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Leadership and Activism, Learning at its Best

Action Steps

I know @colonelB (David Britten) asked us to post our action steps the last week of 2010, but we began our winter break early this year with two snow days right at the beginning of it–so I spent those two days sleeping and rejuvenating and I’m now solidly in the “catch up all the thinking and reflecting I haven’t had time to do” stage of my vacation–and looking forward to another two weeks of enjoying family and friends and having time to breathe and reflect!

So, here’s my first post on MY action steps. In an effort to raise the consciousness of my staff to see learning networks as a place where learning occurs in powerful ways, I intend to make my own learning in those arenas more transparent to those around me.

This is an email I sent my staff on the first Saturday of our Winter break. We have 16 days officially off this year, so tell me–how would you feel if someone sent you this on your first day of break?  Do you read an invitation in here, or an expectation? How would your teachers react if you sent this to your staff?

Happy Holidays!
I hope you all have a blessed season and enjoy your time off—and use it as I plan to , to rest, rejuvenate myself, and take time to breathe and get to some of that list of “things to do” I never seem to get to when school is racing along at breakneck speed.

In this time of such open information available everywhere we go online (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yammer, ASCD, NCTM, etc.), and the many blogs that are out there, this one came across Twitter this morning, speaking to the ability for DIY (do it yourself) PD.

It’s chock full of links to follow and explanations of the thinking she is doing, so feel free to explore it as much or as little as you want.

The idea of transparent learning is intriguing to me. Sheryl (the author of this particular blog post) says, “We teach others by transparently sharing what we are learning ourselves.

I do that with my kids—when I am at  a conference, I always look for something to bring back to share that they will enjoy—might be a movie about schools today, or a new tool, or a youtube video, but I let them know what I am learning. I am constantly telling them things I learn from the many educators I learn from daily on the web.

What I don’t do well is make my learning transparent to you, as a community of learners in our building, and I believe we all need to do that more.  I learn something almost every time I get in a conversation with any of you, and I like that sharing and learning together.

I know many of you have no interest in using Twitter or Facebook professionally, or mixing the use you already make of one or the other between personal and professional. I use both professionally and am just beginning to use Facebook for personal connections.  Some of you are way ahead of me in that arena!

But I thought I’d share one way you can learn from the same folks I do without joining Twitter and that is to look at my Twittertimes. . . .that’s an app that synopsizes the tweets from the many global educators–and people who think about education– I follow on Twitter and it highlights the most retweeted ones, and the ones that generate the most interest on Twitter.

Simply go to and read away.  I believe it changes daily based on my Twitterstream. I don’t check it that often, so am not sure.  🙂

So, to answer the question asked in Seth Godin’s email quoted in Sheryl’s blog, “What am I working on?” I’m telling you one of my New Year’s goals is to make my learning more transparent to those around me.

One thing I am working on is blogging with 4th grade. We have two blogs set up— and .  Please feel free to go check it out and respond to them if you want.  Some of the kids have been blogging since we’ve been out of school on the 4th grade one—the top six blogs have been done SINCE our snow days began.

Each 4th grade teacher has at least one prolific blogger—Abby, Jordan and Jessica. Enjoy reading their blog posts!!  I had to laugh when Jordan responded to Abby Friday and said, “That’s cool you blog on your own time. It’s Friday. We have no school today because of snow. That’s awesome.” when she had written two posts herself on the snow days!

Again, I hope everyone has fun on your time off! Enjoy!

So it’s been two days since I sent that email and I have gotten not one response. I wonder about the timing.  I wonder about whether it was too early in the break for some, or how it was seen.  I wish time for PLN work was built into our schedules just as PLC work is.  I wonder how to make my learning more transparent and actually have my  teachers see all the potential of the web today for connections and deep learning–and actually use it with kids. I’m looking forward to when we get back and I get to have some face to face conversations with my folks about this!

About Paula White

grandma, teacher, Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE), DEN STAR, Google Certified Teacher, camper, Gifted Resource Tchr, NETS*T certified, lover of learning


5 thoughts on “Action Steps

  1. Yes, you probably sent this out too early… and as I mentioned to you on Twitter, I just did the exact same thing:-) When you have a love for learning like we do, the holidays are a time to explore and be excited about learning, but I’m not sure everyone is like that, and some people really do need to ‘switch off’ so that when they return they feel revitalized. I respect that as a necessary choice for some, I just hope people like that don’t roll their eyes and disregard people like us.

    “I wish time for PLN work was built into our schedules…”

    Paula, I couldn’t agree with you more… in fact, I wish greater time for collaboration and teaming and mentorship were all in there too.

    I said this in a post recently:
    ‘We have to stop counting a teacher’s ‘instructional minutes’ and start giving them ‘learning minutes’. We have to stop talking about ‘teaming’ and starting giving teachers time to be a team.

    What if a teacher had 1/3 of the day to plan, collaborate and yes even prep for their classes? What if at least one course every year had to be co-taught with another teacher in the room? How would these structural changes open doors for some cultural changes in school?’

    Probably just wishful thinking… but our jobs as educators are changing so much… it’s really time that ‘learning’ (especially from each other) became a priority for teachers, and that such time was embeded in a teacher’s day!

    Posted by David Truss | December 23, 2010, 1:47 pm
  2. You may not have gotten any responses but you might have people thinking – and visiting the resources. I believe there’s such a learning curve in these areas that it takes time for some to come around. Your commitment, transparent learning, well-structured PD integrating these resources, and evidence that these learning experiences have impacted you will bring poeple along. It took me 6 months of conversation about the amazing growth I’ve made collaborating in this manner and now I have 3 followers ( who I am supporting – I keep Derek Severs how to start a movement in mind) that are also starting to spread the word and enthusiasm. I keep this mantra in my mind unwavering, transparent commitment to vision and generative leadership = effective leadership and ultimately change.

    Posted by Stephanie | December 26, 2010, 8:45 am
    • You’re right, Stephanie, about having folks thinking and visiting the resources. I do know of several who have since said they are enjoying looking at my Twitter Times and exploring the links there. I am just so impatient sometimes–the “ultimately change” you mention is a hard thing for me to manage. 🙂

      Sounds like you are making a difference. Thanks for sharing!

      Posted by Paula White | December 26, 2010, 2:31 pm
  3. Thank you for writing this post, Paula! What you, David and Stephanie have discussed here are giving me ideas for helping my staff. I too started off our winter break sending off emails and sharing resources and blogs to read. I had at least one person reply to my emails, my principal. I’m lucky to have a very forward thinking, and acting, principal. From my colleagues? Not a peep. I don’t even know if they got my emails! That’s what bugs me the most. Well, no I guess what bugs me more is that they probably aren’t even checking their email. So I’m trying to get my PLC to do more with social networking and virtual learning, because none of them have replied to my emails either, with this grant proposal I submitted:

    Let’s hope I get it so I can rock their world! Hopefully :o)

    Posted by Alfonso Gonzalez | December 29, 2010, 2:21 am


  1. Pingback: Blog 4 Real Education Reform – The Sequel « Cooperative Catalyst - December 20, 2010

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