Elizabeth @ 38


I am Elizabeth Lentz and I am thirty-eight years old.  I am a wife, a mother, a coach, a tutor, a cheerleader, a therapist, a shofar, a chef, a maid, and even sometimes, I have to be the bad guy.  I feel so fortunate to have had the ability to be a stay at home mom to two beautiful girls.  Emma is now fourteen and Lily is eleven.  Most of their lives, it was just the three of us.  My husband retired from the Marine Corps two years ago and now we are back to the four of us.  Greg was able to find a job in Hickory, so that is what brought my family here and me to LR.  I am originally from the coast, New Bern, NC.  This is Elizabeth @ 38…

The most important things to in my life are in the pictures above.  I love my girls more than they will ever know.  I am so proud of who they have become and look forward to watching them grow into beautiful people.  I married Greg sixteen years ago, and how we made it this long is something of a mystery, but we did.  I think that him being gone all of the time helped out.  My best friend Heather helped me get through those months, sometimes years, of deployments.  Our families still vacation together every year and we go away on girls weekends.  If anyone has seen me on campus, I always have a Starbucks in my hand and my headphones on my ears.  I no longer have to tune people out, I just put on my earphones, and the coffee, that is just a bad habit.

Being a military family, we moved quite often, so we always try to take advantage of what each new area has to offer.  All of our outings are between volleyball, lacrosse, band, swim, and softball seasons.  As a family we love to hike, attend Hornet’s and Crawdad’s games, hit up Carowinds, the PNC amphitheater for a concert and the White Water Center. We also volunteer at the Catawba History Center and  Neighbor’s Network in Conover. After a game, our favorite lunch spots are Hatch and Paco’s Taco’s in Charlotte.  Greg and I are members of the Comedy Zone in Charlotte and we love it!  Nothing makes you feel better than a good laugh and a beer or two.  We also take advantage of the Green Room Theater and the LR Writers Series.  I was able to bring my mom to see Garrison Keillor last year.

I still can’t believe I have lived in Hickory for almost two years now and I don’t have to move.  It took some time to get adjusted to Hickory, we have never lived anywhere  it is cold.  The first picture is of my backyard during our first snow in Hickory.  I had to purchase winter clothes, we owned nothing warm, coming here from San Diego.  The crazy picture is of me after my first exam.  I was in shock, it had been 20 years since I had been in school.  Now look at me, I am hanging out at the Crawdad’s Game with the International Students and SGA, supporting Hands on Hickory. I am so grateful for the opportunity to go to college at my age.  It is never too late to learn.

At Thirty-Eight years old, I never thought I would live in Hickory,  be back in school, wearing braces again, have two kids, and a 6 pound Chihuahua named Muchacho.  But I do, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s amazing how we never know where the roads of life are going to lead us, change us, mature us and bring us to where we belong.  I wouldn’t change a thing about Thirty-Eight year old Elizabeth.


My Digital Self


One of my favorite Quests was to create a Twitter account.  I was never big on Social Media and I didn’t know what I was missing.  I’m still not a huge Tweeter, but I love to Retweet.  I have learned so much and am following some very interesting people.  I have also used Twitter as part of my Person Learning Network.  Here is one of my favorite tweets yet. twitter


I do not carry around Digital Baggage.  I model for two teenager girls, so I try my best to be a DIGITAL CITIZEN.  What you say and post online, says everything about you.   Colleges and employers are investigating the integrity of their applicants, using their online presence.  I am very reserved in my postings.  I like to post about my kids, vacations and fun stuff I did at school that day.  No wild nights for this old lady.  What you post is what you are.  Digital Baggage


I created a Digital Tool Box, and  I am so happy that I did.  I have gathered all of my favorite APPs, websites, articles, and lesson plans all in one place.  When I am stuck on an idea, if I can’t find it in my box, I can search someone else’s.  What an excellent invention.


As part of my PLN I created a Google + account.  I even started a Community with my LR EdTPA buddies so we could share ideas and ask questions.  I have followed other middle school teachers for ideas and advice.  There is so much potential in the educational communities for becoming a better teacher.  They say teaching is a profession of sharing.




