Monthly Archives: March 2014

Quick and Slow

Today, which is Day 30 of 31 of the Slice of Life Writing Challenge by, I am writing my post from my heart as Lisa, not about technology encounters.  Rather, my encounter has been with my tongue.

What if your words caused someone to quit?  This was the question that my church’s Youth Pastor posed to the congregation last Sunday.  He hooked me with his question.  His words “What if your words caused someone to quit?” continued to reverberate in my mind all week.  He has been working with our middle and high school students on a series called “Speak Life”.

I happen to enjoy Contemporary Christian Music so Toby Mac’s “Speak Life” on the radio plays loudly in my car and on my own children’s playlists.  If you haven’t heard it, here’s a You Tube Version with the lyrics:

For the past few years, I have had the following Scripture taped to my bathroom mirror.  Sometimes I look at it and feel like I’ve been faithful to it.  Other times, not so much.  We have to be quick with our ears and slow with our words which allow us to speak life.  Here it is:

James 1:19 (New Living Translation)

19 “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:  You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”

We have immense power by how we use our words.  The way I grow as a Christian is to Pray to God, read the Word of God in the Bible and Worship God during corporate worship times like at church on Sunday but also Worship with every breath.  Do I honor God with my words or not?  If not, then the Holy Spirit convicts me of my error and gives me a choice.  Repent or continue to live ignoring that I said what I said and bury my feelings about it.  I know that if I don’t deal with my word choices, then my mood is tainted and poisoned, just like the Bible said would happen.  I have placed some verses in this blog post to remind me of why I need to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.  It is not in my human nature to be like this.  As I walk with the Lord Jesus and allow his resurrection power to cleanse my thinking, my words tend to be graceful and humble.  I am thankful that although I have the power to choose my words, my Heavenly Father knows that I need help and will help me to stop when I need to stop.

Proverbs 18:21 “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit; you choose. ” (The Message)

James 3: 2-12 (New Living Translation)

Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.

We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth.

And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong.

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.  But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.

And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish,

but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.

Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.

10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!

11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?

12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

I want my words to inspire.  As a wife, parent, daughter, friend, volunteer and teacher, I am presented with opportunities each hour which allow me to choose whether I will allow words of life to flow and energize or words that hinder to poison a relationship.  The way I respond to my family and my coworkers has tremendous power to cause them to joyfully carry on or to possibly lose heart and quit.   My prayer today is that I would be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  When I do speak, those around me will know the condition of my heart because ultimately, I speak what is in my heart.

Luke 6:45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

Celebrating Encouragement and Faith

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.Discover. Play. Build.

It is Day 29 of the Slice of Life Writing Challenge by  I am also linking up today with to celebrate how Slicers and Ruth Ayres have encouraged me.

Thank you to the Slice of Life Bloggers who have shared moments from their lives (slices) in their blogs and to Ruth Ayres in her inspirational 40 Stories Blog Postings.  I hope you will check the blogs out.

When I decided to start blogging  last summer, I focused my blog on the topic of teaching with technology.  I have enjoyed posting about my growth as a teacher and describing the projects that I’ve done.  Although I will continue to post about my teaching, I have realized that I have other stories to tell from participating in the Slice of Life Writing Challenge. As I read posts from teachers who have, as Lucy Calkins would say, “found the lion in the marble”, I see that they can craft scenes from their days with such focus, eloquence and reflection.  I wish that I could do more of what they have done.  Due to the insightful words of the Slice of Life Writing Community, I have decided that I will post words that are helpful, even if they aren’t directly related to Teaching or Technology.  Ultimately, I am a person, not only a teacher, who has been shaped into the person I am by my experiences.  I think that it is time for me to share my experiences not just about technology, but also about life.

