#KidsDeserveIt

This summer, I have been on a reading frenzy. Aside from reading required texts for my last PASC class, I have been able to read for my own enjoyment. One of those books was, Kids Deserve It by Todd Nesloney and Adam Welcome.

This book is a must read for any educator.

I have been a teacher for over ten years and ensuring the success of my students have always been at the forefront of my mind. In education, there are so many obstacles, defeats, changes etc., that can often be discouraging. However, there are often victories, opportunities, successes etc. that can be so rewarding. As an educator, I have had my fair share of both worlds.

After reading Kids Deserve It, I have been so encouraged to share out a few takeaways that hopefully encourage you.

  1. Push Forward, Move Past the Alien Look

Have you ever met with your Principal, colleagues, peers etc and shared an new innovative idea and….they stare at you with “that look”. You can hear a pin drop or they literally laugh out loud at you? Well I can honestly say, I have. I felt the size of the old school toy Polly Pocket. However, regardless of that feeling, I get excited when I get “that look”. I’m a pusher, I love to challenge the status quo.

I know rules are set for a reason, however, I do not enjoy the saying, “it’s the way we’ve always done things”. When it comes to kids, if it requires me to pursue the task because it will benefit kids. You better bet your bottom dollar, I will do whatever it takes. I love what it said in Kids Deserve It, “If we don’t, we don’t push education forward. We don’t inspire innovation and creativity. We just get more of the same. Be glad when you get the alien look. It means you’re thinking differently and trying to push the envelope with new ideas. It means even though not every idea will come to fruition, you keep pushing to give kids what’s best. Because your kids deserve it!”

So ask yourself, what new exciting program, activity, field trip, instructional strategy etc., would you like to implement in your classroom? Do it. Risk it. You have to be willing to set the bar higher than mediocrity.

**Note, if you are a Principal: Be willing to listen. We live in a world that is different from when we grew up. Students don’t learn the same way we did, they don’t experience life the same way we did. Know the legality of issues, but if it’s something new that is worthwhile, let teachers try.**

Thank you to all my administrators that believed in my crazy ideas. You have encouraged me and supported me in everything. I am so grateful for that.

  1. Build Relationships, with Everyone!

A huge part of growth in education takes place when you build relationships. Building relationships and connections has always been something I value. I have been able to build and maintain relationships with many people within my district. I love being able to say I work in the same district, I went to school in. With that being said, I have a huge level of comfortability. However, that didn’t get established until I lowered my guard.

All too often we as educators and people feel like if we ask for help, others will think we are subpar, incompetent, or incapable.

I will be honest, coming into the teaching profession, I didn’t have my teaching credential and did not have any experience (other than my years in school) in a classroom. With that being said, I did not know where to start when it came to teaching ALL students. I had to lower my guard and lean on the people who walked with me during my time as a student. Seeking advice out of my four classroom walls, was the most rewarding experience of my teaching career. As Nesloney & Welcome state, “we want to break down the walls of our classrooms and become partners in the journey.” So many stakeholders in education are ready to help you!

Aside from gaining perspective and knowledge from many in my district, I’ve also been able to gain a worldly perspective from educators around the world. Twitter has been one of the greatest resources I have had in seeking new ideas, building/fostering relationships, and is a place of continuing support for me on my journey.

I know so often, we get overwhelmed with the job and may encounter the following (according to Nesloney & Welcome):

  • I don’t have the time.
  • The new technology is too confusing.
  • My district would never approve it.
  • I don’t really understand the value.
  • I’ve been doing fine for years; why change now?

My rebuttal is that fostering relationships and expanding knowledge out of your repertoire is worth it. Not only for you, but for your students. It takes time, it takes effort, but life is different than when we were students. We owe it to our students to give them the best instruction and environment to be successful. Just do it. I know you won’t regret it.

  1. Let everything we do, come back to kids.

Think about why you became a teacher?

I’m hoping your decision is similar to what Nesloney & Welcome said, “people choose education because they want to make a difference — to change lives and impart wisdom to future generations.”. I know my reason is very similar to that. I want students to have a prosperous and successful future. I want them to be able to be successful in the 21st century.

