NV_sunset_logoNovember 2017

Some portion of you may still be feeling the effects of Halloween sugar, and if so, hang in there. The jitters will stop, eventually. Find an idea in that realm at the end of this newsletter.

What hopefully won't stop is the enthusiasm that greeted the 5-Day Teacher Challenge last month! It continues, and you and your colleagues looking to have fun while raising your teaching game can make it happen at: rushtonh.com/5day

Speaking of fun, you're in for plenty with this month's newsletter, so let's get this in motion!

 the angles

You are very few sentences away from our full-on encouragement to get involved in our current 90-second video contest, Creative Fire '17. In preparation, we're happy to feature two videos that show nice use of camera angles:

how_to_puttHow to Putt

how_to_change_a_flat_tireHow to Change a Flat Tire

Checking out the many videos that have been named honorable mentions or finalists is a good way to have students work to identify what makes for quality in student digital media work. Additionally, seeing the variety of videos out there (footage, stop-motion, screencasts, narrated art, narrated photos, etc.) can get students' creative juices flowing as they put together projects for your classes.

Below is a doc with some instructions on how to discuss what they see in short, student-created videos, along with a couple dozen examples. Included is Volleyball: The Zombie Way vs. the Right Way, which fits nicely with the theme on the day I wrote this.

Student Video Samples

 the contest

fire17Creative Fire '17 is in motion, with an early bonus deadline coming up soon! The final deadline is in December, but we like to reward students for giving us a video sooner so they have time to take any advice we might provide to make their videos better. Nice of us, no?

As always, the goal is to get a video of 90 seconds or less (with up to another 60 seconds for credits) that creatively explains something one might encounter in school. The rules around sources and citations are quite strict, which means that those that follow them end up in a smaller pool of those being considered for finalist status. That status yields a certificate and a gift card, by the way!

Creative Fire '17

Here's a link to all the student finalist videos from our contests over the last 7-ish years. Invite students to give them a look. And for you teachers thinking of entering on your own or with your students, you might check out the teacher finalists and the collaboration finalists, too!

realistic coffee cupSpeaking of winning, congratulations to Patrick Vallez-Kelly in California for winning the $5 Starbucks card from October's drawing. Will you win this month? If so, it will be because you clicked on one of the links in the last paragraphs and sent a note to info@nextvista.org letting us know what you think of what you find. Those looking for a little extra caffeine in their month; make sure to give it a try, but do so by the end of day, Pacific time, on Sunday, November 5th!

 the questions

Next February (26th-28th), I'll be in the Chicago area for ICE, one of the great state ed-tech conferences in the U.S. Just a few weeks ago, the good folks running the contest did an #ICEilchat on Twitter and let me pose the questions!

Here are several of those you might use for discussions with colleagues. I hope you find them useful!

These questions are aligned to ideas in my second book, Making Your Teaching Something Special. If you're looking for a nice gift for someone for the upcoming holidays, may I humbly suggest the book? A portion of the proceeds help run the activities of Next Vista for Learning, the educational charity I run.

 the freebies

This monthly missive always contains items you might want to watch, read, or try. Here are some samples; find the bulk of the offerings a little farther down!

Does creativity come from overcoming limitations, or embracing them? It depends on the person being creative, it turns out. This TED Talk is the story of Phil Hansen and his art, and may be exactly the kind of message that one of your students needs to turn a negative into a positive. A big thanks to Jeff Bailey (@jbailey8) for suggesting this one!

Does your school block YouTube? How about Facebook? More librarians, teachers, and school leaders are advocating for opening up sites that are powerful for sharing all kinds of information - even when they know that they contain both the good and the bad. In this post from EdSurge, author Jenny Abamu explores the debate.

I've been a fan of Unsplash for awhile, but didn't realize until seeing a note from Richard Byrne in his 25 G-Suite and Chrome Extensions resource (get to that via this link) that there is an Unsplash add-on for Google Slides. You can use it to add a public domain picture, and adding a citation is easy, as the name of the person who took the picture appears when you hover over what shows up on the right. Click on the name, and you can then get to and add a link to that person's profile on Unsplash. The red arrow below points to what I added, and if you squint, you can see the photographer's name on the right. Easy way to model citation, this!

