Minecraft Explorations

Select one of the world below and then download it.

Minecraft Tutorial – this is for students that are totally new to Minecraft. This world will teach you how to navigate, explore, mine, and build in Minecraft.

Build Your Custom Shelter – explore this world and find a location to build your dream home.

Malachi’s Fighting Arena World – this is for advanced players. Test your skills fighting mobs and see how long you can survive.

Malachi’s Easy Fighting Arena– This world if for beginner players. Test your skills fighting mobs and see how long you can survive.

Build a Bridge – this world is for students who know how to play Minecraft. This is an advanced challenge. Show off your skills and build a bridge from an island to the mainland.

International Space Station – explore the space station. Find a location, build yourself a room with a view of space, and then take a selfie.

Free Stock Photos

I remember a time when free stock images were hard to find. The ones I did find did not always have the best quality and were difficult to give attribution to. Now there are websites that provide users with free high-quality stock photos that do not require attribution. If you decide to give attribution, they have provided a very easy way to accomplish that.

There are two that I use at the moment. I am looking for more sites. If you know of any, please let me know. I use Unsplash and Pexels. These two sites have provided me with all of the images I have been using to create curriculum based Google sites. There is another feature that I love about these sites. You can become a contributor. I have contributed to Unspalsh. I plan on adding more to Unsplash and some to Pexels. It’s a great way to give back to such a valuable resource. I have several photos in mind that I would like to share. Pexels also has free stock videos. I do not use stock videos but have entertained the thought of contributing some. I think Pexels may be a great resource for a student wanting to learn how to edit. They could get footage from Pexels to use as practice material.

My last thought would be to have a contest that requires users to make a 1-minute video using stock video from Pexels. The challenge is that the video must tell a story. Does anyone want to play?

List of sites that offer free stock images and/or video.






Blogging Purposes, Audiences, & Platforms

Why Blog?

Principals have so much to offer students, parents, the community, staff members, fellow principals and colleagues. Principals can give and contribute by sharing their experiences, knowledge, and insight. Principals are complex talented leaders that are committed, passionate visionaries that can empower, inspire, and motive their audiences. There are dynamic and relevant topics that principals can blog about. Some of these include blogs about school culture, mandates and policies, educational trends, philosophies and beliefs, professional development topics, and transparent and reflective blog posts.

Audience & Purpose

Principals have four potential audiences. Principals can direct their blog posts to student and parents, the community, staff members, and principals and area superintendents. Each of these audiences can have a specific purpose for each blog post. For example, administrators can blog to students and parents about school culture, mandates and policies, educational trends, school news, nuts and bolts, and celebrations. An administrator may have similar blog post to share with the community, but may do so using a different platform than that used to reach students and parents. Administrators may use the school website to reach students and parents, but use Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to reach the community.

Principals will have much different content to share with their staff members. This may blog posts about their philosophies and beliefs, school issues, curriculum topics, data and instruction, technology integration, and professional development topics. Lastly, principals will blog very differently when they target fellow principals and area superintendents.These blog posts will probably be very transparent and reflective.

Blogging Best Practices

There are many options for best practices related to principals blogging. Here are five that I derived from the book Hacking Leadership.

1. Plan – there are many things to plan. Plan about the topics for blog posts, the platform you will use, the frequency of your posts, and the schedule you will follow.

2. Constant Flow – there is one shortcoming that will cause your audience to fall away and that is not posting on a regimented schedule. You will have followers. They will be looking forward to your posts. You do not want to be inconsistent. Select a specific day to post on and always post on that day or days.

3. Dynamic & Relevant – capture your audience by relating to them. A dynamic post will include multimedia and new content that your audience can relate to and apply.

4. Transparent & Reflective – This may be a challenge for admin. What I mean is that there are times when an administrator should not be transparent or reflective. When we reflect, we talk about what we learned and sometimes admit we made mistakes. This may not be something a principal would want to include in a blog post to student, parents, or the community; however, there may be times when this would be appropriate. Admin will mostly be transparent and reflective with their area superintendents, but could be inspiring to their staff members.

5. Reply – blogging gives your audience the opportunity to comment to your blog posts. Reply to the comments to spur discourse. This will hook your audience and communicate to them that you are engaged with them and present.

