IMG_7269A couple of weeks ago, the SR EdTech Team was able to attend a relatively new education conference of nine years, SXSW Edu  – link. It was an amazing trip and I got a chance to listen to amazing keynote speeches, attend interesting and new-to-me edtech workshops and discussions, as well as meet an energetic and vibrant community of educators. I won’t forget this trip for a long time and I hope that I’m able to share the resources and great ideas I gathered over this four-day gathering in Austin, TX. I will dedicate another blog post on SXSWedu in the coming weeks, but I wanted to get you a list of great websites that can help pull you out of a funk, find a good lesson, think out of the box, organize yourself, and connect you to a community of folks that are only looking to help you whenever you feel stranded. Jennifer Gonzales and her blog cultofpedagogy can be an inspiring place to go when you need inspiration and her keynote rang a familiar bell in many people’s minds that were in the audience.

As the title of this blog post suggests, I wanted to share some of the blogs, websites, and resources the tech team accrued while we were there.

That said, here are the websites that I hope you can find some use for as you continue your journey as a passionate educator here at Stone Ridge.

I need to give props to Stone Ridge’s own series of Lunch Duty Podcasts. Ken Woodard, Urvi Shah, and several other Stone Ridge educators continue to create a series (16 so far) of podcasts for teachers by teachers. It’s the first link in the list below.


  • Lunch Duty Podcasts (Soundcloud link) or Lunch Duty Podcasts internal (curated by Stone Ridge faculty) – The mission of this team is to podcast compelling audio interviews that elicit teaching wisdom and commentary from working teachers for the edification and amusement of working teachers.
  • – Ignore the header that looks like you’re only there to register for next year’s conference in Austin, TX. Just scroll down some and you’ll see a myriad of resources that are available to anyone, even if you didn’t attend. Watch the keynotes if you have the time. They are informative and inspirational. Jennifer Gonzales’ keynote could be a great place to start
  • Cultofpedagogy – J Gonzalez’ incredible, inspiration-rich blog is worth going to every day for ideas and ways to get unstuck! If you sign up for her newsletter, you’ll immediately get a free e-book on how to cut your grading time in half!!! We had the fortune of attending her keynote – link. She’s one of those special educators that after perusing her blog or listening to her just makes you want to be a better, and harder working, teacher!
  • Innovators Compass – I met these folks the night before the conference started. There are many graphical representations on how to push through things and make them happen, but you might like their metaphor on how to get unstuck. Ela Ben-Ur – profile, is a firebrand of a person. Her two-hour workshop on how to use the Innovators Compass to get unstuck packed in at least three hours of information and strategies. She came to education after years as a successful designer at IDEO and brings years of energy and brilliance to the change education space.
  • readwritethink – An incredible resource supported by NCTE. Just click in and start searching! Although the title suggests it’s just for language arts/English teachers, there’s much more than that – give it a click!
  • ck-12 – Incredible STEAM resources for teachers to peruse and use!
  • kathyschrocksguidetoeverything – Great resource for everything edtech. If you’ve ever wanted to find an activity or project that is STEAM-related, take a look here!
  • Cool Cat Teacher Blog – This educator recently moved from the blog format to a more graphically pleasing website (although still technically a blog), you’ll get great ideas, as well as some inspiration from what so many teachers post about their experiences, failures, successes, and more.
  • freetechforteachers blog – Richard Byrne, the creator and aggregator of this blog has been doing this for a long time. He piloted the 1:1 Maine Laptop program before it went live. Lots of collected knowledge over the years as a social studies teacher and more!

IMG_7234Bookmark this blog post as I will continue to update this as I find more and more resources. Email links that you find useful and I’ll add them!

poolAs teachers, we teach because we love working our charges to learn and grow and amaze us. We hope along the way that we amaze our students here and there. After all, we teach subjects in which we are experts, so at times our girls should be enthralled by how well we know our subject matter.  There are so many more reasons why each one of us teaches. This video link from shares eleven reasons why we love teaching. The author of the website is a primary school teacher/specialist – reminds me of  “Everything I Ever Needed to Know I learned in Kindergarten.” Wisdom comes from teachers who teach our youth, as well as the seasoned and longtime educator!

