Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Talking Social Media With Your Children


Today's adolescent does not communicate the way we do. Social media is one of the main ways of communication and our world morphs ever so slightly into different most popular choices. As a mom on the cusp of the social media world with adolescents I protected my children maybe too much at times. If I had pre-teens today I definitely wouldn't let them have social media accounts (to me the risk outweighs the gain) but I would start the social media world with my 13 year olds as soon as I could with accountability and talks. This blog post is to help with that navigation for interested parents.

 As a teen of the 80's I received my first telephone for my room at age 13. Land lines had been around a while but to have your own phone in your room wasn't something that my parents had as a luxury. The thing about land lines is that there was always this overriding sense of accountability because anyone in the house could pick up and listen in at any moment (and some people were really good at doing it in stealth mode).

Cue the teen of the 90's and the mass use of the flip phone. The world of texting begins. A way to send short messages to others when talking wasn't practical. Also enters a generation of people that would rather tell you hard stuff in a text instead of facing the issue head on. Texting adds a facade of privacy and creates a boldness in saying things one might not say face to face. I struggled as a parent to allow my children to have their own phone. The accountability seemed so much harder.

Enter the new millennium and the smart phone. Not only can our children talk to whomever they want when they want but they have access to the world wide web at their fingertips all the time- including social media. I took the plunge, I had a recently diagnosed 11 year old with type 1 diabetes that I wanted to be connected with at all times. As a mom of a child with a life threatening disease, giving her a smartphone was a no brainer...and her 14 year old sister got one at the same time, naturally. (I hope you picked up on the sarcasm there- we were living in the day of my 14 year old being the ONLY player on her basketball team without her own phone). I was a late adopter for child connectedness for sure.

The thing is it wasn't like adults had the chance to navigate this first. It wasn't like teaching your child how to drive a car where we learned years ago and we knew the pitfalls. We were learning side by side through trial and error with our children. And the truth of the matter is, many parents have worse digital citizenship skills than the children.

One of the things I do when I talk to students about social media is give them the Philippians 4:8 litmus test. I have them look at what they are potential going to post through this lens:
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."

So I share with you these questions that might be good to discuss with your children in regards to social media:

Is it true? Do I know the things I'm posting or reposting is truth? There is so much #fakenews out there. Even websites that purposefully post satirical fake news about the Christian faith, for instance. The website looks real, we trust what we see on someone else's page. Teach your child to question what they read and see. Show them how to hunt for the information on Google to see if any other sources quote it. Don't post things you are unsure about whether it be about a school mate or the president. 

Is it noble? We are all in this walk in the world together. The phrase "walk a mile in your brother's shoes" is important here. Social media allows us to quickly share gossip- real or unreal- like wildfire. Choose the path that leads to admiration. Would you want it to be said about you? The dictionary says noble means "having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals." Step away from the opportunities to tear down others whether you know them or not. 

Is it pure? Would you be ashamed if your grandma saw it? I'll never forget the day my 16 year old walked in the room and said, "Mom you know what will make you think hard about what you post of Instagram? When your grandma starts following you." And she did! My mom loves to see what is going on in the lives of her grandchildren. Would you want grandma to see this post? Could the post cause detriment to your character down the road? What are your motives for posting this? Is it for more likes? To build your self-esteem? Every post you make leaves a digital footprint that is far reaching into your future. Don't choose to post something today that might impact your future self.

Is it praiseworthy? Who do you seek praise from? What is your goal in posting? Is it to boast or is it to share your excitement? Do a heart check. What is the reason I want to share this? Being boastful and prideful on social media magnifies this character flaw. A key thing to remember with social media is that we are seeing everyone's "highlight reel." If you are comparing your life with what you see on social media you aren't seeing the whole picture. Keep that in mind when you are making a choice on what to share or judging what others have shared. If you are seeking to feel "better" or "more" by using social media you will be disappointed. Make sure you seek your praise from worthy places, for me- it is my desire to not seek the praise of man but of God. Reminding myself of that is important. 

Is it lovely? Is this moment worthy of just enjoying and not posting for all to see? Should I protect this from scrutiny? Is there a reason I need to share this very special time in my life? Is it going to make the moment better? Could it possibly take away from the moment and the memory? Don't forget to be "all in." Remind yourself to set the phone down and enjoy the here and now. The missed opportunity of being engaged in life is so much bigger than the chronicling of every moment. Be purposeful in stepping away from the device. Focus on the lovely and sometimes savor it deep inside you without sharing it. There is nothing wrong with that.






Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Value of Literature


I'm side tracking from my usual blog posts because I have a story that I need to release from my inner being. On December 5, 1997 I was 34 weeks into my pregnancy with my second child and I started spotting. Being absolutely clueless that anything could truly be really wrong I called the doctor and he told me to go to the hospital. I packed the diaper bag for my 18 month old, called my husband to come get us and nonchalantly called my mother- who being much more in touch with the real world said "I'll meet you there."

I was taken back and immediately they used the monitor to find the heartbeat of our baby. There wasn't one. The shock that followed was immense. There was no indication whatsoever that there was anything possibly wrong with this baby or this pregnancy until that morning. All ultrasounds appeared normal, I had one completely normal child, it wasn't on my radar that anything could be wrong. We were then told that we would have to deliver the baby and I was taken to a delivery room and given meds to cause me to go into labor. I remember asking, "can't you just take it?" but the answer was no and the process began. The waiting room filled up with our friends and family in shock with us. I mourned. And then the geneticist walked into the room to do a second ultrasound. As she started explaining what she saw, including the fact that it was a girl (which we had chosen not to know up to that point), she explained all the birth defects she was seeing. Our sweet Grace Morrow  Davis had a cleft lip, a shriveled hand, a club foot and the kicker was the cyst on the side of her neck that was bigger than her head and probably caused the heart failure that led us to the hospital that day because her heart couldn't pump enough blood through it and the rest of her body without going into distress. Baby Grace was riddled with birth defects (and these were just the ones that they could see on the ultrasound) and I was completely unprepared for the next few hours. Quite honestly, I feared her.

After countless hours of labor it was time to deliver our Grace. My doctor was out of town but another doctor who I loved dearly and who had delivered our Jessica came into the room. He had known me for years because I had actually been his accountant. He sweetly came into the room, rubbed the top of my head and asked if I was ready. I wasn't, but it was time. My mom stood on one side of me and my husband on the other. We had made a pact, none of us were going to look at her at the birth, we would look at her together. As I started pushing the most startling thing ever happened, baby Grace exploded out of my body spraying the room with all the things that come along with birthing. Dr. Ordonez was as shocked as we were and he was covered in blood. And then nothing happened. There was no small cry that I had been hearing from the other rooms around my birthing room. There was no excitement and joy. There was quiet- the loudest quiet I had ever experienced. The nurse whisked the baby out of the room, the doctor left with her and I wailed. I hadn't really let loose until then but it was like I had been hoping beyond hope that they all were wrong. They were not.

Dr. Ordonez comes back into the room and tells the nurses to prepare me for a D&C procedure. My mom hugs me, my husband holds my hand and I am wheeled into the hallway outside the operating room where my delivery nurse walks up and says "I know you wanted to see her but if you are considering having any more children I would suggest you don't. She looks like a monster." And in that split second I looked at my husband and made a decision that would be with me for the rest of my life. I said, "I don't want to see her. The vision I have in my head is of a perfect child." They wheeled me into the OR and I looked at my doctor and said "I'm about to be sick." He said, "put her under." My next memory is of my mom going off on a group of nurses wheeling me into a hospital room because they were trying to transfer me to a bed but the IV was pulling out of my arm because they forgot I had it in. I heard my mom saying "hasn't she been through enough" and saw a large majority of my family standing behind her in shock. I fell asleep in grief.

The next day a hospital psychiatrist came by and tried to lead me through the decision of whether or not to look at Grace before I left the hospital. She politely weighed the options for me to have that time with her and when it was all said and done my husband and I decided to have photos made of her to look at "one day" if we chose to. We never touched her or saw her. We then had a graveside burial service for her and that chapter of our life shut with the same feeling of shock as it began 2 days before.

To this day that time of my life feels much like a bad dream. Surreal with very real emotions. There are a lot of extra stories I could add here, both humorous and sad, about the next few days but lets just leave it with it was the hardest thing I had ever been through. To this day I have a beautiful box sitting in the corner of my kitchen that contains all the cards we received during that time and somewhere deep within is a sealed envelope with photos of Grace Morrow Davis, who never took one breathe on this earth, that my husband and I have never looked at even though she would now be 20 years old.

