Friday, June 13, 2014

iSummit . . . Take 2

Last year was my first year attending iSummit.  Well, it was so good, I had to go back this year.  Last year I posted my Top Ten Takeaways, so I thought it was only fitting that I share what resonated with me from the conference this year.

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Let me start with the Keynote.  Angela Maiers asked the question, "How Big is Your Brave?"  Think about that for a moment.  If children truly believe they could do anything they set their mind to how different this world would be!  What would you do if you were not afraid of failure?  She went on to share how she encouraged students as young as kindergarten to find our what their genius was and what exactly it was that only they could do for the world. They made posters introducing themselves with the message: "My name is ________ .  I am a genius because _______.  The world needs me to ________." This message was so powerful!

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Now, everything I had been reading about "The Genius Hour" on Twitter was starting to make sense.  What if kids were given time to explore their passions, to truly believe they could make a difference in the world.  Imagine!  Would we have less violence among our youth, less shootings, less suicides, less bullying?  If children truly saw their purpose and realized they were the only ones who could fulfill that need, I believe it would make a difference.  Think about that.  I have always believed that hurt people, hurt people.

All this made me think of my favorite poem by Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
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She went on to talk about Choose2Matter.  Students discover what breaks their heart (poverty, homelessness, abuse, pets) by making heartbreak maps.  From that they form common groups and begin to research and discover how they can make a difference in the world. Then guess what happens next.  They do it!

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There are some teachers at my school who understand this. These teachers have helped students discover their passion and used it to make a difference in the world. Through  See Beautiful Dr. Alicea's 5th Grade Target students held a book drive and collected over 1,000 books for the St. Anne's Homeless Shelter. Another teacher, Mrs. Ernstes, sponsors a Homeless Pet Club to teach children about the importance of caring for pets and raising awareness about homeless pets.  They have collected supplies to donate to a pet shelter.

So what is it you are passionate about?  Better yet, what are your students passionate about?  Help them discover their genius!

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What else did I learn at iSummit?  Lots of great things that I will share later.  Oh yea!  I almost forgot.  I also got an opportunity to present about the flipped classroom.  You can view my presentation by clicking here.

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