Find Your Tribe And Create A Movement – Reflections on #ConnectEdCA Part 2

As I have written many times before, #kinderchat is where I found MY PEOPLE. I had spent so many year being an unconnected teacher, I was losing interest and passion for teaching. It felt like I was in a black hole with little feedback from or relationships with other teachers. Half day kindergarten will do that to you and I spent many years feeling disconnected and lonely in a building full of people.

Enter #kinderchat. The full story of why I love #kinderchat can be found here, but I will give you the short version again. #kinderchat is a community of teachers, administrators and parents who make me feel like I am not alone. We may disagree on occasion, but we have developed and built caring, respectful working and personal relationships with one another. Why would I go to Las Vegas to meet people I haven’t met in real life? Why would I go to ConnectEdCA when I was the only teacher from my district attending (and meeting new people TERRIFIES ME!)? I went because of #kinderchat. They are MY PEOPLE. They are MY TRIBE. We have created a MOVEMENT together, and to have the opportunity to meet face to face every so often is a really meaningful event. #kinderchat was started by @happycampergirl and @hechternacht, but #kinderchat is a growing MOVEMENT that wants to make positive change in Early Childhood Education.

Derek Sivers: How to start a movement

Dean Shareski (pictured below with @MmeKathleen, @learningmurd, me and @happycampergirl) tweeted the following:

Dean, we will take that as a compliment! We ARE a formidable bunch not because each of us is that inspiring (or scary 😉 ), but we are all BETTER TOGETHER. In #kinderchat, relationships matter.


Have YOU found YOUR TRIBE yet?

Seth Godin: The tribes we lead

*Thank you to George Couros for the link to Seth Godin’s TEDtalk.*

My Reflections on #ConnectEdCA – Part 1

I have just come home from an amazing experience and I don’t even know where to begin to process all that happened. I attended the ConnectEd Canada conference in Calgary Alberta, May 24-26, 2013. I knew I was in for a weekend that would stretch my thinking, but I didn’t realize that I would think so hard my brain would ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY HURT (it did)!

If you have read my blog before, you know that I love twitter. I like how I can put a short thought together and tweet it to keep a record of my thinking. So, of course, I tweeted out much of what I experienced over the weekend. If none of this blog post (in it’s possibly many parts) is coherent, then hopefully you will see some of the BIG IDEAS in these Storifies of my tweets and other tweets I thought were important:

Day 1

Day 2 & 3

And the Storify of tweets from the session that Amy Murray, Mardelle Sauerborn and I led:

Kindergarten as a Model For Other Grades

Perhaps the biggest take-away from this conference was something that we in #kinderchat have been practicing for a long time. Relationships matter. Connections matter. It’s the NAME of the conference! It was so powerful to actually have TIME to talk face to face with deep thinking, challenging, brilliant educators.


So…You Don’t See The Value Of Twitter? Just Give It A Chance!

Twitter seems to be such a polarizing subject. Ether you love it or hate it. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. Why is that?

Perhaps it’s because those who have “a disdain” for twitter haven’t yet experienced the connections and inspiration that others have? Perhaps because it’s a cover-up attitude for not knowing how to navigate twitter to make it useful and meaningful? Perhaps it’s a resistance to change?

I’m sure there are any number of reasons why someone wouldn’t like twitter. But what makes me go “hmmm” is when someone criticizes without actually attempting to use the tool in an effective way. Sure, there are many definitions of what is effective, but there is certainly a “formula” or “how to” to make twitter a worthwhile place to become a connected educator.

Here are some basic guidelines:

1. Follow good people. It’s not hard to find those who teach your grade, subject or area of interest. Not sure who to follow? Ask for recommendations!

2. Tweet. It’s that simple. Reply to someone else’s tweet and you’ve begun a conversation. Hopefully from that you will begin to make connections with others. If you don’t tweet anything out, there is no opportunity for connection.

3. Give it time. Anything of value takes time and the only way to find out if twitter is valuable for you is to give it a chance. Even 10 minutes a day can be all you need to invest. Find a great blog post. Read a tweet of inspiration. Ask a question. Finding the awesome in twitter won’t happen overnight, but give it a go and see where it leads.

4. After trying it out, if twitter isn’t for you (and that’s ok!), please don’t criticize those who find it an integral part of their professional life. I won’t criticize you for not finding the inspiration I do.

Twitter is the most empowering, inspirational, ongoing professional development I have ever experienced. I have made connections with people around the globe that have changed me, encouraged me and inspired me. I have blogged about #kinderchat before, and I can’t emphasize my appreciation for this group of people enough. I am grateful that I gave twitter a chance when I thought it was an inane place for celebrities to announce to the world what they were having for lunch. Maybe you will give it a chance, too?

Thanks to Dean Shareski for inspiring this post. Dean, I appreciate the balance between professional and personal life that you tweet. Even though we are educators, we are still real people and you have shown that you can tweet both from the same account. Here’s to being real. Cheers!