Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Be SMART... Be SAFE... Be SOBER if you are driving.

Here's a toast to the new year... I wish everyone all of the best and none of the rest in 2011! CHEERS!

Don't let the beginning of a new year end in tragedy.
Don't drink and drive.


Monday, December 20, 2010


This Prezi was created by one of my students and it really got me into the holiday spirit, so I just thought I would share it with everyone. May all of you enjoy health, happiness, and the love of family and friends during the holiday season! From all of us to all of you... HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bill Williams' Blog: Edcamp NYC

"I went to a conference yesterday, or rather an unconference."

Teaching English Games - LEARNING IS FUN! (via Shelley Ann Vernon)

"Become Excited About Teaching English!"
Shelley Ann Vernon

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Zombies Are Attacking! Ready the Children! - Ecology of Education

Some Words to Live By - Courtesy of Bob Moawad

 “The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” -Bob Moawad

Twitter as a professional development tool




Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010


"I want to thank anyone who spends part of their day creating. I don’t care if it’s a book, a film, a painting, a dance, a piece of theater, a piece of music. Anybody who spends part of their day sharing their experience with us. I think the world would be unlivable without art." -Steven Soderbergh

Learning Styles Are Not Fashionable

 I think that it’s important for a teacher to pick up on the ways in which particular students respond to different mediums and modify their approach and instruction accordingly. William Cowper once said, “Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavor.” I believe this to be true in the realm of academia as well, because change and differentiation in the classroom is ultimately more interesting and engaging than the static, humdrum routine. As educators, we need to be dynamic. It’s essential that we spice it up. We need to wet the appetite of our students through a variety of tools and resources that incite their senses and inspire their thinking.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Here's Some Truth from Honest Abe

“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

-Abraham Lincoln

Monday, November 15, 2010

Understanding by Design (UbD) is Fashionable!

 As educators, we have expectations of our students, and of ourselves. It's imperative that we remember to qualify those expectations with achievable outcomes. From the conception of an idea, we must know what we want to see in the final stages of a unit of study in order to assess the learning that took place.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity | Video on

"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once they are grown up."
-Pablo Picasso

My question, what happens to creative capacity as children grow to be adults? How does school impact this development and change in creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson's answer... WATCH THE VIDEO!

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity | Video on

TMNJ Call for Participants!

TeachMeet NJ Unconference is happening on March 5th at Rutgers University. This unconference is sure to offer opportunities for you to teach, learn, and grow as an educator. Best of all, it's FREE! Register to come! Follow @jasontbedell on Twitter for updates. TMNJ Call for Participants!
Don't teach a student content that they may or may not use in life. Teach students how to learn, and they will for the rest of their lives.

Friday, October 15, 2010


"We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit."

—E.E. Cummings

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Learning is a Social Experience!

 According to the Social Learning Theory, our perception of the environment in which we live impacts our behavior as an individual. When we see people doing something to the point where it is the popular thing to do, we tend to do it too. It's how we socialize and show each other that we maintain the same value system, which is rooted in sharing ideals and participating in culturally meaningful and/or important activities in order to achieve desired outcomes within respective context. In turn, our collective behaviors impact the environment greatly - for better or worse. Ultimately, these social activities that we engage in promote a mutual interest and actively influence new members of the community to follow suit. Perception is reality. Popularity is king. The environment is home for the community. The social activity that takes place within the community is how we learn. Knowledge is power, and this power is shared by members of the community through social activities. Thus, if the community is the true agent of learning, should we deduct that social networking is the means to enlightenment?

 Since the birth of the world wide web, the “community” has grown significantly. We are now a global community with people from around the world that are just one click away. Global learning is all the rage these days. Social networking sites, such as Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, and of course Facebook, have brought families closer together and reunited long, lost friends. Family and friends certainly represent important members of our community; not to mention the friends to be! So, are social networking sites the “object” that we should use to achieve the desired “outcome”? If so, should we encourage students to learn through the practice of social networking? If not... Why?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tech Learning TL Advisor Blog and Ed Tech Ticker Blogs from TL Blog Staff –

Tech Learning TL Advisor Blog and Ed Tech Ticker Blogs from TL Blog Staff –

Do you have a "hole in the wall" in your classroom? (Sugata Mitra: The child-driven education via TED)

 At the end of a video about teacher vs. educator that a colleague shared with me, there was a Socrates quote that I believe addresses the "hole in the wall" experiment and echoes my favorite education quote by William Butler Yeats. The Socrates quote, "Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel," speaks to the constructivist philosophy that Mitra maintains and promotes.

 As educators, we (hopefully) understand that students rarely learn anything when we just explain something to them or pour information into their "vessel". Yet, even with proper modeling and emphasis on a topic, it does not necessarily translate into learning. A student will not learn information if it is not meaningful and important to them. Stressing the importance of material you are teaching does nothing for them but perhaps create a stressful situation in which they feel obligated, out of respect to you or their success in your class, to learn something that has no relevance to their own livelihood. Pertinence is key. Students must be able to connect the learning to something that is real and of genuine interest, or learning will suffer.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Knowing vs. Doing

“I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” -Albert Einstein

As educators, we are very big on mastery objectives. We explore and examine Bloom's Taxonomy to find the perfect word that will effectively express our learning goals. Whenever we conceive an idea for a learning opportunity, we apply our Bloom's verb and put it into the form of a mastery objective. The mastery objective is essentially an answer to a 2-part question that we ask ourselves: What do we want the students to KNOW and be able to DO? It's always in that order - KNOW and be able to DO. My question is, what is more important - the knowing or the doing?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Web 2.0 in the Classroom - Prezi by Ryan McCallum

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

To be, or not to be... Constructivist?

Are schools ready for constructivism?

 Since technology is at the heart of most of what we do in our everyday lives - television, video games, dvds, computers, cell phones - I believe that we, as educators, should not play ignorant to the dawning of a super-fast, high tech digital world, but instead make the necessary modifications to the learning environments that we teach in. We need to embrace the technology, not deny it. In a constructivist learning environment, the students' ability to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through application and creation using available technology is key - including cell phones! Yes, students walking around the classroom on their cell phones, talking and texting one another. Crazy, right? Maybe... Maybe not.

