The Balancing Act

Acrobatics Travis via Compfight

If you’ve followed my social media world, you know that I district has just realized it’s 1:1 dream. *Cue the “Oh Happy Day” music*  And as I sang earlier (in my Daveed Diggs voice), “Now the work at home begins…”

With this huge initiative, our team feels a strong sense of urgency.  South Carolina has decided to move to online testing and it is imperative that children have numerous experiences with the technology that they will be interacting with throughout the year. We stand by our belief that the 4C’s is what will assist us in doing that.  And we are constantly afraid that there just aren’t enough hours in the day right now with the limited human resources that we have to provide the support that is needed.  I think I can accurately say that we all are a little panicky.

Although we’ve become 100% 1:1 this year, it’s been a four year process (we did a 1:1 classroom pilot, then we were 3:1, 2:1 and now 1:1), so we have a huge variety of comfortability with successful technology integration and getting to where we need to be will definitely be a balancing act.

South Carolina also has a technology proficiency requirement for all certified staff.  They have allowed districts to determine what that should look like which I appreciate, but it’s also difficult to know the right balance of giving teachers the push they really need while not overwhelming them and providing them the support they need.

We’ve decided to require 6 hours of professional development that focuses on technology integration with students with them submitting a “portfolio” which is really just a spotlight of their favorite lesson with students.  Easy Peasy, right? Wrong!  Our teachers are already overwhelmed with other mandates, I’m afraid that this took them right over the edge.  And if you’re a teacher in my district, “I’m sorry.”  Again, we juggle getting them the information in a timely fashion – but without the answer of the questions there, it has the potential to cause panic.  And panicked they did.

So to prepare for my upcoming visits, I created two sites (hindsight, I should’ve just done one) for my 3-5 and 6-8 teachers that provided teachers with lessons and examples.  And then came the fun part!  I got a chance to be the teacher while my teachers were my students executing the activities that I created.

Check them out here!

3-5 Portfolio                                          6-8 Portfolio

I had an amazing time “teaching” again.  My students were scientists….famous people from the Renaissance, bloggers, and researchers. And for the most part, the feedback was extremely positive, my middle school math lesson definitely needs work, and the reflection that we ask teachers to do during the activity helped me to reflect on my practices with them.

What I learned (or I say – what was reinforced), was that when there is a fear of the technology, the learner is more likely to feel overwhelmed with a new task.  For the most part, teacher’s were quickly calmed once we went through the lesson and I demonstrated how simple it was to gather the required artifacts.  Those who were overwhelmed with how the tech works will definitely need additional support.

The best part….they got it!  When asked for feedback, here’s the quote that made me smile:

I liked the lesson. Even though the piece on Chatterkid really wasn’t the point or focus of the lesson, that was the positive take away. I see that as a new tool I will use class.

I’ve made arrangements with one principal (and plan to share the plan with all my schools) to offer continued support and I have a few more schools to visit, so I’ll keep you updated.

Until the next time,



#dcsdtransforms episode 77: Equatio, an Italian Opera Performed by Rhett

Check out this week’s episode where Rhett share’s his gift of song with you, our Loyal Listeners! And while you are at it, check out the rest of the episode where we highlight Equatio – math teachers, you will not want to miss this! Our shout out goes to Chrisa M Murray from Southside Early Childhood Center and Carolina Elementary. Thanks for joining us as we finally get back underway to some normalcy – close to 10 minutes, but not quite!

Clipspiration: Quick Clips to Inspire Creativity in the Classroom

As a part of my Apple Distinguished Educator experience, I was fortuitous enough to join the Clipspiration team.  This team focuses on the Clips app (created by Apple) and offers quick and easy ways various tools can be incorporated in the classroom.  Clips is a free app that lets you make fun videos to share with others.  I really like it because it has the Live Titles feature, which lets you create captions and title – just by talking.  As you talk, text automatically appears perfectly synced with your voice (like close captioning).

My most recent Clips contribution focused on one of my most favorite activities “Visual Vocabulary”.  In 2013, The New York Times launched its now annual Visual Vocabulary Student Contest.  That year, I had my students create these vocabulary videos based on our word banks.

This Clipsiration example highlights the why and how PLUS my favorite clip ever!

What are other vocabulary activities you complete with students to assist with mastery?

Until the next time,

Participating in the “Better Blogging” Course Through Edublogs

I started my class blog in 2010 and have been personally blogging since 2012, so I’m not new to blogging, but I still struggle.  When sharing my bio with others, I always laugh at the last line – “You can read her sporadic thoughts at Teach.Tech.Love (”  Key word in the cheeky sentence – sporadic.  And truthfully the reason the blog is sporadic has been for a variety of reasons.

