“Can we do this again, so we can attend sessions that we couldn’t do this time?” was my favorite question asked by my teaching staff. Are we talking about CUE18? No, but we could have been!
My teachers at Macy Elementary are completely amped up for doing another round of our Macy Mini-CUE after attending sessions hosted by our teachers who attended highly impactful topics at the 2018 CUE (Computer Using Educators) Conference in Palm Springs, California.
We started the PLC (Professional Learning Community) meeting with each educator who was presenting at our Macy Mini-CUE, sharing their passion topic in a 30-second elevator pitch style. This way all the attending teachers would be well informed as to the topics they had a choice to attend, so they could exercise their voice and choice. The presenters offered two sessions teachers could attend depending on what topic was of interest to them, which was perfect to meet the needs of our staff who have a wide range of technology proficiency coupled to meet the needs of grade level relevancy.
First up, Ms. Blackler, Speech and Language Pathologist, presented on using assistive instructional technology featuring the Code and Go Robot Mouse to aid assistive instruction to enhance the educational experience for special needs students.
Next, Mrs. Pimper, Kindergarten teacher, shared the power of OSMO. She offered an immersive hands-on demonstration of all the features that OSMO provides. She demonstrated a range of instructional tools such as phonics and CVC activities, coding, and the ever-popular Hot Wheels MindRacers.
Third-grade teacher, Mr. Mangold, presented on how to use the Do Ink app to make photos and videos in combination with green screen. His focus was to showcase to teachers how they can enhance students’ reports and projects by adding an exciting photo or video background. Doing a report on presidents? Mr. Mangold placed a teacher volunteer in the middle of the Oval Office shaking hands with a host of former presidents.
Ms. Rutledge, fourth grade teacher, brought to life HyperDocs for staff members and really helped to remove the technology anxiety barrier for teachers who may not be so “techie” by sharing why HyperDocs are awesome, how they can enhance student learning and engagement, and shared easy to follow prebuilt templates to get any teacher started.
Fifth Grade teachers presented Flip Grid and Google Slides. Ms. Lee featured the power of Google Slides and shared with her attendees that before CUE18 she thought Google Slides was just another Microsoft PowerPoint. But, after attending “Google Slides: More Than a Presentation Tool” at CUE18, she was excited to present to our staff how Google Slides could be used to create student created magazines, writing logs, reflection journals, and choose your own adventure stories! Mrs. Ornelas focused on introducing Flip Grid and how Flip Grid can be used to scaffold, differentiate, and innovate how students present information in class. She also tackled how Flip Grid can be used to create class pen pals, supports absent parents, adds another dimension to parent/school communication, and can encourage students to practice speaking and listening (presentation) skills.
Mrs. Petrakis, sixth-grade teacher, shared Book Snaps modified for primary instruction. Our primary teachers enjoyed and appreciated finding out what Book Snaps are and how they could be modified to facilitate primary students’ interaction. Students in any grade, but especially in Kindergarten through second grade, can create a pen and paper picture of a book they read and physically write captions that show what they know or questions they have about the book. It’s a perfect lead up to having older students knowing and enjoying doing Book Snaps as they progress to a technology base Book Snap Practice. The best part is the connections the students make with books on a personal level.
After our presentation sessions, we reconvened as a staff to share “Glows and Grows” via exit tickets that were styled after Twitter tweets to celebrate our Twitter Professional Learning Network (my staff went from having two Twitters users to thirteen) and to tie into the theme of educational technology tools. In all, the shift in pedagogy and practice with educational technology in regards to the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model, a model that assist with helping teachers measure implementation of technology, has sprouted thanks in part to this amazing experience.
With all the challenges to orchestrating effective and relevant professional development in this time of shrinking budgets, where teachers are asked to do more with less, especially time, it was refreshing to hear all the positive conversations sparked between teachers who genuinely enjoyed sharing and learning from each other. The real accolades go not just to our presenters, but especially to the receptiveness and motivation by all teachers who are removing barriers and being open to try new innovations. This was our Macy Mini-CUE Inaugural Edition, but Macy is definitely looking forward to many more PLC focused Mini-CUE installments.
David Shun enjoys cultivating a culture of encouragement and innovation at Macy Elementary in La Habra, California. He’s enjoyed teaching in the classroom for 17 years and as an administrator, he has been sharing a passion for educational technology for four years. As a part of his passion, he is a Leading Edge Certified Administrator with a Masters in Educational Technology Leadership. Mr. Shun has been a Common Sense Digital Citizenship Certified Educator and is honored to have been a Discovery Education Network Principal Summit Presenter on building a S.T.E.M. culture. He is currently a proud member of Orange County CUE (OCCUE) and the CUE Administrator Learning Network.