Opening Inservice 2018 Purpose

August 13, 2018 Leave a comment

Our headmaster started with a great speech about “We can’t control our world, we can only respond to our world.:


Ross Wehner from World Leadership School discussed “What kind of impact you want to have in the world?” He explained that “Purpose” is about something outside of ourselves. The goals are to help everyone understand purpose and why it is important to the learning process and to have a sense of your own purpose.  40% of adults have a strong sense of purpose. 95% of all teachers have a strong sense of purpose. With a little coaching and help from a listening co-worker you can strengthen your purpose..


Purpose is a stable intention that is meaningful to you but beneficial to the world. Positive Psychology is about what makes humans thrive. Aristotle: happiness  – hedonic – pleasure/pain, taking, examples hungry you eat. Eudaimonic – thriving, giving, making meaning, examples

Victor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning. Those who survived were those who made meaning out of their prison experience.


Benefits of Purpose for Adults

  • Longevity
  • Fewer heart attacks
  • Faster healing
  • Increased happiness
  • Less stress, more sleep
  • Better relationships

Benefits for students

  • Increased happiness
  • Better relationships
  • Internal locus of control
  • Academic efficacy
  • Managed stress better


Student Agency- youth purpose – most students associate schools with stress, bored, tired.

The biggest problem growing up today is not actually stress, its’ meaninglessness – Bill Damon, Director of Stanford’s Center on Adolescence. High school Students have 20% clear purpose, 24% no purpose in life, 24% self-focused life goals (dablers at independent schools we have probably 40% of these), and 31% Dreamers. Teachers recognize the clear purpose students. For these students stress drives them to go towards their dreams. World Leadership School – k-12 – global travel, project based learning. TeachUnited is for rural schools around the world.


Talents+impact = purpose

To share opportunities, resources, tools

So that I can help teachers do their jobs better and easier.


Owen and Eliza – Gustke makes you want to strive, very professional but our friends or equals.  He is a mentor. Stupid night out allowed Eliza come out of her shell, which made her more confident.  SNO allowed Owen to see how far he can go outside his comfort soon.

Interim – shows classmates in a completely different light. You see the person for who they are.  Eliza came to FVS because of the student/teacher relationships, swim team really spoke to her. A place that she can thrive.  Owen – FVS is about you getting there, about the process. The end is important, but not the why.


Make meaning through stories.  It explains who we are.


Purpose Myths

Purpose is a survival skill.

Purpose is not a luxury, it is fundamental

Purpose is not revealed, it is a practice.

Purpose is not a cause, it can be simple, example “to grow and give”

Purpose is not a single passion, a stable intention beneath many passions.


EdTech Summit Colorado Springs #edtechteam

July 23, 2018 Leave a comment

The day was amazing, here is  my Mystery Location Presentation is on Google Slide.

Notes from the day:

The first session was one of the keynote speakers, Jessica Loucks. She started with the fact that she teaches like Saturday Night Live “We don’t go on because we’re ready.. We go on because it’s 11:00 pm” Lorne Michaels. Email to get tickets to SNL Charlie Todd started Improv Everywhere. The organization does things like: no pants subway ride, Magical Port a Potty, Fake press conference, Best Buy shirts. “When nothing is sure. Everything is possible.” Margaret Drabble. Lorne Michaels from SNL puts in one structure. During Table Reading Days on SNL, every single person has EQUITY of VOICE.  The definition of Improvise is “to create and perform spontaneously or without preparation. There are rules and structures to Improv, but lots of room for creativity and flexibility.”  Tina Fey’s BossyPants has 4 Rules of Improv

  • Always say YES – always keep an open mind
    • ( You need to listen and associate )
    • You should not say “Yes, BUT”
    • “I see what you’re doing. I’m adding to it. I’m not gonna let you fail. I’ve got your back.”
  • Always say YES AND we need to contribute
    • Yes, And by Second City – Team and Ensemble
  • Make Statements
    • Don’t worry about being the expert
  • There are No Mistakes – only perfect opportunities
    • Be a learner with your students

Jess brought 4-5 people up and played

  • the Yes And Give a statement and you have to go back and forth with YES, AND
    • Must listen
  • Make Statements – Gave them scenarios and they had to pose without talking.
  • Human Machine –
    • Repeat a Movement and a Sound Effect – for the Alarm Clock.

Infuse chaos into your classroom with improv.

  • The ability to process on the fly
  • A willingness “to relinquish power”
  • Individuals who can :learn to learn from failure”
  • “Creating space for others to contribute…”

Nuts & Bolts Youtube Channel @TeaAtOne,, Check out #YesAnd and #improvEducator.  Embrace the creative chaotic potential within your students.


