Friday, June 27, 2014

#SummerLS Challenge 4

Below is Todd's message for this week's challenge. I have to echo his comments at the start of his message... it's very exciting to hear and see what you guys are learning about this summer. You guys are truly living out "life-long learning" with this challenge by trying something new.

It's not too late to join and accept this challenge! Simply go back to the previous blog posts and start the challenge today. Also, click on the tag #SummerLS on the right side of this blog post, you can access all our previous messages about this challenge. As always, please let me know if you have questions, concerns, roadblocks, or something I can help support you in this challenge. 

You guys are awesome and I hope you're enjoying your summer MORE than me (this is were I am now...) 

Your prayers are appreciated... :)

Here's the message from Todd (the Google Forms below are links to me):
Well we’ve officially made it to the 4th challenge in our first ever Summer Learning Series!
To say this has been emotional overwhelming, would be an understatement. I am in complete awe at the amount of people who are choosing to step outside their comfort zones and LEARN! Like I said when we started this journey, we’re professional students. If we want to challenge and encourage our students to be continual learners we must do the same!
I know some of these challenges may be uncomfortable, difficult, or down-right hard for some of us. But nothing easy was ever worth learning. We know that we learn best through mistakes and failure. So if there’s parts to these weekly challenges that you find tough or pointless, stick with me! I promise it’ll all work out!

Watching you guys tweet your learning via the #SummerLS hashtag has been awesome too! I just love watching the learning unfold and I’ve been learning so much by following the tweets too! Oh and by the way we’re up to over 1,300 people participating in these challenges WORLDWIDE! So crazy!

This week’s challenge is another two-parter!

Part 1:

The first challenge is a fun little goofy challenge with some substance behind it. It’s created by someone I was able to meet for the first time just a few months ago and I can honestly say she’s one of my favorite people and someone I consider a great friend, Jennifer LaGarde.

I don’t wanna give too much away about this challenge, I’ll just let Jennifer explain the challenge and the reasons behind this challenge HERE.

Once you have completed this challenge please fill out this Google Form.

Part 2:

This week’s second challenge comes from one of my all-time favorite bloggers, Pernille Ripp. This woman is absolutely incredible and I truly look forward to the day when I actually meet her face to face!

You can check out the short challenge video Pernille made HERE.

One of the greatest tools we have at our disposal is reflection. To actually sit and think. And to get our thoughts out about our growth and learning. So like Pernille says in the video above, find a way to reflect this week. Whether that be to write a blog post, have coffee with a friend, journaling, or just sitting and thinking alone. The point is, stop and take some time to reflect.

If you’re interested in blogging but don’t even know where to begin I made a quick video HERE that can walk you through how to get a blog set up in just a few easy steps!

Once you’ve completed this week’s Part 2 Challenge, fill out this Google Form.

Once again, listed below this email are the first 3 challenges! So, what are you waiting for? Let's learn!

Friday, June 20, 2014

#SummerLS Challenge 3

Todd posted another Challenge to the Summer Learning Series (#SummerLS) today. Be sure to follow the hashtag to see what other educators are learning about this summer too. Todd started this with his campus of teachers and simply invited others to join. It's encouraging seeing so many people join this challenge. After today, we will now be on Todd's release schedule... which is a new challenge on Fridays.

Listed below is the message from Todd. Remember, I'm keeping track of your participation via Google Forms (links are below). If you miss a week, you can always go back anytime to catch up! Please keep up the good work:


We made it to our THIRD Summer Learning Series Challenge!!! I am so pumped about this week’s challenge!!

So just to give you an update, we’re now at over 1,150 participants from 7 different countries who are learning together. That’s some pretty exciting stuff!

As I’ve said before I want to continually bring you challenges that aren’t just from me, but are from brilliant minds from across the world. I’ve reached out to friends of mine, that I’ve built relationships with online and face to face, who are all coming together to help build this Summer Learning Series for YOU! That’s how passionate we are about getting you connected and learning.

This week’s challenge is another two-parter!

Part 1:
To continue our theme of learning about Twitter this week’s challenge comes from Daisy Dyer Duerr out of Arkansas. You’ve heard a lot of talk about hashtags and me wanting you to include the #SummerLS hashtag on your tweets. But I know some of you are still trying to figure out what exactly a hashtag is, and what does it do?? Well this challenge is built for you then.

First you can watch Daisy’s challenge video HERE.

Daisy’s challenge is for you to participate in at least one moderated Twitter Chat this week using a hashtag. Tom Murray has put together a pretty comprehensive list of all the twitter chats that go on in a week for educators. You can find that list HERE.

The easiest way to participate in a twitter chat is by using a program like TweetDeck or Hoot Suite. My favorite is TweetDeck, and I made a quick video explaining Tweet Deck (and a little more about hashtags) that you can watch HERE.

Like Daisy’s video says, try to include the #SummerLS hashtag while you’re participating to drive even more people to checking out what we’re doing.

Once you have participated in a Twitter Chat fill out the Google Form HERE to show your completion.

Part 2:
I love reading, but sometimes I don’t even know where to start when it comes to finding a great education book. Well, there are three people who I’ve had to pleasure of getting to spend some time with who have written ABSOLUTELY incredible books. You may have heard of these people or their books. But I reached out to them, and in the midst of their incredibly busy schedules, each of these 3 authors took time out of their schedules to make you a video challenging you.

So the part two of this week’s challenge is to watch all three videos below. Pick one (or more!) of the authors, get their book, and complete the challenge they’ve set forth! None of these books are long or complicated so they should be an easy read in a week!

If you’re a teacher you may like….
“Teach Like a PIRATE” by Dave Burgess. Dave is absolutely amazing. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him and spend time with him on several occasions. He’s one of the hardest working men I know and he is so passionate about changing the way we do education. His book is all about being a passionate educator and engaging children. If this book doesn’t like your fire and get you excited, I’m not quite sure what will! You can check out Dave’s challenge video HERE.

If you’re an administrator you may like….
“Digital Leadership: Changing Paradigms for Changing Times” by Eric Sheninger. I had the extreme pleasure of meeting and getting to spend some time with Eric about a year ago for the first time. He is incredible intelligent and has such a huge heart for changing education, but more specifically for helping more forward the leaders in the distrcit. His book was a great read for me as I jumped into administrator. I honestly feel that this book should be a requirement for anyone in a leadership position. You can see Eric’s challenge for you by clicking HERE.

If you’re in education at all you may like….
“Passion-Driven Classroom: A Framework for Teaching and Learning” by Angela Maiers. There are few people who have inspired me and changed my mindset of who I am and what my potential is, more than Angela Maiers. She is widely known for her #YouMatter movement on twitter and travels the country speaking about finding your passion and helping kids discover their “genius”. My favorite quote comes from Angela; “You are a Genius and the world NEEDS your contribution”. You can see Angela’s challenge video by clicking HERE. (for Angela’s challenge, after reading her book, you’ll write about what three things stuck out to you most and how it will impact your school year).

After reading one of the three books listed above (or several of them!) You can fill out the Google Form HERE to complete your challenge! Also, don’t be afraid to reach out on twitter to these authors (and others). They love interacting and love hearing about what you’re gaining from reading their materials. I always love tweeting out little tidbits from books as I’m reading them and tagging the author in those tweets so they can see how much their writings have meant to me!

Well, now you’ve got your Week 3 Challenge! What are you waiting for???? Let’s get learning!

