Sunday, January 19, 2014

Movie Monday- Buffalo Bookstore

I am tying this weeks Movie Monday in with a the latest Tech Challenge. 

The Tech Challenge this last week- Use  Martin Luther King's famous line "I have a Dream," blog and tell us what inspires you in life.

In Canyon, Texas there is this great little bookstore.  I am partial to this bookstore because it is owned by my parents, but also because it is such a home for stories.  Not just stories in books, but stories in conversations. Find Buffalo Bookstore on Facebook and you will get a motivational/inspirational quote every day.  Although the store is a college textbook store they also promote local authors and artists and tout a large variety of used books.  

How does the Buffalo Bookstore fit into the Tech Challenge?  Because the owners of this store inspire me.  I know that every person has a reason that they love and cherish their parents, but mine are extremely special.

I was raised in a small town and because of my parents I have the best values.  They taught me to dream big and work hard.  They taught me that each person has a story that needs to be shared.  They taught me to believe (I mean.. how can you not believe when you see my parents!)  I would not have been able to accomplish half of what I have without the support, love and determination of my parents.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
The owners of Buffalo Bookstore opens its arms to every person that walks through the door.  I am so thankful to have been raised by such amazing people.  I am continually inspired by their heart for all that enter their store.  If you have a moment stop by the Buffalo Bookstore and share your story.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Magnificent Monday- EdTech Chat n' Chew

I have really been working on Balance since the beginning of the year (ok.. I know that I am only 2 weeks in!) but I have been making a huge effort to take time to shut down in the evening, using my time wisely during the day, and enjoying getting outside when I can.  One of my new favorite things about Monday (yes, I have a favorite thing about Mondays!) is the new podcast I am a part of.

We often talk about a working lunch, that is exactly what EdTech Chat n' Chew is!  Every Monday I have the chance to spend my lunch virtually eating with some amazing educators from around the United States and chatting about the cool things we are doing in school, sharing ideas, and just sharing some great rapid fire conversation.  Dyane Smokorowski, Mike Soskil, Karen Wright-Balbier and myself have a passion for creating change in our current jobs, but also understand how important a teachers time is.

The EdTech Chat n' Chew is only about 15-25 minutes (perfect timing for some professional development during lunch time)  You can find the videos on our webpage, we are also on iTunes and of course you can find us on Facebook

Things you can look forward to from our podcast:
-Ideas that you can take right back to your classroom and use
-Ways to connect with other classrooms
-A place to grow your professional learning network
and so much more!

I am always so thankful for the people that I connect with and can call friends (even when I haven't had a chance to meet them in person). Mike wrote a great blog about it here. Just from the few times we have recorded our show I have already gotten ideas to use in my school. I can't wait to learn even more from these amazing educators (and share the great things that we are doing in our school)

Do you have some favorite podcasts?  I have about 3 that I listen to all the time (great for roadtrips and walking!)
The Tech Chicks

Hope that you add our podcast to your list!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Morphing of the Tech Challenge

I have spent several blogs writing about the Tech Challenges that I created for my staff, and I have also shared the Techformers Unite challenges.  I had teachers participating in the challenges, but I also was getting feedback that the challenges were too broad or didn't cover the subject the teachers were working on.  Looking back at my challenges, this made complete sense!  My overall goal for my challenges is to give teachers easy tools to quickly and easily use in their classroom... then as they get more comfortable be willing to try new things, or offer the opportunity for students to use various tools to produce items.  So, I set out on another mission!  I still plan to have my 4 challenges with the same rewards.  My non-negotiable has changed the wording to Encouraged (not as threatening) and now my challenges have the main challenge, how to complete the challenge for every grade level, and ideas to use if you don't teach the subject in the challenge (but still use the same tool)
The challenge

Activities to do with each grade level or ideas for subject

Where you can get more information

I am super excited to send these out to staff! I realize that not everyone has the time to do various activities. I want teachers to feel successful in what they are doing. Hopefully this will increase the Tech Challenge usage and start more conversations with me.  Are you part of Techformers Unite? Do you challenge the teachers/adults you work with to try new things?

On another note, my blogs have been sporadic lately as I have grown into my new position.  I am going to go back to blogging every Monday (of course, there will be other blogs in between, but I want to make sure that I am sharing at least once a week)
Each Monday will be a different theme
Make it Monday- I love crafting, so I will share something that I have either created for school or home
Movie Monday- Since I am not in a classroom, this might change a little.  These videos will more than likely change to more of how to videos
Mail Call Monday- I am always looking for guest bloggers! Want to be featured one month? Email me at or have a question you want answered... I can do that too!
Magnificent Monday- A Monday where I will share one of my favorite tools, apps, or ideas

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Every year we sit down and make resolutions.  I have thrown out the ideas for resolutions a long time ago.. I create a vision/dream board at the first of the year.  I wrote about our Dream/Vision board last year here and here.  A recap of this years adventures for our Dream/Vision board is here (now realize, that with dreams and vision they tend to be a little more personal)

This year I have seen many people just post 1 word for their Vision or Goal for the year.  I LOVE this idea! Great article over the One-Word Resolution.
The first challenge of the 2014 year for Techformers Unite:
Your Challenge: Create a vision board or goal board for the new year! This can be education based or more personal. (I love picmonkey by the way.. what a cool program!)
Why did I choose Balance?  As I look at myself in the mirror I realize I am a very intense person (happy with who I am) but I want to be involved in EVERYTHING! I do a pretty good job of being involved in everything... but there are nights where I don't sleep much because my brain doesn't shut down or as crazy as it might seem I get overwhelmed.  So, this year my word is going to be Balance.

Balance at Work- understand that it is okay to say no to certain things. This might be one of the hardest things to accomplish as I love being involved in everything!  So, when I get overwhelmed I am going to look back at my word of BALANCE, step back and reorganize my time.  Things I will need to balance on at work: Destination ImagiNation, my role as Instructional Technology Specialist, my role on the Campus Improvement Committee, and my role as a member of the school PTA board and Council PTA board.  This seems like a ton to balance, but if I put my mind to it, I know that I will be able to.

Balance at Home- This is probably where I will need the most work on for balancing.  Once I get home I enjoy spending my time on social media, playing mindless games, or watching TV.  Oh and I also need to balance my Jamberry business too. I want to have a more balanced self at home, where I have time to workout for an hour, read books and enjoy spending time being unplugged.  The unplugged part is going to be the hardest, but one that I really want to work on this year!  How I might accomplish this: set a time aside each day to be plugged in (to work on Techformers Unite, Jamberry, EdTech Chat and Chew, blogging, Tweeting, Instagram, and other social media outlets) but then shut down... and be okay with shutting down!  The world will not end if I do not answer that email, that Facebook request, or that notification on Twitter.

Balance with Self- I am very lucky with all the things that I have accomplished in these last few years. I have a wonderful family near and far, amazing support system and a roof over my head.  Just like everyone there are things that I want to accomplish. I am a lister and an organizer.  Sometimes my list end up being pages long (I finish them, but at what cost?) In the past I have attempted the 3 things (where I list 3 things that I must finish each day) This year I am going to work on more Balance with myself and have 5 things that I must accomplish each day.  The world will not end if I do not finish everything in one day, I will still go on living and still be a great contributing member to society.

What are your goals and dreams for this year?  Do you have a word for the year?  How do you plan to accomplish your dreams and goals?

P.S.- I my biggest dream for the year- to find balance and peace in my life so I might have the chance to become a mom.