Sunday, August 20, 2017

Starting the Year Strong

It's the first week of school and there is so much I want to share that I just can't wait for Tuesday.  I, like you, get so excited to begin new school years.  This post won't be long, but I do want you to have some helpful resources that can help you to start your digital learning journey strong!

CISD Beginning of the Year K-5 Resources 

Kick off your year by providing our learners with their first digital citizenship lesson.  All learners in CISD must complete the Digital Literacy Overview by Sept. 4. When learner accounts are ready, I will email you. Then, you'll be able to help them login and change their passwords for the year using the first login quick resources.


Seesaw can be an awesome way to promote a school - home connection.  Many educators are planning to use Seesaw for digital learning journals, projects, reflection and more this year.  I recently became a Seesaw Ambassador and would love to discuss it with you if it is new to you! If you are already "ALL IN" to use it, check out these helpful getting started activities for your learners!


District created classes have been added to Schoology.  These classes are set up through Pentamation and your learners should already be in them.  If you decide to create your own class to use, don't forget to add your kids as members.  Below are some Back to School things to consider.

And lastly, whether you are itching to get started with digital learning or are still under water with all the things, please just know that I am here for you.  Let me know how I can best help you!

Image used with permission from Sam Neal, made in Canva

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

TMST: A Couple of Randoms

Welcome back to Teach Me Something Tuesdays!  

In this weekly blog series, I try to share something I've learned, discuss new ideas or strategies, and/or showcase something I have been working on in classrooms. I typically share these on Tuesdays to hold myself accountable and give you something to look forward to midweek!

My past few days have been spent easing into the new school year with my team.  During the course of the work we have been doing, I learned 2 very random, but awesome things that may seem small, but have changed my efficiency in BIG ways!

Sometimes its the little things right?

So, did you know...

that if you click on someone's picture at the top of a Google Doc, it will take you to the exact place in the doc where they are working????

Click the picture of the person at the top right to locate them.

I can't believe how helpful this has been as my team collaborates on a long doc to reference where someone else is!!  

Or, did you know...

you can connect your iCloud Drive to your Mac for easy access across devices???

Yes!  My iCloud drive in Finder now looks like this:

This totally rocks for me as I have been using the collaborative features in Keynote on several presentations lately.  I like to be able to access them on my Mac when designing but also on my iPad for presenting.  Anything I don't need on my Mac stays in the cloud. Setting it up was so easy! Check out the steps here!

What small random things are YOU learning that can change your world in big ways?  Let me know in the comments!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Gearing up for 17-18

Hello, blog readers!

No, I didn't fall off the face of the planet.  Life events forced me to truly disconnect this summer, which I rarely do.  It was needed and it was worth it.  Since my One Word for the year is BREATHE, I knew this summer must be one of rest.

But...a new school year is upon us.  As I move from dreading the alarm clock to the inevitable excitement a new year brings, I am reminded of a quote from the movie, You've Got Mail.  

We met our new hires today during Digital Learning Day.  I wanted to tell them all the things - how our district promotes risk, how we believe in learning beyond the tools, how little kids can and will when we have growth mindsets. I wanted to tell them that is is less about technology and more about relationships, that if they are willing to let go, the sky is the limit for our kids. I wanted to tell them that they have as much to teach me as I have to offer them.

It's a lot for a "first day", but I know that they will learn that in time.  

As a Digital Learning Coach, I am only as good as the relationships I build.  I may not be able to buy them all newly sharpened pencils, but I can be there.  We are better together and it is a mission I accept with pleasure.

Here's to a GREAT year.  It will be great because we will make it so.

Teach Me Something Tuesdays will be back this year and until then, let me know what you are interested in learning in the comments!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

#ISTE17 or Bust

I'm headed to #ISTE17 this week in San Antonio! I'm so excited to learn and share with other educators.

Want to join in on the learning fun? Follow my Twitter feeds, this blog or the hashtags #ISTE17, #notatISTE or #coppelldlc!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

TMST: Keep it Classy

It is the last day of school here in Texas and boy did we earn our summer!  I'll be blogging through the summer, but possibly not as often so make sure to sign up on the top right to have the posts emailed to you.  

As we pack up our school lives and head for the pool, I want to provide you with a quick tip to help your brain remember important things after summer ends.  

My team recently did our last #CISDCHAT of the year about a tool called Google Keep.  Since it was a crazy time of year, I wanted to make sure you, my readers, benefit from the learning even if you did not get to chat with us.  

