Day 1 with Matt Gomez

Here in Northwest Iowa we have the wonderful opportunity to spend two days with Matt Gomez. We have 70+ elementary teachers in attendance and almost 40 more on the waiting list (which is why Matt will be back in March!). Here are my notes from Day 1… [often in Matt’s voice, not mine] You also can see my notes from Day 2.

  • Our agenda and resources (including Matt’s slides)
  • Our backchannel
  • Crowdsourced ideas
  • Twitter
    • Why do you need a Twitter account?
      • PLN – a group of people who are your people – you need those people around you who do what you do and with whom you can talk and share – Matt’s #1 resource is a kindergarten teacher in Montana, they connected through Twitter – every teacher benefits from being connected to the teacher next door – online colleagues take Matt outside of his bubble in Dallas – the more connected we are, the better we get – every day Twitter can inspire us and teach us – Twitter can be both real-time and time-delayed – how do we have time? we have to invest the time if we are going to improve ourselves – most of the time investment is up front – be prepared to put a little bit of time in at the beginning – 4.2 million education tweets daily
    • We are getting everyone set up with a Twitter account – Matt is explaining reply, retweet, and favorite – the purpose of hashtags is to connect tweets together – sometimes they’re just to be funny (e.g., #pukealert)
    • Every Monday night at 8pm is #kinderchat – see also #ecechat, #1stchat, #2ndchat, #iaedchat, and so on
    • Matt has a list of ‘stars’ that he recommends that elementary educators follow
    • We now have a Twitter list of all the Iowa educators that are here today
  • Philosophy
    • It’s important to be grounded before we dive into tools
    • Remember that this has been a 4-year process for me
    • Video: Emma
    • Technology is not the end all, be all – if you don’t have a sandbox, you don’t need an iPad – focus on real experiences for kids – use tech to enhance, not replace
    • Don’t fall in love with the tool, fall in love with the learning that it provides – makes it easy to move from tool to tool to tool
    • Let them play! – when you give kids something new, let them play
    • Process v. product – it doesn’t matter if their gingerbread house is perfect – it never will be – let them play – focus on the learning process along the way
    • Learning how is greater than learning what – primary goal is to get kids excited about learning
    • Are you modeling the use of the technology? – we have to model ourselves so that kids can then take it and run with it – that’s why I blog and tweet and make videos – be sure to model your sharing and technology use with your kids!
  • The camera
    • The number one tool in my classroom is the iPad camera – they can take pictures anywhere, anytime (except in the bathroom) – not uncommon when we’re doing something for a kid to pick up the camera – pictures tell more about what we’re doing than anything else – story starters at home – every Friday I collect the pictures from the week and make a Facebook gallery – we make lots of books – if you want kids to write, get them excited to write – we have a photographer and a videographer for every experiment we do – every Friday we pick 3 videos to watch from earlier in the year – if you want to learn what’s important to your kids in your class, give them a camera
  • We have to own this
  • Projecting
    • The primary way we share what we’re doing with the iPad is through the document camera – kids can see what is being touched – 10 ways to share your iPad on a projector – assign iPad duties just like other class duties – put your most used apps in the bottom row or on the main screen
  • Felt Board app
    • The first app my kids use each year – start by just letting them play! – pair them up randomly, use Felt Board to explain who the 2 kids in the group are – upper and lower case letters (and LOTS of other t-chart uses!) – fiction v. non-fiction pictures – 4-box graphic organizer (e.g., seasons) – Venn diagram (land animals / water animals / both) – how would you put this into a literacy center? – make the empty Venn diagram with labels – put the screenshot printout at the center – now, students, you make this and then fill it in – great for story writing (INSERT PICTURE; 3rd picture = ‘get a house’) – telling a story and writing that story down are two different skills – many of these apps let me break down those two skills into separate components
    • Printing – we always print in black and white – we only print in color for Parent Night – I print two or three of each kids’ screenshots – they can pull their picture and write their story, they also like to write about other students’ pictures
    • Mix up the groups as often as you can – don’t let students work with the same peers over and over again
    • How can we connect this to our Iowa Core standards? (working in pairs to identify a standard and discuss a potential use of the app)
    • There also are Christmas and Mother Goose versions of Felt Board – wait until they are listed as free
  • Skitch app
    • Explaining how to use Skitch – we use the text tool and the arrow tool most often in my class (along with the size/color options) – touch the middle of the screen to bring up a text box – I use the digital pixelation tool to blur out the kid in my class whose picture can’t be shared publicly – I use Skitch constantly in large group instruction – for example, labeling birds – save the picture – we can use it later, they can see me using the tool – this is why I use the document camera
    • If you give all the kids the same picture, you get 20 of the same thing – if you give kids 40+ pictures to choose from, they can have choice and variety – I add pictures if they want one that’s not there
    • I talk to my kids about how to search for images safely – I don’t just tell them what not to do, we also talk about what to do when something pops up that’s inappropriate – first semester I provide the images for them – second semester I start teaching them how to do it themselves at teacher tables – occasionally a search will bring up bad things; teach them what to do; it’s digital citizenship
    • Tech integration starts with teachers being the leaders – ask kids ‘what app should we use to create this?’
    • We catch things every couple of weeks for our terrarium – we always take a picture and label it before sharing with parents
    • Search for ‘coloring page elephant (or whatever)’ – can download the black/white drawing, label it, print it – then they can color it – a built-in literacy center
    • How can we connect this to our Iowa Core standards? – we use Skitch a lot in math to show what we’ve done – a picture of a boy and a grandma (where are the verbs (or feeling) in this picture?) – describing setting/characters from a book – labeling books is a great way to use Skitch – this is the beginning of writing stories – make a Felt Board, but first they have to use Skitch to identify what verbs/adjectives they’re going to use
