*Cross posted on http://blog.fetc.org/2017/01/12/nancys-top-7-for-fetc-2017/

FETC is 2 weeks away!

I am so excited to be able to attend the AMAZING FETC again this year! I have been avidly reading the session offerings and can not decide what to attend…I have 3 or 5 choices marked for each session! I have vendors I can not wait to see! Here is what I am most looking forward to:


Always engaging poster sessions are my favorite part of FETC. For an hour,
teachers share the things that work for their kids and help you develop ideas for use in your classroom. There are two poster session areas a couple of times a day. SO many great contacts and ideas all in one area! Go in, read over the posters, talk to the presenter and learn how you can take their success and apply it to your classroom. Make sure you have a QR reader, like I-nigma that can read a QR code from a distance.


Maker is my jam! For two years I saw maker at FETC and said nope not for me. Then I tried it… and it was the best thing I have ever done in 17 years of teaching. My students loved the hands-on, student-centered world of maker. They learned, they grew, they made decisions, and problem solved and I … sat back and watched and was in charge of the exacto knife and hot glue gun. I highly suggest you check out sessions on Maker and figure out how you can work it in. And don’t think I’m a classroom teacher I can’t…this year we are targeting our maker toward Social Studies and Science. 4th grade is working on making a Spanish mission and 5th grade is making the 13 colonies. They are all different and all student led…and the learning is amazing!


Accessible and paperless! Many presenters will give you a qr code or link that allows you to access their information. This will help keep you load light during the conference and save the planet. Too! I find when I bring home papers, they tend to end up in the trash. When I scan a QR code or save a link, I keep the information and share it with my fellow educators more often. I also tend to go back and access the information for weeks or even years to come.


Zipping through the hallways looking for members of my PLN and new folks to meet! I love conferences as a chance to schmooze and find people to help me along my way. In my school I am the only one of my kind. I teach media/technology and there is no one else who does what I do. I need my PLN to help me with ideas and keep me on track. I need to meet new people as well so I never get “stale”. FETC is a great place to meet people who are teaching classes like mine, as well as people who are classroom teachers, high school instructors, professors and more. Be open, step out of your comfort zone, put down your device introduce yourself to at least two new people each day! Bring along your business cards with your email and Social Media contacts so you can connect!


Industry leaders who share their products are great! At FETC you will be able to visit the vendor hall and see the newest and greatest, as well as the tried and true. Vendors will compete for your time and give away great prizes, but it can be a bit overwhelming. My friend spends hours walking the show floor and seeing everything. I can’t manage that. For my sanity and feet, I make a plan of who I want to visit and what I need to know about and I stop at those booths. It is important to me to be organized in my time, so I look at my schedule and select an hour to just be in the expo hall. It helps me stay organized and allows me to see the vendors I need to see without missing any sessions I really want to be a part of. Make sure you also take time to check out the Pitchfest and see new, exciting companies and ideas.


Necessary time to recharge! It’s January and as much as I love my teachers and students, I am in need of a burst, a lift, a shot of adrenaline. I get that from FETC. It is amazing…and sometimes overwhelming. There are so many sessions, so many people, so many vendors, so many great ideas! While I buzz around during the day, I also take time at night to settle, think, and reflect about what went on that day. You have to plan downtime so your battery can recharge- but not overheat and explode!


Generous amounts of learning! This year FETC has added tracks the session descriptors to help people find the information that is “just right” for them. Administrators, Early Learning, Educator, Special Ed, and Information Technology. These tracks help narrow down the course offerings and let you know if you are looking at the right sessions. There is nothing worse than selecting a session you think is about one area, only to figure out once you are in that you are in a totally different category. Been there, done that a few times. With these designations I know that what I may have thought was a teacher session was actually more of an IT session. Be sure you sort your session by track, but don’t feel like you can’t mix and match. Maybe you teacher Kindergarten, but see a session in the Admin track you are interested in, it’s okay go for it!
Get ready for an AMAZING conference! Wear comfy shoes, bring a jacket, make sure you have battery packs or chargers and have a great time learning with others! Connect with me on Twitter @penchevable!