Digital Tools and Platforms for Blogging

In the WCPSS there are two options for principals. Admin can use Schoolwires or Blogger. This is not the venue to get discuss the technical details of these two platforms. I recommend you contact your area DLC to support you in your blogging expeditions.

FVMS Pride

I filmed this several years ago when I got my first DSLR camera. I can make videos for schools that highlight the academic, athletic, and arts programs. I call this style of video a school pride video. I would want to respect copyright by using a royalty-free song. I would love to record a live performance of the school band and then use that audio for the audio for the school. This styel of video could be created using voice over instead of using a music track. Let me know if your school is interested in producing this style of video.

Technology Credits

There has been much talk about teachers needing to get there Technology credits. The Digital Learning Coordinators can support teachers in getting technology credits. There are multiple paths to getting tech credits. Here is a list of some pathways to tech credits. Contact your area DLC for support or questions.
1. The North Carolina DPI Digital Learning Competencies – this may be the fastest and easiest way to obtain technology credits. The NC DPI created modules for teachers to complete in order to obtain technology credits. There are 4 competencies that teachers can choose from. Each competency is equal to 1.0 CEU.

A. Leadership in Digital Learning –Teachers will demonstrate leadership in accelerating their integration of digital teaching and learning pedagogies.
B. Digital Citizenship- Teachers will model and teach digital citizenship by the ethical, respectful, and safe use of digital tools and resources that support the creation of a positive digital school    culture.
C. Digital Content and Instruction- Teachers will know and use appropriate digital tools and resources for instruction.|
D. Data and Assessment- Teachers will use technology to make data more accessible, adjust instruction to better meet the needs of a diverse learner population, and reflect upon their practice        through the consistent, effective use of assessment.
You may need a partial credit or a whole credit. These modules will enable you to complete an online course at your own pace. Contact me, Chris Zirkle, to receive more information and access to Canvas courses. (czirkle@wcpss.net)

2. Work With a DLC – When we work with staff members we keep track of the time we have spent with you working on technology integration. We will provide your school’s E-School manager with the number of hours we worked with you and a description of the session. Each hour equals .1 CEUs.

3. Convergence Remix – The WCPSS DLCs host Remix events throughout the year for each calendar schedule. We send out invites to administrators. Be on the look for a Remix event. They are awesome ways to learn about technology integration while earning tech credits.

4. Kyte Learning – If you love to participate in Professional Development on your own time and in your pajamas, Kyte Learning may be up your ally. Look for the link in the WCPSS Portal.

5. Google Level 1 & Level 2 Certification – Your area DLC can provide you with resources and support in order to pass the Google Educators Certification Exams. Level 1 is worth .8 CEUs and Level 2 is worth 1.2 CEUs. Here are some resources to get you started.

6. The Friday Institute – The Friday Institute offers several online courses.

Maker Space

My DLC teammates and I filmed this video at Buckhorn Creek Elementary School. The video highlights some of the aspects of a maker space. For more information, contact Tanya Churchill.

Google Certification Level 1 & 2

The Google Education Suite is a powerful resource that can engage students, enhance curriculum, and foster the 4Cs (Communication, Creativity, Collaboration, & Critical Thinking). If you use the G Suite with your students or would like to sharpen your G skills, preparing for the Google Educators Certification exam will ensure you are proficient with using the G Suite apps.

I have developed and curated some resources that will help you determine if you are ready for the exams and prepare you to take them. Here are the steps that I recommend you take:
1. Complete this self-assessment that I created. The assessment begins on page four. There are sixteen pages, so make sure you scroll all the way through the document. This resource includes links to tutorials and the WCPSS Boot Camps.
2. Once you complete the self-assessment you can explore the tutorials to help you with the performance tasks you need to master.
3. Google has extensive training units that you can complete. They are very long and require much time. I recommend you skip the lessons and go directly to the review questions. If you answer all of the review questions correctly, move onto the next unit. If you missed several of the review questions, it may benefit you to read through the lessons for that unit.
4. The WCPSS has created boot camps for level one and level two. I recommend you complete the boot camps. They are very similar to the scenarios you will experience during the exam.
5. If you need support in any way, feel free to contact me.

