Friday, December 05, 2014

Creating a Culture of Gratitude

For the past month or so, my school has engaged as a community and giving thanks and building a culture of gratitude. It all began ultimately with us preparing for Veterans Day, and it was so successful that we continued by building chain-link some kindness, writing additional thank you cards to people in our lives what impacted us, deep gratitude by creating five fingered turkeys of gratitude and hung them publicly in our common area, and today we continued building a culture gratitude amongst the staff.

Inspired again by the awesome #BFC530 chat, facilitated this morning buddy amazing @jvincentsen, I got to work this morning and created a high-five with directions that required the recipient of the high-five to read the gratitude that was provided to them and then spread the gratitude by giving a high-five to another staff member. When I got to work this morning I wrote to notes to staff members, and cross my fingers. I had no idea if it would work. Knowing how I felt after the #BFC530 Twitter chat this morning, I was hopeful that I could use this activity to help build a culture of gratitude in our building. Hearing the word "thanks" is so impactful, and so simple, and get so easily overlooked. I am certain that I am guilty of this as well – and I hoped that it would spread recognition gratitude and appreciation amongst the staff who works so hard to do what's right for kids and help our students grow their potential.  I don't know if everyone on my staff received a high-five by the end of the day, but I do know that many people did. As I did walk-throughs around the building, I saw high-fives on desks, staff members excited to see greatly appreciate a fellow colleague for job well done, and have a positive impact. I could feel the wave…folks were buying in. I even got a high-five back when I got back to my office at 2:30.

One of the unintended consequences of his activity with that students got to see their teachers modeling gratitude and appreciation. Students watch everything we do and say, and I'm certain students were watching their teachers gift thanks, appreciation and gratitude for the things they do every day. Some are big, some are small, but all have an impact on our students in school – and I hope that the teachers in our school left today, feeling good about the work they do any impact that we have collected we had on our students lives. What we do and what we say matters – not just with our students - but with our colleagues as well. Truly, we are a community. It was just awesome.

I think the most impactful moment for me was running into a staff member who had just received a high-five, and said "Wow. This is so cool. I really needed to hear this – and it made my day."


Monday, December 01, 2014

Are you truly taking risks, or just thinking about it? via @sguditus

During this morning's #BFC530 chat, we talked about overcoming our fears and continuing to grow as an educator. What really resonated for me was this idea of encouraging ourselves, our students, and our staff to take risks in order to overcome our fears and continue to grow. I love that term: risk-taking.

Maybe it's because growing up, I never really saw myself as a big risk taker. When I think of risk-taking, I think of risky physical acts, like jumping from tops of buildings attached to bungee cords like in The Amazing Race.  Although you won't ever catch me jumping out of an airplane, as an adult I like to think that I am a healthy risk-taker. Maybe it's this dichotomy of what I envision as a risk-taker (sky diving) versus what healthy risk-taking really is (trying something new).

Members of my PLN challenged me this morning during the #BFC530 chat, to truly think and reflect upon my own risk-taking.  It made me wonder: am I truly taking risks, or do I just like to really think and talk about it, hypothetically?  Am I actually trying new techniques in my practice, or do I just like encouraging others to do so?  (Or both, I hope!)

I started racking my brain: am I taking risks myself?  Am I sharing this with my colleagues?  Thinking and reflecting more, yes, I like to encourage other to take risks, and yes - I am taking some risks in my own practice - but I can do more.  This #BFC530 chat reminded me how important it is to take risks and share them with our fellow educators. 

Modeling the behavior and expectations that we hope others will engage in is crucial to see a systemic change in a school's culture. But one can't model what one doesn't know is happening. Does the staff in my school think that I'm a risk taker? Do I think I am a cutting-edge, radical educator, when in reality I am either not or not communicating this? I commit to communicating the importance of taking risks – not just in theory, but in practice as well. In order to successfully encourage others to truly take risks, not just theorize about taking risks, I need to act - and be authentic, transparent, and vulnerable about what risks I have taken, which ones have been a failure, which ones have been a success and which ones scare me! Taking these risks and taking inventory of what I have done will help me grow my practice - but in order to successfully create a schoolwide culture of actual taking of risks, not just theorizing about risk-taking philosophy, I need to show, not just tell.
So let's take inventory: am I taking risks in my practice? Here are a few initial thoughts:
  • I want to have a conversation with staff every time I engage in a walkthrough - even a short one (as per Kim Marshall's recommendation).  I have publicly shared this with staff, and now I need to step up to the plate and improve in this area.
  • I signed up for Voxer and have engaged in several new PLN groups.  I took a risk, and tried this new piece of social media - and the reward has been huge.  I've connected with educators and have continued to grow thanks to colleagues from around the world.  I need to share this with staff.
  • We embarked on a journey to reestablish our school's core values in a very public way.  I felt very uncertain about this, but believed in the process, and the it proved to be a strong community-building activity.
  • Our school instituted in advisory program – with an incredible amount of support help, assistance and collaboration with a variety of staff and students.
  • We instituted an initial PBIS program in our school, tied to our new core values.
That's just a quick start. What are some additional ways that I can not just talk about taking risks but take risks?  Here are a few initial thoughts:
  • Have a No Office Day - and share my thoughts and insights with staff. 
  • Create a Student Advisory Council and get feedback from students. 
  • Engage in a book study with parents and staff about timely topics - even if it is a tough topic.

And so, I challenge myself and all of you: take inventory. Are you truly taking risks - or just talking about taking risks?  The shift in culture has to start somewhere - make it with you.

Image Credits:
http://www.bungeezone.com/pics/images/jaycee.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/4/46/Skydive_exit.jpg

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Classroom observations: It's all about the conversation

Yesterday I did a brief walk-through of a teacher's classroom. It was a short slice of a class, only about 5 to 10 minutes. The students were engaged, good questions posed, and the teacher did a great job of stressing the essential questions of the class. As I left the classroom I thought to myself, "That was a good class," and continued on with the rest of my day.  I closed out my day a few hours later, and when I came in to school this morning, the teacher popped into my office and said "I just wanted to connect with you about your observation yesterday."  I was so glad that the teacher wanted to connect with me, debrief, and reflect about the lesson that I observed – this is a lead learner's dream!  I was surprised, however – because I had only popped in quickly to the teacher's classroom, but the teacher was looking for some feedback and wanted to discuss some thoughts. I underestimated how important it is to have the conversation - even a quick one - even for a quick walkthrough - and to engage in conversation.  

This exchange was a great reminder about how eager educators are to discuss their craft on a regular basis. The teacher and I had a great conversation, discussing past practices, current practices, the new Massachusetts educator evaluation system, and we had a very genuine and authentic conversation about what good teaching and learning looks like.  What struck me was that the teacher really wanted clarity about what my expectations were as the lead learner in the building, and how those expectations could be met.  Different personal experiences and different evaluators lead to uncertainly about such a personal process: providing and receiving feedback.  There's so much that we don't know about each educators' path, so it is crucial to take the time to get to know one another as educators and understand why we structure our classrooms the way we do.  This is crucial to moving our schools forward, and making sure that students are always learning and growing – a d same is true for us, the educators in the building.  Providing a scaffolded and differentiated feedback experience is critical to educator growth.

Later in the day, the teacher approached me again and apologized for taking my time to discuss the brief observation from yesterday. From my perspective, I told the teacher, our conversation was the best one that I had all day. Engaging in professional conversations about learning and teaching is what it's all about! Being a reflective educator is how we hope all educators will be. Not only was there no need to apologize, I told that teacher, but I also hope that we can continue to have such important conversations about what good learning and teaching looks like, what we can do to support all of our students, and how we can maximize  learning. We ended our conversation by highlighting what it was that the teacher hoped I would be able to provide in my future observations' feedback.

Taking the time to have a face-to-face conversation with this teacher reminded me of the value of spending time in classrooms, the importance of being present in the belly of the school, and engaging in conversations about how learning and teaching happens – on a daily basis, not as a once-per-year task as part of a formal evaluation. Engaging in this conversation on a regular basis is what keeps us excited and jazzed up to be educators. I'm so thankful that the teacher in my school approached me, took the time to share questions with me and I was able to have an incredibly valuable conversation about learning and teaching.  Taking the time to speak, in person and face-to-face, allows conversations about feedback, observations and education to be meaningful and focused on student learning.

Now I just need to find the time to make this happen!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Getting back to blogging via @sguditus

One of the PLNs of which I am a part, BFC530, has been exploring the ins and outs of blogging in the education world. Although I've been blogging for a while now (about six years or so), The BFC530 morning Twitter chat and voxer group has really been pushing my thinking and inspired me to start blogging more regularly.  Thanks to some PLN members' ideas, I've started using technology to be able to fit it into my day.

I have found that my morning and evening commute has been transformed from NPR and rocking out to some music to listening to colleagues from around the world discuss professional education topics and push my thinking, making me a better educator.  I have replaced the radio with educators' thoughts, ideas, questions, and blogs that are being read to me over my car speakers (that last part is for you, Massachusetts State Police - don't worry, I'm not texting and driving or reading and driving).

So why do I blog? Someone in the PLN suggested that one blogs for oneself and shares for others. I really like this idea – I am blogging right now to reflect upon my own practice, others' great ideas and thoughts, pushing me to continue being reflective. I hope modeling this process will encourage my fellow educators to do the same.

One question that has come up around blogging is about confidentiality, and some members of the PLN gave some great insight and suggestions: focus on the positive. Build on the good that's already happening in your school, reflect upon it, and shoot for the stars. As educators were always trying to improve our practice, our collaboration, and our teamwork – all in the name of student learning. I love this piece of insight from the PLN. It's so easy to be stuck with what's not going right, so instead, take the time to consider: What are we doing well? What am I doing well? And, where do I want to go?

I thank my virtual colleagues around the world, especially the BFC group for encouraging me to get blogging! Just a few minutes, and I already feel refreshed, rejuvenated and focused on doing what's best for students in my school - and I hope others are as well by reading my thoughts.

Now let's go have a positive impact on our students lives! Have a great day. 

Steve Guditus
@sguditus

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lessons from the Classroom...again (via @sguditus)

On Friday, I had an awesome opportunity to reconnect with a group of students as teacher.  A wonderful teacher was absent on Friday, and asked me to roll out GAFE to her E block class of students.  (Once I found computer lab space...) I jumped on that opportunity immediately!  What a great opportunity.

I try to be as present as possible in classrooms, working to be a present, active member of the amazing learning community at Manchester-Essex Middle School.  When I walked into Mrs. W's classroom, I got a hearty "Hello, Mr. G.!"  This was a great welcome in and of itself.  I announced to students, "OK guys, I'm going to teach your class today," students said, "wait - you are going to teach us?!"  It was an interesting dichotomy - I like to think of myself as lead learner and as an educator at heart - I list "educator" on my taxes, I tell people I am an educator when I meet them, but students were confused: the principal was going to be the teacher for the day?!  This reiterated to me the importance of not only being present in classrooms, but actively engaging publicly with students in learning.  It's not just enough for the adult to know that I am learner, but I need to show adults and students that I am a learner and an educator.  

We headed down to the computer lab, and students were so excited - we were rolling out Google Classroom (GAFE) with students!  Mrs. W. has worked tirelessly to learn about GAFE and roll it out to students, and E block was a last class to go.  Getting back to facilitating learning with students was like riding a bicycle - it comes back quickly, but I forget how many split decisions one has to make in an instant: Mr. G., the network won't work.  Mr. G., my login isn't right.  Mr. G., Johnny is pushing me.  Mr. G., I clicked this by mistake.  Mr. G., am I allowed to move on?  Mr. G., Lilly is deleting what I worked on.  This made me remember: clarity is crucial in the classroom.  Remind students what your expectations are, ensure all are focused and understand, then open the gates and go!  This class was about mucking around, exploring, and seeing what GAFE is able to do.  

I reminded students that they could go in any order, I wanted them to click around and explore, as long as they made sure that they: Took the tour, completed the sample assignment ad turned it in, and collaborated with another student.  When students engaged in the sample lesson in GAFE, they had the option of using any of the GAFE tools: presentation, sheets, docs, drawing.  Students asked me, Wait, we can choose whichever one we want?!  Any one of these?!  Yes, I told them - you know the expectations, make sure you follow them, and then just go!  This reiterated the importance of student choice.  If we provide students with choice and keep expectations clear and consistent, students are more likely to take ownership of their learning.

And the last thing that I was reminded of in my time teaching students and Mrs. W's class is that students love to collaborate. Google apps for education encourages students to collaborate – I knew that – but to see, first-hand, how students react when given the opportunity to work together on a product using technology was just amazing to see. I learned that it's important to not underestimate the power of people, the power of working together, and how much humans you're in to collaborate. Google apps for education encourages us, and I feel so lucky witnessed this firsthand.

All in all, an amazing one hour that I got to spend with students as their teacher,  remembering some fundamentals about what good learning and teaching is all about. Now I just have to find a way to embed it into my schedule on a regular basis!

Steve Guditus
@sguditus

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Maker-Spacing Your School via @sguditus

WOW - I just participated in a super-charged #satchat about maker spaces.  Folks came to the table with varying readiness levels about what a maker space is, can be, should be, could be.  After 90 minutes of engaging in conversation, expanding my own background knowledge and hearing about different models of maker spaces, I've created a conglomerate definition of maker space characteristics.  Maker spaces:


  • Are both physical space and a philosophy;
  • Are embedded into classrooms, clubs, in school and out of school;
  • Provide authentic problems;
  • Can contain materials of any size, shape and dimension;
  • Encourage Innovation;
  • Build constructivist learning and thinking;
  • Are interest-based;
  • Are collaborative;
  • Are fun!
  • Help students discover passions;
  • Focus on creation;
  • Encourage risk-taking, being wrong and failing;
  • Develop problem-solvers;
  • Promote collaboration.

There was a lot of talk about having a Maker Team to guide vision and philosophy in one's school (thanks to Lisa Meade of Corinth MS for the idea), revamping classrooms to allow maker space philosophy and ideas, and having administrator support to allow maker space to be a priority.

For me, it's about creating the vision, encouraging risk taking on all levels - students, teachers, administrators and parents/guardians.  One ah-ha moment I had was about maker spaces being about thinking, creating and problem-solving - not necessarily about using high-tech, high-end technology.  It could include high-tech products - but there is a reason that legos have been so popular for so long (and why I still have mine in the basement...speaking of, maybe I should break them out?!): it's about creating and building, imagining and taking risks - with authentic problems.  Learning is messy - that is ok.

If we want to create our schools to be places that prepare students to be the future leaders of our world, to have jobs that do not yet exist, we must create spaces - maker spaces - in our schools that allow tinkering, mucking around, building and creating - and taking risks.  We owe this to our students.

A few resources that were shared during the 11/1/14 #SatChat:


#edtech #edtechchat #maker #makerspace #collaboration #21stcskills #21stedchat #satchat #makered

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Social Media Alert #ptchat

In the ever-changing world of social media, your child may be engaging in online interactions with friends and strangers alike.  As quickly as you can learn about what apps your child may be using, new ones may appear.  Therefore, it is important you regularly examine your child’s electronic device and speak to him/her about making safe and responsible decisions and words – both online and offline.   It is crucial to engage with students about responsible and wise behavior, communication and interactions - not just restricting access to the Internet or to specific websites and apps.  Certainly, there needs to be supervision;  supporting adolescents is all about providing a safety net - but engaging in online communication is now part of becoming an adult.  Let's help students traverse this world, instead of allowing them to dive into it alone.

Remember, kids may have access to these apps on his/her phone, droid, tablet, handheld device, computer – or that of the friend or anywhere there is internet access.  Having open and honest conversations with your child about this topic is a good place to start.  

