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Tutoring For Your Needs • Passion For Education

Se habla español.

A Guest Post by Joan Thomas

 Posted by at 10:58 am
Jun 252011
As a lifelong linguist, I am passionate about communication.  Words fascinated me from an early age, in particular the choice of words and imagery people use to describe everyday events.  A single adjective can tell far more about someone’s perspective than you might suppose.  If you  listen closely to the exact selection of words, wondering why a certain noun or phrase was used, it can be most revealing and memorable.  Naturally, with English practically the internet/world language, I am most determined to get the (third) world to read.  For the poverty stricken, education is their lifeline, which is why it is my earnest wish to teach
the sounds of our alphabet with my highly efficient www.readingscheme “Ann Steps Up”.
Your name appears in Book 8
“Zeb cannot get up.”
It is an entirely phonetic sentence with the drawing of a baby in a cradle.

Joan Thomas, Author of “Ann Steps Up”

*Mrs. Joan Isabel Thomas (neé Cox) holds an honours degree in French and German, and also a Certificate in Education with commendation.

Having taught English, French and German as foreign languages for 40 years, she found that there was an absence of any systematic scheme for parents to teach their pre-school children to read, and as a result, found it necessary to write “Ann Steps Up”, to ensure the mastery of basic alphabet phonemes.

Joan engaged the whole Thomas family in the initial word collection and then again recently in the production of the comical illustrations. She is indebted to her husband Roger and son-in-law Chris Sedlmayr for their technological assistance.

Visit http://www.readingscheme.co.uk/ to learn more about Joan Thomas and her Phonetic Reading Scheme.


Jun 092011

What are your hobbies?

My hobbies are languages, music, belly dancing and travel.

What was your education?

I trained as a linguist/teacher at the universities of Keele, Paris, Munich and Hamburg. B.A.Hons.   (French and German) and  Biology as a subsidiary subject. Cert.Ed. with Commendation

What was your greatest academic achievement?

My greatest achievement was 3 grade As in English, French and German at A Level in 1964, when a pass was good enough. I entered the London Grammar School system as “Mistress for French” on graduation.

What is your background in teaching?

During my children’s school years I taught English as a foreign language privately. As a supply teacher, I taught all things to all ages at all levels.

What is your greatest achievement in education?

My greatest achievement in education was assessing the level and knowledge of my pupils and rapidly filling the gaps with maximum encouragement.

Can you tell us about any projects you have done or are working on?

My books  “Ann Steps Up” and “Speak French Now!” reflect my fun filled approach with a serious basis.

How do you feel about one-on-one tutoring?

One to one tutoring is the ultimate luxury.  I love it.

What is your area of expertise in reference to education?

My expertise lies in analysing my pupils’ needs, supporting and instructing them.

What are you MOST passionate about?

I am passionate about using languages to increase a person’s  ability to express himself  clearly, thereby  increasing his influence and confidence.

Do you have any great stories about your educational experiences?

“OH! Do it again Miss!”  Such was the plea  to repeat my lesson on German numbers to 13 year olds.  Not sechs (6) as one might have supposed, but zehn, (10) complete with stretch grimace and mad eyes.

How do you help your students become better readers?

My message is to start at the very beginning and ram home the basics repeatedly by different means.  Hence the publication of my phonetic reading scheme to teach the sounds of the alphabet.  Mastery of German depends on it!

Do you use Social Media?

I use Twitter and Facebook.

What is your ultimate goal when it comes to education?

My wish is to teach the (third) world to read.

Joan Thomas, Author of "Ann Steps Up"

*Mrs. Joan Isabel Thomas (neé Cox) holds an honours degree in French and German, and also a Certificate in Education with commendation.

Having taught English, French and German as foreign languages for 40 years, she found that there was an absence of any systematic scheme for parents to teach their pre-school children to read, and as a result, found it necessary to write “Ann steps up”, to ensure the mastery of basic alphabet phonemes.

