Category Archives: STANDARD 4 MANAGEMENT

Webinars and Chats for PD


  1. TechEducator Podcast: High Tech Ways to Communicate with Students and Parents – This informative session focused on different technologies for mass communication with students and parents. The primary focus was on the use of Remind. It was cool to have my question posed by the host. I wanted to know if the messages used any cellular data. The answer is no. They are SMS messages only, which is great for where I live since data isn’t always available.
  2. Digital Storytelling – this webinar was strange as the portal was there and setup, but nothing happened. Other people came and went but the presentation never happened. I thought I was there at the wrong time but according to the screen, I joined the live session. Therefore, I am not counting this one…
  3. Digital Citizenship: New Roles and Responsibilities in the Digital Age hosted by OCLO WebJunction – This webinar focused on using Common Sense Media, a resource I was familiar with prior to the webinar. I did learn a lot as I didn’t know the extent of the materials available through this organization. The materials are free and easily downloadable. I did ask a question about the resources, but it was not answered. What I wanted to know was if the resources were available as a collection verses as individual downloads. On reflection, I think I should have posed my question a little differently to clarify what I was asking. Either way, I wish the moderator had answered my question. Another benefit of using this service was the certificate that they sent for my attendance and participation. A drawback of this webinar was the sound. I had a difficult time hearing the various speakers. Fortunately, the slides were helpful and I got the gist of what was said.
  4. Managing Google Apps Inside Your School District – This webinar was hosted by Tech Learning via New Bay Media. I had difficulty getting the Wi-Fi connection to work, so resorted to the audio option using my iPhone. This session used the same Webex portal as the Digital Citizenship session and again I had problems with the audio. I could not hear the speakers clearly and gave up halfway through the presentation. Since I couldn’t hear or participate, I am not counting this session even though they sent me an attendance certificate.
  5. I revisited the TechEducator weekly webinar for another session on Teaching Elementary Students to Code. This is a combination of a webinar and chat. I like that it is a free flow of information and sharing. I got more from others than I had to share – I was here mostly as a lurking learner. I teach middle school but felt I could still learn from this webinar, and I did. The Hour of Code and Kodable were the focus with mentions of scratch and hopscotch. One of the main points brought out was that coding is not only a programming skills, but it is applicable to academics and provides an opportunity for students to collaborate. Another thing that stood out was how the coding is building not only collaboration but also resilience. The presenters noted that the coding did not have to be done online; there are options for pencil and paper. This is great for those with limited connection. From the chat conversation, we discussed when to fit in an hour for coding. The answer was in bits and pieces. The misconception is that the coding must be done in one session, it does not. It is completed over the course of a week. That got me to thinking it would be a great activity for my homeroom, as we have 15-20 minutes daily that we could utilize for coding. The logic, critical thinking, and decision-making skills students develop would cross over into several areas. For this session, I was mobile, so I used my laptop to watch. The host pointed out that chatwing now had an app, so I downloaded it and used it to chat. I did have to refresh my chatwing connection midway through the presentation and reverted to my laptop. There was a lot of share of resources, so I figured I would pass them along.
  6. Discovery Education: Difficulty and Complexity in the Classroom – Doing Both and Saving Time. This presentation was informative and I learned a lot. I really could have used this more in previous years when I was a reading facilitator, but I can still use the premise in my classes. Since it will be available online in a few days, I will send the link on to the ELA teachers and reading facilitators. What I did get from this presentation is how to use a grade level excerpt with diverse learning abilities. The presenters gave suggestions on how to differentiate instruction so all learners can benefit. They also went over DOK and how it applied in various senarios. The meat of this webinar was in the presentation, even though some of the participants shared some resources. I liked that you had to take a quiz to get the attendance certificate. I took the quiz to get my certificate, and then just shook my head, because the certificate was for “What Should Students be Writing? Common Core Expectations for Writing and Best Practices for Meeting Writing Requirements.”
  7. Discovery Education: Leadership in the Age of Connectedness. This was a great webinar! One of the participants Rachel, started a shared Google Doc (this is a copy) that several of us contributed to. I think listening, chatting, and working on the document is what really stood out as a learning experience for me. The presenters were pretty awesome, and if you get a chance I would recommend their book The Relevant Educator. The conversation in the chat was good and I felt as I contributed. I was more tuned in to listening and then helping with the document. One thing that resonated with me is a closing comment by Tom Whitby and one we had heard before. He said start looking at the different streams for the organizations, and see who they are following, then check the people or groups out to see who you should add to your Personal Learning Network. The slides from this presentation will be available in a few days. I would strongly recommend that you look them over.

