Hula Class + Education

I write this piece early in the morning reflecting on my sore muscles and bruised spirit. Movement of the body is something that has seemed to come easily for me. After a few tries, I can pretty much get the gist of it. Then I spend years perfecting the movement so that my feet, head, hands, and every other fiber of my body is able to do it without thinking about it. In education, we’d call that mastery. But hula…hula makes me feel body stupid. My feet and hips don’t cooperate. My body does not look anything like the the kukuis (helpers) in the front of the room. It’s so frustrating. I sometimes give up. But last night, I was inspired by my Kumu Hula’s dedication to teach us.

You see, there’s a move called the ‘uehe. It is going to be the death of me. One of the more advanced dancers kindly reminded me that it cannot be the death of me because harder movements are coming soon. The movement happens in 3 counts. 1) Step 2) Out 3) In. Somehow, my hips are pushing out to the right or left depending on what foot I step on. So if I step on the right foot, my hip should be on the left. Last night, my foot and hip were never on the side it was supposed to be…ever.

This is something we’ve been working on for quite some time. Kumu Hula thought that it would be helpful that we do this moving forward with one foot on stacked bricks. I cried (inside…because I am an adult woman). I became frustrated. I tried to figure it out by looking at others who I know have had a much longer experience with ‘uehes. Just when I thought I was going to give up, one of the kukuis told me how to make it better. Then I kept working on that.

At the end of the night when we started to practice our hula, what do you know…my hips, feet, hands, and all other fibers of my body were doing what it was supposed to be doing. Our Kumu Hula used a tool (low technology, but still technology) to educate us. Granted, it was our first time with this tool and I looked like a toddler still learning to walk, it helped me find success in the lesson’s objective.

Day 6 #MERIT18


Started our day with the importance of giving credit to where credit is due. I kind of imagined that everything on the Internet is “google-able.” But @LisaTeachesTech is right. We have to give credit to all our images, even the ones we contribute to the Interwebz.

Talked about how to use Google Forms with students. I really like the idea of using it as part of an Emergency Contact or for a quick formative check-in. I used it last year as a way to get to know students and for them to practice using Forms…but I didn’t use Forms after that, so that was kind of a waste.

My favorite part of the morning was Slides Karaoke. I love the idea of the using this activity with students to practice presentation skills. It doesn’t have anything to do with content…so that would definitely be fun for the students to make AND show.


Today’s Extra Stuff session was EXCELLENT. @BethGillis totally killed it. I really liked what she had to say about POC teachers not having to be the one to be the representative for all POC. Everyone has a part in decolonizing education somehow.

The writing isn’t great today, but I’m sure somehow my final project will benefit from my lack of writing today.

Day 6 Sketchnote by me- Google Photos

Final Thought: I better get on top of that final project. I need to do it and stop panicking.

Day 5 #MERIT18

This post is coming in a few days late, but here it is anyway!

Ramsey Musallam Presentation:

#MERIT18 started the day with a presentation from the very famous Ramsey Musallam. I’m really excited about this because I have heard so much about this man. During my time at USF, my fellow math & science teachers RAVED about the C&I course Ramsey taught. Then, during my interview at SHCP, Ramsey was mentioned enough times for me to make a mental note about looking him up. When I actually got the job at SHCP, I continued to hear about him. A parent actually pulled me aside and told me that I could benefit the students by learning from him. Two years since accepting the job at SHCP, here we are. Thanks to my excellent carpool buddy Felicia Suminski for snapping this photo. I was totally nervous about the curriculum I was writing and thinking about. He made my ideas so much better. Then I got really dizzy from all the ideas and everything I wanted to do for the next school year.  


Jon Corripo Presentation: More about eduprotocols. It was excellent! I now know what an appositive sentence is…again!


Frayer Model I made with Jon Corippo:

Frayer What__

Day 4 #MERIT18

Day 4

Juli’s beautiful #sketchnoting totally inspired me to try doing one with icons provided by The Noun Project.