I was immediately angry with God and then trying to make sense of it all I decided it was what was best for Grace because she would not have had the quality of life we would have wanted for her had she lived. For 20 years I have wrapped my head around that idea and tucked it away and then 2017/2018 happened. God works in strange and mysterious ways and uses others and things to talk to us and through us. Social media gets a bad reputation but it can also be used for good. Time and time again my life shows the rollercoaster ride that social media can cause.

In 2017 I watched another much younger mom sharing the lose of her child that immediately reopened that time period of my life with Grace. I reached out to her on social media and loved her as best I could. I also watched another younger mother give birth to triplets- one of which had a cleft lip and saw her acceptance and love for him as he was and their journey in getting it fixed for him. In 2017 I saw a chapel talk posted on social media given by a senior at CCS that has craniofacial anomalies and watching that shook me to the core. The joy she had in her life due to the love she has for her heavenly father, the support she has from her amazing family and her ability to focus her life on the positive allowed me to look at her and think to myself "she is perfect." All the 20 years of what I had been telling myself about Grace started pushing against me like a storm. All the guilt I had from never holding her and somehow letting her know I loved her (at least in my mind) came crashing in around me. And so I started to let myself look differently at what I had held as beliefs about her and I started to look for ways to open my mind farther. Here enters the book called Wonder by RJ Palacio, which by the way is currently in theaters as a movie and on my list to see- but maybe from my sofa.

I'll be honest, I wanted to read it at a time when I could allow my emotions to come if they needed to so I had been putting off reading this book until Christmas break. Our sixth graders had read it first semester and been given some amazing experiences by actually communicating with the author. It was in the forefront of my brain as a must to read most of this school year. If you aren't familiar with it this is how School Library Journal describes it: "August, nicknamed Auggie, is a 10-year-old with a facial deformity that causes others to avoid and even shun him. When he enters a mainstream school, Auggie must learn to cope with difficult new situations and new people. The narrative is told from the perspectives of Auggie, his new friends, his sister, and her boyfriend. Steele's Auggie is raspy, quick, and delivered in a conversational tone, while Rudd and Podehl give a full range of vocal performances that bring the remaining characters to full light. α(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted."

Isn't it interesting when a long held belief or idea is suddenly shook as possibly not right in our lives? Or we live to a ripe age of 48 (like myself) and we realize something for the first time and we think "how did I not know that?" That's where I am. These sequence of events with the final culminating event of reading the book Wonder has caused me to question all the things I had accepted regarding Grace and why she did not live. But in that questioning, for the first time ever I have also come to a place where I realize I don't have to have a reason any more. With everything that happens in our life we often feel we need to know the WHY. As an educator I actually am on a quest to start discussions and lessons with the WHY because it helps with acceptance.  But here I am saying I don't feel like I need to know the WHY of Grace anymore. I also feel like had she lived, she would have brought value to my life but even in death she has brought value to my life as she has caused me to see life for the fragile moment it is. She has caused me to empathize with the lives of others and support them through some hard times. She has caused me to see beauty as something so much deeper than accepted social norms. 

I sit here writing this post and thinking about those photos in that beautiful box. I'm toying with the idea of taking them out and looking at them. Here is what I know, due to the book Wonder and the chapel talk of Elsie Corbett I know that if I looked at those photos today I would be able to view them differently than in the past. Circumstances change us but so does literature. I find myself questioning "what is normal? and who defines it? And maybe just maybe those that aren't normal are what brings wonder to this world."

When students tell me they hate reading I find myself thinking "you just haven't found something that resonates with your soul. Be patient my friend. Keep trying." I'm thankful for the love of reading that is inside of me and for the gifted authors that help me to see outside of my comfort zone both personally and professionally.  



Thursday, January 4, 2018

Authentic Embedded Professional Development? It's possible.



Professional development- Before you start throwing me shade and rolling your eyes and immediately go into "it's a waste of my planning time" hear me out. There are other ways to do it. Lately, I realized that not all of our teachers are familiar with the design thinking process. Inservice days are few and far between and teachers often need those days to prepare for the new semester. At our school we basically have them at the beginning of the school year, beginning of second semester, and at the end of the school year. All these times are terribly busy for educators. I'll be honest, I actually asked if I could use a 1/2 day in January for a Design Thinking Professional Development leader to come in and share with our teachers. Thankfully, our Lower School head of schools and our curriculum coordinator wanted to protect that time so the teachers could work in their classroom. I say thankfully because it caused me to have to become creative with how to do this.