If you are in a rut. Go back to your initial answer. Then find a friend. Someone you can confide in, that will push you and encourage you to pursue your passion.

In you are still fighting the good fight. I encourage you to share out with others. Share your successes and setbacks. You never know who you may be encouraging.

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Remember, kids are the only reason we have our profession. They inspire us, motivate us and empower us. We in turn should do the same for them. They deserve to have the best future and we need to be the ones who pave the way for them. After all, kids deserve it.

Stepping out in Faith

I think for me, I have always been a passionate person. Just ask my parents 🙂 I also knew from a young age, I’d somehow be involved in education. As crazy as that sounds, I fully believe I’ve been set apart to live a life that has been different in comparison to others my age. Not for the better, just different.

I feel like my faith and passion have led me to where I am today. Two years ago, I would never think I’d be in the place I am today. It was in a meeting at school, that I decided that I was going to pursue a job in school administration. Through tears and anxiousness, I deciphered through my feelings and emotions and determined that God was calling me to take this step out in faith. Always being a planner and wanting to be constantly in control, I began my journey. Within this past year, I began my Preliminary Administrative Services Credential. I am only a few weeks out from completion of this program and am starting to begin the application process.

As I start taking steps to begin this process, I am anxious, but am so encouraged by some amazing educators out in the field. To the amazing authors of Lead Like a Pirate, Shelley Burgess and Beth Houf, your excitement and passion has helped me to keep my focus alive! Your book has provided wonderful examples of what a transparent and authentic leader looks like. I feel like these two characteristics really reach to the core of what I aim to model as a leader.

Transparency and authenticity to building up staff and students is my driving force. These two characteristics also transcend into my personal life. I know that as a leader I must continue to be vulnerable and open about my vision and purpose personally and professionally. I think that as I continue to pursue this passion I know that must be crystal clear about my priorities, vision and goals.

The main passion laid on my heart about being an administrator, is supporting teachers to teach in the 21st century. Encouraging and motivating teachers to reach their full potential has always been the aim I’ve had. Cultivating relationships with my colleagues is something that I cherish so much. They have taught me so much about myself and about obstacles that are taking place outside of my classroom. In those conversations, they gave me the motivation and support I needed to take steps I wouldn’t necessarily take. I began several journeys within this past year. Taking the chance and applying to be a Google Trainer as well as guest speaking at conferences has really allowed me to take the steps to “leading up”. It’s been a roller coaster of an experience, but I think Shelley and Beth said it best about being a leader:

“it involves grit, determination, persistence, flexibility, an element of fun, and a whole lot of heart!”. 

So as I continue on my journey, I am going to hold onto God’s plan for my life as well as continue to equip myself to be the best version of myself. Knowing that He is going to guide me where He can use me, to carry out His plan.

My motivation for writing this, is that I hope you are encouraged to take a step out in faith. To pursue passions that have been put on your heart. In the process, I hope that you aim for transparency and authenticity. I cannot wait to hear how you succeed.

Ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting your closer to where you want to be tomorrow. ~Unknown

My CUE Rockstar “Hero’s Journey”

My journey with CUE started about three years ago, when I was sent to attend National CUE. I was a kid in a candy shop. The innovative mindset that the presenters were focusing on, made me change my perspective of how I ran my classroom. I stumbled upon a booth at CUE called, CUE Rockstar. By the name, I was easily intrigued….(who wouldn’t want to be a rockstar?). After listening to the presentation, I knew I had to ask my Assistant Principal to see if he would let me go. Surprised, I was sent to my very first CUE rockstar in Manhattan Beach. I was amazed to meet some phenomenal teachers (@nowatechie @LS_Karl @Jstevens009 @JenRoberts1 @MsVictoriaOlson @CoffeeNancy) The CUE rockstar set up during these camps was much smaller and allowed for: one on one communication, hands on time, and an exciting atmosphere. Needless to say after my first rockstar, I was hooked. I knew that I wanted to attend one every summer, but I also felt this urge of, “you’re going to do this one day”. The first I was sure of, I’ve been to a rockstar camp every summer, but I was greatly unsure of the second.

