Monday, July 21, 2014

Thrive Week 7: Conclusion

It's hard to believe, but it's time to wrap up the summer book club. The discussions have been rich and enlightening and it has been wonderful to see so many connections made. Feel free to share ways that you can be found outside of the blog -- Twitter, blog, etc. For this last week's discussion, please share what changes, additions or enhancements you are going to make in your teaching this year due to reading this book. Please have all of your comments to all blog posts completed by Friday, July 25.

92 comments:

  1. Last week a fellow English teacher and I attended a four-day training session in Indianapolis (National Math & Science Foundation) for Pre-Advanced Placement in ELA. I was most empowered by the exchange and give-n-take among teachers from all kinds of schools. We were from several states and represented public, private, and charter schools. We were grade 6 through grade 10. We were furiously writing down good ideas, new thoughts, and things to try once we got back to our classrooms. This book is meant to encourage teachers to seek outside connections to strengthen teaching.

    As I previously stated, my goal is to select one medium and concentrate on that during this school year. I'm focusing on My Big Campus and the connections with other educators possible through that. Additionally, I have the email/face book connectors to many of the teachers I met at the conference as well as all of you.

    Thanks for making this opportunity to read together possible.

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  2. I really enjoyed this read over the summer and it is really hard to pinpoint what will change in my classroom this year. Each week/chapter I read gave me invaluable reflection on my teaching "past" and pushed me in my teaching "future". The pacing truly allowed for this meaningful reflection...had I read the book in one sitting I would have been overwhelmed.

    There are many quotes I have starred, notes I have outlined, and rankings I have given...but the one page that really sums up what I strive for in my classroom is the "What do we believe?" chart on page 49. Keeping this graphic in my classroom will keep my energy up when I have none, will push me to network (even when I feel too shy), will combat my fears of failure or administrative push back or colleague judgment. I will strive to be student focused in my planning, in my teaching, and in my delivery.

    Mini-goals include: integrating at least two PBLs, expanding my network by at least three people, and decentralizing my classroom...that should keep me busy for about 9 months!

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  3. I plan to empower my students more. I will offer them multiple ways to show off their skills in the classroom. I also like the chart on p. 40. My class will be more student-focused this coming year.
    This book had a lot of ideas to get and stay connected to others. I have already found several blogs, pinners on Pinterest, and have found a few more twitter feeds to follow. I believe my networks will continue to grow in the following year.
    I plan to seek out old and new mentors in my building. My greatest need is still with ideas to involve technology in my classroom. This should keep my work intellectually challenging…especially developing digital curriculum!
    On p. 93, the items that Ms. Rami would like us to remember after we close this book are all wonderful pieces of advice. I think I have read the last paragraph 3 or 4 times on p. 94. “You have the power to decide how you will find joy and energy in your work and how you will help your students shape the future.” I am looking forward to returning to school in just a few short weeks…ready to find that joy.

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    1. I have also starred and underlined many items throughout the book. I plan to refer to it when I am trying to think of new ways to empower my students or to gain confidence as I start a blog this year.

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    2. I am proud to say that four other teachers in my hallway at my school did this eLearning Book Club along with me! We will have so much to talk about and share this coming school year since we read this book and participated in this book club together. Additionally, five more teachers from my school also participated in this book club! Awesome! I will see you all very soon - less than two weeks!

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    3. Love teaching next door to you Sandy!

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  4. This book helped me to realize that it is ok to think outside the box. I will continue to look for ways to bring in members of the community to interact with my students and to give them an authentic audience. I look forward to using technology in new ways this year. I will try to use the blog feature on the school's website and also to do more collaborative writing activities.

    It has been a pleasure to read about what others experience in the classroom and to reflect upon my own practices. I am inspired to continue to tweak and refine what I do in the classroom and to look for more ways for students to be involved in their learning and to take ownership of their education.

    This summer has been an enlightening one! Thank you to all who participated! It was insightful to learn from educators who have more experience and from those who are new to the profession. I am (re)invigorated to begin my 12th year in the classroom!

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    1. I LOVE your comment that "it is ok to think outside the box"! Have a great 12th year as an innovative educator.

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  5. I have been able to reflect on my teaching and classroom this summer. The book reinforced things I already do such as the importance of getting to know the students and modeling life-long learning. The author points out our fears often hold us back from speaking out or trying new things. I hope I am more willing to find my voice when needed and speak up. Also, networking will be an essential for the upcoming school year. I will need to network with colleagues in my school as we make some changes in our schedule and move towards the 1:1. Networking with other educators who have successfully incorporated the 1:1 will save time and headaches. Finding a happy blend to use in the classroom so my students are engaged and learning is my goal.

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  6. I have been adding my goals for change as we have been reading chapters, so I feel that this post is more of a summing-up than a reflection. The goals that I had mentioned were joining a networking group such as the National Council for Teachers of English; participating more regularly by reading the tweets of fellow educators on Twitter; and finding a larger audience for my English 12 satire videos.

    This was my third session with the e-learning book club and each has given me a chance for reflection and new information to enhance my teaching. "Teach Like A Pirate" was fun, motivational, and informative. "Invent to Learn" added to my training on project-based / challenge-based learning. This book, "Thrive", was good for reflection about ways that I could add to my teaching. Thank you for picking books that are so timely and useful.

