The Spirit of Competition at ISTE Taught Me Some Things

ISTE18 wasn’t all serious and just focused on teaching and learning but there were some challenges and competitiveness options that existed as well.

In the past, Josue Falaise was beastly at being at the top of the ISTE leader board through the app. He has taken away some notable prizes that were too big to fit into his luggage. He has had to have things shipped back to his home in NJ. Things have changed a little bit with how this was displayed through the app and I think that threw my brother off his game a little bit.

However, Sarah Thomas gave away a Parrot Drone during the EduMatch meetup and I was surprised to be the winner. I knew Josue would be ginning for this prize as he tried skillfully to trade up and switch out. This girl took away this prize and it came home to Georgia with me.

Drone Winning Pic


Christian and Josue face off each other in some physical competition. See who endured their interesting take on the #PushUpChallenge here.

The idea is not to “beat” your challenger but ultimately my takeaways from this were:

  1. There are things that motivate student learners to perform and as educators we need to understand that.
  2. As an educator, it is important that I am physically fit and in good health to be my best self. This self-care is important.
  3. At times, there will be factors that will make it hard for me to complete a task or reach my desired outcome–in that moment.  I must push through (unless it just brings physical harm to me or others) and not give up.
  4. It helps to have a system of accountability to help me push through rough and uncertain patches. It is easier to have a buddy or buddies that can help me cross the finish line.
  5. Have fun and be in good spirits. It’s okay to celebrate others that are victorious. I should be okay with the idea that I won’t win them all!Josue and Christian

As I look at transitioning into an administrative role this fall, I recognize that time will be even more limited for me. I also recognize that I need to be able to support others (even when I may not always want to) and I have to be mentally and physically fit to give them my best. Christian inspires me to do the physical work on me that is necessary. I need to bring my SEXY self back by dropping 10lbs.

As I watch his short videos and images on Instagram about the miles he has run, marathons he has finished,  and ” spin cycling” with other district leaders— I recognize I need to set and accomplish some physical goals by moving my bus too. I wish I lived closer to the city to join him but I will find my tribe at work that share similar interests in running and being fit to get going.

I am in competition with only my self in order to create a better version of her and those next to me will hopefully be there to cheer me on and I recognize they will need me as well.

What are some physical goals you have for yourself? How might you get a team together to meet those goals? Leave a comment below.


Curriculum Associates: A Company on a Mission

Curriculum Associates is on a mission to “make classrooms better places for teachers and students”. Often times, the classroom can appear to be  a stifling place for both teachers and students. The opportunity to be creative and engaging are usually limited and held hostage by time constraints, pacing guides, few opportunities to collaborate with others and an abundance of meaningless meetings.

While visiting select vendors at ISTE, I came across this booth to the far front left entrance of the exhibition hall. It was huge, large and inviting. When it comes to students demonstrating mastery of standards–we have to ensure that teachers understand how to unpack those standards and then be able to differentiate and personalize learning for students. I know this is easier said than done but truly we need something effective and efficient.

Lynn O’Connor speaks to some of the products their company offers (especially iReady), the overhaul and improved look of their teacher interface, Reading and Math programs for grades K-5, discourse cards in English and Spanish and more updates that will come just in time for Back to School.

See her video here.

It wouldn’t do any good if teahcers could not try the product with students and teachers and give us honest feedback. Thank you to Curriculum Associates for giving away a few sets during ISTE for the #passthescopeEDU giveaway challenge.

Chanel Johnson Winning PicTeacher of the Year Winning PicMakisha Winning Pic

Top Left: Chanel Johnson (GA), Top RightMs. Taylor (CA), and Makisha Rogers (GA #NotatISTE).

We look forward to hearing about these ladies’ experience  with the discourse cards this fall and maybe even snagging a set ourselves.

To learn more about this company, their products, and their blended learning options to truly focus on teaching and learning then visit them on Twitter at @CurriculumAssoc or online at .

Fly High with Power Up Toys

Power Up Toys Logo

Do you remember folding paper in multiple ways to fly planes across the field at recess or even in the room when the teacher wasn’t facing the class? Usually, the planes were on white notebook or copy paper and flew fast or slow (depending on your design). I preferred making those fancy open and close paper thingamajig or better yet designing those fancy rose petal drawings that fill up the entire paper (length and width).

Now we all know all things come to an end or they are upgraded and improved. This brings me back to the plain paper planes that would entertain kids for quite some time. During, ISTE18 Conference in Chicago, I came across a company called PowerUp Toys .

Power Up Dart Paper Plane

They took paper planes to a new level by allowing them to be battery operated and controlled by smartphones. Who does that? They did and did it well.

I came across this company through KEH Communications (find them at or on Twitter @KEHappenings) who was able to secure a Powerup Dart for one of the #PasstheScopeEDU  challenge giveaways.

Shai Goitein tells us a little more about the company and some of its product. The sound on the Exhibition Hall was a bit noisy ( I should have attached my external mic). Listen to him here.

Now play is not for just the young but also those that are young at heart. Surprisingly, when the challenge was announced, I thought we would get the PE Teachers and young teachers knocking down the booth’s setup. Ironically, one of the first ones to arrive was a couple that worked in Cedar Bluff, AL. They were so excited to have a full on tutorial and test trials with Shai Goitein before actually competing against each other. I am proud to say that GIRLS ROCK and Ms. Bishop took home the prize. Because, they were both great sports–Shai decided they should each take one home. They were estatic but moreso–think of the students that will also benefit.

How might this align to the curriculum or standards? Glad you asked. Can you find laws of physics to teach that will include gravity, weight, speed, distance, and design? How about implementing the Scientific Method and allowing them to hypothesize, infer, record observations, interpret data and analyze cause and effect through multiple variables.

As an educator, I would love to get my hands on many of these for all the kids in my class and there is an opportunity to do just that! Not only are there multiple videos, templates and challenge ideas (under projects and templates tab) on their websites.

There is a National Paper Plane Power Up Challenge for Fall 2018 in which you can register to get your class in on the hands-on learning and fun. Registration is now open until September 28, 2018 and winners will be announced in November. Prizes will be awarded and your class could be the winner of some awesome PowerUp Kits. The form is simple and quick to fill out and contest rules can be found here.

Power Up Challenge

I am always about play while learning and kids being able to learn concepts in engaging ways. These products do not seem to break the ban and can be ordered through school budget or through Pledge Cents or Donors Choose. I would highly encourage educators to think about the learning styles and interests of your students in order to add something that will spark their curiosity and ignite their learning.

I look forward to seeing more from Power Up Toys in the future and the opportunity for teachers to share or even create and build additional challenges across the grade levels and beyond!