Monday, September 23, 2013

Video of the Week: Analyzing Student Collaboration. Harkness Discussions

This week's video looks at student collaboration and specifically at the 4:00 mark looks at the use of the Harkness-style discussion and ways to analyze the success of those conversations. Please share your thoughts at the RRISD G+ Professional Development Community.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Making Soup with Sites, Blogs, and Social Media

We are all still learning how Google Apps for Education (GAFE) can allow us to communicate and collaborate more effectively throughout RRISD.  Below are some thoughts on why and when to use each of these distinct tools and how they work as a team. Plus a tasty ending.

Web Site (Google Site, Sharp School Site, etc.) 

  • Stable and Consistent
  • Calendar
  • Directory
Everyone needs a web site. Think of your web site as your consistent home where your students, teachers, parents, or customers can always count on getting what they need. A web site does not change much structurally on a daily basis. If you have a page on your site where you upload homework, then your students/parents need to know that they always need to look in the same spot on your site for homework.

Blog (Blogger, Edublogs, etc.) 

  • Your voice
  • Easily updated
  • Get your message across
Everyone should have a blog. Your blog is your voice and the voice of your web site. There may be stable elements around the blog, but the purpose of the blog is to give updates, explain an upcoming initiative or tool like Atomic Learning, or share celebrations. A blog can be linked from or embedded in your web site.

Social Media Platform (Google+, Twitter, etc.) 

  • Fluid Environment
  • Get people talking about your idea, assessment, or project
  • Grow your Personal Learning Network (PLN)
Everyone should learn how to incorporate social media. Social media platforms like Google+ allow those you are communicating with to communicate directly with you and each other. Don't use a Google+ Community or Twitter account as your only space to post department or campus documents, but post those documents there if you want others to be able to comment or ask questions about those documents. Social media also allows you to expand your Professional Learning Network (PLN). Click here for more information on how to use Twitter as an educator.

It's Like Making Soup

Think of these three tools as a hearty soup. Your web site is your cast-iron pot. If you don't have a pot, you might as well give up right then. But if all you have is a pot, at least you have somewhere sturdy to keep your stuff. Your blog is all the ingredients you have foraged. You chose which vegetables to pick from your garden and those carrots and beets taste pretty good on their own, but why have a pot if you are not going to bring your ingredients together. So social media is the broth. It lets the carrot talk to the beet and together they create a big bowl of nourishing goodness, mmmmmm.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

RRISD P.E. = Functional Fitness - Special Guest Post from Assistant AD Susan Nix

P.E. Job-Alike 2013



Functional Fitness has reshaped the structure of physical education in Round Rock ISD. 
For the past two years we have been slowly implementing functional movement in several PE classes across the district.  Coaches have witnessed firsthand the higher levels of confidence, the increased enthusiasm towards the new curriculum and the body transformation among the students.

Functional Fitness has created a community within the classes. Students challenge themselves to improve their previous scores while encouraging others around them.

District professional development sessions have not only taught the coaches how to properly implement the movements but have also outlined the reason behind this shift into functional movements and how to program and modify for diverse fitness levels.  And, let me not forget that the students are having FUN GETTING FIT!

I have had an outpouring of support from coaches, administrators and community members through this whole process!  We are making a difference in the health and wellness of the students in RRISD!

Talk to your campus' P.E teacher for more information about this new approach to student fitness.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Video of the Week Looks at Classroom Design

A Three-Part Video Series on Classroom Re-Design

Take a look at how this team came together to re-design a crowded classroom to make it more efficient and conducive to collaboration. Click here to read more about the project from Edutopia. Also, click here to discuss the ideas from this video at the RRISD PD G+ Community.

Take Advantage of Swivl Devices Added to the Instructional Media Department Library

The Round Rock ISD Instructional Media Department is home to a wide variety of materials to check out and enhance your instructional delivery. One of the newest devices that has been added to its library are four Swivl devices. These devices will allow a teacher to use an iPod or iPhone record their instruction. The device will record his or her voice as well as use motion-tracking software to follow the teacher around the room. Click on the video above for an example. Several teachers have already used the device to record themselves delivering a lecture prior to class and then posting it on their site to give students a preview of an upcoming lesson. 

How To Check It Out:

Since this is a professional item, it will not appear in a search done in the online e-Library catalog which is used by our RRISD students.

Principals may contact their campus library to locate this (or any other cataloged professional) item in the district online Library (Sirsi WorkFlows) catalog.
Search by title:  SWIVL, other search terms have been added: "swivel" and "motion tracking".  The campus library will then submit a request for checkout from the Media Center.


Requests may be submitted from the RRISD website through the Instructional Media Department webpage:
Please select and complete the Instructional Media Request Form
Please allow 3 work days after the request is submitted for delivery by inter-campus mail  to campus.  
Requests may be placed in advance of an upcoming event to insure that a SWIVL is available.

If there is an immediate need, a request may be submitted by phone to Marie Nowak at 464-6992.  If the item is available, it will be checked out and may be picked up that day, from the Textbook  / Instructional Media Center at 16255 Great Oaks Dr. Suite 400.