Classroom Fundraiser: Help! We Don’t Have Digital Devices – It’s 2013-14 School Year!

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

A Check-off the Bucket List

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

I no longer believe in coincidences, I like to call these experiences God-incidences…When I was accepted to attend DENSI in Vermont, I knew I would have to make a road trip through Vermont. I had somewhere to visit that is on my Bucket List!  Since my first year teaching I have shown the film The Sound of Music at the end of each school year. The first time I did this,  I recall one teacher telling me, “that my kids would never go for it.”  Well, she was wrong, and for the past eleven years, my students have been loving the film almost as much as I do.

The family portrayed in the film, The Von Trapps, escaped the Nazi regime in Austria (Europe)  fleeing to New York City in 1939, eventually moving and settling in Stowe, Vermont;  The landscape reminded them of their home in Austria. Today, their home is a commercial resort, a mountainous lodge for outdoor lovers, hikers, snow-skiers and for those who want to relish in the love story that is the Von Trapp family. I knew right away that I would make a pilgrimage to their lodge while in Vermont. It just so happened that Stowe is only a three hour drive from The University of Vermont in Burlington, where DENSI was meeting.

As I write this post, I think of all my former students who have shared this film with me.  I know they would want to know about this amazing adventure.  I share this experience with them compelled by the same motivation that has compelled me to share any of my travels and experiences…to encourage and inspire them to do the same. This post is for the thousands of students I have had the privilege of sharing a piece of my spirit with, and to say, I’ve accomplished a goal on my bucket list! :-)

The entrance of the lodge

Maria Von Trapp's Chapel

In front of Maria's Chapel

Sad to say, but in 1979  the lodge had a massive fire and all of the original buildings were lost but one. The family chapel was built about 150 yards up a mountain behind the main house, a beautiful hike upward…this is the only original structure that remains built by the Von Trapps.  It is Maria’s Chapel.  This is where the family held their religious services.   Inside the chapel is an alter where I found prayers and offerings that visitors just like me, left behind. I, too, took some time and wrote my requests for those that I love who are suffering, and to give thanks:)
The Alter inside of the Chapel

Inside the Chapel

The end

My Summer PD-Affectionately Referred to as DENSI

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

This summer, I had the awesome opportunity to experience and learn from the greatest group of educators I have ever known. This experience was humbling, invigorating, and refreshing all at the same time. I was with a group of over 150 technologically-savvy educators who share the same passion and drive for empowering their students as I do.

Before I continue, I’d like to tell you how this whole experience began:

A few years back I became a Star Discovery Educator…this means that I am able to teach Professional Workshops to my colleagues on behalf of the Discovery Education Network. Last March, while working after school one day, I received an email inviting me to apply to attend Discovery’s Summer Institute known as DENSI :)

The application included creating a 2-minute video of myself explaining why I should be chosen. It just so happened that I had all of the man-power and technology with me to complete the application, at that moment, and so I turned to three wonderful students with whom I’ve had the privilege to work for two years, and so I requested their help. After I completed the written application, we all worked together to shoot an off-the-cuff video.

I know that if I plan too much, or try too hard, sometimes I can mess things up–so I just responded to this opportunity the moment it presented itself. As such, the video you’re about to see took eight attempts. Many were better in different ways but left out necessary elements, while some went over the two minute mark, etc. In the end it all worked out, and I was one of nearly 150 educators selected from all over the country to participate:

I would like to thank my exceptional students Zakary Garner (Camerman); David Efford (Director); and Carlos Toribio (Creative Director) for their encouragement and support to this project, because they helped make my dreams come true–which, in turn, has inspired this new blog section of mine.

Why blog?

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Blogging has became an accepted, even expected, form of communication these days. People are sharing their experiences more openly than ever before, due to the expanse of the internet, and (now) via various forms of social media.

It is my goal to join in this wonderful style of community-collaboration. In fact, it is a dream of mine that we can all share openly about our educational experiences and pass on what we have learned in an effort to help others.

Teaching has always had its overwhelming joys and countless frustrations. This year, I will attempt to share with you some of these situations as they occur, along with my goals and strategies regarding our students, school, and community. I welcome your feedback, insight, suggestions and support.

It is an honor to be a teacher, and it is my goal to give all that I have to making the experiences shared in my classroom memorable, educational, and ever-enduring.