Digital Interactive Notebooks

I feel ridiculously proud of myself right now because I figured out how to make an interactive notebook that students can keep in Google Drive and edit as they (and I) see fit. There are some outstanding ones on Teachers Pay Teachers so my new goal is to make great ones that are specific to AP Language and AP Seminar. Wish me luck. I’ll need it.

So, here is what I came up with. My friend Amy got some outstanding tips on multiple choice from the AP conference this summer and so we have been incorporating more consistent reflection after full-length multiple choice practice. The issue though is that my students lose their forms from the last go around of reflection so can’t comment insightfully enough to help them grow as I would expect.

I just adapted the form that we use with the school colors (black and gold) as the background and their junior class color (blue) as the editable areas.

DIGITAL notebook AP MC Profile

Satirical videos

For the last few years in Digital Composition, a senior English elective, we have been making satire videos. The course covers rhetorical modes of composition in alternative ways, integrating technology in creative and thoughtful ways as compared to traditional English classes.

Students work on the films over the course of a semester and are asked to satirize some aspect of our high school community. By this point in their education there is much for them to poke fun at about the school. Embedded below are some of my favorites from the last few years. Because this is an English class, we have never had a budget for technology – students film on their iPhones or other personal devices and edit their videos using whatever software they have available to them.

The assignment is intended as more of a storytelling exercise than an assessment of technological or video prowess. Students do have access to a publication from the Director’s Guild of America, Making Movies: A Guide for Young Filmmakers.


Because we work on multiple choice every Monday in AP Lang, it’s great to change up the approach to it a little. I got a set of Plickr cards at the ISTE conference this summer and they’ve been a hit with students. My only complaint is there are only four answer options when AP questions always have five choices. It just means I need to spend a little more time editing before class.

Each Plickr card is assigned to a student so data is saved. Augmented reality through the Plickr app on my phone is a great way for me to get a quick read of the class. THe cards are directional and the corresponding letter for the answer choice is on the front so kids know which way to turn. img_0744

Professional Development

Recent Presentations for Professional Development

Literacy Conference 2014 – High Tech Timelines
ASD Literacy Conference 2014 – Flipped and Blended Learning
SAHS Staff Meeting 2014 – Turnitin
ASD Literacy Conference 2013 – QR Codes

ASTE 2012 – Infographics
ASTE 2012 – QR Codes
ASD Writer’s Conference Digital Writing – conference flyer
ASTE 2011 – Flashmob Research

ASTE 2008 – Seminar
ASTE 2007 – Wikis

Twitter in the classroom

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-11-46-26-amYears ago, when Twitter was first emerging as a social network, I encouraged my seniors in Digital Composition to use it in class as a way to comment on literature. I think it was in 2009 or 2010 and it was mostly successful. Students hadn’t heard of Twitter at that point though and they didn’t really “get” the point of sharing and discussing on a public forum.

Over time, I started using Twitter more for a Professional Learning Network (PLN). I had trouble attending Twitter chats but I followed hashtags and conversations the next morning to find out what was current and compelling for other educators around the country.

This year, one of my teaching collaborators for AP Language & Composition realized we needed to meet students where they are, on Twitter, as we strive to make sure they have exposure to and working knowledge of current events. On the AP Lang exam students need to have a wide variety of CHELPS (Current events, History, Experience, Literature, Pop culture, Sports/Science) to help them with evidence on the argument.

So, we came up with a hashtag for our classes – #southaplang – and very short ones for each teacher so we can keep them straight. Every Monday we send out a tweet with a question or request for comments and a link to an article on a trending topic or a popular idea in the media.

So far… it’s awesome! Kids without Twitter accounts can turn in their tweets on paper or any other method if they prefer. A few students created new Twitter accounts just for this assignment to keep the tweets separate from their personal accounts. And we don’t need to follow them because we can find their tweets with the hashtags.


Digital Footprint


This is an update to a post I created as an example for students a few years ago.

The intent of this assignment is to think about the sites we use on the internet and how we interact with them. Some sites are public and others are private, so the way we interact with each changes quite a bit. Some are more static in nature, some are for facilitating teaching and others are personal social networks.

My website

I maintain a website for parents and students, a method of communicating what we do in class, major assignments, and contact information. I use it in my district e-mail signature in hopes that people will use it to connect with information they’d normally use e-mail to find out.


I still use Edmodo for professional connections, like the PBS Digital Innovator group, but have moved my classes over to Schoology. The professional connections are not as robust but the LMS organization suits me better.


The first year I used Edmodo was for professional development and connections. It has great communities for teachers to learn and assist other teachers. Lately I use it instead of Wikispaces or Moodle for creating flipped and blended classes for students.


LinkedIn has been a great tool for helping me keep my resume current. It’s interesting to connect with people from high school, college, and Anchorage and see how our choices and careers have overlapped. I’d like to use it a bit more for professional development, but in the meantime it has brought me more opportunities.


Facebook has primarily been a way of connecting with family and friends, all of whom live thousands of miles away. The platform is easy to use and I like being able to share photos of my kids with my grandfather and friends I’ve had since Kindergarten, all with a few clicks.


I’m starting to see the need for YouTube as a teaching tool and my only “issue” with it is that the content that should be easily integrated into classrooms is still blocked. I’ve loved having all of the videos created in my classes in one central location to I can continue to watch and share them.


I have had Twitter for years now but not used it well. After the PBS Summit this summer I decided I need to figure out ways to use it more efficiently to develop a better Professional Learning Community (PLC). Past Digi Comp students have credited me with getting “everyone” at South to use Twitter and, now that I see what “everyone” at South tweets, that scares me. I keep trying to follow hashtags that help create a professional learning network for me, but I still find it confusing.


I only use Instagram in conjunction with Facebook. I like the super simple ways of editing photos that otherwise look too dull when shared. Hipstamatic is a more fun and dynamic app, but not nearly as easy to use.


Pinterest makes me feel like a 13 year-old girl with pictures of Rob Lowe and exotic locales taped to the walls of her room. I like having things visually organized so I can find them again quickly and I enjoy seeing the things my friends pin. Now that I’ve used it for years it isn’t nearly as big a time suck as it used to be.


I enjoyed thinking about how I interact with different sites on the internet. I chose to not provide links to Facebook and Instagram, because I consider those sites more private and personal, while I did link Twitter and Pinterest. I use Twitter for teaching information and Pinterest, though some of the interest is personal the content is not. When I google my own name quite a bit more comes up that I could have added to this list but these represent my main interactions.

ISTE standard V – Digital Citizenship

Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical
behavior. Students:
a. advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology
b. exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity
c. demonstrate personal responsibility for lifelong learning
d. exhibit leadership for digital citizenship