My journey into presenting and leading trainings didn’t fully start until about two years ago. I would lead small sessions and discussions within my school site, but never wanted to go past that. One would say I’m pretty extroverted, however it does not come naturally to me. I have to fight my own insecurities to be outgoing. However, as I led small trainings at my site and later my district, I began to feel comfortable with my knowledge. It wasn’t until February of this year, that I discussed with my Tech Sister (my sounding board & tech best buddy) that it would be a great thing to start presenting at larger conferences, such as CUE. I initially was scared, did I have what it takes to be successful?

To my surprise, I was accepted to teach at CUE Rockstar Chico. After being accepted, I went through all the stages of emotion. The main emotion and thought that would run through my head was, “am I going to bomb this?” However, through the support of my summer school office staff, I was sent with positive words of affirmation as I left for the airport.

I tell you all of this backstory to tell you about my journey as a CUE Rockstar Faculty Member….

If you are familiar with the CUE rockstar camps you will know that there is a component called the “Shred Sessions”. If you are a camp attendee it’s the time to hear about all the fun and engaging opportunities you will experience during a faculty members session. As a presenter…it was one of the most scariest time of my life. I can be humorous and fun, but I am not a singer, dancer or performer. As I was watching my fellow faculty members rock their sessions, I was dying on the inside. When it was my turn, I went up, don’t really remember what I said, but was excited I was done with the shred. Unsure of what I said made any sense, I was ecstatic to see attendees come to my “episodes”.

The theme for this year’s CUE Rockstar camps was “A Hero’s Journey”. As I reflect on my experience as a faculty member I can see relate my story so much to a journey.

The stages of a hero’s journey are as follows:

  1. Listen for your call to adventure
  2. Accept the challenge
  3. Conquer your fear
  4. Claim the treasure you seek

The call to adventure that was presented to me was taking the step out of my comfort zone and applying to teach outside of my district. I wanted to spread my passion to other educators ready for a challenge. So once I found my adventure, I took the step and applied. Let me just say applying to speak at conferences or for things in general really takes a toll of a woman’s psyche. 🙂 I questioned everything! Even from the littlest things, such as whether or not to add a bitmoji to the slide. Overall, through the process I had an amazing support team, constantly encouraging me and reassuring me, I can do this! Then as I said before, I conquered my fear. Those “shred” sessions were the biggest hurdle. Actually teaching the “episode” was the best part! The definite treasure in my journey: being able to share and interact with teachers. Watching them learn how to do tips, tricks or redesign their lessons is so rewarding.

As I walk away from what I know was an absolute blessing, I write to tell you to find what can be your own “Hero’s Journey”. Find your adventure, accept the challenge, conquer your fear, and claim the treasure you seek. So many of you, educators and people, have so much to offer the world. We often limit ourselves to reach our full potential due to fear, doubt and insecurities. I can speak about that first hand. But seriously, you have so much to give, why not give freely. I can’t wait to hear how you are using your talents to give back.

Be the hero!

High Tech High Reflections

High Tech High. Not so tech, but sets the standard on project/problem based learning, oh so high. High Tech High is located in San Diego. It is a choice school where the students are guided by four design principles–equity, personalization, authentic work, and collaborative design.

Let’s just say, I was amazed at how a school could run when focused more on PBL and learning for education sake and not the grade. Don’t get me wrong, I think many schools focus is the same, however based on the freedom this school has, it’s just different. Public schools, where I teach, have standards that we focus on, a wider range of student needs, college prep classes we incorporate, just a completely different set up than this charter school.

However, despite the differences there is so much that I got out of it!

