Tag Archives: Collaboration

#FETC14 Countdown: Innovative Workshops Not to Miss!

20 Dec

2014 is right around the corner… Kick off the new year right by plugging into innovative sessions and workshops at upcoming conferences across the country!  Whether you can make it in person or join in virtually, this is a great time to get connected to the best that ed-tech has to offer.

FETC14 SpeakerI’ll be starting out the year at FETC in Orlando from January 28-31.  If you are planning to be there, I’d love for you to join me in one of my workshops as we explore the transformative potential of using technology in the classroom.  Here are three opportunities… and remember to pre-register for these workshops early while there are still spots available!

Tuesday, January 28 – 8:00-11:00 AM
Ed-Tech Transformation: More than Meets the Eye

Today’s interactive, relational and tech-savvy students are not the same 21st Century learners we had the first decade of the millennium and our technology curriculum and integration shouldn’t be either! Join us as we explore proven and emerging ways to revolutionize your class and school with a technology-infused curriculum that drives student discovery, problem solving, collaboration and creativity, all while meeting the demands for academic achievement.

Thursday, January 30 – 8:00-10:00 AM
Digital Village: Using Technology to Increase Parent Involvement

By using Web 2.0 collaboration tools, parents become an integral part of your classroom and their child’s learning! With interactive demonstrations, free resources, best practices, and testimonials, you’ll move forward inspired to turn your classroom into its own digital village. In this interactive session, attendees will engage live demonstrations of collaborative web environments, explore best practices for implementation, view diverse examples, and delve into free, effective collaboration tools like blogs, wikis, Voicethread, video-conferencing, writing apps, online whiteboards – and more!

Thursday, January 30 – 1:00-3:00PM
It’s a Small World: Elementary Global Collaboration

Discover powerful web resources and best practices perfect for connecting young learners around the globe. Gain ideas for tools like Google Docs, Storybird, Voicethread, ePals, Skype, Flockdraw, Quadblogging and more. In no time, your students will be sharing videos, images, knowledge and skills; blogging; storytelling; and even creating websites with other students across the classroom or around the world.

Growing School Gardens: An Eco-lutionary Move

10 Sep

Something “eco-lutionary” is cropping up at schools across the country.  While some students might be experiencing the start of the new academic year from behind a desk, others are embracing an expansive sense of classroom that reaches far beyond the schoolhouse walls and into the green.

At our public charter school, Lakeland Montessori Middle School, teachers and administration plan the year with explorations into green space in mind.  P.E. sometimes takes place running around a lake, field trips include environmental clean-ups and snorkeling, and studying biology means much more than just looking at pictures in textbooks.  In fact, during the last school year, the students at LMMS struck up an interesting partnership with one local restaurant, the Red Door Wine Market.  Synthesizing their learning of biology, weather, collaborative design, math, business and even presentation skills, the students designed, proposed and executed the implementation of a “farm-to-table” concept on the restaurant’s grounds.

The result of this entrepreneurial project is a flourishing garden that provides organic lettuces, peppers, herbs and other produce to be served to patrons at the Red Door.  Students were extremely proud to see the literal fruits of their labor… and ecstatic when they first saw “Montessori grown greens” appear on the menu.  Several of the students happened to be on site the last time I ate on the outdoor patio at Red Door.  When asked about the garden, they were eager to share about their project, detailing the various plants sprouting up around the grounds.  In addition to their pride, the depth of learning and retention from the project was also clearly evident.

According to Angeline Stoll Lillard’s book, Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius, working with plants, nature and environmental elements is an integral part of the Montessori educational model.  Maria Montessori went as far as suggesting that elementary classrooms should include ornamental plants, which the children could tend… and that middle grades education should include running both a farm and a local store at which to sell their produce.   Instead of preparing students for the “real world,” this type of project-based Montessori education provides students the present-day opportunity to be valuable contributors to their local community and economy.

Yet the school gardening movement is not limited simply to Montessori schools or even high school agriculture classes.  In fact, many communities and schools across the country are discovering the benefits of empowering students to plant and grow foods.  In his TED Talk, “A Teacher Growing Green in the South Bronx,” educator Stephen Ritz passionately talks about how growing vegetables, fruits, and flowers has transformed his community, starting inside the classroom and spreading throughout the city.  School gardening in the Bronx is improving both academic achievement and their standard of living.  The students in Ritz’ first cohort of classroom farmers were previously struggling in school with only a 40% attendance rate; with the impact of this program, attendance increased to 93% and all of those students are now in college and earning a living wage.  Ritz says he’s “growing organic citizens, engaged kids.”