 What is any meaningful relationship founded on? TRUST. If you give students the opportunity to use their cell phones, but tell them that they are to use it for academic purposes only, then you are showing them that you trust them and that you have confidence that they will use the technology appropriately. Will they abuse that trust? Maybe. That is the risk that you are taking when you embrace the technology that has been made commonplace by the global society. It is apart of who we are in the real-world, so it should be apart of who we are in the learning environment. Real-world application should always be embedded in the mastery objective.

 However, it's not the use of technology that makes constructivism the ideal learning environment, it is the approach to student learning. Many teachers have told me that they can't do what the Integrated Studies Program (ISP) does because they don't have the means and technology available to them to create a constructivist learning environment. I am realizing more and more that the technology is nothing more than a condiment and the real meat is the ways in which we provide students with the opportunity to explore and discover new information that is relevant and pertinent to their interests. Let the student create their own path. It doesn't mean that you won't be there to guide them along the way. As a teacher, there are learning goals and standards that must be met. So, as a tour guide on the path to enlightenment, you can make sure to hit those hot spots along the way. As long as the learning is in the vein of student interest, they won't mind a few friendly detours so that both your objectives as well as their own are met. Where does the path to enlightenment end for the student? I hope to never know, because it certainly doesn't end at graduation. Life-long learning is what constructivism cultivates and aspires. John Dewey once said, "Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is, not a preparation for life; education is life itself." Therefore, I suppose it could be said, learning is a journey, not a destination.

 It is important to create authentic learning opportunities for students that stem from their individual passions and pursuits, which are vastly different and unique. Constructivism is the best and most-befitting model of 21st century education in which this type of learning can occur. The constructivist approach should be embraced by all schools, especially schools like our own. We are in a school district with some of the most reluctant learners imagineable. It's essential that we allow our students to be the primary stakeholder and decisionmaker when it comes to their education. Our importance as educators is not diminished by student empowerment. It just means that we have stronger and more eager and impassioned allies with which to align ourselves. Too often, teachers go to war with students because they refuse to learn what the teacher wants them to learn. I offer, why not fight for the same cause? The combination of your expertise and content knowledge teamed with their passion and genuine interest is an unbeatable force. It's win-win!

 I believe constructivism is the model by which the students of the 21st century will learn most effectively. However, despite the fact that I have the great fortune of facilitating this type of learning as a teacher in the Integrated Studies Program, I understand that it will take time for schools to accept the paradigm as valid and advantageous. The reality of education today is harsh - so many tests, so little time. It seems like the people in charge care more about the test than they do the students. As a result of intimidation from the management, schools are constantly pushing for standardization. Personally, I'd rather push for individualization.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

9/11 Tribute

“Today, we gather to be reassured that God hears the lamenting and bitter weeping of Mother America because so many of her children are no more. Let us now seek that assurance in prayer for the healing of our grief stricken hearts, for the souls and sacred memory of those who have been lost. Let us also pray for divine wisdom as our leaders consider the necessary actions for national security, wisdom of the grace of God that as we act, we not become the evil we deplore.”
-Rev. Nathan Baxter, Dean of Washington National Cathedral, September 11, 2001

What is the best way to commemorate the tragic events that happened on 9/11?

*Please post your ideas in the comments box.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Target Has Educational Costs in the Crosshairs

 TARGET, a favorite department store of many, is doing their part for education and quickly becoming a favorite resource for teachers looking for learning materials. To date, Target has donated $273 million to education as a part of their community outreach program, and they show no signs of stopping their philanthropic efforts anytime soon. Check out the materials and perhaps you'll find something useful and/or something worthy of recommendation to colleagues.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bo Knows P.M.A.

Here's a great way to stay positive...

Check out Persistence Unlimited and unlock the motivation to achieve your hopes, goals, and dreams. Something is only impossible until someone does it. You need to believe that anything is possible before you set out to make it a reality. Stay positive and always do your best. Make sure your head and heart are in the right place and life will reward you.

Attitude is everything.


Reading is Better with Goodreads

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx

 Kids LOVE social networking sites. I don't think this is new information. What many students don't love, and perhaps many students abhor, is reading. Thus, a marriage between social networking and reading seems like an ingenius idea. Unfortunately, I did not think of it. Luckily, someone did. Goodreads is a social networking site that promotes books, authors, and opens the door to making reading cool once again by allowing students to rate/review books, befriend fellow readers, and create their own library of books that they have read. It's a great way to provide the necessary spark that most students require in order to engage in the habit of reading and develop their literacy skills. I think Goodreads is a must for any avid reader, and a useful web tool for any educator. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Integrated Studies Program (ISP) - The Sequel


 So, today was the first day of the second year of the ISP. It's been a wild ride so far. I look forward to new opportunities with new students as well as the maturation, development, and leadership of students who are ISP experienced and ready to take charge at learning goals.


 21st century education is exciting and powerful and full of promise. I am thoroughly convinced that it is the best setting for true learning to take place. Curricula and pacing guides have their place and purpose, thus, I will not attempt to argue that traditional education does not work. It can, and it does, for many of the best and brightest students in the world.


"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."


