#140WC Welcome Challenge #clmooc #etmooc

A Challenge

On November 10th, 2014 I made a commitment to myself and invited others to join — teachers, students, bloggers. The commitment? Write 140 words each day — 140 words more or less — but write — blog — everyday.  I wrote that challenge here: #140WC and continued each day since: #140WC posts.  Urbie Delgado has joined the challenge and posts regularly at Puzzling Mix.





Everyday I consider things I see, hear, read…. but they’re passing thoughts. So, why not take time each day and write. 140 words on some of these:

Do you gather ideas throughout the day?

Do you have ideas that meander through your mind?

Do you want to blog more but your topic hides?

Do you ever think, “I wish I’d written that down….?”

Then this challenge is for you!

Write 140 words each day! [or a little more or less — a thought each day!]

  • Share your ideas.
  • Share a link.
  • Share your lesson.
  • Share your reflection.
  • Share your questions.
  • Share your answers.
  • Share a tweet with your input
  • Share a blog with your insights
  • Share to carry on the conversation….

The benefit?

In a 140 words each day, your journey is formed, your ideas saved, your reflection framed.

In 140 words each day, your writing flows and grows more clearly.

In 140 words in day, your past and path is forged forward.


Will you join?  How about once a week? a month? 140 Word Count — you can do it!

Link to #140WC Badge

Join the #140WC Challenge

#clmooc Blog Conversations

Bangkok Street Portraits 8 - Mindful

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Collin Key via Compfight


What is a conversation?

A conversation, the give and take of ideas among people. We converse in the hallway, at dinner, or any time we meet. We listen to the stories of our friends, and we share our own. We ask questions, and answer those of others. We laugh. We cry. We agree. We disagree. We consider what our friends say. We may even change our own ideas. But the important thing is, we share, consider, and continue the dialogue. That’s a conversation. Isn’t it?

What is a blog conversation?

As you have been practicing, good bloggers spend time reading and commenting on others’ blogs. We look for posts of interest to us and leave a comment expressing our ideas and appreciation for the topic information. Commenting is a form of conversation with the author of the blog.

As bloggers, we can do more to extend the conversation. We can add value to others’ ideas by extending the conversation into our own blogs.

When we read others’ blog posts. We enjoy, learn, or disagree with them. In our minds, we have a response. That’s what we want to capture, that spark of connection when we read the posts.

Read to find that spark, that connection — the place in the blog post you think, “Ah.” or “What?” or “Yeah.”

At that point, that’s your cue to add to the conversation. It’s your gift back from the value given in the post. Copy that part of the idea.

Then, with the best digital citizenship in mind, we write a post about that idea, and your gift back: do you agree? disagree? learn something? have a different or new idea?

Go for it: Share their idea and your response — being overly positive as we always do so the author feels accepted and not disrespected.

Link back to the original blog.

Then comment on the blog with a link to your response post.

You’ve just started a blog conversation!

 So, How do I start a blog conversation?

  1. Find a post with a spark — an idea that you connect with other ideas
  2. Copy that part of the post
  3. Start your post with that quote and the author’s name.
  4. Link the author’s name to their blog (put the URL of that POST as a link from the name)
  5. Thank the author for their idea
  6. Add your ideas: a new idea, a different idea, an agreement and why, a respectful disagreement [I wonder if…], a question and your answer
  7. Publish your post
  8. Go back to the original post and comment with a link to your post
  9. Smile: You’re a blogger!

 Blogging is a Conversation

If you blog, you’re a writer, an author, but take it further, be a the blogger that adds value to your connections. Be a connected learner.

This blog post is an extension of a conversation learned in a WizIQ webinar I took with  Stephen Downes, which I wrote about here, to share my learning and my response to that webinar learning. I learned that the connections are what is important:

  • In order for what we are saying to make any sense, it needs to be a response to something.
  • Find places where you can add value rather than pursue a particular goal or objective
  • In almost all fields, connecting with others IS the work.
  • Connecting is all about adding value and flow (input, output, feedback, plasticity)

That post of mine and this post for you are part of the flow, the extension of the conversation from the gift of learning from  Stephen Downes. I decided to make changes in my blogging practice and to share that with you:

  1. Read and comment on blogs; blog a response (this is one of my responses).
  2. For my students, we will now read others’ blogs first, blog our response of those that touch our hearts and minds, and comment back with a link to our posts.

I appreciate and thank Stephen for extending my ideas about blogging. And thanks to The Edublogs Team for their blogging challenges for Connected Educator Month.

