Author Archives: ConnectAndExtend

Summer 2014 (July): Self-Directed PD through Webinars

July was a month full of learning new tools and strategies!
I enjoyed live webinars, an on-demand webinar and an online course.

SimpleK12 Live Webinars

{July 10}

Focus: Organizational & Time-Saving Tools

Keep Yourself Organized with LiveBinders (presenter: Jerry Swiatek) [994]

Classroom Management: Quick and Simple Fixes (presenter: Monica Burns) [857]

Save Time and Increase Student Engagement with Paperless Grading (presenter: Shervette Miller-Payton) [1072]

Cite This: Two Free Tools that Make Citing Sources Easy! (presenter: Kim Munoz) [815]

Simplify Grading, Stay Organized, and More with Edmodo! (presenter: Kim Munoz) [1172]

Creating Review Games with Free Web Tools (presenter: David Faure) [1082]


{July 16}

Focus: Digital Storytelling

Students Sharing Stories Through Digital Storytelling (presenter: Shelly Terrell) [800]

Foster Creativity and Innovation with Digital Storytelling (presenter: Jerry Swiatek) [1046]

Publishing Digital Books: Making Students’ Work Come Alive (presenter: Kim Munoz) [1047]

Create Digital Personas with Talking Avatars (presenter: Kim Munoz) [1057]

Inspire Creativity and Presentation Skills with a New Kind of Puppet Show (presenter: Carol Nelson) [1114]


{July 21}

Focus: Flipping the Classroom

Why Should You Flip Your Classroom? An Introduction (presenter: Monica Burns) [1120]

Locating Materials for Your Flipped Classroom: It’s Easier than You Think (presenter: Monica Burns) [1179]

Flipping Your Classroom: It’s Easy with Khan Academy (presenter: Nikki Robertson) [718]

Screencasts Made Easy: Create and Share Your Own Tutorials (presenter: Kim Munoz) [868]

Create Interactive Videos for Flipping Your Class (presenter: Jose Popoff) [759]


{July 29}

Focus: Google Tools

Make Google Forms Work for You! (presenter: Jayme Linton) [789]

Get on Track and Stay There with Google Calendar! (presenter: Jayme Linton) [788]

Using Google Docs Presentation Tools to Construct Knowledge (presenter: Susan Oxnevad) [628]


SimpleK12 On-Demand Webinar

{July 25}

Net Smart: How to Thrive Online (presenter: Howard Rheingold) [163]


TeacherCast University ( online course

{July 23}

Remind (formerly Remind101)


Looking forward to more learning, connecting and extending in August!

Leave a comment

Posted by on 9 August 2014 in EdTech, Self-Directed PD


Summer 2014 (June): Self-Directed PD through Webinars

Another big thank-you to and the wonderful presenters for keeping my summer learning in full swing!

SimpleK12 presentations are high-quality, up-to-date, and packed with tips and suggestions. Their motto is “PD in your PJs”!

Many more webinars on the July calendar. Looking forward to more learning, connecting and extending!

Here are the webinars I benefited from during the month of June:

{June 10}

Focus: Personalized Learning and Differentiated Instruction

Transforming Education with Personalized Learning and Differentiated Instruction (presenter: Naomi Harm) [1119]
Differentiate Instruction and Energize Lessons with QR Codes (presenter: Monica Burns) [1149]
Digital Differentiation: Tools to Support Flexible Learning Paths for Personalized Learning (presenter: Susan Oxnevad) [1117]
Lessons That Talk: Create Differentiated and Online Lessons with Screencasts (Screencast-o-Matic) and Audio (presenter: Kim Munoz) [594]
Ready to Differentiate: Ways to Share Your Screencasts, Videos, and Digital Materials (presenter: Kim Munoz) [1165]
Support Learning for All Students: Exploring the UDL Guidelines (presenter: Matt Bergman) [990]

{June 12}

Overview of Symbaloo and useful free web tools (presenter: Lori Maldonado) [700]
{June 18}

