Day 2 and my energy is much less than it was yesterday. I got there much later today, and my first session was 2 hours, so that was not really the best start to a day for me. I still learned so much and really enjoyed my second day.
My first session was The Power of Digital Storytelling. Not anything really mind-blowing here, in terms of apps, but just to see a person who does these kind of things with 800 students a week kind of gave me a kick in the pants. The presenter Katie Chirhart is a tech apps teacher in Caddo Parish Louisiana. And wow! She is using this platform to encourage her students to love writing because when they are done, they get to produce a digital representation. She shared some cartoon apps and book maker apps, along with green screen ideas too. This is where the green silk gloves came in to play! What better way to make the kids hands disappear when they are acting out a puppet story then with green gloves. She had lots of great ideas about microphones and such too. A valuable resource for sure!
My second session was Easy Accommodation and Assessment Tips that Will Blow Your Mind. The presenter was Jamie Morgan from Witchita Falls ISD. She had experience in kindergarten so my ears perked up! Ok, my mind wasn’t blown because so much of what she talks about it what we do for all kindergarteners everyday. But I can see as a first -fifth grade teacher how recording tests for kids who have that accommodations on Screen-Cast app could be a lifesaver. I was even texting one of my PF’s during the presentation to brainstorm if she could use this with some of her testing situations. I learned in this session that I really need to pump up my Google Educator knowledge, because you never know where your next opportunity could be. I need to be a more well-rounded teacher in all areas so that I am ready to go at a moment’s notice, no matter where I am (or what district I am in).
Another fabulous lunch by the Galveston Convention Center was served next! YUM!
My next session was Big Learning for Little Learners. Finally, I have found my peeps. Two kindergarten teachers from Alamo Heights ISD (in San Antonio), Jennifer Carter and Alexandra Catalani presented some great tools and ideas in a real life kindergarten classroom. I was glad to see reference to Bloomz, for which I am an ambassador. My biggest takeaway was that it reinforced that my kids can do so much of this stuff on their own, and they can post it to their Bloomz to save me time and the hassle. Having the IPADS from day one next year should make a big difference in the level of independence that they have by the end of the year.
On to Herding Cats with Technology. The presenter was Amanda Peterson from Lamar Consolidated ISD. I found her background very interesting, along with her partner in crime, who was a former kindergarten teacher. I am finding it hard to get people in the technology department to take my skills seriously and here we have a SPED teacher and kindergarten teacher at the district level of technology. There is hope for me yet! She shared symbaloo and plans on sharing some that are already made. I use it now, but haven’t even thought about accessing others pages. She also mentioned a Texas Kindergarten teacher named Matt B. Gomez, who has lots of symbaloo pages already constructed. Could he be the Mr. Greg of Texas? The one big takeaway that I had from this session is I am going to have to write a grant for some Osmo’s. I need Osmo in my life, ASAP! It will be a miracle if I make it to August without spending my own money on one, that’s for sure.
My last session was my luxury session as I called it. It was about making things look good and cute. April Whitehead is a former Art teacher who gave lots of good ideas about how to make things that I produce in my classroom, for all people, look nice and neat, but great! We didn’t have much time to create at the end, but it introduced me to a new tool, Google draw, which might be the solution to my problem of working on Mac at home and Windows at school. This seems like a tool where I can create documents that are easy to transfer between the two systems. I also was reintroduced to Adobe Spark and Canva, both of which I used during my Master’s program for various projects. It was a nice end to the day of learning and a great way to remind me to keep my audience in mind. My coteacher has some “font anger issues” which I could tease her about too via text messages too during the presentation so it was a win-win!
I hope you enjoyed my adventure. Am I going back next year? YES, YES, and YES! I might even play around with the idea of presenting. We will see!