Friday, December 30, 2016

Thankful for These 50

2016 was an amazing year of growth for me both professionally and personally.

Professionally, I earned my administrator's license and learned the importance of being a connected educator.  Through this I not only gained more knowledge, but more importantly, a large group of educators that I know I can reach out to at any time for inspiration and motivation.  Personally, I gained a local group of friends who encouraged me to move more and I completed 14 races including a quarter marathon.  I’m so excited to see what 2017 brings in both areas of my life!

As I stated above, I am better educator because I found that social media & being connected makes me better.  Below is a list of 50 educators, chats, and resources that made me better in 2016.  Each one is a little different, but their overall goals are all the same - DO WHAT’S BEST FOR STUDENTS. I encourage you to follow them if you aren’t already.

Educators that make a difference!

Twitter Resources:
Flipboard (must download the app!)

Chats to Join:
#ohedchat - Wednesday @ 9:00 EST
#satchat - Saturday @ 7:30 EST
#spedchat - Tuesday @ 9:00 EST
#wvedchat - alternating Tuesdays @ 8:00 EST

My Blogging Tribe:

Must Attend Conference:
WGEDD - What Great Educators Do Differently

Books to Check Out

Above the Line - Urban Meyer
What Connected Educators Do Differently - Casas, Whitaker, Zoul
Innovator’s Mindset - George Couros
Kid’s Deserve It - Todd Nesloney & Adam Welcome
Start With Why - Simon Sinek

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

High 5 Challenge

Blog:  High Five Challenge
Author: Derek Oldfield

Paul Bailey, Jodie Pierpoint, and I are in a Voxer book chat group reading Kids Deserve It with some other friends.  The three of us were Voxing each other recently about developing authentic relationships with students.  Born out of our conversation is this fun challenge we considered posing to our PLN via Twitter.  Our purpose is to get more educators engaged in the extra effort that is required to build true relationships with tough students through positivity.

maya .JPGWe have designed a challenge where educators keep track of “positivity points” daily by giving high fives, writing handwritten notes, or making positive phone calls home. We use the word points loosely because we will not be posting a leaderboard, giving away a million dollars, or any other award. The only reward given will be a smile on a kids face, the gift of being a champion for a kid, or joy from the happiness in a parent’s voice. Utilizing points will provide feedback for the participants to track if they are being positive throughout the school days. The hashtag #high5challenge can be used to post photos, point totals and/or goals and gain ideas of how others are promoting positivity within their buildings.

We value the power in turning negative behavior through a simple high five or a sincere handwritten note.  In a lot of ways, managing tough kids isn’t hard, it just requires effort that few people are willing to put forth.  Meeting that tough kid in the parking lot as they get off the bus in the morning, just to slap him five and tell him you’re glad he’s here, doesn’t require a PD session or a training day. These simple gestures send messages to kids and we believe every kid deserves to be recognized.  
This is not designed to be a competition among adults. It is set up to be an easy challenge for individuals to begin promoting positivity within their building. Fourteen points one day with a goal of twenty the next ultimately means there will be more positivity shared. However, individuals are not to be discouraged if a colleague earns fifty points in a day. Together 64 points (plus the points of other staff members in the building) of positivity were shared in one building on one day.
Please share and spread the positivity! Join the #High5Challenge when you get back to school!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Great PD gives you goosebumps

Last weekend I was lucky to get to spend the weekend at a What Great Educators Do Differently conference.  I spent two days listening to people speak about education with the same passion I have.  I saw their emotions and dedication come up in front of my eyes. I had rich conversations with people who want change and who are taking steps to do things differently to make it better for the students they serve.  At the end of the conference I tweeted out that GREAT professional development is such that it gives you goosebumps.  This conference did just that!

I’ve read many of Todd Whitaker’s books, but listening to him speak and being able to talk with him in small group sessions was a truly remarkable experience. But it wasn’t just Todd, it was EVERY SINGLE PRESENTER that was there.  EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.  Honestly, having to pick only three sessions was the most difficult part of the weekend.

I first chose to attend Dr. Joe Mazza’s (@Joe_Mazza) session on Family and Community Engagement. Joe stressed the importance of meeting our community and family where their needs are, not our needs.  Having a family night?  Curriculum night?  Then make sure that there is a way for parents who are unable to attend get the same information.  Make them feel like they were there and make sure they feel they are important too.

Dr. Joe Sanfelippo’s  (@Joesanfelippofc) session on Leading Learning set the tone that we should see opportunities such as these as professional growth for ourselves and our students. He stressed the importance of having passion in what you are doing, and through every minute he spoke, you could see his passion.  As educators, do we know our passion, are we doing everything we can to reach it?

Principal El (@Principal_EL) has such a passion for working and meeting the needs of our toughest kids.  We share this passion.  I root for the underdogs and will put everything on the line for what is right for my special needs students. Principal El speaks with such passion you can’t help but to want to do EVERYTHING you can to help students. He asked "Would you want to be a student in your classroom?"

Although I couldn’t attend sessions by Starr Sackstein (@mssackstein), LaVonna Roth (@LaVonnaRoth ) , Kayla Delzer (@TopDogTeaching), Kim Hofmann (@hofmann_kim), Kirk Humpreys (@kirk_humphreys) and Erin Klein (@KleinErin)  I caught up with friends and read the twitter feed about their sessions.  (next time!!!!!)

Even the four short IGNITE sessions on Saturday presented by Derek Oldfield (@Mr_Oldfield ), Alyssa Mick (@amickthesparks), Elisabeth Bostwick (@ElisaBostwick) , and Bobby Dodd (@bobby__dodd) were great examples of educators who are passionate about students and what they get to do every single day!

It’s true, we ARE so fortunate to get to work in the greatest profession ever.  As we get ready to head into 2017, think and reflect on these:

“Every kid wants to be part of something”
“Treat every student with respect and dignity every day, all the time”
“Say hello to every kid you pass by them in the hallway. You never know when it matters most”
“Two things to do every day - care and try”
“Make rules for the 99% not the 1%”
“Greet ALL students in halls - make all visitors feel welcome when entering building”
“Surround yourself with people who inspire you to aspire to greatness”
“Kids should run into classrooms because they are so excited to learn, not out because they can't wait to leave”
“You’ve got to know your WHY”
"Would you want to be a student in your own classroom?"
“Success only comes before work in the dictionary”

Thank you Jimmy Casas (@casas_jimmy)  , Jeff Zoul ( @Jeff_Zoul), and Todd Whitaker (@ToddWhitaker) for inspiring, caring and sharing your passion.  I’m a better educator because of role models like you!