The Amazing Power of Gratitude: How can it serve us as educators?

In this edition of the Roundtable, host Tim Cavey connects with eight uplifting educators to discuss the incredible power of gratitude. Why is it important and how can we make it a more intentional part of our daily practice?

Questions That Guided Our Discussion

  • 0:53 – Who are you and what is your current context in education?
  • 7:35 – How does gratitude make a difference in your life?
  • 31:09 – What are some intentional gratefulness practices that figure into your day?
  • 34:57 – What is another habit of wellness and self-care that you could share?
  • 51:36 – Sharing circle: what is one thing you are grateful for today? (no repeats)
  • 1:00:17 – How can we connect with you? What other resources can you share?

Follow These Amazing Panelists on Twitter

Resources Shared by Our Panelists

Catch the Next Teachers on Fire Roundtable LIVE

As of this post, I’m still appearing weekly on YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time/11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. I’d love to see you join us and would be happy to feature your questions and comments on the show!

Connect with the Teachers on Fire Podcast on Social Media

Subscribe to the Teachers on Fire Podcast on Your Mobile Device

The Power of Sharing Circles

I’m a slow learner, so it’s taken the chorus of a few voices to get me sold and focused on the positive impact that sharing circles, check-ins, and check-outs can have on the culture of classes and learning communities.

I first experienced sharing circles during my MEdL classes at VIU in the summers of 2017 and 2018 (pictured below). Our class of 45 started and ended every day of learning in circles.

Image for post

In the summer and fall of 2019, I read about the power of restorative circles in Hacking School Discipline: 9 Ways to Create a Culture of Empathy and Responsibility Using Restorative Justice, a book written by Brad Weinstein and Nathan Maynard that my MS staff team read through in the 2019-2020 school year.

Then I spent two days of workshops put on by the International Institute for Restorative Practices learning about the philosophy behind sharing circles and some thinking around best practices when they’re used in school settings. It was during my second day of learning with IIRP that I think the impact of circles really crystallized for me.

Image for post

Why Circles?

Circles assign value to every member of the community. They include every voice. They share perspectives that aren’t always heard or apparent. They allow us to learn from each other.

These benefits are simple but profound. They don’t happen by accident. Without circles, it’s actually hard to come up with these outcomes at all.

It turns out, our indigenous peoples were on to something big.

Circles can be as powerful for learning as they are for building relationships, and you’d be right to argue that the two are really linked, anyway.

As I mentioned earlier, I saw some of the potential of circles myself when my Master’s classes would begin and end in circles. In a large class of 45, circle times offered a convenient way to share insights and get to know people that I had yet to connect with personally.

A Powerful Circle Experience

It was during our second day of IIRP workshops at an in-house professional development event last fall that I was profoundly touched by the raw power of circle practices.

I was in a mini-circle of five teachers and administrators. We were tasked with applying a lesson that we had just learned in a group session, and it was up to me to choose a question for my little group.

Hoping to get real with my colleagues, I went with “Talk about one thing that is causing you stress in your personal life right now.”

By the time we completed the circle, most of us were in tears. Things had gotten that real. That fast. In the span of 15 minutes, we had shared our hearts, our personal stories, our realities.

And just like that, we felt a lot more connected with each other.

When was the last professional development event where you saw something like that happen?

It was a powerful reminder that when it comes to the learners in our classrooms, there is always, always, ALWAYS more to their stories than meets the eye. We ignore those stories in our own classrooms at our own peril and to the detriment of our class cultures.

Circles in My Teaching Practice

Image for post

Ever since that emotional moment with my colleagues, I’ve made circles a regular part of my eighth grade classroom. And every single time I do them, I learn new things about my learners, the class learns to trust each other just a little bit better, and the culture of my room improves. It actually makes me sad that I went so many years of teaching without using circles more strategically.

Regrets aside, what follows is an evolving list of circle check-in questions. I love this list SO much … but it’s not complete. I’m looking to add to it all the time, and if you’ve got a question to suggest, please leave it in the comments below.

Suggestions for Circle Starters

Circle Check-In Questions for BUILDING COMMUNITY

  • Quick go-round: From 1-5, how are you feeling right now?
  • Who is one adult outside of our school that you admire? Why?
  • What is one book that you have read that you enjoyed? Why did you enjoy it?
  • What is one thing you are grateful for right now?
  • What is one thing that is stressing you or making you anxious right now?
  • What is one thing that you appreciate about someone in this group?
  • What is one thing that someone in this group has done to help your learning?
  • What is one rose and one thorn from your weekend?
  • What is one aha, apology, or appreciation from your week?
  • What are you obsessing about right now?
  • What is one thing you like to do in your free time?
  • What is one thing that you hope will happen this week?
  • What is one way that you’ve failed recently?
  • What is your ideal learning environment?
  • What is one movie that inspires you?

Circle Check-In Questions for LEARNING

  • What do you already know about this topic?
  • What is one personal connection you can make with this topic?
  • What questions do you have about this topic?
  • (And at the end) What questions do we still have?
  • Why do you think we are learning this?
  • What is one idea that you have for something to write about?
  • What is one thing that stood out from you in this learning activity?
  • What is one takeaway from this learning activity?
  • What is the next thing you would like to learn?
  • Big 3 Questions: What are you learning? How is it going? Where to next?
  • What is one thing you would like to achieve in this period?
  • Where are you in the design process?
  • What is one thing that you could do to improve your work?
  • What support do you need to continue your learning?
  • How would you answer the guiding question right now?
  • What should be in the success criteria?
  • What is your top priority for this block?
  • Read three lines of writing from your writing today.

Circle Questions for UPCOMING SCHOOL EVENTS

  • What are the opportunities that might come from this activity?
  • How could we grow from this activity?
  • What are some behaviour problems to watch out for in an upcoming activity?
  • What are our goals for this activity?
  • What are our fears and anxieties about this activity? (*use with caution — don’t let this become a negative venting session)
  • What would it look like to give in to fear regarding this activity?
  • What would you want people to say about PA after our visit?

Circle Questions for a DISRUPTIVE CLASS

  • How do you think the class went?
  • How could we improve our behaviour?
  • What needs to happen to make things right?
  • What do you want to be known for?

Circle Questions for WORK NOT GETTING DONE

  • Which tools could better support your learning?
  • What are some strategies that we could use (or will use) to get our work done on time?
  • Is there anything that I should know about what is causing you anxiety?
  • What do you think might motivate you to get your work done?
  • How is your lack of work impacting the people around you?
  • How will your work habits now prepare you for life?

Circle Check-Ins for EMPOWERING STUDENTS

  • What are your progress goals for this period? (eg. a media class)
  • What challenges or obstacles have been slowing down your learning lately?
  • How will you overcome the challenges or obstacles that have been slowing you down?

Circles for STAFF ACTIVITIES

  • Grade level or department meetings: how are things going right now?
  • What is one thing you’re taking away from this staff meeting?
  • Who would you like to shout out on our staff team and why?
  • How do you think [X staff activity] went? How could it be improved?
  • What is one thing that you’d like support with right now?
  • What is one thing you’re working on right now?
  • What is one thing you’ve learned recently?

Maybe you’ve never tried circle check-ins your classroom, or maybe (like me) you’re on a journey to learn more about circles and leverage their power more.

Wherever you are in your journey with circles, I’d like to hear about it.

Let’s circle up.

Step Inside the Circle: a Powerful Video

Episode 130 – Wendy Turner

This podcast episode was published on February 24, 2020.

Meet Wendy Turner

WENDY TURNER is a 2nd grade teacher and 2017 Delaware Teacher of the Year. She teaches at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School, a large suburban school in Wilmington, Delaware, with over 750 students and a diverse population. Wendy is interested in trauma-informed practices, global education, social-emotional learning, and empathy in education, and she loves every moment spent with her seven- and eight-year-olds.

