Distant Learning Resource List

Over the past few days, I have been so impressed by the generosity of people!  Companies, organizations, and individuals are really coming together to support each other.

I have compiled a list of resources for my work site.  Here is a LINK to that list.

I have also found a list of even more amazing resources!  There is a Facebook book group literally called “Amazing Educational Resources” LINK and they have complied a technology resource list that astonishing!  Link to that list.



“Two-fer” PBIS lessons and Nearpod

Vaping, digital citizenship, college and career readiness, and COVID-19 were Salinas High School’s main PBIS lessons for the 2019-2020 school year.  We listened to our stakeholders and promised one exercise per quarter.  We switched things up by experimenting with ways to deliver and how to cultivate faculty buy-in.  I feel the main way to have teacher buy-in is to present content embedded in need based on data.  As you peruse the lessons pay attention to the different ways we experimented with assigning teacher delivery.  I think the most successful method was having six assignments centered on one theme.  Assigning each department one lesson, and asking teachers to deliver that same lesson all day.  We tried to develop instruction that wouldn’t take longer than ten minutes.  This way students will hopefully receive six ten minute lessons based on the same theme throughout the day.  Over the year teacher buy-in did improve and staff complaints have lessened.  In fact, we are hearing compliments and I have Nearpod to thank!

Crazy times right now and I have some innovative tech I want to share with you that might help with delivering content to your kids remotely.  Have you heard of Nearpod?  It’s a slide deck program that allows you to incorporate polling, multiple-choice questions, digital bulletin boards, fill in the blanks, quizzes, games, and more!  You have a choice to present a live version where you control the content on their device and can monitor their input immediately.  Or you can deliver a student-paced lesson, which will be great for remote learning!  For both options, you can download a pdf with a detailed report of their work.  The best part is the Nearpod library made up of a gazillion premade quality lessons you can use as is or edit to your needs.  You can create your own lesson directly from their dashboard or use a Nearpod add-on with Google Slides.  You can also use a deck you have already created.

I am not in any way affiliated with Nearpod, nor will I be receiving kickbacks from this plug.  I am the technology coach at our school site this year and we are currently in a pilot program. I have been working with a very helpful site rep, Talia Hoffman (taliah@nearpod.com).  She has been kind and given me a promo code to share with you.  This is a three-month all-access code for Nearpod and Flocabulary!!  Perfect timing to help get us out of the weeds (or should I say germs).

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Lesson Links


Digital Citizenship

College and Career Readiness (Nearpod Lessons)

COVID-19 (Nearpod lessons)




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Positive Behavior Intervention Systems – 2018-19 PBIS Lessons

I am part of the school PBIS team.  Have you heard of it?  It’s a system a lot of school districts across the Nation are using.  It is a 3 tier system for identifying and correcting student behaviors.  We have had some hiccups and teacher buy-in is not 100%.  I feel overall student behavior on our campus is on an upswing.  I also think the PBIS system could be a long term fix for some of the mental health issues our country is facing.  If the system is worked right I think we are identifying people who need support early and offering them tools to live healthy lives.

At the bottom-tier, all students are engaged in school-wide lessons and a positive rewards system.  Lessons at this tier are for situations like walking down the correct side of a hall, how to approach a teacher about a grade, or the dangers of vaping.

At the second-tier, a site trained specialist steps in and counsels the students who need more individualized support.  One of the interventions that can take place is a check-in/check-out system.  Students meet with an adult at the beginning of the day who reminds them how to deal with the negative behaviors the student has a pattern of engaging in.  Each teacher signs off on the student’s behavior at the end of the period.  At the end of the day, the student checks-out with the same adult they saw at the beginning of the day for a pep talk depending on the logged responses.

Third-tier interventions are conducted by highly trained professionals for students who will probably struggle for the rest of their lives for one reason or another.  Oppositional defiant students usually fall into this tier.  The team of specialists develops a plan to help support this student and their teachers.

Link to: Student Handbook Lesson

Link to: Positive Tardy Sweep

Link to: Style (dress code)

Link to: Catch My Breath (vaping)

Link to: A-G Requirements 

Link to: Apathy

Link to: Cell Phone Addiction

Link to: Digital Citizenship

Link to: Common Courtesies Part 1

Link to: Common Courtesies Part 2

Link to: Mindfulness

Link to: Test-Taking Strategies

Link to: Earth Day

Link to: Bullying




This is the project that students (or their moms) stop me years later to let me know that they still have it hanging in their home.  When we start this project they have a solid foundation of skills and their confidence is high.  Confidence is definitely needed for a not so forgiving medium.

