Palm Beach Schools Technolog Mini-Conference

mini-conf-LogoI’m very excited by the opportunity to present at the inaugural Palm Beach Schools Technology Mini-conference.

The title of my presentation is

Digital Media Arts Integration: Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating the Creative Classroom, a subject that I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about this summer as we continue to promote the use of creative technology processes in the classroom.


For those attending, here are links to the resources and references used in the presentation.

Sir Ken Robinson on Creativity

Center for Creative Education (West Palm Beach)

Kennedy Center for Arts Integration

Relevant Literature

Arts Integration Connections to 21st Century Skills

Creating Arts Integration Topics

Grant Wiggins on Assessing Creativity

ASCD on Assessing Creativity

Integrating Arts into the Curriculum from the Teaching Channel

The Teaching Channel Arts seriesLearning through the arts is a dynamic way to engage students. But arts integration is more than just an engagement strategy — it’s a powerful way for students to gain and express understanding. Teaching Channel is really excited to present a new series of 19 videos on arts integration, in partnership with The Getty Museum. In this series, we see teachers engage their students in learning through the arts in a variety of grade levels, subject areas, and contexts. It’s inspiring to watch teachers use arts integration with English Language Learners, students in Special Education, and in conjunction with the Common Core.

Learning About Greek Mythology Through the Arts

In David Cooper’s sixth grade social studies class, we see students learning about Greek mythology through the arts. After studying Greek gods and goddesses, David has his students apply their knowledge when looking at artwork in the classroom and then later at a field trip to the Getty Villa. As a final performance of understanding, David’s students work together to plan and perform a Greek or Roman talk show. This performance of understanding shows students applying their knowledge of Greek mythology in a new and creative context.

Great New Professional Development Offerings from the Adobe Education Exchange


The good folks over at the Adobe Education Exchange have been incredibly busy with some new professional development offerings geared for teachers at all grade levels. Keeping with the theme of promoting creativity in the classroom, Adobe is offering a ton of new training materials for use by teachers. You’ll need a free Adobe ID to enroll in these courses.

I especially like these self-paced workshops that address creativity in the classroom on a macro level:

And as you’d expect, you can also find product-specific professional development courses from Adobe as well, including lessons on Photoshop and Premiere Elements, Adobe Captivate, Adobe Presenter, and many others.

In addition to the self-paced workshops you’ll also find the complete listing of all the great live events that Adobe offers via the Ed Exchange as well as recordings of  past workshops offered by Adobe Education Leaders.

So head on over! If you’re an educator in Palm Beach County you’ll soon see some of these courses in use for workshops our department will offer that allow you to earn in-service points.



Top Ten Tips for Teaching with New Media

Top Ten Tips for Teaching with New Media

One of my favorite web sites for finding out more information about the craft of teaching in a creative classroom is the site that the George Lucas Foundation has supported for many years–Edutopia.

Whether your are doing Project Based Learning, Science Inquiry, digital design, or video editing there are always great resources available for teachers at the site.

Now comes another great resource from Edutopia. A PDF guide called Top Ten Tips for Teaching With New Media. This is a free download and doesn’t even require the submission of an e-mail. Just click the link and go!

And what are those tips? Glad you asked. In a nutshell here are the things that readers of Edutopia recommend.

1. Break the Digital Ice: Get your students started with fun, engaging, and relatively easy-to-use tools such as VoiceThread.

2. FInd Your Classroom Experts: Don’t forget to enlist the help of your students!

3. Get Off to a Good Start: Be sure your students know where to find information for your class and how to access it. Edline is a big help for this in Palm Beach County Schools as you can create folders for assignments and much more. But start early and get your students used to visit for the best chance of succes.

4. Think Globally: Online lessons and resources make it easier than ever to get information about other places and makes it possible to collaborate with classrooms around the world.

5. Find What You Need: Need materials or other items for your classroom? Websites like can be a powerful tool for getting micro-grants.

6. Make Meaning from Word (Clouds): World clouds like those you can make at are a great way to see the connections between ideas and much more.

7. Work Better, Together: Collaborative projects can be more work to manage for the teacher, but they provide tremendous opportunities to reach those students who don’t always contribute to your classroom the way you would like.

8. Open a Back Channel: Twitter and Facebook allow you to build your own Personal Learning Network, but don’t forget other groups like Discovery Education Network and the Adobe Education Exchange. You can customize your classroom needs and stand on the shoulders of giants by learning from those how have blazed trails ahead of you.

9. Make It Visual: It’s easier than ever to use images and video to inspire your student’s curiosity, generate brainstorming, and engage diverse learners.

10. Use the Buddy System: Students aren’t the only ones who benefit from collaboration and shared problem solving. Teachers can take advantage of a variety of communication tools to share ideas and strategies with colleagues.

This is a great resource with some tremendous tips and valuable lessons learned. Don’t miss Top Ten Tips for Teaching With New Media from Edutopia!

Creating Miniature Movies with Photoshop Elements

In this episode from Palm Breeze Cafe I get the chance to show Lee Keller and Lee Kolbert methods for creating those quick projects that can be done even in a one computer classroom. Using Photoshop Elements and the Elements Organizer students can take that fourth or fifth step in the project process, combing their writing and research to demonstrate their understanding of an assigned topic by creating digital slideshow.

Projects like this can be done across the curriculum with careful foresight and planning and an eye on the learning objectives you’ve established for your students. Of course those components are required in any project-based learning experiences, but the value here is that the finished product provides that extra dose of motivation for your students as they create miniature videos that can be shared in multiple locations.

Create a Student Silhouette with Photoshop

I really like this video tutorial from Nicole Dalesio of Fairlands Elementary School in Pleasanton CA. This is an awesome lesson that shows just how easily you can achieve great results in just a few minutes of work. In this case Nicole shows how to create a silhouette from a digital photo and how you might use the images with your students in Language Arts or Reading classes.

Although this tutorial is for Photoshop, the same techniques can be used with Photoshop Elements 8.

Nicole and hundreds of other teachers are posting lessons like this one at the new Adobe Education Exchange. If you haven’t joined this group you really should! There are lots of great resources being posted every day and all you need to do to sign up is create a (free) Adobe ID and away you go.

On to the tutorial (click the Play button to watch) and be sure to read Nicole’s notes below the video.

Photoshop for Kids: Silhouettes from magrelacanela (Nicole) on Vimeo.

Photoshop for Kids(of all ages) Here’s a great Photoshop project that’s great to do with kids or adults, and is suitable for just about any level of Photoshop user. This can also be modified as you like to work into a language arts lesson if you add words or pictures on top of the silhouettes.

Enjoy, and if you make any silhouettes of your own using my tutorial, please send me a link/copy of what you did to add to my collection.