CUE Presents LeRoy’s Big Idea 2016 Finalists

LeRoy's Big IdeaOn what would have been Mark Twain’s 180th birthday, CUE launched a search for similarly brilliant representatives of educational innovation to embody the creative spirit of CUE’s original irascible author and columnist, LeRoy Finkel. The Fellowship was set up in his name over 20 years ago to “promote leadership in the field of educational technology.”

After a fierce and exciting selection process, the CUE Awards Committee and Board of Directors are proud to announce the six LeRoy Finkel Finalists, one of whom will be named “2016 Fellow” on stage at the CUE 2016 National Conference. We would like to thank all those passionate educators who applied and uploaded one minute videos and encourage them to submit again next year!


Ronalea Freeth 1st grade teacher, Bonita Unified School District – San Gabriel Valley CUE


3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. The next industrial revolution in manufacturing will happen in America – President Barack Obama

FreethThis year my first graders have had truly enjoyed learning how to code, and learning about computer science. We have had a computer programer come to our class and explain the “language” of computers. As the world changes I want to make sure my students have every opportunity to learn new technologies. My BIG IDEA is to use the $500 budget to purchase a XYZ Printing Da Vinci Jr. 3D printer, and PLA Filament. By purchasing a 3D printer they will be able to use art, and coding to create anything! One of my first lessons will be using the 3D printer to create a character from their favorite book. The possibilities are endless and I would love the opportunity to work with a mentor and learn all I can to take back to my first graders.


Katherine Goyette-CamposK-5 Curriculum Support Provider, Sanger Unified School District – Central Valley CUE


14_GOYETTE_MS. copyLow-income, rural students have limited access to technology. CCSS ELA standards call for student-led digital media presentations and research-based writing in electronic format. Despite limited resources, we must guarantee digital literacy development. A group of students named #TigerTechTeam will become technology leaders of learning. Students will conduct purposeful internet research, produce and publish writing as a forum for virtual collaboration, and use digital media for presentations. Students will create a website as information hub. Hyperlinks will provide access to blogs, curated youtube tutorials, google forms, and a calendar to schedule tutorials. The $500 budget will be used for 2 bluetooth portable speaker systems with microphones, 5 surge protectors with 4 port USB charging stations, 20 styluses, and 20 sets of earbuds.


Lisa Lista – 5th grade teacher, Chino Valley Unified – Inland Area CUE


ListaMy Big Idea is to purchase Little Bits kits to enhance student learning by incorporating engineering with science and math. These innovative kits highly impact student learning by encouraging them to use collaboration to problem solve, creativity to design their project, and learn circuits/electrical pathways/coding. I would purchase 3 Base Kits at $99 each and 2 Arduino Coding Kits at $89. Standards alignment includes NGSS 3-5-ETSI-2 Engineering Design: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based situation, SEP 2: Develop and Use Models, and 5.MD.C.3a Geometry: Recognize volume as an attribute of solid figures and understand concepts of volume measurements. My students will construct 3D figures using nets to create buildings and determine the volume of their figures. As engineers, the students will use Little Bits to design electrical features for their building.


Jonathan Natividad3rd grade teacher, Alum Rock Unified School District – Silicon Valley CUE


NatividadI want my students to write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences. Specifically,

a. Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
b. Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.

My students come from homes where they don’t have the space or freedom to run around. Their creativity is stifled. My students will enjoy writing narratives after they create videos about the adventures they film. They’ll unleash their creativity and have their video as a guide as they embark on creative narrative writing! Imagine the conversations students would have as they evaluate the work of others! The cost of this project is 1 GoPro Hero with LCD ($300, 1 micro 64GB micro SDXC ($80), 1 Junior Chest Harness ($30), and 1 Head Strap ($20). 


HeadshotCrystal Rivas5th grade teacher, Bonita Unified School District – San Gabriel Valley CUE


My idea is a technology driven thematic unit. Our unit can be changed to many topics, but we’ll revolve ours orcas. Our students will design devices to keep our oceans clean, ETS1-1.. They’ll create models on the life cycle and food chains of orcas, PS3-1. & LS2-1. Students will analyze calorie consumption as they learn the biological needs of the animal, OAA.1&NBTB.5-7. They’ll write, revise, and share opinion papers to discuss the issues that face the endangered species, W5.1. They’ll participate in debates, SL5.4 and a virtual Q&A with an orca specialist, SL5.2. They’ll research the issues and create public service announcements, W5.7. In addition to mastery of the standards, the unit will be driven by technology. Green screens will inspire narrative writing pieces (W5.3). Chromebooks will serve as our canvas to create and share presentations, drawings. Our thematic unit is in need of an iOgrapher videography set and tripod that is 459 dollars.


