NCCE 2017 Day 1

Tweedledee and Tweedledum with Kam Koyama

 Learned some new things about TweetDeck. Found new people to follow on Twitter. Introduced a few other teachers to the power of a PLN. 


Meeting Steve Wyborney

“Tell me your 30 second elevator pitch” Yikes! What a thing to ask! How do I fit who I am as an educator, what I believe about education, and what I’m doing in the classroom into 30 seconds?? 


Someone Found Me!

“Are you the Seesaw gal?” Why yes, yes I am! It’s so surreal when people recognize you from a presenting at a previous conference and want to connect with you. Seesaw is such an amazing app that I’m never surprised when people love the app but it’s so fun to talk to people who want to learn more and discover other ways to implement it in the classroom. 


Putting the R in SAMR  with Gil Anspacher

Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking- the 4 C’s 

“Tech enables the Redefining- tech doesn’t redefine the lesson it allows for you to redefine”

Constructivist: Construct, Knowlegde, Meaning, From Experience

 Alan November- TED Video

 Step 1: Research 


 Step 2: Plan 

Step 3: Create

 Step 4: Evaluate

Getting Started:

Start small, have a clear outline of the process, get students involved, make sure you have a template/format for your students. 

Digital Tools to Connect, Create, and Collaborate with Shannon McClintock Miller

So lucky I got a seat! The line was out the door and down the hall for this amazing presentation !


Smithsonian, Newsela, BrainPop, DK Findout!, #GoOpen OER Resources and Tools (link to Symbaloo in the slides)

Connect your kids to the world using Skype in the Classroom, FlipGrid


Photos for Class, PicMonkey, YouTube Creator Studio, Adobe Spark, Slides in Google Drive, Slides Carnival, Piktochart, Smore (Educator Hive), StoryBird, ComicMaster, StoryboardThat, Buncee, Recite, Spell with Flickr, LEGO


Padlet (have students publish their work on Padlet), Creatubbles, Creatubbles Minecraft Mod, Geoguessr, What Was There, 

Places to Find Tools:

Twitter, Pinterest, AASL Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, AASL Best Apps for Teaching and Learning, The Library Voice Blog

Takeaways from a great opening Keynote with Jaime Casap

“Education disrupts poverty” I absolutely love this! Isn’t that exactly what we want education to do?

“Students today are not that different from us. How they think about learning is different then how we think about learning.”


The amazing, wonderful iPhone that I have in my pocket is the worst technology my 6 year old son will ever know. He’s going to find it in a thrift store some day and put it on a shelf as a relic. 

We need a culture shift in education. 


What a fantastic day of learning today! Tisha and I are sitting here in our hotel room exhausted and preparing ourselves for tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we are going to be leading a workshop on Gamification. It is the first ever presentation for either one of us where we are going to be presenting with another person. I think the main reason this makes me nervous is that we will talk over each other or I will talk too much. However, I think this is going to be so incredibly powerful for educators to see how different our classes are and our ways of gamifying and yet how impactful and immersive it is in both classes. No matter what, we are going to have fun and get to share our passion for teaching and learning!

Reflections on a Crazy Week

Holy cow! What a week this week has been! I’m still exhausted and it’s Saturday night! Not only did I have my new student teacher start this week but we also had an administrator walk through, swimming lessons, and I started parent-teacher conferencing. I am so excited to have another student teacher! I really enjoy sharing my love of learning and growing but man is it tiring! I forget sometimes just how many decisions I make in a day and why I make all of them. I am painfully reminded when I have a student teacher as I discuss the whats and whys of the day. I really want them to understand why I do things and not just take them at face-value. I remember writing half a million reflections during my masters program. We hated them so much at the time that the word “reflection” became a dirty word that everyone would cringe at hearing. But somehow all of that time spent writing those reflections (ugh..I still can’t even think it without a recoil) turned into years of internal reflections and growth. I hate to admit it but it set me up for auto-reflecting when I really got into my profession. It has been the catalyst for enormous amounts of growth, humility, and learning. I’m looking forward to sharing all of that with my student teacher!

Aside from all of the craziness of the week, the highlight of my week was our project during literacy. My students have been reading a folktale called “Grandmother Spider Brings the Sun”. We have spent a few weeks doing vocabulary projects, reading the story together, and writing our own folktales but….all of that pales in comparison to the awesome project we got to create this week! As a class we created a Grandmother Spider video game using Bloxels. My students lost their minds when I told them what we were going to be doing!

Each group had their own mission in creating the game. One group was in charge of creating the characters for our game. They had to design our main character, the enemies, and the background. Each of the other groups were in charge of creating one level of the game based on one of our vocabulary words. Their game level had to reflect the vocab word in every way. From their terrain to the hazards to the coins, everything had to represent the vocab word. In each game level they had to hide or protect a white story block. The goal of the main character on each level is to get to the story block or checkpoint on that level. The teams set up their story block to tell what their vocab word was and the definition. Once all levels were complete and our characters were ready to play, we put it all together! Not only were my students 100% engaged but we were meeting WAY more standards than just the standards for literacy!