My 7 takeaways from High Tech High:

  1. Don’t build a project to please yourself (the teacher), but for someone or something (an audience). I feel like so often we build projects or instruct our class based on our own personal interests. But in all reality students are living in a different time, when we as teachers were in high school. We have to get out of our comfort zone and teach to students desires and interests. I think you’d be amazed of what your classroom will look like.
  1. Focus on the 3Ps: Participation, Process & Product. I think so often we as teachers can get “nitpicky” on grading. We have to grade every assignment, with a specific grade scale etc, etc, etc. Sometimes it gets mundane. I have my students do work everyday, but sometimes they don’t receive a grade for EVERY assignment. I make some assignments worth more points, due to what they lead to in the bigger picture. I know I will grade heavy in their active participation, the process and the final product.
  1. Work towards your passion. My passion in education is to prepare teachers and students to teach in the 21st century. I want them to feel empowered and make an impact with their own lives, but in the lives of others. In order for me to achieve this, I have to go outside of my comfort zone and put in work. I work almost everyday to find ways to innovate my colleagues and students. Working hard, has given me so much to be proud of and has made it possible for teachers and students to be motivated for learning.
  1. They do what I do. No fear in failure. I have to continue to promote a growth mindset in my class. I have to continue to work outside of my comfort zone and not be afraid to take a leap. Over the course of the year I failed publically and privately. I’ve shared this openly with my students so that way they can see this, there can be no fear, when aiming for new goals. You may fail and fall, but you may fly!
  1. Be explicit about why they are doing what they are doing. Teach/Coach them about what they are doing. Being open and honest with what students are doing goes a long way. Building an honest and open rapport with your students can help cultivate meaningful projects and learning. Being a constant voice of support and direction, can encourage them along the way.
  1. Publish student work. It engages students and let’s them see the value in their work. I need to be better at this! I have started digital portfolios within my classroom, however they don’t necessarily show ALL the hard work my students have put in over the course of the year. I know that the portfolios are a great way to showcase their work, but have exhibitions can also be a way to allow the community to know what my students are capable of. It was huge when one HTH teacher said, don’t just make the “trashcan” projects, make them something memorable and worth publishing!
  1. Listen to why students are not engaged. THIS IS HUGE! Many students become disengaged in content quickly. This directly ties back the my takeaway #1. Students have a voice, they have feelings emotions, desires, motivations etc., we have to listen to them. We have to then take what they say and tie it into our curriculum, somehow, someway!

Cultivating meaningful instruction is hard, but we have to be willing to put in the work. This year I tried HyperDocs for the first time, and it changed the way I instruct. My students were engaged and motivated. Their assessment scores showed a 15% improvement. My plea to my fellow educators is….take the leap, do the work, enjoy the process, build relationships with your students, and show off what they produce. It will amaze you and make your career more worthwhile.

All in all, I was encouraged to know that I’m not far off the path of what HTH is doing. This being an ideal school, I am doing a lot of what they are doing, just on a different scale. After visiting, I know that I must continue to pursue my passion, and continue to dive into the passions of my students.

My road to becoming a Google Trainer!

I’m a Google Trainer! Shut the front door!

For me, this is a MAJOR accomplishment!

I have wanted to become a Google Trainer, since I heard about it way back at my first CUE conference in 2014. I watched several presenters display their badges and wondered…what the does that mean? Of course I listened to what they had to say, but I was curious about what a Google Certified Educator was and what did it mean to be a Trainer?

A little background on me. I love helping people! I love teaching not only in the classroom, but with everyday stuff! I can remember when I worked for In-N-Out Burger. I was passionate about that job! Some may think it’s only burgers and fries, but for me it was so much more. I was able to work with ridiculously amazing people, and learn what it meant to perform well under pressure and produce a great product. I grew exponentially working at In-N-Out for the five years I was there. During my experience there, I was approached from many Managers about becoming a In-N-Out Trainer. I thought about it. The one thing that made me not do it, was the fact that I didn’t want to smell like hamburgers the rest of my life. HA! However, the thought of becoming a trainer intrigued me, greatly. Again, I love to help people and I always want to teach people to be better.

Okay, so knowing I love the “trainer” position. I started in my journey of becoming a Google Certified Educator. Within the past year, I have built relationships with some technology gurus in my district. One in particular, has encouraged me, motivated me and inspired me to pursue my journey. Without her, I would not be where I am today. (TY) In February, I passed my Level 1 and 2. It wasn’t until spring break that I was able to sit down and apply for Google Trainer.

