Attending the State of NASA

By on February 13th, 2015

State of NASA blog coverI recently had the privilege of attending the State of the NASA address given by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

The day was full of exciting news and details about NASA’s 2016 budget, captivating science, technology, engineering, and math enthusiasts across the nation.

The SpaceX Dragon, Orion spacecraft, and Boeing CST-100 were on display behind Bolden as he addressed plans for future missions beyond low Earth orbit, with destinations including Mars and Europa. Bolden also described the excitement surrounding student involvement in NASA innovation and STEM research.

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Becoming a Student Again with Astronomical Research

By on January 30th, 2015

SpitzerLast year I was honored to be chosen as a NITARP teacher.

NITARP, short for the NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program, pairs teachers with astronomers from Caltech and NASA, and allows the teachers to do authentic astronomical research.

I thought this program would be something that was a little out of my comfort zone, as I only had classroom experience (like most science teachers), but I decided to apply anyway as it would be an educational experience. To my surprise, I was one of eight teachers that was accepted out of hundreds of applicants.

The teachers were split up into two teams, each with an astronomer to lead them. My team had educators from Boston, Colorado, and California and my astronomer, Varoujan Gorjian, was from Caltech and NASA. Continue reading

Increase your Student’s Success in School

By on November 28th, 2014

udemy course

Take a free course designed to help your student!

Just in time for Florida Parental Involvement in Education Month, Florida Virtual School is proud to announce a free course created just for parents! Secrets to Student Success Revealed is free on

We have taken research proven strategies from experienced educators and crafted a free course for parents and educators to learn these strategies in a quick and easy format. If you’d love to know how to motivate your child, talk to your child, advocate for your child, and even learn how your child’s brain works as well as steps you can take to improve his/her sleep, nutrition, and exercise, then Secrets to Student Success Revealed is for you. Continue reading

10 Engaging Facts About Engagement

By on December 12th, 2013

engagement coverStudent Engagement is what I do.

I research it. Blog about it. Present about it. Make infographics about it. It’s even in my job title. All day, everyday, it’s student engagement.

My official title is “Student Engagement Technician,” but I like to think of myself as an Ideator/Innovator/Gamer/Trend Creator/Researcher/Connector/Explainer. I spend my days researching student trends—music, viral videos, websites, blogs, social media…anything and everything, trying to find ways to connect them to student learning and course development. Continue reading

Learning Forward – Part 8: Lesson Study

By on October 15th, 2013

Photo credit:

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The lesson study process is one of the most unique teaching techniques available to 21st century teachers. During a lesson study, instructors present a lesson and uncover what makes it effective or ineffective.  Bringing several teachers together and using their combined knowledge to create, teach, and reflect on a lesson is one of the best teaching strategies for instructors. Teachers are life-long learners and are always looking for ways to improve their skills. Lesson study is an ideal format to observe what does and doesn’t work and make improvements.  Continue reading

You Can Learn the Impossible

By on September 6th, 2013

growth mindset neurons They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, so here goes… I am a brain science junky. Ever since my team started doing research 18 months ago, I’ve been fascinated with the science behind how humans learn. But it’s not just me. I’m seeing the work of Carol Dweck, Paul Tough, Sian Beilock, and Heidi Grant Halvorson show up in all sorts of non-educational publications and places. Sure, I work at a school, so it’s natural for conversations to revolve around grit and growth mindset, but last week I overheard preschool moms discussing it at the supermarket. Continue reading

Learning Forward – Part 7: Action Research

By on September 4th, 2013

Action Research is a professional’s systematic, intentional study of their own classroom and workplace practices.  Teachers who collaborate and reflect have a direct impact on student achievement.

This form of professional development takes teachers beyond their own classroom and into each other’s.  Action research definitely makes for a great Professional Learning Community (PLC). Continue reading


By on June 17th, 2013

InfographicsEfforts to increase literacy skills have been prevalent in education for ages, but numeracy—think literacy for numbers—is a lesser known topic that can be challenging for we non-math teachers to address.  You’ve probably noticed a trend over the last couple of years where people present statistical information with graphics.  This new infographic practice is making it easier for the masses to absorb numeric data with an image.  The intent is to simplify information and to give context to numbers that may be meaningless or hard to grasp. Continue reading

Researching Student Success

By on February 11th, 2013

Researching Student SuccessIn the spring of 2012, Dr. Brian Marchman, Dr. Matthew Ohlson, and Kathryn Haber conducted extensive research to examine the leading indicators of student success at Florida Virtual School. The study examined the mathematics performance of more than 5,000 high school students over a three-year period. The initial hopes were to determine the factors that led to student success including communication with the teacher, participation in help sessions, length of time in the course, and student/teacher demographics. Continue reading