Monday, December 31, 2018

One Word 2019: A Look From Shine to Courageous

From the Year of Shine: 

In 2018, I chose the word Shine. Looking back at the blog post that I wrote a year ago was truly eye opening for it provided documentation of my growth since 2017. In 2017, I used the word  Push  to step out of my comfort zone. I became more active on Twitter and vowed to say "Yes" to as many opportunities as possible.

 In 2018, I had the following goals for my word Shine: 

* I want to "shine" a light on my classroom not to show off what I do for my students, but to highlight what amazing things my students can do!

I started this blog in the year of Push. In that year (2017,) I wrote 6 posts. My main reason for the blog for me at that time was to push myself by doing something new and getting my voice out there. In the year of Shine, this post makes number 19! My goal for the blog changed in that I wanted to use it as an opportunity to shine light on the amazing things that my students were accomplishing in my classroom, as well as my honest reflections on education.

I wouldn't have been able to take these leaps without my PLN. In January I joined 2 Voxer book studies. I did this kind of on a whim after seeing the posts on Twitter. Both of these studies were extremely impactful in my year. The Zen Teacher group allowed me to push that walkie talkie button for the first time and to be vulnerable.

The 4OCF group was a high paced group of excited educators. The book study pushed my thinking to new heights and when the study ended the group decided to stay together. This group, this 4OCFPLN, are more than simply educators that I talk to on a daily basis. They have become my friends that help me through trials in and out of the classroom. It was in this group that Jamie Leach (@LeachTeach) put forth the blogging challenge. This would mean my original goal of one post a month would be doubled. This was nerve wrecking for me, yet I knew that I had this power bunch behind me. I shared every post I published with my group! Their support means everything!

Michael Matera (@Mrmatera) and Carrie Baughcum (@HeckAwesome) were also very instrumental in helping me Shine this year. In one of my attempts in Michael's #Five4Five challenges, I started my #EduCreativity Podcast. I have loved this opportunity to be creative and put myself out there.

After the #USMSPARK conference this year, I was inspired by Micheal's words of intentionality and youtube channels of him and Carrie and I decided to finally take the leap and start my own. Now while I have not posted on this as often as would like, I cannot wait for the chance to expand on this exciting medium!

* I want to avoid any darkness that may try to overcome my light. I completely realize that although some of this comes from others, a majority of it comes from the doubts I have placed on myself.

This has been the toughest Shine, for negativity is a sneaky thing. Due to the fact that I have little ones at home, I like to compare it to Swiper from Dora. He always comes out of nowhere whenever Dora and her friends have something valuable. Negativity worked in the same for me this year. Whenever I had an immense amount of positivity, he swept in and attempted to take it away. Yet, much like Dora, I had my edu-friends in my back pocket to help me yell "Swiper No Swiping"

* I want my light, my passion and enthusiasm, to spread. I want others to find their light and "shine" in their own way. There are many different ways to light the way for our students.

I have found a new passion this year. I love igniting that spark in a fellow teacher. Whether it is in my own building or by having the chance to speak at a conference. This year, I had the pleasure of speaking at 3 different conferences. While I can't say I wasn't nervous or was calm in the process, I can say that it was thrilling and I adored the experience. Seeing teachers become students and have the same light bulb moments as their students. It is truly amazing to be a part of!

Into the Year of Courageous:

This year I decided to choose an adjective rather than a verb. This year I choose to be Courageous.

In the Thanksgiving blog post that I wrote with the #4OCFPLN, I wrote about the cowardly lion and how it took the support around him to realize that he had the courage he needed all along. While I have come a long way from my invisible high school days, I feel that this year I need to focus on my inner courageous nature. Many think of a lion when they think of this word, yet courage can come from anyone or anywhere. Every character in every movie has a moment when they must harness their inner strength, a strength that can get them through the struggles ahead of them.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
E.E. Cummings

* I want to be courageous in being me! I am not your standard anything and should not be afraid of that!

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.”
Mark Twain

* Dreams can be scary, goals can be scary. I want to be courageous in pushing past that fear and reach for my dreams.
Dreams for writing... Goals for presenting (including ISTE 2019) All are very scary and very intimidating. I might reach and fail, yet if I let fear stop me, I will definitely fail!

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."
- Winston Churchill

* I want to have a courageous heart for my students and my family. At times this may mean standing up for them and other times, it may simply mean to sit back and truly listen to their needs and wants.

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.
Deuteronomy 31:6

* I want a courageous faith in want I might not understand. I want to have a courageous trust in God for he will not leave or forsake me.

I want to thank all of you for your support on this journey!

I look forward to a year to Push through and Shine with a Courageous spirit.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Words of Wisdom from a Movie Classic

For me, this holiday time is all about the classics. From classic family customs, to classic desserts and dishes, to the classic movies. One of those film classics for me is Home Alone.
 There is the epic debate for some whether it is or is not a Christmas movie, yet that is something that I will not be getting into right now (It most definitely is!)

As I sat down this year and watched one of my favorite holiday classics, I not only laughed like a school girl at the classic scenes, but also noticed the incredible lessons that we can gain from this film which can be implemented in and out of the classroom.

In both Home Alone 1 and Home Alone 2, Kevin makes quick judgements on certain characters. In the first movie it is the "Shovel Man" who legend told killed his entire family with a shovel. He then has that touching moment with the same man in the church on Christmas Eve. He learns that the son of the "Shovel Man" has not spoken to him in quite some time. Kevin then shares advice with him and they create an understanding that helps them later in the movie when Kevin is running from the "Wet Bandits."

Then in the second film, it is the "Pigeon Lady" who was frightening on all accounts in New York City. After a classic Home Alone scream that occurs in their first encounter, Kevin later learns that this woman ran away from a very normal life because she was afraid of getting her heart broken for the second time. Much like in the first film, this character that he once thought was an adversary, was in fact an ally that helps him later on.

In our classrooms we have students that have built up a reputation much like the "Shovel Man" or have had a strong and negative first impression like that of the "Pigeon Lady." In his first interactions with these characters, Kevin believes and acts on the stereotype for his focus is on his own matters. It is not until he sits and has a conversation with them that he discovers the true person within. As teachers, we are truly stretched time wise. There is always something to do and simply not enough time to accomplish it all. Yet, if we take a moment to simply sit with the "Shovel Man" or "Pigeon Lady" in our classroom, it will make all the difference. For just like in the movie, both parties can reap the benefits from a simple understanding.