Monday, September 5, 2016

Restoring Hope: Love 4 Louisiana Teachers

On August 11th, 2016, a stationary weather system resulted in torrential downpours with upwards of two feet of rain that devastated several parishes across South Louisiana. The extreme amount of rainwater, close to 7.1 trillion gallons of water, caused rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water to reach and exceed flood stages in the following days. In the blink of an eye, the water began rising and encroaching upon not just areas that typically flood, but the flooding waters found their way to places that had never even had the threat of flooding before. The widespread devastation of the rising water quickly destroyed countless homes, businesses, and schools.


As the water began to recede and people were allowed into the areas that were flooded, the full extent of the damage was visible. For many people, they lost an entire lifetime of memories and personal treasures. While the loss of personal property and people's livelihood were tragic, an equally tragic loss was the impact that the flood waters had on area schools. There are over 30 schools, both public and private, across several parishes that suffered significant water damage to their campuses. Livingston Parish alone had 15 public schools that suffered water damage with at least 8 schools that experienced extensive damage that will take months to repair. While the school buildings will have to be repaired to be safe for students and staff to return, this work will be done and funded through the individual school systems, but what can be done to help the individual teachers replace their classroom materials, personal items, and everything else that made their classrooms whole?

I'm pleased to announce that I have joined forces with an amazing group of Teacher Authors from Teachers Pay Teachers to create a fundraiser, Restoring Hope: Love for Louisiana Teachers. The core team behind Restoring Hope is comprised of Kristen from Teacher Playground, Andrea from This Literacy Life, Shannon from OCD in First, and Stephanie from The Creative Classroom. We came together and created the fundraiser as a way to help our fellow Louisiana teachers rise up and rebuild their classrooms. Our fundraiser has been made possible by the generous donations that we have received from 90+ TPT sellers that include high-quality products ranging from Kindergarten to High School. In total, there are six product bundles available and four donation options. The TPT store will go live on Tuesday, September 6th, 2016 and will remain open for at least 30 days. You can click the banner below to visit our store and support Louisiana teachers by buying product bundles or simply donating money to the fundraiser.

Where will we be donating the proceeds raised from the fundraiser?

One of the biggest pieces of this fundraiser was trying to decide where we would donate the money we raised for Louisiana teachers to ensure that it would be fairly and equally distributed to those in need.100% of the proceeds that are made through our TPT store will be donated to the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana's Disaster Relief Fund. This organization is donating 100% of all money that they receive to public and private schools teachers who lost some or all of their classroom materials due to the flooding.

Our team knew that we wanted to say THANK YOU to all of the amazing teachers who have supported our fundraiser by purchasing a bundle or donating money. Shannon from Blogs Fit For A Queen has graciously donated a FREE BLOG DESIGN. When you purchase one of the bundles from the Restoring Hope: Love for Louisiana Teachers TPT Store, you can enter for a chance to win! All you have to do is complete the form that is attached in the product bundle or donation page by October 15th, 2016.

We would like to take this opportunity to send out a huge THANK YOU to our sponsors who have donated resources to the fundraiser bundles. Without your help and generosity, none of this would have been possible. 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bloom's Taxonomy (Revised) According to Homer Simpson

Homer Simpson demonstrates the six levels of cognitive thinking according to Bloom's Revised Taxonomy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Adobe Spark - Turn your ideas into impactful social graphics, web stories and animated videos

Adobe Spark is an easy to use tool for turning your ideas into compelling social graphics, web stories, and animated videos. This technology tool is a definite to add to your toolbox. Adobe Spark can be used on a computer as well as through the app.
  • Adobe Spark web app: a browser-based web experience for creating social posts and graphics, web stories and animated videos.
  • Spark Post: an iOS mobile app that enables anyone to create stunning social posts and graphics in seconds. (previously Adobe Post)
  • Spark Page: an iOS mobile app that helps users create beautiful web stories. (previously Adobe Slate)
  • Spark Video: an iOS mobile app that enables users to create compelling animated videos in minutes. (previously Adobe Voice)

I have been enjoying Adobe Spark as I  find it very easy to use. The possibilities are endless and allow you to really think outside the box with your students. I am including some links on how to utilize this great tool in your own classroom.

