August 13 2015

J-Day at BSU underway

Speakers are saying “yes,” ISJA Board Members are sending ideas, and tours are being designed for the Oct. 29 J-Day from the Idaho State Journalism Association.

Some highlights:

  • A bus may be chartered for Southeast Idaho students/advisers
  • Tours are available the day before the event
  • Keynote speakers are students and graduates of BSU who are using Social Media to develop businesses
    • Whitney Hansen coaches students on living their dreams (but within their budgets)
    • Dallas Crum and his partners want everyone in the world to have access to water (and to buy their water bottles)
  • Sessions cover all areas of journalism media
    • Newspaper
    • Web
    • Video Broadcasting
    • Yearbook

Stay posted to learn more!

July 30 2015

An ISJA Lunch Bunch formed at the Idaho Professional-Technical Summer Conference

ISJA Lunch Bunch

Idaho State Journalism Association members Sue Martin, Becky McGuyver, Courtney Morgan and I found a nice place under a gazebo to have our lunches during the 2015 PTE Summer Conference.

The result, in addition to what we brought back for our professional-technical journalism programs, is a list of to-do items for the group’s Oct. 29 BSU Learning Day.

Journalism students and advisers from throughout Idaho are invited to attend the October event at the BSU Student Union.

We will have a full day of sessions hosted by experts from all areas of journalism-related high school activites, such as newspaper, yearbook, news sites, and video production.  I’ll keep you posted!


July 20 2015

Hope, engagement, and well-being are most important indicators of student success

PTE Summer Conference Schedule-1

The future of education is rearing its beautifully ugly head in the Gem state.

The oxymoron might best be illustrated by the reduction of potato plants in Idaho.   J.R. Simplot is quoted as saying:  “We no longer run our potato plants with wrenches and rags–we run them with iPads.”

Jeffrey Sayer

Jeffrey Sayer is one of two keynote speakers at the 2015 Idaho State Professional-Technical Education Summer Conference, July 20 – 22.

According to Jeffrey Sayer, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce, J.R. Simplot Company reduced its potato plants from three to one, and decreased the number of workers it employs from 850 to around 250.

As keynote speaker to the Idaho state conference of professional technical educators today at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, Sayer discussed the state of Idaho’s

  • employment (95,000 deficit in the next 10 years for qualified labor),
  • education (“education is the last industry that hasn’t changed, hasn’t adapted”), and
  • automation (technical skills to run automation are needed more than manual labor).

A few paradigm shifts marked the occasion.

Quoting a Gallop Poll of 500,000 students, Sayer said that some students don’t go past high school for reasons most wouldn’t suspect.  For example, he told the audience the survey found that one student didn’t go on because she didn’t have a ride to school.  Another couldn’t afford to be away from income for extended periods of time.  Yet another had to choose work over post-secondary education because her parents were expecting her to get a job and pay rent.

Sayer said, “The presence of hope, engagement, and well-being is 30 times higher an indicator of future success than GPA and test scores.”

Because the immediate pressure of earning an income often exceeds the need for a degree, Sayer suggested a paradigm shift:  skills first and education second.

“If income pressure is so intense, why not certify skills to raise income of post high school students to $9 or $10 an hour?” he asked.

Part of the state’s target is to encourage a talent pipeline from high school to industry to resolve the shortage of talent that industry follows.

“Our future is in your classroom,” he said to the educators.


June 16 2015

I finally saw a model of the flippin’ classroom

Flipped Classroom

The infographic excerpt is from,

an education company that adapts technology for the classroom.

Although I am a full-time teacher in the traditional classroom, I also teach part-time for the Idaho Digital Learning Academy (IDLA).

For IDLA’s summer conference for professional development, the event was organized as a flipped classroom.

Conference materials were posted in a Google+ Community, and included activities to complete for Human Resources, Content Teams, the IT Department, and Supervision.

IDLA Summer-Conference Worksheet

At the IDLA Summer Conference, we had 8 sessions, and 8 boxes to complete. It was a great opportunitiy to use all my color Sharpies!

Throughout the day, we filled in a graphic organizer for each session we attended, which included the flipped ones.

The discussions in the sessions in which I received pre-conference materials proved meaningful. We were able to cover a lot of material in a short amount of time, especially in one session at which I sat next to two other English teachers and we had all come prepared.  We had our SMART goals written out, bulleted, and highlighted like no other!

Although I am anxious to try a flipped classroom, I couldn’t help calculate the pitfalls for my regular English students, some of whom rarely bring a pencil, rarely read or do homework outside of class, and rarely take advantage of doing work in class when the time is given.

For example, I found it funny when someone in the room asked a question about how Blackboard Collaboration compares to E-tutoring, two remote ways in which IDLA helps students with questions. It had been covered in the pre-conference materials. I felt both smug and slighted; I privately gloated because I could have answered, but, at the same time, I sized up my fellow learner as a slacker.

Although I came away enriched by participating in a model of the flipped classroom, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the flipped classroom is just another way to say, “do your homework.”

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June 6 2015

If you liked the movie, ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ you might like the next JEA One Book

Shelfari Book Shelf

In the Shelfari on the sidebar, I’m featuring JEA One Books.

The next featured book, A Curious Mind, sounds really exciting.  According to the JEA website, the book is about the author’s conversations with “some of America’s most intriguing personalities.”  Several movies, one with which I am familiar —  “A Beautiful Mind” — allegedly emerged from such moments of curiosity.

Originally, I hesitated to join the JEA One Book community, because I couldn’t imagine fitting into my schedule one more obligation.

However, I was hooked after trying JEA’s first pick: Amanda Shipley’s The Smartest Kids in the World–and How They Got That Way.  Even though I’m a teacher and help write curriculum for my district, the tugging dread about reading it was that I suspected it was full of pedagogical advice that would put me to sleep.  It was a page-turner from the get-go.

As soon as I heard about the next book selection (Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s All the President’s Men), I felt that needling voice in my mind say, “Is this book really all it’s been hyped to be?”  Well, yes, it is.  Again, I suspiciously opened to the first page, and spent the next three days mesmerized by the story and all the reporting wisdom.

So, I’ve quit questioning which book is selected (there is always a vote on the JEAlistserv) or whether I have enough time to read it.  If, like me, you are a fan of journalism, JEA One Book is a great place to share your enthusiasm.

May 23 2015

It’s Memorial Day Weekend; time to relax and create a blog!

IMG_0192Here goes!

This blog has been long in the making.  I completed my JEA Master Journalism Educator certification by writing a story about how scholastic journalism programs are incorporating blogging.

That was two years ago, and many attempts in my beginning journalism classroom to successfully incorporate it.  My hope is that I become such a proficient online writer that I can be a better guide to my student  bloggers.

Additionally, my hope is to create an informative blog for ISJA.  Wish me luck!