Tag Archives: #teachingandlearning

Fireflies

Like Captured Fireflies
-John Steinbach-

In her classroom our speculations ranged the world.
She aroused us to book waving discussions.
Every morning we came to her carrying new truths, new facts, new ideas,
Cupped and sheltered in our hands like captured fireflies.

When she went away a sadness came over us,
But the light did not go out.
She left her signature upon us,
The literature of the teacher who writes on children’s minds.

I’ve had many teachers who taught us soon forgotten things,
But only a few like her who created in me a new thing a new attitude, a new hunger.
I suppose that to a large extent I am the unsigned manuscript of that teacher.
What deathless power lies in the hands of such a person.

MACTE TotY F2017

“We’re in the business of guiding the future…It’s a serious business” exclaimed Cory Bulman – the 2017 MN Teacher of the Year.  Mr. Bulman recently spoke to MACTE – Minnesota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education members to share his words of advice.  His opening lines along with his sharing of John Steinbach’s Like Captured Fireflies told us that we were in for a treat.  So… maybe not too many can get so excited over a poem and a few words of advice, but I know I certainly did and perhaps you will too…

Other words of advice to digest by Mr. Bulman:

“As a learner – as a teacher – I am their unsigned manuscript. I am their legacy.

Model our own sense of curiosity and wonder.

Allow our students to stumble.

Before we can expect them to trust us as teachers, we need to have them trust us as learners.

Most important trait of all – authenticity.

Use life to teach about perseverance and strength.

Teaching feeds the soul and leads you while you think you are leading others.

Teaching is not a part of a one-man or one-person show.  We are in an ensemble.

MACTE Growing in the Profession F2017

Perfect teachers are only in movies written by disgruntled English majors. 😉

Real teachers have no halos around their heads. They just hustle. They try to keep up with the laughable workloads.

Teaching matters…you are the candle in the darkness.

Compare teacher to new driving – judge the risk and take the turn as an experienced teacher.

Own when you stumble – make amends and move on.

You have to be willing to laugh at yourself or you won’t survive. Show students you are human.

Share authentic experiences.  If they have a different background, continue to share personal story and where you come from.  Have the conversation – not the answers.

Go with the skill sets that work for you. Your personality seeps in to what you do.  It’s okay. You have to be allowed to become yourself. You aren’t a robot. It’s alright to be who you are and infuse yourself into what you do.

Educators need to keep our eyes on the real prize – help students catch the fireflies.”

Stay Calm & Model Curiosity and Wonder!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 

 

 

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Choose to Be the Top 20

BLOG TOP 20
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Collaboration is a key ingredient to success.  We can do so much more together than we can alone.  Recently, SMSU Provost Dwight Watson shared a text with us – Top 20 Teachers by Paul Bernabei, Tom Cody, Willow Sweeney, Mary Cole, and Michael Cole.  We had seen this book once upon a time, but its message was one to be renewed for us.  According to the authors of the book, success is the summation of great results and a great ride.

“Great Results are those outcomes we desire when we go to work each day… Great Ride means we want to enjoy the experience. We want to enjoy what we do and have meaningful relationships with our colleagues.  We wouldn’t consider it a great success if we attained great results in our work but hated going to school every day.  Nor would it be a great success if we enjoyed hanging out at school every day but never accomplished anything worthwhile” (2010, p.1).

Teachers can make the learning experience both – a great ride with great results.  “In essence, teachers have power to activate the potential in their students to make a positive difference in their lives” (2010, p.2).  The authors point to being part of the Top 20 when potential explodes into great results and a great ride.  We are all top 20.  We are all bottom 80.  Sometimes we are the best self we can be.  Sometimes we are not the best self we can be. It is how we handle situations – how we think, how we learn, and how we communicate that determines where we place ourselves – in the top 20 or bottom 80.  “The Top 20 and Bottom 80 labels in this book are not intended to be a comparison between people.  Rather, they are simply a way of understanding two dimensions of our own selves” (p.4).  Where do you choose to be?