 However, it is my opinion that true learning comes from wonderment. Wonderment is rooted in genuine interest and passion for what is not known. Wonderment burns like a torch in the darkest night, guiding a pupil on a path of questioning, confusion, and further inquiry, and only upon discovery and acquisition of desired knowledge does the wonderment cease to have pertinence. A torch proves its worth during the pitch blackness of night, but upon the arrival of day, the sun lights up all that it touches and makes the torch unnecessary or irrelevant (for the time being). This is a natural course. Wonderment leads to the achievement of understanding. Yet, just as the sun will surely set and the day will embrace the darkness of night once again, the torch of wonderment shall too repeat and be lit to lead the way to furthered growth and development. Understanding can only be achieved when there is a genuine interest and passion for the content being learned. Everybody is different, and these differences are reflective of our unique interests and passions. Thus, the notion that we, as teachers, can simply prescribe learning goals to masses of students via curricula and still facilitate learning experiences that are as authentic and fueled by natural wonderment is most absurd. The torch only burns if the flame is ignited from within and it will only lead the pupil out of the darkness and into peace of mind if they carry it with conviction.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


It's so important to maintain a positive mental attitude and always strive to be the best person that you can be. I feel sorry for people that thrive on negativity and operate with malice in their heart. Those people will never have access to the awesome power of goodness. Keep an open mind, love with all of your heart, and smile as you better the lives of family, friends, and perfect strangers through random acts of kindness. P.M.A. ALL DAY!

Monday, August 23, 2010


"It is in changing that things find purpose."  - Heraclitus

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Chris Lehmann is an edu-rockstar! His passion and enthusiasm for education is contagious and needs to spread to as many teachers, students, learners, thinkers, and dreamers as humanly possible. The 21st century education model is coming into form because of educators and innovators like Chris Lehmann. SXSW would be an awesome venue for Chris Lehmann to share ideas about the future of education and promote 21st century learning. Do education a great service and vote for him as a presenter. Thanks!


I grabbed Chris Lehmann's presentation description from the SXSW Panel Picker website. Check it out!

Building School 2.0: Creating the Schools We Need

Chris Lehmann, Science Leadership Academy

SXSW explores the ways social media has profoundly changed nearly every facet of society from government to commerce to dating and friendship. Despite incredible societal change, K-12 education has remained largely unchanged. Every day, students leave their smartphones and laptops at the schoolhouse door. As a result, students, parents and teachers feel a powerful disconnect between the time students spend in school and the lives they live outside of it. If school is to remain a vital piece of young people's lives - and our society - it must evolve to help students thrive in our changing world. This is the notion behind School 2.0. But what will these new schools look like? What are the philosophical ideas that form it? How can we marry the best of what we know about teaching and learning with the use of 21st Century tools to create schools that are engaging, caring, and relevant places of learning for everyone involved? The story of the Science Leadership Academy, a progressive, inquiry-driven, project-based 1:1 laptop public high school will frame this presentation. Conceived as a partnership between the School District of Philadelphia and The Franklin Institute, SLA is considered to be one of the pioneers of the School 2.0 movement and has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School in 2009 and 2010 and has been written about in many publications including the Philadelphia Inquirer, Edutopia Magazine and EdWeek.

  1. How must schools innovate to prepare students for a changing world?
  2. What is the role of social media in school?
  3. What are the pressures on schools that keep them from changing?
  4. How can we marry the best of what we know about teaching and learning with the use of 21st Century tools to create schools that are engaging, caring, and relevant places of learning for everyone involved?
  5. What can non-educators do to help change schools?


Friday, August 20, 2010


100 reasons why you should use blogs - 

Courtesy of OnlineDegrees.Org

(via @21stprincipal)

