Tuesday, July 26, 2016

How to insert a Google Doc with live links in Blogger.

Inserting a table with images and live links is simple and attractive to viewers.  Viewers want a quick glance.

Monday, July 25, 2016

3 Steps for Improving my PLN

This week’s readings in What Connected Educators Do Differently by Whitaker, et.al focused on building relationships, modeling the way, and knowing when to unplug.  As my participation grows on Twitter and on my personal blog site, I am more aware of the behaviors of every educator, administrator, instructional coach, and technology leader in my personal learning network.  Through them, I am making connections with many traits described by Whitaker, Zoul, and Casas.  
Three areas that I am working on are:
1. Building relationships with my learning network.  
Building and maintaining trust with all of my followers online and in real life will be a crucial factor in growing my personal learning network.  I noticed that when I retweet about other’s work on Twitter or write about their work on my personal blog, they are very kind to tweet the link to my posts or send me a personal email thanking me.  This makes me feel good about what I am doing, and this also grabs the attention of new followers, too.  I am noticing that genuine followers look to follow those who display trustworthiness.
For fun, I followed the advice from Whitaker, et al. and took a free quiz on TrustedAdvisor to determine the level of my trustworthiness.  I definitely need to practice public speaking in front of strangers.  I fear that I am wasting people’s time by showing them what they already know or not meeting their needs.  I am feeling more confident with my PLN.
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2.) Making a commitment to promoting and advocating student learning through social media such as Twitter, YouTube, and blogging.
I am loving the efficacy of Twitter, YouTube, and blogging.  I am helping my colleague building a blog website to promote her writing curriculum and her own learning network.  Once all the pages with her curriculum is ¼ completed, I will link her site to my resource page and blog roll.  Most importantly, I am currently setting up a framework for building a Kid’s Tech Club after school to provide support to other teachers and other students with homework.  I have already gotten an approval from the principal to compensate teachers for helping me with this vision.  I will be utilizing hashtags, YouTube, and a blog site to facilitate my Kid’s Tech Club.  I hope that other professionals will follow in my lead for the sake of a relevant and meaningful education for the students everywhere.
3.) Taking risks by presenting Twitter and blogging practices at staff meetings and personally to any colleagues.

I feel confident enough with my skills and knowledge to introduce and guide my colleagues to join a new form of professional learning to improve their lives.  I will have enough resources to reach out for help if more assistance is needed to support the use of Twitter and blogging.  I believe that my colleagues and administrators will be impressed with the wealth of information and help available on Twitter.
To ensure that my PLN is purposeful, I need to continuously work on strengthening my relationships with my followers and integrate their ideas and resources into my professional practices. They are also learning from me as well and I am from them.

Moving Forward by Reflecting

Over the course of six weeks, I have truly changed my views about the efficacy of social media with teaching.  I have connected with so many professionals from around the nation, and they are so humble with their level of expertise.  But the fact that they are so willing to help like #Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) and  #Shelly Rees (@appletastic5th) make being a connected educator a great and encouraging experience. They have so many free resources to help with my instructional practices, even with implementing technology.  I feel confident with my skills to seek for help outside the classroom and not wait on others to personally provide me with professional development or learning.  I can personalize my own needs with my own learning network.
No accomplishment is as rewarding as those, which posed the most challenges.  The most difficult task for me throughout the whole ordeal with Twitter and my blog website was remaining private.  I value my privacy, and as a teacher, I didn’t want to risk anymore scrutiny or negative publicity from the community although I trust that my actions online are always honest and respectful.  The challenges that I expect moving forward will be finding time to expand my knowledge on maintaining my blog site as the school year gets busy with planning, collaborating, and grading not to mention furthering my education and being a parent to a toddler.
Finding a balance with connectivity will be an integral part of sustaining a successful PLN.  As Vicki Davis advised in an interview with me that there is so much to learn and practice with technology, and I will have to find out what certain pieces will work for me. “It’s not the technology. It’s about building relationship.”  She suggested focusing on a 1 to 3 things like Twitter, Facebook, or Google Classroom and spending 15 minutes a day reading, exploring, and playing with the content.
Therefore the next steps for me in growing my PLN I will:
  1. Transfer over to a more user friendly blogging, WordPress. Buy my domain. Transfer my information over.
  2. Participate in webinars and chat rooms about leadership, student blogging, and Twitter.
  3. Build my technology leadership and sharing my experiences on my website to help others learning from me.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “I am not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.”  


