Why are we doing Edcamp Yosemite again? 

We've run Edcamp Yosemite for the past three years, and every time, sometime in the planning process, I wonder to myself, "Why are we doing this again?" 

When I share that I was accepted into the Google for Education Innovator program, I get a variety of responses. Most people just don't know what it is.

Click HERE to learn more.

But the responses that gets me the most are the ones where people think I got into the program simply by being talented, and that I was either born into that talent or I somehow magically acquired it overnight! Nothing could be further from the truth! 

I stood in the empty hallway of my new office building. I was the last in the office to leave this evening. I paused, and I gazed around me and I realized 

I visited Venice last year and while we were there the tide rose into the Piazza San Marco. We watched the water rise and tourists walk on planks as children splashed in the water seeping up through the drains. I didn't think too much about it at the time.

Then I read, A history of flooding in the sinking city of Venice – in pictures
and I began to see the flooding a whole new way.


Note: I wrote this blog just before school started and then got so busy starting school that I didn't publish until now! 
I stood in the door of my new classroom, completely overwhelmed by its emptyness.
I snapped a picture to send to a friend and captioned it, This is it - the before - the clean slate.


How to Write Gamified Class Rules

There are rules for writing game rules. I don't mean your garden variety family game, I'm talking about serious role-playing games, and believe me, the rules for my class are serious! 

But you can have a little fun with your students by adapting the format of role playing game rules to your own classroom rules and syllabus. 

If you are not a gamer, the easiest way to learn about these rules is to befriend a gamer, since all serious gamers are into the rules almost as much as the game itself! 
           So go find one....


An Open Letter to My Wonderful Teaching Friends Who Are Not On Twitter...Yet (And Anyone Else Wondering About Twitter for Educators)

Dear Anne, Shelly, Miriam, and Sherry,
I have finally found a way for us to connect over our shared profession and passion - teaching. It is a great little app called Twitter. If you are on Twitter already, read no further, just message me @mhebern and we can start sharing.

But if you are not on Twitter, then let me convince you that Twitter is a great place to hang out.

I miss you guys, and I think about you often. All of you!

You share on fb all the time! You share...

I'll be teaching sixth grade next year after being out of the classroom for 5 years. I didn't choose this assignment and I have mixed feeling about taking it on. I've never fully taught 6th grade before. Previously, I was a primary teacher. No problem, because sixth grade doesn't start for another 3 months, right?

Wrong! It starts today!

Today? It's only JUNE 2nd! How can that be?

It's right there in those staff meeting notes from yesterday! Darn! I knew....

I consider myself a reflective learner.

        But... what does that really mean?

I don’t know exactly when I started reflecting on my classroom practice, but it was very early on. Maybe even that first year as the year ended. Then I moved from my first Kindergarten job to the second kindergarten job in a different district. As I started that job, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and more importantly, what I didn’t want to do. In other words, I learned a lot that first year!

Before I knew it, I started...

When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending…
I accept the challenge from Ryan Archer (@ArcherEdTech) to list five things that I wish education would stop pretending. There are so many, where will I even begin!

I don't remember if anyone has ever actually asked me this before! And I wonder why?
As educators, we know the educational system better than anyone. Inside and out. We work, we observe, we see the effects on children that are put into play by lawmakers and policymakers.
                    We live the results.
And yet, we are rarely asked, if ever, to list the things we want to see changed.
So now's our chance! Thanks Ryan for including me in the challenge. Here is my top five list.

                                            The compiled list is here:

When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending…
...that children are tiny adults that can handle pressures put upon them to complete complicated           adult sized tasks, and can plan, produce, think, and conduct themselves like adults- all the time.
...that collaboration is good enough for kids, but not for adults.

...that homework is the best way to cover new material we couldn't manage to cover in class.

...that grades define a student. 

...that we know what the future holds for the children of today.

I challenge