"The key to any great musician is an outstanding music teacher." - student
Spend a couple of minutes in Mr. Goodman's music classroom at Thomson Elementary, and you will discover he is one of those teachers. Sam's goal isn't to make every student into a musician; he knows that isn't a passion for every child, just like he admits to not loving football; however, he does hope to instill an appreciation of music into each of his students. To do that, he uses technology to help make music relevant and authentic.
Keeping it Real
Students select an instrument of their choice for the semester. The class starts together and talks about the goal for the day. Then, they get started practicing their instruments. As they practice, Sam moves from group to group, providing mini lessons and support to his students. Knowing that he can't support all groups simultaneously, he has created a YouTube channel that provides just-in-time support for students. Students can watch, pause, practice, and rewatch segments of the video, based on their individual needs.
Pulling it all together
Some of Mr. Goodman’s students head off to middle school and high school and continue engaging in their passion for music. He receives invitations from former students who are pursuing interests in sound engineering and instrumental music. For him, that is the best part of being a music teacher -- seeing his students grow an everlasting appreciation for music.
Interested in Getting STarted?
Do you want to know more about Ableton Live and The Push? Check out this district-approved software on Ableton’s website and watch artists use the instrument on Ableton’s YouTube channel. If you are interested in having students learn about creating beats and loops, but are not ready to purchase Push devices, you can experiment with Ableton's web-based program. Sam has also graciously offered to connect with any Jeffco teachers who have questions about Ableton software or the Push devices emai him at Samuel.Goodman@jeffco.k12.co.us
Lastly, YouTube videos and playlists are a great tool that can be used in any grade or subject to flip or blend learning for students! If you are interested in learning more about creating YouTube channels and playlists for student use, check out our Jeffco Ed Tech YouTube website to help you get started.
If there is one device that we are seeing more readily used throughout the district, it’s the Chromebook. Chromebooks allow students to easily utilize the G Suite, a variety of web tools, and other platforms that help them to create a more personalized learning environment. The only problem is, oftentimes, not all students have access to the technology that they need in order to truly be future ready-students. This was the issue that was presented to students at Dakota Ridge High School in a US History class. What world issues do students see? For one group of students, this was clear. “Our generation is growing with technology, and some kids don’t have the opportunity to take part,” said one student. So together, a group of four students, with the help of their teachers, decided to solve that problem be creating the non-profit organization Chromebooks4Kids.
As stated on their website, the goal of Chromebooks4Kids is to raise money to purchase Chromebook carts for schools that need access to these devices in their classrooms. Currently, the organization is working with Colorow Elementary in hopes that they can raise enough money through both fundraisers and donations to purchase a Chromebook cart for these future Dakota Ridge High School students. After that, “We’ll keep building it one cart at a time,” said the group’s student leader. “We want all schools to have the technology and maybe even promote technology careers,” he added.
This project is a perfect example of how we can empower our students by creating authentic learning tasks with real-world implications. These students have learned everything from how to start a non-profit, to how to run a profitable fundraiser, to how to improve their organization and get more volunteers to support their cause. They also continue to build their positive digital footprint by building their social media presence on both Instagram (@chromebooks4kids) and Twitter (@ChrBooks4Kids).
We can’t wait to see where this student project and many others throughout our district can go. If you want to learn more about this organization or if you’d like to help their cause, you can visit http://chromebooks4kids.net/
First year Digital Teacher Librarian, Tanya Jensen, has been collaborating with the Jefferson County Public Library (JCPL) and her English teachers to develop a website that supports summer reading at Standley Lake High School. The website functions like GoodReads, but has been created specifically for students; high schoolers can write reviews and search for titles based on genre and recommendations. In addition, the staff will participate and add their reviews to the website. The school's vision is to grow the site so that it is an easy way for students to locate books of interest, based on peer reviews. Students can also submit suggestions for books they want the library to purchase in the future.
It is a definition that tells the story of our teacher spotlight this week. Tobye Ertelt, Digital Teacher Librarian at Oberon Middle School embodies the definition of flexible: "characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements". It is the combination of adaptation, innovation and flexible exploration that led Tobye to be the spotlight of today’s blog post. Over the past year, Tobye was motivated to explore innovation after meeting retired lawyer Reshma Saujani, who took a chance to pursue a passion and as a result, inspired thousands of young ladies around the world. Additionally, Tobye found herself moved by the story of Logan Smalley, a TED Fellow, who is the brains behind TED-Ed (TED's youth and education initiative). These two inspiring stories incited a passion for exploration and innovation leading to new opportunities for Oberon students today.
In the spring of 2016, after a visit to a TED-Ed conference, Tobye filled out a feedback form and applied to become a TED-Ed Innovator. The questions posed in that feedback form opened a door to share a topic that has been core to Ms. Ertelt's heart, "What is ethical behavior in the 21st century?" She inherently believes that we, as educators and adults, have done a great disservice to our students separating digital behavior from everyday behavior. And so it is with this essential question that a new door opened for Tobye, leading her to become 1 of 30 educators from 11 different countries selected for the honor of joining the third cohort of TED-Ed Innovative Educators. Our own Tobye Ertelt is one out of an initial group of over 1100 educators who took a chance to challenge each other to collaboratively find solutions to questions and issues facing today's students.
teaching with passion
Kyle Walker, the Digital Teacher Librarian at Kullerstrand Elementary, shares the passion of robotics and coding with his students. This year, with the help of a generous donor, Kyle started the Robotics and Coding club at his school. Every Monday afternoon, students collaborate and work together to engineer a robot that can be coded to perform unique tasks.
Kyle has reached out to various community members to help build career connections between computer science and robotics. The School of Mines Robotics Club made a visit earlier this year and shared their own robotics project and mentored the students. Jason Roadman, an engineer at NREL visited the club and shared some of his own engineering expertise with wind turbines, allowing students to build real world connections.
Jeffco's Educational Technology Team visited 3 Apple Distinguished Schools in St. Vrain Valley Schools, as part of Apple's school visit program. Although these schools were 1:1 iPad schools, the following 5 strategies can be implemented at any school site to aid in integrating technology.
Flip through our presentation to view the strategies and see some examples from real school settings.
If your school is implementing any of these these strategies, please share your success with our team! We'd love to see your photos and hear your ideas!
Often times in education, technology is viewed as a piece of "curriculum dessert," a tasty tidbit that only gets touched after the content is taught and the students need to demonstrate their learning at the end of a unit. Technology isn't a dessert at Swanson Elementary, it's the fork that helps the students digest their learning. Here, Kendra Geise, Elizabeth Hall, and Crystal Parson (the 3/4 literacy and social studies team) have made daily technology integration part of their classroom culture.
You’ve probably heard the word thrown around in certain circles. People casually dropping the catchy word, MakerSpace, like it’s no big deal. You smile and nod but don’t really know what they’re talking about. It sounds fun and STEM-like but it sounds a little intimidating.
So what IS all this buzz about a MakerSpace?
A MakerSpace is just what it sounds like...a SPACE to MAKE! Makerspaces provide students with the opportunity to create, learn, invent and make, using a variety of different resources. From Legos to robots, straws to 3D printers, the sky's the limit when it comes to innovation. And even with tight budgets - scrappy DTLs and teachers have found great ways to include some incredible resources.
So you might be wondering, “How does that work in a school?”
Keri Douglas is the DTL at Deane Elementary School located in Lakewood, CO. She got her MakerSpace up and running in the library this year. She’s a rookie, too, so hopefully her journey can inspire you, as you embark down the MakerSpace road.
How do you integrate technology into an author visit? Take the author on a trip to his own setting. Fifth graders at West Woods Elementary not only met author Roland Smith but invited him to climb Mt. Everest with them. Students in Ms. Bachman's class were reading "Peak", one of Smith's many novels when the author himself came for an assembly to talk about the writing process. Armed with Google Cardboards and the Expeditions app, fifth graders were able to take a tour of Mt. Everest through virtual reality as the author narrated. Students were amazed at the details and facts Mr. Smith shared with them about Mt. Everest as he was looking through the Google Cardboard. They asked him several follow-up questions about how he acquires so much information and the research that goes into his writing process.
Later in class, students participated in a full expedition to Everest with Digital Teacher Librarian, Kristen McCann. "Watching students engage in their learning and the connections that students were able to make to the text because of the experience was phenomenal," stated Kristen.
Genius Hour = Engagement x Learning2
Fourth graders at Van Arsdale participated in Genius Hour, based on Google's 20% time. This is part of a movement to promote self-directed learning, innovation, creativity, and sharing. Students spend time devoted to a topic of their choice. It is more about the process than the product. Fourth grade teacher, Dawn Wiley worked with her DTL, Michelle McHugh, to tie Genius Hour to CAP. "Students were the ones recognizing the cross-curricular connections. They were the ones leading the learning,” remarked Dawn. "I was so impressed with them. Genius Hour brings learning full circle.”