Saturday, June 27, 2015

What is Pinnacle?

I know that not all of the people that read my blog are from the same area, so I thought I would take this opportunity to explain something that I will be talking a lot about. The program is called Pinnacle. It is essentially an educational technology professional development group. In order to be a part of Pinnacle, I had to go through a rigorous application process.  Once my application was accepted, I was observed and interviewed.  I was so excited to hear that I was accepted into the program.

 The purpose of the group is to develop educational technology leaders who will take their learning back to their schools, throughout the county and even to others in the state and beyond. Last week (officially the first week of summer break, but not for us) I participated in four days of intense professional development which I have written about in previous posts. I learned about the importance of being a connected educator, tips and tricks of using twitter, what Andragogy means, how to gamify learning, SMAR & TPACK strategies, how to flip the classroom, and the importance of project based learning. We got lots of goodies, like a laptop and and iPad.  For our classrooms we were given the choice between iPads and Chromebooks.  It was so much fun to unwrap 20 iPads (ten for my class and 10 buddy iPads)  We learned a lot of information, and it was hard to take in all at once. We have two days in August to look forward to as well.

 The more I process what I have learned, the more excited I am about using the skills and strategies in the classroom. The best part about Pinnacle was the camaraderie. Thirty-three creative, innovative, and positive educators, collaborating together to help our students learn. I look forward to working with this group for three years. I can't wait to see where we are three years from now. I am incredibly thankful to all of the people who encouraged me to join Pinnacle. See this article on the district web page for more information.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

"I'm not too excited, It's just Enthusiasm"

One day my principal called my teammate and I into her office to meet a guy who was showing us a new tech. tool.  In the process of him explaining what it did I let out a excited squeal and literally jumped in the air.  My teammate and principal gave me a look that said "there she goes again, getting too excited".  I have received that look on many occasions.  I can't help getting excited.  I love cool things that help my students learn.  I get Christmas morning giddiness when presented with some new tech tool to use in the classroom.  I have been known to stand on chairs and sing at students.  I dance even though I can't.  Why because I am enthusiastic about what I do.

Some people don't like my enthusiasm.  They give me looks and tell me to calm down.   I feel really embarrassed when this happens.  My cheeks get red and hot and I try to smile it away.  My enthusiasm immediately burns out.   Sometimes I think they are right.  That I should calm down and chill out. This is why I work with children. They have no problem with my enthusiasm.

God gave me this enthusiasm for a reason.  My students need it.  They need someone who gets excited about their learning so that they can get excited about their learning.  They need a teacher who will holler with them, laugh with them, get a little too loud with them and dance with them.

Today I read a great blog post about enthusiasm.  It reminded me that I do not need to calm down and chill out.  I should "never lose my enthusiasm" even if others think I am crazy.  If my craziness helps students learn, so be it.

Thank you @CSmithGoBlue for the inspiration for this blog.  Check his out.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pinnacle 20 Day 4: Today I learned...Now its time for a break

For real my brain is full.

Today I learned
  • what # really means
  • Why on earth did I stop using Flipboard
  • Use Hootsuite on iPad
  • Use tweetdeck on computer
  • Lurking on twitter is appropriate
This has been a long four days.  I have met some really good people and learned some really awesome things.  I am excited about applying what I have learned in my class.   I am thankful for the camaraderie I experienced.  My PLN has grown and I am looking forward to collaborating more with them in the future.  

Now to begin my summer vacation for real.  I am looking forward to some good chill time and some time to process everything I have learned.

photo credit: via photopin (license)

photo credit: Beach Ball via photopin (license)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pinnacle 20 day 3: info graphics and iPads

Today I learned it is a lot of work to inbox and configure a set of iPads.  I also learned how to create an info graphic...check it out

It's not done yet. We are going to add it to thing link and make it interactive.

Well seeing it's my 15th wedding anniversary, I think that's enough for now.  The learning will continue tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pinnacle 20 day 2: My brain is getting fuller (is fuller a word?)

Today we were on a desert island.
We made cube puzzles

We explored Minecraft worlds.

We were animators.

Here are my random thoughts about the day...
  • Kids love games
  • Video first then image (Green Screen app)
  • Project based learning- Have kids solve real world problems like making their playground safer.
  • Have students watch video tutorials before you start a new tool.  Basically flipped technology.  
One of the things that wasted the most time this year was getting students set up in a certain website or program.  If I used the flipped model and assign signing up and watching tutorials the day or so before we use.  Even if some students don't watch the tutorials, this would create student tutors who could help get students set up and save time.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pinnacle 20 Day 1: My goals as a new Pinnacle leader?

I am so excited to be a part of Pinnacle.  For those who get irritated when bloggers just throw things out there, Pinnacle is a group set up by my district to train and develop technology leaders in the classroom, in their schools and beyond.

I have been learning on my own for a while, it will be nice to learn with others.  Today was a great day.  I got new toys to play with (an iPad and a laptop), I met some new people (some just as crazy as me).  It was nice to feel accepted in a room devoid of naysayers and negative thinkers.

We were asked at the end of the day to answer this question:

What are my goals as a new Pinnacle leader?

Here are my goals (update: I started with 5 goals, that is way to many, I need to target my goals so they are more achievable.  I also added a Star Trek theme cause I'm a geek)

Pinnacle, the technology frontier. These are the voyages of the tech geek Cissel.  Her 3-year mission: to explore strange new strategies, to seek out new learning and new ways of teaching, to boldly go where no teacher has gone before.

Goal 1: to explore strange new strategies: I will try it out even though it is crazy, different, and colleagues  may raise their eyebrows at me.

Goal 2: to seek out new learning and new ways of teaching: I will be proactive in seeking new ways of doing things.  I will challenge myself not to teach the way I have always taught because my students do NOT learn the way students have always learned.

Goal 3: to boldly go where no teacher has gone before.:  I will be bold, sharing my explorations with others and daring others to take the journey with me.


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