BLOG Top 20 potential

The authors share a variety of topics as they consider Top 20 Teachers.  A few areas of focus include: seeing things differently, creating a positive environment, creating connections, and listening to understand. We thought quite a bit about our teaching and learning and what we do to positively impact our learners.  We are in the business of promoting and modeling the art of being reflective practitioners.  Considering this, we decided to invite some of our colleagues to respond to the following question. How do you make a positive impact on your students and build a culture of curiosity in the teaching and learning process?  Their responses were thoughtful, and showed us their Top 20 qualities to help students experience great results with a great ride.  This is what they had to say…

“I draw extensively from the work of Ellen Langer, Harvard social psychologist, related to mindfulness.  The forty plus years of work she has done on mindfulness focuses on how to foster flexible, creative and critical thinking processes in the classroom, business settings, delivery of physical and mental health services, etc. (The construct of “mindfulness” that Langer has evaluated is not the same as what is described in the mental health literature that draws from Eastern traditions such as meditation, yoga, etc.) I have used four of her publications as texts in various psychology and LEP 100/400 classes since 2004 and students consistently note the content in Langer’s publication to be the most transformative for them among readings I assign in class with regarding enhancing curiosity, increasing their openness to new experiences, enriching their personal relationships, increasing their willingness to take risks, and enhancing their creative thinking capacities (for example).”
~Dr. Christine Olson
SMSU Professor of Applied Psychology

“At the age of 15, Eleanor Roosevelt traveled to England to study, and there she encountered Mademoiselle Marie Souvestre, who would mentor her for three years. Together, they traveled to Europe, visiting places of poverty and spender. Eleanor studied literature, art, history, languages, and in the process she gained self-confidence and confidence in her ideas. In her autobiography, Roosevelt wrote of this experience: ‘Mlle. Souvestre shocked one into thinking, and that on the whole was very beneficial.’ That is what I do to build a culture of curiosity in the teaching and learning process. I try to shock my students into thinking.”

kolnick falls
~Dr. Jeff Kolnick
SMSU Professor of History

“I like to think I make a positive impact and build a learning culture by first teaching students about social skills.  I like to make sure I learn each kid’s name and where they are from, and I constantly challenge them to do the same with their fellow classmates.  If they feel like you care about them, then they are more willing to learn and curiosity will come naturally.  I encourage social interaction that doesn’t involve technology, small group communication during class, make them debate a topic, and take a side even if they don’t agree with it.  I make them be involved in the community, more than just the campus of SMSU, it forces them to talk to strangers.”
~Brian Frana
SMSU Asst. Football Coach & PE Instructor

“Set a comfortable tone to the classroom. I begin each day with a corny joke and a ‘thought to ponder’ on the board. I also work at learning the students’ names and something about them. These may seem like silly little things, but I have found that students look forward to coming to class and remain engaged. Also, interjecting personal stories and experiences to bring the information into real-time for them.”
BLOG LS
~LeAnne Syring
SMSU Assistant Professor of Special Education

“In my courses I allow for student choice in completing and designing projects. In the end, I want the project to be part of the bigger final outcome so the assignments or projects leading up to that are scaffolded ideas that should easily fit into the end capstone project. I have received positive feedback indicating they like this format that provides them opportunity to actually prep for the final project, while building understanding of the topic and content. Generally, we discuss in the classroom then move to an open room where students collaborate with peers and work together. As they work I provide feedback or clarification as needed. This format works well and engages student’s curiosity as they work toward their final goal.”
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~Dr. Mary Risacher
SMSU Assistant Professor of Education

“How does a teacher create a positive climate to optimize students’ learning? Through the demonstration of unconditional positive regard‎ (Rogers, 1959) a teacher forms the foundation upon which exhibited elements of invitational theory and practice‎: Respect, care, optimism, intentionality, and trust (Purkey & Novak, 2015), sows a fertile learning community.  This emotionally nourishing environment then produces  a bounty of student exploration, innovation, and critical thinking!”
~Dr. Chris J. Anderson
SMSU Assistant Professor of Special Education

