Google Classroom: Streamline Your Workflow

While in the classroom, Google Classroom was a saving grace for me in regards to streamlining my workflow. At the start of the school year, I was unsure as to how long I was going to be in the classroom, so I wanted to schedule and store assignments all in one place. Being able to pre-schedule assignments and have them easily accessible to the new transitioning teacher, made my time easier.

Last year, I loved being able to pre-schedule all the HyperDoc components for a unit ahead of time. My prep period was no longer used for getting ready for the next day, but rather planning for future units and new activities I could do with my students.

Upon conversations with other teachers, I have found that they were often discouraged with the tedious aspect of grading while using Google Classroom. Many would argue that they would have to open so many tabs. However, I was able to show them some tips and tricks to using Google Drive and it’s preview options to grade as opposed to opening individual tabs.

Through my conversations, I wanted to put together some valuable information that new educators and veterans could use to help streamline their everyday usage of Classroom. Please take the time to preview this presentation. If there is anything I can add, please let me know. I’d love to hear your feedback and include more ways to help other educators around the world.

Google Keep

Do you have countless post-its scattered about your desk? Do you keep important information in your calendar, in notebooks or random pieces of paper?

Do you often forget what list you made notes on? Do you often forget your list of things to do on your desk at home? at work?

Want an easy way to solve this problem? The solution: Google Keep!

Google Keep is a great way to take your notes and organize them according to content. Due to the versatility of Keep, you are able to write notes using the web based program via your computer (Chromebook, MacBook, laptop etc), as well the Google Keep app on your mobile device.

Being able to quickly jot down notes or items I need to complete in one program, has been a godsend. I no longer have several lists going in several different locations. We as educators have so much going on, Keep allows a little sanity.

Here is a snapshot of the desktop version of my Google Keep:

My phone app using Google Keep looks like this:

Organization and visual appeal are huge for me. I am a visual learner and remember things based on sight (color/font/location) etc. So being able to spruce up my Google Keep notes, is a fantastic addition to the overall functionality of the program.

Thank God for Twitter. I was able to read about Meredith Akers unique way of adding headers to your notes. In her blog post she shares out FREE templates that you can use to create headers that fit your style. She has free Google Drawing templates to create headers by using images or based on color.

Due to the busyness that this new school year will bring, I highly recommend giving Keep a try.

Blessings and well wishes as you start this new school year!

10 takeaways from my first EdTech Summit!

I had the privilege to teach and attend my first EdTech Summit. Not only was I able to share with passionate educators, I was able to learn from other educators. Having only experienced one other technology type conference, I was hesitant in attending.

Why? I have no idea.

I knew I would be around other excited and eager educators, but entering into a new conference setting made me a little nervous. As I sit here reflecting, I am literally laughing out loud! I’m such a silly girl for thinking the way I did. I recognized several welcoming faces of some awesome presenters, that I had seen from past tech conferences I have attended. But, I also met and chatted with some new awesome presenters and attendees.

As I sit here, after two wonderful days engrossed in hard core PD, I reflect upon my two roles at the summit.

My takeaways from presenting:

1. Did I give them too much time to “play”?

So I love to present, but I don’t like to do much talking. I approached my Interactive Infographics presentation very differently than the last time I presented it. I explained my pedagogy, but I wanted to make sure my attendees had time to play. This was different than the last time I presented. For some reason, I feel like I gave them too much time to play. For me, my worst nightmare is to lead a session that doesn’t use every ounce of the time given. I hope that by giving my attendees time to “play” allowed them to gain a better usage of Slides, and they didn’t hate me.

2. Hope “they” got at least one thing from my session.

So as I stated in my previous takeaway, I modified my presentation. I gave them tips and tricks to use while creating infographics. I really hope the hyperlinking & graphing component was something they didn’t know. I know that every presentation cannot be perfect, but as long as they walked away with one new thing…I have to be okay with that.

3. There’s always room for growth.

The perfectionist in me feels like I could have done parts of my presentation differently. I know in the future, I need to document additional aspects of what I am presenting for those who “want to take it further”. I hope that in the future, I can give attendees more information than what I’ll give lip service too. If they are anything like me, they will want to explore more than what meets the eye.