  1.  Time.  Isn’t that a struggle for most of us?  I’m a wife, mother, daughter, educator, community service organization leader and time does not come freely.  In the past, I’ve thought of all the ways I could be a consistent blogger, but when times get tight – this is the first to go.
  2. Purpose.  When I first started this blog I was still in the classroom and I blogged about work that my students were doing, ideas I had (or wanted) to try, my successes and failures as an educator.  As I transitioned to an instructional technology coordinator, I struggled with exactly what and how to share.  This role was so different – I have not problem sharing my deficits, but in this case the deficits wouldn’t just reflect on me but on my school district.
  3. A Whole New World.  As I began to work more in this EdTech world, my eyes were opened to the gross disparities that were happening to students and adults with regards to equity.  I struggled with sharing those experience in a space where I also wanted to share tips, tricks, and resources.

To be perfectly honest, I still haven’t fully conquered these obstacles, but when I saw the email for Edublog’s 10 Week “Better Blogging” Course – I decided to jump right on it!  In addition, I thought it’d be great for my teachers to encourage them to begin blogging with their students.  I found so much success in creating digital spaces for my students!  They become better writers and it made them extremely proud to receive comments on their posts from friends, family, other students, and even our administration.

Goal Setting

In the first task for this course, we were encouraged to set goals for January, the 10 week course, and throughout 2018.

January Goals – To begin to become more consistent with blogging.  I’m hoping to release one post a week sharing my progress through this course.

Coure Goals – Complete it….ha ha!  But also be a resource and support system for others while growing my PLN.

2018 Goals – Put myself on track to have a clear vision of my sharing of the work I do my personal thoughts on technology and education.  Should I use this space only for content and maybe use Medium as my a space for my personal thoughts?  Sometimes those things overlap so how do I choose?

I’m extremely excited about this opportunity and am looking forward to growing as a blogger – one who shares more frequently.  I’d love to hear your feedback as well!

Until the next time,


Stripping Down Layers— My #OVAcademy Story

This post was originally posted the EdTechTeam blog on December 19, 2017 located here.

I’ve been blessed to have had so many amazing opportunities in my life. Right place — right time…..a higher power looking out for me…..whatever it is, I am eternally grateful. Participating in the Our Voice Academy was another example of a truly amazing opportunity and experience.

When I received the email, I was extremely honored but had no idea what the experience would entail. Immediately I thought, this will be a great way to extend my tribe and meet people to add to my PLN and if something else comes of it — so be it. I now look back at my 41 year old self (the email came 11 days before my birthday 😉) and laugh. I obviously had no idea what I was about to face.

I’ve always been placed in situations where I am called to serve in a leadership capacity. I see myself as a servant leader; always willing to assist, support, and develop. My life’s mission is to help someone become a little bit better than they are — because in turn I become a little bit better, too.

While interviewing for my current job, I was asked “How will you tell our story” — and that question became the driving force behind what I’ve done for the past three years. To tell my school district’s story and work to improve upon the teaching and learning here; so that our story becomes even more powerful than we imagined. And so, for the past three years, I’ve talked about the amazing things that we’ve done to enhance teaching and learning in my district. And in the upcoming weeks before OVAcademy, that’s exactly the story I had planned to tell. But you know what the say about making plans……

In those upcoming days before the academy, I struggled with the organization of my story that focused on student creators and how technology serves as an equalizer. Looking back now, I realize that the reason this story (a story that I’ve told and shared numerous times in numerous ways) was such a struggle was because it was not the story I needed to tell.

The activities that we participated in at the academy challenged me to go back to the foundation of me — my overwhelming belief that relationships are the foundation to everything. “The Power of Relationships” is definitely my fundamental belief….but it’s not as easy a story to tell as “transforming teaching and learning”. Telling the stories of relationships can force you to run the gamut of emotions — laughter, anger, fear, joy, and despair. And I am not comfortable sharing my vulnerability with others. I’m the strong one; the one whose head YOU can put YOUR shoulder on; the one who listens and advises. I’m a fixer — a problem solver and I don’t like not feeling confident about my choices or my actions.

So so so many times I wanted to go back to what was safe; but I did what I tell everyone else to do — work through the uncomfortableness. I told one of my most devastating stories about a former student whom I adore who was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got a wrong deal. The story that 17 years later still makes me cry. I was SO uncomfortable with this story; what I decided to tell; how I decided to tell it; yet, I received nothing but support and encouragement throughout the entire process.  In this space, I could be me – unsure, vulnerable me that only a few people get to see and no one would think differently of me because of it.  It was unbelievably freeing.

My Practice Keynote Experience!


This experience was one of the most life impacting experiences in my life. Hands down one of the best professional development experiences I’ve ever been a part of. Let me tell you something — the men and women who took us through this process know their *you know what*! I am so thankful for Jennie Magiera acknowledging this need and taking the risk on her dream — this project; and the willingness of Ken Shelton, Monica Martinez and my homegirl Sarah Thomas to dedicate so much of their time, knowledge, and effort; because they so clearly understand my struggles – as my struggles are their struggles.

So in a way, I was right…… I extended my tribe and grew my PLN…..all of that, but so much more! In my struggles and uncomfortableness I experienced a success beyond imagination. I am forever changed.

The Crew!