A Lesson Worth Remembering {#EdSlowChat – June 14}

This week’s #EDSlowChat question of the week is:  “What is a personal profound/meaningful learning experience from this last school year? I would have to say that I have learned that a little “positiveness” goes a long way!  I guess I wouldn’t say that it’s newly acquired knowledge; but through gamification, Class Dojo, and Social Media, I was able to put a shine on my students’ hard work that made a huge transformation in my classroom.  

This year I decided to gamify my classroom.  Using Class Dojo (@classdojo) and materials created by Chris Aviles (@TechedUpTeacher), I found an awesome combination!  Creating a leaderboard and allowing students to check it regularly created quite the competitiveness in my classroom.  I used combination of grades and dojo points to make up the leaderboard, so it forced students to work hard in both academics and behavior expectations.

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Classroom Leaderboard

I also used Class Dojo Messenger to send immediate pics to parents showing their child at work.  What I’ve always known is that if a parent believes that you care for their child and that you are a fair minded person – when it’s time to make a tough call; they’re much more receptive. I got so excited when a parent responded it immediately – mostly with a positive message for their child.  When I showed the kid the note….they would GRIIIIIN…..so hard! *I hope you could hear my southern dialect in that word. 🙂IMG_4129

Facebook and Instagram became a place to highlight great student work.  This year, I created the A Club.  Students who made an A on an assessment got to be in a group photo that I shared on Facebook and Instagram.  Once students saw themselves (or their peers!) on those social media site, it made them work that much harder to ensure they were in the next picture.


I also implemented an 85% AR Club.  Students who passed a minimum of 1 fiction and 1 nonfiction tests per month with an 85% average or better were treated to something every month.  My principal paid for subs, pizza, and ice cream for those students.  I didn’t initiate this incentive until February – and every month the number of awardees DOUBLED!

It’s funny how you can know something to be right….but just somehow not do it.  And although I’m transiting to a new position and will no longer be in the classroom, these are still things that I can do with the teachers that I’ll be working with.  Make it fun….make it competitive….make it positive!  

Until the next time,


Changing MY Mindset!


Today is Day 2 of the South Carolina Midlands Summit.  I had an amazing time presenting on yesterday – I always do.  But as I left yesterday, I thought….I might not come back.  Not because the conferences isn’t awesome….it TOTALLY IS.  But because I realized this morning that I had the wrong mindset.

Credit:  SC Midlands Summit http://goo.gl/RdWcwE

Credit: SC Midlands Summit

Before I talk about me, I definitely want to rave about this conference that is hosted yearly by the Richland 2 school district.  With over 135 presenters/sessions….almost anything in the tech world that you want to know about; will be shared here.  From Blendspace to Formative Assessments to using Boards through Discovery Education to using Google Maps to create an educational interactive Amazing Race…this conference is AMAZING!  It is well designed and since Richland 2 is a GAFE district it can answer questions to all things Google!

Here’s what was wrong with MY THINKING: Yesterday I approached the conference as a teacher concerned about myself.  I looked at sessions and dismissed them because I didn’t see how they would be beneficial to me as a teacher.  And then I realized……I’M NOT A TEACHER ANYMORE!  I’m going to be working with ALL teachers (not just ELA teachers or middle school teachers) and even administrators.  I’m going to need to increase my skill set so that I can better serve the teachers and administrators in our district.

So this morning, I got up and got ready to make that drive back to Columbia today.  I woke up with a different mindset – the mindset that I will need to have in order to transform thinking and learning in my district.

This new job….my dream job….is going to be a huge undertaking.  But I’m up for the challenge!

Until the next time,


South Carolina Midlands Summit 2015

Today I’m presenting at the South Carolina Midlands Summit and I’m so excited!  I always learn so much at this conference, so I hope that I’m able to return the favor to my teacher peers.

In celebration of this awesome conference, I’m hosting a giveaway for my presentation attendees! Four attendees will receive a Amazon Gift Card.

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Continuing to Grow…


Tonight’s #flipclass #flashblog focuses on reflecting on successes and failures for the year.  What will you change for next year? What worked this year, & what didn’t? How can you turn failure into learning?

With this being my first FULL year of #flipclass I’ve definitely experienced many successes and failures.  I feel a lot more confident with how I’ve decided to flip my class and really how to begin!  When I started flipping at the end of last year, it went so well!  By the time I got to that point, my students knew how crazy I was and I could trust them to work well in groups without my supervision.  It’s amazing how much sixth graders grow and mature in just a short few months.

When I started this school year, I wanted to start the way I ended last year and my kiddos just weren’t ready.  They were still learning me and I them – so I didn’t have a good handle on who would work well together.  I floundered…..my SS partner (who was also flipping) talked a lot about how to adjust to something that worked for our kids.  I was SO frustrated those first few weeks!  But I learned…..I modified…and I adjusted.

My biggest change for this year will be to start the way I adjusted to…..lol!  Also, I plan to put more thought into what projects the students will do throughout the year.  I’m really proud of the way that I decided to flip writing.  Writing is now ongoing instead of 3 weeks a quarter.  We have a reading and writing focus every week and video days are mostly on Mondays and Wednesdays. Writing Lessons include:  Perfect Planning, Developing Well Structured Paragraphs, Enhancing Content, and Putting on the Polish.  We just use a different prompt and type every month.  So every month, students have a finished writing piece.

I also want to incorporate more novels in my classroom. The students enjoyed the 4th quarter the most, because they loved our novel studies.  We read The Giver and they did a FABULOUS job!  They were so involved in the novel – they shared their love for it with everyone.


In failure, it forces me to be creative and think outside the box.  For struggling readers, English can be torture.  I want students to enjoy coming to my classroom even though it will be tough!  I’ll continue to revamp and adjust, because there’s always room to grow.  My kids deserve it!

Until the next time,