Dynamic Plot Diagrams with Ozobots

Recently, the amazing librarian at my campus shared an idea with me - one that the 7th grade ELA teachers had agreed to try.  The students had recently finished "The Outsiders" and were beginning to analyze the plot elements.  Our librarian said she had seen this idea (but she wasn't sure where) of a plot diagram involving the Ozobots. 

So we tried it out. Students collaborated in groups about the style, elements, and illustrations of their plot diagram.  It could take any shape they wanted, and we encouraged them to create a shape that connected to the novel and was easy for the robot to travel. Students created illustrations for each of the plot elements and they used the Ozobots to demonstrate the elements by incorporating Ozobot movements that they connected to the parts of the story. 

Overall I think it was successful. Students were highly engaged discussing the plot points of the novel and what drawings and movements should be included in their diagrams. The one down…

Shake Up Learning Book

When I am looking for resources and inspiration, Kasey Bell at is definitely I place I go!  I was lucky enough to be chosen to be part of Kasey's Book Launch team, so I got a chance to read the Shake Up Learning Book early!  My digital draft is highlighted on almost every page and I have tweeted a bunch of my favorite quotes. I even posted some booksnaps on twitter and wrote an Amazon review.

I wonder ...what more could I say?

Well, I guess there's a few things…

The first thing is that I really love this book. It aligns with my philosophy that technology is not out to replace good pedagogy, it's there to enhance it and take it to a new level. Sometimes tech is not the answer. Student engagement, i.e. dynamic learning, should always be at the forefront. If technology helps with that, then that's great.  If not, that's fine too. As my role as an instructional technology specialist, I am charged with finding and curating the strategies and activiti…

What's your purpose with social media?

I joke that I am addicted to Twitter.  And I might be... I check it multiple times a day and spend at least 5 minutes scrolling, reading, bookmarking each time I open the app.  I check Facebook daily, even though most days I get upset over something posted.  I have Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest accounts, but they aren't so important that my notifications aren't even turned on.

Recently I read an article on called "This Is What Social Media (And The Selfie Generation) Did To My Teenage Daughter".  And it got me thinking... what is the purpose of social media?

Or rather, what is my purpose with social media? Do I need it if I am not using it for my intended purpose?

With Twitter, I feel that I am definitely using it for my intended purpose - my purpose is to learn. There are so many educators who share their ideas, lessons, and observations on Twitter - and I want to soak up each one.  I have learned about Flipgrid and Desmos, found more ways to use …

Differentiated PD

This week I got the opportunity to present whole-group professional development to the teachers on my campus. I know that we have a lot of different levels of technology savvy, so I wanted to differentiate. My focus was on student creation (since we are working toward becoming a Fine Arts Academy) and my goal was for everyone to learn at least one new assessment idea for their class.

In order to reach everyone, and give them something they could reference,  I created a Google Site. For the beginners, I created a Google basics section. This group had their own space. It had stations with checklists for some of the basic productivity skills in Google Calendar, Drive, Gmail and Docs. Teachers would go to whichever station they felt they needed help with. There were instructional videos and step-by-step instructions, all of which was also included on the site. I was very fortunate that two of our campus instructional coaches offered to be the facilitators for those stations. I heard they …

Stop Motion for Transformations

The CDFMS makerspace has been busy! We recently completed a project with 6th grade science using stop motion to show their knowledge of potential and kinetic energy (future blog post).  One of the math teachers came in, saw what they were doing, and said "I think we could do something like that for transformations.  Could you create something for us?"  Could I? Of course I can!

Since we have iPads in our makerspace, my first completed project was an app-smash between Educreations and iMotion.  Educreations had the coordinate plane background that I needed for my screenshots and iMotion is a free, easy-to-use tool that makes GIFs! (I didn't know that before.. but now I am using it constantly!)

Here is one of my finished projects:

Then I looked at the calendars and realized that some of science teachers have the makerspace booked the days math was hoping utilize the space.  I wondered, "Could I create something similar that they could do on their own?"  Recently,…

#IMMOOC Post #2 - Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset

Task: Take one of the “Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset” and write an example of how you exemplify it in your own work.

Part of my job as an Instructional Technology Specialist is to instruct teachers on technology tools/activities that they can use in their own classroom.  When I am planning a training session, the first thing I think is - "Would I get bored/distracted in my session?".  As I have gotten older, I think I have acquired a little ADD, so sometimes it is difficult for something to keep my attention for very long, especially if it is someone up front talking, all the while referencing a Google Slides/PowerPoint presentation. I need something different, and I bet most of my teachers do as well.  I am empathetic to my learners - I know that they need different things (especially those like me who get distracted and want to check email/Facebook/Twitter.)
In my sessions this year, I am using that thought while planning.  I don't want to be a sage on the…

#IMMOOC Post #1 - Why is innovation in education so crucial today?

It is round 3 for #IMMOOC, round 1 for me!

I started reading this book a few weeks back, and posted this as a #booksnap 

This really resonated with me - teachers need time to learn and grow and they need to feel like it is all hands on deck (as it should be).  Sometimes it feels like the time isn't there or not everyone is on board - and that can stifle the positive changes that could be happening.  
We were posed this question: Why is innovation in education so crucial today?

So I thought... and I thought... and I thought.  I have a thousand buzz words going around in my head, and yet nothing sticks to the answer of that question.  So I started thinking about changes and new experiences in my own life. 

I went to my first NCAA Women's Volleyball game this week - my family went out to cheer on the Texas Longhorns.  I've been to many, many football games and quite a few basketball games - but never volleyball. We went because my youngest daughter started playing volleyball …