December 31

Group Responses – way to TEACHtheTEST

How do we Teach the Test without really teaching the test?

Question for the ages! !!

How do we?  

I dunno????

What I feel intuitively as a Professional Educator is that

YES, our students will benefit from exposure to testing environments : timed (or untimed with focus), textual rigor, test format, etc.

NO, our students will not benefit from taking 1 test,  2 test,  3 test,  and more. That is NOT going to help our SCHOLARS.

YES, there is way to teach a / ‘The’ test without really TEACHING THE TEST.

H O W !!  You may ask (as do I by the way)

I know that if we stimulate our Scholars, they can read, comprehend and discuss complex texts.

They can.

They can do this if I allow them the opportunity to explore and analyze text in an unthreatening manner.

Hmmmmm….  What ? How?

I dunno. It is my goal that my Scholars will be able to read, relate, revise, present, dissect, remash, publish, discuss and  record the written, visuaL and oral texts that they will be examining.

Step one: How do we eliminate the threat of failure when we ask our Scholars to read and respond?

The only way that they can do any of this is if they feel comfortable enough to share and engage.

They often feel too uncomfortable to respond and if we are going to have a class that is student driven, their has to be student contribution.

Group Responses are often a way to lessen the threat of openly failing. Failing is a part of learning but it is more palpable to possibly fail in front of a few and not many.


Take a TEST (a cold read selection with multiple choice questions and a written response component) and have them complete an individual testing session before they get into learning communities to share answers and select the group’s Best Answer. Their Group Answer can be recorded on mini whiteboard, via Kahoot response, Google Doc,  worksheet, etc.

Playing Kahoot

Playing Kahoot

Object of the activity is to individually take test, discuss answers with others and then get immediate confirmation and feedback for answer choices.

Group response worksheet

Group response worksheet

Posted from Edublogs for Android as I sit and wait in COX CABLE!! 

More to come.

Will check back in soon. ♡♡♡

December 6

From marshmellows to Google viewfinders



We have had a long year and we have done some wonderful things. And some not so wonderful things. I am stoked that my application to Google Expeditions was accepted and I can’t wait for them to come.


I started off the schoolyear with my scholars developing classroom management rules by working together in a marshmallow challenge and I end the year taking a vacation with them to Brazil, India and Nigeria.

We are going places

PhotoGrid_1439518180751 PhotoGrid_1439517996959






June 30

Louisiana Teachers Blog y’all

Teacher Blogger Meetup In Review

What happens when you gather a room full of Lousiana bloggers in a library on a Saturday? The 1st Annual Louisiana Teacher Blogger Meetup, of course. Jasmine McClain was our hostess with the mostest and she carried out our theme, “Future’s So Bright, We Gotta Wear Our Shades,” fabulously. In my mind, it set the tone for the rest of the day. I was overwhelmed by the vision and support of the woman that I met last Saturday.

The time and effort that Jasmine and her crew spent on the decor, agenda and treats to make sure that we were all comfortable as we spent time with one another learning the ends and outs of blogging and branding was greatly appreciated. Jovial Jessica talked to us about blogging and then Marvelous Mia presented information about TpT. I heard about ways to grow subscriptions through blog hops and link ups. Our conversations centered around fonts and clipart, ways to follow creative commons parameters and helpful tax tips.

I am not a ‘TpT’er and don’t know if I will ever become one but the information that I gathered from all of these women was so empoweing that I can officially declare to the world that …I took the leap and became the bomb dot com as

I took the leap and became the bomb dot com as Whoot. Whoot. I did a quick search of my name, Ms B is Online and I saw that the results came back as me sooo…. I claimed it.

I am MsBisOnline

Will I decide to sell my material??? I don’t know. Saturday was such an overwhelming experience and I learned great tips from all of these Louisiana Blogging Women. I know that

  • I will continue to present around the region.
  • I will continue to connect with these ladies and others.
  • I will continue to make connections with other classes so that my scholars can see how small this world wide web really is.
  • I will continue to define what it means to be Ms. B. who is Online.

