Sunday, July 20, 2014

Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute Reflections and Thanks

Home.  It's so nice to be home.  But all the same, I'm torn.
I spent the past week learning from and with the most amazing educators I've met.  Participating in DENSI for a second year was an incredible boon and I'm incredibly thankful for the opportunity.

Because of the DEN (Discovery Educator Network for those not familiar with the acronym) I am:

  • trying my hand at blogging.  Never thought I'd say that!
  • connecting with my PLN via Twitter (though I'm Tweet challenged and desperately want more than 140 characters with which to communicate.  Will I get over that?!)
  • excited to take the next step in my journey as an educator.  I'll be an elementary librarian this fall and I'm glad to have connected with several DEN members who have already taken those first steps.  They've graciously allowed me to learn from them and I'm thankful.
  • giving Aurasma a try and thinking about how it might be used in an elementary library.
  • exploring new technologies (love those 3D printers!)
  • reflecting on my instructional practice and thinking about flipping some of the things I do so that I'm more intentional about time that students spend in my classroom
  • pondering over my professional passions and trying to articulate what I believe about teaching and learning
  • learning about new ways to connect with and develop my PLN

As others have done before me, I'd like to give a huge THANK YOU to the Discovery Education team, with Princess Porter in the lead.  Your support of me and so many other teachers provides us with a global support system that helps us to thrive and be our best.  DENSI 2014 was awesome and I'm thrilled to have been a part!

To my DENSI friends, you amaze me, motivate me and encourage me to keep learning and growing.  It was wonderful to see those of you I met last summer in Vermont.  It was equally wonderful to meet new friends along the way.  I was fortunate to have the BEST room mate (Julie Wenger), the best suite mates (Zulma Whiteford, Karie Huttner, Anne Shrode, Karen Ogen, and Julie Wenger) and the best team (Zulma's Team Z.)  Thank you all!

To Eat An Elephant

Do you remember elephant jokes from your childhood?  I remember loving them and giggling hysterically at their silliness.  They were based on simple humor that often had me puzzling to make sense of exactly why an elephant would need to paint his toenails red... and even more, why that same elephant would need, or even WANT, to hide in a cherry tree!   

Although most of the jokes were silly, some had an underlying deeper message.  This one sticks out:
Question: How do you eat an elephant?
Answer:  One bite at a time!

For me, professional learning and growth is like eating an elephant.  It's a tasty elephant, and I really want to be able to gobble up the whole thing!  But, though I want to, it just isn't possible to accomplish everything all at once.  The best way to tackle it is one bite at a time.

Up to this point I haven't been a blogger.  I've preferred to share my ideas with one or two close friends in face-to-face conversations.  It's safer that way.  I've just returned from the Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute, though, and was encouraged by several to share my teaching and learning journeys with a broader audience.  

And so, here's my blog.  I hope that by sharing with the world I'll accomplish several things:
  • I'll learn to take the time to chew each bite of my professional "elephant", reflecting on successes and challenges along the way
  • I'll share ideas and strategies that I've found successful (or not!)
  • I'll connect with my PLN in a new way-  please be gentle with your feedback!  :)