Sunday, July 15, 2018

A Few of My Favorite Things and The First days of School

Book Creator....
Summer creativity time...
The excitement of a new school year....

These are a few of my favorite things! Look inside this eBook and you will see all of them together in one place!

eBook Created in Book Creator
The first days of school are an exciting and busy time for teachers and students. Students are excited about a new school year and teachers are busy organizing classrooms. After a summer of sun and relaxation, I always need to create a checklist of things to do during the first weeks of school to set up a new classroom. I designed this book to support the new teachers that I coach with some ideas and for K-12 teachers to use as a guide for setting up a new school year. Ideas and resources in this book are organized as strategies to introduce each application in the Google Drive to students. Introducing the applications and giving students time to play with the tools will prepare students for using the tools throughout the school year, build confidence with the tools for when they are later expected to use the tools to demonstrate understanding and will build community in your classroom. The idea to make this book was inspired by Harry & Rosemary Wong's book, The First Days of School. Their book provided me with so many ideas and resources over the years! I hope this mini book helps other teachers in the same way that their book helped me during the first days of school! Creating this ebook also gave me an opportunity to play with a cool new tool, Book Creator. After using it to create this book, I highly recommend Book Creator for all classrooms. It is super fun and easy to create in and students of all ages will love creating books to publish! If you have any suggestions or ideas that you want to contribute, please email me at I would be happy to add pages to this book with your ideas! And of course, in the true spirit of Teachers Give Teachers, I would put your name and contact information on the page as a contributor. Thank you for exploring my very first Book Creator! The first days of school are such an exciting time for students and teachers and I wish you all the best school year ever!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Art of Teaching with HyperDocs: Student Centered Lessons that Inspire Curiosity and Creativity

You’re a teacher. Your main goal every day is to engage kids and teach them how to think and how to learn. Over the years, you’ve delivered instruction in a variety of ways. You’ve fine-tuned your best lessons. You’ve abandoned the ones that failed. You spend time thinking about your students and talking to colleagues in an effort to support every individual learner in your classroom. Beyond district benchmarks, national standards, and purchased curriculum, you ignite learning and make the magic happen in your classroom every day. But how do you do that? What is it that fuels a passion for creativity in instructional practices in the teacher and creativity in the students?

Sir Ken Robinson, British author, speaker and international advisor on education in the arts to government describes teaching as an art form, “It’s not a delivery system...Teaching is an arts practice. It’s about connoisseurship and judgment and intuition.” Do you think of yourself as an artist? You are. And so are your students. Each day you design and deliver instruction, you are creating an experience in your classroom. Designing HyperDocs captures your lesson plans and instructional delivery strategies which sets a stage for artful teaching that has the potential to reach all students. Here how:

Understanding the Context of your Students: 

HyperDoc creators ask themselves, who are my students? What is their background knowledge? What do they already know and what do I want them to know? What is my educational setting? By personalizing the HyperDoc for the individual learners in your classroom, all students have universal access to the learning. Those who need help with the organization have all the teaching and learning in one place. Students who might need to review resources, teaching points, or guidelines more than once, can access all of the teaching and learning at any time from any device. Students who need extension activities can be inspired to try new things with extended learning opportunities. Intentional HyperDoc design personalizes the lessons for the students in your classroom.

Content that Inspires Curiosity: 

In the information age, students have unlimited access to content. A HyperDoc creator carefully selects content for students to consume that maximizes their learning experience by inspiring curiosity. When students explore content, they can access it in a variety of ways. The teacher studies the students and collects evidence about what they already know and what they need to know. This process allows the teaching to shift from limited resources to multiple resources and pathways to understanding the content. Students and teachers become experts in knowledge and the learning process becomes a parallel cycle of teaching and learning. Instead of daily lectures or showing isolated video lessons on the topic, link all the digital resources to the HyperDoc and set the stage for exploration of the topic. Invite students to become experts on the topic, allow them to be curious consumers, and observe the exponential effects of teaching when all students are experts. You might be surprised when some students may know about or share their own resources on the topic too! Exploring content through multimedia before teaching or explaining through direct instruction, creates a classroom community of experts on the topic and the technology lowers the barriers to understanding the content by providing multiple pathways to learning without lowering the bar for variable learners.