The application process was challenging and time consuming, but altogether fun! I was excited to build my video, list of trainings and fill out my case study. Learning and growing are deep passions that continue to propel me into not becoming stagnant. Once I submitted my application, I was anxious and nervous. Well that is an understatement. I freaked out! All the negative talk played in my head. Not letting it get the best of me, I prayed and laid it at Jesus’ feet.

April 18th I walked in from lunch and opened my Gmail. To my surprise, I read my acceptance email!!!!

Shut the front door! One of my Vice Principal’s was sitting in front of me and was looking at the weird expressions on my face. I was so excited I ran to my other administrators to share my good news. To accomplish something I have wanted for three years, was so encouraging! Praise God, hard work pays off! I’ve worked toward this goal slowly for three years.

So now that I have this title, now what? I am so passionate about building other educators up! So many of the people I work with doing amazing things with Google and technology in their classroom. Why not spread the word about having other teachers become Google Certified Educators and Google Trainers. Due to my experience it inspired me to create my weekly Tech Tip to showcase these trainings.

Link to School Staff about becoming Google Certified Teachers and Trainers.

Now, please understand I did not go for the Training position, for the badge. Initially it may have been to build my resume, but now that I understand the full meaning of a Google Trainer, I am blessed to be one.

I went for what it means to be a Google Trainer.

I want to help other educators instill passion and knowledge among their students. I want to ensure that every stakeholder in education has the opportunity to grow in their use of technology and empower other people.

I encourage you if you are not a Google Certified Educator or Trainer, try. You never know who else you can inspire.

It works, It works, It really works!

 

I could never imagined my classroom the way it exists now. About three years ago, my life, classroom and outlook on education changed. I attended my first CUE conference and I was in awe. I’ve also enjoyed technology, but never really understood the value that it holds in the world of education.

Upon recent interactions with some amazing teachers and technology guru’s I was introduced to HyperDocs. The organization, planning and interaction that HyperDocs initially provided through being explained to me, made me excited and a little nervous. Introducing anything new to high schoolers, is a little scary. Let’s be honest, they tell it like it is. So through some careful planning and an anxious heart, I started a HyperDoc unit on Genetics. Let’s just say…..WHOA!

Let’s just call it the ultimate game changer! It impacted my classroom in numerous ways, I’m going to highlight 5 ways in which it has transformed my classroom.

  1. Improved Attitudes

Ten years in a classroom can play mental games with you. Your outlook can look fuzzy, discouraging, and repetitive. This year I have 5 different classes, that I either am preparing lesson plans for or some kind of product. Along with that I’m in school to obtain my PASC for Administration. Let’s just say my brain and focus is spread thin. Wanting to incorporate some fun and a variety of lessons components in my classroom, I branched out and began to incorporate HyperDocs. My attitude began to shift, because although I’m swamped, it motivated me to reach a high caliber of instruction for my students.

As my students started with HyperDocs, they were a little apprehensive at first. They were a little weary, but since they are honors students, they were resilient. At first they somewhat enjoyed the process. As more units structured in HyperDocs continued their like turned to love. They thoroughly enjoyed using various programs throughout the process to showcase their work as well as reflect. I think for my honors students the SHARE part, was their favorite. They enjoyed viewing other students work and giving them feedback. Most students cringe at critique, but they thrived. Every project or assignment just got better and better.

  1. Improved Test Scores

At the end of the first major unit my students took a formative assessment. My students were actually the ones who told me, Miss Calderon, since we’ve been doing HyperDocs our test scores have increased. To my surprise, I looked into it.

Looking at their scores from pre-HyperDocs they averaged anywhere from 65-79%, post HyperDocs they averaged anywhere from 85% to 95%!!!!

Data seriously speaks volumes when it comes to the successfulness my students had with HyperDocs and retaining information.

HyperDocs are for all students -The HyperDoc Handbook

  1. Accountability

Students became more responsible for their learning. The individuality that HyperDocs provides for students through the first few steps (Engage, Explore, and Explain) really allow the student to gain understanding and knowledge on their own. They were able to go at their own pace and for those who struggled with the content were able to have one on one time with me or group discussions regarding matters they did not understand. This was vital! They knew that they needed to have subject matter comprehension before they could move ahead to the Apply component. In my use of HyperDocs, I created “deadlines” and times where assignments were due, so that way my students could share out and receive feedback. My students then had opportunities to correct mistakes they needed to, in order to receive a better grade.

  1. Implementing Growth Mindset…silently

For many of my students, they’ve grown up with Direct Instruction. Teachers often giving them answers as opposed to them finding it on their own. Also they’ve lived in a world where there is one answer as opposed to several. Really making my students understand these two concepts was hard. Many would express their frustrations in the beginning because it put more responsibility on them, than it did in our prior ways of learning.

Normally, their solution would be to give up. However, through coaching and encouragement I was able to get them to focus on a Growth Mindset rather than a Fixed Mindset. Many of them thrive at the opportunity to make themselves better. I am currently having my students create Animations using Slides. They are doing amazing with them and really enjoying the process. (I will share the success in another blog). It has been great hearing their dialogue. I continually hear, “hey how did you do that?” “That’s so cool, I want to do some cool things like that in mine” “Whoa, yours is better than mine, I’m going to fix mine?” “I’m going to start over, I want a fresh start”. Never before have I heard or had students so engaged in learning.

  1. Hidden Curriculum that benefits my Ss for the future

Being able to share out the tips and tricks that Google has to offer brings me so much joy. Many of my students have had Chromebooks at their disposal at a young age, however they are still learning various aspects of it. Being able to show them how to use extensions like ColorPick eyedropper, Screencastify and Side Screen has been enjoyable. Also, being able to teach them shortcuts and faster ways to complete a task is so rewarding. I always tell my students, I’m not only teaching you Biology, I’m teaching you life skills. Yesterday one student said, “We know, and we appreciate it”.

5 THINGS

Upon attending CUE this weekend, I sprang to Twitter once it was over to hear of all the stories and experiences that everyone else had. As I was scrolling I saw @msventurino’s blog about 5 things. It inspired me create my own 5 things blog. So here it goes:

5 Takeaways from #cue17
1. Give credit where credit is due, you can re-tweak it but give credit.
This has been a mantra I’ve repeated in my head over and over again! I believe it goes back to my moral compass, one that seems to unwaver. People work REALLY hard. They dedicate and sacrifice their time to produce great lesson plans, innovative ideas, and ways to better our students. I know it is an unknown thing, where teachers “steal” from each other, but it is vital that we don’t lose our integrity in the movement. One session that I attend by Kristen Berg @mrsqueenberg, she said, “give credit where credit is due, you can re-tweak it but give credit”. Preach it sister!
2. Not using technology is not an option anymore.
Another powerful statement that was said by @mrsqueenberg was that, “not using technology is not an option anymore”. I totally agree with this! Some form of technology must be used. It often is a touchy subject. Many educators I know are using innovative apps and programs to allow students to be creative and guide their thinking, while others are still teaching like it’s 1950? We as educators must empower our students with the tools necessary to prepare them for success outside of high school. They need to be able to communicate, be creative, critically think and collaborate with others. I don’t know how that occurs if students are being talked to during direct instruction?
3. I have to do a Breakout EDU
This session was packed and the room was hot! So I’m not going to lie, I left! All I know is that I NEED to do a Breakout EDU session with my kids. I know various educators that do these constantly in their classrooms and have such great feedback from their students. It’s going to happen….
4. I have to create a Hyperdoc through Google Sites.
I’m pretty sure Blendopoly was a Hyperdoc on steroids! First and foremost TY @TrPatel20 @GMMoon1. The planning for your session was completely evident. Blendopoly was an interactive game via Google Sites. It greatly reminded me of Hyperdocs due to the fact that it required the participant to perform various tasks in order to move on. It allowed the participant to move at their own pace. I loved the streamline that Google Sites created for the process. Definitely going to increase my “game” with this activity.
5. @KristyAndre2 and @LaurenMStein led a powerful session.
Kristy and Lauren….A+ on your presentation. You ladies knocked it outta the park! Your energy was great, but your examples were what I was amazed at. The main thing I took away was the fact that you had elementary students doing some AMAZING things. All students are capable of accomplishing greatness if they are given the opportunity. You ladies gave me a sense of hope. I have taken a lot of steps outside my “zone” this year, and your presentation gave me the continued motivation to keep fighting the good fight. 

