Posted in education, innovation

Mobile Classrooms

bookmobilAs a kid, I loved when the bookmobile came to our neighborhood.  Living far away from a library, summer became a lonely place without a school library.  That weekly bus filled with wonder would show up at a local park and I’d run to get my weekly fix of The Happy Hollisters.  Our bookmobile wasn’t fancy, just a white bus with a bunch of books on shelves.

The learning came to me.  I sat on the ground outside the busy and the bus driver/librarian read us a book, then we hopped on board.  That mobile classroom was one of the reasons I cherished reading.

As I learn more and more about the science of learning, I have wondered a great deal about mobile classrooms.  Exciting busses filled with wonder.  The school bus would not take students to the school, it could be the school.  For students who don’t have access to the same experiences of some of their counterparts, this could be an equalizer.

Looking at this article, there are many of these mobile classrooms.  These classmobile learning labrooms could reach students where they are.  Enhancing their education by offering weekend MakerSpaces at a local park, STEM labs parked on a street.  Meeting students where they are and offering highly engaging activities is a great way to help us assure equity in education.

Have you seen Mobile Classrooms?  If so do tell me about it!


Posted in education, makerspace

#MakerSpace Playground


According to the article Why MakerSpaces are the key to innovation,  “This focus on hands-on creative learning is one of the reasons why maker spaces are seen by educators as being a key to innovation and an ideal method for equipping students to succeed in the future.”

Today our librarian Tania, the author of Tenacious Tiny Librarian, my fellow coaches and I set up a MakerSpace playground.  We’re super excited to help teachers see how MakeSpace can be a way to help enhance instruction build problem-solving skills in students.

Here is Tania promoting our MakerSpace Playground on Twitter.

Here we are showing our Texas History teachers how to help students demonstrate their learning using Bloxel.

Makerspace is such a great movement in education.  Students are excited to learn, they work hard to complete a task and they enjoy the hands-on experiences.  Each experience helps to build students’ problem-solving skills, makes them gritty and enhances their learning.

MakerSpace is quickly becoming one of my favorite places!  Let’s start making!



Posted in education, Learning standards

Saturday Study and Standards

sbg2I’m taking part in the #IMMOOC Challenge.  My challenge to myself during this process is to make my learning more visible and to be a little more vulnerable by just posting and not rewriting all of my blogs.

Every Saturday since I can remember, I’ve gotten up and read or studied something.  Today, my #SaturdayStudy has been on standards-based grading. (SBG)

I like the theory behind SBG.  Instead of an arbitrary number, the stuspg1dent is told their mastery of a standard.  That to me seems more valuable to me as a teacher and as a parent, but more so as a student. I’ve grown particularly fond of the “riding a bicycle chart” to describe the mastery of a standard.

I’ve read this article from ASCD on the subject, and it has given me an overview of the subject of SBG.  In my current school district, we’re using SBG in elementary schools, with the plan to move it into intermediate schools in a couple of years.

I’m particularly fond of the self-reflection piece of SBG.  As educators, we talk so much about learning, we need to make sure we’re helping our students learn more about it as well.

Learning is a process that isn’t stagnant; it doesn’t end when one receives a spgdiploma.  One of the effects I can see of SBG is that students will learn to master the standard, not just look for a grade on a report card.

My question for my PLN – do you have suggestions on what I should read about SBG?  What are your thoughts on SBG?  Please leave me a comment and let me know.

Posted in education

Thoughtful Reflection

imThis week I’ll begin to take part in the #IMMOOC challenge.  This challenge includes the reading (or rereading) of the book The Innovator’s Mindset, taking part in multiple challenges and reflecting via blog posts.  This blog post is part of the challenge.

I enjoy blogging but will admit that at times I find my blogs go unpublished.  If you were to look in my drafts you’d see a myriad of amazing topics ready to publish.  I’m just not sure they are perfect.

This leads me to think – blogging isn’t about being perfect, but instead is a mindful reflection amongst colleagues.  Blogging is more about me reflecting to become a better leader, coach, and educator.educator-as-lead-learner

To become the best coach I can be I need to model the learning journey.

I’m looking forward to this journey – and I promise to pull some of the past blog posts that are in hiding out for all to see!  (I will check my spelling and word choice first!!)

Posted in education, innovation, technology

Empowering Students

socialjusticeBeing a student today is a much different experience than most adults experienced.  As educators, we have to realize that today’s students need an experience that empowers them.  What students don’t need is to have information shoveled into their heads, instead, they need to learn to create and optimize the tools they have to make a difference in the world.

Technology now allows all of us to be global learners and social change agents.  The walls of our classrooms are now a physical barrier that we can overcome.  As we talk about the need to help students develop core values, our students can learn about how those values make a global impact.

For example, I recently discussed with a group of teachers the impact that Skype can have in a classroom.  Skype is very simple to use but allows students to connect with others across the globe.  I’ve worked with a teacher who facilitated a discussion among students in Texas with students in Brasil.  What a powerful experience for her students.

Our community is still rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey.  I’m now part of a Facebook technologygroup created to send books to our campus, I’ve seen and taken part in Flipgrid videos that are created to uplift our students in this very difficult time.  The outpouring of love from those around the world to help our students has emphasized how technology can be used to empower others to make a positive difference in the world.

I recently had a discussion with a colleague about our views on the ever-changing role of schools in our community.  Our original university education programs didn’t prepare us for the evolution of the new school.

Like most careers, research and advancements in technology have taken us to new and exciting heights in the understanding of the child and how best to serve them in classrooms.  Using the classroom as a way to empower students to see themselves as agents of change makes the classroom relevant, years after the lesson has been taught.