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



March 8

Writing Prompts

Below are some of the many sites that I have seen this year that have quick and easy ways to provide your students with writing prompts.


The Art of Storytelling

Create your own story. Browse the gallery

Experience a Story: Listen to stories, read and view pictures inspired by our collections created by visitors like you.

Tell a Story: Become a storyteller as you write and record a story inspired by works in the museum’s collection.

Picture a Story: Create your own work of art using objects and characters found in some of the museum’s most noteworthy paintings.



Creative writing prompts

Creative Writing allows you to select random writing topics. You can require them to pick a certain number, range, etc.

Stylist has a listing of 100 most opening lines and  100 best closing lines from books


March 7

School, I <3 you, but ... #Slice2013

Today’s slice inspiration comes from  This site has daily writing prompts that you can use in class. One of the latest ones is below.

Absolutes are rare in a world that is built with shades and variations. Absolute love, absolute trust, absolute happiness–you could make an argument that none of those things actually exist. Fill in the following, and use it as a springboard for a confessional letter.

I ____________ you absolutely, but _______________ .

Dear School,

I love you absolutely, but there are times when you deeply disappoint me. I love learning so of course I love a place that is dedicated to learning and teaching.

I love classrooms that are available as meeting places for students seeking knowledge.

I love bells because they are audio signals that indicate transition times.

I love the chaos in hallways in between classes, when students greet long lost friends who they haven’t seen in 60 or 90 minutes.

I love the thought of daily nutrition being offered to support eager minds and young bodies.


I don’t like the complicity that I sometimes see on the school, district, state or national level.

I don’t like the lack of resources that stop me from doing the best job that I can do.

I am really disappointed that sometimes I have more distractors than scholars who make it difficult for me to impart grains of knowledge.

I don’t like inconsistently enforced rules.


School, you have your ups and downs; your good and bad; your strengths and weaknesses and I accept them all. All of these elements help to make you who you are and I have learned to live with it and work around it.


Thanks for being you,



March 4

Introducing…. Me #Slice2013

As though my plate isn’t full enough already, I am working with Matthew Williams in an online class, Teaching with Digital Media Online – Spring 2013.  Matt has introduced me to some activities that are similar to what I do now, just better. Don’t you love it, a chance to work with other educators who do some of the same things that you do just in a different way. AWESOME <3

I took the class because I wanted to shine as this online techie diva who knew everything and could do it all well. Ha Ha Ha. (I really didn’t think that … wellll, yes I did.) What happened instead is that I have an opportunity to collaborate and consult with other educators and try out different things or the same things differently.

One of the first projects was this autobiographical image PowerPoint. I had not tried to do this before and I am lovvvving it. Having the students to capture their lives via images is a great thing to do because it makes them focus on the best visual to use to say what they want said.

This assignment can easily be adapted for reading response activities. Have them create a presentation like this for story characters. Don’t you love it when you can actually create something that can be used in your classroom.

Thanks Matt.

So today’s slice focuses on my journal to gain more resources as a Lifelong Learner and how I share this knowledge with others. I am a connected educator and proud of it. This is slice 2 of 31.

March 2

Jumping in head first, 1 of 31 #slice2013

I have decided to join the Slice of Life Story Challenge sponsored by The Two Writing Teachers. The goal is to write everyday this month. I just discovered this site so I am starting late and will not be eligible for any prizes, but I am ok with that. I am trying to do the ‘commit my thoughts to paper/blog’ thing not win a prize.

Whether these thoughts are

class related
school related
family related
responses to quotes
movie reactions
book reflections

I am trying to publish slices of my daily life. In addition to publishing my own slices, I am to connect with others and comment on their posts. Oh my, I hope that I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew. (I always do… but I am going to try very hard to complete this challenge.)

They have developed a cute graphic with writing ideas to help inspire if inspiration is needed.

A place I love……

Ssssshhh, don’t tell anyone that my favorite place is in my room with my internet enabled computer. I love, love, love being online. I tweet and retweet. Read and share Facebook posts. Read and leave comments on teacher blogs.

I search for any and all resources that I can use in my class to make class activities more engaging for my students. Through these searches I have found

  • information about making paper slide movies
  • ways to create visuals that connect to stories
  • resources for creating digital stories
  • guides that help my students become the teachers
  • great teacher blogs that inspire

and so much more.

OK, day 1 is done. I jumped in, wrote, published and feel better for it. 


October 27

My 2012 LACUE

I have three sessions to present at LACUE this year!!!

Session Title: “EdCamps – the new way to do Professional Development”

CONGRATULATIONS! – your accepted session information is below.


Tinashe Blanchet, John Ehret High School, Carl Gaines, Chalmette High School, Brian Mull, November Learning, Paula Naugle, Bissonet Plaza Elementary, Tiffany Whitehead, Central Middle School

Description:  EdCamps are ‘Unconferences’ offered by Teachers for Teachers. Teachers are the presenters and the campers. Do you want to change the way Professional Development is done? Do you want more for your campus or district? We have tips and resources to help.

Date Scheduled:  Tuesday, November 27, 2012  –  12:30 pm – 1:20 pm

Room:  Room 13

Location: Hilton

Size of room: 80 participants

Type of Session: Concurrent 

Audience:  All

Format:  Concurrent Session (50 min.)


Session Title: “ for ePortfolios”

CONGRATULATIONS! – your accepted session information is below.

Description:  Want to create and publish an ePortfolio for yourself or your students? If so, let me help you design a ePortfolio for yourself or your class that houses essays, photos, digital stories, presentations and videos. Publish a site that you will be proud of for years to come.

Date Scheduled:  Tuesday, November 27, 2012  –  2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Room:  Magnolia

Location: Hilton

Size of room: 60 participants

Type of Session: Hands-on    

Audience:  All

Format:  Hands-On Lab (1 hr. 45 min.)


Session Title: “Become a ‘Connected’ Educator”

CONGRATULATIONS! – your accepted session information is below.

Description:  This session will help you create a Personal Learning Network that you can rely on for resources and advice. During this session you will explore: Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, ePortfolios, online business cards, RSS and Do It Yourself Professional Development.

Audience:  All

Format:  Hands-On Lab (1 hr. 45 min.)

Date Scheduled:  Tuesday, November 27, 2012  –  3:45 pm – 5:15 pm

Room:  Magnolia

Location: Hilton

Size of room: 60 participants

Type of Session: Hands-on 

August 4

EdCamp, the ultimate connector #ce12

EdCamps are a great way to connect with other educators in your area. If you are tired of the same old PD, EdCamps, the unconferences, are the way to go.  They allow for professional development to be done BY Teachers FOR Teachers.  To find out more, check out the hangout scheduled for September.  I am an EdCamp Louisiana Organizer and I am soooo hooked on the idea of providing space and opportunities for educators to share and collaborate that I am trying to work on monthly citywide EdCamps for New Orleans.

It is empowering to be able to spend time with other like minded educators who want to share and collaborate ideas and resources to improve our craft.  If EdCamps are new to you, check out the Hangout and learn more.


August 1

TTT and Connected Educators

“I am not a teacher, but an awakener.”  ― Robert Frost

I just finished a Google + hangout and it was awesommme. Teachers Teaching Teachers met at (9 p.m. est)

Paul Allison invited me to help to kick off Connected Educators Month with Teachers Teaching Teachers and I said YES!! His weekly broadcast coincided with Day 1 of Connected Educators month talked about what it all means to us, especially when we think about how important it is to be connected locally and physically as it is to be connected nationally or globally and virtually.  The Google + hangout participants were
— Paul Allison of the New York City Writing Project
–Darren Cambridge, director of the Connected Educators project
–Kevin Hodgson of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project;
–Pamela Moran, Superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools and a teacher-consultant at the Central Virginia Writing Project
–Steve Moore of the Greater Kansas City Writing Project
–Karen Fasimpaur, founder and organizer of P2PU’s School of Ed.
–Jeff Lebow founder of and co-founder of (Jeff will be joining us late, perhaps with a class.)

and myself

–Valerie Burton of the Greater New Orleans Writing Project

We talked about so much and connected on so many different levels.  We are CONNECTED EDUCATORS and even though these people are part of my online PLN, I respect and admire and trust them.  They are people who help me better myself and my craft.  We are connected if only in a hangout, a tweet or a facebook post and I am grateful for it.
Learn more about some the Connected Teacher events on this recent post by +Steve Hargadon, “Connected Educator Month – Week One’s Amazing Schedule!”


July 24

Sharing and giving back

Each night we are asked in our DENSI team meetings what we can do to promote community service. I have decided to go ahead with my incomplete and incoherent thoughts of doing monthly EdCamps.  I want to have a monthly unconference that has a focused portion and an unfocused portion. Our second EdCamp Louisiana was more successful than the first BUT there are somethings that need to be improved upon.

I want to add more structure and focus to our unconference because I know that there are somethings that need to discussed continually, social media, organizational / productivity tools, classroom management, student data tracking and the creating of student products using or not using tech tools.  Each time I talk to teachers about what they want to see and do in their classes these topics arise and therefore must be addressed on a regular basis. For these topics we need more than a facilitator to talk, we need a facilitator who will talk to them about the whys, why nots and the hows of the topic.  This facilitator would put some sort of plan into their hands so that they can begin working on their new skill/resource Monday morning.  Many of the attendees of our EdCamp Louisiana have expressed that they need this final piece to our discussion sessions.

I have started talking with other teachers to get them to commit to Teaching Teachers Tech one Saturday a month for a year.  I want us to travel to different schools for our training sessions and talk to as many teachers as possible.

Why do I feel the need to share everything with everyone?

Because so many teachers do not.  They want to keep things a secret.  I want the world to see the good and bad that I do.  If it is good and you like it, do it in your classroom with your students.  If it is bad and you do not like it, do it better in your classroom with your students.

July 24

I have been chosen to present at T.C.E.A.

I just saw this email

“Dear Valerie,
We are pleased and excited to inform you the TCEA Workshops and Sessions Committee has accepted your proposal to present at the TCEA 2013 Convention & Exposition, February 4-8, 2013, in Austin.”   Whoo Hoo!! I am going to Texas to talk about ePortfolios!!! I <3 Tech.

It was this blurb from their website that made me apply. It sounded like they were talking to me and even though I am not from Texas, I took a chance and applied.

The convention brings together campus and district-level educators for a networking and learning experience that stimulates growth and innovation. Passionate teachers, campus and district leaders unite at this annual event to gather and share the latest trends and best practices for creating engaging classrooms that excite today’s active and inspired learners.

The TCEA annual convention is the educational technology integration and best practices event of the year with more than 400 presentations, 450 exhibiting companies, and networking opportunities

Yay meeeeee!!!!!

Now who is going to tell my Mom and my daughter that this English Teacher is going away to present at another Tech Conference?  Any takers?!?!….???