My Wish


“Schools, as we know them, are obsolete”, according to Sugata Mitra.  He states that they are no longer needed, it is outdated.  Students today go to school with their phone and their books, but why?  Why take the time to open the book and learn something when you can look up what you need to know.

granny cloud

Technology can help teach us, but encouragement is key.  We need to bring creativity back to learning.  That is the purpose of the “Granny Cloud”.   They are there to support the wonder, the collaboration, the curiosity and the intellectual adventures. Learning is the product of educational self-organizing.  The Granny or the teacher, can stand back and admire the students’ minds at work.


School in the Cloud is the future of education. Sugata Mitra’s Wish is that teachers become the facilitators of learning in a student-led environment.  So let’s just get on with it, and send him our data.


Oh the Possibilities


I learned that 1 teacher, 50 minutes, 30 students, 30 objectives, and 30 different outcomes is all possible thanks to technology.  Technology has the ability to personalize learning to meet every students needs and make it fun!  The teacher becomes a facilitator, and the  students take the lead.  Technology has the power to build strong student-teacher relationships, which inhances meaningful learning.



TPACK andSAMR became the foundation for me in this class.  I was able to find ways to integrate technology, both high and low, into the majority of my lesson plans.  I am in a school that is not 1 to 1, so there were many days spent in the computer lab. I was amazed that this technology was not only knew to me, but it was new to many of the students too.  It took time to get the students logged in and on the correct site, but they caught on quick.  My take away is that Technology is great, it is how you use it that can be lifechanging!



Just from observation, I see the need for Digital Citizenship.  Students need to know how to safely navigate the digital world, proper online behavior, and the importance of citing and the use of other’s work.  Ditigital education will follow them through life and is important to establish early on.


I created a social media presence in this class and discovered the importance of making professional connections.  #panda.

plicker I made a difference with what I learned in this class.  I am only in the classroom one day a week this semester, but every Thursday I like to try something new.  The students can’t wait to see what I come up with.  This was the first time we used Plickers.  They loved them.  It was something new and I was able to differenciate the questions for each class’ level.   Plickers also gives that instant feedback that the students crave.

My tool box is full and ready to go.  I see the benefits that using technology as a tool brings to education, and I want to be part of that movement.  Imagine reaching every student, everyday, every class and having fun doing it.  Count me in!





Fake or Real, That is the Question.

What a slap back to reality.   What we see and what we hear is not always true.  In the professional world, we must be very careful that what we teach, post or endorse is proven true or real.  This exercise reminds you of fact-checking everything.  It is all about the details.

The picture I looked at was a little off, but it took me a while to figure out how.  The buildings gave the illusion that it was at sunset when the picture was taken.  When I looked again at the sky, it looked bright, making it appear noonish.  When I checked my answers, I was somewhat right.  But one thing I didn’t notice was the cursor left on the picture from photoshopping it.

The hotel reviews seemed nothing out of the ordinary, except for the fine details in review #1.  I felt like the reviewer was advertising the amenities in the review.  A little too much detail to be a true and honest review.  But I was wrong, they were both true.  I should have gone to the reviewers’ past reviews and compared them.  After checking my answers, that is what the fact-checkers did.  Who would believe only two reviews anyway, I would have look farther into the hotel before I stayed.

“The Jefferson Quotes” were quite interesting.  I did get the answer right by using common sense, but the fact-checkers had some great advice on looking up quotes.  Google Books is a fantastic resource, I’m sticking that one in my toolbox.

The moral of the story is fact-check everything.  As teachers, we need to model for our students that we only pass on true and accurate information on to them.  I see a literary integration in the near future.  I really enjoyed this quest.

Take TPACK for a Spin

Take TPACK for a Spin




Content Knowledge: What is the knowledge surrounding the content?

Using scissors as a back scratcher doesn’t really come with prior knowledge, except that scissors are not typically used as a back scratcher.

