Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflecting-- looking back to go forward to 2014

Image Credit

This morning thinking- where have I been, what's important, what matters most, where do I recommit and commit, what's my passion. Here's what I've decided for me.

What's important to me, what matters most--  
Possibilities -- My unswerving belief in possibilities-- possibilities yet unknown that will enrich my life experience; possibilities for Gus' health and well being; possibilities for public education and Connected Coaching.

Gus --  My soulmate, my confidante, my love-- who meets each day with resolve and determination, who often achieves the improbable, celebrated here:

Lurching, stumbling, reeling left right back front
Doing his best to put one foot in front of the other and stay upright
Fearless, courageous, never conceding
to the nerves frayed by an awry immune system,
muscles atrophied and weakened by MS

Doing what is possible
and in many cases seemingly improbable
Meeting danger head on with determination and PLFs

Public Education and Connected Coaching -- I am absolutely convinced that appreciative inquiry holds the greatest promise for change.  I believe that every educator wants to make a difference in student's lives. I believe that a strength based approach to coaching helps other realize their dreams and opens them to possibilities to accomplish all that they want for their students. I believe that Connected Coaching can make a huge difference in transforming education.

I want to be some small force to help make that happen. My father sent this quote to me when I was a young teen (he traveled often then and penned many handwritten letters) and it has become a guiding light for my life:
This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
George Bernard Shaw
Epistle Dedicatory to Arthur Bingham Walkley
“Man and Superman: a Comedy and a Philosophy”

 And so I recommit and commit to--

Being here for Gus--
Maintaining a focus on what's important-- 
Learning and reading and reflecting--
Getting better at helping others understand the potential of appreciative inquiry--
Growing and nurturing relationships-
Living and being the values and dispositions I hold dear--
Improving my coaching practice--

At this time of year, have you been thinking and reflecting too? To what are you recommitting and committing that are important to you?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Teaching in High Gear-- a compelling story

In Teaching in High Gear , Marsha Ratzel, NBCT, chronicles a powerful journey into connecting, collaborating, and transforming learning experiences for her students.

Marsha highlights the importance of connection -- with her local colleagues, with other global connected educators, with her students and with the content and context of her classroom. Her transparent sharing illustrates the potential of these connections to amplify and deepen student learning and also provides a roadmap for others to follow or adapt.

For educators feeling mired in prescriptive reform efforts yet yearning to design student centered learning experiences for their students, Teaching in High Gear demonstrates the possibilities, addressing head on concerns over coverage, time, and control.

When Marsha writes:
My students today “get” that learning is a process. And while
they may encounter moments where something doesn’t turn
out the way they expected, they know how to change that into
something positive. If students have a better idea than the one
I present, they ask me to change things up. We co-create and
co-learn with each other—we do the hard stuff. (p. 95)
We don't have to imagine how that happened. Because of her transparency, myriads of educators can now more comfortably forge their own journey to vast learning landscapes for both themselves and their students.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Something's happening here-

It's been a while since I titled a post with this
And it's long past time!

"We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down"
--Buffalo Springfield
Last week, thousands of students participated in the Hour of Code. 
Twitter was awash in tweets sharing images and happenings at #hourofcode

And the students in Amy Musone's 3rd grade classroom in York, PA proclaimed:
We are kids who code! 

How do we code? We communicate through communicating, writing, problem solving, and collaboration. We know that we have to be exact when we write code. If we make a mistake, we need to go back to debug, or fix the problem. 

Why do we code? Writing code is important in everything we do. From using the telephone to using the thermostat to keep our houses warm or cool, it's everywhere!
 They traveled quite a journey into coding starting here; watch them as they try out the algorithms they had written into code:

But you don't have to take my word for it as they have been transparent in sharing each step of their journey  (including meeting with second graders, and  Skype calls with local and global experts who code) here and here in their tweets.

They debugged, they learned how to shorten their code, and they wrote code so the Angry Bird could catch the naughty pig and the puppy could go on an adventure.

