Looking Back…Finding Bright Spots

looking back

Photo credit: Egidijus Mika

As 2013 winds down, I want to take some time to look back and reflect on my journey over the past year. A year ago, I made a commitment to myself to take time to stop, reflect, and share my learning and thinking with others through my blog. I decided to shift from being primarily a consumer of the insights of other educators to being an active contributor to the conversation. Along the way, I struggled with the usual doubts — What would I have to say? Would anyone really care? Where do I find the time? And, I stuck with it. I wondered how I could apply what I learned in the process to other areas in my personal and professional life.

Anyone who has ever made a New Year’s resolution knows that sticking with it is the hardest the part. Yesterday, a timely e-mail newsletter arrived in my inbox from Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the book Switch. The subject line read simply: “4 Research-Backed Tips for Sticking to Your New Years Resolution.” I could not resist.

The Heath brothers started by pointing out our dismal record for keeping resolutions: “The research on resolutions is damning: A study of 3,000 people led by Richard Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, found that 88% broke their resolutions. (Even people who resolved merely to “enjoy life more” failed 68% of the time.).”

So, how can we improve our odds of actually keeping our resolutions? One of their tips really stood out for me. They suggest shifting our focus from what is not working (“what is the problem and how do I fix it?”) to looking at our “bright spots” — “What’s working and how can I do more of it?” Continue reading

Why Twitter is the hub of my personal learning network

A few days ago a teacher in our district asked me about different online publishing platforms for her students. She was looking for ways for her students to share their writing with others, get feedback and publish their work. 

In the days B.T. (Before Twitter), I would have headed right for Google and dug in. But I didn’t. Instead, I sent out the following tweet:

blog.tweet

Within a few minutes, I received two responses.  Continue reading

A Personal Challenge for the New Year

small_4401158952photo credit: Jhong Dizon | Photography via photopin cc

The approaching new year brings with it an opportunity to reflect upon the past year and focus on new challenges ahead. This year I have been fortunate to connect with and learn from truly courageous educators who are taking on the challenge of creating the kinds of schools and learning spaces our students need for future success.

The power of social networks has enriched my own professional learning in so many ways. While I have been an active consumer of the insights shared by others, I have struggled with how to start contributing to the grand conversation by sharing my own thinking. Then, I encountered a challenge.  Continue reading