Flipping Professional Development/Professional Learning

Friday, November 22, 2013 1 comment
One of my favorite things to do is to learn. I am always looking for new ideas and different ways to do things. If there is something that can make me better as an instructional leader, then I am willing to try it out. When it comes to Education I am very passionate about helping students and teachers learn in the best possible way.

I truly enjoy Flipping Professional Development because I think it provides a great avenue for learning.

When developing PD, there are many factors you must think about. 
Do the participants have what they need to make it successful?
Will they have time to do things on their own?
Are they savvy enough?

These are all great questions that a developer of PD must keep in mind. Be Prepared for any and everything.

When I am planning I was always think with the end in mind. What do I want my participants to walk away with? I want them to leave with the mindset that they are not overwhelmed and that they can implement the ideas themselves. When developing PD, remember less is more. Do not try to cram in lots of information at one time. It may be great information, but if there is too much you have lost the battle. Having participants leave with a a few ideas that they feel successful implementing is better then sending someone home with a bunch of notes they took quickly (feeling overwhelmed) that now those notes may never see the light of day.

I cannot express enough the importance of planning. As a teacher you must lesson plan and lesson plan effectively in order to have a rich learning environment. As a trainer, you must do the same thing. It not something you can throw together in a matter of minutes. It does take time to make sure you are meeting the needs of all your learners, make sure you have all your resources, and plan for the worst case scenarios (make sure to have a back up plan).

The three components that I use when planning are

  • Explore
  • Flip
  • Apply

I love the idea when presenting on Technology Tools. Here are the tools-->Go Explore-->Which tools could be effective in your classroom?-->How do you plan to use them?
We step away from the lecturing of the tool and  the little time you would get to explore.
Now we begin with the Explore component, which makes for a wonderful Professional Development, which I like to call Professional Learning. The whole idea is to Learn!!

When I got started, I found this great article that inspired me. It is very important to Plan and Plan good. I love the outline on this site and it helps me as I plan as well.

I am not a "Sit and Get" kind of learner and I know that most students and adults are not as well. If you conduct any type of PD, I suggest reading, Sit and Get Won't Grow Dendrites by Marcia Tate. It is a phenomenal book. I use this book as a guide for planning and implementing PD and flipping my PD.

Here some great Technology Tools to use in your flipped PD.

If you have questions at all, feel free to email me at KristenTHernandez@gmail.com.

I really enjoy this video from TED.
Teachers are flipping classrooms, rethinking lesson plans, and re-imagining the role of teacher and student, learner and educator.

I also love this article on Flipping a College class: http://www.emergingedtech.com/2013/05/flipped-classroom-insights-and-tips-from-an-college-biology-teacher/

Great Freebie:

Love this site!! http://techpd.weebly.com/flipped-classroom.html

Brain Based Learning Strategies with an Activity

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 No comments
Hello and happy Tuesday. I have been conducting professional development sessions recently on Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites and they have been going really well. I was introduced to the author Marcia Tate my first year of teaching. We began a book study and she came to my campus on a Saturday and we had the best Professional Learning I have ever been to. In the last 10 years I have had the opportunity to go to four of her training's. She is phenomenal and the best presenter I have ever had.

Even after 10 years I continue to use her Brain Based Learning strategies and activities with my students and teachers. I have had wonderful success with raising student achievement and motivation with the 20 strategies she presents in her book. Mrs. Tate has grown since I met her ten years ago and now she has quite a few books out now. They are all equally wonderful!

When I present the Professional Learning, I break it up into parts because trying to deliver 20 strategies in one or two hours is not a good idea and no one leaves with any valuable information...just a headache = )
In each session I like to go over no more than three 3 strategies because with focusing on just 3, teachers are able to get an understanding of the strategies, what they look like, how to implement them, and how to modify if needed.

When doing an activity, you will quickly learn that one activity could have multiple strategies in one...WINNER!

Today I am going to focus on the brain based learning strategy "Movement".

When the body is engaged during learning, the information can be put in one of the strongest memory systems - procedural or muscle memory. That is why people tend not to forget how to drive a car, ride a bike, or play the piano, even if they have not done so in a while. Rather than having students sit while their teachers do all the work, having them up and actively engaged in the content not only goes a long way toward ensuring that they pass any tests but that they will remember the information long after the test is over. Tate, M. L. (2003).

The Activity
Each person gets a paper which includes statements taught in the classroom setting. Each statement will be blank. Each participant will need to find someone who can answer the statement and initial. Each person must find 12 different people to answer and initial. 

