By Ashley Lamb-Sinclair
It’s a trait that has gotten me into trouble more times than I can count, and a trait that has bailed me out of really boring situations. Sometimes it can be an advantage. Sometimes it’s a liability. Curiosity has led to that phone call my parents got in the middle of the night when I was a teenager. And curiosity has led to an acceptance letter in the mail that I never dreamed I might receive.
In my life as an educator, curiosity creates a similar juxtaposition in my professional life as it does in my personal. I’ve gone down a curious path with lesson planning and created amazing lessons that kids still remember and colleagues ask about. And then curiosity has led me to create seemingly amazing lessons that I had to shut down midway through class because they were so far off the path of what I intended to teach. …
What makes you unique? What sets you apart from everyone else? What is that one area in which you are a champion? That is your specialty. But is identifying your specialty enough? Perhaps you are called to be a bit bolder, to go further . . . Will you leave a legacy? Your task is to leave your mark on the world by creating a blueprint, a recipe of sorts, that describes not what you do, or even why you do it; your recipe should describe how you do what you do.
Easy, right? Well . . . not so fast. One more caveat: you must describe how you do what you do best (you know, that thing that makes you come alive) in a way that is so clear and deliberate it can be replicated, perhaps by a complete stranger. Ahh . . . therein lies the challenge. …
I can read your mind; I promise. Watch. When I say the word “innovation”, what one word comes to mind? Drum roll, please…you thought, “technology.” Obviously, I really didn’t read your mind; the association of innovation with technology is just that deeply ingrained into our mind and our society. When we hear innovation, we think of that tech startup, founded in the basement of someone’s mom’s house, now a billion-dollar society-changer. We think of the “brilliant mind” coding tomorrow’s future today. And I will be honest, until recently, I thought along those same lines, viewing innovation as something for others, for those with a mind for technology, not for me as a mere English teacher. However, at the ECET2 National event in Seattle, Melinda Gates talked about innovation, and what struck me was how little she, Microsoft connections and all, talked about technology. What became clear is that innovation isn’t a thing and that being innovative isn’t something one is or isn’t; innovation is a state of mind. …
Jozette has been an educator for 7 years. She is currently a Teacher Leader in the Denver Public Schools.
Title: Through the Eyes of a Child
Jozette’s Short Story: I am an advocate of students and teachers, always striving to work toward solutions through relationship building. I am an activist, seeking justice for all, not just for some. I am a sister, teacher, daughter, auntie, parent, cousin and friend, aware that through love, all things can grow.
Jozette’s Idea In A Nutshell: Learn classroom management, equity, etc. through fun videos of teachers acting as students and vice versa. Fun engagement for all!
Jozette’s Burning Question:
What makes students want to try for some teachers and not others?
Samantha has been an educator for 5 years. She is currently a 4/5 Math/Science Gifted and Talented Teacher at Simmons Elementary in Woodford County, Kentucky.
Title: Twitter Chats
Samantha’s Short Story: I have found a niche in the teacher leader realm that is trickling down into my classroom. It has transformed my “job” into a career where I get to meet fabulous educators and learn something new everyday.
Samantha’s Idea in a Nutshell: What if one video could spark a conversation across the globe on everyday teaching practices?!
Samantha’s Burning Question:
What topic should these conversations be focused on? Is there a certain area that would get more traffic than others?
Marisa is a pre-service teacher, just beginning her career in education.
Title: Small Byte Videos
Marisa’s Short Story: I am honored to join amazing educators at Innovator’s Weekend, particularly as a pre-service teacher who is still very much learning the ropes of our beautiful and complex field. Teachers are our most under-recognized innovators — working day in and day out to find the strategy that works so that every student can succeed. My goal is to create a personalized, user-friendly and inspirational product that saves teachers their most precious resource…time.
Marisa’s Idea In A Nutshell: Pop-up video function allows for personalized learning and reflection. …
Heather has been an educator for 16 years. She is currently a Teacher and Instructional Coach at North Thurston Public Schools, Lacey, Washington.
Heather’s Short Story: I am a National Board Certified Teacher in the area of English as a New Language and worked for 10 years as a bilingual educator in a Spanish/English dual language program. I have provided professional development at the national, state, and local level to improve instruction of diverse learners. Currently, I am a half time classroom teacher and half time instructional coach.
Heather’s Idea In A Nutshell: Can You Spot the Differentiation? Compare 2 videos of the same lesson to identify instructional strategies that meet diverse learners’ needs. …
Chris has been an educator for 20 years. He is currently the Technology Coordinator and working with Teacher Development in Chicago Public Schools/Academy for Urban School Leadership.
Chris’ Short Story: I have a true passion for developing teachers and engaging students with technology and have spent the past four years producing video for our network of schools that showcase high leverage practices. I try to bring the lessons that I have learned teaching middle school to promote engaging classroom practices. …
Faith has been an educator for 15 years. She is currently the Principal of Robert Frost Sixth-Grade Academy/Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky.
Title: Challenge Tasks
Faith’s Short Story: I love working in schools with kids that others think cannot be reached. I work to inspire, motivate, encourage and educate kids who I truly know can do great things with their life despite challenging home lives. I am mother of two who treats my kids at school as if they are my own.
Faith’s Idea In A Nutshell: PD Challenge! Choose a theme, learn & apply the research, create a positive learning environment & earn great rewards. …
Elaine has been an educator for 20 years. She is currently a Literacy Coach at Downers Grove North High School, District 99, Downers Grove, IL.
Elaine’s Short Story: Every day, I revisit a key concept that has driven my work: “What will I learn that will lead to tomorrow’s questions?” I hope to keep asking that question for another twenty years.
Elaine’s Idea In A Nutshell: What could change if we flipped PD? Use real-world video-based models to frame and individualize your next PD session.