Category Archives: Professional Development

ICE, it’s Not Just for Media Specialists

ICE events are not just for media specialists.   If you enjoyed our last Institute On October 5th, you will really enjoy going to an ICE Chapter Mini-Conference, each of which are packed with ready-to-implement tips on integrating technology on all levels.

Upcoming Events include:

October 20 – SPICE

October 22 – NICE

October 25 – MICE

October 25 – ICE-SI

October 27 – ICE CHIP

November 17 – ICE CAP

January 26 – NICE

January 26 – RICE

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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Professional Development


Flip Your Classroom

Last year, I offered a workshop titled, “Travel to the Flipped Classroom.”   Lisa Hootman was one of the teachers who attended (okay, she was the only teacher that attended), but that only meant that she received some very individualized instruction.    Fast forward, Lisa has created two class blogs on which she provides students with guided online instruction in the form of video that students can access to anytime, anywhere.  Lisa has “flipped” her classroom.

See > Lisa’s Biology blog and an example of Lisa flipping her Biology classroom.

See also > Lisa’s Jurnior English blog and an example of Lisa flipping her English classroom.

What is a “Flipped Classroom?”

You may have heard of the concept of “reverse instruction” (See > Reverse Instruction: Dan Pink and Karl’s “Fisch Flip” by Jonathan Martin),  which holds students accountable for viewing online lectures outside of class while using valuable class time for group and project work that might normally be assigned for homework.

What are the benefits?  

Educator John Sowash says, of his own experience in his blog post, Flip Your Classroom Through Reverse Instruction (Sept. 6, 2010):

“With class time liberated from lectures, I was able to incorporate more hands-on activities, projects, and helping students better understand confusing and challenging concepts.”

Is there data to support this practice?

Take a look at how Clintondale High School has implemented the concept.

The concept, also referred to as the “flipped” classroom or “flipped thinking” is becoming increasingly popular with the growing availability of free, online courseware and lectures.   Daniel Pink exclaimed in “Think Tank: Flip-thinking – the new buzz word sweeping the US”  that Khan Academy Creator and Teacher Karl Fisch, “has flipped teaching on its head” (Sept. 12, 2010).

A flipped classroom isn’t specific to video and it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  There are simple, project-based ways to incorporate these strategies into your classroom.    See Flipping History by Jeff Utecht to see one way it can be done.

Still apprehensive?  Consider testing the process by using  video feedback or video grading.   There are endless opportunities.

(reprinted from my email of 5/8/12)

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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Professional Development


Who Grades The Teacher?

Just wanted to share this very relevant and timely article from The Christian Science Monitor Weekly about the impact of new teacher evaluation practices.  See > “Back to school: How to measure a good teacher.”

“Back to school: Perhaps the most controversial education reform is how to measure a good teacher. As the trend to overhaul teacher evaluations catches fire, some teachers find that new feedback and mentoring programs can lead to ‘incredible’ results with their students.”




Greetings and Welcome Back, SS Team!

I just wanted to share with you this very relevant professional development opportunity offered by Facing History, and Ourselves that focuses on the very common core skills that are central to the social studies curriculum, e.g., “enabling students to become more news literate and separate news from noise?”

How Do We Know What We Know? – Truth and the News, September 27, 2012, 9:00 – 4:00.  Click here to register! 

On a related note…. this year’s election promises to be filled with many authentic opportunities for teaching media literacy skills, so I thought I’d pass along some additional resources you might find of value to engage students in thinking critically about the advertisements they see on television:

Using YouTube to Teach Presidential Election Propaganda: 12 Representative Videos

“Analyzing Presidential Campaign Propaganda” by D. Cochran (University of Wisconsin)

The Living Room Candidate database of political commercials going back to 1952.

Get students involved by asking them to research and create their own 30 second political advertisement.  Or, if a longer project is not possible, consider creating some shorter activities by asking students to do some “fact checking” on campaign ads they see on TV, via the following websites:

See >

See also >

See also >

The Political Ad Analysis Worksheet created by Frank Baker can also be used to help students focus on multiple elements of the ads.   See >

Finally, if you are looking for some grade level  alternative texts or other resources to use in the classroom, please feel free to stop by or drop me a note.  I’d be happy to do some research based on your needs.

How Do We Know What We Know?


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