July 8

Google Certification

 Having just completed my Google Certified Educator Training, I wanted to take a second and reflect on my experience passing the first level. I cannot give away the contents of the quiz, but what I can discuss is my experience throughout the process. I consider myself an avid Google User and Educator. The certification took some time, just under two hours, but it was well worth it. It was validating that many of the questions I knew, and there were tons of morsels of information that I picked up along the way to enhance my google experience moving forward.


As a principal, the learning and validation were invaluable. The productivity reminders and lessons will truly enhance my work time at school, but to be in the role as a teacher and educator through the training helped me to refresh the Google Experience that my teachers experience in the classroom on a daily basis. It is important that administrators are always learning and growing.


If you teach at my school, let me know if you want to complete this to become a Google Certified Educator. I have a discount code that makes the certification only $5!

November 8

Tech Tools to Support the 4C’s

Below is a blog post from Emily Nestor, Technology Integration Specialist! Great job!

An integral component in today’s 21st Century classrooms is the embedding of College and Career Success Skills into teaching and learning. These Success Skills include communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking and are often referred to as the “4 Cs.” Embedding these Success Skills into daily teaching and learning experiences has become almost seamless thanks to the plethora of Tech Tools that are available to students. By utilizing technology, educators are able to cultivate and promote the use of the “4 Cs” in meaningful and effective ways in all content areas.


With so many AMAZING Tech Tools out there, trying to sort through them all can sometimes be a daunting task! So I decided to help my #exceptional teachers out my giving them a few examples of some of my favorite 4C Tech Tools! These examples included both “oldies but goodies” and some more recent additions to the Tech Tool world. Check out these awesome Tech Tools below or CLICK HERE for an Interactive Infographic.


If you check out any of these Tech Tools in your own classrooms, I would love to hear about your experiences! Feel free to comment below or Tweet me – @emilycnestor !

August 7

Sharing our Story

“We need to make the positive so loud that the negative is almost impossible to hear.” -George Couros, The Innovator’s Mindset

How do you use social media to share what’s going on in your classroom on a day to day basis? I spent some time this week sharing ideas with our faculty about how we can use Twitter to share all the fantastic things we do in our classroom on a daily basis. Over the course of last school year, I spent a lot of time crafting the overall social “brand” of my class, and it was, in my opinion a huge success.

Near the end of the school year two years ago, I had a student say something bad about my class. In hindsight, it was just harmless nonsense that kids say anyway, but the fact that it was in print hurt. But every negative presents an opportunity for a positive, and I made the decision before last year began that I was going to bury that negative. Like my wife always says, it’s hard to believe anything bad you hear about something you hear good things about. I was going to share every single positive I saw in my classroom on every single day. Every tweet was going to be a nail in the coffin of that negative.

I shared everything I could. Photos of my students working and their finished product. Periscope video of my class in action. Everything that I saw that was positive, I tweeted. Kids noticed, our faculty noticed, and our community noticed. Students began to work a little harder because they knew that I was quick to tweet to good stuff. It was amazing.

As a faculty, we spent some time discussing the use of Twitter as a way to share our story. We discussed the risks and the barriers. Surprisingly, the risks were essentially nonexistent at this point. Ten years ago, we were worried about how social media may impact our school by propagating rumors and posting photos of our students on the open internet. Obviously, it has not been nearly as terrifying as teachers once thought. It’s actually been an extremely positive branding tool for our schools. The barriers, on the other hand, were eye-opening for me.

The primary barrier teacher felt was standing between them and Twitter was simply a basic technical understanding of Twitter and how it works. Well, that’s an easy fix. My administrator and myself held small group sessions to “meet ’em where they were at” and teach our faculty how Twitter works based on their level of familiarity with it.

We showed them how to use hashtags, how to tweet “at” individuals and accounts, how to make a list, how to read and participate in a chat, how to use a PLN, anything they wanted to know. The session was incredibly effective. I know this because we put together an activity later that night during our annual meet-the-teacher night. The faculty tweeted as many selfies as possible with students and their parents while using the hashtag #MeetTheTeach. Participation was at such a high level that the hashtag actually trended. Not bad for a school whose social media brand was previously being kept afloat by a handful of people.

At the end of the session, I provided our teachers with a spreadsheet of just a few people I follow on Twitter that was sorted by content, as well as a good list of chats and hashtags to check out at their leisure. Our faculty’s burgeoning PLNs are going to be a great resource this school year, but I’m most excited about the Twittersphere learning about Winterboro High School as we begin really sharing our story.

October 16

Tech Tools to Help Creativity Come Alive

Below is a blog post by our Technology Integration Specialist, Emily Nestor (@emilycnestor). #Exceptional job Mrs. Nestor.

Taking notes, listening to lectures, and completing graphic organizers are all expected components of whole group instruction. But it is what we ask students to do with the information gained from these activities that can be the most meaningful and relevant. Providing students with opportunities to transfer and apply their knowledge is a vital part of teaching and learning. In blended learning environment, the utilization of technology can make these opportunities more engaging for students and provide them with learning that is both rigorous and technology rich. One way in which we can achieve this tech rich blended learning is by providing students with tech tools that allow them to not only reflect on their learning, but to also add a level of voice and choice through creating a digital product! Here are some great examples of creation tech tools that could be utilized in all content areas!


September 11

Teching Up Formative and Summative Assessment

This blog is written by Emily Nestor (@emlouau). She is the Title 1 Resource/Technology Integration Specialist at Winterboro High School. #Exceptional Blog post Mrs. Nestor!

Assessment is an important component of teaching and learning. The data gathered from both formative and summative assessments help educators to make both long term and short term instructional decisions that will have an impact on student learning. For most, when the word assessment is mentioned a picture of a student taking a long, formal test comes to mind.  And although some assessments do look like this, this doesn’t have to be norm for classroom assessments. By adding a little tech to it, educators can apply the same ideology behind an assessment, but  make it more appealing and engaging to students! Some of these tech tools, such as Triventy, Quizziz, and Quizalize turn assessments into digital games where students are racing against each other to be the first to answer correctly! Other tech tools like ProProgs Quiz Maker and Google Forms with Flubaroo allow students to take a “traditional” assessments digitally and eliminate the hassle of a having to grade each assessment.

Check our these tech tools a little more in depth below!

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February 28

I’m Tech Savvy….What’s Your Superpower?

unnamedBelow is a blog post by Technology Integration Specialist, Emily Nestor! Thank you, Mrs. Nestor for a great event and an #exceptional day of learning!

Digital Learning Day 2016 was a huge success at Winterboro High School! This year’s theme was “I’m Tech Savvy…What’s Your Superpower?”  Prior to Digital Learning Day, Winterboro’s Student Leadership team were assigned a new productivity themed Tech Tool that was not yet being used at WHS. The students worked in teams to create 10 minute fun, engaging, and strategic lessons that were aimed at teaching their new Tech Tool to others. The students even created “I Can” statements that they used to guide their lesson.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 6.48.34 PM During our Digital Learning Day celebration, students, teachers and even parents/visitors were invited to the school’s auditorium where they were able to rotate through the various superheroes themed booths to learn new tech tools. By visiting the Superhero Stations and actively participating, guests were able to earn stickers on their superhero card. At the end of their visit, and if they fill their superhero cards, they were able to trade in their superhero card for a superhero snack! The 12 productivity tech tools that were featured at this year’s Digital Learning Day celebration can be found on the handout below!


Click Here for the Complete List! DLD2016TechTools

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February 10

Tech Tools to Support the 4’C’s

Collaboration_Creativity_Critical-Thinking_Communication Thank you to guest blogger, Emily Nestor for our PD on the go this week for Teacher Academy!  Thank you for your #exceptional model of the 4 C’s at Winterboro High School!

In today’s 21st Century society, the ideal high school graduate is one who can effectively communicate and collaborate with their peers in order to solve problems by thinking critically and creatively. These skills – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity – are Success Skills that all graduates need in order to be College and Career Ready. Therefore, it is our job as educators to provide students with opportunities to utilize these Success Skills within daily teaching and learning opportunities. One way in which we, as 21st Century educators, can achieve this is through incorporating a variety of technology tools that will allow students to collaborate, communicate, think critically, and be creative! And I know what you are thinking – There are SO MANY Tech Tools out there…. Where do I even start? Well have no fear – I am going to provide you with a bank of Tech Tools that can be used to allow students opportunities to utilize these Success Skills within your classroom!

Critical Thinking: Evaluating, Justifying, Analyzing

  • Coggle: Mindmapping (can be collaborative)
  • VideoANT: Annotating videos
  • Kami: Annotating text

Communication: Speaking (Orally and Written)

Collaboration: Working Together (Sharing and Listening)

  • Tozzl: Group Workspace (chat, file sharing, tasks management)
  • 81 Dash: Group Rooms with chatting and file sharing capabilities, can also be shared to GoogleClassroom with 1 click

Creativity: Brining Ideas to Reality 

  • ToonDo: Make cartoons/comics, characters, books, and also edit images
  • Pixiclip: Whiteboard that can be recorded
September 14

SAMR Model for Technology Integration

Shout out to Technology Integration Specialist Emily Nestor for being our guest writer this week!!


With technology becoming such a staple within daily teaching and learning, it is

imperative for teachers to evaluate how they are incorporating technology. Through

this thoughtful reflection, teachers can ensure that they are providing students with

opportunities to complete task that allow them to integrate technology in a variety

of contexts. The SAMR model serves as a model for this reflection process. Through

embedding tasks that correspond to the 4 levels of the SAMR model, teachers can

enhance and transform their teaching and learning and boost student engagement

and achievement.

