Ms. De Santis’ Blog

My Mission: Achieve strong academic skills, Build self-efficacy, Cultivate conscientious citizenship.

Ms. De Santis’ Blog

My hair didn’t hurt – a DENSI reflection

July 21st, 2014 · No Comments · blogs

My hair hurt.  That’s how I felt after my first Discovery Education Summer Institute (DENSI) in Silver Spring back  in 2008. It was overwhelming. I recently returned from DENSI 2014 and found some things had changed.  So what was different this time?

  • On the campus- Last time  we stayed in a local Silver Spring hotel.  This time we used facilities at Vanderbilt University. The dorm life style encouraged additional learning (Monique, Gina, and I explored apps late one night).  Meal time provided more networking opportunities for both attendees and presenters ( Adam Bellow joined my tale at lunch one day and shared his latest project).
  • Backchannels- I think twitter was just getting off the ground in 2008.  This DENSI, you could follow events on edmodo, twitter, facebook, online yearbook pages, and (lest I forget) connect with glide.  Several of the  keynotes (and some sessions) were live streamed for those not with us in Nashville- you could attend virtually!
  • DENmazing Race-There was nothing like this in Silver Spring.  Imagine part scavenger hunt, geocaching, light (read fun) activities, video creation, and team building all in one night.  While I did like Puppy Bowling and using the Makey Makey to create a controller, my PacMan skills did not improve!  There was a place for teams of all types from competitive to my Smooth and Easy partners.
  • Unconference Day- This was a chance to either share or ask for help on the topic of your choice (think of the Edcamp format). This gave me more time to work with Aurasma and (with Karen Ogen’s help) finish a green screen project.
  • Even More- There was the DENovator Faire, DEN Speaks (TED Talks format from the DEN),and  the unclosing.

But the more things change, the more some things stay the same. What didn’t change this time were:

  • Amazing speakers in the keynotes (Adam Bellow and Lodge Mc Cammon), the sessions, and DEN Speaks.  There were able to inform, enlighten, and inspire us.
  • A joyful community- no, make that a family.  Even though I had not attended in several years, people were welcoming and willing to share.  This explains how my PLN has grown exponentially ( please don’t ask me to do the math!).
  • Flawless execution in the 6 days including our off campus excursions, meals, agenda, and even online signup for airport transportation.  The entire week ran smoothly.

Special thanks to Lance Rougeux and Porter Palmer and the entire Discovery Education team for their enthusiastic support and hard work.

So why didn’t my hair hurt this time?  I was more focused.  I had a few ideas of what I wanted to learn and rather than drinking from the fire hose, I got a water bottle instead.  I slowed down a little and tried to digest things.  Even though I was exposed to many new applications and ideas, I resisted the need to learn them all now.  There is time for everything and I  have a DENSI support system when I am ready.  And the session archives are online.

No one needs to having hurting hair.


Do you know your oceans?

July 19th, 2014 · No Comments · Content - Social Studies


This is a straightforward map for the younger grades.  Map the Oceans and Continents allows you to drag and drop the labels (on the bottom) to the right place on the maps.  This would work well as a station or on an interactive board. You can see the complete post here from TeachersFirst.


Ready, aim, place value!

June 21st, 2014 · No Comments · Content - Math


My title is ready in the wrong order.  You have to identify the correct place value before you can aim the tank and fire.  This three level game might be useful in the lower grades in September (when it seems as if everyone is talking about place value). You can see the complete post here from TeachersFirst.


Blog, Wiki or Website?

June 19th, 2014 · No Comments · Classroom

Here is a nice post from Richard Byrne (Free Technology for Teachers) to help you decide what is the best tool for your class.  Check out his post here.