Please contact Jasmine if you have any questions about signing up for next year. You can find her here at BlogFacebookPinterestTwitter, and Instagram . I know that you all want some of our goodies. Sorry that you missed out on the kernels of knowledge, but you can enter for a chance to win one of two swag bags via our Swag Bag Contest.

Swag Bag GiveawayWidgets that work to connect blogs together are new to me but there is a Rafflecopter widget that will allow you to register to win one of the bags.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


February 22

Introducing our Passions

Here are some of the videos that were created as part of our #PassionateScholars Project. The Goal of the assignment was to create a video that introduces the class to their research subjects. I wanted them to pay attention to the subject matter so that the viewing audience would get a sense of what they found moving and important about their topic.

Their Proposal Pitch Video was to

  • engage the viewers with the appropriate use of images and design elements,
  • present the idea in a professional, well-prepared manner,
  • be under two minutes in length,
  • allow us to see what they are passionate about and how important this issue is, and
  • be posted to our class website for our class to vote on.

Jennifer Ward has shared many of the resources that she uses in her class and I am using them with my classes. This is our first try at it and I am hopeful that many of them will benefit from the experience of being able to self-select a research topic. We had limited time on the computers so I was not able to consult with them to stress and re-stress the requirements to make sure that everyone was on the same right page.

We used and I was amazed at the attention that many paid to the creation of their videos. I continuously reminded them not to get caught up in the bells and whistles of the site.

Below are just a few of the videos that my classes produced.

June 29

My Morrah is Always #LikeAGirl

One thing about being connected and online is the question of how much do you share and how much do you keep to yourself. As I watch this video for the 2nd time and cry for the 2nd time, I am reminded of a time when I almost asked my 11 year old why she couldn’t be more ‘like a girl.’ If you haven’t seen it yet, please take three minutes to watch it.

Yes, I am embarrassed, horrified and ashamed to have let such a thought enter into my mind.  How dare I let society’s definition of how we should act and how we should look influence me. I have always thought out of the box so why did I allow myself to try to put her in a box? 

I was frustrated because I had just spent $75 and 3 hours getting her hair straightened and then curled into gorgeous ringlets. As soon as we got home, she combed out the curls, put her hair into a ponytail, and put on a baseball cap.  When I saw what she had done to her hair, I wanted to yell at her and ask why she couldn’t be more ‘like a girl.’

Luckily, for once, I thought before I spoke and as I looked at her in tennis shoes, gym shorts, t-shirt, ponytail and baseball cap, all I could think of was how different she was from me when I was her age. I was a ‘girley’ girl. I ran, threw, climbed trees and played football with the boys too but I did it with curls, painted nails and cute flowery pink clothes. I know that we are all not made from the same cloth and I am grateful for all of our differences.

I have a wonderfully polite, independent, brilliant, sarcastic, motivated, artistic, and opinionated daughter. She is what I call a quiet storm, she doesn’t talk back or cause commotions, she lets people skip her in line, she speaks in a very soft voice and if you don’t hear her the first two times, she stops talking so you better catch it the first time around. She is not me. I do talk back and cause commotions, I don’t let people skip me or anyone around me and I speak in a loud voice to make sure that everyone hears what I have to say.

She is MORRAH and I am blessed to have her in my life. Thank God before I could actually say it, I came to myself and was appreciative that she is and will always be ‘like a girl’ because she IS A GIRL!!!.

  • She is a girl who loves wearing short shorts, not the sexy Daisy Duke kind, but the nylon gym shorts from 30 years ago.
  • She is a girl who read Divergent and Insurgent but refused to see the movie.
  • She is a girl who painted her headboard and bedframe because she believed when she was told that she was an artist who had talent.
  • She is a girl who loves playing the piano but hates practicing.
  • She is a girl who loves wear crazy mix-matched socks in her hightop Converse shoes.
  • She is a girl and I love her.


