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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Guiding Questions for #MOedchat TONIGHT Aug. 29, 9pm Central time! (VISUAL STORYTELLING)


Our Missouri #moedchat topic for 8/29/13 9pm Central is Visual Storytelling. Glad I'm moderating it with +Ken Corum and +Barbara Warren Madden because 1) they're awesome and 2) moderating a topic makes me dig deeper as a learner. 

The 3 guiding questions for #moedchat are ones I idea-bandited from +Ken Shelton and company. Thank you! 



          Q1: Why should I promote visual learning in my classroom?  
Q2: What are some great examples of ways teachers have delivered visual learning lessons to their students?   
Q3: How can I get started with visual learning to enrich my curriculum, engage my students, and teach more effectively?  
These 3 questions will take us on a JOURNEY from the the overarching why back to the what and then the HOW. How to get started increasing the use of VISUALS and storytelling in your classroom/school/district. 

I'm no pro at visual storytelling. I learned a lot from prepping for this chat and I'll learn even more tonight with a large crew of talented and passionate educators on Twitter from 9-10pm!


Here are two initial forays into visual storytelling and metaphors.





Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Umbrella Metaphor in my classroom (with pictures and student work)





Whether this picture is real or not, I don't know, but it's the kind of visual I was seeking for the UMBRELLA metaphor in my classroom!

So, here's the story:

We're talking about the Golden Rule like we do every year. Some form of the Golden Rule is found in every religion. It's all good. If every one of us simply follows it and make things right when we stray from it......what beautiful learning conditions we'd have in our room.

It's missing something. Falls flat. Needs a 'story' or a metaphor or a visual.

A student saves the day by bringing up an umbrella. The rest is history. Words flying about the room as the metaphor came to life in my classes were snowstorm, hurricane, hail, and more. Learning communities building ideas and creating together.

The umbrella metaphor 'story' inspired this Conversation Calendar prompt the next day:


Imagine that a GIANT UMBRELLA is over our classroom right now. You decide what it looks like! That umbrella is the Golden Rule. If we all follow the GR and treat others the way we want to be treated, the UMBRELLA protects us and we can all learn, share, grow, laugh, explore and more. 
Draw that GIANT Golden Rule umbrella with all of us underneath it. Now draw/explain what happens TO THE UMBRELLA when one of us doesn't treat another the way he/she would want to be treated? What happens to the umbrella if the 'hurt' person responds back with kindness? With anger?
Some of my kids recorded their answers in sentences, some drew pictures with captions, and some did both. Our learning community as a class and team now has a concrete, tangible item to represent the Golden Rule. We can now say 'umbrella' and look up if a person isn't doing something helpful or kind. The larger message is there and can guide without words. #powerofmetaphors

My kids' ideas of what happened to the UMBRELLA if someone didn't follow the Golden Rule landed in 3 pools of thought. :)

1. A hole forms in the umbrella above the person not following the GR. Water or 'bad stuff' comes down through the rip in the umbrella and splashes onto anyone nearby.

2. The umbrella closes inward or shrinks letting people get all wet, sad.

3. The umbrella gets taken by the wind, letting us get wet.

Can the umbrella be fixed and returned to it's protective state over US?

Yes! Apologize and the holes will mend, umbrella will reopen, or wind will return it!


Check out My Flickr Photoset of some student responses via link or gallery below.



















robotika via photopin cc

Not surprisingly, the kids are bringing in umbrellas and planning how to make a GIANT umbrella the entire team can fit under. Photo Opp. :)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Storytime: My favorite Think-Outside-the-Box lesson

So here's the scene.

I tell the kids to clear off their tables and get out, oh maybe a piece of paper and a perhaps a writing utensil of their choice. "I'm not sure what you'll want."

The vaguenesss causes them to tilt their heads at odd angles as they look at me.

I tell them I want them to read the statement on the board as I write it and then simply do it.
I write it s l o w l y ...
(At the beginning of class, one of their I can statements they write in their conversation calendar is the following: "I can TOTB during a class activity." I don't tell them before we start that thinking outside the box is the goal of the lesson...!)


And here's what the classroom looks and sounds like for the next two - three minutes. #awkward #boring #sleepinducing #soINsidetheboxwiththelidducttapedshut #complaincemode

I let this continue for 2-3 minutes and then I make the comment, "I notice you're all still sitting in your chairs writing your names." That's all it takes for the kids to look up and realize they can BUST outta the duct taped box!

See what happened in my classes. I missed the POPCORN moment--the moment they all exploded out of their seats--but I got my iPhone cued up and recording seconds after that. :)



We looked back at the phrase on the board at the end of class. It hadn't changed....so what had?

We looked at the room. It had changed.
We reflected on their energy and enthusiasm level. It had changed.
We reflected on their creativity. It had changed.

The kids loved this way of thinking and viewing the world. Endless possibilities. Individual expression and creation. Option for teamwork and collaboration. Compliance keeps kids inside the box. We must open the box lid and let kids know we want them to jump outside of it and explore the world....and we must jump with them as lead learners. :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Start flexing your Photo Muscle in the classroom with Flickr (and Aviary)

In the classroom I use my iPhone to document learning. Both photos and videos. That same day, all the pictures are in Flickr waiting for me to edit and make 'stories' out of. (I use IFTTT to automatically upload all my iPhone photos to Flickr and Here's how.) 

Flickr is also a social network where educators can share creative commons pictures and tag pictures so that other educators can find and use them. I do my best to contribute to the social sharing by tagging away on my pictures. (Flickr is also a place you can house keep your own pictures; all levels of privacy are offered. One more thing...you get 1 TB of free space!)

Flickr has a built-in photo editor called Aviary and that means you don't have to waste time editing in other apps and uploading back to Flickr. In addition to the 3 tools described below, it has some FINE filters and effects. It will work fetchingly for my school pictures and will help me achieve my goal of increasing the use of visuals and stories with my kids.


My 3 favorite tools built-in to Flickr in the Aviary editor:

  • SPLASH--do the Color Splash effect right in Flickr! Spash turns your entire picture black and white. Then, you simply color over the section you want colored. On the picture above, I would have the entire yard black and white with the YELLOW slide popping out. :) It could be a story starter or springboard! No need to go to another app/editor and then come back.
  • DRAW--draw freehand any notes, circle or highlight things.
  • TEXT--I like this tool so much because I can create pictures with text/quotes. There are photo/text apps with more options but this works fine for much of your edu-text/pic needs.
    • My inspiration for this visual push was our convocation speaker +Darren Kuropatwa's Slideshare presentation, which I've included below. Thanks to Darren for learning out loud with us and sharing your learning online for all to use. Scroll through this, my friends. It's full of great pictures, IDEAS, and more pictures, with minimal yet meaningful text. Yes, Darren, I remember. 80% of our brains are wired to process visual data. :)

2 final notes:
2. Flickr assigns you an email address so you can email photos to your Flickr account. (Click on your picture in upper right and on Settings.) This works great for photo assignments in class. Students or staff can email photos to your account and you can compile them into sets for sharing as a collective.

PS....How do I find the Aviary editor you ask? When I open a picture in Flickr, I click the 3 small pink dots in the lower right and select Edit Photo in Aviary. The tools above open up across the top...as seen in yard/slide picture at the top.)

I took the hawk picture above and lightened it, then added text. 
I can pull in science and more. Have you ever felt like hiding behind something?
Why? Why would hawks hide? A picture with text opens up more than showing just the picture itself.



Good luck and I  hope to see you and learn with you on Flickr AND on Twitter!



My favorite IFTTT recipe...so far!


In Norway, word has it that Charlie Brown said this... http://www.lawzone.com/half-nor/uffda.htm #uffda #norway #mug #instagood #instagram #instagramhub #lawrencekansas #igers #igkansas #norwegian
Photo by Laura Gilchrist on Flickr

My favorite IFTTT recipe!


  • All the photos I take on my iPhone now go directly to my FLICKR account, which has 1 TB of free storage. Never again to spend time uploading pictures to Flickr.
  • My default setting for any new Flickr upload is private. I then tag, place in sets, share to groups, and make public the photos I want to be public when I'm ready.
    • How to set your default uploads in Flickr to private: Click your PHOTO in upper right, then Settings, then Privacy and Permissions tab, then under section 'Defaults for New Uploads' set it to View: Only You.
  • Now my time is spent with my photos in Flickr. Photos hold much potential for use in education. Flickr is a great platform for finding, curating, sharing and collaborating with other educators, photographers, and friends. 

Gettting stttarted on IFTTT takes virtually no time.


    • Give IFTTT 30 minutes of your time to set up and explore a bit. Activate channels (like Flickr, iOS photos, Dropbox, Instagram, Pinterest, Email). Choose a couple of If-Then recipes and try them for yourself to see if they free you up for other things...like taking pictures, pinning, collaborating with educators and students, or blogging. 


    Screenshot of IFTTT webpage


    Tuesday, August 13, 2013

    Off to learn (OUT LOUD) at #NKCSedu Convocation!

    I love convocation. Bringing everyone in the district together as a connected community. The superintendent speaks about the district, giving us all common ground, common goals, and a positive message. Educational/motivational speakers gets us focused on the year and gets us thinking, laughing, and maybe willing to try something new.

    This year's speaker is +Darren Kuropatwa and I can't wait to meet this Canadian educator. I've connected with him on Twitter as well as on Google Plus, Instagram, and Flickr. He makes his learning visible for me to see and I appreciate that. I'm already learning with him and I can't wait to meet him face to face and listen to his message. This is the fun part--meeting those Twitter/Connected educators you learn with online.

    One thought running through my head, no, galloping, is that without being connected as district educators on social learning networks, and email doesn't count as connected because it's not collaborative, this is the only time we'll all meet together and learn together this year. What if we got connected through Twitter, Wikis, Google Docs, Google Plus, Flickr, and more? What if we could plan together even though we're in different buildings or even simply different rooms on different schedules? The news is...WE CAN!

    photo credit: dkuropatwa via photopin cc

    Monday, August 12, 2013

    My Next #Edcamp Session!

    My next #edcamp session idea revolves around social learning networks for educators to play and learn-out-loud on. 


    Yes, the Twitter session is needed at every #edcamp. Twitter is like the playground, that amazing place where you're exposed to all types of ideas and educators and media.
    photo credit: Bill Ward's Brickpile via photopin cc
    • Teachers that get a Twitter account during an Edcamp or other PD session are excited. They see other veteran tweeters sharing twitter stories and tips with them as +Barb Gilman+Anibal Pacheco and I did at #edcampKS and +Sean Nash  and +Jamie Neibling  and I did at Summer Academy for North Kansas City Schools. They want to try it. They want to learn. They want to share. And as anyone who has been to an #edcamp can attest, it is great fun sharing f2f with educators in a relaxed atmosphere, no matter what side of the coin you're on. We're all facilitators and learners.
    • If the New-to-Twitterers keep at it by following at least 100 educators, clicking the HOME icon and reading the edu-tweets, they will find things they're interested in. They'll find things they want to explore. They'll see social networks and posts they're curious about. 

    While Twitter is like the playground of education and where you go to keep your pulse on the big show, the other social networks are like the games in progress on the playground. The playground wouldn't be the same if you just walked around and looked at it. You gotta jump in and play different games. You meet new people there and gain new experiences there. Others benefit from your posts.


    photo credit: Bill Ward's Brickpile via photopin cc

    In my next #edcamp session we'll talk social-learning-networks that educators are curious about.  I'll share the ones I use and show what the posts look like on each. We'll talk tips, Q&A, and I'll learn from others about networks they use that I don't...YET, anyway. 

    If you look up to the top right of my blog you see all the hyperlinked buttons of the main social networks I learn on. Click on these and you can learn with me on any one of those networks if you choose. You can follow educators I follow. Use my 'following' lists as a resource. You can grow your PLN not only wider but deeper.

    I started on Twitter. I noticed tweets with Instagram and Flickr pictures.  I created accounts on these networks, yet another learning adventure, and followed educators I recognized from Twitter. I found myself learning through pictures, about education and about these wonderful people. How cool to learn through pictures and see with different eyes, see other schools and how they are set up, see other countries, and share my own pictures of nature, birds, edcamps, family fun, and school. I can't imagine my life without the self-expression and sharing I do on Instagram and Flickr.

    Foursquare is a social check-in app that allows you to also share pictures of places and of you at those places, perhaps with edufriends. I actually know very few local friends on Foursquare (that are my age anyway) but there certainly are many of the same educators I learn with on Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, FB, Google+ , and Youtube there. Foursquare is yet another way I connect AND get discounts at restaurants and stores in my area or in cities I travel to.

    Starting on Youtube and Blogger came after I was exposed to other educators learning out loud on Twitter and other networks. I learn much from reading the blogposts of my dear Twitter educator friends and seeing them speak/act/sing/perform in person either on Youtube or Google Plus in hangouts. I started blogging only because I was exposed to others blogposts via Tweets. I gave myself 2 weeks to list things to blog about. I had a long list.

    Google+ is a new horizon in my eduworld right now. The GHO's, or Google Hangouts, where you can basically Skype from your email account with any educator friend on Google+, and the Google+ Communities which give you a place to talk in-depth with private or public communities of G+ learners, are tools I'm working to utilize with my colleagues and edufriends far and wide. #EdcampHome was one recent event with lots of visible learning on Google+.

    The next #edcamps in my 'visit' queue are #edcampSGF (Springfield, MO) on September 20 and then #edcampKC (Kansas City, MO) on November 9th, which I'm happily planning with +Kyle Pace and +Steve J. Moore . After that, I'm learning out loud at #edcampSTL (Feb 8th) and #edcampOmaha (March 23rd). I'll be filling in a little square on the sign-up chart about the games on the playground.





    One of my posts from #edcampKS on August 3rd found on Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, and Flickr.