I just returned from a 4-day trip to the fabulous CUE Conference in fabulous Palm Springs, California. In addition to joining some outstanding speakers and sessions (which I’ll blog separately later today), the conference was also the first time my National Writing Project/MERIT colleague Natalie Bernasconi and I were able to co-present our Digital ID project.
We were fortunate to have a wonderful group of teachers and administrators, ranging from elementary through high school, joining us for the session – with a several jumping right in to join the wiki and add to the resources.
The goal of the Digital ID project is to collectively and collaboratively- in one online location – provide students, teachers, and parents with the resources and strategies to make digital citizenship an integral part of the core curriculum – while addressing the legal requirements of current legislation such a AB 307 and the Broadband Data Improvement Act.
Natalie and I warmly invite you to download, tweak, share, and contribute to our growing bank of resources. We especially want to draw your attention to our Digital Citizenship PSA Challenge. We would love to showcase your students’ projects!
Next month I wrap up my year-long participation in the MERIT program, by far the best professional development program and PLN experience I’ve had to date – bar none.
The impact of MERIT really hit me last week when I was sharing with a colleague some gems I took away from last week’s amazing Saturday session with Ramsey Musallam. I started to explain that I met Ramsey while down at Foothill College. She immediately added, “Oh, the MERIT program, right?” That’s when I realized that throughout the school year, I regularly reference speakers, resources, and ideas gleaned from my MERIT experience.
So why is it that the MERIT program has been so meaningful to me, both in my work (technology integration specialist for a large k-12 school district) and as a life-long learner? Let’s see if I can nail it down in a few bullets:
If you applied for the 2012 MERIT program, I wish you luck. If you are accepted, I guarantee you too will soon be widely broadcasting its benefits. If you did not apply this year, I encourage you to think about 2013. And the good news is that MERIT is open to teachers across the nation and world. For a glimpse of the depth, breadth, and possibilities of the program, the community, and the multiple “ah ha” moments, checkout the video below from the 2010 MERIT team:
I’m starting the countdown to California’s February 1 Digital Learning Day celebration and feeling very fortunate to be attending the event with three outstanding teachers from my district.
Lesley McKillop, 4th grade teacher at Prairie Elementary and Area 3 Writing Project colleague, will share how her students use filmmaking as tool for transforming their writing into social action, such as taking on the Sacramento Board of Directors to save Splash, an environmental education program. Checkout the video for an idea of the many ways Lesley takes student voices beyond the walls of the classroom.
Teresa Cheung, 4th grade teacher at David Reese Elementary, will share how her students use voice recorders, as part of the Stories from the Heart project, to interview family and community members to compare and contrast childhood experiences across generations, geographic areas, and cultures.
Terri Mills, 5th grade teacher at David Reese Elementary, will share See the Wind, a science and writing lesson in which she teams her 5th graders with 1st graders. With a little help from their big buddies, the first graders then take their writing and their voices out to the world via VoiceThread.
In the Sacramento region, thanks to the efforts of Digital Learning Day coordinator Jayne Marlink, the excitement is growing, along with DLDay resources.
Hope to see you there!
Getting to spend Saturday with Rushton Hurley and the Merit 2011 team was worth getting up at 4:00 a.m. to make the 3 1/2 hour trip from Placerville down to Foothill College in Los Altos, knowing I would leave inspired and with a few new resources in my teacher’s toolkit.
Miguel Guhlin was our opening speaker, joining us virtually from San Antonio, TX. Miguel is one of the first bloggers I added way back to my Bloglines reader. Then and now, he continues to amaze me at the quantity and quality of his Around the Corner blog posts. His presentation answered the question Why blog? Of the tips Miguel shared, my favorite is
Tip 1 – Write or Speak – If you’re not a writer, be a podcaster or videocaster – you’re always a work in progress. You can checkout Miguel’s favorite blogging tools on his Blog Your World site.”
Nicole Dalesio led the afternoon Creativity with Image Editing session. Between her Photoshop tutorial on Scratch Art (which gave me a whole new understanding of the power of “layers” in a photo editing program) and her invitation to explore her awesome Free Online Tools to Spark Creativity wiki (which included Ransom Note Generator, the tool I used to create my Inspiration and Resources graphics), I think we all finished the day re-energized, inspired, and ready to “go out and do good things for students.”
I’m already looking forward to our November 5 session, which will include an exploration of best practices for using (IWBs) interactive whiteboards.
Like every morning at Merit, we jumped right in with awesome tools:
I’m feeling very fortunate to be a part of the Merit 2011 Institute. With 7 days down; 3 to go, it’s not just the selection of free tools I’m learning how to use that makes this program an exception PD opportunity. It’s the conversations that always come back to how students will benefit from the tools that puts Merit at the top of my summer learning experiences.
I headed back to Foothills College this morning to start Week 2 of the fabulous Merit 2011 Institute. Here are some take-aways from today’s sessions:
A big take-away from Diane’s session was the discussion around the value and importance of getting students outdoors – and saving them from what Richard Louv refers to as “nature deficit disorder.” John Medina’s research on Brain Rules indicates that the brain works best when we’re outside moving around – senses working together heightens intelligence. Kids can think better if you take them outdoors for a bit – seeing green helps diminish stress. And it doesn’t cost anything to weave more outside time into the school day:-).
Will be back tomorrow with more Merit gems.
I’ve just finished an amazing week of learning at the Merit 2011 Institute. I arrived with high expectations, based on knowing that Rushton Hurley would be at the helm, with an awesome team of teacher leaders – all equally excited about sharing tools, ideas, strategies for re-visioning the upcoming school year.
I truly enjoyed every session. Here are few of my favorite take-aways:
Heading back to Foothill College tomorrow for the second (and last) week of Merit 2011. Can’t wait:-)