Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back at 2013 - Becoming Connected

2013 has FLOWN by and here it is New Year's Eve.  While this has been a good year, I am believing that 2014 is going to be incredible.  I will always remember 2013 as the year that I became a connected educator.  Towards the end of this year, I started blogging, building my PLN on Twitter, and speaking at educational conferences. These things have completely changed the way that I teach and I am happier now than I have been in years.

Blogging has given me an opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas with others as well as connect with other educators around the world.  Blogging allows me to be creative and open.  It gives me the space that I need to reflect and realize what I could have done differently.   While blogging helps me realize my weaknesses, it also makes me aware of my strengths.  Often as teachers, we focus on what needs improvement or how we could have taught a lesson differently. It's also important to focus on the things that we do well.  Share your successes with others so that they can learn from you.   I have started small, blogging once a week or every other week.  I'm not sure I'm doing it right, but I'm doing it and I'm convinced that it has improved my outlook on education.

Twitter, well, I can't say enough about Twitter.  Because of the wonderful teachers that I have met on Twitter, my classroom is forever changed. Engaging in conversations with other educators that are passionate about what they do makes my job much more fun. I have a sense of community and don't feel like I am going at this alone.  I make time to participate in chats which gives me the opportunity to learn from other educators while sharing things that are working for my classroom as well.  If you are an educator and not on Twitter, please consider checking it out. You owe it to yourself and your students to connect with some of the best educators in the world and you will find them on Twitter.

I also started presenting this year.  I presented at a couple of conferences early in the year but I was most proud about sharing at the TAGT (Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented) Conference in December of this year. I shared about how to use Edmodo to engage students even when they are not in your classroom.  It was a wonderful opportunity and I made some great connections.  It was fun to connect with some of my tweeps and other GT educators that are passionate about using technology in their classrooms.  I hope to continue to present and share with others even more in 2014.

I am always learning and I know that I have just scratched the surface of the amazing resources that are out there.  In 2014, I have many goals and aspirations.  If you are a teacher that is passionate about what you do everyday, I would encourage you to start blogging, join Twitter, and be willing to share what you know with other educators.  You have something to offer and we would love to learn from you.  Make the decision to step out on that limb...and then get ready to FLY!  Below is a word cloud that I created on Tagxedo from my 2013 blog posts. One more look back and now it's full steam ahead!  Happy 2014!


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