Tips for a Successful ISTE

With ISTE19 fast approaching, I have been asked a few times what my recommendations are to have a successful ISTE conference. Here are my top few tips:

1. Plan for what you want to learn - ISTE is way too big to think that you are going to go and learn everything there is to learn about technology in education. You will get more out of your experience if you focus on a couple of topics. This year I will be focusing on coaching and authentic learning experiences.

2. Don't just plan for sessions - As educators, we know some of the best learning takes place outside of the classroom and the same is true at ISTE. Take advantage of social events, informal meetups, and the expo hall. These are places tat you will be able to build your network and meet people with common interests and goals.

3. Arrive prepared - Of course you are going to bring your device, but don't forget to bring a refillable water bottle, snacks, a backpack with lots of room to bring freebies home, and good walking s…

It's the Final Countdown (The end of year thoughts)

As I finish off the end of this year, today being my last teaching day, I thought I would share my end of year reflections. Reflecting is such an important practice for us as educators and if we effectively model it, our students can use it to become effective learners as well. Blogging is a reflective practice for me and is always a great way to help me share my thoughts (even if I haven't done so for a couple of months, oops!).

As I think back on the 2018-2019 school year, here are 5 things I learned.

1. Some graduating classes are harder to say goodbye to than others. For whatever reason, this group of seniors really resonated with me. While I am excited for their next chapters, I will miss the passion for learning and humor that they brought to the school community.

2. If technology is making your life harder, you're doing it wrong. We are always trying to better our practice and improve as educators. In my first year as a coach, I found that for a lot of my teachers, the …

Things Teachers Don't Learn in School - #2 Self Care

On the days that you feel your best, what have you done to reach that feeling? Can you identify the things that help you function at your ideal state? I had one of those days yesterday, where I felt like I had done right by me.

Morning- Got a great night's sleep and felt well rested going into the day.
Day- Maintained a positive attitude, despite a long day and ate a healthy lunch.
Afternoon- Spent time on the phone with my younger brother. Rehydrated!
Evening- Made a healthy dinner with my husband and then had a great 2 hour workout at the karate school.

For me, self-care means taking care of myself by eating healthy, staying hydrated, working out, and spending time with my friends and family. On a day that I do that, I feel incredible!

What do you mean you didn't learn that?
I am sure at some point during my education I was told how exhausting teaching would be, mentally and physically. I am sure someone told me that it was very common for teachers to get sick in their first …

Things Teachers Don't Learn in School - #1 Extracurriculars

As the title indicates, I am going to write a series of blog posts about the things you don't learn during your undergraduate education as an education major. Today's focus: extracurriculars. This is a topic I feel particularly passionate about and if you've read my other posts, you may have caught onto that, so here we go.

What do you mean you didn't learn that?
I mean that no one ever told me that coaching and overseeing extracurricular activities would be a huge part of my work life. No one ever told me that these experiences would change me as a teacher because they would help me to get to know my students as something other than students. No one taught me that there would be days that being a part of these things would be my favorite pat of my day. I was actually discouraged from taking on these things as a new teacher, but I have always liked to blaze my own trail. I know that taking on additional responsibilities as a new teacher can be daunting, and it is not fo…

Guest Post: Modeling in Blender (CG Cookie)

Modeling a Soda Can using Blender

Blender is an incredibly powerful 3D modeling tool and it can seem intimidating initially.
This article will help you create your first project in Blender so that you can see how incredibly fun it can be as well.

We don’t have the space for a comprehensive introduction to Blender here,
so for that you can watch thefree Blender Basics course on
If you haven’t downloaded Blender yet or need to update, you can find it
This article uses version 2.80.

Let’s get started!

To begin this project, delete everything in the default scene and create a mesh cylinder using the Add menu.

To make sure that it’s the proper size, switch the Units to Imperial in the Properties Editor scene tab and
change the Length to Inches. Open up the 3D View sidebar with the hotkey “N”, and then change the
dimensions to be 2.6, 2.6, and 4.83 for the X, Y, and Z values.

Switch into Edit Mode for the Cylinder, and add a loop cut with the hotkey Ctrl+R.

A Reflection on Vulnerability

I love audiobooks and at the recommendation of a good friend I am currently listening to Daring to Lead by Brene Brown. The part I am at talks about the importance of vulnerability. When speaking with another good friend tonight, she referred to vulnerability as "sharing your humanness". I don't think vulnerable is something most teachers are comfortable, but as I tell my students leadership is an uncomfortable position. The rest of this post is me sharing about a challenging situation because I think it is important to be more honest about how this is part of our daily grind.

This weekend, I had the privilege of coaching one of the finest groups of students I have ever had the opportunity to get to know. As my students know, I am a little bit competitive and I take mock trial very seriously. My students (along with our coaching team) work day in and day out to prepare their case and become a cohesive team. Unlike most sports, our mock trial team gets one shot, the state…

The Power of Belief

As you may know from previous blog posts, I am a high school teacher by day and a martial arts instructor by night. Over the course of the last month, the power of belief has stood out to me in both places. At ATA martial arts, we say that belief is "yes, I can" and we talk about the importance of belief in yourself and belief in others. One of my favorite parts of the ATA Legacy program is how it helps students to grow as people, not just as martial artists.

Earlier this school year, one of my seniors asked me what the hardest part of teaching high school was. I shared with him that I as a teacher, become very invested in my students. I want to see them succeed and find their passions. I spend 4 years guiding and watching them grow, and then they leave. I never hear from most students to find out how they are doing and how things turned out after high school. A colleague compared it to starting a novel and never finding out how it ends.

In January, I had the opportunity to …