The main aspect I stress throughout this project is practice!  I have 2 x 2″ pieces available throughout the entire project and stress practicing before moving onto the real deal.  I never scratch on a student’s project, but I will play on a piece of practice paper to help problem-solve for a technique that matches what they are trying to emulate.

I have found my favorite scratching tool is an Exacto blade.  I like how sharp it is, but dislike how dangerous it can be.  I tell them a couple embellished gruesome horror Exacto blade stories and that usually keeps them on their toes.  I also have scratching tools available and some like them better.

I use peer critiques a lot throughout the year, but I really like using them during this project.  Sometimes I think they are a little more brutal than I am, plus I can’t catch every improvement suggestion like they can.

Link to web based lesson

Link to editable slideshow

Acrylic Self Portraits and Fair Use Laws

This project is a great way to introduce some basics about acrylic paint and hook them for future painting projects.  My main goal is to practice tints, shades, and color mixing.  It’s a great way to get them hooked and eager to create on their own.  I also link this project to Shepard Fairey as a way to talk about contemporary street art and fair use laws.  They love his graphic style and become passionate about the discussion.

Who would have thought teens would have such a hard time producing a favorite selfie!?!?!  It has to be one of my most frustrating moments in this project, but it’s worth it.  We use Pixlr Chromebook app to create the posterized effect.  Then they enlarge the image on a Google Doc and submit.  I use PDF Mergy to merge all of the documents together and print them in a batch per class.


The paint I supplied them with was a warm and cool: red, blue, and yellow.  Along with, white and black to create values.  I tried FIFO squeeze bottles this year and can’t say enough about how great they are!  Paper plates and plastic wrap are available for pallets.  I stress recycling and ideally no paint should ever go down the sink…. ideally.  I give them their own brushes to keep.  For the most part, they take better care of them if it’s their own brush vs. a class set. 

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Developing successful color schemes is a challenge!  Mixing light values is also difficult, especially due to colors drying darker.  I have a gigantic paint-chip book from Sherwin-Williams.  It’s great to compare values and play with color choices. The rest of the project is pretty straight forward.  It literally becomes a paint by number and takes the stress out of painting a portrait for the first time.

Web-based Slideshow

Editable Slideshow

Color Scheme Planning Sheet

Shepard Fairey Digital Notes


Watercolor Playing Cards

One of my teaching joys is overhearing students talk about or explaining to each other what we are learning in class.  During this project, I heard students talking about watercolor techniques and color schemes left and right.  They love this project and it shows!  By far this is one of my all-time favorite projects because they are confident in the techniques they have learned and proud of the composition they have created.

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Link to web-based slide show.

Link to editable slideshow.  

Watercolor Techniques and Miniature Accordion Books

It has taken me YEARS to figure out how to introduce watercolor thoroughly without creating total burnout.  For each set of techniques, students create an accordion fold book showcasing what they learned.  The subject is totally up to them and the end result is extremely fun and beautiful work.

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Link to web-based slide show techniques #1

Link to editable slide show techniques #1

Link to planning sheet

Checklist techniques #1

Wet into Wet on damp paper, paper dam, salt, and bruising are the first set of watercolor techniques I introduce to my students.  Once they have mastered the techniques they create a miniature accordion fold book using a split complementary color scheme.  They also use a planning sheet to sketch and plan their composition.

When I grade this project I use a simple checklist rubric.  I personally talk to each student and use the checklist as we discuss their project.  I use this opportunity to give one-on-one demonstrations if needed.  I also give students a chance to make up a missed technique in the following book.

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Link to web-based slide show techniques #2

Link to editable slide show techniques #2

Checklist techniques #2

Gradient, glazing, plastic wrap, wet-into-wet on dry paper, and flat wash are the second set of watercolor techniques I introduce.  They have the choice of using one of the complementary sets for their color scheme.

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Link to web-based slide show techniques #3

Link to editable slide show techniques #3

Checklist techniques #3

During the third set of watercolor techniques, I introduce control bleed, masking, rubbing alcohol, hard edge bleed, and iridescent medium.  For this book, they have the choice of using an analogous, triad, or monochromatic color scheme.  The end product for the third book is phenomenal because they have confidence in the medium and totally get the planning process.

Introduction to Color

This one might be a little overkill, but they learn a lot about color!  I also think this is a great way to introduce watercolor.  In this unit, they make a color wheel, create color swatch vocabulary cards, play Kahoot, apply terms to art reproductions, and learn some of the science behind color.  The daily repetition of the terms helps most of them prepare for the color quiz.  This is the only quiz I give during the year and I have to say a ton of work.  Most of my students do great and I am blown away by those who don’t.  I can’t say I don’t try my hardest though!

Link to Web-based slide show on color

Link to Editable slide show on color