For students:
1. Blogs are fun! Many of your students likely already keep a personal blog. Using a blog in the classroom will help students relate to the lesson.
2. They help students develop and hone their writing skills.
3. They model forms and standards of writing for students. Show them what good writing looks like vs. bad writing. Talk about style, tone, and usage. Blogs are an oasis of free writing samples.
4. Blogs can stand in as online student journals for a variety of classroom modules.
5. Blogs can increase the sense of community and camaraderie amongst classmates.
6. They can be used to help students understand appropriate online sources. Show students how to evaluate blogs for their authority, credibility and usefulness.
7. When used for group work, they can foster collaboration and team-building skills.
8. They can help promote and develop reading skills.
9. They provide another outlet for different styles of learning. Blogs help students who learn through hands-on work and are more verbally oriented.
10. Blogs can be used to encourage discussion anytime — whether in or outside of class.
11. Students can use blogs to develop online portfolios of their work.
12. In large classes, blogs can be used to create smaller groups and to form more cohesive units even while in class.
13. Most students now are digital natives. Blogs engage them by presenting material in a way that is familiar and comfortable.
14. Students have a larger audience when they blog. If the blog is public, they are potentially writing for a global audience. This knowledge may empower them and their work.
15. Blogs allow for self-directed learning. If they are assigned as independent or homework projects, students can work on them when they feel inspired to do so.
16. They allow for multimedia interaction. Students can post pictures, videos, links, and more.
17. Students can hone their editing skills by critiquing the work of others.
18. Parents can view their child’s work and progress as shown on a blog.
19. Blogs can model rules of behavior for online interaction, teaching students online etiquette.
20. Students can take pride in their work since blog creation reflects their independent efforts.
21. Working online fosters a sense of global interaction. Students can be taught to understand the dangers and the benefits of interacting online and producing work online.
22. As an independent project, blogs allow students to showcase their independence and sense of responsibility.
23. Blogs save paper.
24. Blogs provide a virtual announcement board for important messages about homework, assignments, deadlines, and more.
25. Students can communicate with their teachers and other students through a blog. This is especially helpful for shy students who might not otherwise reach out.
26. Teachers can communicate with parents directly and as a group through blogs.
27. They provide an outlet for students who are shy.
28. Blogs give students the chance to express their creativity in academic ways.
29. Students can work on collaborative writing projects through blogs.
30. They prepare students for online social networking.
31. Blogs help students understand how to build an online presence.
32. They help increase student confidence levels by giving them self-directed projects.
33. Work is permanently stored on a blog. Students can review their work — theoretically — for years to come. Blog space can be obtained for free, and so long as the teacher doesn’t remove the content, it will remain there.
34. Students can determine the topic of posts on blogs, making them more inspired and excited to participate.
35. If blogs are used as reading material, students can choose the type and style of blog that appeals to them, making them more excited about reading.
36. Blogs can teach students the proper use of citation — especially of hyperlinks.
37. Blogs can be used to teach students about plagiarism. There are numerous examples of how easy online content makes it to plagiarize.
38. Students can express their own opinions — and, therefore, their identities — through blogs. It gives them more freedom than traditional academic outlets.
39. They offer supplemental reading or exercises for a particular course of study. Students can use them to gain a deeper understanding of a subject.
40. Students can hone their analytical skills through critique of blogs or development of their own.
41. They give students an outlet for ideas or comments that may have occurred to them after an in-class discussion has ended.
42. Blogs will help students widen their vocabulary.
43. Blogs will help students improve their grammar.
44. Students will be able to improve their persuasive writing skills, specifically.
45. Blogs can help students establish themselves as “experts” on a given topic.
46. Blogs give students a space for process-based learning. They don’t have to include the finished project. They can be there for drafts, free writing and more.
47. Students can use blogs as a space to brainstorm ideas and get feedback on their ideas from other classmates.
48. Teachers have a wide variety of reading materials and writing samples instantly available during class.
49. Many authoritative agencies and authors maintain blogs about their subject interest. These offer valuable tools and insights for classroom discussion.
50. Blogs are relevant!
For teachers:
51. Blogs offer a community of experts to offer advise, share tips, and commiserate over experiences.
52. Teachers can build their professional learning network through blogs by connecting with other experts and learning about new tools in their field.
53. Blogs can highlight professional experience and build the reputation of an educator.
54. Blogs can be used as a forum to vet classroom ideas — including lesson plans, activities, and curriculum.
55. Teachers can learn more about Web 2.0 tools and become more comfortable and familiar with them through the practice of writing a blog.
56. Blogs can serve as a sounding board to vent frustrations in the classroom or in the working environment.
57. Education news and trends can be gleaned from reading blogs.
58. Blogs highlight valuable resources that educators can use both in and out of the classroom.
59. Blogs help you meet people you wouldn’t otherwise be able to meet.
60. They increase accountability for the teacher and the school by making the classroom process more transparent.
61. The increased transparency will build trust and rapport with parents and the community.
62. Blogs can teach educators about online etiquette.
63. Blogs prepare educators for other forms of social networking.
64. They make teachers aware of current events and trends that are important to students — especially pop culture.
65. Blogs help educators remain flexible and adaptable. They are a new medium/technology for many, and learning how to maintain one requires learning new skills.
66. They allow educators to initiate discussions that are meaningful and relevant to them.
67. Blogs offer a sense of community among educators — or even among those within a particular institution.
68. Blogs give teachers a forum to share unconventional ideas that may not have had a hearing in more traditional outlets.
69. Educators can use blogs to publish works that may have been rejected by traditional publishers.
70. Private blogs can offer a useful space for reflection and process-based work.
71. Just like students, educators can use blogs to improve their writing skills.
72. Blogs can be used to facilitate classroom discussion.
73. Teachers can post questions or assign a discussion thread through a blog.
74. Blogs can be used to host classroom competitions.
75. Teachers can highlight a “student of the week” or “student of the month” on a blog, giving the student more exposure and the award more prestige.
76. Prizes and other special mentions can be advertised through a blog.
77. A school or college can use a blog as a community roundtable — highlighting events, hosting discussions, and posting useful information.
78. Blogs can offer a space for teachers to post additional comments or questions that may have been overlooked during a lesson — or only considered after class ended.
79. Writing a blog gives educators a way to relate to students.
80. Blogs offer a space for teachers to be more creative with their content.
81. Personal blogs — or professional blogs that include personal information about the teacher — give students a way to get to know the teacher better.
82. Blogs give teachers more autonomy, allowing them more possibilities for their lessons, including podcasts, videos, photos and more.
83. Blogs serve as a professional calling card. Teachers can use them to supplement an application or a push for a promotion.
84. Blogs can help teachers build up a reputation within a subject area that is not their area of specialty. For instance, if an English teacher wants to do more work with history, he or she can write and publish research through a blog to build up credentials in that subject area.
85. Blogging can motivate teachers to do more. If a blog has a following, then the writer will feel compelled to update often with valuable content.
86. If the content is compelling enough — or has enough professional value — blogs can help teachers get noticed and potentially land a book deal.
87. Publishing content to the Web makes you more aware of the quality of your product (be they lesson plans, articles for journals, etc.).
88. Blogs provide a space for educators to share articles or other papers before publication in order to get feedback or even editing help.
89. Blogs can provide a record of what was done in class. Can’t remember how you handled this section last year? Check your blog.
90. Blogs can be used to track attendance if students are required to participate in daily discussions, etc.
91. Blogs foster objectivity if teachers use them to grade student participation. There is a physical record of the breadth and depth of the content that students contribute — rather than trying to remember what they said in class or how often they raised their hands.
92. Blogs give teachers more time. Sometimes, not everything can be fit into the lesson plan, and homework can’t stand in for instruction. Teachers can use blogs to post further instruction, additional supporting materials, and more.
93. Blogs give teachers another way to connect with students. Inspirational notes, words of encouragement, and advice can all be shared with students through a blog.
94. Teachers can model professional behavior online for students through blogs.
95. Teachers can use blogs to teach students about other cultures, and to connect students with their peers in other countries.
96. Teachers can use classroom or professional blogs to supplement their evaluation materials. They are a handy written record of yearly activity.
97. Blogs can be used to make last minute or emergency announcements to students or parents.
98. Blogs offer you the freedom to say what you want — but still not without consequences:)
99. Blogs offer unique opportunities for assessment and evaluation of students.
100. Everyone else is doing it. Really. If you’re not blogging, it almost seems as if you’re behind the times and aren’t tuned it to what’s relevant to students and to other educators.


