5 Ways to Incorporate Play in the Classroom

Sunday, July 11, 2021

This week I’m presenting with Unruly Splats at the Computer Science Teachers Association Conference on a topic that is near and dear to my heart: coding! Actually the presentation is about play in the classroom with Splats, but I found myself thinking of all of the many ways educators can use games and play to increase student engagement and make learning fun!


When we think about play in the classroom, our minds may oftentimes go towards early childhood classrooms where students explore through centers with dramatic play using costumes and child-sized versions of kitchens and homes. But in her article “Playtime Isn’t Just for Preschoolers—Teenagers Need It, Too,” Hilary Conklin explains how older students need play, as well. She explains:  

Giving students occasions to learn through play not only fosters creative thinking, problem solving, independence, and perseverance, but also addresses teenagers’ developmental needs for greater independence and ownership in their learning, opportunities for physical activity and creative expression, and the ability to demonstrate competence.

The "Techie Teacher" Myth

Sunday, July 4, 2021
Over the past year in my role as a digital learning coach, I have notice the way so many teachers adapted to teaching in the post-Covid classroom. For some of you, Google Classroom was a brand new platform that you had to learn and teach your students to use at the same time! For others of you, it was finding new ways to leverage "old" digital tools in a way to keep students motivated and engaged. But ALL of you were able to use tech to find ways to reach your students!

I believe that there aren't techie teachers and non-techie teachers; there are just those that aren't afraid to click and those that are. There are those that try again when things don't work the first time and those that give up! 

6 Tips for Organizing Your Google Drive

Thursday, January 21, 2021

I recently heard that January is Get Organized Month, so I thought, if you are like me, you may need to do some organizing in your Google Drive. In Google Drive, you can store your Google documents and other files like PDFs, images, and videos. Like other document storage, Google Drive has folders that help you keep it nice and tidy. But if you don't use them, your Drive can become quite unruly! 

Digital Breakouts During the Times of Social Distancing

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Digital breakouts are an amazing way to gamify your classroom, get students engaged in content, and have them apply their knowledge in a variety of ways. "Breakouts" take the concept of escape rooms (you know those places that are popping up where you and your friends are willingly locked in a room and have to solve clues to escape it?) and helps you bring it to the classroom! Usually, students solve clues to unlock locks attached to a box to save the day, solve a problem, or just get the surprise inside!

You can check out my post on physical breakouts here.

However during our times of social distancing, physical breakouts are not quite as feasible. Students cannot crowd around the same materials all touching the same box and locks. 


digital breakouts during the times of social distancing

Using Google Sites and Google Forms, digital breakouts create engaging, problem-solving scenarios where students can apply the content they've been learning in an authentic way just without all of the "stuff" that a traditional breakout entails. Students can still be given challenging, thought-provoking tasks, just in a digital format. Familiar digital tools like Google Drawings and Google Slides can be utilized to incorporate a variety of engaging tasks. And if students need to do some recording (think: math problems!!) or for a sense of online/offline balance, some printed materials can be used as well.

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