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5-14-12 Inspiration: If you eat marshmallows on the morning of the test, everything will be okay

I’ll keep it short and sweet…no pun intended:) If this photo is not enough to inspire you to engage in the conversations surrounding standardized testing, I don’t know what will.

5-16-12 Guest Blog on EdGeeks: Flashcard Learning

Isabell Collet, creator of Flashcards Guru guest blogs for EdGeeks! She shares helpful tips to support teachers and parents when using flashcards with children. Thanks Isabell!

5-17-12 Guest Blog for EdVoices: Dear EdTech Entrepreneurs

EdVoices is one of my go-to resources for fresh perspectives on education. I am so grateful that they share my work in their technology section. If you don’t check EdVoices everyday, you are missing out. This week, my letter to edtech entrepreneurs was published. Thanks for featuring my work this week EdVoices!

5-7-12 Gadgets for EdGeeks: MentorMob as a tool for Differentiation

While I have been using mentormob for quite some time now, it just recently dawned on me to try using it with my students as a research tool. Last week, I taught three fourth graders how to use mentormob playlists for their research. Both the students and the parents were incredibly engaged and excited about how specific their playlists were to their interests. What I found is that this tool allowed me to differentiate with ease and efficiency. Thanks mentormob!

5-8-12 Guest Blog: My Ideal Classroom (Emma Savino, School Psychologist)

I always love when Emma Savino write for EdGeeks. She is so eloquent and can offer such valuable perspective into the field of school psychology. This week, Savino shared about the importance of making a place for social and emotional learning inside the classroom. She proposed two models for using support staff effectively to make this happen in the classroom. Thanks Emma!

5-9-12 Inspiration: An NYC 4th Grader and a California Parent Demonstrate the Power of Writing

Over the past few weeks, parents, teachers and students have been writing in to EdGeeks to share their feelings on standardized testing. This week, I published two pieces: one from a student and one from a parent. The student piece was an original poem written by a fourth grader in public school in NYC. The second piece was submitted by a concerned Californian parent. The parent’s piece is actually the letter she wrote to her son’s school requesting to opt out. She wished to share the letter as a sample with other families who were interested in opting out but didn’t know where to begin. Thank you to all of the readers who have submitted and to all of you out there who are thinking of doing so:) You inspire me!

5-10-12 Guest Blog for Edutopia – Collaborative Team Teaching: Challenges and Rewards

A special thanks to Edutopia for having me as a guest blogger. My piece this week discusses the Collaborative Team Teaching model and the co-teaching environment. Show your love by reading, leaving a comment and/or sharing the piece in some way. 

4-30-12 Home-School Connection: EdGeeks Goes Back to School

Visiting P.S. 165 and speaking at a local PTA conference reminded me of the importance of human-to-human interaction. So much of my life has been moved online, that sometimes I forget how much you can support people by making them feel comfortable in person. The parents at P.S. 165 were curious, caring and excited to be learning new information about education. Thanks again P.S. 165 for a great visit!

5-1-12 Gadgets for EdGeeks: EducationOnAir – A free and simple way to learn and share about EdTech

Google’s EducationOnAir conference was this Wednesday and it was a pretty unique experience. Using Google Hangouts, teachers were able to teach and learn about EdTech for free. I particularly enjoyed Kern Kelley’s session on Digital Portfolios. It was great to see a student participating in the session. While I found some of the sessions were different than I had expected, and I did have a few glitches with Google Hangouts, all in all it was a unique experience and I’m hoping for more events like this in the near future.

5-2-12 Inspiration: NY EdTech Mashup

The NY EdTech Mashup was on Monday and the turnout was quite impressive. There were well over 200 attendees. It really is magical when you look around the room and realize that there are experts in so many fields who share a common goal of reinventing education for the 21st Century. I’m looking forward to the next meetup in June. If you’re not a member, join!

5-3-12 Gadgets for EdGeeks: If You’re Not Using Figment, You Should Be

Figment is bringing writing into the 21st Century. It is an online community of young writers who wish to write, read, and share their writing. The best part is that there is an educator feature! Teachers can set up private groups where students can share their writing, interact, and offer feedback to each other. For teachers who are hesitant to bring tech into the classroom, Figment is a great start because it is built off of a component of your day: the writing workshop.