Last Sunday as my family drove to our church, it was clear that police had partitioned off part of the road to allow runners to participate in a special event run.  It must have begun early like around 8:00.  We were driving down this road that began to have some turns and began to slant downhill.  About 9:30, when our car drove down this path, I noticed one last runner.  My eyes locked on her.  Her face, red and tired, told her story.  A police car was driving right behind her.  Suddenly, I realized, she’s the last runner.  The police were trying to open the road to oncoming traffic apparently in the next few minutes, but were patiently and slowly maneuvering the police car behind the runner.  I don’t know the runner but I would imagine, she would have taken a break if she could have.  Like the friend of Ruth Ayers in Ruth’s post on Thursday, March 27, this runner must have hated quitting more than she hated running.   Our car passed her, but I knew that soon the road would not be uphill for her, and she would be turning in to a neighborhood where the police were also waiting.  If she could just not lose faith in herself, then she would make it.

I have envisioned her face all week.  Sure, it’s okay to give yourself some rest and refresh time, but her stamina has given me great resolve to continue.  I think it is important to have a plan when you feel discouraged.  One of my friends told me recently, “Don’t lose heart.  You just need to laugh.”  So maybe, I need to be able to zoom in on joy instead of the weight of the world being on my shoulders on those kinds of days.  I also hate quitting more than I hate doing tasks so I usually continue, but the reality is, there are days when I feel like the red faced runner, when every step is uphill and no end is in sight.

Knowing that others were reading my blog posts during the Slice of Life Writing Challenge and that some of them commented on my words, gave me motivation to continue writing each day.  I have had to persevere when my life was busy and my body was tired, but I have pressed on and been a writer for 29 days in a row. Being a part of a writing community is a unique experience.  The stories that the March Slicers shared have been heartfelt and demonstrate a commendable commitment to writing.  I really enjoy reading the posts written daily during March by the people who are participating in the Slice of Life Writing Challenge.  I also look back from Day 1 and realize that I have a publicly documented record on my blog of what I have done.  I may not have written zoomed in, focused moments from my days, but I wrote about topics that grew from my teaching day.  I allowed my experiences to push me because I didn’t want to abandon the Writing Challenge for 31 Days.

I appreciate the time that Slicers in the Slice of Life Writing Challenge and that Ruth Ayres have given to writing.  Ruth, in particular, has caused me to think deeply  especially about Faith in her 13th of 40 Stories during the Lent Season at her blog.  In her March 19 post  on Faith, she reminded me that I only need to have a small bit of faith for it to grow into larger faith.  She referenced the Bible and Matthew 13:32:  “Though it is the smallest of all your seeds (as a mustard seed), yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree so that the bird of the air come and perch in it branches.”  I have had to have Faith that I would be able to rise above challenges as I pursued uncertain paths in life.  Every day, I have to have faith that God will guide and provide for me.  Sometimes I let myself hear statements in my mind that aren’t true about myself and that are discouraging.  I have to remind myself that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me as I have faith that He IS and that He will reward me for seeking Him in prayer and in my actions.

I  know that my faith in God is my anchor.  Faith weaves into my thinking to prompt me into a wholeness mentality.  I have questions and concerns, however, my Faith allows me to trust God and leave all the consequences to Him.  Life brings brokenness in many forms and can cause us to wonder if we will ever have our prayers answered.   Because of my Faith, I can say that God will make a way where there seems to be no way.  I am so thankful that I began my faith journey as a small child and have held on to Faith even in my darkest hours.  There will be many uncertainties in life, but with faith, I can move mountains instead of giving up.

Thank you, Slice of Life Organizers and all of the Slicers, for your encouragement to tell my story and to Ruth for the reminder to have  faith.  Even the tiniest seed of faith will bloom as God pours his Spirit into us and our circumstances.  Discouragement leads to disillusionment and despair.  I choose to see my life through the lens of faith which leads to hope fulfilled.  I hope you will be encouraged and hold on to Faith.

Filling Buckets

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.

This is Day 29 of 31 of the Slice of Life Writing Challenge by

Have you heard about the idea of filling someone’s bucket with words that build up?  The opposite of this idea is tearing down people with our words.  Stress levels are high as high stakes testing season is upon us.  Complaining about Common Core State Standards and other state testing can develop an atmosphere of negativity.  We have to work within the parameters that are given to us and earn our paychecks.  As a result, I prefer to discuss challenges about testing while also celebrating the good that is coming from teaching using Common Core State Standards.

