School Spirit Banter

I am SO impressed by the creativity of two local area high schools and their students’ videos. As quoted in this Get Schooled post, these ARE examples of what the best “spirit cheers” look like today. You can check out the original video in this “battle” here and the response here.

For me, these videos show just how multiliterate our students are and all of the neat ways in which they are reading, writing, and engaging with the world around them. These videos use rhetorical strategies, rhymes, video angles, music — and this list only continues — all to help show their school spirit. And, I love the fact that they pull in lots of different members from their respective student bodies to be a part of the banter.

No matter which school wins the game, the main point is that these two videos have just under 400,000 hits (combined) in two weeks. Where these students’ voices heard? [I think so!]


Positive Footprints

As you all know, I feel very strongly about helping kids understand how to create and why to create positive digital footprints. I’ve thought about this topic a lot, and yet it’s something that is still weighing heavily on my mind. [Maybe it’s because the means in which we work digitally is constantly changing???]

Anyway, I’m seeing more and more kids not understanding what their digital footprint is all about and how it can/will affect them now and down the road. I know that I stress it a lot when I work with my students and try to emphasize it’s not about culling their creativity, but a way to push them to think critically and post information that is appropriate (and in a way that still gets their point across). So, I’m curious…how are others helping their students develop positive digital footprints? How can we keep kids motivated to produce and stress to them they can still “own” that digital space (without them not being “googled well”)?

Digital Essays

I’ve been intrigued with the idea of a “digital essay” ever since Jim Burke posted an example of one awhile ago. When I asked him what his assignment sheet included, Burke said that he didn’t really have a “formal” one and just told the kids to create. I think the biggest reason I’m drawn to the idea of a “digital” essay and what that “format” might encompass (beside my love for rhetoric and comp!) is the fact that I see this format as one that would be more real-world applicable in many ways versus a traditional essay for English class.

When I tried it out with my students Continue reading

Google+ Update

So, after poking around a bit today, I came across a link to this article that breaks down Google+. It’s pretty in-depth and I really appreciate the screen shots. However, the problem is the same as I mentioned before…how would I use it and why would I use it?

I promise I’m not being THAT resistant, I just can’t visualize how I would use it. However, I do see how creating something within this realm might be neat to use with the classroom. And it means only one login and one password to use if you and your students are using other Google apps (i.e. gmail, calendar).

Book Talk: must-have app! (or two)

I have been looking for some way to help keep track of all of my books — both electronically and hard copy. With the suggestion from one of my “virtual colleagues,” I checked out Book Crawler.

So far, it has been super user-friendly and a great app! I love that it scans the ISBN and automatically fills in all of the information for me. The only thing I would love to see it do is sync books more smoothly to Goodreads (after accidentally deleting my entire Goodreads library, I tried to import the CSV file from Book Crawler, and it left off a few books).

I know this may not make sense to some people, but I found it a lot easier to catalog the correct book within Book Crawler, yet still love the more social feel of Goodreads. Also, I wish there was a more direct way of transferring information from different devices (i.e. iPhone to iPad) without having to actually merge the CSV file each time. Regardless, it’s a great app for book lovers to check out!

ps I just found out that the Goodreads app also has a bar code scanner for quick access to info! So, now goodreads vs book crawler…or maybe both? You can never have too many backups, right? Then again, I’m striving to be more simple, ha!


I recently headed to Philadelphia for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference. Through my experiences with ISTE, I’ve already been lucky enough to meet a ton of other educators from all over at the conference (and virtually) who are using technology in really neat ways!

A goal of mine is to help other young educators connect with the ISTE Young Educator Network. Too often my colleagues say, “Oh, that’s not me! I’m not tech savvy like you!” However, the reality is that this network isn’t about how “tech savvy” you are, but instead it’s a place to share ideas and gain confidence in utilizing technology in the classroom to enhance what you are already doing in it. One of the ideas I brought up at the conference was to host a Twitter “chat” (like #engchat) to help extend the conversation of the YEN. We’ll see how it develops … maybe even joining the conversation of the #ntchat sometimes, too! (By the way, if you aren’t branching into all of the edu chats going on, you should do so. It’s a great way to not only network, but have instant PD!)

Below, you can watch me and all of the other award winners during the opening Awards Ceremony. It was a huge honor to be named one of the Emerging Leaders for 2011! Enjoy!

Footprints (& filters) everywhere

With more and more people jumping on the social media bandwagon, I’m constantly thinking about people’s digital footprints and how it travels around the world (literally, ha!). I truly believe that part of our responsibility as educators is to help our kids understand what their footprint says about them now and years from now.

But how do we teach kids how to use these resources carefully? How do we help them understand the consequences of taking one bad “step” in the digital world? Classes? Warnings? (Dare I say it, but “filters?”)

I think a large part of educating our students on technology comes from the parents’ side.  Parents need to be on board with what their kids are doing online. However, I wonder how much of an issue access plays into account when trying to educate all on digital practices???  And again, then there is that “f” word I mentioned above that comes into play here, too.

Speaking of filters, I do NOT think that is an answer to solving the problems of kids accessing and posting “bad” content. The bottom line is that when they leave our classrooms, they are going to find ways around those “filters” anyway. And what happens then? We’ve tried to protect them by blocking all of the “bad” stuff and then there they are, faced with it right in front of them not knowing the effects their interaction with that content can have (and yet we wonder why they don’t understand how their footprint affects them!).

I don’t think there is an easy fix here (or is there?), but for some reason this topic — footprints and filters — has been on my mind a lot lately. I really stress safety and common sense to my kids during all of our digital endeavors and also let them know why it matters (in and outside of school).

Curious: how do others handle footprints and filters in their classrooms?