Explore GPAEA.org – Wikis & Google Sites

screenshotGreat Prairie AEA has a dynamic and extensive website with great resources and links for educators, students and families.

This month take a second to check out Wikis & Google Sites created by staff members.

2014 – 2015 Second Chance Reading (SCR) Training

scrMiddle and high school SCR teachers have the opportunity to continue to improve their skills and knowledge, application of the Iowa Core ELA Standards and develop cohesive units to improve reading comprehension, vocabulary and fluency.

In Burlington: Monday, October 13 and Monday, March 2nd

In Ottumwa:   Monday, October 20 and Monday, March 9th

Register now at My Learning Plan.

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.

Welcome New Administrators 2014-15

Each new school year brings with it new educators across our Great Prairie Area Education Agency service area. We want to share information about these new administrators, along with their photos, as we welcome them to our area.  Please take some time to review their bios and goals for the 2014-2015 school year and make connections with them throughout the year.

Download a copy Final Admin Pub 2014

Upcoming GPAEA Professional Development Opportunities 

A primary school teacherGPAEA has many great professional development opportunities scheduled for this fall!  Course categories include behavior, literacy, math, science, autism, early childhood, TAG, and fine arts.  Also being offered are Paraeducator Level II:  Special Needs, Substitute Authorization courses, and Evaluator III.  Courses are still being added so please check the catalog in MyLearningPlan for new additions.



  • Para Educator Certification Level II Generalist with Area of Concentration: Special Needs (Saturday and evening classes)

Substitute Authorization

  • evening classes (held at our Burlington office)

Assessing Academic Rigor: Evaluator III


  • Bullying Investigation Training
  • A Behavior Tool Box for Your Classroom
  • Developing a Social Skills Tool Box
  • RESPECT: Recognizing Everyones Strengths by Peacebuilding, Empathizing, Communicating and Trustbuilding
  • PBIS Tier 1
  • Creating a Functional Behavior Assessment Tool Box for Your Classroom


  • K-2 Counting and Cardinality/Operations and Algebraic Thinking
  • Grades 3-5 Number and Operations/Fractions
  • Ratio and Proportion, Grades 6-8
  • Function, Grades 8-12


  • 6-12 Content Curriculum Design
  • Iowa LETRS 1-3
  • Ongoing MS-HS Second Chance Reading: 2014-2015


  • HS Science Networks 1 & 2
  • Elementary Science Networks 1 & 2
  • HS Science Networks 1 & 2


  • ST-AT 1 Structured Teaching for Autism: Basic Components


  • Secondary Transition Planning for Educators and Families

Early Childhood

  • Inquiry Based Learning in Early Childhood
  • Early Childhood Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (EC-PBIS) Home Visitation
  • Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment

Fine Arts

  • Rug Weaving

Workshops and Other Trainings:

  • Leading Professional Learning Communities for Results
  • Nonviolent Crisis Intervention Initial Training
  • PBIS Tier 1 Booster Workshop
  • An Introduction to the GOLD ASSESSMENT and Reports for Administrators Workshop

Please visit our online course catalog to register.  https://www.mylearningplan.com/webreg/catalog.asp?H=1&D=10734

Secondary Transition Family Planning for Educators and Parents

November 10 & 11th, 2014
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Ottumwa GPAEA 2814 North Court Street, Ottumwa, IA 52501

Transition Family Planning Flier Fall 2014This two day workshop is intended to help teachers & parents learn how to assist parents in their understanding of the special education transition process in Iowa and how to participate effectively.

Download the PDF flier to learn more: Transition Family Planning Flier Fall 2014


GPAEA Schools in the News – September 2014

A list of the September 2014 headlines featuring a Great Prairie AEA School District:

Did we miss something? Send your school news to jennifer.woodley@gpaea.org.

Note: The articles compiled in this list come from independent media sources who are solely responsible for their content. GPAEA staff did not participate in writing any of these articles and GPAEA does not necessarily endorse the content of the articles.  Some articles may be available only by subscription.