The Cornerstone – March/April 2013

Click on a story or scroll down to start reading. Enjoy!

Download a PDF copy of The Cornerstone – March/April 2013

Shedding a Light on Autism: David’s Story

David and Marci

David and Marci

Marci Prose, Parent

My husband, Adam Prose has lived in Ottumwa all his life and I, Marci Prose have lived in Ottumwa since our marriage about 10 years ago. We had our first child, Elaine about 9 years ago and our second child Izabella about 6 years ago. About two and a half years ago my husband and I had a life changing experience. Our third child, our first son entered into this world July 7, 2010 we named him David James. From the moment he was born our lives changed, not only was it the change of having a new child to care for but he went above and beyond in needing care.  I knew from birth that there was something different about David. We exhausted possibilities of what could be wrong in his first year-two years of life. We visited doctor after doctor all in hopes that someone would find out what caused our son the trouble he was having.  He wasn’t a normal happy baby that we had experienced with our two girls, he didn’t smile, he didn’t laugh, he screamed for hours and never seemed to be happy and content and started missing childhood milestones.

When we took our son into the doctor at the age of two we had a little light shed on the subject, the answer was autism.  We had evaluations and heard that our son who was 25 months at the time was really at a 10 month level on some of the developmental marks. It wasn’t a lack of parenting or a lack of trying on our part. My husband works on copiers at Bailey’s in Ottumwa but I stay at home to be with the children to have a parent present in their early education. I knew that we had tried to teach David. Those were challenging times trying to figure out autism and what exactly it was. Neither my husband nor I had ever had experience with autism and frankly it scared us. We didn’t know where to start but there were people who did, the same people who evaluated our son and told us he had autistic tendencies. The therapist did not diagnosis our son autistic but at least had the answers of what road we needed to travel down. We started therapy in the fall and after just a few therapy sessions our son started changing.  The stress of our family started declining. He started getting content and happy. David’s therapist come and spend about an hour with him every week and not only do they work with him on skills, they teach us how to teach him. I can’t even imagine what life would be like for us if they had not entered our son’s life.

I am inching closer to having three years in the battle on autism under my belt. The first two years I didn’t know what I was battling but I would have to say these last couple of months have been the easiest. Because of his therapists I not only have a clue as to what I’m fighting but they have equipped me with the tools I needed to fight this battle. I cannot imagine continuing my battle alone.

I hope that in the future as autism rates increase families will continue to get the support they need from the AEA programs such as Early Access. The last battle these parents need to be facing is how they are supposed to face this battle alone. I understand that budget cuts happen. As a society we are very concerned about government programs and cutting spending. Many people wouldn’t understand why the Early Access programs are important but being in the midst of the program I can tell you that they are. Statistics prove autism is only growing so to shrink programs aimed at helping these children and parents would be horrible. Autism has many faces and one child with autism will be completely different to another so there isn’t a single “instruction manual” to use we can’t just expect these parents that will have children diagnosed to understand a spectrum disorder. That’s the value of these therapist, they have seen one on one the different faces of autism and can understand the intricacies that even us parents can’t see!

April is Autism Awareness Month – Get Informed, Make a Difference!

JoAnn Morton, Autism Specialist

parent - childIn March 2012, the CDC released data and statistical information regarding the prevalence of Autism.  This report estimates that about 1 in 88 children have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder. Autism occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.  It is five times more common in boys (1 in 54) than girls (1 in 252). Information made available also reports that about 1 in 6 children in the U.S. had a developmental disability in 2006-2008, ranging from mild disabilities such as speech and language impairments to serious developmental disabilities, such as intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, and autism.

As educators we want to know what we can do to provide the most appropriate educational environment and supports.  Although you will want to tailor each student’s program to best meet their individual needs, the following *suggestions are offered a guide.

