Tag Archives: macul

Thank you, thank you very much!

Today I was honored to receive the MACUL Educator of the Year Award. There wasn’t time for an acceptance speech, so here it is online, where you can skip past it easily!

Thank You, MACUL

Photo by Orin Zebest
Photo by Orin Zebest

I remember the first time I attended and presented at MACUL in 1998. I had just been hired by Jim Bembenek (past MACUL president) and he told me I was presenting at MACUL. I will never forget my feeling of awe when we faxed in the application and he wrote on it “This one’s good!” Wow, he has so much power, I thought! To a young teacher just back in Michigan, it was mind boggling!

Ever since then, I have presented every year, and soaked up the great learning and networking that the MACUL conference offers. This organization has provided so many of the opportunities that provided me professional growth: serving on the board, serving as an ATA Technology Trainer, organizing featured speakers, printing my column, supporting the TWICE videoconferencing sessions, and many others. MACUL has and will continue to make a significant impact on my learning and networking.

Thank You, Sue
It was Jim Bembenek, Sue Porter, and Connie Solis who thought we should have a videoconferencing organization in Michigan. We met in a restaurant and discussed how we could start TWICE. Just a few months later Sue and I started the videoconference celebration of Read Across America for TWICE (now Read Around the Planet). Sue taught me so much as we started our distance learning program, including the paper towel demonstration of how video and audio are compressed! Thank you, Sue, for all that you’ve taught me and shared with me!

Thank You, Arnie
When TWICE got started, I met Arnie Comer, distance learning manager at Macomb ISD. Arnie taught me about the ASK program started by Jim Wenzloff at their ISD. Arnie shared a few ASK programs with me and then he and Jim helped me get my own ASK programs going. Thank you, Arnie, for bridging connections for me that I couldn’t get to work on my bridge, and teaching me so much about best practice in videoconferencing! Particularly, thank you for the nomination for this award, and all the mentoring beforehand that got me to where I am now!

Thank You, Kevin
Thank you also to Kevin Clark, my current supervisor, for the nomination, as well as for support, feedback, and great input on all my crazy ideas.

More Thank Yous
Thank you to everyone who has taken my online classes (PICC & K2K), then created great projects and shared them back with me to benefit my schools.

Thank you to all my local coordinators and teachers, without whom we wouldn’t have a successful videoconferencing program. Each of you have worked so hard to bring engaging learning experiences to our students in Berrien and Cass counties. I appreciate your time and effort!

Finally, I thank God for providing opportunities and blessings so that I can do my work. I give Him the glory for what I’ve accomplished, for without Him I can do nothing.

Animal Behavior at the Buffalo Zoo

This post is cross-posted at the MACUL conference blog.

Last TWICE session of the day, not quite so packed but still a great group. Presenters are Linda McConville, 4th grade teacher, and Diane Nye, media specialist, at E. P. Clarke Elementary, in St. Joseph, MI.

Videoconferences their school has done are the ASK programs, the Macomb ISD LAPs programs, the Voices project, collaborations with the UK and Alberta, connections with the Columbus Zoo, LEARNnco, the Cleveland Institute of Music, ASK Stellaluna, a connection with Pakistan, Read Around the Planet to name a few.

Handouts for this session included those from the Buffalo Zoo for the Animal Behavior, the Search Help page and Region 12’s content provider review page.

Rebecca gave us a quick overview of what they do, and then gave us a feel of the Animal Behavior program.

We saw a blue tongued skink and identified behaviors it might do. In the rainforest exhibit (via a live camera), we looked for some animals that use behaviors and adaptations to attract mates. We saw many different kinds of visuals …. including a tiny hummingbird egg. “Imagine a bird hatching out of a tic-tac!”

After the program demo, then we saw some of the live exhibit cameras, including a gorrilla who was picking bird seed out of hay.

Teachers got to ask questions, and learned more about how they offer programs, cost, logistics, etc.

Thanks to the Buffalo Zoo for giving us a great overview of their programs and to all the teachers who attended so late in the afternoon!

If you want to learn more about videoconferencing, come to the sessions tomorrow in W2-66!

Solving Math Problems with 6th Graders

This post is cross-posted at the MACUL conference blog.

Another jam packed TWICE room (W2-66), this time with Danielle Letter, from Atkins Elementary in Saginaw, MI. We videoconferenced with 6th graders back in Atkins Elementary.

