Posts Tagged ‘PLP’

So, I’ve been thinking about professional development. One of the things I credit my participation in professional development through PLP for doing for me is reconnecting me to my profession by reconnecting me to professional development that works for my schedule. I am not opposed to going to conferences (I have written about the value I find in them, and I’ve also written about how I just want a day to think about all the information I’ve gotten at those conferences, here), it’s just not convenient to attend them all the time. Yet, I could always use some professional developing.I mean really, couldn’t we all? I don’t think I’m alone here. What I learned in my first year with PLP, oh so many years ago now, was the value and ease of connecting through social networks, both nings and Twitter. I developed a PLN (Personal Learning Network).

One of the many things I have learned about through my PLN lately is the Global Education Conference that is going on right now. (If you are an educator of any kind, seriously follow the link now. I dare you not to find something of interest to you.) I honestly can’t remember where I first heard about it– someone’s blog, an email I got as a member of a ning, or twitter. Anyway, I have listened to several sessions at this point. But, since it’s a global and virtual conference, there are sessions literally around the clock. This is super teacher-friendly and Wendy-friendly. My personal kids are still young, so they actually notice when I get home, and I notice because I pay the babysitter. I also feel that once I am home, I should pay some attention to them. My kids and I are in agreement on this, mostly. Therefore, that “right after work time” is not a good one for me to be in a class or webinar. Instead, for me after 8pm is a handy time, as long as I don’t have to leave my house. My backside and my couch have a serious thing for each other that is very hard to break up. I have tried.

Global Education Conference to the rescue! It’s 8pm, dinner had been made and eaten, kids in bed, time for some learning. I even got off the couch. . . and into the tub. I got out my Mr. Bubble, turned on the hot water, and set my computer on a chair near by. I logged into the Backboard Elluminate session and then listened and watched as I reclined in the bubbles.


(Nail polish notes: cobalt blue color, by Scotch Naturals, is not only a great color IMO, it is also chemical free!)

Snow Day Antics

Posted: February 7, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

So, I’ve been thinking about the snow day we had yesterday several weeks ago now. We even got the call pretty early in the evening so it was extra-super-duper nice. I put away all school stuff  and read a book.

On the actual snow day itself I was busy with my personal kids who also had the day off. They are in Kindergarten and 2nd grade and so there was a lot of LEGO, snow, popcorn making, and there might even have been a little cartoon watching. The other thing I did was meet with a colleague about 21st century learning and Project Based Learning. I know, it was a snow day, what was going on?

But the thing is, we had planned to meet at school and are working on planning a meeting for a teacher group for our school, so we had some things we needed to do. Since I was at home with my kids, she came over to my house during “quiet time” (which is what “nap time” has become now that there is very little napping going on. I really recommend this. Just because no one is napping doesn’t mean there is no need for a little time in our rooms). So, my colleague and I met.

She teaches in another division and I have only really gotten to know her very well this year. We talked about a project she already does in her class and brainstormed ways it could go from a really good unit to a great one. We talked about what might be added/changed this year and what might be another year out. It sounds great. I want to take the class.

Why am I writing about this? Because it’s so energizing to brainstorm and talk with other interested educators. I mean, it wasn’t even my unit we were talking about or anything I will ever be teaching in 5th grade, but I thought it was exciting. It’s common knowledge that I have been uncool for decades, but I know I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a worthwhile discussion.

In case this isn’t how I manage to spend any additional snow day we get (and it hasn’t been), I’m going to try to find ways to have more discussions like the one I had that snow day, even if they have to happen on a non-snowday. There are couches, snacks, and free periods at school too. All I need to do is walk away from the pile of papers on my desk and grab a colleague.


So, I’ve been thinking about all the (un)conferences I attended in person or virtually this last year (school year). I of course wanted to write complete, thoughtful reflections on all of them, but as my 5th graders like to say, that is SO not going to happen.

Instead I offer a brief round-up of sorts.

First, I would like to say that most if not all of these events I found out about on twitter, many by following #edchat. If you are an educator and are looking for timely announcements, information, PD, support, or somehow don’t have enough to read, I can not recommend joining and following #edchat more. (See these links for some helpful info on how to do that)

So now to the main events, in chonological order.

Participated all year in PLP as part of a school team.

I went to Educon at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. (I did write about it, twice actually, here and here.) Link to new conference registration etc.

I have attended numberous hour-long interviews/presentations/sessions hosted by Steve Hargadon, The Future of Education, and Classroom 2.0. Join Classroom 2.0 and you can get weekly schedules. Here’s a link to the schedule of many of the events.

In the spring I attended EdCampPhilly, a day long unconference organized by a dynamic group of folks. Now other EdCamp events are springing up everywhere. I’m planning to go to EdCampyNYC on December 4th.

Also, then attended NTCamp organized by Andy Marcinek. I had family stuff to do so only got to attend part in person. Also a great day. I see another event is planned for this winter in Burlington, MA.

This summer, I attended Reform Symposium 2010 virtually. I sat in (through elluminate) on a bunch of great presentations.

At two events I won random door prizes–1 in person and 1 virtually, always nice.

Anyway, the point here is that there are so many options, many of which do not even involve getting dressed or leaving your couch, if you so desire. For me, as not only a teacher, but a mom of two young kids, I have a hard time convincing myself to spend weekend time away from family, even though said family may drive me crazy. But, I have frequently found myself with time available at the last-minute as the planets align just right so that either everyone is playing together happily or napping.

Happy learning.

It’s great to feel part of a community of learners.

So, I’ve been thinking about my ideas about education and technology use in education.

I have been participating in professional development through PLP with my school for several years. For the first two years I was part of a school team and now this year I am working alongside another new team from my school but am also a Fellow for the program through ADVIS (Association of Delaware Valley Independent Schools). As a Fellow, I am assigned to three school teams as their mentor or helpful-idea-person. PLP is run by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach (see her blog here). Will Richardson also works with PLP (see his blog here and book here). Each year at the first face-to-face meeting Sheryl and Will both speak. Will is usually the one who sends people over the edge.

The first year, I thought Will was on the fringe, at best. (I may have wanted to ban the word “passion” from all conversation.) The second year, I was amazed at how much he had mellowed. And this year, while I many not agree with everything he says, I certainly did not find him to be radical in any way.

But, I was sitting with an entire group of first-time participants this year. Some of them had a very different reaction than I did. Some thought he was radical and extreme. (He admits he’s trying to challenge folks.) So, that made me think about who has really changed in the past three years? Has Will changed? Or, have I?

The simple answer is yes.

Here’s how I have broken it down:

Ways Will has changed (I cannot claim to know the man at all. I am only talking about his keynote addresses.)

  • More careful to support teaching as a profession and teachers.
  • Goes a little slower and doesn’t bombard the audience with too many examples.
  • Admits to having slowed down on his tweeting and blogging

Ways I have changed.

  • I know the lingo now.
  • I have not only dipped my toes in the edtech pool, I’ve waded in.
  • I’ve joined several virtual education networks and have reasserted myself as a learner (it was tough there for a few years with babies at home and too little sleep).
  • I’ve realized that there is a lot of professional development to be had on my schedule (which means on the couch, after the kids are in bed, possibly while I am wearing pajamas and/or folding laundry).
  • I am continually updating and upgrading my definition and understanding of what a contemporary education can and should be.
  • I am actively looking for ways my students can develop a positive digital footprint rather than hide their feet altogether.
  • I am looking for ways my students can put themselves “out there” in appropriate ways and connect with other students, classes, teachers beyond our school.
  • I have gotten over the use of the word “passion,” although I still can’t quite use the word myself, I am looking for more ways to have students working engaging with their personal interests during school.
  • I have a PLN full of teachers, most of whom I have never met.

So, it seems like it might be more me.

Anyone else feel they have changed in the past few years?