Below you will find the activity and template that provides more in depth directions.

What I like to do when I present this strategy and activity is to do a, "What could be modified?" part in the PL to see what we could do to make it better.

It is suggested that if a student comes across someone who does not know the answer, they should just not move on to someone else. They should make that person their "Learning Buddy" and search for someone who knows the answer. The purpose of the activity is for everyone to gain knowledge and work together.

Another suggestion is that a person cannot sign more that one of the same square. We want each student to branch out = )

Here is the activity that I do with the teachers: People Search
Here is the template that you can use with your students: People Search Template
(Input your own content in the squares)

I hope you enjoy the strategy and the activity.

Please let me know if you have any questions at all.

Stay tuned for more strategies and activities = )

FWISD Teachers: Classroom Curriculum Connection

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 2 comments

The CCC is for Elementary Teachers, but if you teach Middle or High School and you feel one of the sessions will benefit you, we would love to have you. Please pass this information on to your teacher friends!

Click on the images below to see specific sessions!

Please make sure to sign up on Avatar


Free Thanksgiving Hollywood Squares Game

Friday, November 1, 2013 No comments
Hi everyone! I hope you enjoy this Thanksgiving Hollywood Squares that was created for you. You can input your own content questions into the games for tons of educational fun!
If you have any questions at all, please feel free to let me know.

You do need ActivInspire to open this flipchart.

Freebie Fridays

Songza...Energize Your Classroom and Get Students Engaged

Thursday, October 24, 2013 1 comment
Hi everyone! Happy Thursday = )

I was reading a blog recently and came across a site that I love! Thank you Lauren at http://iteacherlauren.blogspot.com for this great resource. I really enjoy listening to music and I use music all the time with my students and teachers for transitions and for different activities. I believe in the power of music to completely change ones learning mode and emotions.

This site is not only FREE, but fun in the way it lays out the music you choose.

Check out http://songza.com

Let's say it's Monday morning and your students are lagging. You want to get them engaged and ready to learn. Choose the topic that will fit...Click and play!

There are lots of topics to choose from and even music without lyrics for when your students are writing or focusing on an activity.

For iPad and Android users, there is an app for Songza!!

Disclaimer: With any music, note that songs with lyrics could possibly contain inappropriate words. Always Preview! 

Have fun and happy listening!

Grand Opening....The Doodle Oven (Giveaway Celebration)

Monday, October 21, 2013 1 comment
Hi everyone! I hope everyone is doing well.

I have a very good friend who is getting into the world of Teachers Pay Teachers, Facebook, and blogging with her wonderful graphics and printables. To help her build and network her site Doodle Oven, I am helping with hosting a Rafflecopter for her. Please take the time to check out her sites and check out her wonderful products.

Here are the sites she has now:

Participating bloggers in the giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Apple Launches NEW iPad "Apps for Teachers"

Sunday, October 6, 2013 No comments
I don't know about you, but I am excited that Apple has launched a new iPad "Apps for Teachers" section.

We are being heard = )

There are two new sections that have been added to the App store to meet the needs of those who use the App store the most. Many districts are now BYOD or they are providing students with iPads or other devices. It is important that those who are using these tools get the best resources possible. I am thankful that I no longer have to spend hours looking for credible resources that are worth the download. Thank you for making my life a little bit easier.

Now I am hopeful that Android will jump on board as I am a dual platform kind of girl!

Welcome My Friend to the World of TpT

Saturday, October 5, 2013 No comments
It has been awhile since I last posted and I promise I will get back on track. I did want to give a shout out to a friend of mine who is a wonderful graphic designer. She has just started her own TpT site and Facebook page. Please check out her wonderful graphics.

The Doodle Oven

Check out these great freebies for the Fall:



To Infinity and Beyond: Student Centered Projects

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 2 comments
I am very excited to be attending and presenting at ISTE 2013 in San Antonio, Texas. I am learning lots of wonderful things and filling my toolbox with ideas.

I am presenting a session called To Infinity and Beyond: Student Centered Projects. I will be showcasing two apps called Tiny Tap and John Atkinson Photo Card. Both allow students to be creative and have fun while learning.

Check out my past blog on Photo Card: http://www.teacherplayground.com/2013/04/free-creative-writing-appyour-students.html

Photocard an app that allows students to be creative and descriptive when writing. Students create an interactive postcard in which they get to add their own pictures and stamps.