Do you see how I have:

  • Included a link to  Stephen Downes?
  • Include the learning [bullets above] from  Stephen Downes?
  • Linked his name back to his blog and also to the WizIQ webinar information?
  • Added my ideas [directions to you; two changes I will make]?
  • Thanked the author [Stephen]?
  • Lastly, I wrote back on the webinar site [not available publicly] to share my blogpost, which is my “comment back.”
  • And, for writing class, did I:
    • Write clearly
    • Write with evidence
    • Write positively
    • Write in paragraphs
    • Write with correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization?

Ready? Have a go —

Find an inspiring post and write your own extension to the conversation, adding value to the ideas of the original author!  And ask yourself:

  • Are  you connected?
  • Are you adding value?
  • Are you responding to the gifts from others?
  • Are you extending the conversation?
  • And , for writing class, are you:
    • writing clearly with evidence?
    • writing positively [respectfully]
    • writing in paragraphs with correct conventions [grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization]?

Have a go,

…and come back here to comment on the results…

Cross-posted from Eagles Write

Sunshine Blog Challenge


A Challenge

My fellow #etmooc -er Rhonda Jessen added another challenge for me: The Sunshine Blog Challenge for which I am honored to participate.  I’m smack dab in the middle of several projects, so I’ll be brief and add questions for my nominees that can also be responded to briefly. These are fun and help us —  global connected educators — get to know each other. Thanks again Rhonda!

How It Works

1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
2. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
4. List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)


 11 Facts

  1. I also choose dark chocolate and occasionally partake in those other types. But dark chocolate soothes the soul on surly days. It started when I was young and the corner grocery story sold candy bars for a nickel. Almond Joy: dark chocolate and coconut with almonds. Yum. Mom could afford a nickel for my brother and I to cheer us up.
  2. I usually carry both a cell phone and a mini-iPad; I use them when I want to– not when they notify me- when it doesn’t interrupt what I’m doing at the time.
  3. I love percussion. I played drums in the band in high school, and the beat of rock music brings great memories. No, I don’t play anymore, but I will sometimes grab a pair of sticks and beat out a cadence, much to the amazement of my students.
  4. I love to sing in the car, which is a good thing. I can’t sing; it’s why I played drums. I even tell my students: if I need to keep you in for recess, I will sing to you. [No! they laugh.]
  5. I do drive to work. It’s twenty miles north on a lovely and quiet drive through the sage brush, right up to the edge of the wooded hills. Pleasant. Thoughtful. Many NPR moments.
  6. I’m not much of a traveller, except online. I’m a hobbit who loves an adventure; my husband and I will hop in the car and let the road lead us.
  7. I’ve always had a furry creature around: cat, gerbil, dog. Currently we enjoy two cats and an a dog, whom we are nursing through old age as long as we can because she has brought us so much joy. Her kind eyes let us know what she needs, and we still walk her twice a day.
  8. Spring is my favorite season, with its budding hope of renewal.
  9. A Christmas tree with small colored lights is our calming evening light year ’round.
  10. I’ve written two novels for NaNoWriMo :)
  11. 11-1 are the number of my amazing, intelligent, and creative grandkids.

Questions from Rhonda

1. Winter or summer?

Summer: Winter teach; summer beach.  I love the gracious gift of warm weather — the heat of the sun beaming energy to everything, and the cool water of the lake refreshing us.


2. Favourite comfort food?

Dark Chocolate — and occasionally puffy Cheetos


3. Favourite food?

Reservations. And then it depends on the restaurant: Chicken Satay; Chicken Gorgonzola, or Chicken Panini. Hmmm. There’s a pattern there. And homemade soup.

4. What is the best way to support those who are new to open education and are overwhelmed by the possibilities?

Guide them in small steps and be there with feedback; collaborate with them on a project.

5. Who was the best teacher you ever had? Why?

The best teacher: Dr. Francis Kazemek at Eastern Washington University

Why? Seminar and Project-based courses that were student-centered and extremely rigorous

If he taught a class I was required to take, I’d wait until his turn to teach it to enroll.

6. Who was the worst teacher you ever had? Why?

I didn’t have a worst teacher. I learned from all of them, because “you get out of life what you give it.” I found the value.

7. What are you reading right now?

Teaching Argument Writing, Grades 6-12 Supporting Claims with Relevant Evidence and Clear Reasoning George Hillocks Jr, Emeritus, University of Chicago

8. What are you learning right now?

Politics interferes with education.

