The Unexpected Yes

Friday night my husband Mike walked into the room and said he had something to talk to me about. Our family had been thinking about doing a beach trip in a few weeks, but he had discovered that the weather would be rainy the week planned. He had just found a great deal for the beach, but it would mean we needed to leave early in the morning.

Now in the past hearing this news I would have thought of every single possible issue with leaving right away such as the doctor appointments, the activities planned, and things I was in charge of for that week at church, but my immediate response was, YES.

I knew this was an opportunity that came knocking and the door needed to be opened right away. So we quickly packed and got the car ready. At 5AM we put the girls in their car seats. We then took off to St. Simons beach and by 10:30 am we had our feet in the sand.

During this trip I witnessed our girls overcome their fear of water, jumping in and splashing with joy. I saw my husband’s playful spirit, making sandcastles with our little ones. I was overjoyed to be a part of many giggles which will remain in my heart for years to come.

What would have happened if I did not say, Yes.

I know. The experience would have been lost.

In the classroom we are taught to be planned for everything. We do lesson plans each week, we plan for ways to improve our students learning, and we plan and attend meetings. At times this becomes who we are, planned.
This year I discovered that saying Yes helped me not only become a better teacher, but a better person.

My students this year had many passions that they brought into the classroom. I had one student, Willow who loves kites. Each day we have a time called Team Build where students can build and play. Willow made a kite during Team Build and brought it outside with her to fly. As we were on the sidewalk together, one of the students, said “I wish we could make kites.”

I thought about it…why not? We were doing measurement. I thought couldn’t they make kites and add runners to learn the difference between short and long, couldn’t we make kites and measure our longest strand with difference objects and rulers? Couldn’t we go fly the kites and see whose kite goes the highest?

So we did!

I scratched the measurement lesson I had previously planned. I had Willow share her kite and how she made it. I played a video clip from YouTube (Thank You YouTube for existing!), and the students made kites. This ended up being a two-day lesson because the kids were so motivated to make their kite their personal best. The kids loved learning about kites, making them, measuring them, and of course flying them! One fourth grade classroom even used the kite lesson to study about angles. It was my husband’s class, but hey it was a class.

Watching my students fly those kites made a Yes, stamp on my heart. I started thinking about other ways I could say Yes to my students. Then I came across a book, Instant Relevance by Denis Sheeran @MathDenisNJ. This book tells about how educators can make learning more relevant to their students and how we can bring student interest into our lessons. This book gave me the affirmation I needed to continue to look for ways to make learning come alive in my classroom.

In order to be the best version of ourselves we have to take those opportunities that come up in our classrooms and say, “Yes!” Even when they don’t fit the plan we made for that day. Those spur of the moment lessons can make the biggest impact on our students and sometimes the biggest impact on our own hearts.

In my life and in my classroom I am going to continue to look for ways to say Yes. I am going to continue to plan, but I am also going to be ready to scratch that plan at any time to go with something unexpected. I have found it is often in the unexpected that learning truly unfolds. It is where we receive so many gifts we would not have received if we spent too much time asking How.

Let’s look inside ourselves and see where we can say Yes, so we can create experiences for our students that will stay with them for many years to come. 

Our Greatest Purpose

One of the most important things I have found as an educator is purpose. This year I wrote a mission statement and a vision for my classroom. I posted it clearly in the room, so each day I could review my true purpose.

Each morning when I wake up I think about my purpose for the day.

 I have this intentional feeling I cannot fully explain. It is the feeling that today I will make an impact in the world whether it be small or large.I know I’m here for a reason and that my purpose is greater than any challenges I may face.
My purpose is to be the most impactful teacher I can be, to show all students they matter, and to help my students shine. My goal is to be a school teacher, not just a class teacher (George Couros).
Knowing this purpose has helped me break through all the distractions that come in a school day, a week, or even a school year.

My purpose has also given me the courage to be different. In the past it bothered me greatly to break the status quo. I wanted to be comfortable in every setting, but especially with the staff around me. It was important to me what others thought of me and it was very important to not stand out. I didn’t want others to think I was too far out of the box or trying to outshine them.

I had witnessed firsthand teachers who went against the grain. Teachers who were fully in for students. These teachers had an air of confidence that I had deep respect for, but they also seemed to walk down a narrow road that most would not dare take.

The road that leads to great change over time.

