Tuesday, July 12, 2011

DENSI Update Day 3

Another great DEN day! Thanks for all the fun everyone. I love collaborating and sharing with the stars. What a galaxy of talented DEN stars we have! And my how brightly the stars shine.

Today was a long day with 5 interesting PD sessions. I took many notes but they aren't all finalized yet. If you would like a copy of my notes, please let me know and I will gladly share out after I make them a bit more universally readable.

But here are a few brief summaries of today's proceedings:

Main session summary:
The DENdy 500 race was begun. Jannita Damian discussed how the challenges on the road to leading with technology shouldn't be left as a hindrance. In conversation later with some friends from Maine, we discussed how our negative opinions of the way things HAVE been should be put into the Pit. They don't need to be discarded. They need to be modified, overhauled, and fine-tuned.

First breakout session:
Jeremy Davis presented an informative session on using self-assessment for evaluation. Two great nuggets I received during this session:
  • The classroom management system has been updated recently. Classes can be created globally by a school district to pre-load student information into the Discovery Education system.
  • In Discovery Education you can use the Advanced Search feature to find quizzes that others have created and tweak them for use with your students and/or staff.

Second breakout session:
Joe Diaz presented a stimulating session which demonstrated some ways to motivate students with digital content. He offered some suggestions as starting points. And then challenged us to dream up our own possibilities.

Some of his suggestions include:
  • Using wordles to help draw focus to a topic's content before revealing the topic heading.
  • Displaying ½ of a graphic for students and asking them to predict what the other half might be before revealing
  • Playing a video without sound paired with 3 transcripts. Have students identify the correct video transcripts.

Third breakout session:
Clare Devine discussed exploration and reflection/rethinking. How do you equip students with the ability to attain the objectives that you set out in the motivation/opening of your lesson? What experiential learning will help students explore the big ideas and questions to achieve desired understandings?
Among the many samples Clare gave she sparked renewed interest in Discovery Education Skillbuilders. These gems have much to offer. You can search for them in the advanced search feature. It was great to get to rethink about this oft forgotten section of DE streaming. What wonderful nuggets for introduction or review await under the skillbuilder category.

Fourth breakout session:
Sarah Johangiry shared ideas for tailoring instruction for individual students. Differentiated instruction is meeting kids where they learn.

Differentiated instruction is flexible and fluid (groups can change based on progress and assessment). She also pointed out the existence of a site that hosts lyrics and worksheets to accompany several of the RockBot songs that are contained in Discovery Education. These can be found at http://4boysinc.com/. Definitely worth exploring for future use in the classroom.

Jannita Damian gave us a glimpse into the activities of the Discovery Education professional development teams recent interactions.  An adorable video was played to refocus us on "Who are you? and Where are you going?" 

During the wrap-up session this evening, the lovely Renee Henderson stood and shared her excellent viewpoint with us. Many agreed she spoke with eloquence.

Social experiments:
The evening was completed with some great DEN mingling. An ice cream social was hosted. DEN members gathered for cool refreshments on a beautiful patio. Conversation was both fun, fun-hearted, and productive all at the same time. I just love that combo. 

 Then the DENmazing Race took place. Congratulations to all the winners. It was great entertainment watching our colleagues scurry about completing tasks. The pronouncement of the winners were overseen by the DEN royal court of Lance and Martha Rougeux. And the official proclamation was decreed by Princess Porter.

After the winners were announced DEN members continued to socialize, network and strategize into the night. Good conversation, good people and good weather... good times and good memories!

Over the last few months Steve Dembo started an intriguing idea that caught on. He hosted the Fit42 challenge. Members of his online PLN participated in networking and sharing focused on the theme of becoming more physically fit, active, healthier and possibly losing weight. Thrilled to say I have lost 13 pounds since that experiment began. And the great ideas continue flowing. Tomorrow morning we will rise early for a walk to the beach before the sessions dawn on Day 4 of #DENSI. Obviously it is time for me to sign off or I won't be able to participate in the Fit42 activity. I can't wait to see what the DEN has in store for us tomorrow...

1 comment:

  1. I reached out to Renee Henderson for a summary of what she had shared with us during Day 3's commentary. We were discussing the concept of "cover". Jannita Demian looked at the meaning of the word and if it is appropriate to "cover" content. Renee suggested that at times teachers get bogged down in the material they must address with students and forget that they must "reveal" it to them in a meaningful way not
    "cover over" curriculum content. Our job as educators is to assist students in constructing meaning that peals away the layers leaving new knowledge behind. Renee was right the skill of "Reveal" is much more important than "cover" or meeting just the basics.