Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Voxer Update

I'm still...if not more...in love with Voxer than I was before.

I've started using Voxer for personal and professional uses.

Personal: It's much easier than texting.  I can talk into the "walkie talkie" piece instead of texting.  Which comes in handy when I want to have a brief conversation with my friend as we swap pregnancy stories full of tmi questions.  It's so much easier to share those awkward questions when you know your friend can hear the embarrassment in your voice or you don't have the word to explain what is happening.
It's also very handy for my friends with kids and in different time zones.  Messages can be shared, questions can be asked, and/or stories can be told when you think of it (because clearly that's important for me at the moment - because I can't remember anything past 2 minutes).  Then the Vox that was left can be listened to when the kids go to bed or the next morning and they can be responded to at everyone's convenience.  Often the responses are longer and more personal than the emoji we have time to text.

Professional: Now the professional benefits are really the same.  My partner teacher has kids so when it's bedtime and I have a question about tomorrow's lessons, I can Vox her and I know she'll get back to me as soon as she can.  Another colleague has high school athletes and she is often attending games.  She can't be on the phone during the games, but we can brain storm conference planning or tech night or compare notes on the days events with short voxes back and forth.  It's been an incredible tool when connecting with "strangers" who have become friends from a #TLAP chat who all had an interest in blogging.  We came together to challenge and support each other.  That started last summer and it's still going....but now we push each other in so much more than blogging.  We share ideas to use for conferences, in the classrooms, in extra curriculars, etc.  I'm also part of the #edumatch Voxer group.  This is an incredibly active group and I love listening to the light hearted and the intense conversations about education.  There are constantly questions about podcasts and content and more!  There's so much to gain from this group!!  My final group is the Catholic Ed Chatish group.  As a Catholic school teacher, it's a wonderful little group that shares my unique situation.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment here or reach out and Vox me!  

                      via GIPHY

Saturday, January 13, 2018


is one of those things we never have enough of.  I don't care who you are or what you do, there's never enough time to get everything you want accomplished AND still have time to breathe and appreciate all of life's blessings.

My one word this year was breathe.  I need to breathe in order to stay sane and not freak out about the fact that I don't have enough time.  And I'm talking time today and time over the months and time over the year.  Yes, because I'm a BIIIIIIIG picture planner.

My professional life has always been a huge priority for me.  When I stumbled by accident into the ed tech world, it changed education for me.  When I worked closely with an instructional coach or 2, it changed education for me.  Both of these things showed me a professional path that I am exceedingly passionate about.  My ultimate goal in my professional life is to be in a position of influence where I can inspire teachers, get them excited about teaching and their students, understand how to use, and the many benefits of technology in their classroom.  I'm excited just writing that sentence.


1. I thought I had found the perfect job at OSU.  I was getting to work with select high school teachers around the state of Ohio and do exactly what I described.  It was perfect!  But it was a grant and short lived.
2. I found myself back in a classroom but working with the teachers at my school to build some technology integration excitement.  I knew that I wanted more though.
3. I want to BE someone in the world of educational technology.  I so admire Tony Vincent, Matt Miller, Alice Keeler, Travis Allen and the iSchool Initiative, Jesse Lubinsky, Todd Nesloney, and Dave Burgess just to name a few!  Now I never want to on their level...but I want to be on my own level...enough to inspire teachers out in the world.  To do that I try to cultivate a presence online...Twitter, Instagram, blogging, etc.
Enterprise Architecture - SDSU Spring '18
4. I thought a great first step is to learn to be more than a coach but to be a true leader at a school.  So I decided to enroll in an MA program for Educational Leadership with a focus on Educational Technology.  Perfect FIT!
5. This year I ended up transitioning from the technology teacher position to a 4th grade teacher position.  I couldn't love it anymore.  However, it does involve a lot of planning and time and energy.  Couple that with the MA program that I'm enrolled in (see #4), and I'm overwhelmed but juggling.

Inspirational Ed Tech Goal + MA student + 4th grade teacher

I love my life.  I don't have time for everything but I surely juggle the best I can.


My first week as a 4th grade teacher I found out I was pregnant!  It was definitely a struggle those first weeks figuring out everything I needed to do, working on homework, and being completely exhausted.  However, I have an incredible partner teacher who supported me the entire time (and still is) and an exceptional husband who picked up the slack at home so I could get work done, eat, and sleep...not always in that order.

We are over the moon with this wonderful blessing.  But for me, that means I literally cannot continue to do everything I've been working on.  Clearly, I cannot stop working.  I won't stop my program...I'm almost DONE - August!  But I can't, now or when the baby comes, focus so much of my time on my goal of being someone in Ed Tech.  I will still be on Twitter, I will still engage with my PLN on Voxer, I will still blog.  These things all bring joy to my heart in a professional capacity, but they can't be a priority.

Being a mother has to trump all of these things and more.

I'm writing this post, for me...because 99% of the time my posts are for my own peace to get my own thoughts out of my head and "down" somewhere.  It's therapeutic for me.  However, I'm also writing this post to point out, because while not the exact same circumstances, there are teachers all over the world, struggling to balance everything.

Goldfish Division
To them, I want to say, don't...it will all be there tomorrow.  What is your priority?  What is the most important thing to you?  Focus on that.  Then add the other things but don't burn yourself out trying to do and be everything.  We are only humans, we can't.  If what speaks to your heart is your biggest priority, you will find happiness, even while juggling.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thankful Post

Life as a teacher is never smooth.  Life as a teacher never goes according to plan.  Life as a teacher is almost always overwhelming.  But to be perfectly fair...life for anyone, with any job, is all of the above.

Then, of course, if you add anything other than your job onto your plate and you begin to feel, well to put it delicately, you feel slightly overwhelmed.

To put it not so delicately, I feel like I'm going to freak out on someone (usually my husband) in a mass emotional, hysterical, meltdown.  **please tell me I'm not the only one**
I'm just going to put it all into perspective...I changed jobs (my idea) from technology specialist teacher to 4th grade teacher.  I LOVE what I'm doing now, but it's different and we're all getting used to it.  I am working on a degree while teaching full time.  I am trying to be a good wife, where I make lunches and boil noodles for dinner or whatever (I am NOT at home in the kitchen), listen to my husband share about his day, not freak out about all the video game playing that happens (cause you know he doesn't freak out about all the online shopping that happens 😯 💸 📚).  I am trying to be a good daughter and spend time with my parents.  I am trying to be a good friend and not be a complete hermit.  I am trying to be a good --- nope, I got a cleaning lady.  I can't do it ALL for pity's sake!!  I am not Super Woman or anything close!!!

And no, I can't laso either...not even sure I can spell that...and for accuracy sake, I'm not using spellcheck!

So at this point, it just sounds like a whole lot of venting and it seems like maybe I should be thankful...but I'm not?  Wait for it....

This week, my school had the whole week off for Thanksgiving.  THAT I am certainly grateful for!  However, it's not the only thing and definitely not the point of the post.  What it did give me was some time to relax and breath.  It allowed me time to stop my frantic mental checklist and just BE.  There were definitely times that I met with friends and ran errands instead of staying at home in my PJs, but those were pleasant excursions.  I enjoyed them.  It was part of what I needed to do for ME.  

In the midst of all my relaxing, and unfocusing on work and school, I slowly because to count the things on my list of stress.  And inevitably, I was able to count them as blessings.  

1. Moving to 4th grade, while taking time, was a huge blessing from the moment I set foot in that classroom.  I've been happier in the last 2 weeks of school than I have been all year.  Having the sweet faces surround me and being able to laugh with them and get to know their personalities on such a deeper level than as a specialist just fills my heart with joy.  

This was the right move for me guaranteed.  Especially when I hear about friends who have also made various moves and are still unsure.  The knowledge alone, that I am in the right place, is something I am very THANKFUL for.  

2. Masters classes are challenging.  There isn't a person on the planet (well that could be a slight exaggeration) that wouldn't say working full time and getting a degree is easy.  However, my husband and I made the decision that I would start when I did because we didn't have a family.  My job allowed me enough flexibility and access to the audience I would need in order to complete my program.  Plus, I had someone, a couple of someones in fact, who I felt could be a valuable mentor to me should I need support throughout this program.  However, it's fast-paced because of how quick the program is and it's 100% online.  These are both added challenges that make it so much harder.

But I LOVE the content!  I don't love every single class, but I have found value in every single class.  Some of the classes are just a little more interesting than others or I prefer the style of the professor more than others or I don't want to write another paper.  **just saying**
But in truth, how often can you say, I love going to school...it's SO interesting.  And in order to not lose our minds, a small group of us have bonded together on a Google Hangout to bounce ideas off of each other.  We're all in different places and we've never met in person, but I am I don't know what I would do without them!  So for all these things...ability to get through assignments, quality content and instructors, and an amazing group to lean on I am very THANKFUL for.

3. Of course, I am thankful for my family and friends.  I have wonderful parents who help me out whenever I need it.  My husband is a saint in how he handles all my ups and downs and my constant focus on either work or school.  I even have extended family on the other side of the country that are always letting me know how much I am loved.  My friends are the kind of friends you have for a lifetime.  They know me to my core and force me, with a supportive hand, out of my comfort zone and they listen when I'm frustrated and we go on adventures and we laugh, just like we did when we were kids.  For every single one of them, I am THANKFUL.

4. I may not be a homemaker and a cook but I have the basic skills to get by.  Or between my husband and myself, we are lucky enough to be able to afford someone to come in and help.  For THAT, I am THANKFUL.

5. My professional aspirations are currently all over the board.  It has always come down to wanting to inspire teachers.  However that comes about, I think I will be fine.  However, right now, I feel...I feel...unsatisfied.  I think it's because I do not feel like with everything I have going on, my aspirations are just OUTSIDE my grasp.  Life is just too busy.  There are just too many questions.  However, my heart has direction...I know where I need to be.  I also know that I have support from colleagues near and far.  We lean on each other, we support each other, and it will all come together.  So I am thankful for being unsatisfied.  That feeling pushes me further...motivates me to work and connect and learn.  I don't know when I will get "there", but I am confident that I will.  For that dedication and ambition and my support team, my various PLNs, I am THANKFUL.

I'm also thankful for pizza, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, Taco Tuesday, and anything Disney. See I told you this was gonna be a thankful post! 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

What's Your Story? Blogging for Everyone - GROWN UP VERSION

Unfortunately, I don't know a song from The Sound of Music that talks about starting in the middle.

*if you have no idea what I'm talking about - check out the post immediately before this - and maybe give a little pity laugh cause I'm trying to be funny*

So let's just add in a different image of a Julie Andrews movie and move on...work?!
Also, clearly, if you know me...this makes sense.  

Ok, let's move on to the actual point of this blog post.  We've already talked about using blogging with your students.  But how many of you have ever considered using a blogging platform for yourself?  And no...posting a blog question for your students doesn't count.  But good try! 👍🏼

No, I'm talking about as a professional or even as person with interests, hobbies, and a life outside of school...having a place where you go and write.  Anyone...anyone? This kind of "What?! Are you crazy? shocked and confused" response is kind of what I'm expecting.  So let's take a step back. 
Think back to last week.  Was there a lesson or an activity that went REALLY well?!  The kind where all the kids were on point and the content was clearly being learned and understood?  The kind of lesson where you wish your admin had come in and done an observation on that lesson?  Did you tell your pod or your grade level?  Did you tell your significant other?  Did you tell your family?  What was it about that lesson that made it so fantastic, you could leave school that day saying "This teacher thing...#nailedit!"

Those of you that had that moment or multiple moments like that CONGRATULATIONS!  That's a fantastic feeling isn't it?!  There is so much constant growing and changing and learning in education, that it's really nice to have a feeling of "I know what I'm doing".  With all those people you may or may not have told...did you know there are other educators out there who would LOVE to hear your idea.  You're look at me, maybe even smiling, but in your head, some of you are saying, "There's nobody out there who would possibly want to hear what I have to say."  You're wrong.  I mean that in the nicest way...but you're wrong.  

I'm just going to leave that there for a minute.  

I want you to now think back over the week and remember where there any moments where you...well, where you failed?  Not miserably, not according to anyone's specific standards, but in comparison to what you would have liked to see.  Were you not prepared?  Did a lesson NOT go according to plan?  Did you wear two different shoes?  Did you forget where you put your keys?  Or anything else where you just felt like...whatever your word is.  My particular phrase is, "What is wrong with me?! <insert face palm>"  Now with that moment, did you share it?  Did you tell family or friends and laugh about it?  Did you reflect and try to figure out what you did wrong so you can adjust it for next time?  (Like putting navy shoes in a box labeled navy and the same with black shoes so you can clearly tell which is which in the dark when you're half asleep.  I won't say whether this has happened to me or not.  I'll let you come to your own conclusion.)  When you shared, did you feel better?  Did you get advice?  Did it help you to organize and come up with some solutions and/or adjustments?

For those of you that felt that way last week, or ever in your life, would you consider the fact that there are teachers, humans, around the world that would love to hear about new teachers and experienced teachers that are having the same trouble?  We so often stay in our circle within our school that we lose perspective.  And it's so nice to step outside that bubble and hear that everyone is in the same boat one way or another.  If you are saying, "There's nobody out there who would possibly want to hear what I have to say."  You're wrong also.  I mean that in the nicest way...but you're wrong.

Regardless of everything else, here's a little piece of advice for you.  If you are the person where it helps your brain and your heart to get everything out on paper, try blogging.  Write it down and do it for yourself.  Use it as a professional tool; write down ideas, reflect on your practice, note observations that you make about the educational world around you.  Do it for yourself.

Here's my secret...I blog because I always wanted to be an author as a child, this gives me that ability. I knew that I could write about my thoughts and share my ideas and honestly, I knew nobody would read it, so I was safe.  I was doing it for myself, so I knew that I would do it.  Like a pedicure...treat yourself.  But I needed to get words onto "paper" for my heart.  It was only recently, that I began "advertising" my posts.  I still don't have a ton of traffic, but I don't care, because I'm writing for me.  These posts are for me, because I wanted to use my blog as a platform to present.  That's MY idea.

So....what's YOUR idea?

Let's see if we can get you to post or at least start, your very first blog post today.  My platform of choice is Blogger obviously, but here are some links:

Blogger | Weebly | Edublog | Wordpress

Do you have an idea of something you'd like to write about?  If you don't have one off the top of your head, that's ok...here's a prompt:

What's ONE thing you've learned in the #CUENV conference
that you'd like to take back and use in your classroom next week?  

I'm going to leave you with another tidbit (that's a fun word huh?) the folks that I share my blog with and that I read their blogs...they are regular teachers.  They aren't famous, even in teacher circles, they are parents, and new teachers, and singers by night, and fans of controlled chaos in the classroom, and avid readers, and turtle lovers.  They all have a story...just like you do, just like I do. And I learn from them and I feel confident because of them to share my story because of them.  And I'm going to post some of their blogs below...I recommend you take a look if you're needing some inspiration...or sometimes just a good laugh.

Melissa Chouinard-Jahant: www.iteacherimother.blogspot.com
Tricia Reyes: http://learn2tri.blogspot.com/

and of course I'm going to encourage you to read mine: www.ebgtechtalk.blogspot.com.

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment on either of these posts, tweet me @ebgtech, or find me on Instagram @ebgtech.

Oh yes...and keep writing! 📓 ✏️ 📝 💻

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What's Your Story? Blogging for Everyone - KIDS VERSION

Let's start at the very beginning...a very good place to start.  


No, but really, today we will talk about blogging, for your students and for yourself.  Let's start with the students.  Let's talk about: 
  • what are some platforms your students can use 
  • why would you use it in the classroom with your students
  • how can you use it with your students
  • what are some ideas that you can take back and use on Monday...or Tuesday, we're flexible


screen shot from Edublog's website
Just like with everything else, blogging platforms are always changing.  Currently, Edublog has made student blogging completely free.  I will admit that when I taught in CCSD, Edublog was blocked but that may have changed.  It was also not free. Like I said before, things change and with technology, they change quickly.  It would be easy to find out if Edublog is blocked and it may be easy to get it unblocked. What I am seeing is a lot of options that make class blogging possible. You can have a "class", there are privacy settings to keep student blogs safe, and you have the ability to track student posts...to name a few.  

By Google (https://www.blogger.com/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
If you are using Google at your school, you can also turn on Blogger.  Each student has their own blog built into GSuite.  You don't have all of the control that you do with Edublog, but there are work arounds.  For example, each time a student posts, they could turn that into an assignment in Classroom or fill out a form with link.  That would make it easier for you to view their blogs, as opposed to spending time just searching.  With Blogger, I have heard tell that you can also limit the posts to viewable only on your domain.  So that's a nice little bonus.  

Kidblog is the blogging platform that I have used with my students for years.  Granted at the time I started (yup, that old) Kidblog was free.  Unfortunately, it is not free anymore.  Fortunately, (for me) my school pays for it.  Blogger has a lot of the fantastic features that Edublog has; moderation, publishing statistics, and privacy settings.  It also has some option to connect with Google.  With Kidblog, you have to make that judgement call if it's worth the money, is it worth the time to write a grant, etc.  For many of our teachers, it was worth it, so our school invested in it.  

The last option I have, but that doesn't mean there aren't other ones out there, is Weebly.  Weebly is a website where you can build your own website, for free.  One of the page styles that is available is a blog.  You can create a class webpage and include a blog or build it as ONLY a blog.  In order for Weebly to stay free, the one account would have to be under your name.  So you wouldn't be able to manage a class and their own individual blogs.  However, you could have individual students post daily.  It would just depend on how you want to approach blogging.  Which we will be talking about shortly!  WIN!


Blogging just like everything should not be "over done".  Right?  Everything in moderation. However, you want your student to practice writing skills.  You want your students to practice typing skills.  Blogging at its most basic function, are those 2 things combined.  

I have a friend who is super tech excited.  She teaches 2nd grade.  We've been in school 7 weeks (5 weeks when I'm writing this) and we just met and chatted briefly about Kidblog.  She was SO excited at the end of last year about the fact that her 2nd graders could get on and post a blog!  It was the best thing since sliced bread...well maybe not THAT exciting, but still pretty amazing.  She wanted her 2nd graders to get on right away this year.  As soon as possible.  However, when we chatted, she had decided to hold off.  Before I could even ask, she said that she wanted them to do a little more writing on paper first.  Essentially, they weren't ready to be online writers yet when they were still learning to be on paper writers.  Regardless of whether I agree or not, and I'm not telling, I cannot argue with her logic for her class.  

My point being, look at your class...does getting online and writing make sense for them?  Are they writing in interactive journals?  Are they writing on loose leaf paper (those used to be such magic words)?  Are they writing on handouts?  And what are they writing?  Are they writing letters?  Are they writing stories?  Are they writing answers?  Are they writing jokes? 

And my last question: who are they writing to?  We all know that students will typically meet a higher bar if they are working for an audience other than their typical audience.  It's just like with everything else.  If it's always for the teacher...it gets old.  With blogging, they have the opportunity to write for each other too.

And now my last why.  With blogging, because the audience is more than just the teacher, you have the opportunity to reinforce the formal writing expected in school, but you also have the opportunity to teach that more informal, but still correct (lol ur not gonna be bloggin' like this ru?), writing. Along with that informal writing to an audience of peers comes the ability to guide them through appropriate commenting, digital citizenship, peer editing, etc.  There are so many avenues that you could take to have the kids write for each other and analyze for each other as well.  


Looking back at the Why Would You Use It...we covered a couple of How Can You Use Its.  But there's always more! 

Here are just a few random ideas.
  • free writing - give those kids that don't love writing an outlet to write judgement free
  • centers - put blogging in a writing or ELA center
  • A Day in the Life Of... - have students write from the perspective of someone else, dig deep and explore emotions and ideas and reasons; think a day in the life of Rosa Parks...why wouldn't she move?  Did she intentionally want to be remembered?  Did she really want to start a movement at that moment?  Was it planned? etc.
  • visual writing prompts - provide that controlled choice in what they write about 
  • travel journal - Ashley has 4th graders blog through Ancient China; they learn about the dynasties and write as a time traveler learning about the culture, art, food, etc. 
  • reviews - books, movies, restaurants, etc. provide opportunities to learn how to articulate specific positives as well as constructive criticism
  • story - tell a story...or do a story chain (each person writes so much and then another picks up where the last one left off and repeat)
  • recipes - learn how to write and follow a recipe
  • scientific observations - write observations throughout a science experiment, start with a hypothesis and include the conclusion
  • NOW YOU!  What ideas do you have that we can add to this post?


We all know that you go to a conference like this and everything you like, you want to implement immediately.  But then (at least me) you get overwhelmed and you implement nothing.  Let's avoid that.  Everything 👆🏻 is great...but you're not going to do it all right away; ease yourself into it.  So let's talk if you don't have a blog for your class, can you get one?  If you can't get one for your class, get one for yourself.  
  • post a blog and ask your students to post their replies as comments - it'll be a great intro and easy for you to keep track of student responses
  • ask students to post an About Me post - tell the class 3 things that yourself; depending on their age you can ask for something that nobody else knows or add in a fun/interesting twist


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Be Proactive

Well....I'm back at it.  Blogging?  Yes, but no not really.  Blogging for school?  Yes.  Yes, that is correct.  In fact, this part of this blog will not make it into my blog that is turned in.  I had to cross post for my own self.  For the part of me that needs to be on my blog.  The part of me that needs to write and just has found every excuse not to write.  The part that has said "lesson plans, keeping in touch with friends, homework, sleep, Vox, my pets, my family, my husband, supporting teachers, student council, Twitter, conference planning, our school TV station, sunshine committee, exploring Google, meetings, and so many other things (not in that specific order) need to come first".  Well, now I have to write.  So now I chose to write here.  I will copy and paste and add that tiny extra step. But somehow my soul has already breathed a sigh of relief.  No one will see this.  I will not blast this, I will not announce it, I will keep this to myself. But that's ok, because that's who I am doing it for.

And now...homework.

When I think of being proactive, I think of planning.  I think of being prepared for a variety of paths so that no matter what happens, I have a plan and will not react.  The phrase be proactive became a regular part of my vocabulary when I was working with some challenging students in a high risk school.  The focus of everything was to be proactive: be prepared.  Have behavior plans, have incentives, know the triggers, know their positives, look for signs of a bad day, start the day with good things, etc.  I was being proactive for my students.

Now, I need to look at being proactive for myself.  Am I proactive?  How can I be proactive?  How can I make it a habit of mine?

My natural personality is not one of "proactivity".  My natural personality is one of frustration and, I admit, I pout.  However, I also recognize that pouting and being frustrated and complaining doesn't get me any where or solve any problems.  The only thing it does, is become annoying OR become a breeding ground for negativity.  THAT is not my natural personality.

So how can I proactive?  I am going to take a look at how I approach school (both work and MA) at the moment.  Working on a MA while working full time alone is extremely overwhelming.  However, somehow, at school I have also managed to take on an incredible amount of extra curricular activities. It has gotten to the point where my attitude is becoming very poor.  I believe that this is the perfect opportunity for me to become more proactive.  I have already made it clear to my administration that I need help.  However, I need to be more proactive about seeking out the help I need.

I should accept any help that is offered instead of playing it cool, like I have everything under control. I should ask my colleagues if they can handle a task so that I can focus on a bigger priority.  I should take control over how I react.  I should be proactive.

This is a skill that I know I am capable of mastering.  It is something that I work very hard at typically.  However, now I recognize that in a time of stress, I need to be more purposeful at being proactive.

I will be teaching this skill to a group of teachers that I Vox with from all over the country.  We are all in a similar situation in that we are all teachers at the beginning of the school year.  We all love education.  We all work hard to make our classes a valuable and engaging experience for our students.  We are all experiencing significant causes for stress as the school year starts.  I believe that they would all benefit from hearing the words "Be Proactive".  It's a chance to put a word to what they already do, celebrate their successes of being proactive, and recognize when they are not...when we are all needing to change a negative habit and be more proactive.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

EDL 680 Module 10 Discussion Post

What big take aways do you have from reading Friedman?
What are the limitations?

I have really enjoyed reading Friedman’s book.  The messages he shares, from a world outside of education, are so powerful and how he shared them through his stories of his own life experiences and reflections made it all that much more interesting.  Despite the fact that he is in a completely different field, he manages to (in my opinion) express the excitement and concern that we all feel of living life in today’s world.

I think my biggest take aways come from Friedman’s discussion of and constant personal reflection.  Our world is in a state of constant change.  “This is how it’s always been done” is no longer acceptable because everything around whatever “this” is, is no longer the same either.  So whatever “this” is, needs to change, update, and/or be more flexible.  As a teacher, one of the big questions that is constantly at the forefront of my mind is “How can I have done that better?” or “What do I need to change?”  From those type of questions, I’m able to confidently, continue to grow and learn as a teacher and as a human.  Even Friedman (2016) believes that “if there was ever a time to pause for moral reflection, it is now” (p. 340).  As he quoted Leon Wieseltier (2015) “Every technology is used before it is completely understood...there is always a lag between an innovation and the apprehension of its consequences.  We are living in that lag...we have much to gain and much to lose” (p. 340).  I feel like when we stop learning and stop reflecting, when we think we have truly learned all there is to know, is when we assume the attitude of “this is how it’s always been done”.  And that attitude can be dangerous.  By shutting yourself down to learning, the changes in our world and our society can sneak up on you with no choice now but to adjust immediately.  

Friedman (2016) stated that in the Middle East the dominant political ideology was “‘I am weak, how can I compromise? I am strong, why should I compromise?’ The notion of there being ‘a common good’ and ‘a middle ground’ that we all compromise for and upon- not to mention a higher community calling we work to sustain- was simply not in the lexicon” (p. 447-448).  Sadly, he also mentioned that what he saw in Washington DC was not that much different.  Are these changes in society caused by a lack of reflection?  Are we no longer looking at what is happening in other cultures and reflecting on why it’s happening?  Are we no longer reflecting on how we can collaborate and thinking only of ourselves?  This lack of reflection is happening on a large scale than in our own individual lives, but I still believe that when a larger shift happens those who have not reflected and started to adjust, will struggle with the changes, whatever that may look like.

Friedman broke his book into four sections: reflecting, accelerating, innovating, and anchoring.  I believe that accelerating, innovating, and anchoring are all reliant on reflecting.  How do you know you’re accelerating unless you’re reflective on where you have been?  How can you innovate, unless you reflect on your failures?  How can you find and recognize your anchor...be it person(s) or place(s), unless you reflect on your life?  

As for the limitations of Friedman’s book, I cannot say there are many.  He shares many political stories about situations that I am not familiar with due a variety of reasons.  Regardless of my unawareness, he outlines the needed information in order to understand the purpose of his story. Due to how he framed everything, I was able to understand his point and then apply it to my situation in education or life in general.