9. What’s your favourite way to stay connected?

Twitter: Grammasheri

Google Plus: Grammasheri

10. Describe a great day at work.

A great day at work are the days my students have a great day — when drama and distractions don’t cause them stress. Then we all dive in and learn together. I’m a facilitator, a guide, offering suggestions and feedback that is accepted and reviewed.  Families stop in to see their student’s progress, and my colleagues find time to share and enjoy each other’s work.

11. Describe a great day off.

A great day off is spent with my family, often geeking out together, and definitely a delicious dinner with great conversation.

My Nominations

Tracy Watanabe from whom I learn every day; her blog is professional development !

Paula Neidlinger who is a leader in organizing collaborative blogging for teachers and students with her #teach2blog

Denise Krebs who chooses difficult journeys to help others

Joy Kirr who is everyone’s cheerleader as she leads us in implementing #geniushour  even in these “testing” times

JoAnn Jacobs whose strength through adversity shines through the beauty she finds everywhere

Erin Jackle who shares her amazing journey to enhance tech learning in her districts

Randy Norman who shares middle school teacher life, because it is our lives

Barbara McVeigh is a champion librarian whose posts share not just books but creative wisdom for her students and us

Valerie Lees is an amazing educator, always connecting and sharing to develop blended, authentic learning at her high school

Jill Grafton [ Jill Barnes ] is another middle school teacher whose focus is on language arts learning — and her students are through her lead as a connected educator

Rachel Tassler, another reading teacher who reflects on her own learning and applies it to her students.

My Questions

  1. City or Country? and Why?
  2. Inside or Outside? and Why?
  3. Mac, PC, or ? and Why?
  4. Cat or Dog? and Why?
  5. An item on your “Bucket List,” would be?
  6. Favorite education quote, and why?
  7. Education: your definition is?
  8. A suggestion for a new teacher would be?
  9. A Song that moves you – and Why?
  10. A Book that moved you — and Why?
  11. You: in a six word sentence

#openspokes challenge: Failure

failure.003 by teach.eagle

failure.003, a photo by teach.eagle on Flickr.

Open Spokes

Challenge Topic: Failure

“The language we use is important, and so I think it is important that we have these discussions to tease-out what we mean, and as Varena says, create a common glossary. Where do you think failure fits in an educational context? Do you use it with your students?”  Kirsten

My thoughts:

People use the word.

How could we use the word to be helpful?
I love Denise’s poster:





For which I created:





Review to revise


How do we encourage students through the struggle of failure?

Find the parts that work to enlighten our next attempt.

Use the language for FAILURE (above).





#iopenspokes challenge

Connected Educator Blogging Challenge

Are you hesitant to join in the global conversations around the world? Are you overwhelmed by the amount of information flowing towards you?

One way to join the conversation and sort out the information is to start a blog to reflect on and share the ideas to which you connect. You just might help someone else be less overwhelmed with what you add to the blogging community. And fortunately for you Sue Waters at Edublogs has a step by step challenge started. You can learn on your own following her easy-to-follow directions. From creating a blog, to setting up pages, posting, and commenting, she provides clear, written, and visual directions for you. It’s Connected Educator’s Month, and Edublogs always participates in events that promote connection and innovation.

So get your fingers stretched and ready to type. It’s easy. One of the most important activity challenges is setting up an “About Page.” I know; you are overwhelmed; you’re not sure you want your name out there. But remember, when we research topics, the first thing we do is check the authenticity of the author. We want to know who’s writing. And if you want to stretch your network, readers need to know who you are so they can contact you to collaborate on projects.

It’s time to start creating your digital footprint. As a teacher, it’s important to be a role model for your students. In this very public, online world, we teachers have a responsibility to model and teach digital writing and citizenship. Your About Page lets readers who find your blog and your parents and community know who you are.You model the transparency and civility for this digital world.

So I encourage you to start blogging by following the wonderful ways to engage and create in the Edublogs Teacher Challenge. And please, use your real name and tell about yourself on an “About Page.”

Remember, wherever you write on the Internet, it is your footprint:

A blog post and comment is your footprint…

a path back to you…

prepare your path wisely.

World Webinars

Teacher Challenge 8

Today’s connected world offers us the opportunity to join with others to teach or share, listen and learn about the pedagogy, strategies, and tools that engage learners towards personal progress.

