drive tools!

You can watch Stacey's video HERE.

Your challenge this week is to create a Google Doc, share it with someone, and use some of the tips/tricks Stacey has shown you!  Once you've done that fill out THIS Google Form.

Part 3:

About a year ago I read a post that Angela Maiers had shared, written by Arin Kress.  Before I share with you Arin's post, I wanted to first share with you the video she has made for you for the third part of this week's challenge.  You can watch Arin's video HERE.

The post that Arin wrote is HERE and that is where you can read the letter she sent out to her students.

In Arin's video she also mentions Angela's #YouMatter TED Talk.  You can find that TED talk HERE.

I can't express enough how much this part means to me.  I myself wrote a letter like this to my students last year.  The last day of school I had a very tearful exchange with a parent about the huge impact that one little letter had.  You can read about my experience HERE.

Once you've completed Arin's challenge and wrote your own letter to your future students fill out THIS Google Form.

Thank you so much for joining us each and every week!  Have fun learning this week and remember TWEET out your learning using the #SummerLS hashtag!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Challenge Week 7

Week 7 is upon us!  What an exciting journey this has been so far.  It's so much fun as I travel around the country this summer and find people who are completing the #SummerLS with us!  To see this movement of teachers, passionate about learning, is such a great feeling!

I know many of you are behind a challenge or two, so this week is going to be a fairly easy week to give you a little time to catch up, but also still give you a challenge!

Part 1:

About a year ago I learned about this "walkie-talkie" kind of app called Voxer.  It took me quite a while to understand the value or how to really use it, but now I'm addicted to it!

My good friend, Ben Gilpin, has made a quick TouchCast video to explain Voxer a little more with some ideas on how you can use it!  You can find that video HERE.

So your challenge this week is download Voxer and start a conversation with someone in your PLN.  Ben shared his Voxer contact information in the video and mine is tneslo811.  And HERE is an entire list of people in education on Voxer.

Once you've completed this challenge fill out the Google Form HERE.

Part 2 (optional):

Last week's challenge included learning about MakerSpaces.  You may have heard a book mentioned called "Invent to Learn".  Well there is now going to be a weekly book study/twitter chat that will be happening (#itlchat)!  It's a great opportunity to connect with and learn from others.  Emily Swenson and Michael Medvinsky are leading it and you can find more information HERE.

If you participate in the chat and read the book please fill out this Google Form HERE

Here's to another great week of learning!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Challenge Week 6

Wow, can you believe we’re already on Week 6 of our Summer Learning Series?  Time has just flown by!

I am absolutely loving watching the #SummerLS Hashtag and seeing the great learning and connecting that is taking place!

This week is another two-parter!

Part 1:

Every week you’ve heard me talk about filling out a Google Form after you were done completing a challenge.  Well my good friend Chris Kesler has created an AMAZING video teaching you all about Google Forms and some great things you can do with them.  So your first challenge is to watch Chris’s video, tweet to him one thing you learned, create your own Google Form, and then fill out the Google Form below.

HERE is the Google Form to fill out after you’ve completed this challenge.

Part 2:

Jessica Allen is one of the smartest people I know!  We actually interviewed her on this week’s episode of EduAllStars, which you can watch HERE.  But Jessica has done a lot of work with Makerspaces.  So your challenge for part two is to visit Jessica’s blog and learn all about this INCREDIBLE idea!  Go HERE to see Jessica’s challenge (and make sure you tweet her about what you’re learning)

When you’ve completed Jessica’s challenge fill out this quick Google Form HERE.

So there you go!  There’s your challenge for this week!  Happy Learning #SummerLS crew! (and all previous challenges are listed below :))

Challenge Week 5

Welcome to Week 5 of our Summer Learning Series!  I wanted to address a few common questions before we get into this week’s challenge.

- It’s ok if you’re behind on some of the challenges!  Catch up as you can!
- YES, anyone can fill out the Google Forms
- If you need to see the other challenges, scroll under this email.  Every time I email out I include past challenges.