Second Session, I also saw Jess (because she is awesome) @JLenore – Chaos & the #ImprovEducator


  • Why Improv?
  • Tackling Hurdles
  • Developing and #improvEducator Mindset
  • How do I infuse into my classroom?
  • Resources

“Debriefing is an essential skill for all improv teachers to develop in order to help students make meaning from activities, progress in their learning, and have a positive classroom experience.”   Start small for the shy kids during the Debriefing. Have students talk about agree and disagree. Who’s Classroom is it anyway? – We need to model for our students. Don’t have anyone be pushed. Let them just be.


Google Save time for Creativity.


The third session was Visible Thinking Through Living Comics @taramartinedu.  (she also does #booksnaps)


  • Relatable
  • Expose Vulnerability
  • Approachable
  • Learning through life

LOOM is a great extension to record your screen and yourself. Bitmoji extensions – you need to create your bitmoji on your phone and then you can use it on the extension. Using Comics to explain a process, unit reviews. In Flipgrid you can now upload MP4.


The fourth session was The Infused Classroom – Powerful Checks for Understanding – Holly Clark (who is amazing)

The Pedagogy – formative assessment, differentiated instruction, demonstrations of learning, curation and reflection. Effective Technology Integration – Making Thinking Visible, Student Voice, Sharing Work.

Ideas for flipgrid

  • What inspires you to be an educator? For future employees.
  • 8th graders leave some for the incoming 6th graders.
  • Get to know your parents
  • Get to know your teachers
  • Ask Czop, Dorothy and Sara for a FLIPGRID for our bed writers.

Ideas for Socrative

  • Check for understanding.
  • Quizzes
  • Surveys

The fifth session was Comics with Sylvia Duckworth – slide show

Demo Slam


  • Face Oscar
  • Run Pee
  • Swagbucks

Sylvia Duckworth

  • Characteristics – dedication, equality, motivation, open-mindness, skills, level-headedness, aim to reach all students, model

Lisa Highfill

  • Draftback extension

Kelsey Sherer

  • #teachwithtech fail
  • A Google Form for Summer reading


  • Tools, Color, Transparent
  • Search for a youtube video 10 minute timer


  • REALYOUSnaps

Nick Park

Christine Liebe, Computer Science Content Specialist CDE


The second day started with the keynote speaker Holly Clark. Her presentation was on “Who are we teaching” . Gen Z – they are not tech savvy they are tech dependent  Password Video. Nick S from UK invents Summarization App At the age of 15 he sold it to Yahoo for 30 million.  Bella T. –  Kidzcationz website – the trip advisor for kids – from Australia

Class 2031 is now here.  What happened in 2005 that wasn’t her in 2018?  Facebook, Youtube, Smart Phones, Google Maps were not here. What do you think 2031 will be like?  Self-driving car, no drunk driving, traffic will change, no car insurance. Uber is making flying taxis – Holy Jetson.  Our phones will be controlled by our thoughts. AI will change everything.

Open is shifting the focus from how we should teach to how they should learn. Open can be accepting the new literacies. Transliterate -Fluent across all mediums of information not just reading and writing. Literacy vs Fluency – Literacy is competence or knowledge and MAKING MEANING but Fluency is ability to express oneself articulately with an understanding of how to reach a desired effect AND application of knowledge. Math is about learning formulas but what is the quadratic equation for? Sawubona – Zulu word that means “I see you”  What a great way to start the year! We need to understand how people learn when they have a choice, and bring that into the places where they are required to learn.” Davide Price. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  William Butler Yates. Bike with wrong direction handlebars – If we teach today as we taught yesterday we rob our children of tomorrow.” – John Dewey

The first session was on Pear Deck withNick Park – Everything you do is saved in google doc. You can use a PPT or JPG to put in Pear Deck. Pear Deck gives each student a voice all the time, but you are getting feedback constantly. Active Learning, deeper learning, social learning for 100% student engagement. Pear deck reduces the achievement gap=- 50 % between socioeconomic groups, 100% between genders, 6% all. Can lock screens and there is a KIOSK mode. You can insert Kahoot! You can use Student Paced Mode allows you to get a link that you can share as homework or absent students.

The second session was with @JLenore24Jess Loucks google photos. Google Photos = get the app for phone. On phone go to hotdogs, settings, backup and sync ON.  Backup account should be your current gmail account. Leave “ when to back up “ is turned off.  Especially for cellular data. Photoscan app to scan photos

Vail, Colorado Certified as First Sustainable Mountain Resort Destination in the World

July 23, 2018 Leave a comment

Amazing read about Vail by my friend Kristen Gill!

