This past week I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Shift in EDU Summit at St. Stephen's Episcopal School in beautiful Coconut Grove, Florida. This summit experience is like none other and one I will always hold near and dear to my heart. The hospitality of St. Stephens staff is unmatched. From the moment you pick up your registration packet Director of Innovation, Inge Wassmann, and her crew make you feel welcomed as if you were family. All of the special touches from the fun social events to the absolutely amazing food (I'm a culinary teacher...and I know good food!), made it top notch from beginning to end.
This is the 3rd time attending this summit in beautiful Miami, and I will tell you that the one thing that sets this event apart from all others that I've attended is the people. Shift in EDU brings in the most inspirational and incredible educators from around the world. Each year I attend, I leave deeply inspired and with friendships that are lasting. This year was no different, and I know I will be processing this event for weeks to come.
To give you a peek into my Shift in EDU experience, I'd like to share sketchnotes I created of the keynotes and breakout sessions I attended. Enjoy and I hope to see you in Miami for Shift in EDU 2019!
Downloadable sketchnotes on participate.com!
As our plane gained altitude and ascended above the clouds this morning, a beautiful sunrise emerged that was not visible from the clouds below. By rising above them I gained a new perspective as sunlight and beautiful colors filled the sky. As I took in the breathtaking scene, I began to reflect on my last three years as an educator. Prior to November 6, 2014 I was in the clouds unable to see how truly beautiful education could be. Why is this date so impactful? Today I am headed to Miami to attend Shift in EDU formally known as Miami Device. It was exactly 3 years ago that I flew in for this very same conference held in Coconut Grove, Miami. My life as an educator has forever been changed since that balmy weekend in November and I can attribute it to these three factors: bold risk taking, finding my tribe, and global connections.
Bold Risk Taking
Prior to 2014, I would not have considered myself a risk taker. I played it safe most of the time in life as well as education. I was scared of flying, scared of speaking in front of adults, and I shied away from leadership roles. Though I was continually trying new things in my classroom, they were well thought out and carefully executed to prevent embarrassment.
My first “big” risk happened the Summer prior to Miami Device. New to Twitter at the time, I decided on a whim I would submit an entry to a contest to win free hotel and registration to a new conference called Miami Device. At the time the idea seemed crazy. I was new to edtech, new to sharing globally, and new to this connected world called Twitter. However, I was inspired by my recent trip to Ipadpalooza in Austin, TX and decided I would take a risk and be innovative. I created an entry explaining why I wanted to attend using the apps: Tellagami, Thinglink, and Paper 53 and smashed them together. I then spent an evening mustering up enough courage to attach it to a tweet. With bated breath, I closed my eyes and launched it into the Twittersphere. I really did not think I had any chance of winning this contest, but what did I have to lose? Few really knew me in this world and I’d only risk slight embarrassment if someone of those people happened to see it. As weeks passed, I almost forgot I had submitted it. Then, the announcement came….I had won! I was going to Miami! Though this may not seem like a big risk to some, for me it was huge. I ventured out to learn something new, created something all my own, and shared it with the universe. I was empowered and with each risk since then, the fear diminishes and the courage grows. It is also safe to say that I have (almost) conquered my fear of flying and I absolutely love to share my passion publically (with adults)!
The "winning" entry...
Finding my Tribe
When I attended Miami Device in 2014, I traveled solo. I didn’t realize what it meant to have a tribe or to be connected as an educator. I am a fairly introverted person and am not usually one for mingling with groups of people that I don’t know. As I stood on the fringes of the Miami Device social the first day, an educator that I just had met grabbed me by the arm and said, “come with me, I want to introduce you to some of my friends.” That simple, kind gesture to make me feel included has stuck with me. Many of the connections that I made that day have been transformational and because of them I've grown exponentially. I am no longer that timid educator standing on the fringes at conferences. I’ve found my tribe and there is rarely a conference I go to where there is someone I don’t know. Would I be in that same place as an educator if, my now dear friend, Rodney Turner, hadn’t given me a gentle push out of my comfort zone? I have no idea but, I always keep that small, yet powerful act of kindness in my mind. Who is on the fringes and how can I help them find their tribe?
As amazing as it was to meet my tribe at Miami Device, what if we all left without any way of staying connected? Voxer and Twitter has allowed me to not only stay connected, but expand my PLN beyond what I ever would have imagined. My PLN has become my source of inspiration, encouragement, and support when I can’t seem to rise above the clouds of my current situation. They help me gain a fresh perspective by gazing down from a higher vantage point so I can see the bigger picture. The opportunities, the courage, and the mind-shift I have experienced from this community of educators that I call friends is indescribable. My heart is full of gratitude for how so many have helped shape me into the educator I am today.
Shift in EDU
In a few hours I will be landing in sunny Miami, FL to attend the conference that has made such an incredible impact on my life. I have no doubt that I will have many stories and experiences to share. Prior to 3 years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed of sharing those experiences with the world. But now, I can’t imagine keeping them in. I know that my story needs to be shared, because maybe through my experiences somebody else’s life will be impacted too. It's worth the risk. Stay tuned….
Make sure to follow my #MD14 tribe, they are all phenomenal educators!
Rodney Turner, Craig Badura, Michael Matera, Jenny Ash, Brent Catlett, Katherine Burdick
*Co-Written with my girl, Tara Martin @TaraMartinEDU
The #GratitudeSnaps Challenge is as easy as 1-2-3.
Focus each day on one thing for which you are grateful. It could be a thing, a person, a feeling; it’s personal to you.
Educators, students, community members...anyone who would like to participate is more than welcome. The more positivity we can flood the world with, the better.
Create a GratitudeSnap by connecting it to something positive in your life. Add pics, text, anything you choose.
Take a picture with your phone and share why this image makes you grateful. You can use any picture app to create your #GratitudeSnaps. (We will be using SnapChat.)
Click here for a quick 3-minute video to show you the basics of Snapchat. (Just create #GratitudeSnaps instead of #BookSnaps.)
Click this link for many apps used to make #BookSnaps, which can easily convert to #GratitudeSnaps.
Let’s begin our 23-days of #GratitudeSnaps on Nov 1st, 2017.
It will last until Thanksgiving, November, 23rd. You're welcome to keep it going; there is certainly no "time frame" on being grateful.
The world has plenty of negativity, let’s spread a grateful attitude!
We have so much of which to be thankful.
Journal of Snaps
If you’d like to follow Tisha’s 30-day #GratitudeSnaps Challenge, click the padlet below.
I've been feeling quite pensive these past few rainy days of Fall. To be honest, I've felt a little blue. Maybe it's the cloudy days, maybe it's that my daughter has flown the nest to college hours away. I'm not sure. However, I find in these moments that discouragement and doubt can creep in and threaten to zap my joy if I let it. When this happens, I always turn to gratitude and those people in my life that have helped shape who I am becoming and given me the courage to fly. These are the people who have believed in me at points in my journey when I didn't believe in myself. They help me find my voice, validate my "crazy" as a unique gift, and give me courage to share it with the world.
Though there are many more that have shaped me in my journey, these people have made a significant impact on my life.
My mom, Susan Mills, raised me to believe I was special. If you could imagine a female version of Mr. Rogers, she's it. In fact, Mr. Rogers was a major part of my childhood. I would get sung to sleep by "It's you I like...." and other songs from the show on a regular basis. She valued the importance of play allowing me to explore and experience the wonder of childhood. She has always accepted me just the way I am, loving me unconditionally through all my ugly moments. She has a rare beauty that resonates from deep within her.
My dad, John Norton, is a legend in the field of track and cross country. He helped coach Olympic greats and developed a world renowned track and cross country program that attracts athletes from around the world. He has always had incredible passion and zeal for his work. He was relentless in pursuing excellence and making a difference in the lives of athletes. As I've grown older, I recognize his determination and passion for his work in myself and I'm grateful to have had a role model that demonstrated how to live out your life's calling.
My husband, Russ, is an incredibly loving and humble man who has always supported me in all my endeavors. As an amazing and passionate ceramics educator, he gets the wild world of education and it's demands. He doesn't always get my level of crazy, but whole heartedly supports me in all that I do. He has always been my greatest ally and friend; lifting me up in my darkest moments encouraging me to keep going and chasing my dreams. He accepts me for who I am, flaws and all.
My daughter, Ella, has a fierce determination and drive that inspires me daily. She is passionate about people and culture; eager to make a difference in this world in a powerful way. Her adventurous and lively spirit is refreshing and helps remind me to never stop chasing my dreams.
My son, Tommy, has a personality that is larger than life. His sweet, sensitive spirit and smile light up any room. His wit is beyond his years and can have a whole room laughing hysterically in seconds flat. In addition, he has an uncanny sense of rhythm that can get anybody dancing. He reminds me to laugh, play, and dance often.
