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My Education Summer Reads

“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.” By Will Rogers


Reading is not just important for our students but for everyone. Here is a quick article about why reading is important: ‘8 Reasons Why Reading is So Important‘. As the school year is winding down, I like to create a summer reading list because it is important to always work on your craft. This is my education summer 2014 list:

The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller &  Jay Papasan 

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Teacherpreneurs: Innovative Teachers Who Lead But Don’t Leave by Barnett Berry

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath by Dan Heath

Relationships + Rules + Routines = Results by Philip Vincent and Doug Grove 

Influencer: The Power to Change Anything  by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

I would love to know what books you are planning to read this summer!


Student Content Creation – Flowboard

Originally posted on Educational Aspirations:

Using Flowboard in Math Class

Using Flowboard in Math Class

This year my math students have been creating and publishing math content.  Most of the creation has taken place on iPads through different presentation apps.  While finishing up our math comic strips I came across the app Flowboard.  At the time of this writing Flowboard is a free presentation app that gives users 200mb of space. My first thought was that students could potentially create a project and use Flowboard as the medium.  After experimenting a bit with the platform, I concluded that the class could create a presentation that would include different templates, images, text, videos and links.  I found that the links can be part of the presentation or send the viewer to an external site.  This is huge because students could potentially create a table of contents and the viewer could view parts of the site that they prefer. Or possibly, students could add links…

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My 2014 Edu New Year’s Resolutions

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” By Abraham Lincoln


Each year I make New Year’s Resolutions, but I also think it is just as important to reflect on your past resolutions in order to create your new ones. Today I reflected on 2013 resolutions and create new ones for 2014.

2013’s with reflections:

1. Learn, master and provide PD on implementing challenge based learning in the classroom.  I give myself a B-, I learned a lot about Challenged Based Learning but have not provided PD on it.

2. Take more risks, learn from my mistakes and failures and not sweat the small stuff. I give myself an A+. I started my own business, Edulum LLC, in March 2013 which has been fun but a lot of hard work with some mistakes and failures. I took on a new role as project manager, which I have never done before and have learned a LOT from my mistakes.

3. Continue to learn through reading, researching, blogging, connecting and most importantly listening to others.  I give myself an B+ on this…there is always room for improvement when learning. I did learn to code enough to create websites, I took a few MOOC’s and read a lot of books and Twitter Chats. I did not connect with as many educators as I wanted to be guest bloggers on my website, I will continue to work on that.

My resolutions for 2014 is….

1. … to focus on helping teachers make an intentional shift to personalized learning. It is a challenging fundamental change to learning and teaching and I want to make it easier for educators. Helping them realize technology is an important enabler but the devices we use are just one tool for delivering this instruction.

2. …help schools become more innovative. For example, helping more schools create makerspaces and coding clubs.

3. …continue to learn and challenge myself. Half of the things I accomplished in 2013 were not part  of my goals/resolution, but because I wanted to challenge myself and continue to learn.

Here are a few other educators new years resolution that I also enjoyed:

Top 12 New Year’s Resolutions for Teachers

5 New Year’s Resolution for Teachers

5 Resolutions Modernize Teaching 2014

Happy New Year Everyone!

I’m Participating in the Blogger Homework Meme

“Without deep reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.” By Albert Einstein

This past week I was tagged in the Homework Meme craze by Brianna Crowley. After reading about what Homework Meme was, I found it is similar to those chain emails we used to get in college. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to participate. But like any social media outlet, I got sucked in reading others and started to realize the importance of getting to know your followers for the person they are, besides their digital persona. I decide to participate as I think it is meaningful for my readers to get to know me as well.