Kristen Gill

vailVail is the first destination in the world to be certified to the Mountain IDEAL sustainable destination standard.

“Recognizing that mountain destinations are acutely threatened by climate change, waning freshwater resources, and seasonal tourism peaks, Vail has made important strides in balancing the needs of its delicate ecosystem with the wants of travelers and the local community,” said Geoff Bolan, CEO of Sustainable Travel International.

Like many mountain resort destinations, Vail’s economy is highly dependent on tourism. While the town is home to just under 5,500 local residents, it welcomes 2.8 million guests annually. Since the ski area’s founding in 1962, and the Town’s founding in 1966, Vail has focused on balancing tourism growth with local environmental and community needs.

It has taken many years to work towards the sustainable destination certification, which builds upon Vail’s long history of environmental conservation. Notable past achievements include the protection of open space…

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Amazing Transgender Training by @VentureOut_ ‏

May 30, 2018 Leave a comment

Today at Fountain Valley School of Colorado we had 3 hours of training from Venture Out Project. Perry and Malcolm were our facilitators and they were amazing.  Venture Out started as an Outward Bound type company for the transgender community.  They have since expanded to help schools learn more about the individuals who identify as transgender.  The first exercise consisted of matching words with their definitions.  These included non-binary, intersex, cisgender, transgender, ally, etc.  The second exercise was defining “Fitting In”, descriptions included external, others say whether, others judge, you fit in, you sacrifice or conform.  The third exercise was defining “Belonging” descriptions used were more internal, personal, you feel like you belong.

We then overviewed the Genderbread Person and how each of the pieces interact together or don’t.

Genderbread-Person-3.3.jpgWe then did some scenarios about pronouns.  Typical pronouns are He, him, his; she her, hers; they, them, theirs (this last three are sometimes used instead of gender specific ones). Ze, zir, zirs are the non-gender pronouns that some individuals want to use.

Oregon in 2017 became the first state to add the option of X as your sex on it’s drivers’ license.  We could have students inquiry this on why the letter ?  Why would someone choose it?  Why do you think they did this?  For more info, read here.

FVS is looking at overall guiding rules and principals to make our campus a safe place for all students.

In the FVS library, we have many fiction and non-fiction books.  “This book is gay” and “Rethinking Normal” are both great non-fiction to understand more terminology and experiences.  “Gracefully Grayson”, “Everyday”,  “The Symptoms of Being Human” and “None of the Above” are all great fiction that explores experiences of our youth.

Tech Tools (weekly)

May 26, 2018 Leave a comment

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tech Tools (weekly)

May 5, 2018 Leave a comment

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Global Symposium in NOLA

May 3, 2018 Leave a comment

This is a little rambling, but I wanted to post this before I forget it all….


For two days, I attended the Global Symposium hosted by TABS and NAIS.  This is a conference that caters to Admission people who work with international families, ESL teachers, teachers who travel with students and teachers who teach about being a global citizen.  I fall under the last of those four groups and to me it seemed like the most under-represented group at the conference.  The opening session was with Dr. Chris Thurber and Szu-Hui Lee both from Exeter. Szu-Hui discussed that most teachers fall under two categories (and you can flip back and forth) The Selmas (from The Simpsons) or The Rockies (as in Rocky). The Selmas believe they don’t understand the Linkster generation and the Rockies are stunned and wowed by their abilities.  The linksters are connecters. They know how to consume, but not how to create.  They feel passionate about causes but are not always informed on how to make an impact.  Teachers need to discuss the meaning of “a cause”, share diverse ideas and experiences, create different roles for different voices, be mindful of parental concerns and values and give students agency in the school’s care.  Linksters are globally connected but individualistic and competitive.  They have global access but not always global interest.  They believe native traditions and values are precious.

Linksters are more realistic and private than other groups.  If its digital, it is duplicatable.  Photographs are not acceptable everywhere.  Social platforms are different everywhere – the Chinese have developed WeChat which has it all.  We must keep teaching cyber safety, provide a healthy example, discuss presentation of self, use privacy savvy for good, and temper the virtual self.  We would not need a Facebook Friend policy if all people presented a good digital food print. Linksters best friend may be a stay-at-home parent.  Teachers need to remember that cultures vary within family relationships, close doesn’t equal enmeshed, prevent homesickness, provide confidence building, facilitate parental contact and involvement and always maintain a professional teacher/student relationship.

