Monday, August 9, 2021

Back To School Letter to Teachers #EdChat

 Dear Educators, 

As you get ready to start school, or, for some of you, engage in the first week or two of school, I wanted to write a letter to you. The first thing I want to say is thank you. You might be in an environment where you do not hear that enough. Thank you for getting up and getting ready to tackle another insane school year. When they told us teacher would not be easy in college, they did not tell us about the possibility of teaching multiple years in the midst of a pandemic. Despite the change of your entire teaching environment, you have altered your lessons and have come up with some pretty cool ideas that I am sure will stick around when this virus is passed us. 

You are going to face more challenges over the course of this school year and you are going to make mistakes. That is ok. We are all going to make mistakes. You will rise up over those mistakes and still do an amazing job. The students will look to you for guidance and grace and you will show it to them. When you don't, you will step and make it a teachable moment. I am so sorry that this is going to be another year of students coming and going because of quarantine, another year of having that pit feeling in your stomach when you, or your loved ones do not feel well, another year of trying to figure out how to take care of your own children at home and the ones in the seats in your room, and another year of thinking you are just not good enough. You are good enough. You are better than good. You are freaking amazing. You have made it this far and you decided to come back for another year. It is not easy, but you are doing your best. 

I also want to make sure you take time to take care of yourself. Your mental health is important you DO NOT need to burn yourself out in the first couple of months of the school year. You have friends and family that need you and, most of all, you need yourself. Take those breaks from grading at home. Spend time watching the true crime documentary you have had saved for a few months. You are no good to anyone if you are not well. You are loved by so many. We all want you to be well. Take time to make sure you are.

Lastly, to any new teachers starting their first job this year; welcome to the club. You don't get a shirt, but you will wear your job as a badge of honor for years to come. It is not going to be easy, but find yourself a mentor to help guide through all of the things you need to know that are not taught in school. Be eager to learn, be yourself, and don't be afraid to say, "I don't know". Those three words are some of the most honest words you can say as a teacher and more people need to feel comfortable with saying it as long as they follow it with, "But I'm going to find out and get back to you." You are going to feel like an imposter this year, and probably a few years after. To be honest, you will not feel truly good abut what you are doing until your 5th year or so. That's ok. We've all been there. 

I know this year is going to be tough, but I know that teachers across the country and around the world and going to do their very best to make sure our students feel welcomed, loved, and safe. You've got this and share this message with other educators that need the pat on the back. It is a small act with everything that is going on, but sometimes support starts with a small act and grows over time. 

Sending you all of my love and support, 

Nicholas Provenzano aka The Nerdy Teacher 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Interactive Fiction with Python! #MakerEd #Coding #ISTE21

Thanks to everyone that made it to the webinar. I was able to take the recording and add it to YouTube. You can watch it below. Feel free to share it with your students and with others around the internet. Here are the links to the resources used.

Raspberry Pi Tutorial

My game with advanced elements

Here is my game I made. Press play to start.


 If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and we can connect.

Virtual Hugs and High Fives,


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Teach Creativity with Adobe and Khan Academy

I am very excited to share with you the FREE online course that Adobe has created in partnership with Khan Academy. As the school year winds down, this self-paced course is something I would recommend to all educators looking to improve their practice. Below are a few highlights from my experience completing this accredited course. 

Self-Pace Yourself

One of my favorite aspects of this course is the fact that it is self-paced. Online classes that meet on a regular basis can be tough on our busy schedules. Unlike the set meeting times I had to work around while getting my Masters degree for Educational Technology, this course allowed me to work through the material at my own pace. 20 hours of work can be done over the course of a week or a month. Find the time that works for you and get the work done when you can. 

The Four C’s

I love that this course focuses on Collaboration, Creativity, Communication, and Critical Thinking as these Four C’s are pillars of my design class. Instead of simply stating how important these skills are to foster in students, the course features over 100 lesson plans and adaptable materials for teachers to use.  Here is a practical assignment that a social studies teacher could use in their class.

As you know, I am a huge fan of Project Based Learning so anything that has students create something to demonstrate understanding always gets my attention. 

Digital Literacy and Content Specific Examples

Another part of the course that is awesome is its focus on digital literacy. A staple of Khan Academy is its videos and this course does not disappoint. There are great videos with every lesson making the course that much more engaging. Here is an example of a lesson in the Digital Literacy unit of the course that teachers can use in their classrooms and modify however they need.

If you're like me and enjoy walking away from a professional development course with something tangible you can implement into your class as soon as possible, you'll find this course especially valuable. 

The course also provides a breakdown to help educators apply these digital tools to whichever subject area they teach. 

Too often, examples leave out a wide variety of content areas and teachers are left wondering how they can apply their learnings to their classrooms..This course features unique examples for each specialty areas, like math, history, and literature, to be relevant to various educators. Best of all, understanding how teachers in other subject areas can utilize the same digital tools may even open the door to cross-curricular opportunities. 

Pixar in a Box

The last thing that I want to point out is how the course connects to the amazing Pixar in a Box lesson released earlier this year. These 9 lessons give students the chance to really flex their creative muscles. 

I will be introducing this lesson to my students in my new digital design focused class next year as it looks like an amazing way to engage my students in a fun and creative way. 

Overall, this course is the perfect resource for teachers looking for ways to expand their knowledge base, but at their own pace. While this post was created in partnership with Adobe Education, Teach Creativity with Adobe and Khan Academy is something I encourage every educator to explore when they have the time. Not only will you not be disappointed, neither will your students.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Shout out to @AdobeSpark

This is the Week of Making 2021 and I wanted to give a shout out to Adobe Spark for making it super easy for me and my students to share our making with the community. 

I have been using it for a couple of years now with my students and I love how easy it is for them to create and share with the class. I use it for examples for the students as well. Here are a couple of examples,

For my middle schoolers, it is important to not overwhelm them with lots of bells and whistles when it comes to new tools. Spark is great because it is very intuitive and the students can play around until they get their project to look like they want. Whether it is a poster like these, websites, or video, Spark gives my students options for their work so they can share with the community. 

I am an ACE Rewards Program member with Adobe, but that doesn't make Spark any less awesome in my classroom.