  1. I got married in Negril, Jamaica on the beach.
  2. I love Cardinals for no other reason then my Grandma loved them.
  3. I was told by my 3rd grade teacher I wouldn’t graduate from High School…haha I did graduate and also college and grad school. ;-)
  4. I am always cold and I have a gazillion blankets around the house, you would think an old lady lives here.
  5. I worked as a waitress during College and think the experience was just as beneficial as college. I learned things everyday, mostly about dealing with different individuals.
  6. I went to college thinking,  ‘I’ll become a teacher and then have summers off’…..I did not have the last laugh on this one nor did I realize it wouldn’t be a job but a passion.
  7. I love to read and am the person that gets mad when the book ends because I am not in their world anymore.
  8. I am not a music person; I like listening to songs that make you feel good and dance. I am one of those people that also thinks I know all the lyrics but really don’t. I could be in the worst mood ever but if, ‘I’m Too Sexy’ by Right Said Fred comes on, it cheers me up.
  9. I love quotes but don’t have a favorite. I use them to start every blog post of mine.
  10. I enjoy trying new restaurants as I love food. Yelp is a favorite app because of this obsession.
  11. I own my own company called Edulum. We combining the love of EDUcation and the expertise of curriucLUM for affordable Professional Development and Education Consulting. We also hold what is becoming an annual conference in Charlotte, NC in the beginning of August. Typical conferences are hundreds of dollars, ours is only $30.00, with the same quality of big conferences because educators are not in it for the money, we are in it for the love of learning. @edulumllc

Brianna’s 11 QUESTIONS:

  1. What was the proudest moment of your childhood? Making a competitieve varsity softball team as a freshman (Over 400 girls tried out)
  2. To get you through a task, what “carrot” do you use? I make a todo list and start crossing things off then I am re-motivated, I know – I am weird.
  3. When we autonomous cars hit the market, will you be an early adopter? No
  4. Window seat or Aisle? Aisle
  5. If you couldn’t get hurt, what is one adventure you would try? Skydiving but I think I might do it anyway….we shall see. 
  6. Do you believe in ghosts? No
  7. Favorite non-human companion? Books
  8. What song/album do you believe tells your story…or at least an important part of it?  Stronger by Kelly Clarkson. 
  9. What’s your perfect beverage? Descriptive details are important. Jacob Creeks Moscato
  10. What one word, phrase, or mannerism would all your closest friends and family say is “so you?”  Educator
  11. If you were given a 4 year sabbatical to pursue an alternate career path what would you choose?   It would be to learn how to bake and then open my own bakery. I swear someone stole my idea of cupcake shoppes before they became popular. 


Jayme Linton

Romain Bertrand

Barry Saide

Andrew Thomasson

Tom Whitby

Jacqui Murray

Matt Coaty

Julie Reulbach

Lisa Maples

Erica Speaks

Tim Clark


  1. If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
  2. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  3. Have you paid it forward?
  4. How many states have you lived in?
  5. What is your favorite device?
  6. If you were going to write a book, what would its title be?
  7. What is your favorite holiday?
  8. What is a goal of 2014?
  9. Who was your favorite teacher?
  10. If you could be on a reality TV show, which one would you be on?
  11. What would your last meal on earth be?
Here’s how it works:
  • Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
  • Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
  • List 11 bloggers.
  • Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you.

I truly enjoy everyone that reads my blog/twitter feeds and hope you have a happy holiday break and season.

Opening the Floodgates? Making the Move from Acceptable Use to Responsible Use

Inside the classroom, outside the box:

Taking the next steps with BYOT!

Originally posted on BYOT Network:

(Cross-posted at Bold Visions and BYOT Network and cowritten by Jill Hobson, Director of Instructional Technology and Dr. Tim Clark, Coordinator of Instructional Technology – Forsyth County Schools)

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

We’ve written previously on our decision to implement a Responsible Use Procedure rather than an Acceptable Use Procedure. And while we’ve shared some of the philosophical reasons why we believe in the idea of a Responsible Use Procedure, we’ve not spent much time on strategies to make that move successfully.

Grappling with and being ready to break from a long list of things that users shouldn’t do and moving to a shorter (and more memorable) list of responsibilities is both a philosophical and operational shift that takes consensus building. And it might seem like this would be opening the floodgates of disciplinary issues without the necessary “rules” to shore up necessary response. We have found that through consistent…

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Using iMovie in the Elementary Classroom: Part 1

“If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.” By John Dewey

Using iMovie maker can open many doors in the classroom for students to use their 21st century skills of communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking along with using technology. This week I am going to show you one way how you can use iMovie in your classroom.

Using the green screen feature is easy and makes learning a little more fun. For years in the classroom we have had the students doing Readers Theater, making their own skits or commercials etc; well now they can do this in front of a green screen and bring their work more to life. As far as materials you will need to purchase a green screen which is cheap, we paid under $10.00 for ours (some people even go to a store and purchase a big green sheet) and a video camera, a flip camera being the easiest to use. The steps are so easy that any student in grades 3rd and up can do them. If you teach K-2, I recommend sitting with them.

