A Hidden Gem

Platteville has several hidden historical gems that the average resident might not realize. We have several buildings in Platteville that are quite historic, but for some reason we don’t toot our historical horn in the same way Mineral Point does. No doubt, Mineral Point, for example, has many more historical buildings that we do, but we have plenty to share too. Thankfully, people like James Hubbard and the Grant County Historical Society have written about our lovely town.

One such is this building at 150 Market Street, just north
of city park. It currently houses Physical Therapist Specialist, but back in 1848, it was known as the Campbell House, a hospital and a hotel. What a combo, right?

In Hubbard’s book, the house had a 3rd story. Think of the stories this building could tell! Next time I’m at the Southwest Wisconsin Room, I’d love to research the Campbell House.


This marks my first time walking the barns at night, and I was sure thankful to do so with my camera in hand. I love the sounds of the animals settling down for the night and folks finishing up late-night chores. While the daytime is so very busy, the evening is satisfying, signifying the conclusion of yet another memorable day. The barns have a certain peace about them late at night that’s really neat.

Notes from Differentiation in Middle & High School by Doubet and Hockett

There are lots of books on differentiation, but I rarely uncover enough that really offer strategies that a teacher could try that week. The Doubet and Hockett text proves to be an exception. Here are my ramblings from what I’ve read (note: these are not all encompassing, but rather a snip it of reflections.). I’m going to abbreviate Differentiated Instruction by just writing DI.

First, I appreciate a reminder on what the difference is. DI really takes a great deal of time. It isn’t a quick worksheet or permanent work groups. The groups are flexible and student learning is carefully examined.

What I like about this book is the sections talk about concepts that must be in place long before the lesson.

Chapter 1 is on “Building a Healthy Classroom Community.” Students need to fit in and be known. They also need to feel a sense of safety. All of this can be achieved by offering a compassionate, community-centered classroom.

For those of you completing the edTPA, this is a huge factor. Creating a community of learners is so important. We all remember Rita Pierson’s Ted Talk, right? Kids won’t learn from people they don’t like. It doesn’t mean you have to be their friend. Just provide respect and genuine interest.


Chapter 1 of this book focuses on ways to creative a community-centered, compassionate classroom. Here are snip-its of strategies as suggested:;

  1. Provide a prompt on the Smartboard. Have students state their name and their answer to the prompt. Return with a question. Perhaps the question can tie to the reading for the day.
  2. Ask students to create a pie chart of at least five of their interests. Follow up with discussions on similarities and differences.

Note that there is a section on developing mindset that I particularly like. The text does a great job suggesting ways to redefine fair so students understand that fair doesn’t mean that everyone gets the same thing. Teaching mindset is so important for those moments when students want to quit or do not understand why they are being pushed so hard.

Chapter 2 is called “Articulating Learning Goals.” Oh my gosh, this sounds like the “Central Focus.” The concepts we teach give students ways to organize new learning for future applications. Concepts are the root to the trees, the basement to the house, and the chassis to the car. ūüôā

Chapter 6 screamed formative assessment. The idea of checking for understanding is so important, but so easily overlooked by new teachers. I think it’s important to note something the book mentions — formative assessment is for individual student assessment, not the whole class. One huge red light moment for me was when reading the statement that quizzes should not be included in the gradebook. Formative assessment is just checking for understanding — it should NOT be reported in the gradebook. For many teachers, this is mindblowing and radically different from practice even 8 years ago. When I was teaching in the K-12 world, I only skipped the gradebook because I ran out of time to actually grade them. It wasn’t until I hit Higher Education that I figured it out.

Chapter 8 offers suggestions for summative moments where the “training wheels come off.” In other words, where students will demonstrate what they know or what they can do. The first suggestion is to create RAFT experiences. I used the RAFT activity during ACT III for Julius Caesar, if I remember right. For example, students could pick Brutus and write a diary entry torn over what was going to happen. Now a’days I would include a layer of social media and have Cassius launching a series of hostile tweets. ūüôā



Sample Artifacts: Google Drive

When my students first start learning about Google Drive, they are required to make artifacts demonstrating their understanding and ability to apply the suite. That’s a smidge more challenging than it sounds because 1.) the students don’t get a lot of time to learn, 2.) the students don’t have classrooms or a lot of teaching experience to draw from. As an experienced teacher,¬†I lean on the SAMR model to help me use Google to climb to transformative lessons.

After I’ve looked at my course objectives, student learning outcomes, and standards, I start thinking about how Google Drive might be a vehicle to demonstrating understanding.

