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What if we had a song?

There are certain songs that I hear, that will just move my soul.

When you hear a song, what do you hear first? What are you listening for the most? The lyrics? The beat? The music? I’ve brought that question up at many social gatherings, which always resulted in the greatest discussion as a way to get to know people. Try it. And listen to what people “hear”, it’s quite intriguing.

Over the past year, I’ve spent quite a bit of time sitting with my hospitalized son listening to all sorts of crazy sounds. There’s nothing like a hospital stay to make you slow down, stop and just listen. Beeps. Buzzers. Alarms. Ticking. Feet scurrying. Muffled conversations. Sometimes even just loud silence.  Yes, sometimes silence can be very loud when you are in a hospital.

One familiar, and welcome sound was hearing Brahms Lullaby play every time a baby was born. That always made us stop and smile and appreciate goodness in our world. But every so often, another clip of a song would play over the PA system that was quite compelling – Lean On Me. It wasn’t until I saw a poster on one of the elevators that explained the meaning of the song clip. It was played as a way to remind the staff of the hospital’s vision and mission. To care.

I wondered how effective this song clip was at helping staff stop and reflect. I must say that I did notice great care in this hospital. The staff must have taken part in very intensive training sessions. Not just the incredible doctors. But every staff member: nurses, porters, cleaners, painters, everyone stopped and cared in the hallways. They would make eye contact. They would ask how things were going. And they would listen. They would not move on until you were done “needing them”. Watching nurses come and go on their shifts, leading normal lives at home and keeping people alive and comfortable during their days. I viewed them as absolutely fascinating, listening to every piece of information they shared about my son. I hinged on every word. And we truly felt their wholehearted care.

This really made me stop and reflect as a leader of a school. How well do WE stop, listen and reflect on our vision in our school? We might not be saving lives. But we are certainly helping in the development of lives. Parents are leaving their children in our care each day. And parents hinge on our every word when we are discussing their children. Do our parents feel our wholehearted care in these encounters?

The theme song clip idea has stayed with me ever since my hospital experience. Would a song clip over the PA at school, sometime throughout the day, maybe remind us to stop and reflect on our purpose?  Would we stop and listen and reflect? But most of all… I wondered what the best song would be. In fact, I have been wondering about the best song for months. Something uppity? Something religious? Something deep?

And then, today while sipping my morning coffee, I was blessed with my answer to the perfect song. I have to thank Danielle, one of our teachers in our my school, for sharing it on Facebook. This is the song I would use.  And I just might begin tomorrow.

What about you? What song would you use?


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Learning With Head Fakes: AandE

Here’s the situation, should you choose to accept it.

1) 400 faculty of education pre-service students

2) 1.25 hours

3) Share everything they will need to know about assessment and evaluation

4) oh, yeah, build in some learning about using DI in the classroom too.

So we, @benhazzard and I, accepted this challenge.  We also decided to build in multiple levels of learning.  This presentation was designed to have an ongoing, coherent, and compelling narrative that linked real life with classroom experiences.  We also wanted to use technology and integrate it in a seamless way to enhance our discussion.  The concepts we chose to cover were basic and foundational:

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“My colleague saved me” – A collaborative blogpost… by @kellypower & @sram_socrates

Through our discussions over Twitter, and Google-Docs, it became apparent that both of us Shawn (@sram_socrates)  and Kelly (@kellypower) are passionate about Math/Science related thinkings and share the same challenging views about sitting down to draft and write actual text.  So the development of this blog-post which evolved into more of a storyboard with pictures, met both of our personal needs as learners.  And… it came together over about a week of back and forth conversations using a Google Doc, ultimately leading to even more experiential learning.  Yet another display of reciprocal teaching where we ended up “saving each other”  and building a collaborative relationship through the development of a blog post.

Thanks to the power of Twitter and networking, a single tweet based on a posting of a “daily pic” quickly emerged into the sharing of ideas and ultimately a blogpost. It went something like this in a matter of minutes:
By engaging in conversations over Twitter, the sharing of ideas and the sharing of posts, one can quickly see that even though you may work miles apart in different provinces, and in different roles, you may share similar passions, backgrounds and struggles related to your chosen work with children and adults.  We are both educators, both with a background in the Sciences, are passionate about students and education, understand and believe in team work, will point out the utmost importance of relationships and both believe in the value of recognizing and admitting to a colleague “You Saved Me”.

Saving someone does not have to mean that you have prevented them from some dire consequence (or earwig) or ensured their personal well being, although if you have done this for a colleague, you deserve a whole different level of “You Saved Me”.  What we are talking about is this:  Has there ever been time when a colleague has helped you?  When you could really say “My colleague saved me?” , was there ever a time when you should have relied on the help of a colleague, but instead, decided to “go it alone”?  But most importantly, were you able to admit that you needed the help in the first place?

Many times we may even try to “go it alone”.  Some may think that asking for help demonstrates a weakness of sorts.  Whereas, we believe that asking for help demonstrates a greater sense of character by admitting that there are areas we need to grow in and that we are willing to ask and learn from those that are willing to help us. We can also both say that asking a colleague for assistance requires admitting that we are vulnerable.

In reflecting on moments which led to our embrace of Twitter,  a pivotal moment may have been when we felt courageous enough to tweet a question asking for assistance, a moment where we “needed to be saved”:
And, as many of us have found out, we were not disappointed. The connections we have made through twitter and our PLN’s provided many suggestions and tips, ensuring that we were provided with accurate and appropriate information. This experience resulted in an increased feeling of comfort with asking questions, which correlated to a decrease in our feelings of vulnerability. We are also quite amazed at the amount of saving that we witness on a daily basis between members of our PLN, which also preemptively answered questions that we may have had.

But in all this saving, that we witness on a daily basis, we feel it is important, well actually that it is crucial,  to maintain the collaborative relationship involved in effective teamwork through the proper acknowledgement of thanks.
In the interest of saving time, and server space, we apologize that we did not list all of the tweeps that we may have thanked or those we have witnessed being thanked.  There are way too many to mention!

Whether it is covering for a staff during a class, helping with paper work clarification, facilitating tech learning or killing a bug… let’s hope our “busyness” doesn’t get in the way of what it truly means to be a member of a collaborative environment.

We as educators understand and accept that teaching, assisting and helping individuals (generally our students) can be a thankless job. However, we (@kellypower and @sram_socrates) can state with certainty that for many of us, the biggest and best compliment given to an educator or person for that matter is Thank You, You made a difference.

So from two educators, tweeters, bloggers, those willing to save and those occasionally needing to be saved, to all of those that we know:
So what about you?  In what ways have you been saved by a colleague?  In what ways might you have saved another person requiring assistance? Care to share with us?  We’d love to hear about it…