Step 1: Shoot the video of the students doing their skit, play commercial etc.

Step 2: Plug in your camera, if it is a flip, put it into the USB drive. iMovie will open up and ask you if you would like to import the video, click import. Name your project and click create.

Step 3: Once you imported the video it will be seen in the bottom portion of iMovie. See screen shot below.

Step 4: Find a picture or use one of your own that you want for your background. (Make sure it is not copyrighted). Save the picture to your desktop and then drag it into the project library, which is in the top left side. Once the picture is in the library, click on it and change the duration to double the length of the video clip. (Ex. If your clip is 30 seconds make the picture 60 seconds)

Step 5: Highlight the portion of the video you would like to use (I usually use the whole clip) and drag it on top of the picture. A side bar will pop up and this is where you can click on green screen effect.

Step 6: Edit the clip how you see fit, cutting out the background until you have the movie the way you like it. (You can do voiceovers, add music etc. I always start off basic and then as I learn the program I start “playing” around) Press the play button so you will see what it will look like in the right corner.

Step 7: Once you have the video to your liking, go to the toolbar up top and click on share. Share the video the way you would like. I created a You Tube account were I share all my videos. I like that I have the option of how much privacy I want on the video.

That is it! The first few times will take you about 10 minutes but I have now gotten it down to 5 minutes, unless I play around with the editing features. Some things to remember when using iMovie in the classroom is that you want to make sure that you have parent’s permission to share the video. The best part is if you ever get stuck, you can look up ‘how to videos,’ as there are plenty out there and that is how I taught myself.

At our school, we started using the green screen to make videos to also connecting fitness, geography and technology! The students can choose to run laps at recess; these laps are converted into miles. We then add up all the classroom miles to have Mr. O (assistant principal) Mr. Higgins (PE teacher) travel the world based on these miles. They started off, at the school, in Charlotte, NC and have traveled to many places. Each place they travel to we shoot a different video using landmarks as the background, along with other clues and the classrooms have to guess, ‘Where in the World Mr. Higgins and Mr. O are?’ Check out some of the videos here

NC Technology Conference – Synthesized

“At the core of being a 21st Century Teacher is being a Master Learner.” By David Warlick

This week I was not only lucky to be able to present at North Carolina Technology in Education Society Conference (#NCTIES12) but also attend! I loved being surrounded by the excitement of learning and fantastic techies. I attended many sessions but thought that I would narrow my focus onto these three sessions I attended and how I am going to use it to better my teaching. I am going to save my favorite session for next week’s blog when I am done playing around and creating with it.

Ken Shelton- Digital TLC: Igniting the Fire

- Mr. Shelton found six information things in 6 secs proving the point we need and can get information right now. But obtaining information doesn’t mean nothing if you don’t know what to do about it! We need to teach students to critical thinking. Fast data access is no good unless students have the skills to use it.

- I am going to read: Raw Materials for the Mind: Teaching & Learning in Information & Technology Rich Schools by David Warlick

- Use Google Earth to take virtual ‘fieldtrip’.

- Mr. Shelton did an exercise called 6 word stories. In 6 words we had to describe what engagement looked like. We tweeted this out and then used the visible tweets site to see what people said. (You need flash or javascript to be able to use the site) I can’t wait to use this in the classroom as it will get students to synthesize their information. You can make a class twitter account and your own #hashtag so the information comes up on visable tweets for the students to see.

Mashups: Creating New Classroom Content Using Freely-Available Digital Media by Patrick Cripsin  

- Hype cycle is a graph that shows the social application of specific technologies. It also shows you when technologies move beyond the hype, offering benefits and becoming widely accepted. This is good to keep in mind when in the classroom so you don’t fall for the ‘hype’ of a specific technology you want to try in your classroom. Below are the stages of the cycle.

- Stage 1: Technology trigger- oh’s and ahhs of what is new

- Stage 2: Troughs of disillusionment- Technology fails to meet expectations, becomes unfashionable and media interest decreases.

- Stage 3: Slope of enlightenment- Focused experimentation leads to a true understanding of the technology’s applicability, risks, and benefits.

- Stage 4: Plateau of productivity – When you use the technology without even realizing it. Real-world benefits of the technology are demonstrated and accepted.

- When using and creating mashups (such as edu.glogster/wikis) we as educators need to be aware of copyrights and creative commons. Creative Common is a nonprofit organization that works to increase the amount of creativity available in public such as school. Pictures, videos etc are available to the public for free and legal sharing, use and remixing. We need to teach digital citizenship and this is an important lesson for students to be made aware of. Teaching them about creative commons will help them understand that there are places they can take pictures from to put into their edu.glogster etc and it is not breaking copyright laws.

- Sites that you can search for creative common use:



- YouTube Creative Commons- put phrase you are searching then comma, creative commons

Engaging , Creating, Collaborating and Organizing-Now! By Lynn Keith, Suzanne Blaszak and Jennifer Keith

- Here I learned about a few new sites that I could implement into my classroom.

- Here you can create your own jigsaw puzzle and use it multiple ways in the classroom such as, having the students put the puzzle together (collaboration) and appears a vocabulary or site word they have to learn.

- Have students create their own flip book on a concept that they have learned to use as an informal assessment that turns into their study guide as well. Also great for e-portfolios!

- Text message your students/parents a reminder that a test is coming up or a project. It is not attached to a phone number so they For more information on how it works watch this short video

All the sessions I attended were fabulous and there wasn’t one session that I went into and didn’t learn something new. I can’t wait to go next year! Mark your calendars as it is March 6-8th 2013 in Raleigh, NC @ the Convention Center and you won’t want to miss it.

Why We Need More Principals Like Mine

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Yes, my Principal is a follower of my blog and no this is not why I am writing this post. I truly feel more Principals need to be like mine. All great Principals have visions, goals and high expectations for their school but it takes more to be an excellent Principal. Here are three reasons why more Principals need to be like mine.

The first reason is all Principals care about test scores but my Principal understands that test scores are not the ‘be all, end all’. He let’s his staff take on challenges and risks by letting is try new things without having to worry about if it ends up not working. For example, last year, I had heard about the concept of ‘flipped classroom.’ I thought it was interesting and wanted to try it in my classroom. I ran it by my Principal and he not only told me to go for it but sent me articles about it that he found to help me. Through my data and reflection, I found how well it worked. He then started using the concept for our staff meeting so they were more productive. He sends us videos or articles to watch/read before the meeting so when we met we could work in our professional learning groups and be more productive. The best part is when things don’t work when we took risks was it was okay as we used that as a learning tool as well, with no repercussions.

The second reason is all good Principals try to set up their teachers for success and growth but my Principal goes the extra mile. He has implemented this time called ‘innovate time’ for his staff. This time is for teachers to request (by simply writing an email) asking to explore something they feel will benefit their classroom but need time to best implement it. During this time the teacher gets three different- 45 minutes sessions during the school day to explore something they want to try in their classroom. For example a teacher could request time to look at ways to best implement kid blogging. The first session the teacher might research and upload their students into the site they think is best for them to use. Then on the second session they might create a rubric and expectations they want to use when rolling out this idea to the classroom. Then after implementation the third session could be a reflection time and to make any changes they feel need to take place. As long as the teacher has a plan, he approves it. Who teaches the class during those 45 minute sessions…he does! He believes in our visions and values our time.

The third reason is plain and simple, he honestly loves what he does and it shows. This makes working for him easier and more enjoyable. He is always trying to better his practice by keeping up with current trends which in turn makes you as an educator want to be better. My Principal also distributes leadership roles as he believes in his staff while also promoting professional development.

When I had Questioned My Decision to be an Educator

“When you love people and have the desire to make a profound, positive impact upon the world, then will you have accomplished the meaning to live.” By Sasha Azevedo

This week I was asked to describe a specific situation in which I questioned my decision to become an educator. After thinking about my eight years of teaching I could only think of one time I had questioned my decision, which ironically was my first year of teaching, yet I remember it as if it was yesterday.

To give you background on my first teaching job, I taught in an inner city school that was K-8. The school was title one and not in a safe neighborhood. The school held night classes for parents by the teachers, to help the parents learn English and receive their GEDs. The school had child care to help these parents attend these classes. We also held Saturday school, every Saturday, for students that needed extra support and that were in danger of failing.

