Why it Pays To Go To #TIA

#TIA is North Texas’ premiere technology conference and is located in Denton, Texas. I’ve been going to the last couple of years, but this year topped them all. Mainly, because our district had 20+ people join, including a few of our assistant superintendents.

It’s not only growing in numbers, but it’s a great local tech conference that is only about 15 minutes away from my house/district. Braswell HS was the new location and that place is gorgeous!

As far as conferences go, TIA is one of the most affordable! I add a note on my calendar every spring to be looking for the registration information. And this year, I took advantage when they sent out the call for presenters. If you don’t believe you have what it takes to present, go read this NOW! Teachers NEED you!

TIA not only had great keynote presentations from Dave Burgess and Eric Sheninger but also many of the teachers I’ve met on my Twitter PLN were there. I got to meet a few of them for the first time, including, Ryan Miller and Claudio Zavala, who are both fellow Flipgrid Ambassadors with me! And, of course, there were some of our closest PLN friends from Prosper, Texas: Miranda Hansen and Michelle Phillips

Why go to #TIA? FOR THE PEOPLE! I’m telling you, it will open up opportunities and ideas for you that you never imagined! I actually plan at least one hour a day for just networking! Relationships is one of my personal life values and so I’m intentional about finding and connecting with others.

On Monday night I was able to join Dave Burgess and Aaron Hogan for the Monday night #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate) twitter chat. THAT was an incredible experience to be there as it was happening live! I also met some great NEW people who I’ve added to my PLN like Lexi  and  Julie, who has the BEST #sketchnotes

Why go to #TIA? FOR THE MESSAGE! It isn’t alway about the sessions or the specific tools you learn about. Those things are GREAT (shoutout FLIPGRID) but the messages I walked away with EMPOWER me and get me ready to go back and empower my Ts and Ss. I, firmly believe, that what you surround yourself with is what you become. That goes for people, books, movies, music, etc. When you surround yourself with educators who do what you do, are challenged by the same things you’re challenged by, and are seeking to be better, you, too will be better.

One of the messages I took away this week was: “DON’T STOP BLOGGING!” I’ve kept a personal blog for almost 10 year and especially blogged our journey with #superJace and his battle with #childhoodcancer. I remember critical voices wondering WHY I would blog about that and reveal so much but this week I realized it was necessarily for THEM. It was for ME.

The same goes for this blog. If an educator is empowered by a post or a presentation I share with them here, then I’m thrilled! But this blog is also for ME to reflect and share and keep myself accountable. Thankfully, I can write a few posts at once and schedule them out with Tweet Deck.

Here’s a great blog on WHY to blog. See what I did there?

Another message I received was: Myths are just Myths! They only reflect our fears not our truths!  I’m just now reading Aaron Hogan’s book “Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth,” but I can tell you he is going to be speaking my language! Sadly, I didn’t make it to his session in time this week. They were standing room only and I ended up standing in the hallway! 🙂

Why go to #TIA? For the Growth! Anytime you get outside your classroom, your school and your district you’re guaranteed to be out of your comfort zone. I often tell my friends and students that when you start feeling uncomfortable you can bet you’re growing and stretching! In order to foster growth in our Ss or our Ts, WE HAVE TO GROW! There’s no other way around it!

This week I grew in the idea that I’m ME and that’s the best super power I can have. I have a 1% that is different from everyone else and if I don’t share that no one else can give it to them! Critics have often said I’m too happy, too excited, too joyous about change  and sometimes I’ve let those voices control me and hold me back. I’ve decided that is NOT how I roll anymore.

Top 2 Takeaways from #TIA17 in video form: https://flipgrid.com/006b89

Empowering Educators Everywhere,

Tisha (@txtechchick)

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Fun Flipgrid Prompts

When you get to know me, you’ll know with no hesitation that one of my personal values is relationships.

Since I first walked into the classroom, I knew that I had to build a relationship with my Ss before they would ever want to hear what I had to say about technology or English. I knew that I needed to be able to show them my human side as well as allow them to be human each day as they sat in my classroom.

Over the years I’ve used a lot of strategies to create a classroom atmosphere that allowed for team building, relationship building and fun.

Once I became an Instructional Technology Coach I knew my approach had to be the exact same with my Ts. They are busy, they are leaders, but they are also human.

