Author: Andrew Clark

I am a former 4th grade teacher and current Regional Technology Trainer for 9 school districts in rural northeastern Utah. He enjoys learning about tech, traveling, and spending time with his family. You can follow me on Twitter @And_B_Clark

What My 2nd Grader Taught Me About Trying

Yesterday I had the opportunity to join my daughter at her school for Family Hour of Code Night.  We were given the option of several different breakout sessions that would allow us to experience some different aspects of coding.  I was impressed as my 2nd grader got right to work.  She knew what she wanted the results to be and as she worked on her block coding she was faced with problems.  I wanted to jump in and help her with all of the problems she was having, but she was determined to do it on her own.  She wanted to show me that she could overcome the issues.  She wasn't frustrated when something didn't work, but was rather eager to make sure that she could try and try and try again to solve the problems that she was facing.  I was impressed that she wasn't worried about making mistakes, but rather finding a solution to her problem.  

The next activity we attended was a BreakoutEDU session.  She had participated in a one other BreakoutEDU activity at her school and had so much fun that she wanted to share with me as well.  It was fantastic to see her look at puzzles with open arms!  She wanted so much to try and figure it out and she knew that along the way she would fail.  She was constantly reassuring me that it was ok to fail.  We could keep trying to solve the problems as they arose and that everything would be ok.  We worked hard at solving the puzzles and we eventually were able to solve all of the puzzles.  It took a team effort and it took perserverance.  I was impressed that the kids took the lead and were the first to jump in and try things.  It was great to watch how they worked together and kept cool heads even through failure.  

In my own life I see problems arise and I'm not the first to attack them head on like these kids did.  I want to spend some time thinking of a potential solution and how to try it out.  I forget that it is ok to fail.  We can learn a lot from our mistakes and we're bound to make them.  I'm glad that my daughter was able to remind of this.  

What Fall Means to Me

When fall arrives and I watch the leaves change color, I often think about the changes that we all make.  At some point the trees will shed their leaves to prepare for the winter.  In education I think that we are constantly losing our "leaves" in preparation for what we can do to improve teaching and learning.  The nice thing about winter is that it will end and we will have spring once again.  Just like in teaching we can change and grow once again.

In teaching and preparing we are always letting go of what doesn't work so that we can grow and be better.  When I was in the classroom, I found that each year I would take the time to reflect and realize that somethings went well, and other things didn't go so well. I would often pinpoint what I wanted to change and implement the change the next opportunity that I had.

I hope that as we reflect on what has worked thus far this year we can all find those things in our teaching that we can get rid of and prepare for new growth.  Let us all be embracing of the change that comes no matter what school we teach at.  I hope you have successful year!

What UCET Means to Me…

As I 'm sitting here at my laptop on UCET eve, I'm reflecting on some of my early UCET experiences.  My first UCET expereience was in 2007 and it was at Murray High.  I was a preservice teacher who was offered the chance to go to UCET or work on a project, and in the interest of time, I took the chance to go to UCET and write a paper.  I'm so glad that I went to UCET way back when because I saw how teachers were using tech to teach and make lessons more engaging.  I wanted to become like the teachers that I had seen at UCET.

As the years went by and I attended more and more UCET Conferences, I networked with teachers, continued to see new ideas that I could implement in my classroom and I loved every minute of the conference.  I found UCET to be the PD highlight of the year for me.  UCET has always been just as exciting as Christmas!

As we approach another UCET there is much to be excited about, we have a new venue, new sessions, and of course loads of great ideas!  UCET has always meant to me that there is a great way to get some new ideas from all of the teachers who attend and present.  UCET means high quality PD and the chance to look for new ideas to implement.  

I hope that you're just as excited as I am to be at UCET this year.  It is going to be as awesome as always!!

Last Call for Presenters!

Procrastination sometimes affects the best of us and we know that some of our readers love to procrastinate so much that they got a birth mark at age 12.  We know that you're really excited for UCET and you're so excited that you want to present at UCET, but you feel like you've lost your window of opportunity then fear not!  Tomorrow is the last day to submit your presentation proposal!  You can ease your fears that procrastination was really going to infringe on your particular lifestyle and prevent you from being the next shining star at UCET.  Put those fears aside because you are going to be awesome at presenting! Bring your innovative ideas and come to UCET ready to present!  You can make a difference in the lives of educators and students by bringing your exciting and inspiring ideas.  To submit your presentation proposal, simply go to the presenter link on our website.  We look forward to seeing what ideas you are going to share to really help change the ed tech in Utah.

Staying Organized

In my own life I find that I have always struggled with staying on top of everything.  I get lost in the day to day mess of everything that is happening and I find that I have a hard time remembering everything that I need to so that I can stay on top of my daily tasks.  I found that in the classroom this problem was multiplied even more when I added what each student needed or what groups I had to take care of, assignments that needed grading, lesson plans that needed planning and so forth and I found that I was often feeling bogged down and the more I tried to get on top of it, the harder time I had keeping up with everything.  This lasted until I discovered a great free app called Trello.  Trello lets you keep track of all my to dos and I can do it from any device and my favorite thing is that it is always scaled to the screen I'm on and it looks and acts the same independent of the operating system I'm on!

Trello is built with the idea that everyone has a board that they need to keep track of projects on, and on each board there is a card that allows you to keep track of details within your board.  Trello allows users to make lists of cards that can be moved through the process of a project (I like to use lists titled: To do, Doing, Done)  With cards on the lists, details can be added to the back of the card, by clicking on the card, users are shown a new menu of goodies.  Users can create checklists, add files as attachments, assign cards to other users, add stickers, and even set a due date for cards.

I find that using Trello allows me to stay more organized, and being organized allows me to be more effective at work!

To see how other teachers are using Trello in their classroom check out how these high school teachers are using Trello to organize their classroom.

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