I am hoping to find ways to encourage my coworkers during April and May to help them as they are giving all they’ve got and pouring into the lives of students.  I also like to give students opportunities to fill each others’ buckets with friendly words.  Some teachers have buckets with kids’ names on them so that other children can leave messages in their boxes.  My principal encourages the staff to write encouraging notes on printed Eagle Feather sheets and give to each other.  My school’s mascot is an eagle so the Eagle Feather sheets are posted all around the desks of teachers.  People really appreciate a pat on the back and acknowledgement of something that they have done.  I have put a link here to a Pinterest Board with great Bucket Filling Ideas:

I love the idea of filling someone’s bucket or their mental space with positive messages.  There are two books that I have used to get students to realize that they can either fill another person’s bucket or take away from their bucket.  I have included pictures of them in this post.



When I entered a classroom today to do my technology lesson, I saw that the teacher had given students little felt flags to place on their pencils to remind them of a job well done.   This teacher filled the mental buckets of her students in a unique way.  The student was so proud to share the flag with me on his pencil.  I love it when teachers honor students with their words or with small gifts of appreciation such as the little flag like the one below.


I have spoken about the power of positive words in my post.  I know that I am always honored when others say something nice to me or about me.  I get to park in a VIP parking spot next week because my principal shared my special honor that I blogged about on March 22, 2014 with the staff today in his weekly school newsletter.  This is what he wrote:

VIP Parking

  • Congratulations to Lisa Maples on being selected a 2014 PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator. She is one of 100 educators across the country that will take part in the virtual trainings where she will learn about innovative instructional strategies, digital technology/media best practices, and tools/resources that can be immediately applied to the classroom. What a great honor!

My principal filled my bucket and made my day especially after I have been out of my Computer Lab for two weeks on a cart.  Today was the last day of going from room to room on my iPad cart.  I am excited about teaching in my own space next week!  Bucket Filling fuels my energy.  What are ways that you have had your bucket filled or filled your students’ buckets?


WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
SHARE a link to your post in the comments section.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
GIVE comments to at least three other SOLSC bloggers.


This is Day 27 of 31 of the Slice of a Life Writing Challenge from

Last night, I participated in three webinars hosted by  A team from a website called EdCite presented on the resources found at their site.  I would like to highlight some ideas that have resonated with me as I serve up my slice of knowledge from the EdCite Team.  As we approach the final quarter of the school year, teachers will find great test prep resources.

First, the EdCite team shared the Depth of Knowledge Circle Chart found here:

Depth of Knowledge Chart

They placed boxes around words on the Depth of Knowledge Circle Chart such as the following:

Level One Words (Recall):  Define, Name, Recall

Level Two Words (Skill/Concept):  Infer, Graph, Predict, Interpret, Distinguish

Level Three Words (Strategic Thinking):  Develop a Logical Argument, Cite Evidence

Level Four Words (Extended Thinking):  Create, Prove

Whether a teacher is teaching using the Common Core State Standards or not, the Level 3 and 4 Words are powerful.  As 21st Century Learners, our students need to be able to take a stand on a topic, justify their reasoning, and cite evidence from applicable sources.  They suggested that teachers could make multi-step multiple choice assignments that require students to read a passage from a text then have to answer a Part A and Part B Question.  For example, Part A of the question might read, “Circle the sentence that explains what might happen …” then Part B might read, “Circle the sentence from the text that supports your answer in Part A.”  This type of rigor built in to students reading lives would help them as they strategically think about text.

Second, EdCite studied types of questions that will appear in Smarter Balanced Assessments based on Common Core State Standards.  I took some screen shots of two circle graphs which show the types of questions on English Language Arts and Math tests.


It is interesting to me that in ELA, 64% of the text is Multiple Choice which means that there could be multi-step Part A and Part B-like questions.  Now that I am aware of this, I can design reading and writing assignments that ask students to respond in Part A and Part B format.  I plan to do more of this as I assign articles from Newsela or DogoNews to my students.  I will ask them to defend their position and write blog entries where they will develop a logical argument and cite evidence from the text.  Other students will respond to  the blogs by giving feedback on how well constructed their argument and how well  they cited evidence.   Incorporating more opportunities for students to explain their reasoning will be a goal of mine.

Third, I discovered EdCite’s website for the first time and the tremendous resources found there.  They have created multiple choice questions about reading passages by making them multi-select (Part A and Part B) or by having students cite evidence throughout the questions that they have placed on their site.  Teachers can make assignments for students using the resources at EdCite, send the link to students, or have students join the class by having them sign in with a Class Code.  Teachers can find assignments built by other teachers in their library and share their own creations with other teachers.  Teachers can customize for their classes by changing assignments easily to fit the needs of their classes by adding, editing or deleting questions that appear from other teachers.  See an example from a Fable at their website.

Fourth, they recommended giving students performance tasks that are directed by a specific goal or outcome, require students to use a wide range of skills and knowledge and help students make connections between the content they’re learning and the real world.  These performance tasks move students to deeper depths of knowledge on the Depth of Knowledge Circle Chart. In one math example that they gave, they shared two students’ thinking about a math problem and then asked students to decide who was correct and explain their reasoning.

To see an examples of Performance Tasks , visit EdCite and the following places:

The New York City Department of Education has great resources on Performance Tasks found here:

The Smarter Balanced website also has many performance tasks for every grade.

Fifth, they suggested Inquiry Based Learning and Project-Based Learning that is driven by a guiding question.  When teachers start a lesson by posing questions, problems or scenarios, rather than presenting facts, then students construct their own knowledge causing them to be heavily vested in the process of learning.  The guiding questions can be answered throughout a project as students dig deeper into Level 3 and 4 Knowledge Levels.  They provided a link that has Project Based Learning suggestions:

I welcome online tools that can help me design assessments such as EdCite and look forward to using it.  I hope you will check it out too.



Go Animate

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.

This is Day 26 of 31 of the Slice of Life Writing Challenge from  I have created a GoAnimate video below to illustrate an afternoon that I had recently.  My students love to use GoAnimate to create digital stories.

“Mrs. Maples, can I please use GoAnimate?” begged a fifth grade boy to me this week.  I introduced the GoAnimate website to my fourth grade class last year and this boy who asked me this week was in my class last year.  He wanted to share information about Ecosystems that he had researched using Discovery Education’s website and present it with the tools found at GoAnimate.  I loved that he remembered this awesome Web 2.0 tool that allowed him to create, communicate, collaborate with a friend to write a script and critically think about the proper settings, characters, props, dialect and dialogue to get his point across.  As I remember, he and his buddy created an entertaining description of the California Gold Rush of 1849.  Since I am now his Technology Teacher, I have decided to allow him to use GoAnimate for his Ecosystem presentation.

I have created a GoAnimate presentation below for your review.  Click on the link and you’ll get to my “Tooth Break” Go Animate movie.  I created it using stick figures.  It zooms in on a trying afternoon that I had from this past week.  I hope you’ll create a free account and get your students to write scripts to tell a story digitally!

Tooth Break by lisa.maples on GoAnimate


Notable News Sites

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs. This is Day 25 of 31 of the Slice of Life Writing Challenge by  I decided to focus on news websites for children today.  Have you ever been checking email or online and then your eyes see a compelling news headline?  I find that many times, I seek out other articles about the topic. I like to know what is going on in the world so that I can talk about current events or at least be knowledgeable about the events. There is something about being able to talk to others about a shared topic in the news that makes me feel connected to them.  I watch the CBS Evening News or my local news station a couple of times a week, but sometimes feel that the images shown can be disturbing and cause alarm in children.   There are some kid friendly news websites that present current events in a child friendly way to allow kids to be a part of the global conversation in the news.  It is my hope to be able to expose my students to a variety of reading material to get them involved and invested in real topics that matter to our world.  My Slice of Life Today will share three of my favorite kid news sites.

