February 22

My Scholars are Online and Passionate

We are in the midst of Pursuing our Passions as we work through our #PassionateScholars Project. My Scholars are researching a topic that is important to them. I have decided to try out the 20% Project and allow my students to research a topic of their own choosing. This topic should be one that they feel passionate about because they will be researching it and presenting findings for it to the class in a Ted Style video.

  • What? – What in the world is 20%?
    • The basic premise of the 20 percent time project is that it is student-driven, passion-based  learning.
  • How? – Did I hear about this idea?
    • Everywhere = Daniel Pink’s book, Drive. Pink,
  • Why? – Did I think that it was a good idea for my Scholars?
    • It is important that they have some freedom and selection in the work that we do.
  • When? – Do they research, plan, share and present?
    • I have no idea. They research inside and outside of the classroom. They will share and present in about four weeks to the class annndd..???

and the final question:

  • Did? – I lose my mind? LOL
    • Yes. How can a classroom full of students all panic when told to research what they wanted to know more about and felt passionate about.

First, if you tell students that they will have one day a week to research a topic of their own, the first question is WHAT SHOULD I RESEARCH?

Second, when I asked them to create a blog, something happened to their ability to turn on a computer and click a link. 

Third, I obviously need to hold on real tight because I feel that we will have a bumpy ride ahead.

These Wordles house links to the student blogs and proposal pitch videos.

Work from my 2nd period Scholars

Work from my 3rd period Scholars

Work from my 4th period Scholars

June 28

Year is over and I am reflecting

As I recap what I did this year, I can honestly say that I did some good things, some mediocre things and some negative things. I can honestly say that. No ifs and buts about it. I did not give 100% 100% of the time. No excuses.

will do better

My goal is to increase the good and decrease the bad. I know this and I have been working on revamping and changing my unit/lesson plans. I have attended 2 face-to-face conferences so far and I am scheduled to attend 2 face-to-face more. In between my conferences, I am participating in several MOOCs, online classes and online conferences. I am trying to get the knowledge and resources to revamp my classes and include more structure and rigor in my classes.

We have too much NEW to deal with so I must be sure that I am better prepared. CCSS is here and we have a new curriculum guide, new texts to share and a new assessment system. We have a new teacher evaluation system that I must comply with.  I am trying to create unit/lesson plans so that when school starts, I am starting off on the right foot armed with weapons.

Some of the NEW things that I want to do next year

daily center rotations:

  • bi-weekly, my classes will rotate through a variety of center stations (ie: vocabulary preparation, test preparation, journal prompts and theme/voice/tone exercises)

student blogs:

  • regular blog posts about the work that we do in class

classroom jobs:

  • jobs for 2-3 weeks on a rotating schedule

class scribes:

  • posting notes, pictures and videos to the class blog


  • there are many apps that can be used to foster collaboration and assess student work

more student training:

  • in order to establish a routine, I must be sure that I teach them not only what I want them to learn but also the way I want them to learn it

participation sheets:

they can keep track of our assignments and the standards that we have covered in class

student evaluations:

check-in with them every 3 weeks to see what needs to be improved


Some of the OLD things that I want to do next year


keeping in contact with students and parents via text messages

Class Blog

will post daily assignments

Use of visual text

images get the students to analyze and infer

Close reading literacy strategies

they will annotate, summarize, connect images to text, RAFT writes, etc.

These are just some of the things that I have decided to take on. There will be many more things before the year starts.

Will check in again

January 3

I can’t live without Twitter #BC20 .3

Today’s 20 Blog Challenge topic asks me to name a website that I can’t live without.  I really thought about this for awhile because so many of them came to mind. I started to select my class assignment blog or my PLN blog and then I realized that I visit them often but not daily. Twitter I visit daily, hourly … or in reality every 10 minutes on average. Everything that I have done ‘new’ in my class is a result of a tweet. Twitter connects me with other educators from around the world. THE WORLD. How awesome is that?


Why??? Hmmm, I share and look for resources regularly. Everyday I look for ways to perfect improve my craft.  My students are always amazed when I tell them that I am going to a conference, meeting, class or webinar because I want to not because I have to. I try to explain that I do consider myself to be a lifelong learner who is constantly trying to get new ideas, activities or resources. I tell them that I would not be a good teacher or mother if I did not try to find ways to et better at everything I do. There are some things that I will use and some things that I will not. I read articles and blogs that I think are interesting. they may or may not help me out in life or my class but I think that it is important for me to exercise my brain and my creative nature.


I named my blog To blog is to share and to learn for a reason. 


Here is one of the first Tweets that I sent out for the new year:

Each of these tweeple (and many more) has shaped my professional and personal world. From them I have learned:

  • To value Twitter and the connection it brings me to other educators
  • To dare my students to be creative and excel and perform Romeo and Juliet for the world to see
  • To open up my heart and share my life, whether it is the death of a dog or the death of a parent
  • To present online or face-to-face as much as possible because it is something that I love to do
  • To blog and accept blogging challenges
  • To connect with others and organize an EdCamp in my city if I feel strongly

My Twittersphere is large and it is awesome. Thanks to you all. 

Thanks @kellyhines for the motivation to share.


January 3

Organizational Tip #20DayBC

Anyone who knows me that Being Organized is something that I am NOT.

I TRY, but I FAIL, often.

Because I know myself and my weaknesses, I am going to enlist the help of my students. The best way to ensure that students take an active role in maintaining the classroom is to assign classroom jobs on a rotating basis.  This is a win-win situation. I get assistance and they get the respect that comes with responsibility.


Two things that I am determined to use this semester are: classroom managers and inbox envelopes.  

Classroom managers can help me stay organized and it gives the kids the recognition of feeling needed and being important.

  1. Message Manager serves as the classroom runner. Classroom_jobs
  2. Attendance Manager takes the daily attendance.
  3. Library Manager supervises the distribution of textbooks.
  4. Door Manager greets all visitors at the door. 
  5. Materials Manager supervises the distribution and collection of needed resources. 
  6. Pocket Manager collects and distributes inbox envelopes to the learning communities.
  7. Assignment Blog Manager is responsible for keeping a record of what exactly the class has done every day. If someone was absent they check the blog and easily understand what they need to do to catch up without asking.

Inbox envelopes hold student work to be collected and distributed.

My students are placed into learning communities and each community has its own envelope. The envelopes are placed into a file folder caddy.  Each period has its own set of envelopes. This way I do not have to collect and organize 100 assignments that I might collect during the day.



My Day Two – 20 Day Blogging Challenge

October 13

Self Driven Professional Development #RSCON4

Reform Symposium Free Online Conference (RSCON) is an online worldwide event that took place this weekend, October 11th – 13th. Shelly Terrell invited me to present and it was awesome. October is Connected Educator Month and The Future of Education hosted the conference online in Blackboard Collaborate webinar rooms. It was a great experience to be a part of this awesome group of educators.

Visit The Future of Education

In my session Saturday morning, I shared with people from Texas, Amsterdam, Australia, Africa and elsewhere in the world.  How great is it that we have the opportunity to learn from colleagues from around the world?

My weekend has been one filled with tons of great, inspirational moments. I will be taking the next couple of days to process and make changes in my life and my classroom.
Here are some of the tweets from today


If you missed any of the sessions, click here to catch up on learning sessions that can change your world.
October 3

Using exit tickets to check comprehension

Exit Tickets can be used to gauge whether or not students have processed new concepts. It is a quick way to have them reflect on information learned or to express their thoughts about new information.  Students need to respond to a prompt and it is an easy way to incorporate writing into many different content areas.  Here are a few examples of exit tickets that can be used:


At the end of class, have students complete exit tickets to:

  • have students summarize key points from the lesson
  • make sure that students can solve a problem
  • highlight an essential question from the day’s activities
  • answer a significant question based on the lesson
  • allow students to ask questions they still have about the lesson

They can be as structured or un-structured as you need them to be. 

October 2

I will be presenting at RSCON, LCTE, TCEA and hopefully LACUE!!!

‘Tis the season to present…. fa-la-la-la-laaaaaa-la-la-la-la

I really do believe that to blog is to share and to learn. I love being able to present, blog, share and learn/teach.

Shelly Sanchez Terrell offered me the opportunity to present at this year’s 4th annual Reform Symposium Free Online Conference (RSCON), I was awe-struck when I received her invite because I have followed her for so long and I was giddy to realize that she thought enough about what I do to deem me a valuable educational resource.  I will be sharing the importance and ease of creating ePortfolios using Weebly.com.  I found this tweet from July, 2010 in which I shared the schedule for that year’s conference.

