Saturday, October 11, 2014

Amazing Inventions

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Yesterday, students participated in the Global Day of Play and Cardboard Challenge. The event stemmed from a movement started by 9-year-old Caine who built a cardboard arcade. The school celebrated the event two years ago, and the students and families had so much fun!

Here is Kaitlyn's creation this year, inspired by her favorite game at Chuck E. Cheese! Leo got rich, I believe!

 The game is made out of cardboard and a blower. All materials were recycled materials.


To find out more or participate, please see the following links:

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A place to projects

While I was viewing my Twitter feed tonight, I came across this incredible resource for organizations and websites to help one get started with Global Projects.
Happy exploring!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Five weeks in America -- from a Spaniard's point of view

What have I learned staying in America????


SPAIN:Here in America the difference between Spain and America is that in USA, there's lots of cool stuff.


1; The drive-through, you can do lots of stuff much quicker with the drive-through.

2; The time, first of all, there are 6 hours of difference and in the EEUU, you Americans wake up at 8 or  9. We spanish people wake up at 11 or 12. Then you go to bed at 11 and we go to bed at 2am and that's the reason.                                                                                                                                                

3; The technology: you Americans are really advanced in tech, instead we Spanish have or use the stuff that you were using one year ago.

4; The food: the food that you eat every time is chicken. We Spanish, we eat lots of different kinds of food.

Favorite things:

--Adventure Island and theme parks, camps, and most of the people I met were really nice.

Why would I come back?

--Chick-Fil-A, things are cheaper, to see the friends I made, and Luciano & Giovanni

Why should Americans visit Spain?

--To stop being fat.  Not going thru drive thru, not being lazy, professional soccer, learn Spanish language, at the beach we can go out as far as we want bc there are no sharks, there are different terrains and buildings on top of hills.


(Pat is a 13-year-old boy who spent five weeks in Florida with an American family. Pat's parents and the parents in this American family are longtime friends who met about 20 years ago. They met because a girl from Italy decided to spend the summer in Florida with a host family. The mom in the 2014 American host family is one of the blog owners/writers/editors.) 
"I live in a small house but my window looks out to the world."

Thursday, July 3, 2014

ISTE 2014 Ignite Presentation by Jennifer Williams: Collaborative Learning Spaces

1.     Consider for a moment a noun: a naming word that is a person, place or thing.  Good morning, my name is Jennifer Williams. And I am a verb trapped in a noun’s body.  As  a teacher of English, this of course is not easy for me to say as it defies basic rules of grammar. 

2.     Now consider this : “classroom” a noun that means a room in a school where classes are taught.  I am here to tell you that I believe classrooms of today, like me, are nouns destined to become verbs. 

3.     Traditional classrooms, based on factory-style learning environments follow this standard definition.  Many nouns: room, walls, desks, books, teacher, students, conventions.

4.     It is time to jump out the box of traditional spaces that restrict innovation and to redesign spaces for maximum engagement and integration of technology. These new classrooms can become alive with action and with verbs: innovating, creating, making, and exploring.  All teaching, all learning,

5.     Students today acquire information and socialize in new and innovative ways. With immeasurable advances in technology, students are exposed to experiences with diverse cultures and are afforded complex opportunities of networked collaboration.

6.     Immersed in tools of the digital age, today’s students acquire information in fundamentally different ways. Non-linear learning of these hyperlinked students has more to do with a network than a line. It’s about experience, multitasking, and connecting many dots.

7.     With our current educational system designed for linear learning, we find ourselves following thinking patterns of past generations. Traditional stand-and-deliver, sit-and-listen pedagogies in a passive learning setting. In our industrial age designs using teacher-centered instruction, we are challenged to reflect the changing needs of today’s learners.

8.     Static layouts and furniture with limited mobility restricts interactions between students, teachers, and content.  The environment in itself can be a barrier to learning.

9.     In innovative student-centered learning spaces, everyone is part of the experience, the sharing of knowledge, and the exchange of ideas. The environment is motivating and is engaging. Within the lives of the people in a place called a classroom, this culture is fostered.

10. As teachers in these classrooms, we are educators, facilitators of learning, and designers of learning spaces.  We are eduscapers that look for opportunities to use our space as a change-agent to help students become more skillful curators of their digital worlds. We encourage individual voices and we ask why, why not, and what if? 

11. By examining the landscape of the classroom, we can design collaborative learning spaces that will support the teaching and learning of 21st century skills needed today.  With this creation of an activity-based learning environment that seamlessly connects pedagogy, technology, and the space, a new word is formed: eduscapes.

12. Today we have a responsibility to create a vibrant exploratory eduscape for our students to discover, play, learn, and create.  Change the focus from nouns to an emphasis on the verbs. Learning space design can act as a catalyst to support sustainable change in teaching and learning in FIVE SIMPLE STEPS! 

13. First, by seamlessly integrating technology into teaching and learning, students are invited to explore and are empowered to design their own learning.  With Apple TV, Google Glass, iPad, and Nearpod technologies, classrooms can be transformed into a connected learning space.

14. Second, activity-based learning designs of methodology and space allows students and teachers to collaborate in the process of learning.  Projects allow for creation, connection, and problem-solving with learning teams.

15. New pedagogies and a focus on active participation and personalization evolves the role of the teacher from distant lecturer to facilitator of learning. Students of the digital age are engaged, self-directed, and responsible for the development of their own knowledge.  This design provides for a shift in ownership of knowledge and allows for all to be teachers and all to be learners. 

