#DBC50Summer 38/50: Google Apps for Littles

Where in the world was this book when I was still in an elementary setting? Oh my word! The sheer amount of times I have heard in my career that our littlest learners can’t do something… it’s innumerable! Sad truth is, we aren’t giving them an opportunity to show us that they can do so many of the things our older students are doing. As a teacher, I will be recommending book 38 to every PreK-2nd grade teacher I come in contact with; as a parent, I will be using so many of these ideas for my own 5 year old! I actually just bought an additional copy to gift to her kindergarten teacher (shhhh)!

I’ve been trying to do #DBC50Summer in order of release date, and we are entering a period of Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc where books are released back-to-back-to-back! It’s interesting to note that Teach Like A Pirate was released in 2012 and the second book, Pure Genius wasn’t released until 2014. Beginning in 2015 and continuing through Summer of 2016, DBC was releasing a book a month on average. Then in 2017, DBC, Inc really started to take off, releasing twelve books in just over 8 months and 2 more to round out the calendar year. This year Dave and Shelley have published 22 books between January and the end of July! We were treated to three and four books a month this summer! It seemed like each week another one was coming out!

Because of that, the remaining books in #DBC50Summer were typically released within days of one another and I’ve done all I can to be sure the book numbers are correct. I reached out to DBC when I first began this process. Using the information from DBC, I did some research using author blogs, tweets, and sending direct messages to the authors asking if they remembered the official release date of their book(s). (I’m a fan of triangulating data… I blame my MLS classes, ha!) Definitively, book 39 (more on that in a minute) was released on February 19, 2018. Checking blogs and tweets, Google Apps for Littles by Christine Pinto and Alice Keeler was already out and doing amazing things on the Amazon best new release list, which would make it book 38!

Like all other books from DBC, Inc that have Alice Keeler’s name on the cover, this book is extraordinary! Each of the books about the Google line are in full color and are absolutely stunning! Check out this page from one of the #BookSnaps I tweeted today. Isn’t it gorgeous?

I love that Christine Pinto put pictures of her students and shared their work in this book! Seeing the excitement on their faces and photos of her organization really brought the book to life! The handprints with Google logos on the front of the book are a perfect addition and definitely make the cover memorable!

From the very beginning, I was captivated by this book! Even the foreword (written by Michelle Baldwin) was incredible! I have been guilty of logging into computers for my littlest students and then having them just leave the lab while I would run around and log every student off after they left. I love the authors’ idea of making a challenge for students to log on and off the Chromebook or Google Chrome account, putting a sticker on an incentive chart for each time it is done correctly. I’m telling you what’s the truth… there’s not a whole lot that the Littles (probably just go ahead and read that as middle schoolers, too) wouldn’t do for a sticker. Bonus cred if you get the smelly stickers. I’m just going to go ahead and say that smelly stickers saved my classroom management plan on multiple occasions. I especially love the “Meaningful Tech Integration” section of the Introduction in which Christine and Alice point out, “Replacing those activities [manipulatives, blocks, toys, etc] with computer tasks does not make learning better.” They go on to point out that allowing students, even the Littles, to use technology gives them an opportunity to learn, practice, collaborate, share, and connect.

The authors do an amazing job sharing the logistics of using Chromebooks, iPads (or other tablet), and/or Google Chrome on desktops in the PreK-2nd grade classroom. I love the log-in cards and color coding the keyboard and log-in cards to assist students in finding the letters and numbers to match.

One of the key themes in this book is having our students learn by exploration. Alice and Christine encourage us to allow students to click and explore as they learn about icons.

“Sometimes people struggle with technology because they are afraid to click on things. We do not want our kids to have to ask for permission to click on something or be afraid. Encourage them to explore and ask the kids what the icons do instead of telling them what they do…Let them explore, click, and learn!” ~Pinto & Keeler

As is true with many DBC books, there are links to template after template that allows you to take this back to your classroom tomorrow! I love the pixel art and appreciate the link in the book! My students love to create pixel art in Minecraft, but we only have 8 computers in our Minecraft Lab, so using Google Sheets with conditional formatting is an excellent way to incorporate this art form in class! I can totally see using this as a BreakoutEDU clue in the near future!

