A Summer of Learning, Leading & Leisure (well, a little anyway)

A Summer of Learning, Leading & Leisure (well, a little anyway)

This summer was an amazingly busy time with so many opportunities for growth in my learning, my profession and relationships within my family. I always look forward to the summer as a time to unplug, relax and recharge! I feel like while I did do elements of this, I also had some great opportunities to lead and work on my profession, which helped me recharge in new ways.

I started right out of the gates as soon as school ended by attending a planning weekend with other dynamic educators to create sessions that provided Digital Learning Competency credits for teachers around North Carolina. Educators in North Carolina are now required to obtain at least 2 DLC credits as part of their renewal cycles. The Department of Public Instruction, in North Carolina, hired many of us to provide these beneficial sessions for teachers. We planned early in June for sessions that were delivered in July for the Western half one week and the Eastern side the next. We fine-tuned our offerings and went away from our time with a list of tasks to accomplish prior to our sessions.

Not long after departing from this planning session, I left for 5 days in Chicago to attend ISTE 2018 (International Society of Technology in Education). I had an incredible time learning about so many Brainpop, Google and Apple resources, coding and programming as well as networking with other educators and enjoying The Windy City and all it had to offer. I have to say that with all that the conference offers, it can become overwhelming and exhausting at times so the best way to recharge is to go to the poster sessions that have kids. Listening to their enthusiasm; seeing their hard work and taking in the knowledge that they offer is truly inspiring and makes me want to be the best that I can be for our teachers and students. This was my 2nd ISTE and if you have NEVER gone, I can NOT emphasize enough the power of this opportunity.


Shortly after I arrived home from ISTE, I had some much needed down time with my family as we made our way to Florida for 2 weeks. We made sure to include a college tour into our plans for my son, as well as family time with cousins, aunts and uncles. We took our trip into the Keys where we enjoyed sun, sand and snorkeling together while making sure to catch some really great soccer during the World Cup. We also made time to venture up to Virginia a little later in July for some relaxation and bear adventures.



Once these trips came to an end, it was time to embark on the traveling road show of teaching DLCs on the Eastern side of North Carolina. This was a tremendous opportunity to teach others but to also see a variety of schools and interact with so many different educators, with a variety of backgrounds, opportunities and resources. I loved learning from other educators but also had an even larger awareness about equity within our state for students, teachers, resources and conditions. I could go on for hours about these topics but I found myself losing sleep at times thinking about this topic. In some schools, the resources were clearly there, but locked down, while in others the conditions were deplorable, possibly dangerous. Along with these revelations, I found myself in awe of so many great things that the other instructors on the team were doing in their school’s and counties. It was exhausting, it was draining, it was a LOT of work and I can’t WAIT to go back to do it again next summer!! I am including links to my presentations from the work that we did during that time and hope that others might be able to utilize some of these resources as well.

Augment Your Classroom Reality- Reveal the Possibilities

Diving into Digital Portfolios- East


Once I was home from our traveling road show, we immediately started the work of my new position as Digital Learning Coordinator in Wake County Public Schools. We have already accomplished so much in a little over a month that we have been together and I look forward to reflecting on our work and links to our resources over the course of the next year. Until then, work hard, lead by example and make sure to spend time with the people that matter !!



Changing The View

Recently my soon-to-be spouse, Mike, was injured at work. While we wade through the myriad of hoops that is Workers Compensation and the requirements of the Department of Labor, waiting for a surgery to be approved, he has been camped out on the couch in his “castle” of pillows which keep his arm propped up so that his injured shoulder is supported. After 6 weeks of this we decided to see if we could reconstruct a similar design in our bed, so that he could be more comfortable. We are working out configurations that will allow him to rest and recuperate in our bed more comfortably post-surgery (whenever that might be). This seemed fine until the dreaded realization that to have the best set up, we would need to SWITCH SIDES OF THE BED!!

Now, if you have ever shared a bed with a significant other, you know that “sides” of the bed are established and maintained early in a relationship and are as ingrained as the position in which you begin your night of slumber (side curl, tummy, back) so to think that one can possibly just SLEEP on the other side of the bed and have it be the same is just ludicrous. I find this shift in mindset similar to how many encounter even the smallest changes in other facets of their life such as starting to write a blog with regularity. nelsonmandela

I recently had the pleasure of meeting George Couros speak at the Fall 2016 Convergence Conference held by Wake County Public Schools. I had been thinking about blogging for many years. I hadn’t made the initial leap into reflecting publicly about my work, my life, or my interests. I would often be overwhelmed by just the nuts-and-bolts of it and not move past that fear or work on how to organize it or put down my thoughts. I often pondered about creating a running blog or a work blog or a life blog and the thought of starting 3 different sources was too much in my already harried life. Then George quickly helped me sort all of that out. Have one blog, tag it appropriately for the topics, individuals or places involved. Make sure to include categories  that tie directly into the evaluation instrument for my position. In doing this, my blog becomes more than just a reflection vessel, but additionally a portfolio, my evidence, and even my resume as a whole person. I then took this further and reflected with my “tribe” or Professional Learning Network following the conference. Listening, talking, reading and then putting words to paper, I have been encouraged by so many to jump in with my exploration of blogging.

So here I am starting a new habit in my life. It might prove difficult to maintain at first but I know that reflection is an important part of who I am and what I do in my job and life each day. It will have to become like my running and workouts are now, just something that is an important part of my routines. Bill Ferriter put it best when he stated “If you aren’t blogging, you aren’t reflecting.” It isn’t extra, it is rather an important part of teaching and supporting those that teach. In my work I am continuously encouraging others to take a leap of faith, try something new and learn from mistakes along the way. It is time for me to put that into practice for myself as well. I hope to reflect in my blog at least once a week. Just like anything new, I know that I have to make time for it and there will be times that I fall behind. As I process this change in the place in which my fiance’ and I sleep, with time it will feel like a normal part of our day and sleep cycle. That is also how I see this new thing called Blogging in my personal and professional life. I’m so grateful to have a Professional Learning Network that pushes me to be my best by taking risks and trying new things while also cheering from the sidelines when I falter.