L.E.G.I.T. Summer~Week 1

Here I am 3 weeks into summer vacation and I am finally starting to feel it unfolding. Maybe more like I’m settling in to the relaxed vibe that the word summer exudes.  When I think of a legit summer I think of the sun shining down on my face and the hours of the day getting mixed up in my mind where I start losing count until my stomach tells me it is past lunch or maybe even dinner.  Where no one seems to care how the day unfolds as long as we each have voice in the unfolding… where we meet each other where we are at.  Oh, the possibilities!  It’s been years since I had a summer opened up to possibilities, one that can refuel my passions and spark new ones along the way.  This is my summer!

Today starts my 5 week  L.E.G.I.T. Summer Journey with ME, MYSELF, and I.  This is what I need to be a better me.

A better me serves others greater.

A better me leads in an outstanding way.

A better me ignites the passion in my learning as well as others.

I need to remember how to find my joy, my smile, my heart, and simply my love for life.  Not that I lost it completely, but at times I find my own joy secondary when it is actually possible to nurture both at the same time.  As many know, this past year I lost my precious friend, my confidant, my mother in law, my go to person.  Some may think enough time has passed.  Many remind me she is in a better place so I should not feel so bad.  Some even think that it may be easier because I have the summer off to focus on relaxing and regrouping.  I only wish others would stop speaking for me.  Stop thinking for me.  Just stop.  I wish others would not try to remind me about the beautiful place she is in without me.  I miss her.  I am lost without her each day… especially on each family adventure because it is yet another “first” alone with the boys… all 4 of them, including my beloved father in law.  I am trying, but my girl is gone and I sit here alone in my thoughts trying to take in the goodness around me.  Trying to put on the smile that so easily swept my face when she was by my side.

My thoughts take me back to another person’s story.  When I first heard this young man speak, my heart ached for him.  I remember just wanting to hug him.  After losing mom, I went back to YouTube and searched for the video again.  Crazy how I thought he knew how I felt. Someone I had never met.  Never even talked to.  Yet, by sharing his story he entered my heart.  Just like him, I was jealous… she was gone from me. Happy.  Happy without me.   I found that this video met me where I was at… uncomfortably jealous, wishing the best that this world had to give, and yet knowing it was not enough.

Starting with the L in L.E.G.I.T. is what I need most, as that in itself can make or break anyone!

The L stands for: LOCATE their coordinates- meet them where they are at!

I chuckle at the thought… how do I meet myself where I am at if I don’t even know that answer myself?  I feel like my very own GPS has gone ROGUE and is spinning around  signaling that I am off the grid.  How do I locate myself?  To me it starts with one question!

What brings me joy?  When you think of the feelings that come with this one word, than you know why it starts right here.  If I can answer this question I will at least know where to start on this journey.

  1. Start simple.  As simple as fresh air… it clears my mind.  The kind that you get when you sit on your porch and sip your first cup of coffee in the morning.  The kind that you breath in when you are on a walk when there is barely a sign of life around you.  The kind that blows through your hair as you sit close by the water and allow your mind to drift off into the place that holds your heart… your soul.
  2. Laughing… I need people around me who lift me up with their simple abundance of joy.  My true person is silly.  Prior to the worries of others, I was a “jokester”, or maybe the joke!  I do not need a circus act, I just need life’s humor that reminds us to not take things so seriously.  I need those who don’t overthink my actions or attempt to outdo the ones around us, but just live in the moment… simple silly fun.
  3. Love… the kind that is unconditional.  The kind that allows me to be me and does not cast judgement.  The kind that doesn’t ridicule my passions, but steps out of the way so that I can relish in them.  The kind that puts their hand out and holds mine when I am a little unsteady.  The love that knows a hug solves most every problem.  The kind that I held on to my entire life, even when the darkness of clouds tried to threaten me with storms.  I will always reach out to goodness… it is my survival skill.  It is what created the person I am today.  The purest of love is true goodness.
  4. Growth… as much as I like to relax and take in the quiet beauty of nature, I must have opportunity around the bend for growth.  Whether I am headed to a conference, a workshop, reading a blog or an eduFAVE book, I need to be gaining ground in my own world.  I love to write.  It isn’t just a passion for me, it is a survival skill.  When I was a child I needed it.  I need ONE trusting “person” to pour my soul to.  I needed ONE “person” in my corner.  I needed “ONE” to tell me NEVER give up!  That I should dream… DREAM BIG and MAKE IT HAPPEN!   That ONE was my writing.  For me, keeping it in was debilitating.  Not letting it out in search of better was keeping me stagnant… being stagnant is suffocating for me.  I need to know there is more out there AND that with hard work I can obtain it.  When I write it, it becomes real and I own it.