Tracy Walker6th grade teacher, Novato Unified School District – North Bay CUE

walkerBIG IDEA:

Two of my current students are the inspiration behind my big idea. They’ve come to the conclusion that they are “dumb,” and have given up on school. Why even try when you are going to fail anyway? It is possible that these students haven’t seen the work that goes on behind the scenes of an essay, project, or a speech. They assume that school is easy for everyone except them.

To combat this fixed mindset way of thinking, I propose publishing the process that occurred backstage rather than just showcasing students’ final products. Using a shared Google Slides presentation, students document their progress with photos or document drafts. Parents and staff would be encouraged to share their stories of when they exhibited a growth mindset. The presentation would play on a TV.

I teach a semi self-contained 6th grade class (English, history, PE) at a middle school. My proposal addresses the Common Core Anchor Standards of Reading, Language, Writing, and Speaking and Listening and is replicable by any grade level. The budget covers a flat screen TV with HDMI port, TV mount, and Chromebit.

How it will work:
After Friday morning’s keynote each of the six finalists will take to the stage to present an even Bigger version of their Big Idea. Their audience: a panel of edu-rock stars and everyone in attendance. These five-minute presentations will net one of these educators the $2,500 fellowship.

By a combined vote of the panel and the audience, one educator will be named the next “LeRoy Finkel Fellow.”  The Fellow will be given a mentor, provided travel and registration to the ISTE Conference that same year and invited to write about their idea in an upcoming issue of the OnCUE Journal. The five finalists will each receive $500 to implement their idea and will be invited to write a blog and be featured in the same OnCUE Journal issue as the fellow.

Panelists will include:

Jerome Burg – a past LeRoy Finkel fellow, he used his seed funding to launch Google Lit Trips, now GLT Global ED501(c)(3) educational non-profit  that “3-dimensionalizes” the reading experience as students virtually travel alongside the characters from famous literature on the surface of Google Earth. Jerome taught High School English for 35 years at Granada High School in Livermore, CA, is a member of CUE’s Awards committee as well as a past CUE Board Member.

Jo-Ann Fox – an instructional coach in the Escondido Union School District, 2012 semi-finalist for California Teacher of the Year, co-founder of #CAEdChat, CUE Lead Learner, co-founder of Quantum Academy at the Nicolaysian Center and a co-planner of EdCamp San Diego. Follow her at @appeducationfox.

Roger Wagner – creator of HyperStudio and HyperDuino, current CUE board member and private pilot, Roger was named alongside Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Seymour Papert and Steve Wozniak as the 5 most important educational technological gurus of the last two decades by Technology & Learning magazine. More about Roger at: rogerwagner.com.

Debra White a former six-year CUE Board Member, affiliate leader and long-time chair of the CUE Awards Committee, Debra has taught theater arts for over 34 years,. She has directed over 200 productions, including a production of The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, and worked extensively to integrate technology and the arts. Debra has worked as a trainer for The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The California Arts Project, and Orange County Department of Education. She is currently the Education Committee Chair for Prescott Center for the Arts in Prescott, Arizona.

…plus one “Mystery Panelist” to be announced at the conference.

The LeRoy’s Big Idea: Lesson Master Class session will be held from 10:15 – 11:15 am on Friday, March 18 at the CUE 2016 National Conference. Pre-registration ends February 25 (postmark deadline is February 18). in Primrose B. The The Lesson Master Class will be emceed by former CUE Board member Hall Davidson with “lesson wrangler” Jon Corippo on hand and be recorded for viewing on CUEtube.


Mike Lawrence is CUE’s Chief Executive Officer. An educator for over 25 years, he worked as a teacher, administrator, and professional developer prior to starting at CUE in 2005. He received the CUE Gold Disk in 2010 and recently served two terms on the ISTE Board of Directors. He is the Director of the California Student Media Festival, was named one of NSBA’s “20 to Watch in Educational Technology” in 2012, and received ISTE’s Making IT Happen Award in 2013. | mlawrence@cue.org  @techmaverick 

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Mike Lawrence

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