I have written before about the power of news in the lives of kids by discussing Class DOGO. I typically have my fourth and fifth graders read articles from the Class DOGO website and blog about them.  I love the idea of asking about the central theme of the article and why they thought the author wrote about the event.  They can describe their reasons for agreeing or disagreeing.  Students can acquire new vocabulary words by reading the unfamiliar and challenging words from the Vocabulary list at the end of the article, seeking out the synonyms and antonyms of the vocabulary words and creating new sentences while using the vocabulary.  There is always a picture and sometimes a You Tube Video to accompany each picture so students could select their favorite picture in the article and describe it in their own words.  Some of the articles could prompt students to research other related topics and allow them to dig deeper into a topic.  I have placed a link to the following article at the fifth grade tab at my school website:

This article describes special glowing balls that someone has designed to light up the typhoon affected area of the Phillipines.  Bioluminescent plankton, which is found in the waters off the coast of the Phillipines, is being used to make the balls glow at night, providing light where there is no electricity.  I look forward to sharing it with my fifth graders and having them describe ways that they would want to help others affected by a typhoon.

I have recently discovered a News app for kids called News-o-Matic.  I have included some screenshots below of what this app has to offer.  It is a daily news feed written in kid friendly language that describes current events.  Some kids will love to read nonfiction and devour it as they open each article.  They can even see how far they are on a map between their hometown and the town where the news event is located.  There is a small subscription fee associated with this app, but it is well worth it.  There is a tab that gives suggestions on what to do if the news disturbs you which is a nice feature to help kids process daily events that could possibly be upsetting.  There are five new stories written about every day.  Children can have the articles read aloud to them and draw or write in response to the articles.  The Daily Teacher’s Guide includes Lexile reading levels, Common Core State Standards correlations, assessment questions, and graphic organizers.  In addition, there are discussion prompts and comprehension questions to help reinforce a range of knowledge across academic subjects. imageimage Finally, I wanted to give attention to the Newsela website for kids.  This website rewrites the same article in at least four different Lexile ranges.  I like this because the teacher may want to have the entire class read about a topic but be able to personalize the reading more because she can assign a Lexile Level to each child based on her reading assessments.  Students can open the website then click on the appropriate reading lexile level.  All students can respond to writing prompts and discussion about the article but can read the level that is the best fit for each child.  Take a look at the following link to see an interesting article on the benefits of dark chocolate and click on the various Lexile Levels to experience differences in text that you will see on screen:

Teachers have to enroll in a free account with Newsela and give their class a code to get into the site to read articles.

I love that kids can access news and be able to explore nonfiction closely through the news websites that I have shared today.  Tapping in to the interests of students is paramount to encouraging them to want to read and comprehend text.  Class Dogo, News-o-Matic and Newsela each provide their own unique way to present current events to children.  I hope you will check them out!

Stickiness Factor

This is Day 24 of 31 of the Slice of Life Writing Challenge at

Kathy Schrock spoke at the NCTIES Conference two weeks ago on the topic of Digital Storytelling.  I decided to blog about my notes that I took and what the notes have begun to mean to me especially as I design digital storytelling lessons.

Instead of traditional marketing, companies are using storytelling to captivate our attention on television. Have you seen Leo Sandcastle created by the NFL? Take a look at

Storytelling in commercials is conversational and appears real not staged. The intent is to quickly jar the viewer into an awareness of the topic and compel the viewer to action.

Students are accustomed to teachers talking during lessons, but what if teachers prepared digital stories to captivate and compel our student viewers to action? The simpler the story, then the more likely it will stick. Malcolm Gladwell talked about the Stickiness Factor in which stories have to be memorable in order to stick to our hearts and minds. Students check out on teachers when teachers talk and lecture. The teacher should have a plan as to the kind of story that she wants kids to see. The story should make an impact and touch hearts during the first five minutes so that the audience will be hooked.