16. #4 Creative learning spaces foster skills needed for a technology-infused world.  Students will need to be able to adapt quickly to change, solve complex problems swiftly with ease, and critically think not only abstractly, but creatively. 

17. Finally, in a collaborative learning space, every space is for learning.  Every seat is the best seat and students have control over how and where flexible furniture is placed.  Spaces should allow students to easily move from individual work to group work, and access to content, peers, and teachers must be available and flexible.  But, above all, the student is always at the center of learning.

18. In the words of Maya Angelo, one of the most influential voices of our time, “The horizon leans forward offering you space to place new steps of change.”  Today we have the unique and exciting opportunity to construct this space and take new steps of change. 

19. I invite you to work alongside your students and connect two seemingly unrelated pieces of a puzzle and creatively analyze the big picture.  Enjoy the experience of together connecting the many dots.  Change the noun of classroom to a verb of action.

20. And together with your students never stop questioning by asking why, why not, and what if?  Thank you and please enjoy your last day at ISTE!  Looking forward to seeing you next year!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

ISTE 2014: Top 5 Quotes that Inspired Me!

1. "If your dream doesn't scare you, it is not big enough"--Kevin Carroll @kckatalyst

2. "Make sure the pedagogy comes before the technology." --Courtney Calfee @ccalfee

3. "Making is physical, digital, and social.  Making is a universal language." --Dale Dougherty @dalepd

4. "The cloud is our campfire where we share our stories." --Amy Burvall @amyburvall

5. "Teachers ought to be, should be required to empower our students to personalize learning and make them want to connect."  --Fran Siracusa @la_Profe_s

And LOVED everyone's quotes on their t-shirts!  See you next year EduFriends!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Effective Communicators and Responsible Participants in a Global Society

At a middle school, where I had the privilege to work and teach, stakeholders buy into the Mission Statement:

Our Mission is to educate children within a supportive environment to become confident lifelong learners, intellectually discerning thinkers, effective communicators, and responsible participants in a global society.

One of the most important duties I have as an educator is to develop particular skills in my students. The skill of communication and the art of flexibility and responsibility are top priorities in my World Language classroom, as they should be in all schools across America. 

I personally take language learning beyond the classroom "walls" and expose students to experiences with diverse cultures and networked collaboration. By integrating innovative World Languages pedagogy with 21st century technologies using the iPad, my course meets the evolving needs of students in a global society while catering to their individual needs. My Spanish students have "found" international students with whom to speak, question, collaborate, produce and celebrate. Through technology tools and creativity, CDWS students have demonstrated their flexibility, cultural awareness and innovativeness, even in another language!  

The unique experiences of a CDWS student prepare them for that connected world in which they will live and work. They are learning the skill of adaptability. How will the rest of the students in the local community compare?

~Fran Siracusa

For more inspiration and expert advice, please see this wonderful article by Stacie Nevadomski Berdan:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Because We're Happy -- Global Happiness Project 2014

Through an amazing collaboration between schools (Largo, FL, USA and Colegio Decroly, Madrid, Spain), various students investigated the meaning of happiness and its impact upon members of their respective communities. Students participated in the semester-long Global Happiness Project both virtually and in person. Here is their final product:
Watch video at this link:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Guten Tag from Florida

"Willkommem" to our guest intern from Munich, Germany: Miss Elizabeth! Elizabeth has joined our school for four weeks as part of her eight-week U.S. cultural experience of her university program. Along with conducting class observations here, Elizabeth has co-taught German language classes to 4th-8th grades as well as Humanities classes in 6th-8th grade classes. "Danke," Elizabeth, for the awesome cultural awareness you bring to our students!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

1:1 (2:2) Skype with students from Colegio Decroly (Madrid, Spain)

Today, 26 Country Day World School students skyped 2:2 with 24 students from Colegio Decroly in Madrid, Spain. This was their second time communicating with these students, but the first time ever that they skyped in a 1:1 format (usually we do a whole classroom Skype). It was much more personal, and our students felt like they got to know the Spanish students better in this format. Angela C. said, "This felt more personal. The other Skypes are a bit more scripted because of the format the teachers impose with the Mystery Skype." During the Skype, CDWS students gave their Spanish partners a virtual tour of our school by walking around with their iPad; they worked for a bit on their lyrics for their Happy Song parodies (within Google Docs); and exchanged contact information. Even Mr. V. and Miss Probst connected with two English teachers from Colegio Decroly (Mr. V. took his teacher partners out for a walk to show them the Florida sunshine and palm trees!) Everyone is in agreement that they cannot wait to see their new friends in Madrid in less than a week!

Skypes with Spain

More to come!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Spanish Letter- Spain

Mi clase de matemáticas es geómetra. La clase de matemáticas es difícil. Mi maestra por matemáticas es Señora Palomar. Es que la clase dura y quién es tu maestro/maestra?

Hay juegos en nuestra clase de español. Los jugamos frecuentemente. Nos gusta jugar juegos para aprender español. Nos gusta la clase española. Nuestro maestra es Señora Siracusa. 

Mi clase de Inglés es divertido pero nuestro maestra hace que sea difícil. Nuestro maestra es Señora Danielson. Estamos aprendiendo sobre ensayos analíticos. ¿Qué estás aprendiendo acerca de? 

Hay una granja con caballos, un cerdo, una llama, una vaca, conejos, gallinas y gallos, un burro, ganso, y chivos. Les damos de comer cada día. Nos fascinan los caballos porque los montamos. Nos encantan los animales en nuestro colegio. 

De tu amiga,