We are now up to over 1,500 people taking part in the Summer Learning Series.  It’s been really amazing to see the conversations and tweets happening over on the #SummerLS hashtag!

This week’s challenge is a fairly easy one.

One great way to continue learning is by listening to Podcasts.  I drive 30 miles one way every day to work and to make it go faster I listen while I drive!

So your challenge this week is to listen to three episodes of a podcast and tweet about each one as you listen to them!

Listed below are some of my favorite podcasts!

EduAllStars - I have to of course mention this podcast specially.  This is a podcast that I co-started and still co-host.  We interview people in education who inspire us.  My co-hosts Chris Kesler and Keegan Waid are amazing.  We’ve interviewed Olympic Gold Medalists, 15 year old inventors, company start ups, Principals, Teachers, Librarians, Instructional Coaches, Superintendents, and even the US Secretary of Education.  We air an interview a week and plan on our next one being this Sunday at 8pm CST.  You can watch them live by checking out eduallstars.com or you can listen to/watch any of the recordings! We interview someone different each week and you can get updates by following @EduAllStarsHQ on twitter.

Here are some other great podcasts

So spend some time this week learning through audio and video from others!  Did I not include a podcast you love?  Tweet out your favorite!

And after you listen to 3 episodes fill out this Google Form.

Challenge Week 4

Well we’ve officially made it to the 4th challenge in our first ever Summer Learning Series!

To say this has been emotional overwhelming, would be an understatement.  I am in complete awe at the amount of people who are choosing to step outside their comfort zones and LEARN!  Like I said when we started this journey, we’re professional students.  If we want to challenge and encourage our students to be continual learners we must do the same!

I know some of these challenges may be uncomfortable, difficult, or down-right hard for some of us.  But nothing easy was ever worth learning.  We know that we learn best through mistakes and failure.  So if there’s parts to these weekly challenges that you find tough or pointless, stick with me!  I promise it’ll all work out!

Watching you guys tweet your learning via the #SummerLS hashtag has been awesome too!  I just love watching the learning unfold and I’ve been learning so much by following the tweets too!  Oh and by the way we’re up to over 1,300 people participating in these challenges WORLDWIDE!  So crazy!

This week’s challenge is another two-parter!

Part 1:

The first challenge is a fun little goofy challenge with some substance behind it.  It’s created by someone I was able to meet for the first time just a few months ago and I can honestly say she’s one of my favorite people and someone I consider a great friend, Jennifer LaGarde.

I don’t wanna give too much away about this challenge, I’ll just let Jennifer explain the challenge and the reasons behind this challenge HERE.

Once you have completed this challenge please fill out this Google Form.

Part 2:

This week’s second challenge comes from one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Pernille Ripp.  This woman is absolutely incredible and I truly look forward to the day when I actually meet her face to face!

You can check out the short challenge video Pernille made HERE.

One of the greatest tools we have at our disposal is reflection.  To actually sit and think.  And to get our thoughts out about our growth and learning.  So like Pernille says in the video above, find a way to reflect this week.  Whether that be to write a blog post, have coffee with a friend, journaling, or just sitting and thinking alone.  The point is, stop and take some time to reflect.

If you’re interested in blogging but don’t even know where to begin I made a quick video HERE that can walk you through how to get a blog set up in just a few easy steps!

Once you’ve completed this week’s Part 2 Challenge, fill out this Google Form.

Challenge Week 3

We made it to  our THIRD Summer Learning Series Challenge!!!  I am so pumped about this week’s challenge!!

So just to give you an update, we’re now at over 1,150 participants from 7 different countries who are learning together.  That’s some pretty exciting stuff!

As I’ve said before I want to continually bring you challenges that aren’t just from me, but are from brilliant minds from across the world.  I’ve reached out to friends of mine, that I’ve built relationships with online and face to face, who are all coming together to help build this Summer Learning Series for YOU!  That’s how passionate we are about getting you connected and learning.

This week’s challenge is another two-parter!

