Showing posts from 2016

TMST: Holiday Learning Edition

TRUTH:  Holidays are for family, recharging and giving ourselves a much needed break.

This break, I hope you take time for doing just that.  

TRUTH: Despite the fact that our priorities are set for the above activities, and our intent to not work might be totally real, most of us will still end up working at some point over break.

We educators are planners.  We get itchy to get a "jump" on things.  When this happens to you, keep in mind the following:

TRUTH:  No one will judge you if you don't work.

TRUTH: No one will judge you if you do.

And in that spirit, if you want to take some of that time to learn, you might want to begin one of 3 implementation challenges my team is offering through this winter/next spring.  

All of the challenges are set up so that you can learn at your own pace to earn up to 6 hours of credit, but you decide how much or how little you choose to complete.  Choose from:

The Blogging Challenge 2.0Schoology FiresideThe Apple Teacher Challenge   Challenge o…

TMST: Holiday Apester Interactives

You may have noticed that it is not a Tuesday.  Welcome to the holiday season, folks.  If you aren't running behind on something, congratulations!  Tis the season for me to be a bit welcome to Teach Me Something Tuesday a day late...

Learning doesn't stop just because the holidays are upon us, though many kids might disagree.  As we dream of Santa visits, family traditions, Menorah lights and most importantly TIME OFF FOR BREAK, it can be hard to stay focused.  So this week, I am having some fun while learning about a new interactive tool called Apester.

I could tell you what it is and you could spend a ton of time reading about it, but why not take a look at the holiday fun I created using it instead?

Images borrowed under creative commons from and

Images borrowed under creative commons from and

Embed customized quizzes, polls, video polls and more to your classroom website, blog or Schoology course.  Let me know what y…

TMST: More Hour of Code FUN!

The countdown is on...Hour of Code starts on Monday!  Yes, I am a little obsessed.  In my blog here, I broke down some ways to participate and get yourself started in designing. This week, I have had so much fun talking to educators about plans and helping them work on designs that I couldn't resist blogging about it again.  

The refreshing thing to me is that Hour of Code is what you make of it.  

For example, one of the houses of K-5 learners I work with is hosting their Hour Of Code playdate style - with experiences set up in each classroom each day of the week that learners of all ages can choose from. Since they do Challenge Based Learning and are actively involved in the big idea of Discovery,  their challenge for the week's activities will be  based around the challenge, "Discover how programmers think".  They are including robotics like Code-a-pillar and BlueBots, unplugged activities, and a variety of apps and sites.  Throughout the week, they'll have lear…

TMST: Google Webinar

I am beyond lucky to work with some other amazing Digital Learning Coaches.  Last week, our Google project team produced an outstanding Webinar.  

I attended it mainly because I wanted to support them and what I got from it was so much more.  I learned a ton about Google Forms, Drawings and Slides...even though I felt pretty proficient in them already.  

Sometimes learning surprises you.  It did for me that night.  So often we think, "yeah, I already know that tool" when we have only scratched the surface of what learning design potential can be there.  Luckily, my mindset was open and because of that, I was able to see some things in a new light.  

So today for TMST, I urge you to take time to check out the Webinar recording.  Fast forward what you know, but be open to learning what you might not.

After viewing the recording, I'd LOVE to design with you with some new ideas in mind!  Let me know in the comments what resonated…

Coming Soon #Hourofcode

The Hour of Code is coming!!  A nationwide week to celebrate computer science in our classrooms, this week allows our learners to experience coding in all forms as educators set aside an hour through the week to DEAC - drop everything and code.
While we are working to embed the problem solving skills involved in learning the language of coding into our classroom experiences all year round, the Hour of Code week allows us to set aside time to learn and explore with other learners throughout the globe. 
How can my classroom participate? Add your class or campus to the Hour of Code mapDetermine how your Hour of Code might work.  Will you do it all in one hour on one day? Or through the week?What resources might you use and expose your learners to?How can you involve others in your school to be involved too?Select the resources you might use.  Here are some of favorites! Of Code Resources by Grade Level by Jacqui MurrayCoding, Coding, Coding Symbaloo by Shannon McCl…

TMST: Split Screen, Yes Please!

While I am working on a superfly post about the Hour of Code for later this week, I thought I'd give you a couple of nuggets of awesome for Teach Me Something Tuesday.

Have you ever noticed something on your technology but completely ignored it until the day where you were just curious enough to fall down a rabbit hole and tap/click around?

That was totally me and split screen for Mac and the multitasking features on my iPad.  

Split screen basically lets you multi-app, interacting with 2 apps or programs at the same time on your iPad or MacBook.  

For a girl who used to have 2 monitors in my past job, this is an efficiency game changer.  

Need to copy and paste something from Google Docs into Pages?  Done.
Need to refer to data or a rough draft while creating a final project or video? Easy.
Want to watch Netflix while working on lesson plans? Go Crazy. (Kidding.  Kind of.)

I think you get the idea!  Learn more by following the links below:

Using Split Screen for Mac Using Multitasking and…

Upcoming Digital Learning Opportunities

Want to learn more about the digital learning opportunities happening this year?  Check out the link below to learn more about what is coming up!

Fall Digital Learning Opportunities

Spring Digital Learning Opportunities

TMST: Twitter Sanity

I am often asked, "Alli, how do you keep up with all the things?"  While I stifle my laughter since most of the time I feel like I am drowning just like everyone else, my mind always ends up at Twitter.  

I know.  Twitter.  

You either love it or hate it.  To honest, I hated it too circa 2009.  I laughed at people who felt the need to update everyone on everything in their lives.  I just didn't get it.

These days, you might say I am slightly addicted to Twitter.  It is my #1 place to get news, professional learning and discussion from others passionate about education like me.  I follow approximately 1,000 people and if I have one beef, it is how overwhelming having access to all that information can be.

So here is one secret of how I keep up with "all the things" - 


In my profile, I created lists of people and groups so that I can drown out the noise and filter only information that I want to see.  I have lists for each campus and for my other digital learnin…

TMST: This post is EPIC!

Have you ever wished you had a library of digital books that was customized to the interests of each learner from your class? What if those books were not only digital, but included read to me and audiobooks as well?

Well, my friends, meet Epic!

No, Epic! is not some brand new, shiny digital tool that will transform your entire classroom world with one click or tap.  One app rarely can.  In case you missed my earlier posts, learning is not about the tool.  

But Epic! is an app that provides an online digital library that is customized to learner interest.  It won't solve every problem you ever had, but it can be a great resource in your toolbelt to promote reading and provide learners with different reading choices.

It isn't new, but it has purpose.  

For the learner who's read everything in your classroom library.  For the time you wish the library had just a few more weather books.  For the reader that just isn't feeling motivated to read unless it means they get to read …

TMST: My Recap of RecapThat

Once upon a time it was summer.  I enjoyed long days of relaxing by the pool. I stayed up late and binge-watched a ton of Netflix. Back in those lazy days, I excitedly saved a ton of things from my Twitter feed, thinking I had plenty of time to explore and tell our educators all about them later.  

And then, well, the school year happened.

As I slowly dig myself out from under the first quarter of the school year, I did something I very rarely remember to do.  I circled back.

And so...I give Recap of RecapThat, a great video reflection resource that almost went forgotten in my bookmarks.  

RecapThat in Action
RecapThat is a video reflection curation tool.  As an educator, I set up an account and class on the web version of RecapThat.  Kids are able to join the class by email address or class code.  (I chose to use the class code - so easy).   Recap lets you record and/or write a prompt question(s) to "assign" to the learners. When ready to use in class, learners access t…

TMST: Little Kids Can

To those who know me and my obsession with puppets, this post will come as no surprise. After all, a Kindergarten teacher turned Digital Learning Coach has a huge soapbox to stand on.  Why?  

Because little kids can.

We've come a long way from sand tables and letter of the week. Why?

Because little kids can.

Our learners now have a world at their fingertips and have never known a world with no internet. They are not afraid to click and tap and explore.  Why?

Because little kids can.

Last week, I focused my learning on exploring a range of apps by Duck Duck Moose, the makers of Chatterpix Kids. They produce a bunch of easy to use apps that are FREE.  One I loved in particular is the Draw and Tell app, which lets our kids illustrate, write and record stories that can have multiple scenes.  

I couldn't just learn on my I asked some 1st graders to help.  Why not?  They took about 10 minutes with me to learn the basics of the app and some expectations for the lesson on the iPad usi…

TMST - Writer's Block

A blank page with a dark blinking cursor sits mocking me tonight.  

The truth is, I wrote a whole post already and stocked it in my drafts for another time, another day.  It is a reflective post and I will publish it soon.  But today is Teach Me Something Tuesday and my brain is flooded with other ideas...which one to pick? 

The cursor blinks...
It's also true that even a blogger gets writer's block. Blogger's block, if you will.  It reminds me of why we should all say thanks for the special individuals that teach 4th grade writing. EEK.

So in lieu of amazing written insight tonight, I give you 3 digital strategies that could help when your learners (or you) have writer's block.

Writer's Block Remedy #1: Map it out.
Sometimes thinking needs to be visible before it is coherent.  Why not draw or map out ideas using Popplet or Ideament app?  Learners who thrive when working together could use the meeting component of the Baiboard app to sketch ideas in real time with a part…

TMST: Becoming a SLACKer

I am becoming more efficient this year by becoming a SLACKer.

You might be thinking, wait, what?  How is that possible?  

While I am working to put my motto of "do less, better" into place as much as possible, it's not what you think.
Image made with Canva
What I am really referring to is a new tool my team is using to help us be more productive and efficient called Slack.  Through the Slack site/iOS app/Mac app, teams can work together by sharing messages, chat streams, documents and a virtual workspace.  

My team has always used Skype as a backchannel, Trello for project management and Google Drive for collaboration. For a satellite team like mine that must work closely without being in the same physical space, tools like these are crucial.   But Slack is like Skype ON STEROIDS and it integrates with other apps like Google Drive and Trello.    

Image credit: Slack I admit, I was skeptical to try something new when my team started using it, but I can't deny now that it is …

Schoology and Parents

Schoology can be an amazing management system for your classroom digital workflow.  It also can support the home to school connection when parents are able to participate as well.  This post is designed to outline how Schoology can be used by parents and share key resources for educators using Schoology with parents.

Parents can access Schoology with their child by having the learner login at

Parents can also access Schoology with a parent acccount that can be set up at using the preferred contact email given to Coppell ISD and going to FORGOT PASSWORD.  To learn more about setting up parent accounts, click here.

Using a parent account is beneficial because:
A parent can see ALL of their children in one accountCourse updates and due dates can be easily accessedAssignments and work submitted can be viewed
Interested in learning more?  
Check out the CISD Schoology and Parents Page

Learn more about the differences between parent and student acc…

TMST: Skitch

This is NOT a drill.

Y'all.  SKITCH is back. 

No, I am not referring to Lilo's friend from that cute movie.  I am referring to one of my TOP 10 favorite apps that was taken OUT of the App store for some CRAZY reason.

Skitch for iPad is officially back in the app store, which means that our learners can get back to annotating images to their hearts content without being forced to use only Skitch for Mac (which is also great, check it out here).

Why is this so important to me?  With the Skitch app, learners can:

Snap a picture of a text they are reading and use the highlighter to locate key vocabulary or spelling rules during word work.Create captions for images to be added to a class book.Practice locating and labeling non-fiction text features.Locate shapes, lines, angles, etc. "hiding" in famous art or in their own photographs.Label parts of  body systems, food webs, weather cycles, flowers, etc.Annotate a map with regions, cardinal directions or important landmarks.

TMST: An Apple A Day

I was once told that it is important for us as educators to remember what learning feels like.  To do this, we must actively involve ourselves in learning new things.  

Last week, Apple released its Apple Teacher program, which is a professional learning challenge to help educators learn more about using iPads and Macs in an educational setting.  This self-paced challenge provides educators several modes (Multi-touch book, help site, or from the Apple store)  in which to learn about using Mac and iPad in education.  Upon successful completion of a quick 5 question assessment for different skills, educators earn electronic badges.  

To me, this was a perfect way for me to remember what learning feels like.  

I immediately went into NERD mode and began the program.  On a Friday night.   Yep, I'm super cool.  But the neat part was that a few of my awesome CISD friends were also doing it too.  Back and forth we went on Twitter andI was reminded how fun learning can be when it is "to…

TMST: Schoology FAQ

Since I cheated a bit on Teach Me Something Tuesday, I thought I'd give you a bonus edition this week.  Without further ado, here is TMST:  Thursday Edition.  Our topic today?  Schoology Frequently Asked Questions.

Yesterday, I gave one of my campuses a small Schoology sprinkle at their faculty meeting. I'm excited to be supporting them as they go deeper into Schoology this year and will be providing FedEx sessions, Team Time trainings and 1 on 1 support as the year goes on.  As with all new things, this kind of follow up is essential.  

Being the believer I am in responsive teaching, however, I wanted to take this post to answer some of the questions that came from yesterday's quick sprinkle.  Hopefully it can help!  I decided to do it "vlog" style so please enjoy the quick videos below!

Do I have to use the courses made for my class in Schoology or can I build my own?

How do I get Schoology on my Schoolwires page?  What does that even mean?

What do parents see in Sc…

TMST: Priorities

Warning: This is not your "typical" Teach Me Something Tuesday.  I promise to get back to dazzling you with amazing digital learning strategies soon, but this Tuesday, I have something else in mind.

My Aunt passed away this weekend.  I haven't told many people.  She was 90 and lived an amazing life making her family happy and perfecting the most amazing cheesecake and strawberry pies I have eaten (sorry, Mom).  It is hard being away from my family as the service will be held in my hometown up north.

The reason I share this is for 2 reasons...

The first is an answer to a popular question I get asked a lot.  People assume because I am a digital learning coach that I am obsessed with technology.  They ask if I have always been "techy".  The answer is usually that I am naturally curious and like learning in all forms, tech included.  The truth is, what made me "techy" is the need for connection.  With my parents and family in other states, I sought ways to c…