Category Archives: CEP 811

CEP 811: Reflecting on the Semester

Over the course of the last 7 weeks, I was able to engage in an amazing opportunity through CEP 811. That opportunity was to learn more about Maker Education. As many people will attest to when I got the first email advising me to buy a maker’s kit, I was not sure what I had gotten myself into. I have always been a very tech-savy member of my staff, willing to try new things in my classroom. But as my computer programer sister will tell you, the classroom tech-savy did not extend much to daily life (I have called her numerous times to figure out my iPhone or why my computer won’t turn on). However, from this course, I truly feel like a Maker now.

Not only do I feel like a Maker, but I can easily see how these can be integrated into my classroom. I am already trying to figure out how to justify to my principle that we need a couple Makey Makey kits for my classroom. I loved Alissa Arden’s idea of using Makey Makey to teach quadratic shifts. This is something that I really believe can create another pathway into the Algebra for students as well as teaching them to build, play, and make things. On top of using the Makey Makey kit, I also plan to use blogs, Remixing, MOOC, and the idea of EdCamps with my kids next year. We are going to 1:1 environment, so I see all of these options being ways I can bring these tools into my classroom in meaningful ways. I envision the kids running an EdCamp about specific mathematical topics (maybe different ways to solve quadratics). During these EdCamps the kids will be able to discuss and ask questions about different methods, but one presenter will prepare on each method. I easily envision blogging as a way for students to reflect and discuss what they are thinking.

As I mentioned above, I was always willing to integrate technology into my classroom, but it was always done in a limited format. Previously all of my technology integration has been through GeoGebra or my TiNspire calculators (both of which are fabulous tools and I plan to continue to use). However, now I have learned so many new tools and interesting ways to add technology into my math classroom. As mentioned in the MAET statement on evaluation, I did not feel I was previously integrating technology well. From CEP 811 (and 810 which I took concurrently) I feel like I have grown so much in my ability to integrate technology into my classroom. I base these feelings on how prepared I feel to enter my classroom next year and use technology in a variety of ways.

EdCamp Reflection

In CEP 811, we engaged in an “unconference” EdCamp. This was a unique experience because our attendees were from all different places. Since we were located in different places, our conference took place over the internet. As mention before I created a Glogster about the Promising Practices of 1:1 Schools and a screencast of my presentation. I really enjoyed the unconference format. It was nice to have it more of a discussion instead of a person lecturing at you about a topic you have opinions and knowledge about. One thing that made the unconference difficult was the internet format. Obviously this is something necessary due to the location of people, but having discussions over the internet is always a bit awkward because you cannot pick up on body language cues of the other participants.

That being said this could have tons of potential for future professional developments in many ways. One way it could benefit professional development of teachers is the web based format. Many schools cannot fund out of state professional developments, but attending a web based conference like this would allow teachers to learn from others even if they don’t live near by. Another way this could benefit the professional development I attend is the idea that we present and it is more a conversation. So often my school brings in outside people who talk to us and then we don’t get a chance to give our thoughts. Through this method, we would be able to take control of our own professional development and let the incredibly knowledgeable teachers at my school run what we are learning.

If I was to recreate this experience at my school, I think that it would need to be a bit more structured. This is mostly due to the number of people who would want to present. However after that I would imagine it would be very similar to the way ours was structured. There would be different classrooms (hopefully on the same floor to limit travel distances) with different workshops and discussions happening based on the presenters. The rest of the staff could attend these conferences based on their needs and interests. One difficult would be how to get my staff to adjust to the idea of the workshop as a discussion. The “leader” would have to realize they are not the only ones who talk but it is an opportunity for everyone to ask questions and share their expertise.

Makey Makey Lesson Planning Take 3

This week in CEP 811 we revisited our maker’s lesson. As a reminder, I used the Makey Makey kit to design a lesson where students use Tetris to explore if congruence is preserved under geometric transformations (translations, reflections, rotations). This is the second time we have revisited this lesson through the course of the class. Previously, we modified our lesson based on different learning theories. I modified mine based on the Constructivist perspective of learning (those modifications are in red). This week we learned about Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and made modifications to our lesson based on these principles (the modifications from this are in purple).

Please check out my lesson plan and leave comments. As with all things in teaching this is a work in progress, and I would love feedback.

As I continue to modify and build on this lesson, I took time to reflect back on things I was already doing as part of UDL and how I improved my lesson. To help me in this reflection, I made a Wordle of my lesson plan before modifying it to fit the principles of UDL.


