On Coming to America – Small Moments, Big Meanings

On Coming to America – Small Moments, Big Meanings

We are a nation of immigrants.” Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, etc. The greatest gift we can give someone is the gift of their history.” HmongStory40 Yes, we are a nation of immigrants. I am fortunate to work in a school district that is yearly enriched by its history of cultural diversity. Last year, in recognition and celebration of the experiences, challenges, and contributions of those who have come to…

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Teaching and Learning in the Time of Trump

Teaching and Learning in the Time of Trump

Last week a school district colleague shared a beautiful letter her 9th grade daughter Emma had written for a homework assignment: Write a persuasive essay on a topic you care about. Emma chose the topic of equal rights for women – on a global scale. She wrote her essay in a letter format, addressed to President-elect Trump. The English teacher was actually on maternity leave, so the assignment came via a long-term substitute teacher. But Emma’s letter was too timely and too well-written…

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Media Literacy: Defining and Teaching a Must-Have Skill

Media Literacy: Defining and Teaching a Must-Have Skill

It would be difficult to read a newspaper, listen to a news broadcast, or open any social media site without seeing some reference to “fake news.” NPR NewsHour’s  recent interview How online hoaxes and fake news played a role in the election highlights this growing concern. There is definitely a need to bring media literacy into classrooms. The Common Core State Standards call for media literacy: “To be ready for college, workforce training, and life in a technological society, students need…

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Post-Election Resources for Teachers

Post-Election Resources for Teachers

Friday night was book club night, a favorite monthly event. For 16 years we’ve been coming together to discuss, over wine and dinner, good literature, education and, occasionally, politics.  Although we briefly discussed our November book choice (Kate DiCamilo’s YA Flora and Ulysses), for most of the evening, we tried to make sense of the election results, consider the ramifications of our President-Elect’s cabinet choices, and envision the possible impacts, both immediate and long-term. I’m guessing that across the nation…

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CETPA 2016 Student Showcase

CETPA 2016 Student Showcase

If you are looking for a antidote to post-election blues, I highly recommend pulling together a student showcase of elementary, middle, and high school students excited to demonstrate innovative uses of technology. To that end, last week I was tasked by my district’s Technology Services Director to bring a team of students to the Sacramento Convention Center for the 2016 CETPA Conference. This was my first time to attend the CETPA Conference. It was also CETPA’s first time to dedicate…

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Fall CUE 2016 – A few takeaways

Fall CUE 2016 – A few takeaways

This year’s Fall CUE Conference seemed like a drive-by event since I could attend on Friday only. (But don’t feel sorry for me for missing out on Saturday’s sessions; I was headed up to Amador County for an annual wine-tasting weekend.) Despite a rainy 2-hour drive to and from Napa, Friday’s sessions were worth the travel time. Due a few traffic slowdowns, I unfortunately missed Dave Burgess’ (Teach like a Pirate) opening keynote, but from Session 1 on, I left…

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Creating a Culture of Civility

Creating a Culture of Civility

  The October issue of entrsekt, ISTE’s quarterly journal, immediately caught my attention – with the cover boldly featuring Jennifer Snelling’s “A Culture of Civility: The New Tenets of Connecting in the Digital Age.” In a highly contentious election-year atmosphere, I really appreciate having at my fingertips the research, examples, and reminder that “Civility and citizenship come from understanding alternate viewpoints and being able to have conversations and respectful debates.”  When ISTE released the 2016 Standards, I was delighted to…

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Rwanda – Looking for the Good

Rwanda – Looking for the Good

Question: How do you talk about and teach difficult topics, including the unthinkable, the unspeakable? Answer: You look for the good. This summer I traveled to Rwanda, Africa, with the incredible Carl Wilkens, director of the World Outside My Shoes Foundation – and the only American to remain in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Without a doubt, this trip was the most thought-provoking, heart-wrenching, uplifting ten days ever. Each day was beautifully planned with visits to historic sites, meeting with genocide witnesses,…

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ISTE 2016 Reflection & Takeaways

ISTE 2016 Reflection & Takeaways

I’m back from the ISTE 2016 Conference, somewhat rested, and ready to reflect on and share my top takeaways. For a starter, having futurist Michio Kaku as the opening keynote was a wonderful, energizing kick-off for the 4-day ISTE adventure. Brilliant + hilarious is always a winning combo. Before Michio took the stage, ISTE introduced their new Technology Standards for Students. Love that digital citizenship is in the mix. Favorite Session Takeaways – Some Resources, Tips, and Quotes Given that there were over 1,000…

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#cue16 – a few takeaways

#cue16 – a few takeaways

Just returned from the #cue16 conference. It’s a long drive from Sacramento to Palm Springs (9 hours), but so worth it! I was fortunate to travel and room with Elk Grove teacher extraordinaire Cathe Petuya, so the drive was as an integral part of the #cue16 experience. On the way down, we envisioned how to transform three of our elementary sites into demo schools to model powerful integration of technology onto the core curriculum – and beyond the classroom walls. With…

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