Lift-you-up Fish

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Recently, I was speaking with a principal from western Massachusetts. He was talking about the value of effective teacher collaboration. He referenced articles and studies that provide evidence that positive teacher collaboration leads to student achievement.  Pharell, who is always happy, states “Collaborate with people you will learn from.”  I feel like I am always learning when I collaborate both in, and outside, the walls of my building.  It’s important for me, and my own well-being, to stretch myself. Sometimes it feels uncomfortable, but that’s okay. If I’m uncomfortable, I’m growing and sometimes growth can be painful.  However, many times, it’s amazing!

Two quotes that really struck me from the articles shared are as follows:

Effective teacher collaboration is defined as engaging in regular routines where teachers communicate about classroom experiences in an effort to strengthen pedagogical expertise and push colleagues to try new things. From Here

Collaboration is a systematic process in which educators work together, interdependently, to analyze and impact professional practice in order to improve individual and collective results. From Here

This task of collaborating can be daunting. How do we find those who can be impactful? Who can truly stretch us and LIFT us up as individuals? Working with those who help me to grow professionally fills my heart. Not only has my tribe helped me to become a better technology integration facilitator, but they’ve also become my friends. Some were virtual friends first that turned into in-person friends, some are colleagues who have become friends, and some are friends who have become my tribe.  Try to find those who fill your heart, and help you grow – I promise it’s worthwhile.  As a result, your student achievement may even increase…a happy teacher is an effective teacher! Take a look below at some sites, tools, and resources that may assist you in finding those who lift your soul.


Instagram is a great tool for social networking, but did you know it’s also a great tool for professional practice?  There are educators out there who have a strictly teaching Insta! They create activities and templates and share them via profile. There are giveaways and hashtags among other goodies! Instagram can be a bit easier to follow than Twitter depending on the area of expertise. If you’re looking for a tribe where you can easily watch and observe, take a look at some of these great teachers’ Instas below (one is a teacher of our own!):


Have you heard of Facebook? You know, that social networking tool for older people (which I’m one of them)? Well, there are entire groups dedicated to professional practice on Facebook.  Much like the town gossip page, teachers host Facebook pages and groups that house awesome materials and discussions about best practice.  I belong to the two groups below, but there are MANY others for all areas of teaching that you can find here.


I mention Twitter a lot, and I love it. However, I do remember when I was completely overwhelmed by this social media platform.  It’s not a tool where you can quietly hide and just watch. Everyone sees what you like, comment on, and post and there isn’t really a way to prevent that.  Over time, I have grown to LOVE Twitter and this is truly a tool where I found my tribe that is outside my school walls.  In my position, I’m a bit isolated, so I go to Twitter to find others in positions like mine. We tweet back and forth, email and even meet up in person and visit each other’s schools! Through Twitter, I really learned more about MassCUE and it’s members and it became my PLN. Like other platforms, Twitter also has great accounts to follow! I have a document here of who I follow (although I need to add a few more). This list is primarily bloggers I follow, not so much my local tribe (see them below).  If you take a look at the hashtag #FollowFriday you can see quite a few GREAT educators tweeting about other GREAT educators. It’s so important that we build each other up and find our tribe – simply for our own sanity!

Another great function of Twitter is LIVE Twitter chats! In a Twitter chat, you answer questions and respond to others.  I always learn a lot from these chats which usually follow a certain hashtag.  There are chats for EVERYTHING! You can also learn about GREAT Twitter chats for education on this resource by Alan November.

Are you happy in your role? Do you feel like you’re growing? If not, consider trying one of the tools above to find those who will lift you up! Follow just ONE new person or group on one social platform – it could change your life (it certainly did for me)!

Take care everyone, and lift each other up 💜

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟 🐟 🐟

I’m lucky to have this tribe


OktoberFISH 🐟 🎃 🍂

Happy October Everyone!

