Monday, April 25, 2016

Key Connector #5: Striving to be Tomorrow..TODAY!

In Chapter 5 of "What Connected Educators Do Differently", we are reminded that as educators, we strive to inspire our students to believe that they can truly achieve the success they long for. However--are we doing this for ourselves to? Do we take the time we need to do to be successful? Are we we taking the necessary steps that lead us to the path of greatness?

Whitaker, Casas, and Zoul said that if we are going to inspire our students to be great, we must be willing to model what it looks like to push the limits and strive for excellence. How can I do this? By bringing my personal best each and every day. One quote that really stood out to me from this chapter is, "A huge part of striving for a successful tomorrow is by living out a great today." How often are many of us living our lives as "go-mos"---those who just "go through the motions". I must admit, I am guilty of doing this from time to time--typically right before winter, spring, and summer breaks. As the school year is drawing down to a close, I will remind myself of this quote. I know that I am, for the most part, in control of what happens throughout my day. Things happen, roadblocks pop up, but I can control how I let it affect me and how to overcome any obstacles. I must make the most of each day, choose to bring my "A Game".

So what are my biggest takeaways from this chapter? Well:

1. Continue to make and build connections within my school and social media.  Collaboration is HUGE!

2. Be purposeful and intentional with my time. As a woman who wears many hats, I find myself wishing there were just two more hours in each day so that I can get everything done.

3. The 33% Rule. Don't let the bottom third suck the life out of me! Continue to bring positive energy each and every day, as well as surround myself around those who do too. Protect my greatness!

4. Strive to make a greater impact. Plan intentionally to make a difference in the lives of those who I work closely with each and every day--my colleagues, my students and athletes, and their families.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Key Connector #4: Education-It's All About Give and Take!

After reading the fourth key connector, "Give and Take", I find that most of my giving is happening in my daily workplace and/or at various district-level meetings and collaborations. Though I am able to share ideas with my fellow BPS colleagues, I know that I need to push outside these boundaries, and share with the rest of the world. Whether it be through Twitter, Pinterest, blogging, or "Teachers Pay Teachers", I need to find confidence to share with fellow educators all over the world.

As for "taking", I love how Whitaker, Casas, and Zoul promote "stealing" ideas through the use of networking. I will admit that I find myself "taking" more than "giving. Most of my best lessons and activities are found through our iPad Academy collaborations and my Twitter PLNs.

Regardless of where educators find themselves on this spectrum, this does hold true: "Connected educators possess an almost fanatical "pay it forward" mindset, whereby the become energized not only by giving, but also by receiving help". The more we receive from our fellow educators, the more we feel compelled to give back!

Key Connector 3: The Three C's

As we continue to read "What Connected Educators Do Differently", I am finding myself gaining a better understanding on how to be an effective 21st Century educator. In order to do so, Whitaker, Casas, and Zoul tell us to, "embrace the three C's".  This includes communication, collaboration, and community.

As I sit back and reflect on my own experience with embracing the three C's, I came upon some realizations:

1. I find "communicating with purpose" to be something I do well with day in and day out. I believe it is important to share what is going on in the classrooms and schools. This is where my Twitter account comes into play. More often than not, I tweet out what students are learning in the classroom. Some of the hashtags I utilize are #tt4t, #ipadacademy, #CECougars, and #bpsne.  In addition, I helped our school principal set up a school Twitter account. This is both an easy and great way to connect home and school. Many of our families are now following us on Twitter, and are receiving instant updates on Central's happenings.

2. I am lacking adequacy in the "professional blogger" department. When I first started my journey in the iPad Academy, I set a goal for myself to create one educational blog post each week. I started off the first month. From there, blogging was placed on the back burner, and I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't posted anything in over a year. Life happens, people get busy, and as a mother of three kids under the age of four, priorities and goals have changed. This is an area that I would like to better myself in--not only as a way to share my ideas, but to also reflect upon the effectiveness of my technological pedagogy.

3. Pinterest, iPad Academy Collab Days, and Twitter PLNs are life changing!! Collaborating with colleagues has always been something I've enjoyed. It's always great to find an authentic audience or a group of peers in which I can share and swap ideas. Being connected--whether through internet connection (Pinterest and Twitter) or face-to-face (iPad Collabs)--has given me endless opportunities to interact with so many smart and talented educators.

As I finish this post, I realize that I've come so far, yet I have a lot to learn. Although the school year will be winding down, I am looking forward to setting new goals--or even visiting old ones!