I am so ashamed that I almost allowed public opinion to reduce my daughter into a rigid formula of being coquettish, conceited, submissive, uncertain and WEAK.



I have shared this post because I was moved to speak out against the need we (yes, myself included) have to label people. Labeling is something that I teach my students to do as we classify information, it is not something that should be applied to people.

We must remember to #RESPECT and #APPRECIATE one another. 

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

April 6

Recap of #RSCON5 Mini-Conference

I spent this morning with educators from all over the world and I loved it!!! We talked about sites and resources that we can use to help make our lives easier, make our students more engaged and provide a platform for our students to share their work. We met online and we talked, laughed, inspired and engaged one another. Fingers typed out comments in the chatroom, shared examples of student/teacher work and clicked links to register for new online tools.  It was a good morning.

It started out with a freestyle rap from the musical guest Jason Levine @FluencyMC.  He reminded us that it is okay to be silly. It is okay to laugh. It is okay to do something that might get you laughed at. My 11 year old daughter laughed at the man on the screen rapping to her about … foolishness as he tried to rhyme words that were thrown out to him. But she also recognized the power that having this sense of the absurd can have in a classroom with a teacher who is willing to connect with students and promote learning.

Next up was the keynote speaker, Steven Anderson and his two girls. His two girls were not actually presenting with him but they were discussed as a reminder to all of us that we must teach to our children in the ways and using the methods that they have become accustomed to using. Even if that means we have to be willing to purchase an iPad Pottyseat. *(Not that anyone is saying that we, parents or teachers, will actually need to buy one but it is important to realize that technology has become so ingrained in our lives that … it will be a purchase made by many.) Steven helped to continue the conversation about the reasonableness of telling them to totally shut offf their devices when at school.  Last week, I laughed at the young Chrisley children, Savannah and Chase, when they melted down when their dad took their phones. They were serious when they said that they wake up in the mornings expecting to see their friend, their cellphone, on their pillow. If a cellphone is their friend, how are they supposed to act when we rip them away!?!?!?

The Inspire Presentations were 5 minute sessions in which we talked about sessions we presented at Reform Symposium 4 or sessions that we intend to present at Reform Symposium 5. We heard from:

André J. Spang, Germany, @Tastenspieler
Title: Be a Maker not a taker!

Sue Beckingham, UK, @SueBecks
Title: Why you need a professional online presence and how to do it!

Eva Buyuksimkesyan, Turkey, @Evab2001
Title: Flip Quiz

Sylvia Guinan, Greece, @ESLBrain
Title: Brainfriendly ways to help students memorise language creatively

Matthew Miller, Egypt, @matthewm1970
Title: Playing to RAMP up learning

Paige Hale, US
Title: Working together: Apps and tools for collaboratively building students’ writing skills

Valerie Burton, US, @MsBisOnline
Title: Publish your ePortfolio using Weebly

Jackie Gerstein, US, @JackieGerstein
Title: STEAM and Maker Education: Inclusive, Engaging, Self-Differentiating

Here is a PDF file of our presentation slides.

We closed out today’s day of learning with a Smackdown session in which we took 2 minutes to show off tools, sites and resources that we think of as ‘must haves.’ Some of the sites that we shared were ThingLink, Smore, Google World Calendar, PrintFriendly, Tagboard, Kidblog and NewsEla. Here are slides from that share session.

All in All, it was a good morning. I spent time with my online friends talking, sharing and being inspired. Can’t wait for the 2nd mini-con on May 4th, 2014 and the next Reform Symposium Conference, RSCON5, that will take place July 11-13th, 2014 and feature 60+presentations, 2 plenaries, 10 keynotes, student presenters, a tech/app/lesson smackdown, and the EdInspire Awards Ceremony.

Thanks so much to Conference Organizers:

Shelly Sanchez Terrell, Peggy George, Chiew Pang, Marcia, Lima, Steve Hargadon and Amy Brinkley



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.


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 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  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; 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
  • 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.
  • 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…….