So, we are starting a 5 week all school design thinking challenge. Each week the teachers will work through one of the 5 steps of design thinking  (this is a great link put together by one of our STEAM Business Partner's Bridge Innovate) with their students. I will send an email out to the teachers to explain the step and they will take their students to the following display on a prominent wall in the school and work on that week's step:


 I can't wait to get this design thinking opportunity underway. I hope that it proves to be beneficial to our students, teachers and possibly even our entire school as we reimagine our school and how to improve it! This challenge will create opportunities for our teachers to hit the ISTE Standards for Educators that include: Learner, Designer, and Facilitator. It will allow the students to tap into the ISTE Standards for Students that include: Global Collaborator and Innovative Designer. This challenge will also support the goals and professional development needed for our STEAM program to continue to grow forward. Stay tuned for more details. Below is an example of the email I sent out today to our teachers to explain the process and the WHY. I am striving this year to always start with the WHY.

Teachers,
Have you seen the "Designing CCS" display by the front office wall? So first of all we all owe a BIG thank you to Shonda and Myra for protecting our time to work so much in the classroom for the last two days. I know it is always helpful to start back with time to plan. That being said, Shonda and Myra didn't want to burden you with professional development learning during that time. We do desire for our school to have an understanding of the design thinking process that Jessica Yandell is utilizing during STEAM though. So what better way to learn about it than have an "all school" Design Thinking Challenge? 

Starting on Monday we are asking you to stop by the display sometime during the week with your class and come up with one area that relates to the CHALLENGE phase. Once your class comes to an agreement on what area you would like to see improvement, add your sticky note observation to the white page. It's ok if different classes pick the same thing. It's also ok to dream big. So your job is for your class to choose one photo and make observations about how to improve CCS. On your sticky note finish the following statement:
We can improve the CCS community by...

Each week we will go on to the next step and I will send an email out to you so you can see what the expectations are for that week. So while this is a learning process for your students, it is also a professional development opportunity for you. Win/win. 

Thank you for all you do to support STEAM at CCS and for the way you accept both Jessica and myself in this endeavor. Let's design CCS!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2017


As I look back over my blog posts of 2017, I share with you my top ten read posts. I always find it interesting what topics are most intriguing to those that read my writing. I'll be honest, there seems to be a direct correlation between number of reads and when my friend Steven W. Anderson posts my blog links on Twitter. Thank you, Steven for your unintentional advertising for a friend! The list below is in proper reverse David Letterman form from least to greatest number of reads (but believe me, many are out there in the 2017 year wishing they had made this list!):

10.  My #ISTE17 Takeaways The International Society for Technology in Education is the largest   educational technology convention offered. I was fortunate for my school to fund the opportunity for me to attend this summer. I know there are tons of educators out there that would love the chance to attend but don't get to do so. It's no surprise that people wanted to read this post in order to live vicariously through an attendee.

 9.   Rocketbook Wave Reusable Notebooks: Educational Purposes? Analog collides with digital in this blog post. When I tell people about the Rocketbook Wave Notebook they don't believe me, it seems to magical. Check it out though- Rocketbook has come out with even more products since this post.

 8.  Creative Writing with Art Prompts in www.storybird.com We love free things for education! I love opportunities for our students to have a wider audience! Storybird.com utilizes beautiful artwork to help students tap into their creative writing.

 7.  When a Technology Coordinator Unplugs Last Christmas vacation I spent time off technology...kinda. I think we all struggle with finding the balance between being a connected individual and someone living in the here and now. We worry even more about our children/students finding the importance of unplugging.

 6. Wonderful Ways to Make Educational Graphics Educators know visuals help in the learning process as well as create opportunities for fun engagement. This post gives some concrete ways that allow educators to find their inner artistic side with ease.

 5.  What is Technology Integration Success?   How much is enough? How much is too much? Starting with the WHY is important to figuring out the WHAT. As educators we all should be teaching digital citizenship skills/responsibilities to our students. Assuming digital natives know how to use technology wisely is not acceptable. We wouldn't throw the keys to drive a car to someone without training. We must train our students to use tech (access to the world) correctly as well.

