Monday, February 19, 2018

Growth and Opportunities through the Apple Distinguished Educator Program

A few weeks ago I was given an opportunity to speak at TCEA in Austin. You would think speaking to other teachers is easy-I speak all day in front of students for a living. But man, talk about vulnerability and reality checks!

I was a nervous wreck as I prepared. But there’s something about putting yourself in a vulnerable position that is so magical: there’s an opportunity to see how far you’ve come. Through all the highs and deep valleys I’ve been through, I’ve come a long way in my 7 years as an educator. This last week of pouring into other educators reminded me that all of the hard work I’m doing in my classroom is movement in the right direction. That digging in and doing things differently—challenging my students to make an impact on their world around them—getting them to not only think analytically in science but creatively—to be problem solvers... all of this is confirmation that what we do in my class is absolutely worth it.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Breakout Edu!

Have you ever done an escape room? If not, Google that and find one to do with a group of friends! They are so much fun and challenging. Even better? Making one yourself!

Breakout Edu is an awesome platform that turns your classroom into an escape room. If you purchase a kit, you will be given a set of physical locks, a large and small box, and few other supplies that allows you to build out the game. You can use the website's already made games by teacher around the world, or like I did, create your own. There is even a feature to use digital locks, so you do not have to buy a kit!

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Importance of Creating Significant Learning Environments

It's been a few months since I have received my Master's Diploma, had a baby, and started back up in the classroom again. I'm exhausted, yet I still can't help but to hold high standards for myself in the way I design my learning environment. I find it important now, more than ever, to create significant learning environments (CSLE) for my students. 

Within my IB program, the Diploma Candidates that are in biology, chemistry, and physics are required to complete something called "The Group 4 Project." Many times these projects are simple research projects: gather information on a topic, put it on a PowerPoint presentation, show it to your classmates, and call it a day. B O R I N G !!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Leading Change, One Moment At a Time

Oftentimes, we are not aware that we are leaders, but our actions and words make an impact on everyone we come into contact with. Leaders are often looked upon as figures in the spotlight, but the reality is, we ALL have an opportunity daily to impact someone. Maybe the impact will not turn into change and growth right away. Maybe the impact is a negative one, or maybe the impact is life changing. But in each moment we encounter someone, an opportunity presents itself to demonstrate and promote best practices in education. Everyday, there’s a moment to show how valuable developing significant learning environments is for students and educators.

I have seen my innovation plan grow and evolve over the course of the last 15 months. The overarching (BHAG) goal has been established: “to empower learners to achieve their highest potential, we must analyze our current status and intentionally develop and facilitate a framework of unique environments and learning experiences in order for students to collaborate, communicate, think critically, and creatively in a 1:1 iPad learning environment.” What has ultimately evolved during this graduate program is how this goal can be achieved.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

COVA and Creating Significant Learning Environments

Being a part of the Digital Leading and Learning program at Lamar University over the last 16 months has been a very unique and enjoyable journey in achieving my Master’s in Education. This program has allowed me to grow my leadership skills, cultivate the importance of effective digital learning, and develop a heart for leading educational change. From the beginning moments of this experience, our learning environment has been authentic to our situations. We have been challenged to develop mastery and critical thinking. Our culture and circumstances have been leading the way throughout each course, which are key components of Creating Significant Learning Environments (CSLE) (Harapnuik, 2015).
In addition to developing this significant learning environment, a learner centered approach has always been the environment we have operated in, through the COVA approach. COVA stands for the following:

Choice: freedom to organize and present our evidence of learning as we see fit.
Ownership: personal responsibility of our own learning
Voice: opportunities to reflect learning and share knowledge publicly
Authentic experiences: the ability to cause change in our own educational workplaces.

(Cummings, Harapnuik, & Thibodeaux, 2017, p. 6)

Friday, January 13, 2017

ISTE EdTek Hub: 6 Ways to Give Feedback That Helps Students Improve and Succeed

Over the last several months I have been studying in both graduate school and professional development effective feedback to drive student understanding and growth. I took a chance to write an article for ISTE's EdTek Hub, and they have decided to publish it! You can read the article by clicking on the link below:

6 Ways to Give Feedback That Helps Students Improve and Succeed

I'm glad to contribute to a community that I believe in, one that has inspired me in the last few years, and to help other teachers utilize the technology for efficiency and effectiveness to help our students improve and succeed in a timely manner. I would love to hear other ways you may use technology to provide effective feedback to students!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Need For Effective Professional Learning

What most teachers want to do in their career is do well for their students; they want to help their students grow in their learning and skill so that they become better people, and have something to offer this world. There's no doubt that education is changing: new initiatives, new learning philosophies, and new technology have infiltrated the classroom. 
  • We need hands-on, purposeful guidance that gives them opportunities to learn alongside of their students. 
  • We need "conditions that foster growth, not finding quick-fix professional development solutions" (TNTP, 2015, p. 3). 
  • We need someone in the trenches with us.
  • We need support.