Category Archives: Self-Directed PD

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]




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


LTMOOC Week 4: Effective Assessment Tools and Methods

[I’m participating in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for language teachers worldwide that focuses on blended learning in the World Language classroom. This blog post is an assignment for that course.]

Effective Assessment Tools and Methods

Assessment was the topic for Week 4 at the LTMOOC.  I listened to Kathryn Murphy-Judy of Virginia Commonwealth University and read four articles: Assessment (Flinders University), Assessment of Collaborative Learning Project Outcomes (EDUCAUSE), Conduct Assessments of Learning and Teaching (Carnegie Mellon University), and Classroom Assessment Techniques, CATs (Carnegie Mellon University).

What a rewarding week it was! — So many good ideas and concepts. Here’s a recap:

Dr. Murphy-Judy – 3 big take-aways:

1) Technology strengthens the possibilities of language and teaching.

> The ability to slow down TL audio allows students to focus on listening to and listening for common word groupings and phrases.

> Anonymous error correction activities promote greater risk-taking by students.

2) Recycle a written or audio piece for different purposes.

> Possible ways to recycle: Listen to sounds, later listen to vocab, focus on nouns or verbs, look for/listen for cognates, look for/listen for cultural aspects.

> Choose authentic samples with this “recycling” purpose in mind.

3) Online learners need to learn the skills needed for autonomously learning online.

Flinders University – A well-designed assessment is:

  • Authentic and realistic for the learner group
  • Relevant to classroom activities
  • A productive use of student and teacher time
  • A learning experience in its own right
  • Flexible enough to allow degree of student choice and differentiation

EDUCAUSE – Recommendation for collaborative projects with collective outcomes

Establish an accountability contract which spells out specific roles and areas of responsibility for students and teachers; protocols regarding communication, documentation, and technology; timelines; quality standards (rubrics); and accountability checkpoints.

Carnegie Mellon University – Two tools for assessing learning and promoting self-assessment

CATs: Formative assessments that make visible the learning that has occurred during the class period, solicit lingering doubts, encourage student-involved assessment, and uncover relevant prior knowledge.

Exam wrappers: To encourage students to process their graded exams more deeply, faculty members devised exam wrappers, short handouts that students complete when an exam is turned back to them. These exam wrappers direct students to review their performance (and the instructor’s feedback) with an eye toward adapting their future learning for better assessment results and overall study skills.

Leave a comment

Posted by on 19 May 2013 in Self-Directed PD



LTMOOC Week 3: Social Interaction and Blended Learning

[I’m participating in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for language teachers worldwide that focuses on blended learning in the World Language classroom. This blog post is an assignment for that course.]

Social Interaction Aspects of Blended Learning/Online Learning/Distance Learning

This week’s readings and expert interview discussed the social interaction aspects of online learning. This focus was very interesting and it was beneficial to think of how the social/interpersonal mode can be applied in the online setting.

I listened to Ed Dixon of UPenn and read two articles: Social Pedagogies (Indiana University-Bloomington) and Incorporating Interaction Into Your Distance Learning Course (Worchester Polytechnic Institute, WPI).

What are the three types of interaction the WPI article discusses?

1. Learner-to-Content Interaction – students examining course content and participating in class activities

Examples of Strategies for Incorporating Learner-to-Content Interaction:

  • Use clips to provide expert perspectives (note to self: cultural perspectives!)
  • Content in multiple formats provides variety and eliminates monotony

2. Learner-to-Learner Interaction – interaction among students

Examples of Strategies for Incorporating Learner-to-Learner Interaction:

  • Group work
  • Students take turns moderating discussions
  • Build sense of community

3. Learner-to-Instructor Interaction – intended to reinforce student understanding and provide feedback

Examples of Strategies for Incorporating Learner-to-Instructor Interaction:

  • Instructor maintains presence in discussions, but doesn’t post too much
  • Public feedback – compliment students on quality contributions
  • Private feedback – written comments on what student did correct and what did wrong

How does social interaction relate to student motivation?

I noticed overlaps in the recommendations and observations by the three expert sources. For example, they advocate the use of authentic resources:

  • Ed Dixon – authentic interactions based on real life of students (in place of textbook-created)
  • WPI – simulations, web searches, wiki assignments, research reviews, case studies, etc. that require students to interact with content
  • Indiana U-Bloomington – engage students by using tools and creating products for real audiences

Similarly, they see social interaction as motivational and engaging:

  • Ed Dixon – the focus on interaction encourages students to study the language but, more importantly, to use the language
  • WPI – interaction provides students with the feedback they need … students become more actively engaged in the learning process, leading to higher levels of learning.
  • Indiana U-Bloomington – because their efforts will be viewed by someone other than the teacher, students feel more accountable for the quality of their work.



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.