This app would be great to use for any subject and grade level, but here are a few ideas I have that will get you started:

  • Students take a picture of something in nature and they are to write as though they are that picture.
  • Students take pictures while on a field trip, use the app to tell others about their favorite part of the field trip.
  • Students choose an image within the app and are challenged to be as descriptive as they can about the image. Let them know that when you read their postcard you want to feel as though you are that image.
  • Students take pictures and write about famous people, states, countries, ancient times, key vocabulary, authors, composers, etc..
  • Students create a postcard based on Science safety rules and write about the proper ways to act in a lab setting.
  • Students use this app to help them better understand difficult vocabulary words and math problems. They take a picture of the word, what it is or looks like, and then they write about it as if they were teaching someone else.

Tiny Tap is an app that students can use to become creators. They can add their own photos or pictures, then record their own voice over the photo. Once they add sound, they become designers.  To designate the correct answer, students trace that part of the picture.

  • In the Language Arts class students can add a picture of vocabulary words. They add questions about those pictures. They can use this to test their own knowledge or the knowledge of their friends. This would be great support for ELL students as well.
  • In the Math class students can begin with the first step in a math problem. In multiple choice format, students can choose the next step in the problem. They can reach the solution of a problem in the form of a series of pictures much like a flow map. The student who creates the exercise shows their knowledge of correct procedure and the students who solve it get a review of the previously learned skill. For younger students, you can add pictures of shapes in multiple choice format and have students choose a shape that you ask them about.
  • In the Science class students can add their own pictures of s sedimentary rock and ask questions specifying if the picture is sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic. This would work for the parts of the life cyle or the weather cycle.
  • In the Social Studies class you can put in a picture of a map and have students choose a state. Better yet, have students create the questions and test one another
  • Information courtesy of: http://www.appsinclass.com/tinytap.html
I hope you enjoy these wonderful apps as I have!!

Collaboration..A Web 2.0 Solution

Monday, June 17, 2013 No comments
Hi there everyone! Today I wanted to talk about "Wallwisher/Padlet". I have used this for awhile, but it came to light recently in a collaboration meeting. I was working with some Elementary and Secondary specialists and they were talking about how they did not have time to follow up with teachers after professional development trainings and build the connection amongst their campuses. The light bulb went off and I mentioned Wallwisher/Padlet. Imagine being able to input feedback on Wall Wisher and have teachers contribute their ideas and suggestions. You can multiple users on a time.

Here is a little information about Wall Wisher:
Wallwisher/Padlet, allows you to create a “wall” where you can place virtual sticky-notes. You can allow others to also place notes on the board, or keep it so that only you can do so (which is what I would recommend for students). The sticky-notes can include images you grab off the web, videos, or websites, and you can add text to them (you can also just include text without adding anything else). Each sticky has a 160 character limit for text.


  • Collaboration amongst campuses (share ideas, what works/what doesn't..no need to reinvent the wheel) 
  • Collaboration after a training (share thoughts, feelings, how did the implementation go)
Once teachers feel comfortable using Wallwisher/Padlet, they can then use it with their students. Have you ever taught a Math topic and then had a student say that they have another way of doing it. This is a great way for students to share their ideas and feel vested in the learning process.

A great feature I really like about Wallwisher/Padlet is that you can export the board to Excel or as a PDF.

Below are a few other sites that are similar to Wallwisher/Padlet. I like to give you options!

Online Course/Professional Development Design

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 No comments
One of my past times I guess you could say since I began my career in Education was designing and participating in online courses/professional development. In college I took a few classes and I really enjoyed them, but it wasn't until I was working on my Master's degree did I find the true appreciation for them and those who create them. Designing an online course/professional development takes a lot of work if you want to do it the right way. My philosophy is, "If you don't have time to do it right, then why do it at all." You want to take the time to do it right the first time and give it 100 percent.

Make it meaningful, fun, and relevant!!

When building an online course or professional development you need to plan with the end in mind. Having a brainstorming session is key and make sure to write write write. It is important when designing a course/pd that you have active, observable and measurable outcomes. The last thing someone wants to do is to take an online course or professional development where the tasks lack creativity and they just become busy work with no real role for the person taking the course/pd.

You also want to make use of the tools available to you. Just inputting links and typing words is not going to get someone excited about taking the course/pd. It is important to use a variety of presenting avenues. That is why Web 2.0 should be your best friend!! So many of the different Web 2.0 tools can be embedded into Moodle and Blackboard for a fun and enlightening experience. Alongside your Web 2.0 tools make sure to have pictures, graphs, videos, color, and FUN!