Month of Code

It is time again for Hour of Code…which around my class becomes month of code!


You will notice we are coding both offline and online. We are coding on paper and debugging by acting as the robot, before we put the program into the device and connecting to the robot.

Here are our activities for each grade level:

  • explain that a code is a direction
  • create a code for class to follow
  • play The Foos Hour of Code coding game on iPad
  • code an Ozobot
1st/2nd in station rotation model
  • Complete coding activities using The Foos
  • Code the cow to the pen game
  • Code beebot to complete a task
  • Create a lego code with 3 different blocks
Continue working on map skills and coding the robot to move from one place to another on the map
Robotics coding with Dash/Blockly
  • identify coding blocks for movement, sound, animation
  • create a problem/course/activity
  • code the problem/source/activity
  • act out code
  • problem solve / debug
  • program robot and view
code.org starting with unit 1, self-paced elementary unit
I recently attended a code.org workshop and came away with some great activities I am excited to work into our units!
What are you doing for Hour/Week/Month of code? Leave a comment with your ideas!

My Simple Show

My Simple Show

my+simpleshow+logo.png (235×86)

I was at a training a few weeks ago and saw an awesome, amazing tool that teachers and students can use to create presentations. So what was this amazing tool? MySimpleShow! I immediately started to play with the tool and made a video about Student Centered Learning. It was so simple and easy, I decided to use it with my 5th grade students as an end of unit assessment on digital safety. Their assignment was to create a show to teach their parents about internet safety. To ensure students were working safely, I created an account and had all of the students use the same account. Here is one example of my students’ work. I also found this example on YouTube that shows an example from older students.


Here is a quick tutorial I found online.


So let’s break it down by steps.


  1. Log in to www.mysimpleshow.com
  2. Click create new movie
  3. Your options are to import a PPT file or write a script
    1. We chose to write a script
  4. There are multiple themes you can chose between business, education, or personal
    1. We chose a blank template
  5. Type your script using the template provided
  6. Click cho0se visuals
    1. You can only have 7 visuals per slide
    2. The words that are underlined have pictures available
    3. If you do not want a certain word included, click the word and click the X above the word
    4. To select a picture click the word, pictures will automatically show
    5. To look for more pictures, click on the word, then click on the search bar and type in a word to look for
  7. Click choose audio
    1. You can select a voice provided or record your own voice
    2. You can select subtitles on or off
  8. Click finalize video
  9. The link to share the video is the URL at the top.


I found an APP for making postcards a few months ago and wanted to share it with you. This is a simple, fun APP that allows you to create a postcard using a template. Users can add a “stamp” for location, add a picture, and add text all very simply. That is one of the reasons I love and recommend this APP is the simple intuitive-ness of it!

Displaying image.jpegsnapnwrite1

Displaying image.jpegThey also have a website with directions and information.

Here is their video:

Here are the directions (and if you want a hard copy to share with kids click here):

  1. Open the APP
  2. Select the postcard you want to usesnapnwrite3snapnwrite 2
  3. Touch the + in the upper right corner
    1. Get Automatically
  4. Touch the + in the left middle
    1. Touch the camera
    2. Take a picture of the book
    3. Use photo or retake
    4. Done
  5. Touch the + on the right side
    1. Type your message
    2. Touch Done
    3. You can adjust font, size beside the text area
      1. + larger
      2. – smaller
      3. Font to change the look
      4. Col to change the color
  6. Scribble allows you to write with finger.
  7. Share – Save Image saves it to the iPad

So how could you use this in the classroom?

One of my third grade classes just used it to create postcards about their book Charlotte’s Web. They wrote to a character and made a self to text comparison. Beautiful work!

Other uses could be postcards from historical time periods, letters to parents, field trip reports, pen pal letters, and oh so much more.

Have other ideas of how you could use Snap n Write? Leave them in the comment section!