RSA Animate - 21st Century Enlightenment


Monday, August 16, 2010

THE LECTURE IS DEAD. LONG LIVE THE LECTURE! A Workshop by Patrick Higgins (8/20/10)

 A Workshop by Patrick Higgins (8/20/10)

9:00-9:45am What WE can do
9:50-10:30am Group Breakout
10:40-11:20am Dog and Pony Show
11:20-12:00pm What THEY can do
12:10-12:40pm Presentation Redesign
12:40-1:00pm Sharing and Feedback

DEPENDENCY ON TECHNOLOGY - Are you or your students stuck on the escalator? video
 We need digital rehab. People should use technology, not abuse technology. If used appropriately, the technology available to teachers and students should broaden and enhance learning opportunities. However, developing a dependency on the technology will only result in limited creativity in the classroom and ultimately handicapped learning environments. What happens when the system goes down? Does the learning turn off as well? Our students must crawl before they walk, walk before they run, and know how to walk up stairs before they take the escalator.

 Students will remember your content and the information that you present to them if you deliver the content with a level of passion and enthusiasm for the topic that truly sticks and resonates with them.

THE RIGHT FAMILY LEFT FOR A VACATION <--- This was a fun activity with markers and a cool way of testing listening skills!


Takahashi Method - Takahashi uses basic symbols in huge fonts; black text on white background OR white text on black background to make the big ideas stand out and stick with the audience. Check out some videos to learn more about Takahashi! Videos: 1 2 3
Purpose of the Method: Make the presentation simple for students to disseminate main points and important information.

Seth Godin Method - Godin uses sarcasm, irony, and shock value to stir up thinking in his audience, thus, making the information presented more memorable. Check out Seth's Blog!
Purpose of the Method: Make the presentation interesting so that the main themes and essential information sticks.

Lawrence Lessig - "Think Takahashi, but in English"; succinct, clean, and well-rehearsed. Check out Lawrence Lessig on TEDxNYED!
Purpose of the Method: Make the presentation comical and intriguing to maintain interest and generate understanding.


 Patrick told us all about Google Lit Trips, which I found extremely fascinating and useful. I definitely plan on using this free web program during the course of this school year, and I think you should too! You'll have to become familiar with Google Earth, but if you play with it for a few hours you'll gain a pretty good grasp on how to use it. Google Lit Trips is one of the coolest web programs that I have ever seen and it will make your lessons much more lively and geographically


Explore each rule through illustrations, charts and video. These tutorials are designed to reinforce the concepts in the book; we recommend reading the corresponding chapter first.

Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power.

Rule #2: The human brain evolved, too.

Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently.

Rule #4: We don't pay attention to boring things.

Rule #5: Repeat to remember.

Rule #6: Remember to repeat.

Rule #7: Sleep well, think well.

Rule #8: Stressed brains don't learn the same way.

Rule #9: Stimulate more of the senses.

Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses.

Rule #11: Male and female brains are different.

Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers.











This was an awesome workshop, but don't believe me, check it out for yourself using the links provided:

The lecture is dead
View more presentations from Patrick HIggins.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Is there a better price than FREE when it comes to music?


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Best Tools For Cutting-Out & Saving Portions Of Online Videos (Or Annotating Them) - Courtesy of Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Tools For Cutting-Out &#038; Saving Portions Of Online Videos (Or Annotating Them)

Beyond the Three ‘R’s! The 21st century school is a caring learning community.

I think it is important, if not essential, that all educators read this list prior to entering their classroom at the start of the school year. Then, review it as many times as necessary to remember its creed. The 21st century learning environment does not reflect the design or ideals of traditional education. It's necessary that we understand the new model and how to use it effectively within our own classroom. This is a checklist to keep you focused on what is truly important in 21st century education.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Patrick Higgins Workshop - Thinking Behind the Writing 8/6/2010

 Today, I had the great opportunity of exploring the world of 21st century education with Patrick Higgins (@pjhiggins). His workshop, Thinking Behind the Writing, was very powerful and provided for a great professional development opportunity for all involved. I wish there were more leaders in education like Patrick, possessing great enthusiasm for technology, knowledge of content, and the ability to communicate the essential nature of our goals as teachers. I FEEL INSPIRED! He is a great presenter and I encourage all of you to look into any workshop dates at which he is presenting, subscribe to his blog (Chalkdust101), and follow him on Twitter (@pjhiggins).

HERE I HAVE LISTED MY TWEETS DURING THE WORKSHOP (all of which contain links to valuable tools and resources):

I'm at a Patrick Higgins (@pjhiggins) workshop learning about the Culture of Availability by Renny Gleeson via @tedtalk #camdenwriting1

"I think we're in the midst of a literacy revolution..." -A.Lunsford ---> Clive Thompson on the New Literacy  @pjhiggins #camdenwriting1

@pjhigginsis showing us how Shelly Blake-Plock (@teachpaperless) provides feedback on writing An Example of Jing Used to Comment On Student Work Online #camdenwriting1

Live Writing for Real Audiences via @pjhiggins  #camdenwriting1

Patrick Higgins shared an article with us on Mt Olive and their elimination of the D letter grade. Then, he had us create a Google Doc expressing our views on it. Check out my Google Doc!
I created this survey using Google Forms while we were in session at Patrick Higgins' Thinking Behind the Writing Workshop today. I encourage all of you to take the survey. Your responses are greatly appreciated!

Patrick used TodaysMeet to facillitate and record our conversation at the workshop. You can access the full transcript of what was said by clicking the link provided.

Monday, August 2, 2010

21st Century Performing Arts Summer Theatre Program 2010

 As a teacher, I am not afraid to say that I look forward to the summer. Everyone needs a break, right? Everyone needs to get away. I love to get away, not just away from school, but away from it all. I love to travel. My heart yearns for new lands and new people. I am passionate about freedom and discovery.

 Yet, what I have discovered about myself over the past few years is that I do not look forward to the summer because of any form of vacation or break. I keep busy all summer long. In fact, my work during the summer months, particularly July, rivals that of the 10-month school year.