Confronted with Tragedy in Week Two of Teaching

Wendy was only two weeks into her teaching career when a mother of one of her students passed away after a lengthy illness. She found herself frozen with fear, paralyzed by grief and unsure of what to do to support this child. What saved her in the days that followed, she says, is that she immediately recognized her own shortcomings and reached out for help.

That experience set Wendy on a journey of intentional social-emotional learning, growth, and healing that supported her student, the class, and the entire school community, ultimately impacting her teaching philosophy and career trajectory.

How Can SEL Be Infused Into the Walls of Our Classrooms?

Wendy points out that SEL is not addressed adequately in our teacher preparation programs. Teachers learn about classroom management, but that’s not enough.

The biggest thing that teachers can do to introduce a culture of SEL in their classrooms is begin working on themselves first, she says. Embrace self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, problem-solving, conflict resolution strategies, and other competencies. As we intentionally develop these skills and mindsets in ourselves, they will become part of the fabric of our classrooms automatically. 

Saying No to Recess Detention

In 2019, Wendy wrote an article for Education Post titled Here’s Why I Say No to Recess Detention, and You Should, Too. “If you define recess as a privilege, I think that’s a problem,” she says. “When recess is taken away from children in a punitive way, we’re depriving them of a type of learning that they really need to engage in.”

Recess allows children to learn about the natural world, experience joy through unstructured play, and working through social interactions and negotiation are essential rites of child development. We also need to see misbehavior as communication, she points out. As educators, our response to misbehaving students should be more about support than punishment. If misbehavior signals struggle, how can we best help that student?

What’s Setting Wendy on 🔥 for Education

Wendy is passionate about the mission and vision of global education. She was recently made a Global Learning Fellow by the National Education Foundation, and she traveled to South Africa with a group of fifty educators for a year of professional development on the topic of global education. It was an amazing learning experience.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals provide a powerful framework for global education that engages students and helps classes take concrete action. She encourages teachers to start at The World’s Largest Lesson for free resources and learning strategies that can be applied at any grade level. “The level of engagement in my classroom around this is through the roof,” she reports.

Wendy’s Professional Goals and Current Projects

Wendy began speaking and presenting last year, and she has taken a position as a trainer and national speaker for Fostering Resilient Learners, a program based on a book written by Kristin Souers and Pete Hall.

“This book changed my life in terms of what I bring to the classroom and how I support students,” Wendy says. It wasn’t easy to go from the classroom to audiences of 400 people, she explains, but she’s enjoyed the professional stretch and the growth it’s created in her knowledge and communication skills. 

A Reflective Morning Routine

Wendy has found that she is much more efficient in the morning, and she begins with intention. Her routine starts with coffee, a few minutes of silence, a stated purpose for the day, and an exercise session.

Mornings that begin in this quiet, reflective way set a positive tone for the day and get things off on the right foot. “It’s really hard not to pick up the phone,” she admits, but we need those times of disconnection to find clarity and peace.

Resources That Spark Her Thinking and Ignite Her Practice

Over on Twitter, Wendy recommends following two accounts: @BalancedTeacher and @NativeESoul. Mike is an accomplished author and recently published an article about student motivation that resonated powerfully with Wendy. And the Native American Soul account features a steady stream of images from nature – something we all need more of.

An edtech tool that does wonders in Wendy’s second grade classroom is the BONAOK Wireless Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone. This microphone equitably normalizes participation by literally amplifying the voice of every student, and it makes a great talking stick in restorative circles.

Wendy’s book pick is Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. “I love this book because it talks about the value of stopping work to engage in deep thought,” she says.

It also validates something that Wendy has struggled with her whole life: the fact that rest may look different for everyone. For one person, rest may look like climbing a really difficult mountain. For someone else, it may look like a Sunday afternoon nap. The point is to be deeply intentional about the activities we engage in and the ways that activities affect us.