I now realize through the push of my purpose that no matter what anyone thinks of me, my main focus HAS to be on what is best for my students. This year I have truly learned that in order to be the best version of myself and help my students reach their highest potential I have to let go of the feelings of self-doubt, fear, and self-consciousness.

My purpose will always be to be an impactful educator who makes a difference every day in the lives of students.

I am ready to face this new year letting go of what others think, letting go of any distractions that may come my way, and facing each day with a hope that I will show a child that they matter. That they matter to our classroom, that they matter to this world, and that they matter to me.

I know there will be days that I am challenged and many days I have to reset my focus, but I will continue to review my purpose each morning, letting go of what does not matter, but holding on to what matters most, My students. 
Always…my students.
#MoreEdu

Our Greatest Purpose

One of the most important things I have found as an educator is purpose. This year I wrote a mission statement and a vision for my classroom. I posted it clearly in the room, so each day I could review my true purpose.

Each morning when I wake up I think about my purpose for the day.

 I have this intentional feeling I cannot fully explain. It is the feeling that today I will make an impact in the world whether it be small or large.I know I’m here for a reason and that my purpose is greater than any challenges I may face.
My purpose is to be the most impactful teacher I can be, to show all students they matter, and to help my students shine. My goal is to be a school teacher, not just a class teacher (George Couros).
Knowing this purpose has helped me break through all the distractions that come in a school day, a week, or even a school year.

My purpose has also given me the courage to be different. In the past it bothered me greatly to break the status quo. I wanted to be comfortable in every setting, but especially with the staff around me. It was important to me what others thought of me and it was very important to not stand out. I didn’t want others to think I was too far out of the box or trying to outshine them.

I had witnessed firsthand teachers who went against the grain. Teachers who were fully in for students. These teachers had an air of confidence that I had deep respect for, but they also seemed to walk down a narrow road that most would not dare take.

The road that leads to great change over time.

I now realize through the push of my purpose that no matter what anyone thinks of me, my main focus HAS to be on what is best for my students. This year I have truly learned that in order to be the best version of myself and help my students reach their highest potential I have to let go of the feelings of self-doubt, fear, and self-consciousness.

My purpose will always be to be an impactful educator who makes a difference every day in the lives of students.

I am ready to face this new year letting go of what others think, letting go of any distractions that may come my way, and facing each day with a hope that I will show a child that they matter. That they matter to our classroom, that they matter to this world, and that they matter to me.

I know there will be days that I am challenged and many days I have to reset my focus, but I will continue to review my purpose each morning, letting go of what does not matter, but holding on to what matters most, My students. 
Always…my students.
#MoreEdu

A Thank You To My Students

    On the last day of school I held my student’s hands as we walked out together to the buses. One little girl kissed my hand as I walked her to her bus. Before I could first tell her, she beat me to it and said, “I love you Mrs. Stanton.” I told her I loved her and gave her a kiss on the top of her head. I gave all my students one last hug and told them I would see them very soon. Along with the other teachers including my husband we walked out to the road to wave goodbye to all the students as they left for the year. As the last bus drove past I could feel my heart sink. My husband and I walked back into the school together both holding the same feeling. We knew that the summer would bring much fun and love with our own family, but we both struggled to let go of THIS family. A family that was created at school with a beautiful team behind them.
    This year was an unbelievable year of growth, love, and learning. The last week of school was bitter sweet as my class and I enjoyed each other through many games, songs, and quality time. There are so many people I am thankful for this year for helping me make it such a memorable one, but one group I must not forget to thank is my students. 
    Our students work so hard each year to strive to be the best version of themselves. I have been given a gift of watching them grow in just 180 schools days. All my students have come out of this year being more empathetic, curious, joyful, confident, and more uniquely themselves. They know in our class we embrace the treasure of each person’s true personality.
    Each year I write a personal letter to my class to thank them for being who they are….the best students I could ever ask for. Here is my letter to my class this year. This class will always hold a special place in my heart. 

To My Kindergarten Class,                                                       May 24, 2017

I first want to thank all of you for giving me such a wonderful year in kindergarten. I loved every minute of teaching you and learning from you. You are the kindest and most empathetic class I have EVER had in my 12 years of teaching.


I just wanted to thank you all for being such an outstanding group of students! You filled this year with so much joy and every day felt like the best day of the year. You’ve made each day fun and it was always exciting to come to work to see you. In fact, you made this year feel like it wasn’t even a job.


I appreciate how caring and kind you always were especially to the other kindergarten students, the cafeteria staff, Dorina our custodian, Mr. Day and his family, and Charlie. You truly have hearts of gold. 

Each day you have made me want to be a better person. You have made me reflect daily on how I can have big hearts just like you. You make everyone feel that they matter. You make everyone around you smile. And you make Mulberry a better place just by being you.

Please stay in touch with me over the years and let me know if there is ever anything you need. I will ALWAYS be there to listen, I will ALWAYS be there for a hug, and I will ALWAYS be one of your champions.


I will miss each and every one of you over the summer, but I know that I will get to see your smiling faces at Pizza in the Park, registration day, and the first day of school. Oh, how proud I will be to see you as a first grader. You are all ready for first grade and you will do wonderful! Remember to be YOU and shine out that light for all to see! It is that light inside you that brings so much joy to others. 
You will ALWAYS be the class that has a special place in my heart. I love you dearly and it has been an honor to be called your teacher.

Love You Forever,

Mrs. Stanton

A Thank You To My Students

    On the last day of school I held my student’s hands as we walked out together to the buses. One little girl kissed my hand as I walked her to her bus. Before I could first tell her, she beat me to it and said, “I love you Mrs. Stanton.” I told her I loved her and gave her a kiss on the top of her head. I gave all my students one last hug and told them I would see them very soon. Along with the other teachers including my husband we walked out to the road to wave goodbye to all the students as they left for the year. As the last bus drove past I could feel my heart sink. My husband and I walked back into the school together both holding the same feeling. We knew that the summer would bring much fun and love with our own family, but we both struggled to let go of THIS family. A family that was created at school with a beautiful team behind them.
    This year was an unbelievable year of growth, love, and learning. The last week of school was bitter sweet as my class and I enjoyed each other through many games, songs, and quality time. There are so many people I am thankful for this year for helping me make it such a memorable one, but one group I must not forget to thank is my students. 
    Our students work so hard each year to strive to be the best version of themselves. I have been given a gift of watching them grow in just 180 schools days. All my students have come out of this year being more empathetic, curious, joyful, confident, and more uniquely themselves. They know in our class we embrace the treasure of each person’s true personality.
    Each year I write a personal letter to my class to thank them for being who they are….the best students I could ever ask for. Here is my letter to my class this year. This class will always hold a special place in my heart. 

To My Kindergarten Class,                                                       May 24, 2017

I first want to thank all of you for giving me such a wonderful year in kindergarten. I loved every minute of teaching you and learning from you. You are the kindest and most empathetic class I have EVER had in my 12 years of teaching.


I just wanted to thank you all for being such an outstanding group of students! You filled this year with so much joy and every day felt like the best day of the year. You’ve made each day fun and it was always exciting to come to work to see you. In fact, you made this year feel like it wasn’t even a job.


I appreciate how caring and kind you always were especially to the other kindergarten students, the cafeteria staff, Dorina our custodian, Mr. Day and his family, and Charlie. You truly have hearts of gold. 

Each day you have made me want to be a better person. You have made me reflect daily on how I can have big hearts just like you. You make everyone feel that they matter. You make everyone around you smile. And you make Mulberry a better place just by being you.

Please stay in touch with me over the years and let me know if there is ever anything you need. I will ALWAYS be there to listen, I will ALWAYS be there for a hug, and I will ALWAYS be one of your champions.


I will miss each and every one of you over the summer, but I know that I will get to see your smiling faces at Pizza in the Park, registration day, and the first day of school. Oh, how proud I will be to see you as a first grader. You are all ready for first grade and you will do wonderful! Remember to be YOU and shine out that light for all to see! It is that light inside you that brings so much joy to others. 
You will ALWAYS be the class that has a special place in my heart. I love you dearly and it has been an honor to be called your teacher.

Love You Forever,

Mrs. Stanton

Sweeter Than the Beginning

“Make the end sweeter than the beginning.” These are the words a colleague said to me many years ago. These words have always resounded with me and I have never gotten them out of my mind.

To make the end sweeter than the beginning of the year.


What a thought!

This year has been quite a year. It is the first year I implemented full flexible seating, a circle meeting place, morning meeting, and a class Twitter account. It has also been a year of hands on learning, experiments, PBL, and making true connections with my students and educators around the world.
 