 4.  The Writing Process that Utilizes Tech Integration Good writing skills are important in life. Utilizing technology to undergird those skills are a part of our future. This blog post was written while I was trying to discern for myself what good tech integrated writing should look like. Honestly, I might have grown through some of this since writing (and that is the beauty of blogging and why I believe all educators should blog).

 3. Educators as Empowered Learners The ISTE standards for educators start off by asking teachers to be empowered learners. This blog post kicked off an 8 part series that looked at what it means for educators to be held accountable to technology standards.

 2. Family STEAM Night Cardboard Challenge Last year our school had 2 different family STEAM nights and this blog post talked about the ease and creativity we saw during the "Cardboard Challenge" night. Our students and their parents/siblings tapped into their creative side after watching  this video about Caine's Arcade.

 1. Parenting in the Digital Age  To say this was my most read blog post would be an understatement. We are in a world of exponential growth when it comes to technology usage. Parents worry what is enough and what is too much. This blog post made some suggestions in helping your family find its balance.







Wednesday, December 27, 2017

One Word: Perspective


Every year I try to start the new year with a word that would be helpful for me. Last year I read Start with Why by Simon Sinek and it has led me to this year's one word: Perspective.

As an educator, reading Mr. Sinek's book made me start looking at the "why's" regarding the things I do and the expectations we place at our school regarding educational technology. I am a big fan of backward planning- starting with the end goal in mind and then working out what it would take to get to the end result wanted. By asking myself "WHY" I am making sure my perspective is correct. My goal is to always ask myself "What's best for the students?" That leads me to my goal of focusing on my perspective this year. 

Sometimes I find myself in meetings and it is only natural that we start thinking about changes from our own perspective. How is this going to impact me or my classroom? It's very easy to start worrying about myself instead of keeping my perspective on the real goal: "Is this what is best for the students?" It's a slippery slope where we can find ourselves making decisions based on cost or ease of use when talking about educational technology. But the bottom line should always be "Is this what is best for our students?" 

Perspective is different based on our individual pasts and training but if I focus on a guiding question that is bigger than my own "camp" then I am both open to the perspectives of others and feel confident about what I believe due to the desire to keep my guiding questions focused on my students and not me. 

As I work towards reminding myself of the needed perspective this year, I hope my focus on others will allow me to see big pictures better. I tend to be someone that gets excited about the potential of educational technology for our students. In my past it would be fair to judge me and say that I tried to lead with technology instead of student needs. I am not that person any longer. I am quite certain that through much reading, research and soul searching I am a better instructional technologist than I have been- I have grown. It is my desire to continue on this path. So my one word for 2018 is Perspective. May I ever be mindful of not allowing the technology to displace the pedagogy nor the pedagogy to displace the person. 


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Jesus was an Innovator.


INNOVATION: The place where NEED and PASSION intersect under an umbrella of CREATIVITY

It is my opinion that Jesus was the ultimate innovator. Out of wine at a wedding? No problem, let me turn some water into wine for this shindig. Too many people to feed? No problem, give me a few loaves and fishes and I'll feed this crowd. The masses won't listen to me? Oh well, I'll go hang out with the people that aren't accepted and love and accept them. Need to spread the word? I'll gather together a random group of men to share the good news. Speaking of good news, they aren't really listening to the message, I know...I'll speak in parables so that my message will be relevant forever. Jesus looked for ways to be innovative to best meet the needs of people. As a christian, spending time looking at how Jesus taught others is part of my life. As an educator, I can't help but see that his teaching would be considered entertaining, as well as cutting edge in many ways. His tactics were questioned by the traditional masses. His scope and sequence, curriculum mapping and goals seemed gasp worthy at times. 

When Jesus prayed for his disciples he said in John 17:14 "I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world." It is commonly heard in Christian circles that we are to be in this world but not of it. Is this not the place that innovation begins? Are we not then called to be innovators? Did Jesus not model reaching every person with his message- not just the Jewish people but the Gentiles as well? Not just those that appeared morally upright but the tax collectors and prostitutes?

