Teaching Survey Reflection

This morning I received a survey sent to me by the district that asked a lot of questions about what got me into teaching, why I taught, why I selected the district I teach in, why I chose the school I teach at, and why I was leaving teaching.  Since my husband and I have decided to move to Austin at the end of this academic school year, I have decided to try to get out of education and move into the corporate world.  I am really into e-Learning, virtual learning, and my dream job would include working in an HR division with on boarding or training staff by creating virtual training materials.  However, in my hopes to transition out of education I have found that although educators are extremely talented the jobs we do can often be overlooked as minuscule in comparison to jobs done in the business sector.  I have applied to many e-Learning Specialist, Education Specialist, Implementation Specialist, Education Coordinator, or Onboarding Specialist positions and what I have been told is that my experience is inadequate.  Given the fact that over the past 11 years I have been creating curriculum, planning, modify, and executing lessons for learners of all levels and abilities, using the newest forms of technology to assist in their learning, staying abreast of the latest trends in teaching and learning, I find it hard to believe that my experience is inadequate.  Yes, it may not be in business sector but it is definitely teaching based and can be applied to all learners regardless of age and subject. I feel like the strengths I posses as an educator: organization, creativeness, effectiveness, my ability to multitask, communication skills, research skills, evaluation skills, data analysis skills, desire to continue learning, technology skills, curriculum development, lesson planning, project management, ability to work with various personalities (students/teachers/administrators), ability to collaborate, work ethic, and so much are often overlooked simply because I have the title of “teacher”.  I wish people would really see how much power that word really holds and how much work really goes into what we do as teacher.

Any company who hires a teacher would be hiring a hard working individual who never gives up, is able to go with the flow, adjusts with circumstances, understands the importance of getting the job done, can handle pressure, and can work in a fast paced work environment.  Teachers are relentless, fierce, powerful, fearless, and bold.


Google Classroom

Just wanted to share this great read on Google Classrooms.  Next year, I hope to transition over to this learning management system since I use google docs and Youtube a lot in my classroom.  At the bottom of this article are links to other articles about Google Classroom.

10 Tips to Use Google Classroom Effectively

29 Free eLearning Tools

As I continue to talk to teachers about what I do in the classroom I continue my search for free online resources.  I came across this blog.  These are free demos of eLearning programs, but way I figure if a teacher came across one they liked maybe they could go to their principal or curriculum coordinator to talk to them about purchasing it for their department.

I recently purchased Prezi.  Ok, I actually signed up for the 2 week free demo but before I knew it the 2 weeks was over and I was charged the yearly fee.  It’s totally okay with me since I use it weekly (in this case, I created 3 Prezis), and what’s great about Prezi is that you can search other already created ones so you don’t always have to create new ones if you find one you like over the topic you are going to be talking about.  I used one about the history of hip hop today.  I did tweak it a bit and added videos of my choice, but over the info was there so I didn’t have to spend a whole lot of time inputting it.  The problem with programs like Prezi though is that it is costly.  I wish districts would pay for school subscriptions.  In fact, if I ever were an administrator or director I would really try to get access to things like this for my teachers.  Prezi is easy to use, easy to manipulate, interesting for students to watch, and best of all online.  I can log onto Prezi from any computer and pull up my presentation on any computer.  There’s no need to carry around a USB, upload to the cloud, email it, or lug my personal laptop around.

So, for all you out there interested in experimenting with eLearning programs, try these demos.  I have already started playing around with a couple that I will be implementing next year.  Happy eLearning!



Tap Video Choreography Project

Tap Video Choreography Project Click on the link to view an example!

So with the start of the new semester I wanted to introduce my new students to the technology aspect of my classroom.  I decided to start with tap.  This was the first time I had done that and it was actually a great success.  I usually start with Jazz or Hip Hop, but I think from here on out I’ll start with tap.   I think that there’s something about the fact that it’s not too difficult to do a shuffle, they get to wear dance shoes that are unisex, they don’t have to dress out, and our warm-up doesn’t require them do be in any type of uncomfortable positions.  They all had fun making sounds with their feet and working with their peers while I got them to create an edited video with a short piece of original  choreography they created using the movement I taught them.  =)  It really was a win win!!

So for one week I focused on a basic introduction to tap dance (brief history, shoe fitting, shoe discussion, warm-up) and I taught them how to do a shuffle.  The second week I taught them a few variations of the shuffle (shuffle hop, shuffle step, shuffle toe dig, shuffle ball change, etc…), and then broke them into groups and had them create a short phrase of movement using movements from the warm-up and shuffle variations.

