Five: A Blog Survey

I’m very thankful that I have the opportunity to work with some amazing people, including Amy Illingworth, our district’s Director of Professional Growth. She recently wrote a blog post called “Five: A Survey” which is also this week’s featured #LeadLAP challenge. I met Amy a few months ago when she did classroom walkthroughs with my principal, and I was flattered at her genuine interest in my classroom, my teaching, and my students. I’m so lucky to get to work with Amy on a few technology-related committees and future events. 

Here is my Five Blog Survey reflection: 

Five Places I’m Dying To Visit 
– Kayla Delzer’s classroom. Student-centered, flexible seating, filled with student choice and student voice. 
– ISTE! Excited to check this one off this June in Denver. 
– Smithsonian Museums. So much learning and science! 
– Tijuana, Mexico. I’ve been before to volunteer at an orphanage in college, but that was rural and outside the city. Many of my students have immediate family and deep connections in this city, I know I need to experience it for myself. 
– Finland. Both to visit my penpal of 10 years and to observe in their schools. 

Five Tasks I Do Every Day
– Eat cheese, because it’s my favoritest food ever. 
– Give hugs. 
– Text, tweet, or vox with my best teacher friends. I’m grateful that technology can connect me with people, no matter where they are. We constantly push each other to be better teachers and human beings. 
– Read, whether for professional growth or personal pleasure. 
– Reflect on my teaching and how I can make my classroom a better place for my students. 

Five Talents I Wish I Had
– Cleaning: I’ll do it, but only after I’ve done everything else on my to-do list AND taken a nap AND made another to-do list. 
– Run on little sleep: I need 8 hours to function, 7 to sort-of function. Anything less, and I’m a zombie. I suppose this is a good thing, but it makes it tough when I don’t get enough sleep. 
– Chaos navigator: I’m not great at handling chaos. I need calm to allow my brain to process, and then I can handle a bit more chaos. 
– Balancer: I’m working on the whole work-home balance thing, and it’s tricky. My word for 2016 is “intentional” and I’m learning a lot about myself and my own needs. 
– Handle the “WOO”: I’m an introvert, and those with the WOO strength (StrengthFinders top strengths) easily overwhelm me. 

Five Leaders I Wish I Could Work With
– Greg Bagby: principal in Chattanooga, TN & co-host on our EduRoadTrip podcast. 
– Dave and Shelley Burgess: I love Teach Like a Pirate and all the other books from Dave Burgess Consulting. If only I had the opportunity to work under these two amazing people! 
– Shauna Pollock: Author of Creating Class Magic, all about using lessons from Disney and applying them to our classrooms to create innovative and learner-centered environments. 
– Doug Robertson: He’s weird, unconventional, but 100% committed to making his classroom a welcoming place for all students. I admire Doug and his drive to challenge the way we approach education. 
– Bruce Bochy: San Francisco Giants manager. I know he’s not directly in the field of education, but there’s so much I can learn from him. I’d love to be able to observe him in the dugout, making tough decisions under pressure and facilitating teamwork and camaraderie

Five Twitter Hashtags I Love
– #FlyHighFri: Justin Birckbichler and I started FlyHighFri last summer as a way to push back on the negativity around us in our schools. 
– #bfc530: Every morning at 5am EST, CST, MST, and PST there’s a quick 15 minute chat. I love joining in and doing a little learning before I start my day (ok, so usually before I even roll out of bed). 
– #caedchat: Our weekly California chat is fast moving, but fun. I need two columns on TweetDeck, one for the live chat and one for where I’m at in the chat. 
– #TOSAchat: My newest Twitter (and Voxer) community, filled with amazing TOSAs and coaches willing to share ideas and work together to make classrooms a better place. 
– #gafesummit: I absolutely love that all of the GAFE Summits use the same hashtag. Every weekend, I am able to learn along side attendees at summits all over the world. 

Five Blogs and Podcasts I Love (I changed this one to include podcasts)
– Angela Watson’s Truth for Teachers (Podcast)
– Level Up Learning (Podcast)
– CUE Blog (Blog)
– Reflections on Leadership and Learning (Blog)
– Jon Harper’s blog and Bam! Radio posts (Blogs)

Five Phrases I Have On Repeat
– “Failure only happens when you give up”
– “Do one thing that scares you every day” -Eleanor Roosevelt
– “The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday” 
– “It’s bound to be an adventure”
– “You can have results or you can have excuses. You cannot have both”

Five Things I Always Have in the Fridge/Freezer
– Cheese. At least a few kinds. 
– Peanut or almond butter.
– Ice cream.
– Apples.
– Frozen veggies.

Five Books On My To-Be-Read List
–  Drive by Daniel Pink
– Teach with your Strengths by Rosanne Liesveld and Jo Ann Miller
– Mindful Teaching & Teaching Mindfulness by Deborah Schoeberlein
– The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros
– Wall of Fame by Jonathan Freedman
Now it’s your turn! Use the same categories, or create your own! 
Classroom Strategies, Technology

CUE 2016!

