21st Century Education

Lights, Cameras, Lesson Plans

By on October 30th, 2013

What it’s like to be a Florida District Teacher of the Year

I’ve had a lot of questions about what it is like to be a district-level teacher of the year in Florida. There are so many adjectives I could use to describe this wonderful experience, but the one that sticks out to me the most is “unforgettable.”

The day it was announced that I was the FLVS Teacher of the Year was one of the most exciting days of my life. Emails and phone calls poured in with congratulations and well-wishes from people I know and people I have never really met. It felt like I was a celebrity, which can make a person feel a little uncomfortable at first – being rushed to the front and into the spotlight. Continue reading


Developing Digital Citizens

By on October 23rd, 2013

Photo credit: Common Sense Media

Photo credit: Common Sense Media

We beat stupidity celebration cones. #zimmerman #defense #dadkilledit

Over the summer, George Zimmerman’s defense attorney Don West had to apologize to the media for his daughter’s immature and insensitive Instagram post in the middle of a very heated George Zimmerman trial. After receiving national media attention, the photo of the lawyer enjoying ice cream cones with his daughters instantly went viral, and Molly West’s Instagram account had to be shut down the following day.

#whatwasmollythinking

How do we help teach kids that something they do online today could potentially affect the future in ways they can’t even imagine? We need to help them understand the power of their digital footprint. Everything they post, share, or like is a direct reflection of themselves and their values. And it’s potentially out there for the world to see forever. Just ask Molly. Continue reading


Academic Integrity: Systematic and Scalable Solutions

By on August 29th, 2013

For five years, I have been a part of the Academic Integrity (AI) Department at Florida Virtual School. I began as an investigator, researching student violations, and eventually moved into the role of manager. While a primary goal of the AI team is to identify and intervene when incidents occur, we also strive to prevent violations from happening. To do this requires a joint effort between all departments, including Professional Learning, Curriculum, Community Relations, and Technology. Continue reading


Preparing for Rain

By on August 22nd, 2013

1386953_87293749When people hear Common Core State Standards (CCSS), they immediately fall onto one side or the other in the great debate that is Common Core. Many stakeholders, parents, teachers, and administrators are for it, while many are railing against this large-scale change.

What do I think about it? I think at the end of the day, it is change. When it comes to change, no one is truly comfortable. We can believe what we want to believe, but we can’t stop progress and we can’t halt change. Continue reading


Why We Love Social Media

By on August 19th, 2013

Social Media 1 at FLVS
Social media has completely changed the way we communicate with each other. Maybe we’re guilty of accidentally referring to our friends by their Twitter handles in real life; spending all week finding the perfect photo for #ThrowbackThursday; doing something cool, just so that you can Instagram it; or using the word “Instagram” as a verb. (I can just envision my former English teachers sighing in unison as they mark 10 points off this blog post.) Continue reading


Can Five-Year-Olds Learn Virtually?

By on August 8th, 2013

Did you know that there are seven times more words in today’s English language than in Shakespeare’s day? Students in the 21st century will have jobs that have not been created yet, for problems that haven’t been realized. Our world is changing! Education is changing too! Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is now teaching Kindergarten and First Grade in a way that we could not imagine 16 years ago. Can 5-year-olds learn virtually? YES! Continue reading