Monday, December 16, 2013

Global Collaboration Realized!




Some time ago, Emil Waldhauser, a fellow SMART Exemplary Educator and teacher, contacted me about doing a global collaboration between his class and my own. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity. 


Early on, our classes were going to discuss our towns, our community, and classes. Then as the holidays approached, we wanted to share our holiday and Christmas traditions at home and in town.

My students (were suppose to) set off gathering information about our little town of Oakdale, California. We gathered our history, population, and of course about chocolate and our rodeo.

However, I forgot to remind my students that the topic was changed just a little toward the Christmas traditions of our town. Regardless, we did have a little presentation on Haiku Deck





When today (December 16, 2014) rolled around, my students were SO very excited about talking to Emil and his Czech students. 

Little did Emil and I know about how vast our time difference was! 

What ended up happening was Emil's class waiting for us around 2pm their time, while we were still getting up and getting ready! We thought we were at a six hour difference, when in reality we are nine!


Even with that little mistake, Emil was kind enough to talk with my students though SMART Technologies Bridgit software and share his students' presentation, while my students shared theirs. It was magic! My students got to take a virtual tour of the Czech Republic and learn a little about holiday traditions there. My students even played a holiday game (intended for our classes to battle) to see how much they knew about Christmas around the world. It was a blast!



Both my students and I loved talking to Emil and can't wait for another opportunity! We are working towards another collaboration in the new year. 

It is truly amazing how technology can bridge the gap between students across the world. The questions, the excitement, and ultimately the learning that happens with global collaboration happens!

Thank you Emil and students!







Sunday, November 17, 2013

Fall CUE- The Recap and Personal Learning in Flip Class


Fall CUE was nothing but AMAZING! It was my first time at a CUE event AND I was selected to present as well! I truly had my mind on triple over time!

I arrived bright and early Friday morning to experience all that is CUE. CUE thinks of it all, so before I had even checked in to get my badge and official CUE bag, I already had my schedule for the weekend pretty mapped out. CUE created an interactive online scheduler where all the attendees could select their sessions, map out their days, and see who else was joining that particular session! Additionally, you could see where others were thinking of going, read up on the presenters, sponsors, and key notes, as well as create your own persona on CUE. It was great! I just wished more attendees would have participated.

With all the new changes in education with Common Core, technology, and all that is trending in education on Twitter, I decided to focus on the needs of my classroom, namely flipped class and moving 1:1 with Chromebooks. There were tons more to see, hear, and learn....I wish I could see them all! Good thing CUE links presenter resources!

The sessions I did go to were so informative and many life changing for my classroom. One in particular was a session on "Flipping the Secondary English Classroom" by Kate Perry. Kate was amazing! She opened my eyes to what my classroom can truly be flipped. Now, as some of you may know, I have been flipping lessons in my classroom. I guess I am a moderate flipper. Anyway, Kate showed the three types of flipping (yep three!). I had already known that I was doing the traditional flipped model where students get the lecture at home and then in class we would practice or do an activity to strengthen what was learned the night before.

But since Kate's session, I now have so many ideas to take my current flipped model to an inquiry flipped class. Here is her flipped matrix:




Seeing this matrix was an eye opener! Reading her ideas led me to even more ideas! I have done the Sophia Flipped Certification and it was a GREAT jumping off point, but I knew I needed to do more and expect more from my students, I just didn't know how. This matrix and talking and sharing with the other attendees truly was an "ah ha" moment. Now I can take my students to the next level and having more face to face time with students individually. 


So, my next flipped adventure was to to straight to the explore side. In pairs, students were given sentence examples (even some of their own) with chosen words in bold or italicized. From these examples, students had to determine what our next unit of study would be. Then students had to list what those sentences had in common and then come up with rules that the unit of study followed. 

Once the pairs did this, then they connected with another pair to share the rules they came up with. From those ten, groups had to focus down to five specific rules. 

I checked in to the whole class from time to time, but mostly I walked from pair to pair. I got to talk with students, listen, answer questions, and even asked questions. It was great to hear how their minds worked and the process students took to come to their conclusions. Powerful lesson!

Was it easy, no. Was it #eduawesome? YES! I asked students what they thought of this lesson and students loved figuring out the "mystery" and they couldn't wait to check how they did through the flipped video that night. 

I was floored! 



Once again, the magic of conferences and edcamps have not only made me a better educator, but have made learning more powerful and meaningful to my students. A truly great day and flip class lesson. I can't wait to take it further on tomorrow.