Linksters are used to a fast pace environment, where multi tasking is the norm.  Some cultures find this rude.  Teachers need to provide self-guided and self-paced experiences, show them that slowing down is healthy, that uni-tasking is acceptable, allow boredom.  Linksters embrace individual differences.  Teachers need to measure your own biases, seek out PD for diversity, learn and get support, be your authentic self, listen to understand and not to win.

The morning session was with Mark Siegel, Assistant Headmaster, Delphian School in Oregon.  His first slide was “Feel free to do something else during this presentation…” because he knows we all are going to task switch so why not embrace it.  He talked about how we have to change what and how we teach. We need our students to be problem solvers, collaborators, self-directed learners, knowledge creators, who communicate effectively with individuals from different cultures and backgrounds.  We don’t have students we have learners.  And the skills that learners need include: persistence, confidence, and resilience.

The afternoon session was with Dr. Christopher Thurber, Psychologist & Instructor, Phillips Exeter Academy. Some of his thoughts:  Michael Jordan – I succeeded because I failed.  Determination, tenacity, persistence, resolve, resilience, grit. —> these all mean perseverance.  Negative emotions is the primary obstacle in success – fear, shame, vulnerability, loss of control, anger, sadness, discouragement.  “Anything goes and no one tries” vs. “Learning from Failure” are these paradigms mutually exclusive.

Success Hack
Humility – take an honest look at what happened with no defenses
Analytical Ability – understand the factors that led to the failure.
Creativity – conceive a new approach
Kick – take a healthy risk

You create the supportive Environment.  Acknowledge that failure feels bad, but bad feelings don’t have to be suppressed. Concede that you don’t always need to be in control. Tune in to other forces at work. Recognize that win-win situations are achievable. Allow to be an example of failure and model your grit.  The five whys – developed by Toyota, expanded by Eric Reis, used by many companies.


Kathleen West, Teacher, The Blake School, Robin Ferguson, Teacher, The Blake School.  We want to develop skills, behaviors and dispositions necessary to succeed and actively engage in their diverse communities, locally and globally.  Uses the Matrix from World Savvy  – Global Competence Matrix – capacity and disposition to understand and act on issues on global significance. Shows Brene Brown’s Empathy Video – Demonstrate resilience in new situations – voice overs and modeling.  When the projector is not working, talk through the issues.

Research Process –

  • Identify prior knowledge – what do you know or think you know?
  • Generate questions – what do you want to know? What do you need to know?
  • Identify the stakeholders – what are the perspectives that I need to understand?
  • Find and evaluate sources – what is the source? What did you find about it?
  • Thought prompts – the most important thing about this is…  or Now that I know ____, I am wondering about ____.

Global Competencies

Design Thinking Framework

  • Empathize- Looks, feels, sounds, smells, like….  Look and Listen
  • Define – How can I capture the hearts and minds of the characters in my book?  Read – what were they saying or not saying.
  • Ideate – vomiting or brainstorming – no answers are wrong
  • Prototype
  • Launch/Test

What are the essential questions that are important to the students.

Using our Global Roots to Build Global Citizens by Fay School.  They diagnose the modern world. They take a city and try to redesign the transportation, housing and waste management while thinking about the environment, social justice and changing population.

Promoting Inquiry through Culminating Projects by Jon Bradley – Deep diving into understanding.  Berkshire School does Black Rock projects.

AP Capstone gives students the following pedagogical framework (“QUEST”) to develop, practice, and hone their critical and creative thinking skills as they make connections between various issues and their own lives:

  1. Question and Explore- Questioning begins with an initial exploration of complex topics or issues. Perspectives and questions emerge that spark one’s curiosity, leading to an investigation that challenges and expands the boundaries of one’s current knowledge.
  2. Understand and Analyze Arguments- Understanding various perspectives requires contextualizing arguments and evaluating the authors’ claims and lines of reasoning.
  3. Evaluate Multiple Perspectives – Evaluating an issue involves considering and evaluating multiple perspectives, both individually and in comparison to one another.
  4. Synthesize Ideas  – Synthesizing others’ ideas with one’s own may lead to new understandings and is the foundation of a well-reasoned argument that conveys one’s perspective.
  5. Team, Transform, and Transmit – Teaming allows one to combine personal strengths and talents with those of others to reach a common goal. Transformation and growth occur upon thoughtful reflection. Transmitting requires the adaptation of one’s message based on audience and context.

IB idea – PYP exhibition, MYP – community project, DP Personal project, then extended essay – creativity, action and service with more research.

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