Blogging is something I just haven't ever been able to say I have mastered. However, there's something about the beginning of the year that gives you the push to dust off failed attempts at previous goals in order to give them another go. As a matter of fact, I have not posted a blog post in exactly one year, so here we go. A brand new year serves as a brand new opportunity to start over, right? At least that's what I like to think.
While I don't set resolutions each year, one thing that has helped me over the past few years has simply been to set goals and review them regularly. The power of self reflection is something that I have used to become stronger and grow from day to day. This gives me the opportunity to reflect over my progress and adjust my own needs and desires throughout the year without feeling like a failure because I didn't master an impossible list of dreams I set for myself January 1st. I am also able to capture who I want to be, the whole picture spiritually, personally, and professionally.
I don't have the secret formula to being great, but I have a system that helps me become better daily. My end goal is always progress, not perfection, and personal reflection helps me to celebrate my wins and gives me a safe space to regroup in areas where I have greater opportunity for growth. More importantly, it enables me to give myself grace.
How do you plan for personal growth? Are you looking for a simple way to reflect and grow? I created a simple reflection tool just like the process I use in my journal. Click here to grab this tool to help you crush your own goals this year. Feel free to add other pages or customize it as you see fit.
Special thank you to Jennifer Hogan who's blog post about planning for a successful blog pushed me to get back on the blogging saddle after an entire year. Jennifer's post includes a great planner that I will use this year because my share goal includes using my blog to share my learning with others. You can read more and grab her FREE blogging resource here.
Dr. Will is passionate about helping others live their best lives. Through his podcast, The Dr. Will Show, he interviews individuals passionate about harnessing their gifts, talents, and abilities to build the lives they want to have. During this episode, Dr. Will joins me to discuss the power of working for yourself, or getting your "coins" as an edupreneur.
I am honored to be included in the Fall 2018 issue of Teaching Tolerance Magazine. Their mission is "to help teachers and schools educate children and youth to be active participants in a diverse democracy". This organization provides a roadmap for educators who want to help students make a difference, and they have been instrumental in my professional growth and development over the past few years. If you are interested in learning more about your role in social justice and anti-bias teaching and learning, you should check them out.
I love this time of the year! Everyone is heading back to school full of excitement and anticipation. What better way to prepare for the school year than to sit down and have a conversation with students? As a teacher-mom, I am always talking to my kids about school, so I thought it would be nice to record one of our many conversations. In this episode, my 3 kiddos, Paul (14), Kaden (7), and Kaleigh (7) joined me for a chat about the 2018-2019 school year along with their feelings about school.
I love this time of the year! Leading up to the end of the school year, there is time to reflect over the year as well as time to make needed adjustments to ensure we not only give students our all but truly enjoy the ride until the last bell rings .
As we wrap up teaching and learning for the school year, it is our perception about teaching and learning that will carry us through until the end. Your perception truly frames your reality. If you feel as if each day is an amazing teaching and learning opportunity for you and your students, this message will simply fuel you to continue doing what matters most, sharing your ideas with others along the way. This is my goal. However, I have not been out of the classroom long. I realize often times, educators work in environments that are counterproductive and structured in ways in which we must work hard to simply show up and teach with joy daily. Together, let's use the last few weeks to run with students, ensuring our classrooms, schools, and districts continue to flourish with innovative teaching and learning that keeps us just as excited as our students to come to work each day. How? I'm glad you asked.
I have shared only a few ideas to rock teaching and learning for the remainder of the school year. What about you? What will you try? What will you do to enjoy the last few weeks of the school year with your students? Please share your ideas with me and feel free to reach out to me if I can help you in any way possible.
It's that time of the year again! Each and every single spring, students and teachers from around the nation begin to prepare for end of the year assessments. From grade level specific state testing to college entrance exams, teachers are preparing review material to help students prepare for the end of the year.
As much as we all dread test prep, it is often a necessary evil that accompanies public school education. While I could write a blog post much longer than you probably want to read about my views on testing, I wanted to take time to help you prepare students for testing. Test preparation does not have to be boring for teachers or students. Long gone are the days when test preparation simply meant handing students a packet of never-ending worksheets to regurgitate answers through test formatted questions. That is torture for everyone involved. Through the use of Google Forms, you can build formative assessments, prepare differentiated material, and accelerate learning for students who need more.
Over the next few weeks, I am sharing and learning with the seven PK-6 campuses I support, and I just couldn't forget about YOU. Take time to (re)discover how Google can help you take the boredom out of test prep. Please share what you use with your students! I'm looking forward to learning from you.
Ann Kozma is an amazing TOSA, or Teacher on Special Assignment, from Fullerton California. From the moment that we met via Twitter during a #TOSAchat and later Voxer, Ann has been a ray of light, spreading cheer and encouragement to me and others along my personal edtech journey as an instructional coach turned Blended Learning Specialist. During this episode of EDU Lounge, Ann shares her upcoming sessions with Spring CUE 2018 along with her love of helping others.
A few weeks ago, I was able to sit down to chat and learn from Dee Lanier. Dee is an educator with over a decade of experience in education who currently serves as a Program Coordinator with EdTechTeam. Dee Lanier doesn't simply teach outside of the box. He throws it away and gives students the opportunity to design and think in creative ways. From SmashboardEdu, an interactive game-like digital board that challenges students to use various tools to work towards an end goal, to Maker Kitchen, an inexpensive way to create opportunities for students to make and create, Dee is opening learning opportunities for others around the globe. Learn more about Dee's innovative approach to teaching and learning during this episode of EDU Lounge.
I love podcasts! From funny to informal and everything in between, I have immersed myself into various podcasts series and enjoy the benefits from the flexibility of this medium. After attending Our Voices Academy, a weekend in Minneapolis, Minnesota with twenty amazing people of color sharing our lives, our stories, and our passions, I began to think about how I would elevate the voices of others once I returned home.
Too often in education, there are so many outsiders, those who are disconnected from this profession, disconnected from the daily magic that takes place and the beautiful struggles that are endured in this work. Outsiders often speak to the work which they know not of, and sadly, many flock to hear their fallacies. It seems that everyone has something to say about the work and how it should improve. Everyone has a platform to speak on what should happen and how this work can be better. This group of "everyone" includes politicians, edu-celebrities, and edu-stars, all whom have often never spent a day in the classroom or truly connecting with this work outside of paving a way to benefit off the hard work of others. I want to provide a space to hear from those who truly share a passion for the calling of being an educator and the work of educators, a space to sit back and chat about things that are important to educators, teachers, parents, students, and the community.
What’s happening in education? How do students feel about what they are learning? What issues are important to parents and educators? EDU Lounge is a place for casual, authentic, unedited conversations around educational stories that matter most and allows those who are often least heard share their voices.
This is my official launch, so welcome to the journey! Enjoy the first two episodes included in this post. Then, join me and my guest on iTunes or SoundCloud, and bring your friends!
Twitter has been so good to me! While it isn't the only place I go to sharpen my learning saw, I must say it is one of my favorites. The people I have met online through chats and exchanges on Twitter have been monumental to my personal and professional growth and development over the past few years.
One of the easiest ways to become involved on Twitter and to connect with others is through a Twitter chat. When inviting others to participate in various chats, I often hear things like "I can't keep up with the conversation!" or "How do you know who's saying what?" Don't worry! This post is here to help YOU! Hopefully, after reading this, you will be able to successfully complete a Twitter Chat.
What is a hashtag? If you're around my age or older, you recognize the "pound sign", as we once called it way back in the 90s. However, now this symbol is known as a hashtag. This symbol, combined with words directly behind it without any spaces connects your tweets with others who are sharing their thoughts, questions, and suggestions around the topic it identifies. When participating in a chat, it is important to remember the hashtag with each one of your responses to be included in the discussion stream. The last chat I participated in two days ago was #PersonalizedPD. Here is an example of a tweet I sent to contribute to the global conversation.
A few of the hashtags I frequently follow on Twitter are listed below:
During a twitter chat, there will be at least one person, or moderator, posting questions during the conversation. Questions are identified because they have Q and an identifying number to let you know where you are in the chat followed by the hashtag.
Below is an example questin fof a chat I participated in earlier this week.
When you respond to questions during a chat, you will respond with A and the number that corresponds with the question you are answering. For example, for the question listed above, the answer would start with A7 followed by a response. Somewhere in the response, the hashtag for the chat, #PersonalizedPD, should also be included to link your statement or question to the discussion.
Keeping Up with the Discussion
Now that you have a crash course in how to participate in a chat, the next question is how to keep up with the fast moving discussion. Do not feel pressured to answer each and every single question posted. If it's your first time chatting, you may want to simply lurk, or look on, and post when you can if you want to do so. Chats are extremely laid back, and you can put as much or as little in the conversation as you would like to. No pressure.
However, there are a few tools to help you manage the fast pace nature of chats. One way is to simply search for the hashtag on twitter and follow along. The video below is a quick help for you to navigate a chat while on Twitter.
Another tool you can use to help you is TweetDeck. They advertise themselves as "your personal browser for staying in touch with what's happening now". This site allows you to control exactly what you see from your Twitter stream. You can open several columns at once in order to follow the conversation and receive all of your notification son one screen. The quick video below will help you get started with TweetDeck.
Here is a list of various Twitter chats from around the globe. Good luck on your first chat. If you are interested in a specific chat, feel free to leave a comment, and I will work to connect you. I would also love to hear how it went.