 I have been blessed by the good graces of Tony DePrince, project coordinator for Camden County Technical Schools, and the 21st Century Program (we're the only high school in the state with this amazing grant) with the opportunity to share my love for the craft of acting and performance with students through Drama Club. Drama Club serves as an extension of the Performing Arts Academy, which is headed by Terry Bles, a spectacular teacher and enthusiast for acting, singing, dancing, and overall performance. Ryan Hewitt is the music teacher in the Performing Arts Academy, whom is extremely gifted and teaches his students with great fervor and passion how to use various instruments, including vocals, and it is predicted that sometime in the near future he might have his own program to head up; perhaps a Music Academy? One can only hope. Both have brought new life to the arts at Camden County Technical School. Of course, the extraordinary efforts of Tony DePrince have made much of this possible. He is truly the backbone of the arts at our school and in our district. Without him, I doubt much of what we do would be possible. One might even venture to say that without him, CCTS would be without the arts. He has meant that much to the growth and development of the arts.

 During the school year, the Performing Arts Academy along with Drama Club engage in various productions. This year we explored World War II, highlighted through 2 very different plays. Our first major production of the 2009-2010 was our fall play, THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK. For the spring musical, we returned to the battlefield with a much different play in our production of CABARET. We like to maintain a thematic approach to our selection of shows. Both productions were sell-outs and people actually submitted complaints about not being able to purchase tickets. Hopefully this will not be a problem in the future, since DePrince has waved his magic wand once again and magically afforded us the construction of our very own black box theatre. Next year's first show is a murder mystery and it will open the black box as the new venue for CCTS theatrical productions.

 We heart the arts! Thus, our productions are not limited to the 10-month school calendar. We have the 21st Century Performing Arts Summer Theatre Program to keep us engulfed in creative endeavors. During the month of July, I was deeply entrenched in the 21st Century Summer Theatre Program with Terry Bles, Ryan Hewitt, and Tony DePrince. For this year's summer production we selected to follow the yellow brick road and try our stage hand with the beloved classic, THE WIZARD OF OZ. The show performances were this past weekend and the kids did an excellent job, so the efforts of all involved were rewarded.

 This musical is perhaps one of the most popular of all time, so we knew that expectations would be high. When we initially decided to set our sights on OZ as the sophomore production of the 21st Century Summer Theatre Program and opt to “follow the yellow brick road” with a group of about 40 CCTS high school students from both Gloucester Township and Pennsauken campuses, we had a good understanding of the task that lie before us. THE WIZARD OF OZ is a big show. We didn’t have to worry about any witches, but there were certainly obstacles that we had to look out for. We might have been missing some parts essential to the production of the show, but luckily we had the nerve, the brains, and the heart to follow through with it. The end result was something just as magical and breathtaking as the Emerald City. We had a blast working with the students this summer. Watching the students grow and develop as performers is always truly awe-inspiring. The students are the ones that make it all worthwhile, and this production was a reflection of their talent and a credit to their hard work and dedication to the performing arts.

 As with any theatrical production, there were many people whom lent a helping hand to support the arts. These good people, consisting of parents, siblings, and loved ones of the cast and crew, made themselves available to do work on set, serve as customer service representatives during performances, and simply aid and assist in such a variety of ways during production. Without their help and support, we would have never made it to OZ.

 I guess, like Dorothy, most teachers want to get away because they believe that the summer grass is greener (and some of it is!), but at the end of August, we remember where our home is and our brain, our heart, and our courage lead us right back to the classroom.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

NT Camp 2010


 NT Camp 2010 was AWESOME! As a whole, I had a blast and learned so much from the wonderful presenters and participants at this truly spectacular unconference. Thank you Andy Marcinek and everyone else responsible for giving us this great professional development opportunity. Being able to converse with the likes of Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby), Steven Anderson (@web20classroom), Kyle Pace (@kylepace), Mary Beth Hertz (@mbteach), Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1), Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal), David Ginsburg (@CoachGinsburg), Shannon Miller (@shannonmiller), David Timony (@DrTimony), and countless others about various education topics proved to be a deeply. This was a wonderful extension of EdCamp Philly, which itself was an extension of BarCamp Philly. I think that with all of these extensions, we are going to reach great heights.

 I participated in a few different workshops and I learned a lot from all of them. One of the workshops was titled SMACKDOWN, presented by Steven Anderson. It was a very interesting concept for a workshop. Every participant was required to get up in front of the room and present a web tool, program, or website, to the workshop attendees. It wasn't as painful as I thought it was going to be and I left with a wealth of new web tools and resources, some of which I had never even heard of; luckily, only a few bruises. In any case, here is the SMACKDOWN hitlist, as compiled by Steven Anderson and the NT Campers.
 #NTCamp Smackdown Tools Shared

1) Read It Later: Saving websites to investigate for later.

2) Edmodo: Private social networks/ online classrooms for students and teachers.

3) Gpanion: all your Google Apps in one place.

4) Twiducate: Another private social network for the classroom

5) Orbs: -Very easy website creator.

6) Skype: -Free video calling ( and

7) Picture This: -Teaching the importance of visual literacy.

8) Story Corp: -Giving real people, real voices.

9) Vocaroo: Free vocal recording online.

10) Prezi: Create visually appealing presentations.

11) YoLink Labs: Harness the power of YoLink with some cool features for your RSS Reader and Blog

12) Audio File Magazine: Listen to audio books read by some really cool people and a social network for teens to talk about reading.

13) Google Reader: A very powerful RSS reader with tons of customizable features.

14) Yammer: Another option for a private social network for teachers, schools and districts. (Invite by similar email address.)

15) Symbaloo: - Great dashboard for all of your apps.

16) Yolink: - multi-step search. yolink looks behind pages, through links. and inside of documents. We take unwieldy results and surface key information so you can focus on getting things done. It supercharges Google Alerts.

17) Scratch: - Drag & drop programming & art for animations & games; great for humanities content cross-over into kid friendly logic/math based programming; huge online community support & accessible to elementary school kids

18) SweetSearch4Me: - selective, custom search engine that elevates high quality results created for emerging learners.

