Reflecting on Reflection

What makes you smarter? I bet you have a pretty good idea by now. Personally, I get a little smarter every time I’m behind the edit pane of this blog. I have a new bit of research to share that might even help reaffirm this little claim. Now, I don’t really know if you are actually getting smarter by being where you are right now, on the outside of the blog looking in… reading. I can assume you are getting smarter by reading this blog with about the same level of certainty that I can say my students got smarter by listening to me talk.



For most savvy educators, the metacognitive power of reflecting upon learning is no secret. I think few in the business would refute that assertion. And yet, I have long believed that we do not take this practice serious enough to truly nourish it until it flourishes.* The practice of careful and explicit reflection embedded throughout the process of learning is a far, far cry from the practice of merely assigning reflective thinking. As dialed-in to this practice as I am, I can’t say I’ve personally nailed it down to the: “Four Steps to Winning via Reflection.” Believe me, if I could write that blog post I would. The reality is that most of what it takes to support deep, meaningful learning is far too nuanced for a bulleted blog post hitched to a cocky title.

What I can say, however, is that at some point in my teaching career, I stumbled upon the advantages of thoughtful, coached reflection. If you’re tackling a concept sophisticated enough to require a bit of struggle, then you can benefit from careful reflection. Thankfully, I discovered this early enough in my career to be able to figure out -by trial and error- some thoughtful ways of encouraging, supporting, and embedding this type of thinking. I later learned this to be the seventh of the Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning by Jan Chappuis:

Strategy 7: “Engage students in self-reflection, and let them keep track of and share their learning.” – Long-term retention and motivation increases when students track, reflect on, and communicate about their learning. In this strategy, students look back on their journey, reflecting on the learning and sharing their achievement with others.

On Assignment

Again, contrast this embrace of the nuances of learning with the mere practice of assigning reflection. I reiterate this to insure that you don’t simply read the linked article, start assigning it on Monday, wonder why Friday’s quiz scores are no better, and then drop the practice as another failed attempt at smartering**. In fact, I would have to say this reminds me of a rather worn out practice within online/blended modes of schooling: the “post once, comment twice” approach. That protocol arises out of the fact that we would like to see a back and forth exchange of information in these new spaces. We’d like to see students engaged in conversation as an additional mode of learning. We’ve spent a great deal of time and effort to figure out how to support this sort of discourse in physical space. I’m guessing most of us would be far happier if it just “happened” for us in online spaces as well. It makes sense that we’d rather not have to spend the time and effort figuring out yet one more way to interact when we’ve already got this surefire way that still “works.” And thus, attempts at online learning experiences often fall far short on most measures of authentic engagement.

Spiral Bound Hoop Jumping

In short: without at least a measure of careful attention to fostering content conversations and open self-monitoring of learning…  reflection becomes yet another hoop to jump through. Experience tells me that assignments created without either input from or options for the learners themselves…  are a hoop. And before you label me a radical constructivist, I do believe students should engage in “path shaping” experiences designed by a learning expert. The degree to which those experiences are seen as “hoops” is entirely dependent upon design. Photocopy it from a text resource? Hoop. Include little more than low-level regurgitation of dogma? Hoop. Fail to help build a context for the work? Hoop. Require it to be done as a movie, merely because you can? Hoop. Every student in the class looking for the same “right answer?” Hoop. Less than timely and non-descriptive feedback on said assignment? Hoop.

Now More Than Ever

The list goes on and on. It takes serious effort to design learning ecosystems and experiences that are more than a collection of hoops to jump through. Teaching and learning are sophisticated endeavors. The world has changed. We don’t need to attend school to collect facts anymore. We can do that from our handheld devices. If you are still caught in a tell me things on Monday-I write it all down-you quiz me on Friday cycle, your approach has been seriously disrupted by the modern world and is ripe for reinvention. Start by studying self-reflection strategies. Perhaps now more than ever, what we do need to attend school for… is to seek wisdom: the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement. I would further suggest that the road to wisdom is paved with reflection upon thoughtful reflection.