Please note: these applications are frequently both free apps, downloaded onto just about any electronic device with wifi, as well as websites accessed using a web browser.

  • Yik Yak and Ask.fm – Both of these apps encourage anonymous postings, frequently sexual and hurtful in nature.  YikYak requires users to anonymously post text-only notes (yaks) of up to 200 characters – anonymously. The messages can be viewed by the 500 users who are closest to the person who wrote the Yak, as determined by GPS tracking.  Users and viewers are frequently exposed to sexually explicit content, abusive language and personal attacks.  Ask.fm similarly allows users to remain anonymous, though it is not required to be anonymous like YikYak.
  • SnapChat – This app allows users to send photos that disappear after 10 seconds to fellow SnapChat users.  Once the recipient opens
    Snapchat icon

    Snapchat icon

    the picture, a timer begins, and then the picture disappears from both the sender’s device and the recipient’s device.  Adolescents are made vulnerable by the belief that any photo they send via SnapChat will be gone forever, but a recipient can easily take a screen shot of a photo and make it permanent.  You may have recently heard about 200,000 SnapChat photos that were hacked and made public.  To read about it, you can go here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2014/10/13/snapchat-leak/17184855/.

  • KiK Messenger – This is a private messenger app, similar to text messaging and iMessages.  The app allows users to send private messages that adults cannot view.  There is very little you can do to verify the identity of someone on Kik, which puts your child in harm’s way to be communicating with a stranger.
  • ChatRouletteMeowWhisperWhatsApp, and Omegle – These apps are similar in that they encourage users to connect with anonymous users that may or may not be in their geographic area.  Users are able to connect with other random users that they do not know, anonymously.  Whisper allows users to search geographically for users within one mile, making it particularly dangerous from a physical safety standpoint.  Omegle connects via Facebook, again connecting users with strangers with similar interests and likes.  These apps encourage adolescents to engage in negative and risky behavior by connecting with strangers online.
  • Poof -The Poof app allows users to make apps disappear on their device with one touch. Your child can hide every app they don’t want you to see on their phone – all they have to do is open the app and select the ones they don’t want to be viewed.  This app is no longer available, but if it was downloaded before it was deleted from the app store, your child may still have it. Keep in mind that apps like this are created and then terminated pretty quickly by Android and Apple stores, but there are similar ones being created constantly. Some other names include: Hidden Apps, App Lock and Hide It Pro.
  • StreetChat – This new app uses GPS coordinates to populate a list of local schools, and allows users to anonymous post messages, organized by school.  By connecting anonymous postings with the GPS coordinates of schools, adolescents are put at risk.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

5 Ways To Avoid Burnout (Steve Guditus @sguditus)

I recently had a conversation with a phenomenal teacher, former colleague and friend, @mausigal, about staying above the fray, avoiding burnout staying pumped up in our last month of school, taking a deep breath, and getting rejuvenated over the summer.  It got me thinking...as educators, we can feel like there are too many initiatives, insufficient resources, not enough time, and too much to get done!  How do we stay focused on the most important thing: student learning?

