FETC time!!!

It is coming upon one of my favorite times of the year! It is like a holiday for the techy teacher in us all….FETC!!!! FETC is one of the premier conferences for educators. The Future of Educational Technology Conference in Orlando is the GO TO place for educators from around the world, and not just because it is in Florida in January! Where else can you meet fellow teachers who are passionate about educating young minds, finding technology to enhance their lessons, and locating all the giveaways to take back to their fellow educators and students?


This year my personal focus for the conference is blended/personalized learning and finding educator sessions. As a school, we are committed to personalize learning for each of our students. We are working with an amazing group of schools and organizations to create a blended learning program that meets the needs of all of our students in our school. While exploring the workshops, concurrent sessions, and posters session, I have looked for offerings that focus on these topics. I have found quite a few and I am excited to learn more.


But what happens if I get into one of these sessions and the material is something that doesn’t work for me? Maybe I know the tools they are sharing or their idea of personalized doesn’t fit what we are doing? Then I have to use the Rule of Two Feet. At EdCamps around the world the Rule of Two Feet is encouraged. If a session doesn’t meet your needs, quietly excuse yourself and find a session that works for you. My time is limited and valuable and if I am not getting what I need, I have to find it elsewhere. Maybe I want to visit three meetings during one session time? Then I go and sit toward the back, get what I can and move on. This isn’t rude if you do it quietly and respectfully. Conferences are an expensive undertaking, so getting as much material as possible during your time is understandable.


The second part of my plan is finding educator sessions. Experts in the field are great, but I prefer to learn with people in the classroom who have recent, personal experience. I have found that the best times for this is during poster sessions. Posters give me the opportunity to speak to presenters about their work and ask questions easier than in a big room session. Vendor sessions are fun, experts give great ideas, but current practicing educators give the best information for practical applications.


Some other tips that may help you:

  1. Bring a jacket because it is cold in many of the session rooms- like frostbite cold.
  2. Wear comfy clothes and shoes. You will be moving around every hour or so.
  3. Don’t overload your bag. You will pick up giveaways from vendors and you don’t want to be loaded down before you start.
  4. Bring business cards and make connections.
  5. Bring an external battery, cords, and possibly an extension cord your device will drain fast!
  6. Make a plan but be flexible. This is a big conference and sometimes sessions fill up fast, have a back up plan.
  7. Put your device down and make personal connections with fellow educators. It can be intimidating, but making connections will help you find people who are trying the same things as you. You can continue the conversations after the conference and build your PLN!

Coding and Hanukkah

Because I work at a Judaic Day School, I am always looking for ways to integrate Judaic content into my technology class. This year for hour of code I wanted to integrate Hanukkah. I found some great pre-made Scratch programs that my students could remix. I also created an offline coding with a chanukiah for my younger kids. During our Hanukah Community Event we will have computers set up and the chanukiah and instructions out so kids can show their parents what they have learned! We are in the middle of the lessons now and they are going great! Here is what I am doing.

K-2 Offline Coding

I wanted to do an offline introduction to coding with my K-2 students to introduce the concept of a code as a direction to follow. So I went to my favorite resource (Amazon) and found this cute Hanukkah foam toy.

For the coding, here are the steps.

  1. Review the code explanations sheet
  2. Send one robot (student) outside so they can’t hear
  3. Pick a color and write the color code in the first box with an up arrow
  4. Decide if the robot will begin on left or right side
  5. Roll the dice
  6. Students use the write a code sheet to write a code for a classmate robot
  7. Robot returns to the class and tries to follow the code
  8. Bugs are explained and fixed

I always model it for the students the first round.

Other notes:
In K I am always the writer, in 1&2 they take over at some point.
In K we don’t do a color code or the right or left side, only code the candles on the spot.



3-5 Scratch and Hanukkah

I searched the Scratch program and found different games and activities. I copied the links and had students create accounts. Then they used the links and watched what others made. Then they selected one and remixed it to make it their own. Below are some of the links I found, but don’t worry there are tons more!

Since it was the first Scratch adventure for some of my kids we focused on just 5 block types: Motion, Look, Sound, Control, and Events. I wanted kids to know how to start the action (events), how to make it happen more than once using the loop (control), and some basic blocks for movement, sound, and appearance. For my advanced students, they changed costumes and backgrounds and added more details. It has been amazing to watch kids teach themselves and their peers how to create and adjust.


So what are you doing for Hour of Code? Ours is more like Months of Code now as we have been doing it since November. Share ideas from your Hour of Code and if you use some of these ideas let me know how they worked!
I am also super excited to explore the Foos Hour of Code materials! We will be using their lessons with my 2nd grade classes in January/February!

Dr Seuss day activities

Dr Seuss Literacy Day

The Shape of Me and Other Stuff Shadows/ silhouettes
Go Dog Go Create a story with kids names Go __ Go and tell what they did
Put Me in the Zoo STEAM: Art and Math counting dots
The Alphabet Book ABCs of our school
The Ear Book Take a Sound Walk around the school
The Tooth Book Happy Teeth Sad Teeth…write/draw things you do/eat to make teeth happy or sad
The Eye Book Monster eyes– roll dice and draw the number eyes on the monster
The Foot Book Who has the biggest foot (trace)
The Nose Book STEAM: Who has the best smeller? Guessing scents
Hop on Pop Rhyming word bingo


Are you my mother Matching baby animals to adult animals


Ten Apples Up on Top STEAM: Draw an apple paste on the cup, put into groups, stack cups the fastest
Balancing beanbags jumping jacks
Mr Brown Can moo STEAM: Science and Arts (drama)

Charades pretending to be animal

There’s a Wocket in Pocket


Sort the characters..those he likes those he doesn’t and why
ABC Class book: Create a new Dr Seuss character with the letter of the alphabet assigned. Name it and draw it.
Come over to My House Houses around the world video
Fox in Socks STEAM: Make blue goo http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Slime
I’ll Teach My Dog A Lot of Words Learn sign language


The Tooth Book http://www.colgate.com/en/us/kids/kids-corner games
Would you rather be a Bullfrog Create a would you rather, ask people, make a graph to show the answers
Big Dog, Little Dog Opposites headband each kid gets a headband card and has to find their partner opposite with clues from the classmates
Oh Thinks You can Think


STEAM: Kids make a riddle about something about math and draw a picture
Use thesarus.com and word cloud chromebook app

Word cloud with words that mean the same as think

Dr Seuss The Great Doodler Sketchnote the story of Dr Seuss
I wish I had duck feet Create mixed up animals, top of one animal add feet/tail of other animal
In a People House
Homes around the world video
Home in many languages

Use thesarus.com, google, and word cloud chromebook app

Word cloud with words that mean the same as house or house in other languages

My attempts at Sketchnotes

I am still learning and practicing sketchnoting. You will notice there are more words than pics sometimes, but I am practicing!

Here are my notes for Nik Chatzopoulos’ session Cool Ed Tech Programming and Robots. If my notes are confusing tweet @chatzopoulousn for more info!


I also attended a great session on K-5 computer science. Here are come of the things I felt were important. Check out their curriculum at home.lps.org/computer science.

My final sketch ISTE from yesterday was  from the Fluid Math demo at the UDT booth. Mind-blown is not a strong enough word! If you teach math you have to check this out!


So there ya go! Thursday’s attempts to sketch note. Can’t wait to share today’s sessions on Greenscreen, Podcasting, and so much more!

STEM Awards and Mike Meechin

Sketch note Mike Meechin

For more info and inspiration follow @mikemeechin on Twitter!

Congratulations Mountain View Elementary!

Congratulations Laing Park School of Science and Tech from Charleston, SC!

Congratulations Enginnering and Science University Magnet School!


So I attempted to sketch note the session.., I highly encourage you to check out Amber McCormick’s sketchnoting class today for great iOS and tricks!



Thursday morning with Mike Meechin and what else I’m excited about today

For a few years at FETC, Mike Meechin was given small or medium sized rooms and people tried to cram themselves into his 60 in 60 sessions. I know because I was one of those people. Then he got a bigger room, then bigger, and today he is keynoting the morning session. Finally everyone can fit into his session! I’m really excited to see what else he has to offer this morning.

Other things I’m excited about today…

  • Sessions on using data for personalization of learning
  • Coding and robotics sessions that are going to help me learn more
  • Florida PBS sessions
  • Poster sessions that give me the chance to see teachers sharing their classroom experiences
  • and of course Ed Tech Karaoke

Vendors who I want to visit or revisit today are

  • Wonder Workshop robots…free robot drawings during the day! Follow the “We want Dash” chants
  • Prowise …I love their interactive board displays! Multi touch and beautiful displays!
  • Best Buy sessions today about expeditions and Makerbit are on my to do list

Whats on your don’t miss list? Comment or tweet me!

FETC opening keynote

The opening keynote today shared the newest technologies and offerings from many of the vendors on the show floor. Here is a breakdown in case you missed it.

Margo Day with Microsoft

Take a look at what Microsoft has to offer in education! They have new Education tools and have made products available at a low cost for education. I loved the teacher share they did… an easy and fun way to learn more about weather!


AR and VR in education Dan Lejeskar

Providing “hands on” experience through Virtual Reality with EON Experience. You can use their programs or create your own! They are working with cities and schools all,over the world to create amazing learning opportunities.


Summit Learning with Tyler Sussman

Summit Learning is a free personalized learning tool for 6th through 12th grade, in association with Facebook. Summit Learning helps students learn to be learners with four areas: goal setting, content knowledge, cognitive skill development, and habits of success. You can use the platform to assign tasks to individual students, maximizing success of students. Visit summitlearning.com for info on the program.


Hall Davidson, Learning initiatives at Discovery Education

Check out the tech book, a 21st century replacement for the textbook. Discovery Ed is designing optimal learning experiences. Students can change the Lexie reading level within the book, the book reads to students in English and Other languages! Not just a digital textbook, an interactive learning experience. With this tool you can put kids in the environment they are studying. Seriously cool!


Amazon webservices speaker Warren Santner

Amazon wants to help teachers discover data to inform student learning. They help teachers take their data and discover what it all means.


Each of these groups are here at the conference and would love to chat with you about their products.

See you around the conference!




*Cross posted on http://blog.fetc.org/2017/01/12/nancys-top-7-for-fetc-2017/

FETC is 2 weeks away!

I am so excited to be able to attend the AMAZING FETC again this year! I have been avidly reading the session offerings and can not decide what to attend…I have 3 or 5 choices marked for each session! I have vendors I can not wait to see! Here is what I am most looking forward to:


Always engaging poster sessions are my favorite part of FETC. For an hour,
teachers share the things that work for their kids and help you develop ideas for use in your classroom. There are two poster session areas a couple of times a day. SO many great contacts and ideas all in one area! Go in, read over the posters, talk to the presenter and learn how you can take their success and apply it to your classroom. Make sure you have a QR reader, like I-nigma that can read a QR code from a distance.


Maker is my jam! For two years I saw maker at FETC and said nope not for me. Then I tried it… and it was the best thing I have ever done in 17 years of teaching. My students loved the hands-on, student-centered world of maker. They learned, they grew, they made decisions, and problem solved and I … sat back and watched and was in charge of the exacto knife and hot glue gun. I highly suggest you check out sessions on Maker and figure out how you can work it in. And don’t think I’m a classroom teacher I can’t…this year we are targeting our maker toward Social Studies and Science. 4th grade is working on making a Spanish mission and 5th grade is making the 13 colonies. They are all different and all student led…and the learning is amazing!


Accessible and paperless! Many presenters will give you a qr code or link that allows you to access their information. This will help keep you load light during the conference and save the planet. Too! I find when I bring home papers, they tend to end up in the trash. When I scan a QR code or save a link, I keep the information and share it with my fellow educators more often. I also tend to go back and access the information for weeks or even years to come.


Zipping through the hallways looking for members of my PLN and new folks to meet! I love conferences as a chance to schmooze and find people to help me along my way. In my school I am the only one of my kind. I teach media/technology and there is no one else who does what I do. I need my PLN to help me with ideas and keep me on track. I need to meet new people as well so I never get “stale”. FETC is a great place to meet people who are teaching classes like mine, as well as people who are classroom teachers, high school instructors, professors and more. Be open, step out of your comfort zone, put down your device introduce yourself to at least two new people each day! Bring along your business cards with your email and Social Media contacts so you can connect!


Industry leaders who share their products are great! At FETC you will be able to visit the vendor hall and see the newest and greatest, as well as the tried and true. Vendors will compete for your time and give away great prizes, but it can be a bit overwhelming. My friend spends hours walking the show floor and seeing everything. I can’t manage that. For my sanity and feet, I make a plan of who I want to visit and what I need to know about and I stop at those booths. It is important to me to be organized in my time, so I look at my schedule and select an hour to just be in the expo hall. It helps me stay organized and allows me to see the vendors I need to see without missing any sessions I really want to be a part of. Make sure you also take time to check out the Pitchfest and see new, exciting companies and ideas.


Necessary time to recharge! It’s January and as much as I love my teachers and students, I am in need of a burst, a lift, a shot of adrenaline. I get that from FETC. It is amazing…and sometimes overwhelming. There are so many sessions, so many people, so many vendors, so many great ideas! While I buzz around during the day, I also take time at night to settle, think, and reflect about what went on that day. You have to plan downtime so your battery can recharge- but not overheat and explode!


Generous amounts of learning! This year FETC has added tracks the session descriptors to help people find the information that is “just right” for them. Administrators, Early Learning, Educator, Special Ed, and Information Technology. These tracks help narrow down the course offerings and let you know if you are looking at the right sessions. There is nothing worse than selecting a session you think is about one area, only to figure out once you are in that you are in a totally different category. Been there, done that a few times. With these designations I know that what I may have thought was a teacher session was actually more of an IT session. Be sure you sort your session by track, but don’t feel like you can’t mix and match. Maybe you teacher Kindergarten, but see a session in the Admin track you are interested in, it’s okay go for it!
Get ready for an AMAZING conference! Wear comfy shoes, bring a jacket, make sure you have battery packs or chargers and have a great time learning with others! Connect with me on Twitter @penchevable!

Month of Code

It is time again for Hour of Code…which around my class becomes month of code!


You will notice we are coding both offline and online. We are coding on paper and debugging by acting as the robot, before we put the program into the device and connecting to the robot.

Here are our activities for each grade level:

  • explain that a code is a direction
  • create a code for class to follow
  • play The Foos Hour of Code coding game on iPad
  • code an Ozobot
1st/2nd in station rotation model
  • Complete coding activities using The Foos
  • Code the cow to the pen game
  • Code beebot to complete a task
  • Create a lego code with 3 different blocks
Continue working on map skills and coding the robot to move from one place to another on the map
Robotics coding with Dash/Blockly
  • identify coding blocks for movement, sound, animation
  • create a problem/course/activity
  • code the problem/source/activity
  • act out code
  • problem solve / debug
  • program robot and view
code.org starting with unit 1, self-paced elementary unit
I recently attended a code.org workshop and came away with some great activities I am excited to work into our units!
What are you doing for Hour/Week/Month of code? Leave a comment with your ideas!