#iPDX17 & the first Seesaw Social in Oregon

I am so excited to go to AcceleratEd and IntegratEd this week in Portland! I love my Twitter PLN but it is so amazing to get to meet face to face and connect with my local PLN as well! In an effort to bring more educators together, Seesaw has started Seesaw Socials! On Thursday evening after the conference from 5-6pm we will be meeting at the Columbia Bar and Grill for some good food and great company! You can sign up on Eventbrite here: Seesaw Social or just show up!



In an attempt to connect prior to the conference and during, I created a list of #iPDX17 attendees I put together on Twitter: 

I’m also excited to host a #CoffeeEDU on Friday morning in the Columbia Bar & Grill. Time is still to be determined. Look for updates on Twitter by following me @hmarrs24 or following the conference hashtag #iPDX17.

Blogging Inspiration

At least three or four times a year I get the blogging itch. I get all excited about blogging and then that excitement goes away quickly and I don’t think about it much until three months later when I get the itch again. The more I read and talk to friends, I find that I’m not alone! And for that I am very grateful! I love having a PLN that understands the highs and lows of the work we do and is willing to share their faults right along with their strengths!
I’ve been inspired recently by some of my fellow Southern Oregon educators who are making it a priority to blog this year. My friend Tisha Richmond is a constant inspiration to me in so many different ways and I’m so glad that we found each other! Her goal this year is to blog once a week. Now, I’m not saying that I will even come close to that but I am looking forward to trying!
So how am I going to tackle this task? Well, I’ve decided to try using an app called Blogo to see if I will be able to blog more often and quicker using the app. I have so many different things going on that I needed something quick and easy. I’m also going to start planning out my topics and blogs ahead of time. Using inspiration when it hits instead of sitting down to write and waiting to be inspired.
Where do you find your inspiration for blogging? My classroom is just one of many places I find my inspiration. I also find it when I talk to my PLN on twitter. Whether I’m on the #XPLAP chat on Wednesdays or moderating the #OrEdChat on Sunday evenings, my PLN is always full of new ideas and positivity! In just a few weeks #OrEdChat will be starting a book study on Kids Deserve It! Join us on Sunday evenings at 8:30p PST as we make our way through the book. I’m really looking forward to diving in because amazing books like Kids Deserve It and Explore Like a Pirate that are written by fantastic educators are yet another place where I find my inspiration!


I Officially Stink at Blogging!

Ok, so I officially stink at blogging! I can always think of things to write about, that’s not my problem. Most of the time I even have it all written out in my head….it’s when I sit down to write it all out that I just can’t make it happen. For years I have tried to fight my “problem” but now I’ve decided to embrace it. Oh well…who says that you have to write to have a great blog anyway?? Well…here goes my first attempt at a video blog, better known as a “Vlog”. Wish me luck!!

Alright, so I totally already messed it up! I didn’t think about the fact that my phone is a vertical camera and now my video is small and funny looking and what is up with that face that I’m making? Yikes! But I’m posting it anyway! It’s not the first and it won’t be the last time I mess this thing up! Next time….I’ll remember to fix that…I hope! 🙂

My First Ever #PasstheScopeEDU

I just finished my first ever #PassTheScopeEDU yesterday! Pass the Scope EDU is an event that happens every third Thursday of the month. Educators from around the world sign up to do 5-15 minute Persicopes about a certain topic depending on the month. This month’s topics were: what are we planning on doing this year that is new to us and what gets our creative mojo going?  You can view my Periscope from yesterday here: Heather’s PeriscopeTV    You can also access the Storify of yesterday’s scoping at: July 21st Storify

The next #PassTheScopeEDU is on Thursday, August 18th! Follow us on Twitter and Periscope!PTSEDU Slide 2

This year I am very excited to say that I am going to be gamifying my classroom!! I have been doing a Book Study this summer on “Explore Like a Pirate” by Michael Matera. If you have not read it yet, I highly recommend it! My friend Tisha Richmond, who is a gamification genius, is hosting a twitter chat book study on Tuesday nights at 8pm PST at #SOXPLAP and the Explore Like a Pirate crew gets together weekly on Twitter on Wednesdays at 5pm PST. Join us on #SOXPLAP this next week for Chapters 6 and 7!

