Find 5 Friday! #F5F


(The first two finds are not from this week’s readings or this class, but I found them and believe they are worth sharing!)

1. When you google “shared purpose,” the material is endless! S.Craig Watkins, a member of The Feast shares about shared purpose here. He discusses the negative effects on students when they are “isolated from life.” He reiterates that we must make education relevant. Learning with a shared purpose encourages us to work side by side with our students.

2. Larry Kesslin, in this Ted Talk: Shared Common Purpose, jumps right into the fact that when observing people in a restaurant they are more connected to the digital device instead of each other. He says we are disconnected in a technologically connected world. He shares a poem that is pretty powerful, using terms like “I want” and “I need.” He tells about his journey to Africa where is saw joy. And this joy came from a deep connection and that connection is to others rather than yourself. This is really inspiring!

3. I mentioned, in my blog post about Shared Purpose, “No Water, No Life”: A Video by Detroit Future Schools and Youth from The Boggs School. These young students did a fantastic way of relaying the message about the water issue. And, more importantly, they did it their way. Clearly, they were comfortable in front of the camera! While I loved watching their acting, I was drawn to their reflections after the news report. They mentioned topics like stereotypes, assumptions, exaggerations, awareness and brainstorming. They had a purpose, a shared purpose. They used what they knew, used their research and worked collectively with the digital media producer in order to produce!

4. So, I am little embarrassed to admit this…but, the “fake news” phenomenon is “real news” to me. I see on Facebook here and there taglines about fake news, but never really paid attention to it. Yes, I understand that not everything online is real. So, after watching the webinar, Media Literacy Tools to Comprehend & Critique Fake News, I am thinking, wow, this is great that teachers and students have this shared purpose to challenge fake news, understand bias, understand that news tries to impact what and how we think and to transform learners from being passive news watchers to creative news investigators.

5. Finally, this class is a great example for learning with a shared purpose. Together we navigate through the principles of connected learning, share and compare our connected learning experiences and challenges on a collaborative blog where trust is established and communication is encouraged!

Have a Happy Easter and Passover, fellow connected learners! 🙂

Find 5 Friday! #F5F

#openlynetworked #connectwithcolleagues #inquiry

Which one (or some) of my colleague(s) would be the most beneficial to connect with?

1. “Collaboration is THE 21st century skill.” While researching I came across 15 Fun Collaboration Activities for World Language Teachers. While this wasn’t developed by one of my co-workers, it was in fact created by another language teacher. Not only is collaboration a skill most should possess as a 21st century learner, it is the key to communicating in a second language. The more we connect with other peers, in the target language, the more success we will see!

2. I came across the blog, Messy Thinking. Laura Gogia has experienced a lot, as a student, a doctor and now as an educator and is writing about it! Her blog focuses on her life as a connected learner. She has several posts that encourage everyone, not just educators, to put it out there. Hyperlink to your own work, reflect, include visuals in your work, and find places to connect. Her posts are really encouraging and I want to share this with my colleagues.

3. At this point a lot of the colleagues I have created a relationship with are not just educators. Some came from business. I find this to be a great reason to connect with them. Our students want the real world in the classroom so that they feel more prepared for college and a career. One of my co-workers posted the article, From Social Networks to Collaboration Networks: The Next Evolution of Social Media for Business on Facebook recently. Most of the world is on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, or at least exposed to it. While these resources have been great for marketing and exposure, they are now promoting collaboration! They are starting conversations, they are creating innovative ideas and they are inviting us to openly add your thoughts, ideas and creations that then lead us to collaborate and connect and redesign and refocus in order to better the educational setting for our students!

4. In the junior high I am the only Spanish teacher. So, a lot of the collaborating, connecting and networking that I do within my building is outside of my department. I came across, Teacher-created lessons connect world language to art, which I think is so important! By connecting with colleagues, openly, we can really make magic happen in the classroom. The project that my 8th graders are currently working on is connecting Spanish, art, science and math! I have openly networked with at least one teacher in all of these departments, which has been really, really inspiring!

5. And of course, the last, but certainly not least find of the week towards an openly networked way of learning that supports my inquiry question is Twitter. Here I follow my colleagues. I enjoy reading their hashtags and viewing the pictures that they are posting of their students creating, experimenting and exploring!

Find 5 Friday! #F5F

#inspiration #makeandcreate

1. Who/What inspires me to make and to create #1: TEACHERS! We tend to all share one thing in common and that is the desire to know our students and to create what works best for our students.

Check out 20 inspiring reasons teachers choose to teach in this google slide presentation!

2. Who/What inspires me to make and to create #2: MY COLLEAGUES! I work with so many creative and inspiring human beings! Some of my colleagues are doing really, really great things in the classroom. Our junior high science department, especially, has found apps that make what they are doing in the classroom come alive. On twitter, follow @MrRyneAnthony to see what his students are doing in the classroom. Or check out this video of another one of our science teachers playing with hydrogen in the classroom! Or check out what @ArtRoomWard is up to with her students in art class!

3. Who/What inspires me to make and to create #3: MY DISTRICT! Recently, my district has been “tweeting” away! And even more recently our junior high library is in the process of making a BIG transformation! Our library will now be “the Hub,” a new collaborative learning space! It’s a space for #innovation, #creativity, #makerspace and most importantly…#forall!

4. Who/What inspires me to make and to create #4: MY STUDENTS! They are all creative in their own ways. In the beginning of the year the 8th graders create a why study Spanish for the 7th grade students. This allows students to exhibit their artistic abilities, passion for writing as well as their desire to learn more ability the language they are learning. 7th graders in the fall also made their own “ofrenda,” which is a decorated altar for El Día de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead). They created an altar filled with flowers, crosses, candles and items their loved ones, who have passed, would love to see upon their return on this sacred day. Check them out!

5. Who/What inspires me to make and to create #5: OTHER BLOGGERS! I have started finding more and more world language teacher blogs! For a while I was feeling discouraged because so much of my research was in regards to math and science. While I have been able to transform some of their ideas into the language classroom, it is refreshing to read, hear and see what other world language teachers are doing and making and creating! After thinking that makerspaces were limited to STEM, I now have a whole new view.

Check out these great ideas to use in a language classroom!

This blogger provides some inspiring inquiry about developing/making literacy

This blog gives ideas for collaboration and communication around the world

Find 5 Friday! #F5F

#ourmaps #whereconnectedlearninghastakenus #whereconnectedlearningistakingus

1.Jen’s map, created on Prezi, does a really nice job describing the components of connected learning that are guiding her on her journey. I really like what her “connected learning island” looks like. She the island to our own schools and communities, which is fantastic considering we all experience and utilize the mentioned components of connected learning, but in different ways.

2. Margo’s map, which she created using Wordle, excites those of us who love to read! I think it’s great to see the words we associate with connected learning all together, but in a refreshing and engaging way. I’m not surprised that the word students is the largest/most frequently used. After all, we connect as educators to better our students.

3. I love Sam’s map! I feel like we both created a map, and both are hand-drawn, that highlights the experiences in life that have led us here. All of our experiences have involved working with peers and have been our inspiration to continue to grow in what we do!

4. Linsa’s journey to connected learning (well, really just her journey is general), shown on her map, is incredible! Travel has been a big, really big part of her life and she discusses the connections she has made with everyone she has traveled with and met abroad. I am envious of her traveling experiences…way to go Linsa!

5. Marie’s map I find to be really interesting. She included her other graduate courses on her map, which shows us how connected our courses are and how we can and should be using what we know to further us in connecting!

Find 5 Friday! #F5F


1. Max D. from Michigan writes about why the tuition of public colleges should be lowered. As a senior in high school he writes about his drive to want to further his education, to improve his academic and real-world skills, but is it possible to do this in the college of his choice? Maybe not because of the high tuition rate. He makes us aware that the average amount of debt is estimated at $28,950 for each student after 4 years in a university. He encourages our President to view “college as an investment for the future America; the expense to the government and universities of lowering tuition, will be greatly made up for from the benefit society receives in the form of a better workforce.” Well said!

2. Makai F. from Wisconsin writes about pushing back school start times in order to improve academic performance and improve student health. This topic is buzzing in my district. We encourage our students to pursue their interests through electives and sports. She tells her readers that 28% of students fall asleep in their first class of the day. I will say that my morning classes are definitely tired. Some of my students are up until midnight doing homework and studying because they do not get home until 6PM because of sports and after school activities. We do not want to discourage them from being involved, therefore Makai has a point. Let’s let our children sleep and start our day later.

3. Janet D. from Michigan writes about the fight against technology and the statistics to support a revolution. Communication amongst teens and adults has changed greatly. So often we hear about the need for more face-to-face time, but technology is allowing us to communicate so why stop? “If the adults and leaders would take a minute to listen to the needs of the technology generation – my generation – they would hear the angry clicks of the key board and the pounding on the retweet button, all begging for help. You see, we are not as oblivious and ignorant as we appear. Just because we hide behind a screen doesn’t make our arguments any less visible and just because we are more comfortable sharing our opinions from the safety of our blog does not mean we aren’t willing to risk it all to be heard. My generation has a voice that is easier to read.” I get it. I hear them. While sometimes I would like them create more of an authentic dialogue (in Spanish and in person), I get it. It’s what they know, it’s what they can do. I, too, spend A LOT of time online.

4. Ryan S. from Illinois writes about creating and providing equal education. Not everyone has the same opportunity to receive the education they deserve. He writes that he wants students in lower income areas to be able to graduate high school, go to college and get a job without drug interference. He proposes an idea about a program that would teach teachers about exactly what students need to know. And money to fund a program like this would come from tax dollars. He also wants classmates, and students in general, to appreciate school. He states that providing schools with more resources, maybe resources that address their interests, would help encourage and motivate them to make better choices in school.

5. Abhiram C. from Texas writes about the federal government funding technology in all school districts.  He cites several sources that reveal that technology provides competency before high school graduation. It provides more opportunities. It teaches us to collaborate. With the evolution of technology it is so crucial to provide our students with equal access to technology.

Find 5 Friday! #F5F


1. Why Teachers Should Connect is a very straight forward blog I came across this week when inquiring about making connections with colleagues. In the past when we wanted to make connections with an expert or teacher from another district it had to be in person. Now, we can connect with these individuals and groups online. When we step outside of our comfort zone and connect, it changes everything.

2. Schoology /skoo-luh-jee/, a learning management system that connects all people continues to be a great resource for me as I continue to connect with my colleagues. Here I can connect with colleague by sharing resources as well as searching publicly for ideas to implement in my classroom.

3. I decided to revisit our first week on the class blog. The Connected Learning Alliance reminds us that, “Connected learning is when someone is pursuing a personal interest with the support of peers, mentors and caring adults, and in ways that open up opportunities for them.” Support from peers, our colleagues, is really important! 


4. For all language enthusiasts and educators looking to connect and discuss topic of interest should explore and engage in, #langchat. This is an awesome way to connect with colleagues in your school, while at home because of timing, as well as educators, administrators and aficionados about vocabulary and grammar, music in the classroom, gaming and other trendy topics. So, get started and connect via Twitter using the hashtag #langchat.

¡Qué divertido!

5. Inquiry is definitely interesting. This week was officially the first time I actually created a list of questions to reflect on. In the past I jot down a reflection here and there on a lesson plan and then sometimes revisit it. So, what the heck is inquiry-based learning, is a question answered on an edutopia blog that includes several steps to take in order to get started.

Find 5 Friday! #F5F


1. I am fortunate to have a handful of mentors at work and at home! Our district has implemented student-centered learning through the learning focused instructional framework. In our cohorts, including teachers of all content and grade levels, we share ideas, concerns and strategies to help us aid our students in higher order thinking all while implementing accelerating strategies. We collaborate, share our strengths, our weaknesses, our hesitations, concerns and reflections upon our own and others’ observations.  It is insightful to hear from elementary teachers, especially as a secondary teacher, because I realize that sometimes revisiting the basics is what they need in order to tackle the now and future!

2. “Do you ever feel stuck in a rut while planning your language classes?” I came across this Edutopia blog this week. The ideas and stories attached are really useful when addressing the inevitable wobble. The ideas here push me to provide an authentic language learning experience all while sharing alternatives to address the insecurities and failures of the activities. I tend to teach in a traditional setting and it’s time for change, it’s time to wobble!

3. I am so appreciative of what technology can offer…and until recently, I have investigated and relied heavily on Pinterest for ideas and support. But now, I rely heavily on Twitter and follow @SWLoyola, a Spanish teacher who is so incredibly involved in the classroom and technology. Her ideas are engaging and authentic and achievable! Facebook is another great resource on my list of allies. I started following @WLClassroom for tips, tricks, tools and resources! And Instagram! Do know how many people use the hashtag #spanishclassroom?! A lot! Here I find videos and pictures to use for real-world discussion in the target language.


4. FL Teach has been a fantastic resource for many years now. FL Teach is a foreign language forum that provides so many useful links with ideas for use of media, clipart, dictionaries, collections of teacher work and ESL activities and resources.

5. Whoa, Teaching Channel, getting better together, has served as a fantastic ally. Like my fellow classmate, Jen, we find it useful to actually see teacher’s ideas in action rather than just reading about it! Just tonight I watch a video about “the work of play.” I have battling the idea of play for over a week now, but actually watching, listening and reading about it kind of puts the idea into perspective. By watching them navigate through play, they navigate through life and I navigate through making changes in my classroom.


Find 5 Friday! #F5F

#vamosajugar #letsplay

1. I liked listening to Katie Salen talk about the role of play in learning. Play allows us to practice, get better, build confidence and seek possibility. And I have to agree about how play has changed. As young children our play was exploration, and then transitioned to timed-play, like recess/an activity and then an object like video games. When we play our bodies, spirit and state of mind transform and an openness is created.

2. After listening to James Paul Gee talk about learning with video games, I actually feel knowledgeable about a game that so many of my students play. I never knew that World of warcraft required team building skills and expertise of specific skills. He shared this example, if all 5 members of the team, in the game, were priests, everyone would die in 2 seconds because the game requires the team to have individual skills. The teams then become cross-functional. Makes sense to me! In order for any of us to do well in life or a game we rely on the skills of others to succeed. Games serve as tools. They help us problem solve.

3. Nancy Carlsson-Paige makes us aware of the “play” gap. So, is this really happening? Play drives children to build ideas, learn skills, problem solve and develop capacities in life. One point addressed, that I am struggling with, is that children don’t get to discover that they can invent new ideas when sitting in chairs all day and doing worksheets. I think it honestly depends on the child. I can remember sitting and focusing on worksheets in school, but I can also remember exploring outside of school. I have always been creative and exploratory, I mean I did become fluent in a second language, and that wasn’t done with play in school.

But, I can relate to her when she expresses about the play disparity between kids of poor and better-to-do families widening. Amen. This is so true and so evident. I see it in my district. What can we do to lessen this gap?

(Side note: A friend’s daughter goes to preschool in Virginia. The preschool is designed around the interests, needs and abilities of the children. The child’s curiosity and natural motivation to learn is stimulated through daily opportunities for imaginative play indoors and out, projects, creative arts, spontaneous music and movement, and all of these experiences address science, math, literature and literacy, and regular walks and field trips. They truly are experimenting, exploring, creating and playing at all times).

4. According to the article, All I Really Need to Know (About Creative Thinking) I Learned (By Studying How Children Learn) in Kindergarten, more and more kindergarten children are spending time filling out phonics worksheets and memorizing math flashcards. My daughter started kindergarten this year. I do observe this happening, especially because our district only offers half day, so as an educator I get it. So, are they thinking creatively? Here and there, I would say. The Cricket kits described sound so awesome! Who wouldn’t want to play around with these! I think these provide the ultimate opportunity for creation, invention and play! Can I get one??

5. The last “play” I want to highlight is a game that I utilize in my classroom and it is especially used for review purposes. Kahoot! is a web based game that students can access from their smart phone, tablet, or laptop.  Students compete by answering multiple-choice questions. They love the music, the competition, the thrill and the review (of course, hehe)! You can search public kahoots to use in your classroom or create your own. Students visit kahoot.it, enter the game pin displayed by you and play! If you are a Spanish teacher, you can connect with me or search for me, mrskellyspanish. Give it a try! 

Find 5 Friday! #F5F

#makeconnections #utilizeconnections #seekequity

1. ACTFL, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language, is an online community that I investigated before student teaching, many years ago. I finally decided this year to become a member!  The community continues to grow and encourages its members to evolve with them. There are many different communities within ACTFL, therefore you are able to find what works best for you! In particular, there is an “educator resources” community, which is awesome! Here teachers can share their ideas and activities. (Kind of like a make and take!)

2. Twitter is still an unfamiliar realm to me. MY initial opinion of it was pretty negative. While I am one who loves the stars of Hollywood, I didn’t want to join this network just to follow them. But now I am discovering so much more on Twitter. I started following ACTFL’s 2009 teacher of the year, Toni Theisen. Through her I am noticing that there is so much available for me and students.

3. I am obviously exposed to a lot of technology at work and in grad school. In class we have used a Wiki in order to collaborate on a project. And then I’m done with it. Well, this week my personal and academic goal was to make connections and I stumbled upon Twitter for Wiki, a wiki consisting of reasons and articles and proof about why I should start using Twitter. It is doing a great job convincing me! And why not use my students’ interest in social media, considering they are all avid “tweeters” and allow them to connect with other language learners.

From here I started following more educators on Twitter! Whoa! 🙂

4. My first few years of teaching were as an ELL teacher. Now, that I have a clear understanding about what seeking equity is about, I keep finding myself reflecting on what my first few years were like. I felt helpless at times, considering I took on this position, which didn’t really have any resources or a clear job description. But one thing that is clear is that equity was not evident. These specific ELL’s didn’t have support at school and their parents didn’t have the resources to help them. I fought and fought to have schedules that were meaningful created and did my best to educate the staff to accommodate them. It was then that I found ¡Colorín Colorado! ¡Colorín Colorado!  is a FREE, bilingual, national website serving educators and families of ELL’s.  The organization provides a newsletter, webcasts and can be followed on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google + and YouTube.  The webcasts mimic a traditional reading conference led by experts who study ELL’s and suggest readings and provide discussion questions.  ¡Colorín Colorado!  is a bilingual site, Spanish and English, that supply tool kits that include lesson plans, activities and resources for non-native speaking parents and/or guardians.  Due to a lack of professional developments provided by school districts on ELL’s I find these tool kits to be very useful.  Maintaining parental contact is a struggle for me.  Now, while communicating with Spanish-speaking parents is achievable for me, I believe this site is a beneficial tool for educators and administrators lacking the means of communication with non-native speaking families.

All of the resources on the site can be shared and printed for FREE! In the past few weeks I have been following ¡Colorín Colorado!  on Twitter and their blog.  Dr. Diane Straehr Fenner is contributor to their blog.  She recently wrote about Common Core and ELL’s.  Again, this is a great way for educators who have ELL’s in their class to get supplemental materials and ideas in order to better accommodate their students.  Some recent Twitter discussions have included recent accomplishments with ELL’s in school districts, book lists for ELL’s and administrative action taken in order to strengthen ELL programs.

5. Joining communities, meeting mentors, contributing to conversations on Twitter are all ways to help us, as educators, feel less alone and provide us with tools to help ourselves and students make meaningful connections according to Meenoo Rami, the author of the book, Thrive. I had a great experience taking this course with her a couple years ago at Arcadia. This was my first bit of exposure to connected learning. In her book, she share 5 strategies that helped her become the confident and connected teacher she is now. Some of her strategies include: connecting with mentors, joining and building networks and empowering students. Her experiences, as well as other colleagues and mentors stories, described in the book are easy to relate to and motivate you to empower yourself and your students.


Find 5 Friday! #F5F

This week we were encouraged to read, connect and find opportunities to participate via the blogs of our classmates…

1. My first find this week was found on my classmate’s blog, “Art Matters.” I always find it so exciting to share similarities with a teacher outside of your content area. Tracy and I both work in a district with an iPad initiative, each student in grades 7-12 have an iPad. I see that we both utilize the learning management system, Schoology. We can now connect and follow each others work on here! Schoology is a great way for students to connect with their teachers, classmates and peers in different districts in a safe manner!


2. Another common site where teachers have multiple opportunities to participate is on Pinterest! I find so many great ideas here from fellow Spanish teachers as well as teachers in all different content areas and grade levels. My classmate, Tracy, can also be found on Pinterest. One of my connected learning goals is to actually create and organize boards instead of searching an idea just once and then later forgetting about it!


3. After reading Margo Seifert’s blog, I was then intrigued with another classmate’s blog. Hey Jen Hartman!  Both Margo and Jen mention their interest and use of video games, like Minecraft in the classroom. I find myself wanting to inquire and explore more, through communication with my classmates, about what this exactly looks like in the classroom. As mentioned before, all of my students have iPads and I am sometimes like a broken record telling them to stop playing games…so, could I effectively incorporate gaming into my classroom??


I have started reading this site provided by Margo in her blog!

4. I think Dirk and I share many of the same interests as well as teaching experiences. My first few years of teaching were in a English language learning classroom. His career seems exciting, intriguing and challenging all at once! Travel and culture have always been a big part of my life, which led me to volunteering and teaching. I wonder if I could pursue my interest in volunteer work and teaching and connect with Dirk and engage with him and his students online…


5. And for my final find this week I am drawn towards Eric’s site..his experience with pursuing his music career is the perfect example of how interaction and collaboration truly work! And with these two skills we are set up to succeed. With society forever evolving we need to stay connected and rely on one another to show us what we are missing!


Thanks, everyone! Have a great weekend! 🙂

Find 5 Friday!  #F5F

1. WOW! Am I feeling inspired or what?! Listening to Kevin Hodgson is so uplifting! I implement technology into my every day lesson planning (all my students have school-issued iPads), I often wonder if the activities are engaging and motivating. I think I will forever hold on to his observation/memory of the science teacher in Costa Rica staying connected and pleasing his students via a slow PC. It was appropriate and real-world!

Watch! Stay connected with Kevin Hodgson

2. ED677: Seeking Equity in Connected Learning and Technology. Kind of intimidating, right? Well, I now know that connected learning happens when we as educators support the interest(s) of our students! How motivating!


3. “The Gallup Student Poll of 2013” really hits home for me. To see how much student engagement can drop is scary, but also motivating at the same time. I think most educators strive to create and implement activities students will enjoy and learn from.




4. I think it’s important for us to actually read and observe that there are in fact equity issues in education. A lot of times it is easy for a teacher to say that’s not the case in my district, but it is. I think that some of the connected learning that is in action already is fantastic. For example, implementing Minecraft in the classroom is pretty awesome!


5. I came across this article before starting this course. In 6th grade, many years ago, we had to invent something. I remember feeling excited and overwhelmed at the same time. This was the first time we were encouraged to create, not replicate or modify. It was to be our own. So along with the creation obviously came obstacle that required problem solving. But we had fun. We created what WE wanted to and LEARNED from it!