Other TED Talkers also see student gardening as a means to economic prosperity.  Ron Finley, A Guerilla Gardner in South Central LA, says that “growing your own food is like printing your own money.”  With little exposure to green space and whole foods, inner city students in South Central LA suffer physically and economically.  A movement to garden in public spaces is changing this for kids in Finley’s neighborhood.  Finley continues, “You’d be surprised how kids are affected by this.  Gardening is the most therapeutic and defiant act you can do, especially in the inner city.  Plus, you get strawberries… If kids grow kale, they eat kale.  When kids grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes.  But when none of this is presented to them, if they’re not shown how food affects the mind and the body, they blindly eat whatever the hell you put in front of them… I see young people and they want to work, but they’re in this thing where they’re caught up – I see kids of color and they’re just on this track that’s designed for them, that leads to nowhere.  So with gardening, I see an opportunity where we can train these kids to take over their communities, to have a sustainable life.  And when we do this, who knows?  We might produce the next George Washington Carver.”

School gardening combines learning from all curricular areas into a real world application with multi-faceted benefits to students.  I have personally seen these academic and affective benefits first-hand in the students at Lakeland Montessori Middle.

So, how do you get started with gardening in your school?  Fortunately, there are several ways to learn more – starting today!

The School Gardens Community on edWeb.net is an active group of educators sharing free resources and discussions on growing school gardens.  You can join this community edweb.net/schoolgardens and gain access to their upcoming webinars on growing schools gardening, such as:

-  Inquiry in the Garden: Facilitating Student-Led Investigations for Grades K-8 in an Outdoor, Living Laboratory     Tuesday, September 10, 2013- 4pm / Eastern Time
Presenter: Whitney Cohen, Education Director at Life Lab

-   From School Garden to Cafeteria Table: How to Plan, Grow, and Use Garden Produce in a School Cafeteria Lunch Program    Tuesday, October 1, 2013- 4pm / Eastern Time
Presenter: Matthew Doris, Food Service Director & Chef, Tuckahoe Common School District, Southampton, NY.

The School Gardens Community also shares an e-guide about school garden planning and lesson integration by New Jersey educator, Dorothy Mullen, which definitely deserves a look.

One other way to introduce gardening to your students is with a new book by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.  Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table is a beautiful picture book telling the biography of a former basketball star turned gardener turned MacArthur Foundation Fellow.  In her review of the book, Elizabeth Bird praises Martin for masterfully portraying the connection between economic stratification and access to healthy foods “without getting anywhere near a soapbox.”  More than that, students learn how, with dedication and hard work, someone can turn a big idea into a meaningful reality.  The best part?  The book officially releases today.  And if one book isn’t enough, look for other books that with potential to introduce your deep classroom conversations about gardening, food, health, and economics on the International Reading Association’s list of leveled reading books on the subject.

By making gardening an integral part of project- and inquiry-based learning, we have a unique opportunity to provide our students with more than just academic knowledge.  Instead, we can empower them by developing practical skills for success, not only in math and science, but also in collaboration, problem solving and iterative design; we can raise them with a profound sense of capacity to create, to grow, and to succeed.  Plus, as Ron Finley would say, “you get strawberries.”

 

Nancye Black

Nancye Blair Black is an award-winning educator, author and educational consultant.  She also proudly serves on the Board of Directors for Lakeland Montessori Middle School, a free public charter school in Lakeland, FL.

More information about the LMMS gardening project can be found on The Ledger and WFLA News.

“It’s a Small World: Elementary Global Collaboration Tools” @ #GlobalEd12

13 Nov

Day 2 of the Global Education Conference has begun!  Yesterday was filled with inspirational speakers and practical tips.  I especially enjoyed Tony Wagner‘s ideas about fostering innovation in our students and Rita Oates’ practical tips for connecting with guest speakers who have International perspectives, yet live within our local communities. (If you missed them, I will be posting a link to the #GlobalEd12 session recordings later this week.)

As promised, tonight (or tomorrow morning depending on where in the world you live) at 11:00 PM Eastern Time, U.S, I will be presenting as well.  Here’s the scoop!