I don’t know where to start with CUE 2016. This is the first conference where I’ve actually looked forward to the social events, and these were the defining events for me this year. As an introvert, conferences are intimidating when I have to talk to and be around so many people all day, so all I want to do after the sessions is go back to my hotel and read and sleep. CUE was different–I was so excited to meet and connect with many of my Twitter friends in real life!

Rewinding a bit: I attended EdCamp Sillicon Valley on February 27th, which was one of the first times I had actively sought out Twitter friends in real life (including the one and only Justin Birckbichler, my EduRoadTrip co-host, FlyHighFri co-creator, Teach20s co-creator, and bestie). Then, last weekend, I presented at a GAFE Summit in Pomona, CA. Walking in the first day, Ari Flewelling was the only person I had actually met in real life. By the end of the day, I had dozens of new friends, and really felt like part of the larger edtech community.

Doug Robertson, one of
Fluffy’s first fans

Why was I walking around with a unicorn at CUE?
Did you see me walking around with my unicorn? Here’s the back story: Last Sunday night I co-modded #CAedchat with Ryan Archer and I mis-read Craig Yen’s tweet about the uncon–it looked like unicorn! Since people kept tagging me in pictures of unicorns, I had to buy one to bring to CUE with me. Fluffy is my unicorn, and you can find her on Twitter (@imsofluffyyyy). She and I vlogged throughout the whole conference which was an entirely new and different experience for me. For an introvert like me, this was an excellent conversation starter!

My CUE Adventures

#CAedchat LIVE!

All this positive momentum carried me into the CUE Conference in Palm Springs. There were so many people I looked forward to meeting and seeing, both in sessions and at the meet-ups. On Thursday, I went to the #CAedchat LIVE! chat and session. I missed it last year because I was presenting at the same time, so this year was much anticipated. Usually I’d resist a session where we have to actually talk to each other (I’m an introvert, remember), but this was an engaging and thought-provoking discussion. We were in groups for 5-10, and discussed the question first before tweeting out our replies. And, of course, I got to hang out with THE Craig Yen!

Unconference tweet-up

Immediately after that, I headed over to Ari’s tweet-up for all the chats. That was another chat and tweet experience, this time in the unconference (unicorn!) space. This one was a bit louder than CAedchat, but I spending time with people who push my brain to think differently is well worth it

Thursday night is one of my favorite parts of CUE each year. Alicia Johal, my conference buddy and teacher friend, and I go to the Thursday night street fair every year to walk around, peruse the different vendors, and ultimately find some dessert.

BreakoutEDU with Ari!

Friday was filled with some great sessions, productive learning, #FlyHighFri lunch meet-up, presenting on Genius Bar, participating in another live chat with the #TOSAchat crew, running BreakoutEDU in the unconference space, then two more great socials in the evening. Big thanks to Ari (again, because she is beyond awesome!) for organizing the BreakoutEDU games on Friday afternoon. I love watching teachers and kids play Breakout for the first time and seeing the critical thinking and problem solving in action (read my blog about my first experience with BreakoutEDU).

Friday evening, I hung out with my incredible friends and colleagues at the San Diego CUE affiliate social. This was my first major CUE event as an SDCUE Board Member! I loved the opportunity to meet teachers from other areas of San Diego, and learn about their innovative ideas and projects. After the SDCUE social, I walked over to the GEG SoCal meet-up. After my incredible experience at the LA County GAFE Summit last weekend, I was so excited to meet even more great people.

More Ari love! 

Saturday morning, I presented at 8:30 with Alicia, I attended a session, wandered the exhibit halls with Ari and Dan Bennett, relaxed and ate lunch, then presented my final session at 1:30. The only bummer part of my day is that I lost my MacBook charger. It was plugged in for my 8:30 session, but when I was cleaning up, I took what I thought was my charger–turned out to be not my charger and a newer Mac charger that doesn’t work with my laptop 😦 I left the charger at the Hard Rock lost & found, if anyone lost theirs.

My 3rd year at CUE was above and beyond what I expected, and I can’t wait for next year!

Overall, here are my CUE 2016 takeaways, mostly about myself:
– I have the capability to be a lot more social than I think. Being a social butterfly can be fun!

Some of my awesome new stickers!
Time for a new laptop so I can display them all! 

– Sometimes it’s ok to not go to a session, and instead sit at a table and have a deep conversation with a few people.
– There are a lot of amazing teachers with great ideas, and I’m one of them. I have to be my biggest cheerleader.
– The learning isn’t going to stop now. I’m excited to be part of a few new Voxer groups, connected with more cool people on Twitter, and even a few potential meet-ups or Google Hangouts in the future.
– Stickers!! So many stickers!!

What are my next steps?
– After spring break, I’m going to work with my Genius Bar leaders to revamp our club. Need to
make it more student-driven.
– I’ve experimented with gamification in my 7th grade science classes, and now it’s time to upgrade from the Beta version.
– More GAFE Summits (Imperial Valley in April!), CUE Rockstar Vista, and ISTE!

Want the tl;dr? Watch my vlog with Fluffy the Unicorn — click here for the vlog!