Saturday, August 31, 2013

Word Cloud Art: Word Mosaic

I'm trying to find the best word cloud art for my students to use on their License to Learn project that we are doing on our Lighting Team.
This one is from and is called Word Mosaic:
I haven't use it before, but it was VERY easy to create.  The students can print thier creations from the computer lab, but they will be in black and white, so I'm trying to find one that creates --the best for our needs. NOTE: was BLOCKED by our server!!! Kids weren't able to use it!!!
Last year I used Tagxedo--which was WONDERFUL, but it isn't working on my Chrome book.  AND it requires an installation on the computers.  I forgot about all that work!  (I would have to log in to every single computer in the lab, download the install, get an install password, type in, etc.  Too much work!)  But they were gorgeous.  NOTE: didn't work on our server!!! Kids weren't able to use it!!!
WORDLE is also a fabulous word cloud generator--but it isn't supported on the Chrome books. 
 Kids were able to use!!!
Which word cloud generator do YOU like to use???

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

1st Binder Check!!

Friday, students will turn in their first assignments for a grade!  Below is the video expaining what their binders/assignments should look like.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

How Does Your School Have Fun?

I was inspired by this article published in from BOB LENZ'S BLOG:

How Does Your School Have Fun? MARCH 19, 2013 Recently, I listened to a story on NPR's All Things Considered called"'Serendipitous Interaction' Key To Tech Firms' Workplace Design" that highlighted the cultures of innovation and creativity at Google and Facebook. The leaders of these organizations intentionally create opportunities for collaboration, learning and fun because they believe it will lead to the creation of better products and services.

I believe the Lightning Team that I am with at school--Christy Myllykangas, Sid Smith, and Jackie Cribb--have such talent that we could amaze ourselves!  The Welcome Back! video was just the beginning. The kids will respond in like kind--we can pull our their creative side ... and their joy will keep them learning!
Photo from Shannon Ryan--Whose family knows how to have fun

Saturday, August 24, 2013

jd 24/7: 60 Ways to Connect with Your Students

jd 24/7: 60 Ways to Connect with Your Students: Coming to school each day can become a hopeless task for some children unless they succeed at what they do. We ...

Great Post!!!--Worth the Read!--Kristin

Friday, August 23, 2013

New Concepts Avg. Retention Rate

The first 3 days are in the can. We (the students & I) spent quite a bit of time discussing how we could improve their ability to remember (learn) all the new material we needed to learn this year. 
On the first day, I showed the introductory video "Welcome to the MixsonZone" which went over my syllabus and The Mixson Way (my procedures, etc.).
On the second day, I had the students take out a sheet of paper and list everything they could recall from the previous day's video. Empty stares all around.  I gave them 1 minute. Not much.  Then I let them work in small groups to recall it together.  A little bit better.  Finally, I asked them what it would take to help them remember the info.  They said they wanted to watch it again, take notes, and have time to study it.  So that is what we did.
On the third day, I gave them a quiz.  Much better today. Then they could work as a small group to recall. Even better. 
We wrapped up our lesson with the following statistics called "Average Retention Rate for New Concepts" (from "The Learning Pyramid" National Training Laboratories, Bethel, Maine, Kurt Levin, Founder).

Average Retention Rate for New Concepts:
Lecture                                     5%
Reading                                 10%
Audio-Visual Aids                  20%
Demonstration                       30%
Discussion Groups                50%
Practice by Doing                  75%
Teaching Others/                          
Immediate Use of Learning   90%

We finished it up with the good old idiom, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." I can present the material, but the students have to learn it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day 1 of BEST Year (25)!

I just finished DAY 1 of my BEST year of teaching ever!  This begins my 25th year.  I have never been so pumped and excited about teaching. All summer I spent gathering ideas and discovering new technology opportunities for my students.  AVID Training and emphasis on Common Core standards have been simmering along with all this technology. Students will get their Chrome books on Monday, and I am ready to get this party started!
Here is a video I created to explain my syllabus and the Mixson Way.

DAY 1: On the first day of school, I like to take pictures of each of my students.  My mom took pics of us on our first day, and they are precious to me.  The pictures also help me to learn my students names and faces faster (yes, I study them at home!).  
(Silly Boy!!!) 
And have you ever seen such a COLORFUL child?
 (Check out his shoes & socks!):

Another 1st day activity involves 8.5" x 5.5" name cards.  I let the students decorate the cards with things that teach me a little about them.  And, yes, I literally take these cards home every night the first week to study my kids.
In addition, our school is in True Teams, which means all my students have 4 teachers.  We are the Lightning Team.  Jackie Cribb, Christy Myllykangas, Sid Smith and I are leading this pack.  We had all the students join together for a brief meeting 2nd period, and this looks to be a great adventure for all of us!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Arbor Day Contest

Richland County K-12 students are invited to participate in the 2013 Arbor Day Contests, "Trees of SC."  Contest categories include writing, videos, posters, and bulletin boards.  Winners will receive $25 cash prizes and will be recognized at the SC Arbor Day Celebration at Harbison State Forest in December.  The submission deadline is November 8, 2013.
Richland Soil and Water Conservation District
This looks like a GREAT project idea!  Lots of CHOICE for presentations, and CA$H is involved!  Whoop!  I hope I get some winners!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Friday, August 9, 2013

Plants For Kids Website

Plants for Kids:  Bringing the Science of Plants into the Classroom
This site has great experiments--like this shoebox maze to show TROPISMS! (I LOVE THIS EXPERIMENT!!)

This is what their homepage looks like:
Their website is sponsored and maintained by the Claude E. Phillips Herbarium, Department of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Delaware State University, Dover, DE. 

Flippin' Lesson: Lab Safety

I'm taking taking a course on FIZZ Flipped Classroom Training program for the next 6 weeks.  One of my goals is spend LESS time lecturing and MORE time for labs and projects. My first assignment is to videotape myself lecturing 5 class lessons.  So I just finished a couple of tapings (where will I find the time to do this when school starts???!!!)
So here is a sample of one of my first video lectures:
Ok, go ahead, tell me what you think!

Friday, August 2, 2013

"I Flip, You Flip, We All Flip" Video Help

Keith Hughes Explains How to Make Flipped Classroom Videos  

This 24 minute video was helpful to do so me technical stuff using a iMovie.