Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tech Tools for Teachers

This semester I took a technology course through the University of Alaska Southeast. I was introduced to MANY wonderful technology tools for teachers and students. Knowledge is no good if it is not shared, so... here you go! As with many "new" things, I would encourage you to take the time to explore the sites so that you can get a feel for them. If you choose to introduce any of them to your students, I would also suggest giving them time to explore them, as well (prior to using them for any official projects or assignments). Enjoy!

Conversations in the Cloud This site is called VoiceThread. It is GREAT for giving interactive feedback. I have a professor that has used it to use narration when giving feedback to our work.

Create Your Own Rubrics This site is If you are looking for rubric generators, this is a fantastic tool!

Digital Story Books This site is I used it with young elementary students to create and publish their own stories. The site has a large library of graphics so that students can choose from the options and create a story around the pictures they choose.

Wordle This site is If you are interested in making posters based on key vocabulary words (or having your students do this), definitely check this one out!

Prezi This site is It is similar to using PowerPoint, though it is a bit more interactive. Great tool for presentations.

Socrative: Student Response Systems This site is It can be used as a way to interactively engage students in responding in class via games and exercises.

Quizlet: A Study Tool is wonderful for studying. The flashcard feature is by far one of my favorites!

The following site includes some of my favorites that I mentioned above, and more!
50 Education Tech Tools:

Shout Out to Bethel Teachers!

It has been awhile since I have blogged, as I am navigating my next blogging route. This year was the first year I was able to participate in Fur Rondy activities, due to my living in rural Alaska for the past fives years.

Before heading to the carnival for the good ol' ferris wheel ride, I was grabbing brunch with a friend (whom is also a teacher) and her son. In the booth behind us, I could hear a man and woman talking... I caught that they were educators, and I also heard them talking about Alaska Native culture. Of course, my ears perked up and I found myself unable to focus on my friend. If you have been following my blog, you know this was not because I was bothered by the other table, but because I was intrigued. It didn't take long before I turned to offer some input on a topic they were discussing... lol.

Then, the guy says, "Wait a minute. You're Misty. Misty Nelson." Turns out, he has been following my blog for some time. We soon found out that the folks at the other booth are teachers in Bethel. They left a bit before us, and when it was time for my friend and I to pay our tab... we were gratefully surprised that the Bethel teachers had taken care of part of our brunch.

So, this is my shout out to you both. Sorry I did not get your names, but  THANK YOU! You spread a little extra sunshine on our already sunshiny day. Keep doing what you do, and thank you for following my blog <3.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer Course: Power Readers

Journaling While in Juneau:

As a student in a Master's of Reading program, I am spending the majority of June in Southeast Alaska. For three weeks I am experiencing "dorm life." This is new for me, and though I have enjoyed aspects of it... I am pretty thankful that I never had to live an entire semester like this! lol

Southeast is home many of Alaska's beautiful animals. I have seen a bear, deer, bald eagles, a porcupine... all in their natural habitat... we just happen to be in their space.

Anyhow, I have spent the past couple of semesters with a cohort. Most of the ladies are actually pursuing their Master's in Reading, while I began with the intention of just going for the K-12 Reading Endorsement. That plan might switch since I would only need two more courses for the master's, BUT... I still haven't found anyone to pay for my classes... any takers?? :P

I am currently in a Reading Assessment course. So, I spend the first half of my "school day" tutoring children at a local elementary school, and then the latter half we are in lecture.

It has been fantastic to spend such quality time assessing and tutoring these students. Most teachers will tell you, it is really rare to get to devote this much one-on-one time during the regular school year.

Post Juneau:

Well, I survived the dorm life. :) I also had the pleasure of meeting quite a few teachers who were finishing their master's in Ed Leadership (principal program). Though I don't wish to spend an entire month on a campus ever again (lol), it was a rockin' experience overall. Super excited to hang with the guys and gals from the Anchorage area that I connected with-- yoga, bike rides, and book clubs here we come!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Walk Down Memory Lane

The best aide a girl could ask for... five years... a bond that will never be broken <3.

Amazingly beautiful sunsets here.

Math in a Cultural Context... Egg Hunting

My current group graduating from Kindergarten my first year here.

Sledding off teacher housing rooftops


On the count of three... one... two...

Yuraqing when it used to be in the community hall

Will always treasure my collection of dolls from Ms. Dorothy Nayamin <3

A fave
I was nicknamed "Kassaq Carrie" very early on...

One cool kiddo

Walking DOWN into the steam house for a maqii... gotta have our tunes though :)

Ice fishing (manaqing)

So fun to see how all of the babies have grown in my time here!

Taking a break from berry-picking... yummy dried fish for snack!

My aana, Julia Cholok, on a class visit <3
Silly face time!

Many great maqiis and laughs were had here... :D

Thankful to have visits from home at least once a year.


