6 Personal Stages of Tech Integration, 60/180

6 Personal Stages of Tech Integration, 60:180Recently, I started to think about the different stages of skills/comfort that educators go through when integrating technology in the classroom. Here is what I came up with. Let me know what you think!

  1. “This too shall pass!”
  2. “I’m intrigued!”
  3. “Make a PowerPoint that looks like this!”
  4. “Make a PowerPoint!”
  5. “Make a presentation!”
  6. “Make a…”

Sitting Is The New Sugar, 59/180

Contributed by Jessica Chong, High School Physical Education Teacher

Too much of anything is never a good thing. Day in and day out, students are spending most of their school day sitting at a desk. I don’t think people really realize how much sitting is going on throughout any given day. Students are sitting more and more outside of the school setting due to their constant need for staying connected with their friends via social media. Also, especially with the rise in technological advances, adolescents are spending very little time outdoors. See the above video for some food for thought. 

The Power of Student Led Questions, 58/180

Contributed by Teresa Cross, Elementary School ESL Teacherhe Power of Student Led Questions

I’ve been reading Make Just Once Change by Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana.  This title was intriguing, can one change really have that much of an impact? The change that the book refers to is have students learn how to pose questions and make them into better questions. The method is called the Question Formulation Technique (QFT).

My biggest takeaway from this book is as follows:

  • All students should and can learn to formulate their own questions.
  • All educators can easily teach the skill as part of their regular practice.

I came across this video of an 8th grade class working with this Question Focus as they come to the end of a unit of study.


How are you having your students pose questions and share them their peers?

Writing and Conversation in the Digital Classroom, 57/180

Writing and Conversation in the Digital ClassroomContributed by Joe Pacitti, High School English Teacher

One of the more problematic issues related to writing instruction across content areas is process: how can we teach students to write well in the digital classroom? Increasingly, educators are focusing on purposeful writing in the real world: blogging, Tweeting, commenting, posting. While these are the most prominent forms of writing that all students encounter on a daily basis, I’ve been questioning what’s being sacrificed in my own room by jumping whole-hog into the digital arena.

Conversation – the lost art of talking to a student about his/her writing, in this instance – is essential to inspiring reflectivity. By conducting writing conferences, engaging students in face-to-face dialogue (both peer- and teacher-led), and then expanding the personal into the digital, students’ writings become more than a flash-in-the-pan moment on a Google Doc. Writing – good writing – requires multimodal learning processes, and only a few writing practitioners are advocating for a hybrid approach to teaching meaningful drafting and publishing.

As we wade through the quagmire of pedagogical texts together, I’d like to take a moment to direct your attention to one that has, in my many years as a writing instructor, improved student writing processes and products longitudinally:

  1. Write Like This: Teaching Real-World Writing Through Modeling and Mentor Texts (Kelly Gallagher)

If you’re asking how you can integrate sound writing practice into your classroom regardless of content area, this is the text for you. Gallagher introduces the concept of writing through a variety of modes – explain and inform, argue/persuade, etc. – using mentor texts as models.

Students interested in science can utilize published lab reports and articles from publications like WIRED to produce a piece that informs/explains the process of cellular mitosis; those interested in purchasing a new game system can create, using the pre-, during, and after-writing methods Gallagher delineates to create a fully-functional graphic and associated analysis to complete a side-by-side comparison of the PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U.

Most importantly, this text emphasizes the power of drafts and writing conferences – if you need a format for providing meaningful face-to-face feedback to your student writers, I highly recommend this text.

What can we learn from Minecraft? 56/180

Contributed by Jane Brennan, Elementary School What can we learn from Minecraft?Librarian

Today, I played Minecraft with my 9 and 10 year old sons and this caused me to think about how the game can be used in education?

The popular build-and-survive video game Minecraft could very well be the most surprising tech success of this decade.  But what are our kids learning “playing” this game?  Some of the things Minecraft players have built are truly staggering: massive vehicles, intricate skyscrapers, working analog computers, and even the entire country of Denmark exactly to scale.


Coming up with solutions to problems leads the player through pretty complex thought processes, the ones at the highest and most complex levels of thinking known as executive functions – memory, planning, attention, organization.

Have our schools stayed frozen in time? 55/180

Have our schools stayed frozen in time?“In the last 100 years, as careers have moved from the industrial to the idea-driven; as global economies have risen and fallen; as women have strengthened the workforce; as the US has welcomed nearly 250 million new people; as we’ve gone from a Model-T to a Tesla and a switchboard to a smartphone… high school has stayed frozen in time. We want our students to think critically, but we make them memorize. We want intellectual curiosity, but we pad the schedule with easy courses. We want innovation, but we teach to a packet. We want self-reliance, but we force them to sit prisoner in the name of learning.”

While these are generalizations, approaching the statements with a growth mindset can allow us to look at our own district and schools and identify what is working and what could be better.

What ideas or questions about education in Salisbury does this video prompt?