September 13, 2017

Maker Movement: Makerspaces

What is a makerspace?

"Makerspace" is a term used to define a space that provides hands-on, creative ways to inspire students to think outside the box. It provides the opportunity to design, test, construct, and create based on problem-solving skills. Students are able to construct ideas and practice socialization skills, while engaging thought provoking tinkering, engineering, and other 21st-century skills. No one makerpace looks like the next, but the foundation is consistent across the board.

Maker Movement

The maker movement is changing the way we look at hands-on self-driven learning. Makerspaces are beginning to make the move out of libraries, museums, garages, and informal "faires" straight into K-12 classrooms. Advocates for hands-on, student-centered learning are in support of this fresh take on classroom experiences. Many educators are discovering student-lead learning is more impactful and long-lasting than a teacher-led classroom. The shift with the maker movement presents itself as a way to breathe fresh air into the 19th-century designed classrooms.

The World Economic Forum estimates 65% of the future's workforce doesn't even exist yet. One of the greatest skills students will need for a successful future, is complex problem-solving strategies. Other skills which are in great demand or have been highly rated include, but are not limited to, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and emotional intelligence. The maker movement is having a great impact on the notion of creation and problem-solving based learning.

Where do makerspaces come in you ask? As recently as 2015, the maker movement along with makerspaces was identified as being a top development in educational technology. The NMC Horizon Report for 2015 stated, "Makerspaces are increasingly being looked at as a method to engage learners in creative, high-order problem-solving with the use of hands-on design, construction, and iteration.' There is potential to effectively prepare students with necessary 21st-century skills through the use of makerspaces.

Jackson Enterprise Elementary School Makerspace



Blogs & Websites

Sylvia Show
Caine's Arcade
Makerspace for Education Blog
Makerspace for Education Website
Renovated Learning
Renovated Learning Makerpace Resources
Curiosity Commins Makerspaces
Resources for School Makerspaces
Makerspaces Supply List
Makerspace Impact Infographic



August 31, 2017

Spice Up Your Staff Meeting

Staff Meetings are one of the most difficult requirements for administrators and teachers. How can we model instructional strategies in our staff meetings? How can we add value to our meetings? How are you going to spice up your staff meetings?

Flipped Faculty Meeting 
There are many ways to flip a faculty meeting. Flipped faculty meetings allow for more meaningful face-to-face time by front-loading basic information. This allows teachers to consume information before the meeting, thus allowing for deeper discussion during the meeting time. 

Jennifer McKay, principal at Southern Hills Elementary School flips her staff meetings by sending out all information a week before, which has allowed her team to consume the information before meeting time. Then at the meeting, they take a deep dive into discussions. 

Jack Reed, principal at Emerson North School flips his faculty meeting by creating a video and having staff watch the videos. Check out his YouTube channel, which houses his flipped faculty meetings. 

Hoonuit offers a variety of professional learning topics; everything from Google Classroom to classroom management. This is a great anytime, any place professional learning platform. Administrators can assign content to staff members and then staff members can print off certificates of completion.

Staff Meeting Bingo
Create a bingo card for staff to complete which also creates a fun learning experience. Bingo can help spark creativity and innovation.  This version of Bingo also allows for differentiation of activities. 

Pineapple Chart
The Pineapple chart allows educators to invite others into their classroom for informal observations. A chart is set up somewhere in a highly visible location in the school. Then teachers can sign up or "advertise" the awesome things they are doing in their classroom which others might want to observe. This is voluntary with no documentation or evaluation attached and a great way to learn from your peers.

Observe Me
#ObserveMe is similar to the Pineapple Chart idea, in that it allows educators to invite others into their classroom for informal observations. This idea increases the frequency of feedback, allows for more opportunities to have a growth mindset and will ultimately positively impact our students. Educators post a sign on their door identifying their room as an #ObserveMe room with their goals listed. Then observers can provide instant feedback.

These are just a few ideas, and there are MANY more. Below are a few links to other ideas, examples, and resources. 

Ideas, Examples & Resources

Forget Faculty Meetings
Coolidge Staff Blog
F.D. Moon S'mores
Transform Your Staff Meetings
Leading Innovative Change

August 23, 2017

Implementing Change With the Least Resistance

It is no secret education is experiencing a major overhaul and there has been a mind shift of how teachers teach. Education is moving from teacher-centered to student-centered, and technology integration is going to play a pivotal role in that shift.

