My #ISTE12 Reflection, Part 1

What had the most impact on me this past week, and what memories will be most prominent from this week? What new goals will I set as a result of this week? Here they are, not in any particular order.

Linda Yollis & Kathleen Morris
1. Educational Blogging: Flattening Classroom Walls by Linda Yollis and Kathleen Morris I am always inspired and in awe of these two women. They have made such an impact on me, so to see them present together live was absolutely incredible, especially since this week was the first time they had met face to face! Their stellar session was filled with powerful tips, incredible resources, while providing powerful examples of what can evolve out of blogging.

To highlight a few tips:
Linda, Kath, Sue Wyatt, Sue Waters, me, Ronnie, Julie, Anne, John
  • Start small. Blogging is a journey.
  • Use your content objectives to focus your posts. This way blogging doesn't become an add-on to try to fit in, but rather part of your literacy block.
  • Make connections with other classes by leaving quality comments. Be genuine, and go back and visit those classes again.
  • QuadBlogging and the Student Blogging Challenge are great ways to get your blog started and have an authentic audience.
My goal: I intend on continuing to share the benefits of blogging with my district. I'll continue to differentiate for those who are ready to start, and for those ready to pursue original global projects via blogging.
Dinner with Kathleen, Linda, & me
2. I had the privilege of rooming with Linda Yollis and absolutely loved our conversations and getting to know her better. It was the first time I met her face to face, and she is as dynamic in person as she is online.

It was also thrilling to watch Linda and Kathleen together. They are so passionate and dedicated! It was also a joy to watch them work on the final touches of their presentation behind the scenes.

Day 1 & Day 2 Sue Wyatt, Sue Waters, Ronnie Burt, & me
3. I absolutely loved being involved with Sue Wyatt's Student Blogging Challenge Poster Session! While the Poster Session was originally only scheduled for Sunday evening, we also got to do it again on Monday!

My goal: I will make sure our AJUSD Prospector University (where we have various classes and teachers elect to sign up for the PD they are interested in) offers the Edublogs Teacher Challenge starting in mid-August to prepare them for the September Student Blogging Challenge. I also will need to survey my Collaboration Coaches to see how many are interested in my helping team teach in their classrooms with blogging, then set up the calendar to block off time for me to be in their rooms.

4. Lisa Dabb's Collaborative Mentoring for New Students panel session stood out for me. This session was filled with amazing resources and tips by the stellar panel:
  • Lisa Dabbs: Her passion for mentoring new teachers was very evident. I loved the idea of online support in addition to the face-to-face. Furthermore, it provided new teachers with places to search for answers and support when they needed it. I hadn't realized that there were online mentors dedicated to helping new teachers. 
  • Steven Anderson: I really liked his idea of using Edmodo and Twitter to connect with his new teachers and help them with the tools they needed and used in the classroom.
  • Mary Beth Hertz: Her idea of EdCamp, which was an unconference based on collaboration, sounded fabulous!
  • Patrick Larkin: I appreciated how he reminded us that building relationships and trust so it is part of the culture was the foundational piece. Furthermore, we needed to model what we wanted to see.
  • Shannon Miller: She's a librarian who spends much of her time in classrooms and not the library! She invested in her teachers and students!
  • Dean Mantz: Certified LoTi mentor. Mentors needed supportive online communities also.
  • Erin Klein: I appreciated her transparency in reminding us that new teachers have so many questions that online support to help when face-to-face wasn't available was a necessity. She also shared some of her favorite apps: 1) Photon Flash Player (flash for iPad); 2) Animoto (digital storytelling and video); 3) Educreations (interactive whiteboard and screen recording app).
My goal: I want to invest in the those involved with new teachers in my district. We use our Diigo Network closely, so that might be one route to help them connect. I also want to share some of the online resources that's available to them.

5. Chris Lehmann's "Beyond Google, Building Conditions for Structured Inquiry" was an exceptionally powerful session. Some tips and resources:
  • An example of inquiry based lesson in history.
  • Inquiry included personalization through choice, relevance, & empowerment. It happens by caring, planning, & assessing. 
  • "What is the worst consequence of your best idea?"
  • Build a calendar for their benchmark projects so all teachers are aware of the big PBLs going on.
  • David Warlick's notes were fabulous.
My goal: I need share more of this idea of authentic inquiry to help mold their PBL. This fits perfectly with many of the resources we use in our district such as the Learning Activity Checklist and Lesson Improvement Questions.

Final thoughts

I'll continue this post in My #ISTE12 Reflection, Part 2 next time. This post was filled with oodles of links to go back and revisit and goals to pursue.
  • Whether you went to ISTE or not, you are learning. What new things are you learning/thinking about?
  • What goals have you made based on what you are learning?
  • How else does this post connect with you?


  1. Hi Tracy,
    I appreciate that you share your goal with regard to each session you attended. Your post is thought provoking and challenges me to reflect on my practice. Thank you! Next year I want to share ISTE schedules with you!

    - Sara

    1. Hi Sara,

      Thanks for your encouragement! As I learn from those I hold in high esteem, I recognize they are sharing fabulous tips and resources that have made a difference in the lives of others. As I listen, I figure out how I can apply it in my district/life. Do I need to adapt it to fit my district? I also listen for how they present their ideas, so I can improve when faced with having to present my own ideas. =)


  2. Dear Tracy/Roomie :-),

    A million thanks for your kind words about our session and about me personally! You are very sweet, and I appreciate what you've said. When I told people I was rooming with a person I had only met through blogging and on Twitter, there was skepticism. Like so many people, your online presence speaks volumes about who you are as a person, and I knew it would be a good match. You were a pleasure to room with and you helped to make my conference time special! Thank you!

    This was my first ISTE, and it was overwhelming to say the least! There were so many wonderful educators there, people I deeply admire and learn from daily, and so much choice in terms of sessions. I would love to go next year and try and make more of a plan. I had a bit of the "deer in the headlights" reaction at times. :-)

    I was glad I was able to attend your session on Peer Coaching. As you said, it is the "human infrastructure" that supports teachers. That structure encourages teachers to try new things and be innovative. I wish my district would support a program like your team described.

    Again, thank you for your friendship and the learning opportunities you give to us all!

    Your friend,

    1. Dear Linda,

      Yes, ISTE is huge. Last year I wasn't presenting formally. I gave a 10 minute informal presentation to those willing to listen... and a few of my AJUSD peeps were there to support me. That was the first morning, so after that I was ready to learn from others.

      This year, my experience was a little different since I was scheduled to present in two different sessions. Poster sessions are fun because there is so much one-to-one and small group discussions, while the panel presentation gave me a bit of anxiety... and I really couldn't focus on what others were saying that Tuesday morning. Once it was over, I felt a bit more freedom and was able to absorb so much more since I was no longer worried about what I was going to say...

      I would have been a mess if I was presenting formally at my first ISTE, and had it scheduled on the last day. So, once again, major kudos to you and Kathleen for doing such an amazing job!

      PS I bought some jelly-bellies, packed it with extra black licorice flavored ones, and thought of you!

      Warm regards,

  3. Tracy,
    I'm delighted to begin to read about ISTE12 and what you (and others) have learned. I'm happy that you, Kathleen, and Linda were able to meet, and even hang out! Fun for all of you, I'm sure! Thanks for sharing your learnings with so many links! I'll be back.

    I am busy learning about reading this summer. It's amazing how sometimes you are ready to learn something new you've heard about for years, but haven't put into practice. This year, my reading program will look different -- much more choice in what is read, no contrived assignments, more accountability for students to read voluminously, so they can grow as readers. Our weakest readers often practice the least amount of time. Some of the authors I've been reading are Stephanie Harvey, Nancie Atwell, and Donalyn Miller. (Thanks for asking!)



    1. Hi Denise,

      I love your recent posts about your literature class! I hope your passion will spread to those immediately taking your class, and to others around the globe as they drop into your posts to learn with you.

      I remember when I was considering becoming a teacher and was doing an observation during the Reading Block, I watched a fabulous direct instruction 15 block with a small group, while the rest of the class silently read at their seats. Sure, they silently read for the first 10 minutes, then by the end of the hour, there were very few still silently reading. -- I thought to myself, if this was a good example of education, then I want nothing to do with it! I walked away (for a while)...

      Before I left the classroom, my literacy centers were somewhat flipped because they chose their lit sets at times, and I'd provide a few guiding questions for them to read before they came to my table (I tried to avoid busy work, but several chose to take notes on things that stood out to them)... They were reading and loving it! However, I wasn't at the point that you are at.

      What you are doing in your classroom will empower your students. It reminds me of Reversing Readicide. I can't wait to hear more about what you are doing and learning.

      Kind regards,

    2. Hi Tracy,
      Thanks for all the new food for thought on my reading adventure this summer! I loved listening to your teaching career Screenr stories. (I listened to each of them. :)

      The "Reversing Readicide" post is very important, and I'm so glad you shared it with me.


  4. G'day Tracy,
    Wasn't it great to meet face to face so many of those avatars we see in Twitter? My highlight was meeting Sue Waters, Ronnie Burt, John Miller and Kathleen Morris. Having met you, Linda, Sandy and Julie on my trip last year, it was great to renew our friendship.

    You went to some great sessions, while I was a bit like Linda and need to be more organized next time.

    Keep up that great work that is happening in your district.

    1. Thanks Sue!

      It was great to see you. My little ones at home were so happy to hear I got to spend time with you... and then they wondered when you were stopping by the house again. ;-)

      Yes, I spent hours curating my session planner and had it all lined up. There were several conflicts with sessions I wished to attend with other sessions.

      Kind regards,

  5. Hi Tracy,

    Like Linda, I can't thank you enough for the high praise! I'm with Linda, sometimes people are sceptical about "online friendships" but in our "edublogger" circle, what you see proves to be what you get. Everyone seems to be as great in person as they are online. You are no exception. It was wonderful to meet you!

    I also really enjoyed attending your Peer Coaching session, and you did a fantastic job on the Global Student poster session.

    Like Linda and Sue, I'd love to attend again to be able to get more of a plan together. There was a lot to get my head around as an ISTE newbie.

    I have so much to process post ISTE and I look forward to trying some things in my classroom.

    Keep up the wonderful posts,

    1. Thanks Kathleen!

      Yes, there is so much to process post ISTE! I'm going to another conference in the near future, but it's structured differently. I had to sign up for the sessions I wanted ahead of time, and the day is packed from workshop to workshop. Are your conferences at home more like that?

      Again, such a joy to meet you (and Nate) in person! Enjoy your travels on your holiday!

      Kind regards,

    2. Hi Tracy,

      All the conferences I've been to in Australia are structured so you have to sign up for sessions ahead of time. While the flexibility of ISTE was good, it is nice to have to plan your days ahead of time too! And as a presenter, you know what sort of audience size to expect. If I go to ISTE again, I'll know what to do differently.

      Also a joy to meet you! And I hope to meet your lovely family someday too :)



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