5 Ways Avoid Burnout:


  1. Get pumped up.  According to a Boston Globe article by Deborah Kotz, recent research states that when you are feeling stressed, don't get subdued, go get pumped up.  And who better to get
    Get pumped up!
    you pumped up than Richard Simmons?!  Seriously: shift your paradigm to view a challenge as an opportunity and turn on some "Runnin' Down A Dream" by Tom Petty.
  2. Exercise.  Take care of yourself - mind and body.  Give yourself a mental break and go exercise.  The research linking exercise and mental well-being is exhaustive; you will feel better afterwards, and be able to put things into perspective again.  Remember, a 10 minute walk is better than a zero minute walk.  (Note: if you need a place to start, see Richard Simmons above in #2.)
  3. Participate in a weekly Twitter chat.  When I participate in a weekly Twitter chat, I am regularly excited, pumped up, and invigorated to try something new.  Whether you actively participate or just lurk, check out this exhaustive list of educational Twitter chats, organized by day of the week and time, and find one that gets you jazzed up: http://bit.ly/18CHmRo.  A big thanks goes out to @thomascmurray, @cevans5095 and @cybraryman1 for their hard work organizing this list!  This is something that is free, you can participate in a spur-of-the-moment, connects you with amazing educators and helps you build your PLN.
  4. Attend an #edcamp.  At an edcamp, like in a weekly Twitter chat, you will find engaged, passionate, excited and connected educators who want to engage in talking about progressing education, teaching and learning, and implementing new instructional techniques to teach students.  It is impossible to leave an edcamp empty handed and without new tools to implement in your school.  Go to http://edcamp.wikispaces.com/ to find one - close by or take a trip!
  5. Take a mini-sabbatical.  Propose a professional development day that involves you observing peers in your school or in local schools, and ask your principal for a sub to cover your classes for the day.  Spend some time to tune out all the nuts and bolts for 6.5 hours, eat a relaxing lunch, and take in all of the amazing things that colleagues in your very own school and neighboring schools are doing.  Recommendation: end your day with 30 minutes of written reflection that outlines your action steps and commit yourself to adapting at least three new things in your classroom before the year is over.  Sometimes just having the time to stop, observe, think and reflect can make all the difference.
Works Cited:
http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/03/10/how-make-stress-work-your-favor/vMAvOIaegqFCFamQvS4DzN/story.html
http://kamere.com/wp-content/uploads/richard-simmons1.jpg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXYl5NrHPb4
http://bit.ly/18CHmRo
http://edcamp.wikispaces.com/

Saturday, May 24, 2014

21st Century Classrooms: No Excuses (Steve Guditus @sguditus)

During #satchathack weekly chat this morning, which occurred in lieu of #satchat (which was on vacation), my PLN had a lively conversation about 21st century education, how to get there, and the risk of edtech being a facade of achieving a 21st century classroom.

Today's discussion continued to confirm for me that we are currently preparing students for jobs that do not yet exist.  What?!  How is this possible?  A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post on "Your Child's Job," where I referenced a recent Boston Globe article that examined current employment trends, and made some predictions for the future job market in Massachusetts.  To understand more how we are preparing our children for jobs that don't yet exist, go to: Your Child's Job.

Another point that was made by participants surrounded this 19th-20th-21st century dichotomy.  Some argued that we are living in a 19th century school curriculum and agrarian structure; others lamented living 20th century physical structures, and others still felt that 21st century skills are outdated: we're already 14% of the way through the 21st century.  Should we be preparing for 22nd century skills?  What are these, and have we mastered 21st century learning?

What struck me is that 21st century learning has become a nebulous term - almost a buzz term, dare I say.  Everyone wants 21st century classrooms, learning, and schools - but what does this really mean?  It means deconstructing "21st century skills" that we want students to Know, Understand, and be able to Do (KUD) - into discrete skills that we can measure and provide feedback to students and parents/guardians: communication skills, creativity, collaboration skills, and critical thinking skills.

Regardless of one's district, school or classroom's access to technology, students' learning 21st century skills is a reasonable request.  It is our obligation to infuse these skills into our classroom and school culture.  Technology and innovation can come in the form of high tech or low tech supports and supplies.  The presence of an iPad makes not a classroom innovative or possessing 21st century characteristics, and the lack of technology does not prevent students from learning to be creative, collaborative, communicative critical thinkers.

Students must learn discrete technology skills, but embedded into the content and classroom.  The end game is for students to learn, and all good teaching must be based in, well, solid teaching.  A lesson will fail and students will not learn if the flashiest of lessons is not first rooted in solid pedagogy and thoughtful teaching and learning.  If the 21st century classroom were a basketball game, technology gets the assist - it should assist students and teachers in the learning process, not be the learning process.  (Unless the goal is to teach students specific technology skills - in a technology/computer class.)

No excuses.  Today is the day to emphasize the four Cs of 21st century learning in your classroom, and ensure that students and parents/guardians know the direction we are going.  Because we have an obligation to prepare our students for the future and for the jobs that don't yet exist.  Not to be overly dramatic, but the future of our nation depends on it.

- Steve Guditus
@sguditus

Sunday, May 04, 2014

What I Learned at #edcampBOS 2014 (@sguditus Steve Guditus)

What I Learned At #edcampBOS 2014

  1. Have an open mind and an open heart.  Several times throughout my day, I entered a session, and it wasn't what I expected, and I stayed.  And it was awesome.  I learned something new.  I expanded my PLN.  I met fantastic educators.  I formed new ideas.  Other times, I moved on, and hit up a few sessions, until I found the one that resonated with me - that I hadn't expected it, but
    there it was: the session that connected with me.
  2. Trust your instinct.  Have you ever felt: It is just me, or do other people feel the same way
    about this?...
    More often than not, educators forget to follow our instinct and our gut.  I wonder: Am I in this alone?  Am I the only one who feels this way?  Education is a blend of both science and art, and #edcampBOS reminded me to trust my instinct, trust my gut, and to remember that the network of people out there who are forging forward, progressively to push education to be what we need and what it to be for our students - and the world - is all around us.  Sometimes these folks are next door to us in our school, sometimes across town, a few districts over, or across state lines.  But regardless - remember to trust your instincts.  As an educator, be resilient and show grit - it can be difficult at times to be an educator, so remember to persevere and trust your instinct - and help our students develop these same qualities by modeling them.
  3. Cultivate your passion.  @tsocko and I (@sguditus) led a session on passion.  As
    the conversation emerged, folks spoke up, ideas were generated, connected, created and shared.  The room was energized - all because we took time to stop and remember why we are educators, and to remember what what gets us jazzed up.  Cultivate your jazz hands - and use them whenever you can.  You can't use them all the time, but when you can, be passionate, and share it with your colleagues and your students.  It matters.
  4. I have so much more to learn.  I suppose it's a good thing that I'm in the business of learning - I realized today that I have SO much more to learn.  In a good way.  The options were limitless.  Each session, there were at least 9 simultaneous sessions from which to choose at any given time, plus additional offerings during and between, breakout sessions under stairwells, in hallways, and during lunch.  And I still wasn't able to learn all that I wanted to.
    What I've realized is that it's time to take some road trips around New England to some other #edcamp sessions so that I can keep on learning.  The Smackdown alone provided an amazing set of resources for me to explore further (thanks @karenjan and @lizbdavis for taking the dueling notes): EdcampBOS 2014 Smackdown Resources
  5. Surround yourself with great people.  This doesn't mean people who necessarily think the same as you, but people who support your work in education, who challenge your thinking, and who support being a big education geek.  Remember, this is all about our students, our teachers and
    our schools.  There were plenty of folks who disagreed with me and vice versa during various sessions of #edcampBOS, but it made me a better educator for it.  Surrounding yourself with fellow education geeks and those who support your being an education geek is crucial to sustaining the effort, energy and passion needed to continually grow and make a difference in our students' lives.  Find your people.  I found lots of these folks at #edcampBOS, and expanded my PLN - virtually, and by finally meeting fellow educators that I had never met in person.  Having these conversations, all day, validates the hard work we are all doing as educators.  We're not in this alone!
  6. Be a leader.  It took me two years before I was willing to lead a session at #edcampBOS.  I was petrified I would say the wrong thing, not having anything worthwhile to say, and didn't have a presentation.  Then, I realized, it is about facilitating and guiding - not telling.  There were many folks at #edcampBOS who were lurkers - and lurking participation is great - but don't be afraid to start the conversation.  Your words, your ideas, your question could just be the one to change
    everything.  Go for it!
  7. Have fun.  Let's not forget: it's about our students and their learning, and it's about having fun, too.  Case in point: @edcampcrane - how did I not know about this?  @dancallahan and I (@sguditus) took a fabulous selfie with the @edcampcrane, and sent him/her home with @shevtech to Burlington, VT.  We had fun celebrating learning, teaching, and education.  

Can't wait for #edcampBOS 2015!