Tag Archives: Brooke

Math Stories or “There’s More Than One Way to Solve a Problem”

Maybe I have been watching a little too much TV with G,  my 4 year old, but I am absolutely LOVING Peg + Cat on PBS. It is the perfect mix of math concepts, problem solving strategies, songs, stories, and all around silliness. All of this stuffed into a cute little girl named Peg and her “AMAZZZINNNNGGG”, talking pet cat. One of the best parts of the show is when they finish every challenge with this song…

I am so inspired by all that G is learning from Peg and Cat that I thought I might share some Math inspiration for your kiddos in your classrooms. The Three Acts Of A Mathematical Story from Dan Myer is very similar to Peg+Cat in that teachers create a story built around real-life math.

Here’s the idea :

  • Act 1 – “Introduce the central conflict of your story/task clearly, visually, viscerally, using as few words as possible.” (check his site for examples)
  • Act 2 – “The protagonist/student overcomes obstacles, looks for resources, and develops new tools.”
  • Act 3 – “Resolve the conflict and set up a sequel/extension.”

Here is an Example – The Slow Forty

(eMINTS teachers….seeing any connections to the Instructional Procedures unit expectation?)

Check out Dan’s Three Act Math Tasks Spreadsheet and his 3-part blog series with videos and instructions.

This blog post is from 2011, but Dan is not a one hit wonder. I encourage you to explore his recent blog posts and see what he’s been up to….hint hint – he is quite an active presenter and does so much more than Three-Act Math Stories.

Brooke Higgins, occasional blogger, is an eIS for the eMINTS National Center working with eMINTS teachers, trainers, and administrators. All of her posts, including this one, can be found at The Higgins Helps blog.

Firefox: Organizational Tip – Tab Groups

This was my browser workflow before finding Firefox Tab Groups….

I would be working on, let’s say, a blog post. I would have open multiple browser windows (2-3 usually), each with their own VERY IMPORTANT plethora of tabs, all in some sort of order that made sense in my delusional organization plan. I thought I was organized! With my tons of tabs, in order, in multiple windows, trying to figure out which to bring to the front, where a specific webpage was, and then deciding that they were grouped wrong and then dragging tabs from one window to another. (See mess below)

TooManyWindows

BEFORE

I would drive myself nuts trying to position the windows just right so that I could drag tabs to new windows. It was crushing when I would accidentally close a window FULL of sites to never see them again. Don’t even get me started about the amount of prime property it took up in my dock when all these windows were all minimized. It really was going to be the death of me until…

enter stage right…my savior, my knight-in-shining-armor, my hero ….Firefox Tab Groups. I had the webpage with instructions in an open tab for more than a month before adding it to my “EXPLORE” list in my Outlook ToDo list. It took me a few more months before I had a week this summer to do some R&D and get back to that “EXPLORE” list.

It was AMAZING, I read the instructions and made a couple of quick clicks, typed in a couple of names, and turned that crazy mess of windows and tabs into THIS (see below). It became a beautifully organized, gathering of websites sorted into groups of small images with titles all in ONE window. Ahhhh, sweet organization!

PinnedTabinGroups

AFTER

How to Tame the BEAST: It’s pretty simple to set up, but the directions from Firefox didn’t work exactly as stated on the website under the “How do I create a tab group?” section. What I did was first add a couple of tabs, then selected “Customize” toolbar from the View>Toolbars drop-down menu.

Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 4.34.12 PM

From there it was a piece of cake. I created new groups by double-clicking in the gray area to add a new tab in a new group. Then i named my groups by hovering over a group until the “Name this group” text field showed up (where you seem my “Work – Must Do” title) and then I typed in the name I wanted. Named Tab GroupThen I dragged the existing tabs around to the appropriate group and resized the group areas so that I could see a larger or smaller image of the tabs to help me identify them. I have 3 main groups, 2 for work and 1 personal group.PinnedTabinGroupsWhen I am ready to start browsing I click on the tab I want front and center, notice all of the other tabs in that group are available in the same window. When I want to get back to view all the tab groups I just click the “Group Your Tabs” button in the top right corner of the Firefox window. TabGroupsIconYou should practice going back and forth between tabs and groups but be careful because when it asks if you are sure you want to close the windows it means all of your Firefox windows.

DontCloseWindowsThere are a few additional features such as searching and saving resources for reviewing later using Pocket. These instructions, and more, can be found on the Use Tab Groups Mozilla Support Page. All images captured by Brooke Higgins.

Brooke Higgins, occasional blogger, is an eIS for the eMINTS National Center working with eMINTS teachers, trainers, and administrators. All of her posts, including this one, can be found at The Higgins Helps blog.

