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About

Summer @ Golden Gate Bridge
Who am I?
My name is Tracy Watanabe, and most people know I see the cup as half full, even when there's only condensation showing.

I'm a mom of two, a pastor's wife, a daughter, a friend, my daughter's soccer coach, and an educator.

Any of these license plate holders would be appropriate for my car: I'd rather be snowboarding, playing soccer, painting, touring an art gallery, or learning.

What are my interests?
Watanabe Summer Vacation @ Cabo
I spend much of my free time learning about tech infused learning, innovation, collaboration, and pedagogy. After 11 years in the elementary school classroom, and 6 years in Educational Services as the Technology Integration Specialist and Common Core Co-Coordinator at AJUSD, I am now a Technology Integration Content Specialist for the Curriculum and Instruction Department at Ventura County Office of Education.
My daddy and me @ Central Park

What do I blog about?
My blog is a place to reflect on engaging kids via educational technology. It's my place to share with others some of the ideas in my head. I am passionate about education, and welcome comments on my blog. Thanks for visiting!

Disclaimer: Views expressed here are my own and may not represent those of my employer or any other entity.

A little more about me
If you are curious about how I got to where I am now, here are some links I created as a guest educator for an Intro to Ed class called, "The Education Professional."
  • Part 1 -- how I chose to be an educator and the beginning of my career 
  • Part 2 -- lessons learned through mistakes 
  • Part 3 -- how I became the Tech Integration Specialist and my current role 
  • I have also blogged at AJUSD Campus Blogs.

Popular posts from this blog

Close Read Complex Text, and Annotate with Tech--Part 1

Students need to be taught how to read complex texts. One of the strategies for learning how is close reading. It slows the reader down to notice and ponder more. It also connects meaning and builds systems of thought.

Text complexity with close reading

Complex text requires a close reading. So what makes a text complex? There are three "ingredients" to text complexity:


It's important to understand text complexity to build students' literacy skills. As they become more skilled, they will read more complex text on their own.

Introduction to close reading

Here's an overview of close reading:




What does close reading look like in the classroom?

Here are some examples of close reading at different grade levels and content areas (or components of it such as annotation):
9th-10th grade -- Thinking Notes: A Strategy to Encourage Close Reading by the Teaching Channel 10th grade, Close Reading with nonfiction6th grade, Teaching Annotation4th grade, Close Reading3rd grade l…

Close Read Complex Text, and Annotate with Diigo--Part 3

Close reading is a strategy for reading complex text. In Part 1, the focus is how to do a close reading. The focus in Part 2 is how to annotate with iPads. The focal points of this post are the teacher steps in close reading; how to create text dependent questions for informational text in 6th-12th grades; annotating in Diigo; and creating writing activities to go with close reading.
Below are the teacher's steps for creating a close reading lesson. However, the student steps are in the poster shown on the right:

Teacher Step 1: Choose the text

Choose a short and difficult text to do a close reading on. It should be at the frustration reading level.

Some examples to choose from for informational text are short speeches (or excerpts from a speech); research; paragraphs or chapters from biographies, memoirs, or historical accounts to name a few.

Teacher Step 2: Planning

Plan and do what you expect your students to do.
Decide if they will annotate on a paper copy, with sticky notes, o…

Striving for Higher-Order Thinking and Depth of Knowledge

A little over a year ago, I read Higher-order thinking is the exception rather than the norm for most classrooms on Scott McLeod's blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, and have been mulling it over, wondering if our school district is any different.

Over the past year, our teachers periodically collect data with their teams on the types of questions/tasks they ask students. One teacher records teacher questions and the other records student responses on a shared Google Doc; then teams sort through their own data, plotting teacher questions by Bloom's Revised Taxonomy, and student responses to those questions/tasks with Webb's Depth of Knowledge (DOK). The 2012-2013 data showed we were not very different from other districts; therefore, our teamsset their own goals for higher-order thinking and depth of knowledge.

The data so far for the 2013-2014 school year shows questions asked of students are up and down the Bloom's ladder, equally distributed (with a little less in the c…