Staff Spotlight – Peggy Silvers

Peggy Silvers – Paraeducator, Life-long Tech Learner, and Professional Rocker!


1) What is your job at BrHS?  I am a paraeducator in the intensive learning center where I get to work with the most awesome students at BHS!

2) Favorite technology/app/etc? I love my apple watch and smartphone.  They keep me as connected as I want.  It might (not) come as a surprise to some of you but I am technologically challenged!

3) If you could do another job for one day, what would that be? I would love to rock premature babies in the NICU.  I used to work as a respiratory therapist and my heart just went out to them.
4) What songs are included in the soundtrack of your life? I like a plethora of music such as easy listening, country, Christian, jazz (just about anything but rap!)
5) What three words define you? Three words that describe me are hard working (I’m taking the liberty to count that as one), fun and kind.

Teacher Spotlight – Jim Zechmann

Jim Zechmann –

P.E. Teacher, BrHS Strength and Conditioning Expert, and Positive Influence!




What do you teach?  I have the distinct honor to teach Wellness in Action, Team Sports, and Weight Training in the field of Physical Education.  I also get the opportunity to work with a variety of athletic programs in the Weight Room in the area of Strength and Conditioning.

What songs are included in the soundtrack of your life? “Bouncing Around the Room” by Phish because I am pretty high energy and constantly moving, and “Jimi Thing” by THE Dave Mathews Band because of this quote “What I want is what I’ve not got, And what I need is all around me.”  The quote helps me realize I truly good I have it and that I really don’t need anything else.

Favorite technology used in class: I love the overhead projector thing we have in classrooms.  I love the ability to show technique videos, informational nutrition videos and my cool PowerPoints 😉

If you could do another job for one day, what would it be?  Honestly, I have the best job in the world!  I could not picture myself doing anything else.  It is truly a privilege to work with the young people of Broomfield High School, Their parents, and my awesome colleagues!

Favorite indoor/outdoor activity:  My favorite activities are lifting weights, working out, fishing with the kids, running, attempting to train my dog and spending time with family.  Honestly, there is nothing I don’t like to do outside or inside (except cleaning).  I am like Gumby, I am flexible and can find something fun to do in any environment.

Google Keep: More Than Just Digital Sticky Notes by Heather Peter

Yes, Google Keep can be used to keep track of all those to-do lists and random notes-to-self, but it so much more than that.  If you don’t already use Google Keep, you need to check it out. It’s not only beneficial to you in your professional life but it is also useful in your personal life. Even better, your students can use Google Keep to stay engaged and organized.

There are so many note capabilities:

  • Check boxes:  Create to-do lists, assignment checklists, reading lists, grocery lists. You can also archive the to-do list and reuse the list later. 
  • Draw: Doodle-sketch your notes or students can sketch their notes. You can play with the lines, colors and more. You can come back to handwritten memos later by searching for what you wrote.
  • Voice Record: Only available on the app but you can access the voice notes on the mobile version once they are recorded on the app. 
  • Label: use the labels like you would folders–keep your notes organized. You can click on the label on the left-hand toolbar and it will bring up all those notes with the same label so you don’t have to read through all your notes. 
  • “Pin”: Use the “pin” to keep your most important notes at the top of your screen)
  • Add Images: You can also find images by searching for words contained within them. Say you take a photo of a presentation and the image contains the word “Differentiation.” Just search Keep for “differentiation” and your image will appear.)
  • Color Code: This feature allows you to easily see your related notes.
  • Set Reminders: Use either the  “dates and times” or by “place” feature. 
  • Add Collaborators: Share your note, to-do list, drawing, image or voice note with your colleagues, students, or your family.

Google Keep Mobile App

Adding the mobile app will ensure that you always have your notes where ever you are. The app also has a few features that the web version doesn’t. Check them out below:

  • Voice Record Notes (then able to access on web version)
  • Transcribe Notes from Pictures: Keep can transcribe text from pictures for you, so you don’t have to worry about typing up notes from a meeting or whiteboard session. 
  • Send Notes to Social Media or Other Apps: You might use Keep to draft emails or social media posts on-the-go. Click on the three dots in the bottom right corner of your Keep app, select “send” and choose the app you want to share your note with. Or you might save a social media post as a note in Keep. 

