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Water the Flowers, Not the Rocks: Tips from 10 Years of Instructional Coaching

This June I wrapped up ten years of instructional technology coaching. Soon (tomorrow, in fact) I will begin a new journey in my career where I will still utilize my coaching skills but in a different capacity. This new opportunity has caused me to reflect on lessons learned throughout my time as a school-based coach. If you are a coach or aspire to be one following are ten tips I've learned during my ten years in the role.

Be a model. Practice what you preach! If you want your teachers to join Twitter make sure you are already there. If they would like to try a new tool or lesson familiarize yourself with it first in order to lend additional support.Be honest. If you don't know something, say so. As a coach your faculty will look to you as an expert. There have been several times throughout my career that I've said, "I don't know that tool/concept/strategy but let me see what I can find out about it."If you are a former classroom teacher, remind people. Many …

Professional Growth is a Good Thing...Unless You are in Education

Ominous title? It is. But it's something that has been on my mind lately.

I've spent my entire career in education in the Chicago Public School system. I spent the first 15 years as a fourth grade teacher and the next 10 as an instructional technology coach. I've achieved and grown tremendously during that time. When I began in the classroom it was tough- here I was fresh out of school dealing with a challenging population in the inner city. As is normal for any teacher there were great days and not-so-great days. Early on I knew if I was going to stay in that learning space I needed to find ways to not only challenge myself but to engage my students as well. I attended graduate school early in my career because the experience came along at the right time. I wrote multiple grants to purchase materials that would interest my students (and me). I did action research on my practice. I gained National Board certification. I learned as much as I could about my craft.

When the o…

Media Literacy in Education

My Media Literacy presentation for ISTE 18's Ed Tech Coaches Playground

Get on it: Podcasts, Passwords and Online Life

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Get on it: Podcasts, Passwords and Online Life


One of the university courses I designed and teach is on social media. A topic, you can imagine with many subsets. As an instructor I’m always looking for new content that is relevant not only to my students' role as educators but as adults that use social media in both their personal and professional lives. Throughout my research I’ve come across many valuable resources that can help us stay as safe and informed as we can about our digital existence. After all, if we want our students to follow our lead we need to model that behavior for them. Following are some of my favorites finds.
Get Informed (articles that relate to privacy and ad targeting)Pixels and Ad Targeting: https://www.consumerreports.org/privacy/how-facebook-tracks-you-even-when-youre-not-on-facebook/

Facebook Isn’t Recording your Conversations, But It May as Well Be
https://lifehacker.com/facebook-isn-t-recording-your-conversations-but-it-may-1820193946

Regulating Facebo…

5th Grade HyperDoc on Human Rights

One of our 5th grade teachers is beginning a novel study on I am Malala. She wanted a way to introduce the Declaration of Human Rights to her students. Following is a HyperDoc I created to help her kick off the unit.

Learning More than Required: Edu 790 Social Media & Emerging Technologies

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I’ve had the pleasure of designing and teaching a Social Media and Emerging Technologies course for Dominican University the past two years. This course has been offered as an 8 week online graduate level course. This year I was asked to teach it on campus to a group of River Forest District 90 teachers, many of which I’ve taught in a previous course. There are differences between an online 8 week course and a 16 week face-to-face course with teachers you’ve already taught- time being a big one.


Students in the face-to-face course received much of the same content as the online group did (discussions on how we use social media and what platforms we visit, digital tattoos, PLN exploration, research and digital spaces mapping). Because we were face-to-face we had many discussions and time to talk about our learning but these educators also kept a “Reflection Journal” via Google Docs where they were able to reflect privately and I was able to ask specific questions.


When our content was c…

Coonley Tech News Volume 9