October is National Physical Therapy Month

October is National Physical Therapy Month and an opportunity for Great Prairie AEA to celebrate and recognize our seven physical therapists and three physical therapy assistants for the work they do with children birth to 21 in our area.

Thank you to our Physical Therapists (PT) and Physical Therapy Assistants (PTA):

Great Prairie AEA’s Physical Therapy program provides therapeutic services to maximize children’s functional motor abilities through assessment, intervention, advocacy and education related to their unique needs within the educational atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation. Physical therapists design interventions that improve a student’s physical ability to access and participate in their educational program.

Physical Therapy Month is sponsored through the American Physical Therapy Association and is celebrated nationally. For more information see http://www.apta.org/NPTM/

Flipped Classrooms and Video Supported Learning

Lisa Jacobs, Instructional Technology Specialist 

Young boy in kitchen with laptop and paperwork smilingThe basic concept of a flipped classroom is taking what normally happens during the school day such as lecture and flipping it with traditional homework.  Students are viewing videos outside of class time so there is more time for practice problems, class discussion, and higher levels blooms activities during the school day.  Students can also watch the video multiple times for review and absent students can access the lectures online.  There has been an increased interest in flipped learning especially as high schools become 1 to 1 settings.

It is not intended to teach a full lesson in the videos.  Flipped learning videos should be no longer than 10-15 minutes, pose questions where students pause the video, include class discussion pages, and develop questions to bring back to class.  The content may include an introduction to a topic, define new key terms, or build background knowledge.

Popular sites for pre-made videos include Khan Academy, TED-Ed, and Sophia.  There are also many videos available through the Great Prairie AEA media center.  If creating your own videos, there are tools such as Screencast-O-Matic, Camtasia, and SnagIt.  If a teacher (or student) wants to create a custom video to share with others, they can use their phone, iPad, or computer to capture the video and upload it to YouTube or EduVision. Many teachers prefer using EduVision to avoid commercials and content that may be inappropriate for students.  Video hosting sites such as EduVision and YouTube provide a link to the uploaded video that teachers can post on their class website.  If you would like to have an EduVision channel where you can upload and manage your own videos, please send an email to me at lisa.jacobs@gpaea.org.

Disadvantages of flipping a classroom would be lack of a computer and/or internet access at home and increased time students spend sitting in front of their computer at home. Initially, it will also require more teacher preparation time to locate or create videos.  A common topic of conversation around flipped learning is what to do if students do not watch the videos.  Some teachers provide incentives for students to watch the video and prepare for class.  They may embed quiz questions in the video for students to turn in at the beginning of class or submit by email.  Another option is to have a short writing assignment about what they learned in the video or questions they still have about the concept.  The class could also be structured with time for students to watch the short videos during class before moving on to collaborative activities.

Is the “flipped classroom” and “flipped learning” a fad? Much of the research has been small studies and the definitions of flipped classrooms vary.  On the Flipped Learning Network Website http://flippedlearning.org, there are four pillars established to distinguish between simply flipping a classroom and achieving flipped learning.  It is my belief that gaining knowledge by accessing videos on the internet will become established as both a personal and professional way of learning.  If you have a new piece of software or want to learn how to use something new like Google Classroom, it is easy to search for a tutorial about exactly what you want to learn.  It is just as easy to contribute to the world of learning by posting your own videos.

This teacher’s blog post “The Flip: End of a Love Affair” is a great explanation of flip’s gradual disappearance from her classroom.  “The flip’s gradual disappearance from our learning space hasn’t been a conscious decision: it’s simply a casualty of our progression from a teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered one.”  When she was asked, “So the videos — did you make your own, or use ones that someone else had made?” My immediate thought was, “you don’t get it.” I was candid: “If you think it’s only about the videos, then you have a really shallow definition of what this could be. The real power is when students take responsibility for their own learning.”  Here is a link to the blog post http://plpnetwork.com/2012/10/08/flip-love-affair/

The GPAEA Technology team and your school technology staff can help with the technical aspects of implementing technology changes including the use of video in your classroom. Hopefully, this article helps you realize it is not just about how to implement the technology, but also the impact it can have on student learning.  The effectiveness of flipped learning depends on what is done in the classroom after direct instruction has been removed.

Taking the Plunge: Practical Strategies for Getting Started with Project Work

cornerstone infoOn Saturday, September 10, 2014 – Anne Michel and Vickie Parker – GPAEA EC Consultants teamed with Dawn Johnson State Wide Voluntary Preschool Teacher from Kids World Day Care and Preschool in Centerville, IA to present a 90 minute session at the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC) Fall Conference in Altoona.  The session entitled “Taking the Plunge: Practical Strategies for Getting Started with Project Work.”Plunge  The session was well attended and very well received.

Vickie Parker, GPAEA EC Consultant also teamed with Dawn Johnson State Wide Voluntary Preschool Teacher from Kids World Day Care and Preschool in Centerville, IA to present a 2 hour session at the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children (IAEYC) Fall Conference in Altoona on Sept 10, 2014.  The session was entitled”Science Rocks: Encouraging Young Scientists”. The session was very hands on with participants engaging in 7 science experiments that they then could take back and do with their students or as a Science Family night with parents and students.  It was a full room and was well received.



Featured in Centerville Daily Iowegian: http://www.dailyiowegian.com/news/lifestyles/article_00fc3eb8-4419-11e4-bb0c-6f992ea6edad.html

See attached pics from Southeast Iowa Project Group Facebook page’

October is Bullying Prevention Month

boy blue shirtThis month, groups across the country committed to stop bullying will release new resources, campaigns, and efforts aimed at bringing awareness to this important issue facing our youth.  This month serves as a reminder that bullying prevention must be addressed, and one way to accomplish this is through educating ourselves, our communities and the youth in our lives. Below are some anti-bullying resources that you may find useful.

Continue reading


OCTOBER 9, 10, & 11

Des Moines County Conservation will be hosting a volunteer “Barn Painting Party” on October 9th 10th &11th at Starr’s Cave Nature Center.  We will be recruiting volunteers from all over the county to help scrape, prime, and paint Burlington’s iconic Starr’s Cave Nature Center. We will be painting the Nature Center from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM on October 9th, 10th, 11th. Lunch and painting supplies will be provided. Volunteers are encouraged to stop out at their convenience to lend a hand.

Starr’s Cave Nature Center sits on roughly 200 acres of nature preserve and is the hub of the Des Moines County Conservation Environmental Education programs. The Nature Center itself was built in 1877 as a dairy barn, and is one of the only buildings still standing from the original Starr family homestead. Renovations in the 1980s transformed the barn into what it is today. This last fiscal year, DMCC staff presented over 318 educational programs to over 15,243 individuals in Des Moines County. Starr’s Cave Nature Center is visited by thousands of visitors every year. During the last year nature center staff documented over 10,000 casual contacts.

Des Moines County Conservation needs volunteers to help scrape, prime, and paint Starr’s Cave Nature Center on October 9, 10, & 11 from 9 AM – 5 PM. Volunteers are welcome to stop out and help at their leisure, materials, supplies, and lunch will be provided.  Starr’s Cave Nature Center is located at 11627 Starr’s Cave Rd. Burlington, IA 52601. For more information contact Kent Rector at (319) 753-5808.

Kent Rector, Environmental Education Coordinator, Starr’s Cave Nature Center, 11627 Starr’s Cave Rd, Burlington, IA 52601, Office: (319) 753-5808, Cell: (319) 768-8057