There are lots of instructional planning and collaboration ideas on the Adobe Education Exchange.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Penzu - Classroom Journaling

Penzu is an online diary and personal journal that focuses on privacy. It has a unique and compelling user experience, it makes writing online as easy and intuitive as writing on a pad of paper.

Penzu’s goal is to merge all the goodness of a real-life journal and all the usefulness an online format can offer:

  • Visual interface feels like writing on “real paper” (ruled, margined notepad).
  • Easily insert images with captions that do not interfere with writing field.
  • Public and private settings; publishable URL available or email sharing.

Getting Started with Penzu

  • Go to
  • Select, “Sign Up” and follow the directions.
  • You will receive an email in your inbox confirming you have signed up for Penzu 
  • Once you sign in, you will be able to start constructing your first journal entry.

New Entry: Click on this button when you are ready to start another journal entry, and it will take you to a new, clean sheet.

Save: This will save your work that is on the screen. Remember, Penzu has a feature that automatically saves your work after 30 seconds.

Print: If you want to print your entry, press on this button and you will have a hardcopy of your entry.

Insert Photo: Want to put photos from a classroom visit? All you have to do is attach the photo to the document from a file on your computer or directly from a Flickr account. The photo appears small, but if you drag your mouse over the photo, it becomes enlarged and gives you more choices in enlargement or removal of the photo. You can also add captions to the pictures.

Share: This is a unique and easy way to share your "locked" journals with others, thereby making them viewable but others cannot edit your journal. All you have to do is click on the share button, type in an e-mail address, and add a message if you want. Presto! Your journal will be shared with those people. They can only view your journal, not change anything, so your journal is safe!

Lock Entry: This is a feature that is used to lock an entry so it is extra secure. After clicking this button, you can either give the journal a basic lock or an encrypted lock. You then will enter a password and hint that only you know. The journal can be opened anytime by you, but no one else will be able to open the document.

Format: Want to change the formatting of your journal entries, such as size, color, font, underline, or bullets? Use this button.

Leave feedback comments on your journal, or others' you view.

Tag: Tag entries together and organize journals. This makes finding an entry much easier so you can access it in an instant. To tag an entry, simply click the tag button, make a new tag album or find a previous one, and tag the entry.
Available after purchasing Penzu Pro.

Versions: View previous versions of your journal responses. Available after purchasing Penzu Pro.

Customize: The background of entries can be changed to make it more fun and unique! Available after purchasing Penzu Pro.

Post courtesy of

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Muddiest Point - Active Learning Activity

Students write about a concept or idea from the lesson that was muddiest for them. The exit slip becomes a formative assessment when the educator (or the student) uses the responses to determine the next steps in the learning process.  

The technique consists of asking students to jot down a quick response to one question: "What was the muddiest point in ________?" 

The focus of the Muddiest Point assessment might be a lecture, a discussion, a homework assignment, a play, or a film.

Technology Option 1 - Todays Meet
Create an Todays Meet room and allow students to respond with their "muddiest points". Students input their names and the response to the question. You can save the chat and post the script into your LMS if you would like. Your Todays Meet chat can also be embeded into your Moodle/LMS course which keeps from having students leave out of the Moodle/LMS session.

Technology Option 2 - AnswerGarden
Create an AnswerGarden and allow students to respond with their "muddiest points". When setting up your Answer Garden you can choose from 20 or 40 character responses. When you hover over a response, it will let you know how many students have inputted that answer. When complete you can export your word cloud to a fancier word cloud program to make is more appealing. AnswerGarden results are great discussion starters. Your AnswerGarden can also be embeded into your Moodle/LMS course which keeps from having students leave out of the Moodle/LMS session.

Here is an example of my AnswerGarden exported to Tagxedo.

Technology Option 3 - Moodle/LMS
Create a "Forum" and allow students to respond with their "muddiest points". If you want their responses to be anonymous, you can choose the "Feedback" tool within Moodle. Each option will give you the desired results.