Five Surprising Things About Teaching with FLVS

5 Surprising Things About Teaching OnlineAs a veteran classroom teacher, I was both excited and scared when I made the leap to online instruction with FLVS last year.

Like many teachers who explore the virtual school option, I was attracted to the flexibility of online work. Not having to be in my classroom at 7:45 each morning? Win! Not having to wear professional shoes? Double win! There were lots of things to look forward to, but I was nervous too. Would the online experience feel cold and impersonal? Would I actually teach, and would students learn? Would online teaching challenge me professionally? I decided to make the leap, and I am SO happy that I did! I’ve learned that my fears were completely unfounded, and I’ve discovered lots of things along the way that have pleasantly surprised me about teaching and learning with FLVS. Continue reading

Genius Brain vs. Normal Brain: Four Key Differences

Genius Brain

First published by Genius Awakening

Albert Einstein was a genius.

So were Leonardo DaVinci, Bobby Fischer, Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Madame Da Stael. That is inarguable. You can probably think of dozens more. Then consider the question: Why are these individuals considered geniuses? By what measure are we making this determination? Certainly each of these individuals has contributed something to our society, whether it’s artistically, scientifically, or culturally.

But what makes a genius? Are the brains of these individuals drastically different from non-geniuses, or “normal” people? Continue reading

Celebrating My Hispanic Heritage

Hispanic Heritage MonthIn our Spanish for Spanish Speakers course, an assignment asks students to compare their lives in the United States with that of a fictional character in the lesson.

This character writes an entry in her diary describing her struggles to fit in with two different cultures, dealing with attitudes towards her language and towards her, and even learning to speak “Spanglish.” I especially like part of her entry where she talks about another Spanish-speaking lady she meets at her kid’s school who owns a store in town where she can meet for a cafecito* and some very-needed Spanish conversation.

Teaching this lesson, I suddenly realized that I struggle with the very same things! Continue reading

What Successful People Know

Failure leads to successNo one likes to fail.

No one likes the feeling of failure, that lead rock deep inside your gut weighing you down. And for a long time, I was afraid of failure. This was because I didn’t understand what successful people know.

What successful people know is that failure doesn’t have to be the worst thing. It doesn’t have to ruin us or break us. In fact, the incredibly beautiful fact about failure is that it is as much a part of success as hard work, as talent, as passion, and drive. Failure is actually a huge piece of the success puzzle. It’s just that most people never recognize it. The sooner we realize that failure is just one part of the road to success, the sooner we can learn from our failures, get back on track, and grow. This is what it means to have a Growth Mindset. Continue reading

Congrats to our 2015 Photo Contest Winners

2015 FLVS Contest winnersThis year, we saw all kinds of inspiring and amazing student stories in our fall photo contest.

Over the last two months, students have been sharing images on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook showing how they have succeeded with the help of Florida Virtual School. In the photo caption, students were asked to explain how FLVS has allowed them to do great things using the hashtag #SuccessAtFLVS.

Three winners were chosen – one at random, one by popular vote, and one selected by FLVS judges. We received images from hospitalized and homebound students, students entering the ROTC, community service volunteers, musicians, artists, athletes, and aspiring entrepreneurs – all of which made us wish we could have chosen more of you!
Continue reading

FLVS Annual Virtual Science Fair Now Open

FLVS VSF 2015Are you a Florida Virtual School student with a knack for science?

Then you should consider entering the 10th Annual Virtual Science Fair (VSF) at Florida Virtual School!  The Virtual Science Fair offers students a chance to participate in student-led experiments. Top placing students will advance to the Dr. Nelson Ying Orange County Science Exposition, along with the potential to earn various awards, prizes, and scholarships.

Last year, FLVS student Jillian Hanley advanced to the State Science & Engineering Fair of Florida, earning an $84,000 scholarship along with a number of other cash awards!

Official entry forms are due by October 12, 2015.  Continue reading

Student Articles from News in a Click

NIACHave you visited the new and improved website for the Florida Virtual School student newspaper, News in a Click, lately?

If not, you’re missing out! News In A Click (NIAC) is an award-winning online student newspaper, created and published completely online by FLVS students. By collaborating weekly in Blackboard, the club’s virtual newsroom, the News in a Click staff is able to brainstorm article ideas, write, edit, and create content.

NIAC and its staff members have won several state and national awards from the Florida Scholastic Press Association and Quill and Scroll for writing, photography, and design. Check out a few recent articles from the paper below! Continue reading

Saving the Arts: Why Virtual Options are the Savior of Fine Arts

ArtsSince the recession, difficult decisions and increasing budget cuts have left few school districts unscathed, with program cuts occurring across the board. Perhaps unsurprisingly, arts education has suffered the most under budget cuts, particularly in high-need communities, according to a recent Department of Education report.

Despite the fact that they are most frequently on the chopping block, arts programs are far from expendable. The power of performing arts is undeniable. There’s no question about the benefits of fine arts programs, and even in the face of budget cuts, students should be encouraged to continue their passions by joining local art classes, programs or events. These programs help students develop social skills and express themselves in a positive and emotional manner.

Continue reading on →

Got Notes?

sketchnotingPicture this:
You are in front of your screen, you have logged into your live lesson, and your instructor is about to start.

He or she reminds you to “take notes!” You find yourself unprepared, so you either open a Word document (which by the end of the lesson remains basically blank) or you hastily gather a pen and a paper napkin left in your room from last night’s pizza. At the end of the lesson, you barely have a few notes and the main idea of today’s lesson eludes you like the ghost of Christmas past…

Sigh…sound familiar? Continue reading

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrating the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States as well as their heritage and culture.

Hispanic-Heritage-MonthDid you know?
  • National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is observed from September 15 through October 15, was first created by President Lyndon Johnson as National Hispanic Heritage Week. President Reagan later expanded the week to a full month in 1988!
  • September 15 was selected as the date to celebrate the anniversary of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras.
  • More than 400 million people worldwide speak Spanish.
  • Spanish is the official language of 22 countries.
  • St. Augustine, our nation’s oldest city, is celebrating its 450th year anniversary this month.

Continue reading