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Angela Spitzman

  • The end. Fin. Finito. I didn’t think Course 5 would have come and gone so quickly, but here we are, friends. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was sitting in my hotel lobby while on holiday in Taiwan, w […]

    • Outstanding! I love seeing the students in action (that’s always my favorite part about this project!). I also love the way you’ve used TourBuilder – it’s totally different than I’ve used it in the past, and it’s got me thinking about how many more options there are for the same tool. It would be great to see a whole tour from a group or two – can you link them in this post too? (I forget how the sharing works). On top of an outstanding project, your video is so well edited and polished! Fantastic work!

  • Angela Spitzman posted a new activity comment 3 years, 9 months ago

    Morgan,
    Thank you for stopping by! My plan of using engaging topics like Serial to bring people to my blog is working! Just kidding. Thank you for the tip on “Limetown”. As soon as you mentioned it, I downloaded it onto my phone! Can’t wait to check it out!

    I totally hear you about nostalgia for friends and family back home! It’s a give and…[Read more]

  • A few years ago, I was on a trivia team with some colleagues and friends. The trivia organizers were going around to collect the names of teams participating. This was around the time that my close, personal […]

    • I’m glad you’ve found a space that works for you. I think a challenge in Instagram, in terms of sharing content and longer ideas, is that there are no live links in the description of a photo or a comment. So you’re stuck with just the photo/video and constantly changing the link in the bio URL. So, in that sense this is a tough space to build a connected PLN – basically you’re trapped inside the app, and only with those who are there with you. It will be interesting to hear how things develop for you over a longer period of time.

  • Have you ever walked home from work while (finally) listening to Serial and started reflecting on your teaching life up to that moment?

    Oh, good. I’m glad I’m not the only one because that’s exactly what happe […]

    • Hi Angela,

      To be honest, I was scanning through the Coetail blogs and I saw the word “Serial” and instantly clicked on your blog to find out what you had to say. As a devout “Serial” listener from the beginning, anxiously waiting for the new episode to be released – and now Season 2 (stop giving me teasers and just give me the date!) I figured I wouldn’t be reading about “Serial” in your blog, but would still find something that I connected with (semi-related tip: check out the podcast “Limetown” if you haven’t already) and I wasn’t disappointed.
      The points you brought up about the freedoms we have as international educators totally hit home with me. As a teacher who has been abroad for the past 7 years, sometimes I feel nostalgic for the school and town I left behind, missing family and friends, and can forget about what education in that school board actually looks like. As international educators, we seem to have a little more freedom to spend the time showing our students that we care about them, instead of getting bogged down in the politics of national test scores, tons of paperwork and budget cuts upon budget cuts. November is definitely a tricky part of the school year. Thanks for reminding me what’s important at the end of the day.
      Now go subscribe to “Limetown”!

      • Morgan,
        Thank you for stopping by! My plan of using engaging topics like Serial to bring people to my blog is working! Just kidding. Thank you for the tip on “Limetown”. As soon as you mentioned it, I downloaded it onto my phone! Can’t wait to check it out!

        I totally hear you about nostalgia for friends and family back home! It’s a give and take. We get to travel the world and have the freedom to do what we know needs to be done with our students while at the same time, we miss milestones back home. For me, it’s births of nieces and nephews, weddings, baby showers- even the day to day, watching my nephews grow up. Thank goodness for technology and video chat! I think about the possibility of teaching back home, and then remind myself of the stresses I was faced with, and the hours and hours of work I put it once school ended and on the weekends, and the tears… I could go on and on.

        Once I start listening to Limetown, you’ll hear from me!

    • I love podcasts – I love how, for me, the act of listening is so immersive (I’m an auditory learner), and it sounds like it’s similar for you too. Pretty much every podcast I listen to gets me thinking about these kinds of things – it’s amazing the journey that one episode can take you on. Being here in Seattle for the past few weeks working with Marysville school district teachers is a good reminder of the difference (and similarities) between international and public school teaching. I prefer to see the connections rather than the differences, but they’re both there for sure!