Here’s Danielle’s handout.

Danielle is giving us an experience with the type of videoconference called Math Maniacs. The kids read some math problems to us. We divided into groups and solved the problems while the students worked on solving some other math problems. Then we read some problems to the students… Some of the problem titles were:

  • Toothpick Problem
  • The Million Mystery

Danielle: Are you ready?

Kids: No, we’re not! This is HARD! They’re teachers!!

Both sides muted the microphone and worked on their math problems.

Danielle: All you need to do this is two classes, and some math problems. You can do it over videoconferencing, or Skype, or with an overhead projector with the class next door in your class. A document camera (Elmo, AverMedia, etc.) is helpful to share the math problem with the other site.

95% of what we learn is when we’re teaching someone else. So the students are teaching other students how they are solving their math problems.

Why do we use problem solving?

  • Because of the collaboration
  • Can be open ended
  • Can be not one right answer
  • Appeals to many learning styles
  • Encourages multiple strategies to solve the problem
  • Promotes stamina

Then we tried to solve our problems. Lots of quality work time, brainstorming and problem solving at both sites. See how one of the groups solved the toothpick problem.

After that, the 6th graders explained to us how they solved their problems, and we explained how we solved our problems. We learned about strategies guess and check, drawing a chart, acting it out…

Some student quotes on why they like problem solving:

  • It’s really good because you don’t just come up with the answer with a calculator. You use your mind by yourself and you feel really good. I like it because of the accomplishment.
  • I like it because it’s challenging. You have to do it over and over again until you get it. But you keep trying and get it and you realize that it’s worth finding the solution to it.

Nothing like hearing in the words of a kid!

At the end, our teachers didn’t want to share their answers, and the 6th graders said that we were camera shy. Everyone laughed!

Thanks Danielle, for showing us the cool ways to engage kids in teaching others and solving problems.

Links from my CAPspace / RAP Presentation

Follow-up from my Collaborations Around the Planet and Read Around the Planet session at the 2009 MACUL Conference in the TWICE room.

CAPspace MACUL 2009 PowerPoint

Collaborations Around the Planet

Read Around the Planet

Information for Collaborations

Projects Featured

My Upcoming Classes

More Info

  • Explore the tabs above to see my projects and my literature review in process.
  • Note that you can subscribe to my blog above using the RSS feeds or the email option (if you so choose).

Visiting Wales, then MSU Museum

This post is cross-posted at the MACUL conference blog.

It’s the first session after Alan November, and the TWICE room (W2-66) is jam packed with participants anxious to learn virtual field trips. Greg Marten, Lenawee ISD is presenting How Do I Find A Virtual Field Trip? Look TWICE!

After an introduction to videoconferencing, we connected to Lynsey Russell‘s class at Woodlands Elementary in Cwmbran, Wales to hear their Read Around the Planet presentation that they did with Ohio a couple weeks ago. The class started with a little introduction of geography of the UK. Then they sang us a song. The kids were so cute in their red, white and black uniforms. Huge round of applause from the teachers in the audience. We heard a Welsh song, and then a poem about a dragon in English. The poem was about the dragon who ate the school. Complete with actions and wonderful expression! Wonderful performance poetry.

One of the participants on the front row sang all the songs with the students and did the actions. She had Welsh background so that was a nice connection!

We had a chance to ask them questions:

  • What is the weather like?
  • What kinds of things do you do on the playground? (football, cricket, and basketball)
  • Do they learn Welsh in school?

After going to Wales, we got online for a while. People with laptops went to the TWICE website. The Projects section is where you can learn about connections like we did with Wales. The rest of the session focused on videoconference programs or field trips and how to search the Berrien RESA Videoconference Program Database. Participants learned about the TWICE discounts and other features.

Next, we headed over to the Michigan State University Museum to hear about their programs.

They gave us a tour of their studio – a little closet when you look offline. They have a green screen, which is of course very neat and makes it easy to see the visuals and the presenter at the same time. We got a nice overview of their programs: evolution, adaptations, and termites. We also heard crickets, saw pictures and video clips of various creatures. MSU Museum is one of the more affordable providers, with a cost of $50 per session.

If you haven’t seen a videoconference yet, plan to stop by the TWICE room (W2-66) for one of the upcoming sessions!