Comedians and Life Lesson’s

Life lessons and aha moments come at unexpected times. Yesterday, as I ate lunch, I watched the first episode in Jerry Seinfeld’s newest project called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I loved the Seinfeld show and continue to try and see Jerry Seinfeld in action.

Click image for source.
Click image for source.

The gist of this new show is that Jerry selects a car based on his “guest”, picks them up, they travel around catching up, and eventually stop for coffee. In this episode, he was catching up with his Seinfeld show friend, Michael Richards. As I listened, they began talking about the success of the show and their craft. At that point in the conversation Michael started to cut himself down saying he studied too hard and should have been more relaxed about preparing. He implied that others had fun and he didn’t because he felt that preparing took so much practice. Immediately, Jerry stopped him and said, “I don’t accept the judging of process.” He continued by stating, “we are all trying to get to the same island.” He then finished with, “what matters is when the red light comes on” … “our job is to make sure they enjoy it”. Jerry and Michael go on to talk about how it’s about working selflessly not selfishly and the importance in remembering that.

That is teaching in a nutshell…selfless not selfish. Our goal, as teachers, is to leave kids in a better place than when we get them. Each teacher has to prepare in the way that makes him or her feel ready to “perform”, to put on the best show possible. As I have reflected back on what I heard them say, I have wondered…in what ways might we support our-self and others in doing just that? And more importantly, how can we build each other up and not tear each other down with judgment as we all work to achieve that same goal? How can we be a positive influence and not a negative influence?

What I choose to take from this conversation is this: we each have to do what we feel we have to do to prepare, we must respect that in ourselves and others, and we must presume positive intentions of others, because we all have the same audience and the same goal. That audience, those kids, deserve our very best. Parents, communities, and the world are depending on us. We are all here for the same reason doing what we can. As Maya Angelou said, “When we know better we do better.” We are all doing best we know how.

So as many of you, my friends, go back to begin a new year with students, my hope is that you take care of yourself, you take care of each other, and give the kids the best experience possible. Make sure they enjoy the journey you get to share with them.

*Coincidentally, I heard about Comedians in Cars Having Coffee on NPR as I drove home from some class visits last spring, and yes, it took me this long to get back to it. I will be watching the rest of the episodes. Who knows what else I might learn.

Brooke Higgins, occasional blogger, is an eIS for the eMINTS National Center working with eMINTS teachers. All of her posts, including this one, can be found at The Higgins Helps blog.

Sign-up Now for eLearning Fall 2012 Courses

Don’t forget to check out the new eLearning for Educators online professional development courses for fall semester at: http://www.elearningmo.org/register/fall-2012/ eLearning courses are available to educators across Missouri and in all other states.

New courses for this semester include “Flipped, Upside-down, and Blended Instruction for the K-12 Classroom” and “Going Mobile K-12: Capturing the Power of Smart Phones, Tablets, Apps, and More.” Many of the standard favorites are also available including “Classroom Management,” “Algebraic Thinking in Elementary School,” and “Google Tools for Schools.”

Courses cost $150 per person and graduate credit is available for an additional $100 per credit hour. Registration closes on September 19. Courses begin October 3 and conclude by November 20. Start your registration process today! For more information about eLearning for Educators see the website at: http://www.elearningmo.org/

Brought to you by the bloggers for the eMINTS National Center.

Supporting Thinking Through Cognitive CoachingSM

Welcome Back!  We hope you are off to the start of a wonderful school year!  The eMINTS National Center has been hard at work all summer long preparing learning opportunities for you!

Image used with permission.

We are excited to be hosting another eight day Cognitive CoachingSM Foundations Seminar in St. Louis, Missouri.

The Cognitive CoachingSM  Model helps produce self-directed individuals.  Here is what people have said after attending the Cognitive CoachingSM  Foundations Seminar-

  • “Coming into CC, I thought I would really struggle with the purpose of coaching being to take the coachee where he/she wanted to go… I thought it would be difficult to let go of where I wanted him/her to go.  Throughout the trainings though, my thinking changed with my experiences. The trainings were totally engaging to me and really affected the way I view myself as a leader and even as a conversationalist.  My expectations were more than exceeded!”
  • “Cognitive CoachingSM  has made me a better listener. I have to really practice holding back my own thoughts and opinions during a conversation and remember that the conversation is about helping the other person to think, not about getting my ideas in the air.”
  • “The knowledge and skills that are learned in the 8 day Foundations Seminar can be applied in all aspects of personal and professional life. The tools and experience are worth the time and money spent attending training.”

