How Chumbawamba -Tubthumping ended up on my playlist

I was talking to the Dunk Tank team of Rebecca Coda and Rick Jetter the other day about music. Rebecca brought up that it was time for Chumbawamba -Tubthumping  for resilience and I told her it was a funny story how that ended up on my playlist. Well, Rebecca said that would make an interesting blog post and well… here it is.

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Don’t fear about being left behind


This past weekend, I hit a milestone, I actually had my 20th High School Reunion. Oh yes, back in June of 1996, I made the fateful walk and concluded my days of high school and moved on to the next stage of my life. Something about reunions in any form is when you see old classmates, friends or peers and play a game of catch up. The usual: “What have you been up to?” “How’s life?” “Who is this?” Something that many of my former classmates found amazing when I told them what I had been doing the last few years and how I’m working towards finishing up a PhD. Many were surprised, but very happy for me. Saying that sometimes it just takes a while to get where you want to go. Some very powerful words.

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A Reflection a Year Later

It’s funny, Labor Day use to be a time I either enjoyed the day off, visited some family members or spent time with my own. However, a year ago, Labor Day marked a very different moment for me. It was when I was about a week away from my over three year position at Christian Life from ending. I remember waking up in the morning and saying to myself: “What is going to happen?” I had a few interviews, but nothing had materialized as a result. I was pretty much finished cleaning off my old files and turning over all … Continue reading A Reflection a Year Later

The Office Remodel Part 1


The other day I said I was going to start remodeling my office to be more inviting to students and staff alike. While I planned on doing this slowly over the next few weeks. As they say, time waits for no man and I ended up getting an earlier start due to an accident occurring during some regular checks, such as my entire shelf collapsing (don’t worry, I’m OK). So, after a few hours of moving, cataloging, archiving and a few other things here is the start to my remodel.

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There is a reason


A few days ago, I posted this image through my Instagram account. The infopic came to my mind as I was heading to a friend’s house before heading to Edcamp Chicago last Friday and saw a peak of the Sun through some clouds. I had just completed  my proposal for my dissertation during lunch that day, all 70 pages of it. While the proposal isn’t going to my committee until the end of this week once edits are finished. It was for the first time in a while where I saw the light starting to appear in the tunnel. For the last five years, through unemployment, burn out, extra courses, family and health issues. It has seemed that I was on this endless road that never seemed to want to change or end. While during the last few years, I have seem a set of accomplishments, it has felt that I was more in an endless loop that never wanted to end. Basically: Hard times, then some good times, then hard times again, a few small victories, wash, rinse and repeat.  Continue reading “There is a reason”

Coming to an Art Room Near you!

    Happy Monday Everyone! I am pleased to announce that this past Saturday afternoon, while on a quest to find some Star Wars The Force Awakens action figures at a Super Target, my iPhone went off. I looked at the notification and it told me that our Donors Choose had been funded. Extremely ironic since I walked down an aisle that had both Sphero SPRK and Ollies on the shelf as I read the notification. As I smiled like I had found a BB-8 marked down to $2, I immediately sent a Snapchat to my fellow teachers and they … Continue reading Coming to an Art Room Near you!

March Madness Bracket Coding


March Madness is here again and so are everyone’s favorite brackets. Now, everyone knows that brackets are set up to show what teams are playing who and the winner of each round will go to face off the team that advances. Well, being in the spirit of March Madness and of course Teach like a Pirate (you knew it was coming). I have decided to create a type of Bracket set for coding. As many know, I am trying to get our Donors Choose funded by next Wednesday and the clock is ticking. I wanted to show everyone how you could integrate brackets into your Sphero Edu or Coding classroom. Continue reading “March Madness Bracket Coding”

What you create stands the test of time


This past weekend, I was doing radio hour at my family’s church, when my son walked over to a scale model that was created by a former member from 1960-1962. Its a full recreation of the church inside and outside. The model not only took nearly two years to create, but it was not known what the creator was going to do with it. He had it on display in his house for several years before his death. His son took possession of it until his death a few years ago and the estate fell to his children. After viewing it, they didn’t find any need for it, and luckily took it back to the church where it is on display now. It was said most likely it was going to be given away at a garage sale or thrown out all together after being discovered and cleaned up. After viewing seeing it on display the last few years, it is almost heart breaking to thinking that being thrown out was ever an option. Especially, when it was built right after the creator made a model garage for his oldest grandson back in 1960.

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You made a Difference

We all know that students and teachers matter, but some times we don’t always feel like we do. Long hours, different environments and more; affect how teachers view their teachings style and if we truly are making a difference. Many of us keep Smile Files, folders either paper or digital that we can turn to when we wonder if we are making a difference with our students or even with our peers. However, we still wonder if we make an impact with others and aren’t just being “there”. As many of you know, this past September  after over three years, … Continue reading You made a Difference

Making a Square & Triangle with Sphero & Tickle App

In these Periscope Edu videos. I show how to use the App, Tickle on IOS to have a Sphero and Ollie create a perfect square and triangle and then do a full color change and off run. We have borrowed these for our Hour of Code next week. We are currently running a Donors Choose to get our own Sphero set to transform our art room into a full STEAM Builders’ Room. Please enjoy the videos and please share or support our Donors Choose for Mr. Smetana’s students. Use the code word: “EVERYGIFTMATTERS” at check out and Donors Choose will match the donation. We still have $1,045 to go, but I believe we can do it before Winter Break.  Continue reading “Making a Square & Triangle with Sphero & Tickle App”