Sunday, June 9, 2013

More Thoughts On Tribes, Hashtags, or PLN

There is an educator that I follow in my PLN, Michelle Hiebert from Canada. We briefly discussed our joy in developing our PLN on Twitter. She shared with me her blog and I shared with her mine. It was on the same topic PLN. We also connected with Bill Powers a principal from Missouri and he shared his blog again, on the topic of PLN on Twitter. You can find the link to their blogs below in my blog roll and I will put them here: 

Michelle Hiebert  
Bill Powers

I could not be more grateful for a circle of educators that I am connected with. Michelle shared with me this above link to Seth Godin's TEDtalk. In that he talks about the importance of a tribe. The definition of a tribe is: A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities that are linked in some way, shape or other.   
Yes, that is me..with my mom in a striped shirt. 

I know a bit about tribes. My dad is an accomplished anthropologist. In fact, the first year of my life was spent moving from Costa Rica to Venezuela to live among the Yanamamos where my daddy was the jungle pilot. The only way to get to where we lived was by daddy's plane or by canoe. We have had many encounters with other cultures or tribes of the sort and that would include growing up in PA with Amish friends and community as well as with the Mennonite Community that I would still consider myself part of being as that is my family background on mom's side. I am a member of the Penn State Tribe, Bethel University Tribe, Kids Who Have Lived in Colombia and Costa Rica Tribe, Women Who Love Broom Ball Tribe and yes, The Hard Working Single Mother Tribe. 

So I know tribes. 

But you can feel very alone as well in life sometimes. Mom would call me a free spirit. I have great ideas that take me places people don't often want to go and I am alone. I used to hate it. It is scary to be alone. Sometimes being alone is not all that fun as Dr. Seuss says in All The Places You Go. 

But in my aloneness  one day, I found a tribe. A tribe of crazy scalawags and pirates who LOVE to Teach Like a Pirate. 

Then that lead me to: 

  • The tribe of Iowans 
  • The tribe from Arkansas. 
  • The crazy tribe of people who awake at the crack of dawn on a SATURDAY to chat and those of us who sleep in and join in later for the West Coast version. 
  • The tribe that I join on Wednesdays that study the best way to grade or not grade a child. 
  • The tribe that meets all about how to develop student genius and passion and student voice
  • The amazing tribe that have recently gathered to discuss how to Teach Like a Pirate and study math! 
  • And there is that crazy tribe from Minnesota who LOVE to chat at 6PM on a Thursday night. Frozen people! 
And that is only the top of the iceberg! 

And I discovered I was not alone. I have found a variety of free spirited educators to learn from. Some think like me. Some don't, but either way, I learn and they push me forward each time.  This link for Twitter Chats as compiled by Thomas Murray and others is something you will want to use as you get started developing your PLN. Margaret Mead, another anthropologist whom we named one of our dogs after once said: 

"Never doubt that a small group of 
thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." 

It is true. Call it what you will. Tribes. Hashtags. PLN. It will change the world. It has indeed changed my life and how I view my profession. 

Here are some recent things I have learned in just the past two days and how I processed them: 

Instead of starting with the outcome...start with the question...What is the experience. What do you want them to discover? Yes! When you don't make room for curiosity and wonderment, you will move away from opportunities to REALLLY learn! Students are more than a test score! I am passionate about guiding students to think outside the box and to know that to me they are more than a bubbled in circle. who feel the same and with in the data and what it provides...know that the heart of the child is more sacred.

Chris Kennedy's TEDX Talk Hopes and Dreams For My Kids Schooling  * I could not get the video to embed here, so here is the link instead from his own blog.* 

In my school at the start of the year, we discuss with the students their hopes and dreams. In this video Mr. Kennedy will share with you his point of view not only as a Superintendent, but as a parent.  It will take about 15 min to watch. Well worth the 15 minutes. Here are my take aways:

  • 1)Stay connected with your child's teacher. Teachers stay connected to your employer and utilize social media.
  • 2)Why are you giving so much homework? *Busy work*
  • 3)Why are you giving away so many prizes? Why are you giving so many rewards?
  • 4) Engage students in causes! Give them a place in the world!
  • 5) Create an atmosphere in the classroom for genius hour and passion hour.
  • 6) Why are you using busy work?
  • 7) Why are you showing a movie?
  • 8) Stop focusing on grades stop ranking students and focus on learning!
  • 9) Teachers, be interested in your students passions outside of school.

See! All of this I learned in just two days! Revolutionary. Life Changing.  Could you make this summer, a summer of PLN on Twitter? Yes you could! Try it. I dare you! 

I am thankful for a wonderful PLN that points me in the right direction. There is a Bible Verse at the top of my blog it reads: Point your kids in the right direction— when they're old they won't be lost. Proverbs 22:6  I would say, POINT TEACHERS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION AND THEY WON'T GET LOST!