The Tim Janis YouTube channel has been Wendy’s go-to in her classroom for three years now. It offers relaxing classical music set to beautiful scenes of nature. It’s one that Wendy turns to daily. It’s a great support for social-emotional regulation and happy brains for students.

When time allows for some family Netflix, Wendy is tuning into Cheer. “Isn’t everyone watching Cheer right now?” she asks, laughing. It’s hard to find suitable viewing for the whole family, Wendy admits. Cheer is one show that everyone in her family can safely enjoy.

We sign off on this illuminating conversation, and Wendy gives the best ways to reach out and connect with her learning. See below for details.

Follow Wendy

Connect with the Teachers on Fire podcast on social media

Subscribe to the Teachers on Fire podcast

Song Track Credits

  • Bluntedsesh4 (by Tha Silent Partner, courtesy of FreeMusicArchive.org)
  • Sunrise Drive by South London Hifi*
  • Anthem by The Grand Affair*

*courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library

Listen to Teachers on Fire on YouTube

*This page contains Amazon affiliate links.

Episode 116 – Caitlin Krause

116 - Caitlin Krause3

Meet Caitlin Krause

CAITLIN KRAUSE is a learning and design specialist, education leader, keynote speaker, and an authority on VR, AR, and AI. She is also the author of Mindful by Design: A Practical Guide for Cultivating Aware, Advancing, and Authentic Learning Experiences.

In addition to experience as a computer programmer, Caitlin has taught and developed curriculum at K-12 schools in the United States, Belgium, and Switzerland. Today, she owns and operates her own company which allows her to facilitate meaningful learning experiences for learners around the world.

Caitlin is fascinated by the intersection of arts, collaboration, communication, relationships, and the newest applications of XR technology. Her learning and teaching is predicated on the idea that we learn and grow as whole human beings, and she resists the disciplinary walls and binaries that we often erect between subject areas in education.

Lessons Drawn From a Novel Failure

“Isn’t it great that we are not great at everything?” Caitlin asks rhetorically. “Life is not a simulation. It’s beautiful that we’re not in control.”

Caitlin recalls introducing a novel to a British literature class for juniors. It was a novel that resonated powerfully with her, and she was sure her students would connect with it. But it required a lot of deconstruction, it lacked a compelling love story, and no matter how much she wanted it to work, it became a serious struggle to work through it with this class.

Eventually, she worked through her own resistance to the situation and embraced the failure and necessary surrender that followed. It was a reminder that what is close to our own hearts may not be close to the hearts of our learners. We need to meet them where they are, and sometimes that means letting go of our treasures.

Teacher Wellness

Caitlin has created an online course for educators on the topics of mindfulness, SEL, and teacher wellbeing. Statistics tell us that many teachers struggle with anxiety and burnout, and we see many teachers leaving the profession after only a few years in the classroom.

We need to remember that humans are reactive beings, and the effects of being constantly on and emotionally available for days on end can be damaging in the long-term. Mindfulness is a practice that offers some powerful counter-effects to these emotional demands. Even though mindfulness can actually raise stress in the short-term as practitioners recognize sources of anxiety, over the long term it has been shown to decrease anxiety as we raise awareness and address sources of stress more proactively.

Mindfulness and self-awareness are powerful measures for learners, too, as they adopt simple practices of quiet reflection, intentional breathing, gratitude exercises, and other strategies for self-regulation. As anxiety comes down, opportunities for learning increase.

Mindful By Design

In 2019, Caitlin published Mindful by Design: A Practical Guide for Cultivating Aware, Advancing, and Authentic Learning Experiences (Corwin Press). Caitlin is an authority on AR and VR and anticipates a major shift in the adoption and application of these technologies in learning spaces throughout 2020. She sees them shaking up teaching, learning, storytelling, site exploration, and other immersive learning experiences. Although the applications are powerful and improving all the time, she also points out that the deep learning actually happens before and after students utilize these technologies.

Advances in Artificial Intelligence

We see AI technologies creeping into the learning environments more and more each year, and tools like Google’s Smart Compose, Google Home, or Apple Siri are making content more accessible for all learners. Artificial intelligence often conjures notions of sci fi and Ex Machina, but AI technologies are serving learning well and informing the improvement of a lot of applications. Caitlin shouts out John Carmack’s interview on the Joe Rogan Podcast and celebrates the amazing innovations he has led at Oculus.

Voice commands and operating capacity continue to improve across all devices, and Caitlin is fascinated by the research that MIT and other authorities are pioneering regarding the recognition of human emotion through facial expression and speech. The companies and institutions leading innovation in AI technologies require richer and more diverse data sets, she observes, noting that “You’re only as good as your data set.”

Making sure that a diversity of cultures, genders, and other factors are properly represented and included remains a central challenge, complicated in some contexts by privacy issues. There are obviously some important ethical questions to be asked and answered regarding how these companies and institutions source their data sets.

Relationships with Robots

Caitlin bears no ill will toward robots – in fact, her approach is much the opposite. “I think it’s good to be considerate to our robot friends,” Caitlin chuckles. “I kind of bristle when someone yells at Alexa.” Machine life and artificial intelligence is taking us into some interesting philosophical territory, particularly as we experiment with creative impulses for robots. Yes, a robot can write a piece of poetry or create a song, but does it have a soul? These are some of the essential conversations that must continue going forward.

Saving Room for Anomalies

Additionally, Caitlin notes that AI devices and technologies must always leave room for the element of surprise and irregularity. In other words, if AI algorithms learn our profiles so effectively that they can supply us with a steady stream of content tailored exclusively for expressed interests, passions, and familiar comforts, we actually reduce or eliminate our exposure to unusual content that has the power to provoke curiosity and inspire further learning. We already see that segregation at work in social media networks and news aggregators, and to lose further ground would be a significant loss to humanity.

“They say the brain learns the best when it has the element of surprise, when expected patterns are broken,”  Caitlin says. How much can we be surprised? This is a great question to ask ourselves as educators and lifelong learners.

What Else is Setting Caitlin on Fire in Education

The metaphor of being on fire is an apt one for Caitlin, and she takes a hopeful view of how voice and creativity and storytelling will continue to strengthen and add momentum to learning. Our fire is essentially the stuff that we find meaningful, she says, and it’s up to us to spread those ideas to others.

We’re all telling stories as educators, and it’s our place to invite listeners to enter into these stories and write their own heroic odysseys as they enter into unknown spaces and then tell their own tales. “It makes me really excited to be in worlds where not only can we lift each other up but we get to stay curious, stay connected, and create love over fear,” she says.

Professional Goals for 2020

Last year was the year of her book, Mindful by Design, and 2020 will be her year to spread her message, ideas, and mentorship. The book is applicable at so many levels, including education systems, leadership, teacher wellbeing, and classroom practices, and she wants to continue to develop online supports for those who wish to integrate these values and strategies into their own unique contexts.

She also wants to continue to build SEL training through immersive VR experiences and AR applications. It’s a fascinating area that requires further development but offers tremendous promise for the future. Will we see a day when groups of educators can connect in virtual environments to practice breathing and mindfulness exercises together? Perhaps that day has already arrived.

Other Personal Passions

“I’m a very human, curious learner,” Caitlin says, “and anything involving photography really excites me.” She’s enjoyed cameras since childhood, and treasures the activity of photography as a mindfulness tool. She also comes alive during opportunities to run outside, especially trails that wind their way through picturesque settings through the woods or along the ocean. Last but not least, Caitlin loves consuming and learning about chocolate from European countries and around the world – so much that she’s even tempted to write about it some day in the future.

Productivity Hacks and Philosophy

One of Caitlin’s favorite productivity hacks is to break simple numerical goals into smaller pieces. For example, instead of aiming for 20 full push-ups, she sets a goal of 40 half push-ups, which gives her a greater sense of momentum and optimism about achieving the target.