Part 1:

To continue our theme of learning about Twitter this week’s challenge comes from Daisy Dyer Duerr out of Arkansas. You’ve heard a lot of talk about hashtags and me wanting you to include the #SummerLS hashtag on your tweets.  But I know some of you are still trying to figure out what exactly a hashtag is, and what does it do??  Well this challenge is built for you then.

First you can watch Daisy’s challenge video HERE.  

Daisy’s challenge is for you to participate in at least one moderated Twitter Chat this week using a hashtag.  Tom Murray has put together a pretty comprehensive list of all the twitter chats that go on in a week for educators.  You can find that list HERE.

The easiest way to participate in a twitter chat is by using a program like TweetDeck or Hoot Suite.  My favorite is TweetDeck, and I made a quick video explaining Tweet Deck (and a little more about hashtags) that you can watch HERE.

Like Daisy’s video says, try to include the #SummerLS hashtag while you’re participating to drive even more people to checking out what we’re doing.

Once you have participated in a Twitter Chat fill out the Google Form HERE to show your completion.

Part 2:

I love reading, but sometimes I don’t even know where to start when it comes to finding a great education book.  Well, there are three people who I’ve had to pleasure of getting to spend some time with who have written ABSOLUTELY incredible books.  You may have heard of these people or their books.  But I reached out to them, and in the midst of their incredibly busy schedules, each of these 3 authors took time out of their schedules to make you a video challenging you.

So the part two of this week’s challenge is to watch all three videos below.  Pick one (or more!) of the authors, get their book, and complete the challenge they’ve set forth!  None of these books are long or complicated so they should be an easy read in a week!

If you’re a teacher you may like….

Teach Like a PIRATE” by Dave Burgess.  Dave is absolutely amazing.  I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him and spend time with him on several occasions.  He’s one of the hardest working men I know and he is so passionate about changing the way we do education.  His book is all about being a passionate educator and engaging children.  If this book doesn’t like your fire and get you excited, I’m not quite sure what will! You can check out Dave’s challenge video HERE.

If you’re an administrator you may like….

Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times” by Eric Sheninger.  I had the extreme pleasure of meeting and getting to spend some time with Eric about a year ago for the first time.  He is incredible intelligent and has such a huge heart for changing education, but more specifically for helping more forward the leaders in the distrcit.  His book was a great read for me as I jumped into administrator.  I honestly feel that this book should be a requirement for anyone in a leadership position.  You can see Eric’s challenge for you by clicking HERE.

If you’re in education at all you may like….

Passion-Driven Classroom: A Framework for Teaching and Learning by Angela Maiers.  There are few people who have inspired me and changed my mindset of who I am and what my potential is, more than Angela Maiers.  She is widely known for her #YouMatter movement on twitter and travels the country speaking about finding your passion and helping kids discover their “genius”.  My favorite quote comes from Angela; “You are a Genius and the world NEEDS your contribution”.  You can see Angela’s challenge video by clicking HERE. (for Angela’s challenge, after reading her book, you’ll write about what three things stuck out to you most and how it will impact your school year).

After reading one of the three books listed above (or several of them!) You can fill out the Google Form HERE to complete your challenge!  Also, don’t be afraid to reach out on twitter to these authors (and others).  They love interacting and love hearing about what you’re gaining from reading their materials.  I always love tweeting out little tidbits from books as I’m reading them and tagging the author in those tweets so they can see how much their writings have meant to me!

Well, now you’ve got your Week 3 Challenge!  What are you waiting for????  Let’s get learning!

Challenge Week 2

So in the last update I sent out to everyone, I updated you on some numbers of people who are now working together to complete these challenges!  

I am super pumped and proud to say that in just SEVEN days, over 800 people from over 40 states and from Canada, Venezuela, Chile, Japan, China, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, and Ecuador are now learning together!  How amazing is that??? Again, this is the power of connecting and learning.  This is what using social media can do!  Just imagine how those numbers will continue to spread as the word gets out!

As you complete challenges and learn to tweet, remember to include the #SummerLS hashtag in your tweets, so that we can all see the tweets going out!

Ok, so here’s your challenge for this week...it’s a two-parter.

