Brand New Toboggan

This wasn’t an easy week…for anyone, and there’s still people having a tough time.  We had, what I would call, a strange storm that left my family and many others without power and generally pretty miserable for a couple of days.  There are still folks without power and it’s a challenge.  It took us a day after our power returned to reenter society…emails, tv…all of that flooding back in.  We restocked the fridge, got our minds wrapped around the week ahead, cranked the heat…but today was the most important thing we had on the list to do.  Today we broke in the “brand new toboggan” as it is known in our household.  And it was good.

A Walk Through the Trees

This time of year I get the privilege of spending time at my father-in-law’s Christmas tree farm.  It’s a welcome break for me and can also be a lot of hard work.  Each time I’m at the farm I stop and take a quick listen to the whole environment.  It’s quite relaxing in many ways.  It starts with a long walk to the trees…you can hear birds, the crunch of boots and the brush of branches against your jacket.  People that you are with are all different in how they pick their trees…some have kids that run through the rows, others are quiet, but smiling, as they look about.  The chainsaw cuts a tree, it falls…drag it to the parking area, put it on the car…and then the thing that happens every time is a really sincere thank you and happy holidays message.

Student Created Book Commercials #edtech #cpchat #edchat #vted

I had the honor, this week, of working with a scholar who was interested in creating an audio book commercial.  I relish the chance to work with students on just about anything, but an audio project…well…that’s just plain awesome.  He arrived at my office, we set up the mic, looked through Garage Band and in one swoop he laid out his audio.  Then the fun came.  He had notes on what types of background music he wanted for each section.  Together we explored the sounds, added, tried some, deleted others and within minutes we had this fantastic book commercial for Holes by Louis Sachar which will be featured on our next school podcast.  The commercial below is completely student generated.  Enjoy!

For more amazing student projects check out 

Preschool Meteorologists Share Their Learning #edchat #cpchat

I’m really enjoying doing these SHORTS episodes.  I’ve been using my iPhone to capture the audio and produce the podcast.  It’s just a nice and very real snippet of experiences at school and that’s what makes it so powerful.  In this episode we were visiting a preschool classroom and there were a couple of scholars at a sand table that was filled with salt and clear plastic pieces.  They were very seriously filling snow gauges repeatedly.  One four year old student looked up and said, “we’re learning about meteorology” and that’s when I hit record.

Insights from Author Juli Brenning for Young Writers @julibrenningcom

Recently I had the privilege of interviewing author Juli Brenning.  During a recent visit to our school, Juli was able to take some time to talk to me about her book, Maggi and Milo, and the process of writing.  You can hear the whole show here:

Podcast is available on Stitcher, Soundcloud and iTunes!

I think what occurred to me through the process of putting this podcast together was the importance of allowing our students to interact with people outside the school, not just writers like Juli, but other people sharing their expertise and experience in their field or just in life.  The diversity of experiences is something that we can easily allow our scholars to access and learn from.  What I found interesting from Juli’s visit was that students were interacting with her book as writers more often than passive listeners.  Their questions were around how she developed the story, where did she get the ideas, what were the tools she used to write with, etc.  And that was unprompted!  Sounds like their really interested with interacting with the “real world.”  Let’s make that happen!

Thank you Juli for taking the time to share your inspiration with us!