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The Connected Classroom

Information On and From EducationPlus' LearningLab

Author Archives: Rebecca Morrison

Nick Cusumano and Laura Gilchrist are co-teaching a two-day #METCpd workshop this week at EducationPlus called Building Literacy Skills Through Digital Content Creation as part of our Summer of Innovation! Participants took a break from the conference room to step outside on a photowalk this morning! Laura even pulled out her selfie stick! These two fantastic instructors are tweeters, so follow them for great ideas, best practices and favorite resources!

photowalkFind Laura on Twitter at @lauragilchrist4 and Nick at @edtech4theatre.

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proposals due METC 2The METC ISTE affiliate is accepting proposals for the annual conference. The Midwest Education Technology Community Conference takes place Monday, February 8 through Wednesday, February 10 at the St. Charles Convention Center in the St. Louis, Missouri suburb. Learn more about what METC is seeking for the conference:

Monday, February 8, 2016 Pre-conference Workshops (two options)
Proposals due by August 25, 2015

3 Hour (Half Day) & 6 Hour (Full Day) Workshops

Pre-conference workshops are always provided on the first day of the METC Conference, Monday, February 8, 2016. They offer attendees the opportunity to attend a workshop that is hands-on and in-depth on a specific topic, tool, etc. Each workshop has a maximum number of slots and preregistration is required. All pre-cons are BYOD (bring your own device) and are located on site at the St. Charles Convention Center.

Tuesday-Wednesday, February 9-10, 2016 General Sessions (five options)
Proposals due by September 14, 2015

50 Minute General Session
Limited to three presenters. Consists of a presentation with resources and time for a Q&A period with attendees. 

50 Minute Panel Session
Limited to three to five panelists. Consists of a panel discussion on a common issue, question or topic that is relevant to conference attendees with time for a Q & A period.

1 Hour & 50 Minute BYOD Session (Double Session)
Bring Your Own Device. The emphasis in these sessions is interactive and hands-on time with a tool, product, etc. The focus of a BYOD Double Session should not be a tool, etc. that is not widely available or that would be associated with a fee for attendees.

50 Minute Exhibitor Plus Educator Session
An educator who is currently in the classroom must be the primary presenter for the session and selling of the product is not permitted. The focus is rather to show how the educator themselves uses the product.

50 Minute Exhibitor Demo Session
This allows the exhibitor to demo their product without the requirement of an educator as the primary presenter. Learn more on the exhibitor presentation info page.

For more information, please click here.

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blog post by Laurie Milburn PhD,
Special Education Improvement Consultant

blog post bySummer vacation is a time for teachers to recharge and refocus as they prepare for another group of students. Summer can also be a time for teachers to re-tool their literacy pedagogy for working with the “not-so-common-learners” and students struggling to make reading progress commensurate with their peers. In July, St. Louis will host the International Literacy Association 2015 Annual Conference. This conference will bring together more than 6,000 literacy educators and experts from around the world to explore ideas, best practices and resources for literacy education and advocacy. In addition, the conference will feature more than 300 sessions on key topics affecting literacy educators today, including content literacy, children’s literature, classroom engagement, innovation, international literacy instruction and professional development. This is a great opportunity to gain practical, research-based professional development from literacy luminaries. The MELL and Special Education Consultants hope to see you at ILA 2015!

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photo by Stephanie Madlinger
photo by Stephanie Madlinger

We have several edtech offerings this summer, but for one week in July, it’s going to get a bit STEAMy, with design thinking, coding and project based learning scheduled! Registration is still open, so you can sign up today!

July 13-14: STEAM-ing It Up: Design Thinking in the Classroom; learn from Debbie Fucoloro and Christine Ruder. Beginning with essential questions, they will explore many strategies and practices available to maker educators– makerspace and PBL processes that include: LEGOs, littleBits, squishy electronics, Sphero, wearable computing, Arduino, recycling and robotics, coding and more… all of which allow educators and students to share, engage, explore and collaborate on their learning journey together.

July 15: Adventures in STEM: Learn to Code; Debbie Fucoloro continues to share her best practices in drag and drop programming in a hands-on, game-like constructivist atmosphere.

July 16: Project Based Learning & 21st Century Skills in the Elementary Classroom with LEGO Educationjoin Steffanie Forbes and Laura Jackson has they guide you through hands-on activities that cover modeling in science, math, engineering, language arts, reading, social studies and literacy– using LEGOs. 

July 17: Project Based Learning & 21st Century Skills with LEGO EducationSteffanie Forbes and Laura Jackson focus on the secondary classroom in their second day at EdPlus. Explore real world math, science, renewable energy and engineering, plus simple & motorized mechanisms and physics, again, in hands-on activities.

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principal pln imageAre you a principal? Who knows the challenges you face better than those who share your vision, determined mindset and quest for student and staff growth? Join us at our St. Louis/St. Charles regional professional learning network (PLN) meet up as we share conversations about the latest changes in the field and how others are implementing good practice across our counties. Topics covered will directly relate to area principals’ needs and interests. You don’t have to be an island— find out the difference a PLN can make to your good work! It might just be that boost that you’ve been looking for. Upcoming dates, times and locations include:

  • June 10  at  North Kirkwood Middle School for Middle School Principals | 8-9:30 a.m. | RSVP
  • August 26  at  EducationPlus (Craig Road) for High School Principals | 7:30-9:30 a.m. | RSVP
  • September 14  at  EducationPlus (Woodson Road) for Elementary School Principals* | 4:30 -6 p.m. | RSVP

Future elementary sessions* have already been scheduled, with November 9, January 11, March 7 and April 11 set. During the first middle and high school meetings, topics and new meeting dates will be discussed.

For questions regarding the principals’ PLNs, please contact Dr. Julie Sperry, director of leadership development at EducationPlus.

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

(1)  Google Mania Takes Over in July  read it here
(2)  To Thine Own Self Be True: Character Education with Shakespeare  read it here
(3)  St. Louis Summer 2015 Reading Clubs  read it here
(4)  Project Based Learning & 21st Century Skills with LEGO  read it here
(5)  Using Sensory Integration Strategies to Help Students Focus  read it here

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Blog post by Marlow Barton, MELL Instructional Specialist

St. Louis provides many opportunities to explore the different cultures of our students this summer!

blog post byOn a recent visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden, I noticed large, colorful and interesting lanterns being placed all over the garden for the upcoming Chinese Lantern Festival. I began to reflect upon the Chinese speaking ELL children I had in my classes when I taught English to children in various districts around St. Louis and how much I enjoyed having them as students. I loved learning about their families and cultural backgrounds.

As I reflected, I started to wonder what the Chinese population is in St. Louis as I have noticed many activities this summer about Chinese culture. According to the Chinese Culture and Education Foundation, “various unofficial estimates show the figure from 15,000 to 20,000, among which a predominant majority reside in suburban communities and constitutes one percent of the total suburban population of St. Louis.”

In addition to the Chinese Lantern Festival, the Magic House is sponsoring Children’s China: Celebrating Culture, Character and Confucious. Can’t get enough of Chinese culture? Check out the Dragon Boat Races at Creve Coeur Lake!

International Institute | Wayne Crosslin

photo courtesy of the International Institute, Wayne Crosslin

If you are teaching summer school, or tutoring this summer, make sure to check out a cultural artifacts kit from the Office of International Studies at UMSL (cislibrary@umsl.edu). UMSL has kits from many countries, including one from China.

Want to experience other cultures? Try the Festival of Nations from the International Institute of Saint Louis or the Japanese Art Exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum called Creatures Great and Small.

All of this got me thinking it would be fun to try to experience something from each of the countries where my students and their families originated. So don’t sit around inside all summer- take a trip around the world right here in our own city!

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