Thank You, @AngelaMaiers!

I have had the amazing opportunity to spend three mind boggling, life changing days with Angela Maiers. This post will not begin to touch the surface of my learning. Those posts will come in the days, month, and probably years ahead as I ponder on, use, and synthesize my learning.

Angela welcomed, me and fellow learners, into the “New Literacy Club.” Literacy has always been about rallying people around a message. The message is conveyed by reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Educators have inspired their learners to use tools such as books, paper, pens, pencils, chart paper, post-it notes, highlighters, etc… to share their ideas, contribute their voice, and learn from each other and others in the literacy field. Literacy has not and never will change. As digital learners we are just fortunate to have many more tools to express our message and let our voice be heard and our contributions to be made, as well as hear and learn from others. With this set of tools does come a new language to learn. Symbols like: . @ # cc RSS  take on a whole new meaning and one we must understand to be literate in the 21st century.

Becoming a member of this “New Literacy Club” is not about buying a lot of hardware. It isn’t about introducing or teaching numerous Web 2.o tools to our students. It isn’t about integrating technology here and there. It is still about the foundations of literacy (reading, writing, speaking and listening). We are just fortunate to have many more tools in our toolbox. Tools to share our message and to be heard by a larger community. But, as Angela stated, “The tools are only as good as the learning and learner they support.” The learning still, and must always start with a purpose in mind. We may just have to reposition that purpose from the things we have to do (or cover) to the way we want students to be.

Usually after I’m inspired by something I have sense of energy. It is usually the time I get the most accomplished on my perpetual to-do list. So, what did I do when I got home today? What did I accomplish? How did I change the world? I TOOK A NAP. I had to physically slow my mind down. I had to step away from my learning and constant thought. My nap wasn’t just a power nap. It started at 5:00 PM, lasted through dinner and ended about 9:00 PM. And, while I know my mind was still spinning in deep sleep, I am now refreshed and ready to move on. What will my next project be? What will I check off my to-do list? Nothing. I plan to relax and curl up with a good book. (Well, even that just changed – instead I spent a half hour talking to a good friend about my week and his.)

As a fairly new blogger in this digital world, I found myself taking notes during the workshop in a different way. I usually do keep a space to record books recommended and I’m sure online booksellers love when I learn of new books to buy. But this time, I found I needed a section for potential blog post ideas. Whether I use that list or synthesize it into something else doesn’t matter. It is my list to ponder. My list to think about. And when an idea is ready to share with the larger community, it may become a blog post or it may become a message I share in face-to-face. It may come in the form of an idea or a reflective question.

As a classroom teacher, I loved watching learning happen through the eyes of my students. As an instructional coach (or someday as an elementary principal) I love watching learning through the eyes of a teacher. I love being able to hold their hand through new learning. I love to let them shift through and try out new ideas. And I love when they have those little AHA moments. The simple, yet profound, moments where they will share the excitement of what their students have done and/or become are what provides the passion to learn and grow myself.

Throughout this week’s learning experience I was fortunate to see this new learning through the eyes of an awesome, compassionate, teacher whose purpose, just like her many colleagues,  has been and always will be to advocate for her students and to inspire them. I was able understand areas that were new to her and areas she was ready to take flight and spread her wings. I was able to understand the level of support she will need. I was able to gain a sense of her goals and how she sees this new learning transform into her day-to-day facilitating. I was touched by the simple message of, when given this opportunity, asking her students if they thought being away from them for two days (yes, the third day was on a Saturday) was worth her and THEIR time. I know that this experience, like so many others I’m fortunate to have, will guide me to be the administrator I dream of becoming.

It was a joy to meet others that will carry on this message in their own lives and/or schools and districts. I look forward to hearing about all they try and accomplish. Some have been Twitter friends for a while and others have entered into this wonderful, inspiring, digital community! Please welcome: @mpnes, @HeatherSpetman, @BarbVanderVeen,
@brendaortmann, @ejkinneygohawks, @maryghunt, @svoyles to the world of Twitter as well as a new Twitter friend @PurpleWren already established in the community. It was also a pleasure to see and learn from existing members of my PLN @eolsonteacher, @iateachr @pbuysman, and @mrsdrebs.

Tonight I leave you with a quote Angela shared with us from Seth Godin’s book Linchpin“You are a genius and the world needs your contribution.” Angela’s message to adults, and students alike, is that the world DEMANDS our contribution.

Blogging is helping me find my voice and that voice will continue to strengthen. I am a work in progress! Thank you for joining me in this journey. I love being on this road with so many inspiring educators and bloggers!

(Note to Angela: I did use that flickr thing (Attribution – HTML) that rocked your world. It worked, so I guess I did it right! Still learning …. )

THANK YOU, Angela! These simple words, or blog post can not begin to express what the past three days has done for me.

Also, thank you Northwest AEA and Prairie Lakes AEA for this opportunity! Your desire to provide educators with these types of opportunities help to transform lives, increase student learning and create positive learning environments for many educators!

(I wonder if 12:20 AM is a bad time to post a new blog. Something tells me it is. But, even if my voice in this post isn’t heard by the larger community – it provided me time to collect my thoughts! Isn’t that what blogging is all about – anyway!)

cc licensed flickr photo shared by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML


  • Pat 23 Jan

    It sounded wonderful! I love going to workshops that inspire and motivate me to change. I’m so glad you are blogging too! I find that blogging has changed my life and I think I helped make an impact on others too. The more you blog, the more comfortable you will be at it and then you will find you can’t live without it like me! Great post!

    • Kathy Perret 23 Jan

      Thank you for reading my post and leaving such an inspiring comment! It was a wonderful three days. Just the “pick-me-up” I needed in middle of winter!

      Blogging has been an amazing experience for me as well. And coming from a very reluctant writer, it surprise me that I’m even saying that! I, too, am finding I can’t live without it.

  • Denise Krebs 23 Jan

    Thank you for a wonderful posting about our time together in Cherokee. What an inspiring time to be an educator, isn’t it? Thanks for the link in your posting, too! I wrote a very quick reflection on something I learned with Angela, but I have lots more synthesizing to do…See you again!

    • Kathy Perret 23 Jan

      It is an inspiring time to be an educator! I loved you blog post! You captured the message of starting with the WHY very well. Starting with the WHY really fits all aspects of our personal and professional lives! I’m looking forward to the rest of your reflections on your learnings!

  • Aviva (@grade1) 23 Jan

    Wow! This sounds like an amazing learning experience. A friend of mine attended a talk by Angela Maiers, and had the same glowing reviews too! My head is still spinning after reading your post. Thanks for sharing your learning here!


    • Kathy Perret 23 Jan

      Thanks, Aviva! My head is spinning, too. I’m sure there will be many more posts from this experience as well as from the upcoming experiences to work with more of the 5th grade teachers at one of my schools. It will be great to watch this all develop with them and their students!


  • Sarah Voyles 23 Jan

    I also needed to take a nap after the three days, but learned so much from this experience! I had said to my husband before this conference that I hoped it didn’t stink because if it did I wasn’t going to enjoy sitting there for 3 days. (I had spent one day at a conference this fall that did stink) That was definitely not the case. I also would like to thank Angela for such a great experience and giving me so much information to process and put into practice in my own classroom.

    • Kathy Perret 23 Jan

      I’m glad I wasn’t the only nap taker! I’m looking forward to hear how you move digital literacy into your own classroom!

      I found the three days very worthwhile, too!


  • Vicky Sahlin 23 Jan

    Your post was very inspiring! I have been tossing around the idea of starting a blog and after reading you post have decided now is the time! I am also very interested in adding digital literacy into my grade three classroom. I will be excited to hear what new things you try!

    • Kathy Perret 23 Jan

      WOW! Thanks so much for you comments. How touching. I’m honored that my words have inspired you to enter into the world of blogging. Please let me know when you start. I went to your school’s website. I’d love to hear more on how you are incorporating the 7 Habits and the book The Leader in Me! It is one of my favorite books. When I was working on my administrative endorsement I read it and fell in love with A.B. Combs. I’m thrilled it is now out in paperback, as I know it will be one of my first gifts to teachers in my school (when I find my dream principalship).

      I know I’ll be blogging on more of my learning from the workshop I attended. There is still so many thoughts to convey!

      Happy Blogging!!!!!!

  • Mary Hunt 24 Jan

    I took a nap, too! You have said a lot here. I’ve never been a writer and this is a huge struggle for me. I spend my day crunching numbers and solving problems but I’m looking forward to being more creative in high school math classes. By the way, it’s Monday and I still have a headache from pouring all this information into my brain.

    • Kathy Perret 24 Jan

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that zonked out! Please don’t hesitate to contact me (your friendly AEA gal) to help think things through – at least via email/skype. It was so nice to see several hits from Granville today. Looks like the whole town read my blog. GRIN! Granville will always have a special place in my heart. I spent a lot of time there while growing up!


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