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Kid Detectives – Classroom Gamification Learning Activities: Mystery Adventure Quests

Posted by kcaise on August 25, 2015 in blogging |

kid_detectives_widget_imageI 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!

Miguel Guhlin, author of ‘Around the Corner’ blog, shared a great write up of the content in the book in a post that can be found here: http://wp.me/p39xZQ-1je. Hopefully it gives you an inspirational overview of the book and you decide to purchase the last of the stock. Thanks again for your support!

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Students’ View of International Dot Day – You Gotta Check this out!

Posted by kcaise on August 22, 2015 in blogging, Digital Media |

International_Dot_Day___Get_Inspired__The_Dot_GalleryTerry Shay, FableVision Ambassador, came up with the idea of International Dot Day based on the book, “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds. Classrooms around the world, on or near the date of September 15, celebrate International Dot Day with a variety of activities based on the book.

It is so exciting to see and hear the events teachers have their students participate in. With the date fast approaching, Terry polled his students and shared their views of participating in International Dot Day activities.

I wanted to share those with you as the students’ comments were phenomenal and inspiring – too motivating to not share with the world!

Below are the comments that Terry shared on his blog –

IMG_1522Several people have asked on Twitter how to celebrate Dot Day with high school students. Since the very beginning, I’ve just set out art supplies and let them make dots. No special lesson. We do use canvas now and I hang the resulting dot art in my classroom for the remainder of the year. I decided to ask my beloved former students what they thought of Dot Day. At the risk of seeming immodest,  I am quoting them exactly as they responded. I believe their responses show exactly how amazing my students are:

As a student I enjoyed dot day. I remember the first time I saw the video, I wasn’t sure what to expect and it turned out to be something very eye opening, motivating, and encouraging. I loved the idea of dot day, not only because I got to create my own dot, but because it was a great message that we were helping send out world wide. – Molly

I liked seeing the map showing all the countries that participated in Dot Day! I thought it was cool that my music teacher from Iowa had managed to reach kids that were hundreds of thousands of miles away.- Emma

I liked Mr. Shay.. He was cool and everyone respected him.. Maybe if more of the teachers were like him they wouldn’t need to pry their students to make a dot that could change a life.. Not only change a life, but show that there are people who care and want to help out all over the world…Taylor

Dot day to me not only stimulates and shows the creative nature inside of everyone, but also being able to see a small group of people be able to reach out and affect thousands of lives for a day. It shows you can make a difference through hard work and inspiration.-Mitchell

Nowadays, we are pushing students to do more and learn more to try and help them find out what the future may have in store for them, but it is ALWAYS necessary to take a step back for a day and bring out your inner feelings and creativity, and what better way is there to do so than a dot! Dot Day is one of my favorite times of the year because I can forget about everything, and just focus on making a dot of my own that would be hung on Mr. Shay’s wall. Your eye is always drawn right to them when you walk into his room, and it is really awesome to see everyone’s creativity come together to form such a beautiful piece of art. I cannot wait to one day have a classroom of my own and get to encourage my students to partake in this great event each year! -Landon

To me. dot day is a day that not only celebrates creativity, but also emphasizes the significance that is held by each and every person on this Earth. It is a day that reminds us all that each and every one of us has talents to share, no matter how small we may think they are. It teaches that we never need to be anything more than ourselves; we are all great in our own ways. Just think, if a small town, Iowan, teacher can spread joy, creativity, and a sense of significance, to millions around the world, starting with something as small as a dot, what great things can you do? – Shannon

I always enjoyed dot day because I liked how it was something people from all parts of the world could share together. You were able to get creative with your dot and share a little bit of your personality with everyone that was able to see it. – Jackie

As I said, best kids in the world! Celebrate however you like, but don’t think you need to do anything special. Watercolors, markers, crayons….whatever you have. High school kids just want to be creative…like all of us.

 

Isn’t that exciting how much the students appreciated and valued the activities they participated in? Reflection on learning activities is a step to improving professionally and it is great when you can get direct feedback from your students.