And they reflected--
I think coding is my favorite subject besides recess and lunch but those aren’t really something that teaches you. I think coding is really fun because you have to like figure out the mystery like whats the code.  -Ella

“We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down”
There’s something happening here! Are we watching and listening?

Friday, December 06, 2013

So much we can learn--

So much we can learn about dignity, humility, compassion, grace, living and making a difference--

Saturday, November 30, 2013

In the aftermath of a Twitter firestorm

image source
One tweet by an academic, referenced out of context in a post by a widely read news aggregator incited a firestorm of hate, obscenity, and vitriol in comments to the post and on Twitter. Fortunately, the website heeded correction comments logged by those in the academic's network requesting the post be removed. (purposefully not linking to any of it)

What can we learn and do--

Perhaps that humor is a real toughie in online spaces where opportunities for misinterpretation, for taking offense when nothing was intended abound.

Or maybe that we should be taking collective action against organizations who permit questionable journalism that results in innocent people becoming targets of hate-- through boycotts or civil comments.

Possibly that we should become more mindful of our own reactions and model that for others--- especially when the context is unknown and/or uncertain; that we assume best intentions until facts are evident; that we consider more carefully our ladder of inference.

"Like a pane of glass framing and subtly distorting our vision, mental models determine what we see." - Peter Senge

Or that we can be instrumental in fostering a return to civil discourse, to empathy, to gratitude; that through our own words, our own actions, our writing, our Tweets-- we can speak to the strengths of others, we can empathize, we can express gratitude, we can refuse to accept intolerance and vitriol in our presence and in our online networks.

We have a choice--  we can shake our heads, we can deplore what happened --  and then continue as we have been doing.


We can decide to do our part in changing the culture in which we live and learn with even greater intention.

In my small corner of the world and the online spaces in which I reside, I will. Will you join me?

Saturday, August 31, 2013

I believe

A saver of lots--
And finally cleaning out a folder in one drawer of my desk-
I came upon the following--
Not remembering when or why I wrote this--
But knowing it is what I believe--

I believe all children should have the opportunity to strive for their greatest potential and that every child can learn, not always in the same way or on the same day.

I believe that teaching is, at its core, a moral profession.  Helping students become connected, passion-driven learners is a moral issue. Most of us went into education to change the world, to help kids make a difference and we should always remember that.

I believe the digital era puts us in a position to collectively re imagine learning and to transform education into an experience with lasting relevance to the 21st century learner.

I believe that when we each bring our unique talents and gifts to a community of learners and engage in collegial discussions, we can change the world.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fireflies and school buses--

Last night--  the sun went down and the twinkling of fireflies captured my attention-
Always, they've seemed magical and caused me to wonder on their being, where they'd light next.

And then this morning, for the first time in 2 months, school buses rolled by our home, stopping as they proceeded north to pick up our high school neighbor; later, going south, they scooped up the first grader from the house on other side. It's the beginning of a new school year in Chardon.

A coincidence-- fireflies and school buses, the first day of school. Maybe for some but for me it was a perfect confluence -- for I'd been seeing Tweets galore about back to school and posts on blogs too. I'd been thinking lots on first days-- for so very many years they held great promise and possibility personally for me. I know they must for every teacher  too.

Here's my wish for Chardon's teachers and every educator as this new school commences (and here's how the fireflies come in).

I wish that every student will share the same feelings that John Steinbeck eloquently penned in "Captured Fireflies"

In her classroom our speculations ranged the world
She aroused us to book waving discussions.
Every morning we came to her carrying new truths, new facts,
New ideas cupped and sheltered in our hands like captured fireflies.
When she went away a sadness did not go out.
She left her signature upon us.
The literature of the teacher who writes on children's minds.
I've had many teachers who taught us soon forgotten things,
But only a few like her who created in me a new thing, a new attitude, a new hunger.
I suppose that to a large extent I am the unsigned manuscript of that teacher.
What deathless power lies in the hands of such a person.