We got a talking to…tomorrow, we have to find new friends to sit with. Our table of introverts will have to divide and find new friends. Honestly, I’m just trying to keep it together so that I can be useful, but I know that Lisa has a point. I need to branch out. I’m sure someone else in the room can show me a better app to use for my Sketchnoting…and other EdTools.

One thing that stuck with me was what Matt said about blogging. I’ve started many blogs since I was in HS, and he was right. If I felt inspired, then I would blog. But really, more importantly, everyone’s views matter. Although ideas have been blogged and reblogged plenty of times (especially by wonderfully intimidating people), it’s really important to recognize that I also have something to contribute in the world of education.

HELP! I’m addicted to icons…I had to make another doodle on Whiteboard about Spark Learning by Ramsey Musallam, EdD.

SPARK learning.png

Day 3 #MERIT18

This morning, I had the opportunity to sit with some new folks and learned more about Google Expeditions and creating Hyperdocs that would be useful for the classroom. Then learned about more EdTech tools. It’s only Day 3 and my head is spinning with all the information that I want to use right now. Naturally, when I get too many things (and pieces of information), I try to organize it in a way that I can quickly attend to…here’s what my thought organization looks like for today:

Thoughts/Tool Organization

TechTool Application How can you apply?
Hyperdocs MHT Introduction of Design Process
Hyperdocs MHT Maintaining Design Process
Flipgrid MHT Introduction of students + Reply with a follow-up question
Flipgrid Physics Concept understanding + follow-up question with students- not too worried about the writing skill, more concerned with students learning the content.
Explain Everything Physics & MHT Create something for when the subs are gone.
Google Keep LIFE Omg, this is something I’ve always wanted! However, I think Google is trying to rid me of my #erincondren habit.This is fun, I learned that it can “read” my handwriting. It transforms my writing to text.
Google Keep Teacher Life I can keep Rubrics in a category and just drag in my comments rather than taking the time to plan it
Google Photos Life? So I learned that Google Photos is super creepy.


Although Google Keep  will very possibly be my super-duper-favorite Google apps, I don’t think I can ever let go of my very old school way of keeping notes. Please enjoy my #Sketchnote for Day 3 as well as the photo walk collage we took. 

Day 2 #MERIT18

Morning session included a very information heavy course of learning about and how to use HyperDoc in the classroom given by Karly Moura. I was able to see a really great sample one for Introduction to Engineering Design. I’m most definitely going to find a way to re-mix it and use it for the Making, Hacking, and Tinkering class as an introduction in the beginning of the year. Most of my questions were answered throughout the session. One of them being: Isn’t this really just a digital & virtual worksheet? After going through it, it’s just a really great way for students to interact with the lesson. Also learned how to use Flipgrid, but wasn’t a huge fan during the session. During lunch, I was convinced to at least give it a try during the school year.


EXTRA STUFF: My awesome carpool Felicia Suminski advocated for Listenwise and Alice Keeler Webcam. Not completely sure what about it I liked, I wrote it down. So I’m sure I heard something I liked. This is really just a reminder for me to do an in-depth checking out after #MERIT18.

Afternoon session involved learning about EduProtocol with Marlena Hebern. Kind of a big fan of the strategies. My table group and I got to practice more ways to do a jigsaw with tech. It seems to be a theme for all my TeacherEd courses. Still need to think about how I’m going to use it in Physics.

My contribution to the Iron Chef Protocols. 

What’s your name?

The simple question: What is your name? can be so charged.

Having a name like: Mariflor Llanes Medrano made roll call a nightmare at the start of any class. At this point, I usually dream of having a name like Anne Smith. It usually goes down in three different ways:

  1. I know my name is next on the roll call because whoever has the roster will pause, take a breath, and start sweating. I know they don’t want to butcher my name, but years of conditioning tells them that the likelihood of doing so is high.
  2. There’s an announcement that they’re going to butcher my name and apologies in advance. Then they don’t try to even say it correctly. Buddy, how did you get the “g” sound in there?…there are no letters that might accidentally get you there!
  3. They get it right. (And we’re all surprised)

