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



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.


August 5

To me CONNECTING means SHARING #ce12

Each time I Tweet, ReTweet or Share a link for a resource or activity I am reminded that this is Connected Educator Month.  Being connected to me means to share with others the good and useful things that we find in our dealings with other teachers, whether these dealings are online or Face-to-Face.

Regularly think about what it is that you share with others to help to foster the notion that together we are strongest and we should not be re-creating the making of the wheel.  We should all contribute to making it roll smoother and faster but we don’t need to redo what someone else has already done.

In the last 60 minutes I have shared

Ideas for Working Together with Parents

Bulletin Board Hangups – mini inspirational posters

Morning Meeting | Responsive Classroom

TeachersFirst’s Professional Resources

I shared using my Twitter account, Facebook page and Linked In account and Google Plus.  Do i overshare??? Probably. But I am ok with that.  My goal is to make sure that everyone in my connected world has a chance to try out resources and tools that help to support what we do in the classroom.

To Blog is To Share and To Learn is what I named my blog.

What have you shared lately?  

How did you share it?

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.


July 24

The DENsations compete in the #DENSI2012 DENmazing race

The DENsations Rock

We are

Kathy Sedlacek

Valerie Burton

Davina Turner and

Beth Burau


DENSI has yet another team building activity.  This one involves completing a series of challenges in hopes of having your team win the DENmazing Race.  I was able to join the race with this great group of educators who wanted to have fun and FINISH.  We did and We did. We had fun, ran a little, plotted how to succeed and laughed a lot.

We supported one another (they did not leave me as I heaved up the street feeling every above sea level breath I sucked in) and we cheered for our successes (we rocked the dance and bowling legs of the race, thank you… thank you very much.)

Thank you DENsations for helping to make my first DENSI memorable.


How many DEN Stars does it take to use a GPS to geocache during a scavenger hunt?

Uh… 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 …. I lost count.  19, 20…

We even tried to use cellphones when that didn’t work.

What is this and what does it mean?

BUT we all worked together to finish that challenge and ‘Get ‘er done.’

February 17

Tweeting for Students

I am a Tweetaholic and proud to admit it.


I have days when I Tweet several times a day followed by days of me not Tweeting at all.  I have several accounts but actively only use two now: one for my PLN and one for my students.

I have had my PLN Twitter account since July, 2009

I started Tweeting for my students a month later in August, 2009.

I thought that I would be able to Tweet for my students the way that I Tweet for my PLN.

I imagined myself Tweeting out assignments reminders, extra credit trivia facts and links for them to follow for research.  Of course that didn’t happen; my students did not actively use Twitter several years ago so I was really Tweeting for myself, other educators and city tweeters who followed me for local information updates.

Guess what has happened this year?  The campus is filled with avid tweeters now.  They tweet: reminders about after-school appointments with friends, mood/interest indicators throughout class, insults about clothes or bodily odors, compliments about accessories, messages of love and/or lust, etc.

Some of them have started following me and send me little messages.

They love to say “Hi” during class.

These are not quite the messages that I envisioned we would be sending to one another but… at least I do have their attention.

I received this message the other day that encourages me to keep tweeting

My Daily Assignment blog posts are Tweeted out and this student saw the tweet, followed the link and then asked this question about the assignment.  Yay me!!!!

I have spent awhile trying to get them to see that Twitter can be so much more than a way of sending out insults and foolishness. I want them to see that Twitter can be used to develop and grow their own Personal Learning Network.

Hopefully next year we will progress to that level.  Hopefully….

December 1

Facilitators r Rockstars

K12 Online Conference to check out – Hardware is Not Enough – The Teacher/Facilitator Partnership by Kim Cofino (@mscofino)  and Chrissy Hellyer (@nzchrissy.) 

Their presentation is part of the Team Captain’s strand of the conference and they discussed examples, resources, strategies, processes and resources that can aid the relationship between teacher and facilitator.

After watching their video I am reminded why I talk sooo much about tech integration.  I am a classroom teacher who has dived head first into the tech integration world.  One of my co-workers, Devin Howard, always jokes about how he invited me to participate in an Intel Workshop years ago and I have left him behind. He makes this comment because that first Intel Workshop turned into 2 and then I took workshops on using digital cameras, flip cameras, wikis, blogs, voki, etc…  Once I got bit by the technology bug, I was forever transformed and wanted to transform the world right along with me.

I am not an official Technology Facilitator at my school but I do facilitate as often as possible. Whenever and wherever I can get someone to listen to me about Web 2.0 tools, I talk about them.  Kim and Chrissy talked about the need for a working relationship between the teachers who want and need resources and the facilitators who can help them take their lessons to a new level. They discussed the Who? What? Where? Why? and How? of fostering these relationships.  I needed this reminder/peptalk because there really are people who do not yet see the need for these collaborative efforts and it is, at times, disheartening. 

Wednesday I presented a session at LaCUE called Are You Online Yet? and my goal was to have the participants create a Twitter account, a blog and a wiki.  There were only 4 people (5 including the tech support guy who sat in and contributed) in my session BUT I felt good because everyone there left with a Twitter account and a blog.  We were not able to create a wiki because we spent a lot of time on Twitter and creating their blog.  They had questions and I provided answers and examples. WOW I facilitated!!! 

I feel good about the work that we did because as we began our work one of the teachers asked why she needed a blog.  She said “I don’t have anything important to say.”  I felt heartbroken and I had to fight back the tears because as a classroom teacher I hate it when we feel like we are not valued as an integral part of the education process.  The facilitator in me immediately jumped in and I told her that she had lots to say: the good and bad of a lesson, news about what was going on in her class, news updates that she might want to share with parents and colleagues, etc. Her next question was ‘Who will read it?’  Again the facilitator spoke up and said “Anyone you share a link with will read your posts.”

I talked to her not as a classroom teacher; but as someone who is available and ready to jump in and assist with ideas, resources and support. It was wonderful to be able to help teachers create an online presence.  That same participant who did not feel as though she had something to say went from creating a personal and classroom blog to considering how to create a blog for her school. 

In their presentation, Kim and Chrissy (and others) spoke about ways they could help one another.  We need to create more of these connections. I made a point of making sure that everyone had my contact information so that they could contact me if they had questions or needed help with anything. I did this because just like Kim and Chrissy said “Hardware is Not Enough – The Teacher/Facilitator Partnership” is important. 

Their presentation helped to invigorate my efforts to educate my colleagues at my school.  I took it upon myself to create a wiki and blog for the school and have not gotten any real support from others but thanks to Kim and Chrissy, I will continue to try to create an environment that promotes collaboration and facilitation.

November 12

LaCUE 2011

Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators

the 27th Annual Conference

November 28-30, 2011

at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside


Conference 2011 Schedule

Monday, November 28

  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pre-conference Registration ONLY
  • 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.  Pre-conference Sessions
  • 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Conference Registration
  • 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Opening Social in Exhibit Area

Tuesday, November 29

  • 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Conference Registration
  • 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast
  • 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Opening Session: Business Meeting, Presentation of Awards & Keynote Speaker
  • 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Exhibits Open
  • 10:30 a.m. – 5:20 p.m. Conference Sessions (50 minute sessions)
  • 10:30 a.m. – 5:15 p.m. Hands-on Labs (90 minute sessions)
  • 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Wine & Cheese Reception in Exhibit Hall

Wednesday, November 30

  • 7:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Conference Registration
  • 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast
  • 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Exhibits Open
  • 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Hands-on Labs (90 minute sessions)
  • 8:00 a.m. – 1:50 p.m. Conference Sessions (50 minute sessions)
  • 2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Closing/Door Prizes Awarded

**Be sure to plan to come and see me!!

Session Title: “Using Weebly.com for ePortfolios”

  • Date Scheduled:  Tuesday, November 29, 2011 ~ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
  • Room:  Assembly Court Hallway
  • Size of room: Poster participants
  • Type of Session: Poster

Session Title: “Are You Online Yet?”

  • Date Scheduled:  Wednesday, November 30, 2011 ~ 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
  • Room:  Oak Alley
  • Size of room: 100 participants
  • Type of Session: Hands-On


July 23

How big are our shoulders?

We have to comfort, educate, discipline, cajole and care for 100-200 students a year and instead of getting a pat on the back, we often get blamed for not working miracles.

So I want to know; how big are our shoulders?  How much are we to carry? REALLY!!

Teaching is not an easy profession. We all know it. We are….

  • Unappreciated
  • Underpaid
  • Overworked
  • Overburdened
  • blah, blah, blah, blah. blah

We are SuperHeroes!!!

As I prepare for this schoolyear, I am reminded that I have on control over what happens outside of my room.  I can only hold myself responsible for what happens inside of my classroom.  To best care for my students I must be prepared. I must continue to be a lifelong learner so that I can adequately deal with any and all problems that I am faced with.

We Don’t

  • wear a cape.
  • run into a telephone booth to change into our ignorant fighting gear.
  • leap tall buildings.

We Do:

  • Plan lessons. Revise lessons. Reflect on lessons.
  • Create engaging and rigorous activities.
  • Compile and utilize student data.
  • Attempt to make a difference in all of our students.
  • Try to move our students from point A to point B

I accept these responsibilities.  I am a teacher and I love my students.  I hate the bureaucratic mess that goes along with our jobs but I when I enter my room; I enter my world.

I am SuperTeacher.

July 16

barcamp4 New Orleans

After the success of our EdCamp Louisiana, I could not resist an opportunity to attend barcamp4 New Orleans so that I could share with educators, social media experts, tech geeks and geekettes, etc.

The day started off with introductions and directions.  The sessions took on the form of 15 or 45 minute talks delivered in either a small, medium or large room.   The topics ranged from the unfamiliar, I have no idea what that is, to the interesting, hmm how can I do that?

I had no idea if I would fit in; but, I was pleasantly surprised.  I was not the only educator there and I had an opportunity to speak to bloggers, coders and a collection of other entrepreneurs.

Here are some of my pictures from today