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The Connected Classroom

Information on and from EducationPlus' Learning Division

teachers as architectThe Midwest Education Technology Community Conference advisory committee is excited to bring back book reviews of materials that we will offer at the conference this February. Committee members and area educators are sharing their thoughts, here’s the latest from Claymont Elementary Library Media Specialist Julie Boatner:

Teacher As Architect, Instructional Design and Delivery for the Modern Teacher
Second Edition
Shawn K. Smith, Ann M. Chavez, Garrett W. Seaman

Considering the challenges of educators in today’s ever increasing STEM society, the analogy of Teacher as Architect just makes sense. Smith, Chavez and Seaman have collaborated to update this cohesive, well-researched, yet easy-to-read guide for the teacher candidate and experienced educator alike.

The second edition of TAA leads us through four core principles. The first, “Designing with Purpose,” examines the foundations of teaching – plotting lessons from the ground up by focusing on the CCSS standards, backwards design when considering assessments, and examining the blueprints of how students’ brains learn before selecting a particular pedagogy. The beams really start to go up during “Core Principle 2: Customizing 21st Century Learning,” where the authors challenge us in what it means to differentiate with the use of technology and how to blend all aspects of teaching together. Core Principles 3 and 4 focus on following through with the finishing touches of managing a classroom and analyzing student performance.

Teacher as Architect brings all aspects of instruction together in one final work of art. Although the opening chapters are compelling and required when designing effective lessons, the real strength of this text comes in the second half of the book. Modern educational technology such as flipped classrooms and utilizing Web 2.0 and 3.0 tools are highlighted through practical tips and engaging, relatable teacher’s stories. Each chapter challenges the reader through “Reflection and Action” journaling prompts and dares the reader to dream about what his or her classroom could become.

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edplus.orgTeachers and students have been submitting their projects for the Show-Me a Movie Contest, celebrating its 10th year in 2014! To see complete rules and guidelines, please visit, under student learning.

Show-Me a Movie is a program of EducationPlus and the METC ISTE affiliate. This year, specific categories go with certain divisions and all movies must have a theme of either (or a combination of) science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). As always, all sources must be properly cited in the credits of the movie. The deadline is December 5.

The updated rubric to be used by the judges has a total of 60 points. The lowest score a winning movie can receive is 50 out of 60 points. The movie with the highest score (as long as it is 50 or higher) for its division and category will be the winner. Winning movies will be featured at the Midwest Education Technology Community Conference in February.

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flippedbookThe Midwest Education Technology Community Conference advisory committee is excited to bring back book reviews of materials that we will offer at the conference this February. Two area educators volunteered to read and review Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement. This book, an ISTE publication, has identified its audience as administrators, curriculum coordinators, educators (6-12) and technology coordinators.

Have you read this book? Here’s what our reviewers had to say:

Reviewed by Angela Cartee, Professional Learning Technology Specialist, Special School District
What is the best use of face-to-face time with students? That’s the one question posed by Jonathon Bergmann and Aaron Sams in their newest book Flipped Learning: Gateway to Student Engagement. Is it inquiry? Problem Solving? Discussions? Problem-based Learning? Guided Practice? Direct Instruction? The answer is,“yes!” There is no one answer because flipped learning is not a set process or a single strategy. It is a transformation that focuses on learning rather than teaching.

The authors offer a deeper understanding of what flipped learning is, the benefits and implementation ideas. This book is a “why to” that answers many pedagogical questions about instruction. It offers a deeper explanation of individualized learning and learner-centric classrooms. If you’re looking for more (and better) ways to integrate technology into the classroom, you’ll find them here.

Transforming classrooms, faculty meetings, or professional development sessions can be difficult; however, this book offers scenarios and suggestions to keep you thinking.

Reviewed by Eve Diehl, Library Media Specialist, Parkway School District
In this book, Jonathon Bergmann and Aaron Sams first remind readers of the basic idea of the “flipped classroom,” in which direct instruction is given primarily through videos that students access outside of the class time, while in-class time is used for activities traditionally considered to be homework. The main focus of the book is to inspire teachers to move beyond these basics to the concept of “flipped learning,” which extends the idea of the flipped classroom. The introductory chapters describe some of the philosophy behind flipped learning and the key components that need to be present in the classroom to meet the model. The authors introduce us to the “One Question” that guides the flipped learning model, “What is the best use of face-to-face time with students?”

The book emphasizes the idea that flipped learning is a grassroots approach to educational reform. It is something meaningful that teachers can do to transform their classrooms, without depending upon a mandate from above. This is illustrated through the subsequent chapters of the book as we hear personal stories from teachers all over the country who are finding success with the flipped learning model. The stories come from a wide variety of content areas, including social studies, English and even physical education. The teachers reflect on the “One Question,” and all teachers in the book conclude that direct instruction is not the best use of face-to-face time; they realize that in-class time is more effective when it is student-centered, not teacher-centered.

One appealing aspect of all the personal stories is that they seem attainable since the teachers implement the flipped learning model through a gradual process. The teachers start off Year 1 at the basic “flipped classroom” level, where they mainly focus on making videos. Then, in subsequent years, they all realize the need to take the model further into flipped learning, which involves different things for different teachers and content areas. Some of the characteristics of flipped learning include allowing students to move through content at their own pace, demonstrating mastery of a topic in creative ways, interacting with and teaching peers and developing stronger relationships with their teachers so individual learning needs are met. This book provides a strong mix of theory and practice that will enable teachers to put the flipped classroom to work right away at whatever level they feel comfortable.

Purchase this book, and others, at METC. Or, order beforehand (at a discounted rate) and pick up your new reads at the conference.

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refresher CPICharacterPlus is offering a CPI Refresher on November 10, 2014, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at EducationPlus. This training with Bruce Hunter is required to keep CPI Certification current and must be taken within 15 months of initial certification. CPI is an international training organization that specializes in the safe management of disruptive and assaultive behavior. The Refresher next week involves a curriculum review, post-test and the demonstration of restraints, which are checked individually. The cost for members is $55 and non-members is $100. Click here register.

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@ROCK_supt TweetingRockwood School District’s Dr. Eric Knost, known as @ROCK_supt to the Twitter community, uses social media in his role as superintendent to engage with students, staff, parents and community.

At the Midwest Education Technology Community Conference’s Leadership Lunch in February, Dr. Knost will talk about his best practices for school leaders in social media, how he encourages his own administrators to use it and how it has helped his district’s community engagement efforts. He’ll be followed by a panel discussion with other school leaders on the effective use of social media in schools today.

Register today to join Dr. Knost for Upping Engagement: Using Social Media to Connect with Students, Staff and the Community. On Twitter, follow Dr. Knost at @ROCK_supt and METC at @METCedplus.

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Chris Long Starts With Us

They’ve been pinned, have you?

The Connected Classroom is the EducationPlus Learning Division blog. Here are the top five most visited posts for the past month– did you contribute to the clicks?

(1)  Student-Led Initiative #StartsWithUs Spreads on Social Media
(2)  Gateway Media Literacy Partners Presents STEM & MEDIA: A Natural Fit
(3)  Understanding the Smarter Balanced Digital Library
(4)  Coming Attractions: Show-Me a Movie 2014
(5)  Reader’s Workshop: Revisit and Refine Strategy Groups & Conferring

EducationPlusToolsForTeachingEducationPlus and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis present Tools for Teaching a High School Personal Finance Course. Spend the day at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis learning about tools for teaching high school personal finance courses. Participate in hands-on lessons on topics such as diversification and risk, earning income, education, inflation and unemployment. Bring those subjects to your classroom using videos on personal finance topics, such as compound interest, capital markets, stocks and bonds. Bring your laptop, so we can show you how to register and enroll students in online courses covering budgeting, saving, credit and more.

There is no fee for the program, but registration is required. Continental breakfast will be provided beginning at 8 a.m. and the program will begin at 8:30 a.m. Lunch will be provided and we will wrap up the day with a 2 p.m. tour of the new Inside the Economy Museum. You will receive confirmation and parking instructions prior to the event.

Register at

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