4-23-12 Gadgets for EdGeeks: Skillshare – Revolutionizing learning by bringing it outside of the classroom.

Often, we have this idea that learning is something that happens in a classroom with a certified teacher in the field. Skillshare is redefining where, how and with whom we expect learning to happen. It is a marketplace where anyone can teach what they know to anyone who wants to learn about it. I went to my first Skillshare session last Friday and loved it! I’ll be going again soon.

4-24-12 Home-School Connection: More teaching, less talking pineapples. Submit your work to show that you are pro-learning!

It has been quite a testy week here in NYC. Grades 3-8 were tested in ELA and Math…or at least most of them were. A brave group of parents in NY decided to take a stand for their children and opted out of standardized testing even though the policy and consequences are unclear in our state. Read to learn more about the families who opted out and how you can support the movement toward more creative and innovative learning in the classroom. 

4-25-12 Home-School Connection: A Call to Action: Submit your work to show that you are Pro-Learning

For students, families and teachers who are not ready to opt out of high stakes tests, but want to bring creative learning back into the classroom…EdGeeks is calling you to action! Submit a piece of writing or art that captures a moment when you felt that high stakes testing impeded your learning or teaching and we will publish it on EdGeeks! Submit all work to Take a stand and show that you are Pro-Learning.

4-26-12 Inspiration: Penny Conference: If we could redesign learning for the 21st Century, what would it look like?

Last Friday was the first ever Skillshare Penny Conference. Skillshare posed the question: If we could redesign learning for the 21st Century, what would it look like? A wide range of inspiring and innovative individuals spoke about what they are doing to reinvent learning. I cannot wait for next year’s Penny Conference!

4-16-12 Home-School Connection: Write a Letter to Your Kids on Testing Day

There is so much anxiety that comes along with standardized testing. Families can help! One small thing you can do to help your child through this stressful time is let him/her know you care by writing a letter of support. (See post for letter samples.)

4-17-12 Home-School Connection: A Reminder a Day for ELA

I am not in support of all of these tests…but I am in support of children so I am offering some information on how families can better help their kids get prepared and boost confidence. This post includes tips for each day of the ELA test.

4-18-12 Inspiration: Opting Out of Testing

Opting out of standardized testing is a bold enough choice to make in states that actually have an opt out policy…but here in NY it is truly heroic! A small group of families are boycotting standardized tests. If you or anyone you know is opting out in NYC, email me at – we are planning a learning event for the children who are opting out!

4-19-12 Gadgets for EdGeeks: The New Era of Posterboards

I love art but having experiences as both a student and a teacher, I recognize that there are many individuals who get “art-anxious” because they do not think of themselves as artistic. Learn how to use apps like Mixel and Smore to help kids who do not view themselves as artists take charge over their creativity.

Alright everyone, it’s time for vacation! I hope that all of my teacher and parent readers get a chance for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. I am off to California for my amazing cousin Emily’s wedding. EdGeeks will resume when I’m back on Monday, April 16th. Happy vacation:)

4-2-12 Home-School Connection: Parents; Meet Startups

A few months ago, I sat down with John Halloran and Alex Weinberg of SnappSchool and we began talking about the importance of the parent audience in the field of educational technology. Last Thursday night, we hosted what John coined as: “Parents; Meet Startups,” and it was a definite success!

4-3-12 Gadgets for EdGeeks: Game Design for Social Change

Free Rice is a computer game that promotes social change. How inspiring! Players have the power to make great change and learn at the same time. For every correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to help end world hunger.

4-4-12 Gadgets for EdGeeks: Kickboard for Teachers

Kickboard is a data management tool for teachers (made by teachers!)The fact that Kickboard places great value on teacher input & feedback, and that it has so many teachers on board makes it a unique edtech startup. Make sure to check out this “for teachers, by teachers” data management system.

4-5-12 Marisa’s Dream Library: Bankstreet Bookstore Update

I could not be more excited to be partnering with my favorite bookstore, Bankstreet Bookstore to build up Marisa’s Dream Library.

*Make sure to check out my playlists on Mentormob.

Have a wonderful week and I’ll see ya when I’m back!