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Be Your True Self -- Inspired by VCOE Students

I believe each and every single one of us needs self-acceptance and confidence in being ourselves. I assume the starting point for self-acceptance is an honest awareness of individual strengths and areas for growth. Self-acceptance sometimes feels like welcoming a guest into my home. When I play the role of hostess, I evaluate what needs to be done -- cleaning, planning, grocery shopping, etc. My list of chores somehow never ends, and I tend to get a bit stressed out because I fear my house won't be presentable and welcoming. The truth is, my guest really doesn't care what the house looks like, or what food I have to offer. My guest just wants to spend time with the true me.

Likewise, when self-acceptance knocks on my door, I realize it takes some bravery to fully welcome her, knowing I could have accomplished more during the day; I could have done a better job of listening to others and expressing my thoughts and feelings; etc. As I fear the imperfections, she focuses on con…
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Global Collaboration

In order to prepare students to apply rigorous learning to new and real-world situations, educators must provide opportunities that foster critical and creative thinking, communication and collaboration.

Importance of Global Collaborations

Common Core State Standards demand students to collaborate with diverse partners, thereby expanding students' global awareness.

Some of the benefits of collaboration might include:
Developing interpersonal skills of working together as a team.Fostering critical thinking skills while working towards a collaborative goal.Increasing comprehension while partaking in conversations and exploring ideas from different perspectives."Collaborative learning promotes communication among students; it is particularly beneficial for English Learners (ELs) because peer interaction contributes to the development of language," (CA ELA ELD Framework, Chapter 2).
New 2016 ISTE Standards for Students

I recently attended the ISTE Conference in Denver, where th…

Urgency with Coding Now for the Future

I've heard Anne Jenks share numerous times the importance of teaching coding in school, especially with so many STEM professions available. If computer science careers are the number one source of jobs in the US, then we should have more computer science graduates, and therefore more coding/programming opportunities in K-12 classrooms.

Urgency with coding in classrooms now for jobs in the future — Tracy Watanabe (@tracywatanabe) March 17, 2016
The time is now to start teaching digital fluency and coding as part of literacy. Being literate in today's world, includes computer literacy.

Luckily, there are organizations, such as, dedicated to giving students opportunities to learn computer science.

How do you get started?

Below are a few places for getting started:

DeviceElementarySecondaryiPadDaisy the Dinosaur
Tickle (older app)
Scratch Jr.

Google Classroom 101

Google Classroom integrates Google Apps for Education (GAFE) tools such as Google Docs, Gmail, and Google Calendar to name a few. It then allows the teacher to distribute and collect assignments paperlessly.

Google Classroom with iPads too

Google Classroom is not just for Chromebooks, it's a useful management tool for other platforms such as iPads as well. For instance, one great way to collect student creations and manage the workflow on iPads is through Google Classroom.

What is Google Classroom and how does it work?

Why should I consider Google Classroom?

Here are a few reasons why Google Classroom should be considered:
It helps organize discussions, assignments, projects, or assessments online.Classroom helps students organize their projects, assignments, tasks, etc. and keep track of upcoming assignments, or assignments already turned in and teacher feedback or grades.Classroom could foster communication.Classroom saves time, especially when working with Google Apps, and it is fre…

QR Codes in the Classroom

QR (Quick Reader) Codes are like bar codes to quickly connect you to text, websites, audio clips, videos, etc.

QR Code Reader

The device will need a QR Code Reader. My current favorite is still i-Nigmabecause I've found that audiences typically do not need to leave their seats to scan the QR Code from the screen I'm presenting from, while other readers have not been as reliable.
Available on IOSAvailable for AndroidAvailable on BlackberryAvailable for Windows There are also QR Code Readers for Chromebooks and other devices that have cameras.

QR Code Generator

There are several ways to create QR Codes, however my current favorite is Below are the instructions for two different ways to use it:

Using QR Codes in the Classroom

There are many ways QR Codes can be used in the classroom beyond quickly viewing a website. Some ideas and more resouces are listed below:
From Tom Barrett's work, 40 Interesting Ways to use QR Codes in the ClassroomISTE's post by Luis Perez and …

Deeper Thinking and Revised DOK Flowchart

About a year or two ago, I noticed my DOK Flowchart floating around Pinterest. I didn't think much of it because the thought process behind the flowchart was documented on my post titled, Striving for Higher-Order Thinking and Depth of Knowledge.

This flowchart was created to help teachers in my former district categorize their own questions by DOK level, to look for patterns and trends, in order to set goals regarding their quest for deeper thinking. It was a flowchart that worked with many question patterns we commonly saw, but was not intended to be definitive.

For example, when it came to a question in math, we knew there was a right and wrong answer -- for example, 3X4=12. However, we considered how there were multiple approaches to get to that correct answer. While, that was a discussion we had face-to-face, my original flowchart did not reflect those conversations. Therefore, I revised the flowchart to help clarify:

Below are some examples of various questions/tasks with DO…

Posters, Resources, and ELD Standards

I've lived in California for almost a year now, and am becoming very familiar with the California English Language Development Standards. My goal for this post is to share a few of the big ideas I've learned about the CA ELD Standards through the use of two tools: Canva and Tackk.
View full version on Tackk Create your own customized Tackk page


I learned about Tackk through +Lisa Johnson (TechChef4u) when I stumbled upon her post about Tackk. I quickly realized that it was a useful tool to create and curate content. I think of it as an online poster or magazine article.

It seems like an easy tool to use because you can just drag and drop content into it. Headlines, text, images, graphics, vidoes, audio and playlists, GIFs and media, Google Maps, PayPal, contact forms and RSVPs can be added.

I've downloaded Tackk on my iPad, use it on my desktop, and can install it on my Chrome Browser. There are also several templates for educational use.

Click here for more informatio…