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Twitter #PLN #EdTechTeacher21

      This week on Twitter, I have been noticing that many educators are spending their summer at educational technology conferences, summits, conventions, and online chats about Google Apps, coding, math practices, blogging, and leadership.  I have been especially intrigued by tweets from  @edtechteacher21
       Tweets like "4 ways to practice with Google this summer" and "3 powerful, simple ways to provide feedback on Google Docs" catch my straightforward, practical mind.  Edtechteacher has a website that is loaded with free technology resources, lessons and activities listed by subject,  tips, and tutorials that will help any educator start using immediately. 
      Edtechteacher is also listed as my first resource for ELA.  Check out the lessons for individual books covered at each grade level and the writing resources.  Save yourself some time by visiting edtechteacher.



Plagiarism is Cheating

       Trending this week on Twitter is Melania Trump's plagiarized speech at the Republican national convention in Cleveland, Ohio, this past Monday.  Regardless of what others may think or say on this topic, there is no excuse for copying the work of others.

The Washington Post
       Citing and referencing skills are taught in elementary school as early as the third grade.  Synthesizing information and making connections are difficult concepts for young learners to grasp, but at least they understand to cite the texts and give credit to the author.
      Trust me, my students know that plagiarism is synonymous to cheating, and they never want to hear those words resonate in their work.  
      Thanks to this unfortunate event during such a critical presidential race, many students all over the world will have relevant evidence of plagiarism to learn from.

Other resources:

How to not be like Melania Trump: 8 tips to avoid plagiarism


More Resources for Instruction

Adding more resources for classroom instruction and formative assessments.  All of the resources can be used in all the curricular areas.

Project-Based Learning
  • All free resources for teaching writing and units on books.
  • Both are free. High-interest. Teach programming language and logics.

  • Free tools to help with assessments by finding questions by grade level, subject, and CCS.
  • Free download of grade level PBL activities.
  • Free. Must use vocab grabber to visualize the meanings of words.
  • Free. Make math fun. Use comic strips to introduce, teach, and review on math concepts.
  • Free. Word clouds. Quick glance for understanding with specific use of words.
  • Free. Connect with any classroom over the world for PjBL activities.
  • Free web-based mind maps for creativity, sharing, and connecting ideas.
  • Free math lessons and activities with real world problems using Google Earth.
  • Fun, engaging quick assessment app.
  • Free collaborative tool for teachers and students to participate in meaningful learning.
  • Free. Create digital stories with pictures and your own narration. Then, publish and share.
  • Free math resources on the web.
  • Student response to a teacher generated game-based assessment online.
  • Great resources for PBL.
  • Free. Utilize the hashtags for research, collaboration, notifications, assignments, and more.

  • Free and fun real math activities to engage students and apply math.
  • Free. Quick exit slips, quizzes, and survey online.
  • Over 45 Links to PBL

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Interview with Vicki Davis

      What an amazing interview with Vicki Davis, the Coolcatteacher!  As easy going as she was, I couldn't shake my nerves.  I was talking to the Vicki Davis, a prominent leader in educational technology and blogger.  Her collection of knowledge and experience continue to impact and inspire teachers, new and experienced. 


Monday, July 18, 2016

"Team Trish"

       At the beginning of the school year, I get my students on the iMovie app and explore, collaborate, and create.  With Bully Awareness in October, I invite my students to share a story about themselves or others who are or were victims to bullying.  My students collaborated on this project to tell their classmate's story.  I know that this experience was meaningful and impactful to Team "Trish" because they were all involved in creating the best illustrations for her narrative and in producing the movie.

By: Team Trish 2015-1016

"Ugly Molly" by Jason Park

        Transforming personal narrative writing with iMovie was a big hit for my students.  Every child felt like they were being rewarded for working so diligently on the writing elements of narratives and understanding the form of fables from Aesop during ancient Greece. They became authors, illustrators, producers, editors, and narrators in their own movies.

