5 Tips for Parents – Cyber Safety: How do we teach our students to be safe, informed, and good digital citizens?


Cyber Safety Resources

Link to this page:  bit.ly/cybersafetyresources

You can hire me to come speak to your parents, students, or teachers.

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How I Spent My Winter Break – Becoming a Google Certified Trainer

I did get a chance to enjoy my winter break, but I also spent a nice portion of it completing my Google for Education Certified Trainer application. I finished it and I feel proud and accomplished.

There are various parts to the application process:

  • Online Trainer Course
  • Trainer Skills Assessment
  • Google Certified Educator Level 1
  • Google Certified Educator Level 2
  • Create 3 minute video
  • Complete application questions

Start HERE  if you’ve already completed both of Google Certified Educator Levels.

This is the video I created. During the first minute I share why I’d like to become a Google Trainer, and in the next two minutes I show you something I call the “Ultimate Google Doc – Classroom Calendar & Agenda”

Let me know if you have any questions about the application process or anything presented in my video

* Edit 1/23/17 *
I was notified today by email that I am now officially a Google for Education Certified Trainer! I am very proud to become a part of such a wonderful community of professionals.

Google for Education Certified Trainer Badge


“Teacher, I Googled You” – An Opportunity for a Lesson in Digital Citizenship

Teacher, I Googled YouYesterday a student said to me “Teacher, I Googled You” and my reply to him was “Good. I’m proud of every single result that comes up. What did you learn about me?”

I always use these moments as an opportunity to talk about digital citizenship. Would they be proud of their own digital footprint? What would their parents or potential employers see? How do we create and maintain a positive digital footprint?

I know that if my students Google me they will discover I used to own a wine shop & wine bar. It’s not a secret, but it’s just not something I freely share with them since it involves a 21 & over subject matter. And honestly, I am proud of how hard I worked while my husband and I owned our business and they can clearly see that just by googling my name. (And yes, I am still as passionate about the world of wine as I am about math & EdTech!)

I can also see somewhat odd traces of my digital footprint like having an IMDB profile because a friend mentioned me in a special thanks in their independent films. I didn’t even realize that existed until I Googled my own name recently. Thank goodness they were films I am also proud to be associated with.

Most importantly, I know I can create & contribute to my own digital footprint just by having a positive & active social media presence. Every blog post and every tweet adds to the image of whom I am online and in person.

So, has a student ever Googled you? How do you talk about digital citizenship with your students?

A Very Cool Pi Day Activity that Does NOT Involve Measuring Circles

Buffon’s Needle Experiment – 

Last year I was looking for an activity to celebrate Pi Day with my students, but I did not want to fall back on the old standby of measuring the circumference and diameter of different circles. After a little research online I found a great video by Numberphile.  Wow, I never imagined we could approximate pi by dropping and counting toothpicks!

Based on other resources I found online, I created a worksheet to lead students through the activity.

Buffon’s Needle Experiment Google Doc version

Buffon’s Needle Experiment pdf version

Here are the results from my Statistics class and also the results from when I did this with adults at a UCLA Professional Development.

Class Data - StatsClass Data - UCLA

Yep, I was pretty happy with the results!  You can also simulate the activity online and get even better results with more trials.

And they had lots of fun working on it as seen in pics below from when it was done at UCLA with math teachers.

We did a little bit of pondering to why this method approximates pi and what throwing toothpicks has to do with the number pi.  The video gives a little clue but other resources online go into much deeper detail if you’re interested.

Enjoy the activity and let me know if you try it out with your students!

My Favorite Chrome Extension (March 2016): Momentum

It started with trying to hide the default new tab page in the Chrome browser.  All I wanted to do was hide my most visited pages (the typical school stuff, but not very interesting) and maybe have something a little more aesthetically pleasing. I tried a few different “new tab” Chrome Extensions, but nothing that really wowed me until I found Momentum. Every day I am greeted with a personal hello and a new inspirational quote. MMomentum - Bad Dayy favorite feature though is the absolutely breathtaking photo that changes every day. It even tells you the location of where the photo was taken.

I became completely sold on Momentum after a particularly difficult day of teaching. I had not experienced a day that trying in many years. During the height of my stressful day I opened a new tab to find the following quote: “Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.” Of course I took a screenshot, took a deep breath, and realized it was just one day that meant very little in my lifetime career of (awesome) teaching.

The Momentum Chrome Extension can display the weather, an ongoing To Do List that syncs across devices, and a daily focus or goal. I like that the features displayed can be customized to your liking.

You can add this FREE Chrome Extension here: Momentum

Do you have a favorite Chrome Extension enjoy using? Feel free to add in comments!

🎉 Woo Hoo, Just Got a Class Set of Chromebooks! Now What? – Chromebook Rollout – DAY ONE

I am very fortunate that last week I received a dedicated set of Chromebooks for my classroom. It was like Christmas, my birthday, and payday all wrapped up into one. Of course, the first thing I did was go straight to Twitter and asked my PLN for advice.

With all the great advice and resources that were shared, I had plenty to start with.  My class was already used to using a laptop cart that the entire math department shared, so the proper use of devices wasn’t new to them. This is the “Rules for Use of Technology” Student Agreement they already signed.