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    1. Cathy, thanks for your continual advice, motivation, and example to other teachers in our building and beyond. I know if I have a question I can always count on you for help! Love teaching with you!

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  7. I really enjoyed reading Thrive this summer! My biggest take away was to keep pushing on the path I've been on over the past two years. When reflecting on the choices I make in the classroom, I sometimes doubt the sustainability of what I'm doing. Meenoo Rami provided validation and inspiration to keep working hard. The biggest thing is TIME! I'm guilty of complaining about not having enough time to prepare lessons and challenge myself intellectually...all the tips and ideas from this book study have given me a renewed drive to be a learner as well as a teacher in my classroom. Can't wait to start the school year!

    It's been a pleasure reading all of your comments over the past several weeks. Thank you for your candor and vulnerability when sharing. I'm proud to be an educator alongside each and every one of you.

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    1. Time is an issue for all teachers, I think, who push themselves to keep up with changes in education and constantly strive to improve as educators. You are a great example for others with using primary and secondary sources for units of study instead of a textbook. Love teaching with you, Tara, and I hope to get to see you more at school. We're on opposite ends of the building and our schedules haven't matched in the past, but I have a new lunch period this year!

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  8. I have written and deleted this response one already, but realize my thoughts remain the same. Being a part of this blog made me admit/acknowledge that I have allowed the need for good test scores and evaluation scores to take joy out of what I do. Not all of the joy is gone- I love my students. As I read, I completed a mental checklist; yes, I am doing many things right. Checklist! I've approached the last year as a checklist! Not a celebration. I want to celebrate teaching again.

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    1. I hope you new school will be reinvigorating for you. A lot of good ideas or pieces of advice were found in this book and blog. Good luck and have a great school year.

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    2. Thank you for being so honest and opening the door up for all those who read your comment to reflect honestly. I believe you will approach the next school year in a celebratory attitude: celebrating your students, celebrating your craft, celebrating your profession and it will make a difference for you in bringing back the joy. I use this site with myself and my seniors - you can send your future self a letter. You can set the date for anytime. Maybe you want to send yourself reminders throughout this next school year to keep yourself accountable to the insights you've gained...to go beyond the test scores to love your students, your job, yourself as a caring educator: http://www.futureme.org/

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    3. It is easy to get bogged down by all the outside noise regarding teaching. I am glad this helped you have a teaching renaissance!

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    4. Last year I was behind before I started and I let the "crush" kill my joy for most of the year! I was so busy checking things off my list that I wasn't able to fully appreciate the progress the kids made.

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    5. Good for you! Congratulate yourself on being positive every time you celebrate with your students this year after they have stepped up to the challenging bar your present to them!

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    6. We all want good test scores. Focus on why you are teaching and the joy of it. Your scores will reflect your true effectiveness on your students

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  9. I just ordered Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, which I looked up in Meenoo's Bibliography after coming across a quote from it in Thrive. This is how I get most of my new Professional Development reading - from the Bibliographies of the books I'm reading. The description and strong reviews make me think this will be a good book for me. Reading Thrive and especially chapter 4 about fear really affected me personally this summer. I find I do have fear and self-doubt because I am so often "out there," trying new things. This sometimes feels isolating. I'm a little tired of the feeling, to be honest.

    I've been using Twitter for PD since 2009 and that, too, can lead to a feeling of isolation. People in my network are buzzing about the latest and greatest, and I'm willing to try it but then there isn't that face-to-face enthusiasm with someone to sustain that feeling of excitement or talk through what works/did not work.

    I don't think I'm finished with the ideas presented in Thrive. I'm glad I read this book. I enjoyed reading through other teachers' comments so much.

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    1. The book you ordered sounds like a great read! What/who do you follow on Twitter?

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  10. This book has been very thought provoking concerning the digital age we live in with continuous advances in technology. I know my success and the legacy I leave behind, is determined by my energy and commitment. I plan to increase my current use of Edmodo, Pinterest , etc. and exposing myself 1 step at a time to other resources mentioned in the book and on the blog.

    I have encouraged use of the computer in finding recipes for food demonstrations but may start requiring them to turn in one from the computer if they choose to use a family favorite. In advanced foods several of the students have used their MacBooks to show us pictures etc. of their country and organize their demonstration via the computers. Again I may start requiring their demonstration have one technology use. My child development classes do presentations/lessons again not just encouraging them to use technology, but requiring them would be a definite way to enhance my classroom.

    I have appreciated the renewal, encouragement and the challenges provided by the book Thrive and the blogs. I want to try harder, but my problem still continues to be “TIME” which became even more challenging with family illness this past week. Thanks to all of you. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

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    1. Ditto to everything you said! We have come so far the past two years, and we continue to work harder than ever. You are a mentor and a great example of commitment to your students. You challenge students to think about your standards, but also about their life choices now and in the future. Keep on doing what you do! Our school is much richer for your touch!