Pedagogical Knowledge: How will your students come to learn the content?

The knowledge of using scissors as a back scratcher will be gained through critical thinking.

Technological Knowledge:  What tools will be used to support students learning?

The materials available for support: milk, tape, cling wrap, and scissors.

Video: The goal was to use the scissors as a back scratcher. My daughter engaged the experiment by using the scissors alone as a back scratcher, and if used carefully, worked just fine. Just as we add technology as a tool to enhance the learning process, my husband used tape to extend the length of the scissors.  He was then able to reach his whole back and safely.  Both were able to accomplish the goal, but my husband enhanced his experience by adding supports to the original idea.what-is-tpack1




Digital Citizenship



Digital Citizenship is creating a positive culture that supports the safe and responsible use of technology. As educators, it is our responsibility to model for our students what true Digital Citizenship is. We want them to be good humans, both in the classroom and the digital world. We should expect the same behavior online that we expect in person; manners, respect, and kindness. Digital Citizenship does differ from traditional citizenship in that digital interactions often lack the human connection of a face to face communication. In traditional citizenship, making a mistake usually results in instant feedback, however, online interactions often do not offer those same reactions.

The teacher’s role is to model and teach students the positive aspects of digital citizenship: meeting people from across the globe, sharing culture, knowledge, and experiences; skyping with experts in a related field of study; sharing data with other students, researchers, and professors.  The possibilities of collaboration are endless.  This video is a great example of that.  WATCH and see as this teacher exposes his students to the positive outcomes of technology use in the classroom.

Making Social Connections Through Twitter

PSA- Creative Commons


A Creative and Nontraditional Othello

 The Lenoir-Rhyne Playmakers’ production of Othello is a modern take on Shakespeare’s classic play.  Director Joshua Yoder combines the traditional script with a modern industrial backdrop, cold dramatic music, and nontraditional casting. The director describes his vision for Othello as not just a story of a powerful General, or an honest Sergeant-at-Arms, but as Yoder describes, of  “brave women striving to navigate a world in which men treat them as object to be owned” (Theater Program).

Iago (Koch) carries the play with his larger than life stage presence and convincing body language. His facial expressions speak louder than the words.  Zachary Koch’s performance is so powerful, that the Director was compelled to express this in his note saying, “Iago looks directly at the audience and tells us what he’s going to do, and we sit helpless and horrified as his plan unfolds” (Theater Program).  This is clear in Act 2, Scene 1, as Zachary explains to the audience what lies he will tell Othello next.

The young Desdemona (Heller-Lee) weaves in and out of scenes throughout the play.  She appears when Desdemona (Hayes) is sad and offers her comfort from afar.  We first see Sophia in the play’s opening scene, with Barbary (Smith), and together with Desdemona, they sing the song of Willow. This melody connects the child and adult Desdemona’s until her death at the hands of Othello (James), when the song is sung again.  Sophia’s only speaking part follows Desdemona’s death when she says “Murder, murder! No one killed me. It was myself” a play on the written words spoken by Desdemona in the text“A guiltless death I die. Nobody. I myself. Farewell” (5.2.150-152).

The backdrop and the music reinforce Yoder’s interpretation of Othello.  The stage is designed as a port, with an industrial element and two video screens flanking the actors.  The video carries the audience in transition by setting the mood with nautical scenes.  The music contrasts with the visuals with cold, dramatic sounds such as heavy breathing, clanging metals, and loud brash sounds.  There is a balancing of the industrial elements in the visuals and music with the beautiful words spoken.

In the spirit of feminism, five male roles were played by women in this twenty-first century rendition of Othello.  In addition to the Senator, Montano, The Duke of Venice, Lodovico, and Gratiano in this revision are reimagined as Montana, The Duchess of Venice, Gratiana, and Lodovica.  Following Othello’s death, Montana (Smith), exclaims, “Women will rule Cyprus”!

