Monthly Archives: March 2018

PS I Love You

As I sit in the lobby bar of the Renaissance hotel in Palm Springs, eating a cheeseburger and sucking down a soda, I’m reflecting on the last three days. This year was my first time making the journey, or pilgrimage, to the national CUE conference, or Spring CUE as it is called now. It is an enormous conference with around 7,000 attendees. Being that I live so far and it is during school days, it has always been too difficult to make the trek. This year I made it happen and let me just emphasize, I am so glad I did.

First and foremost, I enjoyed going to sessions on topics that not only stretched my brain, but filled my bucket. I loved listening to the interactions around me of attendees and other presenters. Over the few years I have been involved with CUE, I have made many friends and acquaintances of people who are not only smart, but passionate innovators. Listening and learning in the hallway, at the bar in the evening, and even at Karaoke, I am humbled to be a part of such at incredible network of educators. The conversations and the connections are worth any price I had to pay to get here.


I also had the opportunity to share my love of teaching students authentic writing in a session I call Blogging and Podcasting: Painlessly Prodding Students into Authentic Writing. It was a bit intimidating speaking to a packed room, but the attendees were so excited and receptive of the content, even when the wifi went down. As an added bonus, I had my college friend and two former students seated in the front row, cheering me on. I was blown away when several times during the days after, I had educators approach me, complimenting me on my session. Some even asked for selfies! It was surreal.

I am exhausted, but I’m also invigorated. I can’t wait to get back to the classroom on Monday. Of course, spending  Sunday with my family sounds perfect, too.

For the Goal of Learning

Today I ran 13.1 miles, the most I have run in over three years. The reasons I haven’t been running long distances are mostly due to life getting in the way of time to commit. This winter break, though, I decided I needed a goal again. This found me committed to a half marathon. I needed a focus, an aim, something tangible that would get me up at 4:30am and commit to hours of training on the weekend. Today, while I was sweating toward my goal, I thought about something. Why was it I got out of my warm bed and pushed myself through the discomfort of all that training? Why is it that I don’t just run for the love of running?

When you run as slow as I do, you have time to think. My thoughts drifted to my own students. Most of all, I want my students to take control of their own learning and LOVE learning new concepts. I get so frustrated when the only reason they complete assignments is for a grade. “How much is this worth?” Ugh.

Lately, though I’ve been trying to get them to focus on what they will need to DO at the end of the unit. Of course, I’m still frustrated with this because I know this isn’t necessarily promoting the love of learning.

Running today towards my goal and knowing I would not have been there without that focus, I realized there was nothing wrong with learning for an end goal. The real shift needs to be getting students to set their own learning goals.

I guess I have a new goal to strive towards.