As I watched a varsity soccer game after school last week with a high school peer, I was feeling pretty good about how the year had started (always different, always filled with new things, always exciting, regularly draining). As I sat there enjoying the game, it was clear that although my high school counterpart was enjoying supporting her girls, she shared that she just needed to take a break from the report cards and comments that she was writing for the first quarter. That took me aback because I was just settling into the new year. She wasn’t complaining, just sharing what it is to be a teacher at a rigorous and effective high school in the DMV. There is no downtime. We do what we do because we know that we won’t be coming up for air as soon as the year starts!

I do think this video would be worth viewing whenever we as teachers feel overwhelmed – when we feel like there’s know getting off the conveyor belt until June! Enjoy, take a deep breath, pause, refresh.

I’m cheating here because I’m just reposting a video that I started showing to teachers and families more than12 years ago. There’s not much to say before, but I think it forces you to stop, pause, and think about what that information means for our middle schoolers as you peer into their future. The numbers can be kind of frightening, but it does suggest that our world is changing in ways that we could have never imagined and it’s in our best interest to allow our girls to take a deep breath and then help them prepare for whatever the world might throw at them in the coming years. Enjoy and contemplate!

Screen Shot 2017-03-10 at 4.19.14 PMYes, that makes very little sense and is redundant is redundant. Today, I posted a video to the ed tech team’s EdTech Tools website. It’s probably not going to take the ed tech community by storm, but I decided to post it because it’s interesting and unique AND it doesn’t necessarily have an academic, educational or ed-techie purpose. Almost all of the videos that we’ve posted before this had some academic purpose. We encourage you to click through these if you’re looking to try something different in your classroom.

Over the past three years, each of our divisional ed tech teachers and Urvi Shah, have lead  ed tech PD sessions on many of the ed tech tools found on the website. But, what I found was that smaller numbers of teachers were trying them out and them for classroom instruction. What I have been doing for the past three weeks is teach my classes using,,, to get a sense of why these tools aren’t catching fire in teachers classrooms. What I’ve found that they are all amazing and are exactly the right tool to use in the classroom, but each of them has idiosyncrasies,  little problems, and issues that might keep teachers away from them. So, I’ll update you on my deeper experiences with these tools and see if I’m able to understand how to push through these little roadblocks so that teachers can use them effortlessly and seamlessly in their classroom instruction.UrviBlogBanner



Greetings all,

brain-605603_1280It’s been a while since I’ve used this space, but I want to remind you of all of the great resources that you can find by browsing my blog. Along with resources, insights, classroom experiences, tech bargains, you’ll also have access to the ed tech tools blog/link that has more than 50+ videos of ed tech tools that might be useful to you and your classroom – you’ll find that link right here – edtech tools.

I’ve also put together a video for anyone that needs a quick refresher on using google drive and google apps for education link. As always, feel free to find me or even schedule me for a one-to-one. Here’s the link to the video for our MS divisional meeting today on google docs – link

Finally, for our faculty ed tech sessions, I think you might find you can use a website named Noisli kind of of sounds like the opposite of what it does – it’s a soothing sound generator that lets you choose from apple-304470_1280various soothings sounds like forest, wind, ocean, and more. Use your google log in to sign up (click on log in, then click the red button “sign in with google”). You can set up timers and make playlists of the various soothing sounds you’d like to hear. I played it for one of my classes earlier and they couldn’t figure out why it sounded like we were in a crowded restaurant!!!Enjoy, and welcome back to my ms edtech blog!

girl-388652_1920My apologies for outright stealing ideas from the movie, Dan in Real Life, and the Did you Know videos that have been airing for the past 15 years! Even though I’ve been watching some iteration of these videos since they came out, I still find the numbers and facts hard to believe. Click on the link above if you’ve forgotten or have not yet seen these videos.

