The last six weeks of the year always lends teachers time to try new things. Without the anxiety of testing and trying to "get it all in", we sometimes feel more free to explore with students and spend time learning and sharing more things with each other. This year, I decided to try a few new things. With the school year winding down, perhaps you will find the time to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. I'm going to share a few of my personal experiences with you.
I have learned so much with Twitter this school year. My PLN has also grown faster than it ever has in previous years. This is my thirteenth year in education, and it amazes me that there is still so much to learn and do. With Twitter, I am able to login and join various educational discussions, or chats, anytime of the day. I can also go back and read chats that I missed. Through chats, I have learned about many ideas and activities to try and share with students this school year. I have been able to sharpen my skills as a campus leader, and I have met some amazingly talented educators from all over the world.
Through Twitter, I met an amazingly talented and enthusiastic group of teachers from Aldine ISD. (I didn't even know the school district existed.) Who challenged me to blog for 30 days. Blogging is something I have always wanted to dive into, but I never did. It simply sat on the back burner. I was surprised at how easy it was to simply start.
This is another idea I received via Twitter. While participating in a monthly Twitter chat with TABSE, I was introduced to this idea. After researching what it was, I knew I would enjoy it. The idea of sitting with other teachers to share ideas and resources will never get old. Edcamp is an "unconference" experience for educators. There is no preplanned schedule, no preset agenda, and no vendors on site. Everything that will be learned is decided the day of the event by the attendees. I drove to Houston for Edcamp Houston, and I was hooked. Now, along with others in my area, we are gearing up for Edcamp Southwest Dallas. I love all things Edcamp!
There's still time to try something new. What are you waiting for?
Monday, May 4th, I attended Digital Leadership Day: The Roadmap to Classroom Transformation at Region 10, my area service center, in Richardson, Texas. This event was hosted by Region 10 Tech, and the day was spent learning, growing, sharing, and reflecting with my campus leadership team. The day was full of whole group, small group, and breakout sessions Edcamp style facilitated by Kristen Swanson, the founder of Edcamp.
I might have been a little bitty teeny bit excited to meet Kristen Swanson.There were three simple goals for the day.
1. Student voice matters
2. Personalization matters
3. Change requires active management
When I left for the day, my brain was on fire with ideas that I just cannot wait to try and share with my students and teachers on my campus. You can see what we learned here.
When I attend any type of training, I try to reflect from three different lenses, past, present and future. Here's what I learned.....
If I knew then what I know now.....
I would have spent more time asking students how they truly felt about my instruction. The student panel was by far the greatest part of the day for me. Students from elementary school through high school participated in a candid panel discussion on the services we provide to them daily. As the students shared their thoughts, I simply heard them say the same thing to me over and over again. "We don't want to be bored!" I laugh even now as I type this, but they truly did say it in their own way. It seems so simple to them, but it truly is a planning task to create learning opportunities for students that both cover the state standards and light students' learning fire. I heard....
Today, I will....
Yesterday reaffirmed the fact that teachers must be lifelong learners. We must keep up with the high learning demands of our consumers, our students. They long for the opportunity to interact with each other and the world outside of the four walls in which we teach. Long gone are the days when education was simply for you at your seat with a book. This is not how they live. This is how they learn. It is our job to teach them in the manner in which they learn. After yesterday's learning, I am even more committed to continue to learn and grow in this amazing profession. I will continue to grow my PLN by chatting with educators from all over the globe via Twitter. I will find more innovative ways to reach teachers and students. I will review each lesson or PD session to myself before sharing it with others and ask myself, "If I were in the audience, would I enjoy this?"
My next steps are.....
One of the activities we completed yesterday was Horizon Brainstorming. Through this activity, each leadership team in attendance was able to collaboratively discuss ways to make our digital visions a reality. Then, we were able to steal ideas from other participants. That was an added bonus! There were a few ideas discussed that will become my focal points for PD and teacher support for the remainder of the school year and the fall.