Almost a year in

Yep, it’s been almost a year since I retired and right now it doesn’t look like blogging is going to be part of it. Just paid for my Pro Account so feeling like I need to at least check in here! I’m remembering how wonderful a two week school break at a holiday was because it always took me at least a week to slow down and then the second week felt like vacation. I think I’ve needed this whole year to slow down from 35 school years. I am still following my Twitter feed so for now find me there @chavesh.


Well after 35 school years, it is here! But it seems like old habits are going to die hard as I spent most of the morning reading resources about Genius Hour provided by my Twitter PLN.

Check out this Diigo list from Steve Ransom @ransomtech

and consider this “just getting started” group from Jim Tiffin Jr @jimtiffinjr

Maybe I’m going to blog more!


This week I attended the NYSCATE conference in Rochester, NY.  One of our high school assistant principals went with me and it was wonderful to see the conference through fresh eyes. We tried to attend different sessions and then compare notes but the one session I wanted us both to attend was the Cool Tools Duel with David Jakes (@djakes) and Brian Smith (@briancsmith). What a delight to see two professionals sharing, sparring, laughing, kidding and teaching.  Today I was able to share one of the tools,, with a teacher.  She is inspired and pushing me to find the webcam she needs.  It feels good when you learn and then find someone who you can teach and know that students will benefit.

Brain Pop App

Finally got on board with an iTouch and have been exploring the free section of iTunes. Learned how to set up an account without a credit card so no chance of overspending in a moment of “gotta have”. Just discovered the Brain Pop app. Moby and Tim share a video and quiz daily and you can access all the other free videos too.  I got to meet Moby at ISTE this year in Denver. Be sure to check out the site and see if the app is for you.

Moby at ISTE 2010

Google Squared

Just learned about yet another Google tool. Use Google Squared when you want to compare in a list. For example: National Parks or perhaps trees, presidents, or countries. As Steve Anderson says: a great place to start with research.  See his post, 5 Sites to Explore this Year to learn about Wallwisher, EduGlogster, Diigo and Creative Commons. For those of you on Twitter, follow @web20classroom to get all of Steve’s updates.

Would love to hear about your lessons with these tools!


Finding copyright free photographs for projects in PhotoStory can be a challenge. As professionals we strive to make students cognizant of the rights of photographers. The photographer at Public Domain Photos offers his copyright free. Also this site, the National Education Network Gallery, offers great shots from the UK.  The new interface at Google is enticing, but if we allow  students to use Google images for a quick photo, we need to remind them that rights to those can vary widely.  Another alternative might be for teacher-photographers to build a site with their own photos. Here’s one from my trip to Rocky Mountain National Park.  What sites do you use for photographs?

Rocky Mountain National Park

8/6: Twitter stream just reminded me of this wiki from Joyce Valenza with copyright friendly sources.

When do you do your PD?

Much of my professional development (PD) happens during breakfast. Each morning I read through my Twitter feed with my bowl of oatmeal. One consistant part of my morning is always Shelly Terrell. I’ve never met Shelly but every morning she teaches me through her posts loaded with links, @, hashtags and ideas.

Watch her video below, find your reason to connect.  

Why Do We Connect? from Shelly Terrell on Vimeo.


Bookmarking with Delicious. I can’t imagine doing my job without it. If you are new to Web 2.0 tools, this is the one you must try first. Delicious keeps all your “favorites” online so you can view them anywhere. Just having that should be enough but bookmarking is so much more.

Start by making an account. My user name is hchaves so go to to find my bookmarks. An important part of bookmarking is the use of tags. Tags help you put bookmarks into categories. I like to tag my bookmarks with elementary or secondary if they are for the classroom. Then I use subject tags. Since I’m passionate about digital citizenship, you can see that I frequently use that tag.

The social part of bookmarking involves having a network. You can easily see what they have been bookmarking and save any you like as well.

Next time you are looking for a good website on a topic, go to Delicious first, search websites already vetted by others.

Want to know more? Watch Bookmarking in Plain English from Common Craft.

If you are on delicious, add your name in the comments and let’s build our networks!

Digital Ethics Conference

Have spent several evenings working on my presentation called Blending Values and Actions with Digital Citizenship Elements. I so admire the work of Mike Ribble for articulating a framework for this important topic. Also too appreciate the video Digital Dossier which clearly shows the prevalence of the digital world in our lives. As each of us uses the tools of Web 2.0 the need to thoughtfully consider our online footprint is vital. How do you use Facebook, Twitter and other social media? What do you do when you see someone post something inappropriate or unprofessional? How do you promote and model Digital Citizenship?