Lindsay is a 6th Grade English/Language Arts and Reading teacher in Lake Worth ISD, Texas. She joined the DEN in 2012 after attending a Fall VirtCon. She shared “I really got active after attending my first Fall Virtcon (virtual conference). I went back for more for Spring Virtcon and I was hooked! I couldn’t believe all that I was missing out on when I wasn’t wired into the DEN! Being involved in the DEN has impacted my professional AND my personal life; a year ago, I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d be where I am today, doing the things that I am doing. The DEN has made me a better educator and a more confident person.”
How do you start your day?
COFFEE! I drink a pot of coffee a day. The Keurig machine in the teacher’s lounge doesn’t meet my needs. I actually have a WICKED cup that has Glinda on one side and Elphaba on the other. My students know to look for the Glinda side before they engage me in conversation, usually the 2nd cup.
Why did you become a teacher?
My grandmother taught first grade for more than twenty years. I have her school bell. My mother taught sixth grade social studies. It must be in my blood but it was my seventh collegiate major – I originally was a double major in Marketing and Economics. I say that I’m truly blessed to have as my vocation that which is my avocation.
What is one of your favorite ways to use Discovery Education?
This year, I have taken the SOS strategies and supersized them for larger groups. My favorite thing to do is a “Mad Hatter” version of AEIOU in which I have students move chairs or computer stations or work in small groups while they complete AEIOU. It incorporates visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning opportunities!
What is a ritual you have in your classroom?
I give out “smelly dots” at the end of class. Students who have been listening and following directions get this as a reward. It’s just a flavored chapstick but every week I change flavors (Lip Smackers make the BEST ones) and the kids LOVE them. I get flavored chapsticks as gifts now and it’s the least expensive, most positive reward system that I have ever found.
How are you involved in education aside from your role as educator?
I write a daily #DENspiration which I began a little more than a year ago. (#DENspiration celebrated its first birthday on July 29th!). I am also in graduate school completing work toward my Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Technology Integration, which I will complete in April 2016. Because of my involvement in the DEN, I’ve begun presenting at regional and state conferences on a variety of technology integration topics.
What is your most memorable experience with the DEN?
I’ve been incredibly blessed to have tons of memories with the DEN but I think that my most memorable experience to date has been being a part of the DEN Turns Ten project with Dean Shareski. Getting to spend time with him and sharing how I feel about the DEN, the people in the DEN (whom I am lucky enough to my tribe), and my experiences was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I was honored to get to share my story and it’s the one time that I’ve talked about my DEN experiences and not broken down in happy tears.
What advice do you give to a teacher who is hesitant to use digital media in their classroom?
Go ahead and FAIL (First Attempt In Learning) because failure IS an option and it’s alright for your students to see you struggle in the learning process. Try it at home or when students aren’t around and get comfortable with the technology, but know that it could (and sometimes does) go sideways and it is not a bad thing for kids to see you struggle with that. Ultimately digital media and other forms of technology will build better learners because they create new and undiscovered learning opportunities when given the chance to “play.”
What advice do you have for first year teachers?
Set up procedures and walk through them. Having an idea of how things work and seeing how they actually work when there are bodies in the room is a big difference. Also, take the directions down to the most basic level. I put glow in the dark duct tape on my floor to show students the way to line up AND where the exit is in the event of an emergency. (Plus it is a great way to get kids quiet if you promise that they can watch the floor glow if they get silent!)
What sites do you visit to assist in your teaching practice?
The DEN Blogs, Pinterest, Symbaloo, DonorsChoose, Twitter (#txeduchat, #weirded, and #DENchat are the three chats I regularly participate in), Edmodo, Edutopia, and We Are Teachers.
What other organizations/groups are you a part of?
DEN LC (Texas) member
Graphite Certified Educator
BrainPOP Certified Educator
When you’re not working, where are we most likely to find you?
When I am not at work, you can find me volunteering at one of my three children’s activities including band, choir or Scouts. I spend quite a bit of my time helping out with their organizations. I also love to read. In the fall on a Saturday, you will find me watching my beloved Oklahoma Sooners play football and in the winter my Detroit Red Wings play hockey!
What is your favorite kind of donut?
Long John with chocolate icing and cream filling
How can others connect with you?