Slice of Life Blended Learning

denise blended learning

Today I watched Part 1 of FRed Talks [Find Real Education]  after the amazing presentation by Eric Curts at Classroom Live 2.0 about Google Drawings. Every one of those links helped me prepare a presentation for staff and an hour of professional development that puts the teacher in the drivers seat to choose their own path of learning, pace of learning, and place of learning [which content to learn].  The course, in Google Classroom, differentiates [as suggested by Alice Keeler]  for staff to choose the assignments and learning that fit each one’s needs.

They will create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically about their learning. And they will share out in discussion and Google Spreadsheet, choosing a cell to express their learning [a quick on-the-spot assessment].

The process and product models a way to differentiate for their students using Google Apps for Education and Google Classroom.

We’ll do as Denise Krebs‘s poster from 2011 expresses so well, applying the 4 C’s of the Common Core State Standards: create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically.

Thank you to Part 1 of FRed Talks [Find Real Education] Eric Curts Classroom Live 2.0, and Denise Krebs.



#etmooc Look Back to Move Forward



Make meaning from the bits and act to create change in education. 


  • Key Words: Connect, Contribute, Create, Curate


Look Back:

In January, 2013 an event started:Educational Technology Massive Open Online Course – ETmooc with Alec Couros as lead contributor  (conspirator) and originator.

Twitter brought me to it, and a journey began, a journey whose path still is one that I choose that is connected, personalized, and collaborative, and that is inspired by the people, projects, and conversations in the various neighborhoods to which my path flows.

From #etmooc, as I reflect on that first topic of “Connected Learning,” I still believe:


Move Forward:


Are you an experienced user of educational technology, or a novice just starting your PLN: Personal/Professional Neighborhoods?

Whichever you are, learn from #etmooc:

  1. Choose the connections relevant to you
  2. Interact as you can; keep balance in your life
  3. Dig deeper through reflection on the conversations, connections, and information as you apply their meaning to your life
  4. Share [with colleagues, through blogging, or in your online communities] the meaning, the work, the questions you’ve considered
  5. Curate your reflections and sources so others can view your path

If you step into refreshing online communities to both learn and share, you will also develop friends you may never meet, but whom you will treasure forever.

You can start by visiting some of the platforms on the PLN image above, especially #etmooc and Twitter #etmooc. Find Twitter users that resonate with you through Twitter chats, and then follow, comment, and connect on their blogs. [How to Twitter Chat]

So, what would you add?   What did you learn about Connected Learning from #etmooc?



About ETmooc, created by Alec Couros

Topic One Post #ETmooc Google Plus: Overwhelmed

Going Deeper: Making Meaning Vialogue (@bhwilkoff @thecleversheep )

Rodd Lucier’s socialcam post, “Like Spokes on a Wheel.”

Coalesced Connections (embedded Vialogue)

Clarifying ETmooc

The Fellowship of the Open Spokes

ETmooc Community

About Connected Learning

Personal / Professional Learning Neighborhood (PLN) from @bhwilkoff

2013 Build Your Neighborhood info from @thecleversheep and Silvia Tolisano @langwitches

2014 Reflection

My 2013 Personal Learning Neighborhoods

Twitter chats

How to Twitter Chat


Thank you to all the people I’ve met and continue to connect with from #etmooc and #clmooc.


#edblogaday Encourager

dave_willis_encouragerMay 8th Prompt

What did you learn from Teacher Appreciation Week?

I learned that teachers are encouragers.  I learned that those who understand teaching are encouragers. I learned that those who write about the realities of teaching are encouragers.

Why? Because that’s a key role of a teacher: to encourage.

And despite all the critics of education and of teachers, back in the classroom teachers are still encouragers.  Teachers don’t give up on others, on themselves, or on their students.

And those who encourage others offer hope — hope that may be the opening of a dream, the unlocking of a blocked learning, or the boosting of confidence to make it through the day.

A simple word of encouragement unfolds hope and confidence.

It’s the constant in each moment of teaching.


Image Credit:  Encouragement / Critic See Dave Willis

Encouragement / Hope / Confidence  Sheri Edwards

WC: 142


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#edblogaday Celebrate Teachers


Celebrate Teachers

Remember your best learning experience? Chances are it wasn’t a test, a skill, or a set of facts. Chances are it was the interactions and relationships while completing some assignment. Chances are it was the “doing,” and most often the “doing together.”

