sheila adams

Conversations #105 - Summer Plans

This week we were joined by Amanda Marrinan, who was in the same time zones as Lisa, Maria and Sheila! She was visiting Maria before heading to ISTE11. This week we discussed our professional and personal plans for the summer. Curriculum planning and having fun were at the top of the list!

This is our last show of the season. We will be taking time off for the summer, but will be back in the fall!

Conversations #104 - How do you end the year? [June 12, 2011]

This week, we discussed ending the school year. Although for some listeners it was a reflection, Lisa, Maria and Sheila all have about 2 more weeks to go! Several ideas and links were shared in the chat.

Conversations #103 How has your teaching changed with collaboration?

This week we talked about how collaboration and being connected has changed our teaching practice. We looked at how we use Twitter to reach out to our PLN for feedback, advice, support and ideas. John Fladd joined Maria and Lisa to share his thoughts on the topic. Sheila will be back next week.

Conversations Episode 102 - What Message Does Your Classroom Give?

This week, we discussed the message people get when they come into your classroom.  Does your room portray the message you want it to?  How do you get people to understand your message?  


11:20:27 Lisa Parisi : Hello everyone.

11:27:41 Lisa Parisi : Sound should now be on Ustream

11:30:54 Lisa Parisi : Hi John

11:31:09 woodenmask : Morning, Ma'am

11:31:15 Conversations - Sheila :  Sun dog  pics

11:32:08 woodenmask : A "ma'am-guy"?

11:33:12 woodenmask : Not as old a I'm feeling lately.

11:34:02 Lisa Parisi : sound on ustream can you hear

11:35:04 woodenmask : Strangers seem to get it, but parents often have a problem with the interpretation they get through the students.

11:35:34 Sheila : I agree Woodenmask. I just experienced that this week.

11:35:39 PeggyG : Hi everyone

11:36:02 Sheila : Hi Peggy!

11:36:29 PeggyG : sorry I'm late! Can you repeat the topic for today?

11:36:47 Sheila : Welcome to Conversations!

11:37:14 PeggyG : thanks! branding in your classroom--what is it and is it what you want? :-)

11:38:57 PeggyG : they way your organize your classroom is also part of your branding--desks, chairs, tables, etc.

11:39:42 woodenmask : My brand would be much like the Fox News travesty of a motto - "We Report - You Decide". Try to develop critical thinking skills in my middle schoolers to interpret history intelligently.

11:41:22 MariaK :

11:41:28 PeggyG : interesting woodenmask!! and what would we see in your room that reveals your brand? "we report-you decide"

11:42:28 MariaK :

11:42:41 PeggyG : Supersize Me was a powerful video!

11:43:25 PeggyG : yes links are working fine

11:44:04 MariaK : thanks

11:44:19 PeggyG : do you only have one "brand" in your classroom?  seems like there are multiple messages that are important

11:44:49 woodenmask : PeggyG (which makes you sound like a rapper, by the way) - Right now, my 8th graders are in the middle of their New York City unit. There are three bulletin boards - one with a giant map of Manhattan that my guys are putting GoogleMaps StreetView images of addresses they are researching, indicating where their place is.

11:45:18 Lisa Parisi : JOhn, want them to skype with my close to the city we go all the time

11:45:24 woodenmask : cont... Another is a giant Bloom's Taxonomy pyramid with all the activities we've done this year and where they fall on the chart.

11:46:11 woodenmask : Cont... And a third is made up of the printouts of the most recent blog posts they did in our RootsBlog, where they blogged as characters in Roots.

11:46:14 Sheila : I like that idea John (woodenmask) with the pyramid.

11:46:21 Lisa Parisi : Hello Cathy

11:46:32 Sheila : Morning CathyE!

11:46:43 Cathy E : hello all

11:46:44 PeggyG : those are terrific learning activities!

11:48:15 PeggyG : that's a great strategy for visitors Maria! We need to know your questions before you leave :-)

11:48:25 Cathy E : Who is going to ISTE?  Are there any meet-ups planned?

11:48:41 Lisa Parisi : Me

11:49:03 Lisa Parisi : There are meet ups.  Not sure where but I have signed up for them. LOL

11:49:05 Sheila : Me too.

11:49:13 PeggyG : I'm going to ISTE :-) The meetups usually happen in the Blogger's Cafe and at ISTE Unplugged :-)

11:49:52 woodenmask : I've got my Duke Ellington workshop the following week, so I won't be going to ISTE because I'd like to stay married.

11:50:01 Lisa Parisi : LOL

11:50:01 PeggyG : Maria it sounds like your brand is children are decisionmakers

11:50:13 PeggyG : good decision woodenmask :-)

11:50:45 woodenmask : It's certainly in MY best interest, anyway...

11:52:23 Cathy E : @woodenmask  - I understand, I think I have signed up for a few toooo many things this summer. 