The dates for the upcoming St. Louis Foundations Seminar are:
September 26 and 27, 2012
October 24 and 25, 2012
November 28 and 29, 2012
January 16 and 17, 2013

The Foundations Seminar is a great professional development opportunity for all instructional coaches, administrators, teachers, and anyone interested in improving their communication skills to support others in planning, reflecting, and problem-resolving. Participants who attend the eight-day seminar will be a certified Cognitive CoachSM.

To learn more and register for the seminar go to http://www.emints.org/professional-development/other-pd/cognitive-coaching/

Space is limited so register today!

Brooke Higgins, Carmen Marty, and Terri Brines are Instructional Specialist, Cognitive CoachingSM Agency Trainers, and bloggers for the eMINTS National Center.

Access/Share Google Docs in Edmodo & the Power of My PLN

Edmodo and Google Users…

I guess I am a bit behind in the game because I just realized you can access your Google Docs in Edmodo now. This new feature came about in March and allows you to Sync your Google Docs (Drive) with your Edmodo Library. That means you can share documents with your Edmodo groups and students can easily turn-in assignments completed via Google Docs.Find the instructions to do this at the Edomod Help site. FYI all users will need to link their Google Docs account with Edmodo before and sharing of docs with users or groups takes place.

Wondering how I heard about this new feature of Edmodo??? Maybe not but here’s the power of my PLN…

I found this blog (while I was browsing Pinterest one evening). It’s by a Digital Learning Coordinator in the Chicago Public Schools > Teaching like it’s 2999 . I first pinned her idea to my “learn” Pinterest board and then visited her blog and found that what the author, Jennie Magiera, blogged about was so connected to what I do so I added it to my Google Reader.

One day this week Google Reader showed that the author had posted something new to her blog called More Ideas to Googlize Your School. That post linked to a Google Doc that she was going to share at a presentation she was doing with teachers. As I scanned the doc I noticed a reference to “Edmodo’s Google Doc integration” so I did a Google searched for edomodo google docs and came up with the link that I shared with you all above.

Isn’t that so cool…in a nerdy sort of way :) In what ways do you “harvest” great teaching ideas from the web? And a big shout out to Jennie Magiera for sharing her ideas and more with us all.

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialists, Cognitive CoachingSM Trainer, and sporadic blogger for the eMINTS National Center. This post was originally posted at the Higgins’ Helpful Hints Blog.

Doug Caldwell, eMINTS Instructional Specialist

Edutopia Hartville Profile: Meet the eIS…Doug Caldwell

Yesterday Edutopia featured an article in their “Schools That Work” Section about the eMINTS implementation in Hartville, Missouri.  Tonya Wilson’s and her 6th grade students were the stars. The article and video both give a glimpse of Tonya’s classroom and how eMINTS has transformed not only her teaching but her own learning as well.

In the video Monica Beglau, Executive Director, and Doug Caldwell, eMINTS Instructional Specialist, share what makes eMINTS successful in both improving teacher effectiveness and raising student achievement. The keys to the success of the program lie in its continued professional development spread throughout the year being relevant to the teaching, connected to the learning, and supported by face-to-face coaching.

Doug Caldwell, the eIS featured in this profile video provides that support and more. The Instructional Specialist at eMINTS take on several roles in the eMINTS organization.

Doug Caldwell, eMINTS Instructional Specialist

Doug lives in Lynchburg, Missouri, (pop. 75). He has been with eMINTS for 12 years and has trained countless teachers. While working at the eMINTS National Center he wears many hats. Not only does he facilitate eMINTS Comprehensive Professional Development sessions he also visits teachers in their classrooms to help them implement what they are learning through coaching, consulting, and collaborating. Doug is a Senior Trainer for the Intel program, presents at local, state, and national conferences, supports district technology staff as part of the eMINTS4Techs program, provides custom PD including training for veteran eMINTS teachers, and serves on various committees. He does all this with his ever present easy going  attitude and smile on his face.

Tell us about your connection with eMINTS. What eMINTS program/s have you participated in? Who is/was your eMINTS Facilitator? What eMINTS accomplishments are you most proud of? And if you haven’t had the opportunity yet to become part of our eMINTS “family”, what might be the most appealing part to you?

The eMINTS National Center is a non-for profit organization that has provided comprehensive research-based professional development services to educators since 1999.

Click for link to Edutopia: Schools that Work

Edutopia Features eMINTS and Hartville

Click for link to Edutopia: Schools that Work

On July 25, the Edutopia’s Schools That Work profiles the eMINTS program as it has been implemented in the Hartville R-II School District located in Hartville, MO. The Hartville School District has implemented the eMINTS program at multiple grade levels from elementary through high school over the past seven years. The district was selected by Edutopia not only for its high levels of performance on standardized assessments but also for its strong showing on other measures of student performance such as graduation rate, number of students completing advanced courses, and career education placements.