This is what I ended up doing on Day One with the Chromebooks.

Chromebook Rollout – DAY ONE

  1. For each class, I printed a roster that assigned each student their own Chromebook to use in class. This gave them responsibility and a sense of ownership for the new device.  It will also make management easier if there are any problems. I put each roster in a clear sheet protector and taped to the top of the Chromebook cart.
  2. Give them plenty of playtime. They taught each other how to personalize their background and profile photo. This is also when they discover how to save photos and right click (Click the touchpad with two fingers, or hold Alt while clicking with one finger.) They found it pretty cool that it will look the same the next time they log in, regardless of who logged in before them.
  3. Give them more playtime. They’ll want it. I put a timer on so they knew when time was up.
  4. Do an activity that will take advantage of this beautiful device. For example, Game-Based Learning: Google Slides Coordinate Plane Battleship by Alice Keeler or Desmos Activity: Marbleslides
  5. Model the proper way to return the Chromebook to the cart. Which way is the top facing? Which side does the power cord come from? This is important to observe the first few times and correct as they are returning them.

Thank you to everyone for the wonderful advice and resources! I’ve included a few below. Please share any of your experiences, advice or resources in comments.

The In-Class Flip: What It Looks Like in My Classroom

The In-Class Flip

Hacking EducationI was currently reading the super informative and inspiring book “Hacking Education” by Mark Barnes and Jennifer Gonzalez and was so excited when I came across Hack 7: The In-Class Flip because now I finally had a name for what I’ve been experimenting with in my classroom this year.  The Flipped Classroom was not something that could realistically work for me.  The traditional Flipped Classroom is the idea that you switch the act of students learning the material through lecture to now happen at home through the watching of videos before they arrive to class. And now class time can be dedicated to the review, practice, discussion, and application of the lesson.  This is awesome and would be ideal if each student is guaranteed to have a personal device and wifi to watch the videos at home.  This is not the case at my school site.

But I am very fortunate that we do have a shared laptop cart for our math department that just happens to sit in my classroom!  Wow, I realized I could have all the students watch my videos in class and that would be how I could start the class period.  Why would I want to do this?  I’ve created a list of pros and cons that I’ve encountered while implementing my In-Class Flip.

What does a typical day look like?

The students walk in, see Google Classroom agenda displayed in front of class, grab their laptops, open Google Classroom then get to work. This works for both my Algebra One Freshmen and Algebra Two classes.

This is a 34-second video of what the class looks like while watching videos. At first, it is a little “too quiet” but they start to interact with each other again once they finish watching the videos.

And here some photos that show the classroom setup and individual students working. Click on 1st photo to view in gallery.

Please ask any questions you may have or add any words of advice if you have also done this in your classroom.  Thank you!

Use Google Doc as “Live” Class Agenda to Complement Google Classroom

I really love Google Classroom as a tool for posting and organizing my daily agendas, but I found that if a student wanted to find an older assignment or lesson then they had to scroll back in the feed until they found what they were looking for.  Out of necessity I realized the students needed a “Live” Agenda that kept track of all their assignments but also kept track of all their resources in one place as the semester went on.  A Google Doc is the perfect tool for this!

I’ve included my current Algebra 2 Semester Two “Live” Assignment Agenda below.  You can also see Semester One’s “Live Agenda” below that.  My Algebra 2 students use this Agenda daily and it is also posted in my About section in Google Classroom.

Feel free to explore the links for the associated videos I created for each lesson.  The videos are housed on my Google Drive because YouTube is blocked at my school.  The videos are also posted on my YouTube channel because some students prefer to watch there if on their cell phones. I currently practice the “In-Class Flip” and will be writing about that and screencasting in my future blog posts.

Let me know if you do anything similar to help organize all the digital resources that are produced for a class.  Also discuss in comments any ideas to add to the conversation.  Thanks!


How do you share over 20 years of teaching experience?

How do you share over 20 years of teaching experience? Start a blog? Sure, why not.

Lisa Ceja June 1995 - First Year Teacher - square cropI recently came across some old photos from my first year of teaching.  I started in September of 1994 and it is now 2016. Go ahead and do the math. This photo was taken in June of 1995 at the end of my first year and I can see that I am signing yearbooks.  I have nJune 1995 - Lisa Ceja and 2 studentso idea where these students are now but I pray they are well and happy.  What I do know is how much all my students taught me that year.  I am hopeful that they learned some math that year amidst all the craziness from a very young, but very excited teacher.  You can see I’m smiling in this photo, and am still smiling over 20 years later.

I continue to work for the same amazing district and am in love with my job and my students.  I  immerse myself completely in whatever I am passionate about.  And right now EdTech has revamped my classroom and continues to “Wow” me every day.  My PLN (Professional Learning Network) has encouraged me to start a blog to share my learning and discovery along the way.  This is why I named this blog “Exploring the TECH in TEaCHer” to honor that TECH is a part of TEaCHer and every day is an exploration for me of how the two connect.

I look forward to sharing my past, present, and future experiences so that I might help others maybe a bit of a fraction that the beautiful & helpful world of my PLN and other Bloggers have generously helped me.

– Lisa

* Please leave your blog info in comments below so we can follow each other and help grow our PLN!