Part 1:
Throughout the summer, I’m going to utilize people in my PLN (Personal Learning Network) to help bring you challenges.  The challenges will not always be “techy” but always be about bettering you professionally.  This week’s challenge comes from my friend Brad Gustafson.  Brad is a principal in Minnesota and he made this great video to walk you through this week’s challenge!  You can watch it HERE.

Last week I had you set up a twitter account, if you hadn’t already.  This week, I want to hopefully help you continue to find the value in connection.  Listed below are 19 people I HUGELY respect in the Education world, who are also active on Twitter.  Your challenge this week is to connect with one (or more!) of these people and ask them a question.  Here are some examples!
1.  What is a book you’d recommend me reading over the summer?
2.  What is a great blog I should be reading?  Or a great blog post?
3.  Or simply just ask them any ole question! (favorite sites, favorite tools, how to connect with parents, favorite slush from Sonic, anything!)

Here are some I recommend connecting with who have all agreed to be primed and ready for your Question Tweets (but you can choose ANYONE you find on Twitter; just connect!) **KEEP IN MIND: there may be a lot of tweets going out to these people and they may not see yours right away, so don't get offended if someone doesn't respond quickly :-)

Erin Klein @KleinErin - Teacher in Michigan
Brad Gustafson @GustafsonBrad - Principal in Minnesota
Drew Minock @TechMinock - Former Teacher, Augmented Reality Evangelist for @DAQRI
Brad Waid @TechBradWaid - Former Teacher, Augmented Reality Evangelist for @DAQRI
Andrea Keller @akbusybee - Tech Specialist in Texas
Terri Eichholz @terrieichholz - K-5 GT Teacher in Texas
Evan Scherr  @EvanScherr - Assistant Director of Technology in Frankfurt, Germany
Ben Gilpin @benjamingilpin - Principal in Southern Michigan
Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp - 5th Grade Teacher in Wisconsin
Jimmy Casas @casas_jimmy - Principal in Iowa
Daisy Dyer Duerr @daisydyerduerr - Principal in Arkansas
Tony Sinanis @tonysinanis - Principal In New York
Todd Nesloney @TechNinjaTodd - Principal in Texas
Jennifer LaGarde @jenniferlagarde - Librarian in North Carolina
Amber Teamann @8Amber8 - Assistant Principal in Texas
Joe Sanfelippo @Joesanfelippofc - Superintendent in Wisconsin
Michael Medvinsky @mwmedvinksy - Music Educator in Michigan
AJ Juliani @ajjuliani - Author and Educator in Pennsylvania
Tom Murray @thomascmurray - State and District Digital Learning Director in Pennsylvania

After connecting with a few people, asking them a question, and then getting a response, go fill out this quick Google Form (I’ll piece together some of the responses from this Google Form and share in next week’s Challenge Email).

And then here’s Part 2:

Continuing with my theme of “connection”....one of my favorite tools to use to keep in contact with parents, students, and staff is Remind101.  Remind101 is a FREE service that allows you to text parents and students without ever needing their phone numbers, and they never need yours!  Best of all it’s a ONE-WAY communication tool!  I absolutely love Remind101.  It’s also an App that you can download to your phone and send messages directly from your device!  You can watch the quick video I made (HERE) about how to setup and use your Remind101 account today! If you're in a country outside of the US (besides Canada) you do NOT need to participate in this challenge due to overseas text costs!

How do you complete this challenge?  Well first you go and set up your own Remind101 account and group!


If you’re a Navasota Intermediate teacher you can click the link below this sentence, type in your phone number, then the code they give you, and you’re good!

If you’re participating in these challenges and you’re NOT with Navasota Intermediate you can click the link below this sentence, type in your phone number, then the code they text you, and you’re good!

The way I will know if you complete this challenge or not is by seeing if you signed up for the Remind101 groups listed above!

Thanks for being awesome and choosing to continue your learning this summer!  I’m learning along side you and am completing the challenges myself!!  If you have any questions please reach out!  

(If you want to send this out and new people want to sign up, they can fill out the Google Form HERE and I will add their email to the list.)