The path back to reflection

Frank

Two years ago I was fortunate enough to be a part of a vibrant blogging PLN.

Welcome to #blogamonth – We are a diverse #PLN of teachers, administrators, coaches and more.  We connect to provide each member with some “edu-couragement” to write a blog and comment on a blog at least once a month.  We are always looking for new member to share in our growth and learning.

This commitment to my own reflection and growth and that of my PLN members was amazingly impactful.  Over the past few years, I have found my own posting, my commenting, and my saturation in this form learning waning.  While I have certainly filled this time with other work, life, and alternative learning avenues, I feel the loss of this collegial and reflective avenue.

Why blog?

Blogging is an inherently reflective activity that forces the author to examine their actions and emotions as they relate to events or ideas.  As teachers we need to be engaged in and model reflective practice so as to best meet the needs of all of our students.  Blogging allows us to share our thoughts, our challenges, and our successes with a global audience.  It offers transparency in to our humanity and fallibility, and it enables the potential for meaningful connection both internally with the community we serve and externally in to a larger community to we which we can both offer and receive support.

Recently I have been approached by a number of members of #blogamonth with the desire to recreate the PLN and the Edu-couragement/commitment that is associated with it.  I look forward to re-launching this effort and learning together.

I have cleared out our pre-existing list (except for participants who have been in touch with me and wanting to reinstate this effort), so as to include only those who want to participate.  If you would like to join or rejoin in the Edu-couragement? Join the #blogamonth group for monthly topics and tons of support! http://blogamonth.weebly.com/

 

The Network Sherpa Experience by Leah

Sills

My name is Leah. I am one of the Davis Network Sherpas. I remember the first meeting we had. I was the only girl out of five Sherpas. Being a Sherpa is really fun because it is a great learning experience. Every time we have a meeting, we learn something new. It is a great learning experience not only for the other Network Sherpas but also for the teachers that we help. Sometimes the teachers even learn from the kids! Today, we learned about servers. It was very interesting. We learned about where all of our documents go after the children at Davis save them. We learned about all the telephones in the school, which was also very interesting. Also, the Network Sherpas will be learning about imaging next Thursday. I am so excited for that subject. Even though I am the only girl, the boys are good to work with because they are really smart and really nice. At home, my dad and I love to build things together. For example, last year we made a menorah. It isn’t just your run of the mill menorah, however. He programmed each candlestick to light for a certain amount of time for each night. It was beautiful to look at and really easy to use. Even though being a Network Sherpa is fun, we still have to be at school before the doors open. We have our meetings before school starts. I don’t know how we learn so much in just thirty minutes! In my opinion, I think younger Davis students should grow up to love building robots and all the other gizmo gadgets that are out there. I think the younger students who would love to do what I do at Davis should sign up to be a Davis Network Sherpa. I have a little advice for the younger kids: never stop believing in yourself and don’t get frustrated when things don’t go your way. If you fail the first time, try try again. Thank you for learning a little bit about our Network Sherpa program and remember, never stop trying.

Faculty DEAR Time 2015

Roosevelt

Each week I am fortunate to have time allocated to sit with each of my grade level teams to discuss our students, programs, and ideas for the future.  This week we used this collective time for our own enjoyment, learning, and sharing.  Instead of the normal agenda of topics which I raise and the questions which each team brings to share with me, I gathered a selection of articles/blogs from a diverse group of education sources and topics (jointly curated by myself and by recommendations of my team throughout the year), laid out sweets and snacks, and we all spent time in DEAR (drop everything and read) time.  Each teacher chose the articles (as many as they wanted) that interested them and we spent 20 silent minutes reading.  After this we engaged in a discussion about the items and the points the resonated with us.  While the meetings were tied together by the common titles shared, the organic discussions were unique to each grade level.  Further, that the reading and conversations evoked not only professional learning and sharing, but in a number of instances also inspired some personal sharing, benefited our community by creating a space and time where we could grow closer to each other as a result of such sharing. The discussions have been fabulous, and there have been many requests for more opportunities to repeat this process in the future.

Thank you to the amazing educators who share their passion with me regularly through their writings, and helped make this learning experience so positive for all of our teachers.

 

  1. 5 Ways to Lay the Foundation for Innovation #InnovatorsMindset by @gcouros
  2.  6 Truths about Technology in Education by @ajjuliani
  3.  10 myths undermining #education… by @justintarte
  4.  10 Questions We Should Ask Ourselves about Homework by @LitCoachLady
  5.  (Digital) Identity in a World that No Longer Forgets by @courosa & @kbhildebrandt
  6.  For Students, the Importance of Doing Work That Matters by @willrich45
  7.  Manifesto 15 Evolving Learning by @manifesto_15
  8.  Social Consequences of Food Allergy by @creativitypost
  9.  The 4 Properties of Powerful Teachers by @chronicle
  10.  The Gutenberg Pause is almost over by @prmurphy
  11.  The Open Door Isn’t Always Open by @chrislehmann
  12.  The Opportunities for Empathy in the Classroom by @terryheick
  13.  Want to keep your new middle-schooler out of trouble? Then let them take risks by @michelleicard
  14. When Schools Overlook Introverts by @TheMrGodsey
  15. Write, Erase, Do It Over: On Failure, Risk and Writing Outside Yourself by @MsToniMorrison

Is the key device of innovation MATTER?

 Capture

I had the great privilege of spending last week with a group of my EDU-heroes at the Georgia Educational Technology Conference.   As the conference title would imply there were a myriad of excellent sessions on google classroom, learning management systems, app-smashing, and fantastic curricular, collaborative, and creative website and technological tools.   As I reflect on the learning takeaways from these three great days of learning, however, I am left with a much more profound question: Is the key device of innovation MATTER?

 

#youmatter 

Angela Maiers (@AngelaMaiers) – “Every human being needs to know that they are noticed, valued and essential.”

Leslie Fisher (@lesliefisher) – “My words, your words matter. Use your superpowers for good!”

#relationshipsmatter

Erin Klein (@KleinErin) – “I strive to be the teacher that I want my own kids to have.”

Ge-Anne Bolhuis (@gabolhuis) – “Your heart is your power source to build up others.”

#workthatmatters

Will Richardson (@willrich45)  – “The tech conversation doesn’t matter if you haven’t had the learning conversation first.

Jennie Magiera (@MsMagiera)  – “Is school educating the curiosity and inquisitiveness out of our students?”

 

I love the irony at the heart of a tech conference evoking the following lasting questions for me. 

How do I actively support a culture in which all participants are valued, where relationships are invested in and developed, and where all learners are engaged in work that matters to them and to the world?

 

 

#EVERYDAY

In Mark’s powerful TEDTalk, A Life Lesson from a Volunteer Firefighter, he states, “Not every day is going to give us the chance to save somebody’s life, but every day gives us the opportunity to affect one”.

This message is the basis for this year’s Davis Middle School theme, #EVERYDAY.

EVERYDAY presents the opportunity to share kindness with a friend.

EVERYDAY presents the opportunity to stretch ourselves and learn something new.

EVERYDAY presents the opportunity to take pride in yourself and your surroundings by taking care of both.

Specifically:

6th Grade – EVERYDAY Explore

Explore yourself and your passions.  The Davis Academy Middle School offers a myriad of outlets for self-exploration.  Whether you shine on the stage, thrive on the soccer field, dig deep into the works of ancient and current literature, or create amazing digital and tactile art, make sure that EVERYDAY you explore.  In a few short weeks, we will board kayaks with friends to journey in Charleston’s harbor and in a blink of an eye we will be boarding rafts with your brothers and sisters to raft down the Jordan River.  EVERYDAY Explore.

7th Grade – EVERYDAY Commit

Commit to yourself.  Seventh grade is a year of higher expectations both spiritually and academically.  In Judaism, for most, this will be the year of the Bnai Mitzvot.  Seventh graders will make a commitment to the Jewish people to embody the history, values, and lessons of the Torah.  This is a year of commitment to school as well.  A commitment to higher expectations and higher stakes, as this year will help shape both high school decisions and acceptances.  EVERYDAY Commit to being the best you.

8th Grade – EVERYDAY Cherish

Cherish the last lap in the journey.  Whether this is year two or year ten at The Davis Academy, cherish the relationships that have been created between friends, teachers, and with oneself.  Cherish the opportunity to be leaders, both at The Davis Academy and in the larger community.  Cherish the memories that have been made and the unbelievable ones ahead as we experience our Kehillah on Kallah at Coleman, through community service with our Marist peers, and in our homeland. EVERYDAY Cherish.

 

EVERYDAY be and become the person you can be.

And

EVERYDAY know that I and the amazing team of teachers are here to nurture and support these achievements.

 

 

Life, Learning, and Laughter Enthusiast

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