Getting down to specifics, purposeful self-reflection can help students on the path to wisdom in many ways. Coaching students through self-reflection on their learning process can help them…

  • see changes and development over time
  • deeply appraise their own learning process
  • take ownership of their own learning
  • diagnose gaps in their learning
  • select strategies that support their learning
  • find confidence in risk taking and inquiry
  • set goals for future learning

This Just In

The reason for returning here to think deeply about reflection was an EdWeek post from a few weeks ago entitled, Post-Lesson Reflection Boosts Learning by Ellen Wexler. The post outlines a study done via the collaboration of researches from HEC Paris, Harvard, and the University of North Carolina. The original paper, Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance, can be directly downloaded on the Social Science Reasearch Network. The author highlights the measurable boost in self-efficacy which is thought to be much of the fuel for the results shown. That is no doubt a significant factor, but I think there is more to it than that. I believe there is still much work to be done in this area.

To be clear, I don’t usually put a great deal of stock in the educational application of research fresh out of business school. Learning is learning, however, and this reminds me of so many practical action research projects my former students and I conducted along the way in any given year. Explicitly engaging students in my personal quest to learn more about learning was full of win. Tossing aside the mystique of schooling and involving students in the process helps to put them front and center in the classroom… where they belong. Get a start this summer. Read this article. Read the Stiggins and Chappuis stuff. Design one small way to make rich student reflection on learning more than another classroom hoop.

In Addition

*Nourish it until it flourishes:  I think I’ll use this phrase again. It has an almost musical-internal-rhyme-Marshall Mathers-sort of thing going on. Or something.

**Smartering:  A Michael Gier term for the goodness that takes place within the mindspace that is his classroom.

Finally, thanks to Bert Kaufmann for sharing A Very Escher Christmas, and Joel Penner for sharing “Hoop Jumping” both via CC license on Flickr.

Searching For a Royal Spring

Disclosure number one

What kind of an idiot would dissect ten George Brett rookie cards and paste them onto the outside of his baseball-themed “Valentine’s Day” box at school? I suppose it depends on whether or not that idiot was a primary grades student or not. A kid that would do such a thing is either really into the Royals, or really a bit twisted. I’ll let you decide that, but I’m glad the hobby of collecting baseball cards never really entered the “business” realm for me like it did for so many of my friends. If it had, I’d really curse the day I made George Brett and Frank White into Valentine’s wallpaper. Sad.

George Brett Rookie

Fitting in

By now you might be thinking, “what’s this… another athletics-related post?” Though that might stand out as unique in this blog about learning, teaching, and the role of technology in education, it is perhaps less odd considering the “nashworld” title above. What might really throw you for curve would be the fact that this post (and most certainly the following one) will center on a little trip I’ll be making to Kauffman Stadium for a little behind-the-scenes experience called “Blog Your Way to The K.”

I’m a lucky guy. Period. Honestly, after getting the call that I’d been selected as a member of the first group of eight for the event, I began to wonder how I was even picked. After all, this is certainly not a sports blog. My Twitter feed is also rarely used to banter about sports-related things. In fact, I learned a while back that tweeting play by play details of the Missouri State Wrestling Championships tends to irk edu-followers. Shortly thereafter I created a spinoff “ANGRYREDBIRDS” account for such things. I briefly wondered if I should do something similar for Blog 2 The K. In the end, I decided not to go that route. In fact, I began this blog with the same, “let’s see what happens if I push this button,” mentality that encouraged me to attempt an application for Blog 2 The K in the first place.

I came to this space in 2008 as proof-of-concept that blogging about one’s passions in life could be a transformative learning endeavor. I was betting that, if implemented well, recent changes in social media could add value in today’s schools. Social tools like these are what you make of them, but I believe deeply in the power of amplifying the voices of our youth. For me, personally, over the past three years this blog has truly become a hub for my personal learning. I’d really love to be able to post here more frequently. Doing so does good things to my brain. Nashworld has become a bit of a portfolio of the thoughts I synthesize, a collection of ideas in which I believe, a summary of the projects I’ve been a part of, my overarching reflections on learning in general, and ultimately my attempts to share it all. Embedded within these threads are a good many of the things I am passionate about.

Royals memorabilia

Disclosure number two

In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that a significant part of my application for Blog 2 The K, included the fact that I have truly fallen away from baseball in large part since “the strike.” Yesterday, I paid a rare visit to the attic. I drug out a massive plastic bin and rummaged through the contents to take the photo posted above. A few things are pretty obvious from that assembly (other than the fact that I still cling to one last Brett rookie card). Like many near my age in the KC metro region, I looked up to George. I’m sure I always will. Among the countless other games of my childhood, I was there late in the season in 1980 to see his batting average peek back above the .400 mark, I was there to see his last home game as a player, and more. Perhaps it’s the story that I missed. Perhaps, even more than timeless statistics, what baseball fans are after is story.

I played baseball as a kid from age six until high school. Looking back the past few days, perhaps more than baseball itself, I came to deeply admire the public character of guys like George Brett, Frank White, and others. Though we’ll likely never get stories like that again, I was at one point excited anew about the youth resurgence in the early to mid ’90’s. Sadly, we lost those guys in a a fire sale. At one point in the past decade, I tried to get back on the bus once again for a year or so, only to be disappointed again. I certainly don’t need wins…  but I need story. And for me, it’s become clear to me that those stories must include some pretty deep character.


Fast forward to this morning, and I have to say that I am really fired up about tonight’s experience. I am ready to soak it all in from the first minute to the last. I am ready to let this current passion attempt a reconnect with an old one… one that still wears red stitches on white leather. I’m excited that the Royals organization is getting into the game game of social media. There is a ton of individual passion there to harness. Who knows, if the world can have an Arab Spring thanks to social media, maybe…  just maybe we can have a Royals Spring. Maybe this Spring will launch the lasting stories I’ve missed all these years.


Follow up

I decided to do most of my follow-up from that night via imagery. Check out this set of photos on my Flickr account…


Push the button

Beginning with the end

There…  glad I got that out of the way.  There ended the longest blogless period I’ve had in about three years.  Not that I’ve ever been that prolific.  In fact, I’m pretty satisfied if I get time to write one post a week.  I use Twitter for the smalltalk.  Blogging, for me, is about really exploring ideas from one perspective or another.  However, I’m a bit embarrassed to say that my last post was April 17th.  All that being said, it’s time to get back to the synthesis of thought that I only find through this approach.

For the handful of folks who read this blog, you won’t likely find much to chew on after this one, but at least I’ll get a few things off my chest and get back in the game.  I’ve been in a bit of a transitional period at school (yeah- both technically and mentally).  It might help to toss out a little historical perspective on my responsibilities since I became an educator.

Here’s my career timeline in a really small nutshell:

  • 1992: teacher: 7th grade science & odyssey (multidisciplinary gifted program)  also assistant wrestling coach
  • 1995: teacher: 9-12 general biology, honors zoology, honors botany, science investigations (independent research program under gifted ed.)
  • 1999: started Marine Biology program for upperclassmen in all three public schools.
  • 2004: moved to another SJSD high school to take head wrestling position with superstar brother as assistant.
  • 2007: began life as the generalist instructional coach for my building.  taught one period of Honors Zoology concurrently.
  • 2009: @erinlynnnash took the reigns of Zoology so I could switch to a Dual-Credit course with MWSU called Principles of Biology.  also moved toward a focus of technology integration within my building… a natural fit for me within our IC model.  (my 18th & last year as a wrestling coach)
  • 2011: move to a new district-level position, “Academic Technology Instructional Specialist” within the Curriculum & Instruction office of the SJSD.  this is a smart re-framing of resources for the future.  I will also continue as instructor of our Marine Biology program.

That makes it pretty apparent that next year will be my first year unattached to an actual building.  While I’m a bit misty-eyed at that prospect,  I’m also looking forward to the possibilities within this switch.  The pool of smart, energetic professionals I get to collaborate with just went from from about 70 to around 900.  Fear meet Excitement.  I think you’ll enjoy one another.