Flipgrid has allowed me to continue to build this atmosphere wherever I am! Especially now that I find myself teaching a new student leadership class this fall where my students will not all be in the same room at the same time.

iOs Flipgrid App
Flipgrid on Google Play

After a very successful chat Monday night with #flipgridfever, I decided to compile a list of questions I keep on hand to ask my students on their private class Flipgrid.

I feel that this has allowed them a space to be themselves, be authentic and be able to trust each other as we all come together toward a common goal. My goal with these fun prompts is to promote discussion, relationships and laughter.

Feel free to download this, print it out and share it! Also don’t forget to use my promo code: TISHA PONCIO for a FREE Flipgrid Classroom Acct ($65) through Sept 30!

FunFlipGrids (pdf version) 

Empowering Educators Everywhere,

Tisha (@txtechchick)

FunFlipGrids

 

 

2 Things I Have Learned This Year

  1. Leadership isn’t about titles. 
  2. Immediate Feedback is powerful. 

Leadership

If you’ve followed me very long over on my professional Twitter account, you already know that leadership and learning more about leadership is a characteristic I value greatly.

I’ve read numerous books this year including The New Pillars of Modern Teaching, 360 Degree Leader, Lead Like A Pirate and Chop Wood, Carry Water and each one has a common theme of being a great leader wherever you happen to be and whatever you happen to be doing!

I believe that the 5 people you spend time with the most and the last 5 books you’ve read are what is shaping you to be who you are today! What you surround yourself with is what you become!

Leadership isn’t about a title. As educators, we have to empower ourselves to know that we are leaders no matter what our title is at the moment. We are more than our title of teacher,  student, paraprofessional or administrator.

It is up to us to lead ourselves before we are ever able to lead anyone else. This means doing the things that others are not willing to do whether that includes picking up other people’s trash that has fallen in our path or being confident enough to model what it is we are asking of our teachers or students.

You are a leader! I am a leader! We ARE leaders!

It is within our power to lead change, lead learning, and lead transparency so that we can build up and grow more great leaders!


Feedback

Feedback is necessary for change and improvement. We cannot continue to do what we’ve always done because we’ve always done it.

Educators have no time. I hear it all the time. I’ve even said it myself (especially as the school year winds down).

We have to talk to each other anyway. 

Some of the best and most inspiring conversations I’ve had with other educators have been in the hallway as I’m rushing to my next meeting or to the next conference session. They weren’t planned or scripted. Some of those conversations have led me to grow more as an educator than I did during days and days of planned staff development in my district.

As educators, we have a responsibility to share and share often! 

It doesn’t have to be perfect! In fact, it can be messy! Once we get passed this idea we all have the ability to grow in ways we never expected.

We have to SHARE the great things we are doing in our classrooms so that more Ss can benefit from those great things. In order to do this, we need to get in the habit of giving and receiving feedback whether it’s in our own hallways, on Twitter, or at conferences.

One of the best digital tools I’ve learned of this year for immediate feedback, student voice & team building is —->  Flipgrid

Flipgrid allows students and/or teachers to record 30 second to three minute (with the flipgrid classroom account).

The free account allows teachers one grid with limited features. Sign up here

You can upgrade your account to a Flipgrid Classroom account (Priced at $65 for individual subscriptions and $400 for 10-packs). This account allows you access to: unlimited grids, topics, responses, and replies-to-responses; feature student responses; move and duplicate grid structure and content; embed fully-functional grids into other environments such as an LMS or class website.

I’ve recently taken to using the Flipgrid app instead of the web interface! This allows me to give and receive feedback anywhere and any time I can carve out some moments in my day.

FlipBadgeI am a FlipGrid Ambassador BUT even if I wasn’t I would be sharing their greatness with you anyway! They are a great group of people to work with and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to share them with you!

They are so awesome that YOU can use this PROMO CODE which is good for free access to Flipgrid Classroom through September 30, 2017TISHAPONCIO

 Enjoy! Let us know how you’re using it! We love to hear your ideas!

WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED?

I’m interested to here from YOU!

What great things have you learned this year? What are you willing to share?

Here is a flipgrid for you to record and share your thoughts: https://flipgrid.com/796dab

Empowering Educators Everywhere,

Tisha (@txtechchick)