Techer Testimonial – Jake Duncan



Jake is a 6th grade bilingual social studies teacher in New Caney, Texas. He was born and raised in East Texas and graduated Salutatorian from Splendora High School in 1997. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Radio/Television/Film with a minor in Speech Communications in 2000 and began teaching in Aldine ISD in 2001. He decided to return to his hometown to teach the growing bilingual population of Splendora. He began his career in elementary before moving on to Splendora Intermediate, Splendora Junior High, and Splendora High Schools where he spent 10 years working with the ESL and bilingual programs. He earned his Master of Education degree in Instructional Leadership with a specialization in Bilingual Education and Effective Instructional Strategies for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners. He became an Instructional Technology Specialist for the Region 6 Education Service Center in Huntsville, Texas in the fall of 2011 but returned to the classroom the following school year. His heart will always be with his students. He is a huge proponent of effectively utilizing technology tools in the classroom to promote student achievement. He believes that students need to learn how to use the devices that they have to promote their own growth and self-directed learning.

Favorite Tech Tool:

He has too many favorite tech tools to even try to mention. His best response would be “the best one for the task at hand.” He is currently a huge fan of everything Google,, Chirp, and Kahoot! Ask him tomorrow, and you probably won’t get the same answer.

Upcoming Projects:

His students are in a two-way dual-language bilingual language immersion program at New Caney Sixth Grade Campus. They strive to learn about cultures in their hometown and all over the world. They use Google Hangouts often to speak with members of each of the respective cultures that they study and have begun a postcard exchange program with various schools in Mexico and Central and South America. They will be involved in a global book study led by a Spanish school in Barcelona in January and will continue to work to connect with classes around the world however they can. Jake’s classes are supporting 5 small business ventures in a variety of locations through Kiva. They have also begun and plan to continue a community sponsored adult bilingual education program through the YMCA.


Jake Duncan

Twitter: @duncanbilingual

Google+: +jakeduncan



Write About This + December = A Writing Wonderland


Mrs. Marino’s 4th Grade Class

Isn’t December one of the best months to be a teacher?  I love the atmosphere, the school being decorated, the Christmas magic.  I love the kids telling me what their traditions are and seeing the light in their eyes.  Christmas is magical.  Teaching is magical.  Every teacher knows there are a ton of Christmas themed units, assignments, projects, etc the weeks leading up to Christmas break.  I love it all.  Santa letters, Christmas acrostic poems, we are even writing Christmas plays this year.  Tuesday I checked out the iPads with the intention of writing Christmas stories with the app called Write About This.  May I back track?  Last year when we received our iPads there were so many cool apps for reading and math and science and grammar…but nothing for writing.  I teach 4th grade WRITING, so I was a little bummed.  I was fortunate to have the chance to attend iPadpalooza in Austin this summer (follow them on Twitter) where I sat in a session called Celebrity App Smack-Down.  I can not remember for the life of me if it was @ipadsammy or @techchef4u that presented on Write About This, all I knew at the time is that I wanted to a round-off flip flop down the middle of the auditorium.  The wheels started turning in my mind, and I started writing down ways to utilize this app in my class.  I seriously tell every teacher I meet about this app.  It is hands down my favorite writing app.  We literally use it every week.  There are a ton of built in prompts with beautiful visuals.  You can also take your own picture and make up your own prompt.  My students LOVE that.  Their favorite thing to do is to email their finished project to me and their parents.  Back to this week…when the students came in my room I told them to go to Write About This and pick their Christmas picture.  Some chose the Santa and some chose the snowman.  Then I told them they had a choice.  Kids love choices.  They could write a letter to Santa, an acrostic poem, or a creative writing story about Christmas.  The kids did an awesome job.  I loved their stories and their poems.  It always tickles me to see their thoughts.  Listen, if you are new to tech, scared of tech, don’t know what to do…start with this app.  It is simple; but it is AWESOME.  The possibilities are endless with this one, and it is beyond easy to navigate.  Merry Christmas to everyone.  I pray that you always remember why you began teaching….Let Your Light Shine!

A Simple Post + an Amazing PLN = A New Point of View

@bookcreatorapp I’m thinking of a Grinch project w Book Creator Retelling point of view from the Grinch! #2ndchat #warrenisd #txed #elemchat

Mrs. Moses’ 2nd Grade Classroom
This simple post has connected me to amazing educators across the globe. I did not know what was in store for this project when I started brainstorming.  Collaboration is a powerful resource for teachers. Carol McLaughlin and Jonathan So replied to my post and asked if they could collaborate and join along with my project. You probably know what I was thinking…YES!!!  This all happened just a few days ago!  The project is to re-write “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” from the Grinch’s point of view.  The students will create an eBook using Book Creator.  It is a simple app to use.  The students will be able to manage this app while being creative. If you are not a connected teacher, become one!  It will revive you, inspire you, and change your point of view of the classroom.  It will transform the way you think, teach, interact with students/teachers.  I was so excited to have Carol and Jonathan connecting with me on this project.  Once collaboration was initiated, we started Google Docs for Grinch Ideas, which is great when teachers live across the country from each other!   Carol started a Pinterest Board for Grinch resources, and she created a Google template for our groups to discuss the Grinch’s Feelings.  Jonathan created a Dropbox to save book pages and other great links to use for POV.  He created a graphic organizer template for students to use when organizing the Grinch’s feelings.  We are using Google images to use as clipart for our eBooks.  It’s been the best collaboration of sharing resources.  We are connected, learning more, and loving every moment!  Who will benefit….the students!  Thanks to my PLN (Personal Learning Network) and the decision to become a connected teacher, I’m able to join with amazing teachers across the world to learn, share, and grow.  At a more local level, I had a discussion with Joseph Iglesias in Family Dollar a few weeks ago about technology in the classroom.  We work at the same district. I believe if it had not been for Twitter, and being connected, we would have nodded and kept walking.  We had a great conversation about the new TouchCast updates and other things going on in our classrooms.  How amazing! Teachers inspiring teachers!

Follow Carol on Twitter,  @missmac100           Follow Joseph on Twitter, @joig80           Follow Jonathan on Twitter, @MrSoclassroom

QR Codes + Math = Magical Multiplication


Mrs. Reese’s 4th Grade Math 

Are you new to technology and wondering where to start?  QR codes can be used in any grade level and with any subject matter.  QR codes are easy to design and even easier to scan.  So, what is a QR code?  QR stands for Quick Response.  They are basically like a bar code.  You can scan them, and in return they give you information. is my favorite website to build my codes.  It takes you through making a QR code step-by-step.  My favorite scanner is i-nigma.  On this particular day we were using QR codes for a multiplication review.  Mrs. Reese is new to tech, but she is not scared to try!  We decided that simple QR codes would be a great lesson for her and the students to start off with in math.  We simply made 12 different QR codes.  Each QR code was a double digit multiplication problem.  The students scanned the codes, and then they worked the problems out on paper.  Yes, I know, what’s the big deal?  It is the same as a multiplication worksheet, right?  The big deal is that students have a device in their hands, and the device makes them feel like they are in control.  The device is fun.  The kids are digital natives, and they can relate to these devices.  They have been raised using these devices.  They can use these devices better than most adults.  Mrs. Reese who has been a teacher for 37 years watched her students diligently work their multiplication problems out and then beg for more problems.  She said, and I quote, “I’m sold on these iPads.  If they can make kids that excited about working multiplication problems, then I am sold.”  Teachers are afraid of technology, but not if they have guidance.  Some teachers (like myself) need step-by-step instructions and some can pick up things quicker.  Either way, we need to provide each other with support and tips to help each other effectively implement technology into our 21st century classrooms.  These students thrive on it.  They love it.  Technology is key in promoting a love of learning that will last a lifetime.


Techer Testimonial – Aimee Bartis



Aimee is an Educational Technology Specialist in Sunnyvale, Texas. She is a passionate about education and educational technology.  She loves working with teachers to integrate technology while keeping the focus on curriculum.  Aimee loves to say “If technology doesn’t support the curriculum, you’ve just got a dog and pony show”.  A native Texan, Aimee attended East Texas State University and received her Masters at Texas A&M University in College Station.  She has a GT endorsement from the University of North Texas and school librarian certification from Texas A&M University Commerce (formerly East Texas State University). A school nerd, Aimee has had to promise her loving husband Ryan that she will not take additional classes (for now). A thinker of big thoughts, Aimee blogs on the education website, www.gettingsmart.  Aimee is the mom of 3 active boys and 2 crazy chihuahuas.

Favorite Tech Tool: Google Apps for Education, hands down.  I love the way students can collaborate in real time with Google Apps.  Commenting and revision history are powerful tools for teachers within Google Docs.  GAFE also removes many home-school technology barriers such as incompatible systems and lost jump drives.   Number two would have to be Discovery Education.  DE offers so many resources for teachers and students.  Also, their teacher network, DEN can’t be beat!

Upcoming projects: I teach one class of 8th grade tech apps.  This year we are ‘hacking’ our class.  We looked at the Tech Apps standards and broke them down into skills and behaviors.  I direct taught the skills.  For the rest of the year, students are solving problems that are relevant to them while mastering the remaining standards.  After Thanksgiving, my students are educating us on their first problem/solution.  I’m so excited to hear what they’ve come up with.  We are blogging our journey at

How to contact Aimee:

Aimee Bartis

Twitter: @aimeegbartis

Google +: +aimeebartis