Since you have the book "Teach Like a PIRATE", this challenge will be easy for you to complete. Team Leaders also have a copy of the "Passion-Driven Classroom" by Angela Maiers. This is the author that developed the YouMatter movement that we talk about last school year. Ask them if you want to borrow their copy. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Learning Series #2 w/ Todd Neslosney

I'm getting some great responses from our staff so far -- keep it up. I'm keeping track with a Google Form that you can access here too. Be sure to complete the Google Form with our campus if you want credit for Royse City ISD. This will count toward some additional PD hours.

Also, please ask me questions if you need any help... you have my cell phone number, text, tweet, or email me. If you have a Twitter account from last school year, go ahead and add your Twitter handle to the Google Form... again I want to give you credit and this will count for some hours of professional development. Once you complete each of these tasks, I can approve your hours of PD through the Eduphoria system.

Here's another message from Todd....
So in the last email I sent out to everyone, I updated you on some numbers of people who are now working together to complete these challenges!

I am super pumped and proud to say that in just SEVEN days, over 800 people from over 40 states and from Canada, Venezuela, Chile, Japan, China, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, and Ecuador are now learning together! How amazing is that??? Again, this is the power of connecting and learning. This is what using social media can do! Just imagine how those numbers will continue to spread as the word gets out!

As you complete challenges and learn to tweet, remember to include the #SummerLS hashtag in your tweets, so that we can all see the tweets going out!

Ok, so here’s your challenge for this’s a two-parter.

Part 1:

Throughout the summer, I’m going to utilize people in my PLN (Personal Learning Network) to help bring you challenges. The challenges will not always be “techy” but always be about bettering you professionally. This week’s challenge comes from my friend Brad Gustafson. Brad is a principal in Minnesota and he made this great video to walk you through this week’s challenge! You can watch it HERE.

Last week I had you set up a twitter account, if you hadn’t already. This week, I want to hopefully help you continue to find the value in connection. Listed below are 19 people I HUGELY respect in the Education world, who are also active on Twitter. Your challenge this week is to connect with one (or more!) of these people and ask them a question. Here are some examples!

1. What is a book you’d recommend me reading over the summer?

2. What is a great blog I should be reading? Or a great blog post?

3. Or simply just ask them any ole question! (favorite sites, favorite tools, how to connect with parents, favorite slush from Sonic, anything!)

Here are some I recommend connecting with who have all agreed to be primed and ready for your Question Tweets (but you can choose ANYONE you find on Twitter; just connect!) **KEEP IN MIND: there may be a lot of tweets going out to these people and they may not see yours right away, so don't get offended if someone doesn't respond quickly :-)

Erin Klein @KleinErin - Teacher in Michigan
Brad Gustafson @GustafsonBrad - Principal in Minnesota
Drew Minock @TechMinock - Former Teacher, Augmented Reality Evangelist for @DAQRI
Brad Waid @TechBradWaid - Former Teacher, Augmented Reality Evangelist for @DAQRI
Andrea Keller @akbusybee - Tech Specialist in Texas
Terri Eichholz @terrieichholz - K-5 GT Teacher in Texas
Evan Scherr @EvanScherr - Assistant Director of Technology in Frankfurt, Germany
Ben Gilpin @benjamingilpin - Principal in Southern Michigan
Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp - 5th Grade Teacher in Wisconsin
Jimmy Casas @casas_jimmy - Principal in Iowa
Daisy Dyer Duerr @daisydyerduerr - Principal in Arkansas
Tony Sinanis @tonysinanis - Principal In New York
Todd Nesloney @TechNinjaTodd - Principal in Texas
Jennifer LaGarde @librarygirl - Librarian in North Carolina
Amber Teamann @8Amber8 - Assistant Principal in Texas
Joe Sanfelippo @Joesanfelippofc - Superintendent in Wisconsin
Michael Medvinsky @mwmedvinksy - Music Educator in Michigan
AJ Juliani @ajjuliani - Author and Educator in Pennsylvania
Tom Murray @thomascmurray - State and District Digital Learning Director in Pennsylvania

After connecting with a few people, asking them a question, and then getting a response, go fill out this quick Google Form...
(Scott Elementary's Form).

