Tag Archives: professional development

RSCON – What I Learned in my Pajamas


“Do you get hours for this?” my husband asked me Sunday morning-ish as I ran to the fridge for a Diet Coke between RSCON4 sessions.  He was referring, of course, to the staff development hours that are required for my Teacher Appraisal each year.

“Nope!” I called behind me as I ran back to the computer.

And, yes, I was literally still in my pajamas.

They say that about online conferences, you know. “Staff development you can do in your pajamas!”

So I did.

RSCON4 is the first online conference that I’ve attended – and it definitely won’t be my last.  I want to thank Shelly Terrell, one of the driving forces behind RSCON, (and a fellow dog-loving, San Antonio resident) for bringing the conference to my attention.  And I want to thank every presenter, volunteer, and organizer for putting together this amazing FREE offering for teachers.

My only regret was that I also wanted to attend TEDx San Antonio on Saturday.  But, no worries.  RSCON had me covered, and they archived every. single. session.  And, believe me, I’m going to be accessing those archives!

In the meantime, I want to share a few of the “takeaways” I got from what I was able to take part in this weekend – just as I did with my TEDx observations.

Gallit Zvi – In her talk about Genius Hour, Gallit gave me several ideas and new resources.  She referenced Daniel Pink’s TED Talk, “The Puzzle of Motivation.”  Also, she gave a great a definition of “Genius” as Latin for “to bring into being, create, produce” for those people who might question the label, “Genius Hour.”   In addition, she recommended setting up a blogging schedule for kids and using the #comments4kids hashtag on Twitter to get people to read and comment on blog posts done by students.

Kelly Tenkely – In “Connections Through Inquiry,” Kelly and her colleagues shared about their amazing school, Anastasis Academy, and showed tons of fabulous great photos of inquiry-based learning that really prove that children will take their learning farther than many people expect when given the chance.  One example I loved was how they connected Fibonacci to Dot Day!

Todd Nesloney – TechNinja Todd was joined by 2 Guys and Some iPads (Drew Minock and Brad Waid) as they shared how you can get started with Augmented Reality and some really, really fun toys that I am extremely jealous they have (like the Daqri 4-D Elements Cubes!)  Be sure to visit their sites for more on Augmented Reality – including videos and how-to posts galore.

Angela Maiers and Mark Moran – Poor Angela!  She just got out of the hospital Sunday morning, and rallied herself to help Mark deliver a keynote on their Choose2Matter movement.  If you haven’t heard Angela Maiers speak, go to this recording, or her TEDx talk.  She is so passionate and inspirational!  She said two things that I was able to jot down, but there was so much more!  “Genius is too important a word to limit to superheroes.” “There’s nothing about us without us.”  And the key slogan for Choose2Matter, “You are a genius, and the world needs your contribution.”  I could probably write two more blog posts on everything said during this keynote, but I honestly think it’s better if you listen to it yourself!

Principal El – I didn’t get to hear the beginning of Salome Thomas-El’s closing plenary, but I am so glad I was able to tune in for some of it.  This motivational speaker has been featured on the Dr. Oz show, and has a new book, The Immortality of Influence, on the shelves.  (He also wrote Choose to Stay.)  One of the quotes that I wrote down from his wonderful talk was, “It’s not about teaching them how to be successful, but teaching them how to respond when they’re not.”  

No, I didn’t get hours for this.  And I am fine with that.  I got enlightened and inspired.  I only worry about whether or not I’m going to receive some sort of compensation for the time I’ve given when I feel like my time was wasted.  And it definitely was not wasted this weekend.


Takeaways from TEDx San Antonio


I just spent the most amazing weekend being consistently inspired by fabulous speakers from all around the world.  I have been encouraging everyone to attend RSCON (if you missed it, you can see the archives of each session by clicking here) this weekend, and, coincidentally, San Antonio hosted a TEDx event that I was fortunate enough to attend.  I think I will be floating on the great ideas from both conferences for the next month!

I don’t want to lose this feeling of motivation and inspiration once I return to the real world, so I thought I would just jot down some of the awesome take-aways that I got from all of the amazing people I heard speak.  Today, I thought I would give you the TEDx San Antonio observations I made. (The videos of these presentations should be online in the next three weeks.) Tomorrow – my RSCON impressions!

Eric Fletcher – Although his talk was not directly aimed at education, Fletcher’s presentation seemed to clearly connect to our field.  Declared legally blind when he was a child, Fletcher and his parents refused to allow that diagnosis affect his life.  A couple of quotes I took:  “How often have benchmarks resulted in inaccurate conclusions?”  “Danger is in relying on benchmarks constantly.”  “The critical measure of vision is not defined by what the eyes can see but what is believed deep in the heart.”

Cary Clack – In his moving piece about a man who he observed visiting the crypt of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , Cary Clack says, “The only problem with nonviolence is its name.  It’s defined by what it is not.”  He also said, “We are obligated to confront evil and to try to overcome it.”

Myric Polhemus – This director of Human Resources at H.E.B. shared about the importance of being “vulnerable to criticism” – particularly from the “productive malcontents”.  He was talking about the value of this in the business world, but I definitely think this is important in our world, too.  Teachers and administrators need to be able to listen to criticism from teachers, students, and administrators with the hope they will hear comments that will help them to improve, rather than being self-defensive.

Nick Longo – As the founder of Geekdom, a collaborative workspace in San Antonio, Nick Longo knows all about being an entrepreneur.  One of his great quotes was, “Business is the mindset.  Entrepreneurship is the heartset.”  He spoke about the importance of collaboration.  “We are all makers of something.  Every person you meet knows something.”  As someone who is benefiting so much from my PLN, and as a teacher who is working hard to encourage my students to collaborate, Nick’s message reinforces the importance and benefits of working with others.

Roman Baca – This Marine veteran spoke about the importance of doing what scares you.  He has expressed the experience of war through dance, and has gone to Iraq to work with children to “teach  them to choreograph a dance work about their challenges, misconceptions, fears, joys, and their hopes for a safer Iraq.”  Roman’s work has not only helped him to heal his own PTSD, but to allow the children to heal.  He will be bringing more Marines over on his next trip to Iraq, and will undoubtedly make a difference in the lives of those Marines as well.  I love that Roman is using his passion to make a difference – the foundation of #choose2matter.

Derek Sivers – As one of the transitions at TEDx San Antonio, this video from Derek Sivers (if you haven’t watched this video, you should; it’s hilarious!) was shown.  I particularly love the last part, “If you really care about starting a movement, have the courage to follow and show others how to follow. And when you find a lone nut doing something great, have the guts to be the first one to stand up and join in.”