The focus here though was to introduce the use of the iPads.  The end result would be that they record their phrase with iPad, edit it using iMovie and then AirDrop it for a grade.  We started off small though.  I recorded myself doing all the shuffle variations so they could use the videos as references when they were working in their groups.  I then had them practice recording their feet in class.  I gave them 2 days to record, and then we sat down as a class so they could edit their movie as I walked them thru the various tools in iMovie.

This project took 2 weeks total and every group turned in a project.  I’m including one of the videos submitted.  I was actually impressed with all of my groups.  For only working with them for a few days and then letting them work together to create a phrase they did pretty good I think.  Keep in mind I work in an inner city school where these kids come with no dance experience.  =)

21st Century Fluencies in the Arts

TDEA wiped me out!!  Sadly, I didn’t even have time to finish my first TDEA entry even though I did in fact sit down on Thursday to write it.  This year, I focused on taking classes that would help with my big technology push.  Can I say that it has paid off. As I sit at my dinning table, listening to my sweet sons play in the living room, my mind is totally overloaded with new information.  It’s now time to sit, reflect and figure out where to start.  So I’ll start with the first class I took at TDEA because the message has resonated most with me.

I accidentally sat in on a workshop title 21st Century Fluencies in the Arts. Initially I wasn’t planning on going to this workshop because I have already sat in PD meetings about 21st Century Skills at my school, and I simply wasn’t interested in another powerpoint talking about how I needed to implement these long list of skills in my teaching with little to no real examples of what that looks like in classroom like mine.

For those of you who need a reminder, like I did, here is a list of what 21st Century Skills are.

Learning Skills

  • Critical Thinking
  • Creative Thinking
  • Collaborating
  • Communicating

Literacy Skills

  • Information Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • Technology Literacy

Life Skills

  • Flexibility
  • Initiative
  • Social Skills
  • Productivity
  • Leadership

– See more at: https://k12.thoughtfullearning.com/FAQ/what-are-21st-century-skills#sthash.JM10BddS.dpuf

Charles Aguillon, the Director of Fine Arts from Lake Travis ISD, stood in front of us.  He was a soft spoken man and although he wasn’t dressed like a Director of Fine Arts I was worried he may be one of those admin who was detached from what we do in the classroom and not really give us examples of how we can use this information in our classrooms.  But as soon as he started presenting I knew this was going to be different.

He began by defining 21st Century fluencies NOT skills.

  1. Solution Fluency
  2. Information Fluency
  3. Creativity Fluency
  4. Media Fluency
  5. Collaboration Fluency

He chose the word “fluency” instead of the popular word “skills” because as educators we should actually strive to help our students become fluent in these skills and argues that,  “students need to be able to use these skills smoothly, easily and readily.”  I couldn’t agree more.  I am always so surprised that my students lack the ability to use the technology they interact with daily in other ways beyond texting, kicking, snapping, facebooking, etc..

He also shared and discussed Web 2.0 Tools.  Now,  I have used some of these and so have you, but I didn’t know there was a name for them and he gave us a link to a toolbox with tons of Web 2.0 tools.  Web 2.0 tools are tools that live strictly online.  They are extremely user friendly and allow users more freedom to collaborate and communicate with each other quickly and easily.

I haven’t gone through the list yet, but below you will find the link.  During the presentation he highlighted the more popular ones, prezi.com, bitstrips.com, smore.com, and tagcrowd.com.  I have already used smore.com in my classes to preview what we would be learning in class, and yesterday I used 30boxes.com to create an online calendar for this month highlighting lesson plans, TEKS, Daily Objectives, and Demonstrations of Learnings.  What was really cool is that all I did was shared the calendar with my administrator and then I was done.  =)  So nice!!

I have already thought of a few ways I would like to use other ones.  I’ll post about them when I get my ideas more solidified.  =)

  • Dance history lessons.
  • Choreographer biography assignments.
  • Choreography motif development (what was your theme?)
  • Performance/Choreography Analysis
  • Dance on Film type projects

Web 2.0 Link:


Thanks to this presentation, when people ask me why I “need” a class set of iPads in my dance class I can better explain how students are not only learning 21st century skills but how they are becoming fluent in those skills because they are getting multiple opportunities to use them in various ways to create products that vary from basic informative posters and presentations all the way to short movie projects that require filming, editing, and the production of a polished final product that are shared via Web 2.0 tools.  This doesn’t even take into account the need to constantly collaborate, communicate, and evaluate along the way in order to ensure success.

Please share any ideas you may have in using these cool Web 2.0 tools and I’ll be sure to do the same!!!