Thursday, April 30, 2015

"I Survived" the Inspired Learning Series!

Okay, so here is my April Blog!  Might as well Blog backwards while the memories are fresh!  This Blogging Slacker needs a plan - so we will start with last weekend!  
I was telling my students how nervous I was about presenting, and they all gave me the perfect solution: “Call in sick!”  I did consider this option briefly (I actually was sick), but I told them that it was, “The easy way out” and “We need to be brave during these moments.”  I was going to have storied for them on Monday, and they would be eager to hear them.
Little did I know how many times I had to find my “Brave Card.”  Let me first start by saying, I had an amazing group of women to support me that day:  Sue Setzer and Maria Banta!  What rock stars!  They were really solid in their presentations and I loved collaborating with them!  I wasn’t two minutes into presenting when a woman announced that she had changed her mind and was going to go to another presentation.  She left, and my heart sunk.  We didn’t have many people in the first place.  She came back a few minutes later “because the class she wanted “was full.”  I told her she did wonders for my self-esteem!  But she had thrown me off.  My hands were shaking - some links I had wanted to share had been recently altered by my students who hadn’t made a copy (like I had instructed them - AARGH)!  Blah, blah, blah….it all felt like a disaster - but I’m sure some points were taken away and helpful.
Then…….I guess there must have been some illicit substance in the taco bar, because I volunteered to do the DEMO SLAM!  Really?!  Me?!  Amongst the EXPERTS?!  The SAVVY ONES?!  OMG!!!  I’m tapping on the Chrome Book (I don’t even know how to navigate the mouse on a Chrome Book - YIKES)! So there I was in front of an auditorium full of people talking about Mystery Skype…..it’s all a blur!
The best part is that I went back to school on Monday to tell my students all about it!  They are so used to hearing all about my mishaps!  They were mortified about the lady that left (love that we have promoted empathy this year) - and I got to tell them about the lovely email from Penny Potts.  How I was dying in that auditorium, and thought I was blowing it, but she thought I did fine!  I used that as a lesson to them, that even when you feel that everything is going wrong (and that in their lifetime, it is going to happen), that they will get through it, they will survive it, and JUST MAYBE, it won’t be as awful as they think!

Thank you, Penny Potts, for gifting me more than you know that day!  My students ended up applauding my bravery, and they decided I needed to write a book about this cohort experience.  They decided since we love the “I Survived” series, that I should call my book, I Survived the Inspired Learning Series!  I love my kids - and I actually loved that experience!  It taught me a lot about myself and the great people I have learned with on this cohort!

This Slacking Blogger is Back in the Game!

I am very sorry that I have failed to keep up with my blog posts each month.  That responsibility slipped off of my radar!  I will try and make up for it by writing about each month as I recall how I was impacted by my decision to join the Cohort and how I learned to incorporate technology in my classroom.
I vividly remember Dana encouraging me to join this Cohort last year.  I was ambivalent about it for two reasons:  1.  “I was such a  novice with technology, could I possibly hang in there with all of those savvy people?”  2.  “I was terrified about presenting and told Dana about it.  She said, “We’ll see what we can work out.”  I should have realized that was code for, “You will have to present for sure!”  
I can’t begin to tell you how much Dana helped me to transform my world and my whole mindset into a more confident person when it came to technology!  She worked with me steadily every Tuesday afternoon to help me build my webpage.  I used it as my Professional Growth Goal to build an interactive webpage.  That was a huge leap for me, as in all of my previous 9 years at Centennial, I either had had nothing at all, or I had managed to load a picture of my dogs, and to write a simple blurb about myself.
Two people that really inspired me to make my webpage more interactive, were Penny Potts and Erin Gonshor.  They were so patient with me the first day I met them at the first session!  I thought they were amazing!  I couldn’t imagine a website could be utilized so much!  It really inspired me to set the bar higher for myself!  I went home and spent an entire weekend building the basic structures to get my website up and running.  Penny and Erin generously shared so many of their links with me (and I learned how important it was to give them credit on my website for that).
I decided to dedicate a weekend when I wasn’t feeling well, to stay in bed and search different schools and their websites for the best links that pertained to the curriculum that would be engaging for my students and relevant for my parents - I became a bit of a “link junkie!”  It wasn’t as good as a chocolate binge - but it was close!

Well, I have to say, this webpage has made quite a difference this year!  I used it as my weekly newsletter, and kids actually used it from home to practice some fun ways to reinforce Spelling, Math, and Reading!  Thank you, Penny, Erin, and Dana for the inspiration!  xoxo