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  11. I enjoyed reading this book however I felt a lot of this was geared toward the upper grade levels. It made think, “How can I apply this to a 3rd grade classroom?” Some of the things that did make me think the most were with this last chapter, on Empower Your Students. On page 65 it talks about bringing in community members to your classroom. I believe this would be a wonderful thing to do for the elementary grades. I would love to have a partnership with a member in our community where we could show them what we have learned. And have them come and visit our classroom where we can share with each other. I think this would empower the students with motivation to do well in school and to be a good citizen in our community. Let me know if any of you have partnered up with someone in your community.

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    1. My K-1 building had volunteers from Random House (book company in our town) come to work with selected students in each classroom on a regular basis. Volunteers helped to build oral language by reading to the students. Our students also read to the volunteers for practice. Classrooms got to know the volunteers well. Volunteers and students were very invested in what they were doing. Once I helped organize the volunteers and class times with the Human Resources rep,, the classes were off and running. Each class had a little celebration at the end of the program after spring break. This could be done with other companies or retired teacher groups, too.

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  12. This book and book club really made me take stock of what I am doing well in the classroom and where I can grow. Chapter 4 made me feel really good about myself just in time for Chapter 5 to give me all sorts of things to think about and brainstorm for. We have SO many tools at our fingertips, but at the same time, the expectations for teachers are at an extreme high. As a math teacher, the struggle is always to get the students to take a real interest in the topic. I am not sure I even took a real interest in math during high school. I just enjoyed it because it came easily to me. Now that I am 4 years into teaching, I feel I am through the "OH MY GOSH WHAT AM I DOING NEXT CHAPTER--NEXT WEEK--TOMORROW???" and I can really start to make improvements. This book has definitely given me solid direction for many of the changes I hope to incorporate.

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  13. The book allowed me to look at interaction with my fellow teachers in a slightly new way. It also gave me new ideas for expanding my contacts for information when designing a lesson plans and evaluating existing lesson plans. I hope that the book club will continue next year.

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  14. It was by chance that I came across the email about this eLearning opportunity last May and it could not have come at a better time! I had become very frustrated with teaching last year and felt lost. I was in a slump and when I read the title “5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching” I was skeptical but desperate to find something to help me. So I bought the book and signed up. Wow! I am glad I did!!

    This was my first experience participating in an eLearning book club. I have to say I enjoyed it and will likely do it again and encourage others to do the same! I learned so much from reading the responses and discovered several resources along the way!

    I really enjoyed the book! (Ask my husband, also a teacher) how many times I said, “listen to this” as I was reading or how often I said, “I really like this book.” I felt as if Meeoo Rami was walking beside me showing me ways to making teaching a great experience for me and my students, instead of pointing the finger at me telling me what I am doing wrong and what I should be doing. So many times I feel like this is the focus of books we read.

    Since reading this book, I have found the courage to starting using Twitter, Twitter chats, Flipboard, Google+, and have reached out to other educators across the nation. Something I was afraid to do previously. I still have a great deal of learning and work to do to develop my PLN but I am on my way! I have also established mentors to help me continue my adventure in using technology and other areas.

    I found this book encouraging, inspirational, and validating. I plan to work on regaining my autonomy, mastery and purpose for what I do in my classroom. I will try to listen to myself and calm the fears that cause resistance not only in my professional but personal life as well! I will continue my path of empowering my students and look for new ways to continue this classroom practice. I know it will be difficult some days, but I know I am not alone, we are all fighting to maintain these aspects of teaching every day and I now I have resources to help me as I strive to take a renewed approach to my teaching.

    Thank you everyone for your input! I have learned so much!

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    1. Nice post. Good luck with your efforts to regain your autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Your heart sounds like it is in a good place for making it an awesome school year!

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    2. Good Luck! Losing the joy makes it hard to go in every morning. You can let me know how you are doing.

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    3. Thank you very much Valree and Lisa! Best of luck to you as well! :)

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  15. I have enjoyed our summer reading... I joined Twitter and have worked to become more technology literate. I have started a Google+ page for our school and am working to update it today with summer school posts. I was reminded throughout my reading that I have to be deliberate in making sure I work to "lead" my staff in ways that re-invigorates them (and myself). I have highlighted numerous points within the book to keep specifically in mind as I encourage my staff to "Thrive" and to be reinvigorated throughout the school year.

    I appreciate everyone's time in posting and sharing your thoughts with us all. Some of the best value for me from the book study came from reading your insights. Enjoy the remainder of your summer and for the benefit of your students and yourselves, make it a wonderful school year!

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    1. I started with Twitter and Google+ as well. Those led me to experiment with Edmodo which has tied it all together for me. I've highlighted quite a few passages too to remember and share.

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    2. "I was reminded throughout my reading that I have to be deliberate in making sure I work to "lead" my staff in ways that re-invigorates them (and myself). I have highlighted numerous points within the book to keep specifically in mind as I encourage my staff to "Thrive" and to be reinvigorated throughout the school year."