Forgive the analogy but does that not also mean that I have a responsibility to teach not only the easy student but the hard student as well? Could that possibly mean looking for ways to innovatively personalize the educational process for each student? Dare I say tapping into the use of technology that allows for this type of thing to not only be possible but to be a positive impact on education for students that often don't see education in a positive light? 

If I am to be seen as different in this world is it to utilize my innovative "bent" for a greater good? Is that truly even different in today's world? If I am to be different in this world, does that mean speaking into things like artificial intelligence, algorithms and iOT devices from a biblical perspective?

If I am to be different in this world, am I to teach others as individuals and not as a collective whole? Am I to do away with the concept of average? Am I to be seen as a rebel or a revolutionary in the educational arena? This is all about me but what about other educators? What should education look like in the future? Contemporary or classical? I think we would all agree not antiquated. Is there a right or a wrong perspective? Can the varying perspectives live harmoniously together? If I expect to reach the individual student should I not also have respect for the individual teacher?  How much innovation is enough? Too much? How do we measure it's effectiveness? Should that be a goal? 

I do believe Jesus was an innovator. I wrestle with what a modern day Jesus would look like- what modes of communication would he tap into? How would he teach the masses? I do believe Jesus was an innovator. In a world that weekly creates efficiencies to both learn the user and streamline the learning process through technology advancements, I believe I am called to be an innovator as well...for the masses. 





Monday, December 18, 2017

Connecting School Learning with Local Businesses...even for elementary students.

I'm thankful for Chattanooga and how it supports education in the Tennessee Valley. I'm thankful for local businesses that support the learning happening at Chattanooga Christian School. Recently we have been blessed by support from Bridge Innovate to allow our students to participate in a design thinking challenge. This is the second year that we have had a team to participate in this wonderful opportunity. This year the theme is "Transportation of the Future."

We have 6 fifth grade students that are participating in the challenge. These 6 students are using the design thinking process to dream about the future of transportation in the Chattanooga area. They have brainstormed and were broken up in groups to look at rural, urban, and waterway transportation. They have looked at feasibility at what seems like outlandish transportation of the future. They have thought about transportation from the viewpoint of the users.

As part of the design thinking process it is always good to get feedback on your idea. That's where our partnership with Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) came into play. CCS dad, Brent Matthews, is the Director of Parking and Security for CARTA. He graciously volunteered to speak with our students and answer some questions they had about transportation in Chattanooga. After a bit of planning, Brent and I soon realized that taking a field trip to the CARTA Shuttle Park South location would be very beneficial for our students. Cue last Friday! We loaded up on a CCS bus and we went to visit not just Mr. Matthews but also CARTA Executive Director, Lisa Maragnano. The students were wowed by the board room, the huge Chattanooga image on the wall, and the swag that Mr. Matthews shared with them. 
Our students had created questions in a Google Doc and this had been shared with Mr. Matthews and Mrs. Maragnano before our visit. Mr. Matthews immediately called the meeting to order and answered the questions on the document for the students. He then gave the students time to ask more questions and share their concept ideas. They were using their brand new mini notebooks given to them by Mr. Matthews to take notes during the meeting. We ended with a brief trip upstairs in the parking garage to see one of the 20 electric cars that Chattanooga has available as part of the Green Commuter Car Sharing program.

I won't share the secrets and plans for moving forward but I am thankful for CARTA and their willingness to invest in the lower school students at Chattanooga Christian School. Team work makes the dream work. The open attitude of area businesses coming alongside our students to give them opportunities to see real world STEAM jobs is a huge positive investment in the future. Anyone that knows me knows that I am passionate about our students having STEAM opportunities in an authentic setting. Chattanooga's innovative community makes it easy for educators to tap into ways for this to happen. 


If you look at the ISTE Standards for Students or the Essential Points of the Tennessee STEM Designated School program you will see that this type of opportunity isn't just seen as a perk but as essential to next generation education. With the connectedness of today's world, it's easier than ever before to get students figuratively and literally outside of their school box. Looking for opportunities to make that happen becomes the job of the educator. Becoming a well connected educator opens the door for you to be proactive in this. 

I will leave you with this, these 6 students spent approximately 45 minutes off campus in a boardroom asking questions, there was nothing magical about this trip but the sense of excitement on the way over and the sense of accomplishment on the way back was amazing. I will continue to look for more ways to give my students more amazing.