11:52:41 Lisa Parisi : I did that last year, Cathy, and hubby said never again. 

11:52:47 Lisa Parisi : So this summer is just ISTE.

11:52:56 PeggyG : you're describing lots of classroom activities the provide examples but I think it's the underlying assumptions you hold about teaching/learning that cause you to plan those activities--and it's your values that drive your underlying assumptions

11:53:08 woodenmask : I've been going every other year, which seems about right.

11:53:41 woodenmask : I'm thinking a lot about the very good teachers I know and their practices. Their classrooms and practices are very, very different from each other.

11:53:57 Lisa Parisi : Why John?

11:54:05 PeggyG : I agree with that John

11:54:45 woodenmask : Theodore Roosevelt defined "genius" as someone who can do something that nobody else can do. If you accept that definition, no "genius" in the classroom will look like anybody else.

11:54:47 [email protected] : ola

11:55:16 Lisa Parisi : mean the teachers are different from each other?  Or their classrooms are different from their teaching?

11:55:23 Cathy E : I have lots of people come and see the technology use in our school

11:55:27 woodenmask : Lisa - Yes.

11:55:51 PeggyG : I think observers/visitors in your classroom come away with a general impression rather than all of the details you are describing. They might share a specific example or 2 of things they really liked (or didn't like) if they told someone else what your classroom was like.

11:57:24 woodenmask : You know in a really hot jazz set, how the music builds and evolves, getting so complicated and frenetic that if you walked in right in the middle, it wouldn't make any sense? When I'm really rocking a lesson, it's like that. Context is important.

11:57:25 PeggyG : if independence is the brand you want you need to post one poster with that message :-)

11:58:05 woodenmask : (Thinking a lot about jazz, lately...)

11:58:05 PeggyG : and having the kids create the banner or poster is a powerful way to make sure they all understand the goal/priority in your classroom

11:58:35 woodenmask : So a visitor wouldn't necessarily get what we're doing.

11:59:09 Lisa Parisi : Yes, John, exactly.

11:59:16 PeggyG : I think they would definitely "get it" John but I don't know if they would get your "brand" without your guiding them to it

12:00:26 PeggyG : it definitely makes a difference when they observe!! Friday afternoons or the last few days before a vacation can give a very different message than a great lesson!

12:02:38 Sheila : One glimpse is little information but often makes the impression (good or bad).

12:03:00 PeggyG : I agree Sheila

12:03:15 PeggyG : impressions are often formed in the first 15-30 seconds

12:03:48 Lisa Parisi : It's that 15-30 seconds that I think about.

12:04:00 Lisa Parisi : What do you get from 30 seconds...looking in.

12:04:14 Lisa Parisi : My kids, I think, come off as rude

12:04:36 woodenmask : I'd like that.

12:05:06 PeggyG : you can't control the perceptions of visitors--you just need to provide a context to help them understand the big picture

12:05:06 MariaK : let's make a plan John!

12:05:31 woodenmask : I actually have an idea about that, Maria.

12:05:43 MariaK : ooooo - can't wait to hear!

12:07:13 PeggyG : what are the "rules" or "norms" for assemblies in your school? Have you ever discussed that and come to consensus with the teachers?

12:07:23 MariaK : Wes Fryer's post about coming to my room

12:07:59 PeggyG : I saw that blog post Maria! It was fantastic!! :-)

12:12:32 PeggyG : I'm not sure that's accurate Lisa. Respect surely is a priority for you.

12:13:11 PeggyG : that's different than saying "respect" is not me...

12:14:25 woodenmask : My guys need to be trained to show the forms of respect. Strangers and adults should not have to prove themselves to my students' satisfaction in order to be treated politely.

12:14:32 PeggyG : be an ostrich? :-)

12:14:55 PeggyG : :-)

12:15:18 woodenmask : I had to make my peace a long time ago with the fact that I can't cover anything close to the huge amount of curriculum I'm supposed to cover.

12:16:37 PeggyG : I agree John. We not only can't cover all of the required curriculum but we can't address all of the required standards. That's why "power standards" started becoming popular so they could be combined and prioritized

12:16:50 woodenmask : nods

12:17:58 PeggyG : do you think you have a single "brand" for your classroom?

12:18:10 Lisa Parisi : Yes...we are active learners

12:21:37 Cathy E : I am so lucky that my admin "gets" it

12:22:39 PeggyG : obedient kids in the hall :-)

12:22:45 woodenmask : I've got a really supportive administration. They let us take risks. That lets us evolve more easily.

12:23:41 PeggyG : exactly Sheila!! there are times when it's important that the kids are quiet and listening and times when it's not

12:23:49 woodenmask : School of Rock

12:25:28 PeggyG : we do a lot of "telling" to parents at Open House and maybe the answer is to provide some scenarios and ask them to describe what they see. Guided observation :-)

12:25:37 woodenmask : One of our Kindergarten teachers tells parents, "If you believe half of what they say about me, I'll believe half of what they say about you."

12:25:43 MariaK : great idea peggy - show not tell!

12:25:54 PeggyG : I love that quote John!

12:26:34 woodenmask : Got to go. Boy Trouble.

12:26:40 Sheila : Can I do that in 10 minutes?

12:26:51 PeggyG : we had parents of Kindergartners already expressing their college priorities for their kids--look at the parents who keep their boys out a year so they will be "bigger" than their peers when they get to HS!

12:27:20 MariaK : Sheila - photos with descriptions and annotations

12:27:35 Cathy E : what was the name of that, Lisa

12:27:47 PeggyG : probably not Sheila--but maybe you can plant the seed and invite them back to extend it

12:27:54 Sheila : On my blog? so they keep referencing it?

12:28:04 Lisa Parisi : mangahigh.comn

12:28:09 Lisa Parisi :

12:29:08 PeggyG : can you do a parent workshop (with kids and food) that would help them experience your classroom?

12:30:10 Sheila : Love that idea with food!  ;) Hard to get them back to the classroom, unless I do it before the open house! Ahh! Great idea Peggy!

12:31:07 Sheila : But as part of a team, if I do it myself, I'll set up the others; so I need to convince the rest of the team.

12:32:23 PeggyG : you could show several video clips of your classroom in action (focusing on different things) and then break them into small groups that include both parents and teachers to talk about what they see and what the kids are learning.

12:32:37 PeggyG : provide the guiding questions

12:34:12 PeggyG : great idea Sheila!!

12:34:40 Cathy E : I am trying to sigh up - but my school's url is too long

12:34:50 Sheila : THanks for all the ideas Peggy and all!

12:34:55 PeggyG : have a bbq Sheila and even dads will come :-)  bbq and kick ball game before the workshop

12:36:00 PeggyG : next weekend is Memorial Day weekend

12:36:16 Lisa Parisi : Bye everyone

12:36:20 donnaroman : Thanks Lisa.

12:36:22 PeggyG : looks like you get a week off :-)

12:36:32 PeggyG : thanks everyone! see you in two weeks


This week, we discussed the message people get when they come into your classroom.  Does your room portray the message you want it to?  How do you get people to understand your message?  

Conversations Episode 101 - Should I Stay or Should I Go?

This week Miguel Guhlin joined Lisa, Maria, and Sheila to continue a conversation he had started in a chat room a few weeks ago.  His question: Do you bloom where you are planted or do you move to bloom?  We discussed the pros and cons of staying in a difficult teaching situation where you can do great work for children or moving where you are more supported.


11:27:46 Sheila : Morning Peggy

11:28:05 Lisa Parisi : Hello

11:28:45 PeggyG : will you be streaming on ustream?

11:28:55 Sheila : yes

11:28:56 Lisa Parisi : ustream only today

11:29:22 PeggyG : Hi Miguel! So glad to agreed to come back to continue this conversation--brilliant topic suggestion!

11:29:42 PeggyG : Hi Amanda!

11:30:00 marragem : Hi Peggy!

11:30:06 Lisa Parisi : Hello Amanda

11:30:14 Sheila 2 : Hey Amanda!

11:30:15 marragem : Morning everyone!

11:30:25 Sheila 2 : Conversations will be starting in a few minutes.

11:30:48 marragem : I'm pretending I'm in your timezone and it's still Sunday

11:30:56 Sheila 2 : :)

11:30:58 PeggyG : good idea Amanda :-)

11:31:21 PeggyG : pretending is a good thing :-)

11:31:28 Lisa Parisi : ustream is starting

11:31:41 marragem : but in 29 days....

11:32:16 PeggyG : audio is great

11:33:20 PeggyG : I've been participating in a fantastic online food photography workshop most of the weekend. Amazing to watch a professional photographer teach us about food and culture!

11:33:42 Sheila 2 : Sounds very interesting!

11:33:42 marragem : sounds fun, Peggy

11:33:49 : aww

11:34:29 marragem : I found the song that reminded me of

11:34:31 PeggyG : They offered this workshop for free :-)

11:34:57 : Hi, peggyG!

11:35:02 PeggyG : food photography with a professional photographer from National Geographic :-)

11:35:40 PeggyG : we need to establish your credibility Miguel :-) just teasing...

11:35:40 Lisa Parisi : HEllo Maureen

11:35:45 PeggyG : Hi Maureen

11:35:57 Maureen : Good morning Lisa and everyone

11:36:03 k_timms : good morning

11:36:04 marragem : Hi Maureen

11:36:35 Lisa Parisi : Good morning, K_timms.

11:36:44 Maureen : Goodness Amanda! Are you on holiday? Isn't if awfully early, or late for you?

11:36:45 PeggyG : I'm so grateful that you share so willingly, openly and frequently, Miguel! I learn so much from you!

11:37:02 PeggyG : Yes! M Scott Peck! Love his books!

11:37:58 PeggyG : I think this is such an important conversation because I'm sure all of us have considered this question for ourselves at one time or another

11:38:10 marragem : yes, it's after 1:30 am but I can sleep in -have an ICT network day later today

11:38:27 Lisa Parisi : WElcome to the chat, Maria.

11:38:29 PeggyG : this question led me to retirement :-)

11:38:36 MariaK : finally hardwired

11:38:38 Lisa Parisi : REally, Peggy?

11:38:43 PeggyG : :-)

11:38:54 PeggyG : yes

11:38:55 marragem : there was a Carey Landry song based on this back in the 80's. Big in Catholic schools

11:39:24 MariaK : hey amanda...yawn

11:39:40 PeggyG : in retirement I moved to bloom :-)

11:39:53 marragem : I napper earlier, Maria. Not tired...yet

11:40:32 PeggyG : would love to hear Scott McCloud's rationale for your decision Miguel

11:40:57 Maureen : It's a very hard decision. I love my school, but really don't see any change happening. But I am also too old to really pick up and move.

11:41:01 : Scott says, "Move to where you will bloom" (although that's a paraphrase, not a quote)

11:41:15 PeggyG : hard to make a decision to move in education because of salary schedules, tenure status, etc. may lost a lot

11:41:31 : @Maureen wow, that's how many folks feel! Me, too and I'm only 42! 8->

11:41:35 Sheila 2 : I had immediate reactions to this subject, but I think my reaction would be different when I was younger.

11:42:10 PeggyG : one of my teachers left to start a personal business after 25 years in education--business didn't work out and she had to return to step one of the salary schedule when she returned to teaching. Very sad.

11:42:31 PeggyG : interesting point Sheila! didn't think about age as a factor

11:42:33 : Is our inability to handle change/risk keep us in toxic environments? How can we better adapt to risk/change so we can move and bloom in non-toxic environments?

11:42:44 marragem : I've been pondering a move for a few years but can't find a school that will allow me to do what I doing an exchange instead!

11:42:55 Maureen : @mguhlin I have a few decades on you... my house is almost paid for, and I like it here- except when I don't.

11:43:13 Sheila 2 : :) Maureen.

11:43:36 : how does blogging and social media provide an emotional safety net for us to endure toxic environments?

11:43:54 marragem : think I've still managed to bloom in what was a toxic environment. Just have to change your thinking, not let things bother you

11:44:02 Maureen : I can do whatever I want in my classroom, but I want others around me to change as well. I cannot change the culture of my school.

11:44:30 : great can you work without investment?

11:44:38 McTeach (Karen) : You're lucky Maureen...I can't seem to do anything I want to in my classroom anymore.

11:44:39 Lisa Parisi : Having support among others, Miguel, definitely helps.  26 years ago, there was no social network.

11:44:42 PeggyG : an exchange is an interesting alternative Amanda!

11:45:38 PeggyG : I think having a PLN via social networking definitely helps but I wonder if we use what we learn to improve our own situation or if it's just a safe place to survive?

11:45:45 Maureen : Hey Karen... Didn't even see you sneak in. I have freedom to do whatever I want, pretty much- but nobody cares. The culture at my school is so very traditional.

11:45:48 Lisa Parisi : Hello John.

11:46:03 Lisa Parisi : Hello, Techyturner.

11:46:08 woodenmask : Good morning.

11:46:13 MariaK : Hi John

11:46:21 woodenmask : Morning, Ma'am

11:46:22 MariaK : good morning to you!

11:46:24 PeggyG : Hi McTeach!! So glad you could join us :-)

11:46:25 techyturner : Hi. trying to get the broadcast on so I can hear it.

11:46:41 PeggyG : Hi techyturner! Haven't seen you in ages! Welcome!

11:46:44 marragem : Peggy -I can't change the culture amongst my staff, can't change the the culture of my employer, too old to change systems, so an exchange will move me out of my comfort zone

11:46:44 Lisa Parisi : it's on ustream only today.

11:46:48 PeggyG : streaming on ustream

11:46:53 McTeach (Karen) : Hi Peggy! Somebody forced me to get out of bed! :P

11:46:55 techyturner : Thank you

11:47:11 : Wow, my heart is beating fast and I feel anxious as I listen to you all. anyone else getting emotional?

11:47:17 Maureen : I sent the art teacher a Escher like tessellation that one of my sixth graders made this week. She wants to learn how to do it in SketchUp- wants to collaborate with me and math.  Little dreams... but not much action

11:47:19 : Kinda neat to reflect on this

11:47:28 PeggyG : :-) @McTeach--maybe it was somebody higher up forcing you to get out of bed??!!

11:47:35 Lisa Parisi : Maureen, run with it.

11:47:50 McTeach (Karen) : Arizona "higher up"???

11:48:00 PeggyG : nope

11:48:11 PeggyG : just the messenger

11:48:28 McTeach (Karen) : :)

11:48:41 Lisa Parisi : Hello Jamie

11:48:47 PeggyG : I think this topic is less "emotional" when you've already made your decision and are at peace with it

11:49:01 Sheila 2 : True Peggy!

11:49:24 Sheila 2 : Do you reflect more when you are planted or looking to move?

11:49:27 : @PeggyG That may mean I'm not at peace with my decision.

11:49:30 : 8->

11:49:40 : Radioactive soil.

11:49:43 Maureen : I know that feeling Maria. I've lived here since '78.  Hard to even think about moving.  Been working at the same school since "91. I don't think I want to work in a public school and other options are very very limited- especially given my age.

11:49:44 PeggyG : I think so Miguel

11:50:28 : How can we ask questions that don't threaten people? Make environment safe for questions.

11:50:41 PeggyG : when you're struggling with a decision like this there is a tendency to think "the grass is greener" somewhere else but you bring your baggage with you

11:50:49 Lisa Parisi : Maybe we need to stop being defensive when people ask us questions.

11:50:51 : @PeggyG yes, agreed.

11:50:53 techyturner : Topic: Are we blooming where we are planted or do we need to move?

11:51:18 PeggyG : @Miguel- you can't control how others respond to your questions (feeling threatened, etc.) But it's still really important to ask them

11:51:22 McTeach (Karen) : matter where you go, there you are!

11:51:23 Maureen : @mguhlin  That's the problem- everyone always feels threatened just by asking questions. They feel like it's judgmental.

11:51:35 PeggyG : exactly McTeah :-) wise person said that!

11:52:19 PeggyG : consensus requires hard work!! easier to have someone tell you what to do and then complain about the decision (sic)...

11:52:32 Sheila 2 : Reflection can be uncomfortable for some especially when not feeling confident.

11:52:37 Maureen : At our last full faculty meeting- in response to some questions I asked- my boss said at least twice in his response "I;m not being defensive, but..." It was pretty clear that I was not supposed to ask these questions

11:52:37 Sheila 2 : Do you reflect more when you are planted or looking to move?

11:53:34 Maureen : @Peggy G I agree- At my school everyone complains, but won't work to change. It cannot happen magically

11:53:37 PeggyG : excellent points about asking questions @Miguel!

11:53:39 techyturner : @Sheila2 I reflect in both environments.

11:54:28 : You're so encouraging @PeggyG. Is that how the rest of us should be? Does that work to be affirming? You know what I'm saying?

11:54:47 PeggyG : I've been observing an amazing person in the professional photography workshop this weekend and she is a masterful person at giving feedback and challenging thinking in a constructive way. Very insightful for me!

11:54:53 : @PeggyG I admire that.

11:54:54 Sheila 2 : I found TET very helpful. Teacher Effectiveness Training. I pulled it out for another teacher this week.

11:55:02 Deya -> puentesalmundo: si o en el centro de la pantalla, la flecha grande

11:55:10 PeggyG : Yes I think it's important to find the positive in things and support them

11:55:12 MariaK : @sheila - I used to be a trainer for that! LOL

11:55:17 Maureen : I met with my boss and we talked about starting a PLC... to help move things forward. Then he pretty much said no to the people I wanted to invite. Kind of don't want it to be invitation only...

11:55:27 PeggyG : I think there is something positive in every experience

11:55:56 : @PeggyG how to handle the situation Lisa describes now?

11:56:30 Sheila 2 : You have to model and walk the walk yourself.

11:57:11 PeggyG : always interesting that people outside of your immediate network (school) think you are an expert and people in your own school don't want to listen--they want to hire consultants from the outside to do exactly what you are already doing

11:57:26 PeggyG : pant pant

11:57:33 Maureen : @Sheila I find it harder to model and have people see that they can apply the same model in MS than it was in lower grades, since everyone seems to think that their discipline is special, different and my model cannot work there

11:57:34 Lisa Parisi : Yes, Peggy.

11:58:08 Maureen : @Peggy- Yes- that prophet in your own land thing- it's true

11:59:02 techyturner : @peggy @maureen That has happen to me many times.

11:59:04 Sheila 2 : I had a teacher come up to me in front of others acknowledging how well I listen to everyone and try to compromise, just when I felt I was losing it! You never know your impact!

11:59:27 marragem : Peggy - you've just described the environment I'm in

11:59:40 Maureen : When I was in Boston last week at edcamp I listened to a HS english teacher explain how she uses google spreadsheets to grade- and give feedback on essays. She was so enthusiastic... wish my English teachers could catch some of that

11:59:43 Sheila 2 : I keep pluggin away, but I also look for people who will challenge me in my thinking.

11:59:48 woodenmask : I'm fortunate, but intimidated in that I work at a school with insanely talented colleagues, where most of them ARE better than me. It's still hard to bloom; my pot is irregular. #BeatingAMetaphorSenseless

11:59:53 PeggyG : I love the concept that Steve Farber promotes in his book "Greater Than Yourself"--To be a great leader you need to strive to make others greater than yourself

12:00:15 PeggyG : that's really true Sheila!! you never know your impact

12:00:56 Maureen : @woodenmask- I've used your blog and your examples of some of your projects and Paul's projects to show history teachers.. get the same reaction... doesn't fit with what they are doing..... I just don't get it

12:01:02 PeggyG : if you're working to make others "greater than yourself" you're not feeling defensive and threatened

12:01:43 McTeach (Karen) : That's what I'm feeling like I have to do. Just do what you're told so you don't get yelled at anymore.

12:01:45 PeggyG : sometimes they truly don't "get it" Maureen. They need to see it work for them to understand.

12:02:07 : @Karen Thanks for acknowledging that.

12:02:13 Maureen : @peggyG- how do you get them to even try something new?

12:02:58 McTeach (Karen) : @Miguel...wish I didn't have to. It's really killing me to not do what I think would work best in my classroom.

12:03:05 PeggyG : wonder what would happen if you took on your administrator/principal as a Greater Than Yourself project?? Is that too far fetched to think you could find positive in what they are doing and build on it?

12:03:14 : @Karen isn't it nice to admit it, though? Who could you tell at your workplace?

12:03:35 PeggyG : don't focus on the person--focus on what they do to support learning

12:03:46 Maureen : @McTeach- even our head of school knows that everyone is just keeping their head down... and grumbling- but making the culture change to a place where people feel valued and encouraged to try and talk- is not something that I can see happening. I think it has to be admin down... but he thinks it's a grassroots thing...

12:03:47 McTeach (Karen) : @Miguel...actually, everyone knows how I'm being treated, without me telling them.

12:03:53 : Does blooming always mean doing it your way and swimming upstream against the current?

12:04:08 Lisa Parisi : For me, it does, Miguel.

12:04:09 : @Karen yes, without speaking it aloud, it continues

12:04:25 McTeach (Karen) : @Peggy What if what they're doing doesn't support learning? What do we do?

12:04:26 Lisa Parisi : Doesn't mean it's right, just that it's what I need to bloom

12:04:49 Lisa Parisi : I would love for my way of blooming to be standard in the school.  Imagine the support I would have from colleagues.

12:05:01 Sheila 2 : @Karen I was in a situation like that several years back. I found other avenues to reflect and get support. Not a happy situation, but I was so focused in my classroom. Eventually, the staff started to voice their opinions too. It started to turn. Actually pulled staff together for a bit.

12:05:02 PeggyG : administrators definitely play an important role in establishing school culture but they aren't the only ones. Look at the example of Identity Day that George Couros started. Powerful way to build community

12:05:15 Maureen : @Maria- my daughter was asked to take 3 yr olds in to do some testing on the computers... she refused... and eventually won.

12:05:23 : Is the personal journey towards becoming a better person always involve swimming against organizational currents?

12:05:39 PeggyG : @McTeach--is there NOTHING they are doing to support learning? Who is telling them what to do? Board? Boss? Are they in conflict too?

12:05:48 Lisa Parisi : No.  Sometimes people agree with the organizational currents, Miguel.

12:06:34 Maureen : Why can't we have a PLN at our own schools- why does it come from outside? Or is it just me and my school? I feel far more supported by online PLN than I do in my school.

12:06:35 McTeach (Karen) : @Peggy She would prefer it if we taught like they did in the 1800's. Not sure how that can support learning.

12:06:36 PeggyG : probably that's true Miguel--at least right now in education!!

12:06:41 : So, if the org currents are aligned with not learning--as Karen suggests--and you need to align yourself with your org currents, should you move or persist as a rock being eroded?

12:07:07 PeggyG : those organization currents are everywhere--not just where you are now

12:07:27 : the frog story

12:07:38 PeggyG : me too :-)

12:07:39 marragem : I'm with you Maureen - far more support from my online PLN. Often feel an outsider at my school

12:07:43 : we keep hoping for the kiss to transform the frog, but we're the frog in the pot

12:07:44 Maureen : @Miguel is it always a rock being eroded? Or can it be a small dam affecting change in the stream?

12:07:46 : ;->

12:07:50 PeggyG : your secrets out...

12:08:03 McTeach (Karen) : @Miguel...last year, I decided to stay another year because I hoped that I could be a rock where others could gather around. Instead, I've been eroded.

12:08:12 techyturner : @miguel I don't think it always goes against organizational currents. I believe that people/organizations change and it may go against sooner or later.