Four areas online have provided me with the confidence and resources to try new strategies and use new tools in my classroom.  These presentations not only teach strategies and demonstrate new tools, but also establish connections during the chat sessions. Through a combination of presentation and interaction, participants in the chat consider options for their classrooms, suggest projects with others in the chat, and share Twitter/email to make further connections.

Try these to build your knowledge and your PLN. The people involved in each of these sites are dynamic, creative, and inspirational. In addition, they welcome newcomers with open arms, and encourage everyone.

Classroom 2.0 Live:

CR20 Webinars: Except July, every Saturday at 9:00 AM Pacific
http://live.classroom20.com/ and
Join the Ning and Saturday sessions to learn new social media tools.
Steve Hargadon http://www.stevehargadon.com/
Peggy George, Kim Caise, Lorna Costantini: http://live.classroom20.com/hosts.html
This is my Saturdays; I learned Diigo, Wikis, VoiceThread, and many more here.

Teachers First
OK2Learn:  http://www.teachersfirst.com/
Candace Hackett Shively  http://blog.teachersfirst.com/thinkteach/
TeachersFirst website reviews tools with lessons and suggestions to make them work — a terrific resource for any teacher. In addition, resources for each month provide teachers with engaging and relevant ideas for immediate use in the classroom.
OK2Learn provides session how-tos to learn specific tools, such as Wikis, word-clouds, Smilebox.
I go here first to search for ideas and technology that fits my needs — with the suggestions for successful implementation.

The Australia Series
Tech Talk Tuesdays http://techtalktuesdays.global2.vic.edu.au/
Educators Guide to Innovation http://guidetoinnovation.ning.com/
Anne Mirtschin  http://murcha.wordpress.com/
The website ning shares the schedule for sessions during the Australian school year as well as the collaborative nature of a ning.
Tech Talk Tuesdays (11:00 PM Pacific) engages participants in sharing how to apply tools through presentation and participant sharing. Teachers share and present the use of the tools, asking participants to add.
In Tech Talk Tuesdays I learned about Google Plus.

Ed Tech Talk
Teachers Teaching Teachers
Paul Allison https://sites.google.com/a/ewsis.org/pallison/
Ed Tech Talk is a “Collaborative Open Webcasting Community” where teachers talk through and plan resources for their classes.
It is here I discovered a student blogging and sharing site: Youth Voices http://youthvoices.net/  It is free to sign up your classes to connect with other students.
To be a part of world webinars — please check out each of these: they will become your friends online and enlarge your world in relevant ways to improve teaching and learning. Just keep making those connections! That’s what it’s all about!  What are your experiences with such online learning sessions?

Photo Credit:

Blue Marble from Visible Earth at NASA

PLN Challenge: Building Steps

teacherchallenge-1mhy8u5What type of PLN do I have?

My PLN are a) educators who apply technology with their students in ways that jumpstart kids into their futures and b) educators learning to do this.

How do I learn from and share with my PLN?
How do I add new tools?

I read and respond to tweets and blogs and research from tweets and blogs so I can also move in that direction. I also attend challenges and webinars to learn and use new tools and resources. I use Diigo to capture, highlight, and annotate important tools and strategies that I could adapt in my classroom.

I’ve mentioned my favorite learning places and webinars here:

3 Easy Ways to Transform Edu

and how I organize this here:

How Do I Organize my learning?

I’ve decided to also participate in Mondays, 7:00 PM Eastern, #engchat on Twitter.

Four more sources I can share:
a) PBS LearningMedia.org (standards-related resources–new)
b) Edutopia.org (blogs, resources)

c) ASCD Edge Community

d) NCTE  Connected Community

When do I learn and share PLN activities?
CR20 Webinars: Except July, every Saturday at 9:00 AM Pacific

How do I keep going?
Once a day during the week, I check in for 10-20 minutes, learning and sharing– bookmarking, retweeting, blogging, commenting. One or two days a week, I spend an hour learning new tools — and trying them with my students during the school year.

My kids are grown, so my husband and I enjoy our computer research and work together.

It still can be overwhelming, and so it is important to remember, “One does what what can.” So set a goal to try one new tool or strategy each semester. If you do more — great, but at least you’ll have one good area to share about on your blog each semester so someone else can learn from your experience. That’s what the goal I will set this year, and ask my peers to join me.

Thank you

For me, I thank all those from whom I have learned: thanks for sharing — you educators (many I have thanked in my posts) have inspired me — so I keep trying. My PLN became an extension of my family — relatives far away connected through technology. I look forward to each connection.

Are you feeling that way too?