Friday, December 2, 2011


Motivation: What is the key?

How many learning coaches encounter frustration when working with students? The feeling of anxiety and overall anger as to the hopelessness of trying to motivate an unmotivated child. There are different theories and strategies that can help assist in the process of learning which could be the key to understanding the frustration of a child and the emotional stress of learning.

In my opinion as an educator, here are my three suggestions to motivating a child to learn. First, understand the learning styles and multiple intelligences in which a child learns. I believe that understanding their strengthens in learning will assist any teacher or learning coach to differentiate instruction and make their educational journey individualized. Keeping the individual in mind, we can gear instruction toward their strengthens that will have a positive effect on their self-esteem.

Second, learning needs to be an active process so engagement should be a priority for students. Using emerging technologies or just taking content off the page and into a hands on experience will keep the mind of a student thinking and looking for ways to solve problems. Don't give students all the answers as we need them to make steps to be a self-directed thinker! Making sure that students take the steps in their education should also help build that self-esteem. As learning coaches I know you feel a huge amount of pressure during the day to complete lessons; however, a student should be a part of this process. Showing students the benefits of being self-directed will only engage the students even more.

Finally, making sure that the focus of learning is not just academic, but for the whole child. Students go through many changes in their lives and we must make sure there is focus on mental and emotional growth of a child. Their feelings are just as important as learning to read since a child will form connections with the content their are reading. If a student is frustrated, acknowledge that frustration and don't just play it down. When math is difficult, acknowledge that difficulty but also encourage to keep working through frustration. Not completing a content of study because of frustration will only make the stress of that content of study even greater. With ensuring the growth of the whole child, it will again strengthen the self-esteem of a child and want them to try harder in their learning.

As you can see, I have three strategies to help motivate a child but the overall theme to learning is building a child's self-esteem! Once a student has confidence in themselves, there is nothing that will hold them back:) What are your thoughts, feelings, or comments on motivating a child? Sharing your thoughts with our community will build our bank of strategies:)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Learning Styles

What type of learner are you?  Have you ever thought about how well you learn? Well how about our students?  All students learn differently!  Therefore in order to level the playing field for all students we need to focus on how they learn.  There are many schools of thought on learning styles but there are three specific ways to learn.
    1.  Auditory--will understand by hearing
    2.  Visual--will understand by seeing
    3.  Kinesthetic ---will understand by doing

I am a kinesthetic learner and I always need to "touch" in order to capture concepts in my head.  I am so kinesthetic in all that I do, I even need to touch the keys to make sure I have the right ones.  I walk through stores and grab clothes to feel them so I know the kind of material.  If I was a visual, I would read the tag!

Another idea of learning are Howard Gardner's Multiple Intelligences.  He believes there are 8 different ways to learn.  We are not limited to just one type of intelligence as there are different levels of learning.
Gardner is a teacher at Harvard and has been studying this topic for a long time!

Please come to our Parent Learning Sessions to get more information about learning styles and how to connect the styles to each child to maximize learning!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

October Glog

Utilizing the OLS x Multiple Children= Organized Chaos!

In 1996, Michael Keaton and Andie MacDowell started in a movie called Multiplicity. It is about a man that learns how to multiple himself to do chores and such for his wife so he could do whatever he wanted. It turned out to be a problem and the husband learns that he needs to give all he can with the one person he knows best: himself.

Now wouldn't that be wonderful to multiply yourself to help get everything done that needs to get completed in one day. I don't know about you, but I am OK with the basics such as dishes, made beds, dinner made, some playtime, reading at night, and off to bed. Now that September is over, which I can't believe,  we can focus our energy on moving forward and utilizing the tools we have for instruction. I hope you took September to understand the curriculum, create a small routine, and set goals for the school year. In October we will begin to understand how to utilize the online school (OLS) and how to work with multiple children. Time management and organization is key so we will discuss and turn to our learning coaches for their best practices during our session.

So what are your best practices? How can you make it work? What tools do you utilize during the day? What frustrations do you still have at the end of your day? Please share your responses with our community as we will only get stronger with skills from each other! I hope to see you at the sessions and please know I can be reached at anytime!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mid Way Through September

Congratulations for making it to this point in September! I am sure you have enjoyed your weekends as they have given you time to relax and refocus your goals for each week. During an Enrollment Experience last Friday I over heard Beth Santangelo, Director of the Parent Ambassador Program, tell a family to write down three goals as to why you have chosen to enroll at PA Virtual. She said then on those days that are challenging you go back to those goals to remember the reason for this adventure. Personally, I think this advise Beth gave to the families was perfect as we can always loss site of what is important to us while in the thick of our daily activities.

I challenge you to try this activity tonight in two different ways. First as a family discuss what the goals are for your family and write them down. Hang them in a place where it can be seen by all. Secondly write down the goals of why you have decided to enroll you children at PA Virtual. We all know why we want them to receive a solid education, but why does this environment seem to work for you.

We will continue to venture down this road each month, week, or even day together and remember to keep those lines of communication open so teachers, FSCs, guidance counselors, and more can build a foundation each child's education!