What is Google Keep?

Keep is an online space that syncs across your devices for sticky notes, to do lists, reminders and everything else your heart desires organizing.

How do I use Google Keep?

Our team found this video from Matt Miller at to be really helpful in learning to use it!

How can Google Keep be used in the Classroom?

Check out these resources from Kasey Bell at to learn more!

I especially like the way Stephanie Richter, one of the awesome Designers at Lee Elementary, is using Canva to create images for her notes in Google Keep!

Image Credit:  Stephanie Richter

How could Google Keep help YOU?

Have a great summer, Readers! KEEP it classy!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

TMST: Summer Learnin'

Picture me in 50's gear as I "sing" the next line, Grease style...

Summer learnin', you'll have a blast,
Summer learnin', coming up so fa-a-ast.

DISCLAIMER: It is the end of the year, and yes, I am feeling extra nerdy.  

 As we count down the days to a much needed break, I decided this blog would be devoted to celebrating that special moment of the summer where we actually have time to breathe  focus on learning new things.  

Without further ado, here are some ways you can build your skills, focus on next year's goals, and in some cases, earn some flex hours.

DLC PL Offerings

Our DLC team is offering some great Professional Learning this summer, in person AND as virtual courses.  We'd love to have great participation from our Coppell ISD peeps.  View our Thinglink with Eduphoria links to sign up HERE.

Image created by Leigh Ann Howard in Canva

Outside of CISD Opportunities

There are some great opportunities outside of Coppell too!  My teammate, Trisha Goins (check her out - @heartinlife) made this awesome Smore of professional learning being held around the DFW area.  

Also, did you hear about Apple's Teacher Tuesdays?  I am SO excited to see they will be offering professional learning at Apple stores in our areas geared for educators! 

Keeping up with @DLCoachAlli

Lastly, there are several ways to follow my learning journey.  
  • Review past Teach Me Something Tuesday posts, archived at the top of the blog.
  • Sign up on the top right to be notified of new posts by email.
  • I'll be learning and presenting at the #ISTE17 conference June 25-28.  
  • Follow me on Twitter - @dlcoachalli

As we wrap this year up with a bow, thank you for reading and learning.  I started this blog as a way for me to focus on sharing and reflecting on my personal professional development.  It has been an awesome journey, one that I plan to continue!

What are YOU doing for PL this summer?  Share with me in the comments!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

TMST: Region 10 Tech Conference

Happy Tuesday, Blog Readers!

We are inching toward the end of the year so I will make this TMST post short.  I attended a the R10 Tech Conference yesterday and I made a quick storify of the conference hashtag.  Yes, that's right, you get to learn from me AND my PLN in this post!

A Storify is just a collection of social media posts, pictures, and links that are curated into one place!  It can be great for telling the "story" of a CBL or UBD, as a way to reflect upon your learning for summative conferences, or as an end of the year reflection activity!

How do you share out learning from conferences and PL? 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Learning Together is Better

My favorite partner in learning and I were at it again last night.  Just a quick reminder that learning together is better...even when your learning buddy is younger than you.

Video created in Apple Clips.  Drawing Machine made with Little Bits Steam Kit.

Stay vulnerable, friends.  You might just surprise yourself with what learning you find.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

TMST: Blogging Buddies

For years, we as educators have been talking about connected classrooms.  Over the years, many classes I have worked with have connected with experts, used tools that allow for online collaboration and joined projects that involve learning with others outside of their classroom walls.

But how do we make sure those connections promote deeper thinking?

I've been thinking about this question a lot lately.

To me, a connected classroom starts with a connected educator.  Connected educators are inspired by connected coaches.  As I reflect upon the types of connections made by myself and modeled to the educators with which I coach, I realized something.

It's a step to put yourself out there, and I took that step by starting this blog. But connection isn't just putting yourself out there, it is the conversation between thinkers, the shared work of collaborators, the process of problem solving with someone and more.

That's why I decided it was time for me to show you how I am trying to connect more deeply.  I want you, my readers, to know that there is power in working together and seeking new perspectives.  

I recently joined a group of other EdTech Coaches through a project called Blogging Buddies.  This is my first type of project like this.  I am paired with 4 other coaches around the world to learn, reflect and share with each other.  I joined because if I am hoping you and your classrooms will begin connecting with others, I need to do that as well.

My Blogging Buddies have some pretty cool sites and I invite you to visit and learn from them as you would from me.