Image result for name

At thirty-something, introducing myself to a bunch of teachers will still bring up that same anxiety. Some individuals with the best of intentions still end up saying some weird things that leave me irritated. Once, I was at a conference with a purpose of creating a more balanced learning environment, especially for students of color. The keynote speaker informed me that I was pronouncing my name incorrectly. The speaker told me to be proud of my Hispanic heritage. I had to give him a quick lesson that Hispanic meant that the country was colonized by Spain. While the Philippines was indeed colonized by Spain, that did not make me necessarily proud of my “Hispanic” heritage, and that I will continue to pronounce my name as my parents intended.

Today, I had to convince a fellow workshop attendee that I was NOT from Mexico. She asked if I was the one from orientation who talked about being from Mexico. I informed her that I could not have been her because 1) I’m not from Mexico and 2) I did not attend orientation. Yet, she insisted that because my skin was brown and that my name is Spanish sounding that I must  be from Mexico…because where else could I be from?

History of the Philippines– here’s a quick Wikipedia link.

Anyway, my point is that educators need to be constantly aware of their own cultural biases. If this happened to me, as an adult, I’m sure students experience equally demoralizing conversations. Because let’s face it, no one is asking where Anne Smith is REALLY from.

Day 1 #MERIT18


Anyone who knows me knows that I am absolutely in love with waking up before the birds start chirping. [A sarcasm font would be extra helpful to get my point across.] Yet, here I am, on a Monday…in July…waking up for a 1.5-2 hour commute to complete Day 1/10 of Professional Development.

This morning, I groaned (in my head) when I learned we were going to learn how to use Google docs and slides. However, it went much better. Attitude really does change everything. Being in the same room with other enthusiastic (and EXTREMELY talented, dedicated, etc.) educators really changed my attitude toward the whole morning. I had my notebook, laptop, and my morning coffee ready to go. Brian’s exciting presentation totally changed it for me.


Google Slides 101
One of the assignments during the Google slides portion of the day. The assignment was to create a slide about a historical figure. I could see my students choosing historical figures that were taught in their previous history classes. This means that the chances that POC historical figures that aren’t Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. could be very low. So I chose to do my slide on someone that I never saw in my history books.

After lunch, I got to learn about more new stuff like iorad, pocketcast, and pic collage. Actually, I’m pretty sure I already knew about these, but listening to how other educators use them in their profession was way more helpful.

Learning Logo
Logo I made using Google Drawing.


Google Drawing 101
Learned how to group images and the beginning to making a logo.

My favorite part of the day: Sketchnoting 101

Misty (#MERIT16) taught us how she introduces Sketchnoting to her students. I’m all about the doodling AND handwritten notes. I always attach an article to reading notes assignment about how it’s much better to take notes by hand instead of typing them out.

Here’s a photo of my Sketchnote. I pretty much had a brain dump of everything I was thinking of after lunch. I thought that this would be a great way to learn about the students in the classroom as well as getting them to think of notetaking in a different way.  Something that I’m going to have to include in their thinking: POP! → Process over Product. I would be the kind of student that would think about having a great end product instead of focusing on my thinking in the moment.

Sketchnoting 101 with Misty

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! In my 11th year of teaching, I’ve lightweight decided it’s time to start a blog of my journey as a teacher. I’ve dabbled in blogs and websites before as a requirement for my TeacherEd courses, but also as a tool for students. After discovering that all the stuff I built in the previous school would be gone after my departure, I realized it’s time to make one that I can “take” with me. Thank you to #MERIT18 for getting to move on that decision.

Some challenges I foresee are actually updating the blog. One of my colleagues uses her blog to find out what happened when she taught the lesson previously–what went well and what could improve. However, I’m mainly a paper and pencil person. I LOVE my paper planner and writing and doodling on it. Although I’m an avid social media user, I just can’t get away from writing down my thoughts and plans in a good old-fashioned notebook. This will be my focus this year.


(Yes, I realize that the quote and picture came with the blog theme, but I thought it was relevant with my current mood. Here we go!)

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton