Twenty years ago this month I sat in my freshman English class with a brand new Mead 5 Star Notebook covered by a sticker with my favorite band at the time – Shaded Red. A boy walked by my desk and noticed said sticker, then mentioned that he would be seeing them in concert that evening. After negotiations with my parents to join this new friend and his dad for the concert, I knew that the Mugfords would play an important part of my life for years to come.
Shortly after our concert experience, I started attending the youth service that Jeff Mugford led, aptly called Hot Church. This youth group was unlike anything I had experienced. There was a full band rocking out with a team of high schoolers leading vocals, relevant and timely messages for teenagers, small group options to learn more about God, and a tight knit community that supported one another in life. Within months, I joined the worship team and a small group, and even convinced my parents to move churches.
There were weekly rehearsals, weekend camps, yearly overnights to Magic Mountain, summer missions trips, and SO many concerts. The memories are vivid and the relationships still exist.
Today marks the Hot Church Reunion where we all come together to reminisce and bid farewell to the facility that convened us during our formative years. As we have all prepared for the service that will take place and shared memories, I have braced myself to feel all the feels. This building was my second home, more than any other place. It was my church from freshman year of high school until I graduated college and moved to Nebraska. It was my first job when I helped program music for services. It was the place where we said our final goodbye to my dad in a sanctuary filled with friends and family.
Today we say goodbye to Hot Church, but not to all the memories that we keep forever with us.
Fifteen years ago tonight, I said goodbye to my dad for the final time.
I didn’t know it would be the last time I would give him a hug and tell him I loved him. I didn’t know that his heart couldn’t take anymore. I didn’t know that I should have gone with my mom to the hospital when they called. I didn’t know how to react when the doctor came to tell us he was gone. I didn’t know how I could feel pain so severe, while simultaneously be completely numb to it. I didn’t know that I would somehow sing at his funeral days later. I didn’t know that burial felt so concrete.
I didn’t know that I would start my freshman year in college without a father. I didn’t know that I would get married almost four years later and not have him there to walk me down the aisle. I didn’t know all of the milestones in my life that he would miss.
I didn’t know that my heart would still ache fifteen years later.
At the end of most of my sessions, I try to build in time for reflection because it’s a great way to process new learnings, consider applications, and bring our time together to a close. One of my favorite ways to do this is to use Padlet and show the real-time reflections in the room. I’ve done this several times recently and it’s because of how one experience caused me to pause and take note. Normally, I encourage participants to share key takeaways and next steps. Not too long ago, I was doing this and several constructive comments were written regarding some choices made over the course of the day. Instead of just reading them and letting them sit there, I wrote some notes speaking to each comment and addressed each of them as we came back together before the end of the day. There were intentional choices made during the day that were important to point out and explain. This exercise was very powerful for me. Not only did I read the comments, I modeled processing them.
We often discuss coaching as an effective model with teachers and students because of the feedback loop involved. Yet, I rarely see it in action. That is not to say that it doesn’t happen. But how often and where? As part of our evaluations? During professional learning opportunities? Even if we consider session evaluations as part of the feedback loop for professional developers, do we read and process them? Do we read them, fixate on the negative ones, get defensive, and not change anything in our future work? I’m all too guilty of this myself. I’m not quite sure what made me approach this differently, but I did. And it was a powerful practice for me. I will be very intentional of doing this again in future work, as uncomfortable as it may be. It’s important for growth and a great way to feel empowered. Imagine if we all practiced this and modeled this process for educators and students.
It’s the last week of school before break. You are reaching your limits, and so are your students. Your personal holiday busyness is bleeding into your classroom…and you just want to put a movie in. I get it, I’ve been there. But before you do, think.
Did you know that watching a movie for entertainment (not tied to curriculum), is not considered fair use and is a violation of copyright?
What message are we sending students and parents by watching a movie during instructional time?
Could this time be used for something else?
Instead of watching a movie this last week before break, here are five options to consider:
Give students more time to get in and play with all those great sites that you discovered during the Hour of Code week.
It may be tempting to pop that movie in, but look at all of these meaningful activities that could happen instead. Imagine the problem-solving, critical-thinking, creativity, collaboration, and fun that could take place. Share what you end up doing with your students – I’d love to know!
The Edcamp Foundation has partnered with Remind again this year to bring #EdcampGift 2015. This is a great way to engage with fellow Edcampers and share stories. Oh, did I mention that one person will also be selected each day to donate $100 to their favorite Edcamp?!
Join the conversation by using the #EdcampGift hashtag on Twitter and Instagram!
Over 14,000 educators across the state of California gathered for the first California Teachers Summit taking place at 33 colleges and universities. In an effort to empower those in attendance, part of the day was designed to bring the Edcamp unconference model in and allow voice and choice.
You may be wondering why I was involved if I’m not a California teacher. Well, my friends in the Bay Area have already adopted me…AND the Edcamp Foundation asked me to help. How could I say no to a trip to Bakersfield at the end of July?
Friday was truly a special day for the 500+ attendees at CSU Bakersfield because I got to introduce them to Edcamp. The CSU Bakersfield staff were a little anxious about the two hour chunk of time that had no set schedule, but I promised them that they could trust me to help guide everyone and to also trust the process. Sure, there were people that were uncomfortable. There were also skeptics. But I saw a session board grow in front of my eyes in five minutes and I knew that they were ready. With the reminder to contribute to the conversation, use the rule of two feet, and a little luck…they were sent on their way. As I walked the campus making my way into a variety of sessions, I could feel the energy. It was electrifying. It was invigorating. People were sharing, taking notes, and learning.
As we ended our time, there were takeaways shared through a Padlet. The overwhelming majority of comments were positive and reflected the same energy that I witnessed. As the day drew to a close, all attendees were once again asked to reflect on their day and share their thoughts with the group. Several people highlighted choice of learning, getting the opportunity to learn from others, sharing best practices, and building community. It is through the California Teacher Summit and the Edcamp unconference that these highlights came to be. Because, we are better together.
There are over 14,000 educators that experienced a little slice of an Edcamp; And for that, my heart is happy.