Unsplash add-on (500px)

 the quote

"Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you."
- Unknown

 the gigs

If you need an ed-tech fix sooner than ICE in Illinois mentioned above, consider heading to Tennessee for TETC November 29th to December 1st. There, I'll be sharing all sorts of ideas along with lots of dynamic presenters. Learn more at the conference website.

We're also getting closer to FETC (the Future of Education Technology Conference) in Orlando, Florida, which takes place every January. It's a huge gathering of folks from dozens of countries, with a particularly strong showing from places where it's really cold at that time. Not so mysterious, that. Discounted registration goes through Nov. 17th.

 the first finish

Every month I send this newsletter out in the hope of inspiring one or more of the 8000+ teachers on the mailing list. If you haven't already run across something that gives you hope for reaching that next kiddo, I hope you'll find it in the freebie-fest below!

As always, may you inspire and be inspired each and every day.

Rushton Hurley @rushtonh 
Next Vista for Learning @nextvista 

 more freebies

We love sharing cool free stuff, and invite you to help us out. You can find the best of what we've gathered over the years on the Next Vista Resources pages, but if there is something free and powerful you love that you don't find there, let us know about it using our resources submission form

 worth the listen 

Jennifer Cronk (@jenniferacronk) is an educator in New York who explores possibilities for reaching students who need something a little different. Last summer she started a practical and insightful podcast called #AssistLearning that can help as you explore ways to help your students. In this episode, titled Setting Up Students for Success, she looks at what keeps students from understanding what they need to get going, whether in the classroom or in Google Classroom, and what you can do to mitigate these barriers. She finishes with a nice summary, which is itself a good strategy. This is great stuff for both teachers and for parents seeking practical ideas for helping students with challenges.

Another audio to learn more about is The Ten-Minute Teacher Podcast with Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher). Vicki has been working for many years to help teachers see new possibilities for themselves, and she manages to put out a short podcast every weekday of the school year. Each day of the week has a theme: Motivational Mondays, EdTech Tool Tuesdays, Wonderful Classroom Wednesdays, Thought Leader Thursdays, and 5-Idea Fridays. The one linked below is actually her interviewing me about my book Making Your Teaching Something Special. Check out her archives for all sorts of great ideas, and subscribe to get the goodness regularly!

 worth the watch 

This video was put out by the Soundtrap people to show what two schools (one in Sweden, one in the U.S.) were able to create together. I'm a big fan of this online, collaborative audio tool, and have seen teachers work with it for podcasts, interviews, audio projects, music, and more - very cool stuff! For this video, enjoy not just the project, but the smiles on the students' faces. Just love cool projects done with cool tech, I do.

Richard Byrne of FreeTech4Teachers.com put together a nice 90-second piece called "5 Simple Things That Can Improve Your Videos," and we'd encourage anyone entering a Next Vista contest to watch it! You can get Richard's write-up for this at his blog, as well.

Byrne's tips for video

If you haven't heard of Socks by Bob, then it's a good thing you're reading this newsletter. His message? The key to life is to "find a purpose...find something that needs to be done." Bob's a hero, as are the people at Great Big Story who made this video letting us know.

Here's a fun piece about misconceptions about the ozone layer - really! It was put together by students and reviewed by NASA subject matter experts, and is part of a program called Spotlite for the NASA eClips website https://nasaeclips.arc.nasa.gov . Check out their page for more videos, educator guides, and the opportunity to get involved in projects like this!

What kind of music comes to mind when you think of the ukulele? Chances are, it's something different than what you'll see in this three-minute video from Kalei Gamiao, one of the artists featured in HI*Sessions, an effort to capture live performances of some of the top talent in Hawaii.

