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I ❤️ My PLN

When I think back to where I was 4 years ago, I would have to say I had an extremely limited professional learning network. I communicated within my department, but rarely outside of it. Since then, my desire to dramatically shift the learning model in my classroom and my increased use of social media tools have transformed me into a networked educator with a PLN that functions in many different spheres. The value of my PLN cannot be underestimated. They have improved my practice with new ideas, feedback on my practice, and emotional support when I need it most.
Rather than waste your time reading about how much I value each distinct voice in my PLN, why don't you check them out for yourself. Use the Thinglink below to explore my PLN.

As I said my PLN covers many sphere and topics. 

Building Level I’m fortunate to have a very progressive building administration and department staff. It’s been great to have likeminded educators who are taking risks in their classroom and are open to …
Recent posts

Personalizing Engagement An Idea

The purpose of personalizing learning is for learners to take more ownership over the learning process. It is not an all or nothing proposal. It is not a process of giving up control but designing opportunities. When I look at my current classroom, I look at areas where I’ve been able to give student some opportunities for ownership, but there are many areas in which they are bound to a rigid structure I impose on them.
When looking at learning through the lens of Universal Design for Learning, as suggested by Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey, there are 3 areas we can focuses on when promoting ownership: Access, Engagement, and Expression. In my classroom, I have worked to allow students more opportunities in how they demonstrate mastery of content outcomes.  But, this comes at the end of the unit.  
Currently, when students engage with content in my classroom, they have options in how they work on the same required assignment. This could be a problem set or a lab experiment. In the …

EdCamp Lessons Learned

It's been a couple of weeks since we successfully launched EdCamp Elmbrook. Some of our planning team sat down to look at our survey data and reflect on the successes and some of the challenges.   Over half of our attendees were kind enough to complete our feedback survey.  The data presented below reflects the results of those surveyed. As it is an event we will be continuing in 2018, we hope to build on this year by highlighting what worked and finding ways to address somethings that didn't go as smoothly. 


100% strongly agreed that the registration process was simple and easy.  This is a credit to how wonderfully Eventbrite is in terms of signing up and day of event check-in.  Not to mention our great team who was checking people in. 

100% strongly agreed that the facilities set-up was adequate and appropriate for the event.  This speaks to a couple of areas.  Our custodial staff did an excellent job of setting up the cafeteria.  Tom Juran's students did an wo…

Feed Me: 12 Ed Podcasts to Add to Your PodCatcher

It's been a while sine this original post about my favorite educational podcasts was posted.

Epiphany Learning | Why Podcasts are My Primary Source of Professional Development for Personalized Learning and EdTech It's usually best practice to address the why first, but before we do that we need to be clear on what a podcast is. In the simplest terms, it is an audio program (or it could be video) that is available to download (or stream) to an portable audio player or computer to replay at your convenience.

So, I wanted to take the opportunity to update my list of go to podcasts to stay informed.  There are a few new ones and some others that are still going strong. I'll let the podcasts speak for themselves.

With spring break a week away for us, I'll be catching up on a lot of episodes as I do some spring cleaning in and out of the house. I look forward to catching up with members of my PLN who don't necessarily know me, yet.

EdCamp Elmbrook

On March 25th, we held our first ever EdCamp Elmbrook.  I didn’t realize it then but was reminded that it was something I had initiated 8 months prior in July of 2016. That was a long time ago and it took a lot of work from a lot of different agents to make it happen.

The 1st Step I’ll be happy to take credit for putting forward the idea of running and EdCamp in our district. But without the OK from my building principal Brett Gruetzmacher and our Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Dana Monogue, the idea would have stalled right there and then.

How Do We Put On An EdCamp? As EdCamps continue to increase in their popularity as a form of professional development, more resources are available for educators to learn from others.  The EdCamp Foundation has a wonderful website that helped guide our planning process.

A Great Team Once I got the ok and began searching out planning resources, I sent out a call for help to staff in our district.  I was surprised to see…

Choosy Mos Choose Gifs

Do you ever feel really behind the times?  Well I just recently learned how to use Giphy Labs to make GIFs from YouTube clips.  I've mainly been using them to promote the upcoming EdCamp in our district.  But, I decided they'd be a quick way for me to reflect on some highlights from Part 2 of The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros as a part of the #IMMOOC Community.

Looking forward to making more GIFs as I go.

Space to Innovate


The first lightbulb moment for me when I read The Innovator's Mindset last summer the first insight that really hit me was the idea of an innovation as new and better.  As an educator, I've had the opportunity to iterate with my instruction.  But, I really loved seeing my learners innovate with some of their work this year.

Six weeks ago, I began a new term with physics students.  Our first unit was on electricity.  Our learners we tasked to  build a series/parallel network circuit that performed a function. One group decided to build a boat. They eventually tested it out in a small pool we had in our classroom.

The boat worked quite well and they had completed the task.  But, the learners still had ideas of how they could take their idea further.  With their new knowledge of circuits, they saw how they could increase the power delivered to the motors and increase the speed of the boat.

Our next unit was linear motion.  Our unit design project for this unit was for l…