This little blogging project began as one small part of my firsthand attempts at understanding the wider ecosystem of the participatory web.  Specifically, what might this realm offer the student (or teacher) in seeking understanding and making sense of the world in which they are faced?  Because really…  at its heart, this is what education at this level should be.  Of course this is my opinion, but making sense of a very complex and changing world is what education in 2010 should be.  No?  I knew what I had been doing within my own classroom.  As an instructional coach, I got to see firsthand what was going on in other classrooms.  However, if I were going to help lead a school toward change in this direction, I had better get a broader view.


In this time, I have explored more cutting edge tools than I could ever highlight on this blog.  I immersed myself in the participatory web as much as seemed humanly possible.  I have made more national and even global connections than I ever thought possible.  Within the past year, I have begun to shake things down to what really works for me, all the while trying to stay abreast of the rest.  If we all learned the same way, this wouldn’t even be a challenge, right?

During the past few years, I sat side-by-side with colleagues as they willingly dove head-first into the realm of anytime, anywhere learning via digital technology. I have led professional development events at my school to bring all teachers into the fray.  I have led classrooms that, bless their hearts, have embraced the still-experimental nature of these tools of communication.  In chatting with my wife and teaching partner about the past few years, the role of reflective and authentic learning instantly came to the forefront of her mind.  Those two elements have truly been our focus.  I always wonder how that would have worked without such a prior grounding in instructional practice & action research.  Probably far less famously I suspect.  Of course, any time I ponder the convergence of the elements of pedagogy, content, and technology, I think of Dr. Punya Mishra and the TPACK framework he lined out with Dr. Matt Koehler at MSU.  I no longer make educational decisions of any sort without without running them through this filter.


As a baby step in engaging the whole of our local educational community, Dr. Jaime Dial and I created the Saint Joseph Digital Express as an adaptable structure for communication into the future.  Check it out.  This network was largely tossed out this past year as a potential learning sphere and will likely serve us well as we move into a more focused future on this front.  I’m also excited to have Will Richardson as a consultant and PD facilitator for the coming year.  He was my suggestion for getting things started and kick-starting the conversation.  Will will be working with local administrators, instructional coaches, and curriculum coaches to help us hone a mission for 21st Century instruction.  Will sets the tone well and sees the big picture of many of these current shifts that have potential to impact the world of education.  From my experience, he is an excellent facilitator and does a really super job framing tough issues and leading large groups in thought concerning these issues.  This work will certainly be translated down to the building level of the SJSD in various ways within the following year and as we move forward.

Might individual buildings move in different ways toward these new ideas?  You better believe it.  As our Curriculum & Instruction department in the SJSD believes, each child moves toward learning in different ways, so we believe in different learning communities moving in subtly different ways to tackle the issues of 2010 and beyond.  We have powerful instructional leaders in our building principals who will take this new learning and apply it as it fits to our schools.  Through our school improvement process and commitment to focused professional development in support of these plans, we all have made serious moves in positive directions in the past five years.


It’s hard to be perfectly patient and excitedly enlivened all at the same time.  Perhaps more than ever I’m happy to be a part of this district at this time. I’m happy to be a part of a public school district that keeps its eye on the ball with regard to instruction…  all the while fueling the innovation needed to stay relevant and authentic for today and into the future.

To my knowledge, in our district the word “technology” has never been included in any job title to date outside of our own Troester Media Center.  TMC is the physical brain of our Internet nervous system with all the associated services.  We have long enjoyed a powerful IT infrastructure with the foresight to deliver potential to each classroom and to deliver it fast.  We have owned our own gigabit fiber optic network joining more than 20 buildings since 1995.  Yes, I said it… fiber.  I’ve had nothing to do with any of those moves.  You can look above to see what I was busy with at that time.  And yet, I was always thankful for each new thing I was allowed to do during that time because of this technology.

Many changes have taken place regarding the world of digital communications since 1995.  Shoot-  many things have changed in the past year.  We are a district currently possessing more kit than 90% of public or private schools I have seen.  We have a K-12 instructional model that increasingly gives credence to a constructivist approach.  What we need now is to connect our gear with our mission.  We’ve had “T” in one silo and the “P” and “C” in another across town.  I believe we are well ready to aim toward true TPACK integration.  For so many years technology was used in large part to facilitate management and operations as well as a rather teacher-directed approach to learning.


Integration vs. transformation

However, in 2010, and for some time now, we’ve needed more.  Our kids need more.  They deserve to emerge from their school experiences tech-savvy and ready to take on the world like modern learners.  Delivering that requires a bridge connecting smart people who’ve been wanting the best for our kids for some time-  while speaking significantly different languages.  To do that we need well-supported tech-savvy teachers.  I’m looking forward to doing what I can to fulfill at least some small part of this effort into the future, for these challenges are certainly worthy. Sliding the title “technology” into any position within C & I is a significant move.  Significant in that it recognizes the importance of modern technology in making learning authentic in a world where information and communication comes increasingly digitally-flavored.  I would love to establish myself as a strong link between the world of slick gadgets and the world of differentiated, student-owned learning.  Instructionally, we are in a really good place-  particularly for a public school system.  Technologically, we have some of the best of the best.  The time is ripe for a marriage made in TPACK heaven.

While I’m leaving day-to-day contact with some really smart friends and colleagues…  I’m looking forward to working with another set of really smart colleagues and increasing friends.  One final thing is for sure-  I’m certainly glad I’ve spent the effort to cultivate a rich and varied personal learning network over the past few years.  Of course I’m going to need it.  I cannot imagine consulting on such a broad range of topics without all of you.  You might want to keep Skype running…



*”Push the button” by INoxKrow on Flickr
*”Moar Cute Duck Bum” by Duncan Rawlinson
*”Integration” by certified su on Flickr
*”go” by A_of_DooM on Flickr.

Zero Hour in the Edublogger World

Teacher as Writer

Whew.  I barely got this logged in time.  Too much fun making snowmen as of late.  Or work?  yeah, that too.  Allow me to get straight with it…

Last year I nominated Michael Doyle for the “Best Teacher Blog” in the 2008 Edublog Awards in this post.  Dr. Doyle writes a blog quite simply entitled “Science Teacher.”  If you dare think, “oh, a science blog… what’s the next one” then you and going to miss out in a big way.  This blog doesn’t need a snazzy title.  It doesn’t need a dozen crafty widgets or badges.  Here the words speak for themselves.

Desperate Horseshoe

If you’re a science teacher at any level, then this is your blog.  If you love honest and crafty writing with a fat dose of wit, then this is your blog.  Far more importantly, if you have even a shred of a connection to our natural world left within your spirit, (or perhaps even more importantly if you don’t) …then mark it.

Doyle blogs about the daily experience of teaching in the classroom, from the newspaper as a conscientious citizen interested in education in America, and from the Atlantic shore as a curious observer of life.  These threads are present from post to post as you read down the page from day to day.  However, what is particularly inspiring is the fact that they are typically interwoven within most individual posts as well.  If this award was more about writing from the heart and soul and less about edtech popularity then Science Teacher would be a shoe-in.  I hereby nominate this blog once again in the category of “best teacher blog” in the 2009 Edublog Awards.

Networks or blogs?

I am a huge proponent of the power of Ning networks done well.  Like most things, if you don’t know what you’re doing, the slick and simple technology at Ning certainly won’t save you.  However, if you are really good at facilitating strong community, then this platform has a million advantages.  I have led my school, our district and my classrooms through the use of this platform for rich sharing and reflection.  A quick glance to the right sidebar will net links to the networks I manage in some way or another.


Speaking of facilitating community, Connie Weber has it going on at Fireside Learning.  She is one of the few network creators who does things that make me say:  “hey… I need to try that.”  This network is also not an edtech toolfest.  Hear me loud and clear:  I am a huge proponent of the potential of web technology in education.  However, I am rarely an outspoken fan when said technology is not mostly invisible.  Anyone can tap keys on a blog.  A monkey can start a social network on the Ning platform.  Yet where gifted educators apply their skill, sweat, and spirit… good things happen.  Fireside Learning is a solid recommendation for “Best Use of a Social Networking Service.

However, there is a bit of overlap where the rubber meets the road on blogs/networks.  Bear with me on this one.  It’s like this:  Melissa Corey’s Benton Media Center network is truly one of the best technical uses of social media in a school library that I have seen.  I am far more than happy to say that this is the website of our school library media center.  This site is truly a blog, but obviously also a crafty aggregation of multiple tools on the Ning platform that help to bring information to the students at Benton.  In fact, if I need a second pair of eyes on any design I create, she’s the gal I consult.  My nomination for “Best Library Blog” goes to Benton Media Center.  Yes, you wish your library were like this.  And yes… I fully understand that this site doesn’t use traditional blogging software, but it really is primarily just that…  a library blog.  It is certainly the dominant feature on the site.


School administrators blog?  Seriously?  Wait…  did you say central office administrators?  What impact could they possibly have on a school system?  OK, sure, there are a small band of school administrators who write publicly in blogs.  For example, Chris Lehmann is the school administrator of a model school that rides the progressive edge.  I have followed Chris’s blog for a while.  His blog is an excellent blueprint for an administrator blog.  There really isn’t an award for “Best Administrator Blog.”  This is a pretty substantial shame.  We have a nomination for “best tweet” but not for a school administrator?  OK, I love Twitter, but I’m not remotely capable of laying out a nomination in that category.  Wait, I know-  let’s pretend!  Let’s assume for the time being that there really is a category for school administrators who blog.

3D Team Leadership Arrow Concept

For the central office administrator up-and-coming blog to follow, I recommend:  In The Lead.  This blog is written by Dr. Jaime Dial, the Asst. Director of Secondary Education in the Saint Joseph School District.  Jaime has only been writing this blog since summer, and I think you’ll see that her strength is slow blogging.  She allows ideas and experiences to simmer away inside before spilling out some very readable synthesis.  Not many people do that well.  I think you’ll agree with me…  this is a blog to keep track of.  I would love to see In The Lead score an official nomination in the 2009 Edublog Awards.  Perhaps next year we’ll score that category, huh?

In fact, if I could point to two, I’d also nominate my close instructional partner in crime at Benton High School.  Jeanette Westfall is Co-Principal at Benton High School in Saint Joseph.  She is the boss in charge of instructional improvement.  As the instructional coach at Benton, I work closely with Jeanette in the “pedagogy” sphere of the TPACK framework.  Jeanette is the author of Ancora Imparo.  She is an excellent example of a day-to-day practitioner in a public school who writes about it in digits for all to see.  In the end, keep your eye on these two.  Surely next year we’ll have a category that honors the rarest of educator-bloggers:  the school administrator.


*Desperate Horseshoe by Bemep on Flickr
*legs by Thomas Hawk on Flickr
*3D Team Leadership Arrow Concept by lumaxart on Flickr


A Good Meme Causes Reflection

The meme

I hate internet memes.  I have to be honest in saying that I never respond to them.  The place they feel especially strange is on my blog.  This is one of the few places where my learning is allowed to run about unfettered.  Perhaps the meme concept feels like high school did back in my day when I was given really specific things to perform for a particular assignment.  We all know that growth occurs from many of those situations where we have been forced to think within the guidelines of a particular set of “rules.”  However, I have always seen the inside of my Edublogs dashboard as a place where I run the show, dictate the pace, put forward the agenda, and set the course for my own growth.

With all that said, I felt since Tania Sheko tagged me in this one…  it was one I couldn’t refuse.  Tania writes Brave New World from her home in Australia.  Tania is a faithful contributor here at nashworld, and someone whose work and opinions I respect deeply.  So really, that makes it pretty easy to see why this was my first official play-along with a blogging meme.  I can’t quite think of a better reason to step to the plate for such a thing, for this is a meme of reflection.

Eye project Day 10 - Observe

This meme is the “4R’s” meme for bloggers.  I am to troll through all of my old posts and pick one that fits each of the following R’s:





I am to point to a post that fits each of the categories and tell why it was important, why it had lasting value or impact, and how I might update it for today.


Actually, I spent some time back in April around the time of my first “blogversary” pulling an excerpt from each post throughout my first year behind the wheel of this blog.  I stuck the outline on a separate page entitled: Year One Archive.  So actually…  I had a pretty slick little tool for surveying all of my posts for this reply.  Still, this little exercise did require some pretty deep reflection to pick just one for each of the R’s.  So for that-  thanks Tania.