CH 6 & 7 #soxplap

The other new thing for me this year is that I am on a mission to “Starbucks my classroom”. Basically it’s just a fancy way of saying I want to get rid of most of the desks in my classroom and replace them with flexible seating. I want my students to be able to move around the classroom easily and to gather together to collaborate on projects. For years I have felt that my desks were just in the way. They were just a place for students to store their junk but I didn’t know what to do about it…until now. I have always had places in my classroom for flexible seating so it’s not like I’m starting with no seating options at all. I already have a base to start with, now I just need to build from that. I have reached out to friends and family for old furniture and looked on Craigslist but everything is a tad above my price point. As a teacher and a mom of two small kiddos, I don’t have money to spend on these things. Luckily for me Pledge Cents just happened to be part of our Pass The Scope EDU this month and they are an amazing company who help teachers crowd source their projects for their classrooms. You can find my Pledge Cents cause here: Flexible Seating for Collaboration and TeamworkAdobe Spark (13)

Getting Ready for ISTE 2016

Yikes!! I can’t believe that ISTE 2016 is almost here!!! I have been dying to go to ISTE for a very long time and finally this year I have the chance to go! In fact, my district just hired 9 EdTech Teacher Leaders as an extra duty position and they are sending the whole squad!! Well minus two members of the team who just happened to be having babies this month. 🙂

I am actually quite surprised by the amount of information and prep leading up to this conference. I already knew it was going to be a BIG one and that it would most likely be overwhelming but I did not expect the amount of connecting and collaboration that would happen in the months leading up to the conference. I have been very lucky to have “met” some amazing people in my Twitter PLN who have guided me in the right direction concerning the ins and outs of ISTE planning. I also recently was invited to join my very first Voxer group to discuss ISTE with others who have been to ISTE before. I have learned quite a few things but some of the most important tips and tricks I’ve learned are:

  1. Make sure to have a business card handy. A business card? What? As a teacher I don’t think I’ve ever needed a business cardScreen Shot 2016-05-31 at 9.02.58 PM before so….I’ve never made one! But, it turns out that you will be meeting A LOT of people at ISTE and one of the biggest benefits of the conference itself will be the connections you make and continue once the conference is over. So I went on Groupon and found a great deal on business cards. $9.99 for 100 cards on Zazzle printed front and back. I included my name, title, Twitter Handle, Voxer, email, and blog site. Here’s the link to the Groupon deal if you want to check it out:
  2. Print labels with your info. on them to use for the drawings in the Expo. I went to NCCE 2016 in February which is about half as small as ISTE and it was insane trying to write my info on a million little tickets to enter myself into raffles in the Expo hall. I can only imagine how many there will be at ISTE!! I read somewhere that it would take 46 hours to walk and stop on every aisle in the Expo at ISTE! That just blows my mind! Now don’t get me wrong…I love free stuff but I definitely don’t want to spend two entire days of the conference walking around the EXPO. So, in an effort to kick my free stuff into high gear, I created some labels with the required info on them so that I can just slap the label on the entry form and call it a day! Some info to make sure and include would be: name, district, address (I put my school address), phone number (classroom/school number), and email address. I also made my labels on Zazzle and was able to pay one S&H for both my cards and my labels. You can check out the labels here:
  3. Plan but be flexible. Planning ahead is vital when it comes to such a large conference. I read that there are over 1,000 different sessions held plus workshops, keynotes, and all of the “activities” that aren’t listed on the schedule! The first thing I did was download the ISTE 2016 app on my iPad and my iPhone. If you haven’t done that yet go do it! NOW! It’s great because you can browse the different options by day and time and then click on the star to favorite the ones you like. Once I went through a few times and made sure that I had everything I liked favorited, I went through my favorites and narrowed down the sessions by day and time. I now have a loose idea of what sessions I want to go to. Some advice that I got from my Voxer friends is to walk the conference center before the conference starts and check out where the sessions are. Sometimes you might pick two sessions that are back to back but are so far apart physically that it would be impossible for you to make it on time. Also, I made sure that I didn’t plan every second of every day. I’m going to need some down time to relax and reflect on the things that I’ve learned. I might also hear about a session while I’m there or meet up with a great group to collaborate with. I’m definitely the planning type but I am trying my best to stay flexible!!

Just a few more weeks and we will be on our way to Denver!! Woohoo!! So excited to learn and experience ISTE for the first time! If you haven’t already, please connect with my on Twitter at @hmarrs24


One of my favorite new apps to use in class this year is Classkick. It is great for both whole group lessons and independent or flipped lessons. I use Classkick with my third graders during math lessons often when I want to share a lesson and have all of my students work on the same problem on their own iPads. I can write or draw a problem on my iPad and it automatically shows up on their iPad. Then they can work on the problem while I watch and give feedback in real time.

Classkick is also used very often during our reading workshop. I like to use it for our leveled reading books, word work, dictation, etc. Students can watch a video or listen to the story on their own and then answer questions, find evidence in a picture of the text, or draw out their answer. Here is a screencast that gives you an idea of some of the ways Classkick is being used in my classroom.