And then here’s Part 2:

Continuing with my theme of “connection” of my favorite tools to use to keep in contact with parents, students, and staff is Remind101. Remind101 is a FREE service that allows you to text parents and students without ever needing their phone numbers, and they never need yours! Best of all it’s a ONE-WAY communication tool! I absolutely love Remind101. It’s also an App that you can download to your phone and send messages directly from your device! You can watch the quick video I made (HERE) about how to setup and use your Remind101 account today!

How do you complete this challenge? Well first you go and set up your own Remind101 account and group!


If you’re a Navasota Intermediate teacher you can click the link below this sentence, type in your phone number, then the code they give you, and you’re good!

If you’re participating in these challenges and you’re NOT with Navasota Intermediate you can click the link below this sentence, type in your phone number, then the code they text you, and you’re good!

The way I will know if you complete this challenge or not is by seeing if you signed up for the Remind101 groups listed above!

Thanks for being awesome and choosing to continue your learning this summer! I’m learning along side you and am completing the challenges myself!! If you have any questions please reach out!
I know many of you have completed the Remind 101 challenge for me earlier this school year, so Part 1 of this challenge really is for you. Actually, they have rename themselves recently and now are called Remind (check out their new story).

I've decided to keep track of our Summer Learning Series (#SummerLS) participants with this Google Form... Be sure to fill it out so I can give you credit.

More good stuff coming soon!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Learning Series #1 via Todd Nesloney

Many of you have heard me talk about this crazy teacher in Texas who refers to himself as a TechNinja! (@techninjatodd) Well he recently became a campus principal and is up to his crazy stuff again. He's encouraging his staff to learn during the summer months by participating in a "Summer Learning Series."

Each week, he gives his staff a new challenge for them to complete during the Summer months. This way they are prepared and ready to go with the students in August! You can find details about this challenge on his blog.

So I've decided to do something crazy too! I've joined this summer challenge and I'm encouraging you to participate with this too! You can sign-up directly with Todd from his blog OR follow me and I will continue to post each challenge here for you.

This will be an exciting journey and I dare you to complete it!

Ready for the FIRST challenge???? Here it is!

Direct Message from Todd:

Hey Guys!!  

I hope everyone is already enjoying some of their summer!  

One thing that I love about the best teachers, is that we're constant learners.  I heard the phrase "Professional Students" once and thought it was a perfect descriptor!

Here's my goal for this summer.  I'm starting a Summer Learning Series.  Every week I'm going to send you a challenge to learn something NEW!  Something that will help make you an even better educator.  I will be participating with the challenges as well.

So today I send you the first challenge.  The first challenge is....Twitter!!

Twitter has been the the tool that completely revolutionized and changed my career.  You can read about my story here.

I have created a brief 10 min video to give you a 'heads-up' on where to even begin with Twitter!  You can find that video here.  

Within this video I also mention a link to the "21 Day Twitter Challenge".  This is an EXCELLENT tool to use to utilize Twitter. 

Twitter allows you to connect with and learn from people from all over the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We will be using twitter a lot this upcoming school year, so I wanted to allow you to get a head start. And don't worry, there'll be lots of time to learn and even some hands on training for those who need it!

Together we are going to make Navasota Intermediate the best school in the United States.  I truly believe that.  The only way that will happen though is if we continually try new and innovative ideas, stay on the cutting edge, and most of all, as long as we're doing what's best for kids.  Twitter is a tool that will allow us to learn from experts from all over!

As you complete the challenges this summer I'm going to ask you to fill out different Google Forms.  I'm going to be awarding "badges" to those of you who complete the challenges. There will also be some GREAT prizes when we reconvene in August, for those who are continuing their learning all summer through these weekly challenges.  

Here is the Google Form once you complete this challenge.

So, what are you waiting for??  Challenge 1 has been issued!  Start Tweeting!