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5 of my favorites from this week!

Here are 5 of my favorite finds from the week:

Critical Digital Literacy Explained for Teachers

Critical digital literacy is one of the essential required competencies for the 21st century educator. In an era of unprecedented personal publishing, infobesity (information obesity) becomes a real issue. Teachers need to be able to critically  assess and evaluate the materials and knowledge they come across. This could be done through adopting a critical thinking lens to filter things that could otherwise unconsciously affect one’s stance and interpretation of  a given meaning.


What Happens When We Write Every Day

Here’s what Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, has to say on the subject:

Frequency makes starting easier.  Getting started is always a challenge.  It’s hard to start a project from scratch, and it’s also hard each time you re-enter a project after a break.  By working every day, you keep your momentum going.  You never have time to feel detached from the process


North Star Smart Stars Survey



Brown Bag STEM Challenge


In the last ten weeks, I’ve shared some of my favorite “Brown Bag” STEM Challenges- activities and lessons that can easily be incorporated into a formal classroom or an informal learning setting.

All of these activities can be integrated for minimal cost, involve materials that can be found in almost any store and whose supplies are so simple that they fit in a brown bag (well, almost all of them…).







A Thinking Day  ...




My Friday Video for You!

Peter H. Reynolds, creativity advocate and best-selling author and illustrator, and co-founder of FableVision Learning, has created a new animated short called The Testing Camera — a whimsical poke at high-stakes, standardized testing and a reminder that real assessment is as easy, and — at the same time — as challenging as getting to really know the gifts and talents of every child.

“This is my gift to educators to remind them to follow their instincts and remember why they got into teaching in the first place: to see the potential in every child, to nurture those emerging gifts and talents, and to change lives,” Reynolds shared.     source


Have you heard the story of GoldieBlox?

I was just thinking how it is kinda odd how many things I find just because of seeing a tweet on twitter …

I guess it is not

Since I do go there to learn

As well as share

But I normally do not pay much attention to the promoted tweets …

Except for today …

One caught my attention

And kept me busy for quite some time …

I admit that I have heard of GoldieBlox before …

But I still went to check it out again after seeing the tweet!

I look at the site:

There are some kits you can buy

I love the story behind the creation

But then something catches my eye …

Making movies!!!

I connect that with storytelling …

Which is linked to literacy!

And don’t forget the visual aspect of it too!

(some of my favorite things!)

So I dove in ….

There is a FREE GoldieBlox app for the ipad!!!!


My first thought was that my daughter might enjoy that …

But there are lots of other kids that might also

So I put on my evaluator hat, and went to download it so I could check it out!

While waiting for the app to download, I began reading some reviews …

And everything I found sounded great ….

But I still wanted to see for myself!

I watched a video

(GoldieBlox is a smart girl)

So I started by clicking on the funny spring animation …

I drew a circle with my finger over the dotted line image on the screen

Then I hit play 

And nothing happened

After I hit play a few more times, I thought back to the GoldieBlox video and the way she and her friends solved the problem

(but I am not going to tell you what the problem is because I think you should go watch the video too)

That is when I figured out what I needed to do!!!

In a snap, I did what needed to be done!

I hit play and …


Now I was ready for more …

I had lots and lots of options: I could create, I could look at projects others had done, …

But being someone who liked to read and write blog posts,  I decided to see what was on the blog

And I was pleasantly surprised …

The blog is not just another sales pitch to tell you all the great things you can do if you buy the kits and/or download the app …

On the blog, I found craft instructions, interviews, recipes, and even a behind the scenes look at designing the doll as well as so much more!!

But what I liked best was the unique author voice and perspective in each of the posts …

It is not boring to read

And it probably was not boring to write!

I will go back to the blog to see what great new things will be there in the future!

And I think that says a lot for a blog … when someone wants to go back and read more! :)

I wonder what my 8 year old daughter will be able to do using this app …


I think we will start with the story of GoldieBlox and the Movie Machine…

(available on the app)



My New Advice...

I feel like I am surrounded by a group of learners …

People who work together to help each other learn …

There are many tools make that possible …

I consider myself pretty fortunate to be in an environment of learners both online and offline …

We share resources, ideas, and experiences…

We ask questions …

We give answers …

There are times when we are doing both of those things at the same time!

We bounce ideas off each other and collaborate to make things better.

We offer support and help when another member need it, whether he or she realizes it is needed or not.

The knowledge of the whole group is much larger than the knowledge of one individual.

I know I feel smarter with my PLN members helping me!

I will admit that I used to be that teacher who went into her classroom and shut the door to keep things out.

Now I swing the doors of my personal classroom (myself) wide open and welcome things in!

I am not saying that every idea that is shared works for me, but the ideas do make me think and consider the possibilities.

PLNs can take on many shapes, forms, and sizes, both online and offline.

I feel lucky to have learning opportunities from my coworkers, classmates, friends, and people I don’t know personally but interact with in many ways online …

While I still want to keep a focus for my PLN, I can see areas where it can be stretched…

Until this year, my PLN was primarily focused on instructional technology and learning …

This year I guess I have stretched my PLN to include more than just things related to my job but also things I enjoy on a personal level …

Exposure to new areas of interest has led to great amounts of learning and also seeing new possibilities …

So my new advice is to maintain a focus for your PLN but be willing to stretch a little since you never know what you might find ….