  • Math Class video (Kid Snippets) – after lunch fun!
  • Kahoot!
    • Can’t change a wrong answer – kids need to learn this – sorry, Johnny! – use team names if you don’t have a device for each person – can download answers at the end – there is a risk-reward between answering correctly and quickly – first kids learn not to yell out the correct answer, then they learn to yell out the wrong answer!
    • Examples of how to use – addition problem on screen, they have addition dice at each table – you don’t have to have a question, can just use an image – can search for and download other educators’ public kahoots – what is the ending sound for this animal’s name? (e.g., d for lizard) – for sight words, pick from “the, his, her, have” – as the year progresses, the words get harder – can get Matt’s kahoots by searching for mattbgomez
  • Popplet
    • Both free and online versions in addition to the paid version – powerful because of the different organizers – everything is synced across platforms – free version only lets you make one at a time
    • Since we don’t print in color, we only use black and white – we always use the largest size font
    • The only direction I give them on the task card is ‘make a new poppet’ (screenshot using Skitch) – teachers will spend 60 minutes laminating something for a center but get frustrated if it takes 10 minutes to make an electronic center activity because they don’t have time
    • Tip: take/download the picture from Safari, then pull it into whatever app you’re using
    • Examples of how to use – sight words – words that start with ‘i’ – show me you know what an insect is (preloaded the iPad with 20 pictures, 10 of which were insects and 10 which weren’t) – also wrote insect names on white paper, they had to pick which ones were the correct names – examples of nouns – took pictures during field day and then they picked pictures and labeled the verbs – who likes fruits and vegetables? – read a book (what word could you use on each page? or write the character? or the setting?) – sequencing using pictures from making applesauce – add pictures of rhyming words and they can spell them out – kids can sort things – students can do all of this at home with the online version!
    • When kids are done, they pick email jpeg and send to me (is the only email in the iPad address book) – this is a process, they have to be taught but they can do this – I don’t worry about their Popplets, they just show up in my email inbox as they get completed
    • How can we connect this to our Iowa Core standards?
    • Remember that we can save as images, pull into Skitch or another app – Matt’s images are organized in iTunes folders, then he chooses which folders are on the iPad (e.g., only the animal babies folder)
  • Other teachers
    • It’s not that they’re doing things wrong, it’s that these tools have value
    • How can we help our teaching peers see the value here?
  • Educreations
    • A virtual whiteboard that also can record/overlay audio and then save as a video
    • How many ways can we make 10? – Matt recorded each kid one at a time talking and drawing
    • A great way for students to show what they know
    • We use this a lot in math – we can show parents what we’re learning (e.g., how are we teaching place value) – also handwriting – parents can see how we talk/think about this stuff – I usually put these on our Facebook page – also good for students who are absent
    • No privacy concerns because you’re showing kids’ work, not their faces
    • App smashing – make their picture(s) in Felt Board – then import into Educreations – practice telling the story before they write it – usually partners working together – they can listen to the story over and over, which helps them remember what they want to write down
    • Every week we do this, their stories get longer and longer – they add more details – 2 minutes of telling a story is really good for 5- and 6-year-olds – stories can be at least 5 minutes long (haven’t gone beyond that yet)
    • Leveraging multiple concepts and skills with this one tool – blending together numerous standards into one activity rather than working on each in isolation
    • My goal is to get kids to this point by the end of the year
    • I keep a folder of math photos (base 10 blocks, timers, dice, etc.) that they can use to explain their math stories – they love using their own counters (e.g., Minecraft Steves, Skylanders, Frozen Elsas; we have 8 Steves and we take away two…)
    • Participants are using Apple TV to share sample ideas and creations from their own iPads!
    • Matt: “When kids create content, it sticks in their heads forever” – you don’t have to tell parents what students are learning, they run home to tell their parents what they’re doing and to look at Facebook
    • You want your iPads logged in to all of your accounts so you and the students can easily share
    • As you share the value that’s coming out of your room with these tools, it becomes easier and easier for parents and administrators to support expansion – more apps, more iPads, etc.
  • Tom Wujec video (Build a tower, build a team)
    • Who consistently performs poorly? Recent grads of business school
    • Who consistently performs well? Recent grads of kindergarten
    • How come? None of the kids spend time jockeying for power, business students are trained to find the single right plan and when it fails they’re out of time, kindergarten students prototype while always keeping the marshmallow on top – young kids are not afraid to fail and do it wrong – we shouldn’t let our fears hold them back
  • Virtual field trips
    • If you can go to the zoo, go to the zoo – virtual field trips allow students to have experiences they otherwise couldn’t have
    • When I get home, I will make a video slideshow for my kids so they can see every aspect of my trip – for example, most of my kids have never seen the inside of a cockpit or clouds from the top
    • If kids ask questions about volcanoes, there are 8 million videos on YouTube – why aren’t we using them?
    • Google Earth – sunrise tool, measure tool, etc. – hard for kindergarten students at first to understand virtual representation of the real world – you can make path videos (e.g., from our school to the football stadium; can go back in time to show what the neighborhood looked like before) – also Google Sky, Mars, and Moon
    • See the World Wonders Project – great for inquiry, questioning, learning about the world
    • See 360cities.net – 360-degree views of different locations around the world – for example, the inside of a mosque in Iran is great for talking with kids about patterns
  • Wrap-up ideas
    • The first couple of months our stories are terrible but as the year progresses they get better and better
    • More fun tomorrow!

Felt Board iOS app

Skitch iOS app

Popplet iOS app

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