#iNACOL Symposium Thoughts

November 6, 2014

I’m part of a cohort of teachers from the district who are learning more about blended learning with the intent of building the district’s capacity with this educational model. Blended learning is instruction both face-to-face and independently online. What I am finding, though, is that plenty of people toss it around, emulating the model as ridiculously important when really, blended learning might be more of a theory of practice, a reason to use the approach in the classroom.

The idea behind blended learning is partially to use technology to individualize and personalize learning for students. However, if you don’t have it in your head that learning should look like this, that you don’t have the time to even attempt and make sure students get what they need to be learners, then you probably aren’t even ready to start the discussion and should go back to your happy world of one-size-fits-as-many-as-it-will.

What do I take away from this conference? I’m going to focus less on the logistics of blended learning…giving students control of path, pace, and place (or whatever that catch phrase is)…and get back to the individualzed learning bit.

Why am I going to start the blended learning model in one of my classes come January? Because school isn’t about me covering standards with little regard to the students in my classroom. School is about a class full of learners and because I am not the end-all of knowledge, I need help helping them learn. That’s why I’ll be blending my classroom.

Post to Twitter

I See

October 23, 2014


Post to Twitter

I Like

October 23, 2014


Post to Twitter

Mid-Summer Update

July 14, 2012

Hello, Summer.

What have I been up to, you ask?  Well, my major goal this summer is to reorganize the kid spaces in our house…the bedroom and ‘playroom’ which really is a landing at the top of the stairs that has no clear purpose.  It has toys in it now.  I did sell one bunk bed and buy another so the kid’s bedroom is now two twins, a crib and clothes.  It also has a new paint job.

My other big goal is to reorganize the other no-clear-purpose room in our house…right now it has all the toys I’m giving away from the upstairs redo.  It also has computers, files, books, a full-sized keyboard that no one knows how to play (yet).  I think this room’s future is as a study because we need a study these days.  My kids need a place to be online (as do I) and a place to read and practice that keyboard.

So that is what I’ve been doing this summer so far.  I’ve only finished one book:  The Stand by Stephen King.  At 1000 pages, it should count as more than one book.

So sure, there’s my summer.  I go back to work in 30 days.   I am hoping for more of these times, too, as I tame my house.

On the streets of Palmer, Alaska

I like summer.  I hope y’all are having a good one, too.

Post to Twitter

Twitter Experiment: Success!

March 22, 2012

Our warm-up activity in Middle School Language Arts is usually a video or discussion about some aspect of the world that we don’t get a lot of in our little Alaskan town.  Often it is CNN Student News (we’re priming the pump for U.S. History next year) and last week it was videos for our writing assignment.  This week has been more random, though.

Wednesday was my turn to deliver the opener, and I searched YouTube for video clips about technology in the classroom.  You would think there would be a lot, right?  Not ones I wanted to use.  Strange, but then while scanning my Twitter feed I thought, why not this?  I know Twitter can be useful for learning, why not see what happens if I ask for retweets?

What happened was over 15 retweets (mostly by educators) and plenty of ‘favorited’ posts as well as messages and mentions from all over the world.  It was far more successful than I expected!  The students were a little disappointed that LeBron James (@KingJames) didn’t reply, but honestly, he’s too famous.  I sent mentions to those ultra-famous people to make the point that you can…but you are going to get more from your peers than your idols.

I doubt the district is going to lift the student-blocks on Twitter anytime soon, but my students have an awareness now, and we want that kind of thinking, that iPods and iPhones and whatever else they like to use can be good tools to use in class, too, when used appropriately.

Thanks to everyone who helped out!

Post to Twitter


March 20, 2012

Another Elementary entry…
100 Word Challenge:  Week #24 You have five words that MUST be included in your writing so you can use 105 words only! The words are:  Carefully   Fifty   Spider   White   Pushed


One day there was a white spider named Spike. He was feisty and mean. The spider pushed his friend named Rose and he said, “move over old lady.’’ She did not like when he is mean so she carefully pushed him over a well. He said ’’why did you do that!!!’’  She said back because your mean and you pushed me. Then Spike found fifty dollars suddenly in the well. Rose thought of something and she said’’ I will help you up only if you give me the fifty dollars.’’ Spike said back WHAT! ok so he give her the fifty dollars she said’’ thanks Bye.’’

by Justina

Post to Twitter

Fat Ugly Spider

March 20, 2012

A couple of my Elementary students wanted to try this…they had fun!
100 Word Challenge:  Week #24 You have five words that MUST be included in your writing so you can use 105 words only! The words are:  Carefully   Fifty   Spider   White   Pushed


One day I went  to see  my fat ugly spider . My mom gave me $50  yay !!!!!!!!!!!. I know so cool right. I carefully walked inside the school. Miss. Ely cot me I said good morning Miss. Ely she smiled and gave me a spacing I cried mommy help me then she gave me 999 spacing waaah. I said I hate you miss. Ugly. Then she started crying  like a little baby. I started teasing her one day then she cried mommy really loud that the hole school herd she pushed me and threw Wight snow in my face. Then  I started to cry.

by Isabelle

Post to Twitter

Merry Christmas

January 6, 2012

One thing I am daily reminded of in the classroom is that we cannot separate “student” from “child.” It just doesn’t work because there is more to who they are than the six hours a day they are in our building.

They are more than Reading CBMs and progress monitoring, more than their math texts and PE class and science labs. They come to us from a family who will influence who they become in profound ways that we can’t recreate in the classroom.

This weekend the majority of our families will celebrate Orthodox Christmas which has made for a festive week. The week before we left on Christmas Break also had its share of excitement in anticipation of December 25. I cannot separate this excitement from who my students are, and it wouldn’t be right to ask them to leave it at the door.

С Рождеством! Merry Christmas!

Post to Twitter

NaNoWriMo 2011

November 8, 2011

Let me update you on where I am write now…I mean right now.  I’m writing a novel!  Really!

I’m breaking all the writing rules we teach in class to do so.  I have no prewriting.  I have no plot structure lined up.  I don’t know who my characters are until they show up in the story.  I don’t actually plan to revise, and I’m not killing myself over perfect word choice.

It is National Novel Writing Month and I took the challenge:  write 50,000 words in the month of Novemeber as a novel or beginning of a novel.

I’m at 4575 words.  I’m not on track to successfully finish the challenge, but I am not going to let a little thing like that stop me.  This is me writing…just writing.

What do you do just to do?

(Check out NaNoWriMo.org for more about National Novel Writing Month.)

Post to Twitter

The Cloud

October 20, 2011

Here is a quick video about how Google uses The Cloud to make our lives amazing.

Click here! (I’m not taking the time to embed…)

(Sadly, it is on Youtube…via Twitter…and students can’t see it from the school’s network…but you can see it from elsewhere!)

Post to Twitter