Research Unit

I am currently building a research unit for grades 3-5 and wanted to share and get some feedback on the unit so far. It is planned as a 5 week unit. I will be teaching the basics of researching, while the grade level teachers cover content and notetaking skills.

Objective: TSWBAT research a topic of choice or assigned by teacher and find reliable sources, use smart search techniques, take notes, cite sources, and keep information organized.

Main ISTE Standard addressed: Research and Information Fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.
Plan strategies to guide inquiry
Locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media
Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks
Process data and report results

Also touched upon:
Digital Citizenship
Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

Dates: March  14-April 15 Activities
Week one- reliable sources*digital safety reminders



  • review domain names
  • clues to reliability: domain, dates, contact information
  • wikipedia is not a reliable source- but can lead to reliable sources

Nearpod lesson

Week two- Citations,Creative Commons and Image searching


  • Last, first (date). name of article, source.  
  • if url- www.worldbook.com (stop at .com, etc)
  • how to search for images with free use, how to cite images
Week three- Book research
  • Using the online card catalog to locate books
  • Nonfiction room set up
  • Index
  • Table of Contents
  • Copyright page
  • Locating information, writing specific page numbers
Week four- Smart searching
  • use – to eliminate
  • use “  ” for exact
  • site:edu will look just for edu sites
  • tool- advanced search – can set up last updated, more restrictions
Week four, five- Research and notetakinghttps://youtu.be/iAwsmWAr1Qs


Safe search engines: Kiddle, kidrex, kidfriendlysearch.com, ivyjoy.com- has multiple kid search engines

In order to teach the unit and have students walk away with a reference guide, I created a research workbook. Normally, I am not a paper pencil kinda person, but for this unit and the fact students need to research without me being present to remind them of what we discussed, I felt this was the best way to go. Below is the link. After looking it over, please leave a comment on the blog here about changes, additions, deletions you feel are needed.

Research Workbook

Another vehicle I am using to teach the information is Nearpod. I really like this product because as a teacher I am controlling what students are seeing/doing and I can make interactive lessons that are kinda cool! Again, please review the lessons and give feedback! It is kinda hard to get the full gist of the presentation, since I am not with you to talk through the info…but you can get the idea. I have it set up as homework, so I don’t control the content and progression. Go to www.nearpod.com at the top where it says JOIN SESSION type in the codes below.

Research week 1 Nearpod code TIZDA

Research week 2 Nearpod code AVPCD

Research week 3 Nearpod code LSIGK

I haven’t completed the Nearpod for weeks 4, 5-6. I will post them here when I get them finished.

So what do you think? Please let me know your thoughts on what has been created and what you think needs to be added. Feel free to use the materials I have created for yourself! Do you have a research unit and want to share? Please do! You can post links here or email it to me and I will add the resources!


Happy teaching and learning!


FETC reflections

Ya know Jetlag? Well I had FETClag. After 3 amazing days and 30,000+ steps I was overwhelmed with amazing-ness! And then Universal for 2 days and 40,000+ steps and then some kinda virus and now finally I am awake and aware and ready to reflect!

Tech Share Live is one of my favorite parts of FETC as it gives you a chance to see the amazing things you couldn’t even imagine (and afford). I also enjoy seeing Adam Bellow sing!

I am not a fan of keynotes…just putting it out there I don’t like crowds and often the keynote speaker at a big conference has nothing to do with education and it confuses me. (Ashley Judd ISTE2013ish) But at FETC the speakers are usually education-based and completely inspiring. And this year was no different! Man I was inspired and excited to listen to Reshma Saujani. The Verizon commercial she played was y inspiration to begin Girls Building STEAM. Reading the #fetc tweets I can see I wasn’t the only one who was excited to hear her story and inspired to go further to get girls into STEAM fields.

I attended several sessions on Digital Safety, as it is a concern for me and one of my topics we cover in-depth throughout the school year. It was great to see Common Sense Media, Digital Passport, and NetSmartz highlighted as well as a few other resources that were new to me for the higher level students.  High School teachers should definately check out www.itcanwaitsimulator.org It teaches the importance of paying attention while driving. Carnegie Cadets is an elementary resource shared created by Carnegie Melon students. Another one for kids is digizen.orgcyberwise.org is a great resource for parents and teachers.

I happen to be a big fan of Diana Rendina and her makerspace. I have begun to dabble in the idea and we are doing a maker unit starting today. She had some amazing ideas in her MakerSpace201 class for organization and thinking about the whole idea. Her resources can be found at dianarendinapresents.wikispaces.com and her blog is renovatedlearning.com.

Augmented Reality was a big push at FETC. I completely adore my Google Cardboard and other tools. I am still working through how I can used them in the classroom effectively. I went to a great Aurasma session and have great ideas on how to incorporate Aurasma into the 4th grade Social Studies trip to St Augustine!

Can I  just tell you poster sessions are my favorite!!! I presented 2 posters and one concurrent session. i feel posters give you the best networking and also provide great content. If I see a poster session on a topic of interest I get to get more in-depth info on the topic than in a regular session. I can “pick the brain” of a poster presenter much easier than in a big group setting. As a presenter it allows me to hone my message to each person who stops by, giving them what they need and helping me to broaden my thinking as well!

My absolute favorite vendors this year were Imagine Easy, Science4Us, and Nearpod. ImagineEasy has a great bibliography program, among other things, that makes like so much easier! They published my blog post about blogging at conferences, too! This company is a fun group and has great customer interaction! Science4Us is a part of the SpellingCity family. They were kind enough to supply me with giveaways for my STEAM session! Their science lessons are amazing, interactive, and according to some teachers who are using them- addictive to students and teachers! Their team is super responsive and eager to help teachers! Nearpod also gave me some loot to share in my session and gave them MOST COMFORTABLE t-shirt ever! Nearpod is an amazing tool that allows you to share your lessons with students and control the pace of what students see and do! very cool stuff and another amazing customer experience! Notice a connection? All companies with great customer service who are truly interested in what teachers have to say!

I can not wait to use some of the tools and information gained at FETC this year! What were your take-aways? What was a great idea or inspiration you grabbed at the conference? If you were not able to attend FETC, you should check out Twitter and #fetc. Tons of twitter users shared their thoughts and learning during the conference!


I am so excited for this summer and my conferences! I will be learning and sharing at ST4T, ISTE, and ILA. More info to come!

Why I blog and you should too!

Who will read your posts?

  • At first your readers will be just the people you tell about your blog. At first, my blog was only shared with teachers at my school. Then I thought, well if I am doing all this, why not let more people see it. So I started sharing the link in Facebook and with my teacher friends via email. At FETC2014, I entered the Twitterverse and began to share my blog posts with my PLN, through Chats, and with hashtags. The more you promote your blog, the more readers you will reach.
  • My platform, Edublogs, has also promoted my posts on a few occasions, as well as FETC and other conferences I have attended. I share my blog site at each conference presentation I give. Connecting with or writing about a specific company will often get you more attention and draw more readers to your blog.

What platform will you use to publish your blog?

  • I use www.edublogs.org as my hosting site. It is free, easy, and can be used on a computer, tablet, or phone.
  • Other options include Weebly, Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr. If you have GAFE, one of the Apps is Sites. You can use this to build a website where you post your blog. I suggest trying them out and finding what works best for you.

When will you publish at a certain day/time or as the mood strikes?  

  • There are educators who blog daily, like Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers. Vicki Davis, the brains behind Cool Cat Teacher, blogs several times a week. My husband and I agreed on once a week blog posts, if I wrote more I would never get anything else done! Now, every Monday I publish a blog post on my Monday Tech Minute Blog. I share a tool, an idea, or takeaways from conferences I have attended.
  • You can always write when the mood strikes and then schedule posts to publish when you want them live.

Where can I get more info on blogging?

  • If you would like ideas for blogging, search #tribeofbloggers on Twitter. This amazing group of educators are working together to help build blogging communities. There are also lists of educational bloggers to check out from WeAreTeachers, EducatorsTechnology, and of course the bloggers here at Imagine Easy.

Why should you blog?

  • When the blogging idea came around for me I was worried people would consider it bragging or showing off to tell what was going on in my classroom. I realized it is more about sharing my successes and failures with others so they can be inspired, build from my ideas, and in turn share their ideas with others.
  • Blogging helps you become a more reflective practioner of the teaching trade. Even if no one reads my blog I still would write it because I use it to better myself and my understanding of my teaching profession and technology integration.
  • Blogging expands your professional network. You connect with other teachers around the world and build your personal learning network. If someone has already created a how to guide, a rubric, or a lesson plan why should others have to do it again? Even if readers don’t use the products or ideas I share, they still get ideas to build on.   

How do I start?

  • If you aren’t sure about posting online, start with a notebook journal. Keep a list of things that worked and didn’t work.
  • Start with micro-blogging on Twitter. 140 characters keeps you on target with your message.
  • Find a group of people who will be your audience. Keep it small, write from the heart, and when are ready publish to the world.


One Word

I’ve been marinating on my one word the last few days. Words like learner, reflective, and flexible are all things I want to work on and be. But it just wasn’t enough. So here it is…my word: model. That is what I want to do and be this year.

I want to model innovation with my students and teachers. We are starting the year with a maker unit. I am scared and excited all at the same time. The unknown is huge, but the payoff could be even bigger. My students will have to be bold and fearless, and I will have to be supportive and a model of design thinking. For my teachers I want to model innovation through sharing what I am learning by blogging, on Twitter, and through my conferences.

I want to model fairness. My favorite saying is fair is a place where you eat fried Oreos and ride rides, it is not a state of being. So perhaps fairness isn’t the best term. I want to model fairness for students and teachers by giving everyone what they need when they need it. I have pushed some teachers more than others to use technology, present at conferences, and step out of their comfort zone. Others I have moved along more slowly. The same goes with my students. I push some students more in Accelerated Reader, class projects, and activities. I plan to continue pushing those who are ready, and pulling those who are not. I want to be more visible in that approach so students and teachers know what I am doing as see the difference between fairness and equality.

I want to model effectiveness. In my teaching, in my media center, and in my “other duties as assigned”. I want to work smarter, not harder. If it involves a technology tool, then I want to share that tool. If it involves grunt work, then I want to find the best way to do that.

Finally, I want to model happiness. I want to show my joy of learning, of life, and of growing as a professional. It is important for kids to see the joy you can get from reading, learning, and growing. Any time someone asks my mom how she is, she replies “teriifically,wonderfully, fine, thanks!” She says if you say it enough, you will believe it. I am going to model joy and happiness, even when I don’t feel it…until I do feel it!

So there is my word for 2016: model. What’s your word and why?


Reflecting on your teaching and lessons is a powerful, yet simple, act that can improve your practice. We are hitting the mid year mark and I wanted to reflect back on tools, lessons, activities that I have done this year and share some thoughts that may help you as you reflect or plan new units.

1. Innovate like a turtle – Vicki Davis, Cool Cat Teacher

I want to do everything, try everything, teach everything…but I can’t. At Miami Device Vicki Davis shared that she only tries one or two new things each year. That made me stop and think. I want to do so much, but at what cost to me and my students? So I sat on that thought for a bit. And now I admit that if I do all new units, I will not do them all well. Something will fall to the side and not get done and I am not willing to let that happen. My innovations this year are my digital safety unit and maker unit. The rest of the year we will revisit activities from the past- and they will still be new because I haven’t taught them to this particular group of students.