Got Google?

Use this Google Drawing to demonstrate what Google apps you know, love, and want to learn about. This activity will give you some experience with Google Drawings. As you participate in this activity, think of ways you can use Google Drawings with your students.


  1. Drag each Google app, that you are familiar with, to the board.
  2.  Describe how each app can be used to engage students, enhance your curriculum, and integrate the 4 Cs, or simply describe what the app does.
  3. Note your favorite apps.
  4. Add question marks next to the apps you need to practice using.
  5. This G Suite Presentation will go over some of the most common apps and their features.

Would you like to become a Google Certified Educator? You can prepare for the Google Level 1 & 2 exams by completing this self-assessment. In this resource, you will find links to the WCPSS boot camps, Google practice questions, and tutorials.

SAMR Staff Activity

The SAMR model is a great tool to use to discuss and explore technology integration. This activity would be perfect for a staff meeting or PD session. It was created by Jocelynn Buckentin.
SAMR Staff Activity


I produced this video to demonstrate that K-3 students can log into Chromebooks and Google. They can also use Google to create digital portfolios. If you would like PD about #KindersCan, contact me and my team will be happy to support you.

Developing Math Websites

Step 1: Set Up

In this step, you will get set up to build the website.
1. Open up the Google website for the grade level you are working with. Navigate to the unit page you are working with. If it does not exist yet, you will need to create it. 
2. Navigate to the Open Up Math website and navigate to the student materials page for your grade level.
3. Open Up Khan Academy for Illustrative Math. Navigate to your grade level.
4. Open up the YouTube Channel or source for your video.
5. Lastly, Open up the folder that houses all of the Google slides for your grade level.

Set Up

Step 2: Unit & Lesson Page Set up

These steps are suggestions. You may find a more efficient way to accomplish this goal. Goal: create unit pages that list all of the lessons for the unit. The lessons title on the unit page link to the individual lesson pages. 
1. Create the unit page.
2. Navigate to each lesson, one at a time, and copy the lesson title.
3. Past the lesson title on the unit page. 
4. Change the font to the subheading.
5. Change the background color on alternating titles. 
6. Now create a page for the unit lesson. 
7. Tile the page “Unit _ :Lesson _ 
7. Make the page a child to the unit page.
8. Hide the page from navigation.
9. Go back to Open Up Math and copy the title of the lesson.
10. Paste the lesson title in the lesson page. 
11. Change the font to subheading/heading

Step 3: Google Slides

In this step, you will insert the link to the premade Google Slides.
1. Open up the slide deck for the lesson your working on.
2. Click file/make a copy/delete “copy of “/save to your folder that will house all of the slides.
3. Exit out of the original slide deck. 
4. In your copy, click share/advanced/change/On- Public on the Web. 
5. Go to lesson page. Type Lesson _: Slide Show.
6. Highlight text and paste in the link to the slide deck. 

Step 4: Adding Student Resources

In this step, we will link to the lesson resources provided by Open Up Math.
1. Navigate to the Open Up Math lesson.
2. Copy the URL.
3. Go to the lesson page you created.
5. Type in “Lesson_: Student Resources.
6. Change font to the subheading.
7. Highlight the text and paste in the URL.

Step 4

Step 5: Khan Academy Practice

In this lesson, we will add the Khan Academy Practice to the math website.
1. Go to Khan Academy Illustrative Math website.
2. Select the grade level you are working with.
3. Navigate to the specific lesson your working on ( Sometimes there is not a lesson). 
4. Copy the link to the lesson.
5. Go to the lesson page.
6. Type in “Lesson_: Student Resources”.
7. Change the font to the subheading.
8. Highlight the text and insert the link.

Step 5

Step 6: Video Resource

This is a vital resource because it offers instruction. The instruction component is one aspect this curriculum lacks. Best practice is to embed the video in the website and to turn off related videos.
1. Navigate to your video source.
2. Click on the share button and select embed.
3. Uncheck the “Show suggested videos when the video finishes.”
4. Uncheck ” Show video title and player actions.”
5. Copy the embed code.
6. Go to lesson page, click on insert, click on embed, click on embed code, paste in the embed code, and position and size the video. It should be on the right-hand side of the links you inserted.