One way my original lesson utilized the principles of design was it gave students multiple access points and reduced barriers. Through engaging in the Tetris activity, students were able to manipulate figures and make observations about what they saw. This activity is low pressure to students because when recording observations there are no wrong answers. Students did not have to have a deep understanding of the vocabulary to engage activity and could rely on their classmates to fill in the academic language without missing the content of the lesson. This is evident in my Wordle through words like “describe” and “observations” being larger than things such as the academic language “reflect”, “rotate”, and “translate”.

After learning about the principles of UDL, I modified my lesson plan (see above) and created another Wordle.


One obvious change to this Wordle is the increase in words. As simple as this sound, it does reflect the principles of UDL. The increase of words shows that the lesson has grown to provide many more opportunities for students to engage in the lesson.  Students know have not just access points to the mathematics but the lesson as a whole. Students are able to engage in a Google form, building the Makey Makey, a class discussion, a graphic organizer, and journaling. This many different activities allow all students to have a chance to do something they are good at and be successful during the lesson.  Another change in the lesson that reflects the principles of UDL is the addition of the graphic organizer and Google form. Prior the students did not have a way to record their thinking. However adding the graphic organizer allowed students to maximize their transfer by writing down their observations about each figure to refer back to. The Google Form allows me to guide the information to the correct answer while still letting all students have an input about what they discovered.

Edcamp: 1 to 1 Promising Practices

This week in CEP 811, we participated in a digital Edcamp. In preparation for for the Edcamp, I began exploring Promising Practices of 1:1 schools. Some things I saw in my research was benefits, tons of different types of activities, and a few pitfalls of 1:1 schools.

To show what I learned and share during my presentation, I made a Glogster. Feel free to check it out.

Updated 8/10/14

Here is a screen cast of my Edcamp presentation on 1:1 Promising Practices. I made the screen cast using an awesome free tool from TechSmith called Jing


Barnwell, P. (2013, October 13). Don’t Implement One-to-One Devices in the Classroom Unless…. . Retrieved August 5, 2014, from

Cleaver, S. (n.d.). We Are Teachers. 10 Tips for A Successful One-to-One Classroom. Retrieved August 5, 2014, from

Students using Computers. (n.d.). . Retrieved August 5, 2014, from

Redesigning my Classroom

Discussing redesigning learning spaces could not have come at a better time than it did this week in CEP 811. We spent the week learning about what messages classroom spaces send to students and how can we organize our space to send the message we want. After learning about these different aspects of classroom design, I used SketchUp to design my ideal classroom. For those of you not familiar with SketchUp, it is a modeling tool that allows anyone to be a designer or architect. There are other classroom uses for this tool, but so far I have only every used it in this capacity.

As I have mentioned previously, my teaching environment will be undergoing a radical shift next year. Not only will I have a classroom that is 1:1, but I also am getting a completely redesigned spaced. My school received a grant to reimagine what we believe education should look like. Our school will be utilizing a project based learning model, with 1:1 computers, and collaborative learning. Although, I did not get a say in what the furniture will look like, I am able to organize the furniture in a way that works best for me.  To help make this project more manageable, I am going to pretend I am redesigning my old classroom. Previously, I had a quite large classroom with 36 desks. There is a Promethean board at the front of the room near the door, which cannot be moved. Due to the location of the board, the computer must be near the front in order to allow things to be projected. My classroom does have nice natural light, which is something Barrett, Zhang, Moffat, and Kobbacy state is crucial to student learning (2013). That being said the way my room was previously set up doesn’t send the message of what I want in my classroom.

In my reimagined classroom, my students will be in desks but the desks will be grouped together to allow for collaboration.  I already do a large amount of group work in my classroom, so rearranging the desks to make this more functional will be very beneficial. This will allow my students to not only have small discussions with partners, but also have larger discussions with a group of four.


Another feature I want to add to my redesigned classroom is miniature white boards mounted on the walls. I already have these white boards and we use them in group settings, but I love using them as a tool for kids to brainstorm ideas on the boards. Having them hanging on the walls allows them to become a semi-permanent idea place, where kids can keep track of things they are thinking about.


These small revisions would drastically improve my classroom’s function. First it will be significantly easier to move around. It will also send the message to kids that I really value group work since we sit in groups every single day. I would also love to paint my walls and add more color—currently they are beige. However, I think that might be much for one school year, so we will start with these small changes. Another benefit of these changes is there will be zero cost to my school since many of the things I already own.


Barrett, P., Zhang, Y., Moffat, J., & Kobbacy, K. (2013). A holistic, multi-level analysis identifying the impact of classroom design on on pupils’ learning. Building and Environment, 59, 678-689. doi:


MOOC: Let’s Hoop, Hula Hoop

This week in CEP 811, we began exploring MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). To help us understand how to design these courses and how they could be helpful to our colleagues and students, we explored P2PU (Peer to Peer University). To assist in this understanding, we designed our own MOOC.

In my “Let’s Hoop, Hula Hoop” course my peers will master many hula hooping tricks by creating their own hula hoop dancing video and sharing their progress on twitter with their classmates and providing support and critiques of their classmates work.

****Disclaimer: Yes I have hula hooping on the brain from CEP 810’s Network Learning Project****

Let’s Hoop, Hula Hoop


Course Topic:Hula Hooping, Utilizing Social Media, and Video Creation, Critiquing Others

Course Length: 6 weeks

Audience: This class is for anyone interested in creating videos and learning a fun new new skill of hula hooping. Students will also gain experience using social media both to inform and provide feedback to others in a public manner. There is no need to have any hula hooping ability prior to this course, however a basic knowledge of video making could be helpful.

Target Skills: Students will be able to keep perform the following hula hooping tricks:

    • The Bump
    • Floating
    • Shoulder Duck Out
    • Breaks
    • Isolations

Course Projects: Students will be required to create

  • Create a Twitter account to share and promote their work
  • Create a video 1 minute video displaying their hula hooping tricks
  • Create a WordPress blog to document progress and reflections.


Students will be expect to read each others tweets and blogs each week of the course. They will need to provide both constructive criticism, helpful hints, and support to their classmates. Often students will have different strengths in video editing and hula hooping, so they can support each other in their own learning.


Course Outline

Pre-Course Set Up

  • Sign up for a Twitter and WordPress account
  • Purchase a hula hoop
    • I recommend that you spend some time researching what will work best for you. A hoop that is too heavy is difficult to lift off your body.

Week 1: Basics of Hooping

  • Learn: Watch a video about the basics of hooping
  • Explore: Practice the skill demonstrated in the video
  • Create: Turn to your blog to share: a video of your skill, what about this skill was easy for you, what about this skill was difficult for you, and are there any tricks you learned to make this skill easier.
  • Share: Tweet a link to your blog and give feedback to two other classmates.

Week 2: The Bump and Breaks

  • Learn: Watch a video about the bump and breaks. You don’t need to watch the videos in order.
  • Explore: Practice the skill demonstrated in the video
  • Create: Turn to your blog to share: a video of your skill, what about this skill was easy for you, what about this skill was difficult for you, and are there any tricks you learned to make this skill easier
  • Share: Tweet a link to your blog and give feedback to two other classmates.

Week 3: Floating

  • Learn: Watch a video about floating
  • Explore: Practice the skill demonstrated in the video
  • Create: Turn to your blog to share: a video of your skill, what about this skill was easy for you, what about this skill was difficult for you, and are there any tricks you learned to make this skill easier.
  • Share: Tweet a link to your blog and give feedback to two other classmates.

Week 4: Isolations

  • Learn: Watch a video about isolations
  • Explore: Practice the skill demonstrated in the video
  • Create: Turn to your blog to share: a video of your skill, what about this skill was easy for you, what about this skill was difficult for you, and are there any tricks you learned to make this skill easier.
  • Share: Tweet a link to your blog and give feedback to two other classmates.

Week 5: Shoulder Duck Out

  • Learn: Watch a video about the basics of hooping. This trick is quite involved so there are a couple videos for this week. Unlike previous weeks, it is recommended that you watch these in order this week.
  • Explore: Practice the skill demonstrated in the video
  • Create: Turn to your blog to share: a video of your skill, what about this skill was easy for you, what about this skill was difficult for you, and are there any tricks you learned to make this skill easier.
  • Share: Tweet a link to your blog and give feedback to two other classmates.

Week 6: Video Making

This week is all about editing together your videos together to make a hooping video.