“Provide uncommon experiences for your student and they will reward you with an uncommon effort and attitude” Dave Burgess

5 Future Education Goals
1. Apply for an Administrative position: I am on the verge of finishing my PASC and could not be more excited! The possibilities are endless! I am eager and excited to see what the future holds! 
2. Become a Google Trainer & Google Innovator: I am going to finish my Google Trainer App this time! I am, I am, I am! Then I am going to start thinking about what I can do for GI.
3. Present at GAFE: I have applied once, but I am going to continue to refine my presentations and continue to pursue being a presenter at a GAFE conference.
4. Present at CUE (National Conference): My tech buddy Meagan and I have decided to present together! She is a teacher at a middle school, while I am a teacher at a high school. I think that if we put our ideas, tech skills and excitement together, we could potentially create a presentation worthy of the CUE conference. Looking forward to 2018!
5. Go to ISTE: This has been on my list for three years. It’s going to happen! I’ll see you in Chicago in 2018!

5 Talents I wish I had
1. Being a writer: I am a science teacher. I did poorly in grammar, punctuation and anything related to English. I wish I had the ability to allow thoughts to flow freely from my brain and create something worth reading. Unfortunately, it’s a work in progress.
2. The ability to say no!: It’s something I’m working on. I just want to help everyone! I’m finding though that this year, I have lost the “me” time that is so vital in my life. I know it’s only a season, so I look forward to Summer and next year to incorporate more of this. Although, I know that I will still continue to serve others.
3. The ability to function on no sleep: I need at least 7 hours of sleep in order to function. Coffee helps, but if I have less than that, let’s just say it’s not a well functioning day. I admire other teachers who run on 2-3 hours and still do amazing work.
4. To speak another language: My parents are both bilingual. I, however, am not! That is one of the biggest regrets I have. I know that as I continue to grow as an educator, this is a talent I wish to acquire.
5. Rapping: I really wish that I could rap! A strange talent, but one I want to accomplish! I think that my students would appreciate it and it could potentially add to my content delivery. 

5 Books on my To-Be-Read List
1. Dive Into Inquiry by Trevor MacKenzie
2. Blended by Horn and Staker
3. Lead like a Pirate by Burgess and Houf
4. Courageous Edventures by Jennie Magiera
5. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carolyn Dweck

5 Things I’m going to Implement in my classroom for the last quarter
1. Breakout edu
2. Build a Hyperdoc for AP Bio
3. Use GoFormative
4. Try FlipGrid for review for AP Bio
5. Use a project as a Summative test rather than multiple choice ?s

Google Extensions-Anyone Can View

Google Extensions have saved time on my life…..literally! With the click of a few buttons to install, I have ways to cut down my time on lessons plans, organization but most importantly my sanity!

I’m a true believe you have to give credit where credit is due.

I have been to various CUE conferences and have come away with some amazing resources because many educators have been generous to share their resources with me and countless others.

I attended a CUE Rockstar: Google Edition one summer and was blown away by the diligence of Lisa Nowakowski’s list of Google extensions. Here is Lisa Nowakowski’s List of Extensions! Follower her on Twitter @nowatechie, she is amazing! Through my exploration in using Twitter, I have come to know many amazing educators like yourself, who are always willing to share and educate other teachers to spread the useful tools of technology. Upon my exploration, I came upon Alice Keeler’s extensions. I currently have 3 of Alice Keeler’s extensions: Anyone Can View, Side by Side and Quick Share Screenshot!