  • Angela Spitzman posted a new activity comment 3 years, 9 months ago

    Hi Shiori,
    I’d love to check out your traveling experiences through Tour Builder! I’m glad you found inspiration! COETAIL has really shown me that we are all connected, thanks to the various social media sites that educators are actively using! I look forward to seeing more of your COETAIL journey!

  • Angela Spitzman posted a new activity comment 3 years, 10 months ago

    I’ll be sure to document how everything is going! If you have your students set up reading blogs, I’d be interested to see how things go in your classroom! I could even have my students stop by your students blogs and comment on what they read. We’ve been working very hard on leaving quality comments. I’m always looking for new and improved ways…[Read more]

  • Forgive me blog, for it has been a hot minute and a half since my last blog post. Before we go any further, watch this video and join me in my excuses as to why it’s been so long.

    Now that we’re both in the […]

    • I was actually thinking of swapping my reading logs for reading blogs, but this Tour Builder sounds amazing! I’d love to read follow up posts on how it’s working in your class. Good luck!

      • I’ll be sure to document how everything is going! If you have your students set up reading blogs, I’d be interested to see how things go in your classroom! I could even have my students stop by your students blogs and comment on what they read. We’ve been working very hard on leaving quality comments. I’m always looking for new and improved ways that students can share what they’re reading!

    • Hi Angela,
      I am teaching Japanese Language in Bangkok now.
      And Waow!!!! I was just thinking about how to do my Year 5’s “Travel to Japan”. I will definately use Tour Builder.
      Also I was surprised that your husband is David Lee. He is the first person I checked on Flipbaord and actually I used his idea to my course 1 Final;)
      It was really fun reading your blog. Thank you.
      Shiori

      • Hi Shiori,
        I’d love to check out your traveling experiences through Tour Builder! I’m glad you found inspiration! COETAIL has really shown me that we are all connected, thanks to the various social media sites that educators are actively using! I look forward to seeing more of your COETAIL journey!

    • Awesome! I’m glad you’ve found an idea that merges your focus as a literacy teacher and a COETAILer 🙂 Looking forward to seeing the final projects!

  • Angela Spitzman posted a new activity comment 4 years, 3 months ago

    I am so excited that you were able to Skype with the author of Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library! I’m reading that with a grade 5 class, and everyone loves it! It’s a whole class novel study, which there are differing schools of thoughts on (whether it’s an effective way to read, especially for those struggling readers) but this teacher is…[Read more]

  • Angela Spitzman posted a new activity comment 4 years, 3 months ago

    I agree with you, that the Flipped Classroom is something I can wrap my head around more than Game-Based Learning. I know there are educators out there using it and finding much success with it. Perhaps that will be one of my goals in the future, but for now, I’m going to try my hand at some sort of flipped instruction. I am also not a fan of…[Read more]

  • ThumbnailCourse 5. Dun, Dun, Dun! At the beginning of Course 4, I had ZERO clue as to what I wanted to work on in Course 5. As always, COETAIL didn’t let me down, and by the time we were halfway into Course 4, I started to […]

    • Two great project ideas! It’s clear that the bootcamp idea will have an impact bigger than just your individual class, at least at your school, which is awesome. But, along the same lines, the flipped classroom project could be HUGE in that many teachers around the world are trying to do similar things and you could not only collaborate with them, but also have your students (and theirs) create videos that can be used by all of the students. Maybe you can start small by producing materials for your students, then have them produce materials and then see who else might be interested in collaborating with you? Either way, they will both be great, whichever you choose!

  • Angela Spitzman posted a new activity comment 4 years, 3 months ago

    After reading your blogpost, I now want pancakes! Yuuuum.

    I’m very eager to try some sort of blended learning with my grade four students next year. I’ve never heard of Curriculet and EdPuzzle before, and will definitely check it out. Thank you for sharing! I love that there’s an interactive layer added to a unit like teaching poetry.

