Thursday, October 31, 2013

Who Is Telling Your Story?

On October 10, 2013 I received an email, "Coach Davis, You have been selected as the Key Communicator for Douglass Elementary.  I will forward more information as it becomes available. Thanks!! So now I am wondering, what this is going to entail? Well I got my answer, four days later I received this email, "Dear Key Communicator: Attached is the invitation for the upcoming workshop this Friday, October 18th".

The objective of the Key Communicator workshop was to have a designated person on the campus responsible for gathering and telling the good news of the great things going on in the classroom.  This is coming in the wake of the negative waves that have swept over the district recently.

I and other communicators from campuses around the district were briefed on our roles and responsibilities. We were shown how to fill out and use News Release forms that can be sent to the media. Tim Holt (Director of Instructional Technology) gave information on how to increase the campus presence on the web and social media, even how to get your campus news on TV or in the El Paso Times.

There are several ways to get started, telling your story. One, is to publish a classroom newsletter, or publish a grade level newsletter written by you or one that is student driven and circulate that amongst the grade level(s). You can send it home also (the down side is that newsletters are one direction do not allow for two way communication).

Using a blog would allow for greater feed back. A blog is a website organized around short writings called "posts". They can be compared to journals or "logs". Within these blogs one can have links to other websites or blogs of interest.  Blogs are excellent ways to get your students writing more, with you at the forefront, setting the example.

Setting up your blog as an addition to your webpage is very easy to do especially with the website construction application from (See Clay White for advice).  Douglass teachers you could also log on to the website and investigate the link for if you want to blog independently.

I will be posting to this site on a regular basis about ideas, best practices, and interesting workshops, and my own thoughts.

You can subscribe to this site easily. What that will do is send you an email when a new post has been added to my blog, just below this posted blog is the link to subscribe.  Log in and follow the simple instructions.

Blogging is one of the many ways we as educators on this campus can get the good news out about the great things that are going on here on our campus.  Step up to the plate and lets start knocking them out of the park.

Please take the time to comment in the section just below the last paragraph.

Have a great day in every way! Go Dragons!!

You can contact me via email ( or FaceBook or Twitter (Dragoncoach1)


Monday, September 30, 2013

Twitter, why did it take me so long to get you? By Karen Wright-Balbier


About the Guest Author:
Karen Wright-Balbier is a mother, wife, believer and life long learner. She enjoys working out, listening to audiobooks, watching TED Talks, time with her family and a good joke.  
I knew about Twitter.  I knew many high school students used it as their primary social networking tool. I knew my boss expected me to tweet.  

Why did it take me so long to understand the most powerful learning tool, Twitter? After all, I have been sprinkling my love and excitement for teaching, technology, and learning, with a smile for as long as I can remember.  What I need to remember is, there was nothing wrong with what I was doing. What I see now is, I was only sharing with the people that see me face to face or get my emails.  They are the people I trust and work with.  I know that I have only debated and had conversations with groups of educators that will still like me tomorrow, if I don't agree with them.

I feel that it is important to let you know that I have had a Twitter account since 2011.  I would only use Twitter when I attended a conference, like TCEA to tweet what I was learning.  I didn't add to my PLN by collecting people to follow.  When I would return home, I felt like I was tweeting myself and no one could possibly be reading what I was tweeting.  Do teachers tweet in El Paso?

I have been a faithful Twitter user for 4 months now.  Faithful, meaning that I am using it to learn, share, and make connections now.  I no longer feel like I'm tweeting myself.  How did this happen?

Twitter tips from a Newbie

1.  Ask for Twitter Handles- During the last conference I attended, PodStock 2013, I didn't want to lose the connections I made.  Every time I had a conversation with someone, I asked for their twitter handle.  They usually asked for mine back and I gained a few new followers.  I wasn't tweeting myself anymore.

2. Build Relationships- This has been the most difficult for me.  Try to interact, answer questions that you know the answer to, send a compliment if you honestly notice they are sharing things that are valuable to you, retweet any message that you want others who are following you to read.

3. Discover hashtags #- I didn't worry about hashtags too much when I began tweeting.  I have since learned that it makes it easier to search and following topics.  As I read other tweets, I am paying attention to what hashtags they are using.  As I tweet, I am trying to add hashtags to share with others who are interested in that topic.

4. Explore- Use the search feature in Twitter.  Search for people, topics, keywords, places, book titles, or anything you feel like learning or reading about.  After searching names of people I work under, I have discovered that I am not the only person that didn't get twitter.  There are a lot of people in education, making huge decisions, that do not have an account.  We all have to start somewhere, right?

5. Learn- Take learning into your own hands.  Every story and how is different.  For me, I saw a conversation someone was having with @techninjatodd.  I think I started following him because I liked his twitter handle.  From him, I learned about the @eduallstarsHQ podcast.  As I listen to the podcast, I started following all of the guests.  Then I found that other educators I made connections with at other conferences knew @techninjatodd via twitter.  I could keep going.  Since then I have been on a learning overload.  Learning through twitter because I want to, is very different than someone telling me I have to read a book and discuss it at work.  I am learning what I want to learn, when I want to learn it.  How powerful is that?

I feel like I can sprinkle my excitement for education, learning and technology with people I know now.  I don't really know them, but I'll be working on the relationships.  Since twitter only allows for 140 characters, I know blogging is going to have to be another way I share.