Creativity to Show What You Know: 

Designing the HyperDoc requires that the teacher intentionally build the lesson to include one or more of the 4 C’s of education (Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity), and has the potential to meet the three principles described in Universal Design for Learning (UDL). When students are asked to apply their learning and show what they have learned, the HyperDoc can serve as a guideline for what they need to do and how to accomplish that task. Once the apply task is outlined on the HyperDoc, students are offered choice and variety in ways to show their learning and teachers can offer feedback throughout the process. These are other principles embedded in UDL characterized as offering multiple pathways to demonstrate learning and consistent feedback. Depending on the strengths of the student, with choice, they can show their learning using the creation tools that best fit their learning style. The teacher can help guide students towards the tools that might best meet their learning needs and assists the student in demonstrating an understanding of the content in a meaningful way. For teachers, designing HyperDocs is a creative process to implement a blend of on tech and off tech engaging lessons. For students, learning from a HyperDoc is an opportunity to show an understanding of content in a variety of creative ways using technology tools that inspire creativity and empower student agency. Regularly applying creative practices for teachers and students embraces the goals of modern classrooms.

The art of teaching with HyperDocs begins with the creator. When it’s time to design, use everything you know about your students to create an engaging lesson, empower experts, embrace curiosity with exploration of content, embed collaboration, and give students the opportunity to creatively show what they know. The combination of intentional lesson design and your personal style of delivering instruction from a HyperDoc will awaken your inner artful teacher and elevate the learning experience for all students. For more information about HyperDocs, please check out

If you would like to see a classroom teaching with a HyperDoc, check out this video:

How has the art of teaching with HyperDoc digital lesson design made an impact on your students and their learning?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Play Well..Build On: Building a Lego team.

It's almost time to go back to school and educators are starting to think to about how to bring people together to connect. Last year, I was inspired by the work of a teacher that I coached. He introduced me to the 16 Personalities Quiz. His goal was to use the results of the quiz to help students to better understand cognitive diversity. Cognitive diversity refers to the many different ways that we think, respond, create, learn, and interact with each other and in the world. The idea is used in the work place to build strong teams. It is said that embracing cognitive diversity in a team can build innovation and is a powerful tool.

Regina Dugan, head of Facebook’s secretive Building 8, describes the importance of diversity to the creative process HERE. She says, “The ultimate goal is cognitive diversity, and cognitive diversity is correlated with identity diversity...You have to get to the place where you aren’t made comfortable by the fact that everyone is the same, but rather feel inspired by how different we are. We get better problem-solving that way.” 

As educators, we know that the foundation of an effective learning environment is trust and community. However, one of the most common challenges I have observed at school sites is creative differences within a staff. This got me thinking about how to use the 16 Personality Quiz as a tool for building inclusion and creating a foundation for teamwork at a school site. According to Mark Miller, VP of Marketing, Emergenetics International, "The power of having cognitive diversity in the workplace is the same power that companies try to attain through strong leadership and great communication. It's a more inclusive, collaborative, and open space where people feel empowered to create and implement ideas." Excited about the potential of creating a school culture that embraces cognitive diversity, this led me to design a HyperDoc for leaders to use with a staff in an effort to build inclusion within teams and embrace the culture of the people within the school.

The HyperDoc is called, Play Well...Build On. Inspired by the LEGO company slogan and culture, I designed a professional development training for educators that can be used as an all day training or it can be broken up over time. All the work shared on the HyperDoc is intended for adults to experience learning, but can easily be modified to be used in a classroom setting with students as well. Follow along with the HyperDoc linked above and let me describe the pedagogy behind the lesson: 

ENGAGE: Begin by watching the LEGO career recruitment video. Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, the LEGO Brand Group’s Chairman, describes the LEGO Group Culture and how they embrace diversity in the workplace to play, create, and build together. As the group watches the video, participants jot down their thinking on a shared Google document to capture all the thinking around the video during and after showing the video. (There is a lot of rich content packed into the 3-minute video. If needed, consider your time and watch twice. Watching video can be led like a close reading instructional strategy. There is new learning gained each time it is watched.) 
LEARN: During this section, teachers take the 16 Personalities Quiz. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to respond and gather results. 