12:08:14 PeggyG : changing grade levels and classrooms can often be a renewing experience

12:08:48 : We thrive on conflict and challenge to push us.

12:08:50 : 8->

12:09:13 Sheila 2 : If things were perfect, would we reflect?

12:09:24 Maureen : It seems like much of the conversation now seems to be around tech, but back before tech was an issue- didn't you always look for change? Ways to do things better?

12:09:36 techyturner : @shiela2 I would b/c that is what I do.

12:09:40 Lisa Parisi : I always do, Maureen, with or without tech.

12:10:13 Sheila 2 : Yes, Maureen. Nothing's perfect for me.

12:10:25 : @Maureen yes, of course. As a writing workshop facilitator, I drove the grammar teachers crazy. That's part of the point isn't it? Is this type of cognitive tension just normal to the human condition, perhaps, even necessary?

12:10:26 PeggyG : I personally think that if you are in a school environment that is caustic and detrimental to both students and teachers you shouldn't stay. Damage to kids and teachers is different than thinking we need to change/grow.

12:10:43 : Insight as a result of today's Conversation?

12:10:52 marragem : @Maureen - yes - always changing , constantly pruning

12:10:58 Maureen : @Lisa Yes, back when I taught K I always looked for ways to do it differently- always learning. I remember when I discovered KinderKorner- a listserv... was thrilled to be able to connect to others.

12:11:13 PeggyG : I agree with you Maureen! Good teachers were always looking for ways to improve their teacher (both before and after technology integration)

12:11:42 PeggyG : I was on the KinderKorner listserv too Maureen!!

12:12:18 Maureen : @peggyG... that's funny... my old user name used to be ecdivco... probably talked to you back then too

12:12:27 PeggyG : as a principal, I joined teacher listservs for almost every grade level so I could learn what the issues and teaching strategies were around the country and not just in our school/district

12:12:54 Sheila 2 : If you have too many people to reflect with, challenge you, do you then feel discouraged?

12:13:14 PeggyG : I still follow quite a few teacher listservs and the conversations there are often different than they are in ed tech PLNs

12:13:26 Maureen : @peggyg I find that at an independent school that our school leaders are looking much more to NAIS and their publications- and yes, it's an echo chamber for them

12:13:51 PeggyG : @Sheila--interesting question. Maybe you just have to think of it as "one at a time"??

12:14:17 Maureen : I find that my online PLN there are lots of people who push and challenge my thinking... even Lisa :-)

12:14:53 Lisa Parisi : It's always my goal, Maureen. LOL

12:14:56 PeggyG : @Maureen-did you know the KinderKorner list is still active? I still receive their digests

12:15:34 MariaK : good ol' KinderKorner listserve!

12:15:51 PeggyG : you definitely don't have to agree with everyone or have everyone agree with you to feel rewarded and renewed

12:15:55 MariaK : @peggyG me too - still receive the digests

12:15:59 Sheila 2 : Small victories!

12:16:01 PeggyG : I like that perspective Miguel

12:16:05 Maureen : @PeggyG I kind of dropped it when I had to switch jobs to teaching science and computer- I had waaaay to much to learn in a very short time. I also really wish I was still in I tend to stay away from it- easier for me.

12:18:10 PeggyG : that white/black laptop makes me smile and remember how little things can change our perspective--how often do you sharpen your pencils and rearrange your room to try to motivate yourself to write something (yes writing without a computer) :-)

12:18:54 Sheila 2 : Validation

12:19:01 McTeach (Karen) : Can't wait for ISTE!! Need to be around like-minded people!

12:19:03 Maureen : Do you think that as women (mostly here) in a school that you don't get the audience that the male teachers get. It feels that way in my school... the guys get listened to- the rest of us- the vast majority- don't.

12:19:04 : Yes, @PeggyG exactly!! You mean, that happens to others, too?!? Re-arranging pencils, writing with a new pen on a different notebook (digital or otherwise) gets me going.

12:19:05 PeggyG : I get those looks too Lisa but you can still share--your enthusiasm is contagious even if your specific suggestions aren't followed

12:19:22 PeggyG : all the time Miguel!! it's how I operate!

12:20:00 Sheila 2 : Allowed to take risks

12:20:07 : @PeggyG haha

12:20:11 PeggyG : I don't think so Maureen--audience for male teachers. Really may depend on the administrator and their style.

12:20:14 Sheila 2 : And admit if it didn't work and think about how to fix it.

12:20:30 PeggyG : that's the really hard part Sheila!! admit it didn't work

12:20:51 Sheila 2 : True! Need the safe environment.

12:21:01 : rejoicing!

12:21:02 : hehe

12:21:09 Sheila 2 : Stepping out of your comfort zone.

12:21:32 Maureen : I get encouragment from individuals at school and I know that I help people- but it's more me fixing something on their computer, or showing them how to upload something, etc... not curricula stuff

12:21:36 PeggyG : those are the naysayers--the ones who say why change--we just keep recycling old things and if we wait long enough this trend will pass too

12:22:08 PeggyG : we have to keep focusing on the kids and what they need for learning and future success as life-long learners

12:22:15 : do you have to retire to achieve a well-balanced perspective? 8-> don't get mad at me. 8->

12:22:25 woodenmask : waves

12:22:25 PeggyG : no I don't think so Miguel

12:22:31 Maureen : @peggyg I heard the jump on the bandwagon statement at the last fac meeting... Like using tech in schools is a bandwagon... jeez!

12:22:34 marragem : you just have to be the best you can be

12:22:35 Lisa Parisi : Peggy, I hear that all the time.  And as THE senior teacher in the school, I resent when younger teachers say it's not worth trying because this, too, shall pass.

12:23:10 PeggyG : very easy to resent those kinds of comments!! I do too!!! We should brainstorm some responses for when we hear those comments :-)

12:23:36 : What is the secret of being content in every situation? (that's a loaded question)

12:23:46 Maureen : content?

12:24:01 Maureen : I hope that I don't ever feel content Miguel

12:24:05 PeggyG : retirement doesn't have to mean leaving "education"! I think I am busier, have learned more/done more and influenced more with a renewed focus--just no paycheck...

12:24:24 Sheila 2 : You are busy Peggy!

12:24:31 : What does contentment mean to you, @Maureen?

12:24:38 Maureen : @peggyg I hope all the appreciation you get from all of us is a paycheck

12:24:45 PeggyG : not content Miguel because that means you've stopped trying to grow/change

12:24:45 woodenmask : That's a hard call, Maria. I'm not sure how you judge when you've stopped having an impact.

12:24:53 PeggyG : it is a HUGE paycheck!!!!!!

12:24:55 : @Maureen amen! @PeggyG you are great.

12:24:56 marragem : retirement?  I have to keep working to pay for my overseas trips!

12:24:59 Maureen : Content means satisfied... haven't gottent there

12:26:15 PeggyG : I don't think we can ever be satisfied with where we are and what we are doing but we can celebrate each accomplishment and each small step (whether ours or someone elses)

12:27:08 Sheila 2 : I'm starting to get 2nd generations and people are starting to ask when I'm going to retire!! I have the years but not the age! They think I'm old! :(

12:27:39 PeggyG : it's the paperwork and documentation that drains us and takes time away from the creative teaching process

12:27:59 Maureen : I want to work in my garden all day....

12:27:59 PeggyG : I'm with you Sheila!!! Have fun!

12:28:29 PeggyG : Miguel is asking some great questions for us to reflect on!!

12:29:25 PeggyG : Let's go to dinner with Paul and find out what he meant :-)

12:29:40 : @PeggyG on your own! I'm not ready yet!!!

12:29:41 PeggyG : don't you wish you could go back in time to talk with wise people?? :-)

12:29:48 woodenmask : Thank you for the conversation - The Boy is demanding a sandwich.

12:29:59 PeggyG : Feed the boy @woodenmask

12:30:25 PeggyG : content is an interesting word...

12:30:48 PeggyG : I'm not sure toxic environments help bring out the best in us

12:31:12 PeggyG : challenging, questioning, frustrating environments maybe but not toxic

12:31:21 Lisa Parisi : YEs, Peggy.

12:32:24 PeggyG : has anyone developed a list of guiding questions to explore this topic individually?

12:32:35 Maureen : Reading A Daughters Walk... back to it now. Interesting historical novel.

12:32:43 PeggyG : this has been a great, thought-provoking conversation!!

12:33:03 PeggyG : thank you Miguel and the Conversations team!!! every week is a great conversation!

12:33:08 techyturner : Thanks for pushing my thinking today. Back to trimming the landscape.

12:33:30 PeggyG : so sorry you can't go to ISTE Miguel!!

12:33:31 McTeach (Karen) : Thanks everyone!

12:33:51 Maureen : I met Miguel - maybe in San Antonio... didn't realise he was so famous :-)

12:34:15 : @Maureen, I'm not famous, but when you haven't met the big mouth next door, there is some notoriety!

12:34:19 Lisa Parisi : Bye

12:34:25 PeggyG : Miguel is famous because he so willing shares and explores and questions with everyone!!!

12:34:30 techyturner : bye1

12:34:37 Maureen : bye

12:34:38 marragem : thanks everyone. I'm off to bed. Catch you all in a few hours!

12:34:40 PeggyG : bye all!

12:34:45 tekteech7 : thanks, bye


This week Miguel Guhlin joined Lisa, Maria, and Sheila to continue a conversation he had started in a chat room a few weeks ago.  His question: Do you bloom where you are planted or do you move to bloom?  We discussed the pros and cons of staying in a difficult teaching situation where you can do great work for children or moving where you are more supported.



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