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A Plan and A Goal


What does it mean to plan?

Who needs to be involved in and with planning?

I can’t say that I feel like I can fully answer those questions, but I know so much more now that I did previously in terms of ways to answers parts of those questions ….

As a teacher, I know about planning a lesson for my students, but there are so many more things to consider when you are planning for educational technology, grant writing, and/or even for a whole school or school system.

One thing I have learned is that there are so many more pieces that need to be considered, evaluated, and measured.

As much I was get frustrated when doing planning as a group, it has helped me see some points that need to be considered. I did not realize all the learning that was taking place at the same time, but the more I reflect on that experience, the more I realize how much I gained from it.

It is crucial to know who to approach with certain ideas, questions, and plans as well as knowing the best time to contact them. It is also important to know who your supporters are and if that will help or hurt when you present the idea to another possible supporter.

A plan needs to include both a big idea as well as the specific supporting details that are necessary. Since most people generally excel in one of those areas more than the other, having a small group work together on planning projects can also be quite beneficial. 

Please note that I said SMALL, since I feel that when too many cooks are in the kitchen, the meal does not end up being fully prepared in the end.

When planning, you also have to be willing to ask for help from those who know more about certain areas than you. Asking for that type of assistance is not something to be seen as a weakness but is recognized as a strength in realizing the power of the knowledge of many.

Collaboration plays a major role in the “behind the scenes” planning that must take place.

That collaboration can take many forms. 

It can be very beneficial to look back at what you and others have done to help the plan avoid pitfalls and overcome obstacles early in the planning stages.

You have to start with the end in mind and then determine the steps needed to propel you on the journey.

But it is also important not to let your personal goals get in the way of the professional goals of the plan …

If you have to change the plan to make it better fit with your personal goals, then there is potentially a problem …

It is important to realize that you have both personal goals and professional goals as well as to recognize the impact those goals can have on the plans you create ….

If I stop and think about it, I am involved in planning in so many areas that I did not even realize before. I feel that I will be better able to benefit in those planning opportunities when I recognize them as that …


Resources, Resources, Resources ...

One of my ISTE 2014 Goals was to meet Candace Hackett Shively!

In the “Grow Creativity!” article, Candace Hackett Shively shares four aspects of creativity: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration.

This article had me hooked from the beginning:

The world needs creative thinkers, scientists, engineers, leaders, and contributing workers. yet research repeatedly shows creativity is schooled out of us. 

In many ways that article inspired the Creative Thinking Prompts on my blog!

So I wanted to meet her …

And she told me to call her Candy!!


So not only did I get to meet her, but I got to get resources too!

I also attended a session she and Melissa Henning did on Nourishing Gifted Learners using Technology in any classroom.

Having taught Gifted Learners in the past, I was interested in what they had to share ..

They posted the whole list of resources on a page on the TeachersFirst site! And it is not just a list, but you find a description, teacher comments, suggested grade levels, and a link to the resource in categories.

Here are 5 that really stood out to me:

I know there are so many more resources found on those pages, but starting small is one way not to get overwhelmed …

And that is my advice at the end of every session I attend or present …

Pick a few and learn as much as you can about them and then move on …

You will be amazed at what skills will transfer …


Need to Brainstorm??

I used the SCAMPER technique with 3rd and 4th grade students in the past and had great results!

I like the way it is presented here:


How Did I Choose Sessions at ISTE?

When you go to conferences or training days, how do you decide what sessions you want to attend?

Do you go with a theme in mind?

Are you looking for things you have never heard about before?

Do you tend to go toward areas where you will feel comfortable or uncomfortable?

Are you searching for new learning or ideas to support what you do already?


I don’t think there is a right way to choose …

Maybe it depends on the context …

Maybe it depend on who you are at that point in time …


I feel very fortunate to have attended the NCTIES (North Carolina Technology in Education Society) Conference the last several years. I am connected to other educators throughout the state, so in many ways this conference feels like a reunion.

I remember choosing sessions to attend the first year. I did not know that many others so I focused on the topics that were interesting to me. I made lists of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices for each time slot! I came away from that conference refreshed and full of new ideas!

The next year(s),  I tended to attend sessions where I knew the presenter even if the topic was not as appealing to me since the people pleaser in me wanted to show support. And while I may not have come away with as many new and exciting ideas, I did come away forming stronger connections to build on for the future.

Last year at NCTIES (and I think the year before too), I tried to attend sessions facilitated by people I did now know. Some of those turned out to be really interesting and others caused me to rethink and consider the 2 Feet rule (if it is not working for you and your learning, you have 2 feet, so use them).

I do try not to give up on sessions too early and view sessions as learning opportunites even if what I get from the session is not the learning that is intended. Although when I attended FETC (Florida Education Technology Conference) last year, I used the 2 Feet rule several times …

If I am going to go with the intent of learning … then I am going to do whatever it takes to make sure that learning happens!

As I planned for attending ISTE (Internation Society for Technology in Education) this year, there were soooooo many sessions and learning times to choose from that I got overwhelmed before I even got started!

I took a deep breath, and starting asking myself the questions that are listed at the top of this post. I thought about what I wanted out of this conference and how I could make my conference experience work for me!

The ISTE Conference App and Session List really helped me work through the process. I first looked at the different types of learning experiences offered. Then I was able to filter and only look at one type at a time. 

Then I went through and added a star to anything that appealed to me …. no matter who was facilitating 

After taking some time way from the search process, I started looking at the sessions I had starred. There were some sessions I wanted to attend based on who was presenting. There were also some sessions I picked based on the topic.

For example, I knew I wanted to attend a session done by Candace Hackett Shively, since I have enjoyed her article about creativity so much over the year. And when I saw that Phil Hansen was one of the presenters at an Ignite session, I knew I wanted to attend that because I enjoyed his Shake the Sketch Talk. I got a lot from a photo walk several years ago with Ken Shelton, so I wanted to attend his session.

Then I used a piece of paper for each day to the things I wanted to attend matched up with times. That allowed me to see where I needed to priortitize my choices and where I needed some free time for ME.

I did try to narrow down choices for time slots while keeping in mind that I had some options.

Working in times for informal learning experiences and time on the vendor floor also paid off … and it helped me keep my calm!

Even with all of my planning, not everything worked out and that is OK. 

And there were times I wanted to attend a session or playground experience, but didn’t because I in a conversation and learning was taking place … and that was OK too.

After doing some reflection, I am glad that I planned because I at least went in with an idea. I may have been overwhelmed at the beginning of the process but I think that helped me not be so overwhelmed at the conference …

Noting a few people, ideas, and sessions that were key and then filling in the rest with stuff that was interesting worked for me …

I wonder if the type of conference (state vs international) had an impact on my choices …

I found what worked for me at that conference …

It may not work for everyone and it might even be different for me at the next conference …


How do you decide what you want to attend?


Inspire Learning and Creativity

What are you, as a teacher, doing to meet this ISTE Standard?

I think creativity is an important skill that we all have …

We just may need a little bit of guidance to bring it out!

And we have to have chances to explore and express that creativity …

Which ties in closely with Creative Thinking!

Creative Thinking and Critical Thinking are higher order thinking skills …

And we all need practice to get better!

Visual Literacy has been on my mind recently, so I have explored websites, blogs, articles, videos, and podcasts related to that topic …

I also had the chance to attend two sessions at ISTE related specifically to Visual Literacy!

Although my mind is still trying to process and organize my great ISTE learning experiences from sessions and just meeting and connecting with people, there is one activity from one of those sessions that really jumps out at me!  I keep telling people about it and I can’t wait until I get a chance to facilitate that activity for a group!

In a session done by Lynell Burmark, participants were given large plastic rings that contain a light as we came in and sat down …

I figured any session that starts with sparkling jewelry is a plus in my book! :)

For our first activity, we were to form groups of three and the person with the shortest hair would go first!

I liked that better than the traditional … closest birthday to today

The small groups were instructed to tell a progressive story, and since my hair was the shortest of my group, I had the job to begin the story …

But she didn’t give us a story prompt …

She didn’t tell us the required length of the story …

There were no directions about the number of characters, setting, or plot …

But there was an image displayed on the screen!

And it wasn’t just a plain image …

It was a funny animal image from FunPic

(not all images at the site are educationally appropriate, so I would not have students search here … )

So I started telling a story based on the ideas that image evoked!

When the image on the screen changed, I tossed my Blinky Ring to another member of my group, and she had to continue the story based on the new picture.

After a few minutes, the image changed again, so the storyteller changed too!

And then the story had to come to an end …

Lots of laughter and silliness went into the story created by my group!

What a great way to set the tone for the session

Everyone in the room saw the same three images and followed the same directions (or lack of directions), and I can almost guarantee that no two stories were exactly alike!

Think about all the creative thinking that happened in that space … (and the rest of 4C’s too)

What inspired it?

Can you do something like that?

Could that activity or a modification of it work as a review activity where you show images related to what students learned to see the ideas evoked?

How might that activity be used to introduce a new topic, book, or focus area?

And it still counts as facilitating and inspiring creativity when it is connected with a content area …

Maybe even more so!

So an image may be worth a thousand words … but is your thousand words going to be the same as the person sitting beside you? or the thousand words of the creator of that image?

What kinds of possibilities does that open up?


By the way, I have some Creative Thinking Prompts that may jumpstart ideas for you as well …