2018 Reflections

I saw this #myfives on Twitter and I thought what better than for my first post in five months and my first post of 2019 to be about my top five moments of 2018.  These are not all successes and not in any order.


WASC is a lot of work.  

Grant Renewal

Nothing like in the middle of your WASC visit finding out your grant renewal is due in six weeks.  And not like there’s any pressure writing a grant. Do a good job and your school gets 1.5 million dollars.  Don’t do a good job and your school doesn’t get 1.5 million dollars and 2200 students don’t have access to after school programs.  #nopressure


Because of the above two, I pretty much failed at my regular day job duties every day for the first semester.  And this was not the “fail until you don’t” or “fail forward” type of failing. This was flat out just not getting it done.  Not meeting the standard. Lots of room for growth. For the first six weeks of school it was, “Sure, after WASC.” Then it was “Sure, after the grant gets written.”  I messed a bunch of stuff up. I didn’t get a bunch of stuff done. But you know what? Everything was fine. I think. I think everything was fine, but since I was #failing most days I can’t really be sure.  But, I made it to January, so I am considering that #winning.

Mountain Biking

Technically I did no mountain biking in 2018, but the work I did in 2018 with my Peloton app and Weight Watchers led to me being able to mountain bike for the first time in seven and half years.  This was a sport that I did daily before I had my back surgery and which I was willing to give up to be able to walk again without pain. But now that I can mountain bike again…I can’t even explain.  It’s like meeting an old friend. I am so happy.


Later in 2018 I decided I should try to get smarter by listening to podcasts.  I’m not sure I’m getting smarter, but I am getting a lot of ideas and enjoying it.  One of my favorites is Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend in which Conan O’Brien, whom I love, talks to different comics.  I think what I like most is they discuss the craft of being a comic.  Being a comic is much like being a teacher and a recent trip to the Comedy Store in Los Angeles only drove home that point home for me,  In the latest episode, Dana Carvey talks about all of the work that goes into “a bit” and he says if he does his job right everyone thinks that he is just up there having a good time.  I immediately thought of teaching. If I do my job right, it’s seamless. It makes sense. It’s fluid and has a logical sequence. It’s satisfying to hear that someone as successful as Dana Carvey validate that making it look easy is hard work.

Look at me!  I wanted to post this by the end of January and I have.  #winning!

Looking Back at 2017 and Forward to 2018

So far my 2018 has not started off fantastic.  I either food poisoned myself New Year’s Eve or had a stomach flu.  Either way, I’m on the mend today and ready to do some reflection.

My Blog

2017 was my first full year of my Language Makerspace blog.  I had over 50 posts, which I can’t even believe I managed and I participated in the #edublogsclub, which sent a prompt a week.  I enjoyed having the prompts of different topics, I wouldn’t have thought about like this listicle of my favorite tools.

Most Popular Post

By far my most popular post was 18 Mix and Match Activities to Talk about the Weekend.  It got shared and shared and continues to be the most viewed.  It has taken me by surprise how many people have seen it.

It Was the Best of Times and the Worst of Times…in After School

Since 2009 I have coordinated our 21st Century Community Learning Center grant.  In a way, it’s my baby.  I started our program and have seen it grow and grow.  This year was a tough year for  21st CCLC- in March President Trump wanted to eliminate funding for it entirely.  Luckily this fall Congress secured our funding, but it was a rough few months of worrying.  I blogged about my feelings in May.


This was a big year of firsts for me.

I made my first Tech Byte video series which involved making my first real YouTube Channel.   They are short videos that I sent first to my school and now to the entire district.

I was asked to present at the World Language Project/CLTA Summer Seminar in Santa Barbara.

I started using Flipgrid.  Please don’t ask me why I didn’t before.  There’s no reason for it because it is so simple and elegant and just basically fantastic. 

For the first time , I presented at ACTFL on my ideas about Ditching the Powerpoint for Interactive Slides.

I did my first ever interactive Google Forms presentation without Internet.  It went better than you would imagine for an interactive presentation on an Internet tool without Internet.

I went directly from one conference to another because…why not.

A goat in a coat placed a spell on me and I cleaned out my file cabinets.

I surveyed my class at the end of the semester and found out that they actually liked (gasp) the textbook and used it more than I expected; permanently ending my perpetual debate with myself about getting rid of it.

I got a PC.  This was a practical decision because I realized that as I was doing trainings, people would ask me questions about the PC and I didn’t necessarily have the answer.  It worked out well because MacBook Pro had to go back to be fixed because the space bar stopped working.  I named my PC “iPCPro” because I’m funny.  I’m committed to working on iPCPro exclusively until the college starts in February and I have to use accents again.  Because I can not.  For the life of me.  Figure out. How to make typing with accents as easy as it is on the Mac.  So far I like that I can sign in with my face.  I like that when I need to move the window of my goat to a separate screen it snaps to that screen size automatically.  And I’m excited to use OneNote which I have heard great things about.


Generally, I fail a lot at after school.  This year was no different.  I failed at successfully implementing our social media accounts.  This is in part based on my lack of interest in general in social media.  It was also because it’s just not that simple to snap a picture of students having fun and then to post it.  You have to go to the computer and check if anyone in the picture is approved for posting.  We have 2200 students.   I tried to get students to take the pictures for me, but then they would identify the students in the pictures as “Brittney, I think” which was not so helpful in checking in the system.  So I stopped because I couldn’t manage it.

I failed at getting my #actfl17 post posted before the end of the year.

I failed at getting to every teacher’s classroom in the first quarter to talk to them about if I might be able to help them with technology integration.  I visited about half of the teachers and it was worthwhile.  Next year, I’ll try to get to 75% of everyone.

I also failed at giving feedback to my students every week based on their Flipgrids.  I have a plan for that though next semester.  It is all loosely coming together in my mind, but I’ve got big plans.  Huge!

Ideas for 2018

I’ve always got lots of ideas.  Here’s my main ones for part of my job:

Improved goal setting activities for students involving powerful Google Sheets magic.

Hosting a 15 minute Tech Tool in my classroom once a week.

Spending ten minutes in each after school program at least once a week.  (That seems easy, but it’s not, there’s a lot going on in after school.)

Professionally, I am excited to continual to grow and learn from all of the great professionals I have met virtually and in person.  I am looking forward to a 2018 and all of the new possibilities and opportunities that may come-  Happy New Year!