Bright Ideas #7: Mini-Game: Keep. Trade. Auction

He shared with me the power-ups he uses with his classroom. Power-ups that were not tangible items or special activities.

“Gosh” I thought, “I just don’t think that would work for my students. For my students, their needs and my goals for our gamification system earning tangible items and special activities was what they needed to motivate and encourage them to take big risks and Continue reading “Bright Ideas #7: Mini-Game: Keep. Trade. Auction”

Join Us For Kids Summer Slam

Earlier this week I shared with you about the Teacher Talk Live session I was part of about preventing the Summer Slide.  An idea that came out of this wonderful time was my daughters and I hosting a Kids Summer Slam a time this summer when kids could come together and share all the super great things they have done and/or learned this summer. After this ah ha moment during the  session I ran the idea past my daughters (probably should have asked them first if they were in), but when I did ask them they yelled, “Do what mommy? With kids? From anywhere? YES! Mommy!  We want to!.”  Once I knew they were in we sat down, picked a date and time and I started to bring it all together.  With final approval and total excitement from my 8 and 9 year old girls we decided Friday August 7th at 2pm CST we would be when we would be hosting a Kids Summer Slam.

Be Part of the Kids Summer Slam

If your child(ren) (and you) are interested in being part of this Summer awesomeness share out or even if you are just interested in getting more information on the Kids Summer Slam click here and fill out this super short form. After you complete the form and we get closer to the date, my daughters and I will be sending you more information about the event.

Don’t miss this super fun chance for your kid(s)  to connect and share their awesome with other kids! We hope we will see you there…and HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!!!!

Infusing Fun and Learning Into Summer

Last week I was asked to join Teacher Tech Live hosted by Oscar Staton.   “This is a friendly forum education professionals to discuss public school resources, every day hacks, advice and collaboration.”  They want their “viewers to walk away with something useful they can take back to their classrooms and make their lives easier.”  

The Night’s Topic: The Summer Slide

Summer slide is a term used to describe the loss of student’s skills during their Summer break. Three months off surly means extra time for good parents to drill and practice and infuse their children with extra instruction and skills that will not only prevent skill loss but also push their child ahead for the next school year.

I say don’t! Continue reading “Infusing Fun and Learning Into Summer”

SIT Conference 2015

My friend told me about it,  conference for students by students.”You totally should come. Tricia is finally old enough to attend. Tech and kids…it’s a fantastic day,” she said.
Trusting her and her knowledge of great things and things my daughter would love (bonus: our girls would be able to hang out together and well the promise of technology…no brainer).  I signed my daughter up to attend the Buffalo Grove SIT Conference 2015.  Then I decided why should she have all the fun and I signed up to be a volunteered at the conference!

Bright and early on last Saturday morning my daughter and I drove to Buffalo Grove. There we would join hundreds of other 3rd-12th graders for a technology conference for students by students. To top that there would also be four other SIT Conferences going on the exact same day and time as ours throughout the state of Illinois!!!

At check in I was amazed at every detail that had been noticed. Every procedure and process had been put in place and thought of  to make sure this conference for students by students was safe for kids.  It would allow this all the students to be as independent as they wanted to be and have a real conference experience.

As quickly as the keynote started she was off with her friend to the sessions they had selected.  The conference had started and to say it was a beyond awesome experience would be an understatement…

SIT Conference #SketchnotingLife

At lunch Tricia barely got a bite of food in as she talked non-stop about all that she was experiencing and learning she had done.

I honestly had never heard her talk so much in her life.

SIT Conference 2015

As we drove home from this fantastic event,  I looked in the review mirror to see Tricia’s head leaning on the window… she was sound asleep.  I smiled.  I knew in that instant that we will forever support and be a part of this incredible day!!!

The Bulletin Board

I walked into my classroom.

The room seemed bigger than I remembered it.

I sat at my desk and started writing my to do list. It was filled with paperwork that needed to be organized, things that needed to be cleaned, materials that needed to be made. So like all highly efficient people I decided to start on the least important and the most fun item on the list…the creating and decorating!

I looked around the room skimming the walls and pausing to look at the bulletin board.  What was I going to fill that space with this year?

Would it be filled with the tech ninjas again?

Maybe a visual of gamifying my classroom behavior modification system?

or maybe…

I looked at the space some more. Nothing. No idea. No sparkle of inspiration. No use of idea….Nothing. Instead my bulletin board shouted, “Decorate me! Make me pretty. Make me inspirational.  Make it colorful… do something at shouted!!!”

I had nothing…

The first day of school arrived and the bulletin board hung, black space.

I spent the early days of the week, welcoming this year students to my classroom.  My students and I shared our first days of nervousness, new expectations, new routines and excitement.  The bulletin board took every opportunity during my plan time, during each time I had a chance to think, during each spare moment to whisper what about this idea or maybe it could be that.

Nope… Continue reading “The Bulletin Board”

Presenting.Connecting.Learning…ICE 2014


Last Wednesday I had to opportunity to present at a half day session at the Illinois Computing Educators Conference (#ICE14) in St. Charles, Illinois.  Myself and two of my talented and amazing educator Jen Smith and Jenna Hacker presented a session on How to Speak the Twitter.

How To Speak The Twitter #ICE14 Session

 It was a session we had presented before.  The difference this time…we were at ICE and it was a two and a half hour session.  Presenting with them at this session was so much more then I had expected it to be.  I knew this year I wanted to hone my voice and style as a presenter.  Little did I know that this session would help me redefine and strengthen the voice I share with others, help me discover a new passion I have for being a teacher and teach me what I want to bring and give people who come to my sessions. Continue reading “Presenting.Connecting.Learning…ICE 2014”

EdReach Guest: EdCeptional Channel

I am giddy with excitement and filled to my finger tips with energy.  I just had the best time talking technology, special education and learning with two fantastically passionate, enthusiastic and advocates of special education and the tools, skills and strategies that make us and our students exceptional.

Tonight I was lucky enough to join Patrick Black and Tricia Lazzaro of the Edreach EdCeptional Channel.  I got to hang out with them for a half hour 45 mins (minus having to put my girls to bed…mom stuff never ends) talking ideas, technology, and learning.  This time with them invigorated me and refreshed the passion I feel everyday for my job and the learning I get to facilitate.

Here is the segment we taped for Edreach’s EdCeptional #51… Continue reading “EdReach Guest: EdCeptional Channel”