Joan engaged the whole Thomas family in the initial word collection and then again recently in the production of the comical illustrations. She is indebted to her husband Roger and son-in-law Chris Sedlmayr for their technological assistance.

Visit http://www.readingscheme.co.uk/ to learn more about Joan Thomas and her Phonetic Reading Scheme.

May 312011

When I reflect on my absolute favorite Web 2.0 Tool, one site jumps to mind: Animoto.  I believe that in order to be great, one must be multi-faceted. Animoto, a video slide share program, meets this standard.  With a bit of teacher and student creativity, the possibilities become opportunities that open the door for project-based learning and higher level thinking.

Animoto is a free site that anyone can register to access; however, there are premium accounts that do charge.  With the premium, or pro, accounts, one is able to do more with the site.  Luckily for teachers, Animoto offers an education account that offers teachers access to some of the pro features, without charge.

Students can use photographs or short video segments they have shot themselves or that they have downloaded.  First, the designer selects the ‘style’ of video they wish to create.  Then, they begin adding their photos.  Once the images are saved, simply upload the pictures to the Animoto site.  Next, you are prompted to add text.  Finally, choose music from a library or download files you already have – and ‘create!’  Once the video has rendered, you can link to your new creation or embed the film into your site and share with others.

Animoto can be used to deepen vocabulary knowledge as students use images to describe a term and add text to explore and define the meaning.  Videos can be used to make book trailers for novels or to sequence the events of a story’s plot line.  One could showcase the life of a famous explorer or retell through imagery the major events leading up to a key point in history.  Students could compare and contrast cell types or weather patterns by visually displaying their content.  Partners could team up to develop an archive of images to depict geometrical patterns used in real-world context.  The possibilities are endless and cross-curricular integration becomes simple as Animoto lends such a simple project-based platform to enhance student creativity.

Here are a few Animoto videos (in case you’re interested):

Erin Klein from Kleinspiration

*Erin Klein is  a mother of two, wife, and a teacher in Michigan. She enjoys exploring creative ways to integrate technology into her curriculum and sharing those ideas with others. She’s a member of the National Writing Project, technology co-chair of the Michigan Reading Association, A Plus Workshop Presenter, SMART Exemplar Educator, and Teaching Blog Addict Author. She has her Master’s of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and enjoys traveling the country to give presentations and meeting amazing educators along the way.

Erin is the author Kleinspiration, a free teacher resource sharing blog.  Visit her website at www.Kleinspiration.com.

May 232011

Recently, I was asked to write a guest blog for The Tutor Solution’s website. While I was flattered, I was also quite panicked as I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. Whether an essay, a report, or even a blog post, I have always been hesitant to put my opinion out there in writing. Don’t get me wrong, I have loads of opinions but having one written down is a whole other story.

So, as I was pondering I went about my daily life looking for something to inspire me to put my pen where my mouth is. Luckily, my weekly #edchat topic (a group of educators chatting online about an education topic via twitter) this past week started something bubbling that has finally come to the surface for me. During #edchat we talked extensively about passion and what it meant to have passion in education and life. While I was engaged in the discussion, I still didn’t have anything solid for my guest blog spot. Luckily, it finally percolated into a rolling boil at the end of the week during another Thursday evening homework session.

Here’s what I’ve come to realize and an opinion I think is worth writing down. For our children to be successful students, parents have to be passionate about learning. As an educator I know and was taught that the most successful learning happens when teachers make lessons significant, relevant, engaging, and challenging for each student. But in reality, that is a very tall order. With up to 28 students in a class, the will may be there but the execution of that mantra may not always come to fruition. However, I am also a parent. With a 1 to 1 ratio between me and my son, I can easily call upon these four words to directly affect his learning at school. By focusing on creating an environment at home that draws directly on these four ideas, I can model how to be passionate about learning and help him see the passion inherent in learning too. Focusing our discussions regarding his homework or schoolwork on seeing the significance and relevance in our everyday lives and by engaging him through examples from our own lives and experiences, I have been helping him see the value in his own learning. Now when we go to do his homework assignments, we enjoy finding ways to relate what he is learning and practicing to what we have experienced together. He enjoys the challenge in personalizing his learning and so do I.