      Me too! Great take-away. After our encounter with the polar vortex last year, by the end of the school year it felt as if I was on the set of one of those zombie films, with me in at least a supporting actor category. I am going to look for ways to make the school year one where we THRIVE.,

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  16. I found value in every chapter of Meenoo Rami’s book, Thrive. I found it very relevant to where I currently am in my career. I want to get significantly better at what I already do. I know how important it is to have and be a good mentor but reflecting on those relationships and thinking critically about my professional networks was also worthwhile this summer. I need to seek out more, and I already have. I am more active in my participation with the AP United States History teacher’s forum on the AP Central site. All of us are going through the same struggle right now to re-design our class syllabus to fit the new structure.
    What stood out most to me was the content in chapter 3 regarding the need to continue to challenging yourself intellectually. I want to my students to be more engaged in learning and collaboration. I want a greater degree of trust to be earned within my classrooms. I truly believe that planning your curriculum is essential for me to improve. It inspires me and is my investment to my students development. All summer I’ve been working on this, taking breaks each Monday to write these responses to the reading. The two have made for a real sense of purpose and commitment to producing lessons that will engage and challenge students.

    Thank you for this opportunity.

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    1. Great post, John. I agree that teachers everywhere are scrambling to reorganize - or create - curriculum due to all of the changes computers and current trends in education have created. Good luck with reworking your curriculum.

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  17. The main additions that I am going to incorporate this year is more use of technology. Blogs and twitter always overwhelmed me. There is just so much out there. To help with this problem, I have set up Tweet Deck to help organize my twitter feed and a Digg Reader to help keep track of the blogs I want to follow. Hopefully checking these two things often will help me come up with new ideas to incorporate in my classroom.

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  18. I have enjoyed this discussion and it really was not such a stretch applying the concepts to physical therapy. I plan to approach my year differently by changing some priorities. The idea that keeps ringing in my head is one that the author stated and that I heard at my PT conference: we cannot continue to do things they way we have always done things.
    I also would like to engage my PT peers in other school corporations. I am thinking about doing a monthly article review using the same format as this ebook club. Maybe I should start with every other month. I do an Assistive Technology Newsletter monthly for the Special Education Staff and I may try converting that to a blog instead of a newsletter.

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  19. One thing that I was really interested to see with these post is a lot of time when we are all in the same boat no matter how experienced the educator. There is always a fear of doing new things, a need to inspire students and figuring out how to be the best we can be. After all of the PD that I have done this summer it has really inspired my to start a blog about my lessons.

    http://teachingstarstuff.blogspot.com/

    If there are any science teachers in your building or in this blog feel free to follow my blog through out the year and lets share STEM lessons!

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    1. I love the title of your blog!
      I also teach Earth Science and would love to share ideas on lessons and activities. I just followed you on twitter!

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    2. Jenna, I teach 7th grade science and we do spend part of the year on earth science. I will look for you!

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  20. Thrive reminded me to continue to challenge myself as well as my students. I'm always asking myself what can I do to make a lesson better? Thrive gave me a plethora of different ideas to improve and/or enhance my approach to teaching. I truly love teaching and I'm looking forward to a wonderful year!

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  21. I have enjoyed reading everyone's posts the most! The author has reminded of many of things I have gone through over the years and what I want to rediscover and what I want to change about myself as an educator. I work so hard and strive for perfection at all times, but have felt burned out at times. I need to relax and enjoy where I am at as 9 year educator and reconnect with the enthusiasm I had in the beginning. I also need to continue to reach out to others so I don't feel isolated. I need to continue growing in my pursuits to connect with other professionals with similar classrooms. I look forward to doing this again!

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  22. It has been great reading this book this summer. I am going to work to expand my network and involve more people in teaching my students. I would love to bring people in to help teach my students on areas where they have more expertise than me. I want the students to have multiple experiences and ways to learn. I also want to join some of the professional organizations like NCTM to help me become the best teacher that I can be. I want to do more activities and projects that give the students a chance to share what they are doing and make their learning more authentic. In this process I want the students to feel like they are important and that they matter, so I want to get their input and give them choices in what we do in the classroom. This will keep the students more engaged. I am thankful for this opportunity to grow as an educator along with other educators. It has been a great learning experience!

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    1. I hope you do join NCTM and go to the regional conference this October. Dan Meyer is the keynote speaker Wednesday evening, on Oct. 29. There are many sessions offered Thursday and Friday. Hopefully, your school will pay for it and your membership. There is an early-bird discount for registrations before Sept. 26.

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    2. Oops! I forgot to mention the regional conference is right here in Indianapolis at the Convention Center.

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  24. Looking ahead to this school year, I am preparing to flip my classroom which has flipped a few of my sweet summer days. Planning has also brought to mind another reality that is true in many areas of my life: I need to keep mixing it up. Even though I have plans to restructure how students approach classwork vs. homework, anything that is accomplished the same, day-in/day-out, becomes less interesting. Students appreciate diversity in their day and within each of their classes. My colleague and fellow-blogger, Reena Markstahler, mentioned a few weeks ago, that students tend to grow tired of the newest tech tools very quickly when they are used by multiple teachers; and I have found this to be true. Students appreciate consistency and routine in classroom management, but they lose fascination quickly when that approach is applied to content. So, as much as I want a 'flipped' version of my classroom to work for my students, I know that this isn't really the answer to motivating students every day unless the math activities in the classroom are relevant, student-centered, and flexible. As excited as I am to be introducing a new twist to instruction, I am prepared to offer that in moderation, as well, so that students experience some variety.