As much as I know that every classroom/subject area teacher has a harder job than me, I do believe that we are trying to do the same thing with our girls – exposing them to new experiences, concepts or ideas, and then allowing them to make smart decisions with all that they’ve learned and experienced. Screenshot 2015-12-09 at 11.45.08 PM

The success of our girls when they become women in the world and workforce will be muted if we also don’t allow them to fail and try again in a positive atmosphere. We also need to make sure that we don’t hand them all of the answers. Ambiguity breeds creativity and often, better, more incredible solutions. Watch any of the Did You Know videos and ask yourself if we are – Preparing our girls to be surprised.

shield-1020318_1280Society and culture and be cruel partners. I don’t know for sure if only cavemen went out to hunt and only cavewomen stayed back and took care of things at home, but it sure seems like that was the only way I read it in text books or watched it in school movies. Is this a fact?

Today, all of the long standing customs and traditions in our society can still make something seem like a fact, when in essence, it’s just the acceptance of a stereotype that had some basis in the stone ages, but not today.

Today, my students watched this video, created by to explain why it was so important for girls to show comfort and expertise with STEAM-related projects and activities.

The video interviewed women working and leading in the computer and technology world sharing their experiences and challenges that face women entering the technology world. Ada Lovelace, Dame Steve Shirley, and Admiral Grace Hopper were introduced as women who were able to break down all of the stereotypes to become technology giants and influence the world to this day.

Screenshot 2015-12-09 at 11.45.08 PM
I’m certain that Stone Ridge has already launched young women into the world knowing that they can be anything they want when they grow up. The introduction of coding, programming, 3D modeling, the creation of our first makerspace, into our curriculum will allow them to know that there are no boundaries for what they wish to do or conquer in this world. Go Gators!

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 11.01.44 AMWe are at the homestretch! Past Thanksgiving break and only 3 weeks until Christmas break. But, who’s counting?

I wanted to make sure you knew about the Ed Tech Team’s collection of instructional videos – link

Open it and bookmark it to make it easier to find. It’s taken over two years to finally create a space where we’ve collected videos on how to use some of the best-of-the-web online resources. If you miss one of my grade level tech sessions, you’ll find what you missed right here. We recently added an organizational bar across the top that lets you streamline your search of web tools. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 9.04.41 AMHappy Halloween all! This blog post is perfect because it deals with all 6th graders in Ms. Fine’s class dressing up and acting like someone else. In the case, the someone else was TV news reporters, famous ancient Egyptians or both.

I’m sure you realize that technology and videography has advanced so far that you don’t actually have to be in space, on a boat, in the kitchen, or in a newsroom in order to look like you are. Green/blue screen or chromakey is the video effect that allows you to place anything behind the scene. Even the most basic video editing package allows novice film makers to use this effect in their productions.

Over the past two weeks, I worked with Sharon Fine to build on the Nile News that she assigned as a class project during her first year at Stone Ridge. I don’t think she knew what she was getting herself into. The evolution of this project was the addition of green screen to place our precocious talking heads in the land of pharos and pyramids – here’s what we did – Nile News.Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 9.05.22 AM

You might think, “big deal, doesn’t really enhance their learning?” and you might be right, but with some great collaborating between content (Sharon’s job) and video production (my job), I think students were able to deepen their understanding about an ancient civilization, while enjoying the process at the same time. Their report was the script of their news report. Their enhanced understanding was the reading of their script/report over and over as they prepared for the bright lights and make up. Their understanding of a vast amount of ancient Egyptian knowledge was each student being an audience

There are other parts of this project that made life easier for teachers and reduced traditional resource use – bulletin board paper, paints, markers, and more. Set up and break down time was minuscule compared to what it would take to make an even basic news set or Egyptian backdrop.

Ms. Fine will have to tell you if students thoroughly grasped the information, but I will tell you the most powerful experience for me was collaborating with Sharon to do this project, which was doubled (four classes instead of two) and made more complicated by the chromakey addition. Our work together last Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 9.03.55 AMyear gave both of us the confidence to know that we would work together to make something great (even pretty good would have been fine). I am finding that these relationships are developing and growing at an incredible pace and I am honored to work with and support the amazing teachers and faculty of Stone Ridge!