Overall, I enjoyed this structure. It was an efficient and effective use of my time. I could choose sessions that applied directly to my learning needs, instead of having to sit through a one-size-fits-all session. Sadly, the vast majority of the webinars I found were during the school day when I couldn’t participate. That was definitely a drawback. On the upside, most of them were recorded so I can see what I missed but you miss the collaborative aspect that way. I also learned that if you are going through a service such as Webex, be sure to join early as it can take a while to get through the sign in process and make sure your Wi-Fi connection is stable. I watched the end of the session on my iPhone and could still respond in the chat/twitter box.

Twitter Chats:

  1. #EdChat – this was session was pretty fast paced, but I did get a great suggestion from one of the participants on some different apps to help get more out of assessments: Nearpod, TodaysMeet, GetKahoot, and Socrative. There was an interesting infographic from this session shared by Jeff Noonan as well.
  2. #StoryCraft – this is a group of writers that have a discussion using twitter. I was hoping to get some tips on how to get my students engaged in writing. Instead, I was surprised that I was able to provide some advice on how to add subtext by suggesting ways to incorporate body language and intonation into the narrative to help the reader with inference.
  3. #21stEdChat – this was an interesting chat. The primary focus for my part was a discussion on collaboration. Specifically, how to blend instruction with collaboration and reflection time. This was interesting but not as flowing as other chats I followed.i dont know
  1. #MSMathChat – this is for middle school math teachers. Tonight’s discussion was two pronged. The first question was on fostering intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The conversation drifted at times but the upshot is many of the participants use extrinsic rewards such as tickets or fake money or using applications like Class Dojo. The intent is to build confidence so students begin to internalize success and become self-motivated. One of the comments that stuck was do we want students to be divergent or convergent thinkers, and based on that what motivation do we foster. The second was on how to redirect students without burning the relationship bridge. There were a variety of answers, some rather tongue-in-cheek, but overall respectfully was the message and to let each day begin with a clean slate.

I watched a couple of other chats such as #EdTechChat, but it went so fast I didn’t really enjoy it. I did get a few tips from it but prefer the slower paced chats that I can follow and contribute. As I get the hang of it, I have learned that by using my tweet deck I can participate in multiple chats at once – if they aren’t going crazy. Tonight I had #diglit next to #msmathchat and was able to pick up some good resources and contribute a few tweets in the digital literacy stream while I focused primarily on the math chat.

I think some of the weekly webinars, and definitely some of the Twitter chats are going to become a regular part of my ongoing personal/professional development. I wasn’t so thrilled with Twitter at the beginning, but the more I use it the more I learn from it.



Curation and Pearl Trees

For this project we were supposed to pick a topic and using our groups curation criteria select a tool to begin curating. I decided to choose a tool I was not familiar with for this project. It would have been easier to stick to familiar territory by using Scoop It, but I like to use assignments as an opportunity to explore new tools. I looked at Live Binders and a couple other tools and then settled on Pearl Trees.

Pearl Trees does have a lot going for it. You can choose an image for each category tile, and provide an overall description. I haven’t figured out if you can change the layout of the tiles, yet. You can rearrange the order but they stay in a column and row format. What I do like about this tool is you can search other user’s libraries and add their resources to your own, building a network. You can also invite others to join your network. I see this as a great way to build your PLN, especially going beyond the direct connections of people you know.

For this project my intended audience is middle school teachers and students. I used the criteria our group designed to evaluate the resources selected. As I worked through the categories, some of the resources I originally found just didn’t fit, so they were omitted. Most of the article and resources are the work of recognized institutions and organizations, with a few articles from individuals. Click here to view my reflection post.

I may have bitten off more than I ought to have, but once I started it was like a snowball going down the mountainside. I was going to just focus on what WICOR is, but then I decided that maybe each part needed some resources – so I have 6 different categories with a focus on the middle school population. My PearlTree an overview of WICOR, then writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading.

pearl tree



543 Social Networking Intro…

Greetings and salutations!

When life forces you to have problems, life forces you to learn, and learning forces you to grow [photograph]. (2012, April 28). Retrieved from

When life forces you to have problems, life forces you to learn, and learning forces you to grow [photograph]. (2012, April 28). Retrieved from

When I first read the syllabus, I realized that I this course was going to take me out of my comfort zone. While I love using technology and see the benefit for social media as a tool, I am not a social media junkie. Fortunately, I joined Twitter during 537, created my blog as part of the M.E.T. program, and have had personal Facebook account for several years, so I am not coming into this class totally blind.

Even though I am in my final semester of the M.E.T. program, I have never really used social media for professional development, except for the blogging and tweeting directly related to classes. However, both personally and professionally, I have a tendency to binge on blogs when I am trying to find information. I haven’t found a balance yet, but I am working on it.

Ten years ago, I attended a workshop on using blogging in the classroom and have been wanting to incorporate blogging ever since. Finally, this year I got the go ahead. In the district where I work all things categorized as social media are blocked, but I found the one exception – Edublogs, probably because it has a “.org” designation. Now that I have an all clear, we began blogging in the classroom 3 weeks ago. It is going much slower than I had anticipated, as the students aren’t all jumping on the blog bandwagon just yet. I do see glimmers of interest in students who are finding an outlet for their creative side. It has been especially helpful for those who don’t normally interact with other students.

My hope for this course is that I will stretch and grow while I learn to use theses platforms to enhance not just my learning and teaching, but the learning of my students as well.



Get Them Blogging!

For the final assignment for this course, I wrote a plan for getting my students blogging. It is far from an original thought in this day and age, but for my site it is new and different.

As we move forward, I want the students to be prepared for the influx of access to technology, not just the Internet. Keeping this in mind, as well as the school’s goal of WICORizing the curriculum (embedding writing, inquiry, collaboration, organizing, and reading), I think blogging is an ideal way to to achieve these goals. 

Classroom Blogging Activity

Specific Course: Students enrolled in Computer Applications 7 will pilot student blogging by utilizing the teacher’s Edublogs Pro account.

Blog Usage: The teacher and students will be able to view each other’s blogs; however, the student blogs will only be accessible to the outside world with the password.

Timeline: This activity covers the initial setup of student blogs and postings and will cover a eight class periods.

 Day 1 & 2: Introduction to blogging

Day 3 & 4: Guided practice in setting up blog and publishing initial post

Day 5: Compose and publish post based on class blog prompt

Day 6 & 7: Comment and respond to classmates posts

Day 8: Reflect on the process, what worked, what didn’t work, challenges and how they were overcome. Shout-outs for classmates

Posts  & Comments: The class blog will contain a prompt or assignment from which students will compose posts on their individual blogs and comment as appropriate to either the class blog or fellow classmate blogs, if not both. The prompt will incorporate core course content to create a bridge between the computer application elective and academic courses.

Example of Post Prompts:

  • Where I come from
  • How PBIS has affected me
  • My academic goals for the year
  • How I prepared for my conference with my parents
  • My Binder, my academic life
  • My top math sites and why
  • How having a laptop is going to change my study habits
  • Digital curriculum and my learning style

Assessment: During this lesson students will be assessed by multiple measures including a checklist, observation, and rubric. A checklist will be used to track that students are able to independently log in to their account to create pages and posts, and manage comments. A rubric based on the University of Wisconsin’s Stout Blogging Rubric will be used to score posts, comments, and responses.

Other information: The vast majority of the students have limited access to the Internet outside of school, depending on Wi-Fi services at the local grocery store or hotspots when they travel an hour or more to town. With the new one-to-one initiative roll out coming soon, students at some point will have a device to take home, not right away but at some point in the school year.

Introduction to Blogging in the Classroom Lesson Plan

Date August 3 Class Computer Apps 7 C Edwards
Arizona Technology Standards  Strand 1: Creativity and Innovation

  • Concept 4: Original Works
    • PO 2: Use digital tools to synthesize information, produce original works, and express ideas.

Strand 2: Communication and Collaboration

  • Concept 1: Effective Communications and Digital Interactions
    • PO 1: Collaborate and communicate with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital tools to share findings and/or publish.
    • PO 2: Explain and demonstrate features, conventions, voice, and etiquette of interactive digital environments to communicate with an appropriate audience.
  • Concept 2: Digital Solutions
    • PO 1: Communicate and collaborate for the purpose of producing original works or solving problems.

Strand 6: Technology Operations and Concepts

  • Concept 1: Understanding
    • PO 2: Define and apply knowledge of various technical process terms.
    • PO 3: Choose technology applications appropriate for the audience and task.
    • PO 4: Recognize and demonstrate ergonomically safe and sound use of equipment.
  • Concept 2: Application
    • PO 6: Identify criteria for evaluating technical and design qualities of a web site and then create web‐based content from the identified criteria.
Objective  Students will demonstrate the ability to utilize a blog as educational tool by:

  1. Independently accessing their Edublog account
  2. Opening the dashboard and set up their blog pages and appearance
  3. Compose and publish posts
  4. Comment on teacher and other students blog posts
  5. Utilizing keyboarding skills
Essential Questions What is a blog?Who has a blog?How can I enhance my learning by using a blog?Do you think a blog or the post’s appearance matters?
Anticipatory Set Do any of you like to write? We all use Cornell Notes at this school; you also have learning logs, and have to write summaries and reflections of your learning. How many of you would like to do that digitally?  Have you ever looked at a website thought  “wow, whoever did this really did a good job.” or found that one site that was just horrible? Did you every think you would have your own unique website…Well now you will!
Direct Instruction
  • Modeling
Describe what a blog is and show a collection of blogs from the Edublog Class DirectoryDemonstrate:

  • How to navigate to Edublogs and bookmark the site
  • How to login and logout of the site
  • How to navigate the site
    • Posts – create and edit
    • Upload media
    • Pages – create and edit
    • Comments
    • Appearance
    • Preview
    • How to create a page
    • How to create and publish a post
  • Guided Practice
The students will work with a shoulder partner coaching each other through the steps of as the teacher guides them through:

  • Logging into Edublogs
  • Navigating to pages
  • Creating class page
  • Creating  and publishing initial post
  • Check for Understanding
Discuss what is appealing or not in the selected blogsMove about the room to observes studentsThink-Pair-ShareRandom Reporter
  • Independent Practice
Students will create a post in response to a prompt on the classroom blog and comment on two student blogs, and respond appropriately to any responses on their post.
Closure This is the first in a series of lessons. Students will use the product of this lesson as a foundation for future class/school assignments.Reflection/Class discussion:

  • How do you think using blogging will help you in reflecting on your learning?
  • What is the impact of responding to other students using comments on their blog? Is it different from just telling them?
  • Do you see the need for keyboarding skills in relation to your blogging?
  • Checklist – Students demonstrate they can log in, navigate Edublogs, create posts and comments independently
  • Rubric – Student blogs, post, and comments assessed based on the University of Wisconsin – Stout Blogging Rubric, created by Karen Franker.
  • Observation – Work ethic: time on task, collaboration, organization, safe and appropriate use of technology, proper keyboarding technique
Resources/Materials Computer with authorized Internet AccessVocabulary listEdublog Pro subscriptionEdublog Directory – Class BlogsEdublog tutorials:

  • Set up My Class for managing student blogs
  • How students create their own blog and Join a Class Using My Class
  • Student Blogging


A Blogging Plan!

A plan, a plan! I have a plan to make my teacher site a blog. To have more than the static welcome and required pages is my plan.

So far, other than maybe a cursory update none of the teachers at our school actually uses their sites. If I challenged the teachers to login, I would venture to say that 90%, or more,  wouldn’t even know their logins, much less where to go to access their page. Therefore, I am challenging myself to start actually using my site. Who knows, maybe it will be catching and others will follow.

While some content will stay the same, such as they course syllabus and contact information, the front page needs to become dynamic. This is where the plan comes into play. I am going to boldly go from nothing to an average of 2 posts a week! This is an aggressive schedule, but one that will hopefully garner a readership (even if it is an assigned one).

Week of: Entry Type & Topic Theme Posting Date
August 3 – 9 Discussion – How PBIS is changing the school

List – 5 positive changes on campus

School Culture August 3

August 6

August 10 – 16 Goal Setting – SMART Goals

Links – Career/Interest Inventories

Achievement August 10

August 13

August 17 – 23 DIY – How to Prepare for Student Led Conferences

List – Binder Checklist



August 17

August 21

August 24 – 30 Links – Best math sites for fluency practice Achievement August 24
August 31 – September 6 Event – The Great Device Roll Out

List – Steps to care for your device

School Culture


August 31

September 3

September 7 – 13 Discussion – Should students/parents have to pay a fee or provide insurance to take a laptop home? Responsibility


September 7
September 14 – 20 Discussion – How is Digital Curriculum Affecting You?

Links – Keyboarding sites

Achievement September 14


September 17

September 21 – 27 Discussion – Do you affect the attendance competition?

List – Benefits of attending school

School Culture



September 21


September 24

September 28 – October 4 Guest Blogger Respect Week of September 28

The challenge is set! Let the blogging begin…



Top Cool Tools Courtesy of 537

For my final post of the year I decided to compile a linked list of my favorite sites and apps I learned about from my fellow classmates and one or I stumbled onto myself. Oh, did I mention…they are FREE!



a graphic bookmark app that allows you to create your own mix of sites and the option to choose from a gallery of webmixes shared by other users. A mix can be tiles with links or set up as a feed reader.


an audio or video podcast recording app. Free, easy to use, and embeds easily into blogs





safe one-way messaging for teachers to broadcast to students and/or parents without number sharing or one-to-one private     messaging





cool site  with lots of images to help you visualize the  space offering that also provides links to the various design elements to add the finishing touches to your newly designed space




class dojo



visual acknowledgement that is positive reinforcement for selected behaviors. Each student has a cool little alien monster avatar. Generates reports for teachers and/or parents about behaviors



What’s all this Writing About?

One of the most common topics while sitting in the teachers’ lounge or at any professional development session is the need for students to write. You hear comments like “students write as if they are texting,” “their writing is horrid,” and so on. The list of concerns goes on, but you get the drift. In short, the students appear to have little to no command of writing conventions. Everyone is going in circles trying to figure out how to get students to write complete sentences that makes sense. It seems as if writing went from the staunch grammar class side (gerunds and past present perfect participles still give me the willies) to the casual side of “oh, they will get it if they read their own writing.”

We know students are in dire need of writing experiences that have a purpose (not busy work), and if, it will instill a desire to write more, that would be ideal. I, too, see the need to get students to communicate effectively using the printed word. Blogging will get students writing. After all, that is what blogging is all about. It is the desire to get my students composing that prompted me to take this class. I have tried talking various administrators into letting me blog with my computer classes for years but to no avail. I figured maybe if I took the class, I would have a solid foundation on which to base my request.
Like a lot of others, I subscribe to numerous RSS feeds, most have something to do with food. I love baking and cooking and have many food allergies, so I like getting recipes I don’t have to adapt. One of the blogs I follow is Foodie Fiasco. The site is the creation of a teenage girl. She has been blogging about her adventures in the kitchen for a couple of years now. She is not the only school-aged person out there running a blog, so I am thinking, “why wouldn’t this work with my students?”

There is a lot of information out there about student blogs. Just about every article I read for this course expounded on the fact that blogging is writing…with a purpose. In the article Blogs: personal e-learning spaces, it describes blogs as just an extension of the tried and true learning logs and journals. Blogs take something personal and turn it into a “public performance space” (Lamshed, Berry, and Armstrong, 2002). O’Donnell cites a 2004 article by Clancy Ratliff that explains that, by blogging, students create a learning community. As they interact with one another, they are actually synthesizing information, which we know is at the top of the learning pyramid (2006).

Why not capitalize on what the students are already doing and build on it with blogging? Have them take their class notes, learning logs, and such and turn them into a blog that will foster collaboration and communication. Many of the students I work with are very creative, so let’s give them a forum to express their innate sense of imagination and share it with their peers.


Lamshed, R., Berry, M. & Armstrong, L. (2002). Blogs: Personal e-learning spaces. Australia: Binary Blue. Retrieved from
O’Donnell, M. (2006). Blogging as pedagogic practice: Artefact and ecology. Asia Pacific Media Educator, 17(1), 15-19