Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Geocaching Adventure

The Instructional Coach, at Baum Elementary School, and I set up a geocaching adventure for 6 of the classrooms.  This was the first time any of the teachers had done such a lesson, therefore we did not really tie it to any curriculum besides the obvious social studies with longitude and latitude.  However, we then provided the teachers a document that had lesson ideas on how to tie GPSing into their curriculum.  Most of the ideas were found here:

This adventure was a two part lesson.  Monday we went into all of the classrooms modeling an introduction lesson on what GPS are and what vocabulary terms are associated with geocaching.  We used this flipchart found on Promethean Planet but tweaked it to fit our students needs:

Then today we did the outside portion of the lesson/adventure.  We had 27 caches hidden throughout the school grounds (the largest class had 27 students).  Students were grouped in threes and each student had a little card with three squares in it and each group had a GPS.  We reviewed the basics of what to do and then shared the boundaries with the class and off the students went.  The first class had a little difficulty but we figured that was because of the minor cloud coverage, therefore we had to re-mark some of the waypoints.  The next three groups did very well.  Finally, we took a lunch break, Jewel (the Instructional Coach and I were TIRED!)  Only two more classes to go after lunch.  Once we returned back out the group after lunch had a little bit of difficulty.  We inferred that students must have moved some caches during lunch recess =( We found three caches that had been relocated and one that was missing.  

All in all it was a great day, as all educators we are constantly reflecting and determining how we can better our instruction.  Today, we determined that we should stick with morning geocache lessons, so that we can eliminate some confusion for the groups after lunch.  Had we had time to check all of the caches after lunch that would have been an option as well.  By the end of the day the students, teachers, and coaches were tired and had all learned a great deal.  I would say a good day!  I cannot wait to get all of the exit slips back to see what everyone else thought of the day.

Here is a blog from a sixth grade student about what he thought of the day:  

"Today we had a cache device. Cashes aren't that easy. They can be confusing because you forget to hit the "page" button you can mess it all up and make it hard. Thats what I did and I messed it up. I had to go get help from a teacher. Keegan knew what to do but he didn't hit the "page" button either. Besides that it was really fun. It was more like a puzzle missing a bunch of different and important peices. Also others couldn't find the cashes but most were in plain sight. Thats what we did after lunch." - Caleb

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Blog Break

Hello everyone, as you can tell I took a blog break.  I fell off the grid for a while and I am making a promise to myself to at least make a monthly blog post (hopefully twice a month).  I have a difficult time with blogging because I find it hard to believe that people want to hear what little old me has to say.  

However, this year I have been able to work with a GREAT 6th grade class.  This class has decided to take the dive into the blogging world and they are my motivation.  Every morning a student gets to post a morning message blog and then every afternoon a different student gets to post a wrap up post.  Their excitement and enthusiasm has encouraged me to get back on the blogging bandwagon.

Here is a morning message from one of my friends.  Enjoy! =)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Everyone likes to talk about how teachers get their summers off.  Well lets just say that the students last day of school was over a month and a half ago and yesterday marked my first day of "break."  The reason is because myself and over 100 other educators worked a 6 week summer camp program for our district that engaged almost 1,000 of our students in a fun, engaging, hands on summer program(s) covering Pre-K through 8th grade.  Therefore, my "break" began yesterday.

I say "break" because as any good educator knows you spend your summer's preparing for the next school year.  Today, I am putting my finishing touches on five different professional development sessions that I am providing tomorrow at our districts Summer Splash.

The purpose of our districts Summer Splash is to splash our attendees with a variety of professional development during the summer. In hopes that it isn't so overwhelming during the school year and they can use what they learn during the remainder of their summer planning.

So for those that like to talk about how teachers get their summers off, I just want to say, bah!  All of the dedicated educators I know will be working the majority of their summer.  Okay now I better get back to work, thank goodness for today's technology I can do it from the comfort of my own home! ;) 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

My ISTE Experience

     This week I was fortunate enough to go to San Antonio for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference, with two other Instructional Technology Coaches (ITC's).  We are some ambitious GeekGals and decided that while we were there we would get three credit hours of grad-credit  while we were at it.  When we arrived we did not know what we were getting ourselves into, this was our first ISTE experience.  When we arrived we checked in and began to explore the conference center and mapped out our sessions.  We were VERY overwhelmed, the conference center was HUGE and there were over 18,000 attendees.  

     Needless to say we survived the conference!  I am so thankful for this experience I have learned SO much in the past four days and built a lot of relationships.  The most important thing that I learned was how our students must feel with a new experience and being outside of their comfort zone.  I can now share this experience with my students and teachers.  With hard work, long hours, determination, and support of my GeekGals.  I was able to learn a lot that I am happy to take back to my district and complete my grad-credit all in 4 days.

     For future ISTE goers I recommend to take snacks (you might not get to eat), rest up (you will not sleep), bring Tylenol (you will get a head ache from information over load), bring tennis shoes (your sandals might break from running around the conference center),  and most of all set back and try to enjoy the ride (It will be over before you know it!).

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Change is a very difficult thing for many people.  However, change is inevitable.  Change happens all around us on a regular basis.  Currently, I am going through some major changes in my life; the death of a family member, "my" school is closing, summer is coming, I am graduating with my second masters, and much more.  All of these changes that are taking place has made me reflect on change in general and change with in education.  With change you will always have the good and the bad.

Why is it that changing a teachers instruction to incorporate technology seems so difficult?  The world is changing and students need technology in their everyday lives.  Our students are our future, and there future will have technology in it.  Therefore, we must learn to embrace change, especially with respect to technology.

In the school that I work at that is closing I have been able to witness a lot of change, as I stated earlier both the good and the bad.  I have been working with one teacher specifically to incorporate more technology into her classroom during the last two weeks of school and her students have blossomed.  Where I am seeing other classes that are struggling to keep it together for the last we weeks these students are starting to grow more than ever.  Isn't it amazing what change both big and small can do?  

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lifelong Learning

Why is learning so important?  Is it more important for educators?  I was once told that we learn something new everyday.  If you think about this it is true.  Once we stop learning we stop growing in our careers and personal lives.

This weekend I did a lot of learning and growing.  In my role as an Instructional Technology Coach, myself and the four other Instructional Technology Coaches for the district, hosted a technology conferences for educators.  This was truly a learning experience for myself as I had never been apart of creating such a large event.  I learned many things as to what we can do better in future events like this.

In addition to the conference this weekend I had an assignment due for my Master's course work.  I value education and always want to learn more.  That is why I choose to continue my education and I am getting my second masters this time in school leadership.

Lastly, I learned this weekend by playing outside with my puppy training her.  She tested my patients and helped me learn what I should and should not do while training her.

I understand that many people are not like myself and do not strive to be lifelong learners.  How do we create this burning fire inside of these people?  This is a question that I often ponder...

Friday, March 29, 2013


At the Google Summit this week I learned about inbox0. I have officially been at inbox0 for 24 hours. =) Let's just say I love the feeling of having no mail in my inbox.

For those of you (like myself) who weren't really sure what inbox0 was. It is not having any mail in your inbox(es). I have three email accounts and all three have inbox0.  

How might you ask? - You can accomplish this by doing the four d's with all of your emails.

Four decisions to make about every email:

- Defer it - Shift-T (add it to your calendar or task list)

- Delete it - e (or archive)

- Delegate it - f

- Do it - r (only if it takes you less than 2 minutes)

*Gmail short cuts.

Why do I want to be at inbox0? - Well if you are like me, you are keeping messages in your inbox for one of four reasons:
1. You haven't opened/read the email.
2. You are keeping it as a to-do list.
3. You want to look at the information in the email later.
4. You don't have time!

If you do the four d's with every email you receive then you will have more time because you will not spend time searching your inbox and you will feel very accomplished. Also, your mailbox will not be dictating to you what you need to do. You will be more efficient and effective in your work.

How to get started?

1. Archive or delete all items older than 3 months. If you haven't done the task and it is 3 months later most likely you aren't going to do it. If you haven't referred back to the email in the past three months you don't need it.

2. Use filters or folders to tag and organize items. This way they aren't clogging up your inbox and you will know where to find them later if you REALLY need to keep them.

3. Do the 4 D’s with what is left over.

How long does it take? - I was able to get all three of my inboxes at inbox0 while watching Duck Dynasty, Swamp People, and NCIS. So, for me it took approximately a TV show, one hour, per mailbox. So tonight, set back relax, watch TV, and become inbox0. =)