Monthly Archives: December 2014

Photographic Summary

This morning, as I was scanning my Twitter feed following breakfast, a blog post by Katherine Sokolowski caught my eye.

Intrigued, I clicked on the link and saw another Twitter post, which sparked her story:

Wow! Talk about a great catalyst for reflection! Like Katherine, I immediately started scanning the photos on my phone. What photos represent me as an educator?

My first thought was this photo:

This was taken when I gave my first Ignite presentation at the ISTE 2014 conference in Atlanta, GA. That conference COMPLETELY changed my journey as an educator and technologist. I learned how to use Twitter for my own professional development and connected with hundreds of amazing educators including superintendents, principals, district leaders, and teachers. I ventured into new experiences, like screen casting instructional videos for websites, and honed my writing skills by publishing articles for ISTE’s EdTekHub and providing peer reviews for Corwin Press. This photo represents my growth mindset, my willingness to learn new things, and my joy in learning and leading with others.

Another photo that caught my eye was this one:

These three ribbons on my VSTE conference nametag also represent key characteristics in my role as a technology integrator:
1. YOLO: You only live once, so take chances. Try something new. You might be surprised what you learn in the process.
2. Play Well With Others: Be kind to everyone. Always. Recognize that we all have experiences and insights to share no matter how tech saavy we profess to be.
3. Hacking is NOT a Crime: Allow yourself to be open to new ways of thinking. Don’t get stuck in a rut of old assumptions. Who knew “hacking” could be so much fun?

A third photo tugged at my heart so I had to include it as well:

This is my life mission, only discovered after I turned 40. I believe there is good in this world, a modern day Pollyanna some might say. Doing random acts of kindness is a small way to put more good back into this world while inspiring others to do the same.

Which leads me to my final photo, which is actually more meaningful than all the other photos combined:

This photo was taken 13 years ago, when I was a third grade teacher with about 5 years of experience under my belt. We had just finished reading Where the Red Fern Grows and I surprised my students with a camping day as a reward. They were asked to bring a sleeping bag, a pillow, and a flashlight. Nothing more. I stayed late the afternoon before and transformed my classroom to a campsite, complete with a tissue paper campfire. The look on my students’ faces the next morning was priceless.

Yes, even 13 years ago we were accountable for statewide testing. No, my students didn’t come from an affluent neighborhood. I made a choice as an educator that day: to make learning fun. Engaging. Memorable.

See, at the end of the day, that’s what drew me to teaching in the first place. I had amazing teachers who made learning exciting and enjoyable; becoming an educator myself was a way of paying it forward to inspire others with the love of learning.

So tell me… What photo (or collection of photos) summarize YOU as an educator? Tag me in your Twitter or FB post so we can start this new year off with a bang!



New Year, New Blog

Ahhhh… the sweet surrender of winter break.  The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has ended as quickly as it began and there is a lethargic sway to my daily tasks.  It’s time for renewal, rejuvenation, and for me, a new blog.

Many of you know me best as “that random act of kindness girl” and I want to reassure you that I will continue my RAK blog, posting stories of kindness shared with others.

Photo Jan 06, 12 23 56 PM (1)

This blog, however, will focus more on my musings on other interests of mine: education, technology, maybe even a parenting story or two.

I created this digital writing space in June 2014 when I participated in a virtual summer writing  camp on Twitter led by Kate Messner, author of the Marty McGuire series.  I felt the need to hone my writing skills to support my teachers and students as they began their own personal blogs. The experience of connecting with other writers and authors using the hashtag #teacherswrite was simply AMAZING! For the first time in my adult life, I actually revisited my childhood dream of becoming a published author. The feedback I received on my blog posts stretched me in unexpected ways, from designing a story based solely on dialogue to crafting a plot with unexpected death and destruction.

Not quite what you would expect from a Pollyanna writer.

As I sit here now, wrapped in my cozy fleece blanket with a steaming mug of hot chai latte near my side, I am committing to you this promise: I will blog at least twice a month on this blog, with hopes of increasing that amount as a bonus.

There. I said it. My goal for 2015 is to write more. More places. More often. More topics. More reflection.


People say you are more likely to achieve a goal if you put it in writing and share it with others. Well, I have committed my goal to 2,427 people, just by sharing this post on Twitter and FB (and that’s not even including others who will read this from my post being shared or retweeted!) Wow… I suddenly feel as if I’m standing on a tightrope with all of you underneath. Not watching and waiting for me to plummet stories below; rather, I already feel encouraged by your interest and support.

YOU are my cheerleader. When I feel tired or want to cop out of writing with the overused, “I don’t have enough time” excuse, I will picture your face smiling back at me with a smirk saying, “You make time for things that matter.”

YOU matter. I am writing for a real audience, just like the teachers and students I blog beside daily at school. Because of you, I write. And through this process of blogging you will help me become a better writer, because I now have accountability for my stories. My thoughts. My random musings on life. Go ahead and add this blog to your digital reader and follow me on Twitter @HCPSTinyTech. Grab a cup of joe and let’s get this party started.

What are your goals for 2015? How can I play a part in your support system? Comment below and we can encourage each other as we learn and grow.