Teacher Spotlight: Patty Petula

Teacher Name: Patty Petula
Office Location: Crums Mill, Harrisburg
Currently Teaching: English 10

How do you balance the responsibilities of state testing with your daily teaching duties?  I love the message board and have it set up to resemble their course tree.  Each day's lesson is a link where they will find a sample note page for the story, a read aloud, and a "short-and-to-the-point" power point.  I arm them with what they need if we can't talk.  I answer emails each morning and at night, when the house is quiet--a habit even when we are not testing.

How do you build relationships with your students? I have created a "class space" with Google docs that allows them to upload a picture and description of themselves.  The entire class can see each other's slide, and I keep it as a tab in my browser for quick access.  This reminds me of their hobbies and interests when I call. I have my family's picture in there, too.  I also use my webcam for live lessons, and have no qualms about embarrassing myself with chair-dancing and lip-syncing to music before the lesson.

What is one tip you would offer to a new teacher at CCA?  Share your experience and technology knowledge with your coworkers because everyone has something to bring to the table.  Return web mails the same day--students who reach out feel respected and valued when they receive a timely reply.  I would also encourage keeping things simple and streamlined.  For example, I try not to clutter my message board with more than students need, offering resources in the fewest number of clicks.  

When you’re not working, how do you spend your time? I have two boys ages 8 and 10, so enough said there.  I love organizing drawers and closets as a way physically and mentally de-clutter.  My guilty pleasure is binge-watching Downton Abbey or Scandal on Netflix, preferably with chocolate.

What might we be surprised to know about you? I used to enjoy archery hunting when I was younger.

Thanks for sharing, Patty!

Breathing New Life into Message Boards

Hello teachers!

In my opinion, our message boards are one of our most underutilized tools. Rather than a place to store resources, the message board is really an extension of your virtual classroom, a place to build community and inspire learning.

Think of your message boards as the bulletin boards in traditional classrooms. Would you only post lessons and modifications on your bulletin board? I doubt it! You would have inspirational posters, examples of student work, and content posters (ex. the solar system, the writing process, etc.). 

With it being a new semester, I thought this would be a great time to share what some of our educators are doing with their message boards.

Ed Lawrence shared how he sets up his main landing page and encourages student interaction through discussion threads. 

Ed's Landing Page

Ed's Landing Page

Discussion thread for student interaction

Discussion thread for student interaction


Lisa Dolder shared how she uses secure Google Sites.

standard message board

standard message board

modification message board

modification message board

Brock Shelley shared how Susan George's message board inspired him to create a more visual display. 

susan's Message Board

susan's Message Board

Brock's message board

Brock's message board

CCA teachers: Please contact me for the recording! 

Thanks for stopping by!


Calls, Calls, Calls: Prioritizing and Tracking

As virtual educators, making, prioritizing, and tracking calls with students is one of our main responsibilities. But what are the best ways to accomplish these vital tasks?

In the third Work it Wednesday! workshop, three veteran teachers shared their tips and tricks for scheduling, tracking, and prioritizing daily calls. 

Mike Micco shared how he uses Doodle to get students to sign up for call times. 

Find his tutorial for setting up an online scheduler here. 


Becky Smolens shared how she tracks her call cycles and provided these documents for others to try.

Download here

Download here. 

Andrew Gehman shared his infamous ExHAL spreadsheet, which automatically generates a list of students to call each day. 
Please contact Andrew for his latest and greatest version!

CCA teachers: Please contact me for the recording!

Thanks for stopping by!


Organization: Finding a System that Works for You!

In today's digital world, I think we all struggle with that old school/new school battle. 


Do we take handwritten notes or type on our tablets? 

Do we create old fashioned to-do lists on paper or utilize the plethora of digital tools available at our fingertips?

I know that for me, this is a constant internal debate. 

As virtual educators, we are faced with this dilemma every single day.  So I enlisted the help of some savvy online teachers and asked them to share their best organizational strategies. 

Lisa Dolder shared how she uses OneDrive. 

  • When you send a document to a student or upload one to your message board, it is what it is. If you make later changes to that document, you are required to resend or repost it. 
  • Using OneDrive (or Dropbox) allows you to update documents while providing students access to those changes. You simply send them the link to the document or folder and when you make changes, the document is automatically updated (you don't even need to resend or repost the link).
  • Unlike Google Drive, OneDrive does not impact the formatting of Microsoft Office documents. 


Anna Bridgen's explained her LiveLesson recording strategy.

Check out Anna's strategy for organizing her LiveLesson recordings in a simple and visual way here. 


Andrea Azzalina's shared how she stays organized with her calendar (among many other things). 



Need more time management tips? Check out this previous post

Explore the organizational strategies our stellar attendees shared:

CCA teachers: Please contact me for the recording! 

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 11.08.06 PM.png

Cheers to an organized year!