So, at this point I am sure you are wondering what the levels of the SAMR model are.

Below is a brief description of each level of the SAMR model.

S – Substitution Same Task, New Tech

Computer technology is used to perform the same task as was done before the use

of computers.

A – Augmentation Improve the Task by Adding New Features

Computer Technology offers an effective tool to perform the task with some

functional improvements.

Task at the Substitution and Augmentation level allow you to enhance learning

through implementing a “tech tool.”

M – Modification Change the Task

This is the level where technology is being used more effectively not to do the same

task using different tools but to redesign new parts of the task and transform

students learning.

R – Redefinition A Whole New Task

At this level, technology is used to complete a task that allows the students to do

something that was previously not possible.

Task at the Modification and Redefinition level allow you to transform learning

through implementing a “tech tool.”

Now I bet you are thinking what these levels look like in action. Below is an example

of each level of the SAMR model in action.

Topic: Geography

S: Use presentation software (like Powerpoint or Prezi) to construct a presentation

providing information about a selected locale.

A: Incorporate interactive multimedia – audio, video, hyperlinks – in the

presentation to give more depth and provide more engaging presentation.

M: Create a digital travel brochure that incorporates multimedia and student

created video.

R: Explore the locale with Google Earth; seek out and include interviews with people

who have visited the local.

Another benefit of the SAMR model is that each level is connected to a level of

Bloom’s Taxonomy. Below a graphic that shows the correlation of SARM and

Blooms. This is a great tool to help when planning for instruction because it allows

you to see which level of the SAMR model your task should fall into.

So as you can see, where your task falls on the SAMR model depends on the rigor of

your teaching and learning. It is important to remember that you aren’t always

going to be at the creating level of Blooms and having students use technology in the

redefinition lens. Sometimes a substitution task is what your students’ needs and

that’s ok! It’s not about using technology to create products that are the biggest and

the most grand – instead the focus should be on effectively using technology as a

teaching and learning tool within the classroom.

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November 8

Technology Tools for the 8 Essential Elements of Project Based Learning

On Friday, October 31, 2014, Emily Nestor, our Technology Integration Specialist,  introduced Technology Tools that can be easily integrated into any stage of a project.  Thank you Mrs. Nestor for being our guest blogger and teacher!

In Project Based Learning (PBL), students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. While allowing for some degree of student “voice and choice,” rigorous projects are carefully planned, managed, and assessed to help students learn key academic content, practice 21st Century Skills (such as collaboration, communication & critical thinking), and create high-quality, authentic products & presentations. These elements are what create the framework for PBL and it is through the integration of technology within each element of the PBL framework that the PBL experience can be enhanced. Here a few tech tools that we used to address common questions related to the 8 Essential Elements of PBL:

Content: How can we teach the content?

GoClass  https://www.goclass.com/guestapp/index.aspx

The Learnia  http://www.thelearnia.com/

These tech tools provide teachers with an interactive platform to deliver content to students. They also help to provide a high level of engagement for students.

Driving Question: How can students reflect on DQ daily?

Today’s Meet    https://todaysmeet.com/

This tool is a great place for students to express their ideas and opinions related to the driving question. Students can also view other’s responses and provide feedback to their peers. This is a great alternative to Twitter!

Inquiry: How can we support research?

Instapaper     https://www.instapaper.com/

List.ly     http://list.ly/

Both of these tools offer great “storage houses” for web based content. Both teachers and students can use these sites to create folders/list of articles, videos, etc that relate to specific topics that they are researching!

Voice and Choice: How can students put voice and choice into a product?

Tackk    https://tackk.com/

Tackk is a simple way to create beautiful pages on the web. By creating their own page, flyer, blog post, or poster students are able to express their creativity through integrating a variety of design and content options.

Revision/Reflection: How can teachers offer feedback?

Kaizena    https://kaizena.com/

Kaizena allows teachers and students to digitally track and rate skills in student work through feedback! Students can “ask” their teachers to review assignments that are upload from GoogleDrive and teachers can give written and oral feedback that is accessible by the student!

21st Century Skills: How can we foster productive and not disruptive collaboration?

RealtimeBoard     https://realtimeboard.com/

RealtimeBoard is online whiteboard for visual team collaboration. Students and teachers can add pictures, mockups, drawings, videos, sticky notes, office documents and Google Drive files on an endless canvas, discuss it with colleagues, and enjoy real time visual collaboration without emails.

Public Audience: How can students create a product for a public audience?

UTellStory       http://www.utellstory.com/

UTellStory is a digital multimedia storytelling and sharing community. Student can create digital presentations that include a variety of media (videos, pictures, files) and share them with the world using a link! Students can also add music and/or narration to their presentations!


Below is our Protocol Card used this week.  We use Protocol Cards as a Take-away for teachers.  Teacher can keep these at their small group table and be used in a pinch while teaching, lesson planning, or reminders of best practices taught in previous Academy sessions!

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