Monday, July 30, 2018

#PodPeeks: Talking Social Studies

I just HAVE to share this podcast with you!!! I had featured it on my final 8 #PodPeeks in July but I hadn't had the time to really dig deep into this one. That was until my daughter started conditioning for soccer and I had an hour to walk & listen & learn. Wow!!!! This is a GOOD one!

There are 2 episodes that I'm excited to share today - but don't limit yourself to these. Subscribe and listen to them all!

Episode 17: Got Rhythm (show notes)

I love history. I love the story it tells - I know it's not always a happy story, but it's a never-ending story. I also love music. There is so much music out there and it, too, tells a story. And to bring the two together??? WOW! Listening to this episode, I kept thinking about how cool it would be to be a student in any of these 4 teachers classes! The focus isn't just on having music to play with your units, but having conversations around & with the lyrics & feelings of the music. Highlighting music from a historical time period can really add to a students understanding of the time period and culture.

Here are a few highlights to tempt you to tune in - all the links are in the show notes:

  • Billboard's List of 20 Best Protest Songs of 2017
    • IDEA ↬ take a list of ANY year, don't tell your students, & see if they can figure out what year/what the big ideas were from that year
  • National Jukebox: Historical Recordings from the Library of Congress (I had NO idea this existed!!!)
    • contains over 10,000 historical recordings made by the Victor Talking Machine Company between 1901 and 1925!
  • Google Arts & Culture ↬ an amazing find for SOOOO many reasons, but when you search for "music", you will find links to museums, stories, and more directly related to music!
  • Sounds Around the World ↬ a website built as a "collaborative learning game"
  • ↬ a FREE web-based curriculum, aligned to standards, and built FOR teachers. (Thank you, Steven Van Zandt!) 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

You Can Accept Change

In today’s world, probably the most valuable tool we can teach our students is to “LEARN, UN-LEARN, and RE-LEARN”. I read that somewhere this past year and I wish I could remember who to give credit to because it is absolutely true! We want our students to learn from failure … to have grit … to problem solve … to be self-sustaining in their learning. 


I want to you really stop for a minute and hold up the mirror. I want you to really stop and think. Are YOU doing this? Are you willing to learn, un-learn, and re-learn? Or do you grumble about it … resist it … push back … even refuse to change?

Let's focus this thought process a bit ... we profess we want our students to learn, UN-learn, and RE-learn. We want them to be comfortable with going out of their comfort zones and be willing to change … BUT how comfortable are YOU with all those things?

Think about these scenarios for a minute:
 - change in leadership? 
 - one program is replaced with a new one?
 - new staff? 
 - if you are asked to teach a different grade level or content? 

How do you respond? Do you put up barriers and excuses and fight the changes? I’ll be honest, change IS hard! There are changes I readily embrace but there are things I hate to see change. In the end, I remember I don't have to like the change but I DO realize my attitude and actions will pave the way for students and others to follow. 

I bring this up because Google Classroom is getting an update. Best estimates is it will go “live” in August. From what I’ve read from others, there might be some bumps in the road. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Math Games ... for EVERYONE!

Math Games!!!

Games no longer need to be left to review. Games can introduce - assess - review - personalize - and so much more. 

I fell in πŸ’™with Quizlet. I was able to make one "set" of review materials but my students do use it in a number of different ways - and not just digitally. More traditional students could create limitless "tests" (multiple choice, T/F, short answer, matching as options ... modify to your preference); students who enjoy playing games could check out the games; students who preferred paper could print out flashcards - I'd suggest they use mine to make their own - or print out tests. ANY student could try ANY option. So many different options in one little package!!!! After we used it for awhile, students started making their own! HOW powerful! I wanted my students to find what works for them and use it ... in my class and all their others. When they'd tell me how they created Quizlets for another class, my heart swelled with pride. 

I've included links to 4 digital games, but there are a TON out there. Don't be afraid to check several of them out. (Make sure you check with your district's policy prior to making accounts for students.)

One more to check out ↣ We Are Teacher released an article that is perfect for this post. The Best Online Interactive Games for Every Grade Level. I won't vouch for every game included, but it's a great place to start regardless if you teach kindergarten or high school. 

Do you have any games that others should check out? Please share!

#FBCALbook ... I'll be IN it!

I'm beyond excited to share that at the end of July, a dream of mine will come true! I will have a story published in a book!!! This book ... will be published and available for anyone to read! And I will have a tiny part in it. 


My adventure began around Christmas 2017 when a tweet on Twitter caught my eye from Mari Venturino. She had published a collection of stories from educators in July, 2017. She was preparing for volume 2, and with nothing to lose, I submitted a story idea.

I'm not going to lie or pretend otherwise, I really do not consider myself a writer. Spelling was a weak spot and I never understood diagramming sentences! Thank heavens for word processing!!!

I received word my story had been accepted to be published as part of this book with other educators. BUT ... I was still nervous and didn't share the news. (I think I was still nervous about it really happening!) Then came edits and revisions and the final editing process. Mari has set up a website to share tons of info about the book and those who are apart of it. Be sure to check it out .

I will join the ranks of 80 or so educators who've taken a piece of their own story and shared it for the world to read. I hope you'll pick up a copy, grab the beverage of your choice, and read it. It's sure to be packed with tons of great stories!!!

I'll update as far as the official publishing date. Yea!!!! 

Want to be part of volume 3? Mari is collecting info from those interested at the official website [].

Feel free to follow along on:

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Alice Keeler: Teacher Tech

Teacher Tech
Alice Keeler

WEBSITE: Teacher Tech

Alice Keeler is a lady who knows Google! And when I say she knows Google, she knows Google and then some!

Her website is a treasure trove of ideas, templates, resources, and more. She has written several books, too! I've learned so much from her and have so much more to learn. She shares a lot on Twitter, so if you don't already ... make sure you follow her.

I'm highlighting 6 of her postings, but these are no more than a teeny-tiny tip of an iceberg. Chances are, if you are looking for an idea, Alice will have 2 or 3 things for you to read thru and check out. 

  • Math Problem: 3 Pennies and a Dime  this one had me intrigued from the get go! If you want to give your students a challenge and give them an opportunity to really THINK and explain, check this out!
  • Representing Borrowing in Math a great visual way for your students to demonstrate and work through borrowing. This is an open share of ideas to help ALL of us!
  • Math Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt  Ok. Hands down. My favorite! Literally, open the world to your students and let them FIND math in it. Well, not literally ... they could go out, or you can use images found on the web. πŸ˜‰. But then you look for math properties and/or ideas.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Which One Doesn't Belong?

Which One Doesn't Belong?
Mary Bourassa


So often the last few years, I hear educators talking about helping their students do more than simply solve problems.  I AGREE! 

But how do you encourage them without driving yourself crazy? How about "Which One Doesn't Belong?"?

At first glance, it seems very simple. Pick the one shape/number/object/image that doesn't fit in with the others. Nothing challenging, right?


When you dig a little deeper, your neighbor won't necessarily see the same thing! If you dig even deeper ... you will find each one has a reason why it doesn't fit with the others! Every single one.

I've shown this to several classrooms, and the students are timid at first -- so many of them are worried about the "wrong" answer -- but after awhile, it's awesome to see them light up at the challenge of figuring out the reasons for each one. I sometimes feel like I'm witnessing their brains grow a little bit that day! 

And it doesn't stop there!

The website is set up for YOU and YOUR STUDENTS to submit a WODB you create!!! You can help grow the collection for everyone to benefit from. (And won't it be cool to see your work posted online????)

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Control Alt Achieve Math

Control Alt Achieve
Eric Curts

TWITTER: @ericcurts

If you know me at all, you know I hold Eric Curts in very high regard. I learned about him several years ago and I am blown away - on a regular basis - with his creativity and his ease at making learning accessible to all. I share his stuff all the time and I definitely want to highlight some of his amazing math resources. 

I only have so much space, so please do NOT limit yourself to these particular resources. Go to his website (linked above) and for math resources, scroll down on the right side and find his "math" label. You'll end up getting lost in all his resources!!!
  • 11 Ways to Teach Math with Google Drawings Google's Drawing app provides so many possibilities for the math classroom. Eric shares 11: lines of symmetry, pictographs, line plots, fractions, shapes, and so much more! [He also lists common core standards each activity can link to!]
  • Interactive Clock Face with Google Drawings Again, using Google's Drawing app a clock face become interactive. Learning time and how the hands move becomes a fun activity. I shared this with my daughter's 1st grade teacher two years ago and it quickly became a class favorite on the SMARTboard! The students were super excited to "tell" time on the giant clock! 
  • Pattern Block Templates and Activities with Google Drawings Can you tell Google Drawings is a must for the math classroom?? This activity provides limitless pattern blocks for hours of fun. No worries about losing the tiles, or not having enough sets for the number of students ... give each student their own copy of the Drawing and step back! Eric even includes the template AND directions easy enough for even the littlest learners.
  • Solving Story Problems with the Highlight Tool Add-on in Google Docs A big part of any math class is reading - we have to be mindful of that. How cool is the thought that Google Docs can enter the picture and using the highlighting tool add-on to assist with students visually seeing the various parts of the problem. (Or a lower-tech thought ... simply have the students use the traditional highlighter on digital word problems.)
I could go on and on ... Eric's resources are amazing and extremely helpful. And, as a bonus, he has FAR MORE than math resources! Bookmark his website for sure!!!