Here's to my rebirth of learning and sharing.  I will be sharing Twitter with a campus on Tuesday.  I'll be happy to share your twitter advice.  I don't it to take them 2 years to get it.

 "I consider it an honor to have Karen as a friend and fellow warrior within our educational system. Rock on Karen"....

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

10 Tips for sharing passion in teaching: What drives you as a teacher? | Starr Sackstein, MJE, NBCT

Here we are again at the beginning of another school year.  For my wife and myself teaching is not work it is our life and has been for the last 35 years.  I have learned to work in my craft through the genre of play. Getting paid to play what a concept (I think my spouse is still waiting for me to grow up). 

Well anyway, this evening while checking my Twitter contacts as part of my PLN (Professional Learning Network), I ran across this blog written by Starr Sackstein.  I thought I would share this with you as a way of getting ready for the start of a new school year.  I have posted this link below for you to read.  When you have finished reading the article please respond back to my blog in the comment section below or my FaceBook page (Gregory Davis or Dragoncoach1) I would love to hear what drives you as a teacher!

10 Tips for sharing passion in teaching: What drives you as a teacher? | Starr Sackstein, MJE, NBCT

So, "What drives you as a teacher?"

Have a great and prosperous new year!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Too Few Teachers Not Connected?

Recently, while on lunch break from a technology in-service on the use of Chrome Books the conversation naturally migrated towards the use of some of the social applications (Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, etc).  There were five of us at lunch so invariably there was five different opinions or opinions directly related to the level of understanding and use of these great social tools by the individual conversationalists (Oops! My bias is showing). But I did notice that the conversation did not get to the effective use of these or any of the social media types in the educational or professional setting ( I take some of the blame for not bringing it up, not that I am an expert on such matters). But like anything in this world the tool is only as good as the craftsman using it (if all you have is a hammer, then everything becomes a nail).
I shadow/follow many people/organizations through these social tools for my own personal and professional gain. As a professional you should follow only those people/organizations that you have investigated and their presence will be a benefit to you and you will be a benefit to them (don't just be a taken and not a giver to the community). 

I presently use these tools (personally and professionally):

Edmodo-provides a safe and easy way for your class to connect and collaborate, share content, and access homework, grades and school notices.

Face Book-is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them.

Twitter-Instantly connect to what's most important to you. Follow your friends, experts, favorite celebrities, and breaking news.

Blogger-is a blog-publishing service that allows private or multi-user blogs with time-stamped entries.

Linkedin-is a social networking website for people in professional occupations. 

Ustream-is a company founded in 2007 that provides video streaming services to more than 80 million viewers and broadcasters

Vimeo-is a U.S.-based video-sharing website on which users can upload, share and view videos. 

Coach's Eye-You can't fix what you can't see! Coach's Eye provides video capture with slow-motion review, drawing tools, and simple sharing.  Coach’s Eye delivers “ah-ha” moments that elevate athletes from good to great.

Nike+ Running- The Nike+ Running app tracks distance, pace, time and calories burned with GPS, giving you audio feedback as you run.

iBook-is an e-book application by Apple Inc. iBooks is an amazing way to download and read books. You would be surprised how many downloads are FREE!!

Below is the link to an article I came across about the use of one particular social tools, called Twitter.  Check it out and respond by to me on this site.  I would love to hear your voice on this matter!

Have a great day!



Follow me on Twitter: @dragoncoach1

Monday, July 1, 2013

It did not get any more real than this...

Once more and again we arrive at end of another school year (though this year has been more trying/intense than most). By that I mean we started the year under pressure and it did not let up until June 7, 2013.  Last year I blogged about and showed you a soccer ball that had an amazing adventure in our physical education and playground.  And summed up the willingness of our students endure.

 Boy did we have a ball this year!

We started the year with more than half of our class equipment gone (due to an administrative snafu).  We achieved the status of Blue Ribbon, lost the availability of our gym for more than half the year,  sponsored a winter chess festival, worked through the passing of our principal just after Christmas, living under the cloud of STARR, working with an interim principal (who was fantastic by the way), sponsoring a school wide field day, unveiling a new gym floor with dragon logo and this is just scratching the surface from our point of view (the other faculty and staff members have a story that would rock your socks). 

So this year we started out with a brand new soccer ball that "Took a kicking yet kept on ticking". The posting of the image below illustrates the kind of year that the Dragon Community experienced, through thick and thin we endured to cross the finish line victorious!! 

This is the actual ball that endured the 2012-2013 school year!
Worn, Torn, and Shorned! 

So the plan now for the summer is to Recoup, Regroup and send our Super Hero outfit to get cleaned and pressed.  

Until then have a great summer, learn a new skill set to add to your teaching arsenal, tune into the Dragon Network (KDES) every Friday morning at 9:00 am < >  and all you Alumni like our Face Book page < > > to keep tabs on us!

Via con Dios!
Coach Davis

Twitter: Dragoncoach1
Face Book: Gregory Davis

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Chessing with No Guessing

While going through my masters course a few years back (Media and Curriculum Design) one of our projects was to create a teaching song. I decided to challenge myself and present the chess concepts in song/dance via iMovie.  Hopefully I can post it on this site, if not I will feature the movie during one of the breaks at the Douglass Chess Tournament.
I will try and get the text file so you can see the dance movements that go with the music.  Well here goes, enjoy!!

Created using iMovie, Garage Band, Apple Loops and Animation Factory images. Lyrics written by Gregory A. Davis (November 2009)