Mach 4 (500p)

Here's the blurb on YouTube about this video: "The European Space Agency (ESA) and Novespace, subsidiary of CNES, offered a weightless experience to 8 disabled kids, with the help of the association organizing the 'Rêves de Gosse' (Kids' dreams) event." There is very little talk, and plenty of interesting visuals prompting questions about how the science of simulated zero gravity works and what it means for the young people who got to experience it. Thanks to Randy Damewood (@randydamewood) in Tennessee for sharing this!

Teaching a child how to grip a pencil is no small thing for being able to write, and here's a nice video by Beth Heidemann, a teacher I met at Maine's ed-tech conference (ACTEM) who is also one of the founders of go2science.com. In the video, she gives great advice on telling children how to hold their hand to use a pencil. Cool stuff, Beth!

Think raccoons are cute? If so, would you invite one in to have dinner with you at the table? This short video could be an interesting creative writing prompt on how the animal came to be in this interesting spot. And, admittedly, it is cute.

The very cool folks at Classroom 2.0 Live have been putting together shows for almost a decade on a wide range of topics, and the entire archive is available for anyone needing an idea. The link below takes you to their archives page, where you can browse the many tags on the right side to find people, tools, and topics of interest to you. A big thanks to long-time newsletter reader and wonderful human being Peggy George (@pgeorge) for all her work to help teachers around the globe! The second link takes you to the recording I did with them recently, called Becoming a Better Teacher.

 worth the read 

What do you think of Wikipedia? Some university professors are seeing possibilities in its openness: "I've enjoyed finding my students motivated to deliver information to an audience...they became concerned with writing details, then they became concerned with grammar, then they became concerned with organization." Another cool post from EdSurge, this one by Jeffrey Young!

Most of what I put in front of you in the Worth Reading section is fairly short. This is seriously long, but meets the requirement for me of worth one's time. The piece is called "The scientists persuading terrorists to spill their secrets," and is an article from The Guardian. It's a story on what works in terms of interrogations, and is fascinating both for its topic and also the potential value for those who deal with discipline at a school. I couldn't help but grin when one of the experts interviewed said, "if you can deal with teenagers you can deal with terrorists." Those of you interested in the intricacies of communication will love this one.

Edutopia published a post in October called, "Alternatives to the 5 Paragraph Essay," by Brian Sztabnik, which contains great ideas for approaches to writing that may be more interesting to both you and your students. He also points to more ideas in exploring each alternative, allowing for a nice, quick read with options for those wanting more. Just what a quick PD post should be!

Colleges are always challenged to get incoming students into the right classes. One danger is that a student with weaker standardized test scores but with solid preparation in high school might get placed in a remedial class when it isn't needed. A new law in California requires that colleges factor in high school performance in choosing entry-level classes, and this piece in T.H.E. Journal explores that issue in more depth. How much do your students feel that their test scores dictate their futures?

How much time each day do you spend to make sure your family has clean drinking water? That may seem an odd question for many on this list, but it's a life-orienting question for people in some parts of the world. This article from The Guardian explores questions related to water using five infographics, and may be that which guides a class to choose a service project.

What is the difference between a compliant student and a respectful one? This is the kind of question explored by David Tow (@dandrewt) and his students. I learned about David in an Edutopia post called, "Why I Don’t Have Classroom Rules," which explores how he works with his high schoolers to create the kind of environment that minimizes rules but maximizes buy-in and focus. He admits that when he first experimented with the approach, he didn't think it would work, but years later, he's still doing it. The post is a fascinating one, and the four rules he posts to his wall are themselves a great point of departure for collegial discussion.

 worth the try 

Thanks to Richard Byrne's Practical Ed Tech mailing, I learned about an online video editor I'd never heard of recently - Typito. It's an easy tool for taking your photos or video clips and pulling them together, adding colorful text over it, and including music you upload or that you find in its library. It's totally free for seven days, and then free thereafter if you're okay with a Typito logo appearing in the video you download or add to your YouTube channel. If you don't like having the Typito branding on your video, you can pay $3 to get it removed. Thanks, Richard, for the mention and your tutorial video, too! 

While in Maine last month, educator Gwyneth Maguire (@gwynethmaguire) suggested Pixlr as a free image-editing tool that allows you to work in layers similar to Photoshop, but for lower-level image work. Though free, you'll need to have Flash enabled in order to use the editor. There is also Pixlr Express which is even simpler, but also requires Flash. Gwyneth, thanks for the suggestion!

We're very close to the annual Global Education Conference, a free and online shindig that brings together people from around the world to share ideas. Click below to learn more, as well as to propose a session - you can still do so through Nov. 5th!

The Newseum offers a page on its site from which you can see the day's front pages of hundreds of newspapers around the world. Using the drop-downs, you can limit your search to papers in a specific country. Below is a map of the newspapers it includes in countries other than the United States.

newseum front pages

Is your school planning a 1:1 device program or maybe looking to refresh the way things are done? The link below takes you to a template for the two-day Laptop Bootcamp for 6th graders created by Patrick Green (@pgreensoup) and Heather Dowd (@heza), authors of Classroom Management in the Digital Age. Students participate in the BootCamp and discuss what they learn with parents before being allowed to take devices home. You can modify these activities for your school or classroom setting. Thanks to Heather and Patrick for creating and sharing this!

Canvas is one of the more popular learning management systems, and if you are using it in your school, district, or college, you might be looking for good tutorial material to become more comfortable with the ins and outs of the system. Todd Conaway (@Todd_Conaway) of the University of Washington and The Whole Classroom blog (http://www.thewholeclassroom.com/) created a five-day workout (first link) and a five-day carnival (second link) for his team, and is happy for anyone to use the materials. Nice work, Todd!
Canvas Workout: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/1152482
Canvas Carnival: https://canvas.uw.edu/courses/1157233

Like motivational posters? Edutopia gathered ten you can download for free, including the fun one below.

places you'll go (500p)

Comic Strip Appreciation Day was last October 18th. Did you celebrate it? Well, the good folks at ReadWriteThink (partnered with International Literacy Association and the National Council of Teachers of English) created a pretty cool lesson plan on having kids summarize elements of a story using a cartoon creation tool and shared it with all of us. Thanks to TechLearning for sharing this one!

The Department of State has a Critical Languages Scholarship program for U.S. citizens in accredited undergraduate or graduate universities. Students interested in a number of languages for which the government thinks there aren't enough people studying them (my guess, that) can apply for a scholarship that provides international airfare, tuition, and all program costs, as well as meals and living accommodations. The deadline is soon - November 15, 2017 at 7:59pm Eastern time. Learn more via the flyer or the program site linked below.

I regularly get excited about what one can do and see in Google Maps and Earth, and a note about new possibilities with VR brought me to a page that offered the chance to zoom in on the Colosseum in Rome. Couldn't pass that by, now could I? Here's the link to get there yourself:

Colosseum in Maps (500p)

 Kimberly's Free iOS App 

MoMa Art LabIntroduce young students to the world of modern and contemporary art with MoMa Art Lab by MoMa, the Museum of Modern Art. Explore nine activities based on works of real artists including Alexander Calder, Henri Matisse, Jearn Arp and more. Encourage young artists to create a shape poem, chance collage, or line design. Browse through the idea gallery for more activities.  Learn about lines, shapes, and colors while creating original art that can be saved and shared. Be inspired and start creating!

 recent newsletters 

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 last bit

I am writing this last piece of the newsletter on November 1st, and this morning a colleague introduced me to "Switch Witch" - a brilliant idea, I'd say. Here's how it works: kid comes home from Halloween with a mountain of candy. The child can choose to keep just three pieces of the candy, and trade the rest in for a present, which is brought during the night by the Switch Witch. It does cost the parent the price of the present, but saves the seismic mood swings and dental damage that accompany eating wayyyyy too much candy. File this under cool ideas your dentist will approve.

Going Home by tsbl2000 from Flickr (CC by-nd 2.0)

Going Home
by tsbl2000 
from Flickr (CC by-nd 2.0

See you next month!

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