2. Learn from your mistakes

I have always tried to do this with students, but this year it happened during a teaching unit. I realized I tried to do too much and needed to cut out something or never finish. I admitted it, kids said thank you, and we moved on. No big deal! I will go in and edit that unit for future use and make sure next time it is a better fit. I have a bulletin board up now called Fantastic Failures and it features Michael Jordan, Walt Disney, and JK Rowling to name a few celebrities who failed and fought back harder. During the coding unit we are doing now and the maker unit next, I feel it is important kids know that they ARE going to make mistakes and they have to learn from them.

3. Be Connected

I can not express enough how much Twitter has improved my professional practice and my teaching. The resources, connections, and ideas I find there are phenomenal and FREE! I went from a chat lurker to a participant now! I share my ideas and get excellent tips from others. I have made connections with teachers around the globe! I am the only media/technology person in my school. It makes it hard to bounce ideas off of people, but on Twitter there are tons of others like me! Want to know more about Twitter check out the Tweechme App by Susan Bearden.

4. Share! Share! Share!

Share what you are doing with building colleagues and the world! Don’t hide your light! Someone else wants to do what you are doing but may need a push or a jump off and you can provide that. I blog and present and Tweet because I realized that as much as I am getting from others, it is also my responsibility to share back.

5. Take time for yourself

That is the hardest thing for me. I always want to do this or that and help them…but if I do for everyone else and not myself, I will not be able to continue. Give yourself permission to be selfish on occasion. Say that nastiest of words.. NO. someone else will pick up the slack, and if not, maybe it wasn’t that important.

6. Brand yourself

I have been adding my name to the world! www.nancypenchev.com, www.nancypenchev.edublogs.org, nancypenchev@gmail.com, #mrspmedia Put yourself into the world as a business…because you are one!

7. Be happy

Don’t let others steal your joy! There are people who do not want you to get ahead, to flourish, to be joyful…don’t let them do it! Smile, nod, bless their hearts and move on!


As your reflect on the year so far, what have you learned? What will your resolution for the rest of the school year be? Feel free to share in the comments!


In January I will be presenting at FETC about blogging, Girls Building STEAM, and Helping Teachers with Technology. I will post my presentations and what I learn!

Maker Challenges

In January my 3-5th grade will begin Maker Challenges during Media for 6 weeks. Because my kids often need directions to start, rather than dream it up on their own, I have created a few challenges to pick from as well as open challenges for them to create something on their own.  For each challenge I created, I found a youtube video showing examples and sometimes how it can be made. Here is the Resources page.


Here is the directions form from my Problem Solving Unit Google site.

Maker Challenge



  1. Select your group of 2-3 people. You may work alone if you feel it is needed.

  1. Select a team name. Come up with norms for how your team will work.

Norms are how you will work, how you will make decisions, how you will speak to each other.

  1. Decide on specialties

  • photographer: takes pictures all along during the Challenge

  • materials: gathers the materials and ensures everything is neat and in order

  • communications: makes sure all notes are complete and that Mrs. P is informed

  1. Select a Maker Challenge (remember your norms!)

  1. Use the design thinking model below to begin and continue your process.


Step 1 Arrow, Black, Silhouette     Step 2 Arrow, Black, Silhouette         Step 3 Arrow, Black, Silhouette       Step 4 Arrow, Black, Silhouette Step 5

Imagine         Plan                 Create                    Test                 Adjust


                                                  Test and adjust repeats as necessary.


Use your thinking form while you do the steps above.


Challenge Timeline

week 1: form teams, select name, create norms, view the model challenge


week 2: select challenge, begin design process, submit materials request

HW: research using the resources page


week 3: begin build, test, adjust, reflect

HW: research and adjust plans


week 4: continue build, test, adjust, reflect, complete build

HW: complete reflection form on Edmodo


week 5: create presentation, load presentation to Edmodo

HW: invite parents to Maker Museum


week 6: Maker Museum and share

Below is the thinking form I created for the unit.


Here are the maker challenges I made for my students to select from: maker challenges

I can’t wait to see what happens! Thanks to T.E.R.R.A. for the amazing grant to purchase materials, like sewing machines, recyclable jewelry kit, robots, glitter, glue, googly eyes and more!