Focus: Digital Storytelling

Foster Creativity and Innovation with Digital Storytelling (presenter: Jerry Swiatek) [1046]
Picture This: Grabbing Attention with Talking Pictures (presenter: Carol Nelson) [1054]
Facilitate a Writing Workshop Using Google Docs (presenterSusan Oxnevad) [937]
Tell an Interactive Story with Timelines (presenter: Melissa Edwards) [1048] {The presenter was unavailable; SimpleK12 generously provided 1-week access to the recording of her previous webinar.}
Using Digital Storytelling on the iPad to Foster Key Skills  (presenter: Jenna Linskens) [1105]
{June 24}

Focus: Google Tools

Productivity and Collaboration in the Cloud with Google Drive (presenter: Kyle Pace) [1086]
Simplify Data Collection and Documentation with Google Forms (presenter: Monica Burns) [1140]
Going Google: The Quick Start Guide to Getting Started with Google Tools (Kimberly Thompson of SimpleK12) [120] and [1088]
Save Time and Simplify Your Grading (presenter: Kim Munoz) [769]
Make Collaboration Easy with Google Presentations and Spreadsheets (presenter: Kim Munoz) [804]
Improve Writing Skills Using Digital Writing and Google Docs (presenterSusan Oxnevad) [1091]

Summer 2014 (May): Self-Directed PD through Webinars

A big thanks goes out to for jumpstarting my summer PD!

The SimpleK12 presentations are high-quality, up-to-date, and packed with tips and suggestions. Their motto is “PD in your PJs”!
I’ve registered for many more SimpleK12 live webinars in June and July. Looking forward to more learning, connecting and extending!

Here are the webinars I enjoyed during the month of May:

SimpleK12 On-Demand Webinar

{completed May 24}

Flubaroo (presenter: Kim Munoz)

Use this tool to automate grading of multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank tests created in Google Forms. Then email the grades to your students. You can use it to review overall grades using averages, charts and graphs.


SimpleK12 Live Webinars

{completed May 31}

Go Google for Presentations (presenter: Tia Simmons) [1085]

Going Google: The Quick Start Guide to Getting Started with Google Tools (presenter: Kimberly Thompson) [120]

Time-saving Forms, Surveys, and Quizzes with Google Forms (presenter: Kim Munoz) [784]

Google Documents: Getting Better All the Time! (presenter: Thomas Petra) [1162]

Use Google Apps to Improve Communication with Parents (presenter: Shervette Miller-Payton) [597]

10 Google Search Tips to Help You Find the Info You Need (presenter: Paula Naugle) [1007]




Inventory of Course Readings for Urban Teacher Prep Program

Inventory of Course Readings

As I’m getting very close to the shared responsibility of teaching and instruction as a student teacher, followed by the full responsibility of being the teacher-of-record come Fall 2014, I’ve been taking a look back at syllabi, papers and course readings from my post-baccalaureate urban-teacher preparation program.

When current teachers learn that I’m working toward earning certification to be a grades 6-12 World Language teacher, they sometimes ask about what textbooks and authors we are assigned in courses now.

I decided to take an inventory of the readings and videos that have been assigned in my coursework. These are pieces that I’ve read (or viewed), discussed, annotated in the margins, cited and pondered. I’ve been introduced to some great thinkers and I’m sure that I’ll refer back to many of these readings to help me develop deeper insights. I even follow some of the authors and organizations now on Twitter or via their blogs and e-newsletters.

Here is the inventory starting with the most recent:

EDUC 5297: Teaching and Learning in the Middle School
Fall 2013

Powell, S. (2005) Introduction to Middle School

Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children

Additional articles/book chapters authored by Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE), King and Gurian (the minds of boys), King and Gurian (the brain – his and hers), Gorski (myth of culture of poverty), Rothstein (whose problem is poverty?), Anfara (effectiveness of middle grades teachers), Feistritzer (profile of U.S. teacher), Auerbach (Latino families), Fisher et al. (background knowledge), Igel and Urquhart (Generation Z and cooperative learning), Willis (cooperative learning is brain turn-on), Johnson and Smith (RtI in a middle school), Wilhelm and Wilhelm (inquiring minds learn to read, write, and think), Buffum et al. (RtI), Patterson et al. (inclusion classroom and differentiated instruction), Tomlinson (goals of differentiation), Wormelli (differentiating for tweens), Rice (surviving the first year).

