OCCUE: Thank You!

The goal of attending a conference is attain resources that are applicable to your content area/grade level. OCCUE did not disappoint!

The day began with a wonderful presentation entitled “Let’s Get Serious About Play”. Kelly Hines (@kellyhines) discussed the cognitive, social, and emotional benefits of play. She also shared the Bloomberg Job Skills Report 2015. Desired skills include: Strategic Thinking, Creative Problem Solving, Leadership Skills, and Communication Skills. How do we foster these skills in our students? Let them PLAY. Let them CREATE.

Brandi Miller (@teacherbrandi) and Myra Deister (@shhsMath) kept the day rolling with presentations which focused on a variety of engaging apps that can be used in the classroom.

Myra shared an app called Smart Seat which is iTouch, iPhone, and iPad compatible. This app costs $4.99, but she explained that she can easily take roll, call on students during a class discussion, and create a list of detailed data for each student.

smart seat

Screenshot from Myra Deister’s presentation.

Brandi’s presentation focused on Multimedia. There are so many ways in which we can apply multimedia to our classes. We can share content and collaborate during a unit of study. We can also share the information with colleagues, parents, and community members after our unit of study is complete.

Throughout the presentation she taught us how to use Thinglink (@ThingLink), Chatter Pix (@ChatterPixIt), Tellagami (@telligami), and Smore (@SmorePages). While not all of the apps are appropriate for my middle school students, I see the benefit of each. I loved the way that Brandi showed how each of the apps can be used with any age student, and how the students can “mash” these apps together to create an inviting presentation. I am going to share these with my students and see how they use it in their upcoming PBL.


Screenshot from Brandi Miller’s presentation.

Our Keynote Speaker, Sylvia Martinez, shared her expertise in a presentation entitled  A Global Revolution Goes to School: The Maker Movement. I have begun to dabble with this a bit this year, and was excited to learn more. Sylvia discussed the Maker Movement in terms of Fabrication, Physical Computing, and Programming. She discussed the importance of peer mentoring; a necessity for success in a maker space.  I am thrilled because our Technology Coach, Jody Green (@peerlessgreen), and I just put together a wishlist for our STEAM Playground. I can’t wait for our students to get an opportunity to explore! Sylvia encouraged us to follow these hashtags as we explore maker spaces: #makered, #makerspace, and #elemaker.

Gina Whitcomb (@dlfyngyrl76) shared her resources for Going Global: Connecting Students Around the World. Global competency is a critical component of education in the 21st Century, and Gina connected Global competency to the existing 4 C’s (collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and communication). Gina discussed a wide variety of opportunities for connecting including: Mystery Skype, Global Penpals (www.epals.com), Global Read Aloud (www.globalreadaloud.com), and Global Math Task (www.gmttc.blogspot.com).  I connected with Gina on Twitter, and she has already helped me connect with a classroom in Australia who would like to be blog pals.  I am so excited!


Screenshot from Gina Whitcomb’s presentation.

My day of learning ended on a high note with Wes Kriesel’s (@weskriesel) presentation entitled “Give Me a Camera and I Will Change the World”. This presentation focused on the achievements of the Santa Ana Unified School District. Wes started the day calling each of us by name and welcoming us. He then shared the power of #IamSAUSD. This district is transforming the way that schools and students interact with the community. Such a strong sense of pride! I am so inspired by the work he shared, and I am looking for ways to enhance the community outreach in my own district. Wes, you are more than “just a man with a camera”. Thank you for your contribution!


Screenshot from Wes Kriesel’s presentation.

Yesterday was an exceptional day to learn something new!