Annette Simmons discusses empathy and sensory detail in stories to connect with readers or viewers. The story should include:

A compelling narrative
Provide meaningful content
Use images
Employ music and sound effects
Involve thoughtful reflection

The University of Houston has a digital storytelling section of their website.  I especially like the “Spies of the Revolutionary War” clip.  After watching an example or two from the website, students could be inspired to write a script and story for a picture from history. These great examples of digital storytelling from history will hook students and engage their brains!

I like that students could also create their own digital stories after researching a topic, writing a script, gathering images and putting it all together. I have spoken in previous posts about the power of iMovies, but would like to share how much I love using iMovie Trailers in my classes. I have included a link to some iMovie templates that I use to help students as they plan their storyboards with  iMovie Trailers. Having students generate their own digital stories in 30 Hands app, Tellagami app or iMovie has given my students the chance to consider their audience and share the most captivating information.

As Catherine Courage said in the You Tube video above, “Embrace, empower and insist on creativity” through digital storytelling as you design lessons and as you have students tell their stories.  I want to enable my students to ignite their audience’s passion, emotion and vision while leaving the audience wanting more.  If I can teach my students to empathize and put themselves in the shoes of the ones who will be watching their digital stories, then I believe they will embrace creativity.


Fake Tweets

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for slice of life stories here at TWT. GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories/blogs.

This is Day 23 of 31 of the Slice of Life Writing Challenge by  I started following educators on Twitter last April as soon as I became a Twitter user.  Due to people whom I follow on Twitter, I am just a click away from Professional Development.  There is always someone sharing a thought, website or idea on Twitter that has led me to seek out their comment and explore the resources that they provide.  I also glean and absorb as I join in with Twitter Chats. Students need to be able to communicate clearly via social media such as Twitter so I have put together lessons on how to teach them to tweet. Today I will share a digital storytelling tool known as Fake Tweets!

I love the Fake Tweet tool at  It allows students to create a 140 character tweet, but has the words “Twister” at the top of the page instead of Twitter.  Students would not be typing in Twitter so no real Twitter account is needed.  There are so many other fabulous writing tools at, but I decided to focus on the Fake Tweet tool.

My 4th grade students have been exploring the people and events involving the Edenton Tea Party which took place in a coastal North Carolina town called Edenton in 1774.  In case you haven’t heard, historians believe that it was the first organized political protest by women in the American colonies.  My students researched this event by reading about it at various websites including a PDF from the North Carolina Museum of History.  Here is a link to it:

Students also found names of the original 51 women who attended the Edenton Tea Party which was organized by Penelope Barker and whose husband worked as a colonial agent for the King of England in N.C. in 1774.  Penelope Barker had been inspired by the events of the Boston Tea Party and went door to door asking women to join her at the home of Elizabeth King to protest the King’s Tea Act which demanded that colonists only purchase tea from the East India Tea Company which, by the way, was partly owned by the King.  The women gathered, wrote a letter of protest to the King, signed their names, sipped on tea that they had made from mulberry leaves, and burned any remaining tea that they had from the East India Tea Company.  These ladies took a stand and decided to boycott tea from England to draw attention to the monopoly that the King and his company had on colonists.

My students will be pretending to have been at the Edenton Tea Party and writing a script for themselves to read aloud into the 30 Hands app.  They will choose an image representing the Edenton Tea Party after doing a Google Advanced Image Search, then will record their voices describing the event while they read their script.  They will also create a fake tweet from the women who attended the event and from Thomas Barker, the husband of Penelope.  They will import the Fake Tweets into the slides that make up their 30 Hands app presentation.  Crafting a 140 character tweet will be a challenge since Fake Tweets will cut them off at the end of 140 characters.

I made two tweets to show students and have placed them below.  I will have students launch into using iPads, tap on Fake Tweets, then impersonate an Edenton Tea Party woman or Thomas Barker by generating a Username, composing a 140 character tweet and typing the year.  They will save the image and insert it into their 30 Hands app presentation.  Students don’t need to create an account in 30 Hands app to be able to use it.  Their presentations in 30 Hands app can be saved to the iPad’s camera roll then inserted into an iMovie.  I will have students reply to Fake Tweets  that their classmates create from the perspective of a London newspaper who made fun of the women for being involved in politics in the 1770’s.  Fake Tweets will continue as the Edenton Tea Party attendees respond back through a Fake Tweet.  Multiple perspectives will be explored through this unique writing experience!

