Posted in #edtech, A Look at my Heart, Take Aways

Ignite! the Passion with EdTechTeam

Have you presented at an EdTechTeam Summit? Have you challenged yourself to share your knowledge and expertise? If not, you totally should! This past EdTechTeam Summit in the High Desert was not only local for me, but also my 6th Summit (I believe :))as a presenter and probably my busiest! I challenged myself, which I seem to have a knack for and I went out of my comfort zone. After all #igotgoals!

A little background, this time I applied for three sessions and at that… three totally new sessions! To my amazement, I was accepted to present all three! Seriously, a big deal for me! Then to my surprise, myself and two of my #teamstripes PLN (@TechCoachGraham & @meagan_e_kelly) were asked and honored to represent PearDeck. Eek! This gave me four sessions… I was excited to be part of such a community and especially because I have made strong connections with many who were coming from afar. Seriously, I cannot stress one thing more than to create your “tribe,” your PLN! That sense of what you truly got into education for- to “make a difference”- will be felt through every part of your being. You truly become part of a community for the greater good and have… wait for it… FUN while doing it! The support, encouragement, and excitement is never-ending! (Notice all the exclamations??? I’m truly beyond excited, blessed, and wanting to share the goodness!)

This brings me to the weekend of the Summit. I knew I was going to be busy and I was prepared. Afterall, I had my tribe there too. You receive an email asking to participate in the Demo Slam. I thought about it. Amanda and I have done one and we won!!! So then, where do you go from there? Do it again and potentially lose your winner title- after all you’re up against amazingness- Alice Chen, Sergio Villegas, Brooke Whitlow, and John Stevens… OR go for it!?!? I decided to stick this one out only for the fact that I had three sessions to do that day. Then… the email comes asking for Ignite Sessions. These are like mini-TED talks approximately 5 minutes in length that conclude the Summits. My first thought… DO IT! Afterall, again it would push me beyond what I believe I could do, it definitely would push me out of my comfort zone and #igotgoals!

Something about being in your own hometown is scary. I know it seems like it should be easy with the support of your peers, but there is. Just. Something. I became more anxious about doing a 5 minute session than presenting in a totality of 5 sessions all weekend. I have presented in front of crowds all the time, let alone in my district, why would this be such a big deal? At the same time there was this indescribable excitement and itch to #bebetter and to relay a message that is truly from the heart.

There were four of us that day “Igniting” the passion into the crowd of educators. Of course, I was first- AHHHH! Hold it together Kelly- you got this! My session was meme-filled with a message to promote YOU to look at yourself and #bebetter! I spoke from the heart and occasionally heard the laughs and saw the smiles. I think I was shaking more afterward for the fact that I was on cloud 9!!! I mean I want to get to Keynote status, but this was somewhere to start! I took that leap and can only get better! The best part about it… the reaction! Coming from those I put on a pedestal, like Alice and Sergio, as keynoters themselves and just amazing beings. Not only did they commend me, but in fact reassured my feelings of excitement AND gave me feedback. Why am I excited about feedback? Well, my Ignite was in fact about being better. If you want to get better that’s part of the process and to be able to build upon that makes you that much BETTER! I also was reeling from the fact that if I was able to encourage just ONE person in that audience to let go of negativity, let go of attitudes, and focus on themselves- to push themselves to in fact #bebetter. Not only will they feel more accomplished and it will reflect in all aspects of their life, but I have done my job… this time! Hehe

I plan to continue to “Ignite” the passion and goals that I have. I encourage YOU to find your passion, ignite the fire, and #bebetter!

Posted in #edtech, Sharing is Caring, Take Aways

Smashboard “ing” through PD

I attended an EdTechTeam Summit and met Mr. Dee Lanier. This man was enthusiastic and inspiring in creating a learning environment for his students, that in turn it challenged and sparked an interest in me!


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See Dee Lanier’s Website HERE


What  is Smashboards? Check out this Blog from EdTechTeam featuring Dee Lanier and his Google Innovation! Smashboards are:

  • An interactive graphical board that can be teacher led or self-guided by students
  • A game board design which encourages progression towards an end goal
  • Full of attention-getting icons and graphics where all icons on the board are clickable
So I know what you’re asking, is a Smashboard just a glorified HyperDoc? Well, yes, a Smashboard is every bit a HyperDoc with some additional twists! Smashboards are HyperDocs that utilize a game board design and involves appsmashing to encourage critical thinking and creativity as part of the product development process. Additionally, I only assign work that involves #thinkopen applications, namely, apps that are cost-effective and cross-platform so any teacher can replicate them without hinderance.

It is a step away from the typical and into amazing! So much so, it inspired me…

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Smashboards… What if you were to create Smashboards for teachers??? How fun! How creative! Most of all… How different! OUT of the tried and true of sitting through some sort of in-person PD, and IN with a hands-on, interactive, online approach to a designated topic. This inspiration led me to the creation of a Twitter themed PD Smashboard.

It is two-fold actually…

  1. At HUSD, I am happy to be part of a “Twitter Team” (we even have the shirts to prove it- thank you Melissa King) we have been trying to create a chat through Twitter and would love more participation from anywhere, but especially our district. Maybe it’s that people don’t know what to do or they don’t understand SO PD Smashboard- Twitter.
  2. I am passionate! I WANT to support a great innovation! I WANT to provide teachers with worthwhile, collaborative, and up-to-date professional development. I WANT to continuously improve and make myself better! SO create a PD Smashboard!

With that… the creation of the Twitter PD Smashboard was a reality! Teachers will walk through a game board with tasks, information to learn and apply, and participate in professional development that really doesn’t seem to be just that. (I believe). So… try it out! Share it yourself!

Here’s some feedback so far from teachers:

“I really like it 🙂 I will include in my tech news! Thanks “- Melissa King, HUSD 4th grade teacher

“That is so cute! What a great idea! You’re so creative! I love it!”- HUSD Julie Bird, Instructional Coach

“I’m excited to share with other teachers the fun in a game format. Everyone loves a game or challenge!”- Amanda Graham, HUSD Instructional Technology Coach

“This twitter map is a great thing. It’s a step by step interactive way to get people engaged and actually creating a twitter. It walks them through the process for hands on learning without a live person. Love it! I would like to try this format with some PD I do next year.”- Debbie Quevedo, HUSD Instructional Coach

Don’t believe me… Try it out yourself! Please comment or tweet it out (please give shout outs to @deelanier)!

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PD Smashboard: Twitter
Posted in #edtech, Fun on the Job, Take Aways

Breakout EDU Out and About

I have come to LOVE doing Breakout EDU with classes. As an instructional coach, I have been honored to be able to conduct a Breakout EDU with classes ranging from Kindergarten to middle school grades to even adults through the EdTechTeam Summits. (Check out one of these summits. Period. So much fun and mind-blowing- Check for one near you TODAY!)  From one a box format to a group/station format. I have both used what is available graciously free through Breakout EDU and created my own. (One day I will actually sit down and submit to share the wealth of my created ones. I ❤ Holiday, yet content themed ones! Soooo fun!)

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I thoroughly enjoy seeing teachers realize the power of collaboration among their students and just what their students are capable of.

