Sunday, June 21, 2015

TCEA Tots & Technology 2015

Earlier this year, I had the privilege to attend TCEA15 where I was able to connect with amazing educators and learn TONS to bring back to my classroom and share with my PLN. I am thrilled that I was able to receive a grant from my district to return to TCEA and attend Tots & Technology in Galveston last week #TCEAtots. This conference appealed to me for their specific focus on early education, prek-5th grades. Spending 16 years in first and second grades, now moving to third, often conferences cover prek-12+ so this was nice to be surrounded by elementary educators.

The anticipation leading to this conference was unbelievable. Several of my educator peers recommended it plus I attended with a few of my Digital Divas (we meet once a month to collaborate and work through ideas and issues together). An added bonus was a few days away by the beach while we reflected on all we learned! We were greeted by a beautiful blue sky and listened to the peaceful ocean waves crash softly on the beach: 
Unfortunately, within 24 hours, the sky turned dark, strong winds pounded the windows, rain blew sideways, water rose before us and the threat of flooding then being stranded in Galveston became a reality. Tropical Storm Bill #TSBill had other plans and forced us to make the very difficult decision to leave early. #OhNoMrBill #HereIAmRockYouLikeAHurricane #YouCanStandUnderMyUmbrella
However, not even Bill could stop our learning as we continued to follow the conference on Twitter and gain information on the long, frightening, rainy drive home. Now I have lots to read through this summer and I look forward to attending again - just hope the weather doesn't interfere next time.

Here are a few things I learned and plan to implement in my classroom:
*I love connecting with educators at conferences. I actually attended multiple sessions by these presenters because I enjoyed their information and felt it was relevant to my students' needs. Check out LiteraryFusions for yourself: @literaryfusions or #literaryfusions One goal I have for next year is to find ways to develop vocabulary for my learners. One of their presentations was on Vocabulary and App Smashing (my students and I LOVE to App Smash!) One of the ideas they had was to use context clues to define a word. While my boys were attending story time at the library last week, I made a few examples:

Another idea is for students to create posters showing good citizenship using famous Americans. Students will use a variety of vocabulary words to describe the citizen and share it on a blog post or display around the room. 
At one point they got us very engaged by sending a beach ball (did someone say BEACH?!?) with a variety of questions on it. The person that caught the ball read the question out loud then you can chat with your neighbor (we call it 'Buddy Buzz') then share with the class answers that you said or heard (which is great practice for those who didn't have an answer at first, for those who need language support or those who are shy and working on their speaking skills)
*Last year I worked with my students during Writing Workshop, WONDER Wednesdays and Reading Workshop to summarize their writing. It proved to be a difficult skill to teach. A fun way to work on that is to use The Newspaper Clipping Generator to work on sharing information in a summary.
*Practice multiplication facts or spelling words with ChatterPix.
*Act out science vocabulary using the green screen affect in iMovie and provide QR Codes to revisit the vocabulary throughout the year.
*I was able to attend Joan and Janet's sessions in February and thrilled to attend another of their presentations. They have so much enthusiasm and energy! I want to be like them when I grow up!! Follow them at @joangore and @corderj. They shared a variety of tools for formative assessment. My students and I love Kahoot! It is a wonderful, engaging way to formatively assess my class. However, since I am looping this year I am on a serious search to find new and exciting things to make this year different. Enter Quizizz! This is similar to Kahoot! (and I plan to use both throughout the year) but it is self paced for each student, students get feedback as soon as they complete their quiz and it shows the question on the students' devices. I'm excited to get started with Quizizz. They also suggested the app StickPick that provides questions based on the level of blooms you select. I've gotta check it out!
*They provided a breakout session where we were in grade level groups. Now, I have NO experience in 3rd grade but I was partnered up with another educator who had little technology experience. She gave me some insight on 3rd grade while I gave her insight on a 1:1 classroom. She even joined Twitter while we sat there! Later, while we were waiting for a session, a few of us connected with some people that attended another session and shared the app cards with us. Here is one:
This is one of my FAVORITE parts of attending a conference - connecting with others and the amazing level of collaboration that takes place. We are all there to push ourselves and gain new ideas! Plus, you get to reconnect with those you have met before. I've noticed at times it looks like a mini-reunion - people that stay in touch on Twitter or via email then get to see each other face-to-face once a year. FUN!

I have tons and tons more in my Google Folder for Tots & Technology - plus all of us that attended shared our notes in the Google Folder, not to mention all the links I gained from those that shared on Twitter - I have so much I gathered from attending! Good thing I have several weeks of summer to sort through it all. : ) 

If you have not yet attended a conference, please check out what is offered nearby and check one out! I am thankful my Digital Coach pointed me in the right direction and now I have several conferences I enjoy! I have presented at a local TCEA conference but I'm trying to convince myself to present again, perhaps at next year's TCEA Tots & Technology! Do you have a favorite conference you attend?

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