With the Anyone Can View you are able to instantly share your Google Docs/Slides/Sheets/Drawings, so that anyone with the link can view. My domain at my district, defaults the shared setting to only people within our district can access. However, if you share your documents of websites, with parents or other educators who are not in your domain, you have to change your settings. It’s not a super long process, but takes away valuable time in the grand scheme of things. So now, due to this extension is makes it way FASTER! You are able to click the extension button and immediately access the link to share out!

I have created a quick tutorial on how to use this extension.

If you are interested in more extensions, I suggest you check out Alice Keeler’s Big ‘ol List of Extensions! Follower her on Twitter @Alice Keeler

Digital Portfolios

“Students yearn for an educational experience that caters to their interests, innate desires for expressive creativity, and a need for play.”

-Eric C. Sheninger Uncommon Learning: Creating Schools That Work for Kids

Are you in the dilemma of keeping your students spiral bound Interactive Notebook and replacing it with a Digital Portfolio? Do you feel that the students need a change? Do you, as an educator need a change?

Are you ready to try something new and shift into the Digital Age? 

Technology is a great tool to help express students voice, personality, and classwork. Through the use of  “New” Google Sites, students have the ability to create a user-friendly Digital Portfolio, with ease.

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Within my classroom, students create meaningful work through various Google Applications: Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Charts, YouTube etc. By creating a Digital Portfolio it allows the students to organize their work in a simple visual display for me to view, as well as, an online audience.

Here is a tutorial on how to navigate through the “New” Google Sites.

Within the tutorial is a way to collect students URLs to their newly made Digital Portfolio. Through the use of Google Forms, there is a quick way to gather data, so you can easily view students portfolios.

Here is a link to a Google Form Template

Here is a link to the “New” Google Site I created during the tutorial of this video.

My Story!

My name is Jennifer Calderon.

My life as a teacher started roughly 10 years ago. I was on the verge of graduation from Biola University, and had no prospects of a job in sight.  I had discussed my career goals with my Professor, and to my surprise he said I would be an excellent teacher. (Well, if I’m being honest, I knew I was meant to be a teacher, ever since I was in third grade. Not to sound sure of myself, but I put my passion on the backburner to pursue a job as a Doctor). My dream of being a Doctor was thrown out the window when I experienced health issues during my Junior year in college.

So here I was a girl with support, passion and no job. Upon conversations with my Mom, I decided to apply at my Alma Matter in Hesperia Unified. My interview was perhaps the scariest experience I had ever been through at the time. They asked me questions regarding State Standards, teaching strategies and questions I had never even thought about. I knew that only having a Bachelor’s in Science, I was ill prepared for a job in Education. I owe it to a past Principal and Assistant Principal for giving me a chance of a lifetime. They offered me a job that same day. Ecstatic, I accepted. Saying “yes” was the best career choice, I have ever made.

My first few years were rough. Being fresh out of college and fully immersed into a classroom where finding my pedagogy, defining my classroom management skills and dealing with rowdy students  was overwhelming. It wasn’t until my second year teaching that I finally felt, like I kind of knew what I was doing.

I say all that to bring you here in my story: I’ve always had a interest in learning. My mom always tells me the story of being a curious little girl who carried a notepad and pencil behind my ear. This story always makes me smile, because it literally describes my outlook on life. I no longer use a notepad and pencil, but a laptop and my cellphone to discover many facets of the world, but specifically how I can become a more effective teacher in the 21st century.

Learning is something that resonates with me deep to my core. In the years I’ve been a teacher, I have always had the desire to learn more. To never stay stagnant with teaching strategies and ways to incorporate new fun and exciting technology in my lessons. I am so grateful for the passion that was placed in me at such a young age and that has continued to burn presently.

Currently, I am my school site’s Team Technology Lead. I want to take my passion for education and share it with my colleagues who in turn can share it with their students. I will continue to use this blog to document stories within my classroom and a place to create tutorials for my fellow teachers.

I leave you with this: Our students deserve the very best everyday. We make the choice to go to work and be teachers, so let’s give it everything we have. Step out of your comfort zone and take a journey with me to educate our students in the 21st Century.