This HAS truly been my favorite year of all my 12 years. Watching my students grow throughout this year has brought me so much joy. My students have become problem solvers, explorers, they question the world, and are empathetic students who care deeply about others. 
They look for the good in everyone and they make me want to be a better person every day.

Do we have problems that arise in our class? Yes, but they don’t define us. We work through them together. Many of times it is my students now who tell me, “It’s okay Mrs. Stanton, we will figure it out.” Or “Mrs. Stanton we all make mistakes, it just gives us feedback.”

To make the year sweeter than the beginning I use May as a way to end the year on the sweetest note. I tend to get teary throughout each day, but the students never know nor do my colleagues. I get teary because I finally get to see all the soul pouring work we do each day pouring out of the students and into others. They just seem ready to fly right now and it will be my honor to let them go on that last day (May 24th).

In order to make this the sweetest ending I do a few special things to let them know they are loved.

I always do Minute to Win It with my class and we end with a paired competition at the end of the day.

I make lessons that involve their interests such as making slime, making and competing with fidget spinners, and using their favorite characters to spot light our lessons. I don’t fight these things at the end of the year instead I ask myself how I can embrace them to help my students embrace their learning.

We have a red carpet awards show to celebrate each student’s two biggest achievements both academically and socially. Watching them walk down that red carpet and make their speeches is the most special moment at the end of each year.

I create a memory book where I interview the students about their favorite memories and connections. They get to read their own answers along with their classmate’s heartfelt responses.  I add class pictures and things they loved, so they can remember their year.

 

As a class we sing our class song one last time at our school picnic on the lawn. Right before the parents whisk them away I pull them in a class huddle and we sing together. This year it will be, Count On Me by Bruno Mars. It reminds us that we will always be together in our hearts. As we sing the students have the biggest smiles on their faces.
At the end of the huddle I always give them an individual hug with words of encouragement. Many quickly run off to go on a date with their parents for the remainder of the day. But the longer I have been teaching, the more students choose to stay the rest of the school day.

They choose to stay with me and their class family just a little longer.

 

Lastly at the end of the year I remind the students AND their families that they are always welcome to our room at any time and that I am only a text/call/email away. Many of times it is an honor to see them walk back into the classroom door with their other children ready for a new kindergarten year. But the huge honor lies in the families and prior students that come through those doors to just say hello or give a hug.

I have learned that my heart is a place that is NEVER full, but always has room for one more student to love. Oh how blessed I will be next year when I get one more class to place in my heart. One more class to pray for each day, to joyfully grow with.

It is in these last days that we must truly enjoy our students. Put down the boxes to pack up and enjoy our kids. 
Yes, I repeat put down the boxes.

Go swing with your kids on the swings like they have asked of us all year, spend time eating with them at lunch to hear their summer plans, race with them down the sidewalks to hear their cheers, and just laugh with them.

This is a time when you can just enjoy being with them. It makes the ending to the year so memorable for the students, but also for us.We have worked hard all year to help them grow. This is the time we can enjoy them and see who they have become over these 10 months.

So many times at the end of the year we rush and work on the check list that is oh so long, but make sure you add on the list some time to spend with your students. Actually put it at the top of your list and throughout the list because that is why you are here in the first place, to make relationships with your students that will last a lifetime.

At the end of the year don’t be surprised when some of your students who have made the biggest gains socially or academically tend to act up. Don’t be surprised when they act different that last few weeks or even the last day. That is the child who needed you the most this year and needs you the most right now.

Spend some time giving them the extra hug, the air high five, or better yet make a hand shake with that child that no one else has! Throughout the years they can come back and do that hand shake with you. And only you and them will know it. It is this child who might be having their world rocked right now because YOU will be out of it for a few months.

Remember that.

I have to tell myself this each day during May. I have to remind myself that we have built such strong connections and that they know (even though I don’t tell them until the last week) that though those connections will always be there, they are about to change since we won’t be in the same setting each day.

Don’t be afraid to make summer plans with your students. I will be having Pizza in the Park with my students this summer. We will meet at the park to play soccer, use hula hoops, bubbles, and just play. This will be a time we will be able to talk about the great things they are doing over the summer enjoying a slice of pizza with their families. I plan this event and accept invitations for other activities with individual students in the summer because my students truly become my class family. A second family that I love.

I hope you have a beautiful end to your school year this year! In the end it is always our choice how the end of the school year goes, may your end be sweeter than the beginning. And may your summer be a refreshment that brings you to a beautiful new beginning! 
A beginning with a new class that will grow because of an impactful educator like you.

