Archive for November, 2011

Westchester Day of Discovery (as well as what PLN resources help me to grow as an educator)

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Also posted on the CT Leadership Council Blog

Today I attended Westchester Day of Discovery in White Plains, NY, and as usual, I came away from the experience energized and even more excited about how technology can add excitement and engagement and skill building for today’s students.You would think after a whole day at the conference, I would have said, “Enough is enough! ” But I still found myself drawn to my laptop to check my email, etc.
I came across an email from Steve Hargadon inviting me to comment on his Might Bell share site dedicated to “Teacher 2.0: Using the Web for Your Personal and Professional Growth.” He asked us to respond to a number of questions on how the internet has impacted our own personal learning, and I crafted the answer below. Because I mention my attendance at the Day of Discovery conference today, November 5, 2011, I thought it was appropriate to repost it here:

Oh, my gosh! I could write a book on this topic, but I’ll have to limit myself.

One of my favorite places to learn was actually inspired by Steve Hargadon – Classroom 2.0 – so ably run by Peggy George, Lorna Costantini, and Kim Caise where every Saturday morning they bring in a special guest to share his/her story and resources. I also have tuned into many of Steve’s Future of Education Webinars as well as webinars from the EdTech channel such as Seedlings and Teachers Teaching Teachers.

I also follow many of the top leaders in educational technology on Twitter. If even a day goes by when I don’t check into twitter, it takes me over an hour to skim through the tweets I’ve missed. Of course, I can’t click on every link, but almost every resource offered in these tweets have provided great professional development.

In addition, I read many blogs, including featured blogs from my Tech&Learning newsletter.

I also get good updates from eSchool News.

Next, I’m proud to be a Star Discovery Educator and rely on their site and the DEN (Discovery Educator Network) for an endless supply of great learning opportunities. In fact, I just attended the Westchester Day of Discovery face-to-face conference in White Plains, NY. I got to hear a keynote by Hall Davidson and also attended his two sessions on video in the classroom and on iPad apps and devices. He even showed us how we could attach an inexpensive microscope to the camera on the iPad, thus transforming it. Very Cool!  Then I got some great training from Cindy Lane on using Google Earth in the classroom. Finally, Max Brooks offered great tips for using DE classroom tools to individualize learning for our students.

I don’t have any one blog that I follow consistently, but those by David Andrade, a physics teacher from Bridgeport, CT, who blogs at , offers detailed explanations of his personal experience with many great resources. David is also a DEN star and a member of the Connecticut LC.

Of course, Richard Byrne’s,, is also a great site.

I have to admit that I spend WAY too much time on the internet reading, researching, contributing -and sometimes, I really just need to log off and go take a walk or bake some healthy muffins or read a book or watch a tv show with my hubby. But doing what I do is my passion, and even when I retire from my school system this coming June, I doubt I’ll be able to leave it behind.

Oh, and finally, how could I forget?????? I love getting a chance to watch TED talk channel -I hope I’ll be able to watch many more presentations when I have more time.

Oh, and then there’s PBS – and the Discovery Channel – and the History Channel –enough! I’m done! (Smiles!)

A Veritable Treasure Trove of Famous Children’s Stories Available from DE

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Just this past summer I became aware that Discovery Education offered subscribers access to the whole collection of the wonderful Weston Woods retelling of famous children’s stories and picture books. The studio, located in Weston, CT, I believe, uses narration, music, and animation to bring important children’s books to life through multimedia. Even though the age recommendation for most of the books is for pre-K through 6th grade, I believe that adolescents and adults, as well, will find great enjoyment in these presentations. They will also learn a lot. Several of Hans Christian Anderson’s tales such as The Nightingale, The Little Match Girl, and selections from his epic poem Hiawatha, to name only a few, are beautifully told. Educational and entertaining are the titles by Jean Fritz such as Why Don’t You Get a Horse, Sam Adams?, What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?, and And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?
I was also delighted to find the Rudyard Kipling’ classic tale, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, in the collection. Unfortunately, the 7th grade English classes had already read the tale before I found the link to it in Discovery. One of two of the students, on my recommendation, did log into DE  at home to view the video,  and I was so pleased when they told me that they had enjoyed hearing the story, again.
I just watched The Man Who Walked Between the Towers – a retelling of an actual event that happened in 1974 when a young man from France, who was a street performer in NYC, actually spent over an hour on a cable suspended between the two towers that so sadly no longer exist. The story is by Mordicai Gerstein. It was a riveting tale.

I encourage all of you to search on Weston Woods, refine the search to full-length videos, and browse your way through the 168 offerings and then share your favorites.
Many of these videos did not come up in the student search, but if you assign the video to your student/students, then it will be available in their student center.
Coming soon – I’m so excited – Most (maybe all) of the Reading Rainbow episodes with LeVar Burton are also available!
Carolyn Stanley
proud to be a Discovery Star and member of the CT LC.