By: Jason Park 2015-2016

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Building a Personal Learning Network

"I didn't know I was unconnected, until I got connected" 

-Pernille Ripp (Whitaker,T., Zoul, J., & Casas, J., 2015, p. 41)

       Twitter is a genius!  It is not hard to join the world of the professional learning community.  At first, I was apprehensive about starting an educator blog and next, a Twitter account.  I like my low profile status.  Besides, I wouldn't know how to engage other adults.  My thoughts are better kept to myself or only shared with those who really want to hear what I have to say.
      However as the weeks progress and as I follow more educators on Twitter, I truly appreciate this new learning experience.  Each professional has his or her own style of tweeting and using hyperlinks, media, and hashtags.  I discovered that I am engaged with practical teaching, and not only do I follow these educators or organizations on Twitter, but I also read their blogs as much as I can.  I enjoy learning from their experiences and borrowing instructional ideas from Erin Klein (kleinspiration), Alice Keeler, Vicki Davis, Pernille Ripp, and so many more.  
     The more I follow the professional learning community, the easier my blogging is developing. The ideas are flowing (sometimes too fast).  I'm addicted to participating in webinars or chat rooms about reimagining education in the 21st century.
       The only effective advice I have for people who are thinking about starting a PLN or has not thought about it is to first join Twitter and follow educators by search for hashtags that relate to their interests. This active engagement will lead you down a path of writing with a purpose and linking your thoughts to those who have already started the vision and need more collaborators, which will entice you to start your own blog(s).
      Michael Hyatt, the author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, said it best for getting 'connected' when he stated, "...the key is to start. Once you take the first step everything else will take care of itself."  The hardest part is getting started and facing all of the fears of the unknown.  But I have learned that I am not alone, and I am getting better with each day through my participation as a 'connected educator.'

Three Cs: Follow, Find, and Take


       This week I followed Erin Klein (@KleinErin), a connected educator who embraces the three Cs: communication with purpose, collaboration with passion, and building a community with pride.  She is an award winning educator and a national leader in integrating technology in education for digital literacy.  Her contributions for effective instructions and academic achievement in the classroom are impeccable as noted on her blog website, KleinSpiration.


       Erin's blog site offers many practical ideas for integrating digital literacy.  I downloaded her free Technology Centers Handout.  If you are like me who is new to Ed. Tech., and you don't know where to begin, save yourself the headache and valuable time by downloading this free resource.  She offers free templates and examples of how she sets up technology centers in her classroom, focusing on literacy- vocabulary, spelling, geography, math, science, and writing. Read her blogs! She gives simple tips for students to use technology with their learning.


       I will use her layout and templates to plan for digital learning centers in my classroom for the coming year.  I will use blogs, emails, e-portfolios, and a web based classroom management like Google Classroom or Class Dojo to help monitor my students progress and performance.  By having all student work online, their parents will also have transparency in their child's participation in my classroom. This is crucial for building a positive relationship with the parents about their child's education.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Technology Leadership Philosophy

          I believe the core of educational technology leadership is to inspire others to take risks and share the same vision for using digital tools that will enable creativity and innovation to flourish in all schools with all students.  Tomorrow’s problems cannot be solved with solutions of the past times, and students must be instructed with the technological tools ubiquitous to their lifestyles.  However, I cannot achieve this alone without enlisting others to believe in this cause.  Some ways to transform education is beginning with delivering knowledge through learning management systems, collaborating with experts and other professionals through Professional Learning Network (PLN), and using technological devices that are prevalent to the students’ lifestyle.  Classroom instruction has to be representative of the world in which they are living in.
            Student achievement will have a different look that will impact the standards of learning at the state and federal level.  Assessments will be altered to encapsulate the intellectual abilities of the students, measured by the creativity in problem solving and ingenuity of ideas to change the ways in which we are living.  Learning will be self-directed and highly motivated through the use of digital classrooms and virtual learning communities, where questions and answers can be addressed immediately by anyone other than me. 
            My ultimate goal for educational technology with my students is to prepare them with critical-thinking skills that will help them thrive in a vast telecommunication world.  My students will adapt quickly to these evolving demands because of their extensive experiences with digital literacy.  Importantly, traditional education will take on a new meaning with my students.
            To ensure this outcome, I will highly recommend professional development models that will provide effective practices for implementing free learning management systems like a Google Classroom where all assignments and assessments can be individualized and managed, using a web-based grading system, and integrating global learning communities for students to collaborate on solving real-world problems.  I am confident that a required commitment for close monitoring of implementation, coaching on hardware information and instructional practices, and developing assessments to measure the quality use of digital tools will help transform learning for the students. 

            My goal is to strive to be a meaningful technology leader in my classroom, place of work, and community.  I believe that one does not need to know everything about technology before trying it.  This wasn’t the case for accepting television, phones, and radios.  If education is about serving the students, then technology must be the core of the educational pedagogy.  I am prepared to challenge the status quo and reinvent new teaching pedagogies that will teach my students to be effective and responsible digital citizens.