New School Year, New Tools

I am amazed on how little I actually know. In my four brick and mortar walls, I feel like the king of the castle.

However, surrounding myself with a number of top notch educators has challenged me learn about some different tools I will  implement in my classroom and school next year. In no specific order, here they are:


SwivlI have debated on trying to earn my NBCT in middle school language arts. One component of four components has you video taping your classroom. I know it is powerful to watch and reflect on your instruction. I want to use this tool to become a better teacher.

  • Undergrad teaching: I am teaching an undergraduate course for students interested in the teaching field. This tool may not be for them, but I would love to share it with colleagues at the university for our student interns.
  • Small group discussions: I have attempted to record and video tape students discussions in the past and it never comes out the way I want. I think this will be the best tool to successfully make videos to use as anchor models for student discussions.


OZOBOT – I work in the STEM after school program and new ideas are always needed. I attempt to work with the fourth and fifth grade to build relationships early before getting to my sixth grade class. OZOBOT, recommended by Billy Krakow who runs an awesome elementary STEM lab in New Jersey, allows to start students with basic levels of coding and offers it in a game format once students learn the basic premise.

  • Basic video on how it works developed by a parent.


Flip Grid – I sat in a panel discussion for an ASCD Emerging Leader and got talking with Michael Matera about online tools in blended learning environments. Flip grid is best described as a mini-videos (90-seconds max) strung together by students. I foresee using this in my sixth grade ELA class and undergraduate course.

  • Undergrad: Introductions
  • ELA: Responses to questions and reflections; goal setting too.


Feed Your Brain – This is an initiative by the Frederick Reading Council which “hand out free, new books to children in need and encourage them to read over their summer break.” What a great initiative to help young readers love to read! My daughter gets a free book every month thanks to Imagination Library, and she lights ups when it comes. She knows that is Daddy Daughter time to read. Let’s replicate this idea and get it going in the Pocomoke City area. I am going to push for the Eastern Shore Reading Council to initiate this same program too in the coming weeks.


Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) — I’ll admit, I new minimal about the new legislation act until I sat through a dynamic season facilitated at #ASCDL2L. We spoke about comparisons to the previous NCLB legislation and what educators needed to know, the effect on states and local LEAs, and the role ACSD ELs could take in your state. Reaching out to my state, I plan on taking an initiative to being more informed on this new policy.



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