  • Explore: You will explore how to use Mozilla Popcorn, a free online multimodal mix tool. This tool can be used to edit your videos together and put it to music. Make sure that you give credit to the artist whose song you use.
  • Create: Create a mix of your last 5 videos to design your own hooping dance video
  • Share: Tweet a link to you video and respond to two other classmates videos



Elena Ringo with Hoops . (n.d.). . Retrieved July 28, 2014, from

How to Do Hula Hoop Breaks & Reversals | Hula Hooping. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved July 28, 2014, from

How to Do a Hula Hoop Isolations | Hula Hooping. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved July 28, 2014, from

How to Hula Hoop around Your Chest | Hula Hooping. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved July 28, 2014, from

How to Hula Hoop around Your Shoulders | Hula Hooping. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved July 28, 2014, from

Hula Hooping Basics | Hula Hooping. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved July 28, 2014, from

Hula Hoop Basics: Vol 2 : How to do the Lift Up Hula Hoop Trick. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved July 28, 2014, from

Hula Hoop Basics: Vol 3 : How to do the Booty Bump Hula Hoop Trick. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved July 28, 2014, from

Shoulder Hooping : How to do a Shoulder Duck Out with Your Hoop with Variations. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved July 28, 2014, from

Modifying Lesson Plan with Learning Styles

In week 2 of CEP 811, I went thrifting to find things that I could explore with my maker kit (Makey Makey).

After developing the way to use my maker kit, I created a lesson plan that allowed students to explore the ideas of congruence of reflections, rotations, and translations. This was a rough lesson plan on how to use my Makey Makey kit to teach a mathematical concept. Before I was able to modify my lesson plan to make it better for my student, I began investigating how students learn. This was something I have been exposed to first, but looking at it again through the eyes of technology was interesting.

To begin, I watch Richard Culatta’s Ted Talk about reimagining learning. If you haven’t watched it already, I would highly recommend it. He discusses many issues facing education and how technology is used as a band-aid. He argues the point that if we don’t change how we are teaching, the technology won’t help the students who were struggling. He continues on to discuss many ways that technology can help our students–provides real time feedback, adjust pace, agency (choice), creates creators, and customization.

My lesson of using tetris with Makey Makey to teach congruence of transformations (translations, reflections, rotations) aligns with Richard’s idea that technology creates creators. Through this lesson students are able to create their own rules of transformations congruence. This not only aligns with Richard’s beliefs that students as creators is important, but it aligns with other major research in student learning.

The philosophy of Constructivism says students learn best by doing and creating their own understanding of a concept. This philosophy was spearheaded by Jean Piaget and contributed to by a large number of other education philosophers, such as John Dewey and Maria Montessori. Since this philosophy was developed many other researchers have conducted their own studies–usually involving classrooms with students.

Specifically in mathematics, a number of studies have been done that show students are more engaged and perform better when they have to discover and create their own rules. The first study that shows this was with traditionally struggling students. When students engaged in activities over the course of 16 weeks that required them to create their own rules of mathematics, a majority of the students reported they were more engaged and the students performed better on the standardized test. (Neal, 2004, p. 78)

When thinking about this in terms of my maker lesson plan, I found my lesson falls very well in line with this philosophy. The students are able to explore the tetris game while recording what they see happening to the different pieces, from this they are able to construct rules of transformations based on their observations. This will allow students to be more engaged and develop a deeper understanding of the mathematics. Although after reading about the importance of students as creators, I have modified my lesson to allow them to attach the Makey Makey software themselves. This move won’t necessarily contribute to their mathematical understanding, but it will contribute to their engagement and investment in the activity allowing them to be engaged during the mathematical part.


Improving High School Mathematics Instruction: Using Constructivist Pedagogy. Neal, Kimberly L., 2004: Applied Dissertation, Nova Southeastern University, Fischler School of Education and Human Services. Cooperative Learning/Learning Style/Computer Assisted Instruction/Student Motivation


Heyl, A. (2008). Fostering Engagement for Students from Low-Socioeconomic Status Backgrounds using Project-Based Mathematics. School of Education Dominican University of California, Masters of Science in Education, 1-34.

Thrifting: Education Style

As all teachers know, we have unlimited school budgets to buy any supplies we need for our classroom. Alright, so that would be actually amazing, but more realistically we spend hundreds (maybe even thousands) of our own dollars on supplies for our classroom. Here is where the repurposing movement comes in. This week in CEP 811, we had to head to our local thrift shop (or my parents basement) to find something that we could repurpose with our makers kit. First let me start with my makers kit. I am using Makey Makey, and I absolutely love it. At first I was nervous because I wasn’t sure how well I could actually make things. However, after I played around on Scratch and hooked different things up to it, I realized it is actually really fun and easy to use. I even got my husband to play tetris with me using kitchen utensils. Even after playing though, I wasn’t sure what I was going to find to help me with my project. Since I spent all last week in New Orleans at the New Tech Network Annual Conference (my school will be using the PBL model next year), I wasn’t able to make it to a thrift store. Luckily my parents are boarder line hoarders and their basement is the equivalent of a thrift shop. As I browse through tons of old stuff, I decided on some old Christmas ornaments.