Technology is quickly becoming the standard in classrooms worldwide; it is becoming the new pencil and paper. Change can be difficult to accept for some and exciting for others. Regardless of how we feel about it, change is happening.

Are you a principal modeling the use of technology by asking staff members to turn in their lesson plans on Google Drive? Are you a teacher who is working towards introducing Chromebooks to your students? Some are set in their ways. However, as we transform the face of education, we must remember that the quality and follow through of implementation is most important.

As uncomfortable as change can be, here are a few suggestions to help you through the process.

Explain the WHY
The goal when implementing anything new for staff and children, is to create a “buy in” mentality.  Your staff and students need to know how the new tools are going to make their lives more efficient and why you feel it’s necessary to utilize.

Phase In
Have you ever walked away from a training or a class feeling like your mind has been blown away by all of the information tossed at you? Avoid overwhelming staff and students by introducing new tools in pieces, focusing on each piece alone until comfort levels are high.

Evaluate and Review
Before moving on to the “next thing”, devise a system that works best for your site to evaluate the benefits.  If everyone agree a tool is non-essential, try something new.

Change has come, but it does not have to be a fearful and scary experience.  


August 17, 2017

Engaging Students with SMART Notebook

This blog post is rather long but very informative. This post covers everything from downloading the latest version of SMART Notebook, troubleshooting your board, and engaging students with SMART Notebook through interaction with the board.

What is SMART Notebook?

SMART Notebook provides an opportunity for assessments, student collaboration, and game-based learning to engage students in the learning process. 

How do I get SMART Notebook?

First, locate the Symantec Software portal icon located on your desktop. Then double click the icon and log in with your OKCPS credentials.

Once logged in on the Symantec Software portal, you have access to a list of pre-approved software through the district. You will need to click on SMART Notebook 17. Then a box will pop up and select done. It will take approximately 20 minutes to push the software to your laptop. Then repeat the process with SMART Gallery Essentials and SMART Lesson Activity Toolkit

How does my SMART board work?

Now you have the software, SMART Notebook 17, but you want to make your board interactive! Check out SMART Board & Notebook 101. This video tutorial will help you troubleshoot your board, set up your board cables, and much more! If you need additional cables for your SMART board, please work with your campus tech committee and administration to purchase those items needed. 

How can I engage my students with SMART Notebook?
When you first download SMART Notebook 17, a tutorial will pop up once you open the program. Click on Learn the Basics and walk through this tutorial as it provides many helpful tips and ideas for use. This section will also show new features of the software. 

Check out the videos below for more ideas of how to use SMART Notebook in your classroom.

Assessments with SMART Notebook 17 and SMART response2.

Game-based Learning with SMART Notebook 17

Helpful Hints
After reading this post, hopefully you have discovered how to acquire the SMART Notebook software on your laptop, how to troubleshoot any problems which may pop up and various ways to engage your students. Below is a short list of helpful links just for you!

Do you want to take your SMART skills to the next level? Click HERE to earning your badge.

August 9, 2017

Personalizing Education for Our Students

What is Personalized Learning?

What is Summit Learning?
Summit Learning is a free program which provides schools with resources to personalize learning in the classroom. Currently, it is in over 300 schools, with 2,700 teachers, and 56,000 students in 40 states. The personalized learning takes place due to 1:1 mentorships, real-world projects, and individualized pathways or self-directed learning plans. Students are able to set goals and consume content in a way which works best for them.  

What Does Summit Learning Provide?

  • Flexible anytime/anyplace learning
  • Student-driven learning
  • Redefined and expanded teacher role
  • Master-based pacing
  • Project-based learning

What Does Summit Learning Look Like?
Summit Learning personalizes learning for students and empowers teachers to have multiple roles so everyone succeeds. 

Where is Summit Learning Happening?

Last year our district piloted Summit Learning in three elementary schools. This year Oklahoma City Public Schools is adding an additional two elementary schools and three middle schools. 

Stay tuned for more blog posts about Summit Learning as we spotlight more classrooms.