Monday, July 9, 2018

"Escape the Dungeon" ... a math digital breakout

Escape the Dungeon
Meagan Kelly

TWITTER: @meagan_e_kelly

Are you ready? This one is mind-blowing. I'm not sure I really truly have my brain wrapped around it. Not completely. BUT ... that is also the fun!

I've been following the creator of this one, Meagan Kelly, for quite some time, and I have to say, she feels REAL. She is a real person, a real educator, a real innovator. I started reading this post more than a year ago, and I literally stopped in my tracks. 

This is awesome!

I opened up the link to the breakout and I began to work through it. I LOVED it! Everything about it ↬ the story line ↬ the challenges of finding the locks ↬ solving the equations ↬ and figuring out my mistakes to correct them ... because I wanted to figure it out! That's the key. I was having fun. When I couldn't remember the formula for area of a right triangle, I Googled it. Bingo!

I'm not sharing this so you have an activity for your students. I'm sharing this because I think the creative power behind building something like this for your students can bring a lot to the table. Let's break it out:

  • this one is about area & perimeter --- to solve the problems, students not only have to know (or how to find) the formulas, but they have to apply the formulas & do the computation correctly to solve the lock
  • they can fail ... problem solve ... try again ... and so on ... until they've figured it out
  • if they get too frustrated with a lock, they can move on and come back
  • it is it's own website (built in Google Sites), so it's FREE & easy to share with students
  • the locks are all Google Forms, so you can gather data, if you'd like

Check it out. Try to solve the locks. Share it with your students (I'd say it's probably geared towards upper elementary). And then think about how you can take your content, and do the same for your students.

... OR ...

Could you build one WITH your students?

Sunday, July 8, 2018

MashUp Math

MashUp Math
Anthony Persico

TWITTER: @mashupmath


If you teach math, this is MUST. And if you don't teach math, this website is STILL a MUST!

This site provides quick and fun math activities appropriate for all grade levels. What drew me to this site initially was the Star Wars challenge questions. One of the movies was coming out and I came across this on Twitter and my curiosity was peeked. I opened it up and was captivated! Star Wars characters were used in place of numbers in a set of 4 equations. I enjoy math challenges so I was easily hooked!

I dug a little deeper to his site and found some pretty cool things:
  • Sign up for his e-newsletter (so his goodies now come directly to me!)
  • Sign up for his FREE e-book
  • More of these math challenges
  • and he has an entire YouTube channel devoted to helping kids learn math!

What I really, really like about MashUp Math is that it takes what seems to be "easy" math (addition & subtraction equations) and turns them into critical thinking challenges. And challenges that ALL our students - and we ourselves - can benefit from.

But PLEASE! Don't stop at providing these worksheets to your students ... once you've got them hooked, challenge THEM to make some to share with classmates or other classes, or even share them outside your school! What an awesome "mashup" of tech & math & critical thinking & creativity?!?!? 

You could even go low-tech and have students hand draw out the variables OR go high-tech and have them use icons/images on line.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

#PodPeeks: 8 Others to Highlight

There isn't enough time in a day (or week) to listen to all the good podcasts out there! You definitely have to give them a listen and see if it works for you. Here are 8 others that I think you should give a listen to - each for their own reasons. All are EXCELLENT!

10 Minute Teacher by Vicki Davis [website]: to the point & very teacher friendly information; each day of workweek has a theme! Check out the website for detail. 

Hack Learning w/Mark Barnes [website]: I've really come to enjoy the thoughts Mark shares. He pushes me to really think about what I do what I do.

The House of #EdTech by Chris Nesi [website]: This was one of the 1st podcasts I started listening to. If you are interested in technology in education, this is a good one to tune in to!
Kids Deserve It! by Todd Nesloney & Adam Welcome [website]: Honestly, I had NO idea this was even a podcast, but the book is SO good, how can you not listen to their podcast?

Talking Social Studies by Ryan O'Donnell, Chris Hitchcock, Scott Padway, & Amy Presley [website]: Being a former social studies teacher, this podcast really feeds the history nerd in me! LOVE!!!

TOSAs Talking Tech by Tom Covington and Michael Jephcott [website]: Again, this is new to me, but I've heard from a LOT of others who really promote this website as a good one.

Truth for Teachers w/Angela Watson [website]: Have you heard about the 40 Hour Workweek Club? This is your spot!

Well PlayED by Michael Matera [website]: Gaming in the classroom has been around for a bit, but Michael & his guests really know how to make it work. Tune in for tips and ideas. I love hearing their thoughts so I can further support this idea in the classrooms I work with.

I hope you enjoyed this week of #PodPeeks - be sure to check out the other 6 in this series. Just click on the label #PodPeeks to the right (it's near the top) if you happened to miss one.

Next week I will focus in on math resources.

Friday, July 6, 2018

#PodPeeks: the Creative Classroom with John Spencer

This week, I have been binging on John Spencer's podcast - The Creative Classroom. My walk this morning ended up going a little bit longer so I could finish an episode! This is a newer podcast for me and extremely good! He is such a source of inspiration. His episode "Difference Between Being Busy and Being Productive" really hit home ... this week. We are fully into July and summer is in full swing. I was out for a walk while listening, and I really had to stop and think, "Am I 'busy' or am I 'productive'?"

The other one that really spoke to me big time was the June 2 one - The Seven Types of Creative Teachers. While I relate to several of them, I think I'd ideally like to be #7. What about you? John's podcasts compliment his blog posts. AND he has a YouTube channel that goes along with many of his podcasts/blogs. I highly recommend you check out - and subscribe to - his YouTube channel, his blogs, AND his podcasts.

About the author: John Spencer (@spencerideas)
Podcast Website →
Author's Other Websites →

Thursday, July 5, 2018

#PodPeeks: the Ditch That Textbook podcast

Ha! I bet you thought I had forgotten! Nope ... it IS summer and my girls kept me busy all day πŸ˜„.

Today's #TechYouCanDo podcast I want to highlight is by Matt Miller (he gets a 2-fer this week!) also of the Google Teacher Tribe podcast. His stand alone podcast is truly an inspiring one for me because he shares his thoughts all in roughly 5 minutes! The little "nuggets" are quick and easy. There are 74 podcasts available as of today so you have plenty to listen and learn from. 

I've highlighted a handful that I was REALLY drawn to here:

About the author: Matt Miller (@jmattmiller) (#ditchpod)

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

#PodPeeks: Cult of Pedagogy

Today's #PodPeeks podcast is The Cult of Pedagogy with Jennifer Gonzalez. Her podcast always blows me away. Her episodes are thought-provoking and many times, I have to pause the podcast, sit back, and "take in" what she is talking about. Jennifer really gets to the heart of it.

And not only is her podcast FANTASTIC, I highly recommend you visit her website so you can subscribe to her blog. Often, her blogs match her podcasts. One of her blogs that I highly suggest - even if you aren't an ELA teacher - is her idea behind a "single-point rubric". Here is a link to 2 articles about them:

* Know Your Terms: Holistic, Analytic, and Single-Point Rubrics
* Meet the #SinglePointRubric

Be sure to check out these episodes:

About the author: Jennifer Gonzalez (@cultofpedagogy)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

#PodPeeks: Check This Out!

Today's featured #TechYouCanDo podcast is "Check This Out!" with Ryan O'Donnell and Brian Briggs. Their podcast does a great job of sharing out a TON of edtech in each episode. Make sure you either bookmark their show notes or have a notepad and writing utensil handy when you listen so you can jot notes and check it out! They cover a LOT and a wide variety, so you are sure to find at least one little nugget in each episode.

The episodes are a bit longer ... but very much worth the listen! I haven't been a long-time listener - they've got 80+ episodes recorded, so you will have a no problem filling your summer days with Ryan & Brian.

About the authors: Ryan O’Donnell (@creativeedtech) Brian Briggs (@bribriggs)

Website →

Monday, July 2, 2018

#PodPeeks: Shukes and Giff

Today's #TechYouCanDo is the podcast "Shukes and Giff". It is hosted by two awesome educators, Kim Pollishuke and Jen Giffen. They are a trip to listen to, making learning fun! I also appreciate the fact that their shows are of a shorter nature ... longest one so far is 31 minutes. 

Their podcast is also created on a new-er platform - Anchor - which I've heard good things about! Here are 4 of their podcasts you need to be sure to check out ... links below!

About the podcast authors:

Kim Pollishuke (@KimPollishuke)
Jen Giffen (@VirtualGiff)

Podcast Websites: &

Sunday, July 1, 2018

#PodPeeks: Google Teacher Tribe

This week I will be focusing my #TechYouCanDo on podcasts. This is an avenue of learning I hadn't given much thought to until about two years ago. My commute to and from work is roughly 20 minutes each way, so it's the perfect opportunity to learn from others. (The only problem is that sometimes the ideas are so exciting I have to jot down ideas as soon as I park!)

Today, I want to share the Google Teacher Tribe podcast by Matt Miller & Kasey Bell. They just wrapped their 2nd season and it is my #1 go-to podcast. They share such wonderful tips and tricks and interview amazing educators. They have 56 episodes completed and ready for you to listen to. Below, I've highlighted 6 of my top recommended episodes.

About the podcast authors:

Podcast Website:

Google Teacher Tribe Website