Manhattan Beach RockStar

Day 1:

MBRSWhat can we say? It was super awesome! The day began with many walking to Manhattan Beach Middle School. Upon arrival we were greeted with enthusiasm, eagerness, and an energy that was akin to that of a six year old. The room was abuzz with excitement for what the day had in store.

After all introductions – including that of CUE’s CEO, Mike Lawrence, the Shred Sessions began. If I hadn’t been a part of the faculty, I would have had a hard time deciding which to choose. Although, creating a website using Google Sites would have been a top choice.

I was so inspired by those creating their Sites. A few were not impressed with the templates they had chosen and wanted to customize their Site. Many went online to find patterns and palettes using ColourLovers, while others searched for Digital Scrapbook Paper. The result? Unique and beautiful sites. The participants were excited and lost in creation – we almost worked through lunch!

As with all RockStars, we enjoyed a 2 hour – catered – lunch in the sun. Oh, and ice cream! Everyone LOVES ice cream – or fruit pops in some cases.

After the day had ended, the connections continued at dinner. We went to a local restaurant, discussed, learned, and had a great time.

Yes, all in all, Day 1 was a HUGE success!

Day 2:

The day began with energized educators ready to learn more! Personally, I was inspired by the teachers I got to hang out with. We were creating movies to use in classrooms using Lego Movie Maker (iOS) and iMovie (iOS). The creativity was flowing! One participant needed to tweak her Gene movie she made in Lego Movie Maker. So I challenged her to import it into iMovie and do more editing. It was totally mean of me. She was a novice with both programs. She not only figured out how to create the movie she wanted, but taught me a thing or two about iMovie! I love when that happens. Other participants created a welcome video for 6th graders using the Trailer feature in iMovie.

That night we gathered at Dockweiler State Beach for music, S’mores, and a bon(d)fire – Thank you Jeanne Reed! It was so relaxing sitting by the ocean and getting to know those that gathered with us. It was also refreshing having many bring their families with them.

Day 3

Again I was inspired by all participants. There was one that was admittedly behind the times when it came to technology. We discussed Web Tools and how they can be used in the classroom – Animoto and Voki. Being a novice to all of this, I thought Animoto would be her choice. She surprised me by creating a Voki. It’s not that Voki’s (animated avatars) are that hard to make, Animoto is a simple and very easy video (trailer style) creation tool. Animoto is often referred to as the ‘Gateway tool’ for video creation. I asked why she chose Voki and her explanation warmed my heart and inspired me. She said that Voki would be the one her kids would really like. She was learning it for them – Special Day Class students. How awesome is she? Putting aside her inexperience, and putting the needs of her students first and just going for it!

Another participant, Paula Torres, and I sat back and fired off ideas on how each could be used in the classroom. She was a high school math teacher. Her ideas were amazing (Voki) – taking a snapshot of ones her students create and make them into trading cards to creating famous mathematician Vokis to an creating examples AND non-examples! If you’re not following her on twitter, you need to! Here is her Voki:

Paula Torres' Voki

CUE RockStar Saugatuck

Created by Casey Losik
Created by Kase Losik

MACUL (Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning) and CUE (California’s MACUL counterpart) came together to bring an amazing Professional Development opportunity for educators from 5 states. Andy Losik, from MI, and Jon Corippo, CUE RockStar Baby Daddy, have been talking about bringing the wildly popular RockStar Camp to Michigan for a while now. Finally the stars and planets aligned, and over 100 educators gathered in Saugatuck, MI for three outstanding days of learning, connecting, and fun.

For those not familiar with RockStar Camps, it’s three days of hands-on learning and creating, with a TWO hour lunch. Yes, you read that right, teachers actually get a TWO hour lunch – with ice cream! Each day participants learn and create in small learning groups (10 people or less), and really dig into concepts and tools for 2 hours. There are only 2 sessions in a day.

This Professional Development is like no other. It is/has:

  • Affordable – ridiculously so
  • Has catered TWO hour lunches
  • Small group instruction
  • All hands-on, and creation based
  • Outstanding faculty and participants
  • Unique ‘After Party’ activities
  • Connections, connections, connections

The three days in Saugatuck were jam packed with joking, laughs, learning, and connecting. Drew Minock showed off the awesomeness of Augment Reality, Tammy Lind showed off the capabilities of Google Maps, and Jon Corippo, well he just brought it! To see all the sessions and notes, check out CUE RockStar Saugatuck.

 The Connections Continue:

Dunes at Saugatuck After days 1 and 2, Andy planned some unique experiences for everyone. Day 1 included Dune Rides. The Dunes in Saugatuck aren’t like the dunes you are used to. They are unique in that they were brought about by cutting down trees long ago. As a result, the top soil eroded leaving the sand, found underneath the top soil, exposed. When the winds kick in, sand gathers around trees and buildings. There is an actual town that was buried as a result. The views are breathtaking. At the highest point, you stand 300 feet above sea level and are surrounded by trees (actually it’s just the tops of 3 trees), grass, and sand.

Fenn Valley The west coast of Michigan has wineries – who knew? We were able to get a tour of Fenn Valley Winery in Fennville, MI. The evening was perfect. Not too hot, not too cool, and low humidity with a slight breeze. We were taken out to the vineyard where we sampled white wines and learned about the types of grapes that grew well in the area. For tasting reds, we went into the barrel room. We were truly treated like Rock Stars!

In The End

It is safe to say that everyone who was in attendance, learned a few things, made lasting connections, and had a great time. I truly hope that these RockStar Camps continue to grow in popularity throughout the country. They are just the jumpstart that I, and others, need to rethink, redesign, and challenge us as educators. As a teacher – and a RockStar Faculty Member – I crave this type of PD. Without this type of PD, I would very easily slip into being a complacent teacher: one that is never challenged. It has been through discussions with other educators at these events, that has helped to transform my teaching and educational philosophy.

NOTE: The first picture is that of a screen cleaner made by Andy Losik’s daughter. She is raising money in order to buy a dirt bike. And yes, that is the one I bought.

Tulare RockStar Day 1

Awesome Day! It began with the introduction of Techie Fairy Godmother (that would be me) bestowing a bit of ‘Magic & Wisdom’ during the morning’s shred session.IMG_1430


The room was filled with eager educators, a puppet (Wokka), a robotic ball, and enthusiasm.

This week begins what I have dubbed ‘CUE RockStar 2014 Edition’. Today Tulare (known as Rural RockStar) and Monterey kicked off the season. Judging by how AWESOME today was, this is going to be an EPIC RockStar year! Stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted.

Outta Site

Chromebook Scavenger Hunt

Student e-Portfolio Template

Colour Lovers – create patterns from palette

Check out Scott Burt’s Sites info
SLOCUE Connects – 10/4/14 (To view videos, go into Presentation Mode – upper right corner of screen)

Prepared for CUE RockStar 2014 edition:

Link for the collaborative document:

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