Standing on your Shoulders

In my career, I’ve always had that “go-to” person I would seek out with questions. Collectively, these teachers have helped mold me into the educator I am today. I am fortunate enough to still work with one of these thought-provoking teachers. dayle timmons who actually was key in luring me into my current position has had a immeasurable impact on the teacher I am today. For that, I am grateful.

The school where dayle and I work supports life-long learners. Our collegial culture supports collaboration, common planning time, professional book studies, and prescriptive teaching. Additionally, we embrace risk taking and piloting of new and innovative programs and ideas. In the three years I have been at CCE, I have never felt a void for growing and learning professionally. If anything, this collegial experience has spurred my appetite for professional growth even more.

My professional growth took a fork in the road and entered an online facet. For about a year now, I’ve been involved in reading blogs, twittering and learning from online colleagues. This electronic networking has only added to the priceless possibilities I hadn’t yet considered. A few months ago, I followed a link that Dean Shareski, an educational technologist from Canada, sent out on twitter to a ustream conversation he was having with fellow educators – actually, they were ustreaming their lunch! So, I sat at my computer on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Florida eavesdropping in on the dialogue they were having over lunch in a restaurant in Canada as the snow fell in the windows behind them. While listening to their conversation about professional development, twitter, and Dean’s wardrobe (I think your wardrobe is fine by the way, Dean) I was participating in an instant message chat with the other viewers. Long story short-- one of the other viewers and I realized we were both eavesdropping in from Jacksonville, FL. What a coincidence!

After making the connection, Silvia Tolisano (aka Langwitches) and I began following each other on twitter. Over the holiday break, we decided to meet face to face. Our first two hour meeting flew by as we talked about our families (we both have teenagers), and how we integrate technology in our respective elementary schools. As we got ready to leave, we realized we should have podcasted our face to face to allow others to log on and eavesdrop. So, weeks later, we met again to podcast. Listen to our podcast here.

I am proud to add Silvia to my growing professional learning community both electronically and in person! And, am so grateful to everyone who shares their enthusiasm for our craft globally for teachers like me to stand on their shoulders and say, “Look at this!!!”

Thanks to Silvia Tolisano, Dean Shareski, Rachel Boyd, Jeff Utecht, Simon , Will Richardson, Clay Burell, Suzanne Shall and dayle timmons…….


California here I come!

I'm packing my bag now and know I won't be able to sleep, because tomorrow morning I leave for California. I am among the leadership team at my school attending the America's Choice National Conference in Hollywood, CA.

It's always energizing to attend a conference that you know will bring you new thoughts and ideas, but I'm thrilled to say our whole leadership team is blogging the conference. We will be bringing real time learning to our own faculty as well as friends around the world.

Many of our risk-taking team members will be blogging for the first time and have even agreed to give twitter a try - so catch up with what we're doing at

We can't wait to hear what you think!


It's NOT about Technology

More than once in the past several weeks I've had someone tell me: I wish I could do that, but I'm just not good with computers. I know they say that because they don't feel comfortable with their skill level. I do understand what they mean. I don't always feel comfortable with everything I do. Case in point ---I'm learning how to do movie editing right now. I ask my expert friend a question, I think I have it and the flounder on my own later.

The thing's really not about the technology. It's about yourself as a learner. What kind of learner are you? Do you settle for what you know or avidly seek what is better? Do you give something new a try and give up if it doesn't come easy or do you persist until you've got it?

Think about the answers to your questions. Are those the answers you want your students to give about things you teach them? We are trying to inspire our students to embrace new ideas and tools ---we need to do the same.

Here's my favorite tip: Find a friend who knows a little more than you do. Someone who knows way more can talk over your head without meaning to, but the friend who is one step ahead knows just what to say or show you. I stood on the shoulders of many to learn what I know now, which is why I don't mind being that "friend" for others.

Remember...It's NOT about the technology.