Tundra walks

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Acculturation vs Assimilation

Throughout my studies, the works of Lisa Delpit have been near and dear to my heart. When I hear her name, I think of the many writings and research she has completed based around the idea of acculturation and of preparing educators to teach in a world of ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity. As I am reading a book called Comprehension Going Forward (Heinemann, 2011), I have come across one of Delpit's quotes:

"Being able to function in academic circles doesn't mean one has to give up one's home identity, language, or values" (1996)

Read in context, this quote is speaking to acculturation versus assimilation. Delpit is an advocate for integrating our students' cultures into the classroom as a means of creating a richer, more applicable, more appropriate educational experience (culturally responsive teaching, if you will). I could analyze this piece more deeply in relation to the classroom, but this particular quote doesn't stand out to me in that regard at the moment. Instead, I am struck on a different level.

As people, if we do not know who we are... our convictions, our passions, our roots... our identity... we are so liable to act like chameleons--  changing to match the environment surrounding us. "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." Wow. How true is this. It speaks right to Delpit's quote. Perhaps, this is why she is so passionate about preserving one's culture. Without being strong in who you are, you are distanced from your identity... making you vulnerable and susceptible to anything and everything. A weed constantly changing in the direction of the passing wind...

If you know who you are and what you stand for, you are likely to offer your attributes as a contribution to the greater whole, rather than sacrificing who you are for the sake of fitting into one part. We all have something to offer... what are you offering? Embrace and discover who you are... there is beauty in identity.

Love it. Thank you, Lisa Delpit!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Recommended Literacy Sites
Read Write Think
Reading Rockets
Literacy Leader

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Favorite Home Purchases of the Year

Mini drum made by Ossie

Delicious gummy vitamins!

Soda Stream

Laundry shelf

Bleach tablets

Detergent pods

Invisible shelf and Paris clock

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Quyana, ConocoPhillips!

In October of this school year, our school had a visit from a longtime friend of mine, Deborah. She spent a week volunteering in the classroom assisting with reading groups, supporting writing assignments, and preparing materials for our after school activities program.

Deborah also sent a tube of toothpaste out for each of our kiddos, as brushing their teeth is part of the daily routine out here in the 4th grade classroom.

This week, on behalf of her employer, ConocoPhillips, our classroom was awarded a $500 grant and a classroom set of Arctic Animals coloring books and crayons!

Thank you, Deborah, for your volunteer hours here in Chevak! And, thank you, ConocoPhillips, for this generous award! The class of 2021 is excited to bring some new materials into the classroom to include science activities and great books to add to our classroom treasure chest!

Each year we have been blessed with someone partnering with our students in order to enhance and enrich their educational experience-- these things do not go unnoticed, and provide more for our children than you will probably get to see. As their teacher, I thank you all!

If you are interested in partnering with our class, please contact me. Quyana!

Recommended Novels

The following are novels that I have recently read for a course called "Supporting Readers at All Levels." They are books that I had never read until this semester, and I highly recommend each of them. If you have specific questions about any of these novels, feel free to ask! Otherwise, you can find quite a bit of info on the net ;). Happy reading!

Night by Elie Weisel (Holocaust literature)
Night Link

Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli (Holocaust literature)
Milkweed Link

Blessing's Bead by Debby Dahl Edwardson (Alaskan literature)
Blessing's Bead Link

Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen (Holocaust literature)
Devil's Arithmetic Link

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson (Alaskan literature)
Touching Spirit Bear Link

Friday, November 30, 2012

Love, Beauty, and Grace

I have felt so compelled lately to write about grace. To write about the love that I know. In the darkest moments of life, it could be so easy to let go of all hope... to not see a glimpse of brighter days.

It COULD be that easy. But, it doesn't have to be. Being honest, being humble, being real, and sometimes raw... this can make a difference.

Having people who love you and support you that are sitting in your cheerleading section-- well, there is a reason for this.

There is much that I know, much that I can speak eloquently on... yet, I will boldly admit... there is so much that I don't know. There is so much that is uncertain in this life we live.

If we could all have our way-- maybe we would have a paid off home and vehicle, a secure job, family and friends we adore... but, life doesn't necessarily work that way.

And, sometimes, we are fortunate enough to have moments in life where we are given an opportunity to see a glimpse of the greater things in life-- love, beauty, and grace.

My heart is sometimes so heavy for the things that I cannot change, but when I get through that... my heart is sometimes so full of love and compassion, and I am so enlightened by the wonders of a higher being. These are those treasured moments that I think, "Okay. THIS is why. THIS is what is real. THIS is what really matters." Those moments are like a new awakening-- refreshing, beautiful, and light.

I can only humble myself and just sit in awe. And, be totally and completely thankful for His grace.

There is so much I don't understand, and in these moments... I am 100% okay with that. It is my hope that you, too, have these moments. Undefinable, really... love, beauty, and grace.