Archive for Just Jen’s Thoughts

Needs to be said……

As I look forward to 2019 — I don’t know what my future holds — but I know WHO holds my future and I rest calmly in that.

Am I apprehensive??
— I am….I have never had surgery before and though I am usually very optimistic….I am apprehensive….but I am surrounded by so many friends — both nearby and online…that support, love, and are praying for me…….plus I have a mighty mighty God… I rest.

But — also — when things like Stage 4 slap you in the face… do realize that you might need to “tidy” things up a bit.  I’ve written the will, I have named my beneficiaries, shared out banking info/logins to a good friend, etc…..I’m not planning to go anywhere soon — but still doing some tidying up.

However, that’s not what this blog is about —

This is my blog post to say “THANK YOU”…..

First and foremost, I want to say THANK YOU to all the teachers who invited me into their classrooms with my project ideas, with ideas I shared at conferences, with blog posts, and other ways I shared out info.  Thank you for trusting my ideas with your students.  Thank you for not being the “ordinary” teacher but instead being the “extraordinary” teacher by adding a little “extra” to your lesson plans.

Secondly, I want to say THANK YOU to all the conferences and edcamps and EdTechTalk that offered me a chance to share.   When you have an idea that is validated by the invitation to share with many — that is both uplifting and edifying.  Those who gave me a voice to share — you gave a boost to my step and a  hope to my dreams for edtech.

Thirdly, I want to say THANK YOU to all my ed-tech friends who invited me into your homes, to your tables, and to your conversations.  I have MANY MANY fond memories of very good times with very wonderful people.   If you picked me up or dropped me off at the airport — THANK YOU.  If you lent me a bed, a couch, a pillow to sleep on….THANK YOU.  If we went out to dinner and laughed and chatted — THANK YOU.   If we went exploring local areas together — THANK YOU.   If you co-shared with me in a chat or a session or a podcast — THANK YOU.
On a side note …. to my second life friends — though it was virtual ….the fun we had, the conversations we had, the exploring we had….. Priceless, memorable, fantastic!

Also, I wanted to say THANK YOU to those I follow on twitter and blogs.  THANK YOU for help make me a better teacher by sharing your ideas.  THANK YOU for helping me look beyond my length of vision.  THANK YOU for pushing me when I wanted to do simple for my kids.  THANK YOU for opening doors — and help closing doors — when necessary.  THANK YOU for your willingness to help others be better.

And, I also wanted to say THANK YOU to anyone who donated to my gofundme account — — it means so much to me that you support me as I fight this batter and walk this new journey.

AND FINALLY, I need…I must… say THANK YOU to everyone and anyone who is praying for me, sending kinds thoughts, texts, comments, phone calls, etc.    This last week of my life — regardless of the news I received — has truly been one of the nicest weeks of my life.  I felt love, appreciated, supported, and cared for.   And what is interesting is that MANY MANY I have never even met Face To Face yet you are willing to be alongside with me.

Take this as a thank you for the road we already have wandered together……
And I look forward to seeing you in  2019.


The Journey Shifts

Stage 4…….my mind does not compute. The doctor pauses for a moment. My friend in the room taking notes pauses. The room goes very quiet.

And at that moment… journey shifts.

So, what does this mean? Well first… means I am sick and I have several options of treatments ahead as I fight this rotten disease called cancer.

I started asking questions….lots of questions…..sometimes I rambled, sometimes I made perfect sense. But the bottom line is… journey shifts.

The biggest change — I am taking a leave of absence from work. So, Miss Wagner is stepping down from teaching as I have surgery and then decide on what we do next. I already miss the kids.

Also, ( will be temporarily suspended for the spring of 2019. I hope to transfer “This Is My Country” to a person who enjoys flipgrid and wishes to keep this project alive and I will make a decision about the “PICTURE IT” project after surgery.

What I need from you —
First of all, I covet your prayers.
Second of all, I ask you to keep in touch….send me jokes, youtube videos, keep my in the loop!
Third of all, I ask that you stay creative and joyous with your kids. Like me, you might be surprised when your “last” day of teaching will be….so make each day the best day!

Because of the unknown, I am setting up a “GOFUNDME” account. I have no idea of expenses that will be coming. I’m not one that is good at asking for help — but, in this case….I am asking for your help and support!

As I know more….I will let you know more.

It is my belief that with my daily routine of working changing, I will have some time to blog again.

I need you to know that my body is sick but I am OK. Many of you know of my faith in God…..and you need to know that it is sustaining me, lifting me, helping me. I am surrounded by people that I work with that are also family to me. Two of my best friends have walked this journey before and are helping me as I sort through everything.

One of my favorite hymns is “It is Well With My Soul.” and that is where my mind is right now. I sing the lyrics often. To remind myself, to cheer myself, to help me smile.

If you don’t know the song:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say

It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Feel free to write me at if you wish.

I wish you a Merry Christmas — and a blessed new year.

PS:  Several have asked “what kind of cancer” — and right now, I am waiting for results from a CT.
I can tell you that I have a tumor — about the size of a golf ball by my right ear.   Thursday’s CT will tell whether it has spread or not.





Some new names to follow — #notatiste18

A few weeks ago, ISTE18 took place in Chicago and #notatiste18 took place online.   We have a large group of members with about 300 actively participating.

One new addition to #notatiste is having a daily challenge where participants respond to a question.   Besides the badge share (click here to visit it) — this is my favorite part of the group.   Even though we are not sitting around the same table chatting, it does feel that way and we get to know each other better.

Some questions this year included “how long have you been teaching?” “how do you get to work” “what did you learn from a teacher when you were in school that you carried over to your classroom?”

However, for this blog post, I wanted to share the answers to this question:

Here are the responses in order of posting —
I would encourage you to visit their twitter page!
Enjoy adding some new voices to your twitter conversations!

Robert Pronovost
Vicky Sedgwick
Tricia Fuglestad
Julie Davis
Natalie Beach
Heather Warrell
Rabbi Michael Cohen
Valerie R. Burton
Jennifer Kimbrell
Brownyn Joyce
Amy Storer
Claudii Zavala Jr
Bill Fitzgerald
Aubrey Reh
Cori Coburn-Shiftlett
Shawn Reed
Carol McLaughlin
Janie Hachen
Sra. MLluch
Amy Willis Burns
Theresa Ducassoux
Joe Merrill
Kristin Merrill
Sean Fahey
John Martin
Rodney Turner
Ginger Lewman
Josh Howard
Todd Nesloney
Jen Roberts
Craig Klement
Deepti Sawhney
Susan Gilley
Spencer Kiper
Tammy Seneca
Leigha Burnham
Hollie Sisk
Monica Spillman

A Note To My Participants

Hello Friends!

Another year of ProjectsByJen is winding down and as always, I want to say “THANK YOU” for so many things…..and to let you know future plans.

“THANK YOU” for reaching out and opening up doors to new learning opportunities for your students.

“THANK YOU” for not being the teacher who never tries something new!

“THANK YOU” for connecting with other classrooms via skype, hangouts, blogs, and shared slide shows.

“THANK YOU” for being flexible when projects went a little off kilter.

“THANK YOU” for enjoying creative chaos occasionally in your classroom.

“THANK YOU” for being involved in ProjectsByJen”.


A couple of things to share:
#1 — With GDPR being so much in the news — I wanted to share a few things about your data and ProjectsByJen.
A.  I make a conscious effort to never share your email out to anyone.
B.  I do use Google to collect data (registrations, etc) and REMIND to keep you in the loop of projects.
C.  I walked away from another site we were using for connections because I could not verify they protect your emails
D.  ProjectsByJen is self-hosted and the Project Weebly’s never ask for personal info.
SO — to sum up — I am doing my best to protect your personal data you might provide when you register for a project.

#2 — O.R.E.O. and Holiday Card Project will both return in the 2018/2019 school year.  O.R.E.O. in August/September and Holiday Card in December.   Our theme will be:  HOLIDAY TRADITIONS!
Not sure about the other 2 projects yet.   I am looking into a couple of possibilities — and will let you know when I know more!


I thank you again for being a part of Projects By Jen and I hope our paths cross again in 2018/2019.



I am an educator who LOVES bringing creative opportunities each day to my students.   Currently, I am working with a wonderful group of Kindergarten through 8th grade students at a Private Christian School in California.   Since 1999, I have been hosting online projects for elementary classrooms at   I have won several awards for my projects – but those mean nothing compared to the smiles from students and the thanks from parents & teachers! I enjoy traveling to conferences and edcamps and sharing ways to bring JOY and CREATIVITY back into your classroom. Follow me on Twitter @JenWagner.   Have a wonderful day!