These are my coordinates… Simple… Silly… Loving… Growth.  They are all built on relationships.  I am blessed with so many incredible people in my life.  Beyond family, I have the gift of my PLN/PLF.  My PLN meets me where I am at.  They accept me, push me, laugh with me, love me, grow with me, and celebrate with me!   Life is good.  #Tlap  #LeadLAP  #MasteryChat  #REALedu  #IMMOOC  #CelebratED  #JoyfulLeaders  #4OCFpln  #TeachBetter

What are your coordinates?  Share… tell your story.  Let’s meet and grow together!

 

L.E.G.I.T. Relationships

Here I am ready to host my first twitter chat.  Some may think, come on Kristen what’s the big deal?  Me on the other hand, well I see the big picture… the one that was built on L.E.G.I.T. relationships. Built on trust.  This is a big deal to me.  This chat isn’t just a chat for me.  It is an affirmation of my growth.  It signifies that I have taken myself and I have stretched my own limits.  The ones that I bound myself by in my own mind. #TRUST

I thought I used to put myself out there by going to conferences or signing up for local workshops.  Going to a conference is great, but let’s get real… it isn’t enough.  It isn’t the conference itself that creates a new path for your learning, it’s the relationships you build while attending them and then continue to nurture beyond that point.  The conversations that drive you to reconsider your own view point or maybe even your own philosophy.  But even then I  would find myself returning to school… to my room… to my own little ol’ opinion without ever seeing or talking to those educators ever again.

Fast forward… 2016 became the year that I found myself needing more.  So much more in fact that if I didn’t find what it was that I was searching for, I would consider leaving the profession that once filled my cup on a daily basis.

This was the year

… the walls of my own learning broke down.

… that I reached out.

… I found that I had a world of educators waiting in the wings to move forward with me. #LEGITeduRelationships

Twitter itself has been a springboard to so many incredible relationships.  Ones of inspiration and of immense respect.  This is where I met the foundation to my #PLF (As my friend Tara Martin dubbed it… Professional Learning Family) in #IMMOOC.  A Massive Online Community of Educators pushing the mindset to create change for the better.  This community was formed around the inspiration and leadership of George Couros, author of Innovator’s Mindset.  When IMMOOC came to an end, I had to find myself another book… another group of educators to add to my world… the ones willing to push one another as #IMMOOC did for me.  That is when #tlap was sent my way.  The fuel to my fire was right in front of me.  With one simple Amazon search I had Teach Like A Pirate, written and published by Dave Burgess, in my hands the very next day.  This is when the snowball started to roll…

I located my own coordinates on learning and found educators around the world to learn and grow with me.  I questioned the coordinates of my students,  parents, colleagues, administration, and community… was I meeting them where they were at?  I empowered myself to take charge of my own learning.  This was when I realized it had to happen for my students too!  #30SecondEmpowerPitch was born!  Yet, when I had a conversation with an incredible mentor in my life, I found that I was still not there… the place I was looking to be connected to in education.  He asked me what my goals were and I didn’t have an answer… I had not created any up to that point!  I had hopes and dreams… I had imagined a more powerful way of learning for my students and myself, yet the reality was I had not taken myself serious enough to create a plan… to commit myself to goals.  That was when I jumped into another #twitter chat, and this one called me out on my dreams.  This chat wanted to know more.  Beth Houf and Shelley Burgess, authors of Lead Like A Pirate, questioned what I would be willing to do to make these dreams happen!  This was my moment of truth.  #LeadLAP

I sat down and gave myself goals.  I felt these goals would push me to take risks and continue to ignite my learning along the way.

  1. Create a book study for my colleagues to reignite and nurture their passion for learning/teaching. #tlap
  2. Create a personal website with standards to hold myself accountable for connecting with others and building stronger relationships.
  3. Blog on a regular basis (for me 6-7X/month was huge!)  This past month was the first time in 8 months that I had not achieved that goal.
  4. Enter into #PD that is of value to me and my students.
  5. Create a class website to empower my students to share their voice beyond our four walls.  #30SecondEmpowerPitch
  6. Read ReAD and READ meaningful books that will create a stronger relationship between myself and my profession.
  7. Engage in chats with others around the world to push my thinking.
  8. “Fill buckets” full of thoughts on where I want education to go… create opportunities for all educators and students.
  9. Build a #PD Lending Library for educators to borrow books (This is getting it’s final touches to be ready for red tape ribbon cutting in the fall… thank you Dave and Shelley Burgess)
  10. Host a twitter chat #MasteryChat

Tonight I get to check off my last goal just in time to create new ones!  Thank you to The Grid Method for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to chat about one of my many passions!  Without L.E.G.I.T. Relationships, none of this could have happened! Thank you to my powerful #PLF… my family beyond my four walls.  #tlap #LeadLAP #IMMOOC #MasteryChat #4OCF

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Shout out to my awesome PLF!

 Thanks Mike Mohammad (IMMOOC PLF) for creating the top pic and to Laura Steinbrink (4OCF PLF) for creating the bottom pic!

March Madness

ButtonMakers Pattern TemplateIt’s March… what vibe are you giving?  Have you gone mad with assessments piling up or yet on the horizon?  Are your students feeling pressure or are they welcoming it… feeling empowered to take on the world?  To show off their MAD SKILLS!

Where are you… your mindset?  Are you on the countdown or upswing… planning life changing lessons (Dave Burgess, #tlap) and embracing the new life around you?  The kind that is a steady reminder that we are always growing whether it is day 1, 80, or 180.

You know you have already heard it… ONLY X amount of school days are left.  The countdown is on for students, parents and teachers.  Don’t get me wrong I have those days when the sun is shining and I think… ohhhh poolside would be nice.  Or the day that feels like 17 rolled into one.  But that doesn’t mean my life with my students turns to madness.  The question is…

if we had a March Madness bracket with awesome lessons planned for our students, where would yours land?  Would you be willing to throw it in the ring with the competition?  

if we had a March Madness bracket for EMPOWERED students, where would your students be?  Would they be sprinting to the front of the line… stepping up to add their name to the bracket? 

Is our role really any different from day 1 to 180?  Just like day 1 our goal should be to create empowered learners that are off the bench, jumping, clapping, ready for their call to step up and shoot.  Don’t leave before the buzzer. How would you feel if your leader, coach, or biggest fan stepped aside a quarter into the game… or when the last quarter started and the score was tied?! Every day is day 1.

If you are looking to bring your A Game in the last quarter try one of the following:

  1. Grab a book!  Dave Burgess Consulting, INC offers over 40 incredible innovative reads that are life changing to every child through educators like you!  Are you into STEAM and Makers?  Bring out your creative genius with books by Jacie Maslyk or Laura Flemming for go to quick action plans!
  2. Join a twitter chat!  #tlap #Leadlap #LearnLAP #MasteryChat #DitchBook #KidsDeserveIt #PlayLap #STEAMMakerChat #IMMOOC and so many more!
  3. Find or create your own PD… look into #4OCF with Rich Czyz and find many ideas that can be implemented at the drop of a dime.  Message me and I can add you to the incredible VOXER Chat led my Matthew Larson.
  4. Locate an EDCamp near you!  Close to Pittsburgh or ready to shake the winter blues with a road trip?  Join us as my district host Pittsburgh’s very own camp coming up in 2 weeks!  CLICK HERE to register!
  5. Make a REAL connection with the your students by bringing #BookSnaps into your classroom!  Book Snap Queen Tara Martin will walk you and your students through the learning process with one simple HOW TO VIDEO CLIP
  6. What about starting your own BYOB to build relationships in your building?  Bring Your Own Breakfast and hang out on Payday Friday!

Where is your creative spark (grab Katie Martin’s new book “Learner Centered Innovation” to help you find it)  What are you doing to keep the momentum so you aren’t left on the bench when the driven are playing?

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