I am originally from Sacramento, California. I love to read and relax with my boyfriend and puppy, Gizmo. I am also a huge Disney fan! I go to Disneyland as often as I can. When I was younger I wanted to be a doctor. I always had a goal of helping people. When I got to college I did not want to go to school for years and years to become a doctor. So, I changed my career to being a nurse. I was currently working at Build-a-Bear Workshop and my grandma always told me that she thought I would make a great teacher. Though I was sure I would never be a teacher. After my first year of college I was baby sitting my friend's children and one of them got sick and I told my friend how grossed out I was. After she laughed and laughed (she still laughs to this day) she said to me "how are you going to become a nurse?!" She was right, I hate bodily fluids! How was I going to be a nurse? Well, that began my path to become a teacher.
Six years ago my boyfriend asked me to join him at his house in small town called Dixon. This was such a change for me. Living in a big city for most of my life and moving to a small town was rough. But I got a job in Fairfield and I thought everything will be smooth from there. It wasn't. I was a temporary K-1 combo teacher, I had a rough first year. I had a great mentor who walked me through it. Next, I became a 1-2 combo teacher in Vacaville Unified School District. This is where I found my home. I then became a 3rd grade teacher for two years after that and I am currently a 2nd grade teacher for the 2nd year in a row.
I have only been teaching for 6 years now, but I felt like I needed more. A friend of mine had told me that she went to Touro University to get her Master's Degree. She loved this program! I kept putting it off, even after going to a meeting about the program. Then I was sitting at a PLC training in San Jose and my boss (the principal of my school) said to me, "Alicia, this is the best time for you to get your Master's. You do not have kids, you are still young, just go for it!" Another friend was sitting with us and I asked her if she would be willing to join me on this journey. She said yes and we went searching for the perfect fit for us. We found it with Tour University.
This was the biggest leap and most rewarding experience for me as a teacher. I feel in a year I have grown more than I have in the last couple of years I have been teaching. I have been keeping a list of all the great ideas that have been shared within my cohort and that I have tried for my own classroom. Now my students are becoming 21st Century learners.
Before this journey I have been using technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge. The program has taught me how to combine all of these things called TPACK. I have learned how to match up my pedagogy and content knowledge with finding the correct or best technology to support the students. Finding that "sweet spot" that incorporates all of these things helps increase student motivation and makes the content accessible to all students.
Sometimes I feel my goals are as simple as staying above water, don't drown. Right now my goal is to create a list of digital tools to use for next year. I want to make sure that I do not forget all that I have learned this year during my Master's Program. Because of this goal of mine it made me realize that my audience, who I originally thought would be my students, needs to be other teachers. I want to create a resource for teachers with ideas for digital comprehension tools. I feel that is something that I have been wanting. Now that I have tried multiple tools I feel I am ready to do this. I think I would love to hear from my cohort more and what they are using and what works and doesn't work. Also, I do not have "a way with words" like a lot of my cohort does. I tend to simplify my words (into a second grade level) and sometimes I feel I need help editing my words. A thesaurus is my friend at times but having my peers help me edit and discuss would be great. I would also like to share ideas of things I have tried in my classroom that have worked to help support them. Some important group norms that I would like is being respectful to others (which I think this cohort is good at). Also, ending classes on time and being respectful of everyone's time.
In my first round of inquiry my driving question was "How does digital storytelling affect reading comprehension?" I was interested in using digital storytelling tools to retell stories that they have read in class. At the beginning of the school year, students were really uninterested in the stories that we were reading in class. I was trying to get them excited and interact with the text but I was not sure how to do that. So after some researching, I decided to use digital storytelling tools to REtell the story (instead of creating a story themselves). After doing my first round of inquiry, I realized I wanted to not limit myself to digital storytelling tools and open up my tool box to all digital tools that would help with comprehension. So now my new driving question is: How do digital tools help improve comprehension? I'm not sure if this is the exact one I want to use, but I'm working on it. I just recently used Flipgrid to help retell the story in my classroom during my second round of inquiry. The first round I used Voicethread.