Searching for images with word families is definitely an activity I will do multiple times with Sophie, my daughter who just started kindergarten. She would love finding her own images on the internet. And the “explore” feature creating the best layout on the slide is just plain genius! I will definitely be using the color coded slides to assign slides to groups from this point forward! What a simple way to visually assign slides! There are so many things I can implement, even though I don’t teach the Littles anymore! Just as Teaching Math with Google Apps had a math focus, but could be used by any teacher because the information contained was just that good, Google Apps for Littles is focused on our youngest students, but certainly has relatable information for teachers of all grade levels! Don’t be fooled by those cute little handprints on the cover! Even if you’re a high school teacher, you will want get something out of this one!

I am the faculty sponsor for multiple clubs at my school. Makerspace Managers (which will also function as Innovation Engineers, thanks to Pure Genius by Don Wettrick), Game Club, Between the Lines Book Club, and now I will have students coming to the media center for an open invitation genius hour opportunity. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to manage that time without grading and formalizing the process. I want the students to want to be there and not feel as if it’s another assignment being dumped on them.  The Template Tab information from this book is exactly what i was looking for! Using this template, each student will have their own tab in one Google spreadsheet and they can reflect on their progress, communicate with me about wants and needs, and have a running journal of their genius hour journey to use if they choose to blog their story on the school’s new student-led blog (which is the implementation plan for Shift This by Joy Kirr and Ditch that Homework by Matt Miller and Alice Keeler.) I love when multiple implementation plans come together because it is making #DBC50Summer more cohesive and intentional. It’s also helping me think through the actual implementation and what will and may not work.

I also loved Kasey Bell‘s Magnetic Poetry Template! You can find more about magnetic poetry on Kasey’s blog at shakeuplearning.com/magneticpoetry (you’ll hear more about her very soon)! I look forward to sharing that with my middle school students next week, just as a fun activity. Then they can screenshot it using Alice’s extension and add it to a school-wide collaborative Google Slides. Now that revision history has been improved, I’m not as worried about a student deleting slides or adding anything inappropriate.

There are so many additional ideas for encouraging our Littles and providing them the same opportunities as our older students that can be found on Twitter! You can find these using the hashtag #GAfE4Littles! Christine has a beautiful website that can be found here. I would definitely recommend checking out the #InnovatingPlay and #SlowFlipChat sections of her site! (May also want to create a column in your Tweetdeck for those as well!) Remember the rabbit hole that is Alice’s website? It can be found here. The Google Teacher Tribe podcast (Kasey Bell and Matt Miller) interviewed Christine! You can listen to that here! Vicki (@coolcatteacher) Davis also hosted Christine on her 10-Minute Teacher podcast here. I would also highly recommend subscribing to both Christine’s and Alice’s YouTube channels!

If you’ve been following this journey for any length of time, you likely know what comes next. The flipgrid is available, thanks to the brilliant idea of my friend, Andrea Paulakovich! She kindly asked me if I’d like to co-pilot this global collaborative space available for all DBC books; of course I said yes! Please feel free to share your thoughts there and bring some friends along!

I am so excited to get to read book 39! It’s by two principals from my home state of North Carolina! In fact, they are located about an hour from my school! (Quick story) When I met Dave Burgess in April, we had a discussion about this book. In fact, it was through this conversation that I knew he (and his company) was legit. I mean, I had my doubts… I wondered if it was all a show. (I can be fairly cynical – we’ve covered this in another blog. I’m working on it.) You see, he brings a selection of books to his speaking engagements that he sells at a discounted price and will sign and personalize Teach Like A Pirate and/or P is for Pirate for you. What got me was that he could tell anyone who approached his table about each of the books he had published (not only the ones that he brought with him). He knew all 65 authors by name, and knew where they were from. The company is growing exponentially, but somehow he and Shelley have still managed to make it feel like a family. Book 39 caught my eye because of its beautiful cover; he let me know that the authors were from North Carolina and shared a story about the book with me. I knew then that I had to get it! So one of the five books I bought that day was The Limitless School by Abe Hege and Adam Dovico. I am pumped to finally be able to read book 39 after owning it for nearly 5 months! Hoping to blog about it tomorrow! Only twelve books left and 15 days until Fall begins! I can totally do this!

#DBC50Summer 34/50: Code Breaker

My first experience with coding? High school. Computer Applications 3. We were told to open Notepad on our Dell Optiplex GX110s (yep – big, white computers complete with driver for a 3.5″ diskette). After we were given a sheet with various html codes using angle brackets, we set to creating our own websites. As a junior in high school, I was able to create my first website using code like <h1> and </h1>. My favorite part? I distinctly remember when Mrs. Burgess (Yes, that is really her name! No, the irony of that is not lost on me!) gave us the “cheat codes” to different colored backgrounds and colored text. As soon as I could make my page hot pink and purple, I had succeeded. (Y’all, it was a horrific design. HA!)

Book 34 is a super short, super fast read full of ways to get started with coding in your own classroom/school! Brian Aspinall brings us Code Breaker as book 34 in the Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc line up.

Brian is quick to explain that computer science is not only coding. It’s a way of thinking. He speaks to learning about coding as a language that our students should know, even if they are not planning to become professional programmers. Thinking through the process of writing code is about more than just creating a website or app. It’s about the critical thinking and problem-solving that is put into practice while writing the code. It’s about perseverance and finding those tiny mistakes that can negate an entire block of code. I love his analogy of coding being a part of computer science as biology is a part of natural sciences. That’s when the distinction really clicked for me in a way that I could share with others.

Even if I weren’t already an advocate for teaching students how to code, I would be after reading Code Breaker!

When I became a media coordinator at an elementary school in 2014, I heard about this idea of “Hour of Code” that was taking off in schools across the world. I knew my students needed in on this, so I partnered with our computer teacher and we created a schedule in which every student in our school (yes, even the pre-kindergarten students) would engage in coding within one day. It was fast and furious and so much fun! Our pre-k and kindergarten students enjoyed playing a game of Simon Says and following the tiles along the hallways of our school. They were learning the fundamentals of coding through playing a game they were already familiar with. They learned how the computer only does what the human tells it to do just as they only do what Simon says to do in the game. We then moved from analog coding (unplugged activities) to using code.org for our emerging readers. This is a great place to go for coding instruction, allowing learners (even you!) to move through a curriculum designed for any age group. Even though I’ve moved to a middle school, the Hour of Code has not only continued in that elementary school, but has spread throughout my district.

If you’ve participated in the Hour of Code and are ready to move to the next thing in coding, check out Brian’s book! He gives many ways to integrate coding into multiple subject areas at a variety of ages. There are QR codes linked throughout the book to blog posts to further your learning, as well as examples and resources. At the end of the book there are several more resources, and educators to follow are listed throughout the pages of Code Breaker.

I have some of my favorite resources to share with you as well.

There are several unplugged games to get you started, too!

Earlier this year, I facilitated a session on Coding Camps and shared our activities in a five day summer camp. That slide deck can be accessed here.

With the strides we’ve already made to include coding across our district, I was a bit apprehensive about how I could implement Code Breaker in the new school year. Luckily Brian provides to many new ideas that finding something to implement was incredibly easy! For this book, I will be working with my math team to use MinecraftEDU to show patterns in both constant rate of change and growing patterns as he describes in chapter 4! This experience fits perfectly in our curriculum and we already use Minecraft to do multiple lessons, so students will be excited to see it implemented in patterns as well!

Brian provides excellent resources on his website. Brian has three TEDx Talks! Click for access to Hacking the Classroom, Education Reform, and Beyond Rote Learning. Don Wettrick (remember Pure Genius – such a good book!) interviewed Brian in his StartEdUp podcast. MindShare Learning did a video podcast with Brian, and The Ed Podcast just released a podcast with Brian earlier this summer about coding and why it isn’t necessarily the most important thing being learned (LOVE THIS!). As always, Andrea Paulakovich and I are copiloting a flipgrid which allows for collaboration on a global scale reflecting on each DBC, Inc book. Andrea had this incredible idea of using flipgrid at the beginning of the summer, and I was fortunate enough to get to be part of it! Feel free to share your thoughts with the community here; if no one has posted, be bold and start the conversation! The Twitter community uses the hashtag #CodeBreaker to discuss the ideas in this book. Speaking of Twitter, here are a couple of my reflective tweets while reading the book. Brian speaks so much truth in so few pages! Be sure to grab your copy now!

 

 

I was excited to finally be able to read book 34 and am equally pumped to get to read book 35! If you’ve heard of The Ron Clark Academy and believe in what the educators there in Atlanta are doing for their students, you will also be excited about book 35! It was written by the husband-wife team of Wade & Hope King, educators at The Ron Clark Academy and is called The Wild Card. Prepare to be inspired to get creative with book 35!

#DBC50Summer Book 21-30 Recap

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Is this my life? Really? Is this my REAL life? The past two months of #DBC50Summer have turned into some surreal moments! From receiving the most thoughtful, motivational DMs, tweets, and personal written notes (even snail mail) from these incredible authors to the sheer amount of knowledge and inspiration I have gained – the whole thing makes me question if it’s really real!

I have to say again how much I appreciate the outpouring of support from you, my PLN, as my family and I begin the journey of managing Type 1 Diabetes with our youngest daughter, Sophie. A quick update: we’ve been home from the pediatric hospital for 2 nights and her blood sugar is still stable and she’s been so brave in her blood sugar checks, maintenance insulin, and basal insulin injections! We have to poke that sweet girl 9 times a day as part of her treatment plan. Our 5 year old now knows and can explain vocabulary like blood sugar, insulin, diabetes, pancreas, and energy. She’s had more weight on her little shoulders than many adults I know, and her story is already a powerful one. She’s not lost a bit of her spunk through this, and I’m simply blown away by her. I appreciate you giving me a second to share a bit about her & patience as I have been taking my time in reading the past couple of books. We’re back at full speed now though!

Continuing on, for those that are just joining the fun, #DBC50Summer started in June when the 50th book was released by Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. (Check out Books 1-10 and Books 11-20!) Through a bit of what Dave Burgess calls Creative Alchemy, I drew on multiple problems I wanted to solve and created a solution that took care of them all at once. I had over half of the DBC, Inc books sitting on a shelf and had only read about a dozen of them. After meeting Dave at a conference (he was keynote and I was a presenter) in my home state in April, I was re-energized and even wrote a quick blog about it here. I had not had the inspiration to blog in a long time, but I knew I wanted to jump back into social media (Twitter specifically) and wanted to reflect on my practice more through blogging. I was also feeling stagnant in my professional growth, and knew that the DBC books could be the answer. The ones I had already read were fabulous so I knew not to expect any less from the others. With each of those problems, the perfect solution was to read the DBC books, and blog about them. Dave has strong words about being inspired and not implementing…

So with this in mind, I decided to implement at least one thing from every single book in the 2018-2019 school year. That’s one way to handle stagnant teaching, right?!

It’s important to note that I am reading the books in order of their release date. This has been incredible for several reasons. I am able to see names of current DBC authors in past books. It’s so cool to see those names knowing what’s getting ready to happen for them, the doors that are opening by sharing a part of their story in someone else’s book. I love seeing the evolution of DBC, Inc through the years. It’s really neat to see the maturity of the line up as it continues. I was beyond inspired by the first book, Teach Like A Pirate, written by the president of DBC, Inc and continue to be amazed at each book I pick up all the way up to book 30! It is incredible that each book continues to push me and make me want to be a better educator. One would think that after 30 books I’d be tired of reading them, simply going through the motions by now, or even ready to throw in the towel. I’ve got to tell you, I’m more excited now than when I started this journey in June! These authors have become vital players in my PLN and I have found that they are so relatable and approachable. The community around the books are full of amazing people who support one another and challenge each other to be the best educator possible for the students. What I love is that no matter what the book is, no matter the content, author, or how many copies sold, every single DBC addition points back to the learner! Talk about having your priorities straight – this group has that going for them!

So let’s see what’s been happening in #DBC50Summer the past couple weeks:

21 – Escaping the School Leader’s Dunk Tank by Rebecca Coda & Dr. Rick Jetter: This book rips back the curtain on the ugly side of education. Politics, jealousy, and deceit are everywhere and education is no exception. Rebecca & Rick want us to not just survive as leaders, but thrive in education and share ways to do just that in this book!

22 – Start. Right. Now. by Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, and Jimmy Casas: These guys take you on a trip that inspires you to get started as a leader and not wait another second! They share that leaders Know the Way, Show the Way, Go the Way, and Grow Each Day! This is a gut-punching book that will challenge you to consider if you’re doing all you can as a leader!

23 – Lead Like a Pirate by Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf: I have never been so nervous to click publish on a blog. Why? This book was integral in my walk as an instructional coach and I wanted to make Shelley & Beth proud! I wanted to uphold the integrity of the book and I literally want every leader out there to purchase a copy of it! Power-packed. The only way to really describe how incredible it is!