From an instructional coach perspective “modeling” how a Breakout EDU is done with students, these are my take aways:

  • Teachers can be uncomfortable- they do not know what to expect. They do not know the “answers.” The unknown can be unsettling. Coaching take: Explain the process and give the teacher questions through the process. Do you see how they are or are not working together? What could you do as a facilitator NOT an instructor? Does anything stick out to you that is particularly surprising? Maybe a student who normally is in the shadows has become a leader… What are YOU learning?
  • Students are AHHHMAZING!
    • From wanting a “clue” when in fact, they are working on a big piece of the clue to begin with. Persuading others to take a clue either so quick in the beginning of time OR that “one” student holding out to not take a clue (not for malicious or pain in the rear reasons either!). Because remember… they all must collectively agree to receive a clue.
    • From working in a large collective group to small group to even almost individual. To watch that unfold in spectacular. This is where we can talk about the hoarding or clues or keeping it to themselves… great for the debrief afterwards! hehe
    • From their EXCITEMENT! Seriously, they long for the unknown, the puzzle, the mystery, the “prize.” What is better than those faces?!?!?! Now the prize is an entire different story… Do they in fact need a prize or treat or is just solving the clues and opening the box(es) enough? This… I am sure can take on a whole new level and different blog post.
    • From the debrief… What worked? What didn’t work? What can you or all of you do better next time? How did you collaborate together? Did you use clues- why or why not? I love when they say… “yeah, but you’ve done this before with other classes, were we the quickest?” Almost always, approximately 99% of the time… the complete revelation that working TOGETHER for the same purpose will always be better than working alone. Looooove it!
  • EVERY, I mean every, class is different. It doesn’t matter the grade. It doesn’t matter the teacher, class period, nothing. every single one is different. Hmmm… what does that mean? Again, could be a completely new post, but simply and stereotypically, we are all different and uniquely and wonderfully made! Now let’s put that in the perspective of working together!

Two of the best things, besides working with teachers and students, going back to do more whether in the same class or different ones and the other is creating Breakouts! As school approaches an end, here is a breakout designed based on the book Last Day BluesScreen Shot 2017-04-19 at 1.31.08 PM

I created it with second graders in mind:

Premise: As in the story, we are preparing for the last day of school. Mrs. Hartwell’s class has left a gift for you and your teacher to celebrate school coming to an end. The thing is, it is contained in this box. The box is guarded just for your class, but you have to find a way to get to it. There are clues left around the room and you only have 45 minutes until it goes bad.

Please enjoy and comment below!


Above all, have fun! Enjoy the process!

Posted in Take Aways

CABE 2017 Take-Aways

Anaheim- Home to Disneyland of course, which believe me I got my fill of during the nights. 🙂 BUT the main reason for my visit this time was to attend CABE 2017- California Association for Bilingual Education!

First impressions come the very first day…busy! And already… knowing that more were to come by night fall. Let’s just say the number I heard was 6,000+attendees. BUT the enthusiasm was rampant! This group of educators, professionals, and PARENTS (yes PARENTS!!! Soooo excited there was an amazing show of parents- this is what probably excites me the most), all there for the sole purpose of bettering education for bilingual education and English Language Learners. What a powerful statement! What an amazing feeling to be around!

I will say the technology is getting there- I did see EdTech Team’s involvement in the “book” I received for sessions and information- so YESSSS! I would have loved to recognize more advertisement of resources being available through the website, but all too late I got that memo. I don’t consider myself that out of the loop, but the presenter I went to towards the end of the second day made a point to say her resources were there and VOILA! there it was! Shame on me for not looking in the first place!

Anytime I walk away with tools, strategies, and/or activities it is a win in my book! The following are my key take aways:

Look to for a limited time to download templates for free using the code WRITE17 in the shopping cart! Great resources for writing templates and thinking tools.

-Don’t give students the format of writing (argumentative, narrative, informative, etc.) make THEM think about it. Think: “If we are the experts now that we have learned ______, what will the reader need/want to know?”

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– Know the difference between both integrated and designated! What are you doing in your own classroom to attain this?

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-LASTLy, and most important that was reiterated on several occasions… and hmmmm…. wonder why??? START WITH THE END IN MIND!!

My personal reflection: Have a goal! No matter where you are, what you teach, where you are going… What do YOU want??? Now make it happen! In the world you may just be one person, but that one person can truly make a difference with others and then it will be paid forward. One small step…