Microsoft Innovative Educator

Microsoft Innovative Educator

Sunday, February 21, 2016


The word of the day is TeleMed. Have you heard of this new phenomenon? It may not even be new, but it is new to me! Medical technology now brings the doctor to you. Wow. Love it. Not long ago my colleagues and I were all suffering with the same ailments. You know the usual suspects: cough, stuffy nose, body aches, and general yuckiness. And in true teacher form, we still showed up to work. One afternoon, my colleague said to me, "Stephanie, you need to do the TeleMed." Me: "TeleWho?" She explains and the next morning, when I am not feeling any better I head to the school nurse and fill out the forms. This is about 8AM or so and I get an appointment with the doctor scheduled for 10AM the same day. During my Skype appointment, the doctor phones in and the school nurse uses tools that allow the doctor to see inside my ear on the screen. A chest "x-ray" also appears on the screen. The doctor calls in a prescription to my preferred pharmacy and I am able to pick up my medicine on the way home from work. Amazing! Well, this post is NOT about TeleMed (really) but what a lead in to my true topic. This Blog Is Why Balance in your life is important and should be a priority.

Well, as my diet shifted from Coca-Cola, chocolate, and red velvet cheesecake (it was Valentine's Day!) to antibiotics, water, and cough drops...I remembered this little gem I found on LinkedIn.

This speech, as short as it may be, is truly profound and will serve as a reminder in the days ahead. As passionate as I am about education and my career, the things that matter most in life and that deserve the most attention are family, health and friends. There have been times when I have dedicated far too much time to getting the job done. While the rewards are great, I need to keep my true life focus in perspective. A friend/colleague recently reminded me: "many people care about you, and their care isn't based on what you do. It is based on who are." Humbling words. 
I didn't mention Spirit because that one seems to come naturally for me. I was passing a group of our district's maintenance staff workers and one of them commented, "Every time I see you, you always have the biggest smile on your face!" That is the legacy and impression I want to make. But not only at work, I want my family and friends to enjoy that part of me. So when I begin to stress about a day's work or a task that I have at hand, I am going to reflect on this 30-second reminder of those fragile balls that I juggle in the air along with that resilient rubber ball. It is truly a balancing act. In the end, there is a place for them all. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Celebrate Yourself

I'm sure you have seen the trending topic on Twitter, #CelebrateMonday. There have been many weeks where I have thought to myself, "I have got to post a celebration on Monday." Only to have Monday roll around and I forget! It is definitely not due to a lack of things to celebrate. The month of February especially has been packed with opportunities for me to shine. I have been blessed in some amazing ways, so why wait until Monday?! This Blog Is Why Class Is In Session, not just Monday-- but everyday.
Let me begin with a HUGE thank you to Family Trust Federal Credit Union. This month, I was presented with a grant from the bank to fund my class project, "Guided Math: Focus on Number Talks" which brings a Guided Reading-type focus to math. When I focus on grant writing, this is the result, receiving my second grant. Of course I am motivated to write more! This year I have a group of students who excel in the area of math and the materials purchased with this grant will allow me the opportunity to stretch their brains in new and creative ways. Our school has focused on Number Talks this year, and as I learn more about them, I want to create an engaging environment for my students and allow them to maintain their love for math (and school).
Next, I was extremely honored to present at Winthrop University's 3rd Annual Conference on Teaching and Learning. My session titled, "What the Hashtag?!: Building Your Professional Learning Network" was an interactive session that introduced some college professors, librarians, and other personnel to Twitter and Edmodo as educational tools. My proposal and session were inspired by my own experiences with social media tools. You can find my presentation and resources on Edmodo (join code-bi62v5). I can remember getting my start at the Upstate Technology Conference in Greenville, SC and have since become an advocate. My first presentation on the topic was at the SC Association for Developmental Education conference (SCADE) for technical college staff. Audience participation is a must in these sessions and I am always thankful that I have willing participants who I hope find that becoming a connected educator is its own reward.

Feedback from my session at Winthrop included the following:
'After today's session I am going to try' "To use at least one of these tools this week with my class."
'After today's session I am going to try' "Hashtag chats"
"Hands-on: Actually created and used accounts in Twitter, Edmodo..."
"Great session! Wish it was longer, or there was a second session."
"Thought session was informative."

Finally, I have launched a new Facebook page to promote and share my blog. It also features my new logo (Check it out)! If you enjoy reading my blog, I hope you will take the time to "like" my new page and share it with others. Two of my goals for the year were to present at more conferences and travel while doing so. Well, I still have a fear that I need to overcome in order to make that a true reality (flying...oh my). But in the meantime, my words and ideas can still travel thanks to technology and social media. Stay tuned, I hope to have more celebrations to share!