19) Weebly: numerous design templates, access to coding, free

20) Weebly for Education: special management features for educators, free

21) WikiSpaces: education features (ad removal), free

22) Wix: Flash-based sites, free

23) Yola: free and pro versions - Make a great-looking website now with our easy-to-use tools

24) SimplyBox Great visual way to show sites. Ex. Worldcup sites

25) iNudge: No download, "Everyone can create music"

26) Jam Studio: create music with chords

27) The Virtual Piano: be sure to click and drag the music book on the piano

28) Keyboard Drum Kit: no option to save or to create compositions

29) CodeOrgan: "plays" a website. Complete time waster!

30) Online MP3 Cutter:

31) Audiotool: sophisticated music maker

32) Soundation: create music on the web

33) Aviary Music Creator:

34) Aviary Myna: online audio editor

35) Nature Sounds Mix: select and mix up to four sounds, play, download

36) Twiddla-
Multi-user, real time whiteboard and collaboration space

37) Troovi: Super easy way to collect photos from multiple people with just a URL - No sign in required, although if you have an account, you can keep track of your photos if you lose the URL.

38) Livebinder of AASL 25 Top Websites for Teaching and Learning: This livebinder contains a variety of free online tools.

39) Readability Makes reading on the web more enjoyable- cleans up the pages.

40) SQWORL Easy way to share bookmarks with people that featuring a thumbnail of that site, VERY short urls & a toolbar add link button!

I hope some of these, if not all, will be of use to you!

  All of these unconferences have spoiled me. I yearn for more professional development opportunities. I am so excited about going to EdCamp NYC to continue learning and growing as an educator. I already have my tickets. Do you? DON'T MISS EDCAMP NYC!

 I thought it would be interesting to sum up my day at NT Camp 2010 by providing a comprehensive summary of my tweets and retweets throughout the course of the day. Check 'em out and let me know what you think! You should be able to find some quality resources in the people and websites that are referenced in the following tweets:
    1. RT @dannymaas: Edistorm -web-based brainstorming app incl. idea templates & iPhone/iTouch app! #edchat #creativity
    2. RT @eonline: Avengers Cast Flocks to Comic-Con, With New Hulk! #ADM
    3. RT @Library_demon: Transliteracies and Libraries #edu21 #ntcamp
    4. RT @educatoral: RT @Nunavut_Teacher Evolving Schools for a Whole New Mind #edu21
    5. RT @PhillyPhillies: Moyer's career brilliant but not Hall-worthy <---MAYBE NOT FIRST BALLOT, BUT HE WILL...AND IS WORTHY.
    6. RT @dannymaas: 5 Free Tools to Create Mobile Version for your website: #edtech #edchat #ntcamp #edu21
    7. @kylepace It was great to have the opportunity to meet and converse with you in person. I'm glad you made it home safely. Take care! #ntcamp
    8. RT @educatoral: RT @tonnet Educate yourself (& your students) about Media and Government Propaganda #ntcamp
    9. RT @spedteacher: @bf_teach4change Dec 4 at The School - Columbia Univ. #edcampnyc <---GOT MY FREE TIX! HAVE YOU? #ntcamp
    10. @DrTimony It was fun sharing ideas today at NT Camp and great to see you again!
    11. RT @shareski: creativity, forget about it if you want a good grade
    12. RT @tomwhitby: RT @WhoDatGirl63: RT @dalmatiasecond: Build A PLN: A Newbie's Guide #edu21
    13. RT@bhwilkoff: New Learning is Change blog entry: Question 205 of 365: Why don't we clear the board more?
    14. RT @hadleyjf: RT @tonnet Teaching is all about inspiring your students and yourself. - @edudemic Inspiration and learning! #edu21
    15. RT @spedteacher: "The Importance of Problem-Solving Skills" A new blog post #edu21
    16. @web20classroom It was great conversing with you in person!Twitter is great, but the humanistic side yearns for face 2 face.Enjoy the food!
    17. RT @ShellTerrell: Join free 48hr e-conf July 30- Aug. 1! Click on tabs to see Presenter bios,great prizes,& CEU credit
    18. RT@budtheteacher: Try this sometime - tell your friends that,no,they're not getting older.They're just "legacy."
    19. RT @ShellTerrell: Calling all bloggers! – Leadership Day 2010 How will you participate? via @gcouros #edchat #30goals
    20. RT @Ron_Peck: The 100 Best (And Free) Online Learning Tools #edu21
    21. RT @rkiker: RT @kristenswanson: @andycienek Thanks for a great day. You did a great job with #ntcamp!
    22. RT@rkiker:RT@jswiatek: If you missed it. Easy way to follow all those participating in #ntcamp today? List of tweeps-
    23. RT @JusticeProd: I uploaded a YouTube video -- Project Twenty1 of Justice "Sneak peek"
    24. RT @mjgormans: My New Post:1000's Free Digital Media Resources..Multi-discipline..Learn/Create! Enjoy/Share! #edu21
    25. RT @ShellTerrell: @tkubed @suewaters is what got me started with blogging! She's super helpful & her posts fantastic
    26. RT @ShellTerrell: via @terryfreedman Also on the web: 07/24/2010 (p.m.) #edtech #edu21
    27. RT @educatoral: A Classroom Management Strategy For The First Days Of School #ntcamp
    28. RT@njtechteacher:Differentiation Resource Kit- @geraldaungst Under construction but great! #ntcamp
    29. RT @kylepace: @bethstill Sounds like 3Cs of the web grad class I taught: Tools to Create, Collaborate, and Connect. #ntcamp
    30. RT @educatoral: It is not the tool ... It is how it is used via Melissa Edwards #ntcamp
    31. RT @WhiteheadsClass: I have updated my site with a section called "Technology for Teachers." Take a look. #ntcamp
    32. RT @paulawhite: RT @njtechteacher: A Google Docs Gifted Gab session w/ @geraldaungst @paulawhite #ntcamp #edu21
    33. RT @kylepace: RT @cspiezio: RT @CoachB0066: "We call them cell phones, but they're mobile learning devices" via @tomwhitby #ntcamp #edu21
    34. RT @DoremiGirl: RT @thomasjwest: @Edukateme M-Audio KeyRig49 is inexpensive & all you need for Sibelius/GarageBand <~ #ntcamp
    35. RT @educatoral: 12 Healthy Habits to Grow Your Online Presence and Keep Balance Your Life via Cool Cat Teacher #ntcamp
    36. RT @kylepace: @cybraryman1's page of educational chats on Twitter: #ntcamp #edu21
    37. RT @kylepace: @web20classroom giving out shoutout to @ghartman for creating #ntcamp #edu21
    38. RT @mbteach:Should students be thinking of projects in backwards design-what tools should I use to achieve my goal?<---YES! PROJECT? #ntcamp
    39. RT @kylepace: RT @kenroyal: #ntcamp Watching best song and dance man since Astaire: @tomwhitby talking @twitter and #edchat
    40. RT@google:Today's the day for #lifeinaday-film your day & help tell the story of a single day on Earth youtube)" class="tweet-url web" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">
    41. RT @blairteach: RT celfoster: The live stream for #ntcamp is back on: #ntcamp #edu21
    42. RT @blairteach: Here's the link to the video @tomwhitby is showing: #ntcamp
    43. @ShellTerrell Due to my lack of smart phone, I had to wait to get back to my laptop to send this. Anyway, WISH YOU WERE HERE! @tomwhitby
    44. RT @wfryer: New post: Storychasing Summer Camp #edchat #edu21
    45. RT @kristenswanson: @andycienek Symbaloo: #edchat #edu21
    46. RT @kylepace: RT @web20classroom:Here's the link to our Smackdown Doc.Feel free to add your own: #ntcamp #edu21 #edchat
    47. RT@flourishingkids:RT@jswiatek:@shellterrell 's blog shared at #ntcamp.You MUST check out ths blog!
    48. RT @web20classroom: Uh oh...@paulawhite and @pammoran doing our last tool for the we go!<-I THOUGHT I WAS IN FOR IT #ntcamp
    49. RT @paulawhite: RT@stevejmoore:If U dont seek out opinions that U're strongly opposed 2&seek 2 understand them,U R cheating yourself.#ntcamp
    50. RT @blairteach: "How the media affects the message" during Smackdown <--- Marshall McCluhan was the man! #ntcamp
    51. RT @DrTimony: Rubrics=CYA tactic. Students shld B given every oppty 2 demo understanding. Grades not the issue as much as qual tchg. #ntcamp
    52. RT @plnaugle: I just shared a very easy tool to use to build a website via SKpye w/ @web20classroom at #ntcamp <-AWESOME!
    53. RT @mbteach: Do rubrics really allow for differentiation?<-I think if the rubric is tiered appropriately then it has that potential. #ntcamp
    54. Twiducate is an AWESOME way of using Twitter in the classroom.
    55. @Google is my significant other. #ntcamp
    56. RT @ShellTerrell: If you truly feel you're the writer of your destiny, you decide the ending. - Outlander #quotes #ADM
    57. RT @andycinek: Broadcasting live now! See me at #ntcamp smackdown #edu21
    58. RT @blairteach: RT @kylepace: "Make teachers aware of the world're not confined to your 4 walls." via @mbteach #ntcamp
    59. @mbteach Thanks for the RT!
    60. @ShellTerrell I can't wait!
    61. RT @web20classroom: Alright #NTCamp. Lets get the Smackdown going! <--- BRING IT ON!
    62. RT @mpowers3:Check out the great convo in public Google doc from Creating a Great Ed Tech Course w @mbteach & @alesnick
    63. RT @irasocol: Multimedia Sources #ntcamp #edu21 #edchat
    64. "We need to start changing the minds of the teachers that are teaching our teachers." @web20classroom #ntcamp
    65. RT @plnaugle: Parents also need to be taught about digital footprint and digital safety. (#ntcamp live at )
    66. RT @plnaugle: Great idea - set up a Twitter acct for your student teacher. (#ntcamp live at ) #edchat #edu21
    67. @ShellTerrell We wish you were too! #ntcamp
    68. RT @web20classroom: I, on a PC, am in a room filled with Macs. #IAmARebel <--- YOU'RE AN OUTNUMBERED REBEL!
    69. RT @hadleyjf: Brain makes meaning from images before it does from text @pammoran #ntcamp
    70. RT @paulawhite: #ntcamp amazing resource for primary source ALREADY done.
    71. RT @kylepace: RT @web20classroom: Cool resource shared in our session: Serendip: #ntcamp
    72. RT @robertshutter: RT @vdovault RT @AFather_And_Son:#TheReThink:How Are Email, Facebook, Twitter Audiences Different?
    73. @mbteach @tomwhitby @web20classroom @kylepace By the way,panel discussion was AWESOME. It's great to converse w/members of my PLN in person!
    74. RT @kylepace: I'm in @mbteach's session on How To Create A Great EdTech Course. #ntcamp <---ME TOO!
    75. RT @web20classroom: RT @gcouros: 70 Ways to Keep Students Engaged Some great ideas here! #ntcamp
    76. RT @web20classroom: #ntcamp kicks off with @cybraryman1 going over the rules of the day! <--- This guy is AWESOME!
    77. RT @mbteach: Check out my session at 10:00am: Creating a Great EdTech College Course in the AV room. It will be livestreamed, too. #ntcamp
    78. @mbteach Gotcha! Hmmm... How's about you give them out to teacher who RTed or blogged about NT Camp...? Oh, and HI! : )
    79. RT @mbteach: Need a good idea for giving out tee shirts at my #ntcamp sesssion! <---Most tweets about information learned at NT Camp?
    80. RT@dancallahan:I got talked into doing Things That Suck(for new teachers).topic suggestions welcome! <-I PROMISE THIS WILL NOT SUCK! #ntcamp
    81. I didn't have my GPS on me, so I had some trouble finding the place, but I am finally at #ntcamp!