Friday, June 21, 2013

#FF-What It Means To Me

#FF or #FollowFriday is the hashtag used by people on Twitter to recommend great connections.  For me it not only means recognizing those who you have connected, shared, learned and grown with that particular week but recognizing those long term, online friendships that have molded and shaped me into the educator I am today.  With this in mind, I want to expand upon #FF as 140 characters just won't do.

First, I want to send a #FF to my #EdCampATL Team: Jaime VanderGrift, Catherine Flippen, Wanda McClure, & Shelley Paul.  I have to also give a shout out to the incredible DanCallahan. If it hadn't been for Dan, Wanda and I may have never found each other and EdCamp Atlanta may have never come about as it did & I would have missed the chance to connect with this dynamic group of innovative educators.  Jaime & Cat have branched out beyond EdCamp Atlanta to hosts of their very own YouTube EdTech Show, #EduVue  What I love most about this group is the way we all support and promote each other.  Just last night during the #EduVue show with special guest @TechGirlSavvy a discussion ensued regarding women in education who are intimidated by other women and work to "keep others down".  I have experienced this unfortunate phenomenon myself, but am proud to say that this group of educators rejects that crab mentality!  

I also have to recognize my very supportive and encouraging librarian PLN.  The TL Virtual Cafe Team and the #TLChat Team have spurred me to push beyond my comfort zone, beyond what I thought I was capable, with encouragement, advice and support.   One recent example of how supportive this group is started with my receipt of  the Bound To Stay Bound Grant to attend the American Association of School Librarians Conference this November; my first National Conference.  I was a bit nervous regarding the details and then out of the blue, the wonderful +Tiffany Whitehead reached out to me & now we are going to room together at AASL!  Whew! I am so grateful to Tiffany for extending the hand of friendship.  I also owe a great deal of love, gratitude  and respect to +Joyce Valenza, Gwyneth Jones, Shannon Miller, Tamara Cox, Donna Baumbach, & Michelle Luhtala who have all had tremendously positive effects on my life.  One of my newest library friends, Michelle Cooperis the founder and moderator of the Texas Librarian Chat (#txlchat). Michelle sets a perfect example of librarians as leaders.  

Since I mentioned Texas, I would be remise if I failed to mention my own state library association, the fabulous Alabama School Library Association (ASLA).  +Carolyn Starkey and Elizabeth Hester are the connected leaders behind the magic that happens with ASLA. This organization has gone to the wire for it's libraries and librarians and puts on the best statewide conference for Alabama Librarians.  In fact, just this past June ASLA brought the wonderful +Jennifer LaGarde to Alabama. I absolutely love Jennifer and after meeting her in person and hearing her speak I love her even more!  

The Alabama love continues with my friends at EdCamp Birmingham (#EdCampBHam) and EdCamp Madison (#EdCampMadisonAL).  My PLN list for these include: Amanda Dykes, Suzan Brandt, Jeff Richardson, Angie Bush, Sandy Brand, & Carmen Buchanan.  I am also very excited for the 2013-2014 school year to start when I can work with the founders and moderators of #ALEdChat, Jennifer Hogan and Holly Sutherland. Other great Alabama EdTech folks to connect with include Bryan Phillips, J Mark Coleman, and Derrick Waddell.

I have reserved a special paragraph for my two best friends in Alabama, Judith Glenn & Julie D Ramsay. Judith Glenn is a teacher and an author.  Judith's book, Manassas, Please Slow Down' is a comical depiction of a day in the life of a child with ADHD. It challenges educators to search deep in the hearts of the children they teach to find their gifts and talents. Follow Manassas on his journey to self discovery. If we don't hear them, we can't heal them. If we don't reach them, we can't teach them.
If they don't know we are there, how will they know we care?  Judith also writes for students at the secondary level with her book, Voices, which addresses childhood sexual abuse. 

L to R: Angie Griffin, Judith Glenn, & me

Julie D Ramsay is also an Alabama teacher & author.  Julie's book is, Can We Skip Lunch and Keep Writing?  It shows teachers how to weave technology throughout the curriculum and get students so fired up about writing that they don't want to stop when the class period ends. Readers will learn how to select appropriate digital tools, guide and involve students in the learning process, and differentiate instruction to meet individual needs. Through Julie's inspiring stories and lessons, teachers in the intermediate and middle grades will discover how technology-assisted writing can foster innovation, global communication, and creative problem solving, developing responsible, productive digital citizens whose inherent love of learning will travel with them throughout their lifetimes. 

Both Judith and Julie are huge blessings in my life!  

Perhaps the biggest influence on my journey to becoming a connected educator and building my PLN is Shelly Terrell.  In 2010 I stumbled upon Shelly's 30 Goals Challenge/Teacher ReBoot Camp and my professional learning went into warp speed. 

Finally, I have to include long time PLN friends & #edubrothers Doug Johnson, Tom WhitbySteve Hargadon, Jerry Blumengarten, Steven Anderson, & Jeffrey Bradbury.

Thank you to my amazing PLN for being such great sources of information, inspiration and friendship.  

If you haven't built your own PLN you are doing yourself and your students a terrible disservice. I don't care how great of an educator you are, if you are not connecting, learning and collaborating with other educators outside of your school and outside of your district, you are not connecting globally and will be woefully inadequate to prepare your students to join the global community. 

Click here or on image to access my ASLA Connected Educator Presentation


Stepping off my soap box now.  

Go out and #FF today! 

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