DEN Connects – Habitats

This month my second graders have been learning about Habitats as part of DEN Connects, an innovative project connecting classrooms and educators using Discovery Education resources. The theme for this month is Habitats and so far we have taken a Digital Dive into the topic and explored the concept of Habitats using Discovery Education resources. The students enjoyed our first mini lesson, especially listening to and singing, Teacher and the Rockbots: Habitats. We had fun writing animal riddles and using Blabberize to animate them. These three examples are our first attempts. The first riddle was written and created by the entire class. The last two were written and created by individual students.



Perfect Professional Development – DENSI2012

I just returned from The Discovery Educator Summer Institute (DENSI) in Bozeman, Montana. It was the most intense and amazing Professional Development experience. In Wes Fryers’ presentation on Thursday morning, he asked how many of us were forced to attend DENSI. Not one hand was raised. That in itself speaks volumes. Over 125 educators from all over the U.S., Canada and one educator from Romania wanted to be there. We applied to attend, creating videos to show our passion for education, technology and Discovery Education.  Many of the educators not only chose to be there, they paid over $500 (or more!)  to cover their travel expenses. We waited anxiously to find out if we were accepted, rejoicing for ourselves, yet understanding and sharing the disappointment of those not accepted this year. We knew that this was going to be an amazing week, one that would permanently and positively impact how we teach and who we are as educators.


The DENSI is the perfect professional development model. We attend because we want to. We spend every minute working, networking and learning from each other and when DENSI ends, we hug, we cry and we stay in touch. The friendships that we made are professional and personal. We have connected with these people on many levels and those connections continue long after DENSI. DENSI is the beginning of the professional development, not the end.


I have been home only 15 hours, at least 10 of those sleeping and I have already shared my experience with two colleagues, two friends, my family, and another teacher I met in line waiting to pick up Chinese Food. I have communicated with several of the DENSI participants through Facebook, Twitter, Edmodo and Text messages. The conversations began at DENSI and they will keep going all year.


If all Professional Development could be like this, imagine the impact it would have on education.

Thank you to Discovery Education for a wonderful, exhausting, engaging, energizing week!

DENSI2012 = Awesome!

I am having a great time networking and learning at the Discovery Educator Summer Institute in beautiful Bozeman, Montana. The view from my dorm room is spectacular. What a great way to begin each day.

I am thrilled to be among so many amazing educators and am a bit star struck. Many of these people are my Tech Idols and it is great to be learning from and with them. Luckily it is okay to ask for autographs as we are signing each others’  Trading Cards and DENgo sheets.


We had a great time visiting Yellowstone on Sunday. I have never been to Yellowstone, or this far West before. The High Altitude does take some getting used to – I need to stay hydrated and running in the mountains leaves me pretty winded. Yellowstone was beautiful. We saw hot springs, and geysers and a buffalo. Old Faithful did not disappoint and we were able to see her blow her top twice during our visit.


Our first day of sessions was packed with great speakers and I am still sorting through all I learned. I very much enjoyed Karen Ogen’s session and made my first Popplet with her help. I used my pictures from Yellowstone in the Popplet and found it such an easy tool to use. I can see my second graders having no trouble at all learn this tool and start creating. (See Popplet Below.)

This evening I participated in my first ever DEN-mazing Race. I had a great time as did everyone else. Porter Palmer did a fantastic job putting it all together. I enjoyed working with my team, and getting the help of other teams along the way. All of the events were fun (easy for me to say as I did not have to put the horse head on) and not too difficult.

I am happy to be here and look forward to more great days of learning.