MY PERSONAL LEARNING FAMILY
There are so many that make up this family of educators that I can't possibly list them all. These are the people that get my crazy passion for education and my relentless pursuit to bring the very best teaching and learning to the classroom every day. They are the ones that push me to kick fears to the curb, crush obstacles, and take big risks to accomplish the seemingly impossible. Without this encouragement and support, I don't know that I would have found the courage to send my first tweet, write that first blog post, submit a proposal for that first conference, moderate a Twitter chat, or write a book proposal.
Tears are filling my eyes as I think of all the big leaps of courage I've taken because of the special people in my life. To all who have replied to my tweets, commented on my blogs, joined in on my Twitter chats, encouraged me in my writing, supported and encouraged me, believed in me...
from the bottom of my heart....THANK YOU!
You've given me the courage to fly.
This week I was sharing with someone in my PLN about how I gamify my culinary classes via Voxer. As I was describing my classes, I shared an aspect of my game that I recently realized wasn't working well and explained how I was going to change it. After I shared, he said something that really resonated, " I appreciate that you shared about your pitfalls. Hearing how things don't work is just as important as hearing how everything is wildly successful." This statement really resonated with me. So often as educators we are eager to share all that is going on that's awesome, but rarely do we share the things that didn't work. The problem with this is that when we glimpse into classrooms on social media and see all the awesome, we sometimes forget there is a lot that happens in those classrooms that is less than stellar. Every teacher has bad days. In the midst of epic successes, there are also epic fails. We all have days where we are discouraged, frustrated, and less than inspired. We talk about the importance of taking risks and the value of failure, but how often do we really share about it.
Observing things that aren't going right in a colleague or PLN's classroom, is sometimes more encouraging to me than seeing things that are. It makes me feel normal, realizing that the people I follow and admire are just like me.....human. It's like going over to someone's house for dinner and finding their house less than perfect. If they have a pile of laundry on the couch or a stack of mail on the counter, it makes me relax and realize that not only is it okay to not having everything perfectly in place, but that they feel comfortable enough with me to be real. I am much more likely to invite that person over for dinner knowing that it would be okay if I had a pile of laundry on the couch too. As innovative educators, we are all taking leaps and pushing boundaries sometimes with huge success, sometimes with failure. None the less, we keep pushing forward and breaking down barriers to bring the very best teaching and learning to the classroom.
My most recent failure happened in Culinary 3 during our Food Truck Launch. We invited staff in as "investors" to listen to food truck teams launch their concepts and taste their signature dishes. As investors came in the door, I handed them a clipboard with evaluation rubrics and $2000 of play money. Students had stations set up outside with their signature dishes, Ipads holding their promotional video trailers or presentations, and a container to hold the money that investors would be be allocating to the teams that they felt were most deserving. Investors went around listening to each team's pitches and tasting their delicious dishes as they evaluated on the rubrics leaving valuable feedback. Being our first challenge, students were late getting their dishes out which made the end of the period rushed. After the last team presented, staff hurriedly allocated their $2000 to the teams they felt most deserving. The money that each team earned would be the seed money that launched our Food Trucks on a race across the United States to learn about regional cuisine.
So here lies the problem. As I was counting the money and reading the feedback from the judges, I realized that the money allocations didn't necessarily match up to the point totals on the rubric. The rankings for all but the top two teams were different. I had to make a judgement call. Would I stick with the original plan of using the currency to determine the team's ranking, or the tallied scores on the rubrics instead. 5 minutes before the next class began I was still unsure of how to handle the situation. I then realized it was silly to keep stressing about this situation, I needed to involve the students in the problem solving process. As students came in, I explained the dilemma and opened up a discussion. Within just a few minutes it was clear what needed to be done. I would eliminate the currency and base the team's ranking on the rubric scores. I immediately felt good about the decision because the teams were all in agreement. Additionally, students appreciated the fact that I made the decision with them.
I loved the idea of allocating currency, but the reality was it didn't work. I had to let it go. It made me think about how often I hold on to things just because I really wanted the idea to work. Rarely do I share my struggle in my writing or with my amazing PLN who could help me problem solve. Additionally, I so often wrestle with how to fix failed ideas without asking the students to help me come up with solutions? Let's share our wins, but let's also share our fails. It may be just what someone needs to realize they are not alone.
Culinary teacher & Discovery School Lead. Passionate about finding innovative ways to make learning come alive for Ss. Love to gamify! Host #XPLAP chat WED 5 PST