Friday, December 20, 2013

My World Got Bigger

 What a fun month I have had. There is so much to think about that I don't even have time to take a picture of the perfect shoe for this post. I think Santa's boots would work perfect about now! We had 5 snow days between Thanksgiving and Christmas Break. It was fun to actually have snow but made it a little hard to get back into the swing of things when your only full week of school since Thanksgiving was the week before Christmas AND a full moon. My 2/3rd grade classes finished learning about the rainforest and made their mom's a present with recycled material. My 4th graders are still working on their Going Global unit & will finally be ready to Mystery Skype a class in January. I will share more about this later! My 5th graders have been doing amazing things with Rubik's cubes and making mosaics with them. My 6th graders finished their CSI Arson Unit and both classes convicted the correct suspect.
This year I wanted my focus to be Going Global with all of my classes. Learning to collaborate on line and learning more about the world around them. Little did I know this would not only change my classroom but my home. Through a chain of interesting events we were blessed with a foreign exchange student from Japan! Miki will be living with us until June and we are so excited to have her. Technology is a life saver with all of this! We all have apps now to translate because English is still a struggle and we know zero Japanese. We wanted to see where she lived in Japan so we got on Google Earth. She was so excited to see where she lived, she said she had never looked at it before on line. She gets to Skype with her friends and family so she doesn't get homesick. Then, we are learning all about her culture. I wouldn't have thought that they eat Mexican and Italian food in Japan. I don't know why that surprised me so much! So adjusting to food choices has not been as big of a problem as I thought it might be. We still haven't been able to have traditional Japanese food but we are going to a large city this weekend that has a good Asian market so she can get some things to make the kind of sushi she likes.
This was my last week of assignments for my tech class. I looked into 4 different web tools this week which I had never tried before: I spent WAY to much time here. I loved the cubes you can make with pictures and knocked out a few Christmas presents while I was playing. There were tons of fun things to do on this site! Slideshare-I thought it would allow me to do more with powerpoints but it really just lets me store them there so I feel Goggle Drive would be just as good. looked like an easy 1 stop place for newsletters. The only thing is with Twitter and my class website I haven't been doing class newsletters. Something I would use if I went back to newsletters however. Voki-was another thing I had fun playing with for probably too long! I have seen them more and more lately and Facebook even has something like it now so I was interested. I think this would be good for kids to make as a profile pic on Google Drive or even Edmodo. It doesn't put their name with a real face that way.
I also finished up my tech class. Here are some of my reflections on the subject:
How did the course assist me in my personal learning goals? The class held me accountable for blogging. I thought I could do it weekly like some of the people I follow on Twitter. I quickly found out that I am more of a monthly blogger because I have so many things going on with school and family. I also wanted to learn about more tools to use with my students and that happened weekly!
What were some of my favorite experiences or discoveries from the course? My favorite mostly useful thing was probably Feedly. It makes it so much easier to keep up with the blogs I love! The last week I had fun messing with & Voki which I had never tried before. I think my students would like both. I might set up a class account so they can upload pictures and have some fun with it. They could even incorporate them into their presentations that we have coming up in January. So 1 of my favorites has been great for time saving and 2 of my favorites have become time suckers. LOL
What are my thoughts on the course format? The class I took was all on line and do it at your own pace. I LOVED this. I wish more PD was offered in this manner.
What additional elements would I like to see in the course? It would have been nice to meet face to face 1 time toward the end. I enjoy talking through things with someone as I'm learning and many times when I see someone excited about something that they tried it makes me more willing to give it a try.
How would I describe my learning experience in one sentence ? 21 Things for 21st Century Educators was a great work at your own pace course where every week there was something new to learn and the video tutorials made it easy to understand. (super long run on sentence I know)
 I am so blessed with this holiday season upon us! Take time away from school and enjoy your loved ones and family. Learn something new together and have fun doing it! Make your world a little bigger this holiday season by sharing life with others.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Am I coming or going?

