Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Welcome 2018: turning rocks into crystals
At the start of each year, I pause and look back on the year behind. I do this as a parent, an educator, and as a person who always wants to do better and be better. I usually have it written sooner, but this year took a little longer to process through all of my thoughts. As 2017 entered its final hours, my seven-year-old daughter pulled out a crystal growing kit she had received from Santa. "Mommy, can we grow the crystals now," she asked. Perfect! Let's do it. We warmed and measured water together, then she dissolved the crystal mixture into it. Finally, after we poured the mixture into the designated "pedestal," she placed two rocks into. It was just after 9 p.m. and the instructions said that crystal growth would be seen within "a few hours." I looked at the clock, I looked at my daughter, and I said, "this year's rocks will be next year's crystals." She totally dug it. So did I.
And so it goes. As I look at the year ahead while 2017 flashes in the rearview mirror of my memory banks, I see great ways to turn rocks into crystals. Let's use the year ahead to make things sparkle and shine, using what we can bring along from the year gone by.
2017 ended with a major disappointment for me, so I think I will get it out of the way first. Excited with how my presentations have gone over the past couple of years, I felt hopeful about taking something new to the annual/national CUE conference in 2018. I submitted a proposal and coming off of the "high" from Fall CUE, I received a "thanks, but no thanks" email for spring. I actually was more disappointed than I had expected. With all of the fabulous proposals submitted from so many amazing educators, of course, not all will have a place on the schedule. Once I stepped back, put it in perspective, and took a breath, I felt much better. In fact, this is one of the rocks that I see growing into crystals in 2018.
Highlights from 2017 were many. I presented at the National CUE conference in Palm Springs for the first time in March. My ten-year-old and I continued to work on our "If You Give A Kid a Camera" presentation for other conferences and workshops. I presented three times last year on my own and it got great feedback. I presented at Fall CUE for the second time and while there got connected with the folks who were reigniting the Central California CUE affiliate and eventually was seated on the board, with my term starting November 30. Last January, I had a great, albeit small, edu-hike locally and did another with even more students in October. I have learned how to take data and combine it with my passion for incorporating innovative ideas into education to benefit my students while making me a better educator. My students created amazing ramps and derby cars for a gravitational raceway science adventure. My growth as an educator has helped my students grow as students. That's what this whole thing is about, right?! This is what we do in education. We learn, the teach, we guide, we explore, we grow so that our students can learn, teach, guide, explore, and grow.
Always embracing myself as being perfect in my imperfections, I realize that I have a lot more growth ahead. There were more rocks than I identified here, but I thin identifying that one will suffice as an example for the purposes of this blog post.
Let's start with Spring CUE 2018. At the time I received notification that I would not be presenting, I had already booked my airfare, booked my hotel, and scheduled my sub. All this really meant was that I would have take care of my registration for the conference. That is now done. Additionally, I get to go as an attendee only without the pressure of presenting. I like that. Best of all, this will be my first time attending as an affiliate board member which means there will be other work to do. We will need to host our affiliate meetup and reach out to our affiliate members. This is especially important this year as Central California CUE has not had a Spring CUE meetup in years. We have work to do. I look forward to being a part of that work and to networking with others. One last thing, I reached out to some former colleagues and encouraged them to join CUE and consider attending Spring CUE. At least one is planning to attend, which potentially gives me a roommate for the first time in my years attending. Taking that rock and growing it into amazing crystals!
My ten-year-old will present with me for the first time ever. We kick off our co-presenting of "If You Give a Kid a Camera" at the Tulare County Office of Education TechRodeo in just a little over a week. On January 13 we will spend the day together in Visalia, surrounded by awesome educators. Interested in attending? Get info HERE. This upcoming experience has also prompted us to get back to our podcasting. We have a couple of ideas and will use this week to record at least one and outline a couple of our other EdTechFamily ideas as the Voice of EduAwesomeAdventure. Stay tuned for more on that. At the end of February, we will again present together at ETC! in Stanislaus County. That same day, I will bring back my "Technology as the Swiss-Army Knife of Education" presentation, as well. Want more info on this great educational technology conference? Get info HERE.
I expect that 2018 will be a year of more writing and more podcasting and more connecting.
I expect 2018 will be a year of growing more as an educator and passing that growth onto my students.
This post is less of a look back and more of a look ahead. In the words of Brad Paisley, "If you make the mistake of looking back too much, you aren't focused enough on the road in front of you." Just as when driving, though, we need to glance back and check our mirrors every now and then.
I start 2018 with a new Chromebook and a lens set to use with the camera on my phone. That means, I need to: write, connect, reach out, record, photograph, and I need to keep on this awesome path with my kids (including my children and my students). This year, we will grow the EduAwesome Adventure. Won't you come along with us?
What crystals will you grow in 2018? How will you grow them?