The View On Atlanta – From The Hashtags

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My Twitter feed this weekend has been blowing up with all the great learning going on at ISTE2014. Sadly, I was not at ISTE. But that has not stopped me from learning a great deal from all the educators who are attending and presenting, thanks to the power of the hashtag!

One of the reasons I enjoy Twitter as a professional development tool is because it allows me to connect with and learn from educators across the globe. This past Saturday, while I co-moderated our weekly chat for teachers new to Twitter (#NT2t), we discussed the power of the hashtag. Using it to follow conferences was one of the suggestions made for maximizing the potential of Twitter.  I have been doing that the past couple of days and, thanks to the connected educators who are so graciously tweeting their learning and resources, I have been able to learn  quite a bit! But, as Dewey says, we learn from reflection. So here are some of my takeaways ISTE2014…errr, while #NotAtISTE:

Genius Bar:

Someone retweeted this tweet about a student – run Genius Bar (original tweet by @TechGirlJenny):

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I was pretty intrigued by this, so I went to researching the idea. I found this PDF from GenYes, which gave a lot of information about it. I played around with the idea, considered how we might fit this into our school within our current student leadership opportunities, and now plan to pitch it to my principal after I have it a little more planned out. What a find!

Google Hangouts On Air:

This tweet from @2footgiraffe includes a Google Doc with lots of great GHO tips. I have a planned GHO coming up in a couple of weeks, and this will surely come in handy for me.

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Ultimate Word Wall:

So someone tweeted “We are building the ultimate word wall on Padlet”! Clicked on the link, and saw this amazing set up! What a treat for teachers to be able to use what is here, and then become inspired to build their own! I will definitely share this with teachers on my campus next year.

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Saw this tweet below from @chadkafka and WOW! What an awesome way to curate tweets!! I used if for this blog! (IFTTT stands for If This Then That).

iste2Technology by Blooms:

This handy Google Doc tweeted by @Jepson contains loads of technology platforms and they are aligned with different Blooms levels. Very handy sheet if someone asks, “What technology would be best to use with ______”.  Saved to my drive.

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Pinterest Board for ISTE:

I discovered this board which is being populated by many ISTE attendees. I have only skimmed this, but I am planning to spend a day next week going through all the curated material loaded onto it!

I have so many more resources saved, and I will share them out as I go through them.  All in all, I have had a very productive time the past couple of days as I learn a lot of new things while #NotAtISTE14.

Now, if you are wondering about that hashtag….it is for all of us who could not attend –but wanted to feel like we were a part of it. We were even invited to participate in various giveaways by event sponsors, and @CraigYen even set up a Google Hangout for anyone who wanted to, well, hang out!

As far as a learning community goes, it just doesn’t get any better than your Twitter PLN. The tweet below from @JanRobertson sums it up pretty well.

 

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I hope you will join us Monday for more learning at #ISTE2014 and #NotAtISTE14 via the hashtags ! Please share your conference hashtag experienes in the comments below!

 

New Beginnings: Just Ahead!

ImageLife has a funny way of happening sometimes. I started my career in education as a campus secretary over twenty years ago, when I was just a young single parent. I went on to work as a counselor’s aide, ISS aide, and various other support roles while going to school at night to become a teacher. I have loved the last 15 years I’ve spent as a teacher, and really I never had all that much interest in leaving the classroom (it took so long to get there!) But lately I have been feeling a tug that I just couldn’t ignore any longer. So this year, I started applying for Assistant Principal positions. I went on a few interviews but none seemed to be the right fit for me. I was starting to think, maybe it just wasn’t in the cards this year…

Then, the week after school was out, I was invited to come for a campus interview with a district I had been hoping to join ever since I went to the first of three “AP Pool” interviews with them a few months back. There was something about the people, the atmosphere, and the vision of the district that really made me feel invigorated. The following day, I went on the interview, and to say that I felt I had met old friends would be an understatement! I immediately felt a sense of belonging; a feeling that up until then I had not really had. I admired the direction of the campus and the vision of the staff. As a matter of fact, I think I may have stumbled upon a building full of scheming geniuses-creating experiences for kids that are incredibly grand! Oh what a great place and a perfect fit! Luckily for me, the feeling was mutual, and I received an offer which I have gratefully and enthusiastically accepted! So now begins a new journey for me: life as a first-year Assistant Principal.

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Over the last few days I have had a lot of time to think and reflect. It’s kind of amazing how some of my thoughts about things I will miss, kind of morphed into another thought moments later. For example:

I think about the classroom full of kids I will no longer teach. But then I think about the classrooms full of kids and teachers that I will have the honor of serving next year.

 

I think about the life-changing lessons I won’t design. But then I think about the larger learning community I’m joining, and all the life-changing activities we will build together.

 

I think about the classroom environment that I won’t create (and of course decorate)! But then I think about the school climate that I will have an impact on and the joy that I have the opportunity to spread throughout an entire building. (And yes, I can still decorate — I have already moved a zebra chair into my office).

 

I think about the classroom “family” and the relationships I build with 22 kids every year. And then I think about the relationships I’m going to be building with 700 students and families, and the staff, in my new school and community.

 

I think about the passion I have for designing great learning experiences for kids. And then I think about the passion I have for supporting teachers as they go about designing their own great learning experiences.

In my heart, I will forever be a teacher. Though I’m shifting my focus and my role, I am still passionately seizing the opportunity to impact, inspire, and make a difference in the lives of others. I am still in fearless pursuit of inspiring and being inspired. I just have the opportunity to now fulfill that role in a new and different way. Educators have a mighty purpose. And what an honor it is to serve those who are fulfilling such a mighty calling.

So here is to new beginnings, and the start of a new chapter in my life. I shall savor every moment, and I will blog my journey through it all. There are going to be many wonderful stories to tell you: successes and setbacks, decisions and indecision, moments of “I knew that!” and “Who knew that?” and “Does anybody know this?!”. But mostly, hours upon hours of profound learning and teachers planning and kids smiling and parents calling…and me—knee deep in it all. It shall be a year of big moments and little moments, laughter and hesitation, hope and wonder, that will fill up the pages of one of the significant stories of my life. Of this, I am quite sure.

If you have any advice for a new AP, I would love to hear it. Please leave me a comment! Special thanks to all those (real and virtual) mentors of mine who have supported and inspired me in my quest for this new beginning!