Friday, December 31, 2021

2021: The Good Stuff

Yeah, this year has been rather h-e-double-hockey-sticks in so many ways, but there have been some good things peppered throughout the last 365 days, too!

Here's the highlights:

  • The most exciting part of this year is when I became a part of Jennifer Gonzalez's Cult of Pedagogy team! It has been an honor to work with Jenn, and a group of amazing women, on the Teacher's Guide to Tech. I'm looking forward to spending years to come growing in tech with this team! (It's coming out in early January - look for it here.)

  • Friday webinars with Leslie Fisher capped off chaotic weeks, and showed so many fun and engaging tools - tech and otherwise - that I've enjoyed exploring!

  • My school was on campus for the whole 20-21 school year, and while I kinda liked teaching with my pup on my lap, it was nice to get back in the building in April when I returned to in-person after being remote for the year. 

  • Despite the pandemic, I met some incredible educators and experienced fantastic PD via the Clubhouse app.  If you're not on it, I encourage you to check it out. It's social audio at it's best, and is an amazing place to explore so many different topics.

  • Presenting at CUE, my first virtual presentation for a big conference like that, was a blast!  I loved the sessions I saw, and got great feedback on the sessions in which I presented!

  • Reading month is always a favorite, and this year was exceptionally good. Despite being home, I taught from a different book each week. We also created a virtual book shopping experience on CoSpaces for the winners of the Middle School weekly reading raffle!

  • On a personal note, I got a swimming pool in my backyard! It has been a lifelong dream to have my own pool, and I lived it up with my family all summer long. It became my favorite reading spot, too! So many of the 60+ books I read this year were enjoyed in the pool.

I am excited to see what good stuff 2022 brings. Yeah, there will still be lots of yuck, but if we try to make notice of the goods, things will be a lot nicer!


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

2022 Tech Challenge Time!

Last year, I participated in a 10-week tech challenge hosted by the Google Educator Group of Michigan.  Some weeks I revisited forgotten tools, some weeks were a fun task with favorite tools, and some weeks brought me brand new tools!  This year's challenge sign-up closes on Friday, January 7 and I just signed up for the fun!

If you're interested in some ed tech fun, you may want to consider joining.  Here's the deets:

"Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to learn some helpful tech tools and earn awesome badges. Each week for 10 weeks I will post an easy and short tech challenge (some of which you might have already done before). Each challenge is posted with my "how-to" steps to help you succeed. 

  • If you complete the challenge you will be awarded that challenge's badge to show off your awesomeness! 

  • If you complete the challenge in the assigned week you will also earn a point to be added to the Leaderboard on the GEG Michigan Tech Challenge website (you will choose a username so others will not know who is in the competition if you want to remain secret)."

Check out the 2022 Tech Challenge website to see what it's all about.  If it sounds like something fun, join the GEG Michigan group and you'll get the link to sign-up!

It's organized by Jeremy Badiner, who, if you haven't seen present, you're going to want to check him out cause he always has fun and informative sessions!


Monday, December 27, 2021

Books, books, books!

I have been on a reading binge lately. My television has been rather lonely because I've been buried in books! My favorite thing to do on a Saturday is snuggle up with my pup and a good book!

For me, the love of reading started young. I have fond memories of walking to the library with my mom as a child, checking out loads of books, and reading them all week. When I got to grade school, library check-out was one of the highlights of the week, where I met friends like Ramona (Quimby), Herbie (Jones), Sarah (Crewe), and so many others. Now, I love reading to my nieces who are four and seven, and even more, watching my seven-year-old niece fall in love with books like I did.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on who you are), brick-and-mortar book stores have been vanishing, and COVID has made libraries harder to get to as often as one might like.


Libraries are full of audio books, ebooks, and other electronic reading sources that we can access from the comfort of our couches! My library provides access through Hoopla, Libby, and OverDrive, and that's where I get most, if not all, of my books, and what makes it easy to always have my "on deck book" at the ready.

For kids, one of my favorite resources is Epic. It has thousands of books for all ages, from audio books, to read-to-me, to just plain ebooks (though there is nothing plain about an ebook!) Access is simple, especially when teachers are already using Epic in the classroom, which is exactly what we did in first grade right before break.

All the kids got to access their own Epic account and spend time finding books to read over break.  Epic is always free to teachers during the school day, and parents who connect to their child's classroom account can get one free book per day outside of school hours.  Additionally, Epic offers a subscription that families can purchase for unlimited reading outside of school hours.

The bottom line is that no matter how you access your books, there is nothing better than a good story, no matter how young or old you are!

P.S. I was yesterday years old when I realized that GoodReads is the perfect place to keep my book list, much better than the notes file on my phone!


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Wednesday Wit - Chanukah Edition

 For those members of the tribe celebrating this week, this one's for you!

I would like to give credit to the artist, so if it's you, please let me know!