I hope you'll reread Bud Hunt's eloquent classic letter to teachers especially the last few lines:

I wish you well. I ask you to be brave and humble and kind and tenacious and wise and caring and gentle and fierce.

And one last wish, I hope your students will find unconditional acceptance as they learn with you. Alfie Kohn's 2005 article in Educational Leadership speaks to the potential of Unconditional Teaching--

In short, unconditional acceptance is what kids require in order to flourish.

we need to think about whether our posture toward students really provides them with as much of the unconditional acceptance they need as possible.

Keep these close to your heart-- the magic of captured fireflies, the request for bravery, humility, kindness, wisdom, caring, gentleness and fierceness, and children's needs for unconditional acceptance -- especially on those days that are challenging and difficult and possibilities will abound--

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Powerful reflections--

In week 8 of the Connected Coaching eCourse, I invite co learners to reflect:


This quote on reflective teaching easily transfers to reflective coaching. Think coach or coaching for teach and the word coachee for students.
Reflective Teaching is a habit of mind that requires consciously thinking about how teaching practices impact students’ learning. According to Kennedy (1989) reflective teaching promotes a thoughtful, contextualized view of teaching from which teachers learn how to make choices about educational goals and practices. Just as we hope our students will show growth over time, as teachers we can show growth in our practice if we take the time to reflect.
Professional growth can occur if we first look back on our practice to draw conclusions about events, then change our behaviors as a result of research, knowledge and reflection. Teachers can become empowered decision makers, engaging in systematic reflection of their work by thinking, writing, and talking about their teaching; observing the acts of their own and others teaching and by gauging the impact of their teaching on their students’ learning (Farrell, 2004). http://edge.ascd.org/_The-Art-of-Reflection-What-you-need-to-do-to-improve-your-practice/blog/6094913/127586.html
And I suggest that they be transparent in their reflection.

The reflections of this group of co learners are thoughtful; they are powerful. These folks are on a journey deep into understanding coaching in online spaces and into being one of those coaches. They open a window onto learning and Connected Coaching.

Linda: "As coaches, we speak with a positive intent, believing in the competency, dedication, and capability of those we coach"  Coaching: Ten Essential Ideas | Nitsche Notes

Fiona: "“however when I decided to provide reflections on my colleagues reflections I realised that I was learning more deeply.” Reflecting on Connected Coaching | eLearning Reflections

Matt: "One of the most important concepts I have taken away from this experience is appreciative inquiry. I am constantly revisiting it. My goal is to reflect on my capacity to focus on the positive when working with other learners in online spaces. Reflections from My Connected Coaching eCourse #plpnetwork | Reading by Example

Lauren: "It really is a rare privilege to engage in this type of listening and conversation" Connected Coaches Course #plpnetwork | Innovation ANESU

Cathy: "It seems so obvious to me now that the power and beauty of the connected coaching model lies in “coming alongside” and supporting my colleagues as they explore and lead themselves on a journey which meets their own wants and needs."
Reflections on Learning to be a Connected Coach | Journeys off the Beaten Path

What a privilege to learn with Linda, Fiona, Matt, Lauren and Cathy!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Non cognitive competencies, professional learning, and coaching

How can we best prepare children and adolescents to thrive in the 21st century? This question is at the heart of what every educator attempts to do on a daily basis. Apart from imparting content of knowledge and facts, however, it’s becoming clear that the “noncognitive competencies” known as grit, perseverance, and tenacity are just as important, if not more so, in preparing kids to be self-sufficient and successful. -- source

And adults too? Grit as a non cognitive competency --- have educators given serious thought to this? And if we haven't should we? And doesn't grit and resilience apply to our learning too?

I've been thinking on that for a bit ---with five tabs open in my browser that I keep coming back to. And I've been reflecting upon this past year during which I supported coaches in PLP's Connected Learner Experience as they in turn supported learners in becoming more self directed in their own professional learning. One tab, Break Down, Rebuild, Start Fresh speaks to professional learning.  However, most of tabs (DRAFT: Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance—Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century; How to Foster Grit, Tenacity and Perseverance: An Educator’s Guide; Resilience: The Other 21st Century Skills; Grit: The Other 21st Century Skills) are about students being successful as 21st century learners. And I'm feeling they apply to educator professional learning too.

In her post on Grit which included the Duckworth video, Jackie Gerstein  captures the essence of grit:
 and the essence of resilience here:

In her post, she goes on to quote:
"In many cases, particularly with unfamiliar material, educators need to engage students in activities that bridge from their interests and familiar experiences to the learning objectives to help students attain more complex learning goals." (Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance—Critical Factors for Success)
 What if just a few words were altered?
In many cases, particularly with unfamiliar material, educators coaches need to engage students educators in activities that bridge from their interests and familiar experiences to the learning objectives to help students  them attain more complex learning goals.
Isn't that similar to this?
Your role as a connected coach will be to deepen the learning experience for those you coach. You will be the bridge from the theory they are hearing to practical application applied in their own personal contexts. Self directed learning is a connection activity. It requires connection to the content and context, to oneself, and to those who are part of the learning community, community of inquiry and the network. (Nussbaum-Beach and Ritter Hall)
And this-- a disposition we've (Sheryl and I) valued for both connected learners and Connected Coaches:
Perseverance toward deep thought by exploring ideas and concepts, rethinking, revising, and continual repacking and unpacking, resisting urges to finish prematurely
Perhaps there is a need to be more specific, to dig deeper with coaches and other connected learners than "perseverance".  For I am convinced-- grit and resilience are non cognitive competencies we as learners (and coaches) need too! So I'm thinking on additional ways that I might support coaches in the coming year-- I'm going to look more closely at the USDOE paper and draw and adapt what may be appropriate for adult learners in creating an environment that enables others to embrace their own grit and resilience. And encourage coaches to be mindful of that also. A work in progress here as I reflect, read, and think some more.

 As Sheryl has exhorted recently:
We’ve let circumstance define who we are and draw boundaries for us that are unnecessary. The means to bring about real shift — to resolve the issues that stand in the way of powerful learning and powerful practice — are found within the collective, collaborative mindset we have inside us.

Taking the posture of a learner first, educator second requires us to understand that we will never arrive at the place of “super educator.” The truth is that even if we solve the problems facing us as a profession, the solutions will only give way to new problems. Now more than ever we need to become the learners we have always wanted our students to be. 
My sense is grit and resilience are a big parts of that mindset she references--  as we each become more self directed in our learning.

Grit and resilience-- competencies, dispositions even more relevant for 21st century adult learners --I'm wondering if it's time for thinking deep on our own strategies and making them more visible to our colleagues and our students?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Community, relationships, authentic learning

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss

That's true for this video too!

More than 30 minutes of video worth watching
As a group of learners collaborate
And relationships develop both between the learners and the Meadowlark residents

Michael Wesch and his students created a video that illustrates the potential of passion and relationships on many levels.

The video techniques are engaging, powerful and compelling.
The stories-- of the students, of the residents, of the assisted living model
Exemplify all that is good when people are open in engaging and sharing with each other--

The seniors' stories touched my soul-- of love, of life, of death, of coping.

The students' realizations of the depth of their authentic learning around both community and the impact of the relationships they developed caused me to smile broadly.

The model of community at Meadowlark, complete with bar, gave me great hope.

That each of us can experience this type of opportunity for learning, for caring and share that with our students-- what could be better?

And you've got to watch it to the end!
And then, smile because it happened--

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Photo Credit

"The flow of water carves rock, a little bit at a time. And our personhood is carved, too, by the flow of our habits."
--Jonathan Safran Foer

It happened twice! within an hour--

We were out grocery shopping in the heat--
On a Saturday morning--
In and out of air conditioning, into the hot car--
And with that, Gus was having increasingly more trouble walking--

And twice, total strangers-- 2 different caring men-- approached us, asking they could help, were we ok?

And my mind came back to the tab that's been open in my browser since June 8 when Stephen Ransom shared this opinion piece from the NYTimes on Twitter-- How Not to be Alone.  So much food for thought there-- for example the quote above-- that resonated with me.

And yet, the sentence that came before it gave me pause and caused me to leave that open. 
My daily use of technological communication has been shaping me into someone more likely to forget others.
Perhaps it's because of where we live and the tragedy that struck our small town--

Perhaps it's because of the habit of care modeled by my parents-- Daddy sent this to me when I was young and I've carried it with me
"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy." -- George Bernard Shaw
Perhaps it's because of my alma mater and my years there that profoundly influenced me--

Perhaps it's because of the generosity and caring I find in many online spaces --

Perhaps it's because of  SLA's authentic use of technology and their ethic of care --

Perhaps it's because of the kindness of those 2 men yesterday--

I'd like to believe that technology and care can and do co exist and actually amplify the other---

Lots more in that post to ponder--

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fall Hazard


Every April one of Bud Hunt's prompts totally captures my attention and this April is no different. This year Prompt 12 was compelling to me.

It's the living room,
the kitchen,
the bedroom,
the bathroom
the stairs,
the grass,
the parking lot

Lurching, stumbling, reeling left right back front
Doing his best to put one foot in front of the other and stay upright
My honey, my soulmate--

Fearless, courageous, never conceding
to the nerves frayed by an awry immune system,
muscles atrophied and weakened by MS

Fall hazards everywhere--
Doing what is possible
and in many cases seemingly improbable
Meeting danger head on with determination and PLFs

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A new journey into Connected Coaching

My father was a mechanical engineer, a man of the slide rule, precise and always planning ahead of time (I still have his plan for my garden done to scale). When my sister and I were young, he would call AAA one time each year-- for maps for our 2 week vacation when we'd take a trip-- to New York, to Washington, to Jamestown. All of those trips-- as wonderful as they were, the memories so vivid as if they were yesterday-- were all about the destination.

photo credit
I can still picture those AAA maps clearly in my head (I can't find an image) -- they would be in a booklet format with a number of pages and the route we would take was highlighted with a marker. We'd go so many miles and have to flip the page to see the map for the next leg of our journey. When our trip was longer, there would a notation at the motel where we would spend the night. We knew just where we were going and when and eagerly explored those maps prior to our departure.

School, for me, was a planned journey too-- one in which I had no part in planning the destination or the travel. I was simply along for the ride-- usuallyone lacking side trips-- Sure, I had 1 or 2 options of courses I could take-- all which had to fit within the profile needed to gain entrance to college. The one learning journey of my own choosing in high school-- a source of great pride and meaning to me-- was with a group of adults in night school. At the height of the Cold War, and a senior, I had decided I wanted to teach Russian; having no options for doing that in the high school, with my parents blessing I spend a semester learning Russian-- in conversations, listening to stories of the adult learners. Здравствуйте Zdrastvooyte  (Hello) and Спасибо Spaseeba (Thank you) pretty much define my remembering of the language; it was the journey that I carried with me to this day.

Fast forward--

Our trips in this day of Google Maps and GPS are wide open, flexible and at times on the spur of the moment, at least for Gus and I. They are more about the journey- the times we spend together in the car singing with Chicago, Three Dog Night, and Seals and Croft and the stops and sidetrips we make along the way-- rather than the destination.

My learning journeys and the ones I facilitate for others have evolved too, from carefully planned with a specific destination to wide open with room for serendipitous and more personalized learning. As a co learner and facilitator, the possibilities arising from inquiry and following passions capture my imagination-- compelling a quest for deeper understanding.

My most recent trek into Connected Coaching was no different--

I had the privilege in the January to mid March section of the Connected Coaching eCourse to travel with an accomplished group of co learners, many with significant experience in face to face coaching.  Although I hope that everyone in the course will always view the potential for change in our Connected Coaching model and see the possibilities throughout the process, I am never sure how our journey will play out for so many reasons. Since I've requested that each co learner create his/her own learning contract, since I've stressed our time together is about their following their personal interests under the umbrella of coaching in online spaces-- it has been my fervent hope that that request and some possible paths outlined mapped in the MentorMob playlists and
weekly overviews set the stage for organic, messy, linked learning increasing the likelihood of trips characterized by detours, side trips and loop backs.

