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Moving On Up - New Blog Host!

I decided that it was time to truly invest in the blog, and my online presence... and that means I am migrating over to WordPress.

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Recent posts

Be More Dog!

My daughter wrote a blog post about her observations and experiences while serving as the Social Media Director for SDCUE conference. In her post, she reflected on the lack of "teachers eager to keep learning and the ones who wanted to keep up with the new technologies" when she was in school just a couple years ago. She questioned why teachers are "stuck in their ways" and why there aren't more teachers like the ones at SDCUE who want to keep on learning.

Maybe it's because those "stuck" (her word, not mine) teachers need to be more dog. You see, dogs are amazed by EVERYthing. A snack is amazing. The UPS driver is amazing. Even a chewed up ball that smells like mud and lost its shape is amazing. They live for the moment, and they aren't afraid to fail.

So how can we build the confidence and excitement of our teachers that have not yet channeled their inner dog? What chew toy, adventure, or treat will make them as excited as a dog? Do teachers…

Yes, and: The Power of an Idea

Kobi Yamada wrote a fabulous book called What Do You Do With an Idea? In the book, the main character finds an idea. He takes it with him everywhere. When he first shares it with others, they scoff at it. Luckily, the boy does not listen to the naysayers and instead nurtures the idea.  In the end, the idea takes form and ... well ... read it and find out.

I read this book yesterday to a 4th grade class. I had not met the students before, but they seemed pretty excited to have me there. At the end of the book read, we discussed the plot, and why people may not have supported the boy and his idea.

After the discussion, I led them through an improv activity called "Yes, but." In "Yes, but" one person of a pair shares an idea. In this case, the idea was what the student wanted to do over the weekend. The other person's job is to react to the idea with a "yes, but" statement. For example:

Student 1: I think it'd be cool to go to the zoo this weekend

Inspired to Ditch Activities, and Design Experiences

Dr. Nathan Lang, an Ed Leader and Innovator, shared this graphic on his Twitter (@NALANG1) the the other day. In four words, it simplifies much of what we are working to achieve through Design Thinking in my school district. 
When I was in school, I completed a lot of projects. I created clothing worn by a Native American tribe; I recreated a topographical map of California with salt dough; and I built a California Mission with sugar cubes. Most of us have similar memories from our school days. However, none of these projects truly prepared me for the challenges of life. Yes, I learned to work nicely with others, and clean up after myself. I even learned that, if I procrastinated long enough, my mom would work on my projects after I went to sleep. But the piece that was missing was that these projects were just projects. They were defined for me by my teacher, and were meant to teach a specific content standard. What each of these projects was missing was the creation of an experienc…

Teacher Ed Tech Ambassadors: Keep the Focus on Students

Last month there was quite a lively conversation about the above article. A lot of educators were upset about the seeming "attack" on teachers this article contained, as it seemed to question the reason teachers become ed tech brand ambassadors. 
It's important for teachers to have access to the tools they need to teach well, and sometimes these ambassador programs provide that. Over my educational career, I have been branded by a few ed tech companies. For example, I was a Microsoft Innovative Educator and a Tech4Learning Innovative Educator. Both titles were earned based on evidence of higher level learning taking place with those tools in the classroom. I didn't have to keep using their tool to maintain my title, or prove that I was using the tool for a certain percentage of my day. 
However, I was also a titled educator for another ed tech company, and in order to maintain my title and digital badge, I had to continue showing use of the tool through blogs and po…


Love thy neighbor as yourself. - Mark 12:31 I woke up today to horrible news on my iPhone. Over 500 injured, and over 50 killed in the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. It's unfathomable that this happened. And it's unfathomable that it has happened before. And that it will happen again.
I wish I had words of wisdom about how to change the culture of our society. But all I can say is, hug your babies. Tell your students that you care about them...and truly mean it. Look at a homeless person as a human, and not as a dreg. Call your mom and tell her you're grateful for doing her best in raising you. Whatever you do, exude love.

The Punctuation in Your Classroom

I learned the other day that ending a text message with a period can be interpreted as insincere. Such a simple, innocuous dot now carries more hidden messages than it was ever intended to convey.

Likewise, the messages we think we're sending in our classrooms may not be the messages received by students. Consider these...

Time WILL pass, will YOU? Does this imply a nurturing, supportive environment that believes ALL students deserve every opportunity to be successful? I'm not so sure.

Students not paying attention in class? Lock up devices. Does this show trust? Relationship building? I wonder if the teacher's device is locked up during meetings as well.

Or how about this sign I saw in a classroom:  "Work hard in silence. Let success be your noise." A companion sign read, "The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing." Does this mean we don't value collaboration? Team work? I wonder how Edison and Einstein would have fared had they bee…