My Dream for #dcsdpln

First here’s why I am sharing this.

I am so lucky to work with an inspiring group of women who talk about teaching and learning.  In several conversations, we talked about a hashtag for our district and the learning that occurs in our school whether it is by the students, parents or educators.  We did all the proper research.  We did try several on for size.  #dcsdtlcs or #dcsdtilt Both of these proved to be too narrow and it only a small part of the learning that is occurring.  So we decide to go with #dcsdpln.

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What have we tweeted about:

My hope is that more and more educators in my district share their learning and the student learning that is occurring daily.  I want it to be a resource for teachers.  I want to create opportunities for collaboration locally and globally.  I want it to inspire and engage us.   I want it to create options for differentiated PD when we are available.

The exciting thing is this hashtag like all hashtags is not mine or the team’s.  Actually, it’s everybody’s.  Everyone in my district can help shape what the conversation is going to be about.  I can’t wait to see how things develop.

Feel free to follow along or even better join in.

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My #oneword update

This post was inspired by this tweet.

[On a side note, everyone should follow Sue Dunlop for two reasons: 1. She reads, comments and shares a ton of good blog posts.  2. She also writes a brilliant blog.]

So 2015 is over half-way over.  I did join the one word movement.  I chose Presence to be my one word.  You can read about why here.

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I see a huge change in my personal life.  I feel I have held true to I have been present at my son’s t-ball, watching my two kids climb, listening to my husband.  I find myself shutting off the next step and just enjoying my time with my family.  My worst fears were not realized.  The house did not follow down around us.  The children are still happy.  Actually more things were accomplished because I was not distracted.

I still have a ways to go.  I did succumb and bought a smart phone.  I find that I am quick to ask Siri a question instead of letting it go.  I also annoy my husband because when I check the weather here.  I give him the run down on the weather in other cities.  I will attempt to treat it like my old phone.

Now professionally, I am not there yet, but I know when I get busy and feel like my mind is racing and wandering I can take several deep breaths while focusing on the word.  It tends to solve the problem.  I also know that I had moments of greatness.  I think of the times I was in the classroom reading or working with children.  I was there with the students.  As my position changes, I know I will have to figure ways to continue to be present in the moment and enjoy it.

As I reflect back, here my action steps for the second half of the year:

  • Put down the smartphone.  I do not need to Google everything or check Twitter and Facebook.
  • When my mind starts to race, I will write down my to-dos to keep them organized.
  • I step away from tech when it distracts me from the conversation.

Thanks again Sue for tweeting brilliance!  And thanks to Donna Miller Frye for the great blog post.  So where are you on your #oneword?

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My road block-ME!

Exactly 13 days ago, I wrote my last post.  I have had many experience that were “blog worthy.” I went to EdCamp leadership in St. Louis and came to an epiphany about myself.  I went a conference where I heard the author of Influencers speak. I traveled with my family and watched my son step out of his comfort zone.  I participated in a powerful think tank about digital learning in my district.  Why didn’t they get written? What stopped me?

I was tired.  I was busy working.  I’ll do it tomorrow.  I am traveling.  I am sure no wants to read about it anyway.  I have other things to do right now.  Just for the record, I hate excuses.  If I did this for others, then I would have apologized.  Instead I gave myself excuses.

I’ll tell you the world has a way of bringing a series of things to help me see the light.  First I started reading The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. It is broke into three sections. First about the road block to creativity, an action plan and finally when creativity hits.  I find myself quoting it to my dear sweet husband.  He knows I really enjoy a book when I constantly interrupt his reading.

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I also heard a speaker speak yesterday about busy and how it is the status quo.  If continue to say I’ll do it when I have time, then there will never be time.  She also talked about forcing time to be in a quiet reflective place.  She told us when she didn’t do that she became grouchy or out of sorts.

I had a conversation with a friend  about how she really thinks that writing is great way to process and reflect.  We also talked about the blogging process.

Altogether, these experiences reminded me that I need to commit to blogging.  I think of my April, when I committed to blogging daily during an extremely busy part of the year.  I felt grounded albeit tired.  I am entering another busy period with the start of school, so I will need to process and think about my experiences.

So, I am telling you that I will commit to writing 25 posts by August 25th.  I will commit to spending time every night writing.  Does this scare me?  Heck YES! but I will do it.  I know that it what I need to do.  I am going “Pro” in blogging.

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Confession Time

First confession: I did not read Mindset by Carol Dweck, PH. D. until last week.  Yes, I know it came out over nine years ago.   I can’t give you a reason why it has not been on my list until now.  I am glad I read it, but I came to an awful realization which leads me my second confession.

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Second Confession: As I read the book, I came to realize I do not have a growth mindset, yet.  This isn’t to say that I didn’t praise students and my children for effort and work ethic. I’ve always believed that intelligence is flexible.  I like to believe that I help nurture the growth mindset in others.

As I was reading the book as they described the fixed mindset person.  I felt like Carol knew me personally.  (Yes, I know I should call her Dr. Dweck, but it’s like she was reading my grade school diary.)  I was that student who everything came easy.  My identity was the smart one.  High school was a rude awakening.  I went to a school where everyone was the smart one at their old school.  I coped by not trying and procrastinating.  My B average was good, but I always said I could have done better if I tried.  This attitude continued through college.

I did figure out that hard work should pay off so I work hard.  Unfortunately it took me a while to figure out what happens when it doesn’t pay off.  It rocks my world.  I can describe the time I worked out hard, ate right and the scale did not budge.  Ben and Jerry’s became a close friend for a portion of time.  I have many other examples of this sort of behavior. I’d like to think I am getting better at when things don’t work out.  I use my analytical skills and create a plan B or C.

Here’s my last step to changing my mindset is my conversation with myself.  I judge myself.  I blame myself for setbacks.  My self talk is appalling.  I would not tolerate anyone to talk to me the way I talk to myself.  I can guarantee that some of the things I judge myself on, no one even notices.  I make assumptions that everyone else is noticing that the copy is not perfectly straight or I gained a little weight.

So yes…I may not have completely shifted my mindset YET, but it is coming.  I will be brave and begin to not judge myself so harshly.  The reasons to embrace this mindset is many.  I ask teachers every day to open their classrooms to other teachers to grow and learn.  I want student to see that the outcome is not fixed, but they have the opportunity to grow everyday.  I want my children to not be afraid of mistakes.  In order to accomplish any of these things.  I need to change my mindset.

#ISTE2015-Good, Better and Best

I can remember seeing the ISTE hashtag last year and thinking I would love to go there.  I downloaded the app and thought I had everything planned out.  Little did I know how massive it really was.  I loved seeing all of the new technology.   Below are my take-aways from this amazing conference:

Good: I saw so many good idea of how to integrate technology.  I will be modeling  some of the great tools I learned about.  I have better understanding of how to flip my PD meetings.  I also will be brave and try some new things.  Attempting sketchnotes is on my to-do list.

Better:  My favorite sessions were the Ignite sessions.  I love the idea of a person having a limited time and slides to talk about something important to them.  I left that hour with brilliant ideas and felt inspired. The theme of these talks were give students a voice and listen to them.  The ones below below talk about the importance of role educators have in the race discussion.

Best: Our team got spend time together building relationships and talking about our vision for students, technology and education.  This was a relatively new team.  Four of us officially started our job on July 1st.  As we talked and brainstormed, I came to see people differently. I listened for understanding and began to understand.  When everyone is not at work, conversation can go deeper.  We talked less about the What instead we talked about the Why and How.   I look forward to seeing the seeds planted during this conference grow.