#EduCon #MartinConnects #LL2LU to 8 sites

How might we learn and grow together when we are far apart? What if we leverage the power of connectedness and social media to learn and share?

Shelley Paul and I presented Leading Learners to Level Up at EduCon. Working in collaboration with Grant Lichtman of The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence, SLA broadcast our session live to 7 additional sites across the country.

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We generally followed the plan shown below.

We loved using Flickr to share our low-fidelity drafts across sites.

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Here’s one comment from feedback collected at the end of the session. I appreciate all of the learning that was acknowledged.

  1. I had not sent a picture to Flickr before.
  2. I had not got into Wi-Fi before on the iPad.
  3. I like the “I can” statements for giving feedback to students.
  4. I appreciated connecting with other teachers in the room to know what they are doing.
  5. I thought the story about playing basketball was effective in helping us see that kids may not be getting what we are teaching.
  6. The people around the room from Parish were very helpful when I had technical questions.

Unfortunately hearing the online presentation was difficult, and we could not see what the presenter was talking about on the screen online.

The workshop was beneficial despite its drawbacks.

As always, here is the full set of feedback offered at the end of the session.

Reflection: gift of time and reflection with Honors College learners

Leveraging the power of PLNs, Grant Lichtman (@GrantLichtman) connected Bo and me with Dave Ostroff (@DaveOstroff) sometime last summer.  In November, Grant suggested that I might enjoy spending a day learning with All Saints Episcopal School and Dave.  He was right.

Today the freshmen of the Tad Bird Honors College, Dave, and I gathered to learn together.  We accepted the challenge of the Gift Giving Project. Each member of this community committed to reflecting on some aspect of the experience tonight.  So, I am fulfilling my commitment to share what I learned from and with these 17 exceptional thinkers.


I like the tone and spirit of this group of learners, because I felt invited and accepted even though I was a stranger.  I wonder if this was because it was the second day of class and everyone is new to each other, or if this is a cultural norm.  What if we intentionally designed learning to be this open and accepting of others in all classrooms? How might we change education and learning by having this strong open door, all are welcome attitude everywhere?

I wonder if these learners know how powerful their work is and will be as they continue to problem find and problem solve together. I like how easy it seemed for them to roll up their sleeves and do the critical empathy work to actively listen and probe to uncover the root problem of their user.  What if we apply this work to local and global problems? How might we serve our communities by taking the time to ask enough questions to really hear and uncover needs?

I really like how fearless these learners are in their pursuit of understanding others and how they might serve one another.  I wonder if their fearlessness is understood, noticed, and acknowledged.  How might we bright spot the beauty of the risk and reward of listening with your heart? What if we practice sharing the unnoticed gems that require such bravery?

I love seeing the ideation of ideas. I love seeing them turn their 2-D drawings into 3-D prototypes to visualize point of view and possibilities. I wonder about the impact of the process and the product. What if we took the time to show what we know and think by building models of our ideas? How might we embrace additional creativity, communication, and collaboration by such acts?

I love the stories that accompany the ideation and prototyping. I wonder how we might capture the emotion, energy, and connectedness in these stories to share with others. What if we build to learn, create to communicate, and share? How might we better understand each other?


Accepted as a co-learner and embraced as a colleague, I learned with this community today.  How might we learn and share and connect and serve? What if we accept this as a responsibility?

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Success accelerants and stamps of positive success

I love having GPS access in my car.  I often need help to arrive at my destination.  She gives me in the moment directions and helps me feel confident that I can get to where I need to be.  I will admit that I am not always kind to her.  I find it frustrating that she does not give me credit for what I already know.  For example, she directs me out of my neighborhood to I-75 – something I do every day.  It makes me wonder how we might teach from where students are rather than from “the beginning.”

In Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change, Shawn Achor writes about success accelerants.

The researchers repeated the coffee shop experiment, but this time half the customers got a “buy ten coffees and get one free” card, and the other half received a “buy twelve coffees and get one free” card— with the first two already stamped. So in both cases a person needed to buy ten coffees to get a free one— the goal was equally far away— but group 2 was given a perceived head start. Think about it this way: before even buying a single coffee, group 2 seemed to be one-sixth of the way toward the reward, whereas group 1 hadn’t even started their long road to a free coffee. If you were in group 1, your first coffee would bring you only one-tenth (10 percent) of the way toward your reward, whereas in group 2 it would bring you one-third (33 percent) of the way there. How did this affect purchasing behavior? Fascinatingly, the people in group 2— those who perceived the goal as closer even though it was the same distance away— burned through those ten stamps significantly faster than the people in group 1. (Achor, 117 pag.)

How might we credit students for what they already know and offer success accelerants at the same time? What if we create stamps of positive success throughout learning?

The closer you perceive success to be, in other words, the faster you move toward it. (Achor, 109 pag.)


Achor, Shawn (2013-09-10). Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change. Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Meaning markers and routes to success

Are we intentionally designing learning experiences that highlight and utilize meaning markers?

Meaning markers are what point us in the direction of opportunity and possibility, steer us toward a state of positivity and full engagement, and highlight crucial intellectual, emotional, and social resources. (Achor, 85 pag.)

Whether the topic is fractions, commas, constitutional amendments, the color wheel, squats, the predicate imperfect, or a host of other content specific essentials, are we embedding opportunities that point learners in the direction of opportunity and possibility? Are we facilitating experiences that inspire full engagement?

Sometimes we haven’t highlighted enough meaning markers and thus can see only a limited number of routes to success. (Achor, 66 pag.)

I wonder if we see ourselves as “feeder” teachers.  Do I teach what I teach simply because they will need it later? I don’t know about you, but if I don’t need it right now, I can learn it later.  I wonder if this might be why some learners do not retain what they learn.  Is success in the next class the primary meaning marker offered?

Or, can I show a need, application, or connection for what we are learning? Do I know enough about my learners to use examples and ask questions that offer context and meaning to them?   Do I know enough about my curriculum?  In our team meetings, do we discuss meaning markers? Are we willing to experiment with order of presented content to engage with others?

A lack of meaning in our reality robs us not only of that joy but also of our ability to use our multiple intelligences to increase our success. (Achor, 65 pag.)

How many routes to success are offered? How many meaning markers can we find and use to illuminate possibilities for learners?


Achor, Shawn (2013-09-10). Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change. Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.