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  • December 09, 2019 3:11 PM | Jenna (Administrator)

    We are excited to tell you about our newest podcast partnership with Teachwell Teachers.

    The Teachwell Teachers Podcast is a bi-monthly show featuring veteran teacher, Dave Narter, and instructional coach, Dr. Paula. Years ago, Dave found, in the walls of his classroom, Mr. Teachwell’s Guide to Teaching Better. Now, in every episode of Teachwell Teachers, Dave and Dr. Paula talk about an educational issue, laugh far more than people in school ought to, and read a chapter from that amazingly ridiculous book. Oh, and Paula takes a quiz!

    In their latest episode, sponsored by IDEA, Dr. Paula and Dave put down their fidget spinners, have the homework debate, read another chapter from Mr. Teachwell's Guide to Teaching...Better. Oh, and Paula fails another quiz! Check out this episode and more by clicking on one of the links below.

    Where to stream / download your episode of Teach Better Talk.

    Stay tuned for the next episode of Teachwell Teachers.


  • December 02, 2019 12:48 PM | Jenna (Administrator)

    As a computer science teacher, this was truly the most wonderful time of the year for me. I would decorate my classroom over Thanksgiving break so that my students would come back to a winter wonderland. As they entered the computer lab, Andy Williams would belt out “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” on the speaker. There was a genuine excitement in the air because the kids knew that this meant that we would be coding for the rest of the month. To me, there was no “Hour” of Code… it was a whole month.

    I caught the Hour of Code bug during its first year and on the very first day I knew that I had found a winner. My students were completely engaged, the classroom was silent for the entire 45 minutes, and every student left that class period exhausted because they had worked so hard. You see, it’s not that we expect every student to work for Google one day, but every student should benefit from practicing the problem-solving skills that computer science encourages. Moreover, computer science helps nurture creativity and problem-solving skills to prepare students for any future career.

    If you have never coded yourself, please give it a try. Just go to hourofcode.com and try out any of the hundreds of activities available for FREE. That’s right… for FREE! If you are not crazy about one, don’t despair; try another. At first, the coding activities may look like you are playing a video game. The learning has been disguised as a game, but trust me, the problem-solving skills that it takes to make it through the game are many. As you (and your students) progress, you will find limitless opportunities to not only hone those problem-solving skills, but also stretch your creativity. Computer science truly allows you to use both sides of your brain.

    And, as I already said, the skills learned will prepare your students for any future career. As such, you can find ways to incorporate these same problem solving activities into any curriculum. You definitely do not have to be a computer teacher to try the Hour of Code in your classroom. You don’t even need a device to participate! I always introduced the idea of coding by asking my students to give me directions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As your students yell out the instructions, do exactly what they say - even if they skip a step. Then explain how a computer does the same thing… it can only do what you tell it to do. This is just a simple activity that you can use to explain the concept of computer science without a computer. You can find other activities like this on the Hour of Code website tagged “unplugged”.

    If the Hour of Code activities page looks daunting, we’ve even narrowed down a few tried and true options for you to try in your classroom. As you can see in the image below, created by IDEA member @iTeacher5th, we’ve even indicated the experience level in an effort to make things easier for you. Simply click on the icons in this Thinglink to be taken directly to the resource.

    We hope that you join the millions of students and teachers in over 180 countries starting with an Hour of Code. The Hour of Code takes place every year during Computer Science Education Week, the first week in December. This year, the Hour of Code will happen December 9-15, 2019. Organize an Hour of Code event during December 9-15, and register it. Then check out this resource on “How to teach one Hour of Code with your class”.

  • November 25, 2019 2:02 PM | Jenna (Administrator)

    In this week's episode of the Learning Through Leading podcast, sponsored by IDEA, Nick and Matt discuss their journey into podcasting, how you might use podcasts in your school or classroom, where they're going next, and how you can be a part of their podcast in the future!

    Enjoy! 

    Where to stream / download your episode of Learning Through Leading.

    Many thanks to Nick and Matt for sharing their podcast with us this month. Be sure to subscribe to the Learning Through Leading podcast so that you don't miss any of their upcoming content.
  • November 17, 2019 2:21 PM | Jenna (Administrator)

    In this week's episode of the Learning Through Leading podcast, sponsored by IDEA, Dr. Nick Sutton takes us on his visit to the first ever TeachBetter Conference in Ohio. Along with presenting, Nick recorded a number of quick interviews with some of those in attendance to learn more about what's happening across the educational landscape.

    Nick and Matt apologize in advance if any names are misspelled, etc. The environment was a little loud and some audio may be a bit difficult to understand in places. However, they think you’ll find that this episode highlights a lot of what educators are interested in at the time of this recording. 

    Enjoy! 

    Clip 1: WearCareShare.com  

    Clip 2: Joshua Stamper of the Aspire Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get podcasts 

    Clip 3: Michelle White, Dunlap, IL, elementary educator reflects on culturally responsive education 

    Clip 4: Nick Mann of TeacherFit.fit discusses educator wellness 

    Clip 5: Alex Oris of Cuyahoga Falls, OH, discusses technology integration 

    Clip 5: Mark Losey and Milo, the Robot for Autism

    Clip 6: Jake Miller, from the Educational Duct Tape Podcast

    Clip 7: Crystal Parker, English Teacher from Florida

    Clip 8: Jen Molitor, Instructional Coach, Educator, and author of The Happy Teacher's Handbook

    Clip 9: Christy (??) Instructional Coach from Akron (OH) Public Schools

    Clip 10: Christina Florence, educator 

    Clip 11: BreAnn Fennell, presenter 

    Clip 12: Tiffany Ott,Director of Curriculum Development for the TeachBetter Team 

    Clip 13: Latezeon Balentine, educator and author 

    Clip 14: Amanda Post and Maggie Gifford, educators from rural Ohio 

    Clip 15: Don Epps, education leader from southeast Kansas


    Where to stream / download your episode of Learning Through Leading.

    Stay tuned next week for the next episode of Learning Through Leading.

  • November 12, 2019 10:02 AM | Jenna (Administrator)

    In this week's episode of the Learning Through Leading podcast, sponsored by IDEA, Dr. Nick Sutton and Matt Jacobson talk with Thomas C. Murray about preparing students for the future, designing learning spaces, and his new book, Personal and Authentic: Designing Learning Experiences that Last a Lifetime.

    Future Ready Schools are “...schools that put kids before adults… (and) do whatever it takes to support all kids… schools where people want to be… where people respect people.”

    Learning space redesign is “...not about being pretty for Pinterest, this is understanding how the brain works (and) learns and how do we maximize spaces for learning.”

    Where to stream / download your episode of Learning Through Leading.

    Stay tuned next week for the next episode of Learning Through Leading.

  • November 05, 2019 8:00 AM | Jenna (Administrator)

    This December the Hour of Code will celebrate its seventh year. Started in 2013 by Hadi Partovi of code.org, the Hour of Code was launched during Computer Science Education Week as a fun one-hour coding challenge to give students an introduction to computer science. By the end of 2013, 20 million learners had taken part in the Hour of Code Challenge and the week-long event had become an educational movement, totaling over 720 million participants by the end of 2018.

    The Hour of Code takes place every year during Computer Science Education Week, the first week in December. This year, the Hour of Code will happen December 9-15, 2019. Be a part of the movement by organizing an Hour of Code event December 9-15 in your classroom or community. Register your event with the Hour of Code, then check out this resource on “How to teach one Hour of Code with your class”.

    In honor of the event, we've also created a new resource to help you introduce your learners to coding and computer science. Check out IDEA’s Coding Kitchen and try out some new coding recipes. There you will find tasks to create innovative learning experiences that focus on coding. Select a main ingredient from our pantry. Each ingredient is linked to a guide, activity or task. Try one or try them all! Bon Appetit!

    More Resources for Introducing Coding in Your Classroom

  • November 04, 2019 3:33 PM | Jenna (Administrator)

    This month Illinois Digital Educators Alliance (IDEA) is partnering with the Learning Through Leading podcast to introduce you to their weekly show.

    The Learning Through Leading Podcast's goal is to help connect educators in schools and classrooms with those who are moving the needle to help kids in effective and innovative ways. Learning Through Leading is lead by school superintendent, Dr. Nick Sutton, and veteran teacher and online learning specialist, Matt Jacobson. Join them as they share ideas, random thoughts, and conversations with you.

    In this week's episode, sponsored by IDEA, Dr. Jason Leahy, Director of the Illinois Principals Association, talks with Nick and Matt about his perspectives on leadership, empathy, and the new School Leader Paradigm.

    Where to stream / download your episode of Learning Through Leading.

    Stay tuned next week for the next episode of Learning Through Leading.
  • October 29, 2019 7:30 AM | Jenna (Administrator)

    This month Illinois Digital Educators Alliance (IDEA) is partnering with the Learning Through Leading podcast to introduce you to their weekly show.

    The Learning Through Leading Podcast's goal is to help connect educators in schools and classrooms with those who are moving the needle to help kids in effective and innovative ways. Learning Through Leading is lead by school superintendent, Dr. Nick Sutton, and veteran teacher and online learning specialist, Matt Jacobson. Join them as they share ideas, random thoughts, and conversations with you.

    In this week's episode, sponsored by IDEA, Jodi Scott, Superintendent of Regional Office of Education #33 in Henderson, Knox, Mercer, and Warren counties in Illinois, talks with Nick and Matt about her experiences in professional development, the growth of technology, and the teacher & paraprofessional shortages. Jodi also discusses rural broadband and the growth of instructional coaching and other areas her regional office supports. Jodi closes by discussing how Regional Offices support both teachers and administrators in their professional learning and networking opportunities.

    Where to stream / download your episode of Learning Through Leading.

    Stay tuned next week for the next episode of Learning Through Leading.

  • October 21, 2019 2:08 PM | Jenna (Administrator)

    This week’s episode of Teach Better Talk, brought to you by Illinois Digital Educators Alliance (IDEA) features educational leader and author, Angela Maiers. Angela chats with Rae Hughart and Jeff Gargas about changing the world, chasing big dreams, and understanding that you are enough.

    She shares how we can have an impact even if we aren’t perfect, the power of daily affirmations, and why the same thing has kept her excited for 32 years.

    Check out this episode and more by clicking on one of the links below.


  • October 14, 2019 4:50 PM | Jenna (Administrator)

    This week’s episode of Teach Better Talk, brought to you by Illinois Digital Educators Alliance (IDEA) features first year teacher, Delaney Brummel. Delaney chats with Rae Hughart and Jeff Gargas about being cool with being “the loud one” in her school, helping kids get comfortable sharing failures with each other, and focusing on keeping things student-centered.

    Delaney shares how she keeps a smile on every day, the power of remembering there are actual humans in our classrooms, and reminds us that you don’t need to be a veteran teacher to bring value to others.

    Check out this episode and more by clicking on one of the links below.

    Where to stream / download your episode of Teach Better Talk.

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