Wow! Is it a busy time at school or what?! We are officially in the full swing of things.  The transition month has passed, and with it, the crazy that is “going back to school.”  The days are cooling off and the routines are set.  A teacher asked me a great question last week: “With so much tech out there to choose from, how do we know we’re using the right tool?” For instance, with math alone, you could use Prodigy, Moby Max, Front Row, IXL, XtraMath, Kahn Academy and the list goes ON AND ON! There are so many great ed-tech tools out there, but I think Alice Keeler said it best, last week, on Twitter: “There isn’t enough tech training in the world for whatever the tool is. The right tool is the one you’re excited to invest time in.” 

So, I’m here – to hopefully help EXCITE you! I LOVE THIS STUFF! So….here we go:

Catch of the day: Class Dojo Toolkit App  Image result for class dojo 

This catch of the day is a shout out to 3rd-grade teacher Kim Wolohojian, and her 3rd-grade team, for using Dojo App that contains the new, updated, amazing Toolkit!  If you open the toolkit on a phone it will project to your computer for display. Toolkit is only an option on the phone app and can’t be opened by the computer itself (but they are working on it). There’s a new feature in the toolkit called “group maker” that lets you pair and group students at random similar to Flippity. However, unlike Flippity, Dojo has a do not pair together option! That means if you have two students or groups of students that don’t work well together, it will not pair them together when you randomize! How AWESOME is that??!!

If you are not familiar with Class Dojo, click here for a preview. It is similar to the app Remind which I’ve seen widely used throughout the district.  With DOJO, in addition to a family communication piece, where you can send text-updates and photos in a safe environment, you can also have a classroom management piece.  Students have avatars and you, as the teacher, can award points. You can also take away points. The parents can see the management piece if you choose or it can be turned off to parents and only the texting option can be seen.  I have this as a parent for my own sons, and I LOVE it.

If you would like to see a great comparison of parent-communication apps, including Remind, Dojo and much more click here.


Halloween Google Slide Activity 🎃 👻 🕸 🎃 👻 🕸 🎃 👻 🕸

OMG, this is so cute (click here)! From Eric Curts (one of my favorite techies) – make a jack o lantern in Google Slides! The template is already created for you and students can use all of the images to create a digital Jack-O-Lantern. There’s even a writing component to the activity. You can alter the master anyway you would like, and then use Google Classroom to push it out to students.
You could go one step further and have each student make a Jack-O-Lantern that reflects his or her personality, submit it to you and you could put them all in a master slide deck and have kids try to guess who’s is who’s.

Halloween Hyper Doc 📎 💻 🌏 📰 🎃 📎 💻 🌏 📰

This is an AWESOME(click here) Hyperdoc full of all sorts of (free) Halloween activities. It is geared towards middle school, but check it out and you may find some activities you can use in your classroom. It has many interactive, appropriate, Halloween tech games, videos on the history of jack-o-lanterns and other traditions, an option to “Trollify” yourself (from Trolls the movie), a Halloween light show, and much much more!  Please preview any items on the Hyperdoc before showing students.

Book Creator  📚 📚 📚 📚 

Shout out to School Committee member Aimee McAlpine who created this great resource (click here) on online book creators.  A few 6th-grade teams plan to use these resources to create books to then read to their third-grade friends.

For those of you who do not know Aimee, she is an Instructional Technology Specialist for the Marshfield Public Schools as well as a parent and school committee member. Thank you, Aimee!

Math Resources 🔢

Another favorite techie of mine, Richard Byrne, put out free math resources that he enjoys.  We’ve seen many of these before but I feel like I should always include posts on math tech.  These resources span all maths, so take a look! The Geoboard is one of my favorite tools!

New Add-On: Magic Rainbow Unicorn! 🌈 🦄 🌈 🦄  🌈 🦄 🌈 🦄

This add-on is as silly as it sounds, but it’s still pretty cute! Take a gander and see how to “Lisa Frank” your Google Doc! Sometimes, it’s the little things that get kids excited to learn! This could be that “little” thing!

Who to Follow 📝

If you’re wondering the best tech bloggers to follow (aside from me of course – lol) click here for the top tech bloggers according to Ed Tech Magazine. This is a great run-down and I follow many of these ed-tech leaders myself! What’s great is that many of these bloggers provide FREE RESOURCES that they create and allow all to use. They are firm believers in the Teachers-Give-Teachers movement! I suggest finding just one to follow that is similar to your own field or interests, and check in on their blog or subscribe. You won’t regret it, I promise!


Enjoy the Tech!

oFISHally yours,

Erin Fisher 🐟

What Fish are in your School? 🐟 🏫

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I learn an incredible amount on any given day about educational technology. The world of ed-tech is growing at such a rapid pace, one could easily learn something new every hour of every day! Students have taught me many new things, staff members, and famous ed-tech leaders out on that there interweb 😉 !  This week, I learned quite a bit from two of my favorite tech bloggers Richard Byrne of Practical Ed Tech and Eric Curts of Control Alt Achieve. I also learned of a new (to me) extension from teacher/Google Leader/blogger Alice Keeler and Matt Miller (Ditch That Textbook) while working with our own Lauren Dalton! Lastly, Chris Alles sent me a WICKED COOL FREE website that would be great for Elementary and Middle school teachers.  Check out some awesome click bait below:

The Fish in MY School 🐠 🐟 🐠 🐟 🐠 🐟 🐠 🐟 🐠 🐟 🐠 🐟 🐠

Chris Alles sent me a great site this week called “Whoos Reading.”  I created an account and fiddled around. At first, I thought, THIS IS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE. However, so far….it’s the catch of the day!  This site boasts that it is a FREE, and improved according to them, version of Accelerated Reader. Basically, teachers set up or import classes via Google Classroom (ALWAYS CLASSROOM – YEAH!). Students then can search for any book and take a quiz. However, the quizzes are open response style, and STILL, get scored! WHAT?! I know, right?! It’s a super cute owl who gives feedback for the questions too.  Students can also answer questions in an online journal WHILE reading and receive coins to upgrade their owl avatar. The site also reads aloud as well and has a speech to text option so students can dictate their answers rather than type.  It is a very cute site…I’m still waiting to find the catch, so if you find it, comment below!

Lauren Dalton is an amazing preschool teacher and early childhood coordinator at Central School. Speaking as a parent of a former student in her class, I can say she is AWESOME at sending home weekly emails and pictures to show what is happening in her classroom. This year, she wanted to find an easier way to do this. In our hunt, together, to figure out the best way we tried the extension DriveSlides (created by none other than Alice Keeler and Matt Miller).  This extension is SO COOL – it will take a whole folder of images….any images….and plop the whole thing into a slideshow. You have to see it to believe it.  Watch here!

Other Fishes in the Sea 🐠 🐟 🐠 🐟 🐠 🐟 🐠 🐟 🐠 🐟🐠 🐟 🐠 🐟 🐠 🐟

Practical Ed Tech Handbook 🐠

This Google Doc handbook is an incredibly useful resource written by one of my favorite techies, Richard Byrne. The best part is since it is a Google Doc, he constantly updates it! If you save it to your own Drive (File: Save to my Drive.…not make a copy) you will always have the most up to date version!It features some great tech including:

  1. Communication with students and parents.
    Text/ SMS/ push notification tools.  (A GREAT TEXT APP FOR PARENTS, besides REMIND)
    Email management tips.
    Blogging tools.
  2. Web search strategies.
    Getting beyond the first pages of results.
  3. Digital citizenship.
  4. Video creation.
    Video projects and tools for creating them.
    Tools for building & distributing flipped lessons.
  5. Audio recording and publishing.
    Web-based & mobile recording tools.
  6. Backchannels & informal assessment.
  7.  Digital portfolios.

6 Bad Ways to Write Email 🐟

The title above says it all! I love Eric Curts, he has so many great posts. Check this one out here – ESPECIALLY, if you are new…so many good tips!

There is still so much to learn that it’s hard for me to not get overwhelmed! I often take a breath and say to myself…”just keep swimming.”

What FISH in your school teach you new things? What fish in the sea do you like to follow? #togetherwearebetter

Comment below 🙂