The LR Playmakers rendition of Othello mixes classic Shakespeare with an industrial tone, visual effects, and an untraditional role reversal.  This version of the original story is amplified through Iago’s powerful presence and the addition of a young Desdemona.  As a writer, reading and watching Shakespeare’s Othello  gave me insight to the world of theater expression by opening my eyes to the possibilities of creativity in music, visuals, and casting.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. Othello. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. Folger Shakespeare Library Edition, Simon and Schuster, 2009.

Othello. By William Shakespeare. Dir. Joshua Yoder. Perf. Tylan James and Zach Koch. LR Playmakers, Lenoir-Rhyne U., Hickory, NC. 12 Nov. 2016.

Theater Program, Director’s Note. Othello. By William Shakespeare. Perf. Tylan James and Zach Koch. LR Playmakers, Lenoir-Rhyne U., Hickory, NC. 12 Nov. 2016.

The Vulnerable Lover, General, Moor

Williams Shakespeare’s Othello portrays a story of two lovers; a daughter of a Venetian senator, privileged and sheltered and an older, black, respected general of the Venetian Army, that has seen the world. It’s a marriage of differences and their love and trust is tested throughout the play. Although Othello is strong and commanding, Susan Snyder points out in, “Othello: A Modern Perspective,” his social insecurities and elevated vulnerability is what leads the readers down the path of final tragedy.

Snyder speaks of Othello’s social uncertainty, “Although he is a Venetian by association and allegiance, whatever he knows of customs and assumptions of Venice is learned, not instinctive. If Iago, a native, says Venetian women are habitually unfaithful, it must be so” (292). Iago sees Othello’s ignorance of Venetian culture, as an open door to gain his trust and begin his plot to drive the lovers apart.

Othello’s self doubt is the key to drive jealousy into his heart. Before Othello moves to Cyprus, his insecurities are lit on fire. In Act 1, Brabantio, Desdemona’s father, is unaccepting of their marriage. He speaks to Othello, telling him, if she is capable of deceiving her father, by marrying, she can betray him too. Warning Othello of her ability to go behind his back:


Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see.

She has deceived her father, and may thee. (1.3.333-334)

Iago, once again attacks Othello’s susceptibility of believing his words, but this time in reference to his skin- color. Iago says Desdemona veered away from what is natural, her own kind, and eventually will fall back to men with the skin color of hers:


Not to affect many proposed matches

Of her own clime, complexion, and degree,

Whereto we see in all things nature tends-

Foh! One may smell in such a will most rank,

Foul (disproportion,) thoughts unnatural-

But pardon me- I do not in position

Distinctly speak of her, thought I may fear

Her will, recoiling to her better judgment,

May fall to match you with her country forms

And happily repent. (3.3.269-278)

This marriage was doomed from Act 1. Othello feeling unworthy of such a young beautiful women, but loving her so much, he killed her out of jealousy. Othello is a true tragedy; a story of an honored General, unwilling to believe in the love of a young woman, rather consumed by the lies and manipulative plans of his lowly soldier.

Works Cited

Mowat, Barbara A. and Paul Werstine, eds. Folger Shakespeare Library: Othello by William Shakespeare. Simon and Schuster, 2009.

Snyder, Susan. “Othello: A Modern Perspective.” Folger Shakespeare Library: Othello by William Shakespeare, edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine, Simon and Schuster, 2009. 287-98.

The Words and Voices of Sarah Vowell

Sarah Vowell brought both her wit and unique presence to the stage in P.E. Monroe Auditorium Thursday night. She told stories of her childhood, her career in college radio, as a magazine writer, as a writer of books, as the role of a cartoon character, and the unusual voice chosen to work on public radio.

Sarah Vowell considers herself a translator, not a historian. Her books are factually historical, but are collected into her point of view. She felt there was a calling from readers to deliver books about history that people actually wanted to read. Sarah says she is a writer for the readers and her background in the Arts gives her a sense of humility that is expressed in her works.

I walked away from that evening, remembering how much I enjoyed Ms. Vowell’s personal take on Assassination Vacation. She told the audience that it was a book based on egomania; presidents who thought they should be president, and assassins who thought they knew better.