May 5

Google Hangouts


I try to participate in a regular Google+ hangout.  We discuss .. our work looks like, what we want our work to look like, important current events, etc.  If you have not participated in a Google+ hangout you should try it.  Find a teacher who you is interesting to talk to, necessary to collaborate with, or just willing to play and try it out.  They must use Google products and have a camera on their computer and the desire to join you in an online conversation.


Our hangout had more than 20 people coming in and out of the room so between that interference and the streaming problems that might be present take this embedded example as just a way to see what you can do.  Google hangout has a chat room so that if there are several people online together some people could be chatting as some people are talking.


This hangout was done with the following people:

Some of them I wanted to hangout with and some them just dropped in and then out again.

This hangout was scheduled as a book talk with:

+Paul Allison +monika hardy and +Chris Sloanare joined by +Howard Rheingold +Fred Mindlin +Valerie Burton+Mariana Rios +christian romero and Jeff Lebow



Our goal was to discuss NetSmart  by Howard Rheingold.

Paul Allison created this Google Hangout as part of his Teachers Teaching Teachers series. Chat logs and links at:

May 5

Meshing our Curriculum with Common Core

I have been reading, planning and revising my lesson plans and curriculum material for the past few years because I kept hearing “The Common Core Standards are coming!!! The Common Core Standards are coming!!! The Common Core Standards are coming!!!”


Well guess what? The adoption of the Common Core Standards is here, kind of.  Common Core State Standards  (  There are some changes that will be made within the next few years that will modify our current GLEs so that they are better aligned to the Common Core Standards.  Here is some of the work that has been done in Louisiana:  Louisiana’s Common Core Standards Implementation Plan.


I am focusing on the changes to 9th grade English but here are some tips to help make the transition easier as I spend the summer reading and planning how to best serve my students (and making sure that I have acceptable value added scores…)


These screenshots from the Grade-Level Content Comparison Reports show what the changes mean on to our existing documents:

April 23

Reading NetSmart by Rheingold


I have had the pleasure of scheduling Wednesday nights to work with Paul Allison,, and others in a discussion about Howard Rheingold‘s book,, in a Google+ hangout.

Paul has organized a book group on Teachers Teaching Teachers  and they meet Wednesdays at 9:00 PM Eastern.  Next Wednesday, April 25th, will be our second Wednesday discussing Rheingold’s book.


Here are links for the index, table of contents and the first chapter.


I will be posting my thoughts on some of the chapters from the book in the next few days.

April 8

4/2 I shared….

I recently had a conversation with Paul Allison about wanting kids to post meaningful educational quotes and resources on their Twitter and Facebook sites.  This conversation grew from an article I read from a Twitter feed:  “How do we leverage the backchanneling that students already do?”   After reading the article we both agree that as teachers we must provide the kids with engaging learning opportunities that they will WANT to share.

Isn’t that the problem that has been plaguing teachers for ages: how do we get the kids to want to do and share the work?

I have integrated technology into my classes as a way of introducing them to novel publication methods that I hope will motivate them to complete assignments.  Does it work? Yes with some and No with others. Just like with pen and paper. Go figure.

What I decided to do is to have them create posts that re-cap their online postings from the week from Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. I will give them parameters because I don’t need them to re-post inappropriate posts but I do what them to take stock of what they publish.  I hope that once they begin to look at and summarize the information that they share regularly, they will feel compelled to clean up their digital footsteps and publish work that they will not be embarrassed to re-post.

Here is my cleaned up (cleaned up because I took out my many postings to Foursquare about where I went and what I did) work from this week from Twitter, Facebook and Google+

Daily Twitter Newspaper

My publications
Philosophical Quotes
  • The greatest wealth is to live content with little. ~ Plato
  • “The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind – Wayne Dyer”
  • “Are You In Hiding? Or Shining Brightly?” @AmazingWomen
  • “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams ~ Eleanor Roosevelt”
  • “The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Words Of Wisdom from Maya Angelou via@AmazingWomen
  • Action=Results=Success=Confidence=Action via @motivationlive
  • When it comes down to it, the last person you think of at night is the one who truly matters to you.
  • As my own children get older and begin to see the world differently, the more important it is for me to teach LOVE and UNDERSTANDING.
  • Apply for the DEN Leadership Council 2012-2013 – DEN Blog Network

Must Read Articles or Must Watch Videos


I am going to suggest that they use similar categories.  I want them to post this to their blogs until the remainder of the semester and I hope to see a change in the type of tidbits of knowledge that they choose to share with one another.
March 21

EdCamp Louisiana 2011

I am excited to report that EdCamp Louisiana 2011 is underway.   mini edcampEdCamp is an UnConference built around the wishes of its attendees.  The sessions will be catered to what the audience wants to see and hear.  The presenters will be Professional Educators who are knowledgeable about a topic or willing to experiment and learn about the unknown.

So far at team EdCamp Louisiana

  • We have a date: July 9, 2011
  • We have a venue: University of New Orleans
  • We have an evergrowing list of attendees and presenters.
  • We are creating flyers for advertising purposes.
  • We will soon have a website up and running as well as a Paypal Account to handle donations and sponsorships.