RSCON10How cool is that? 3 years later and I will be one of the presenters who will (hopefully) inspire someone to share the conference so that others can benefit from these amazing resources. Whoo Hoo!!!!  I am feeling just a little awesome and geeked out but lovvvvving it!!!

LCTEI am currently scheduled to present at the Louisiana Council of Teachers of English Convention.

Conference dates: Friday, November 1, 2013

Conference location: Northwestern State University Friedman Student Union, Natchitoches

I will be demonstrating ways to increase the engagement level of students as they connect with text in their classes. My presentation will focus on the need to provide students with opportunities to think and discuss ideas and themes within and beyond the text.

How? By creating assignments that require students to answer pre-reading questions, read (and re-read, if lucky) text while taking notes/annotating, share their notes and questions during shared inquiry discussions and post-discussion writing.


My proposals for presenting at the Texas Computer Using Educators Association’s Convention. I will be presenting at the TCEA 2014 Convention & Exposition, February 3-7, 2014, in Austin, Texas.  I will be sharing ways to connect through  badge1

PLNs and ways to engage students using technology in the classroom.  I have presented both of these sessions in the past but I feel that they are topics that must be shared and re-shared regularly because they are so important.

Session Title:   Are You Online and Connected?

When:  05/Feb/2014, 5:00pm – 6:30pm
Where:  Room 5C

Session Title:   30 students + Computers = Engagement
When:  06/Feb/2014, 1:30pm – 3:00pm
Where:  Room 8A


Closer to home, I have submitted a proposal for LACUE. I hope to be accepted.  I want to share with other Louisiana Educators ways to integrate technology into their lessons. Session: Tech + CCSS = Engaging Lessons 
Description:  What does it look like when you integrate technology into your Common Core classroom?
~Google Docs to activate background knowledge.
~Piclits to identify tone.
~Wikis to examine author’s style.
~Blogs to analyze and reflect upon text.
~Padlet to post questions about nonfiction.
~Publishing ePortfolios.  


‘Tis the month to connect…. fa-la-la-la-laaaaaa-la-la-la-la 

              Presenting is my way of connecting with the world and sharing what I do with others. It has always been important to me to show teachers and students what can be done in the classroom if you are willing to try out new tools and open the doors and windows of the classroom. Some of what we do is ‘good’ and some of what we do is merely ‘mediocre.’  Either way,

I hope to inspire and encourage. 

June 29

NPR talks and tweets about U.S.Education, #NPRAspen

On Monday and Tuesday, July 1 and 2 (11:00 – 12:00 EST, NPR’s Tell Me More will host two live radio broadcasts and Twitter chats from the Aspen Ideas Festival.NPRASPENLOGO

Education has been a critical topic for Michel Martin at NPR’s Tell Me More, and they are eager to engage once again around the topic of learning and education.

On the radio, Michel will be joined by major players, thinkers and innovators, including John Deasy, superintendent of Los Angeles schools; Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Joel Klein, former Chancellor of New York City Schools; Shabana Basij-Rasikh, co-founder of the School of Leadership Afghanistan; Pamela Cantor, CEO of Turnaround for Children; Danny Kim, founder and CEO of Lit Motors; Joseph P. Parkes, President of the Cristo Rey New York High School; Lawrence Scripp, founding director of the Center for Music-In-Education; Jessie Woolley-Wilson, CEO of DreamBox Learning; and authors Madeline Levine, Meg Jay and Paul Tough.

On Twitter, Twitter conversation will revolve around the online discussion and the following questions:

  • Is America still the land of opportunity?
  • Who is responsible for making our schools better?
  • What skills do you really need to compete and succeed in school and beyond?

#NPRAspen will include the views of Educators from all over the U.S. including school teachers from New Orleans, Miami and Washington D.C., a school administrator in Chester, New Jersey, a Latina education blogger from North Carolina, a political science Professor from Johns Hopkins,  a social media researcher from Harvard’s Berkmann Center, a poet from Washington D.C., an expert on educational technology and mobile learning…

  • Twitter Chat Moderator: Davar Ardalan, @TellMeMoreNPR; Senior Producer of Tell Me More and moderator of #NPRAspen Twitter chat. Also on @idavar
  • Participant: Valerie Burton, @MsBisOnline; English teacher and blogger from New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Participant: Roxanna Elden, @Roxanna_Elden; National Board Certified Teacher, Miami Public Schools. Author of See Me After Class: Advice for Teachers by Teachers
  • Participant: Monica Olivera, @LatinMami; MommyMaestra.com Voted ‘Best Latina Education Blogger’ at the 2011 and 2012 LATISM Awards
  • Participant: Rey Junco, @reyjunco; Social Media Researcher, Associate Professor@PurdueLibraries / Faculty Associate @BerkmanCenter
  • Participant: Brad Currie, @bcurrie5; School administrator in Chester, NJ. Co-founder of #Satchat
  • Participant: Alan King, @aking020881: Alan is an author, poet and teacher in the DC metropolitan area. He teaches at Duke Ellington School of the Arts
  • Participant: Lester Spence, @LesterSpence; Lester Spence is an associate professor of Political Science and Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University
  • Participant: Bill Horniak @vikoles1 Bill is an author, veteran educator in North Carolina and education consultant. He has also worked as a Middle School Principal in Amman, Jordan www.youthcoachinginfo.com
  • Participant: Lucy Gray @elemenous  Lucy began her career in Chicago Public Schools as an elementary teacher. She is an Education Consultant with an emphasis on educational technology and mobile and online learning. www.lucygrayconsulting.com
  • Participant: Holly Bass, @HollyBass360; Holly is a writer, performer and teaching artist in Washington D.C. She has curated Tell Me More’s poetry series for the past three years #TMMPoetry

Use #NPRAspen to share your ideas about improving education and learning.


March 23

Replying is Crucial #Slice2013

I know that it is important to reply when spoken to.

A student says “Good Morning” to me in the crowded hallway and I will generally say “Good Morning,baby” in return. I do this on my auto-pilot setting and may not even know what child it is that spoke.  Sometimes they will point this out, “you don’t even know who this is” and my response is generally to stop walking and look to see them and smiles and say “it doesn’t matter sweetie, you are one of mine and you spoke, so I spoke back.”  It is important to have these exchanges online as well. That is one of the things that make these challenges work. As a blogger, teacher, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, student, administrator, etc. we can post and share our thoughts, opinions, resources and have others make acknowledge our efforts.

am trying to do a better job of that online.

I do a decent job on Twitter but I must do better on my blog and the blogs of others.

I Tweeted about my Classroom 2.0 presentation and someone replied to my tweet. I immediately replied to their reply thanking them and offering help if needed.  Will they contact me again? I don’t know and that is not what is important. What is important is that I took the time to acknowledge their thank you. I am grateful for the comment so I let @irieharry know it.


I am trying to block off a part of the day when I merely read and respond to others.


Thanks to all of you who do reply and comment regularly. I am stepping up my game from know on.

Yes, I am still ‘slicing.’ I knew that posting everyday would be a real challenge but I do want to make sure that when this month ends, I have published 31 posts. That is my main goal. To talk when I have the time and the material.  There are days like today and tomorrow that I can easily crank out 1/2 a dozen posts because my mind is “ready to talk.”  As I plan, reflect and recalculate me past week or upcoming one.  Thanks to the Two Writing Teachers for making me commit to writing and sharing more.  This is post 10/31.  I only have 21 more posts to go…….


March 10

Online Learning via PLN, #Slice2013

There are so many ways to stay connected and in the loop. I bounce all over the web looking for educational bytes of information. 

  • Twitter – to send and receive frequent micro-blog messages.
  • Facebook – to share messages, pages, links, pictures, videos, etc.
  • Online Communities – There are dozens of sites where you can interact or lurk with other educators.
  • Blogs
  • etc.

Daily Lit is my latest attempt at learning at home. Once a day an installment of your chosen book is sent to your email.  I am reading

What interests you?


Browse around Daily Lit and sign up for a book or two.

My 9/31 slice

March 9

Seek with passion



Being open to learning is the key to growing.

When you seek something with passion and persistence, it seeks you.

I wish that I could spend the majority of each day getting the students to “open the doors to their brains” and filling it with whatever they desired.  Instead I must beat on the doors and hope that they open it just wide enough for me to dump in bags of knowledge before they slam the doors shut again. 
Maybe one day …..

My slice 8/31