July 10, 2014

Cultivate . . . .

"Il faut cultiver notre jardin" ~Candide by Voltaire
Cultivate your own garden.
My friend Paige first introduced me to this sentiment in the fall of 2013. We were both working on transitions happening in our personal and professional lives. As Brené Brown refers to it, we were in the middle of our "Breakdown - Spiritual Awakening." Trying to remember who we were at our core, who others believe us to be, and who we are when we are most happy, we began a journey that has led us to deeper experiences and relationships. 
Welcome to my garden. 
My plan for planting includes an abundance of creativity! When is the last time you picked up a crayon, colored pencil, paint brush? There is something remarkably simple and rejuvenating about the act of applying color to a blank canvas. It seems that, as teachers, in order to increase difficulty and formality in education, we cut out the creativity. The color. The fun. Without sacrificing the integrity and objective of an assignment, what can be included in lessons for this opportunity for creativity? I don't mean just coloring the front of a brochure- but real, inspired creativity. 
Connection.
Thinking about connecting with others in conversations that are thought-provoking, challenging, inspiring, and safe, I realized that I needed a bigger network. I got locked in to thinking that my network was the school/district where I work. My level of frustration was extreme when this network was not able to provide the types of conversations that I craved. But when feelings of frustration started to surpass my feelings of passion and enthusiasm- I knew that I had to find another way. I thought about leaving the profession. I could apply all the common reasons for this decision- burnout, criticism, exhaustion. And then what? What would I do? Luckily summer came and I had ordered a book with a catchy title from Amazon. Teach Like a Pirate: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator by Dave Burgess.  Wow. I could not stop highlighting! THIS is my kind of teaching! I'm not quite as "pirate-y", but I get it! Renewed enthusiasm. Randomly checked Twitter a week later (still an unused resource for me) and was clicking each trending hashtag. I was still not sure what these were anyway. #tlap. click. An EdChat. On . . . wait for it. . . yep. Teach Like a Pirate! I jumped on. Commented. Before I knew it, I was in a conversation WITH DAVE! THE AUTHOR! Talk about feeling starstruck, relevant, involved, and most of all- CONNECTED! My garden has whatever boundaries that I put on it. So, I broke them down. It still took almost another year to actually see and use Twitter for the resource that it is. Good thing it isn't a race.
Courage.
Really working on this one. I know that I DO NOT have all the answers. I just like trying new things. I love change. I love experimenting. I love failing. “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” - Paulo Coelho. I will own all my failures. I will own my successes. I will give credit and appreciation to my inspirations. 
Contributions.
This is what I know something about - not everything, and will continue to cultivate in my garden:
Writing Instruction
Creating Readers
Common Core ELA
Prezi
Google (docs, calendar, email, sites, forms, sheets, + , picasa, etc.)
Apps
EdTech
iPhone 5
Love and Logic
Brain Research re: Education
Amazon Addiction
Organizing
Networking
more . . . ?
Archives for #tlap