Christmas ornaments

After I selected my “thrift shop” objects, it was time to build my Makey Makey creation. Below is a how to guide, for others to learn how to create their own Makey Makey Tetris Ornament creation.

1. Find your Makey Makey USB cord and connect it to your computer.

Photo Jul 13, 8 00 24 PM

2: Connect other end of USB cord to Makey Makey board. When it is connected a red light should come on to let you know it is connected.

Photo Jul 13, 8 00 29 PM

3: Connect one of the alligator clips to the Makey Makey board on the bottom where it is labeled “Earth”. This is needed later when you start playing to help you create the circuit.

Photo Jul 13, 8 00 42 PM

4: This one I learned from some trial and error–so I don’t have a photograph–make sure to wrap your ornaments in aluminum foil. The ornaments I had were not conductive so even though the metal piece at the top is it makes it difficult to use if you don’t wrap them first.

5: After you have wrapped your ornaments, connect the alligator clip to one somewhere on the aluminum foil and connect the other end to the board’s up arrow.

Photo Jul 13, 8 01 02 PM

6: Select another ornament and connect an alligator hook to the aluminum foil. After it has been connected to the foil, connect the other end to the Makey Makey board on the left arrow.

Photo Jul 13, 8 01 27 PM

7: Select the final ornament and connect an alligator hook to the aluminum foil. After it has been connected to the foil, connect the other end to the Makey Makey board on the right arrow.

Photo Jul 13, 8 01 42 PM

8: Everything should now be connected and you are almost ready to play.

Photo Jul 13, 8 27 15 PM

9: Before you play there are a few things you need to know. First to play tetris use Second the commands are as follows:

  • The ball connected to the up arrow rotates the tetris block.
  • The ball connected to the left arrow moves the block left.
  • The ball connect to the right arrow moves the block right.

The final step before you can begin playing is you need to make a circuit. To do this the during the game you hold the other end of the of the alligator clip that is connected to “Earth”.

photo (1)

Hopefully, now you are all set to play tetris. If you are still interested in how this will work. Feel free to check out the video of me attempting to play tetris below.

Now that we have all gotten to see that tetris is not my strong suit, it is time to think about how could I use this in my classroom. I see this relating to congruence with transformations. Students could use this as an exploration activity before they have truly developed and understanding around congruence of transformations. To more clearly explain how I envision this lesson going, I have created a lesson plan: Transformations Makey Makey Style. Feel free to check it out and leave me feedback.

Through multimodal elements, I see more meaning being brought to my work. Having the videos and pictures allows people who are not strong readers to understand exactly what needs to be done. Also it allows people an opportunity to stay more engaged. I know when I am reading a blog if there is no pictures to break it up, I am much less likely to read it to the end.

Instructional Technology Remix


 For the first assignment in CEP 811, I had to create a remix using an educational buzz word. This task was easier said than done. I first struggle to come up with a buzz word that I felt reflected what I do and want to do in my classroom. I really enjoy using technology as a tool in my classroom, but I am not sure that it is the end all be all of math education. I am not completely sold on the idea of online high school. After much deliberating I selected instructional technology. This appeared to me to be something that needed remixing. In my school many teacher refuse to use the technology provided because they either don’t know how to use it or they are scared of the negative effects (i.e. if I use cell phones as tools in the classroom what stops them from texting). As I designed my remix, I kept in mine the arguments I see everyday along with the changes I hope to be able to bring to my classroom. 

This assignment was especially difficult for me because I am not as tech-savvy as I would like to be. I knew what I wanted to do in my head and I knew the computer could do it for me, but I wasn’t always sure the best way to get there. After numerous reiterations of the same thing, I finally came up with something I was happy with, but it could definitely use some improvement. Feel free to check out my remix.


I got all the images from Creative Commons, but below is the licensing I could find when possible. The references are listed in order they appear in the video. 



iPhone Computer Photo. (n.d.). . Retrieved July 7, 2014, from

Students doing Math. (n.d.). . Retrieved July 7, 2014, from

No electronic devices during school hours. (n.d.). Flickr. Retrieved July 7, 2014, from

Students using a Computer. (n.d.). . Retrieved July 7, 2014, from,_2011-07-09.jpg

Students using iPads. (n.d.). . Retrieved July 7, 2014, from

Ti Nspire. (n.d.). . Retrieved July 7, 2014, from

Cell Phone. (n.d.). . Retrieved July 7, 2014, from