EDUC 5540: Philosophy of Education
Summer 2013

Dewey, J. (1997 reprint) Experience and Education

Freire, P. (1993) Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 20th Anniversary ed.

Gordon, L. (2007) Disciplinary Decadence: Living Thought in Trying Times

EDUC 6040: Introduction to Learning and Assessment
Spring 2013

Stiggins, R.J. & Chappuis, J. (2012) An Introduction to Student-Involved Assessment FOR Learning, 6th ed.

Martinez, M.E. (2010) Learning and Coginition: The Design of the Mind

Ritchhart, R. et al. (2011) Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding and Independence for all Learners (book and video selections)

Florio, S. “On Writing Field Notes”

Lemov, D. (2010) Teach Like a Champion (selected chapters)

EDUC 5000: Teaching World Languages and Cultures (Advanced Methods)
Fall 2012

Lee, J. & VanPatten, B. (2003) Making Communicative Language Teaching Happen, 2nd ed.

WGBH Educational Foundation (2003) Teaching Foreign Languages K-12: A Library of Classroom Practices (video series)

Shrum, J. & Glisan, E. (2009) Teacher’s Handbook, Chapter 7 – Using a Story-Based Approach to Teach Grammar (PACE Model, Adair-Hauck and Donato)

Foreign Language Annals (Vol. 43, No. 4, 2010) Ping Wu’s response to Levi Altstaedter & Jones regarding teaching culture alongside language skills

Blitt, M.A. & Casas, M. (2011) Exploraciones (sample pages from textbook)

EDUC 5037: Literacy in the Content Areas
Fall 2012

Roe, B.D. et al. (2011) Secondary School Literacy Instruction: The Content Areas

Buehl, D. (2009) Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning

Zwiers, J. (2010) Building Reading Comprehension Habits in Grades 6-12: A Toolkit of Classroom Activities

Wisconsin DPI (2011) Common Core Standards for Literacy in All Subjects

Additional articles/book chapters authored by Reading Rockets (pinpointing reading difficulties), Richison, et al. (literacy theme baskets), (6+1 Traits rubric), Reading Rockets (literacy stations), (cloze activities), Corwin Press (differentiated assessment strategies), (ELA comprehension vignettes), Steve Peha (writing graphic organizers), Colorín Colorado (cognates), Masterminds Publishing, LLC (graphic organizers), Karin Hess (text structures and signal words in expository and narrative texts), (multiculturalism), Alliance for Excellent Education (adolescents and literacy), and Dr. Robert Pavlik (brain-based learning).

EDUC 6010: Introduction to Schooling in Diverse Society
Summer 2012

Anyon, J. (2005) Radical Possibilities

Banks, J. & McGee Banks, C.A. (2010) Multicultural Education: Issues and Perspectives, 7th ed.

Rethinking Schools, Ltd. (2007) Rethinking our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Justice, Vol. 1, New ed.

Additional articles/book chapters authored by Zeichner and Liston (reflective teaching), Wink (critical pedagogy), Zimmet (Freire for the classroom), Lazerson, et al. (expectations of schooling), Jackson (view into classrooms, 1968), Larabee (education as a commodity), Bowers (communicative competence), Ladson-Billings (culturally relevant teaching), Nieto (racism and learner expectations), West (nihilism), Sleeter (beliefs about knowledge), Rist (state of urban education, 2000), Anyon (hidden curriculum of work), Biddle and Berliner (effects of unequal school funding), AAUW (gender equity), Darling-Hammond (standardized testing), Gamoran (tracking), Krashen (bilingual education), Valenzuela (subtractive schooling), Delpit (ebonics and culturally responsive instruction), Lowe (vouchers), Coons (school choice), Wisconsin DPI (school choice program), and Cochran-Smith (teaching against the grain).

Leave a comment

Posted by on 20 September 2013 in Post-Bacc/Grad School



“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”

— E. B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, Trumpet of the Swan, and The Elements of Style

Leave a comment

Posted by on 4 September 2013 in Introspection


LTMOOC Week 6: Course Completed!

