To be honest I started #coetail because of my PLN. There were people I respected and followed that were former COETAILers who raved about it. I also saw the #coetail popping up on lots of posts, so I took a journey down the rabbit hole and was hooked. After the first reading of the first course, I knew this was the right decision to join the COETAIL community. Since my first course I feel I have moved from between Stages 4-5 to between Stages 6-7 of Silvia Rosenthal’s Seven Degrees of Connectedness infographic. I feel that throughout my COETAIL journey I have become a more connected educator through continuing to build my PLN and strengthen connections in a more authentic way. COEATIL has been my village to help me expand my thinking, gather ideas, solicit feedback, and grow as an educator. Thanks to my final project I feel like I am more friends than colleagues with the wonderful educators and people I learned alongside.
Stronger Relationships Through #GBCreatingInnovators
I learned how to think deeply about students’ developmental readiness and how to encourage little moments of innovation from Joy.
Thomas taught me how to be flexible and to transfer the big concepts of our book across grade levels, as well as how to listen intently with an open mind.
Suzy inspired me with her final project and her keen ability to reflect upon her practices in order to engage students and parents in the learning process and collaboration.
Katherine, who joined our group at the recommendation of Joy, gave insight into providing time for prototyping and reflection. She shared many classroom experiences and I appreciated her transparency.
Liz only got to join us for the last meeting, but her constant support and sharing throughout the #GBCreatingInnovators project spurred ideas and gave me new perspectives.
Collaboration and Passing the Spark
I titled my blog SPARK, because of this quote
The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have the idea spark another. ~Marva Collins
Throughout this journey I have been so inspired by fellow COETAILers (past and present), and although I am not in the classroom right now I have tried to spread their projects/ideas to my teachers at my school.
Joel’s final project immediately sparked my interest, to which I shared it with our early education teachers and through Twitter. To me it is such a powerful combination of all aspects of COETAIL and so empowering for the students and classes involved, I just had to share.
Another little collaboration I tried to organize and pass on was to connect our 1st grade teachers with other teachers around the world. I knew Joy, Suzy, and Joel all taught lower grades so I created a Google doc for people to sign up and share about their students’ and class responsibilities in their respective locations.
Prior to deciding upon my final project idea I created a Final Project Feedback document for COETAILers to share their ideas and give/receive feedback about final projects. I tweeted it out to get a wider audience. I loved reading others ideas and also valued the feedback I got.
I feel one of my responsibilities as a learning leader in my school is to share and connect teachers. Twitter and my PLN have enabled me to do this far more easily than before. Before I was active and built my PLN I spent hours researching and finding articles that applied to teachers (and my needs). Thanks to my PLN and the beauty of #hashtags I find more relevant articles, examples, and connections almost momentarily.
One educator, whom I deeply respect and who challenges me to rethink my approaches to learning is a fellow COETAILer, Tricia. I was on the COETAIL site one day and read one of her posts, and from there I was hooked. She has such a divergent view of the school culture and environment, I enjoy listening to her podcasts and reading her posts.
I have followed #sisrocks for years, stealing ideas like an artist from their teachers and administrators. Through the hashtag I have deepened my PLN connections and passed on ideas to our teachers. Their hashtag encouraged me to start a hashtag for our school, #wearegiants.
I value my PLN so much, it is the genesis of my learning and ideas. I find it much more useful and relevant than traditional courses and books. It is real time, authentic, needs based, and encouraging to me as an educator. I can only hope to grow my PLN as I progress in this wonderful field of education. And thanks to being in the #coetail sorority I will forever be a lifetime member of a network of professionals who value learning.