What pops out to me about connected learning?


Here are some ideas that have “popped out” at me since I started looking at education through a connected learning lens.

  1. I’ve learned that kids love a challenge or competition. (Especially teenage boys) Not so much a 5 page paper challenge, but the type of challenge in which they are teamed up and must be first to complete a task, earn points in a review game, or create the funniest poster or story.
  1. Being spontaneous and straying from the ordinary agenda keeps students on their toes and gets them excited. Who would have thought the mad lib pop up would have gone over so well? Who knew that asking kids to do something as simple as fill silly words in the blanks of a story would make their day? I think what really made it successful was that they expected to read that period, and that they didn’t know they were going to perform mad libs until just a few moments before they were sent on their way.
  1. Participation, as we’ve talked about all semester, is important. I introduced poetry writing to my students about two months ago, and we’ve tried to write a poem about once a week. My younger students have thrived at it, and really impressed me. What’s particularly humbling is that they are supportive of each other’s pieces and enjoy sharing out loud to the class. This week, my school’s library announced it’s having a poetry contest, and my students cannot wait to submit a piece. That’s right, I didn’t have to coerce them by saying it will be counted as a grade or extra credit, they WANT to do it.
  1. Connected learning has taught me how important it is to celebrate and support student interests. I think I have a seriously talented future DJ on my hands. This student, only 13 years old, spends hours after school tinkering with music editing programs and turntables. About once a week when I see him first period, he comes in with a huge grin on his face and asks me to listen to his latest mix. I plug it into my classroom speakers and we all listen together. Sometimes I haven’t heard the songs before, sometimes I have, but either way it does sound pretty cool and well put together. One time he used a song from my Zumba class, so we had an impromptu dance party :)
  1. Another idea that has popped up is the idea of teamwork and common goals. I’m working on finding a local earth day clean up project for my students. When they are working toward a common goal, I not only see them work harder, I see them treat each other better.
  1. The idea of self-reflection has popped up, not only for me (as I explained with my badge) but also with my students. After any large undertaking, like a project, or long-term assignment, or the end of a semester, I ask them to reflect. I sometimes give them guiding questions to think about, or sometimes I just let them write anything that comes to mind. But having kids take time to reflect on the information, process, and outcome of assignment makes it more meaningful.       -Kelly

Curating with Connected Learning & Shakespeare

Once students realize Shakespeare was a master of insults, they start to pay attention to his language, not just the plot of the play.
Once students realize Shakespeare was a master of insults, they start to pay attention to his language, not just the plot of the play.

Hello Ed677 friends! Happy Easter to those of you celebrating today. Here is a curated list of Resources I’d like use for teaching Shakespeare in high school. There are thousands of resources out there, so I narrowed down this list to go with some specific goals I have for my 9th grade Shakespeare unit. First off, I am using it for Romeo and Juliet with 9th grade, so you won’t see too much about Shakespeare’s other famous plays. Also, I have taught this play a handful of times already, so I didn’t feel the need to add resources that include comprehension questions, quizzes, handouts, etc. I already have all that stuff from previous years. Here are the type of resources I tried to curate:

1. Interactive ways for me and students to teach/learn/perform Shakespeare.

2. Activities focusing on points of interest that have the ability to draw in reluctant learners.

Ny times
Teaching lessons by the NYTimes are always awesome.

3. Types of activities that require students to prove their

This text message cracks me up. I've been toying with the idea of having students translate dialogue into text-speak. Not only is it fun and creative, but it requires them to understand the main idea of a scene, and challenges them to summarize it with within certain space constraints.
This text message cracks me up. I’ve been toying with the idea of having students translate dialogue into text-speak. Not only is it fun and creative, but it requires them to understand the main idea of a scene, and challenges them to summarize it with within certain space constraints.

understanding of the literature while synthesizing it into something creative and unique.  I’m trying to stray from the boring comprehension questions for each act of the play (although some days those are a necessary evil)  and instead allow students to show their understanding by exploring a talent or hobby they have. (Hmmm, sound familiar? Yep– Connected Learning with Shakespeare!)

I used Pinterest as my curation tool. It’s the most easy to use in my opinion, and I’m able to search very specific key terms. It also uses my previous pins to tailor my start page to links I’m interested in. Hope it helps some fellow ELA teachers out there!




Tomorrow is Read Across America day. I’ve never done anything related in my classes before because I’ve always taught high school. I’m planning on reading The Lorax with my 7th graders. Wish me luck!

Checking out the maps of our journeys was great. Nice to see how everyone has interpreted #677 so far.

The Caine’s Arcade video was awesome. I remember hearing about it before, maybe on Huffington Post or a daytime TV show, like Ellen. But I never saw the video or understood the full idea behind it until I watched it this week. It’s great seeing a child have so much imagination and ingenuity. I think I’ll show it to my students as a treat sometime soon.

Amy- Nice job with the crochet Prezi. My mom picked up crochet a couple years ago and seems like she’s addicted. I tried to learn a couple times but I’m kind of impatient. But it’s worked out for my sisters and I because we all got handmade hats and scarves for Christmas. I like your template—I need to play around with Prezi more to see what it offers.

Hitch- #thedress was EVERYWHERE this week. I’m sure you’re ready to forget about it even more than the rest of us! But your lesson on perception was really neat. A perfect example of how to take advantage of a teachable moment.

Our department is creating a list of supplies to request next year’s budget. Does anyone have experience with the device called the “lady bug”? It’s a tool that allows you to project paper documents onto your Smartboard. It’s great for editing essays as a class or showing student work. If anyone has one, let me know how you like it?

Hope everyone had an awesome weekend. I’m going now; I have to put a spoon under my pillow, put my PJ’s on inside out, and do a dance in the front yard. #snowdayplease



#f5f 2/1

This is sort of a Find 5 Sunday. Fridays are usually pretty hectic. But it was a good week for me, and I really felt positive after our Wednesday night chat. Here’s what I found for the week:

  1. I had my first Twitter chat this week. It had some positives and negatives, but overall I can see how it’s a powerful education tool.
  1. Emblazen-I appreciate the honesty of your blog posts. This week’s post about hearing Mayor Nutter speak, and your frustrations about the education system was relatable to so many of us.
  1. Beginning of New things- “Twitter is to bird as I am to dinosaur.” This made me laugh. While I somewhat enjoyed the Twitter chat, I am right there with you that I have 100 tasks to worry or think about at any given time, so when I do have free time, it’s usually not devoted to social media.
  1. I’ve been talking to friends and coworkers about this class and some of our discussions. This week, I spoke with a friend who works in college admissions about the concept of this class and its focus on equity. We had a very interesting conversation about equity in terms of college opportunities. Just as I noted in my blog post about the Twitter chat, talking to a diverse group of people about the subject matter gets you a lot of interesting perspectives.
  1. Finally, the Twitter chat also got me thinking how I can use Twitter while teaching literature. I’ve seen students make “Fakebooks” to show their research and knowledge of characters from novels, famous authors, historical figures, etc. Has anyone tried anything creative like that using Twitter? If so, I’d love to hear about it. I’m about to begin Romeo and Juliet with my all male 9th grade class. I’m thinking I’m going to need all the creative help I can get!

The Chatter About Twitter


Last night’s #techquity chat with our class was my first time ever using Twitter. I must admit I was somewhat negative going into the experience. Don’t get me wrong, the concept of twitter is pretty ingenious, and I understand why millions of people love it. I just didn’t think it was for me. I’m a somewhat private person in the social media world. I have a Facebook, but it’s mostly for connecting with my friends from college and posting cute pictures of my dog. When online, I typically keep my opinions to myself. While I love a good debate as much as the next person, I prefer having it face to face with intelligent conversation. When I come across heated discussions on Facebook or Twitter, they often lose their integrity when people stoop to generalizations or name-calling. It also seems like random people like hop in and give their two cents without even scrolling to the top to see what sparked things in the first place! Even in the news you hear about twitter wars between high profile celebrities or politicians. It becomes a contest of who can create the wittiest insult or comeback in 140 characters or less. Why do some people think it’s okay to drop communication etiquette and manners just because the conversation is online? So now that I probably sound like a negative Nancy, let me say I was pleasantly surprised with last night’s #techquity conversation. Here’s what I especially appreciated about the experience:

-Because it was a specific hash tag, only our connected learning crew was involved. No random trolls jumping in!

-It was a structured, intelligent conversation, and because the people who participated were from multiple education-related professions and backgrounds, we had a variety of ideas and opinions. It was refreshing!

-It was fast paced. By the time I thought of a tweet or two about one quote, another quote was posted, giving me a fresh idea to springboard off.

– I like the 140 character maximum for this type of activity because it frees me from the burden of creating long, drawn out responses. For our purposes of exploring these new concepts, brief posts were perfect.

See? Lots of positives. I don’t expect to start tweeting daily about my personal life, but I certainly see how it can facilitate productive discussion and be an awesome education tool. I’m interested to read about everyone else’s experience. Have an awesome weekend, #ed677!

New year, new hobby

Hi Ed677 friends,

This week I decided to sign up for a six week zumba fitness class at my township community center. I had tried zumba a couple of times before and knew it was fun, but this is the first time I’ve ever signed up for a program (or any program for that matter) with my community center. I spend so much time at work during the week, and when I come home I either continue to work or have a tough time getting my brain out of work mode. I realized that when I try to relax on the couch at night, I actually make to do lists in my head or think about lesson planning. So I decided I needed some sort of hobby during the week that I could look forward to and that would hopefully help me switch out of teaching mode. At the first class on Tuesday, I tried to think about community fitness in the context of equity and connected learning. I came up with the following observations. First off, it was a supportive environment in which all the women encouraged one another. There were many different skill levels, from first timers, to seasoned zumba goers, to others that looked like they probably grew up taking dance lessons. (They were much more coordinated and graceful than me) But no matter what level people danced on, it was a comfortable and supportive environment in which we collaborated, socialized, and shared an interest, much like connected learning. In all, I had fun and I’m looking forward to next Tuesday’s class. Happy Wednesday, #clequity friends!