The possibilities are endless as students create Fake Tweets from the perspective of historical figures.  My students have also studied the Greensboro, N.C. Sit-Ins during the 1960s.  I also plan to have them make a 30 Hands app and/or Fake Tweets from the Sit-Ins.  In addition, they could create Fake Tweets from the perspective of the Wright Brothers who successfully tested their aircraft on the banks of Kitty Hawk, N.C.  The N.C. Museum of History’s website is full of information about famous people who impacted N.C. and the larger society.  I would love to have my students continue to explore people from the past and have them create Fake Tweets from those people’s points of view.  Our fourth graders will be doing an all day field trip to Raleigh, N.C. this coming week where they will visit the N.C. Museum of History among other places.  I hope that they will return excited to have seen people of their state in the Museum which will lead to some amazing Fake Tweets!



Every year from March 31 through April 15, you can follow @titanic_live on Twitter where you will see events that led up to the Titanic disaster.  Someone relives the moments from the Titanic by pretending to have been on the ship.  I have never followed it before, but plan to do so this year.   I think that I will share the Twitter feed from @titanic_live by archiving the Tweets in Storify.  I will not only be able to show a multiday event in history through Tweets, but also be able to use the Tweets as a mentor text.  Students would analyze the verbs that are chosen to describe action then carefully craft their own Fake Tweets about an event from history or from recent history using articles from or from CNN Student News.  Many of our upper grade teachers are using Newsela with students which has Lexile leveled reading passages for students to read about current events.  I hope that students will get a feel for how to communicate via Twitter while succinctly sharing glimpses from history.

It’s Official: I’m a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator!

This is Day 22 of the 31 Days of the Slice of Life Writing Challenge by Two Writing Teachers.
I am also linking with as a way to celebrate some exciting news that I received!
This past week, I received the following email:

On behalf of PBS LearningMedia and Charlotte PBS/WTVI, your local PBS station, I am thrilled to share that you have been selected to serve as one of the 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators! Your application stood out above the rest and overwhelming demonstrated your tech-savvy skills and passion for integrating digital media and technology in the classroom. Welcome to the 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators Program!

About the Program:

As a 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, you will receive national recognition, a year of professional development and training, access to exclusive resources, and membership into a robust professional learning community. 

Congratulations again on this tremendous accomplishment! We look forward to working with you over the next year!

I copied and pasted just a bit of the email to let my blog readers in on the celebration.  Honestly, I didn’t know if I would be in the running for the Digital Innovator Program or not.  I had blogged about my entry process about a month ago.  Now that I have been accepted, I plan to keep my day job as K-5 Technology Teacher and receive training during the next year from PBS LearningMedia  to help me grow and develop.  I look forward to working with PBS LearningMedia as a Digital Innovator!


Celebrating Digitally Published Books


This is Day 21 of 31 of the Slice of Life Writing Challenge by

I looked forward to Friday afternoon all week. One of my first grade classes was ready to have its Writing Celebration after creating their digital books using the website in my Computer Lab classroom. This site, which also has an app called Book Press, allowed my students to generate How To Books after composing their How To Books on paper with their homeroom teacher.

The kids read each others’ digital books on iPads today and gave compliments on index cards.  The teacher had asked me to not correct their spelling and allow it to be published using their invented spelling that kids had composed on paper.  I gave each student a roll of Smarties candy as my way of celebrating their hard work.  The excitement of students was evident as they joyfully commented on their friends’ digital books.  I love how that kids light up when their writing is shared!

The books will be shared also with students’ families. Their teacher will send families a class code and password that she created when she set up her class account. Students have unique usernames so kids will be able to log in at home to share their books. Parents could choose to purchase a hard copy of the book too. Here are a few images of the How To Books: