Sheila Fredericks’ Blog

Sheila Fredericks is a STAR member of the Discovery Educator Network

Thank You DENSI!


Thank you DENSI! It was a special week that each of us will remember always! You put together a week unlike any other professional development that I’ve ever attended. It’s not a technology conference or an education conference, but yet it is. I never know exactly how to explain it to others that have never experienced it. It’s professional development, it’s social networking, it’s learning, it’s teaching, it’s caring, it’s being there for others, it’s…

You must have some magic in you to facilitate such an event. I put together a short video as my humble way to say, “Thank You!!”

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DENSI 2013 Reflection


How do you describe the most incredible week of the year? Those that have been to DENSI know that it’s much more than a professional development week.

I traveled to DENSI with Kim Adair and Mark Perlman and the trip was a blast. It was filled with music and laughter. We drove from Philadelphia, PA, first to Lake George, NY, and spent the night there. We did some sightseeing and even watched fireworks over the lake that evening. The next day, we arrived early in Burlington, so we walked to see Lake Champlain. While we were there we met some other STARS, and so the reunion began!

You could feel the magic and excitement as soon as you walked into the building. The DENSI staff was warm and inviting and they seemed thrilled to see everyone. Since this was my second DENSI I knew people, but I still remembered my hesitation from last year. My mission was to try to make the “newbies” feel as welcome as possible. I hope I succeeded!

The evening barbecue was a blast! I had David Fisher’s “gift” and I found out that we grew up about 20 minutes from each other in Westchester County, NY!  How cool is that! One of my favorite parts of DENSI is meeting new people and sharing ideas and friendships.

The trip to Shelburne Farm/Museum was incredible! Although it was a hot, we all enjoyed the day.

One of my favorite evening activities was the “Face the Music” activity. Trying to figure out titles, songs, and states of different songs was so much fun. I even took the “mic” and sang, “Philadelphia Freedom!” It was a great ice breaker and community builder activity!

How can anyone forget our evening fire alarm!  DENSI STARS just made the best of it and used it as social time! And how can anyone forget Kate Nagle and the hula-hoops! YAY, Kate! Leave it to STARS to make lemonade out of lemons–when there were shirts that were too small, the guys became, “The Men of the Den!”

Of course, the sessions and speakers were outstanding! Two of my favorite were learning about augmented reality from Karen Ogen, and portable greenscreening from Conni Mulligan. This year I stepped out of my comfort zone and sponsored two “unconference” sessions. One during the LC unconference, and the other during the regular session.

The ballgame was a wonderful evening getaway. Watching Casey throw out the first pitch demonstrated that at DENSI nice guys don’t finish last–they’re rewarded! Way to go, Casey! It was funny to see the two police officers standing at the bottom of our area waiting to see if we were going to cause trouble! Really?!

Several of us played a Star Trek type game called, “Artemis.” The game was a blast and we played it a couple of evenings (in lieu of sleep!). Reflecting later on, I realized that this would be a great activity for students! Role-playing and leadership skills!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how great Mark & Kim were in their DENsportation! First, acting as a taxi service for incoming and outgoing flights, and as transportation for Dawn and Jill after they each fell in a hole!  And, Kim, thank you for being the best roommate!

I created a reflection video, as well.  I hope you like it and that it brings back great memories!

Of course, always remember that unlike Vegas, “What happens at DENSI, gets posted all over the Internet!”


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I love Pinterest and! I’ve been using both programs for over a year,  and some of my “categories”  have tons of information. Although it’s great to have the information, in many ways it’s a problem! For example, in Pinterest, I may have over 100 pins in a  board, and trying to find something can take a while!  The same problem occurs in

I just found an online program called MentorMob that might solve some of the problems…at least for my education lists.  And, it’s so much fun! Mentormob lets you create what they’re calling “digital playlists.”  I see it as a PDF on steroids!  I started playing with it a little bit ago, and, although I only created a few pages, I can see its advantages over Pinterest and in many situations–especially education. The most obvious is the list on the left side of what on each slide of the playlist, similar to what you see on a PDF.

I see this as a great way for teachers to create lessons online and to share lessons and ideas. As I said, I tried my hand at it briefly today.  I decided to create a playlist on Digital Citizenship.  I started with a  link to my Wikipage on Digital Citizenship, and then took several links that I like to create several more pages in the playlist. I will probably reorganize it to improve it, but for now, it’s an example that I can share with you. Here’s my example on Digital Citizenship. This is just my first attempt, but I had to share this cool tool!

If you have any ideas for this cool tool, please share! :-)  

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What is ThingLink?


Thank you Patti Duncan! ThinkLink is a cool program where you use a picture and add links with information, video, audio, etc.!



In their words:

What is ThingLink?

ThingLink helps you create and discover rich images.

Be creative! Make your images come alive with music, video, text, images, shops and more!

Every image contains a story and ThingLink helps you tell your stories. Follow image channels from your favorite bands, bloggers and friends. Your ThingLink interactive images form a channel that other users can follow.

Share your channel with friends on Facebook and Twitter, and follow your friends. Touch and discover.

This is something you have to experience–very difficult to explain! The link to their website is: Check out Patti’s latest: The Three Phases of Matter.




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Little Bird Tales


I’ve never been much of a blogger. I’m not one to write about myself or what I do, or what I’ve experienced. Then recently I had a brainstorm while thinking about DEN’s March Madness! While I don’t like writing about experiences, people might like to know about some of the technologies that I know and like! So, I’m giving blogging a chance. Let me know what you think!

The first technology I want to share is one that I’d like to share is Little Bird Tales Little Bird Tales is a great tool for students to create a “book” or story online. Students can upload pictures, draw pictures, narrate, and write a story. The reason I love this program is that students are so engaged! I’ve never experienced young students work so diligently on a project before. After initial instructions, they worked furiously on their stories. I planned on this being a two class project, but the students begged for more! That’s when I really knew they loved the program! Here’s an example: I recently saw an example of using it with Math:

Students can use Discovery Education pictures to create stories, to explain science processes, math theories, and countless other ways. Another way would be to use any of the songs or other audio to create a story. I’m sure you can think of even more!

Teachers set up the class, and students use their individual logins with a secret school code—students’ last names were never used, and I felt it was secure. Students can work on it at home, or even create their own stories at home. Parents can buy the “book,” if they choose, but, for classwork, I printed a pdf for the students. Little Bird Tales has templates for aligning projects with Common Core Standards (! And it’s at the top of the new Bloom’s Taxonomy: Creating.

I hope you like Little Bird Tales!

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DENSI @ Yellowstone


The group trip to Yellowstone was incredible. Yellowstone has always been on my bucket list and it did not disappoint! The scenery and colors were spectacular! We even had a little drama added to the trip when a spectator decided to try to move a bison out of the way of his view of Old Faithful.  Hmmm. Not his smartest moment.  Daniel Cox was our trip photographer (and mentor), and he was a tremendous help! To see the pictures, go to Flickr and search for densi2012, but be prepared to sort through thousands of pictures. Seems like we’re all photobugs!

In case you were on the trip, and were wondering why I didn’t wear the pink hat? Well, I don’t like wearing hats when I take pictures…just gets in the way!

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Summer Plans


Schools out, and I thought I’d sit back for a few days and chill (and work out in the gym) to get my head back into a good place (been a rough year!). Still a month to DENSI (can’t wait). Plenty of time, right?  That’s what I thought. The only plans I had for the summer were the DEN Summer Institute–enough, right? Then…………

Talked to my dad on Father’s Day.  He sending me a ticket to visit him in Florida.  They’re having a party 4th of July weekend. Leaving on the 29th coming back on the 9th.  Can’t say no to Dad, right?

Been keeping in touch with a lot of old friends (via Facebook) all over the country that I haven’t seen or talked with in a long time.  In the past year, I’ve met with friends that I haven’t seen since HS or college. (No, I’m not saying how long ago that was, lol!)  So much fun!  One  friend that I haven’t seen since I was 18 asked if I could come up to their house on Orange Lake, NY this weekend for a few days.  How could I say no? Can’t wait!!!

So, here I am packed.  BUT, all that DEN work I planned on doing? Crunch time, again!   Seems like there’s never enough time, right?  But what a problem to have! Sure hope I can find wifi in both places! Wish me luck! :-)


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Goodbye to 8th Grade


Tomorrow night is our 8th grade graduation.  Nothing unusual, we have graduation every year.  This class, however, is special.  I started at The Independence School when this class was in 1st grade: the first time they came to the computer lab.  I’ve watched them grow up. I’ve taught them many of the technology skills they have, and they’ve taught me, as well.  So much of what I learned through Discovery Educaton I taught to them first–I knew they could handle the experiments.  They surpassed my expectations.  I will miss them more than they will ever know.


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What a DEN Star year!


I started my year as a STAR this past fall. YAY! Went to my first Tech or Treat in Harrisburg, hosted by Lance Rougeux! That alone could be the highlight of the year, but it gets better! In February, I attended the DEN pre-conference at Pete&C in Hershey, PA.  All the biggies were there–the day was incredible! Can you imagine an entire day with Lance, Steve, Porter, and many of the Gurus?  WOW is all I can say about the day! The climax (so far) was being accepted to DENSI 2012!  I remember trying to find an idea for a video when I only had an inkling of what the week was about.  So, I asked my kids why I should go to the Summer Institute, and they blew me away.  It was quite difficult editing the movie to one minute (wiping away tears as I went)!  Then, I was accepted as a member of the Leadership Council!  Can you imagine?

Now, at the end of the school year, I look forward to an awesome week in Montana!

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Hello World!


Welcome to your new DEN blog! This is your first post. Edit or delete it, and then start blogging!

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September 2015
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