  • Ask yourself these two important questions, “How does my student communicate his or her needs?” and “What can I do to help promote their ability to communicate functionally?” 
  • Provide the student with an individualized visual daily schedule.
  • Maintain a consistent routine and structure. Gradually implement change where/when appropriate to also teach flexibility. 
  • Explore each of the settings where your student will receive instruction/engage in activities.  What do you see, feel and hear in these environments? Our students are often overwhelmed by visual stimuli such as the fluorescent lights, people moving about and items used to “decorate” classrooms as well as the auditory sounds coming from heaters/air vents and the echoing of large spaces such as lunch rooms and gymnasiums.   
  • Give verbal directions that are clear and concise, omit unnecessary verbiage. Use visual supports to help convey directions. Our students with autism are generally overwhelmed with lengthy or prolonged verbal directions. More is not always better.
  • If your student is having difficulty in a specific situation(s), look at how you can modify that activity or the amount of time they spend within that activity.  
  • Provide consistent reinforcement/reward for desired behavior.  The best way to guarantee change is to build upon the positive. 
  • Contact your core AEA team members with your concerns and/or any questions.  They will be your initial source of support and are able to access the autism team for additional assistance.

By accessing Great Prairie AEA’s course catalog, individuals will find five classes available to teachers, support staff and parents that provide more comprehensive instruction in implementing many of these strategies.  The courses include: Structured Teaching for Autism – Basic Components (ST-AT1), Structured Teaching for Autism Communication- Leisure and Social Skill Components (ST-AT2), Social Skills for Autism (SSA), Communicating with Visuals (CWV), and ABA Strategies and Curriculum; Using the STAR Program to Support Students on the Autism Spectrum.

*The majority of these suggestions are based on strategies referenced in The National Autism Center Report, 2009, as established or emerging treatments for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The following reference is provided as an additional source for educators: http://www.autismvoice.com/2006/08/07/ten-things-your-student-with-autism-wishes-you-knew/

April is Autism Awareness Month:

Please visit the Autism Society of Iowa home page www.autismia.org to read about all the upcoming activities.  These include (but not limited to), Autism Awareness Walk/Run, Bake Sale and launching of the 2013 Autism Society of Iowa’s cookbook; favorite recipes are needed!

The B-Town (Burlington) Autism Walk is Saturday April 20 from 9-2, registration at 8. At the lake at Great River Medical Center, contact: Heidi Sewnson 319-457-7944 or e-mail:iowaqtpi@yahoo.com

TSA Support for Individuals with Autism

With springtime upon us, and more importantly spring break trips quickly approaching, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a number of options available for adults and families living with autism to help make the process through the airport security checkouts as easy as possible. Click on the following link: TSA Support for Individuals with Autism

You’re Invited: Summer Institute – June 17 & 18, 2013

Summer Institute Flyer 2013Great Prairie AEA
Summer Institute – June 17 & 18, 2013

Time: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
 
Location:
Fairfield Arts &
Convention Center
200 North Main Street
Fairfield, IA 52556

A conference for Administrators, Educators & AEA Staff

Early Literacy and Response to Intervention

Please join us for an interactive Summer Institute with two renowned keynote speakers! On June 17, Randy Allison, will kick off our learning with overview information and then provide breakout/team time for application of the learning, planning, and next steps for the staff serving the district. The following day, Shannon Harken will help us apply more deeply RTI to literacy.

Register Now! http://bit.ly/summerinstitute13
No cost. Lunch included.

Download the Summer Institute Flyer 2013

Area Students Qualify for “National History Day in Iowa” Contest

UPDATE 5-23-13 – Students from Fairfield Advance to National History Day in D.C.

Three students from the Fairfield Middle School are headed to Washington D.C. in June to represent Iowa as the WINNERS of the Iowa History Day in the area of JUNIOR DIVISION GROUP PERFORMANCE:

Title: Nellie Bly: Benefiting Humanity One Word at a Time
Students: Anuja Pharasi, Dayna Price, Savannah Kelley
School: Fairfield Middle School, Fairfield, IA
Teacher(s): Tena Nelson

Congratulations and Good Luck!