Step 6

Universal Design, Chromebooks, & Actively Learn

As an ITF and instructional designer, I take into account learners with disabilities. “When considering learners with disabilities, the instructional designer must be aware of three major factors: the presence of disability, the impact of disability on learning, and the technology used by individuals to overcome barriers presented by the disability ( Reiser & Dempsey, 2018).  I have been working with a special needs teacher that has three very old desktops in her class of ten students. We discussed the presence of the disabilities her students have, the impact it has on their learning, and how technology could be used to overcome some of the barriers. We came up with a list of what would benefit the students:
1. One-to-One – if every student in her class had their own device they could all participate instead of having to share among three dinosaur desktops. This will help with some of the emotional issues student have when they can not participate or control the device themselves.
2. Audio – the students would benefit from having a device that would read the text to them.
3. Agility /Motor Control – some students have a hard time using a keyboard and mouse.
4.Visibility – having what is being presented to the class in front of the students, on a device, would be more beneficial than the content being projected at the front of the room.
5. Reading Program – having a reading program that will help differentiate texts for the various reading levels would be beneficial.
6. Dictionary – being able to define a word on demand would increase comprehension.
7. Digital Annotation – students that have difficulty writing manually could annotate using a computer.
8. Discussions – having a way for students to discuss and participate without having to be verbally would increase participation.

After collaborating with the special needs teacher, I came to a conclusion/recommendation. I recommended that she purchase ten touchscreen laptops and purchase and use the free version of Actively Learn. The touchscreen devices and the reading program would meet every item on the list that we created. The problem is that she had no funds to purchase the devices. I reached out to some community members and was able to secure a three thousand dollar donation. I purchased ten touchscreen laptops. I was also able to provide her with a lockable charging cart.


Reiser, R. A., & Dempsey, J. V. (2018). Trends and issues in instructional design and technology. New York: Pearson.

Digital Coaching & the 4Cs

Part of my role as an ITF or Digital Coach is to work alongside teachers to plan on ways to incorporate the 4Cs. I want to point out that my role as a collaborator goes beyond just incorporating technology, but includes the integration of technology and the 4Cs into curriculum and content.

Digital Coaching and the 4Cs from

Digital Portfolios

Link to Slide Show
A portfolio is a showcase of work samples and artifacts. You would use a portfolio to help you get a job, get into college, or get an internship. A portfolio would contain a wide variety of artifacts that demonstrate your skills and abilities. A digital portfolio is in a digital format and includes reflections about your artifacts. Here is an excellent example of a college student’s portfolio.

All student Portfolios will require the following components:

You will create a page for each class – English, Math, Health/PE, Arts, Extra Curricular, etc
Types of Learning (Artifacts)
Variety of photos of work, audio clips, videos, embedded documents (essays, presentations)
Describing your artifacts, discussing your accomplishments, your challenges, your learning
Formal Document ( High School)
A cover letter and resume

Sample Digital Portfolios and Evaluation Activity
Here are several digital portfolios. Take a look at some of these samples and evaluate them using the provided rubric.

Start Your Digital Portfolio
1. Write your Bio
2. Create a Weebly or Google Site.Sign in with your student log in.
4. Add your bio to your home page
5. Begin adding artifacts and reflections
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NC TIES 2018

I am at NC TIES, in Raleigh North Carolina. I am having a good time learning from these awesome workshops. Here are a few notes for myself. I went to a workshop on personalizing PD. The presenters were technology coaches that work with many schools. For each school they work with teachers on an individual level. They use the NC Digital Learning Competencies to guide individual teachers through reaching their personalized goals. The presenters had a course and assessment tool developed for each major competency.

My plan is to create a spreadsheet that includes: both schools I work at, each individual staff member,email address, website, the NC Digital Competencies they wish to target, and notes about discussions during planning.

The presenters used a tool called Class Flow. It helps engage the audience. I will test it out and create a review for it. Here are a few important links I came across:

Class Flow

Power School Courses

NC Digital Learning Competencies

NC  Digital Learning Competencies PD and Assessments 

There are four competencies. DPI has developed a course for each of the competencies. There is an assessment, for each one, that will earn you 1.0 CEU credits in technology. I can work with teachers in groups or as individuals to complete a course and its assessment. I will walk them through each step of the process. Teachers can contact me to schedule a time to discuss the direction they wish to head.

