September Adventures with the iPad

I have thought about creating a blog post for a good month now.  I was putting it off because I tend to have a perfectionist streak, but today I woke up and decided to just write a post already! I actually edited that last sentence 10 times, by the way.

So we are fortunate enough to have 11 iPads for student use at our school.  I wanted to start the year off right, emphasizing technology integration and collaboration skills, so my I decided to create a project for my sixth grade social studies classes that involved geography apps and a book creation app. The students would need to create an ebook (eBook? Ebook?) on Scribble Press that contained various maps and write descriptions about the types of maps.  They would take screenshots from Google Earth and Kids World Maps.  I decided this would be my map skills unit, so I practiced using the apps on my own, created a rubric, and introduced it to my classes.

As a whole, I was quite pleased with the project outcomes and the students seemed to benefit from practicing map skills in this way, as opposed to the worksheet way.  It took longer than I expected, but they did gain experience with group skills and lots of problem solving.

Of course, with using iPads, there is a large amount of interest, but I found the group sizes to be problematic on the first day.  The kids had trouble sharing one iPad (group size was between 3 and 4) and working out how to share the responsibilities to create their books.  Once we discussed some strategies on how to keep all group members working, that problem was quickly solved.

And, of course, there are always issues with technology! Since the iPads hadn’t been updated over the summer, Scribble Press kept shutting down mid page for some students.  I conducted a mini Twitter lesson, and sent out a tweet to Scribble Press for help.  They were very helpful!! You can check out my twitter page for more details (@ghostbustrsteph).  Due to the app’s unpredictable behavior, students were only able to complete 1-2 pages of their books during a class period.  Some of the groups eventually gravitated towards the classroom’s pull down map and the poor iPad was left discarded on the table.  Some things never lose their appeal!

There it is- my first blog post and hopefully some inspiration.


-Stephanie Antar

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Encouraging each other?

I received an email yesterday from a group member who, like me, forgot the log-in procedure for our blog!

Now, how sad is that? I couldn’t even find the information for a blog I initiated!!

But I decided not to let guilt and embarrassment get in the way…and it got me thinking about, “Ok…what has happened that got me off-track?”

The answer is simple….the Beginning of School! I thought I was pretty busy this summer, but summer activity so pales in comparison to the intensity and pressures of these beginning school days, especially for us in the A. of P. So many changes, so many demands, so many pressures…and I don’t know about you, but often it feels like “two steps forward, one step back.”

At St. Martin de Porres, like other Mission Schools, we have begun an Extended Day program through Katie McDowell’s Catholic Social Services Grant Program, which adds an hour and a half to our school day. This week, the program has brought our students four fabulous music assemblies from “Musicopia,” and the students hardly even know it’s a longer day due to the quality of the musicians.

Having said that, we are all (students and teachers alike) even more exhausted at the end of the school day than we were before. I expect us all to adjust, but the thing that is most helpful is the encouragement we receive from our Admin and from each other. We are trying to be a little cheering section for the kids and for ourselves, and that support makes all the difference. (Click here if you’d like to read our students’ blogs on the Extended Day!)

I hope you are receiving encouragement in your schools for the challenges you face. And if the encouragement is not evident at the moment, perhaps we Pact10 folks can be the catalysts for that kind of support at our schools?

And thanks, Stephanie, for YOUR encouragement!


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Thank You

Many thanks to Bell and Tina for putting this together for all of us.
Happy end of summer and welcome to the new school year.

Emily Mullen ~ Good Shepherd Catholic Regional School

Posted in Emily Mullen | Leave a comment

Thanks, Tina!

Thanks, Tina Schmidt, for helping us get our Pact2010 blog set so EVERYONE can post 24-7. This Blog belongs to all of us!


Posted in Bell Gallagher, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to Write a Post

Hello Pact 10 Friends!

If you follow these easy instructions, you can be a guest writer on our new Pact 10 Blog.  We will all use the same username and password to log in.  That information was sent out through our Google group.  Email Bell if you need the login information.  We will use Categories to differentiate between teachers’ post.  Here is how it will work.

  1. Under Meta on the right side of the blog, click on “Log in”.  Log in with the username and password provided.  You should come to a dashboard that looks like this.  Hover the cursor over the word Posts on the left and choose “Add New.”

2. Give your post a title and fill in your ideas.  When you are finished, look for the “Categories” box on the bottom right of the page.  Note: if you are using the “Pop out” feature for writing a new post, you will not see the Category box so it is best to follow these directions to write a new post.

You will see that right now, Bell and I are the only teachers listed in the Categories.  Click on the ” +Add New Category” at the bottom of the box to add your name.  It will expand and look something like this.

3.  Fill in your name next to the cursor and click “Add New Category” under the words “Parent Category.”  Your name will then come up in the list along with Bell’s and mine.  Be sure to check the box next to your name now and every time you write a post.

4. Click the “Publish” button to make your post go live.  The name of the person who wrote the post will be listed right under each post.  As more teachers add their names and write posts, the list of Categories will expand.  In the future, if you want to explore all of the posts written by a specific person, just click on their name in the list of Categories to filter it.

If you have any questions or problems, send them to the Google group and one of us with help.  More fun to come as we share and learn from each other with this new blog!

Posted in Tina Schmidt | Tagged | Leave a comment

Thinking About Discoveries

It is the end of Summer 2012, and our Connelly Summer Tech Academy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has welcomed over 250 Educators into our Pact10GoogleGroup since 2010.

It has been an incredible journey for many of us as we’ve learned to depend on each other for support and ideas as we move forward using technology in this exciting and challenging time in Catholic Education.

I have discovered much, thus the name of this blog, “Pact10Discoveries!”

Discoveries are about the new and the old. Some discoveries, like disease cures, a new voice in the political landscape, or a new technology tool, are as yet unknown…totally new. Other discoveries are the unearthing of something old…an ancient city, a religious figure from long ago whose ideas are suddenly pertinent in 2012, or an educational idea from the past whose time has come yet again!

I have discovered WONDERFUL things about our Catholic Educators since Pact10 has begun, and I would like to share what I have discovered, and to invite my Colleagues to join me in reflecting about our discoveries.

Discovery #1: Connecting with colleagues inspires us to “see things differently.”

Sharon reminded us all of the “Flipped Classroom” model which has gained momentum in recent years, and now many of us are gobbling up her posts and thinking of ways we could Flip our own classes. A wonderful Discovery!

Posted in Bell Gallagher | 6 Comments