What a crazy month this has been.  October was the month that my personal life became crazy and I had planned new units for all 4 grades I teach.  Well we all survived!! My dad had 2 major heart attacks 2 weeks apart but is home and doing pretty well considering. Daughter has wrist surgery this Thursday from injury.  Hubby tore something that starts with an n in knee and surgery for him a week from Tuesday..... AND all new units are up and running. BUT this week I had time to each lunch 3 out of the 5 days which beat my previous record of just 1 day a week for lunch!  So the picture again is rain boots.  Sometimes you just have to get up and start going no matter how high it all gets. God is in control!
I thought I'd share some things I'm learning and using for my 21st Century Tech class.
1. PicasaWeb is helping my Dropbox tremendously. LOL  I'm trying to move more things over since my Dropbox stays full and it is mostly all pictures.  Here is a little slideshow using Picasa Web that I made of my 5th graders who are doing a Rubik's Cube Unit

  2. I love Animoto for quick videos with music that looks professional.  Here is a little movie that I will enjoy watching to remember how much fun I had this summer with close friends and my wonderful husband of 25 years.

 3.  The next one that I learned to use is PhotoPeach.  It isn't quite as user friendly in that you can only go to computer, Facebook, or Picasa to get pictures.  Animoto let choose from more like Dropbox, which I liked since I still haven't moved all my pictures over to Picasa. Here is a little quiz that I put together but I think this would be perfect for quick writing prompts. This was a trip I took with my best friend before she died of brain cancer. So much fun we had and since she was a Literacy Coach she would love that I turned it into an inference quiz. :-) FloridaTrip on PhotoPeach
 4. Skype - It's time to get organized and start using this again. I really want to Skype with a classroom in another country with the Mystery Skype program. I haven't had time to connect with a class yet but that is by goal in the month of December. We could even talk about holiday traditions.

 I think that catches me up for all I have been learning and now it's time to get going on lesson plans! Enjoy this Thanksgiving by being thankful for all the wonderful people who were and are still in your life!

Friday, October 11, 2013

All that sparkles!

Here are the shoes I've worn for the second time this week.  They are in honor of the Cardinals going to the play offs.  I must admit I'm not a huge baseball fan but I do love shiny/sparkly things.  The students feel they are the 'Good Luck Cardinals" shoes, so I'll go with it.  I told them I'd wear them every day the Cardinals play all the way to the end of the World Series!
As I mentioned I love shiny, new, sparkly things.  I kind of feel like I've come across a few of these things on line lately!  I'm taking a tech class that introduced Diigo and Feedly.  My favorite of the two is probably Feedly.  I used to just bookmark a few of my favorite blogs and when I had some down time, I'd have to go to each one, see if they had updated lately or try and catch up on all the updates I missed.  This is awesome.  Now all my blogs are in 1 spot and I can see what the latest posts are.  What do you use to keep up with your favorite blogs?   I love finding ways to save time and all things that sparkle.  Go Cards!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Go With What Works

I love technology and in case you haven't heard the 'in' shoe color this year was the skin-tone color.  (This picture isn't great because the sandal is darker than the picture shows, but stay with me.) I have a few connections this week to these skin-tone shoe choices.
1.  Every year I sign up for at least long term class so I can learn the 'latest' ways to integrate these tools into my students learning process, or sometimes just my own. I have used My Portaportal for many years as a bookmarking site for myself, my students, and other teachers.  So when I was challenged to try Diigo, I wasn't excited.  Another thing to remember/keep up with BUT.... I love it!  Now I don't like how it looks or is organized really.  Portaportal lets you put things in folders that visually open and close and to me just looks nicer, just like the amazing pumps my friend Leona got me pictured above.  With Diigo you can do so much more than just bookmark a site however.  I can highlight things on the page I want my students to read and I can even annotate notes for them right on the site. I can't wait to learn more about this site.  I must admit sometimes you go with the shoe or tech that you can do more in, regardless of the looks.
2. I LOVE these stiletto pumps. They are the perfect color but I must admit because they are six inches high after the platform and a size five they are pretty hard to walk in.  For sure not a shoe I can wear around school all day even though I did really try ONE day.  This year has been crazy with our district opening a new campus and changing boundaries from east to west to now north and south.  This has caused the tech department to be even more backed up than ever.  I thought I was getting a lot more technology than has actually showed up.  I had great plans for how my year was going to look with technology: ipads and netbooks available for all my students to allow them creative avenues to show the great things they are learning.  It was going to be the perfect stiletto tech year, going higher than ever before! My year started out with having to call my district's great tech people almost daily with the latest problem or checking on when my equipment might be ready, I even started bringing them chocolate!  Well, I have finally realized this is really going to be more of the skin-tone sandal year. I tried for a month to get the tech together for all the plans I had, which is longer than I tried wearing the stilettos. Reality: I did get a few more ipads (I really am grateful!) instead of being 1:1 and I got a few more netbooks that won't all be updated when I start using them.  But here is the thing, I can still get around pretty good so I might as well just accept it and get this year off and running.  Running will for sure be easier in sandals, I hope!
   How do you deal with the frustrations that come with trying to use technology that has a hard time staying updated? Any pointers for me because I would really like to be wearing those stilettos next year!


