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Bring History to Life with International Travel

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I have a new tradition for the summer: travel abroad with students. It started last year when I took a group of students to Western Europe (Spain, France, and England) and this was where I formalized Minarets Abroad for my school site. You can read about our adventures here.
This year, I decided to shift the focus away from Western Europe and give students the opportunity to explore Eastern Europe, including Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, and Austria. Unlike the previous trip, our trip was specifically focused on exploring the historical sites of the Holocaust in Europe, which made it a true one-in-a-lifetime trip.

By the end of our fifteen day adventure in Berlin, Warsaw, Krak√≥w, Prague, Nuremberg, Munich, and Salzburg, my students and I came to the conclusion that visiting historical sites is far more influential than learning about it in the classroom or from a book. Each and every location left me with new knowledge, but there were two that stood out the most to me: Auschwitz…

Learning to Say No

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No. Negative. Nope. Nah. Not going to happen.  These are some of my least favorite words. For many reasons, I've never been a fan of saying no. Maybe its because it closes an opportunity or goes against my desire to help people, but I just don't like doing it. Its not to say that I can't say no; I learned very quickly growing up that always saying yes lets people walk all over you. I just like to help people if I can, especially when it comes to my career in teaching. 
I thought I had done a pretty decent job saying no, but recent health developments this year has shown me that I still have a lot of work to do. 
In November of last year, I was diagnosed with systemic sclerosis, also known as scleroderma. Scleroderma is a rare autoimmune disease where the body overproduces collagen that builds up in the body. The systemic type means it builds up in your organs, not just the skin. They don’t know what causes it or how to cure it.  Previously, I had been diagnosed with fibro…

What I Learned From Traveling Internationally With Students

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In June, I spent twelve days traveling across western Europe with a group of students. We started in Barcelona, Spain and slowly made our way north, ending in London, United Kingdom and it was a whirlwind of exhaustion, excitement, stress, blisters. Like any great travel adventure, I gained a new perspective on the world and a better understanding of new culture, but most of all I understood the benefit of traveling with your students.

During those twelve days, I got to witness a whole new side to my students. I was used to seeing them in my classroom or in the hallways at school surrounded by their peers, but on the trip I got to see them away from their friends in a new environment, experiencing a foreign culture. Within the first 24 hours, one student had a meltdown because the Coke in Spain did not taste the same as the Coke in the United States; it was mostly the jet lag talking, but it became a running joke and we made him try Coke in every country, just to be sure. There was ano…

Blogging as a Master's Student

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I'm in the final stages of my Master's program at Boise State University and my personal blog has definitely slowed down as a result. Even though this blog has been really quiet, I have been updating my edtech blog for my degree quite regularly.

Its seems silly to double post things that I have published on one blog to another so I figured I would just share the link.



Each class has had varying levels of blog integration and I've linked them below:

Edtech 501: Intro to Edtech
Edtech 502: Educational Website
Edtech 503: Instructional Design
Edtech 504: Theoretical Foundation of Edtech
Edtech 505: Evaluation Educational Technologists
Edtech 532: Technology Integration  (still being updated)
Edtech 533: Youtube in the Classroom
Edtech 537: Blogging in the Classroom (that was actually done on this blog!)
Edtech 541: Educational Games and Simulations (still being updated)
Edtech 542: Project-Based Learning

Brushing Off the Cobwebs

Hectic. 
That has been my school year so far. 
No, it hasn't been anything bad. But there is so much to do: New responsibilities at work. Finishing my Master's Degree. Moving. Trying to be more 'present' at home. Teaching. Grading. Lesson Planning. Taking care of my fur-babies. I could go on and on, just like anyone. 
Unfortunately, I have been neglecting my online #PLN. Ironically when I published my last post on August 11th, I was incredibly optimistic about my blogging plans for the future and I totally failed at it. So much so, that 'Blogger' didn't even show up in my suggested websites when I got on today. My twitter is pretty much in the same state. 
I'm so frustrated at myself. 
I know that I am not the only one to to fall off the grid when things get crazy. 
So this is me brushing off the cobwebs and making a conscience effort to be more engaged online with my #PLN. 
What do you do to tell balance your online and offline life? Any tips or ideas …

My Blogging Plans

Below are my plans for blogging over the next two months. The bright blue indicates when posts will be published while the brigth yellow indicates important dates.

Reading-For-Fun as a Teacher

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Even though reading is my favorite pastime, it falls by the wayside when school is in full swing. That's not to say that I'm not reading, but by the time I finish reading all the blog posts, assignments, essays I'm too exhausted to read-for-fun when I'm home.  Since reading is a stress reliever for me, I've tried to incorporate more reading into my every day life and the best way, for me, has been through Audible. Initially, I was against listening to books since 'that is something old people do' but now I'm hooked.  I look forward to my commute. I've always loved having time before and after work to decompress and reflect, but sometimes it can get a little boring. I've even found I'm more alert and awake instead of getting lost in my thoughts. It keeps me engaged. As a teacher, its so important to stay relevant and connected to the world around you. It helps me remain 'human' and also helps me connect with my students even when I…