EMPOWER: Everyone will have a chance to reflect on the quiz outcomes when they respond to the questions on the Google form. This form will only be viewed by the facilitator. This design is intentional. The leader will now know a little more about the people in the group and will be able to use that information to guide situations throughout the school year. 

GIVE: Guide and grow as a team when groups work together to design a Marshmallow Tower. The facilitator uses the personality quiz results to create homogenous groups for this activity. After the 18 minute challenge, discuss the process as a whole group. How did the group do with the challenge? How did it work with homogenous groups? 

OPEN: Be optimistic and open to new possibilities when the whole group solves a Breakout EDU challenge. During this challenge, the group will embrace the cognitive diversity of the team and work together to solve the challenge. Be sure to reflect on the process once the 45 minute time is up.

CREATE and SHARE: Using the LEGO acronym, educators have had an opportunity to reflect on who they are and how they interact with the group. Invite individuals to highlight their superpowers when they create an Adobe Spark post that illustrates the talents and skills that they bring to the group. Share the posts on a Padlet for all to see and to learn about each other. Revisit this Padlet throughout the school year as challenges arise and embracing cognitive diversity is needed. 

BUILD ON: After a day of learning and creating together, choose one or all three of the videos on the last slide to share. Work together to build an amazing school year! 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How to Give Students a Platform to Practice and Exercise Their Digital Voice

Students have so much to teach us and to share! We just have to be listening. The Internet provides a space for anyone to have a digital voice by interacting with social media, designing websites, recording videos or vlogs, writing blogs, and sharing their message. But how do we teach kids how to navigate this wide open creative space of the Internet? Google recently launched a website called Interland. This website teaches students how to "Be Internet Awesome." They created a game for kids to learn how to interact safely on the internet and it also includes free downloadable curriculum for teachers to use in their classroom. This game and resources teach students "HOW" to practice using their digital voice. 

Now let's talk about the "WHY." Interacting digitally is not something that is a trend and it's not going away. If we don't teach them how, then who will? If we don't show them the strategies for having a positive online footprint, then we might miss their stories. Not only is it important to teach kids how to interact on the Internet, but also when they do, then we can capture the essence of their young selves. When I was a kid I was always making videos with my dad's VHS video camera or recording myself singing on a cassette tape. I loved being on stage. Watching those videos or listening to those tapes is like being in a timewarp. It's amazing to see and listen to my young self. For kids these days, they have a broader audience and they can showcase their ideas, stories, and talents in so many different ways. 

Here is an example. When I ask my student's what they want to be when they grow up, many will say that they want to be a YouTuber. They will work for subscribers and likes. Anyone who checks out YouTube can find hours of videos of kids being awesome! Check out this video in which a kid shows how he remixed a popular fidget spinner into an eraser fidget spinner. There are hundreds of versions of this online. While you watch, notice a couple of things: The YouTube Channel is a nickname, the profile picture is a scooter, the comments are disabled, and embedding the video onto other sites is disabled. (In order to watch the video, you have to watch it on YouTube.) These are four great strategies for having a safe and age-appropriate online presence. Rather than not allow access, show them how. Did you also notice that this video is a remix of the old "How to" speech standard? I wonder if this kid knew when he recorded this video that he was completing a speech requirement? I'm pretty sure that he made the video because he is hoping for those good old thumbs up "likes." Go ahead and give him one if you can. You'll make his day!

If you are looking for more resources on teaching kids how to practice and exercise their digital voice, then check out the Digital Voice HyperDoc. Here is an outline of the digital lesson design built into this HyperDoc: 
EXPLORE: The lesson begins with giving students time to explore examples of kids who have a strong digital voice. By exploring their stories and resources, students can study their digital footprints as a mentor text and think about the kind of footprint they want to create. 
EXPLAIN: Next students are taught what makes a good blog. They read blogs by other kids and the teacher can teach elements of strong writing. 
APPLY:  Finally, students are encouraged to launch their own personal blog.  This can take journal writing to a whole new level! On their blogs, they can practice writing skills, and they can practice speaking and listening skills when they record videos. The blog can serve as a digital portfolio for all that they create. It is a place to capture their stories, their learning, and their process. (Some people prefer to have students create websites instead of blogs. That works too! I prefer the blog because it can serve two purposes. It can be a place to update when inspired and it can have pages built into it like a website.)
SHARE: Unless the blog is shared, then it is the same as a Google Doc living in a Google Drive. Help students share their blogs with each other and beyond the classroom. Students can have pen pals in another school or within the same school. Blogs also can be shared with parents and families or on social media. One way to easily collect the links to all your student blogs is to create a Google form and have students share their blog links with you. Once shared, students will need to learn how to comment and give feedback on blogs. Don't forget to build in a lesson on digital feedback and comments. The resources are linked onto the HyperDoc. 

Blogs are just the beginning! They can be a place for kids to capture all of their stories, writing, and digital voice. If you have an example of students practicing their digital voice, please share in the comments. If you have a HyperDoc that teaches digital voice, please share at 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Discussion Strategies: Teaching and Tech

This HyperDoc provides resources for teachers to integrate various 
instructional strategies 

to engage students in discussion face to face and/or using technology. 
View resources at HERE
A teacher recently asked me, “How do I create a more active learning environment and provide more opportunities for my students to discuss ideas?” I offered suggestions based on the strategies that came to mind, but I wanted to go deeper with more specific ideas for the teacher. This led me to searching  for specific strategies to share. I came across this blog post called The Big List of Class Discussion Strategies by Jennifer Gonzalez. Her website, Cult of Pedagogy, is a wonderful resource for teachers to find practical tips and guides to teaching. When I created this slide deck, I included some of the resources she highlights in her blog. Each slide of this presentation has two columns. On the left, view the teaching strategy, the pedagogy or a video description. Thank You Jennifer Gonzalez for the teaching ideas!
On the right column of the slides entitled, TECH, I included ideas for how to take the good teaching practices and implement them using a web tool. This list is curated based on my knowledge of blended learning. If you have a new suggestion or idea to add to this slide deck, please let me know! I’d love to add to these resources. Additionally, if you try one of these strategies in your classroom, I’d love to hear about it. Please send me an email or a tweet to share your success or question to problem solve!  

Mindful Mentoring

A leader is a mindful mentor and continuously follows five steps to guide decision making, creation, and collaboration with colleagues. 

These five steps are:

  1. Question: Use this cycle of questions and ensure that all voices are heard. Start with asking about what is going well, then ask about challenges, hold others accountable for actions by asking about next steps, and finally ask for what kind of support is needed.  
  2. Listen: Practice listening with an open mind and an open heart. Make time to hear all ideas and suggestions before moving forward and listen without making judgments on the ideas presented.
  3. Acknowledge: Appreciate others for their contributions. Acknowledge positive and negative behaviors. Be fair, honest, and kind when interacting with others.    
  4. Suggest: Offer suggestions to solve problems and never push ideas onto others. When asked, provide specific feedback and always practice a growth mindset.
  5. Empower: Be empowered by surrounding yourself with positive mentors and continuous learning opportunities. Empower others with authentic relationships and mutual respect.  

This HyperDoc includes resources for students or staff to participate in a mindfulness mini-unit. 
View lessons at

Sunday, November 13, 2016

#HyperDocs for Administrators

In June of 2016, The HyperDoc Handbook was released with over 60 different HyperDoc lessons for classroom teachers to copy, use, and remix. The book also includes strategies for designing your own HyperDocs. Since the release of the book, the #HyperDoc(s) hashtag has been active with educators around the world sharing lessons, successes, and challenges around blended learning and digital lesson design. If you are wondering what the hype is all about, then take a look at this sketch drawn by Carrie Wilson. (Thank you, Carrie! This image really helps people to understand the  potential of HyperDocs!)
The website describes, "HyperDocs, a transformative, interactive Google Doc replacing the worksheet method of delivering instruction, is the ultimate change agent in the blended learning classroom. With strong educational philosophies built into each one, HyperDocs have the potential to shift the way you instruct with technology. They are created by teachers and given to students to engage, educate, and inspire learning. It’s not about teaching technology, it’s about using the technology to TEACH."

Learning Cycle is Connect • Content • Community
While classroom teachers and students have been having all the fun, HyperDocs can also be designed for professional development and for administrators to use with staff. Just like classroom teachers, administrators are always looking for effective strategies to integrate technology, share information, collect thinking, and problem solve. And what do all administrators wish they had? More face time with their teachers! That is why the Staff Meeting HyperDoc Template was created. This template was designed to support busy administrators who are looking for efficiency during a quick 45-minute staff meeting. If you would like to use this agenda, file + make a copy, and you can add your own content to the agenda. The learning cycle of this meeting agenda is Inspire • Connect • Explore • Reflect. 
  • INSPIRE: (5 minutes) Start your staff meeting off with something to inspire the group. Everyone in education works so hard. Find something funny, inspiring, or moving to set the tone for your meeting and link it to the document. Some ideas might be: Quote • Inspiring video • Story • Meme • Cartoon 
  • CONNECT: (10 minutes) Design an activity for staff to actively participate in. Dedicate this time to model an instructional connector and bring everyone together. This can involve tech or be no tech. Looking for some ideas? Check out these possible resources: Go Noodle HERETRIBES Learning Community HERE • Improv Games HERETeam Building activities on Pinterest HEREPositive Rewards for Adults HERE
  • EXPLORE: (20 minutes) Instead of standing and delivering information, why not try embedding a multimedia text set of resources onto the staff agenda and providing time for exploration of resources? Consider how you might facilitate the exploration time. I recommend partnering teachers up and letting them explore with two teachers and one device. When we sit with a partner and explore resources, we typically have conversations and process the information together. This also models a strategy that teachers can use with their students when exploring content. While partnerships are looking at resources, administrators can move around the room and make 1 on 1 connections. Rotate partners each time you facilitate this activity so that staff will have opportunities to connect with everyone. This builds trust, fosters inclusion, and helps everyone gets to know each other. 
  • REFLECT: (10 minutes) When it is time to bring the group back together, open the link on the Google Doc to with anyone with the link can edit and allow staff to respond directly to the editable document. During this time, collect thinking from everyone in the room and offer a space for continuous problem-solving. Staff can choose to write in their name or not. Administrators can follow up in person or address as a whole group. Reflection is broken up into 4 parts: 
    Provide this safe digital space for staff to process information and ask questions. Allow all the voices in the room to be heard.
    Inspire innovation and a growth mindset by listening to new ideas and creating a shared community of change agents.
    Build in time to show each other quick tech tips. There is always something new to learn or something that might make our digital lives more efficient. Have a few late adopters on staff? Quick weekly PD.
    Build an inclusive community and encourage staff to stop and thank each other for all the things they do for each other day to day.
Another role of an administrator is to meet with teachers to set individual goals and evaluate their teaching. In an effort to organize and capture the goal setting process for administrators and teachers in one shared space, The Goal Setting HyperDoc was designed. Administrators can share this document with individual teachers and use it as documentation to demonstrate goals and progress. Teachers will appreciate the clear expectations and resources for personal and professional growth. 

If you have a HyperDoc to share or you are looking for a HyperDoc on a different topic, please join the Teachers Give Teachers community by checking out the resources and links below. We are #bettertogether!  

Want more? Stay connected to the HyperDoc community!
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For more INFORMATION visit:

Watch the Google EDU On Air Episode where this HyperDoc is explained: