The last three days have been a whirlwind for me.
MSU-Northern: Havre, MT
On Thursday, I taught in the morning and then headed to speak at MSU-Northern in Havre, MT. I met with the Dean, Carol Reifschneider, and one of her colleagues for an excellent meal and then headed off to speak with preservice teachers, Havre educators, and MSU-Northern faculty about "Promoting Creativity and Innovation in the Classroom."
Here's the presentation I used:
During my presentation, I gave the audience a pictorial tour of my classroom and discussed the daily procedures of a blended learning environment. I shared the avenues of learning that are present in my classroom (individual, collaborative, whole-group, small group). And, I opened their eyes to the creative and innovative approaches that can and do happen in classrooms across Montana when a teacher feels empowered to take risks with his/her students.
At the end, I answered some awesome questions from preservice teachers and faculty members. I even made friends with the tech ed teacher and the chancellor of MSU-Northern (he offered me a job). I don't think this will be my last time visiting MSU-Northern. It was a great experience!
Pictures to come...
On Friday morning, before my trek back to Deer Lodge, I finished working on my presentation for the Montana Teacher Leaders of the Arts. I had many reflections in my mind as I drove home, and thought it was appropriate to at least verbally express what took place the day before. I took the liberty of stopping in Big Sandy, MT (the home of Jon Tester) to record some of my thoughts. Although, I would have loved to live Periscope my reflections, the connection in Big Sandy was too poor (I think we need to work on this). However, since I'm tech savvy, I did a work around and recorded my reflections on my phone and then uploaded them to YouTube when the service was better. Here it is:
Oh, did I mention that after traveling home I got right back in the car and traveled to Bozeman for the Luke Bryan concert? Yea, maybe that wasn't the best idea, but it sure was a great way to recharge. Honestly, my ears are still ringing two days later...
Off to Livingston
Saturday was an awesome experience. I spoke with the Montana Teacher Leaders of the Arts on "The Making of a Teacher Leader: Globalizing Your Practice." The presentation was set-up as a 3-hour workshop. For the first hour and a half, our theme was teacher leaders. I spoke briefly on the qualities of great teacher leaders and shared some of the ways I digitally share and connect as a teacher leader. For me, Twitter was a powerful place to build my teacher leadership skills, so we started there. I challenged each participant to take a risk, sign-up for a Twitter account, and to start sharing. I showed them the ins and outs of Twitter, made them their own hashtag (#MTLA16), and guided them through their own Twitter chat. It was challenging, but a good experience for all involved.
Our second theme of the day was storytelling. We discussed the types of stories Montana Teacher Leaders of the Arts could share. How will you empower colleagues by sharing articles, resources, and what you're doing in the classroom? With this question in mind, I asked each participant to find stories (articles, blogs, resources) that tell a story about teacher leaders, teachers as learners, best practices, advocacy, etc., and, using their new skills, Tweet out the stories to the #MTLA16 community.
Their articles led to fantastic discussions on building a professional learning network, reaching a larger audience, using their teacher leader voices, and building relationships. It was an empowering discussion that I hope will continue to branch out through their networks.
If you've made it this far...
I'd love the opportunity to visit your school and speak with your colleagues. Please e-mail me and let me know how I can continue to promote the 5Es throughout Montana.