newcarsmell

Have you ever owned or had the pleasure of riding in a new car?  Something about that scent of a new car can get you in a state of “wow” quickly.  Everything looks pristine and untouched.  The glass shimmers as the sun penetrates its surface.  Your feet are inclined to sit still for fear of disturbing the freshly swept floor mats.  Something about a new car reminds me of a new school year.  The classroom has been upgraded to “clean” by maintenance staff, the floors shine with that new wax finish and nothing has set foot in that room, or so it seems.  You can’t wait to take it for a test drive around the block!

I enjoy my summers, don’t get me wrong but something happens to me around the middle of August every year.  I get this growing urge to get back into the world of teaching.  My mind begins to compile all that I had learned over the summer into living plans for the school year.  I have learned so much this summer from my PLN on Twitter.  I can’t say enough about what they have meant to my professional learning.  I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many people from all around the world that I have decided to share my enthusiasm with my colleagues this week in this blog.

I have to thank @Sharnon007 for pushing me to enter the Twittersphere this year.  I had tried opening the door to Twitter on my own but found no value in the platform outside of her welcoming PLN.  It was through those like @tomwhitby, @cybraryman1, and @gcouros and the #edchat feeds that I grew to love the Twitter world.  @Sharnon007 and I had the pleasure of flying to NYC for a Macmillan MacGraw-Hill technology meeting this summer, so I finally met her face to face.   She was as kind in person as I had imagined.  We were asked to share our knowledge of the current educational trends with the publishers as they embark on the journey of creating their nationwide reading series for 2013.  There were four teachers and approximately 20 executives in the room all eager to hear how educators are seamlessly integrating the use of tech into their instruction.  The publishers are keenly aware of the changes taking place in the online world and how it seems to be growing exponentially.  They realize that in order to remain competitive, they must make the “shift” as well.  We not only were able to help them with their research but also were blessed to enjoy lower Manhattan and all its magnificence.  We saw Broadway “Mama Mia”, traveled to the top of the Empire State Building, took the Staten Island fairy to see Lady Liberty and on and on… It was incredible!

I also have had the pleasure of working on a tri-state initiative called #edcamp Cincy with @Steelepierce, @charrod and 15 others from the region who can be found by visiting http://edcampcincy.org  If you haven’t heard of #edcamp, it is a “non-conference” for educators.  The entire agenda is created on site by teachers and for teachers.  The bonus is that there is no advertising or promotional propaganda.  Read more at http://edcamp.wikispaces.com  We have already met f2f once and twice via Elluminate.  It looks like a great format for teaching and learning to take place.  Judging from our mentors experiences in #edcamp Philly, we will have plenty to keep our heads spinning for quite some time.  Our hope is to share our passion for quality teaching and to showcase how having a PLN can enhance your professional development for the the positive.  Look for updates on our site as we draw near to the October 9th #edcamp Cincy unconference.

One additional highlight for my professional growth this summer came as I had the opportunity to assist a group of teachers on twitter with an elementary chat session called #elemchat.  The co-conspirators for this chat have been Tania Cash (@tcash), Dorie Glynn (@doriedance), Nancy Ehrlich.  L@nancyteaches,  and @louwinsr Louise Winsor.  Lately, they have been the ones I have communicated with most frequently and learned the most from professionally.  They are incredible educators and a real joy to work with each week.  We have had only a few discussions online but our latest session was shut down due to Twitter API overload.  So I think its fair to say that the chat is growing and progressing rather well.

Perhaps its a need to empty out in order to fill up again, but I felt the need to share a few of the summer highlights as the new school year approaches.   I have a full tank of gas and I am ready to put the pedal to the medal. Vroom! Vroom!