It’s a Small World: Elementary Global Collaboration
Nancye Blair, Education Innovation Specialist & ISTE Emerging Leader

Direct Link to the Session: https://sas.elluminate.com/d.jnlp?sid=2008350&password=GECPart101

Session Description: With mountains of resources available for Global Collaboration, elementary teachers often spend hours sifting through tools and practices to find the select few that will be successful for young learners. In this high-energy session, attendees learn about powerful web resources and best practices that are perfect for our youngest learners. With ideas for tools like Google Docs, Storybird, Voicethread, ePals, Skype, Flockdraw and more, participants will learn how to find other teachers and classes who are interested in collaborating, how to set-up 21st century learning activities that promote global awareness and real world problem solving, and easily implement these new tools in their classroom. In no time, elementary students can be blogging; digital storytelling; sharing videos, images, knowledge or skills; and even creating websites with other students across the classroom and around the world.

Today guarantees to be another wonderful day of connecting and learning.  Once again, the full GlobalEdCon schedule can be found  here.  And remember, you can follow #GlobalEd12 or me (@EngagingEdu) on Twitter for ongoing updates, tips and highlights as well!


Connect with the free, online Global Education Conference: Nov 12-16!

12 Nov

Today marks the first day of the 2012 free, online Global Education Conference.  Running all week, nearly 24 hours a day, this conference offers incomparable diversity and opportunities for global connections.

If you are new to the Global Education Conference, #GlobalEdCon ”is a collaborative, inclusive, world-wide community initiative involving students, educators, and organizations at all levels. It is designed to significantly increase opportunities for building education-related connections around the globe while supporting cultural awareness and recognition of diversity.”

Here are a few of today’s sessions I think you’ll find interested… and details about the session I am presenting tomorrow, too!  The full schedule can be found here.  And remember, you can follow me on Twitter for ongoing updates, tips and highlights as well!

 

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12
(All times given in Eastern Time, U.S. Use the schedule above to check times in your area!)

10:00 AM — Opening Keynote: Creating Innovators
Tony Wagner, Technology & Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard
Link to Session: https://sas.elluminate.com/d.jnlp?sid=2008350&password=GECKPart1

1:00 PM — Session: #VideoGamesForGlobalLearning
Terry Heick, Institute for Habits of Mind
Link to Session: https://sas.elluminate.com/d.jnlp?sid=2008350&password=GECPart6

3:00 PM — Keynote: The Lessons I Learned While Making A Difference
Ilona Dougherty, Executive Director of Apathy is Boring
Link to Session: https://sas.elluminate.com/d.jnlp?sid=2008350&password=GECKPart13

10:00 PM — Top 10 Places to Find Real People in Your Community to Globalize Student Learning
Dr. Rita Oates, Oates Associates & Florida Society for Technology in Education
Link to Session: https://sas.elluminate.com/d.jnlp?sid=2008350&password=GECPart36

 

MY SESSION TOMORROW, TUESDAY, NOVEMEBER 13:

11:00 PM — It’s a Small World: Elementary Global Collaboration
Nancye Blair, Education Innovation Specialist & ISTE Emerging Leader
Discover powerful web resources and best practices perfect for connecting young learners around the globe. More details here.
Link to Session: https://sas.elluminate.com/d.jnlp?sid=2008350&password=GECPart101

I would love to connect with you through #GlobalEdCon this week. If you see me, please say hello! And have a great conference!
~Nancye

Get Back-to-School with the 2012 Learning 2.0 Virtual Conference

20 Aug

Uniforms are neatly hanging in bedroom closets. School supplies are flying off shelves. Yellow buses are getting reacquainted with neighborhood streets. This can only mean one thing…

It’s time to go back to school!

Of course, this is not just an exciting time for students. This is a time for us as educators to dream of educational ideals and new beginnings, to imagine the next great learning adventure. It’s a time to take a chance and try something new in order to make a difference in the lives of our students.

This week, I encourage you not to dream alone.  In the midst of the hustle and bustle of back-to-school, I encourage you to take advantage of a unique opportunity to dream alongside educators around the world through the Learning 2.0 Virtual Conference.

As part of Connected Educator Month, the Learning 2.0 Virtual Conference is “a global conversation on rethinking teaching and learning in the age of the Internet.”  From August 20-24, the conference will feature powerful interviews and keynote talks from experts like Howard Gardner, Yong Zhao, Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Sugata Mitra, as well as a diverse offering of concurrent sessions.  A full schedule of the conference can be found here.  And the best part?  Participation is free!

So, check out Learning 2.0 and join me in kicking off the new school year by building a new dream for improving student learning by harnessing the amazing technological resources of the Internet age!