My attempts at Sketchnotes

I am still learning and practicing sketchnoting. You will notice there are more words than pics sometimes, but I am practicing!

Here are my notes for Nik Chatzopoulos’ session Cool Ed Tech Programming and Robots. If my notes are confusing tweet @chatzopoulousn for more info!


I also attended a great session on K-5 computer science. Here are come of the things I felt were important. Check out their curriculum at science.

My final sketch ISTE from yesterday was  from the Fluid Math demo at the UDT booth. Mind-blown is not a strong enough word! If you teach math you have to check this out!


So there ya go! Thursday’s attempts to sketch note. Can’t wait to share today’s sessions on Greenscreen, Podcasting, and so much more!

STEM Awards and Mike Meechin

Sketch note Mike Meechin

For more info and inspiration follow @mikemeechin on Twitter!

Congratulations Mountain View Elementary!

Congratulations Laing Park School of Science and Tech from Charleston, SC!

Congratulations Enginnering and Science University Magnet School!


So I attempted to sketch note the session.., I highly encourage you to check out Amber McCormick’s sketchnoting class today for great iOS and tricks!



Thursday morning with Mike Meechin and what else I’m excited about today

For a few years at FETC, Mike Meechin was given small or medium sized rooms and people tried to cram themselves into his 60 in 60 sessions. I know because I was one of those people. Then he got a bigger room, then bigger, and today he is keynoting the morning session. Finally everyone can fit into his session! I’m really excited to see what else he has to offer this morning.

Other things I’m excited about today…

  • Sessions on using data for personalization of learning
  • Coding and robotics sessions that are going to help me learn more
  • Florida PBS sessions
  • Poster sessions that give me the chance to see teachers sharing their classroom experiences
  • and of course Ed Tech Karaoke

Vendors who I want to visit or revisit today are

  • Wonder Workshop robots…free robot drawings during the day! Follow the “We want Dash” chants
  • Prowise …I love their interactive board displays! Multi touch and beautiful displays!
  • Best Buy sessions today about expeditions and Makerbit are on my to do list

Whats on your don’t miss list? Comment or tweet me!

FETC opening keynote

The opening keynote today shared the newest technologies and offerings from many of the vendors on the show floor. Here is a breakdown in case you missed it.

Margo Day with Microsoft

Take a look at what Microsoft has to offer in education! They have new Education tools and have made products available at a low cost for education. I loved the teacher share they did… an easy and fun way to learn more about weather!


AR and VR in education Dan Lejeskar

Providing “hands on” experience through Virtual Reality with EON Experience. You can use their programs or create your own! They are working with cities and schools all,over the world to create amazing learning opportunities.


Summit Learning with Tyler Sussman

Summit Learning is a free personalized learning tool for 6th through 12th grade, in association with Facebook. Summit Learning helps students learn to be learners with four areas: goal setting, content knowledge, cognitive skill development, and habits of success. You can use the platform to assign tasks to individual students, maximizing success of students. Visit for info on the program.


Hall Davidson, Learning initiatives at Discovery Education

Check out the tech book, a 21st century replacement for the textbook. Discovery Ed is designing optimal learning experiences. Students can change the Lexie reading level within the book, the book reads to students in English and Other languages! Not just a digital textbook, an interactive learning experience. With this tool you can put kids in the environment they are studying. Seriously cool!


Amazon webservices speaker Warren Santner

Amazon wants to help teachers discover data to inform student learning. They help teachers take their data and discover what it all means.


Each of these groups are here at the conference and would love to chat with you about their products.

See you around the conference!




*Cross posted on

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
5th starting with unit 1, self-paced elementary unit
I recently attended a 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
  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- (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 notetaking

Safe search engines: Kiddle, kidrex,, 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 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 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 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 and her blog is

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!