Read this blog post by M.E. Steele-Pierce, Unconference: Revolutionary professional learning for more information about the UnConference concept.  Dr. Steele-Pierce is Assistant Superintendent for Teaching & Learning at West Clermont Schools in Ohio.  Her post defines the concept of EdCamp, the unconference, and its value as a way to disseminate needed (and wanted) information. 

“Allowing our teacher experts to teach one another”

And yes, the Valerie Burton that she refers to as being enthusiastic about the upcoming EdCamp Louisiana is yours truly. 

 I can’t wait for EdCamp Louisiana.  I can see it now… UNO’s campus will be loaded with 250 Professional Educators eager to share and eager to learn about what is going on in our classes. 

They are discussing

  • what is working and what isn’t working. 
  • ways to collaborate
  • ways to integrate technology into classrooms
  • ways to revamp boring units with project based learning activities
  • a Birds of a Feather style working lunch
  • followed by more collaborating and creating

We will not have the attendants sign up for sessions that they really do not want to take just to waste time until they can go to the sessions that they do want.  The goal of the UnConference is to build the agenda around what the participants are interested in learning about.  The UnConference is a series of ‘make and take,’ ‘share, reflect and plan,’ and ‘collaborate’ sessions.  

If you do not leave with new ideas, activities, plans, and friends we have not done our jobs properly.

Thanks to all of those people who helped us make the concept of an UnConference in Louisiana a practical way to provide learning opportunities to our Professional Educators.

I have created an event on Eventbrite.  Eventbrite allows you to create an online flyer, a widget and e-ticket for your event.  They have many different types of widgets available and you can customize the colors of your  flyer.

Here is my ticket.

My ticket for EdCamp Louisiana


 Click here to register for EdCamp Louisiana.  The UnConference is the PD of the future.  It allows teachers to create and deliver Professional Development Sessions that are of interest to them.  It is teacher driven and directed.

P.S. For those of you who have registered,

you really don’t need to bring the ticket.Do_not_print_your_ticket






Hashtag #EdCampLA

 EdCamp Louisiana Organizers



Valerie Burton, M. Ed., High School English Teacher, Jefferson Parish School System

Paula L. Naugle, 4th Grade Teacher, Jefferson Parish Public School System

Tiffany Whitehead, Teacher-Librarian, Central Community School District
Carl Gaines Jr., Computer Science Teacher, Chalmette High School/AP Social Studies Instructor, Louisiana Virtual School
Brian Mull, Director of Innovation, November Learning



May 22

Digital Citizenship – 21 techie tchr topics

What is digital citizenship and is it really necessary?

Digital Citizenship is a way to prepare students/technology users for a society full of technology. Too often we misuse and abuse technology because we are not sure what to do.  We need to show them how to properly manage and use digital or commercial content — whether their own or others’; whether music, movies, art, software, or other creative material; and whether free, licensed, purchased, or subscribed.

A curriculum in Digital Citizenship needs to focus on a variety of topics.

  • Digital Etiquette: electronic standards of conduct or procedure need to be taught.
  • Digital Communication: electronic exchange of information needs tp be monitored.
  • Digital Literacy: process of teaching and learning about technology and the use of technology.
  • Digital Access: full electronic participation in society is inevitable so users need to be prepared.
  • Digital Commerce: electronic buying and selling of goods needs to be done safely.
  • Digital Law: electronic responsibility for actions and deeds must be present
  • Digital Rights & Responsibilities: those freedoms extended to everyone in a digital world.
  • Digital Health & Wellness: physical and psychological well-being in a digital technology world.
  • Digital Security (self-protection): electronic precautions to guarantee safety.

Creative rights and the materials they protect are an important part of our culture.  It’s crucial that students understand the options for managing content and respect the wishes of others regarding creative content.   Students interact online with movies, software, images, music,  and other digital content daily.

Microsoft has sponsored this curriculum to “create an awareness of the rights connected with creative content. Because only through education can students gain an understanding of the relevance of and a personal respect for creative rights and grow to become good digital citizens.”  They provide several scenarios for the students to work through demonstrating the meaning and need for creative content/common curriculum training.  I have looked at this project but I have not used it so far.  I will spend this summer preparing myself so that I can use these activities.

Here are the resources for that unit.

Standards for Dig Citizenship

unit01- Introduction to Creative Commons

unit02- Creative content laws

unit03 – What makes responsible Citizens

unit04- protecting creative content

Here is another site with oodles of resources

May 19


Click here to see more movies created by my ScholarsI have recently discovered PhotoPeach and I am in lovvvvve.  I have used it for my personal use and I have used it for class.  It is very easy to use and takes no time at all.  There are two plans: free and the premium for $3 a month.  The difference is with the paid account you can download your movie and you can add your personal choice of mp3 recording as background music.

This movie is one of the first ones that I did to introduce the world to my class.

Ms. Burton’s Class on PhotoPeach

This second one is a sample movie that I created about our city to serve as a guide for them to follow for their moving arrowClick the links below to see some of the movies from class.

Jeri’s movie, Roshon’s movie, Alex’s movie, Mildred’s movie, Westley’s movie, Kendric’s Movie, Alexander’s Movie

This last one was created as an entrance to a contest held by Intel in their search for Inspiring Teachers.  Guess who won a trip to the ISTE technology convention in Denver, Colorado this summer.  Yes, me.
My Class after Intel Training on PhotoPeach