Monday, August 9, 2010


Have you ever stopped to savor and bask in the love of those who care for you? I know, I know.. just sappy Joan going on again about positive everything. But seriously.. it's actually very true that purposefully savoring positive experiences contributes to your health and well-being. Makes sense, but sometimes, in the harried busy lives we lead, we forget to stop and reflect.  Yesterday, I had the chance to do that.
I woke up and spent some quiet time with my husband, who also shares my exact birthday. I gave him two cards, one for his birthday, one for our anniversary, and then he told me to open my computer. On my Itunes he had downloaded a very special song to remind me of his love for me. He also bought me an iphone which will arrive in about 10 days, so he bought the song for me to use as my ring tone. This thoughtful gesture made me teary-eyed and so grateful to have such a loving and wonderful husband. 
After we made our plans to go to breakfast, I signed on to Twitter where I was floored by all of the thoughtful birthday wishes. In addition to all of the tweets, there was a link to a wallwisher, an online board of sorts, where my Twitter friends, also called my Professional Learning Network, posted birthday wishes. Talk about savoring the feeling of being loved!

I also had friends on facebook post oodles of birthday wishes. My point here is not to brag but to point out the importance of stopping to enjoy this beautiful feeling of being loved and appreciated. Many of us in the education world are about to get very busy, and some of us, very stressed, as a new year begins. We must remember to stop, immerse ourselves in energizing, affirming encounters with our friends and loved ones. Thank you all who contributed to my wonderful birthday yesterday.
How will you take care of yourself and remember how special you are?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wow! What an Experience at The Reform Symposium 2010

It's been a roller-coaster weekend presenting at The Reform Symposium and attending sessions at my first online conference ever! I was honored to present with Lisa Dabbs, a passionate voice in education with so many years and stories of experience to bring to us. If you missed the session, it will be archived sometime this week here on the Reform Symposium site.

Here are a few of the highlights of the experience I would like to share:
  • My PLN ( and I know some don't like that term but it works for me!) is amazing. During the weeks prior to the conference, I got to know Lisa and really enjoyed our time developing our presentation and practicing during Skype calls.  As I was presenting, knowing that there were so many familiar Twitter friends there really made it easier for me to share in such an exciting yet terrifying new environment! You are all wonderfully supportive and I appreciate any feedback you would like to share, whether it's constructive criticism or "ahas" you may have had.
  • We all have unique voices and opportunities to learn each day. I connected with new people in chats during sessions and enjoyed the witty banter and enthusiasm of active learning peers.
  • I learned just how generous educators are. Countless hours were spent by the wonderful organizers, Shelly Terrell, Chris Rogers, Kelly Tenkely, and Jason Bedell to prepare for the conference, organize volunteers, moderate sessions and ensure a successful event. Presenters gave up precious summer time with family to prepare and practice for what was a new experience for many of us presenting with Elluminate.
  •  Great ideas can be age-old truths presented in a new way and applied to solve a problem. During one session I attended, one of the chat room members continuously said,"But, I'm sorry this isn't anything new." Perhaps some of the ideas weren't new, but the application and language that were being described were wonderfully inspiring to many.  Sometimes a presenter has such a passionate voice or authentic example that motivates a participant to make a critical change in practice. 
  • Relationships are even more critical in education than I ever thought before. The most passionate and inspiring presenters talked about and shared the power of developing efficacy among their students. If kids can't trust teachers and administrators, the amazing level of learning that we heard about in Monika Hardy's keynote session cannot happen. Monika's students clearly had a positive, inspiring experience working with her last year.  And speaking of relationships and their impact on schools, George Couros' keynote was another example of the incredible power of a leader who understands the importance of connecting with kids, parents and teachers.  
  • Kids are the most powerful advocates for educational change. The insights and passion for learning that Monika's students demonstrated should be shared with educational leaders everywhere. We need to learn about and use models like Monika's framework to connect with experts around the world and then let kids shout their enthusiasm from the rooftops!
  • Finally, I've had enough of this debate of what word we use for change in education. Whether you like reform, transformation or any other term, the point is that we cannot afford to sit idle while we argue semantics.  It is up to us to be the advocates for our kids so that they get the educational experience they deserve!
Ok, enough about me! What are some of your insights from the conference?  I look forward to reading your thoughts. Thanks again for your support.