Page 1


by the Texas DEN Leadership Council

Volume 2, Issue 1

Texas Discovery Educator Network Leadership Council

About the Texas DEN Leadership Council The Texas Discovery Educator Network Leadership Council is a group of volunteers who disseminate information to DEN STARs, plan events designed to inform and provide networking opportunities, and share! If you have questions about the Leadership Council or anything regarding your STAR status, please email

Texas DEN Leadership Council Chair, Elaine Plybon Events Coordinator, Linda Rush Blog Coordinator, Howard Martin For a complete list of council members, visit the Texas DEN Leadership Council website at https://

Volume 2, Issue 1

January, 2011

Texas DEN Leadership Council

New STARs shine in Texas! We want to welcome these new STARs! Shannon McDonald, Region 10 Shelley Hodges, Region 10 Becky Maher, Region 10 Cheryl Read, Region 10 Jennifer Turney, Region 4 Aaron Adams, Region 4

Inside this issue: Upcoming Texas DEN Events


Texas DEN Contest


We want to know! •

National DEN News

3 •

Meet Your Leadership 4 Council A Flair for Learning

5 •

The Corner Chair … The holidays bring with them anticipation, stress, cheer, family, food, parties, and too many other things to list. Teachers either use the winter break to plan, to regroup, or to relax. Whatever your plans are for the holiday season, we hope that you and yours have a wonderful holiday filled with everything you hope for.

As the new year begins, we hope that it is a stellar year for all of you, Will you be presenting at a conference? both professionally and personally. Have you won an award?

Do you have a technology tip you’d like to share? Would you like to create a page to be included in a newsletter?

Write to us at

DEN it up! - Elaine Plybon, Chair

Help us name this newsletter! There is still time for you to get your entry in! Come up with a catchy name for our monthly publication and you could win a Starbucks gift card! Contest is open until December 31, with voting by all Texas STARs through January. Simply tweet your idea with the hashtag #TXDENLCcontest. If you do not have a Twitter account, you can email your idea to

What’s happening? “The one-day conference is designed to use archived virtual conference presentations … as starting points for conversations among educators”

On January 22, in conjunction with the national DEN SciCon, there will be a conference in Irving called “Talking Points: A Collaborative Conversation”.

for conversations among educators.

Throughout the day there will be facilitated breakout sessions or you can explore on your own and use the electronic backchannel to The one-day conference is designed to use archived virtual con- participate in the conversation. Additionally, there will be a dediference presentations from prior DEN virtual conferences and strea- cated room streaming the SciCon. mathons, the K12 Online Conference, and others as starting points

The conference is free, and lunch is included! Mark your calendars now for January 22 from 9:00 to 1:00 (or whenever we stop talking) at the Jack E. Singley Academy in Irving, Texas. Click here to register.

Do you know? We can also include non-DEN events that you know of that might be of interest to Texas educators. If you know of any, please email information to

Page 2

Volume 2, Issue 1

From the National DEN . . . •

• SchoolTown has a great gift exclusively for DEN STARs! Log in to your DE account to claim your gift. Read the blog entry for details.

Discovery’s HUB for • Teachers is hosting a digital storytelling contest through the middle of December. Visit their website for details.

The Siemens “We Can Change the World” challenge is now open to teams of students from K-12. Students have a chance to win scholarships and other prizes while making a difference! Visit the website for details and to register a team.

Schedule of Events Keep up-to-date with the latest news from the global DEN community • by visiting Watch the Texas-specific blog at FOLLOW US ON TWITTER! @TXDENLC

Page 3

01-22-10—DEN SciCon 2011 (Global) 01-22-10—Talking Points (Irving, TX)

Meet your leadership council: Annette Campos Hello all, My name is Annette Campos. I am a teacher in El Paso, Texas. I have been teaching for nine years. I have taught third grade, second grade, and currently I am the Science lab teacher and work with students who have Dyslexia. I am also my school’s webmaster. Over the years I have presented at different local technology conferences

such as YISD’s TNT conference ( and EPISD’s Technology teacher conference. On December 4th I presented a session on using Discovery with Glogster at the TNT conference in El Paso. I am the chair of the website committee. You can find our website at texasdenlc. If you have any suggestions for our website, please email us at texas- Thanks! - Annette Campos

Meet your leadership council: Elaine Plybon I am an Instructional Technology Specialist at the Jack E. Singley Academy in Irving, Texas. Irving is a 1:1 district and is considered to be a national leader in technology integration in the classroom. I am also the lead teacher for the Chemistry curriculumwriting team for the district. My favorite “extra” job for the district is writing online courses. Last year, I wrote an online Foundations of Per-

Page 4

sonal Fitness course, which was very challenging. My participation in the DEN began in 2005. I have been a STAR member since the day they started the program, and have been a member of the Texas Leadership Council since it was formed. Originally, I was the Blog Coordinator, and am currently serving my second year as the chair. Last year, Discovery honored me with a DENny

award (Leader of the Year). I have attended three National Institutes. I have presented at several local, regional, and national conferences, and enjoy spreading my passion for technology integration. At home I have 5 children who keep me busy, a wonderful husband who keeps me sane, and a beautiful cocker spaniel named Rufus!

Flair for Learning  A F As McKinney ISD began this school year, leaders throughout the school district started to discuss “What exactly are 21st century skills?” While there are many definitions of 21st century skills, one that stood out was from that defines it as the three R’s, Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic and the 4 C’s which are Critical thinking and problem solving, Creativity, Collaboration and Communication. If the children of today are to compete globally in tomorrow’s world, they must learn to constantly adapt and change with their changing environment. As administrators, how do the 3 R’s and 4C’s fit into an already written curriculum and how do we change and mold the curriculum as we expect our society will change and mold? The old approach would be to have a couple of leaders become experts on “it” and then do their best to convey their expertise in the trickledown effect. While this was a very effective plan for many generations, it does not represent the 21st century skills that we are expecting our students to walk away with at graduation. So the question for approach the world? In one word, flair! While several MISD employees attended Discovery’s Summer Institute this past summer, the inspiration for an amazing project started to emerge. This project, now known as MISD Tech Stars, over time evolved into a 21st century learning project for teachers within the district. It’s a simple project of self learning for the teachers and then reproduction for classroom use and sharing with the other district employees. So what does it look like? It started as a wiki project. Leaders from elementary schools around the district started to build this wikispace. The goal is to provide teachers with guidance to learn 21st century tools that they can then share with their students during project based learning. The wikispace provides the teachers with a one page summary of many of today’s popular web 2.0 websites and district tools. This one page summary is a simple, printable flyer that explains how to sign up, where to go for tutorials on the site, some extras they might need to know about the site and how they can use it in their classroom. Once the individual school decides they are going to participate in this project, they set up their own wikispace, creating their own rules about how this program is going to work for their school. Each school has a point system that lets the teachers know the different levels of earning for learning and what they will receive if they learn a

specific amount. While each school has its own rules, all schools give “flair for learning.” Each teacher, at the beginning of the project, is given a poster to place outside of their door. This poster then becomes the display case for the flair that each of the teachers earns, thus inciting a friendly competition. Teachers can earn a beginner flair for getting started and learning a product. They can then earn an intermediate flair for using that product in their classroom during a lesson. Finally, teachers can earn an advanced flair for having their students create and use the tool during project based learning. After earning a set number of flair, the school may then provide them with a small token of appreciation. The best part is that they can then share their projects with the entire district and world through our wikispace. So, not only does the individual school create a wikispace to share the project with their teachers, but they also create a second one to feature teachers who exemplify the project. This second wikispace is called Tech Stars Spotlight. Here, each school chooses one teacher a month to showcase and to share what they have been working on with others. The response to this project in MISD has been viral. As one school takes it on, another one gets wind of their success and excitement and feels the need to take it on as well. Since its inception in October, more than half of all MISD elementary schools have accepted the challenge and started to become entire schools engaged in 21st century learning. Several more are slated to begin the project in the New Year and are excited about the transformation. What better way to learn than in the manner in which your students want to learn. If you are interested in learning more about the MISD Tech Stars program, take a few minutes to check out the ever-evolving wikispace at: The website and its products are protected by the Creative Commons Attribution License. Please feel free to learn more about this license and how you can use our website for your benefit at

Lea Anne Daughrity Texas DEN Leadership Council -

Texas DEN Newsletter  

January 2011 Issue of the Texas Discovery Educator Network newsletter.