Launch Day Arrives

Dsc00549  On Saturday, October 15th, Discovery Education hosted the largest Discovery Educator Network (DEN) event, in the nation.  The “DEN Launch Event” served as California’s DEN members first opportunity to gather together and be connected with California’s best resources in education—each other.  Today, they represented what is right in education– dedicated teachers willing to sacrifice their entire Saturday to network and learn new and innovative ways to infuse technology into current California adopted curriculum to meet the needs of today’s digital generation.

Although, registration did not begin until 8:30 a.m. and our official program until 9 a.m., teachers began to file into the auditorium at 8:10 a.m.  I think we were all caught off guard by the enthusiasm of these dedicated teachers on a Saturday morning. 

Registration_table_2Carissa and Alex worked the registration table as California DEN members continued pouring through the gates.  When the arrived they received name tags, lanyards, padfolios, lapel pins, and flash drives.  Then, they entered the auditorium where monkeys suspended by balloons hung over tables and a continental breakfast waited. 

Hall_keynote1_1  By 9 a.m. approximately 120 DEN Members and special guests (including Fontana Board Members;  Dorothy Grant, the school’s name sake; Lucille Renwich, editor of Digital Discovery; and Steve Finch, unitedstreaming sales for the West Coast) had filled the room. Hall Davidson, manager of DEN West Coast delivered a dynamic keynote on technology integration and gave us the kick start we needed to begin a day of networking and professional development.


Sessions began at 10:15 and teachers traveled through four 50 minute sessions in grade level clust ers.  Brian Talmadge, a 5th grade DEN teacher from LaMesa Spring Valley School District, kept teachers laughing as they learned how to create movie stars in themselves and their students. 

Jan_wee_session_1Jan Wee, DEN manager in Wisconsin, inspired the teachers by showing how unitedstreaming could be integrated with the Software.  She also held a raffle, giving away gift cards and t-shirts, in each session. Ken_session_3 Inspiration

Dr. Kenneth Decroo, DEN member and principal of Dorothy Grant, allowed teachers to get hands on and dig deep into the depths of the Internet with WebQuests. 

Kims_session Kimberly Smith, Discovery Education’s Product Developer, held a session that gave educators a sneak peek of what will be coming soon to the face of unitedstreaming.  In this session, teachers were also able to share how they integrate unitedstreaming and to make suggestions for what they desire from the program.

We had an hour break in the middle, where teachers were able to relax and enjoy a Mexican Style Lunch, which included beef and chicken fajitas, tortillas, rice, beans, chips and salsa.  During lunch we showed Discovery Education’s commercial featuring new programs such as Discovery Health Connection and Discovery Learning Connection

Monkey_winner2 Winner9Raffle_tableWinner4 Winner8

Teachers let out moans when their numbers weren’t called and cheered their winning collegues, during our raffle. Several winners received various hard copy products (cd roms, videos, books), computer bags, Inspiration software and t-shirt, and the long sought after monkey centerpieces. 

Getting_plaques Looking_at_plaque Larry_ethernet


During the final session of the day, Hall Davidson and I were able to personally visit each session, thank the teachers for their continued dedication, award them plaques,

and send the educators off with one final gift.


Kinder_1st_group  2nd_3rd_group_1


For me, it was an exciting day filled with finally putting faces with names.  I enjoyed listening to the buzz in the sessions and hallways as teachers collaborated across grade levels, schools, and districts.  I am so proud to represent these dynamic teachers in our Discovery Educator Network.  California is lucky to have these innovative and dedicated teachers.Greg_and_phil_



I would also like to send  BIG THANK YOU to Dorothy Grant Elementary and Fontana Unified School District for their continued dedication to infusing technology in their curriculum and support to the Discovery Educator Network

So… that sums up my thoughts of the day.  Now, let’s hear yours!  What did you enjoy most?  What was your favorite session?  Were you able to make connection with other DEN members?


Related posts


  1. Tammy Decroo said:

    What a day!! I got to Grant Elementary early in the morning to help with the last of the kick-off preparations, cutting up muffins and breakfast loaves. The electrictiy in the air was stronger than a lightening storm. The principal of Grant, Ken Decroo, was busily making sure the DEN launch was a success. Hall Davidson’s keynote speech was inspiring, integrating Unitedstreaming into his presentation and showing the audience the history we, as teachers of Fontana Unified School District, are all a part of with Discovery Education. I did not know what to expect when we split up into breakout sessions. Mark inspired all of us to go out and purchase firewire and a digital camera and become stars. Jan showed us about our hero Lance Armstrong and how we can make our Inspiration webs more visual and exciting. Ken helped to enhance our sometimes dry curriculum with different WebQuests available on the internet. Finally, Kim showed us all of the up and coming “new stuff” Discovery is making available to teachers to enhance and make our lessons more appealing to the hard to get to students. We ended up having our picture taken with Den the Dino concluding a great day of team building and collaboration. Thank you to Jannita and the entire Discovery Education Network team!!

  2. Greg Whitney said:

    What a wonderful day! It is always great to be able to meet and collaborate with other teachers from my own district and other parts of the state. To find out that students are pretty much the same from Ceres, to La Mesa and all cities’ in-between, and that our challenges are the exactly same.

    Hall Davidson was inspiring and very informative. Who knew I could invest as good as a polar bear. The information Hall gave to us is extremely useful. I now will have the closed captions on all the time in school as well as at home for my own children.

    Brian Talmadge’s break-out session was very fun and I’ll never look at pizza or the freeway the same way. I came away with a new knowledge and way to look at inspiring my students.

    One of the most important ideas in Ken Decroo’s session was to address with students the source of the information and how credible it is. Sometimes we forget to teach this because of every other item on our plates. Yet one of the most important and life long skills we can share with them.

    The two other break-out sessions were great. Getting the sneak peak at Unitedstreaming 2006 was exciting.

    It truly was a wonderful day and can’t wait to use all my new skills. Thank you Jannita for all the hard work into putting this day on for us.

  3. Marie Belt said:

    What a great day!

    I am the Title 1 teacher at Dorothy Grant, and have been in on this DEN launch from its early planning session. It was fun, though a little nerve-wracking, working with Jannita and figuring out the details of this event. Her energy and enthusiasm are definitely catching!

    It was great to see all the educators who were so enthusiastic about this opportunity to further their knowledge about technology and its place in the classroom. I am proud to say that most of the teachers at my site were represented at the launch, and that those who couldn’t attend were very disappointed.

    One of the most exciting things for me was seeing how teachers from such different backgrounds are willing to embrace new learning. I have worked with my most veteran teacher (I think he said he is 70!) and my newest newbie in preparing lessons using United Streaming clips. They were both equally excited (and frustrated at times!) about what they were learning and were trying to do!
    I can’t wait to see the things we will be able to do for our kids as a result of using this technology.

  4. Coni Rechner said:

    Congratulations to all the DEN members in California! It is great to see all the enthusiasm and excitement for the first DEN event in California.

    Thank you for sharing all the highlights & photos Jannita!

  5. Michelle Wavering said:

    I loved the launch event. As a fairly new user, it was wonderful to see and hear how so many others in our area are using United Streaming in their teaching. The energy was stimulating and inspiring. Dorothy Grant Elementary was a great place to hold the launch event also.

  6. Sarah Johangiry said:

    I had a great time on Saturday! I think that the launch event was a great way to get our feet wet in the Den.

    The thing that I am most excited about is the networking. It was great to see people from other school sites and disticts. I am hoping that we can definately get together and create great projects to take back to our classrooms. If we could share with other districts, the possibilities are endless.

    Everybody did such a great job presenting. I loved seeing what is coming up on Unitedstreaming, and I was glad that we had the opportunity to share our ideas in that session. I can’t wait to make a movie!! How inspiring Brian!! It was good to get new ideas for kidspiration and inspiration. It really is a great tool, and the kids love it!! Webquests seem like they would be a great way to teach our kids some good researching skills while helping the kids to think critically. Hal’s presentation really was an aha moment for me. I sometimes forget that all of my kids really do benefit from visual images, not just my ELL students.

    Overall, It was a fabulous day. Thanks to everyone who obviously worked soooo hard!!!

  7. Robert Bassett said:

    Saturday was great! It was so helpful, inventive, & unique to be able to collaborate & mingle with other educators. It was also great learning new ways to incorporate & elaborate software programs, media-mediums, & unitedstreaming content into lessons. The classroom will be a better place to be, for sure!

  8. Shannon Gaumer said:

    Attending this DEN conference was a great way to spend my Saturday. I enjoyed meeting teachers from all over Southern California who have the same passion for classroom technology as I do. Hall Davidson’ s speech was really inspiring and motivating . The break out sessions gave me new ideas for integrating technology in my classroom. I look forward to attending more of these terrific events hosted by Discovery in the near future!!

  9. Bobbi Korte said:

    Saturday’s DEN event had me feeling like the proverbial “kid in the candy shop.” There were so many new ideas and people willing to share what has worked for them. It was difficult to determine what to focus upon first. Now, all I need is a little time with which I can try out all of these new ideas! My teaching will never be the same. Empowered inspired, and affirmed – that was my day at the DEN Event!

  10. Mark Jeffery said:

    The best part of the day was establishing the sense of community – Even though I was an “outsider” (having traveled from 4 hours away), I still came away with the feeling that I am part of the group. Having the opportunity to get to know people like Darcy, Ken, Hall, and Brian – and to be able to share like concerns with them – was very meaningful for me.

  11. Lindsay Hopkins said:

    Wow! Sounds like the DEN Launch Event was a roaring success! As the Implementation Representative for many of the school districts represented at the event, I’m thrilled to hear about the ideas, energy, and excitement people will be taking back to their schools and districts.

    As always, remember that you have a team of people in your Implementation Reps that are here to help you make the most of unitedstreaming at your schools. We can assist with training, integration, and technical troubleshooting.

    Thanks to all who brought their unique ideas enthusiasm to help make for a terrific event! Kudos to Jannita, Hall, and the entire DEN team!

  12. Jeanne Morris said:

    Hi it’s Jeanne Morris here-
    My class has aready created their first movie. You should of seen how excited the kids were to act in the movie.

    Brian did a great job prepping me for the big day. You are right a storyboard is a MUST. I even had the computer program at home on my computer. (My son has been making stop action lego movies since he was 13 with it.) I had no excuse.

    I am in the process now of editing it. Luckily I have my teenage son to help me. (Actually it’s not that hard.) Sooo… Jump in and be creative. It’s ever so much better than grading papers.

    Jeanne Morris
    2nd Grade
    Dorothy Grant Elementary
    Fontana, CA

  13. Susan Little said:

    It was a wonderful day. I enjoyed networking with other teachers. Thanks United Streaming for all you are doing to help make our job of educating children more exciting and relevant to their lives.

Comments are closed.