    I also…[Read more]

  • Angela Spitzman posted a new activity comment 4 years, 3 months ago

    I, like you, absolutely LOVE Caine’s Arcade! I remember when I first watched it a few years ago, I was failing to hold back tears. It was great to see it come up again as part of our assignment- watching something inspiring and I get to talk about it? Sign me up!

    You are absolutely right- we can learn A LOT from his father! LESS teaching and…[Read more]

  • ThumbnailMy use of technology has proven to be of greater purpose in these past few years than any year previously. When I was in my first few years of teaching, I used technology to enhance student learning. Oh, we’re […]

    • Angela,

      I love the enthusiasm that comes across in this post!

      We currently have two fifth grade teachers who are using Instagram to connect with their students, as well as some Kindergarten teachers who are tweeting. It’s a great way for students to interact with teachers and other students, and at the same time model good digital citizenship (much like the video you posted discusses).

      I’m wondering, you mentioned you are a Google Apps school ( as are we). I’m assuming your students are blogging. An interesting discussion I had with our 5th grade teachers is that as a part of teaching digital footprint we need to discuss the importance of a blog as a digital portfolio and what that looks like. Currently some of our more savvy students have done a great job of teaching themselves how to customize their blogs. The problem is we have swimming fish, cat videos, and selfies galore! Not what we want on a portfolio. So we are going to have to set out some clearer expectations and have those students remove the cats, fish and selfies. Does your building have specific blogging guidelines laid out for students?

    • I love this sentiment:

      “I want my students to feel like they have a voice and that they are heard, not only in my classroom, but as global citizens.”

      I think this is how technology can make such a huge impact on learning – this was something that was previously near impossible, without access to the internet. Now we can make it part of our regular classroom life!

  • ThumbnailThis week’s post poses a great question that I don’t think I’m reflecting on nearly as much as I should. “Will education as we know it change because of technology?” I’d like to think that there’s a yes and no […]

    • I haven’t been working with elementary teachers as much lately, and I haven’t heard of text to media – until now – I love it! How many connections must our students (and we) have to media? Such a great way to continue to bring reading to life!

  • ThumbnailI have never been as excited about change as I am with what the 2015-2016 school year brings! I will be moving back into the classroom, after three years in a coaching/support position. There are numerous reasons […]

    • Congratulations on heading back to the classroom next year! You will be able to try out all sorts of exciting things with your students. For me, that’s one of the hardest parts of being in a coaching role – you are less likely to try something really new with someone else’s students because you feel so responsible for their time. But in your own class, you can really know your students and try new things that work best for them. Good luck!

    • Angela – I love hearing your enthusiasm about getting back into teaching! It’s something I’ve been thinking about as well. I taught Social Studies for 6 years, now just finished my 2nd year as a tech coordinator; kind of miss being in the classroom and trying out new things all the time.

      I think for me the challenge is that when I was teaching full time I felt myself get a certain sort of tunnel vision. I was only able to think about what we were doing the next class, or the next week if I was on my game. Taking the time to sit back and rethink my pedagogy from the ground up was a luxury that I couldn’t afford. Now, of course, when I have more time to think about the big picture I don’t have the laboratory to implement it. I suppose the perfect balance is always difficult to come by.

      I like your point about how much of Flipped Classroom practice tends to focus on lower level skills from Bloom’s taxonomy. How do you plan on engaging higher level skills in a flipped context? To a certain extent, it seems that it’s partly the types of questions that you ask the students. On the other hand, is seems like there are lots of ways to engage students without simply asking them to write a response to a question based on a video. When I saw Ruben Puentedura last December, he said that when teachers asked students to do a creative task that was based on the flipped lesson, the understanding and retention of the lesson skyrocketed. I haven’t seen the research behind that, but it certainly makes sense to me.

      Good luck in your adventures as a returning teacher, and be sure to write about it in your blog. I may be in a similar spot in a few more years!