My takeaways from other presenters:

4. “Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides.” -Jennie Mageria

So often my mind wanders as I watch so many people’s Facebook feeds, Instagram posts, Twitter Tweets and SnapChat pics….that makes me sit and think, man they live such an amazing life!?!? Jennie’s keynote message was such an intriguing presentation that made me think about my story and people’s untold story. Quite often other people display their circumstances to the world, in the most bright & magnificent ways. It makes me think, wow, I wish I could live their life. However, as Jennie’s keynote pointed out, that people don’t post the “real-world” & “mundane” items of their day to day life. They tend to focus on their “highlights”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m guilty of posting my highlight reel. I think if we are being honest, we all do. As we scroll through other people’s social media, we have to keep in mind, “don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides.” We have to make sure we don’t lose sight of our abilities and unique qualities we posses. We as individuals, have so much to offer the world. Yes at times other people’s outsides will look differently than ours, however there is not another person who has your heart, soul and passion. So….do you!

5. “If you try to be me, then who will be you?” -Jennie Mageria

Jennie ended with a great story about how her fourth grade teacher made such a profound impact in her life. She went on to explain that she met with her teacher and stated that she wanted to be just like her. Rather than agree and encourage Jennie to do the same, her teacher said, “If you try to be me, then who will be you?” This statement resonated with me deeply. I’m guilty of trying to mimic other amazing things that educators do. However, in doing that, it makes me tend to lose sight of my goals, talents and abilities. I have to remind myself that I have been given a soul and passion that no one else has. My background, upbringing and experiences are unique to me. In that, I have to use my past, abilities and knowledge to leave my own mark on the world. So that is what I’ll do. As I continue to learn from amazing educators, I will put my own spin on it, so that it fits my personality and abilities.

6. “You don’t create a revolution without sharing it!” -Rafranz Davis

I can think back to my first few years teaching. I didn’t really leave my classroom. I didn’t chat with my peers. I came to work, taught my babies and coached. Nowhere in the mix did I ever think of sharing with my colleagues. It was not until I started attending technology conferences that understood the power of sharing. Twitter for me, has been a great platform to share out the wonderful things my students & colleagues are doing at my school site. My mission this last year was to encourage and motivate other teachers to share out what they are doing in their classrooms. By not sharing, we don’t give our students a voice nor do we give hope to teachers who are stuck. In order to start movement, we have to move. We have to document what we do and be willing to take the steps necessary to share it out with the world. My encouragement to you is….it is worth it. Your current students deserve it and so do the students you will have in the future.

7. “It’s not the MAGIC that makes it work; it’s the way we work that makes it magic.” -George Barcenas

We as teacher possess the opportunity to instill magic into our daily lesson plans. The magic (our lesson plan/content) is there, however, it is how we work to display it, that makes it worth it. I am a huge advocate for student voice & choice. I strongly dislike giving my students all the information regarding labs and PBL lessons. Relinquishing this control has been something I have slowly done throughout the years, but through this process my students have revolutionized their learning. There is more work on my part from developing HyperDoc units, creating Screencasts, researching technology, to beta testing it…I tend to lose sleep. BUT I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have the ability to come to work everyday and cultivate an epic learning environment for my students. I want them to be excited about learning and be able to take the knowledge they develop in my class with them in the future. I would love to encourage you to continue in your efforts. If you’re reading this and you don’t have that passion, I hope that you find that one “crazy” teacher and begin to ask questions. I promise, it will be worth it.

My Tech takeaways:

8. Google Extension–iorad

For all you Tech Coaches and Trainers. Have you heard of the extension iorad? Do you often create Screencasts that show your colleagues how a program works? You send it out and get that email response of “are there step by step directions on how to do this”. Now there is!! Use this extension to help you do just that.

9. Google Drawing is my friend!! 

Most people have used Drawing, but have you ever tried to mimic artwork from other people? Using the two tools: Curve and Polyline? Check out George Barcenas explanation of these two game changers. I have already began creating my very own blogging sticker, email signature and so much more!

10. Rocketbook! 

I love my rocketbook. Do you sketchnote? Do you still enjoy the good ol’ pen and paper? Do you want to be able to take your notes and share them in your Google Drive? Rocketbook is the book for you. By using friction pens, the notebook, and Rocketbook app you will be able to easily upload your sketchnotes into your Drive. The BEST part of Rocketbook, is once that it is full you are able to put it in the microwave and erase all of your markings. YES, I just said you put it in the microwave. Still don’t believe me? Check this out!

So needless to say, I’m hooked on EdTech Summits. Thank you everyone for making my experience a wonderful experience.

#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.

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.

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.