Wow. 

I will close by thanking those educators out there. Thank you for sharing your expertise, your lessons, ideas, successes, and failures. Without you, I wouldn't be here. Without you, I wouldn't be learning, expanding, or experimenting, or challenging myself or my students like I am. 

I am truly grateful. Thank you and keep sharing!





Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tech Thursdays Continue...but how to improve them?


Tech Thursdays are in full swing and I now have two under my belt! Tech Thursdays are a way for teachers in my district to get the training and application they need to integrate technology into their classrooms. I love having the opportunity and support of the California Teacher's Association and the Oakdale Teacher's Association to bring teachers in my community the professional development (PD) they need. 

But....

How do I improve?

I am always looking to better myself and improve my craft. But how do I better the PD I am offering teachers?

Last week was my second Tech Thursday. I had about fifteen teachers take time out of their day for professional development. Professional development that they are seeking on their own (without pay) and have ownership over. In fact, each month the participants are the ones to decide what Tech Thursday's topic will be. I even give the top two or three a final vote on Tech Thursday using Poll Anywhere. The attendees are in complete control!

The responses from those who have joined us for Tech Thursdays has been great! I get oooohs and ahhhhs and generate lots of excitement in the room.

But how do I improve?


I promote, create SMORES, send reminders, give surveys, ask for feedback, and give ownership of each event. 

I know that I need more hands-on PD, and that is coming. Yet, I still feel that I need more ideas. 

I am thinking of trying an unconference type of PD...but the teachers in my district think they don't have much to offer, when in reality they have so many ideas, thoughts, questions, and discussion that always leads to greatness. 
During the first session, teachers shared their favorite apps and the conversation was amazing! What if I put all of us in that situation and see what happens? It could lead to some true greatness!


I just want to offer what teachers need to feel and be successful with the integration of technology in their classrooms. Tech Thursdays is even opening up to other districts in the area and eventually going to culminate in an unconference with my co-creator, Karen Taylor of Tracy Unified. So many educators want to improve their technology skills, I just need to get them through that door!

This is a lot of questions, a lot to ponder, but I'll get there...One step at a time.


Any feedback is kindly appreciated!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Terrific Tech Thursdays

Tech Learning Community

This summer, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into the California Teacher's Association (CTA) Teacher's Leadership Cohort. It was an intense two days at CTA headquarters to create new or expand "roles as advocates in improving teaching and learning" (CTA, 2013). 

It was great to be surrounded by like-minded educators and to take on some of the issues that plague our state, region, and/or district. The issue in my district is the lack of professional development (PD) for our teachers in technology. Don't get me wrong, our district is incredibly fortunate in the area of technology in our classrooms. We have SMART Boards and numerous other SMART products, Mimio Bords, iPads, Apple TVs, document cameras, video cameras, wifi access, etc. However, many (if not most) teachers do not know how to effectively implement the technology they have in their curriculum and classrooms. In fact, I have blogged about it before. 









That is about to change!






Through the CTA Teacher Leadership Cohort, I am working with Karen Taylor to create the professional develop our districts need to effectively implement technology seamlessly into their classrooms. So, we have created the Tech Learning Community. Our goal is to foster technology use in and out of the classroom in support of Common Core State Standards. Our goal is to provide professional development, resources, and a network of teachers to connect and discuss technology and Common Core. Our long term goal is on-going PD with a culminating edcamp event at the end of the year between Tracy Unified and Oakdale Joint Unified.

                                   
With lots of hours, stress, and planning, Tech Thursdays came into fruition. Tech Thursdays can be summarized through the following video I made as a commercial for Tech Thursdays. 


The point of Tech Thursdays is to get our teachers together to talk, share, and learn technology. It is casual and full of educators that all hold the same passion for teaching and bettering themselves for their students. 

Our first Tech Thursday was September 26th. We had food, conversation, and I introduced the how and why Tech Thursdays began. Then the real work began. Participants voted on a poll everywhere poll their "Tech Take-a-way" to learn more about what everyone else in the room was using in their classrooms for engagement. It was amazing! Teacher stood up and shared tech! Tech that others never heard about, tech that they could implement the next day! What was really exciting was that teachers were not ready for the event to end. We started on time, ran over, and teachers stayed around to talk even more technology!

Talk about inspiring!

The next S'more flier is up and running where participants choose our next topic(s). 

Exciting times in Oakdale Joint Unified!









Sunday, September 15, 2013

Exhausted, stressed, and long nights equal the BEST WEEK EVER!