Edutopia, sponsored by the George Lucas Foundation, is a digital treasure trove of resources, ideas, and communication opportunities for educators, parents, and others who are interested in improving the K-12 learning process. Edutopiahighlights evidence-based strategies that prepare students to thrive in their future education, careers, and adult lives.

Edutopia film crews visited the eMINTS National Center offices and the Hartville School District in April to capture footage about the eMINTS professional development programs and how they were implemented in Hartville. The crew interviewed program leaders, Monica Beglau and Lorie Kaplan, about the ways that eMINTS helps teachers learn how to integrate technology into classrooms so that learning can be transformed.

The interviews provide insight into how eMINTS professional development is one of the few programs that has lasting positive impacts on how teachers teach. The crew travelled to Hartville to film an eMINTS professional development session and then followed teachers into their classrooms to observe how the professional development changed their practice.

In addition to the feature video, eMINTS has shared program resources that teachers can use in their classrooms to integrate technology in more effective ways.

eMINTS Announces St. Louis Cognitive CoachingSM Foundations Seminar

eMINTS is excited to announce the next round of the Cognitive CoachingSM Foundations Seminar to take place in St. Louis, MO beginning in September 2012.

The 8-day professional development series is tailored to anyone that wants to encourage self-directedness of others. Participants will learn strategies and techniques to increase others’ thinking potential and mediate thinking when working with someone who is planning, reflecting or struggling with a problem.

Click Image for Source

The seminar is split into four 2-day sessions lasting from 8:30am-4:00pm each day.

Days Dates
Days 1-2 September 26 & 27, 2012
Days 3-4 October 24 & 25, 2012
Days 5-6 November 28 & 29, 2012
Days 7-8 January 16 & 17, 2013

Cognitive CoachingSM – a research-based model – encourages the process of decision-making to achieve goals through metacognition. The seminar will be facilitated by Brooke Higgins, Carmen Marty, and Terri Brines, certified Agency Trainers of Cognitive Coaching.

Learn all the details and registration online now at the eMINTS website. Sign up now to hold your spot in this amazing professional development opportunity.

Brooke Higgins is an Instructional Specialist, Cognitive Coaching Facilitator, and blogger for the eMINTS National Center.

Staying Connected & Collaborating

School is out for summer (unless of course you are teaching summer school) and you might be finding that you miss those colleagues you normally see day to day. Your normal routine of getting to talk with, share your classroom ideas and success, and bounce ideas off of for some upcoming projects has been put on hold but does it really have to stop. I say no!!!

Click for Source

Why not check out some virtual options? Tools like Edmodo, Facebook, and Twitter can help you to continue your collegial collaboration, stay connected, and possibly take it a step further. You might even extend your normal summertime routines to include expanding your professional learning with a little lightly structured, informal PD.What’s better…they are free tools and are easy to use.

Edmodo is a great option for setting up a virtual classroom or collaborative sharing space (they call these groups). Everyone in your group will need to create an account (FYI adults are considered Teachers and kids are Students) One person will need to create the Group and then share the Code Edmodo creates with everyone that will be a part of that group. Then let the sharing begin. Resource links and documents are easy to share as well as basic communications. Check out the Edmodo Help page for help getting started or attend a Webinar for more ideas and support. I attended a webinar last week and got a lot of great ideas for not only the teachers that I train but also for schools and organizations that I work with.

Facebook Groups are another option for sharing and learning from others. eMINTS has their own Facebook group where these Networked Teaching & Learning posts are shared but also other resources. Anyone belonging to the group can share on the eMINTS group page as well. Members can add posts, links, share photos/video, conduct polls, and upload files. If your team members already have Facebook accounts and are ready for an group online presence to do these kinds of things, maybe creating a Facebook Group is the answer for you. If you need some help there are very easy steps to follow and you can even set privacy settings to allow only your Friends in your group. Learn more about Facebook Groups from Facebook or from a post from Zac back in August 2011.

Twitter offers an even easy way to connect with no need to create pages or groups on a different website. Basically all that needs to happen is that each person in your collaborative circle needs to have a Twitter account. You each need to share your usernames and “follow” each other. Start by sharing your thoughts, ideas, opinions, resources, tools, and inspirations and watch your Wwitter homepage for what others are sharing back. With Twitter there is no pressure or need to be wordy, chatty, long-winded, etc…all you need are 140 characters. Need some help with Twitter? Check out their support page for basic support and more.

With all of these tools it does take some discipline and conscious effort to be a productive member but as long as everyone shares a little you can all learn a lot.

What are some things you are collaborating on this summer and what tools work for your group?

Brooke Higgins is an instructional specialists for the eMINTS National Center.