Take your parents to work day – at Google

Am I a little excited? Why yes!  I had a fantastic visit at Google’s Mountain View campus and the San Francisco office the next day. Google knows how to treat parents well and offer an amazing day. collage_google What did I notice?

  • A variety of well-designed work spaces
  • Basic needs, such as food, met. Also, conveniences to make daily life easier, such as access to medical, child care, dry cleaning, gym, etc.
  • Smart people willing to engage conversations on all kinds of topics
  • A welcoming environment
  • Empowered employees

PBL and World Languages

career clusters logoDuring 2016-17 I had the pleasure of working with the NFLRC at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa on the Center’s Project-Based Language Learning initiative. The project consisted of an online symposium (January), multi-week online institute (January – May), and intensive face-to-face institute (July). The Center is working to identify what Project-Based Learning (PBL) looks like in a world language classroom, with the goal of identifying a working model for Project-Based Language Learning (PBLL).

This year’s focus was adding a Career Pathways layer to the development of a PBL project. The Career Pathways help identify real-world tasks and skills related to career areas of interest.

Some of the questions participants struggled with included:

  • How do we offer opportunities for each student to explore career pathways and work in areas that interest them?
  • How do we scaffold the language learning while diving deeply into authentic, real-world problems that need to be solved?
  • How does a PBL project fit with the language curriculum?
  • How do we assess student learning?


A time of reflection and renewal – a good time to revitalize this blog!picture easter eggs

With child #2 almost done with college and hopefully launching into the world, we look back and celebrate. We also look forward to new opportunities. New opportunities to serve others, to build up others, to renew others.  Onward.

A bit of paradise

I like to travel off the beaten path. During our visit to Costa Rica, we wanted to NOT stay in resorts. To that end, we wanted some time in the cloud forest, and some time on the beach.  We decided on this treehouse

picture playa matapalo

Playa Matapalo, Costa Rica

, and this beach tent. I can’t say enough about Playa Matapalo, and the beautiful beach. It was simply stunning and I look forward to returning.

Summer learning

dogr school admins

The learning never stops for DOGR teachers and administrators.

Yesterday a small group of Diocese of Grand Rapids school administrators gathered to learn about and refine social media skills. We used this wikipage as our jump page. Of course, we didn’t get to everything on the page, but rather the page served as a resource and starting point. Some of the most important pieces of the day were conversations around efficiencies for engagement, from finding time to leveraging utilities such as hootsuite, buffer, or tweetdeck.

For example, how does one find the time to engage? St. John Vianney principal Gregg Bruno (@PrincipalSJV) shared that he plans on leveraging his iPad around the school, sharing directly from the device while out in classrooms and engaging with teachers and students. He encouraged his colleagues to “model fearlessness”, and reminded them that the learning and engagement may not be perfect, that failure is OK, and that it is going to be messy.  I couldn’t have said it better myself!

And yes, I better break out this blog and get it going again myself! I tend to prefer twitter instead of taking the time to write longer blog posts, but perhaps it is time to revisit and relaunch this little ol’ blog.

A new school year starts

So, it’s true. I started a new position in May 2012 in the Office of Catholic Schools at the Diocese of Grand Rapids. We have 31 schools and nearly 6000 students – it is a humbling experience to be in a leadership position with this organization. I have had the pleasure of visiting several schools, meeting with teachers and administrators, and having fantastic discussions about their hopes, dreams, and what they need in order to provide an outstanding Catholic education. We have good people doing good work here, and I am excited to be a part of it!  I’ve decided to resuscitate this personal blog, and perhaps even start a second blog specific to my position – we’ll see! I still tend to post more on twitter and and diigo/delicious, sharing quick nuggets in those venues. So my goal? Be back in the saddle with this blog! Have a great weekend –

Google Apps for Education and the latest Google Apps for Ed Certified Trainer

So a couple questions today.   Does your school use the Google Apps for Education service? If so, are you still also licensing Microsoft Office?  If so, does your school have a Google Apps for Education Certified Trainer?

I’m thinking about pursuing Google Apps certification as it will encourage me to dig deeper into the Apps than perhaps I have in the past.  Any techie friends find it particularly useful?

Working with teachers in China

July and August brought an unexpected trip to Beijing, China, to work with fantastic practicing K-12 Chinese teachers.  We had little time to prepare materials and did much work and preparation on the fly.  Fortunately I had a couple weeks to hit garage sales and take along readers, culturally interesting items, etc. to take with me. And, thanks to my extended family, even some video clips recorded during family vacation. Here is the wiki we put together for this fantastic event!