Consider signing up to participate and view the educator’s guide if you need ideas of ways you can involve your students in International Dot Day. You can also contact Terry Shay or myself if you need suggestions for ways to participate with your students. This is a great way to involve your students in a global project with classrooms on every continent and around the world. Don’t forget Global Collaboration Day is on September 17th.

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“Get Rid of Teachers’ Lounges” from Presidential Candidate

Posted by kcaise on August 20, 2015 in blogging |

aft hotline
I find this incredulous statement that teachers’ lounges was even part of a discussion by presidential but according to an email I received from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), removing teachers’ lounges so we educators cannot complain about our jobs and if we are such terrible teachers we should find another job. The full text is shown below.

TEXAS AFT LEGISLATIVE HOTLINE—WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2015

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up—Presidential Candidate Issues Call to “Abolish All Teachers’ Lounges”

At a time when school districts around Texas and the nation are experiencing teacher shortages, you might think public officials would try to avoid giving fresh offense to educators who are fed up with being scapegoated and sick of seeing their students’ educational experience warped by the testing industry and its allies.

But Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a contender for the Republican presidential nomination, apparently couldn’t contain himself. Today he shared with the audience at a so-called “education summit” meeting in New Hampshire (convened by groups promoting private-school vouchers) his solution for low morale: getting rid of teachers’ lounges so teachers won’t sit around and gripe.

Here’s how Kasich’s remarks giving the back of his hand to teachers were reported in an online article on the Talking Points Memo Web site:

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Wednesday said that he would like to get rid of teachers’ lounges to reduce how much teachers worry about losing their jobs.

Kasich said at an education summit in New Hampshire that many teachers believe that “we’re out to take their job” when schools evaluate teacher performance and that teachers’ lounges provide an environment where this worry spreads.

“No we’re not out to take their job. If you need help, we’ll help you. If you’re a terrible teacher, then you should be doing something else because you’re going to find more satisfaction doing something else that you’re good at,” he said. “We have to constantly communicate that.”

He then suggested that teachers’ unions contribute to educators’ worries.

“I’ll tell you what the unions do, unfortunately too much of the time. There’s a constant negative comment, ‘They’re going to take your benefits, they’re going to take your pay,'” Kasich said. “So if I were, not president, but if I were king in America, I would abolish all teachers’ lounges, where they sit together and worry about, ‘Woe is us.'”

You can see the video of Kasich’s comments here: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/john-kasich-abolish-teacher-lounges. His remarks were like catnip for his pro-voucher, anti-union hosts at the “summit.” We suspect his words will not go over so well in those teachers’ lounges, however. 

I would agree – teachers’ lounges will be a buzz with talk of this candidate and won’t be appreciative of the sentiments expressed in the above conversation.

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International Dot Day is Fast Approaching

Posted by kcaise on August 19, 2015 in curriculum, Digital Media |

International_Dot_Day___Get_Inspired__The_Dot_GalleryInternational Dot Day is September 15th-ish and began when fellow FableVision Ambassador, Terry Shay, introduced the book, “The Dot” written by Peter Reynolds, to his students. The book is very motivating and inspiring and I highly encourage you to explore the book if you have never read it.

“The Dot”

Since then, teachers around the globe get together to share the book and various activities associated with the book around September 15th. What is the book about and why is there such fanfare around the book?


The Dot
is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.

And each year on International Dot Day – with the help of people just like you –the inspiration continues. What started as a story in the pages of a book is transforming teaching and learning around the world as people of all ages re-discover the power and potential of creativity in all they do.

International_Dot_Day___Get_Inspired__Making_a_MarkAs shared above, you can see why this book makes such an impact and lasting impression on students around the globe.

It has a universal theme that students, teachers and parents can all relate to.

There is a big book version to show on an interactive whiteboard and information about the big book can be found here along with a variety of ways to participate and celebrate International Dot Day: http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/get-inspired/making-a-mark.

Handbook

A handbook has been developed to help teachers share ideas and how they have celebrated International Dot Day in the Past and put together in a wonderful resource for teachers. You can find out more information about the handbook here: http://www.fablevisionlearning.com/fablevision-dot-day-handbook.

Skype in the Classroom

Many International Dot Day participants turn to Skype in the classroom to connect their students with other students from around the world. Using Skype, students collaborate on classroom projects and teachers share ideas and inspiration to make teaching and learning more exciting and memorable. Visit International Dot Day’s Skype in the Classroom project page.

Skype is a great way to connect to other classrooms and read the book together or share in a fun activity based on the book. Ask your student what their special talent is and where their ‘dot’ will take them. What kind of journey will their dot take them? Help your students make their mark on paper and transfer that inspiration to their lives. Every child has a talent. Helping students determine and foster that talent is a challenge and what International Dot Day is all about.

The Dot Gallery

The Dot Gallery has images of past projects and pictures of past participants in International Dot Day. Terry also sparked Celebri-dots, dots by illustrators, authors and ‘celebrities’ sharing their mark and talents with the ‘The Dot Club Community. Check it out and join the club! Make your mark and share it with the world. This would be a great opportunity and topic to celebrate ‘Global Collaboration Day” on September 17th. I wrote about Global Collaboration Day in the previous post). Combine the two events and make a full day of and celebrate dot day with the world on Global Collaboration Day!

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Global Collaboration Day

Posted by kcaise on August 18, 2015 in conferences, online events |

Announcing Global_Collaboration_Day_-_TackkJoin us on September 17 for Global Collaboration Day. The day will be honored with classrooms around the connecting and learning together.

The day is described by the Global Education Conference, sponsored by Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon, as,

On this day (and beyond), experienced global educators and other professionals will host connective projects and events and invite public participation. The primary goals of this whole day event are to demonstrate the power of global connectivity in classrooms, schools, institutions of informal learning and universities around the world, and to introduce others to the tools, resources, projects, and networks that are available to educators today.

The Global Education Conference Network believes in the power of connected, globally competent learners of all ages…..let’s show others what connected learning looks like around the clock on September 17th!

Classrooms can participate and host a variety of events. If you would like to host a special event to commemorate this occasion, click here to find out more information and share your event information: http://www.globalcollaborationday.org/host-an-event.html.

To join an event, sign up your class and look for an event to participate in that is interesting to you, engages your students and fits your time zone. You can sign up here: http://www.globalcollaborationday.org/join-an-event.html.

So, join the fun, have a blast and connect your students to the world!

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Connecting Classrooms through Global Projects in Leaps and Bounds – speaks VOLumes conference 2015

Posted by kcaise on July 30, 2015 in conferences, global projects |

Below are the resources shared during my “Connecting Classrooms through Global Projects in Leaps and Bounds” for the “speaks VOLumes conferences 2015”.

Recording link: https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/jwsdetect/playback.jnlp?psid=2015-07-30.1335.M.26BDCCCCECA3E21F0A81A74E6B22D1.vcr&sid=2008257

Click here to open this binder in a new window.

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Connecting Classrooms through Global Projects – Conference Presentation

Posted by kcaise on July 23, 2015 in blogging |

20140630-202329-73409177.jpgMany 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.

webinar_keyboardIf 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!

Join link: https://sas.elluminate.com/m.jnlp?sid=2008257&username=&password=M.5221ABDD05581BB2EFC55D3A07F030

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Pearson Losing its Hold in the Testing Game

Posted by kcaise on July 16, 2015 in testing |

answer document with pencilThe 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

2015 Minnesota Statewide testing suspended due to Pearson computerized administration system collapse

2015 Florida – State end-of-course testing suspended due to PearsonAccess log-in problems

2015 Virginia – State Testing Interrupted Three Times Because of Pearson Testing System Problems

2015 IndianaCyber-attack on Pearson Computerized Exams Raises Security Concerns

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.

 

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Sale price of “Kid Detectives” – $17.76 for a Commemorative Copy

Posted by kcaise on July 5, 2015 in blogging |

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!

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What I Learned from #notatiste15

Posted by kcaise on July 2, 2015 in blogging, conferences, online learning |

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.

notatiste_badge_-_Google_DrawingsI 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 Kid_Detectives_Classroom_Gamification_Learning_Activities__Mystery_Adventure_Quests__Kim_Caise__9781589120556__Amazon_com__Bookssuper 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”!

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