How amazing it is we get to be called educators.
Our stories are always, More Than A Lesson.  #MoreEdu

Sweeter Than the Beginning

“Make the end sweeter than the beginning.” These are the words a colleague said to me many years ago. These words have always resounded with me and I have never gotten them out of my mind.

To make the end sweeter than the beginning of the year.


What a thought!

This year has been quite a year. It is the first year I implemented full flexible seating, a circle meeting place, morning meeting, and a class Twitter account. It has also been a year of hands on learning, experiments, PBL, and making true connections with my students and educators around the world.
 
This HAS truly been my favorite year of all my 12 years. Watching my students grow throughout this year has brought me so much joy. My students have become problem solvers, explorers, they question the world, and are empathetic students who care deeply about others. 
They look for the good in everyone and they make me want to be a better person every day.

Do we have problems that arise in our class? Yes, but they don’t define us. We work through them together. Many of times it is my students now who tell me, “It’s okay Mrs. Stanton, we will figure it out.” Or “Mrs. Stanton we all make mistakes, it just gives us feedback.”

To make the year sweeter than the beginning I use May as a way to end the year on the sweetest note. I tend to get teary throughout each day, but the students never know nor do my colleagues. I get teary because I finally get to see all the soul pouring work we do each day pouring out of the students and into others. They just seem ready to fly right now and it will be my honor to let them go on that last day (May 24th).

In order to make this the sweetest ending I do a few special things to let them know they are loved.

I always do Minute to Win It with my class and we end with a paired competition at the end of the day.

I make lessons that involve their interests such as making slime, making and competing with fidget spinners, and using their favorite characters to spot light our lessons. I don’t fight these things at the end of the year instead I ask myself how I can embrace them to help my students embrace their learning.

We have a red carpet awards show to celebrate each student’s two biggest achievements both academically and socially. Watching them walk down that red carpet and make their speeches is the most special moment at the end of each year.

I create a memory book where I interview the students about their favorite memories and connections. They get to read their own answers along with their classmate’s heartfelt responses.  I add class pictures and things they loved, so they can remember their year.

 

As a class we sing our class song one last time at our school picnic on the lawn. Right before the parents whisk them away I pull them in a class huddle and we sing together. This year it will be, Count On Me by Bruno Mars. It reminds us that we will always be together in our hearts. As we sing the students have the biggest smiles on their faces.
At the end of the huddle I always give them an individual hug with words of encouragement. Many quickly run off to go on a date with their parents for the remainder of the day. But the longer I have been teaching, the more students choose to stay the rest of the school day.

They choose to stay with me and their class family just a little longer.

 

Lastly at the end of the year I remind the students AND their families that they are always welcome to our room at any time and that I am only a text/call/email away. Many of times it is an honor to see them walk back into the classroom door with their other children ready for a new kindergarten year. But the huge honor lies in the families and prior students that come through those doors to just say hello or give a hug.

I have learned that my heart is a place that is NEVER full, but always has room for one more student to love. Oh how blessed I will be next year when I get one more class to place in my heart. One more class to pray for each day, to joyfully grow with.

It is in these last days that we must truly enjoy our students. Put down the boxes to pack up and enjoy our kids. 
Yes, I repeat put down the boxes.

Go swing with your kids on the swings like they have asked of us all year, spend time eating with them at lunch to hear their summer plans, race with them down the sidewalks to hear their cheers, and just laugh with them.

This is a time when you can just enjoy being with them. It makes the ending to the year so memorable for the students, but also for us.We have worked hard all year to help them grow. This is the time we can enjoy them and see who they have become over these 10 months.

So many times at the end of the year we rush and work on the check list that is oh so long, but make sure you add on the list some time to spend with your students. Actually put it at the top of your list and throughout the list because that is why you are here in the first place, to make relationships with your students that will last a lifetime.

At the end of the year don’t be surprised when some of your students who have made the biggest gains socially or academically tend to act up. Don’t be surprised when they act different that last few weeks or even the last day. That is the child who needed you the most this year and needs you the most right now.

Spend some time giving them the extra hug, the air high five, or better yet make a hand shake with that child that no one else has! Throughout the years they can come back and do that hand shake with you. And only you and them will know it. It is this child who might be having their world rocked right now because YOU will be out of it for a few months.

Remember that.

I have to tell myself this each day during May. I have to remind myself that we have built such strong connections and that they know (even though I don’t tell them until the last week) that though those connections will always be there, they are about to change since we won’t be in the same setting each day.

Don’t be afraid to make summer plans with your students. I will be having Pizza in the Park with my students this summer. We will meet at the park to play soccer, use hula hoops, bubbles, and just play. This will be a time we will be able to talk about the great things they are doing over the summer enjoying a slice of pizza with their families. I plan this event and accept invitations for other activities with individual students in the summer because my students truly become my class family. A second family that I love.

I hope you have a beautiful end to your school year this year! In the end it is always our choice how the end of the school year goes, may your end be sweeter than the beginning. And may your summer be a refreshment that brings you to a beautiful new beginning! 
A beginning with a new class that will grow because of an impactful educator like you.

How amazing it is we get to be called educators.
Our stories are always, More Than A Lesson.  #MoreEdu

It Takes A Team

As an educator this year has been one of my biggest years of growth. I have fallen in love with this year and the class that has given it their all. I’d love to take credit for what this year has brought, but then I would not be telling the truth. You see I am a puzzle.

A puzzle with many pieces. Each piece is from an educator that has inspired me, lifted me up, believed in me, and given me a piece of their time. These pieces have allowed my students to shine.

This year I have seen many posts on Twitter naming educators to follow. Whenever I pull these lists up, I always look for the same names. I look for 12 people who have helped make my classroom a place where I call a second home.

I wanted to list these educators who are inspiring every day.

Here are the 12 educators who are a must follow and why:

Mike Stanton @micronmike 
Mike is the real deal. He puts students first and has a growth mindset. Mike is an innovative teacher who breathes Project Based Learning. He has a student centered classroom that changes based on his student’s needs. He’ s a master with Google Apps for Education (GAFE), which helps his students showcase their work. I have found that I am always two steps behind Mike, but he always gives everyone a hand to get them ahead of the game.
*Mike is co moderator for the chat, More Than A Lesson  #MoreEdu

Teresa Gross @teresagross625 
Teresa is what I call the angel of Twitter. She is one of the kindest people I know. I have seen others have hardships in their lives and she is right there to pull them back up! She is extremely encouraging. She always reminds me to have courage and try. That there is no real failure because it is in the fail that we learn. Teresa has a love for reading that is contagious! She will inspire you with her passion for literacy. Her beautifully written blog is called, Loving Literacy http://teresagross2015.blogspot.com/ and every post makes me smile. Each one is written from the heart.
*Teresa moderates different book study chats throughout the year.

Oskar Cymerman @focus2achieve
Oskar is an amazing writer who has a heart of gold. He blogs for Bam!Radio
His blog, Focus 2 Achieve http://www.focus2achieve.com/blog tells how educators can best teach their students. His posts are always an amazing read! He is real, transparent, and knows his stuff. He is the author of the book, Crush School! It is a great guide in learning how to master the classroom! What I love about Oskar is his support. Reading his blog over time made me feel I had to give back. He encouraged me to write. Many of times we feel that we have nothing new to say. He reminded me that if it is from our point of view, then it has not been heard before. Oskar is a trail blazer.

Jon Harper @Jonharper70bd
Jon Harper writes for BAM!Radio. He truly writes from the heart. Every time I read his blog, Bailey & Derek’s Daddy http://www.bamradionetwork.com/bloggers/blogger/listings/jon-david-harper I strive to be a better person because his post are so impactful. Jon is one who fights for other educators. He wants us all to see we’re in it together. He is the host of My Bad on Bam! Radio Network http://www.bamradionetwork.com/my-bad/ This program highlights great educators and one mistake that helped them grow. Listening to Jon’s program has made me become a risk taker. I have learned that it is in the journey and not the destination that makes teaching great.

Chris Quinn @ChrisQuinn64 

Chris is an amazing educator with a huge heart. He encourages those around him and gives much wisdom. He is always growing and changing in the educational field. His blog, Taking Flight by Being Grounded https://flightandgrounded.wordpress.com/always calls for deep refection. He has taught for 27 years. He’s been an educator, administrator, and is now back in the classroom. His journey is one you will not want to miss. 

*Chris is the moderator for the new chat, #EduMoves

Sean Farnum @MagicPantsJones
Sean is a progressive educator who lets his students shine through student podcast. Sean’s class is known as the #BestClassPodcast. Their podcast is so inspiring. http://home.studentpodcastnetwork.org/Sean has helped many educators and myself set up their own student podcast. He inspired my school to reopen our sound room and green screen room. What I appreciate with Sean is the love he has for his PLN. He tells his PLN all the time that he loves them…and he means it. You can feel the love in his chat, #2pencilchat. He truly cares about others and their students. 

*Sean is the moderator for the chat #2pencilchat 
Melissa Chouinard Jahant  @ChouinardJahant 

Melissa is a creative and innovative teacher. She sees her position as vocational. Melissa has gone almost paperless in her middle school classroom. Her students are constantly challenged with her real world lessons. Melissa is a master with the maker space and creating student centered lessons. She has one minute check ins with her students to build relationships. Her blog, I Teacher I Mother has a post for every day of the year. 365 posts! It is truly inspiring. https://iteacherimother.blogspot.com/ 
*Melissa is the moderator for #teachmindful

Blair Smith @mrsmiths56class
Blair is an outstanding educator with the most sharing heart. Blair has an amazing classroom that he allows his students to create. His classroom has flexible seating, white board tables (he created), and amazing IPad recording booths. Blair is willing to share everything with his students and educators around the world. He is a Skype Master Teacher and a MIE Expert. If you need someone to Skype with Blair is your educator. His class is even willing to spend the night at school to have Skype Nights! His blog, Blair Smith Teaching https://blairsmithteaching.com/gives you an amazing window to his classroom and his windows are one of the coolest!
Amy Storer @techamys

Amy is the teacher who believes in every child. She builds relationships with students by listening to them, spending time with them, and showing them they matter. Amy is in the know about all the new educational tools out there and HOW to use them to help students learn to their fullest potential. She not only uses these apps for students, but has transformed the way educators use them for professional development. She is an expert with FlipGrid, Flocabulary, and Buncee.

Amy’s blog Converse in the Classroom is a must read!  http://converseintheclassroom.blogspot.com/

Marilyn McAlister @RunnerGirl13_1 
Marilyn is the queen of Hyperdocs. I had a presentation for Teachers As Leaders this year and was having a mental block. I needed help. Who came to my rescue? Marilyn! I would call her the superwoman of Twitter. I have seen it many times in chats when someone needs help, she comes right in to give them information, lessons, or even google slides right then and there. Marilyn is also extremely encouraging. It is almost as if she sees you through the screen. She knows the heart of education is the educator and she treats each educator like gold.

Marilyn’s blog, Sunsational Sixth Graders sunsationalsixthgraders.com gives all educators an idea of how to be the teacher all students need.

Holly King @hollysking

Holly King is an educator with courage! This educator is humble, innovative, kind, and sharing. She pushes for everyone around her to shine, yet she shines in every way. Holly started a book chat on Voxer. But with a HUGE twist, Holly was able to get the authors to come into the book chat to listen and share. She has hosted Ditch that Textbook, Learn Like a Pirate, and now Innovator’s Mindset. Holly lit a fire under 12 educators to read, learn, reflect, and move! She is changing the way her school looks at education and the lives of many students/educators in our country. I am forever grateful to Holly who has helped me become a stronger leader. She is what you call a school teacher instead of a class teacher.

Robert Ward @RewardingEdu
Robert is a fantastic educator. He is someone who uplifts and encourages others.Whenever I read Robert’s post or his latest book I am always reflecting on my best practices in the classroom. He believes in the whole child and the growth mindset. He write articles for many different groups including Edutopia and Education Week. I am always thrilled to read his newest post or article because I know I will learn a practical strategy I can use in the classroom to inspire my students.
One of Robert’s latest books, A Teacher’s Inside Advice to Parents empowers both teachers and parents to help children reach their fullest potential.
His blog, Rewarding Education https://rewardingeducation.wordpress.com/ is well written and meaningful in the classroom. 
In education you cannot do it alone. You truly need a team behind you. In the beginning of my educational career I thought going alone meant I was innovative and daring. I now know that I set myself up for a fixed mindset. Over the years I have realized it takes a team to become your best. It takes many different people who will push you, care for you, and give it to you straight, so you can continue to grow. A team is what gives you a true growth mindset. 
I am so thankful for my team! Thank you for who you are each and every day. Thank you for making us all a little better than we were the day before. Thank you for the impact you’ve made in this world. We are all better because of you!