She also avoids goals or resolutions of deprivation, choosing instead to always frame her actions in a positive light. “Being productive means realizing that we are not our worst enemy, so be kind and gentle to yourself,” she encourages.

Finding ways to gamify our goals – even simple routines or chores like cleaning – can add joy and pleasure to ordinary exercises of productivity. She shouts out Lisa Johnson’s book, Creatively Productive, as a convincing argument that productivity doesn’t have to look like grueling deprivation or robotic behaviors.

Voices & Resources That Inspire Her Practice

Over on Twitter, Caitlin recommends following Kent Bye @KentBye: historian, philosopher, and host of the Voices of VR podcast. She also shouts out the New Hampshire’s Poet Laureate, Alexandria Peary @WriteMindfully, someone who’s done some interesting work around the effective use of mindfulness to break through writer’s block.

One edtech company that Caitlin has her eye on is Engage, which is doing some innovative work to support learning experiences in VR environments. Another company called 3D Bear is pioneering some exciting AR technologies as well. Consider following both industry leaders on Twitter @3DBearOfficial and @VReducation.

Two books that have impacted Caitlin’s thinking recently are There There by Tommy Orange and Get Weird: Discover the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference by CJ Casciotta.

Caitlin does enjoy podcasts, and she’s especially a fan of the big ones: RadiolabThis American Life, and The Moth. Any content that includes a mix of storytelling and technology will tend to hold her attention.

On YouTube, Caitlin makes a shameless plug for her own channel where she plans to post more creative work in 2020.

When she’s feeling relaxed and ready for some pleasure viewing, Caitlin is streaming Mr. RobotThe Good Place, and The Watchmen on Netflix and Amazon.

Before we sign off on this conversation, Caitlin shares some beautiful poetry pieces. Make sure you’re in a relaxed setting and enjoy.

To connect with Caitlin and learn more about what she’s all about, make sure to check the links below.

Connect with Caitlin:

Connect with the Teachers on Fire podcast on social media:

Subscribe to the Teachers on Fire podcast on your mobile device:

Song Track Credits

Listen on YouTube and subscribe to the Teachers on Fire channel!

*This page contains Amazon affiliate links.

Episode 114 – Julianne Ross-Kleinmann

114 - Julianne Kleinmann3.png

Meet Julianne Ross-Kleinmann

JULIANNE ROSS-KLEINMANN is passionate about the power of instructional technology to support teaching and learning, sharing what she’s learned with others, and community service — her focus for over 30 years as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Inc.

Julianne formally started teaching technology in the 1990s, and she became an ISTE member soon after. She’s a frequent presenter at conferences and schools on topics including technology applications, integration and troubleshooting, rubrics and assessment, STEM, makerspaces and room design. Her favorite presentations have involved co-presenting with her students on topics relating to computational thinking using the Scratch and Scratch Jr. programming languages.

Julianne is currently an Instructional Specialist for the Ulster County Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in New Paltz, New York. She is an Iste Certified Educator, Apple Teacher, Certified BrainPOP Educator (CBE), Google Level I Certified Educator, ISTE Mobile Learning Network 2017 Excellence Award Winner and past chair of the ISTE STEM Professional Learning Network (PLN), and currently serves on the ISTE Board of Directors. 

“First and foremost, I’m a teacher,” Juli says. “I’m a teacher, a learner, and a service leader. I like to help others lead toward success. For me, it’s really important that the student surpasses the teacher.”

Fighting the Doubts

Juli can say she’s never been “run out of town” in a professional sense, but she’s certainly left a few contexts where she felt like it was just not the right fit. She’s worked in some isolating circumstances, including those where she has been the only female, the only female of color, or the only female who was more academically centered versus IT centered, and in some of those contexts she’s been met with stiff pushback.