Shannon Johnson, Instructional Services Secretary

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

National History Day is the nation’s leading program for history education in the schools.  On March 19, 2013, 305 students from 17 districts and 2 non-public participated in Great Prairie AEA’s History Day contest held at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center with 185 category entries. Students researched history topics of their choice related to the theme “Turning Points in History: People, Ideas, Events.”  Students worked as individuals and in groups to create exhibits, documentaries, performances, historical papers and websites. Area individuals volunteered their time to evaluate student entries and advance them to the state contest.

Congratulations to the following state qualifiers for their hard work as these students will represent GPAEA at the “National History Day in Iowa” contest on April 29, 2013 (Senior & Youth Division) and May 6, 2013 (Junior Division) at the State Historical Society of Iowa in Des Moines. 32 projects are advancing to State, 56 participants.

2013 Great Prairie AEA State Qualifiers (by category)

JUNIOR DIVISION HISTORICAL PAPER:

  • Title: Switching Horses Mid-Stream:  Andrew Johnson and the Collapse of Reconstruction
    Students: Claire Jager
    School: Eddyville-Blakesburg Middle School, Blakesburg, IA
    Teacher(s): Angie Koebke
  • Title: California Gold
    Students: Lainey Graff
    School: Sigourney Elementary School, Sigourney, IA
    Teacher(s): Amy Jones

JUNIOR DIVISION INDIVIDUAL EXHIBIT: (Only category to send 5 to state)

  • Title: Norman Borlaug: New Food for Thought
    Students: Ryan Kendell
    School: Aldo Leopold Middle School, Burlington, IA
    Teacher(s): Katie Salisbury
  • Title: Wilhelm Roentgen
    Students: Wyatt Klyn
    School: Blakesburg Elementary, Blakesburg, IA
    Teacher(s): Stacey Manternach
  • Title: Tertium Bellona Punicum (Third Punic War)
    Students: Sam Carmichael
    School: Oskaloosa Christian Grade School, Oskaloosa, IA
    Teacher(s): Renee Van Kooten
  • Title:  When You Wish Upon a Star: Walt Disney
    Student: Hannah Koellner
    School: Eddyville Elementary
    Teacher(s): Jessica Nollen
  • Title: The Men that Changed the Color of the Sky
    Student: Damon Wolter
    School: Keokuk Middle School
    Teacher(s): Doreen Underwood

JUNIOR DIVISION GROUP EXHIBIT:

  • Title: The Atomic Bomb: The Beginning of the End
    Students: Gannon Courtright, James Lyman
    School: Fairfield Middle School, Fairfield, IA
    Teacher(s): Tena Nelson
  • Title: The Bubonic Plague
    Students: Sofia Falcone, Emma Carper, Olivia Hinojosa
    School: Burlington Notre Dame, Burlington, IA
    Teacher(s): Larry Pohren

JUNIOR DIVISION INDIVIDUAL DOCUMENTARY:

  • Title: Through a Child’s Eyes: The Story of Ruby Bridges vs. Segregation in School
    Students: Phoenix Haessler
    School: Fairfield Middle School, Fairfield, IA
    Teacher(s): Tena Nelson
  • Title: The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire
    Students: Sarah Huschak
    School: Burlington Notre Dame, Burlington, IA
    Teacher(s): Larry Pohren

JUNIOR DIVISION GROUP DOCUMENTARY:

  • Title: Votes for Women!  The Events that Allowed Women the Right to Vote!
    Students: Brook Paris, Riley Albertson
    School: Evans Middle School, Ottumwa, IA
    Teacher(s): Heidi Bradford
  • Title: A New Woman is Born: Flappers
    Students: Hannah Heiserman, Shannon Garrels
    School: Van Buren Community Schools, Keosauqua, IA
    Teacher(s): Kacey Edgar

JUNIOR DIVISION INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE:

  • Title: Lucille Ball:  Ball of Fire
    Students: Olivia Bohlmann
    School: Evans Middle School, Ottumwa, IA
    Teacher(s): Heidi Bradford
  • Title: The Underground Railroad
    Students: Emma Baumgardner
    School: Eddyville Elementary, Eddyville, IA
    Teacher(s): Tony Kurimski

JUNIOR DIVISION GROUP PERFORMANCE:

  • Title: Nellie Bly: Benefiting Humanity One Word at a Time
    Students: Anuja Pharasi, Dayna Price, Savannah Kelley
    School: Fairfield Middle School, Fairfield, IA
    Teacher(s): Tena Nelson
  • Title: Breaking the Color Barrier in Baseball
    Students: Jaylan Jones, Addison Corum, Justin Budan
    School: Evans Middle School, Ottumwa, IA
    Teacher(s): Heidi Bradford

JUNIOR DIVISION INDIVIDUAL WEB SITES:

  • Title: How the Media Indirectly Affected the Presidency the Nixon /Kennedy Debates
    Students: Collin Kepner
    School: Evans Middle School, Ottumwa, IA
    Teacher(s): Heidi Bradford
  • Title: Girl Scouts: A Turning Point in a Woman’s Life
    Students: Kristen Daugherty
    School: Fairfield Middle School, Fairfield, IA
    Teacher(s): Tena Nelson

JUNIOR DIVISION GROUP WEB SITES:

  • Title: World War II Prison Camps
    Students: Grant Rheinschmidt, Mary Rose Roundy, Christina Hunter
    School: Burlington Notre Dame, Burlington, IA
    Teacher(s): Larry Pohren
  • Title: From Boiling Point to Turning Point: The Bessemer Process
    Students: Rylan Crews, Wade Marshall
    School: Mediapolis Community School, Mediapolis, IA
    Teacher(s): Steven Steele 

SENIOR DIVISION HISTORICAL PAPER:

  • Title: The Rite of Spring
    Students: Rachel Gibbons
    School: Burlington High School, Burlington, IA
    Teacher(s): Sara St. John

SENIOR DIVISION INDIVIDUAL EXHIBIT:

  • Title: Penicillin
    Students: Holly Noneman
    School: Keokuk High School, Keokuk, IA
    Teacher(s): Barbara Edler, Patrick Hogan
  • Title: Sigmund Freud’s Impact on Psychiatric Practice
    Students: Cierstynn Welcher
    School: Van Buren Community Schools, Keosauqua, IA
    Teacher(s): Kacey Edgar

SENIOR DIVISION GROUP EXHIBIT:

  • Title: Annie Wittenmyer
    Students: Kara Prewitt, Ericka Mardis
    School: Keokuk High School, Keokuk, IA
    Teacher(s): Barbara Edler, Patrick Hogan
  • Title: A Change of Mind
    Students: Sarah Stanley, Kacey Cranston
    School: Sigourney High School, Sigourney, IA
    Teacher(s): Andy Harter

SENIOR DIVISION INDIVIDUAL DOCUMENTARY:

  • Title: The Triangle Fire: A Change in the Workplace
    Students: Kelly Mickael
    School: Burlington High School, Burlington, IA
    Teacher(s): Sara St. John 

SENIOR DIVISION GROUP DOCUMENTARY:

  • Title: Lock and Dam 19
    Students: Priya Khanolkar, Alexandra Logan,
    School: Keokuk High School, Keokuk, IA
    Teacher(s): Barbara Edler, Patrick Hogan
  • Title: Steam Locomotion: The Super Power
    Students: Trenton Humphrey, Cody Winkler, Marc Wharton, Nicholas Edler
    School: Keokuk High School, Keokuk, IA
    Teacher(s): Barbara Edler, Patrick Hogan

SENIOR DIVISION INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE- No entries 

SENIOR DIVISION GROUP PERFORMANCE:

  • Title: The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire: Turning the Tides of Fire Safety, Child Labor and Women’s Rights
    Students: Bailey Andrews, Karna Hampton, Nicole Johnson, Paige Johnson, Alicia Nickell
    School: Wayne Community Schools, Corydon, IA
    Teacher(s): Michael Jones
  • Title: The Power of Electricity
    Students: Kendall Berner, Grant Gabel, Jennifer Brown
    School: Keokuk High School, Keokuk, IA
    Teacher(s): Barbara Edler, Patrick Hogan

SENIOR DIVISION INDIVIDUAL WEB SITES:

  • Title: The RMS Titanic
    Students: Madison Osborn
    School: Burlington High School, Burlington, IA
    Teacher(s): Sara St. John

Again, Congratulations to those students advancing to state National History Day!