“To build a learning environment that fosters creativity, thinking, and the development of curiosity, I have embraced constructivist practices and create learning experiences based on learners’ passions.  This has been remarkable in the online classroom as I watch students develop relationships, understanding, and knowledge with classmates that they have never met.
Currently, there are English, ELL, reading, math, and more instructors creating magic together, not in isolation.  Everyone has a powerful voice. Their ideas and their passion are giving insight not only into content, but to practice.  This has been a joy to watch unfold as learners embrace ideas and cheer for each other.
This has been facilitated by “being there” – all the time.  Not only merely assessing, but adding and questioning.  Joining in the joy and the passion that drives teachers.  I am excited for them and for their students.  Education is changing. I am surrounded by brilliance.”
~Dr. Toni Beebout-Bladholm
Marshall Senior High School English Teacher
SMSU Adjunct Professor

What did we learn from all of this?  We teach alongside rockstars, who are shaping the world one student at a time, one day at a time.  It is not just great results that lead to success. Great results and a great ride equal success.  Teachers can make all the difference. We choose our Top 20 selves to guide, mentor, and care for our learners.

Stay Calm & Choose to be the Top 20!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V. 

 

 

Curious Minds Want to Know

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These past few weeks of the school year have simply flown by.  It is officially fall, and the school year is well underway.  One of the focus topics with the start of a new school year is… social norms.  We need to know what behaviors are socially acceptable.  This is critical now as the “honeymoon” period of the school year is almost over as well as for new students just entering school for the first time.  Desired behaviors can be learned by most on most days.  Who said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?  We can all learn something sometime, right?

This past week while working on social norms, one of the English learners in my care greeted his teacher on his own one morning and another learner told her teacher “You’re welcome” while finishing up some math work on the board and politely handing the smartboard marker back to the teacher.  Both cases caused the classroom teacher to be pleasantly surprised by the learning that has taken place in such a short time – and has been applied. (Yay!  I played a part in that!! 🙂 )  These two individuals are motivated to learn and curious about the English language and culture; they want to learn.

“Learning is what we humans do best.  We learn throughout our lives by wondering and exploring, experiencing and playing” (Ostroff, 2016, p.1).  In Wendy Ostroff’s book, Cultivating Curiosity in K-12 Classrooms, we are reminded that curiosity is essential to being human, living well, and being happy.  Curious to know more?  You are encouraged to read the book to learn more.

So how can teachers encourage curiosity without killing the cat? “Fostering curiosity involves listening to the myriad of voices and perspectives of the class community members and respecting each other enough to put oneself ‘out there'” (Ostroff, 2016, p.6).  The power of a positive growth mindset remains unchallenged.  We can accomplish almost anything that we believe.

Learners should be involved with both content and technique.  They should be engaged in the learning and active participants instead of being told what to know and how to think.  If involved, motivation to learn cultivates curiosity, which can bring out the child in all of us.

Allowing learners an opportunity to grow during unstructured times with choices, provides a safe place to make mistakes… to learn from them, and grow from them.  This can be a hard one to let go and grow with, but it is essential to curiosity leading to creativity.  If learners cannot be tasked with the charge to be curious and learn, we have failed.  This doesn’t mean it will be an overnight success without guidance.  We need to model and mold – all the while knowing the mold is meant to change.

A little respect can go a long way – in life and in career; this includes how we treat and challenge others.  Create curious habits and habitats for learners.  Enlist the help of Curious George and other characters who live a life of curiosity and never stop learning and growing.

Life and learning are a journey; enjoy the adventure!

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. Wendy & Dr. V.

We ARE Better Together

BLOG CSI PD

We recently returned from Charleston, SC where we presented at the 2015 Center for Scholastic Inquiry’s International Academic Research Conference. We learned from and with some of the best of the best practitioners across the globe in the areas of education, business, and behavioral science. And, of course, we enjoyed a little pleasure and relaxation on top of it all.

Our research presentation was on Bloom’s Taxonomy mixed with Web 2.0 tools used in Higher Education. Besides the little bit of a technology glitch, our presentation went well. Better than we ever imagined. We’ll share why in a second.

We attended many sessions as well. We learned from experts – researchers and practitioners – in the areas of preparing candidates to teach English learners, Instagram use in education, bullying in the workplace, teacher candidate dispositions, and much more in fields of education, business, and behavioral sciences. Our lightbulb moment was realizing that we are not alone when it comes to dealing with some of these issues – and across various fields and workplaces.

Alone, we are smart, and we handle whatever issue may park itself in our departments. Together, with all these experts from varied disciplines and various locations across the globe, we discussed and brainstormed, and shared. Together we were brilliant and found solutions to these issues.

If you have not heard of this conference, we recommend you check it out. Hopefully next year we will get the privilege of learning with and from YOU in Scottsdale, AZ! Because as Steven Anderson noted, “Alone we are smart. Together, we are brilliant.”

Oh, yes, and about our session. We won the ‘Best Presentation’ award. Not bad for our first time being there! 🙂 It’s kind of like golf…you have that ONE good shot that keeps you coming back. We had that ONE good presentation that will keep us going back time and time again. (Thanks, Dr. Tanya Yerigan!).

BLOG CSI PD 2

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

From Summer Daze to School Days

So it’s true! We are head-over-tail in love with school! Literally! As a new school year gets underway, we are ready to learn – and to play! Meet this furry student, Stella. She is the newest member of class. The boys are her BFFs – also heading into another year of learning!

Meet Stella
                            Meet Stella
BLOG boys to school
                           Stella’s BFFs

Transitioning from summer to school can be tough. Even with the excitement of a new year, it can leave us out of sorts as we start a “regular” schedule and get back into the routine of school.

Here are some helpful tips to get us on the right track! This is for students, parents, furry friends, and maybe even professors as we head back to school. 🙂
Stella and her pals – human and furry – are sharing advice for school success.

First the basics…

*Be sure to think about looking your best. It can help you act your best. First impressions are important in this world of ours – so aim to make your first impression your best.

Bathe regularly :)
         Bathe regularly 🙂

*Drink lots of water. It is important for our brains to stay hydrated as we try to learn and understand new concepts.

BLOG dogs in the pool   BLOG dogs water    BLOG kids in the pool

*Get enough exercise. We need to be physically active to help our brains.

Walk & Talk - check!
                           Walk & Talk – check!

*Get some rest! The change in routine can wear on us so we need to establish an earlier bedtime and be consistent with it.

Zzzzzzzz.....
                   Zzzzzzzz…..

Once you have that down-pat, move on down the list to more advanced advice…

*Be comfortable with who you are. Don’t try to be anyone else but yourself. You are the best at being you. So Relax – you’ve got this!

Just chillin'
                   Just chillin’                     Stella gets “being herself” confused with her nap time it seems.

*Find a friend to talk to and share about your day. It’s important to be brave, but it’s also important to just “get it out of your system” with a friend.

This is how the story goes...
              This is how the story goes…

*Find something that you like and stick with it. The world will push and pull you in many directions; as it aims to shape you, stick with your favorites even with pressure to change. It may not make sense to other, but if it works for you, stay the course.

I wonder if they will notice if I take this gem for a cruise...????
I wonder if they will notice if I take this gem for a cruise…????  They keep telling me no, but I won’t give up trying…

*Play nicely with others. Enough said.

If Garfield and Ode can do it, why can't we?
If Garfield and Ode can be friends, why can’t we?

*Don’t forget to read – for learning and for enjoyment.

BLOG Jackson reading to Stella         BLOG Jonah reading to Stella          BLOG JR reading to Stella

*Take on a new challenge. Go for it. We dare you. If you aren’t learning and growing and stumbling along the way, the journey just isn’t the same. Make it worth it!

College life!
Katie at college! No puppies allowed though so we are sending out love the distance to her!

*Get your priorities set – include time to work and time to play. We aren’t mental health professionals, but we do know that all work and no play can leave us exhausted and without purpose.

BLOG JR swing       BLOG girls fun      BLOG doggie friend

*When you go out in the world, find a buddy. Life isn’t as scary with a buddy by your side to take on the challenges that lie ahead.

BLOG doggies
                             I’ve got you!
Woof! Woof!
              Woof! Woof!

Sounds like common sense, right? Even if it doesn’t, we are firm believers that even old dogs can be taught new tricks! Stella is excited to formally start doggie school next week… stay tuned for an update on her formal schooling experience. Wondering if they will be using 21st century teaching and learning strategies and integrate technology….hmmm….?

Enjoy the school year! Bark on! 🙂

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

What Happens When a Retired State Trooper Becomes a Substitute Para?

http://www.cafepress.com/
              http://www.cafepress.com/

Had coffee the other day with a friend who recently retired from the Minnesota State Highway Patrol. She had a 3D retirement party—Dining, Dancing, and Donuts. Go figure. 🙂

Anyway, she shared that she was just finishing up a nine week substitute job as a paraprofessional. That made the ‘ole eyebrows shoot straight up!

Really??

She was working with a few young children who needed a para with them because of possible seizures. She was also working with other children with special needs.

Her stories brought some belly laughter and also a few tears. Educators beware…honesty is shared here and some of her words may offend you.

Her first story was about a little cherub who experienced seizures. She shared:

“I’d rather go to a car crash site any day, than to watch a four year old have a full blown seizure. That was a tough situation to witness! I had just visited with this little girl about having to go back into the building soon, and she went to the top of the slide one more time, waved at me, then collapsed.

Right there at the top of the slide.

I hustled up there to get her, and carried her down. The school nurse made the call to wait just a little longer than the three minutes of seizing before giving her medication. Shortly after that time frame she came out of it. Thank goodness I was able to climb up the jungle gym. The other teacher was unable to make it up there.”

Teacher candidates…have a plan! If you are unable, for any reason, to climb up steps to get a student off the play set, have a plan. Who will you ask to help you? How will you get that child down? Having a plan in any type of emergency situation will prevent chaos later.

One student this trooper-turned-para was assisting was extremely naughty. Totally out-of-control behavior. Without thinking she asked the classroom teacher, “Where’s your Taser?” She was kidding of course. 🙂

Teacher candidates…what intervention ideas do you have up your sleeve for students with exceptionalities? A Taser is not an option. A website that is a great resource for you can be found at www.interventioncentral.org. This website offers academic interventions, behavior interventions, and tutorial videos. It is worth a visit!

When lunch time rolled around, this retired highway patrol sat in her vehicle and ate her lunch alone two days of the week. She found the teacher’s lounge to be a tad unfriendly and negative. She admitted:

“This was my first time working with all women. I was used to working with guys only. Not one of those ladies would talk to me. When a few of the paras did speak a few words to me, they questioned how much money I was making. I responded with, ‘I don’t know, I didn’t ask.’”

Teacher candidates…be cautious of the teachers’ lounge. National Businesswomen’s Leadership Association (1987) reported that if you are in a positive mood and you walk into a negative place, it will take a mere 7 seconds to become negative yourself. Do not let that happen! Be the change agent in that lounge!

One little girl the trooper/para worked closely with had gotten blue marker on her nose. It was the end of the day and this little girl did NOT like having her face washed so battles were picked, and the marker on the nose was left alone. When trooper/para took the little girl to meet her mom, she apologized for the marker on the little girl’s nose, explained the situation, and left it at that. The next day, trooper/para had to report to the Director of Special Education. The director explained that the parent had sent an email demanding that her daughter be cleaned up every day. Well, the retired trooper, not even thinking of the marker, asked, “I’ve never gone into the bathroom with her. How do I make sure she is cleaned up?” After finding out that the mother meant the marker NOT toileting help, trooper/para let the director know she had apologized to the parent the day before. When the director heard this, she stated she would take care of it.

Teacher candidates—most parents are your allies. Some will complain now and then, however, for the most part, they want to be helpful. Remember, your students are number one in the eyes of their moms and dads. Parents just want the best for their children! Do your best, and remember QTIP when it comes to parent comments…Quit Taking It Personally!

With no teacher training whatsoever, this retired trooper was expected to teach one of her students how to do math, and the math curriculum used was head-scratching confusing. Unfortunately, the classroom teacher made it clear that she did not want to deal with the math skills of this student. Trooper-turned-para was slightly upset about this. Her explanation was:

“My perception of this specific teacher was she was passing the buck. What do I know about teaching? I was a state trooper not a teacher. She was expecting me, the para, to do her job. It was her responsibility to teach the math, not mine.”

Teacher candidates—please remember you are the teacher. Your para is there to assist you in many ways, however, paras should not be doing your duties. Treat them respectfully, and, most importantly, thank them often! Do your job, teacher candidates, and do it well!

The retired trooper friend concluded the conversation with how this subbing experience opened her eyes and her heart. She acknowledged, “It is always good to walk in someone else’s shoes. I’ve gained a renewed respect level for the teachers and paras who do this work every single day.”

To all teachers and paras, we thank you for the extraordinary tasks you accomplish every single day. Thank you! Thank you for your hard work and dedication to all those children you serve!

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

*Powerful Communication Skills for Women, (1987). National Businesswomen’s Leadership Association, A Division of National Seminars, Inc., Overland Park, KS

An Orange a Day Makes Best Practices Stay

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      google images

“Who needs apples? What educators need are oranges.” And with that you are probably thinking WHAT???

We had the honor of presenting to a fine bunch of educators including former SMSU alumni from three different school districts this morning, and this was the topic of our presentation. We shared active teaching strategies using Bloom’s Taxonomy’s Bloomin Orange and demonstrated best practices by introducing several Bloom’s Web 2.0 tools that we currently use in our courses at SMSU.

Polleverywhere.com (Bloom’s Understand Category) was used to poll our participants to find out how many of them knew what Web 2.0 tools are. It was an eyebrow-raising moment when we found out that many of them had no idea what we were talking about. Polleverywhere is a great tool to find out what your audience or students know about a certain topic; a way to assess their prior knowledge. It is also available as an app for the iPad.

Other Web 2.0 tools that were shared with this attentive group of educators are:

Kidblog.org (Bloom’s Evaluate Category): “Ultimately, blogging will lead to growth as you learn about yourself, your audience and the world around you…leading to further creativity and profitable insights. As you can see by the examples I’ve shared, creators of great achievements always walk down this line” (Patel, 2012, para.24). So considering this, blogging can be more than evaluating, it is creating and sharing, which is the ultimate educational lesson. Kidblog, sponsored by Scholastic, is just one forum to share about your learning.

Animoto.com (Bloom’s Create Category): Building a community of learners and a positive on-line learning environment is tremendously important for on-line learners. Animoto is a great tool to assist with this. On-line students have been asked to create an Animoto to introduce themselves to the rest of the on-line class. After they have completed this task, they upload it to the discussion board so all classmates can watch it. It is one fabulous way to get to know each other.

Glogster.com (Bloom’s Apply Category): “Poster yourself” is the common tagline for this unique tool. Glogster is a way to express yourself in a poster format. Used in the classroom, it can extend learning and understanding in a different format. In my ELA Methods & Assessment course (can I get a woot-woot?), teacher candidates share about a research-based strategy and “glog” about it to persuade teacher candidates to want to use the strategy in their own teaching and future classroom.

Tagxedo.com (Bloom’s Analyze Category): Using Tagxedo is one way for students to analyze content they are expected to read or have already read. Students choose terms from their assigned chapter that they believe to be significant to them as future teachers. Once their vocabulary words have been chosen, they are asked to create a word cloud using Tagxedo. Our teacher candidates save this image to their Pictures file, insert the image into a word document, then write narrative explaining the vocabulary words they have chosen and WHY these terms are important to them as future teachers.

Challenges from the knowledge gleaned today? These teachers voiced several…

“…time, resources, reliable technology, unnecessary, doesn’t work for my class, fluff…”

Tackle those challenges. Hit them hard. Change the mindset.