Pushback and resistance can make us question ourselves, she says. We can start to feel like failures because our views are not well-received and don’t fit with the status quo. It’s in those low moments that Juli has leaned heavily on her always-supportive husband and positive professional learning network to provide the encouragement, confidence, and affirmation that she needed.

Her Path and Passion for STEM Education

She actually didn’t intend to become a teacher in the beginning, Juli laughs, and she wasn’t always interested in STEM or technology. But when Simon Helton asked Juli to support the Math and Science network at ISTE, she accepted. She began building professional relationships immediately and has served in this role with ISTE ever since. Today, the ISTE STEM Network provides collaboration, professional development, and support for STEM teachers and leaders around the world, and Juli has been a proud part of its ongoing development.

STEM education is all about computational thinking, problem-solving, project-based learning, and real-world design. There are so many applications and expressions of STEM, and the list is growing all the time. Looking at the great inventions and innovations of the past gives us vision and clarity regarding directions for the future. Even a revolutionary social figure like Harriet Tubman modeled the STEM spirit through systems thinking, empathy, and proactive problem-solving.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in STEM Education

Diversity, equity, and inclusion have become focus points for the ISTE STEM PLN. One of the ways ISTE is working towards greater equity is to promote scholarships and programs that fund minority representation in ISTE’s speakers and conference attendees. ISTE is also piloting an Equity Action Forum that gave educators a place and space to unpack big issues in this area of equity with a focus on action. And Juli has contributed to the development of another ISTE initiative called Growing ME: Bridging the equity gap through mentorship

Other Points of Professional Passion

One of the things that has really ignited Juli’s passion for the ISTE educator certification process is the journey of becoming a blended, reflective education leader herself. She’s also passionate about SEL in education. Perhaps it’s nothing new, but she still loves the fact that social-emotional learning is such a focus in schools today.

Bringing Scratch and Robotics to the Mid-Hudson Valley

One of Juli’s professional goals in 2020 is the prospect of bringing a Scratch Day event into the mid-Hudson Valley. She’s also interested in robotics comptetitions, Vex events, AI and other blended learning opportunities. She sees educators traveling great distances to take part in these sorts of events and would love to host some closer to home.

Other Personal Passions That Bring Juli Alive 

Ever since she was a child, Juli has enjoyed baking cakes with her mother and legendary aunt. She’s taken some baking courses and loves to watch baking shows. She’s also a big fan of motorcycle riding and looks forward to getting back on the iron horse and riding through the Hudson Valley in 2020.

Productivity from the Professional Learning Network 

Juli’s productivity hack is her professional colleagues and support network. “I need to surround myself with people who have gone through what I’ve gone through, people who are kind and can sympathize, and also people who have nothing to do with education and bring a fresh set of eyes to situations.” These people are like family, she says.

Voices and Resources That Inspire Her Practice 

Over on Twitter, Juli recommends following @ISTESTEM to connect with an uplifting group of educators passionate about STEM education.

Asked to point to an edtech tool, Juli enthusiastically boosts Scratch and Scratch Junior, the simple but powerful coding languages developed at MIT to help younger learners build computational thinking skills.

learning-first-technology-second.jpgJuli’s book pick is Learning First, Technology Second: The Educator’s Guide to Designing Authentic Lessons by Liz Kolb, a profound look and essential starting point for educators looking to do more with technology in their classrooms.

Based on encouragement from Jorges Valenzuela, Juli has tuned in to the STEM Everyday Podcast hosted by Chris Woods, another former guest of the show. Follow Chris and get to know his show @DailySTEM

When she finds the time to put up her feet, Juli’s latest picks on Netflix have included Vantage Point and a modern classic, Stranger Things

We sign off on this inspiring conversation, and Juli reminds us to connect with her on Twitter @JBR_Kleinmann.

Connect with the Teachers on Fire podcast on social media:

Song Track Credits

Listen on YouTube and subscribe to the Teachers on Fire channel!

*This page contains Amazon affiliate links.