I participated in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for language teachers worldwide that focused on blended learning in the world language classroom. 

Last week I completed the course!


Scott and Ryan Rapp are the founders of a new company named Instreamia that provides an online tool for language learning. They made LTMOOC available to give language teachers (potential customers) the opportunity to try-out Instreamia, as well as increase the number of videos and exercises available through the platform.

During the six-week course, I prepared, uploaded and verified the Spanish and English lyrics for three music videos (listed below). I’d also like to go back in and upload some documentary pieces or cultural clips.

Maná – Vivir sin aire

Mocedades – Eres tú (1973)

En la granja de mi tío

I invite you to take a look at this platform (registration required). It’s authentic content with tools that help the learner, such as mouse-hovering to listen to pronunciation, view verb format description, and quizzes to monitor progress.

1 Comment

Posted by on 1 June 2013 in Self-Directed PD



Backward Design of Lessons and Units

Last summer, an award-winning world language teacher graciously agreed to have coffee with me. She patiently listened to all my rookie questions and offered her expert responses. She provided guidance on a handful of matters, but three recommendations stand out:

  • Join the statewide professional organization for language teachers (WAFLT)
  • Buy Teacher’s Handbook by Judith L. Shrum and Eileen W. Glisan
  • Get familiar with Backward Design and plan lessons and units accordingly

I joined WAFLT right away. I just renewed for another year and would love to attend the Summer Language Leadership Institute in August. I also purchased an older edition of Teacher’s Handbook and consult it often.

In my university coursework, we’ve been required to write lesson plans, deliver lessons during fieldwork, and do some microteaching with peers. In planning for these, I’ve attempted to follow the guidelines of Backward Design. My current understanding of Backward Design is based on a presentation at the 2011 ACTFL National Convention titled Lesson Planning with Backward Design: From Paper to Practice.

1. What will students know and be able to do at the end of the lesson/unit?
2. How will you know that the students know or can do?
3. What instructional activities will be used?

In addition, on Thursday evenings, world language professionals from around the world come together via Twitter for a wonderful and generous chat using the #LangChat hashtag. In early May, the chat topic was: How can backward design inform our curriculum and assessments? Perfect — more good input! Here are some of the posts regarding Backward Design:

  • I always like to remind myself what I want my students to be able to do with the language at the end
  • Backwards design = 1) What students will be able to do 2) Assessments 3) Activities
  • Identifying desired results makes the planning of learning experiences and instruction so much easier!
  • Backward D has great implications for the classrm–working towards it.
  • When the many steps of backward design are used to develop curric, assessment & all leading to it should lead to better stdnt successes
  • Backwards design works. Knowing where a student needs to end influences every decision and activity up to that point
  • Backwards design also allows students to see big picture and how it breaks down into many goals
  • Bckwrd design also helps students see that language is a practical tool to accomplish a task they just might face in the real world

The chat also included experiences with “I can” statements:

  • I began providing students with the Can-do statements this year. Students def appreciate knowing the unit goals
  • “I can” statements = confidence boosters for the kids, +makes them feel like they can use 2nd Lang in the real world
  • I usually have 1-2 big [Can-dos] per unit but then tons of little ones like I can say my clothing size
  • We use success criteria: “I can” statements at the beginning of the unit re: what the kids will be able to do by the end
  • One thing that has helped me is to craft can do statements for my objectives. I reference them at the end for an exit tix

I look forward to learning more and getting more practice with Backward Design. Advice welcome!

Leave a comment

Posted by on 31 May 2013 in Self-Directed PD


CTE - Let's get to Work (and have fun doing it!)


"The biggest barrier can be your own thinking." - David Carruthers

La Maestra Loca

Language Acquisition through CI and OWL strategies

Williamson CI & TPRS

Keeping it comprehensible, compelling, and fun

Mantén la calma

Y habla español

The Divergent Spanish Teacher

Connecting with educators worldwide to extend my knowledge

Innovative Writing

Connecting with educators worldwide to extend my knowledge

Emily Fritz

A place to share ed ideas and resources.