Thursday, April 2, 2015

Look for the shoes...

Working with 8th graders can be a challenge. I am reminded every day how self-absorbed they can be. It is something about that age, I think. Being the force that I am, I purposely  try to make them think outside of themselves. Many of our journal topics have been about helping others. They complain, as most junior high students do, about my journal topics, but I hope that I am planting seeds that will germinate and grow into kind and compassionate adults.

Today we watched this TED Talk from Mark Bezos. I challenged them to "get the shoes...."

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

An Inoculation after Standardized Testing

Today I administered the 8th Grade STAAR Reading test to a room of students. Four hours of trying to keep 13 & 14 year olds quiet while their classmates finished their tests was quite a difficult task. Trying to keep students quiet and on task any day is a challenge!

I started reflecting on why I became a teacher in the first place. I think most teachers become teachers in hopes of changing the world. With the day to day task of managing students and the accountability of high-stakes testing, I think we forget that.

Here is a little shot of inspiration from Adam Bellow:

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Texas STAR Chart

Every year all teachers in Texas are required to complete the Texas STAR Chart. This survey asks teachers to respond to questions about their use of technology in the classroom, the training they get for technology, the support of their campus and administrators and the infrastructure of the district's network. This data is used by campus and district staff for planning in the area of technology initiative and integration.

Many teachers see the STAR Chart as an annual task and are happy to get it off their "to do" list, but what they may not realize is how important their answers are. Not only does the data get reported to TEA each year, district tech teams use teachers' answers for planning PD, tech plans, instructional goals and equipment purchases.

This presentation includes the STAR Chart questions with a summary of what Target Tech for each of those questions means:

Friday, October 31, 2014

Tools for Embedded Librarianship - TLA District 1

The wonders of technology!!! So tomorrow morning I am going to sit in my living room at my home on the Texas coast, probably in my pjs, and speak to the TLA District 1 Fall Meeting in San Angelo, TX eight hours away.

Here is my presentation:

And here is a link to The Complete Guide to Twitter Hashtags for Education.

A question was asked about royalty-free pictures. Here is a link to a collection of resources from a training I did a few years ago:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

New Job, New Blog

I have started a new position as Director of Instructional Technology for Bay City ISD. Many challenges, many opportunities, tons of rewards.

Here's my new blog address:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sub email Accounts in Gmail

Another reason I love Google, but where have I been?!?

Yesterday I was conducting a workshop for elementary teachers on Digital Learning. We discussed a few web tools, like Animoto, Voki, and others, which require user accounts. One of the teachers (thanks Aurora Aparicio!) said she used sub email in her Gmail account for her students to setup web tool accounts. Brilliant!!

To make this work, the teacher needs to setup a gmail account. I would not use my personal gmail, but setup one that is "teachery" in nature. For me it could be "" or "". Once you have setup the email, you can use as many sub accounts as you wish. You do not have to setup additional account, just assign the students an email that is attached to your own. For example, if my email was "" a sub email could be "". The email delivery system will ignore what is between the + and @ signs. The emails will be delivered to your Gmail inbox. The + sign after your email username is required for the sub email accounts to work.

It would also be a good idea to setup up a filter in the email so that all emails sent to the sub email gets put into its own folder. This will keep your email from getting overwhelmed as well as give you a folder for each student's work. Animoto, for instance, generates an email when each video is completed. Using sub email and filters, that email will be delivered to the student's folder in your email and you will just have to click the link to view and grade the finished project.

There is setup involved on the part of the teacher, but it is worth it! Of course if your school has student emails for all students then let the kids setup their own account. But if your kids don't have an email, this would be a great work around!