Do not get lengthy on your information in which it leaves the reader wondering what they even read in the first place. I don't know about you, but I have taken some online courses/pd that were very boring in which all I did was read and type. There was no higher level thinking there. Make it fun and to the point!

Go Blooms or go home!!

Now fun is my middle name so as an online course/pd creator/instructor you have to make your personality come out in what you create. An online environment is mostly asynchronous with some opportunity for synchronous instruction. Again it is all in the way you create the course/pd. Make sure you clarify your expectations and what it means to be an active participant. In a not harsh way you need to let the participants know that you expect:

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Critical Thinking
  • Problem Solving 

                         ....just to name a few. The point is that your participants need to know that it will be work, but what is discussed and created will benefit them in their every day life and job.

If you build it (RIGHT) they will come!

You also want to make sure that in every course you create that Digital Citizenship is covered including Copyright Laws. Copyright is very important as many people do not know what it all entails. Each day I learn something new!!

The resources you provide need to be easily available to your participants. If possible try to stay away from paid resources because we all don't have the money to purchase a piece of software or a membership to a site. I know sometimes you have to, but I try to avoid that. With Google Documents...those who do not have the Microsoft products can still actively participate. Adobe PDF Reader is free...so that is a must to use.


As an online creator/instructor you do not have that face to face time as you would in a classroom. It is important that you are available to your participants when they have questions or need suggestions. Join in the conversations..they will see that you care. You do not want your participants to feel isolated or disconnected from the group. If you see someone who is slacking, find out why and how you can help them make the experience GREAT for them. That is why collaboration and communication are key to a successful online course/pd.

I hope you enjoyed my blog post on Online Course/PD design. I love it and I hope you do to! Make sure to thank a teacher!!

May Giveaways

Monday, May 6, 2013 2 comments

Each week I will be giving away something to celebrate my birthday month and my new blog look!!

Do you want to win an iTunes gift card? I will be giving away 2 $10 iTunes gift cards this week. To enter you must be a Facebook follower and you will get TWO EXTRA ENTRIES if you are also a follower of www.teacherplayground.com. Want another entry to win...Share this post on Facebook or Twitter!

Below please input your email address and if you are a follower also of www.teacherplayground.com. (Example: myname@myname.com, Follower of www.teacherplayground.com)

Winners will be announced on Sunday!!
Do you want to win an iTunes gift card? I will be giving away 2 $10 iTunes gift cards this week. To enter you must be a Facebook follower and you will get TWO EXTRA ENTRIES if you are also a follower of www.teacherplayground.com. Want another entry to win...Share this post!

Below please input your email address and if you are a follower also of www.teacherplayground.com. Example: myname@myname.com, Follower of www.teacherplayground.com

Winners will be announced on Sunday!!

A Technology Blog Hop!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 3 comments
Spring into Technology with Classroom Freebies!

Several phenomenal teachers, Technology Tailgate Coaches and bloggers are joining forces for an amazing classroom technology blog hop!  As you hop from blog to blog, you will visit some of your favorite blogs and discover a few new blogs too!  Each with a fabulous freebie just for you!

Thank you for hopping over!

I hope you enjoy these two freebies!! The first one is a Math and Vocabulary interactive flipchart. The second one is a Vocabulary Mini-Book using PowerPoint. Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have. 

Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting!  If you are new to my blog and liked what you see, don't forget to follow me!  The next stop on the path is  
Jen at Tech with Jen

Tech with Jen

In case you didn't start from the beginning, here is an ordered list of all participating blogs!

Kristin from iTeach 1:1
Heidi from Rakis Rad Resources
Leah from Learn With Leah
Amanda and Aylin from Learning to the Core
Kristen at Teacher Playground
Jen at Tech with Jen
Kay at A Little Tech
Melanie at I Luv Twek
Carrie and Caitlin at Table Talk with C & C
Lauren at iWonder
Jan at The Science Vault

A special thank you to Jen at Tech with Jen for designing the blog hop button!
Interested in joining our next blog hop?  Join here

Virtual Learning Cubes

Monday, April 22, 2013 No comments
Hi everyone! I wanted to tell you about some of the Virtual Learning Cubes I have created.  They are lots of fun and your students will enjoy rolling them on a computer or interactive board. I have made quite a few, but if you would like one---feel free to leave a comment on this post.