    Finally, I want to continue utilizing Twitter @farandlow to infuse new ideas and expand where I find educational sources. I have had more time this summer to explore using Twitter, participate in a weekly #INeLearn chat, and realize the support that can be found among educators. Along with Twitter, this e-learning discussion has reminded me that respect for a wide variety of ideas within my building, across the state and beyond remains central to improving ourselves and our students. My thanks to all of you.

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    1. Nice post, Tammy! I agree with what you said about consistency with management, but the need for diversity with class content. Thanks for pushing me with Twitter. While I'm slow to embrace it, I am going to give it a try. Love teaching next door to you!

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  25. I am really glad I joined the summer reading blog! I look forward to continue connecting on the blog throughout the year and next summer. I think it made me feel at ease with the quickly approaching school year. It was reassuring to read through everyone’s posts and make connections. I think reading this book was quite beneficial because it addressed experiences and concerns honestly. I feel very motivated to improve my networking with mentors, find new ways to empower my students, and make time for the things I enjoy to keep my stress level to a minimum. Going in to year two of teaching, I have many ideas and concerns about how this year will go. I think one of the most significant ideas that I will be taking away from the summer is that it’s okay not to be the “perfect” teacher. Sometimes a mistake can lead into the best lesson or discussion. I will continue to utilize my mentors in the building and expand my network. I feel challenged to speak up in faculty meetings and make my voice heard. Thanks you for all of the feedback and support! Have a great school year!

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  26. This book and blog have given me lots of ideas for educator goals and relevant evidence. There are great teachers in our corporation who are always seeking for better methods, pertinent information, creative delivery - of course these are the already successful educators! And they will continue to be the flame that our student moths are drawn to; they "get" the kids (because they still remember how to be kids, how to celebrate, how to adapt, how to enjoy)!

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  27. I enjoyed reading Thrive, and the experience has been enhanced by the sharing and wisdom of the participants. While there were reassuring pieces that match with things I have done or continue to do, the encouragement and reflection recharge the desire to be willing to continually grow and improve. This experience definitely affirmed that challenge. For me, the most important reminder was to take time to network with others. Often it is difficult to find that time, but the investment and exchange will be well worth it.

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  28. Starting a new school year with a "box" full of new ideas as a teacher, is like starting a new school year with a box of new crayons as a student. Hopes are high, energies flow. When ideas are shared as happened through reading this book, inspiration happens. It has been fun reading of other teachers experiences and how they worked around issues in their classrooms, and schools. I will start the year with high hopes for all my students. I will do my best to teach them how to make good choices, and believe in what they can do for themselves. I will have high but realistic expectation for them as well as myself in what we can accomplish together as a class.

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  30. Thrive reminds me that I need to reach out more to mentors in my building and online networks through PLNs, which are new to me. I also must take time to read more of the things that I enjoy and share those titles with my students. Over recent years, my work has evolved into interpreting data and jumping through hoops to meet licensure and evaluation requirements. The work load has become immense, and sometimes the joy of teaching wanes a bit.

    The chapter Keeping Your Work Intellectually Challenging was refreshing. In the last chapter, I recognize, too, that I don't empower my students quite like I could or should.

    In all these areas, I hope to make changes this school year, and document the implementations and outcomes. All in all, this was a good read that provided many useful strategies. I'll return to this publication from time to time as a sound resource.

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    1. The two chapters you mentioned stood out for me, too. Good idea to document new ideas you try this year. I think many of us will keep this book as a resource. Have a great school year!

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  31. I just attended a meeting with our principal and a few other teachers--and I spoke up! :) Even though my first opinion was different from the others, I voiced it anyway and the discussion was enjoyable. Granted, our principal is very encouraging, but I know this book and blog helped, too.

    I typed up a document that I want to use in my geometry class for addressing writing and cross curriculum objectives. I sent copies to two colleagues to get their input, and already have received some great ideas from one. I have been thinking about who would be good mentors for me and reaching out to them.

    I have also looked at some of the resources many of you have shared on this blog and have been thinking about how to use them in my lesson planning. Thank you for sharing! My husband has commented that it is fun to hear the enthusiasm in my voice as I prepare for the new school year. This eLearning book club has been a great spark for many reasons and I am grateful to have been a part of it.

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    1. P.S. I noticed that sometimes I have posted comments on this blog as Gayle, and sometimes as Gayle Mass. I have two gmail accounts, but only one allows Google+. I just wanted you to know for PGP purposes. I'm sorry for any confusion.

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    2. No worries, Gayle. I've assumed it was the same "Gayle."

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    3. I would love to see that document if you don't mind. You know where to find me!

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  32. Being a part of this book club, and reading the book, has given me many ideas that I plan on implementing. It was refreshing to see that many of you struggle with the same things I struggle with. It was a weekly reminder that I am not alone. I plan on seeking out other opportunities, like this book club, building my professional networks, and turning to the many mentors I have connected with over the years. I want to join the #engchat on Twitter on Monday nights. (Follow me! @_POWERofWORDS_) I also would love to do an action research project with my students, as Rami mentioned on page 56. I know that “Thrive” will be a book I can use as a resource for many years to come. I will for sure be recommending it to the teachers in my building!


    A huge thank you to the person that recommended “Drive” by Daniel Pink. I finished reading the book recently, and was inspired in many ways. In fact, I plan on making one of my educator goals this year to help students create their own learning goals, which is something that was also mentioned by Rami. I hope that creating their own learning goals, and keeping track of their success, is something that will empower them.

