Dana? No, Danna. Deanna? No, Danna. Donna? No, Danna.

My name is Danna.

Dan-na.  Like Danny, but with an “a” at the end.  I guess my parents wanted to be original and traditional when they named me.  My mom was named after her dad (Guy -> Guyanne), so I’m named after mine (Danny -> Danna).  The worst parts about having a unique name are that no one ever pronounces it correctly, and I have never owned any cute mugs or key-chains bearing my name.  The best part is growing up with a completely unique sense of self.  I could not, can not, be anyone but who I am.  Sure, I dreamed of being a “Jessica” – the super-preppy rich kid who had the world handed to her, or an “Autumn” – the earthy one who wore mala beads and smelled like patchouli, or even a “Jade” – the, get this, jaded and angsty girl who wore combat boots and black eyeliner.  But none of those fantasies lasted long because I would always come back to myself – Danna.

Okay, Dan-na, what the heck does this have to do with tech in the classroom?  Am I on the wrong site?  I clicked “Innovate Fellowship,” right?  Well, when I see myself now, I can trace the road that brought me here all the way back to my name and the fact that I decided if I am going to be the only Danna around, then anyone who hears or sees my name will know exactly who that “Danna” is – me!  With that in mind, as cliche as it is, I don’t allow myself to give anything but 110% at everything I do: teaching, learning, practicing yoga, even having babies (two girls + twins = chaos).

The Past

The results of all that self-awareness and ambition worked out well for me in school.  I graduated cum laude with a BA in English, earned a 4.0 GPA in my English MA program, and was selected as “Most Outstanding Graduate Student” in my Teaching MA program.  I continually attend conferences and PD opportunities whenever the funds and time allow because learning is the most important part of teaching.  My first day of teaching I put “We’re Going to Be Friends” by the White Stripes on the CD player and welcomed my students to what I hoped would be a wonderful year.

Luckily, that year was pretty great and most certainly full of learning (for me and my students).  From there, I continued to work toward improving my teaching strategies, which suddenly meant getting hip with all this “technology stuff.”  I soon became a pioneer in my building, being one of the first teachers to use a document camera, then iPods, then BYOD, then laptops, and finally Chromebooks.  When I was awarded a grant for a cart of Chromebooks for my classroom, it changed my world tremendously.  I went from linking resources on a mediocre web page to using Google Classroom, to having an entirely paperless classroom.   There were some bumps along the road of tech integration for me, but I worked and researched and experimented and tweaked until I understood the purpose of these new tools: collaboration, engagement, accessibility, differentiation, etc.  SAMR became a regular part of my “tech speak,” and I started recruiting tech buddies at school.  My two student teachers were the first to jump on the tech wagon and take off on their own journeys, and I couldn’t be more proud.


The Present

I soon became a leader in my school, and my list of certifications and leadership positions in technology grows as I type. I am proud to say that I am a:
ClassDojo Mentor
Remind Connected Educator
Innovate Fellow
Google Certified Level 1 and 2 Educator
Google Certified Trainer
Nearpod Certified Educator
soon to be Kami Hero.

The Future

So here I am, a Technology Innovate Fellow for Hardin County Schools.  I learn, I teach, and I lead every day.  When you think of the only Danna you know, think of those three roles.  I’m still trying my best to give 110%.

The Honest Truth

As the stock text of this blog template indicated (before I deleted it): this is my first blog post.  So, hi!  It’s me, Mrs. Pearsall, or maybe Danna if we’re friends.

After a day of amazing Google training and personal branding on Tuesday, something triggered me.  I thought about some of the things I’m doing in my class using technology and just plain old best practices, and I thought maybe someone else out there could find something in what I do that makes sense to them.  Maybe that someone uses one thing from my microcosm of a classroom, and maybe that one thing makes them a better teacher, student, or human.

I’ve always been hesitant to do something like a blog because I think, Who the heck am I to think my ideas could help others, or that those ideas even matter to anyone out there?  If I’m honest with myself, and you, I don’t have good ideas.  Like ever. Like never, ever, ever. There it is, the truth is out.

Let’s go all the way back to when I was in high school (too long ago to admit here), I told everyone that I’m not a writer, I’m an editor.  I can look at someone’s idea, see the flaws or inefficiencies, and spiff it up.  And that’s essentially what I  do in my classroom every day.  I converse with colleagues, I pin on Pinterest, I buy lessons from Teacher’s Pay Teachers.  What I don’t (usually) do is look at a book, a story, a poem, and think, I have the BEST IDEA about what to do tomorrow in class!  Nope, it’s a blank canvas in my brain, and, even though I’ve looked everywhere, I can’t find the paint.

But here’s the thing – if someone paints a river, I can see mountains, and pines, and blue sky, and eagles, and maybe even a log cabin with a little bit of smoke billowing out of the chimney. So what I do is steal find ideas anywhere I can, then I tweak.

Let’s do this discussion on Padlet instead of in a Socratic Circle, so we can reach the shy kids, the absent kids, and maybe even show the, um, “enthusiastic” kid that all of the kids in class have something important to say, too.  Oh, wait, let’s take that up a notch and use FlipGrid to ask students over in Mrs. Farrow’s room questions and they can ask us, too!

But wait, there’s more!  There is always somewhere to go, always something to learn, and always something to improve.

So that’s what I do.  I see something, and then I see all of the somethings that can come from that first something.  Yes, I steal. Yes, I snoop.  Yes, I lurk on blogs and twitter.  Then, somehow, my brain just explodes.

The purpose here, then, is to share all of that explosive brain matter…or whatever.