At present time, I am in the process of transitioning publishers. I have a supply of books and will be selling them directly through this website. Just click on the contact form or the widget in the right sidebar! I will then send you an invoice for the book and you can pay a variety of ways. The price of the book is $19.99 which includes shipping or you can purchase from Amazon. Either way take this opportunity to get a guide to implementing technology at a discounted price.
If you are looking for easy, innovative ways to integrate gamification, web tools and mystery adventure quests then this book is for you. There are great ideas for simple to complex technology integration activities with sample lesson plans and step by step directions. If you would like a sample please let me know.
I am currently working on my second book and hope to have it self-published by the time the new school year starts in August or September. For now, I would love your support and appreciate let their colleagues know about this book. Thank you to those who have supported me in the past and I appreciate it for my future adventures in writing!
Many educators know and are constantly challenged to introduce new and innovative ways to reach their students and foster enthusiasm for the learning process. As an alternative to the textbook and current events model, global projects provide a unique look at the educational process by introducing students to cultures and classrooms at a global scale.
If you have been looking for a way to enrich your curriculum or increase the rigor and relevance of your learning activities, join me Thursday, July 30, 2015, at 4:30pm EST/3:30pm CST as we talk about what this strategy entails and easy ways to introduce participation in global projects to re-energize your teaching. I am participating in the SPEAKS VOLumes 2015 – “Super Leadership” online conference. Click the link to read about the online conference and join me to talk about global projects and web conferencing with classrooms around the globe!
The state of New York recently announced that it was replacing Pearson as its testing vendor and is going to go with Questar Assessment Inc, a smaller Minneapolis based company. Questar is receiving a $44 million, five-year contract. Pearson’s $32 million contract ends this December and was responsible for developing the Common Core-aligned tests that have been given to New York students for several years. Pearson’s tests have had repeated complaints about the validity and content of some of its questions.
Just a few months ago, Pearson lost its three-decade testing contract for the state of Texas. Educational Testing Service won the state’s new testing contract of a mere $280 million spanning the next four years. Pearson will keep a small portion of the testing business though, just $60 million compared to Pearson’s last contract with Texas for $468 million over the past five years. Living in Texas, I know many educators were glad to see that Pearson’s presence was lessened. A new test was developed that was supposed to be harder because the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test was too easy and teachers were achieving high passing scores. The new test that replaced TAKS, the State of Texas of Assessment of Academic Readiness (STARR) is extremely difficult and is not without controversy over the questions and difficulty level.
In 2014, Pearson lost its contract to provide tests for public schools in Florida, and a new $220 million, six-year contract instead went to the AIR (formerly known as the American Institutes of Research).
According to a Washington Post article,
Pearson-created Common Core tests in New York have been the target of complaints for several years, including a now infamous question about a “talking pineapple” on a 2012 standardized reading test given to eighth-grade students, which students and adults said didn’t make sense. Ultimately, the question wasn’t counted in students’ scores. But questions about other questions have continued, including these concerns expressed this year by educators:
- Requiring fourth graders to write about the architectural design of roller coasters and why cables are used instead of chains
- A sixth-grade passage from “That Spot” by Jack London, which included words and phrases such as “beaten curs,” “absconders of justice,” surmise, “savve our cabin,” and “let’s maroon him”
- A passage on the third-grade test from “Drag Racer” which has a grade level of 5.9 and an interest level of 9-12th grade.
The article also lists the following links to testing related articles of issues Pearson experienced in 2015, as collected by FairTest and the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, a non-profit that works to end the misuse of standardized testing:
2015 New York – Quality of Pearson-designed questions on state exam challenged
2015 California – Pearson battles over award of state testing contract to rival firm
Unfortunately, even though Pearson is out of the picture or their presence is lessened in some states, there is still controversy surrounding Pearson or its replacement. There is no company without controversy when it comes to standardized assessments. How unfortunate for our students. Weigh in with your comments on difficulties with standardized testing in general or Pearson created tests. I am collecting data and anecdotes for future blog posts and appreciate all responses.
To commemorate the July 4th celebration, we are lowering the price of my book “Kid Detectives Classroom Learning Activities: Mystery Aventure Quests” to $17.76 including shipping! Take advantage of this sale price until July 7th when the price will return to $19.99. Help celebrate July 4th and get your signed commemorative copy mailed to you right away! To order, leave a message on the contact form of this website. I look forward to hearing from you!
This year I did not attend the ISTE (International Society of Technology Educators) conference and participated in the Google+ #notatiste15 community instead. There were some great posts about sessions that were shared live via Periscope and other means of broadcasting sessions live.
I learned a great deal even though I didn’t attend in person. Attending virtually felt like I was right there with the other participants thanks to those that live streamed their sessions. The #notatiste15 community was on the ball and shared so many ways to participate virtually. Sue Waters of the Edublogger created a Flipboard magazine which I can’t wait to view. She curated ISTE posts and links and I know it will be an excellent resource. Jen Wagner, Vicky Sedgewick and Craig Yen did great job moderating links, posts, articles, etc. about ISTE and sharing them with the community. I was totally lost until I saw how they were posting and sharing in the community. I even shared a few tweets about events at ISTE for the #notatiste15 community.
I learned how to use Google draw to create a virtual ISTE badge with colored ribbons and even made my own ribbon. It is small and difficult to read but I learned how to do it by myself which I am pretty proud of! Simple I know but new to me. The badges were so interesting and creative. I never got my badge in the Google slidedeck but I hope someone will do that for me. I tried but was never successful.
My next personal goal and challenge will be to host a Google Hangout (GHO) by myself. I plan to have a specific topic with guests and host a short session with the guest experts and I discussing whatever topic we select. What topic is trending: how to host a GHO, gamification, publishing your own book, creating Flipboard magazines? Leave a comment with your suggestion and I will line it up and schedule it. I am more familiar with hosting webinars in Adobe Connect or Blackboard Collaborate – so much so those come naturally to me. GHOs, not so much.
So thank you to all who shared in the #notatiste15 community (https://plus.google.com/communities/102762507417207490264). I learned so much and cannot thank everyone enough. I even got to share about my book, “Kid Detectives Classroom Gamification Learning Activities: Mystery Adventure Quests”. That was super exciting for me as I am really proud of this accomplishment.
I share all of this to say the past week I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried a few technical things that were new to me and participated in live Periscope sessions that were also new to me. I took some learning risks and it greatly paid off. It reenergized me enough to try new things and expose my vulnerabilities and weaknesses. I am still learning and I hope you are too. Now I am off to edit the expanded version of “Kid Detectives”!
My dear friend and mentor, Miguel Guhlin, wrote a blog post about gamification and how to make learning fun for our students by creating mystery adventure quests. When students are having fun and learning, achievement soars along with motivation and engagement in the learning process. I so appreciate the generous amount of time Miguel spent writing the blog post and sharing amazing feedback about my book and gamification in the classroom.
I was hesitant to write the book. Would anyone want to read what I had to say? Would anyone buy the book? I had a lot of fears but pushed through and wrote a manuscript and found a publisher.
I do hope people find value in the book and what I share. I explain ways to use lots of technology resources and web tools in the classroom to create mystery adventure quests and general technology lessons. If you feel so inclined to purchase my book know how much I appreciate the support. Enjoy if you purchase the book!
Be sure to read Miguel’s blog post regardless of whether you purchase the book or not. He makes some great points about transforming learning integrating technology and gamification into the classroom. His comments are more than feedback on my book. They are priceless.
Eight year old Gabriel Dispenziere is a student who interacts with his peers and teachers using a web conferencing application and mobile device. He sits at a desk in his house and participates in the activities from a distance due to an extreme food allergy he experiences.
He isn’t allergic to just specific foods. He is allergic to all foods and any remnants on a person so he is unable to attend school or be around others that may have food particles on them. He cannot eat any food and is fed through a feeding tube at night. Gabriel is not able to be around anyone who has food on their hands, body or breath or he will have an allergic reaction due to his rare health condition.
Gabriel is very intelligent and skipped first grade. He is unable to attend school as he cannot risk being exposed to food particles on peers or airborne. But this year Gabriel has been to partially experience being part of a classroom for the first time due to the use of technology.
Gabriel has an iPad at his desk and there is an iPad mounted to a rolling stand in the classroom so that the students can see and interact with Gabriel as well as with his teacher. Gabriel and the students use Facetime to contact and interact with one another from a distance. He can now raise his face, participate in paired or group activities safely and securely from his iPad at home.
Gabriel was diagnosed at age two with eosinophilic esophagitis commonly known as EoE. It is a rare condition that causes the esophagus to inflame from allergic reactions to various food products. Unlike Gabriel, some are only allergic to a handful of foods but Gabriel is allergic to all food products.
With the recent addition of using Facetime, Gabriel is able to ‘attend’ school even though he has never been able to set foot in classroom or school building. If he leaves the house he has to be very cautious where he goes to avoid all food products. Gabriel is not allergic to sugar so he gets lollipops as treats and got cotton candy and snow cones on his birthday.
You can read the full article at http://riverheadlocal.com to find out more details about his health condition. He has spent a great deal in the hospital and every day he gets to ‘attend’ school is a blessing.
Photo credits: Riverheadlocal.com
At the end of the school year, past students often come by and make a special trip to see a teacher who has made a difference in his or her life. It is always heartwarming when you receive a card of thank you message from a parent or student as well. The end of the school year is always bittersweet as you look forward to vacation as well as the opportunity to hear from students you had in class in the past. I call those moments of remembrance, “Paychecks of the Heart!”.
Since I have been working with master’s level students, I have received a few of the special moments via email about how much they appreciate the guidance and feedback I have provided through the course assignments I facilitate. I appreciate those moments too.
Please share below any special moment to remember that you experienced this year and share our paychecks of the heart. I can’t wait to read your moments to remember!
This past Saturday, June 6th, there was a discrepancy in the directions for one section of the SAT test according to a Washington Post article. The test proctor’s booklet said section 8 or 9, depending on the version the student received, was limited to 20 minutes, which was the correct time allocation, while the student booklets said 25 minutes for the section. Once the discrepancy was noticed, test proctors were frantically calling the College Board asking how best to proceed.
It is unfortunate the time allocation discrepancy was not noticed prior to starting the test. Most students were only allowed 20 minutes for the section regardless of what their booklet said causing many students to panic as they had paced themselves thinking they had more time than they actually did. Five minutes can be a big deal when taking timed tests and on a test that is as important as the SAT, anything that alters the timing or answering the questions can really affect student scores.
According to a Washington Post article, the College Board issued the following statement:
Shortly before noon Eastern Time on Saturday, June 6, Educational Testing Service (ETS) informed the College Board that there was a printing error in the standard test books they provided to students taking the SAT on June 6 in the United States. The time allotted for a specific section, either section 8 or 9 depending on the edition, was incorrect in the student test books and correct in the script and manual provided to Test Center Supervisors. The student test books contained “25 minutes” while the manual and script contained the correct time limit of “20 minutes.” As soon as ETS became aware of the error during the administration of the test, they worked to provide accurate guidance to supervisors and administrators.
The College Board understands the critical nature of this issue, and we are actively working to determine next steps to ensure the fairness of the test and the validity of the scores we deliver. We regret the confusion and concern this issue is causing for students and their families, and we will provide them and others with updated information as soon as possible. Updates will be available online.
ETS is the College Board’s test administration and security provider for the SAT.
Think of the panic if you are taking the SAT and planning to enroll in the fall of 2015 in a college program. This is one of the last administrations that you can take and still possibly enroll in the fall. Rushing to finish problems or leaving too many blank can have negative repercussions on the overall SAT score due to a student panicking or experiencing increased test anxiety. This was an unfortunate problem for students all over the United States that took the SAT on June 6, 2015. Some students were given the extra five minutes as stated in the test booklet even though the directions the test administrators were given read 20 minutes.
Bob Schaeffer, public education director of the nonprofit National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest, said Sunday night that his organization had been alerted to the same problem in SAT booklets administered in Asia on Saturday hours before the exams were given in the United States. But a College Board spokeswoman said on Monday that the organization said in an e-mail: “ETS and the College Board have confirmed that there was no misprint in tests administered outside the United States.”
Schaeffer said in an e-mail:
If the mistimed sections were not experimental, the College Board faces a serious test scoring problem. At a minimum, the administration of that portion of the exam was not “standardized” since some students had 20 minutes to complete the items, while others had 25 minutes. Rather than its typical circle-the-wagons and say nothing non-response, the test-makers need to explain immediately how this error occurred and what they are going to do to insure score integrity.
The error was brought to light when a student, who had taken the test twice before, noticed the booklet said 25 minutes although he knew the directions only allowed 20 minutes for that section.
The test booklet said he had 25 minutes, but the proctor said he had 20. He pointed this out, and the proctor asked what other people’s exam books said. About half the people in the room had 25 minutes for Section 8. Presumably, the other half would have the extra time on Section 9. The test supervisor had to be called in, and she indicated that other classrooms were experiencing the same problem. It turned out that the extent of this problem was much wider and was in fact nationwide.
James Murphy is an educator who prepares students for the SAT. He made a statement about the changes coming in the future on the new SAT.
In order to get a perfect score on the SAT, you need to be pretty much perfect. You can’t make stupid mistakes, and you have to be very careful with your timing. The SAT this past Saturday did not live up to its own standards. Students across the nation received exam booklets containing a printing error that allotted five extra minutes to one section of the exam.
The SAT has 10 sections, and Sections 8 and 9 are 20 minutes long. On June 6, however, tests were distributed in which the directions for either Section 8 or 9 indicated that section would be 25 five minutes long.
Students that took the SAT on June 6 took to Twitter to voice their concerns and frustrations. Two samples tweets are below.
The College Board put out an initial update regarding the June 6th SAT administration. You can read the update here.
Classkick is an app that lets teachers see the work on assignments that students do on assignments. It has some unique features that I copied from iTunes so I wouldn’t let any out. It looks like an interesting app and lets you grade assignments paperlessly. The work is completed on the iPad and the teacher can give feedback in addition to students helping one another. Students can also help one another anonymously so there is no stigma if a student does not understand how to complete parts of a class assignment.
The Classkick app was designed so students could receive feedback. Their notion is that students can perform better on assessments and assignments when given personal feedback that doesn’t embarrass or discourage them from trying challenging work. I think that a noble reason to create the app. An audio feature has been added so students can hear the feedback and see how to solve a problem at the same time. Math isn’t the only subject Classkick can be used with but it is ideal for using with math problems.
The app also has the following features:
– CREATE paperless assignments using existing worksheets, audio, video or web content.
– SEE every students’ work simultaneously.
– GIVE instant feedback when it is most important.
– FACILITATE peer-to-peer feedback and learning.
– WORK at their own pace and even on their own time.
– ASK for help privately.
– HELP their peers.
– in class or at home.
– in traditional or flipped classrooms.
– as a group together or on your own time individually.
– station work
– do nows/exit slips
– guided practice
– independent practice
Check out the app and let me know what you think and how you use it with your students!