Buddy Blogging is Pretty Cool

My colleague Tarah and I held a Q&A blog post today inspired by #IMMOOC. We covered the topics of our dream job, technology, and social media. Our conversation and ideas spurred through this conversation was truly electric.


Angela on her “dream job”: My dream job would be to create a school where everyone is there to foster a love of learning and build relationships with one another. I would love to create that school. I would like to lead that school and still be able to be a teacher and be in classrooms teaching. I could see this with continuous learning through peer learning labs – learning from one another and giving other teacher leaders freedom to do this as well. Inviting people in to see lessons; coaches switching out who they work with; a flexible schedule and culture of “who is the teacher”. One thing we had explored in my last school was a time daily where students were setting their own learning for a period – you could sign up for a menu of classes each quarter; these could be taught by anyone in the school and student-taught. Learning, relationships, and passion drive everything. It’s less black and white, and we would live more in the grey.

Tarah’s Rebuttal: So, I think about constraints as far as what is keeping us from bringing your dream to life. Even though, I was going to start by describing my dream job we have many pieces in common. What we have in common is redefining who is teacher and who you can learn from. But that brings to mind the constraint of what you are learning and what you are learning about. Some things that might stifle creativity in moving forward is: designing curriculum & assessment. In our district this is such a heavy focus. Why aren’t we focused on the alternative? Who you are learning from as opposed to what you are learning. In the book they talk about learning comes first above everything. Nowhere in the book does it say that learning comes from the teacher. Thinking from an IT standpoint as I was reading the book I realized that not all of the decisions made about devices are not learning focused.

For my dream job, devices aren’t selected because someone who isn’t using them decides (IT, admin) because they have quite the opposite ecosystem. So, not only who they learn from is limitless but how they learn is flexible.

I don’t actually want to be talking about devices. In short, my dream job is working with all learners but not within a content area. Because how you are learning something can transfer everywhere and is not siloed in different context. In my dream job learning would just be learning.

It’s going back to the menu. I love the idea of offering a menu. By the time I got to college and received a menu I didn’t know what to do because it was the first time I had that choice.

Angela:The information about “tech” in Part 3 confirmed my thinking. It’s about learning first. We aren’t doing technology – it’s not a subject area and it’s not our focus. Technology is going to continue to change and grow with our time and it’s not something we sit here and study, but we look at it to serve many purposes. In our classrooms it should be natural – if I want to learn something I can just find it. If I want to collaborate with my classmate I know how to in ways other than talking across the room. Social media has to be respected I feel, but also embraced. From having tech in my classroom and using things like Edmodo, many issues arose  that we’d have to talk through and set boundaries with – I would never turn it off or ask them to stop. The same thing goes with social media – you have to be willing to create solutions to the challenges that come up. It would be ignorant to say that it would be risk free.

Tarah:That’s kind of why I agree with Will Richardson when he was referenced in the YouTube Live by saying he wants his kids to be found on the internet. Just like you said it would be ignorant to assume that nothing bad will happen when using social media it would be ignorant to say that if they aren’t using it in my classroom they aren’t using it at home. I don’t think that the kids using social media for personal use have a really great support system of mentors on how to use it. And I think as teachers we have a great opportunity to be those guides, be those mentors. So, when I have a student that is found on the internet it is like their resume, since they were in kindergarten. Think about it. Students applying for a job 15 years from now can just say, “Google me.” Because what they can do should not have to result in a piece of paper. That’s why when we make resumes now we include LinkedIn, Twitter, and that’s for adults who grew up without internet. We don’t have a digital portfolio of our learning over time. I also think that having this type of portfolio allows them to network more efficiently and networking becomes, “Oh ya, we network.” It becomes a part of learning.

Angela: That is powerful. We will help create their perception of social media to promote themselves in a positive light.

Tarah: And they should be able to use it to watch cat videos.




It’s 7:44 and I am sitting in traffic. I know I am just barely going to make it to work before 8am. The roads are always so unpredictable one day to the next. However, all I can think about is the clock turning to 7:45.

7:45 is becoming a time I cherish. It’s when Steve calls from San Francisco. He sets an alarm for 5:45am to wake up and wish me a good day.

7:45, I hear my sing-songy ringtone over the speakers in my car and see “Stephen” come across my dashboard.

“Hola!” I exclaim.

On the other end I hear his groggy, half-asleep voice saying hello and asking about my morning. In this moment I am happy.

It’s the little things that make life wonderful.


Twitter Chat


Heart racing quickly, eyes darting side to side, fingers rapidly tapping on computer keys, and a searing energy radiating from my creative inspired brain. This is Twitter chats for me. This is being a part of a professional learning network that makes you want to learn, grow, ask questions, and create. People who make you think and then push you to try and take risks.

All educators should be lucky enough to surround themselves with others who help push and inspire them.

A New Book

I can’t say no to a book.

I love reading. I’m  not even sure if the word love fully encompasses the feeling I have for reading. Whether it is fiction or nonfiction I am obsessed. In fiction I have the privilege to fall into someone else’s world and live alongside them experiencing their relationships, turmoils, celebrations, adventures, and surroundings. In nonfiction I get to continue learning, reaffirming my knowledge, pushing my ideas, questioning practices, making connections, and utilizing the information gained to continually create new and better thinking.

I can’t say no to a book.

Even though I am currently reading “The Innovator’s Mindset” by George Couros and participating in #IMMOOC .  Even though I am starting a book study with my first grade team on “A Guide to the Reading Workshop” by Lucy Calkins. Even though I am currently listening to “Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard on my drives to and from work.

I can’t say no to a book.

As my colleague Tarah walk up to me with my new book in hand, I burst with joy and excitement, curious where this new book may take me.

I can’t say no to a book.

The Nice One


As I walked into sixth grade today smiles crossed many of the writers faces in the room. Then, a few whispers started in the back corner of the room, “The nice one is here.”

It’s not the first time I’ve heard this. Sometimes kids tell me “You’re nice!” when I walk down the hallways smiling and greeting them by name. Other times it’s when I am conferring with them and learning more about them as readers.

When I heard it today it stood out more. Maybe  because they were whispering it in a secretive way as if no one else should know. But being nice should not be a secret. We cultivate our image daily through our actions and words.

What do you want to be known for?

I’m the nice one. To borrow  Dana Murphy‘s words, “That’s my jam, I guess.”

Thirty-one days of stories as part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers





Keep Calm & Clean On

keep-calm-and-clean-on-31Chhhhh. Chhhhh. Chhhhhh. As I scrub down the stove top taking apart the burners and setting them into a freshly cleaned sink of hot bubbly water. I grab the 409 and spray the stove top and pick up my sponge to make it pearly white. My mission, clean the kitchen. Make it spotless.

While to any outsider looking in I am just doing a deep cleaning on Sunday. However inside my head I’m spinning uncontrollably and can’t stop. My body feels uncomfortable in my own skin and I just want to feel back at home. I’m breathing deeply and trying to regain normalcy.  Cleaning, cleaning is my coping mechanism.

I am disappointed in myself. Disappointed in a choice I made. So I continue cleaning, trying to regain control.


Dogs and Kids

Dogs and kids, they are more alike then you’d think. However are dogs more complicated than kids??

If a dog gets in a fight at doggy day care you can’t sit down and talk to them about why it happened or how they might change their choices next time. We can’t ask them to apologize to the dog or talk to their parents and reconcile the issue.

If dogs grew up in a bad home and then you “rescue” them you don’t get to talk about their past and figure out what happened and the triggers you need to avoid.

Are dogs more complicated than kids?

Maybe. Maybe I’m just seeing one perspective.