Why do we or should we celebrate teachers?  Because they dare to find the best in the students and the best ways to engage them. Because they dare to overcome the outside mandates and create learning experiences that matter most: a classroom community of learning together using the strengths students bring to help each other learn. It’s creating that atmosphere of doing and learning together — and learning how to do that — which helps kids learn what it means to participate, support, and succeed in any endeavor.

Teachers reach each kid, and guide each of them to reach out to others to share what they know. Teachers nurture a sense of community so that each person can become a leader of their communities in the future.

They embody, in small and large moments of learning, what John Dewey explained:

Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn;

and the doing is of such a nature

as to demand thinking;

learning naturally results.dewey_doing

Celebrate teachers:

they are the human element of the classroom that inspires the future.


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#edblogaday This is My Teacher


Day 6 Topic: How will we know when our profession is respected?

Answer 1:

I know our profession is respected when I’m out in the community and a student runs over to me and says to his or her friends or family, “This is my teacher.”

Answer 2:

I will know when our profession is respected when I’m out in a community meeting and someone says, “Let’s ask her; she’s a teacher.”

Answer 3:

I will know when our profession is respected when I’m in a school planning committee on any level, local, state, national, international, and teachers are expected to guide the direction, solution, and policy based on their known expertise.

Answer 4:

I will know when our profession is respected when teachers’ assessments are the most important data points.

Answer 5:

I  will know when our profession is respected when everyone believes, “Teachers reach into the future; let them teach.”

What’s your answer?

Word Count: 150

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#edblogaday test and time

Learning Is Hard Fun note

Day 3 topic: What’s your biggest concern about teaching and what can we do about it?

A student quoted me earlier this year, and posted the note by my phone as she left the room. Learning is hard fun: it’s a challenge that we choose to take and persevere until we succeed. And we have help along the way, from our teacher and our peers. We form a learning community that builds success through choices, teams, collaboration, lessons, and feedback. It feels good to succeed, and to have an authentic project to share with others.

My biggest concern is twofold: time and tests.

The focus on tests leads away from authentic projects and time for real learning, the kind that happens when you’re in the flow of something you are passionate about. Learning is hard fun, but testing has nothing to do with learning, and everything to do with labeling. Throughout all our project work, we set goals, timelines, and sharing; we provide feedback and revise; we revise our plans and adapt to each learner so that learner can succeed in his/her project. Those times — the sharing, peer and teacher review, feedback: those are the tests that matter and that promote learning. It’s a continuous and fluid process that required state and federal tests interrupt. For days. Sometimes Weeks. There’s something wrong about that.

What can we do about it?  Stop test prepping. Speak up. Teach the things that matter and learn with our students about the things that matter today. If students become engaged, inquisitive, and passionate learners that create for those wonders and passions, then they will have the skills needed for their future — to see and solve problems and issues collaboratively with others using clear communication and team skills with peers, the community, and in global connections.

deweysreLet’s do things in our classrooms, and share with each other. Let’s create and build. Because doing is learning, and learning is hard fun.


So much more could be said about tests and time, but I’ve got no more time today. I’ve been working this sunny weekend on projects that other school departments need this week. We’re a small school and every teacher has more to do than is possible to get done in the day; these were my extra duties. There’s no time for it to get done during the school day — I teach all day, and before / after school, I’m assessing, replanning, finding resources and interventions for the next day so students succeed. I don’t think most people understand this. Janelle Wilson and Pernille Ripp have written eloquently about this. Read their blogs and wonder, “How do teachers do it?”



What is the answer? First of all, there’s research that American teachers work far more hours with far less collaboration and planning time than in other countries. Search it out. Speak up.

Secondly, as Pernille says, A choice. Next weekend, I’m not. I’m not taking my weekends; if it needs to be done, somehow the time in the day must be found for it. I know; it won’t happen. A huge graduation project is coming and I won’t let the kids down. Still… where is my time? my family’s time? What have I missed? Think about it and please do thank a teacher. I just realized it’s National Teacher Week next week. Give one a hug.

learning is hard fun sre

In conclusion, time and tests are my biggest concern — they detract from the classroom and families in some way, either taking time away from learning, or taking time away from families.  What can we do? Keep up the good work to make “learning is hard fun,” and

Speak up.

Word Count 610


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