Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tales of the iCoach 2015

At this time of the year you can either do a year in review, or goals for the next year. I am going to do the year in review. I especially like blogging as a reflective tool. I feel it is important to know where you have been in order to know where you are going. One of my major goals for 2015 was to present outside my district. While I don't have a fear of speaking in front of big crowds, presenting outside the district really pushed me outside my comfort zone. I had to be organized and succinct, two things that I always aspire to do better. I was able to present 6 times to a broader audience! The summer was especially great. I did a Birds of a Feather session at ISTE entitled Tech Coach Therapy.

One of the best things about my job is that I get to go to many different classrooms around our district. I enjoy watching staff and students grow! Growth and change can be messy or difficult at times. That is why I enjoy being there to support the staff in my district.

After I look back at 2015 I can set my goals for 2016! Here are some pictures and commentary. 

I worked in the primary grades the majority of the time last school year. For many of the teachers that I work with integrating QR codes into center time or workshop time just makes sense. It is a good place to start integrating tech. The teachers usually start with free lessons from Teachers Pay Teachers. Then I work with them to create their own. The kids really like doing QR codes too. QR codes can be done on mobile devices or computers.

I took +Jordan Garrett's place presenting Integrating Tech Into the Reading Writing Workshop at the Waukegan Google 'n More Conference. Jordan and I presented Bringing PLCs to Life with Google + at ICE our state conference. It was great to have the entire team there to support us! We continued to refine our presenting skills.

My FAVORITE projects of the year were the animal Touchcasts that I did with 1st graders. I wrote all about the process here

In April I finally got to work with middle school students. We made non-fiction magazines for 4th and 5th graders. The great thing about this project was giving the 7th graders an authentic audience. They changed their approach to the project based on their new sense of audience. It was really amazing to see. The final product and the platform that we used to share out the projects can be seen here

May was great!  +Michael Saracini and I took 2 of his students down to our state capitol building in Springfield to show our legislators how tech in education supports learning. Mike's kids did interviews and made Touchcasts on the fly! 

Berwyn South School District hosted its 1st Ed Tech Conference, iEngage-Berwyn. On Friday, May 8th we had site visit tours, so that our guest could see 1:1 in action in the classrooms. At night we had a social gathering with a Color Alive demo by +Brad Waid (@TechBradWaid) and music by Big Data, a band comprised of tech directors from across Illinois. On Saturday we had breakout sessions of a traditional conference mostly presented by our own staff. Jordan and I did Bringing PLCs to Life with Google + again. I wrote about the conference and so did +Carl Hooker. Carl says it is An Inspiring Event Every Educator Should Experience.  

In June I did a Birds of a Feather session at ISTE (read my blog post). This was a huge honor and I was so glad to be selected to have a session. I also was able to make some extra money working for a fabulous company, Ed Tech Teacher. I worked with the amazing +Beth Holland and +Shawn McCusker. I was the assistant in the room for Chromebooks in the Classroom and iPads and Google respectively. Watching Beth and Shawn gave me so many pointers on how to present PD. I was honored to be a part of their sessions!

In July Jordan and I presented 4 times over 2 days at iPadpalooza Indiana in Noblesville. We were able to perfect our skills. We were again surrounded by some amazing educators. Thanks to Carl Hooker for the great conversation and the awesome advice!

In August we presented at the Transliteracy Conference in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Jordan and I used Periscope to broadcast our presentation this time. I enjoyed attending a small local conference similar to iEngage, again surrounded by amazing educators! Thanks to +Corey Holmer for inviting us. 
I enjoyed traveling and sharing Berwyn South's story this summer!

Always exciting to start another school year, my 26th in the business! I helped 8th graders set up their blogs on Blogger for iPads and use Touchcast to create newscasts. My big push this school year is to help teachers find apps that let them and their students show their thinking and demonstrate their understanding! Touchcast is a perfect app for that purpose. I am also the Google Apps Admin for our district. The Tech Director, +James Kloss and I worked to create 4,000 student Google Apps accounts.

October and November seemed to blend together. The school year was in full swing, I was presenting PD during contract time, after school PD and traveling. In the beginning of October I went down to Tampa Bay/Clearwater Florida for Launch Me with Brad Waid and Ed Camp Tampa Bay. Both amazing experiences! At Launch Me I was surrounded by like minded educators who are risk takers, always pushing the boundaries. Everyone in that room wants to change the world for the better. Brad talked about his path, his challenges and gave us pointers on how to make ourselves better. It was a real eye opener for me about what it really takes to be a national or international keynote speaker. Once you commit you can't be wishy-washy. You are either in 100% or it won't work. 
I thoroughly enjoyed my Ed Camp experience. It was a very relaxed atmosphere with great conversations. All of the people that I met over those 4 days were so great! Thanks to the Ed Camp crew for letting me help with set up. I came in and asked if I could help in any way and they put me to work. I was happy to see how the set up works, esp since we have been transitioning to a true Ed Camp model for our in district institute days. Oh and if you look closely at the 1st pic above you will see a Tesla symbol. The lovely and talented Fran Siracusa let me drive her Tesla, icing on the cake!!! Thanks Fran! 
I would like to give a shout out to the wonderful educators who I met in Florida. They continue to influence and support me! Wonderful educators and human beings!
Nikolas Chatzopoulos @chatzopoulosn
Sean Gaillard @smgaillard
Katrina Keene @Teachintechgal
Natalie Krayenvenger @NKrayenvenger
Andi McNair @mcnairan3
Bryan Miller @Edtechnerd
Fran Siracusa @la_Profe_S
Susan Wells @wellssusan
Kara Welty @Kara_Welty
Jen Williams @JenWilliamsEdu
Please follow them on Twitter if you are not already!

As a district we are working on a project to embed SAMR as a common reflective instructional language into our school culture. I need to write a proper blog post about the entire process soon. In sort my team and I spent 6 weeks in October and November talking to staff about SAMR and its use in planning instruction. I'm working on a video that we used during our PD. I need to finalize it and include the link in my blog post.

I also coached a 2nd grade teacher to integrate more technology into her instruction. I really enjoyed teaching the kids to use the new features of myOn. They were able to annotate text right inside the web version of the app. 

During December I started working with +Virginia Burdett . As I observed in her room I realized that she is doing amazing things in her instruction, but that her students were hardly ever in their seats, at their tables, or in the classroom. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. With the way that Ginny teaches and the way her students learn they don't need to be in their seats. They need an even more flexible learning space. Ginny and I worked over winter break to make the room look like the blue print pictured above. We have run into a few budget issues. It has slowed us down a bit, but has not stopped us. When the process is all done I will definitely blog about it. It has been an uplifting experience! We both can't wait till it is done.
One last thing about December - Mike Saracini and I were named Touchcast Ambassadors for 2016. I look forward to spreading the awesomeness that is Touchcast!

Wow! When presented like this I realize that I have accomplished so many things in 2015! Kara Welty asked on Instagram today what is one thing that you were proud of in 2015. I don't think I can choose just one! That's where I've been over the last year. Here's to more great things in 2016!

1 comment:

  1. Mona, you are amazing! You inspire me every day!!!! You have accomplished so much and have truly helped so MANY students! Rock on, and I cannot wait to hear what 2016 brings for you! 🎸🎸🎸 big hugs from Florida, Fran