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  33. Well, I have to admit, this book made me realize I needed to sign up for Twitter, so I did but have yet to send out a tweet. This process solidified my belief that, as teachers, we have to continually push ourselves to be life long learners. Without that, we have wasted out students' time- and tax payers money. If nothing else, I feel vindicated that I have been forcing my students to think outside the box since I began teaching.

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    1. I was on Twitter, but had not considered using it for any sort of PD until this summer. I was unsure at first, but have become more comfortable with Tweets, etc. Good luck! :)

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    2. This book also made me realize I have to finally sign up for Twitter; though, I still haven't yet. It is my goal to force myself to break down and do it before the beginning of the school year. I've got two weeks to get the ball rolling. I guess I have been so against it because of the of the social aspect of it, but now I realize that it can be a tool for PD. Wish me luck!

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  34. I have truly enjoyed this summer book club and reading everyone's comments. I am not sure yet what I will change if anything, but definitely will continue to push my students to "think outside of the box" and empowering them to take control of their education. I will continue to be a "life-long learner" because if not, I can not continue to push my students. I did get validation that there are not good and bad students, just those that need a little extra help!!

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  35. Well, I'm excited that I have blogged and participated in an eLearning Community for the first time. I often buy professional books with the best intentions of reading them, and then I find that the urgent (or at least what I view to be urgent) gets in the way of the important and I put off reading what would help me become a better teacher. I thank of you for participating and making me feel accountable to others.

    It is funny that I decided to blog today as for the second day, the technology that I planned to use during our week of summer camp/school flopped, and I had to adjust. I thought back to what Meenoo Rami had said about it being ok to jump in even if the lesson wasn't going to be perfect. The students were a bit impatient because they were excited, but I also was able to see some tenacity in them and desire to learn as they were attempting ways to troubleshoot the problem that I would have not. The problem turned in for a way to see that my students may be the geniuses I need when the technology doesn't work like I think it should.

    I am going to take away the importance of empowering my students and attempting to give them a larger audience. I also plan to have the community come into my room this year to share their expertise with my students. I have a couple of ideas that I think may be interesting for the students to experience.

    Most importantly, I am planning to network more fully with people outside of my school for ideas. I often don't branch out as much as I would have expected I would have when I graduated from college nine years ago. I need to raise my bar of expectations for myself!

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  36. This book and discussion has kept my mind 'alive' this summer. It has helped to bring forth many new ideas that have caused me to work on planning throughout the summer. Probably the biggest change I am going to implement is to have an individual conversation with each of my students. I am going to ask them what they want to learn this year and/or feel like they need to improve. I am then going to incorporate these ideas into my lesson planning. I think this will give students a greater feeling of ownership and will help them be more invested in their own learning.

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  37. As I read this last chapter, I realized that I have done activities in the past that have empowered my students. This is great, but what I also realized was that I put these student centered projects at the end of the year. If we had time, we would get to "the good stuff." This had been my mentality. I felt that I needed to cover the curriculum and be ready for testing in March and April. That left May for the projects that really got my students excited. Some years we didn't even get there. In reading this chapter, I realize that I need to look at curriculum differently. Empowering students through collaborative projects, student choice, and responsibility in decision making is something that should happen throughout the year, not as a "reward" at the end. This is one of the changes I plan to make in my classroom this coming year. After reading this book, I also plan to expand my network by two people. I hope to decentralize my classroom more. I want students to have more voice in what we are doing. Thank you for a great read this summer!

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  38. This book club has been a great way to keep up to speed over the summer months. I am looking forward to incorporating some new ideas in my classroom this year, as well as start my "science buddies" collaboration program with an elementary teacher this year (as mentioned in last week's post). This book was very reassuring to know that I am not alone in feeling frustrated, vulnerable, and fearing failure. I also gained several new ideas that snowballed into other ideas on how to share student work and use technology in and out of the classroom. I am very excited to use Twitter as a source of professional development at any time!

    It has been great to gain ideas from other members of this group- thank you to all. Thanks for this opportunity to get recharged for my 10th year of teaching!

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  39. I have learned that we as teachers, are stuck. We are ALL caught up in the reality of state test results and evaluations. The goodness for this book and summer blog. I work so hard at getting my students to understand rules and things that are black and white. I need to learn about more of their technology, so that we can blend our worlds. Thinking about having my students "tweet" me about what cool thing they read at home each night.

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    1. Sounds like an awesome idea. You may open a door to some awesome conversations. Kids are generally more willing to share on social media than in person!

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  40. This book helped me remember that I am not alone. Teaching tends to be a very isolating profession -- even though we are around our colleagues all day long, we don't often have time to actually talk and collaborate. This book gave me a number of ideas regarding collaboration and remembering to be purposeful about interacting with my colleagues. I was also very appreciative of the chapter about listening to myself and the chapter about keeping the work intellectually challenging -- both had great ideas to help with burn out and classroom frustration. This was my first experience with an online book club, it was very enjoyable!

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    1. I agree, it is easy to feel alone. This book helped me realize that as well!

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  41. The biggest change I anticipate making as a result of having read this book is through creating a greater sense of a classroom community beyond the classroom. I plan to take advantage of online discussion forums with my students, partly due to Rami’s prompting but more as a consequence of my experience with this forum. And I also want to find ways to gather an outside audience through digital media to share what we do. Doing so seems like it would greatly enhance the students’ sense of purpose for their work.
    As several others have commented, I also have enjoyed the way this book club has helped me to maintain a connection to the educators’ community. While I found many valuable suggestions in Rami’s book, and I appreciated hearing her describe her own challenges and insecurities, I found equally as valuable the comments from the other participants in the club. This forum has been refreshing in that teachers expressed doubts and concerns without the negativity and cynicism that is often part of discussions about the current state of education. And hopefully being part of this dialogue will make it easier to get to work prepping for this next year and less painful to make the transition back to the hard work of teaching in two weeks!

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  42. This book has made me realize that I need to broaden my networks and be open to new methods of professional development. Traditionally I like to learn by reading and through attending conferences. Though I used to feel I was pretty technologically literate, I know I can't continue to avoid Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and blogs. I think that I had some misconception that these types of tools were primarily for socializing, but now I understand that they can be useful in networking and supporting my growth as an educator. I'm not going to lie, I'm still a bit skeptical, because I fear that some of these tools could monopolize my time. But I'm committed to giving it a try. Thrive made me realize that since our students are utilizing these technologies and tools, I have to be willing to jump in and see what all the fuss is about. If implementing some of these approaches can benefit and motivate our students, as well as me, it is worth a try.

    The other significant impact for me from this book was the chapter on empowering students. I want to strive to help my teachers make learning more authentic and real world. I want our students to benefit from community involvement. I want to give our students a real purpose and audience whenever possible to have a lasting impact on their learning.

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  43. I must make myself join some online groups to gain insight out of my small little world. I will look for ways to connect with other teachers and become active in some online activities. I know there is more out there than what I'm currently doing. There are new ways to think about things that will challenge my views and make me more certain of some. I'm on Twitter already. Now I need to investigate the development of my brain on it not my social knowledge.
    I want to know how to help my kindergarten and first grade students know what the purpose of real life reading and writing is for and dream up ways to give them avenues to present and practice and refine. Empowering a small child to realize they have a voice and wonderful ideas that are worthy of being shared and helping them to discover the tools they need to share their ideas...Sounds exciting.
    I also feel the need to push myself to share in meetings more as well as reach out to other teachers in my building who are excited about Language Arts and brainstorm together and be willing to try new things and involve our community in the education of our kids.

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    1. Totally agree with you. Not sure I can join Twitter, it feels like one more thing to do. :) However I know there is more I could do as well.!!

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  44. I really enjoyed the book and found it full of helpful advice. As for how I plan to change my teaching, I plan to make better contacts in the community outside of school. I also need to work on providing my students with a broader audience. I also intend to become more active in online chats and forums that offer advice and assistance. I have spent some time browsing and lurking, but not enough, and I definitely haven't contributed. Finally, I intend to work on my own networks and try to reach out more.

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    1. Angie, you do a good job of involving community members, but i know that is an ever-changing, continual task. Love teaching with you!

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  45. This book had the perfect balance of affirming what I do and challenging me at the same time. I realized that I am on the right track but I have not fully taken advantage of those who are on the track with me (both ahead and beside). I am making it a point to find a mentor both inside and outside my school. I have begun looking into networks I can join and even started a wiki page of my own after my presentation to new teachers. Also, I feel very motivated to empower my students more, especially with the new standards staring us right in the face. I love the type of classroom Ms. Rami describes and I look forward to trying to create one of my own.
    I was nervous about joining my first ebook club but it really has been an enjoyable part of my summer. I definitely don't feel as anxious about going back as I usually do at the end of July. Thank you all!

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  46. Good job to the person or committee responsible for choosing this book! I have participated in three of the eLearning Book Clubs so far, but this one has been my favorite book. I liked Meeno Rami's "voice" in this book. She hit upon many relevant strengths and weaknesses of mine without making me feel bad about areas I need to improve. The chapter that spoke the loudest to my strengths were Chapters 3: Keep Your Work Intellectually Challenging and Chapter 4: Listen to Yourself. The chapters that hit the closest to home concerning areas I can improve
    were Chapter 2: Join and Build Networks and Chapter 5: Empower Your Students. As I read the book and took stock of myself as a teacher, it was encouraging to reflect that I have kept up with reading in my content area and still love challenging myself to keep learning within my field and using new technology. I have developed a stronger sense of who I am as a person and a teacher, and I am very confident about speaking up when important issues present themselves. I strive to keep quiet at times, too, and to have the wisdom to know when to do so. As a result of reading this book, I want to push myself to learn how to tweet and follow others on Twitter to learn from educators within and outside my building. I also want to expand my students' work beyond the walls of my classroom. I need to look for wider audiences and invite more people to share the work my students do. The Department Chair before me recently passed away, and it was moving to read the many posts from former students on a Facebook page that was created in his honor. We never know how we might touch a student's life, and the posts from past students reminded me of this. Thank you, again, for choosing this book and for offering the book club as a way to earn professional growth points.

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    1. This is my first eLearning Book Club, so I can't compare, but I also really enjoyed this book. I'm with you on finding wider audiences for my students' work. Thanks for sharing about your colleague's impact on his students-- you never know when you might have just the right words for a student on the day he or she needs to hear them. It's so humbling.

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  47. I am taking away with this notion of not being afraid and therefore being open to share, ask for help, use other’s resources, and put forth your ideas in a virtual world. Recently Michelle Green, IDOE, started a Google community. It was very exciting for me because I know the resources for Google are going to be shared by the members. This is a big help for communities who are migrating to Google in their districts. It has already proven to be a help for me. I have since watched the map fill with educators across the state pinning their names, school districts, titles, and contact information. This community reminds me of the quote by James Surowiecki. It is one of two quotes Meeno Rami starts chapter two with, “Under the right circumstances, groups are remarkably intelligent, and are often smarter than the smartest people in them.” Connecting and collaboration resonates throughout her book. It is something that I plan on using more next year.

    The other thing that I am taking away from this is the sweetness, patience, and vibrancy of teachers who revealed these traits in their insights, reflections, ideas, and opinions when they wrote their blogs. These educators, along with Meeno Rami, have been operating in a culture which recently seems to have turned a negative eye to the teaching profession. It is so uplifting to read both the book and the blog entries. So I am going to use the book and the positive message is sends. 2014-2015 – ReInvigorate!

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  48. I intend to make more connections through Twitter this year. I have used some discussion-style groups in the past, but they aren’t necessarily educationally related. Connecting with other educators from a variety of backgrounds will help me stay up-to-date on methodologies and practices.

    I would love to also be more open to suggestions from students to allow them to be more in the driver’s seat, so to speak, of their educational experiences. A big part of that, I know, is to let go of some of the control while still providing a structured environment for the kids.

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  49. I am so glad I read this book. It was short enough to read quickly but deep enough that I'll be chewing on these ideas for a long time. There are a few important things I'm taking away to concentrate on this year in my classroom. The first is letting go of perfectionism. This has always been a struggle for me, and I just need to remind myself every day that circumstances will never be ideal and there will always be snags but it's important to keep moving forward. I really liked one of Rami's points on p. 93: "Standing still in these times is not an option." It's a temptation for me, but I know it's important to keep moving forward.

    Second, I would like to become more active in a professional network outside of my school. I have benefited greatly from doing that in the past and would like to do it again. As a bonus, I would like to write about some of my experiences in teaching to share with that network. Ooh! Even writing that down makes me excited.

    Finally, I would like to do more concrete things to empower my students. One thought I had when reading that chapter was that many of my students are interested in careers in the health care industry, and I don't think it would be difficult to line up a guest speaker on that topic. What a great, thought-provoking book. Thanks for giving us the chance to read and discuss it.

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  50. This book has made me evaluate the things I do in my classroom. I work hard at building community but not sure I enpower my students with choice like I should. It could be that I am a control freak???? :) I still am not sure I will join twitter. I think it is one more thing to keep on top of, and I am not sure I can do that. I am considering a weekly blog or webpage for my parents to keep them more informed as to what we are doing.

    Also, giving my students more authentic experiences in the community is a goal.

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  51. This book has given me some great ideas throughout the chapters. The thing I've become most interested in is the use of blogs. In reading through others comments, it appears many are already successfully incorporating blogs into their teaching. I've also been reminded that attitude impacts teaching. There are so many components to teaching that can become overwhelming. You are in control of how these components are dealt with, don't let the joy be taken away by all the "stuff". I've enjoyed being part of this book club, my first one. As I reenter the classroom in a couple weeks I am eager in incorporate all the great ideas I've read!

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  52. Sorry I wasn't able to post this by Friday. I just got back into town, and unlike everyone else in the world, I don't have an iPhone.

    I'm not certain what specific changes/enhancements I will make, but I'm sure there will be some subtle differences. As we begin a new school year and I have time to reflect upon what I've learned from the book and what I've learned from various members of the blog, I will experiment here and there, make this and that adaptation, and see what sticks. What doesn't...well, I'll just keep tweaking.

    I'm still not interested in anything Twitter, but I'll make one compromise: As my freshmen progress through the "Romeo & Juliet" unit, I'll have them post "tweets" on my classroom wall for each character (using laminated sheets). Hey...baby steps!

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  53. I feel like this book was geared more to the upper grades but I was able to see how to take some things away from it to use in primary grades. I did find some primary blogs to follow and I began commenting in the IDOE community for first grade teachers. Hopefully as the word gets out more people will join and share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. I have also been inspired by the book and other people to regain the joy for teaching and have a more authentic classroom where the students help lead and teach.
    Thank you to all those who shared and encouraged.

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  54. I agree with the comment above...as a kindergarten teacher, I really felt as though the book was written for teachers of older children, but some things are universal about teaching, no matter what age/subject you teach! Mentoring, joining networks, remaining intellectually challenged, listening to yourself, and empowering student are goals that all teachers can work toward! Personally, I plan on taking what I learned specifically about networking with other teachers in my grade level through blogs and other technology, and listening to myself, and bringing my true self and personality into my classroom. Hope everyone enjoyed this book! It was great to be connected to so many inspiring educators during the summer months, and I feel excited about the new school year that's about to begin!

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