  • ThumbnailProject Based Learning. This has been a buzz phrase going around my school for the past few years- and I’m glad. I blogged about it a few courses back. Everything that we do in COETAIL truly is interconnected! […]

    • Gotta love a little Missy Elliot inspiration! So glad you are loving project based learning! I find that it’s often easier to bring in during after school clubs or “specials” just like you describe and it’s great to see that your school will be implementing on a much wider range next year. Can’t wait to hear how that goes!

  • ThumbnailI was fortunate enough to attend a GREAT conference (21CL EduLAN) in my own backyard (it was hosted at my school) back in October. What made it so great, at least for me, was the the Pre-Conference. There was a […]

    • Thanks Angela! So great to hear that the session was a good use of your time!

    • Angela,
      It sounds like going step by step (with Kim’s guidance) was a great way to approach not only where you currently are with integration but also how to reach further into redefinition. This process might help me to figure out some course 5 project options. I could look at my units and then go unit by unit to see where I can push further into integration. By using the same method you used at your conference, I could identify units that could hold real potential for tech growth. I think i’ll give it a try and, like you, hopefully gain a better idea of where I currently am and where I can grow further. Thanks for sharing the experience!

    • Angela, it’s great to hear about your eye-opening success at the (21CL EduLAN) conference. It’s nice to hear how Kim set you on the path to success with a scaffolded approach to SAMR. I’m in a tech-coaching role in the middle school here at ASD and I refer to it all the time, but the exercise you went through sounds so powerful for getting teachers to truly understand each level. Like you, I’m in a challenging role as tech coach. While I have opportunities to work with all students and teachers in the middle school, I don’t get to see the day to day activities, see the growth and learning in the moment, or be there for those great leaps and “aha” moments. I do miss that. I like how you are empowering your students to think about their own learning, using digital tools where possible to extend and deepen their learning, and especially how you are learning and growing alongside of them. Great stuff. For screencasting, we use Quicktime Player, which is quite simple and effective. In addition, I’ve been playing around with Screencastify, as a Google Chrome extension ( https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/screencastify-screen-vide/mmeijimgabbpbgpdklnllpncmdofkcpn?hl=en ). It has been in Beta, but has proven effective for making screencasts that are initiated from your Chrome browser and save directly to your Google Drive. I’m not sure if your school uses Google Apps for Education, but using Google Docs and Drive to collaborate, share, and give and receive feedback is also a fantastic tool. There are so many amazing ways teachers can support and deepen learning using digital tools. As you’ve experienced, it’s all about diving in and not being afraid to try new things. Dave

  • ThumbnailIn usual Angela form, I went on the longest journey possible to get to my final project for Course 3. Initially, I was going to create a presentation using the Presentation Zen principles. Kim gave great feedback […]

    • GORGEOUS! I absolutely love your infographic. This makes me kind of glad that you didn’t have your external drive (but also sad, because I know your revised presentation would be just as stunning!). I’m so glad this course was so powerful for you – I love this one too – it makes me think we can almost do a whole follow up course (or even set of courses on these topics – they are so much fun and so practical!)

    • Fantastic Work Angela! Keep up the hard work, I know it is difficult to keep up with the workload of teaching and doing COETAIL… There are many things you can do with your learning in COETAIL on the job, and apply it to outcomes.

    • I love your infographic! I think I will be using Piktochart to make one of these for myself for the next recruiting season. Thanks!

  • Angela Spitzman posted a new activity comment 4 years, 5 months ago

    I so appreciate your bulleted points highlighting Dr. Kennedy’s TEDx that you shared! Way to apply what we’ve been reading about in Course 3 in your own blog! I need to be more mindful of doing the same! I agree with you, agreeing with Dr. Kennedy that “it is through images that we learn.” 🙂

    I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a…[Read more]

  • Angela Spitzman posted a new activity comment 4 years, 5 months ago

    You mentioned “Because infographics often have statistics, icons and can look pretty professional because of the templates, people can be easily fooled into trusting the information presented.” I think this is one of my biggest concerns in creating infographics with my students (we’re talking grade 3 and grade 4). The first hurdle is all of the…[Read more]

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