For this trek, the discussion and angst around the learning contracts which are shared with the entire group and for which many request feedback went deep with serious questions around its purpose and value. Initially, this request (the learning contract and it is a request as are all the learning opportunities) is open with few parameters or introduction. When the questions arose  I added a resource on heutagogy that speaks to the importance of self governed learning, the contracts filled the discussion thread as did comments supporting each others efforts and various paths towards personal goals emerged. We were on our way-- together. And I had my first big aha moment! When I had adapted the learning contract for the eCourse, I had not given thought(and should have) to the connotations of "contract". When Doris  suggested she'd prefer to call her contract a learning pledge-- my brain stopped for a moment-- and then realized the implications and what a difference one word can make and how much more aligned pledge is to the community building of the eCourse and to the Connected Coaching model! Next trip-- learning pledge is it!

What else characterized this journey? Where did we go? What learning landscapes did we explore with each co learner as point person at one time or another?

Exploration of trustbuilding, co creating content was in many ways similar to other journeys-- the collaborative presentation illustrated beautifully the many and varied perspectives on building trust in online spaces.

Appreciative inquiry; listening, paraphrasing and questioning; stories; protocols -- became high points as we uncovered their potential in coaching. Lisa and Carol engaged in a remarkable appreciative inquiry conversation in one webinar; in breakout rooms, coaching pairs spread their AI wings as they responded to each others stories and aspirations. And upon request, they coached each other again and again! Stopping there and exploring-- exciting, exhilarating -- and a first for the cohorts with whom I've traveled. The potential of story to elicit areas of strength and passion captured the attention of co learners and enabled some very personal "aha" moments. Through stories, such as the one below, we came to more fully know and trust each other.

The wayfinding, the inquiry, the strength based approach-- modeled in the course and extolled in the Connected Coaching model compelled Janelle to write:
"What I have come to understand is that coaching online especially connected coaching has the essence of what makes us tick in person as well as online and that it is the embodiment of inquiry that is truly essential. What better way to be coached than through thoughtful questions, exploration in a dynamic environment not pre-packaged or pre-defined. We have the liberty to innovate as we work in partnerships with teachers, coach and learn as we make our way."   

The co learners traveled a formerly unbeaten path deep into protocols in the threaded discussions and in the webinars. As they skillfully led and implemented protocols in the webinars, learning landscapes for everyone widened and expanded. Carol engaging the group in Speed Dating Brainstorming and The Workstyles protocol truly illustrated her exhortation in chat "the power of protocols". Jennifer's brainstorming question around reflection led to a leveraging of technology for unique and meaningful reflections. Eric's thoughtful explanation of Immunity to Change compelled each of us to consider its use more deeply.

The reflections, often a path less traveled, revealed that immersion in an strength based inquiry environment facilitates personal learning rated by Amanda as "profound". For Eileen, our journey was a bit of a surprise:
"As I reflected back on my learning contract I was so focused on the technology piece but what I really got out of this course was a deep understanding of what coaching is and how stories, positive inquiry and coming from strength can really affect change. Very powerful for me."
Eric discovered:
"I’ve known for a long time about the value of careful listening and paraphrasing, but I learned to focus on the positive perspective in the paraphrasing--for the purpose of helping the other recognize strengths they might not see for themselves--and then to build on those strengths moving forward."
Reflections, filled with learning and realizations, demonstrate "our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”-- Don Williams, Jr.

Fellow travelers define the journey-- more so when they are passioned, smart, eager to travel, always ready to explore a new view, or examine the implications for the bumps in the road/the meaningful detours. This journey was no exception. What an honor and a privilege it was to have Amy Musone as my traveling partner co facilitating and learning with me. She added a new dimension to learning for all of us with her practitioner perspective pointing to new horizons.

