Another wonderful day of learning, fun, inspiration, and camaraderie today at RSCON3. Who knew staying in front of a computer most of the day could be so awesome?
I woke up in time to hear the final minutes of Shelly Terrell‘s presentation about her 30 Goals Challenge, and as soon as I entered, she was answering a question, I think about what she defines as success. She said she considers herself a major success because she gets to do what she’s passionate about every single day. And as she said this, she was crying. Everyone was so moved. It showed a true genuineness that I think makes Shelly such a special person – it’s so obvious that she is motivated not by accolades or praise, but by her desire to help educators grow.
I was touched by Shelly’s passion, and really wanted to hang around for some more sessions, but life kind of got in the way and I did some stuff in my apartment to continue to get it in order. But I set my alarm for Hadley Ferguson‘s talk, “Movement is a 21st Century Skill.” Glad I did. It was awesome. She shared wonderful ideas to help get students moving in meaningful ways (as in not losing academic time) and was so enthusiastic that when she demanded we get up and move with her, I couldn’t resist. Good thing my webcam was disconnected in the other room. I had Hadley in mind as the day went by – I made plans to play basketball later in the day, knowing it would be healthier than just hanging around the computer.
Next up for me was Chiew Pang, one of the unsung heroes of RSCON. He was a big help to me and so kind, so I definitely wanted to go support him. Of course, it helped that he was presenting on the use of pictures to enhance creative language, perfect for my population of students. I wasn’t quite sure where Chiew was going until we were into it, and we had so much fun. His enthusiasm is great, he had a lot of interaction for us, and there was a wonderful compilation of ideas. I loved that Chiew essentially taught us a lesson and allowed us to learn, take it for what we could get out of it, without demanding our minds go in any one direction. Excellent experience, very calming and enjoyable.
Next was one of the highlights of the conference so far, a keynote address from Salome Thomas-EL. If you missed it, man, I’m sorry. You absolutely MUST listen to it when it becomes available. Principal EL for Secretary of Education? Oh, oh I do think so. From the moment he started speaking, it was for most of us, a range of emotional experiences including goosebumps, laughter, tears, pride, and confidence. This man knows how to energize and inspire. He dropped some wonderful stories on us, sprinkled in sagacious and catchy nuggets of inspiration, and made us remember why we do the job we do despite the negativity put on us. I couldn’t get his words on Twitter quickly enough! And come the evening, I was pretty honored to have discovered this in my feed.
My mother also emerged from the shadows to finally blog again, totally inspired by RSCON, and it was exciting to see her post circulating in the #RSCON3 stream. She is a critical member of my PLN (Private Life Network) and my PLN (Personal Learning Network). I urge you all to follow and reach out to her, especially if you are a student teacher or new teacher (she mentors student teachers) or have an interest in special education (30 years in the field).
I took a break in the evening to unwind a little bit, have some dinner, and prepare to moderate Pernille Ripp‘s session on meaningful blogging for all students. I was happy to be able to help her out in a small way, but as a bonus, her topic really struck a chord with me because I am almost certain I’m going to have my kids writing blogs this year. I have some uncertainties and concerns but attending Pernille’s session, as well as some others on student blogging, has helped. With the support of my PLN, I think it’s going to work. And, it goes without saying, people were totally excited by what Pernille talked about. I think people walked out of her presentation with a sense for some great possibilities. BONUS: Here is the technology letter she uses in her class. It is a great resource.
And speaking of great resources, so are all of you! I am so thrilled by the number of new followees and followers I’ve added since yesterday morning. There is no shortage of amazing people out there. We are truly on a wonderful journey together, and I can’t help but think the work we do together on Twitter and online to help each other learn and grow may someday translate into an awesome wave of meaningful reform and renewed respect for all of us.