I was teaching 8th grade science support for the state test, basically I had the group of students that were on the cusp of failing and/or dropping out. Many of the students were already affiliated with gangs and we had a police officer in the hall at all times due to so many fights that would break out. We, as a staff, had been trained to look for certain colors, logo’s and clothing that would represent certain gangs. I knew that if students came in basic clothes, such as a white t-shirt, that it could mean they planned on fighting, as they wouldn’t fight in their ‘good cloths’. I knew when girls wore their hair back and no earrings this was also a sign. The biggest sign was when they would be wearing Vaseline on their face, so when someone threw a punch it would “slide off”.

I like many educators, poured my heart and soul into trying to make my lessons fun, exciting and hands on. I cared about these students and spent many hours before and after school along with on Saturdays trying to help the students. It took me a while to gain the trust of many of the students and I never gained all of their trust. I did see a change, and a more passion for learning, within many of the students as I let them complete hands on experiments verse only book work, which many of the other teachers did at this school in order to keep control.

Even though the school was title one and it was in rough neighborhood, I loved teaching. I enjoyed what I did everyday. I loved seeing the excitement when the students figured out how force and motion worked through making their own roller coasters. I loved the discussions they would have when they were trying to work together to build a bridge that could hold the most books using just toothpicks and marshmallows.

Then in late May of my first year teaching, I did question myself and my decision to be an educator. I was on my way back to the school as there was going to be a talent show. It was about 6:00 in the evening and I was almost to the school when I came to a dead stop. Coming down the middle of the street I saw a boy being chased by several boys (many I recognized from being in my class) that were holding baseball bats and bricks. They stopped right in front of my car and started beating him. I called 911, who said they knew about it and were already on their way. It was only a minute (maybe less) but it felt like an eternity that the police came. I watched as they handcuffed several of the boys and saw some had gotten away. I was scared and shocked

The next day, I was teaching about solid, liquids and gas and having the students being the atoms, when in walked one of the boys that got away. He came right up to me, standing only inches away and said, “I will cut you up and put you in a body bag and send you down the river,” and then just left the classroom. I somehow kept teaching the last 15 minutes of class and then broke down. I started thinking about if this job was really for me and worth all the stress. I didn’t want to be scared to come to work. I thought long and hard that night about what I wanted to do. I could always just quit but what kind of message would that leave for the other students that were working so hard. I couldn’t let one person change what I have always wanted to do since I was little.

I didn’t quit and I worked harder then ever to get those students to pass. Out of the twenty-two students, fifteen passed the science portion that year, but that wasn’t the best part. One of the students said that she wanted to become a science teacher so she could always have fun at work like I did; that meant more to me then anything and I knew not only did I do the right thing by sticking with teaching, I knew I was changing at least some kids lives.

I have been teaching eight years now and no matter what has been thrown at me, I have never questioned my decision to be an educator again. It is my passion to teach and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

My 2012 EDU New Year’s Resolutions

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”  by Oprah Winfrey

A New Year’s resolution is a goal a person sets to achieve within the upcoming year. We usually hear about New Year’s resolutions such as losing weight and quitting smoking. It may seem impractical to be making goals in the middle of the school year for the ‘New Year’, but I believe that continuing to reflect and making your self a better educator can never be a bad thing. I think the key point many people miss about making resolutions is they don’t reflect about HOW they are going to accomplish the goal. Below are my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions along with how I plan on accomplishing them.

1. I want to continue to learn about the most current technology and guide teachers on how they can use technology in the classroom to create a more personalized learning path for students. I plan on doing this by attending Professional Developments, webinars and continuing to develop my PLN. I also want to be able to share my findings with others.

2. I want to be persistent about reading, learning and sharing regarding education in terms of curriculum development. I plan on doing this by reading more educational book and articles and sharing with not only my schools grade levels but also my district through different communication methods such as Yammer and blogging.

3. I want to create more Problem Based Learning (PBL) Projects. The few I have created the students have really enjoyed and I have seen a difference in the quality of work. I am no expert when it comes to creating these types of lessons so I do want to learn more about PBL’s through websites, books and from peers.

If you have any suggestions of sites, books etc. to help me complete my New Year’s resolutions please do share. I enjoy reading your comments and emails. I also would love to hear what your New Years resolutions are as well. As you make your New Year’s resolution, don’t forget to think about how you are going to accomplish the goals.

I hope you have a happy, healthy and successful New Year!


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