A special “thank you “ goes out to our judges that volunteered their time to make this event an educational and memorable experience for students, our teacher and parent supporters, the staff/volunteers at Fairfield Arts & Convention Center and Jane Broeg.

Contact: Shannon Johnson, shannon.johnson@gpaea.org, or 800-382-8970 ext. 1136

My PLN Journey….Do you have a Personal Learning Journey to Share?

Lisa Jacobs, GPAEA Technology Specialist

3D people networkingWhat is a PLN?  The letters P-L-N might be short for “Professional” Learning Network or a “Personal” Learning Network.  Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli have written a book  titled Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education.  The book explains what a PLN is all about and why it is important for every educator to build their own PLN.  In my journey, I have found it motivating to take a “personal” approach to building my “professional” network.

First you need to realize that you already have a PLN (everyone does), it just might not be on the internet.  Is there a teacher in your building you go to for advice or just to talk about an “idea” you are thinking about trying with a struggling student?  Do you ask your spouse for their opinion?  Is there a techie you go to when something is not working?  These people are already a part of your personal learning network.

There are tools on the internet that will help expand your  PLN and increase the power of resources  you have access to.  Some of the popular social networking tools on the internet are Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and social bookmarking such as Diigo.  If you are not familiar with these tools, there is a series of video tutorials (The Social & Interactive Web:  Today’s Web 2.0) on Atomic Learning that would be a great place to learn.  If you do not remember your school login for Atomic Learning ask your school librarian, school tech coordinator, or send an email to me lisa.jacobs@gpaea.org.

I currently use Facebook only for close friends and family, but I can see why schools and businesses are starting to use Facebook to connect to their communities.  Instead of maintaining an old one directional webpage with Facebook you can contribute by asking questions and posting comments.  I have started posting to a shared Blogspot with Seth Denney http://gpaeainstructionaltechnology.blogspot.com/.  I am still mulling over the idea that I have information that is worthy of posting.   I have been convinced by others, however,  that a blog can become your home base – a place on the internet where others can always find you.  I definitely have favorite blogs that I like to regularly read for new ideas and updates.

My biggest roadblock for using Twitter was that I did not feel I had the time for such trivia.  But now my I can’t imagine not taking just a few minutes to check in on the topics and people that ARE important to me!  By following some “professional” people and other “personal” topics,  I find it is a place to get daily inspiration, ideas, and updates.  I use Twitter to follow classroom teachers, librarians, technology coordinators, state leaders, CNN news, our local newspaper, and local TV news.  I also follow some just for fun sites which for me include Mother Earth News and sites that send daily inspirational quotes.

The motivation to use these tools for me came in realizing that learning CAN occur for the sake of learning!  I recently read an article about What Kids Know about the Internet that their Parents Don’t.  Here is a quote from the article:   “Young people are desperate for learning that is relevant and part of the fabric of their social lives, where they are making choices about how, when, and what to learn, without it all being mapped for them in advance. Learning on the Internet is about posting a burning question on a forum like Quora or Stack Exchange, searching for a how to video on YouTube or Vimeo, or browsing a site like Instructables, Skillshare, and Mentormob for a new project to pick up. It’s not just professors who have something to share, but everyone who has knowledge and skills.”

Creating a PLN is a different experience for teachers, superintendents, principals, and students.  A colleague of mine said the first site she began with was http://www.freetech4teachers.com/ .  Another great site for principals is http://connectedprincipals.com/.

We have created a Google document for anyone reading this article to share their favorite networking tools, hashtags, sites, and PLN experiences.  Please take time to share your own personal journey to creating your PLN by clicking on this link:  Shared PLN Google Document.  We will publish a summary of the information shared on the PLN Google Document in the May Cornerstone.