We challenge ALL educators to try at least one new Web 2.0 tool in the last half of this school year. Just one. Then in the fall, give another Web 2.0 tool a try.

If you want to learn more about Web 2.0 tools, we suggest following Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne) and Steven W. Anderson (@web20classroom) on Twitter, and also reading their blogs. You will find these two gentlemen to be valuable resources.

Share with us which Web 2.0 tools work for you. …And – if none of the above appeals to you, wait until next week’s blog.

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

Oh, The People You’ll Meet If Only You’ll Tweet!

Greetings from #NAESP14 in Nashville, Tennessee! Elementary principals from all over the place are here to network, broaden their knowledge in focus areas such as Common Core, Instructional Leadership, School Culture, and Technology, and also to listen to some very dynamic speakers such as Robert Fulghum author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten; Differentiation Instruction guru, Carol Tomlinson; and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Don’t get me wrong, these folks are ALL great speakers! BUT…I was PUMPED UP to meet in person, Todd and Beth Whitaker!! Even though I was presenting today and had to get ready (thank you to my hubby for helping me with this), there was NO WAY I was going to miss it!! And trust me when I say…it was SO worth it! 🙂 I gave both of them a hug like they were longtime friends whom I hadn’t seen in a while. How is this possible since this was my first time ever meeting Todd and Beth?

TWITTER!! That’s how!

It is amazing the people you can meet if only you will tweet! [Click to Tweet]

I have had incredible opportunities to meet some pretty amazing people just because I am a Twitter user (Hello…my name is Wendy and I am hooked on Twitter!! Hooked on Twitter works for me! You educators who are my age—you get that 🙂 ). I ‘follow’ these amazing people on Twitter, and they are gracious enough to follow me back.

I was thrilled to meet face-to-face and get a hug from the one and only REAL PIRATE @burgessdave, well-known speaker and author of Teach like a PIRATE. When I got my hug from Dave, he looked at the gentleman next to him and said “I can hug her because I met her on Twitter.” 😉 I require Dave’s book in my Social Studies Methods course…a book every new teacher should own! He Skyped with my college students last fall and plans to Skype with them again this fall—how cool is that? My students can’t get enough of Part II of his book. Read it to find out what these future teachers are fired up to put into practice.

Blog Burgess

I was honored to meet and have lunch with classroom management guru @BrianMendler which led to a Skype date with my college students during the past two spring semesters—awesomeness! I require his book, Taming of the Crew: Working Successfully with Difficult Students, in my Classroom Management course, and my students especially like Chapter 4. Curious? Read it to find out the great classroom management tips given.

 Blog Mendler

I had the privilege of meeting @RickWormeli at a professional development day for teachers in Pipestone, MN. Rick is the author of Summarization in any Subject: 50 Techniques to Improve Student Learning, which is a book I refer to often in my teaching at SMSU, and a favorite technique is the Bloom’s Taxonomy Cube.

 Blog Wormeli

Today, I was doubly blessed to meet Todd and Beth Whitaker, authors of Teaching Matters: How to Keep Your Passion and Thrive in Today’s Classroom, one book I rely on for help when preparing for my presentations—especially presentations for principals!! I also require What Great Teachers Do Differently in my Intro to Education course.

 Blog Whitaker

Because my presentation was shortly after Todd and Beth’s lunch date…I had to ‘flash and dash’ (eh hum…flash as in camera 🙂 ), but, meeting Todd and Beth was a great way for me to get pumped up before my presentation so thank you Todd and Beth for the hugs!

To @NAESP14…so far the conference has been FABULOUS! Keep up the outstanding work!

To my special colleague, friend, co-blogger, and our newly elected department chair, Dr. V, I hope you are enjoying your MN lake vacation with your family!!! :-).

To all my Twitter friends…I appreciate you SO much and it has been a great adventure so far. I hope our paths cross soon if they haven’t already! To those of you who are not on Twitter yet…what are you waiting for? Oh, the people you will meet if you are willing to tweet!

Virtual hugs, everyone, and hope to chat with you soon! ~Wendy

Stay Calm & Lead On!
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.