Saturday, July 14, 2018

ISTE 2018 Reflections: Day 3

The final day of ISTE was full of relief and a sadness. I felt relieved that my brain would finally get a break. I would have time to look over and research all the ideas and tech I had experienced during this conference. I bit sad because I was going to miss this. I was going to miss being around all these educators, tech gurus and how much passion was in this building. I also felt like I was going to miss out on something. There was so much to see and do at this conference. I wanted more time to do all these things, but all great things must come to an end. With a full backpack and my bags packed I was ready to take on my last day and make it better than ever.
1st Stop on the Last Day!

I walked up the stairs with conviction and excitement ready to take on the day. We made it to the Expo by 9:00 and got coffee. We walked around and saw some of the booths we missed the day before and some new ones. We stumbled upon Renaissance which is the creator of Accelerated Reader. I loved their interactive booth! People were able to write their favorite children's book on a spine of a book. This books were on a "bookshelf" and posted on the board.
The bookshelf behind the coffe stand

Which one is my favorite? Write your guess in the comments!

After writing ours on the board we headed to a session at View Sonic. I had been following the ISTE Ladies Road Trip and was eager to hear them speak. Alice Keeler, Lisa Dabbs, and Christine Pinto all stood up and talked about the importance of the 4 C’s. In full disclosure, I had never heard of or thought about the 4 C’s before this ISTE conference. I realized I put these in place in my classroom.  Though, I had no concept of their importance and value in Tech until this conference. It was great to hear these three ladies talk! They discussed the amazing value of critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity in the classroom. It was also great to see them in person. I had followed Lisa for a while and talked to her on Voxer. Alice and Christine were talked about (by fellow teachers) so much during ISTE that it was great to put a face to a name. They gave me hope and strengthened my conviction to do amazing things moving forward.

Following this mini presentation I ended up attending Goog-smacked...yes that is what it was called. To be honest it was what I needed. It was a great format where three main presenters: Matt Miller, Kasey Bell, and Eric Curts. They went through many different apps, websites, or tips that could help teachers. There was a focus in certain subject areas, grades, and helpfulness to teachers. I loved how much information was given and the format was great especially on the last day. It was a lot of information, but it was all  practical information that I can use and share with others in my building. It covered a wide amount of material briefly, but efficiently. I loved it. Here is a link to their presentation: Goog Smacked

After this, I tried to get into a session but I got there too late. So I decided to go back to walking about and checking out the Expo. This is where I stayed for rest of the day until my BOYDex session. I enjoyed wandering and talking to different people. It’s funny how no matter how many times you wander through the expo you always see something new. I even won a hat and a bookmark! I also found the later it got the more booths started giving away things, which is something I am all about! I don’t care if its a sticker I am all about free stuff.
We met Moby!

Time dwindled closer to the BYODex session so I headed that way. I was excited to learn about resources that were considered an ELL Superpower Toolkit. After waiting both in the hall and in the room for a total of 25 minutes we found out the speaker was not present...bummer. So on our way out, I stopped one more time by the ball pit in was gone. It felt like as quick as this experience had started it was ending as quick. Saddened, I stopped by the Microsoft Vending Machine. All you had to do was tweet with the hashtag and out came a prize pack. We can all say that’s awesome! I have never seen something like that and to be honest I’m all about Twitter Experiences. We traveled for the last time to the Expo. We wandered through picking up freebies and crossing our fingers. With 2p.m. on the horizon, we were hoping one of us would be chosen in the raffles held across the expo. As 2p.m. came and went we were disappointed with no wins. I guess Hannah won big with the Hamilton Tickets so we were done winning for this trip, lol.
Alejandro made a few drinks while we waited around the Expo

I don’t want to end this all on a sad note though. As sad as it was to leave, and trust me I was sad to leave, I had such a great experience. I have so many ideas! I learned about so many products, met so many great people (including some rock stars of education), and I overcame my anxiety to make this all happen. This was a great conference and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t gone before. I am doubtful I will end up in Philadelphia next year. If it ever comes back to Chicago ( I hope it does) then I will be there! I am so thankful to all those who spent their time to share their knowledge. I am so thankful to my colleagues for going on this awesome adventure with me. When we submitted our names for PD Scholarships we never thought we would get the chance to go and have such a great time.