Working Together in a Time of Need!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Parent Learning September Glog

Setting the Perfect Goal for a School Environment

September is always a fun month for me as I enjoy the beginning of a new school year and the excitement of new challenges. I know a school geek! Ever since I was little I enjoyed going school shopping for supplies and a new school bag. Even now I love going into Staples and look around especially at the writing utensils.....who can't use a new pen! I have always set goals for myself and have taken the opportunity to share that idea with my children. We need to understand the difference between long term and short term goals. The long term goals last about six months to a year and the short term goals should help you achieve the long term goals. This year my long term goal is to assist teachers and learning coaches embrace new technologies available to make tasks easier but also engaging to its audience. My short term goals are associated with the long term as I am going to create wikis, blogs, and glogs to showcase new technologies and how they can be used in our daily lives. So what are your goals for the year? Would it be for your child(ren) to process to the next year? Save enough money to take that dream trip? Share your goals as you will find many of us are working toward the same thing......a strong future for all of our students!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Oh the Diigo we Go!!

In my opinion,  social bookmarking is an easy collaborative tool that can assist teachers and students in searching the web for information.  I discovered Diigo in May of this year and created an account.  To my surprise it was one of the tools that we were going to learn about during my Emerging Technology course!  I have enjoyed working in Diigo, looking at my networks, and researching content in the Diigo groups so much that I have created a podcast for this tool.  I am going to introduce it to my staff this coming year and feel this podcast could be helpful for them to begin collaborating with colleagues!

Enjoy the podcast about Diigo!!

Monday, July 25, 2011


I find it interesting that as teachers we fixate to routines just as our students may during the school year.  I know I always thought I was flexible and willing to try new things, but found it not to be as true as I believed.   As I have been learning about web 2.0 technologies and all the collaboration that it will bring makes me wince as I like to plan things on my own to complete tasks appropriately.  The idea of joining and creating personal learning networks can be intimidating as I think it is up to the community of teachers to make the PLN successful.

So we know change is hard and time consuming, but I say go for it!  If we continue to move down a path that is not updates, we are moving forward with no chance of development a stronger more improved system of learning for students.  Teachers need to get out there and join all kinds of communities to develop their own skills.  Teachers need to take chances to change so they can learn new ways to develop their skills in all areas of their instruction. 

We can all try new strategies but it would be helpful to set two or three long term goals with a few more short term  goals that will help you reach the long term.  With these goals in mind they will be to focus on a few technologies instead of all of them at once!  That could just make your head spin!

As we are approaching the 2011-2012 school year, my long term goals are as follows:
  1.  Develop a communication system for PLC groups at PAVCS
  2.  Develop a school wide use of Diigo
  3.  Create optional trainings on Web 2.0 technologies for teachers--self guided with some instruction from me
  4.  New Hire Wiki

I believe these goals are obtainable so now I need to set up timelines to ensure that I am changing and happening my staff to change too!

Again, change is hard but we all have to do it at some point in our teaching careers! 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Even in Traffic

Yesterday I traveled to Myrtle Beach South Carolina with my husband and three children.  It was not a pleasant ride as we left at 7:00AM and arrived in SC at 6:30!  It does not normally take us 11 hours to get here, but my 2 year old son vomitted twice within four hours which made us stop and lots of TRAFFIC!   During the first hour and half wait in traffic I looked around my car and noticed something that never really made me think twice until now.  My husband was listing to a podcast from a Philadelphia morning show, my older son was watching a movie on a computer, my daughter was playing with a Leapster, my 2 year was playing a game on my other son's DS, and I was looking at FB on my phone!  We were three lanes deep in traffic and yet we still were connected to games, entertainment, and friends with the devices in our car.  Driving to MB is something we do each summer and bring most of these items, but it was seeing my 2 year son turn the DS on, play a game, and show me a picture of himself that made me realize just how technology truly influences the decisions we make on a daily basis. 

For example a question came up, "Where should we get crabs this week?" My older son says,"Lets Google it."  Where can we go fishing?  Lets Google!  What time is that place open?  You get the point!  All of the decisions we make are influenced by the technology we keep in our company so I would suggest to keep good company as it can make for an interesting daily plan:)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Web 2.0 Technologies in the Classroom

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the ISTE conference in Philadelphia which as a bit overwhelming!  There was so much pertinent information regarding technologies but most was how to implement the tools in the classroom.  I was able to attend a few sessions that had the same message which was it have a purpose for using the tool and not just use them.  We cannot forget about the pedagogy of teaching and what teachers need to do to assist students in their progression of curriculum.    There was the idea call TPACK which stands for


The philosophy is as follows, “a way of thinking about the knowledge teachers need to understand to integrate technology effectively into their classrooms (Mishra & Koehler, 2008).” Teachers who exhibit best practices with technology are “creative, flexible, and adapt ways in which they navigate the constraints, affordances, and interactions within TPACK framework. (Mishra & Koehler, 2008).”
As I begin to review my notes from the conference I am going to research this ideology of thinking as I feel we need to continue focusing on content but also engage students in a collaborative way of learning!

It is an exciting time to be an educator!!