For my pre-service teachers that do not have a lot of experience, I started collecting examples that fall on different rungs of the SAMR ladder. Here are some samples I’ve seen online:

Google Drawing: Sample 1

Google Spreadsheets: Sample 1, Sample 2

Google Forms: Sample 1, Sample 2

Google Maps Engine: Sample 1, Sample 2

As pre-service teachers learn¬†how to integrate Google Drive tools, be thinking about the two top rungs of the SAMR ladder, modification and redefinition. Not everything created will fall on those two rungs, but it’s a nice goal to consider. Keep in mind too that the rung changes depending on how the teacher uses the tool. For example, the Google Drawing task could be Substitution if the student merely uses it as a replacement for a worksheet. If the student collaborates on the task via Google Hangout with someone from another school, well now we’re talking redefinition. Execution of the assignment, in part, determines if the assignment is transformative.



Inquiry Circles

How might inquiry circles fail?

Teachers can make multiple grave mistakes that would cause their inquiry circles to collapse. What are they?

What will it take to run an effective inquiry circle experience?

Teachers need to consider options and have the foresight to see what’s coming. What needs to be considered?

What research options can we consider so students have access to answers?

Teachers need to have a wealth of resources, both in print and in digital form. What options or resources exist?

Some WEMTA Favs…and I Didn’t Even Go!

Unnamed image (3)I don’t know why I didn’t go to WEMTA. I guess I blew all my money in the fall on all the other conferences. By March, I knew I’d be broke. So true, but I could tell about a week before WEMTA that I had made a really big mistake. Lots of my teacher-friends across the state were going. I’m not pouting because all the cool kids were going; I’m pouting because I missed out on a lot of networking opportunities.


Despite my poor choice, I was still able to digitally network and grab resources to share. In some cases, I rekindled the notion of tools I had forgotten awhile back. I turned to the #wemta15 hashtag on twitter, and I found a wealth of posts. Here is a partial lists of my favs from afar:


The Maker Movement….WOW. [DRAFT POST]

The Maker Movement blows my mind. ‘Nuff said. Check out this Edutopia video for a vision of what the Maker Movement can do for kids…or is it what kids can do for the Maker Movement?




Whoa. Right? I can’t even wrap my mind around what this movement can do. Here’s the deal though — the limitation is in my own mind.

Check out: http://www.makeymakey.com/ for a beginner’s kit. Beginner’s kit? That’s a ridiculous description. I only wrote that because I’m a beginner, I guess. It’s actually an amazing kit!

After you learn about the kit and inevitably purchase one, be sure to read the set up page. I hate reading directions, but my block-head couldn’t figure this out.

Here’s the co-creator of the Makey Makey, Jay Silver, talking about his work.

Some day, I’m going to travel to a few of these serious maker spaces in Wisconsin. Check these places out.







PBIS — What You Need to Know

If you’re planning to teach in Wisconsin, there is a good chance you’ll get to know PBIS. As part of this class, we’ll be creating PBIS “Cool Tool” videos for Platteville Middle School. Before that really gets rolling, you need to understand PBIS.

A video module on PBIS can be found here.

  1. What does PBIS stand for?
  2. Why do schools use PBIS?
  3. What are each of the tiers of PBIS? What does each tier mean?

In our class, we’ll be creating videos that teach Cool Tools. Look at the various Cool Tool lesson plans and be able to answer the question, “What is a Cool Tool?”

After you check out the lesson plans, it’s time to consider making a video. In our class, we’ll be making a PBIS Cool Tool video based on what Platteville Middle School needing. Currently, they have no sample videos, but there are lots to look at on Youtube. Here’s a sample set from West Salem Elementary.

West Salem Elementary – West Salem School District, WI

After you gather all of this understanding, come to class being able to tell a classmate three things you already know about PBIS. From there, we’ll make groups in class and get ready to meet the folks at Platteville Middle School.

How Times Have Changed. Web 2.0 + SAMR + TPACK = Wise Planning


I love seeing advertisement like this. Awesome stuff, right? Times have changed just a wee bit. This commercial came out in 1991. I promise you the internet I met in 1995 was much slower than Prodigy demonstrated!

I really haven’t been teaching THAT long, but I do remember teaching without constant contact with the internet. When I was student teaching, I had a website that I made from scratch with a product called Claris Homepage. Despite being in an affluent district, I don’t recall any computer labs. I’m sure we had them, but we rarely used them. During my first teaching job, I taught myself Microsoft Frontpage and then a few years later I learned Macromedia Dreamweaver. I thought I was pretty tough at that point. All my students made “webfolios” using Dreamweaver, thanks to the guidance of Ted Nellen. At that point, no one was teaching web design in an English classroom. The idea of writing a hypertext document was, well, revolutionary. I think it was around 2006 that blogging platforms and wikis became a possibility in schools. Ah, the web 2.0 era!

The web 2.0 era changed the way most teachers envisioned technology. It seemed like Twitter was exploding with hundreds of tool shares every day. I couldn’t keep up. At that time, I¬†probably focused more on the new tool and then thought about how it would impact the classroom. It was around 2009 that I started to ask myself, “Why are these tools important? What is it about our society makes these experiences worthwhile.” Some time around then, I saw the infamous “Did you Know 4.0” (see below). [youtube]http://youtu.be/6ILQrUrEWe8[/youtube]

Lots of jaws hit the floor when this video came out because, well, most classrooms that I saw weren’t reflecting the digital environment students were entering. Heck, some schools were just getting started on their acceptable use policies.¬†Thankfully, the flood died and reality hit. I asked myself, “So, what? How do these tools change what I do?”


This is where SAMR and TPACK can be helpful. When exploring web 2.0 tools, it’s important to analyze the impact the tool might have and how my understanding of pedagogy and content might sync to create an effective experience. Here’s a good example of how one teacher designed her lesson with TPACK in mind.

You’ll go through this same thought process.

As you explore web 2.0 tools, think about which might assist you in creating transformative experiences. No tool is a good choice just because it’s cute. Think bigger than that.

The biggest repository of web 2.0 tools can be found at¬†Cool Tools for Schools Wiki. Frankly, you could also Google something like “Teachers’ favorite web 2.0 tools.” See what you find.

In our class, we’ll be creating group presentations and then sharing those discoveries to our class and the world. As you hunt for a tool you’re curious about, consider it’s value and cost as you consider how it can transform classrooms.



Amazing Educators on Twitter


It’s almost impossible to come up with one list. I keep adding new awesome finds, so this list isn’t all inclusive, but it’s a good start. Another way to find people to follow is to search an educational hashtag that interests you. Once you start reading those tweets, you’ll see all sorts of people to follow.


Transforming learning today, so students can transform the world tomorrow. Follow us for product announcements, industry news and program updates. …

EdTech/Effectiveness Coach, Marquette Alum, Google Certified Teacher

Vigilante Educator. Guerrilla Teacher. Unreasonable Disruptor. Professional Troublemaker.

Teacher, Author, Educ Consultant, husband of Kelly, father of Ryan and Lynn, Son of Nancy and Paul, brother of Ben. Former account 

Marketing, Business & Information Technology Educator, Google Certified Teacher & Education Trainer & , mtn biker, treehugger, audiophile, & foodie.

Director of Curriculum & Support Services; tech lover, consultant/presenter & always ask ‘why not?’

I teach, I write, I travel, I talk‚ÄĒto help kids become better readers and writers.

eduTecher / eduClipper Founder, Educational Technologist, Public Speaker, GCT, Dad to Two Amazing Boys, and All Around Good Guy.

Director of Soc Media & Online Community, Discovery Education. STAR Discovery Educator, Adjunct Professor @ Wilkes U & proud member of the…

Senior Fellow at  ~ Principal, Learner, Google Certified Teacher, Adobe Education Leader, Author, Speaker,  | Thought…

Edutopia Blogger, HS/MS Tchr 34 yrs, HigherEd 6 yrs. Founder: ,The EDU PLN,Edchat Radio Linkedin 6 Edu Grps. .BLOG: My Island View …

K-12 Conference Presenter. iOS Wielder. Glass Explorer. Sony Photo Taker / Teacher for The Creative Academy. Golfer. Wine Drinker.  too!

author and lecturer on topics in education, parenting, and human behavior

History teacher. Shares creative, flexible ideas/resources. Dismissive of the one-size-fits-all, know-it-all brigade. I’m also¬†+¬†.

Trainer,content&project developer of the Smurfs ELT,writer-Minigon books, co-author-My First Digital Journey, educational coordinator-Yes I Speak…

Inner-city High School teacher — ESL & Mainstream; Author; Ed Week teacher advice columnist; Writes about ELLs for NY Times

Regional PLC Coach with Missoula County Public Schools. I’m currently seeking my Ed Leadership credentials. Always learning, always sharing…

Inspiration and information for what works in education.

Educational Technologist and Speaker, DEN Guru, Adobe Ed Leader, Google Certified Teacher, Google Glass Explorer – kathy@kathyschrock.net

Parent, author, speaker, instigator, blogger. Trying to change the world at and. Time to rethink…

I love students! Best teacher blog winner * Mom * speaker * AUTHOR Reinventing Writing * Cool Cat Teacher Blog * HOST Every Classroom Matters show

Educator, Speaker, Blogger,  Co-Creator, Author, Learning Evangelist, Dad, Edublogs Twitterer Of The Year, ASCD Emerging Leader, Top 50…

37 year educator, technologist, programmer, author, & public speaker, exploring the realms of edtech or educational technology.

Google Certified Trainer. Business & Information Tech teacher in Wisconsin. Google Certified Teacher Mountain View 2012, Glass explorer

I ask a lot of questions. I have taught middle and high school students math for 23 years and am currently Director of Technology at Arapahoe High School.

Father, husband, Google Certified K-4 Tech/STEM teacher. Edcamp Co-Founder/Organizer, lifelong learner interested in Minecraft, Photography…

Author of 5 books. Father of 3 kids. Husband of 1 wife. November 2014: Host of new  TV series about human behavior.