Welcome to my new home! I hope you enjoy your stay and PLEASE leave me comments so we can connect!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Let the work begin

What a crazy start to my year, I really hoped to blog every week and it has already been over a month.  I sat up 3 classrooms straight from boxes and then last week took down 1 (luckily I saved some boxes) and set it back up on another floor.  I felt these rain boots were the perfect shoes to represent how this school year started.  They are practical (has rained here the last 2 days) and you have to be practical with what needs to be done, sometimes you feel you are almost knee deep in a mess but like these boots in the rain...don't let it get to you, they remind me to just let things slide off that you can't control, and they are shiny and a fun hot pink SO continue to have fun and try and make others smile, because they may be just wearing boring tennis shoes.  LOL
Did you see someone wearing hot pink rain boots in your school?  I'd love to hear about how someone else treated a stressful situation with hot pink rain boots!  We are in this together and it is why I chose to blog this year.  I want to connect and learn from others on a regular basis, since I'm not really hooked in with a specific team in the schools I serve. So I leave you with this:

Friday, August 2, 2013

It isn't as hard as you think.

My friend, Cindy, has been encouraging me to blog for almost 2 years now.  I kept putting it off until tonight.  I love shoes!  So I will probably be using a lot of analogies/connections to shoes as I blog.  As I was sitting here tonight contemplating starting a blog.....this shoe popped into my head as the perfect start.  I had to go get them from my closet right away!
This is one of my favorite pair of shoes. (Stay with me for why only 1 is pictured)  I wore this pair to school one day for our 'Red Carpet Celebration' for student growth.  All day long I heard, "Mrs. Bronn,  I love those sparkly shoes but how in the world do you walk in them? They are super high."  My answer, "It isn't as hard as you think.  See the big base at the bottom?  The heel really isn't that hard to walk in because of  the big base."
This is where I will start.  I have been in awe of learning this summer.  I have truly built a PLN with Twitter and have grown and enjoyed so many amazing teacher blogs this summer.  I feel my brain is "sparkling" with excitement, passion, & new knowledge.  This is where my 'walk' will begin.  When I first started reading other teacher blogs they seemed really 'high' above what I was ready to do.  I'm not the greatest writer and they could share thoughts so fluently & eloquently.  The more I talked with friends & my PLN I realized.  "It really isn't as hard as it looks."  I have had amazing opportunities and coworkers over the last 21 years of teaching that I have a 'big base' and now it's time to go higher, like this heel.
So tonight I will start to walk some of this sparkle out! 
I currently teach 2-6th grade gifted students.  Our district is amazing but can only afford 1 elementary teacher for gifted students at this time.  This has brought an interesting challenge for me.  I work best through collaboration and talking things out with others.  Kind of hard to do when you are the only one doing what you do.  I think it's kind of like trying to walk gracefully with only 1 of these shoes on. (Thus why I started with only 1 shoe in the picture instead of the pair)  I so needed at least 1 other shoe to balance me out.  Regular classroom teachers are pulled so many directions that I know it is hard to find time to talk to another teacher about what is going on in her classroom when the students I get from them are the few students who are actually doing well in their class.
Last year Twitter became my 'other shoe'.  It was amazing.  Every chance I got I would check my Twitter feed.  I would favorite a lot and 'lurk' way to much really.  Then in May, I slowly started responding in #chats like #tlap and tweeting on my own.  When I was frustrated I would see encouragement everywhere.  Like @RefranzDavis @BigPurpleHat or @burgessdave. I love teaching my students technology they can use to show what they are learning and I became inspired by all the wonderful things teachers in my PLN were doing all over the country. Like @ipadSammy and I've become a Techlandia junkie!   I started reading blogs of the people I followed & it energized me.  ( is one of my favorites.) I am probably more excited about teaching this year than I was 21 years ago when I first stepped into a 2nd grade classroom.  This blog is where I'll come to walk out this new journey before me.  I hope you will join me and we can be a pair of sparkle gold Aldos instead of just 1 sparkle shoe trying to walk gracefully and go higher than we ever thought possible.