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Showing posts from January, 2018

EdCamp Elmbrook 21

  We had out 5th annual EdCamp this past Saturday and it was a very different PD experience. Due to the pandemic, we help the EdCamp virtually. That meant that anyone across the globe could attend. While we usually only have educators from out region attend, we had educators across the nation and in some in Canada attend. In addition, we had an attendee from Turkey! The conference was conducted using Zoom and Zoom breakout rooms for the sessions. The team did a great job of organization and management. I could go on, but this is my first blog post in a while and I'd like to keep it brief. Below you'll find the session board for the day with notes docs linked. We had some wonderful sessions and the notes documents house some wonderful thoughts and resources. So, I recommend checking them out. Although this EdCamp was only for the morning, there was a lot of learning to be had. We had no technology issues from our end as organizers but I can imagine participants may have had iss

Step up your GIF Game in 2 Minutes

Looking to make some great GIFs as opposed to those old MEMEs.  Or, maybe you want to personalize your GIFs a bit. is your one stop site to do it. Check out the quick tutorial below and get on your way in 2 minutes Here's a look at the finished product.

Passion Projects are Standards Based

We just had our 3rd ever Personal Project Expo night. It’s a night where students share passion projects that they have been working on throughout our physics course to parents and peers. With each round of the passion project we complete, the more I see it as a great opportunity for learners to bring their passions into the classroom. One of the major reservations I see expressed about these projects into their classrooms is time. With all the standards that need to be addressed inside of the classroom, how is there time to do this work? I would argue that there are many standards that a well constructed project would address. One component of any of the project is research. This is hits many standards that I would usually never address due to “more important things” in my classroom. Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as wel

Action & Reaction

We do not live in a vacuum. All of our actions have an effect. We may not realize it but, when we take action, there is always a reaction.  I’m not talking about something as distant and abstract as the butterfly effect. I’m talking about the direct reaction to every one of our actions. In the study of physics, this is explained in Newton’s Third Law of Motion. Newton’s Third Law of Motion states: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In my classroom, I expand on this just a bit more to clarify it: For every action force, there is an equal (in size) but opposite (in direction) reaction force. One of the greatest misconceptions my students have is what happens when two things push or pull on each other.  Think about this situation The correct answer is... The confusion come into thinking that force and motion are the same thing. This ties back into the second law.  Which says that if forces are equal, an object with less mass wi

Law of System Change

As I look back on the material we covered in physics this year, I can’t help but see the connections to my life as a professional.  I’ve spoken about Newton’s 1st Law of Motion in my last post .  But, the 2nd Law is equally relevant. It’s great to be in motion. But constant motion in the same direction at the same speed, isn’t always a good idea. What if you need to get somewhere faster, make a turn, or come to a stop.  In those cases, it is essential that you are able to change your motion. The physics term for change in motion (how fast or what direction) is acceleration. More specifically, acceleration is the rate at which your motion is changing.  So, acceleration is a function of time. The only way to change an object’s motion, or get it to accelerate, is with a push or pull.  In other words, an acceleration requires a force. To be more accurate, an unbalanced (or net) force. Newton’s Second Law of Motion describe the factors that affect this acceleration: The net for

The Law of Classroom Inertia

In 2 weeks, my school year will be half over. Since we are on the block, I will have a whole new group of students and will be starting my courses fresh.  As I think back on some of my big ideas from the summer that I failed to follow through with, I think about Newton’s First Law of Motion.   Newton’s First Law of Motion states that Every object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless compelled to change that state by forces impressed on it. This law has also been paraphrased as An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. I prefer to state it this way in my physics course An object’s motion will only change if acted on by an unbalanced force. What does this mean in a practical sense? If you are standing at rest, you have forces acting on you that are balanced, or cancel each other out.  There is gravity pulling you down, and the ground pushing you up.  The forces are equal in size and balanc

Hello to 2018

Have you ever gone to a conference and seen that one person in the back of the session who seems to be engaged but its not interacting with anyone else? Or maybe that one person who seems to be eating lunch at a table by themselves? That’s me. I attend around 3 educational conferences every year.  I have a great time learning from presentations and keynote speakers at all of these conferences.  By definition, a conference is meant to be a meeting of people with a shared interest. When I think about my conference attendance, I rarely meet new people. Am I defeating the purpose of a conference in many situations? I’m always quick to tweet out to a hashtag and follow presenters with great insights, but rarely will I find a new face to face connection.  It’s crazy to think about it. 90% of those attending a conference probably have something we could connect about or discuss. From edtech tools to educational philosophy, there is an incredibly population of individuals I could be

Why EdCamp in 2018?

One of my proudest accomplishments of 2017 was helping to hold the first EdCamp in my school district, EdCamp Elmbrook. We are holding our 2nd annual EdCamp on March 3rd of 2018. It will be held at Brookfield Central High School in Brookfield, WI.   As we enter a new year, I realize a lot of us are making resolutions.  Why not make a resolution to attend an EdCamp?  In 2017, we had just over 100 attendees for our democratic PD experience. I've grown my PLN and learned from innovators like Michael Matera, Chad Kafka, Jennie Magiera, Tricia Louis, Tammy Lind, Carrie Baughcum, Joe Sanfelippo, Brian Durst, and the list goes on and on.   But, I’ve spoke at length about why I think you should attend an EdCamp on many  previous posts . So, I’d like to share the voices of some of our 2017 attendees from EdCamp Elmbrook as they explain why you should attend an EdCamp in 2018. I hope these words have convinced you to attend an EdCamp this ye