Friday, December 10, 2010

A Tried and True Recipe

One of my favorite things to do is cook.  For me it is really relaxing and I enjoy finding recipes that have historic value or meaning.  I have several of my grandmother's handwritten recipe cards and she would often inscribe messages in the top right hand corner that only she was meant to see.  Her recipes tell her thoughts in these ways:  "private recipe--don't share", "men like this" or "good in the spring." This was her way of marking a recipe and then of course, making it again.

So, how does all of this relate to the classroom?  I think that we all have "recipes" or favorite projects that we do in our classroom, mark them with a private code and then repeat when the time is right.  What makes a successful recipe for the 21st Century?  If do any amount of research regarding this topic, you will find lots of resources and explanations.  Basically, 21st Century Skills include the following: 
If you don't know where to start with your recipe book for 21st century skills, try Photobooth.  Let your students create, compose and connect with their thoughts and the curriculum you are conveying.  I have had the opportunity to work with Mr. Erik Myrold at Central High School in his Great Wars class many times this semester.  He has been incorporating 21st century skills into his classroom and his students have responded with innovative, creative and articulate projects.  One of the projects that we decided to try involved Photobooth.  Mr. Myrold's students were studying World War I and trench warfare.  The question became clear--how could he get students to have an understanding (even remotely) of what that could be like.  How could he simulate that in his classroom?  We decided to try Photobooth and the proof was in the pudding--so to speak. 

Students were instructed to compose letters home and they rallied for the cause.  In the example below, you will here Jake and Steve write their letter home.  If you listen closely you will hear two languages and a heartfelt example of what the beginning of their stay in a trench was going to be about.

If you are looking for a new recipe, try Photobooth.  I would be curious to learn what marks you make in the top right hand corner.  If you aren't sure where to start, get in touch with your tech partner today and get started!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The view from Highway 2.

Finally; my blog.  I have had this assignment since August and during our five hour trek from western North Dakota, as my husband drives, I am crossing it off of my list.  I have decided to call my blog futuresandflashbacks.  Actually, my husband thought of the name and it seems perfect for me; and this is why.  As our drive begins on highway 23 and we continue to zoom past oil wells, derricks, horses, and cattle, it amazes me to think about the varied world that I live in.  On one hand, I am a person who lives in the world of technology.  I read about it, I think about it, I teach, I present, and I try to learn more.  On the other hand, I love walking through a pasture on a crisp clear November day admiring nature and taking in all of the views and smells that only the western prairie can offer.

So, what will my blog be about?  My blog will be about what I think has been my best reflection or find of the week.  This might be a great teaching tip; but it could also be a great tip concerning North Dakota or cooking a great casserole.  No matter how much we embrace technology, I believe it is also important to reflect on simpler times and enjoy a great cup of  Norwegian egg drop coffee or something like that.  Take care and enjoy the week.

My favorite podcast:

Teaching with SmartBoard.  These guys are awesome.  Take twenty minutes out of your day and get a great SMARTBoard Tip.  Their jokes are a little lame; but their teaching pedagogy will help you transform what you do with your SMARTBoard.  You can find their podcasts through the itunes store or you can go to their website at:

My favorite site:
This is a great site that posts single websites at a time.  I found an animated version of the Gettysburg Address here a couple of weeks ago.  It was awesome and it would hit home with our digital learners.

ipod/ipad app:


This app is great for the preschool set.  The game has preschoolers listening to sounds and identifying the correct letter.  Our four year old loves this.  Go to for more 21st century apps for preschoolers.

Crayon Physics Deluxe

This is an awesome app for a variety of learners.  The skill level can be very basic and challenging for our four year old; but it is savvy enough and challenging enough that our 21 year old likes to play it too.