Eric Curts -
Dierdre Shetler -
Daniel Scott
Debra Killen - 

I'll keep you posted on how this connection project of mine goes!  There are many projects like this for educators and classrooms out there and I'd love to help you find one if you get inspired.  In the meantime, let me know in the comments...

How do YOU promote deeper thinking with your learners by connecting with others?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

TMST: Crazy 'bout Clips

Some days as a DLC I am reminded that my job is pretty fun.  Tinkering with new things helps me learn and being the learning nerd I am, that makes me pretty happy.  

The other day,  I took some time to explore a new app from Apple, Clips.  Clips lets you create movies using a series of video, transition and subtitle clips.  It makes movie creation a little more fun, while being super easy too.  


Things I love about Clips:

  • no login needed
  • start and stop recording seamlessly
  • filters to make videos more interesting
  • subtitles automatically added when recording - great for ELL's and emergent readers
  • easy title slide editing
  • import media or record from the app
  • music options that don't distract
  • share to camera roll or open in other apps

What would #dlcoachalli do with Clips?

  • Make nerdy example videos for introducing content (like on my blog!)
  • Have learners explain the steps in a process, create a procedural text video or reflection of learning
  • Use photos and call out graphics within a Clips video to explain thinking
  • Provide learners quick video directions in Schoology or at stations
  • Help you design learning experiences where the learners create masterpieces connected to content

I found the post linked below from TeacherCast to be helpful when learning about using Clips in the classroom and hope you do too.

Want to talk more about Clips or feeling inspired to try it? I'd love to design with you!

How would YOU use Clips in your classroom?  Let me know in the comments!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Schoology Profile Checkup

Let's "take 5" (minutes that is) for a Schoology Profile checkup!  Do you have your profile page filled out to put your best "face" forward?  Check out the video below!

Have questions?  Let me know!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

TMST: Flipping Out with FlipGrid

This week I'd love to encourage you to learn by doing!  I've talked a little about Flipgrid with some of you and I know some of you are thinking of using it soon or have had learners use it during Jodie Deinhammer's Earth Day global project.

So instead of me writing about it, let's have some stress, you get to wear your learner hat for this exercise!

Step 1
Download the Flipgrid App and enter my grid by using the code  xy69faa
Go to directly to my FlipGrid by following this link

Step 2
Pick one (or more) of my topics and record a short video response.

Don't let me be the only one talking to myself!

Step 3 (optional, but fun) 

Watch someone else's video responses.

You do not need to set up an account to participate as a learner in a grid, but you would want to if you decide to create one to use with your class. Educators get one grid like my example above to host video topics and responses for free.  To host multiple grids, you'd need to pay for an account.

The best part?  ANYONE with your code or link can join and collaborate, reflect and respond with you and your class!

Interested in learning more?  I'd love to meet with you to design a project and help you get comfortable with the educator side!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Learning is Messy

Happy Monday, Readers!

This won't be long, just a quick reflection and reminder.  I am currently learning something that feels foreign to me.  A new language, if you will.  As a high achiever, I am longing for the time when it will be easier, but I am stuck in the struggle.  

It reminds me that the process of learning is messy and it is supposed to be hard.  If it is too easy, I am not learning.  

It reminds me that mindsets are fluid.  I don't always have a growth mindset and you probably don't either.  After all, we don't "achieve" growth mindsets, we work at them.

It reminds me that I don't have to be the expert right away.  Learning takes time and patience.

It reminds me that if I feel this way, you and our kids might feel this way sometimes too.

Learning is messy, but when we work at it, it is so worth it.

Hang in there, readers, and I will too.

Image created in Pablo by Buffer

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

TMST: Apple Design Gems

A couple of weeks ago, my team put on a webinar focusing on design resources.  I think most of the time as educators, we push ourselves to reinvent the wheel.  In some ways, this is awesome because innovation starts with creativity and new ideas.  But in other ways, I think part of our struggle in balance as educators has to do with feeling like design is all on our shoulders.

So how do we capitalize on the great design of others while continuing to seek ways to innovate and provide experiences that are customized for the needs of our learners?

There's no easy answer to that, but you have heard me say this many times over this blog...we learn better together.

That said,  I highly encourage you to add some of these Apple Design Gems to your summer learning plans.  Many resources in these Gems are made by educators like you and there are some great ideas just waiting to be uncovered.

Gem 1:  iBooks

A collection of books with resources that can be used when creating authentic learning experiences. iBooks are very interactive and can also be used for personal, professional learning.

Gem 2:  iTunesU Courses

A collection of resources for educators looking for inspiration. Inside each course you will find posts, assignments, and materials that are helpful when designing lessons.

Gem 3:  Apple Featured Collections

Features free lectures, lessons, audiobooks, iBooks, Courses and more.

Inspired?  Which of these resources will help you in designing learning?  How can I help? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

TMST: Thrively

What would you do if you could have a window into each learner's interests?  Would you engage them differently?  Would you consider designing learning content with those interests in mind?  

What would you do if you could create projects and collaboration activities around those interests?  Would you use them?

Meet Thrively, a place for learners to explore their passions and strengths inside and outside the classroom. Check out this 3 min overview video from the creators of Thrively to get a better understanding of what it can do to enhance the design of passion driven units, Genius Hour, or projects.

I have been interested in passion driven learning since reading Angela Maiers' book, The Passion Driven Classroom several years ago.  One of my schools dived into the concept of a whole campus Genius Hour not long after doing a book study on it.  Genius Hour lets learners explore and develop talents outside of traditional core content.  It is magical what our kids can do when given the chance and time to learn based on their preferences.

Thrively was something I bookmarked, pinned and came across several times after that, but it wasn't until I began playing with it that I saw how amazing it could be.  

3 things that are AWESOME about Thrively:

  1. Learners take an online interest inventory that is more than just multiple choice questions - it can be read to them, there are pictures, there are even questions that ask you to perform a specific type of movement. 
  2. Through the Teacher Dashboard, Educators can create classes of learners and can track progress, see strengths and push out "playlists" of course material like the one shown to the right.
  3. Learning is made active in Thrively through the use of journaling, portfolio and project collaboration features.
What would DLCoachAlli use it for?  

  • Gaining insight on what my learners were interested in with the interest inventory
  • Introducing the concept of Genius Hour through the Find Your Passion course
  • Creating journal reflection opportunities that add purpose to learning experiences
  • Managing projects that multiple learners with similar interests work on and add to
  • Understanding my learners better in order to build deeper relationships

What would YOU use it for? Interested in learning more?  I'd love to collaborate!  Let me know!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

TMST: Digital BreakoutEDU

I'd love to blame this late Teach Me Tuesday post on the STAAR tests we gave this week, but truthfully, there is another reason I am a couple days late - my new obsession with helping educators create digital BreakoutEDU experiences.

What is a Digital Breakout? Well, think escape room for education.  Learners are challenged to "unlock" a series of puzzles tied to their content using different Web 2.0 sites and Google forms.  When they successfully complete the challenges, they have "broken out".  

Take this one for example...I worked with some 4th grade educators on one to help kick off their Life Science unit. Learners are partnered up and must complete the scenario of being lost at the zoo using only the clues provided and what they know about adaptations, producers and consumers to figure out how to unlock a Google Form using codes.

Digital Breakouts can be a great way to switch things up and keep kids engaged and active as they construct meaning in your class!  Our 4th graders at Lee went "all in" while working on this one that connected to their Storyworks paired passages!

Shoutout to Ms. Knight, who co-designed this with me and tried it live in the classroom!

I learned a ton from the Digital Breakout site, exploring the ones already built and using this resource which provides help tutorials and different suggested tools that can be used to build!

The site is great, but as always, never underestimate the power of a thought partner. Collaboration with my DLC partners, Amanda and Megan, as well as some risk-taking educators was the key for me as I began creating my own Breakouts. After learning with them, I was able to create a quick checklist of things to think about when preparing to design one.

As your DLC, it helps me learn when I am helping you.  If you are interested in trying out this format for instruction, don't hesitate to let me know or join me next time we do FedEX to learn more!

This session will be rescheduled soon!  Keep an eye out for more details!

What excites YOU about Digital BreakoutEDU?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

TMST: Let's go on an Expedition!

Once upon a time, I took some 2nd graders on a trip to Ellis Island.  We observed details about Lady Liberty and then explored the actual buildings where many of our ancestors were processed as they came to America.

No, we don't live in New York and no, I did not write a grant for traveling. But we did have an immersive experience in a place some of us may never get to visit.

Last week, I launched a Pryor Takeover to explore something I had never used before.  I borrowed my friend, Suzanne Saxon's class and used the Google Expeditions app to guide her learners through the experience.  We did it only with our iPads using full screen mode to access the 360 view, no Google Cardboard was even needed.

There are a ton of expeditions from which to choose.  We could have gone to the Space Station, the Great Barrier Reef or even the San Diego Zoo if it fit our instructional needs. Since Suzanne's class will soon be simulating a trip to Ellis Island as part of a study on culture, this was the perfect trip for us to try it out with!

How it works:

Simply download the free Expeditions app on your iPads.  In the app, participants must choose to be either a Guide or an Explorer.  As an educator, you will select to be a Guide and you will search for an experience to download and facilitate.  Learners will choose Explorer and must be on the same wifi as you to locate your experience. (The Guest network in CISD worked best for us!) Once they are connected, you will use the guiding questions and text information provided to lead them on the expedition.  When you highlight a talking point, learners are guided there with an arrow. They will move their iPad and body in order to see parts of the 360 experience, so make sure they have room to move! 

Check out this video clip of our tour in action:

We had such an amazing time, with learners making connections to their previous learning experiences while being amazed at what they were seeing firsthand.  

Ready to get started? Here are some great additional resources to learn about Google Expeditions!
Interested in learning more?  I'd love to design an experience with you!  Let me know how I can help!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

TMST: KnowRecorder

Welcome to a Thursday edition of Teach Me Something Tuesday.  Today, I will be trying not to squeal with glee as I write because, drumroll please, I think my teammate and friend, Leigh Ann Howard may have found us an alternative to Explain Everything for our kids.  

Know Recorder is a screencasting/whiteboard app.  It has many similar features as Explain Everything, allows you to save your video directly to the camera roll for easy uploading and sharing, 

You heard that correctly.  

Don't get me wrong.  I love Explain Everything and will continue to use my educator license.  But when I think of our elementary kids that do not currently have Explain Everything, I am overjoyed.  We have a ton of screencasting tools available, but many have moved toward a paid model or have limited features.  We have needed an easy to use way for them to record their thinking through drawing, inserting pictures and interacting with whiteboard tools.

Want to join me in seeing if this can fit our kids' needs?  Download KnowRecorder from the App store or find it in Self Service today.

You don't just have to take it from me...check out this article by Richard Byrne of Free Tech for Teachers to learn more!

Let me know in the comments how you plan to try it!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TMST: The Notes App

Are you a big fan of the Notability app?  Wish our elementary kids had access?  

Gather around, friends.  I'd like to change your life.  

For a recent webinar I co-hosted, my teammates and I were able to find a solution that mimics most of what we love about the Notability app for FREE.  In fact, it is an app that is native to our iPads which means that no download is even needed in order for our kids to annotate PDFs, create sketch notes and make meaning through note taking.  

The best part?

This app works seamlessly with Schoology.  

Ladies and Gentlemen, you think you know the Notes app on your iPad, but you have no idea.  

Check out this short excerpt from our recent Webinar that shows how to use the Notes app to annotate a PDF and share to a Schoology assignment.  

Want to hear more hidden Apple Gems like this one? Check out the full webinar recording with this and 3 other amazing tips!

Are you as pumped as I am about this?  Let me know how you might use the Notes app with your learners in the comments! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

TMST: Schoology Calendar

If you know me, you know how I feel about Schoology. A one stop, EASY to use workflow solution, this learning management system has my heart as a teacher and coach.  It can benefit our learners so much.

As a parent, I love that I can get a glimpse of my child's day.  But I have to admit,  in this age of information overflow, I need all the help I can get in remembering ALL the things. 
(Can I get an AMEN?)

One thing that can really help us overloaded parents out is the use of the calendar feature in Schoology.  Not only can educators create assignments with dates that add to the calendar, but they can also create important dates directly on the calendar as well.

Are you an educator? 

Take some time to learn more about using the calendar feature in Schoology from my awesome team by checking out this archived webinar (HINT: fast forward to 27.26 and stop after 39.35 to hear the calendar features section).


Reference this Quick Tips for adding to the Schoology Calendar guide.

Are you too a parent like me, trying to keep your head above water? Check out CISD's FAQ doc about parent accounts and Schoology.  

Either way, I'm here for you!  Have a great week!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

DLC Implementation Challenges

Are you looking for opportunities to earn your FLEX hours?

Are you interested in learning more about Schoology, Google, and/or Apple? If so, your Coppell Digital Learning Coaches have designed a challenge just for you! All Implementation Challenges are now open and available for you to choose your own adventure. The challenges can be found in Schoology within the DLC PL Course. Take a look at the flyers below to learn more!


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