24 – Table Talk Math by John Stevens: One of the authors of The Classroom Chef wrote a second book and I was enamored by the stories of John’s family and their discussions of math in its relevance to the real world! These authentic math problems bring a whole perspective, where math isn’t to be feared, but understood. Why not discuss math nonchalantly around the dining room table? John shows us how!

25 – Teaching Math with Google Apps by Alice Keeler and the late Diana Herrington: Another amazing addition to the DBC & Google family, Alice and Diana share 50 ways to use Google Apps to implement technology in any math class! What’s great about this book though is that the suggestions aren’t just related to math!!! Grab a copy, even if you aren’t a math teacher!

26 – Shift This by Joy Kirr: Y’all… this book right here… just go get it. Trust me, and go get it! Joy is a total jewel and she shares small changes that we can all make in our classrooms to make big impact! With a growth mindset, we can all make changes in our practice and Joy shows that no matter how you may feel about your own teaching, we can always shift something and get huge results!

27 – Unmapped Potential by Julie Hasson and Missy Lennard: What does your mental map relay about education? Why do you believe what you believe? How can you break through barriers and change your mental map? This book inspired me to put a HUGE road map of the United States in my classroom – find out why in the blog, then go purchase your own copy!

28 – Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth by Aaron Hogan: Perfect teachers are unicorns, centaurs, leprechauns… they don’t exist! Aaron shatters the myths that surround a perfect classroom – he addresses it all in order to help you THRIVE in education: behavior, engagement, relationships, and so much more! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book!

29 – Social LEADia by Jennifer Casa-Todd: I couldn’t wait to get to book 29 so I could finally read the book I won in the #DBCChallenge! Jennifer shares why we shouldn’t stop at teaching digital citizenship, but empower our students to be digital leaders through the use of social media. She shares stories of change and global impact led by STUDENTS! This book is a great way to start the conversation about opening up the internet and showing students how to navigate social media rather than hoping they make the right decisions outside of school.

30 – Spark Learning by Dr. Ramsey Musallam: An extension of Ramsey’s TED talk 3 Rules to Spark Learning, we are shown how to inspire and encourage curiosity in our classrooms. Go beyond being “the fun teacher” and actually engage the students through their own natural curiosity to learn content while the teacher fill in the gaps.

You can’t go wrong with any of these books! All 10 of these books were released within 6 months! DBC is clearly picking up steam and moving ahead at an exponential pace! In fact, we’re up to June of 2017, so in less than a year, DBC released another 20 books!!! Dave and Shelley still run the business from their house (so impressive)!

If you want to jump on board with #DBC50Summer, it’s not too late! You don’t have to read all 50 of the books that were released as of early June to hop in! Just share your reflections on ANY DBC book using blogs, sketchnotes, flipgrid, or any other method and use the hashtag #DBC50Summer. Reading and implementing ideas from ONE DBC book is better than reading nothing at all, so join me! This has been an incredible ride and I’ve still got 20 more books to go to fulfill the self-imposed challenge! I’m so pumped to continue this journey and looking forward to implementing and learning so much more! If you want a quick peek at the implementation plan from #DBC50Summer, as well as seeing the books in order, check out my spreadsheet (you can also access the flipgrid for each book from there as well).

As I stated a LONG time ago, #DBC50Summer is referring to the season of summer, not summer vacation. I’m excited to continue this journey through September! However, I do need some help (LOTS of help) coming up with something to call this after summer is over! I’m not planning to stop with book 50 – I will continue reflecting, blogging, implementing, and sharing every DBC book released as long as they release them. I mean, come on – have you seen the books that were released this summer?! There’s pure gold there, too! No way I can stop at 50!!! So…brainstorm! Share creative names with me! What should we call #DBC50Summer when all 50 books are read and it’s not summer anymore?

Here we go with the next set of 10! Book 31 was written by a POWERHOUSE duo! Matt Miller of Ditch That Textbook and Alice Keeler of 50 Things, 50 Things Further, and Teaching Math with Google Apps teamed up to bring us Ditch That Homework! I’m so excited about reading this one! It’s been on my shelf since September 2017 and I’ve been following the blogs of both of these authors for years! It’s going to be epic!