Integrate with Other Google Tools

Access your Notes in Docs and Slides!


  • Use them to plan
  • Create checklists for your students to drag and drop into their document.
  • There are so many possibilities for this new feature.

If you’re in a Doc: click “Tools” on the menu bar, and then “Keep Notepad.” A sidebar will pop up with all of your note options. You can scroll through the list or use the search bar to jump right to the note you need. Once you’ve found it, drag-and-drop the note into your doc.

If you’re in the Keep app: select the note you want to send, click the three dots menu and click “Copy to Google Doc.”

Google Keep Chrome Extension


The Chrome extension is similar to the Pinterest but when you create a note using the extension, it saves the site URL with it. So if you browse back to that same URL, the extension will show your note in context. You have the option to save the entire page or a section to the note in Keep.

Student Possiblities


There’s More

There are endless ways that you can use Keep in your professional and personal life. I have barely scraped the surface. If you would like more ideas, I suggest checking out Shake Up Learning’s Pinterest board. I hope you will share how you use Keep in the comments below.

Teacher Spotlight – Deb Hayward

Deb Hayward – English Teacher Extraordinaire, Lover of Nature and Small Animals!



1) What do you teach? Language Arts 10 and AP Literature and Composition

2) Favorite Motto or Quote: Shakespeare: There is no darkness but ignorance.

3) Favorite Technology Used in Class: All things Google; my iPhone 🙂 

4) If you could do another job for one day, what would it be?  Environmental Activist

5) What is the weirdest job you’ve ever had? Guinea pig babysitter



9 Podcasts for the People!

podcast image

I spend a lot of time in my car driving from downtown Denver to school.  Listening to podcasts is a wonderful way to spend drive time.

If you don’t know what a podcast is, it is an audio broadcast that you can listen to whenever on a computer or mobile device.

Recently, I researched educational podcasts for anyone who deals with high school students on a daily basis.  Below are 9 podcast suggestions with descriptions.  There are so many out there, feel free to share your podcast list in the reply box below or just Google “educational podcasts”!!


Therapy and Learning Services – Study Skills for All

“Don’t let the name fool you–this podcast is super valuable for classroom teachers, especially those who work with kids with learning disabilities. Hosted by speech-language pathologist Jennifer Hatfield, the show is focused on improving communication skills, developing good study habits, and helping kids with special needs build confidence. You can dive in by listening to this episode on boosting reading comprehension, or this one on 5 tips to help overwhelmed students.”

hack learning

Hack Learning with Mark Barnes – Solving Big Problems with Simple Ideas

“Longtime teacher, bestselling author, and original education Hacker Mark Barnes is taking old school to task and giving you right now solutions for your biggest problems, in brief, no-nonsense episodes of the Hack Learning Podcast.”

Take those “life hacks” we see advertised on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other forms of social media and distill them for educators! This podcast is an essential for ANY educator who wants to make their classroom more effective, efficient, and managed. Great ideas! Great connections! . . . take 10 minutes of your drive or your workout for some quick PD and great ideas! –LFosterPES


Cult of Pedagogy – Solutions….To The Point

“Former middle school language arts teacher Jennifer Gonzalez has a knack for finding the hard problems that plague educators and offering solid solutions in short, uncluttered episodes that cover teaching strategies, classroom management, and edtech. In her podcasts for the site Cult of Pedagogy, Gonzalez often interviews experts to help shed light on common challenges in episodes like “Why It’s So Hard for Teachers to Take Care of Themselves” and “Three Surprising Reasons Students Don’t Get Into Top Colleges.”


Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers – Up Your Teaching

“Another great professional-development podcast created by an instructional coach and former teacher. In this weekly series, Angela Watson shares tactical tips, resources, and interviews with experts. Listeners also get a sense of Watson’s coaching chops in monthly coaching call episodes that often include time management and productivity tricks. Be sure to delve into the archives, as a lot of ground is covered in the dozens of episodes: how to respond to rude students, hacking project-based learning, 10 things white teachers should know when talking about race, and more.”


NPR Ted Talks – Thought-Provoking

“The TED Radio Hour is a journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Based on Talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centered on a common theme – such as the source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections.”


Art of Education’s Art Ed Radio for art educators – Art in Education Podcast

“Art Ed Radio–a weekly audio podcast for art teachers. We couldn’t be more excited to share our first episodes with you, featuring our hosts Andrew McCormick and Tim Bogatz. Between the two of them, they have made enough mistakes and had enough successes in the art room for several lifetimes. On Art Ed Radio, discussing all levels of K-12 teaching, they’ll make you think, they’ll make you laugh, and they may even make you cry.”


#edchat radio – Teaching Trends, Integrating Technology, Inspirational Educators

“#Edchat is the weekly Bammy Award-winning Twitter conversation that any educator can join to discuss and learn about current teaching trends, how to integrate technology, transform their teaching, and connect with inspiring educators worldwide. We also discuss education policy, education reform and often have leaders worldwide join our conversations, such as Alfie Kohn, Diane Ravitch, and the Finnish Education Leaders.”


The Google Teacher Tribe Podcast – Raising your Google for Education game

“Google Certified Trainer Kasey Bell (of the blog Shake Up Learning) and Matt Miller (teacher, blogger, and author of Ditch That Textbook) help you raise your Google for Education game with creative tips for using Google Slides, Hangouts, Chat, Earth, Docs, Forms, Sheets, and more. Episodes of The Google Teacher Tribe Podcast demonstrate creating video projects with Slides, simulating global travel with Google Earth, and getting the most out of Keep. The website has other resources in addition to the podcast.”

school psyched

School Psyched Podcast – For Everyone

“School Psyched Podcast is hosted by three school psychologists, who invite experts to share their insights on a range of topics, including evidence-based social and emotional learning, gifted students, legal considerations, and more controversial issues like racial representation in special education. The episodes are an archive of live video chats hosted on YouTube Live—the video chats will occur on the first and third Sundays of the month starting in September 2017. The hosts take questions and comments via YouTube Live, Facebook, and Twitter (#psychedpodcast).”

Pinterest Used In Education by Kay Davidson



If you haven’t already discovered Pinterest, you probably still have some extra time on your hands.  If you are on Pinterest, you know how many WONDERFUL ideas are out there from education to technology and just about EVERYTHING!

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The website does a great job explaining:

  1. What Pinterest is
  2. How to use Pinterest “to enrich your classroom, whether that’s through gathering ideas from fellow educators, collaborating with students, or showcasing your accomplishments”.  32 ways!

The list of 32 Practical Ways to Use Pinterest as an Educator is very insightful, even for those who are not new to Pinterest.

Let’s get started!

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What part of my Pinterest page looks like below. There are many more boards that deal with education but also include my personal interests – all in one place.

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Searching Pinterest for “Technology in Education” comes up with many Pins and subtopics:

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If you’re not convinced that Pinterest is for you or can be used in your classroom, check it out at

Enough writing about Pinterest, start Pinning!

Teacher Spotlight – Lena Carroll

Senorita Carroll – Women’s Leadership Mentor, Voice of BrHS Men’s Soccer and Tech Diosa (goddess in Spanish, yo!)




1) What do you teach? Spanish 1 and 4, Women’s Leadership

2) Favorite Motto or Quote – “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

3) Favorite Technology Used in Class – SeeSaw, Twitter, GoogleForms paired with Yet Another Mail Merge

4) If you could do another job for one day, what would it be? Work on a movie set.

5) What is the weirdest job you’ve ever had? Working at a doggy daycare cleaning the kennels in the morning. It was gross.


Teacher Spotlight – Dr. Ben Blazey

Ben Blazey – Making an impact in math, science and possibly, space!


1) What do you teach?
Math & Science: Algebra 1 and Physical Science as well as Algebra 2 and Precalculus online.
2) Favorite Motto or Quote
Education is the process of telling smaller and smaller lies. – JR Deller
3) Favorite Technology Used in Class
Desmos – online graphing calculator
4) If you could do another job for one day, what would it be?
Easy: Astronaut.
5) What is the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
I spent a week pulling a kayak around the Arctic.  Not paddling it, pulling it around.  It had a scientific instrument in it.  But for a week I was some weird guy walking around in the ice and snow pulling a boat.

Have students in your classes who just can’t access your curriculum? I’m your huckleberry. (Plus, 5 bonus resources!) – by Nathan Spencer


If you have any students in any of your classes who just can’t access your assigned texts, or write to any of your writing assignments, I have some resources for you, ALL 100% FREE and all include MANY different sets of texts, all texts can be set to whatever level you want them set to, all have reading comprehension questions, and all have writing prompts. You can also set up classes, assign texts as an entire class, and assign texts individually . . .


1. Newsela – I used this as a literacy resource in my blog post last school year.

Great for: Social Studies – Current events anyone? This website is full of them. There are also a lot of other Social Studies categories and articles all through this resource. Text sets and entire units are also included.

Good for: Spanish, Science, Language Arts – There are text sets for all of these subjects.


2. CommonLit – Another resource I used in my blog post last school year.

Great for: Language Arts – fiction, nonfiction, informational texts, essays, poems, speeches, articles, biographies, news, drama, folktales, memoirs, and on, and on, and on.

Good for: Social Studies – Check out the text sets.


3. ReadWorks – I am new to this website, and so far what I have loved is that it has so many different products and features.

From me: for less complicated versions of original articles, try StepReads. For a high-impact, 10-15 minute daily routine to build background knowledge, vocabulary, and reading stamina, try Article-A-Day.

From their website; “The largest, highest-quality library of curated nonfiction and literary articles in the country, with supporting research-based curriculum and formative assessments.

Reading comprehension lessons, vocabulary, and formative assessments — with an innovative instructional design featuring embedded teacher training — aligned to all states’ standards.

Teacher guidance and support to fundamentally and permanently improve teacher decision-making and effectiveness.

An unrivaled online user experience to drive fundamental improvement in teacher effectiveness and student achievement.”

Great for: Science, Language Arts, Social Studies


Bonus Resources (hopefully everybody doesn’t already know about these) . . .


1. iCivics – For all of my Social Studies friends. I played the Win the White House game and enjoyed the little bit I played of it. It looks like there’s a lot of other cool stuff on this website.

teach engineering

2. TeachEngineering – From our friends at the University of Colorado Boulder. I taught 5th-grade summer school last summer, and this was the STEM curriculum we followed. If you are looking to integrate a lot of fun, interactive, hands-on, experiments in your classroom, this is a great resource. This curriculum also got the ‘seal of approval’ from the BVSD literacy department, so if you’re a language arts teacher . . . go crazy!

Great For: Math and Science

Good For: Computer Science and Woodworking (believe it or not, Jeff Leonard!)

epeditionary learning

3. Expeditionary LearningProtocols and Resources.

Great For: All teachers. If you’ve never seen this, you really are welcome!


4. stickK – If you really want to set a goal, and you really want to ‘stickK’ to it, try this.


5. Boomerang – I’m sure many of you are already using this, but just in case you are not . . .

Ever want to send an email but you just don’t want to send it right this second? Just write the email now and then tell Boomerang the exact date and time you want it sent.

Do email alerts ruin your productivity because when you get one you just can’t not look? Just pause your inbox, and emails and email alerts no longer happen. (Until you turn them back on.)

Finally, I found out today that Boomerang is now available in the app store!

Suggest a Blog Topic, FAQ or Tutorial

Expert? Novice? Evaluation Goal? Suggestion?


Take advantage of our Google Form to suggest a Blog Topic, FAQ, or Tutorial!  Maybe you’ve got a question, something to share, or working on your evaluation and this would help meet your goals.  We’re looking for teachers to share their love of technology and contribute in any way to the Teacher Blog – by teachers, for teachers.  Let us know by clicking here!