On the link provided I have included instructions on inserting the cubes into ActivInspire, but please NOTE that you DO NOT have to have ActivInspire to use these on your computer(you can also use other interactive whiteboard programs). These can work stand alone on any computer that has Adobe Flash (its free).

I hope you enjoy these and let me know if you have any questions.

Happy Rolling!!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Wonderful FREE Printable Posters/Signs for Your Classroom

Friday, April 19, 2013 2 comments
If you have yet to discover www.venspired.com you are missing out. She is beyond awesome and I love her posters. She has graciously allowed teachers to use and print her posters. Just to be on the safe side I contacted her for permission and she said, "Yes Indeed!". 

Krissy Venosdale

I love the messages on the posters and the color schemes. She also has some great information on teaching Gifted students and STEM. I also love her Pinterest page!!

Here are a few examples as she has tons and I mean that!!


I hope you enjoy the work of Krissy Venosdale!

9 McGraw-Hill APPS FREE!

Thursday, April 18, 2013 1 comment
Hi everyone! I wanted to let you know that there are some Literacy and Mathematics McGraw-Hill apps FREE. I have been using a lot of the McGraw-Hill apps with students for awhile and they are wonderful. I hope you are able to download the apps listed below and use them with your kiddos.

Click on the images below to download the apps.

Happy Downloading!!

Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 6.31.07 AM  Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 6.36.49 AM  Screen Shot 2013-04-15 at 6.57.08 AM


Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 6.44.16 PM  Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 6.43.16 PM  Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 6.42.13 PM  Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 6.45.42 PM  Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 6.47.51 PM  Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 7.06.38 PM

Staff Development Strategies with a Technology Twist

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 No comments

Hi everybody and good morning! I wanted to blog about a site that I learned about in February and have been using ever since. I really enjoy it and the great ideas that are provided! I know as educators we are always looking for new strategies and ways to engage our audience. 

The site is called Professional Learning Communities: Staff Development StrategiesThe strategies that are posted are really great and can be used with students, teachers, and/or principals. The ideas are innovative and incorporate a modern twist. I love the use of technology integration in a lot of them. 

I really like that you can choose your audience, different categories, and learning styles. There are many different aspects of this site as the Staff Development Strategies is only one part. Make sure to check out the Lesson Plans that are chalk full of great technology integration ideas. The goal of the site is to provide best practices for integrating technology into the classroom

I love it and I hope you are able to use this information with your students, teachers, and/or principals.

You do not need to sign up to access to site.

To check out the full site click here-->http://teach.oetc.org

8 Sites..New Favorites for Your Technology Toolbox

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 No comments
Hi there everyone. I hope you are having a great Tuesday. I wanted to blog today to tell you about a few sites I am really enjoying. I think you will enjoy them as well.

1. Appo Learning
This site was created by Appolicious and is aimed at parents, teachers and others in search of the best educational apps for children.

2. Curriculum Bits
I love the activities on this site and all the wonderful resources.

3. Teach Hub: Video Writing Prompts
I love that the videos appeal to students because they are up-to-date and relevant to their lives.

4. Go Social Studies Go
Great way to make Social Studies fun and come alive!

5. Quiz Tree
Fun way to review topics...even Spanish.

6. ThingLink
I love this! Check out my Think Link http://www.teacherpage.com/mrshernandez/interactive.htm

7. PDFEscape
Can't afford to buy an expensive program to create or fill out forms. Check this out!

8. FlipnTurn
This site allows you to upload PDF or JPEG files and then you can create an online flipping brochure. Pretty cool!

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about the list above.


Monday, April 15, 2013 3 comments
Check this article out! I had to share with you as soon as I saw it.

Appolicious, the app search and discovery portal which helps users find new mobile applications for iPhone, iPad, and Android, is today launching a new service today aimed at parents, teachers and others in search of the best educational apps for children: appoLearning.

I love it!!


Motivation Treats for Students, Teachers, and Staff

I know this time of year is especially tough on all students, teachers, and staff as they work long hours to get ready for the upcoming state testing. I have created some fun and neat treat tags that everyone is sure to love!!

Some of these can be used even when testing is not in session. It is a way to say you are AWESOME!! 

Below you will find links to pdf documents with appreciation tags that I made. All you will need is a bag or two of Riesen candies, then print out one of the Riesen documents below, cut the tags out, and either staple of tape them on a Riesen. Everyone will love getting this little goodie from you!!

I hope you enjoy them!!

Make sure to check out all the wonderful Manic Monday Freebies at Classroom Freebies. You will not be disappointed!!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday