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Cromwell Valley Park

Yesterday and today I had the pleasure of attending another Baltimore County public schools Art teacher workshop, Plein Air Painting at Cromwell Valley park.


This park is BEAUTIFUL! A hidden gem for sure. There are beautiful old structures, meadows, many different trees, and a beautiful creek! We found beautiful rocks, river glass, and a mulberry tree!

It was supposed to rain both days, but it held out for us to get two beautiful days to paint plein air.

En plein air (French pronunciation: ​[ɑ̃ plɛn ɛːʁ], French for outdoors, or plein air painting) is the act of painting outdoors.

My friend Eli and I chose a beautiful spot at the creek that faced lovely rocks!

Normally I paint with acrylics and with an more abstract flair, but these past two days I decided to paint with watercolors. I used Jack Richeson Watercolor palette and I love to results. 

One problem I found in the beginning was that I needed to retrain my brain to see the landscape lightest to darkest. I didn’t leave any of the white from the paper in my first painting. So that is something that I really worked on during the second day.

For my second painting I started out very light.  It took more time, but I felt less frustrated with trying to get the right values where the light was reflecting.

Overall this workshop has given me an opportunity to hone my skills with using watercolor.

Thanks for another awesome professional development, BCPS!

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Maryland Education Play Date

Recently I was able to attend an amazing full day workshop designed to allow teachers time to play with digital technology!  It was a time to  “PLAY” with tools and ideas that we’ve learned about but have not had time to explore!

I met other educators who have experience using tools/apps/programs in the classroom and gain knowledge from their experience! I also shared my knowledge about using the Seesaw web based app in my classroom!

I was also able to be apart of a group of teachers testing and collaborating OER websites for Maryland State Department of Education.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are high-quality, openly licensed, online educational materials that offer an extraordinary opportunity for people everywhere to share, use, and reuse knowledge.


It was truly a day of connecting and collaborating! I made a few new friends and networked with like minds. I totally look forward to the next play date!


PLAYDATE stands for People Learning and Asking Y: Digital Age Teacher Exploration. PLAYDATE originated from the idea that after attending conferences and having the good fortune to learn about “a myriad of new tools, websites, tricks and apps,” upon returning to school, educators had no time to experiment with them. Thus the idea of #PLAYDATE was born.
This Education Week article discusses the first PLAYDATE.
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Day 6 went quick…

Yesterday was a full day of professional development for our digital conversion. It was great seeing my coworkers and learning some new ideas to implement in my classroom!

We learned about different types of co-teaching, which I LOVE! I think co-teaching is something every teacher should experience at least once in their careers. It gives the students the ability to see and learn from different points of view. We also learned about the SAMR model! Its really easy to understand when you use a coffee analogy!

Day 6 List is the 6 things I learned yesterday that I will take with me into this coming school year:

  1. Guided Grouping
  2. Personalized Learning
  3. Customized Learning
  4. ODL Resource Wiki
  5. Kahoot
  6. Socrative

The coolest thing I heard yesterday was about the teacher who does the activity called guided grouping.  I love this idea, and I will be implementing it into my class. I will be adding the idea of having a group D which is for extension activities for the students who have completed their work and grasp the concepts completely.


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the end of the 7th day, and the beginning for 7 schools…

It is now the evening of the 7th day before work, and I am getting myself prepared for a full day of professional development tomorrow. My school is currently a lighthouse school for a new digital initiative in Baltimore County. It is called S.T.A.T., Students & Teachers Accessing Tomorrow:

“A fundamental shift in teaching and learning to meet Baltimore County Public Schools’ (BCPS) Theory of Action: To equip every student with the critical 21st century skills needed to be globally competitive, BCPS must ensure that every school has an equitable, effective digital learning environment. All students will have access to a digital learning device and personalized, blended, interactive curriculum.”

There are 7 middle schools in the county who have been chosen to join 10 elementary schools in implementing an instructional digital conversion.  Starting in the 2015-2016 school year, 6th graders will each have their own HP Revolve, which will aid in the use of integrating technology to create more diverse learning environments.  Our classrooms and curriculum will also need digital conversions, which we have been preparing since the beginning of last year.  Tomorrow will be our second professional development this summer in order to help in this transition.

Personally I am super excited about this opportunity, and so my list for today will be…
The 7 things that instructional digital conversion has me excited about…

  1. Advocating for and receiving Adobe Creative Cloud in order to have advanced software available for my students to create art, and for my yearbook club to edit photos. (fingers crossed)
  2. Students using their devices to create eportfolios of their work in my class.
  3. Students using their devices to connect their art portfolios cross-curricularly for total arts integration.
  4. Social Media aspects of communication and collaboration with people all over the world!
  5. Having resources at their fingertips (literally). Students used to have to go to the computer lab to find images and ideas for their art…now they can look up what they want and need on their device then turn around and instantly apply it directly to their art.
  6. A new classroom environment!
  7. Learning new things about technology from my students

I really am fortunate to be on this journey with my school… and I am excited to see all that we can do from here on out.

Inspiring creativity, curiosity and caring citizenship…GO STAGS!