My day at the Microsoft Innovative Educator Teacher Academy

I was fortunate to attend the one-day Microsoft Innovative Educator Teacher Academy in Bellevue yesterday. This was a good event to learn about some new tools as well as improve my skill set on some of the tools I am already using at school.

I was glad that our hosts and presenters were all experienced classroom teachers who were proficient in the different tools. They could relate to how we may use the various tools differently in the classroom than in a business environment. In particular, I appreciated how they could share actual implementation stories from their schools and classrooms, as this helped give me new ideas to consider in my own teaching. This part was inspiring. My lunch conversation on using Yammer within the building or district was insightful since I was finally able to talk with an experienced teacher who could explain it in action and demonstrate its usefulness as a resource for teaching and learning.

Even as an Office 365 school, I did not know that Microsoft offered a number of additional free resources for the classroom. I was happy to learn about the Microsoft Educator Network and its wide range of resources, tutorials, lesson plans and professional learning community. This is a site that I have bookmarked and will discover more. It is also a good complement to the resources from the Microsoft in Education site that I was already aware of and had accessed from time to time.

I was keen to learn more about using OneNote in the classroom. The group task in creating a reading assignment using OneNote sparked a number of ideas for my own classroom, especially since we are connected with Office 365 accounts. This could help me as I strive to teach and learn in a paperless environment. In fact, I am already thinking about sharing out resources and lesson notes through OneNote, and will work on setting that up in time for my new second semester class.

I was intrigued with the new Office Mix and will have to explore this more. It appears to be a great tool for making our presentations more interactive. This may help me improve the way I make presentations, but I can see how useful it will be for my students as they work on developing their creative and media fluencies. They will love using it!

Finally, I was very happy that I was able to attend the MIE Teacher Academy with a number of my colleagues. We are now able to share our common experience with the rest of the building faculty and look for ways to access these tools in support of student learning across grade levels.


An important day – Our first college counselor visit!

Today was an important day in the history of the new high school. We received our first visit from a college admissions counselor!

A representative from Life Pacific College stopped by to talk about the college and life as a freshman. I thought that this was pretty significant in that Life Pacific College is actually out-of-state, so the counselor needed to find information about us as a smaller school and then make a deliberate attempt to stop by for a visit.

It was a good feeling to be considered worthy for a stop on the college admission tour.


Brief update – Off to a great start!

I believe that we are off to a great start!

The inaugural year of the new high school is 35 “days of learning” old! Our freshmen class has already been recognized for their leadership, independence and role-modeling for other students. They have played important roles in the Spiritual Emphasis Retreat and as discussion leaders in our Integrated Studies class, too. It is a blessing to have them with us!


First day of class!

Today was the first day of school for our inaugural class of 9th graders! The day consisted of a half day of classroom instruction in our integrated studies class, with the afternoon devoted to getting to know the high school students better. We completed a learning inventory together and talked about course options and expectations. My goal was to continue working on developing a sense of community with the students, now that the school year has begun. I was excited for the day and I sense that the students enjoyed themselves, too, as they began their high school journey.