Rants- this could fit any number of posts here.  However, I chose a post from last November for this one.  Increasing Our Level of “Vitamin A was a post about the need for administration at all levels to step up and improve their support and modeling of current educational technology within the profession.  I challenged administrators to book a trip to Washington D.C. for NECC 2009 and the unveiling of the refreshed NETS-A standards for leaders in this area.

This one was posted at 10:00pm on November 13th.  At noon on November 14th our district’s Chief Operations Officer, Rick Hartigan, was sitting at the table in my principal’s office to let us know that, “he has heard the call” and that the district “was supporting this ideal and behind us 100%.”  I had received timely feedback here before then, but I think you can see how impactful that little post was.  What was the follow through, you ask?  Mr. Hartigan booked a trip to NECC and attended like a pro.  In fact, I remember one particular afternoon when he accompanied me to the “blogger’s cafe” to chat with some of the member of my burgeoning PLN.

The blogger’s cafe at an event like this is the most locale on the premises.  I quickly introduced him to Wesley Fryer, Dean Shareski, and Terry Kaminski.  The five of us stood and chatted about some of the more crucial aspects of an educational technology “upgrade” in schools today.  Rick stepped up and asked as many questions as were sitting on the forefront of his brain, and those three graciously took the time to share their input.  That one set of events did potentially more than anything else I have done on nashworld to date.

Pencils and Moleskines 04

Resources- this one was tough.  In the end, I chose the one single post with the most comments to date, Trolling my PLN for Edtech Vision.  In all seriousness, this is a classic post to demonstrate the fact that sometimes the comments on a post are far more valuable than the initial content.  This was, of course, the goal of the post to begin with.  You should proceed through that comment field with a pen & paper (or your stickies app) and record as many titles and names as you can.  This is a true wealth of information and opinions from what I consider to be some really top-notch thinkers.

Reflections- This category could mean many things.  Nearly all of my posts fit this one in some way.  Yet, Inspire First, Instruct Later required perhaps some of the most personal reflection.  This post was written close on the heels of a family death and the birth of my youngest little girl.  As Clay Burrell noted in the comments, “Good luck on the newcomer, and sorry about the loss of the old-timer.  Quite a cycle you’re experiencing.” The meat of the post speaks to the affective needs of our students.  I argue here that these needs must be met before trodding down any sort of prescriptive curricular path.  The closest competition (and this one treads awfully close to “revelations”) is the poem-post I dropped after the birth of our youngest daughter, Neve.

Revelations- Since the first three speak to the educational technology and instructional coaching elements of my life as an educator, I thought it apropos to toss in one from the world of biology.  Where are the seeds in an orange? speaks to the disconnect our children have with the very food they nourish themselves with on a daily basis.  That day, a student of mine confessed during a lab that he had never seen an orange with seeds.  In the real scope of things, this scary fact is likely is as important, if not more, than any of the aforementioned.  Not only are young people detached from the food they eat as actual biological entities, we as educators may as well be increasingly detached from the world our students have grown up immersed in.

So in keeping with the spirit of virality (if I may coin that term) I am to tag a few others to continue the meme.  No, this will not keep you in God’s graces.  It will certainly not bring you great wealth from the shores of Nigeria.  It may not even make you happy upon first considering it.  However, I do respect these folks, and would certainly enjoy seeing their responses to this project.  It did make me reflect, Tania.  So thank you.  Oh….  and don’t forget to tag your post with:  #postsofthepast.

The Dance of Joy

My turn

I hereby tag Michael Doyle, “Science Teacher” who constantly inspires me; Punya Mishra, “Punya Mishra’s Web” who is about as creative a person in our field as can be; Shelly Blake-Plock, “Teach Paperless” who has recently been one of my favorite bloggers; and Steve Dembo of “Teach42” who put us “on assignment” with his 30 Days To Being a Better Blogger challenge last Autumn.


*”Eye Project Day 10 – Observe” by Lee Jin Young on Flickr
*”Pencils and Moleskines 04” by Paul Worthington on Flickr
*”The Dance of Joy” by G a r r y on Flickr