Although we don’t have any tried and true formula for these connections, I can give a few examples to help illustrate what we’ve been doing. Take spelling for instance. It’s that one topic that seems to persist in all grades and in all schools and is dreaded by many children around the world. In my house, my son and I try and find examples of time when those words apply to something we have done or experienced as a way to make it relevant to his experiences. If the word was “father” for example, we would draw a picture of our fathers (I join in too!) and tell stories about them such as “Once when my father did…” or “I remember my father wearing….” After getting a few stories out there, we complete whatever the assignment is for the word (normally a sentence). It’s amazing how putting the context for that word makes it more significant and engaging for him. The sentences now are not a chore but a reminder of a wonderful conversation that we had about his dad. The same happens for math. When we are doing word problems, I often change the story so that it is more significant for him. I change the names of the characters to be family members or change the items that they are buying to replicate an experience that we had together recently. Although the changes may be superficial to an adult, they transform the problem into something that matters to him. We normally start with just telling stories and “remembering” the time that we went shopping or bought those items together. After the discussion, the problems always seem to make so much more sense to him. He remembers our story and connects the math to the real-world situation making it easier for him to figure out. While I am sure that his teacher has given him many similar examples, these are ones about him, for him, and including his family. Again, it’s not magic but the relevance, the significance is there helping him rise to the challenge of solving the problem on his own.

So now, as I’ve been reflecting on what it is that I’m passionate about, I’ve realized that I’m passionate about showing my son my passion for learning. Having my son see me as a learner, as someone who’s curious, as someone who wants to connect what he’s doing to our personal experiences has given me so much more joy than I ever expected it would. For me and for my son’s future, that’s something worth writing down and remembering: I am passionate about learning too!

Jessica V. Allen

Jessica V. Allen graduated from Edinboro University in Pennsylvania in 1995 and began her teaching career working just outside the Navajo Reservation in Holbrook, Arizona. After a number of years in small towns, she began searching for more contact from the world around her.  Her search led her to the international school circuit where she started teaching internationally in 2000 just outside London in Southwest England. After meeting her husband abroad, they moved to Singapore where they continued to teach in international schools. While in Asia, she was trained as a workshop leader for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (IBPYP) in 2004 and received her Masters of Educational Technology from Deakin University in Australia in 2006. Since then she has been working passionately to bring the best of inquiry and international education together with technology.  Her latest adventures have brought her to Santiago, Chile where she currently works as the Infant and Lower School curriculum coordinator.  She is always looking to make contact with others around the world on Twitter.  Follow her: @jessievaz12

May 162011

Web 2.0 tools are all the rage in education today, yet no tool can ever replace the expertise of an educator. From the age of oral tradition to the development of written language to modern technology and Web 2.0 tools, communication and the sharing of knowledge has been the key to education. Two Web 2.0 tools used in education today to encourage communication in the educational setting are Skype and Google Docs. These tools allow students to communicate, collaborate, discuss, evaluate, and create with other students down the hall or around the world, thus empowering students a greater sense of ownership over their work and a better understanding of their place in the global community. However, there is a Web 2.0 tool that has personally enhanced my professional knowledge and has become my number one Web 2.0 tool of choice. This tool empowers educators through a support network of other educators, thus enabling them to stay abreast of current topics in education and to pass this knowledge on to their students in the classroom. What is this tool? Twitter, of course!

With the cutting of school budgets and stinging words of those outside the educational spectrum making headlines, the ability for educators to attend timely, relative professional development sessions has become scarce. This decrease in professional development has a direct negative impact in the classroom where teachers do their best to prepare students to enter a global 21st Century workforce using the 20th Century education model from which the majority of today’s educators were trained. Twitter offers an alternative.

A few years ago I attended a professional development conference for school librarians where I learned how to open a Twitter account, the history of Twitter, what a tweet is, how to retweet, and a few other functionary aspects of Twitter. Always eager to learn new ways to grow professionally I opened a Twitter account…and there it sat…until Shelly Terrell’s Teacher ReBoot Camp: The 30 Goals Challenge provided my first glimpse into the awesome personal learning network (PLN) Twitter can provide. It wasn’t long before I discovered the hash tag that I have learned more from in just one year than in 19 years of professional development sessions and over 6 years of college: #edchat.

What exactly can #EdChat do:

  • Develop your Personal Learning Network (PLN) by engaging in conversations with other educators.
  • Gather research for an article, blog, or presentation.
  • Collaborate with others in solving an issue at your school.
  • Exchange ideas to improve an upcoming lesson plan.
  • Receive constructive criticism on a lesson plan, presentation, or idea.
  • Share tips and advice for educational endeavors, such as holding a parent education workshop.
  • Show new teachers how useful Twitter is for having thought-provoking conversations.
  • Scan the discussion topics to decide which topics educators are interested in for your blog.
  • Poll educators to gather research for your blog post or articles.

With just five years until I can retire my passion as an educator has been reenergized due to Twitter. My enthusiasm has incited passion in other educators who like me, hunger to know more but feel confined by the limited professional development offered through their school district. Point in fact, just last month Twitter lead to my discovery of a “rogue” movement of plugged in, empowered educators across the country known as EdCamp. EdCamp conferences are “events organized by local groups of educators who strive to create an UNconference environment that encourages participant-driven discussions in an informal area.  By attending, educators are guaranteed to learn something new, meet other motivated educational enthusiasts, and receive information that can immediately be applied in the classroom and professional life.”

I attended EdCamp Birmingham and it was hands down the best professional learning experience I have yet to encounter. At EdCamp Birmingham I presented a session with my professional idol, Jerry Blumengarten (aka: @cybraryman1), met and formed professional friendships with other like minded educators, and was able to engage in meaningful discussions regarding current topics in education. I can not begin to emphasis how empowering it has been to take professional development into my own hands. Only the educated are free.

Contact me on Twitter at @bknrd5974 to join the learning adventure.

Nikki Robertson

“Cybraryman Internet Catalogue.” Cybraryman Catalogue of Educational WebSites – Educational Web Sites for Teachers, Educators, Parents, Students. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2011. <http://www.cybraryman.com/chats.html>.

“Oh The Adventures You Will Have If Only….” Teacher Reboot Camp. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2011. <http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/2009/07/13/oh-the-adventures-you-will-have-if-only/>.

Robertson, Nikki D. “EdCampBham = Giant Vulcan Mind Meld.” The True Adventures of a High School Librarian. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2011. <http://educationrejuvenation.blogspot.com/2011/05/edcampbham-giant-vulcan-mind-meld.html>.

“What Is #Edchat?” Teacher Reboot Camp. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 May 2011. <http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/2009/07/30/what-is-edchat/>.



Apr 282011

Beau Hodson From www.Integrious.com

A topic that I feel deserves some attention is that of integrity as it applies to the “education seeker.” So here I want to share some thoughts on what my view of “an integrious student” would be.

My educational background includes a bachelor’s degree, and a passion for self administered education that is constantly on-going. However, when I look back at my time in high school and college, I remember myself as a student that for the most part showed up, and got decent grades because that’s what was required of me. I know I was only going through the motions, because all I cared about was basketball, even though I wasn’t all that great. And although I did play small college basketball, I should have valued my education more. It is also no coincidence that at the time and age, I had no idea what integrity meant, both in regards to my values and how I live my life. If I were to enroll in any educational program again I would approach it very differently and as such I believe I would both learn a great deal and enjoy it more.

So here is what I would do if I could go back, or a code of values and principles if you will, and I think some of this can apply to every student:

1. I would value it more, and I would take an ownership and consider it “my education” as opposed to a general education that I was getting, just the same as anyone else.
2. I would be more open minded in certain subjects, especially the ones where I thought I knew something.
3. In the other subjects of which I knew nothing about, I would think for myself a lot more, I would ask more questions. I sat there and simply took much of the information in at face value, just assuming it was true and right. Not everything you hear from a teacher and read in a text book is true and some of it is very subjective, so it may not apply to you or your situation perfectly.
4. I would pursue more opportunities outside the classroom: new sports, clubs, organizations, community service, and certainly tutoring for the areas that I needed help or wanted to excel in.
5. I would participate more in class and group settings. I was always very shy and as such I wasn’t engaged and mentally present at all times, meaning I spent too much time day dreaming.

6. I would spend some time trying to get to know the teachers. This can serve many purposes, but two primarily. First, if I had some sort of rapport with the teacher I would more likely pay more attention to them. Secondly, I would be able to better ascertain their view point, and subjectivity if I knew a little about their background and personality type. Any teacher will inherently put their perspective and personality into the education and it is important to know where they are coming from.

So listen up kids, I know most of these ideas might not appeal to you yet, but trust me these principles will serve you very well. I run a website, called the Integrious Project, that works to empower people to live integriously, or live with integrity. One of our main objectives is to build a community and engage people to share their perspective as it relates to integrity. I invite you to join us at www.integrious.com!

Apr 272011

“To improve the world, you must work to improve the people within it.” – Maurice Myers

Innovative Educator: Maurice Myers

I had the pleasure of working with Maurice Myers for three years when I was teaching.  Maurice was regarded highly by students, faculty and the administration.  His devotion to his student’s was intense and he has committed his life to improving the lives of others.

Maurice is attending the Education Doctorate program at California State University, Fullerton and currently teaches 11th grade AP and College Prep English at Ayala High School in Chino Hills, California.  His expertise is in essay writing and reading comprehension.  He loves reading, martial arts, attending grad school and traveling.

Education, family and social justice are his passions and he loves helping kids realize that they are capable of learning and doing more than they thought of before entering his classroom each year.

As an educator, Maurice realizes the importance that education plays in developing our youth.  “Student achievement,” Maurice says, “encompasses more than doing well on standardized testing; a student’s preparation in life must include more than just ‘test prep’ but ‘life prep.'”

Although Maurice is a classroom teacher, he does believe that tutoring “has the capability of greatly impacting students and improving their academic performances.”

I am happy to call Maurice not only a friend, but one of The Tutoring Solution’s Innovative Educators.  His devotion to his student’s is profound and he is one of the most genuine guys I know.  Thank you Maurice for your efforts in improving the lives of the student’s that walk through your classroom.

A Community of Collaboration

 Posted by at 1:17 pm
Apr 262011

What specific methods can schools use to involve parents in a positive way in their child’s education? – #Edchat topic for April 26, 2011.

Collaboration between parents and schools has proven to be difficult for a variety of reason’s over the years.  As a private tutor, I have found that a student’s success is often related to the amount of involvement that a child’s parent takes in their schooling.  The more active the parent, the more likely the child will succeed in school.  Parental involvement; however, is not easy to accomplish.  In order to increase parent involvement in the school setting our community and culture need to change.

At the High School level, it is extremely rare to have parent involvement for a variety of reason’s.  And most of these reasons are cultural reasons.  We have built a school culture that deters parent involvement.  When a parent contacts a school, it is usually to address some negative aspect of schooling.  Maybe a student is failing due to difficulties their having with a teacher or maybe issues that are arising with other students at the school.  As a former teacher, I can say that I never got one phone call from a parent that was not positive in it’s tone.  (I did have many parents tell me in person some rather flattering things, but that was because their student’s were struggling in several classes and tended to like mine.)  As a teacher, this was highly discouraging.  Why would I go out of my way to talk to parents when they are questioning my policies or trying to alter the way I do things?  The culture that we have developed discourages parent involvement.  When the administration or teachers deal with parents it is usually trying to address some problem the student is having.  Our school culture has deterred the involvement of parents.

Society also has  arole to play in the lack of parent involvement in our schools.  Divorce rates are over 50% and more and more parents are working full time which leaves less time to be involved with their child’s education.  American’s, compared to other major nations seem to undervalue the teaching profession more so than other countries.  The events in Wisconsin and the discussions about decreasing pay for teachers is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the respect that teacher’s in our society receive.  Education needs to be the main focus for our children if we are to continually thrive and move forward as a society.

How do we fix the problem of collaboration between schools and parents?  We need to change our attitudes and beliefs about education from all sides of the spectrum.  School’s need to be more willing to involve parents.  Parent’s need to be more willing to get involved.  Communities need to promote education at it’s most basic level.  And our society needs to realize the importance of education and the vital role that it will play in making our country great.

As a teacher, I must admit that it was nerve racking contacting parents for any reason.  If I did not bother to call them their was less of a risk that I would get into any sort of trouble by my administration and I would have more time to prepare lessons or grade papers.  Their was really no incentive for me to contact parents from the school.  However, I contacted parents anyways because I knew it’s value for the student’s in my classroom.  One thing that every teacher should do throughout the course of the year is to talk to each child’s parents and let them know how much you value having them in your class.  The only time parents receive calls from school, it’s to let them know that their child did something wrong.  It’s no wonder that parents don’t get involved.  As a teacher, you can help to get parents more involved by making positive phone calls home to parents.  Recently, I wrote a blog post on Maggie Cary’s website, www.classroomtalk.com, outlining how I used to contact parents.  You can find the article here:  http://classroomtalk.com/?p=439.

The community as a whole needs to become involved in education.  As parents, or community members I would encourage you to get involved with your local school(s) at least once a month.  Student’s will appreciate it, you will develop a better understanding of the school structure and your presence will be more likely to encourage other’s to promote and assist in education as well.

As a society, we need to address the issues that are most important for our success.  It is my firm belief that education is what will make this country and world a better place.  Imagine if we spent the time, money and energy into education that we have devoted to military operations that, while be it arguable, a generally agreed are wars for oil.  If we had focused that money on education our dependence on oil could have been eliminated.  Teachers and schools are constantly questioned and blamed for the poor development of our children, but it is not our teachers.  It is our focus.  If our focus were on education, our school system would bypass every major country that is currently ahead of us in that field.  The sad truth is that education is not a primary focus.

In order to increase parent involvement our schools, our community and our society need to make a concerted effort to make education and communication a priority.  Communities and parents need to assist in the development of their local schools and take an active role in the lives of their c0mmunities children.  Schools and teachers need to reach out to parents and business leaders to get them involved in their schools.  By changing our culture, we can improve schools through parent involvement.

Q & A with Eric Sheninger

 Posted by at 3:18 pm
Feb 272011
What are you MOST passionate about? 



Creating and sustaining a 21st Century teaching and learning culture that meets the diverse needs of each and every student at New Milford High School. I feel that it is essential that all learners in my school be cultivated into critical thinkers, problem solvers, and creationists while developing a sense of meaning and relevancy form the instruction that they receive. My passion for accomplishing these goals is fueled by the New Milford students, teachers, and community members that I am fortunate enough to work with every day. There is no better job in the world than that of Principal at NMHS!

What is your greatest success story from the website?



The feedback I received one day from a parent in my District. It reaffirmed to me that my decision to embrace technology, especially the use social media, and use it as a tool to assist me as an educational leader was a wise choice.

What are you trying to accomplish with your website? 



My website functions as a digital portfolio by providing a variety of educational stakeholders a glimpse into my work as the Principal of New Milford High School. It has enabled me to become extremely transparent and assist in further establishing my vision of 21st Century leadership.

What has been the most rewarding experience so far?  The most fun?  The most entertaining?My most rewarding experience was at graduation after my first full year as Principal. To my complete surprise the students of the class of 2007 awarded me with a plaque that bears these words, “To Our Principal, Mr. Sheninger. Thank you for your constant positive outlook, your unwavering enthusiasm for what you do, and your never-ending determination to make New Milford High School the best it can be. We can only hope, many years from now, after all the successes you will undoubtedly achieve, you will look back with much fondness and sweet memories of your first graduating senior class, the Class of 2008. I literally had to choke back tears. My most fun and entertaining experience happened at the same time in June of 2007. In collaboration with OfficeMax, I staged a reality television show called “Schooled” at NMHS. Students in our music department were made to think that they were going to lose the entire program unless they all took this crazy text. With hidden cameras everywhere, they had to rehearse this impossible musical number in a short period of time and then perform it to judges. After they thought the program was doomed I informed them that the entire days was a prank. They were then treated to a private concert by the All American Rejects and received a bag from Office Max valued at $500. The show aired on the CW Network that August and I was able to get the school $60,000 for our participation.

What has been your favorite post?  The most commented on post?  The most viewed post?



My favorite posts are the ones that celebrate the work of NMHS students and staff. They truly symbolize the headway we are making in terms of changing the school culture and fostering innovative practices. Make no mistake about it, I like to brag and share these accomplishments any chance I get. These posts tend to attract the most attention in terms of viewership and comments because they are authentic, models of innovation, and provide a glimpse as to how we are preparing our students.

How long have you been running your website?  What made you start it?  What were you starting to achieve at the beginning?  Has your vision changed?



My website has been live for about a year. The idea came from a company called Allofek12 after they had read a blog post where I discussed branding in education. We formed a partnership and the end result was the creation of a website that assisted me in developing a brand presence for my institution and myself as an educational leader. My website is constantly evolving and I am forever thankful for the support that I still receive from Allofek12 in making sure that it reflects my vision of 21st Century leadership.

How have you been able to build a following?  What has been the most effective and least effective ways?



I joined Twitter in March of 2009 and have been engaged in social media to achieve professional goals for almost two years now. The way in which one uses these resources is all a matter of personal preference. In terms of the way in which I use it to establish a Personal Learning Network (PLN), the most effective ways to build a following are to share (resources, ideas, news), interact (answer questions, provide feedback), and have a complete profile (picture, bio), and not lock your tweets.

Any tips that you would give to someone who is looking to do something similar to you?Everyone is different and as a result professional goals vary. The first step is to establish a vision for your digital presence that reflects your role as an educator. Lurking and learning is the best way to get acclimated. See what other educators are doing in social media spaces and infuse those behaviors that best fit into your vision for a digital presence.

If you could get one message out to the educational community, what would that message be?



Don’t be afraid to take risks, try new ideas, and challenge the status quo in the best interests of kids.

I can see that you have a lot of speaking engagements . . . what topics do you cover?

  • Change leadership
  • Leading and Learning with Social Media
  • Personal Learning Networks
  • Harnessing the Power of Educational Technology (for teachers and administrators)
  • Web 2.0 Apps for Teaching and Learning
  • The Ins and Outs of Twitter for Educators


* For more information about Eric Sheninger, visit his website, www.ericsheninger.com

Feb 192011

According to your website, you have taught pretty much all ages and subjects.  What was your favorite grade to teach?  What did you teach at the High School level?

When I started teaching it was at the high school level. I taught English/Drama. My favorite grade to teach is 1st grade because my favorite subjects to teach are reading and writing. You can’t teach one without the other and children need a strong foundation in each. I find it very rewarding to turn a non reader into a reader in the course of a year.

 What has been the most rewarding experience so far?  The most fun?  The most entertaining?

I also use a self publishing company to publish a class book that the students write each year. This teaches them the writing process from creating ideas, through revision to the final product and empowers them to feel like writers from an early age.

How long have you been running your website?  What made you start it?

I like most teachers that have been teaching a long time have learned a wealth of information over the years. I realized that many parents had questions that they wanted answered but they often didn’t take the time to ask their child’s teacher. When I was working on the National Board the program stresses the importance of 2 way parent/teacher communication. My web site allows me to reach out to both parents and teachers to accomplish that goal.

What has been your favorite post?  The most commented on post?  The most viewed post?

The most popular posts on my site are often the more trendy ones about facebook, iPods, and teaching children to read. Many people find my site through twitter/facebook.