It was a trek I'll long remember-- deep into areas often passed by -- all for the love of the journey.

Unlike Dad's- without a clear roadmap-- thinking he might not find that a bad thing--

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It does!

One of my favorite reads these days is John T. Spencer's edrethink -- so much of what he writes and thinks resonates deeply with me. His post from early February, Age Matters,  has been an open tab on my browser for almost 2 months now and his words ring continue to ring true for me.

This from his final paragraph speaks to me in so many ways and I wanted to share it out loud here:
I believe that children of all ages are capable of deep thinking. I believe that they can shock us with their wisdom and their insight and their knowledge. But I also believe that they are kids. And as kids, they don't think like adults. Not entirely, at least. So, when you ask a fourth grader to identify the key details in a job application or you ask a second grader (who still can't comprehend the size of the sea) to learn longitude and latitude, it's about as absurd as having an open bar in the cafeteria.

Photo credit

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

One year later--

This is a screen capture of the live feed of our town square running this morning on http://www.newsnet5.com.

It's one year today since a terrible tragedy befell our small town. A 17 year old shot and killed 3 students in the cafeteria of our local high school and wounded 3 others.

The community and the students of Chardon lived the "one heartbeat" slogan that became the mantra for healing and red/black ribbons (colors of the high school) were everywhere.

Yesterday the now 18 year old young man responsible for this death and pain pled guilty to all charges thus averting a painful and long trial. And last night the high school band and orchestra played a memorial concert for the community to give back for all that had been given to them.

Today the students will be involved in service projects of their choosing. From the beginning they have been all about supporting each other and the community. And they will participate in a  collective walk to the square as they did one year ago when they walked from the square to the high school to enter the building for the first time after the tragedy.

The generosity of people from across the nation who contributed to the Chardon Healing Fund will continue to support all those in need as they continue to move forward from that difficult day.

The resilience, the strength and courage, and the humanity of Chardon students, of  staff of Chardon Schools and of parents shines brightly today as the TV cameras once again invade our town. That light will continue long after they are gone and nurture the ongoing healing process.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Are they real?

I've been asked about online relationships-- are they real-- a number of times--

Here's my response--

They are real! And they evoke emotions as deep as any I’ve experienced in face to face life.

For example, Sheryl and I have met face to face only twice for about a total of 1 hour in the 6 years we have collaborated together; our book was written totally in the cloud. Yet we know each other’s family; we’ve laughed at the antics of her dachshunds and we’ve shared deeply personal stories. As we Skyped one day I laughed so hard that tears flowed down my cheeks as she described her “wardrobe malfunctions” to me.  

Anne Davis, an educator in Georgia whom I’ve never met, and I laughed over comments made by her students for Harley, our Shepherd who mentored them on his blog . She and I commiserated over the health issues of our spouses, we problem solved how to deal with inappropriate comments on student blogs, and she grieved with me when we had to say good bye to our beloved Harley. 

When I read stories from community members about successes of their students, tears of happiness fill my eyes.  When co learners in eCourses I facilitate experience “aha” moments, I smile –very, very broadly. My husband catches those smiles and wonders—and often I read to him. During affirmations at the final webinar of the Connected Coaching eCourse, my voice catches, tears fill my eyes at the deep relationships learners developed and their extraordinary learning; inevitably there is at least one other who shares tears too. The feelings and emotions I’ve shared virtually are as palpable as any I’ve experienced. 

Online relationships are real, are deep, are meaningful, are fulfilling.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Possibility, Open, and Focus

It's the New Year!
So full of possibility--

This year as I reflected, it just seems to me that one word, one theme, that I've found to be particularly helpful to me needs to expand to 3.

My three words--

They complement each other. They can converge to enable that which I can not imagine. Although open and focus seem contradictory, I believe that openness to new ideas and a focus on what is important can lead to untold possibilities.

This year, as with others, I look to the possibilities that will abound.

Imagine my surprise when I searched for the "one word" post to reference after I began this writing to find that Ali's word was also open.

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