DENSI: What is all the fuss about?

As teachers we often work in isolation. The daily demands of classroom
instruction, lesson planning, assessment, curriculum integration,
meetings, continued professional development and district directives
leave us with precious few minutes to spare for our personal and family
life. How do you recharge and connect with like-minded educators?

DENSI 2014 is your answer!

If you have attended a previous Discovery Education Summer Institute (or
as Porter would say, “DEN-S-I”) you know what it is all about. If you
have not, imagine spending a week on a university campus with more than
100 dynamic educators who love what they do and want to collaborate andhave fun. These colleagues become your extended family and friends andthe memories created at DENSI build a bond that lasts.

This week on DENvice we will share our fond memories of previous DENSI
events, answer questions and encourage others to join us. Stop by and
join the conversation at www.facebook.com/DENVICE

Keeping your Resolutions

Have you made resolutions for the New Year? How are you doing on keeping them? Many people make New Year’s resolutions that don’t even last the month of January.

This week on DENvice, Dr. Allison Schleede, a DEN Star from North Carolina, will help us with tips and tricks on how to keep our resolutions throughout the year. She will focus on keeping our health and sanity and finding a work/life balance to make us the best educators we can be.

Stop by DENvice at https://www.facebook.com/DENvice and join the conversation.

An Hour of Code

As educators, we strive to help our students understand the world around them. This week, during Computer Science Education Week, Code.org is sponsoring an Hour of Code where students will gain a basic understanding of the underlying software that drives our modern world. Through STEM education, the development of critical thinking skills and hands-on programs like Code.org, we hope to change our students from simple consumers of technology to empowered innovators and makers.

Code.org and the Hour of Code emphasize the transformative power of developing computer software, both in the changes a useful program can make in people’s lives and the self-confidence that comes to a student from successfully completing such a project.

Stop by DENvice this week where we will highlight the Hour of Code, share additional resources, and sample lessons to help you engage your students to make a difference in the world. To learn more, visit www.facebook.com/DENvice

Teacher Wellness

My graduate school professor always quoted Stephen Covey from his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “You have to sharpen the saw.” As educators, we often forget the importance of taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. The daily demands of teaching, preparing lesson plans, reviewing curriculum, managing the classroom, testing and all of the other work-related requirements can consume all of your waking hours, leaving very little time for yourself. It is essential that you make time to renew yourself in order to be able to give the best of yourself to your students and continue to find joy in what you do.

Please join Selena and me on DENvice https://www.facebook.com/DENvice this coming week to discuss ways you can renew and recharge your body, mind and soul before the start of the school year. If you have not already done so, it is time to work on your “Teacher Wellness Plan”.

Experiencing DENSI withdraw

It has been two weeks since I returned from DENSI 2012 and I am still experiencing withdraw. In many ways we each live in our own narrow world. It is difficult to stay informed and aware of new ideas and tools that could improve our performance and effectiveness. My week at DENSI (Discovery Education Summer Institute) 2012 gave me a fantastic opportunity to observe and interact with innovative educators from across North America and learn how they are incorporating technology and the latest brain research into the classroom. I came back with a wealth of new information and new ideas from teachers that I now consider colleagues. It will me takes some time for me to process all the information and ideas I brought back.

In the meantime, with apologies to David Letterman, here are the Top Ten Things I Learned at DENSI:

10. Do not taunt the bison at Yellowstone National Park.

9. Apple products far outnumber PC products among DENSI educators.

8. Textbooks are undergoing a technological revolution, becoming interactive and dynamic; Discovery Education offers such an alternative.

7. Passion and a positive attitude go a long way toward a successful learning environment

6. Collaboration with educators improves the classroom experience for students and the Discovery Education Network (DEN) provides access to experienced and enthusiastic teachers.

5. Technology can facilitate collaboration with schools around the world.

4. Students need to be taught critical thinking skills, including the ability to locate, examine, analyze, verify and evaluate information found on the Internet.

3. Technology tools are available to help you improve your productivity.

2. Students learn better with regular exercise and movement.

1. Today’s technology enables learning to take place anywhere and any time, not just in the classroom.

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