…for I have sinned. It’s been too many days since my last blog post. Mea culpa. Mea culpa. Mea culpa.

In my defense, I’ve been swamped! Rob and I were still recruiting until just a few weeks ago (yeah, we’re moving to Oman!), I’ve had a student teacher in my classroom for 6 weeks, I’ve transitioned 2 new kids in and 1 kid out of my classroom, and I’ve been trying to be a wife, mom, friend, and teacher all while trying to maintain respect with a head of blue hair (that’s another topic for another day!).

At the top of our resumes this recruiting season were the words: innovate. collaborate. motivate. And I’ve been busy trying to do just that.

So what’s kept me honest these past lots of days? You guys! Maybe not here through these blog posts but everywhere else. You and I have been workin’ the plan. We’ve been all over this world wide web participating in an endless stream of idea sharing, resource trading, and collaboration. And because of all this busy-ness I just haven’t had a minute to sit down and share with you all of my successes (and the failed attempts as well).

Since I started this COETAIL program a year ago I’ve participated in more department, school-wide, continental, and global collaboration than I have in 10 years of teaching…combined! I feel like there’s a vortex of amazing ideas swarming around me and I’m grasping at any projects that would meet objectives, challenge me, and redefine learning for my 2nd graders.

Innovate: Starting Local

In my own elementary community, I’ve built a PLN of people who want to try this Genius Hour thing. For so many colleagues, it’s innovative and borderline crazy. For me–it’s the way school should be. So, I’ve blogged about it, tweeted about it incessantly, collaborated with ES (then MS and HS) teachers and students at my school interested in taking the risk, and even presented 3 workshops about Genius Hour just since October! I’ve openly shared my own resources and those I’ve used as tools to help my own Genius Hour program unfold as well as started on a Wikipedia article that has turned into my own Genius Hour project. I’m doing my best to share this innovation with everyone who will listen in hopes that it eventually becomes they way we do school! Next stop–TEDTalk perhaps?! (insert hearty laugh here)

Collaborate: Going Continental

Thanks to Ryan Harwood and his #AfricaEd website, my network of African colleagues to collaborate with, be inspired by, and commiserate to has grown 10 fold. Though I can’t always get what I want, sometimes (read: often times) they come through immediately… and it’s a beautiful thing.

So I’ve learned that one of the best ways to collaborate is just by taking a risk, asking the question, and putting it out there:

[<a href=”//storify.com/teach4Travel/putting-it-out-there” target=”_blank”>View the story “putting it out there” on Storify</a>]

motivate: GO Global

And then there’s the PLN stuff that goes global. It starts at the #AfricaEd level and then it grows to the COETAIL level when all of a sudden I am spending nearly $200 to send a raggedy grey teddy bear around the world to Sri Lanka because I signed up for a project that I just knew would be meaningful to my students! Enter stage right: the #GlobalEdTed and Traveling Teddy project.


Projects like this one have motivated me to continue taking risks with my students and the projects I choose to do with them. So maybe we have to skip a writing lesson, merge two math activities, or reschedule our library time–so what!?! If I can motivate my students to understand more about the world–then I’ve done my job! When I can show my students that it’s OK to take risks, fail, and try again–then I’ve done my job! If I can motivate them to share their opinions on Amazon or Trip Advisor, teach about South Africa via video and Skype, or answer a questionnaire to understand that students in a far-off land are more similar than different, then I’ve done my job! …And I’ve done it well.

Get Collaborative

So I guess it’s OK that I’ve been MIA for some time. Because I haven’t been missing from all of it. I’m out there. I’m doing stuff. I’m working with people. I’m growing my network. And I’m trying new stuff. Heck, all you have to do is check-out my to-do list to see that I’m busy and I’ve got even more work to get done:

  • get podcasts finished- by Thursday 3 March
  • build on Course 5 Project (more info to follow) by merging MinecraftEdu with a math and coding integration- Friday 4 March
  • Mystery Skype(s) with PLN partners for next science unit- week before March break

Yup…March is going to be BUSY! So I’ll sign off now, say my 10 Hail Mary’s, and catch some zzzzs so I’m ready to innovate, collaborate, and motivate again bright and early tomorrow morning! Bring it!