Like many teachers, I have been hard at work preparing pirate inspired lessons for my students, working with the Common Core, and reworking and revamping old lessons. Not to mention, connecting with my students, working hard with my new on-sight tech positions, being apart of the CTA Leadership Cohort by launching Tech Thursdays in my district, and mentoring a first year teacher. 

That, my friends, takes a LOT of energy! 

But I tell you what....it has been the best week I've had in a long time! And it is all because of the results and positive feedback from my students. 


This is the first year since my very first year teaching that I don't have my lessons planned months in advanced. As I sit here typing and reflecting, I barely have tomorrow planned! For the past six weeks, I have been working, teaching, and planning this way. 


By. The. Seat. Of. My. Pants.

It has been scary, and difficult, but producing better results, more motivated students, and an even more motivated teacher: Me. 

So why has it taken me this long "fly by the seat of my pants"? I am not sure. I have always had engaging lessons, changed lessons depending on the needs of my students, reflected on my own teaching, and even have asked the opinion of my students about my teaching. So what has changed this year that has made planning in advance so difficult?

So many things that I am not even sure where to start! But I know it starts with those of you out there! So many brilliant educators I have "met" on Twitter. Twitter has become a living being where I can share successes, failures, ask questions, get feedback, and more. I am inspired daily by each of you and find myself calling many of you friends. You have pushed me to be better. To be a better leader, educator, and mentor to other educators, but more importantly for my students. 

This past week proves that what I am doing, is working. This past week's lessons had been re-written twice. I even through out a lesson to discuss the importance of 9/11 as I discovered (through another memorable day) that many knew little beyond the fact the America was attacked. It has been epic. 

Students have been LOVING the flipped lessons. I only have a handful of students with limited access and they are the ones who make sure to come in to listen and watch ahead of time. They love how silly I am, the Google Docs, and the activities we do in place of a typical lesson. This is not to say I have thrown out all my lessons, no. But I can certainly take the time out of class we would spend lecturing, taking notes, or reviewing a concept I am ninety percent sure my students know and can master. AND if I am wrong, their answers on the Google Doc (my way of checking for understanding) will show me and I can revisit in class the next day. No. Time. Wasted. Plus, students have the opportunity to apply concepts in ways I never imagined.

Just this week, students watched a video on quotations. Because students did so well on the Google Doc, I got to spent some time with each student in class as they worked on being creative with quotations. Students created their own SomeEcards about quotations. Students struggled, they discussed, only to come up with some pretty funny and cleaver statements about quotations. It was memorable. It was a lesson about something boring that they will remember and use correctly when they write. 

It's moments like this that I treasure.



These were the class favorites:





Another lesson that was intense was attempting to apply a Common Core State Standard on comparing and contrasting a fictional portrayal of a place and a historical account of the same to understand how the author uses history (Reading Standard for Literature 7th, 7). We read the short story "Zebra" by Chaim Potock. Students really connected to Zebra and what it would be like to loose the one thing you love to do more than anything. Zebra learns to cope when he meets John Wilson, a Vietnam veteran. There is a moment in the story where Zebra learns more about John Wilson and John's visit to the Vietnam Memorial Wall. 

To connect this story even further, I found the article "Reflections in the Wall" by Al Kimball. Al accounts his many attempts to visit the Vietnam Memorial and the emotions he feels when he finally faces those fears. Al mentions the painting, Reflections, which I also showed students. We read the article first. Students were so moved. They truly saw the connections immediately between the two pieces, but brought to life the emotions one feels through such a traumatic experiences life can bring. The discussions held were incredible. Truly deep thought. Bloom would be so proud!

We then used a Venn Diagram, students posted by sharing, writing, and using Extreme Collaboration. Then they wrote it out in written form. At the end of it all, students told me how much they enjoyed the reading, the writing, all of it. I was floored!

Not only are my students learning, but they are loving it! I have kids saying as they come to class "I am ready for the experience"! 

And I haven't mentioned our first real day of Genius Hour! But that could be an entire different blog post all together. Let's just say, they LOVE IT! I had many many many different ideas, thought, and project ideas that students keep asking when our next Genius Hour day is. That is happiness at its fullest!

This upcoming week should offer no less. I have students creating monsters, taking the point of view of snakes, and a peanut butter and jelly mess to contend with!

I am truly getting close to becoming a





Monday, September 9, 2013

The Joys of the Flipped Class

I have been learning about the Flipped Classroom all summer. Learning from the best flippers like The Lady Geeks, the impeccable Cheryl Morris, and one of my favorite breakdowns of the Flipped Classroom from The Bus Ed Crew.

You may or may not have heard of flipping lessons or the classroom. Maybe you have picked up on the phenomenon. But flipping your classroom is not about letting your class run wild. It is about empowering your students and gaining more time to discuss, interact, and create deep and real connections with students and your students to the curriculum.


But what I have found, more importantly, is the the flipped classroom opens up face to face time with your students AND time for students to be creative, interact, and work with the concept in a real world fashion.


BRILLIANT!


I have been flipping lessons here and there with amazing success! In my classroom, I have been using videos for students to watch and learn the groundwork for a particular concept. After their video, they complete a Google Form that ensures their grasp of the concept. I get those answers, check in the evening and in the morning. When I start class, I do a quick check for understanding, then the real fun begins! Engaging students in real world application of the concept! Which, of course, we all know brings deeper learning and understanding.





I use Sophia to house all my flipped lessons. I have currently have lessons on grammar and on literature terms. The last one we did was on punctuation marks, specifically end marks. You can check it out below:


At home, students listened to a song (sang along in class), checked out the lesson, filled out the Google form, all so I could have face to face time and real world use of the concept of end marks. Once I double checked understanding, students had the rest of the period (almost forty minutes!) to create a rap, song, puppet show, or some other media in which they teach end marks and give examples. They had a BLAST! Plus, they worked extremely hard on the project, as they knew, these were going on our webpage! They had a real audience! Amazing! 

The Flipped Classroom is an ever evolving journey in which I am VERY new. However, it is exciting to see my students learning in even more meaningful ways. It isn't easy, and it is time consuming, but so worth it.



Here are some of the classroom favorites!



video


video



Saturday, August 31, 2013

Genius Hour-Introduced!



It's here! Genius Hour has been introduced and I can't even begin to describe how excited my students are!

To hook my students, I had to show The Kid President:
The Kid President had them. They laughed! They understood when he said, "We were made to be awesome." We were! Now it is time to "Create something that will make the world awesome."
 







 



"Create something that will make the world awesome."

After the talk that got my kids talking....I asked them, has there ever been a time in school when YOU got to learn about something you truly wanted? When you chose what to learn?

The room erupted into chatter, laughter, and a resounding "NO!" by all students.Then came my moment to say, "Well guys, that is exactly what is going to happen."

I have three classes (we have a block English schedule) and for a moment the room stood silent.
They didn't believe me...at first. I then went and described the Passion Project. Each student would have Genius Hour to research their passion. That even I would join them on this journey. We were going to discover our genius because as the wonderful and inspirational Angela Maiers says:


They were floored! Excited! Ideas began pouring forth! Discussion, empowerment, pure excitement....about learning!
Here is a screen shot of our Wonder Wall on Padlet with just a sample of ideas for projects:

Our journey begins next week! Our first hour of Genius Hour. I can't wait and more importantly, neither can my students!

I have always known the importance and power of student choice in the classroom. But to give students the ultimate choice of directing their learning?! Even more powerful, important, and inspiring of all!


Here's to next week!



Monday, August 12, 2013

First day QR Scavenger Hunt

Well, the day finally came. The first day back to school.

I arrived early. Made sure I was prepared and ready and that my two iPads were charged. I chatted with former students who dropped by to say hello. 

Then the bell rang. 

I greeted students as the came through the door, smiling at all the unsure faces. Then it was time to begin. 

I took roll, introduced myself, and told them "It's time to go on a scavenger hunt!" Their faces were stunned! I asked students with smartphones to take them out and download (if they had Internet access) a QR Code reader. I suggested the QR for iPhone or Android app as it is free and easy to use. Students were hesitant to take their phones out, but once I explained that for this class and this assignment they were in the free and clear! Smiles passed on their faces and we were ready!




After explanations, they were off! At first, my students didn't understand the purpose of the QR codes. They didn't realize that after they scanned the QR code that they need to read or watch a video to get the information needed on the question sheet. BUT once students figured that out, the scavenger hunt was golden! 

Some things I would change, as per my students and my own observations, is that my students need more time. They needed more time to work their way around campus. I did have my friends daughter do a "test run" and it took her a half an hour. My brand-new seventh graders needed probably about an hour and a half to truly get everywhere and do their video responses. 

Secondly, I would make sure my video cameras were not running on dead batteries! I know, I know, simple oversight, but still!

Thirdly, I think I may try Klikaklu instead of a QR code. It is a great site to use pictures as a trigger to the information or video. Also, I can monitor when students find each place and when they finish. I will have to try it out.

Overall, students really enjoyed the hunt. Especially on the first day of school as most other teachers simply talk about the class, give paperwork to send home, and talk the entire period. It was great.

DAY TWO- TLAP Stranded Island Activity

Dave Burgess is a GENIUS. Truly. I can not thank him ENOUGH for writing Teach like a Pirate and writing about his stranded island activity. Hearing my students thought process, their questions, answers, and handling disagreements was truly awe inspiring. 

I started each period (I have my students for two periods) dressed as if I was ready to board a flight to Hawaii or some other tropical paradise. I had my sunglasses on, my cary-on bag, my teddy bear (Honey Nizzle Fitz), and a fake flower lei. As students came in, I was talking to myself (yep!) about the impending flight and vacation. What I was going to do, where I was going to visit, and what I would see. When the tardy bell rang, I yelled "Finally! My flight has been called!" And started the video I created with VideoScribe.



As the video played, I acted out the entire scenario. Flight attendants, me using the oxygen mask, screaming as the plane goes done, landing in the water, the raft, passing out, and meeting the helicopter pilot. It was EPIC!

Then the description of the survivors was presented and then students decided who stayed and who got to go. The conversations were amazing! I was so impressed with ALL of my students. Even my Strategic English Class. Each student group was thoughtful in their discussions, thought process, and the thoroughness of verifying their answers. It was truly a wonderful way to showcase my expectations for group work, their answers, but also for students to practice working in groups and managing disagreements and even their own expectations. 
Wow. Truly powerful!

And this was only day two! I can not wait to see how the rest of the year progresses! 



The hook to the stranded island activity...laugh, share, enjoy! JepsonD4 did!




video


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

SMART (& tech)Solutions in the OJUSD 2013-2014


As many of you know, I am apart of the amazing community of SMART Exemplary Educators (SEE). Truly one of the BEST educators I have ever have had the pleasure of meeting, collaborating, and chatting with. I am honored and blessed to be apart of such a caring and talented group of teachers.

Being a SEE does have its perks and fun. Applying to go to the SEE Summit....being accepted twice and another year being a mentor has been, hands down, two of the greatest professional development and inspirational weeks of my educational career. I can not say enough about these educators and their passion for SMART, teaching, and all things tech!

Another fun is being apart of the Gold Star SEE program. Working (and competing) to continue to advocate for SMART, interaction in the classroom, and innovation. I enjoy the program and it helps keep me in the know about SMART and other SEES.

So...I have been working on how our SMART Solutions in our district is working or not working. I surveyed our district of four elementary and one junior high and high schools and discovered that the staff know the following:


  1. All classrooms in our district are equipped with SMARTboards.
  2. Staff members would like to see all educators with a SMARTboard.
  3. Staff members would like to see a SMARTboard in the library and computer labs.
  4. 17% of staff have SMART Response.
  5. 62% of staff use SMART Notebook daily. Of those, 48% use it throughout their class periods.
  6. Only 26% say they use SMART Notebook daily.
  7. Only 6% have heard of Extreme Collaboration.
  8. Only 12% have used the SMART Exchange and also uploaded material.
  9. All staff members would like more support with SMART products.
  10. Most staff has stated that they haven't had training for their boards, have learned through trial and error, and only one has been on a SMART webinar.

Needless to say, this has been a huge eye opener for me.....and completely breaks my heart.

I know many haven't answered as we are just starting back to school this week. However, *I* need to hear this! I need to fix and change this! This. Is. Not. Okay. With. Me.

I have given countless trainings at my site. Especially when SMARTboards were installed in every classroom. Today was even my very first Content Creation Event-for, but my site only. 

What we need is a true technology mentor in our district. We need someone that is passionate about technology. Not just the plug and play, but the how, why, and modeling and support throughout the year for teachers to implement appropriately. 

It makes me curious if this happens at other sites, districts?!

How many of you out there get technology with little to know staff development, training, and support for that technology?

I was given the technology mentor at my site this year. I am thrilled to do it! And my goal (even before this survey) was to provide consistent technology support this year. We need and want  the training! I may not have all the answers, but I sure as can find others to help and support me to help and support our staff!

Then I want (hopefully) spread beyond my school site. We need it badly! Look at those numbers! 

Things have to change and our teachers need support and help. I want to attempt and try. 


It is quite the undertaking....but someone has got to try!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Gearing up for Back to School...

Well, it seems it's that time of year!

Gearing up for back to school!

Although I just finished my stint teaching summer school on July 11th, I am back in my classroom preparing for the 2013-2014 school year.

Yikes! Where did the time go!

Using what I have gaining from my Personal Learning Network (PLN), I am excited about the new year. I have so many ideas I want to implement and try, I am excited to get started!

I started with cleaning up my room. Here is the before:



Here is the after:




Yep! I have collaborative groups ready to go! Each desk will have a card taped to the desk with stem sentences and what letter member they are (for grouping and partner work). My room needed a face lift, so I bought cheap fabric, new boarders, and contact paper to freshen up the room. I LOVE my new bulletin boards (I did another with a chevron boarder in that blank space for "lost" work). Once I started using the contact paper, I went wild! It started on the bookshelves and worked its way to my desk, my TA's desk, some cabinets, and even my door window! I love it! 


**************Edited*************

I was in my room today working on what seems like an endless list of "to-dos" when I finished my bulletin board. 

AND I LOVE IT!

It's a new way (for me) to get papers with no names back to students. My "Wanted Wall"! Check it out!

*******End of new Editions********

Once the room was complete, it is now time to focus on my "Year of Epic Proportions"! This year I am going all in. Fail or go home....or more like Fail or Try Again! (and again and again!). With all the amazing Twitter PD I have done, I have created new lessons and curricula to go with what I do already, or old lessons are now revamped, or lessons and activities that are completely new and foreign and I can't wait to see what happens! 

So here is a few of my new ideas that I will blog about in the near future:

1. QR Scavenger hunt: On the VERY first day of school (why not?!) I am sending my students on a "get to know your school & Ms. J's classroom" hunt. This includes stops in our main office; talks with the librarian, principals, and campus monitor; the cafeteria; areas within my classroom, nurse, bathrooms, gym, and more! Students will work in small groups starting at different QR numbers...they will record their findings and riddle questions on Flip Cameras to be edited together and shared on www.jepson.pbworks.com. At least that is my hope!

2. Dave Burgess's Off the Island Group Project: I truly loved Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. He (along with others in my PLN) has helped me rediscover teaching and my mojo for teaching. In his book, he talks about a crazy acting-out plane crash and rescue among a group of ten or so survivors. A helicopter pilot can take a few at a time. Knowing the background on each survivor (which I included myself in!), students decided who stays and who goes. This activity not only shows me the dynamics of the classroom, as students learn about each other, but also teaches students how to work together. It isn't about the answer, as there isn't a right or wrong answer, but how to work together, problem solve, and share their results with a supported explanation. My "acting" will be accompanied by Videoscribe I created through Sparkol. You can check it out here. I am sure students will never forget that day!

3. Incorporation of more non-fiction text to correspond to the literature we already read in class. I began this quest at the end of last year, but I have been gathering more. I loved the cross-curricular possibilities it all brings! My ELA classes was reading the novel Flipped and we read manuals and instructions for hatching eggs like Julie from the novel. Students became an eggspert (HA!) in a specific hatching area from turning and candling eggs, to weight and charting, to drawing and more. Students LOVED it! I plan to add more as we begin the year. The first addition is the the short story "Zebra" where the main character, Zebra, befriends a Vietnam veteran artist, Mr. Wilson. So I searched for the perfect text to accompany this story and found and account of a Vietnam vet who goes to see the Vietnam Wall Memorial for the first time. It is so touching and moving as it is a personal narrative, but perfect for "Zebra" as Mr. Wilson  visits his friend at the Wall each year. Text that connects real life and provoke meaning and connection will truly move and motivate students this year!

4. I have created a few flipped class lessons. I have read and participated in chats about the flipped classroom and decided to learn more. So I began with Sophia.org. They have a great certification program that not only explains the flipped classroom, but shows you the way to flipping lessons in your own class. Then a lovely member of my PLN, Sean Crevier sent me this infographic on the flipped classroom: 


It was truly eye opening to me as he explains how to think about flipping an activity, lesson, or class period. You can see his blog post here. Amazing way to think! Thank you Sean! 

Well, there are lots and lots more, but those are a few of my big projects. The goal this year is to facilitate my students. Let them be leaders in their education. Dig deeper, be silly, dress up, incorporate more student directed learning (music, videos, genius hour), and just GO FOR IT. It's all about the kids and THEIR future. 

Bring on 2013-2014! Here we go!