Leadership in Digital Learning –Teachers will demonstrate leadership in accelerating their integration of digital teaching and learning pedagogies.
-Engage in virtual and face-to-face learning communities to expand mastery of technological applications for professional growth and student learning.
– Take initiative with own professional growth to inform practice.
– Demonstrate leadership for technology innovation beyond my own classroom.
– Engage in peer collaborative problem solving through continuous planning, designing, testing, evaluation, and recalibration of teaching methods using appropriate digital technology.
– Promote open, lifelong learning as an iterative process of success, failure, grit, and perseverance.

Digital Citizenship- Teachers will model and teach digital citizenship by the ethical, respectful, and safe use of digital tools and resources that support the creation of a positive digital school culture.
– Demonstrate understanding of intellectual property rights by abiding by copyright law, intellectual property, and fairuse guidelines.
– Teach and require the use of copyright law and fair use in student work and creation.
– Engage in responsible and professional digital social interaction.
– Integrate digital citizenship curriculum into student learning.
– Demonstrate global awareness through engaging with other cultures via advanced communication and collaboration tools.
– Ensure full, equitable access and participation of all learners through high-quality technology tools and resources.

Digital Content and Instruction- Teachers will know and use appropriate digital tools and resources for instruction.
– Design technology-enriched learning experiences that encourage all students to pursue their individual interests, preferences, and differences.
– Lead all students in becoming active participants in setting educational goals, managing learning, and assessing their progress through digital tools.
– Identify, evaluate, and utilize appropriate digital tools and resources to challenge students to create, think critically, solve problems, establish reliability, communicate their ideas, collaborate effectively.
– Immerse students in exploring relevant issues and analyze authentic problems through digital tools and resources.
– Evaluate and appropriately modify the form and function of the physical learning environment to create a conducive digital learning environment.

Data and Assessment- Teachers will use technology to make data more accessible, adjust instruction to better meet the needs of a diverse learner population, and reflect upon their practice through the consistent, effective use of assessment.
– Integrate digitally enhanced formative and summative assessments as a part of the teaching and learning process.
– Use performance data and digital tools to empower student metacognition for self-assessment & self-monitoring their own learning progress.
– Utilize multiple and varied forms of assessment including examples of student work products.
– Utilize technology and digital tools to synthesize and apply qualitative and quantitative data to:
● Create individual learner profiles of strengths, weaknesses, interests, skills, gaps, preferences.
● Inform, personalize, and calibrate individual learning experiences.
● Identify specific plans of action related to weaknesses, gaps, and needed skills as identified in the learner profile.
● Reflect and improve upon instructional practice.

Gender Roles and Stereotypes

Discussing Digital Drama

Real Housewives

Like a Girl

Gender and the Media

Change Your Life with Bacon

Cleaning Ads

Men In Ads

Quality Texts, Rigorous Questions, Digital Annotating & Paired Texts

I taught Language Arts for over 12 years. I know what it is like to be in the trenches. I know how challenging teaching is and the amount of time it takes to plan. As an ITF, I seek technology resources that can help lighten a teachers workload. Common Lit is an amazing resource. Common Lit provides free texts and discussion questions. These texts can be downloaded for free. There are a variety of ways students can access these texts. Upload them to your website, have students read the texts on their devices, convert the text to a Google Doc so students can answer the questions directly into the Google Doc.

Schedule a time with me to collaborate, develop, and implement Common Lit. Here is a brief video that will demonstrate the features and benefits of Common Lit.

Solutions for Live Streaming School News

Old Broadcasting verses New Live Stream Technology

Old technology required hardware, television sets, and wiring. The hardware connected the television studio cameras to a switcher. The switcher board allowed the tech to select the camera angle and add text and graphics. The wiring connected the output to the televisions across the campus.  Both schools I work at do not have the hardware, wiring, or CRT TVs. The newer technology will enable me to stream live broadcasts verses having to air prerecorded broadcasts. Newer technology has removed the need for old CRT televisions and wiring from the output broadcast to the campus television network.  A basic live stream broadcast requires at least one camera, a broadcasting app or software,  and an internet connection. The audience, in a school, can view the live broadcast using a LCD projector or TV that is connected to a computer that is projecting the live stream.  The three most common locations to stream to are Facebook, YouTube, and Periscope. I personally do not use Periscope. I came across a number of inappropriate content and I would not want my students to be exposed to such material. 

