Monday, July 14, 2014

Tracy's Tuesday Tech Tip: Collective Collaboration

I love coffee, as does much of the world. Sometimes people even go as far to call it the "nectar of the gods." For me, I wouldn't quite go as far to call it that, but...if you add one word in front of the beverage, it does become even better: summertime coffee. There is absolutely NOTHING better than waking up, and making a delicious cup of Door County Highlander Grogg to sip on while quietly reading emails to start my morning and listening to an array of tunes to wake me up. 

As I walked into buy coffee today, I was greeted with by the baristas by being told "Tracy, you're a day early." I agreed with them - I have been consistently meeting with a colleague to prepare for tech conference we are presenting at in December. My barista of many weeks, Sarah, asked me what the deal was. I explained to her attending professional development for the next three days as she asked me what my order was. Since there was no line, she asked what it was about, and I described the context of comprehensive literacy, going further in-depth into reading and writing with students even in music, and how I had started brainstorming for how I would apply my learning.

Sarah asked a few questions, further wrung up my order and said, "Tracy, thanks for what you do for kids. I know they are learning a lot from you. Today is on us."

I was completely blown away by the generosity and her comments, showing genuine interest in what I was doing with professional development. As I thanked her many times over, she said, "just keep it up, and don't mess up my schedule next week! See you then!"

I chuckled and walked out, with my order in hand to professional development and learning about literacy. Had many great takeaways and even better conversations with colleagues. But this post isn't about that quite yet. (Stay tuned for Thoughtful Thursday!) Essentially, reflecting upon the learning, and embodying the mantra that everyone has a unique perspective for teaching our youth; taking in what all educators describe and teach each other is key. Truly listening to each other and learning from the wisdom for strategies and collaborating around what works best for students is key. Working together and communicating those ideals and brainstorms serves to only better the educational experience.

With a plethora of resources shared from today's professional development, the caring nature of a coffee barista acknowledging what educators do to educate kids, the conversations and reflections around the lessons from today's learning, anyone can take these important components of education into their educational practice: sharing resources both digitally and hard copies with one another, building up each other within our learning community, challenging, but encouraging collective feedback and connections about learning are all simple ways that go beyond the world of literacy or technology, but to all learners - educators and their students. 

Ultimately, it's about finding that spark for kids and how to apply it. Perhaps that's the newest book out in a series. Or maybe a new app that teaches both math and gamification such as Dreambox to engage our learners. How about connecting the reading through Shadow Puppet Edu? Whatever it is, we work together to find it, to help our students engage with their learning and achieve.

It's simple, really. As the quote on my coffee said this morning, "Know what sparks the light in you. Then use that light to illuminate the world." ~Oprah

One conversation at a time, one new idea applied, let's start the fireworks and have our students light up the sky.

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