  1. What is something you learned this summer?
  2. What PD would/ is #OneInAMillion to you?

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Monday, July 9, 2018

ISTE 2018 Reflections: Day 2

After a very long and exciting first day at ISTE I found myself back again for more. This day I had a better understanding of where everything was and also what I wanted to attend. I spent the first part of the morning once attending poster sessions and then jumping into the expo. I was excited to wander through the expo and see new products but also see favorites that I use in my classroom daily. I stood in line for what felt like a long time. In order to try and get a free book from Kasey Bell. However,  I literally was the cutoff. I was that one person who wasn’t going to get a book, darn. Well I kept pushing and with a little bit of coffee ended up finding Pear Deck, Wonder Workshop, and Lalilo. It was nice to be able to get hands-on learning and talk to the people who know the product the best.
So excited to find these ribbons!

Pear Deck was one of the places that I was excited to go. I dabbled in it prior to ISTE, but did not use it. After hearing about the added features, uses in the classroom, and seeing the possibilities reminded me of why I started using it. This showed how it can be used with Google as an add-on extension. It is easier than ever to create slides and use Pear Deck to get students further involved in the lesson. I got so excited and can’t wait to use this going into this next school year.

Wonder Workshop was exciting because they are the creators of Dot and Dash Robots. I had never operated one before and to be honest I was like a little kid. I was so excited to try and they had a whole station set up for people to program Dot to make a basket using coding. I was not very successful, but my mistakes helped my boyfriend make a basket on his first try. I fell in love at that moment with the robots and I am eager to use them ever since. My school will be starting a Robotics Club this year. Though I know nothing(about robots) I’m considering helping or running the club. I figure we can learn together. The day we attended the expo there was a sale going on their website to buy a Dash and get training included for $150. I thought it was an amazing steal and bought one that night while in the hotel room. If you don’t need training they are currently cheaper on Amazon. I’m excited to learn and it might be my classroom to design it with a hockey stick and a helmet. LOL

Lalilo was one of those booths in ATT’s Pitch area. I had never heard of it prior to ISTE and after them giving us a handout my colleagues and I wanted to learn more. It is still in the Beta testing stage, but it is a free online program that focuses on the primary skills. The skills of reading, word recognition, sounds, blends etc. Now you may wonder why this would be something important to me? Well even though I am in 5th grade I do have students who have IEPs and struggle with some of these skills. I also have ELL students who are the first generation.  They are learning English after traveling from the DRC (the Dominican Republic of the Congo). This is a site that a few of my students could use, but I can also share them with other teachers at my building (as well as all of you!).
Love the Set up!

After spending an hour at the Expo we made our way to the Ditch That Panel. At this panel, we would hear how educators are taking on Matt Miller’s ideas and utilizing them in their school or classroom. I remember getting in line and some people coming up and asking what we were in line for. This was because the line was so long, after answering many chose to leave. To be honest, once we headed into the room it wasn’t bad at all. People get defeated before they try. One thing I realized is that many people see a line and freak. You have to remember the doors don’t open until 30 minutes till so if you get there 30 minutes before you should be good. Patience People!
Regardless we got seats and in all honesty, I thought we were at a teacher concert. The lights, the stage, and giant screens got my energy up and excited and the show hadn’t even started yet. Once again the presenters were out in the audience. They were passing out stickers and getting people excited for the presentation. I even got to talk to Tara Martin who walked by and like my shirt. The previous night, I had gone to her book launch party and I bought an R.E.A.L. shirt and her book. I’m currently reading it but I’m so excited to share once I’m done!). Once the show got started it did not disappoint. There were eight different people on the stage. They all were so well informed on Ditching that Textbook in their line of work. It was awesome to hear how teachers, administrators, and tech advisers were ditching the textbook. An important takeaway was the collaboration and connection between classes with technology. Once two teachers talked about how they connected their classes, I immediately tweeted about wanting to connect my class to other classrooms. I have wanted to do this before but it has been difficult. Luckily with Flipgrid and many other apps, it is easier. My hope is that Twitter will pull through and make this year awesome and full of connections for my class.
Amazing Panel!

We ended up running out of this session to hurry back to the NewsELA booth at the Expo. At noon they were pulling names to win tickets to see Hamilton in Chicago later that night. I am a huge Hamilton fan and I was hoping to get tickets so my colleagues and I hustled up the stairs and into the expo. We made it in time to hear….my friend and colleague's name called! Yay!!! How awesome of a moment and what about me you wonder? I won the chance to be “In the room where it happened.” (Hamilton joke) Hannah has such great luck and great ideas! You should follow her and her class @MrsOrellana
Hannah was soooo excited! 

Following this experience, we spent some time eating and wandering the expo hall. I ended up wandering upon two awesome booths. One I knew about and was excited to see their product. It was Qball by @peeQ. I had seen the product on Facebook and was so excited about the possibility of adding it to my classroom. It is a  microphone ball that can be thrown. It allows someone to speak into it and it amplifies in the classroom via a speaker. I have looked at this tool many times but never held one before. I saw the booth I ran straight there. I wanted to get my hands on one of their Q-balls and they were so welcoming and willing to let me try it out. I wasn’t expecting them to be so soft and light to be honest. I worried about them hitting the floor. I felt at ease. The people at the booth said that it would be fine. They have worked on it to make it safe and make it possible to handle wear and tear.

The other booth I never heard of before was Woot Math. This booth I stopped at to drop off a raffle sheet but in the process, they gave us a quick rundown of their program. My building is departmentalizing this year. I am taking over math for my entire grade am very open to any math resources. I loved that it was free for teachers to use. There seems to be a formative assessment tool and also adaptive practice for students to practice skills. They can import your class roster from Google Classroom and get them started. They have a dense problem bank based on the Common Core Standards and I’m excited to try it out this year. I will say so far I am impressed with their customer service. They are willing to answer questions and help you get started.
Such a great session!

I then made my way to the Sketchnoting session: Visualize. Connect. Doodle. Repeat: Sketchnoting to Enhance Learning with Explain Everything. This session was put on by Carrie Baughcum @heckawesome and Dana Ladenburger @dladenburger. This session was focused on the basics of sketchnoting and how to get started using the app Explain Everything. I have always loved drawing and even doodle when in meetings. When I heard about the idea of sketchnoting this past year I was interested. Yet never made the time to learn more. I wanted to attend this session because I wanted to learn more about it, but also just try it out. It was a nice session to end the day on because I was drawing and writing in a quiet room. This was peaceful and almost put me in a meditative space. I had never noticed how much sketchnoting I already do in my notebooks, but found ways to improve. For me I know I need to find other fonts I feel comfortable with and practice them more. I also need to create an icon vault. I have to create and practice different icons that I can use when I am taking notes. Explain Everything is an app that I had never heard of prior to going to this session, but after using it I am excited to use it more on my new 360 laptop. I came home after ISTE practicing my sketchnoting skills. I even created one based on what I was reading in Teach Like A Pirate. It wasn’t the greatest, but I realized after tweeting it out and tagging our presenters I have entered a whole new community. I have gotten so much support over my sad drawing, first Sketchnote and Carrie messaged me to give me some tips. I am so excited to take what I learned and practice moving forward. This session was more for me as a person, but I now am open to teaching my students when taking notes in class.

This concludes my awesome second day at ISTE.

  • What is something you are learning for yourself? 
  • Can you/ have you brought it into the classroom? 
  • What is one new resource you found recently?

Share your ideas and tweet them to me @teaching_power
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Saturday, July 7, 2018

ISTE 2018 Reflection: Day 1

So all I really have to say is WOW!!!!! I have never been to an ISTE before and didn't know what to expect. This place was completely amazing. This year ISTE was in McCormick Place in Chicago only an hour Metra ride from my family home. I need to let you know that as close as I used to live to Chicago, I rarely traveled there. One of many reasons one being anxiety. I get nervous when I'm in a big group and I get such huge butterflies when I’m on a new adventure that sometimes I shut down. That’s why when entering McCormick place I was both overwhelmed and excited. There is something about over 24,000 people in one place at one time. It evokes some anxiety in me. Yet I also liked the idea that the whole place was full of educators, technology gurus, and companies. They were all trying to make education better filled my heart with joy.
When we see a photo booth we have to stop!

Lucky for me (and especially my anxiety) I was not on this trip alone. I was able to attend with two awesome colleagues and one amazing boyfriend. I found the registration to be stress-free. Though with there being so many people it was hard to find an area that wasn’t hustling and bustling. I realized that if you are on the walkway you better move. Otherwise, you were going to get run over. People were committed to getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible. This makes sense since people wanted to make it into these amazing sessions. I remember finding a small wall to stand against and thinking to myself, “Where to?” It is funny to think I had planned the week prior. I made a schedule but at that moment I couldn’t think of one thing I wanted to go to. Luckily I had used the ISTE app to log a few items I really wanted to attend. After that small freak out we headed towards the poster sessions.
AR & VR were very big in the poster sessions

We walked into this huge space, but it seemed so much smaller because of the number of people. It was great to see so many educators share what they are doing in their classrooms or schools. To be honest it spoke to me the most as a 5th-grade teacher. These were people like me who are in the trenches and using these tools to make an impact with students. I was very excited to learn and take in whatever I could. Many presenters had QR Codes that made things even better. I could listen then use my phone to scan the QR code to get the presentation. I ended up storing all the presentations along with notes on my Google Keep. This made note taking and storage so much easier and I didn’t even need to take out any other device besides my phone. One thing I found surprising was the number of students who attend and share what they are learning. Caught off guard by a young boy asking me if I wanted to see his project and I was in awe. There is something about students excited about their learning. So much so that they are willing to explain it to complete strangers. This got me to stop at almost every table. Students taught me about DoInk, PowToon, and HP Reveal (formally Aurasm). It was so sweet to see nervous students approach you to share. Once you listened they got so excited to show you everything. This whole experience is about listening. Listening to presenters, companies, educators, and students. Listen to learn more than you ever thought possible. You have to be open to ideas and resources that might change your school or classroom for the better. I went in with an open mind and heart and I learned so much from so many people.
Kasey was so nice and I loved her positive attitude and her southern accent

After the poster sessions, I went by myself to Kasey Bell’s session on Dynamic Learning with G Suite. My anxiety cranked up. I had heard that many people weren’t getting into sessions not to mention I was going by myself. Lucky me I went about 30 mins early and got a seat! Now I knew of Kasey Bell. I knew she was an author, she was a tech guru, and I was even on her email list, but I knew little else. My goals walking into this session were:
  1. I wanted to learn more about how to better use G-Suite in my classroom. We are a 1-1 Chromebooks district.  I wanted the chance to uncover more ways to better utilize technology in my classroom.
  2.  I wanted to know if Kasey Bell’s book was for me. I had yet to buy her book because I have sooooooo many edu-awesome books that I haven’t read yet. Kasey’s book never made it to the top of my list.

After arriving I was surprised by the kindness of those around me ready to learn, but also by Kasey herself. She spent time before the presentation running around the room talking and passing out stickers. She even took the time to make sure the back row (where I sat) got stickers. Her energy was inviting and once she started her presentation I was hooked. I was engrossed in her ideals and ideas with my fingers typing feverishly on the Ipad taking notes. I am pumped to use Google Slides to create Digital Choice Boards and creating Comic Books. I also got excited to use the Google Keep feature as a way for Students to reflect and track their goals. The one huge takeaway for me was, 

“Start small, think of one way to go beyond.” 
This quote means many things:
  1. Kasey explains that you can use G-Suite for more than typing papers and completing worksheets. It is our choice to go beyond that and find out of the box ways to utilize this tool.
  2. I personally love this quote because it reminds me that you don’t have to do it all right now. I’m a runner when it comes to new ideas. I want to try everything and I’m ready to jump, but sometimes I need to slow down and try one thing.
  3. With that said I know some teachers are scared of taking the jump. They need to know its okay to try something new. Dip your toes in the water and try one new thing because the growth exceeds the fears.
Kasey’s presentation was a great way to start my ISTE experience. It gave me hope that I can take on tech in education one app at a time. And yes I ended up buying her book right after ISTE!
My excitement when I found this was at an all time high!

After that awesome presentation, I ended up playing in the ball pit. Why not? It was nice to have a fun childlike experience between sessions. I challenge ISTE to make more of those happen!
Andi was so down to earth and so nice! So excited to learn from her!

I ended my day attending a Genius Hour Presentation by Andi McNeil. I had done one Genius Hour project with my students this year during our library time. I had very little background knowledge of genius hour and jumped in and tried it. It wasn’t the best but wasn’t the worst. After more research, I realized that Google Slides isn’t the only way to display their knowledge. I need to work on how I present Genius Hour. Needless to say, I was hoping this presentation would help and it completely delivered. Some things that I noted:

  • We need to focus on 4 C’s (communication, collaboration, critical thinking, & creativity) plus Reflection
  • There are 6 P’s to Genius Hour Projects: Passion, Pitch Plan, Project, Product, and Presentation
  • Thrively is a great site to dive into the interests and passions of the students.
  • Wonderopolis allows students to find answers to things they wonder about. Also, having students do this and fill out short google forms helps the teacher gauge students interests.
  • is a great site that takes students to future careers. It allows them to practice certain skills that could help them in those careers.
  • Open up the classroom to outside experts. Make a google form for experts to fill out and help students connect. Let students ask questions of experts for the subjects of their research.
  • Trello is a great site to help teachers keep track of where students are in the Genius Hour process
  • Students can present their information in a variety of ways. Such as a Weebly Website, S’more poster, Book in Book Creator, or a community event.
Other amazing people to follow!

These are a few of many notes I took. One thing I walked away with was I NEED to buy Andi’s book. I know, not another book, but if you plan on starting or developing your Genius Hour this book is what you need. I ended up purchasing one right after ISTE. This was based on the great presentation. I knew it would be what I needed to develop my Genius Hour in my classroom.

My first day at ISTE was long and truly a great experience. What have you learned from ISTE or from me? What is one thing you want to try in your school or classroom?
Tweet me your answers @teaching_power and use the hashtag #teachingpower
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