Before we dive deep into the technology requirements for live streaming a news broadcast, I do want to point out that prerecorded broadcasts are an option. Prerecorded broadcasts have a list of benefits in comparison to live broadcasts. Some of these include the allowance for the talent to make mistakes, footage can be recorded on a wide variety of cameras that vary in quality. Lastly, you have the ability to custom edit the footage and use high end software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe Illustrator. 

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Go Lightstream

Cost: Free
Link: https://www.golightstream.com/
Camera(s):  Built in webcam 
Audio: Internal microphone
Text & Graphics: Yes, and very customization
Green Screen Capabilities: No
Streams to: Twitch, Facebook, YouTube, & Mixer
Description: Go Lightstream works well when using one built in web cam. It is very easy to add lower thirds and text. It is difficult to fit more than two people into the frame. You need to keep your subjects close to the computer so that the microphone will pick up the audio. Go Lightstream has the capability to add other web cameras. I found this not to work because the audio from all web cameras is able to be heard. There is also a lag in switching from one camera to another. This application works will for one camera angle with 1-2 speakers 3-6 feet from the web cam. Contact me if you have questions of need tech support.

Switcher Go & Switcher Studio

Switcher Go: Free     
Switcher Studio: $29.00 a month or $299 annually
Link: https://www.switcherstudio.com/
Camera (s): 1 to 9 ISO/Apple devices ( not compatible with Android)
Audio: Internal microphone / external audio
Text & Graphics: Yes, and very customization
Green Screen Capabilities: No
Streams to: Facebook and YouTube
Description: This is by far my favorite way to live stream. The only negatives I have at the moment is that you can not use green screen technology, you need a ton of free space on the device you record to, and there is no app for a Mac Book computer.  You will need at least one iPad to control all of the other cameras. I use a combination of iPhones and iPads. All of the devices must be connected to the same WiFi network. I use a soundboard with lavaliere microphones for my audio source. 
What is the Difference: Switcher Go vs. Switcher Studio

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Cost: $300 – $800
Link: https://getmevo.com/
Camera (s): One Wide Angle Camera
Audio: Internal microphone / external audio
Text & Graphics: No
Green Screen Capabilities: No
Streams to: Facebook, YouTube,  Periscope, Livestream, & Vimeo
Description: The Mevo camera is one camera that functions like multiple cameras. You can use a tablet or smart phone to control the camera and select the areas you want to zoom in on. The app is available on both Apple and Droid devices. The Mevo camera does have a built in stereo microphone, I use external audio sources to increase the quality of the audio. The Mevo comes with a 16 gig micro SD card. The recorded videos are saved to the SD card. You have the option of recording without streaming live or recording and streaming live. I have not been able to live stream to Facebook using the school Wifi. I have to use my LTE to stream to Facebook while at campus.  The older version Mevo camera cost $299. The Mevo Plus cost $500. The Mevo Plus, Mevo Boost, & Tipod cost $800. The Mevo will record for about an hour on one charge. The Mevo boost will increase record time to 10 hours.

OBS ( Open Broadcast Software)

Cost: Free + cost of hardware
Link: https://obsproject.com/
Camera (s): Multiple Camera Angles 
Audio: Internal microphone / external audio
Text & Graphics: Yes, and very customization
Green Screen Capabilities: Yes
Streams to: Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, Mixer, and more
Description: OBS is free and has some powerful capabilities. The main benefit of OBS verses the other resources I have mentioned is that it has green screen capabilities. To add a camera other than the built in camera on a computer you will need to purchase some hardware. I have a Mac and I use a UltraStudio Mini Recorder.  It cost about $140 per unit. My Mac has two lightning ports, so I can only have two external cameras, which is enough for shooting school news. I shoot wide with one camera and get a close up with my second. I can also pull in my desktop as a video source. There are many tutorial on how to use OBS. Email me if I can help you set up your studio. 

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Help Save the Northwestern Pacific Tree Octopus

Help save the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus. You can donate money to help build tree houses that will protect the Tree Octopus from weather and predators. Here is a reliable source about this fascinating creature. Here is a report about the future of the PNTO.

Website Evaluation Activity ( Check out these website and determine how reliable they are)
All About Explorers
Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division
Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus
Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie
The Jackalope Conspiracy
Dog Island

Reliable Resource Presentation
Here are a few search engines that provide reliable resources for academic research.
2. Google Scholar
6. Refseek

Additional Activities and Lesson Plan

BTV Episode 3

We are very excited about BTV. We do value class time and try to make the BTV episodes as brief as possible. We also watch our stats to see how many views BTV gets on Thursdays between 10:15 and 10:45. Episode 3 currently has 53 views. We want to ensure BTV is being viewed and is worth the investment of student and staff time. We will record our next episode on November 29th and it will be posted to this website on November 30th.

Exploring How Matter Changes

There are several ways to incorporate pre-recorded lessons. The blended learning model is my favorite. The students consume the instruction on their own personal device, at their own pace. The teacher is free to work with students individually or in small groups. The following video is a perfect example of how an instructional video can be used for blended learning. For example, all of the students could watch and listen to this video on their own personal devices. The video prompts the students to pause the video, in between each station. During this time, student complete activities and resume the video when they are ready for the next video segment. This allows students to work at their own pace and the instruction is free to assist students instead of presenting the lesson to the entire class. Pre-recorded lessons also benefit students that were absent.

At Your Fingertips

Here are a couple of samples of “At Your Fingertips” resources. These resources can serve a wide variety of functions, contain an array of content, and be housed in many different formats. The purpose of an “At Your Fingertips” resources is to provide staff members with everything they will need for a particular unit of study, lesson, or job function.

1. Math 7 & 7 Plus Course Content

2. Unit Content for 6th Grade EL

3. University of South Florida Technology Integration Matrix

4. Google File Job Aid


Science Myth Podcasts

Ms. Connor’s science class has been working on creating podcasts about Greek myths that explain the weather. They are currently studying weather and are discussing how the weather was originally explained through myths. They looking at the scientific explanations of weather but having fun with producing podcasts about mythologies explanations about the weather.
Group 1: Faith, Dabney, Dulaney, Aya, & Zoe

Group 2: Tamara & Aron

Group 3: Cooper & Justin

Group 4: Sean & Ananiah

Dance & the 4Cs

This video demonstrates how the 4Cs was incorporated into a dance activity at Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School.


The Hour of Code

We are participating in the Hour of Code on December 5th. We will mostly all be participating in the “Hour of Code” website activities, but there are many other coding activities students can participate in. Here are several they can choose from. Open this post to read more.

Hour of Code Activities–These activities will help introduce you to coding and computer science.  Play around with them until you find something that interests you! Happy Coding.

https://code.org/learn (a lot of great coding activities for students to choose from independently)

https://code.org/educate/teacher-led  (in depth coding lessons with detailed activities–teacher directed)

https://code.org/athletes  (athletics based coding activities)

https://code.org/educate/resources/inspire  (resources about coding, videos, posters, etc…)

https://blockly-games.appspot.com/maze  (easy coding activity, no sign in required)

https://studio.code.org/  (computer science fundamentals for all ages, not login required)

http://csisfun.com/  (simple computer activities for younger students, additional coding activities available that require free trial)

http://www.crunchzilla.com/code-maven (basic, step by step coding activity, no sign-up required)

https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/editor/?tip_bar=hoc  (popular coding program, no sign-up required)

https://scratch.mit.edu/scratchr2/static/pdfs/help/MusicCards.pdf (students use scratch to create a musical card)

https://code.org/curriculum/algebra (for you math folks out there…coding activities that deal with algebra)

http://csunplugged.org/activities/  (coding activities that do not require devices)

https://www.codeavengers.com/  (requires free trial sign up)

https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/hour-of-code/hour-of-drawing-code/v/welcome-hour-of-code (Khan Academy resources on the Hour of Code)

Persephone & Demeter

I enjoy working with students that want to go above and beyond what is required of them. These students were originally assigned to record a podcast episode. They wrote their own script and recorded their podcast, but they wanted to take it a step further. These students wanted to perform their script and have it recorded. They created their own props and prepared for their performance. Here is their video.

DSAP, TPACK, SAMR, and Technology Matrix

DSAP- is a framework that helps identify technology tools for the purpose of increasing student engagement. DSAP stands for delivery resources, student practice resources, assessment resources, and productivity resources.

The TPACK framework is an excellent way to look at how technology plays a role in lesson and student activity development. It has been a couple of years since I dove head deep into the TPACK framework. This brief video does an excellent job ob explaining and illustrating TPACK.

TPACK helps us with the theory of instructional design and the SAMR model can be used to evaluate the use of technology. I see many uses of technology and most are not transformative. It can be a challenge to reach redefinition level. This video will introduce or refresh your memory of the SAMR framework.

The University of Sothern Florida has created an awesome “At Your Fingertips” resources for ITFs and teachers. I like to search the matrix by subject and grade level. Here is the link to TIM ( Technology Integration Matrix).

Skype in the Classroom

Here is a demo of how Skype can be used to communicate to students that are not physically present in the classroom.

Active Learning Spaces

My goal is to create active learning spaces that use pedagogy, technology, and space to engage students in self directed learning experiences. I have been able to build one that houses fifteen students. I was awarded two grants to fund the project. One was from the Wake Ed Partnership for $3,000 and the other $3,000 grant came from Wake Electric.The following video showcases students using the active learning space I created in my classroom.

The space is small but jam packed with technology. The learning spaces seats fifteen students. It has the following equipment and technology:
– 13 laptops
– 2 desktops
– Adobe Creative Cloud software
– Podcasting equipment
– Canon T6i Camera
– Lighting
– Green screen and other backdrops
– 2 Breakout EDU kits
– Apple TV and Chromecast
– Reason recording studio software
– Collaborative and lounge seating

I worked on securing funding for these active learning spaces from two sources. I wrote the grant for FVMS and was awarded $50,000. I also wrote the rough draft for CCMMS grant application.I worked with a team of teachers there to finalize the grant application. We were also awarded $50,000. Lastly, I worked with the PTSA at FVMS to determine how the technology fundraiser funds should be spent. I advocated the funds be used to create an active learning space in an area we call the Fish Bowl. They provided us with $10,000 to convert the space.

Cross Platform Matrix

Welcome to Convergence. Today we will work together to collaboratively create a matrix that will help teachers know the various platforms that digital tools are compatible with. For example, digital tools that use flash will not work on certain platforms. I have create the matrix and entered in several digital tools and the platforms they are compatible with. The majority of today’s session will be spent on us working collaboratively to add more digital tools to the matrix.

Here is the link to the cross platform matrix.


    I am so happy to work Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School because we get to collaborate with the staff of NC State. We worked with the engineering department for the STEM Expo.We used the same STEM challenges that the engineer students at NC State complete for their coursework.Our students chose one of the projects listed below. As teachers, we could not offer them much imput or direction. We had to oversee their projects and ensure they stayed in the guidelines. For example, the students could not spend more than $30.00 on their projects. The students used the engineering design model as they collaboratively built their solutions to the STEM challenges.

Here are copies of the rubrics that were used to judge the student STEM projects.
Engineering Design Model
Bubble Machine
Fabric Bucket
Precision Launcher
Rube Goldberg Machine

Read Across America

I was amazed to see how successful Fuquay Varina Middle School’s Read Across America Day was. Various members of the community and WCPSS participated by reading a rigorous text with our students. Students also were engaged in activities that allowed them to incorporate a variety of literacy skills.

3D Poetry in Motion

I have taught Language Arts for over 12 years and I have never seen a Language Arts lesson like this before. I was blown away by Ms. Hartnett and her Centennial Campus Magnet Middle School students. They transformed the lines of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken” into a 3D version of the poem that included STEM connections and a robotic speaker, in motion. I filmed Ms.Hartnett and her students presenting their poetry projects and sharing their reflections. It was exciting to see how this learning experience engaged the students.

I would love to collaborate with Language Arts teachers to create and implement learning experiences that incorporate STEM, technology, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative products that enhance learning and engage students.