If you are interested in expanding the value of PLN’s on a wider scale that will impact your whole school, there are detailed steps outline in the PLN book by Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli.  If you need more motivation for why everyone needs to be more “connected” consider watching this video from YouTube:  Michael Wesch’s “From Knowledgeable to Knowledge-Able” YouTube Video.

Expect More… From Your Library

Kristin Steingreaber, GPAEA Media Specialist

business women in an officeThis week, I read an article, “Librarian Required – a new study shows that a full-time school librarian makes a critical difference in boosting student achievement” from School Library Journal, March 2013, and the results made me pause.

Based on 73% of Pennsylvania’s public schools, the PA School Library Study of 2011 concluded among others findings, these key points:

  1. Quality school library programs significantly impact the most vulnerable students.
    Students who are economically disadvantaged, black, Hispanic, and have IEPs benefit proportionally more than students generally.  These findings suggest that staffing libraries with certified librarians can help close achievement gaps. (30)
  2. Students who are poor, minority and have IEPs, but who have full-time librarians, are at least twice as likely to have “Advanced” writing scores as their counterparts without full-time librarians. (30)
  3. Generally, the benefits associated with larger staffing and collections and increased access to technology, databases, and to the library itself are proportionally greater for students who are poor, black, Hispanic and disabled. (30)
  4. For all students, those with full-time librarians are almost three times as likely to have “Advanced” writing scores as students without full-time librarians. (31)
  5. On average, almost nine percent more students score “Advanced” in reading where students have a full-time, certified librarian with support staff than where they have a full-time, certified librarian alone. (31)

What does that full-time librarian (teacher librarian) look like?

They are licensed teachers and required to have a MA.  They have the Iowa Core Literacy Standards on their desks as well as the AASL (American Association of School Librarians) Standards.  (They even have the AASL – Common Core Crosswalk link handy!)

They are not sitting behind their desks, though, but actively showing how to use databases, setting up corners of their libraries for podcast creation or video-editing, creating a pathfinder or Resource List for the social studies teacher down the hall.  They are in the hall and in classrooms, sharing new books and today’s Student News Net feature.  They are posting student writing – reviews of books, research results – in the library.

They are working with media paraprofessionals to set up displays, but as important, they are using those displays to reflect the student body and the work done in their school as well as open windows to the world beyond the school.  They are doing research for a teacher to set up a Skype conversation with a biotech expert.  They work to maintain a collection that meets the needs of their students and plan their budget to make this happen.  They also borrow resources and expose their students to AEA and Public Library collections.

They are aware of the technical challenges in their district and make every effort to help their schools in this transition.  They practice with apps and spend time using Atomic Learning to find tutorials that will help staff and students.  They are modeling the use of databases and digital resources in their teaching.

They are aware of the need for professional development.  This past year, AEA Media will have provided two full day workshops.   Last fall, we had a representative here from Visual Thesaurus to show how this database can help vocabulary development.  This spring, NBC Learn digital video will be here for a second time.

There have been three half-day participatory workshops where teacher librarians can work on individual goals.  Six live webinars were offered in January and February.   Several library journals, as well as other discipline journals are available for checkout through the GPAEA catalog.

Teacher librarians can make a difference and we need to support and expect quality library programs!   The results are important and not to be missed!

Kachel, Debra E., and Keith Curry Lance. “Librarian required – a new study shows that a full-time school librarian makes a critical difference in boosting student achievement.” School Library Journal 59.3 (2013): 28-31. Print.

Young Writers’ Conference 2013 a wintery success!!

Shannon Johnson, Instructional Services Secretary

The 2013 Young Writers’ Conference was held March 5 & 6th, on the William Penn Campus to honor student writers. It provided an opportunity for young authors to share their writing with peers, and introduced them to professional authors, storytellers, and other communicators. Students attended workshops, and learned new writing techniques. Students were also able to share their own stories with their peers in sharing sessions.

Secondary day started off with the attitude of old man winter causing many schools in the area to cancel and unable to attend.  203 secondary students and 27 teachers from 14 districts were registered, however, 6 districts, 92 students and 8 teachers attended to hear keynote Anthony Wedgeworth and four of the eight presenters. However, the weather did not stop the presenters, students and teachers from having a great day.  Anthony, an Iowa native, shared his experiences of moving often as a child, struggling of being the new kid and having dyslexia. Through his experiences, he shared his concept of Why Write?, and his basics of writing, story prep, storytelling and publishing. He is an author of four fantasy books and is self-published.  His tips for a great story involves ”always showing your reader instead of telling whenever possible”.  He shared examples of plot and character building, and how important relationships incorporate your readers.  Anthony was a joy to have present as he had so much to share!

Elementary day started off with minor weather concerns, but in attendance there were 512 elementary students and 76 teachers/parent volunteers from 19 districts and 2 non-public.  Nancy Carlson, illustrator and author, shared her journey of 67 picture books she has written and illustrated.  She walked the students through her characters and how her life, children and the family dog experiences created her world for writing.  Nancy is an artist who has known she wanted to draw since she was very young. She was excited to share with students her joy of drawing and had them draw with her, some of her characters.

There were breakout sessions on calligraphy, performance, poetry, puppetry, getting published, writing workshops and others.

A special “thank you” goes to our presenters who helped make this conference a memorable experience for all participants, our teacher and parent volunteers, William Penn University and staff for making 2013 a success!

It was an exciting two days of full and rich experiences helping students to discover new ideas that will spark their writing.

Off the Press – Cut Out Shapes, Fonts and Collections

Bring your lessons to life by creating visually enriching and hands-on learning experiences. 

Cut Out Shapes, Fonts and Collections 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The GPAEA Print/Production department can electronically cut letters, numbers, manipulatives, shapes and bulletin board collections and enhance your classroom activities. These computer-generated designs replace a much older hand-cut lettering and design process. We have access to more than 4,600 shapes, 18 fonts and 228 bulletin board collections – all scalable from 1” to 17’-1/2” in size to meet your needs!  Choose a shape from our vast library of electronic dies and then order the size or multiple sizes needed for different educational applications. This new system allows for greater flexibility, end-product scalability, and can provide modernized system of designs that supports teaching and learning. This system can be used to support the creation of cutouts, word walls, manipulatives, story boards – all of which support your initiatives to improve reading, math and science across the curriculum.

  • Shapes: Cutouts for manipulatives and displays
  • Fonts: Letters, numbers and symbols, Letters can be typed out in connected words or separate to form different words
  • Collections: Groupings of related shapes for curriculum activities, bulletin boards, crafts and more

For a visual catalog of the shapes, fonts and collections available, visit: http://www.variquest.com/content/cutout_maker

There are many ways to search what you are looking for once at this web site.

SEA244-Frog 1If you have any questions, contact the print/production department for further information at ext. 1144 or email printshop@gpaea.org.

SNAP Resource Lists – New Feature!

snap lettersA new feature in SNAP allows all of us to create resource lists and share them!  It’s really powerful and the collection is starting to build.

A video at GPAEA TV shows you how it works – http://bit.ly/GPResourceLists

Some practical examples –

  1. A teacher could create a list of video clips and documents and share with other teachers by including their emails in the share section.  
  2. A student could create a list of items (ebooks, digital video, print books, etc.) they needed for reading or research and share with teacher or teacher librarian for ordering. Those included in the Share email, simply log into SNAP and select their RESOURCE LISTS: Shared Lists to view.  Items are ready to put into their cart or access immediately if they are digital resources.
  3. Public Lists are shared with all teachers in GPAEA.  You can see some sample lists here:  http://podcast.gpaea.k12.ia.us/groups/gpaeamedia/wiki/e4fc8/New.html 

Need your media account UN/PW?  Contact us at mediacenter@gpaea.org

Use Atomic Learning to plan your Professional Development

Kristin Steingreaber, GPAEA Media Specialist

logo_atomic_learningAtomic Learning, not only available as an App, also provides you with planning and ongoing questions and strategies for new mobile environments.  An added feature, Mobile Learning  includes two sections:

1.  The Logistics Planner helps districts plan and grow as a mobile environment.

A range of questions are linked to video clips.  There are eight topics including:

  • Infrastructure / Models (from Bring your own to 1:1)
    Do you have the wireless infrastructure to support a successful implementation?  Will you have a separate network for student devices to ensure staff devices have adequate bandwidth?
  • Mobile Device comparisons / Mobile Management
  • Mobile Device accounts / App purchasing
    Will students need their own email, iTunes or other online account?
  • Policy / Implementation
    The sample personal device matrix is very helpful.
    http://www.atomiclearning.com/movie/94042/play_window
    Ongoing plans for staff professional development?

2.   The Adapting a lesson PD workbook provides a template for teachers, based on backwards design, to move from standards to how and when mobile devices will be needed.

  • What role will they play in instruction?  What am I doing to help my students be successful?  How am I going to teach this concept?
  • A very simple point, but important – How will you deliver materials to students and how will they turn in their work?
  • Is this a better lesson than when you started?

All of the Atomic Learning questions and videos can be used in your schools’ professional development next year.  Please contact me for ideas on implementation.

AEAs Impacting Lives – March 2013

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Teamwork is the overall theme of this month’s Impacting Lives update at http://aeas4iowa.wordpress.com/. Read how AEA professionals work with schools, families, organizations, and especially the students they serve to create opportunities for improved life and learning.
This issue includes:

  • Teamwork Continues to Improve Life of Ogden Boy with Hearing Loss
  • Meet the People Who Make a Difference: Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Northwest Iowa Boys Transition Smoothly to New Family

AEA PD Online & AEA K-12 Online Update – March

AEA PD Online’s and AEA K-12 Online’s March Blog Update is now available. Go to www.aeapdonline.org/ orwww.aeak12online.org for updates or click on the direct article links below. For real time updates, follow AEA PD Online on Twitter @aeapdonline or on your mobile device by accessing our app at myapp.is/aeapdonline.

Iowa's AEAs Create Blogs for Online Learning Updates

Iowa's AEAs Create Blogs for Online Learning Updates

For more information about AEA PD Online and AEA K-12 Online follow us on Twitter @aeapdonline.

Healthy Lifestyles Conference, Burlington – April 3

Attention school nurses, physical education teachers and coaches!

The Southeast Iowa Regional Coalition for Lifestyle Enhancement (SIRCLE) is sponsoring the 7th Healthy Lifestyles Conference on April 3rd from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Comfort Suites in Burlington.

The day will feature speakers who will focus on health and obesity issues plus three breakout sessions to discuss other health areas of concern.  Zonya Foco, RD, CHFI, CSP, will be making a return engagement to the conference.  She also spoke at the 2010 Healthy Lifestyles Conference.  This year Zonya will presenting twice, How to Make Nutrition Exciting, Fun and Inspiring and Conviction over Convenience: Staying Healthy in a Culture that’s ANYTHING BUT!  Zonya is an author, dietitian, TV host, and national speaker who teaches families across the country the hard facts of good nutrition. Continue reading

Become an Online Instructor with OLLIE Courses

Iowa's AEAs Create Blogs for Online Learning Updates2013 Summer OLLIE & MOLLIE Schedule
Overview – Online Learning for Iowa Educators (OLLIE) is a foundational five-course sequence to help individuals to become an online instructor, whether at the post-graduate level, for professional development, or at the K-12 level.  For more information on OLLIE and the sequence, please visit http://www.aeapdonline.org/p/ollie.html
In 2013, we are introducing More Online Learning for Iowa Educators (MOLLIE), a simple name to describe our secondary layer of professional development, aimed to help current online instructors looking to improve their practice.  MOLLIE features a set of electives in specific aspects of online teaching and learning to be explored more closely. Continue reading