Inspiring people

Some rights reserved by Striking Photography by Bo

There have been a few people that inspired me to be a better teacher, willing to take a risk and step out of my comfort zone.  I have seen Doug Johnson present at many conferences and have enjoyed his Blue Skunk Blog for several years.  Last year at the ECIS Librarians Conference I attended Joyce Valenza’s sessions.  I have followed her blogs for many years but this was the first time I saw her in action.  She has amazing energy and conveys her passion for working with children and giving them and educators all the tools they need.  Her blog for the School Library Journal is Never Ending Search.  Sums her up pretty well, I think.  Tara Ethridge is the elementary librarian at International School of Bangkok.  She is moving on after this year, and heading back to the classroom for a while.  Librarians around the world will miss her.  Her blog, Tech, Library, Classroom, is full of innovative ideas that she has done with her students and chock full of sites, books, and contacts that she has used.  I was privileged to work with her in Shanghai.  While in Shanghai, I was very lucky to share an office (for a time) with a young, hyper, passionate tech kid (I am old remember) that was always willing to help me try something new and fairly patient when he had to show me 3 more times how to do it.  He certainly pushed me.  You may have heard of him — Jeff Utecht.  Guess why I signed up for this program.

Now, I told you all that, to tell you this.   Joyce Valenza is attending the ASCD Conference in Philadelphia.  She has attended sessions by one of the people that inspires her, Heidi Hayes-Jacobs.  She writes about the first sessions on Heidi’s talk on her Never Ending Search blog.  Click here.  I am very interested in her comments about “differentiated professional development”.  She gives examples such as, “new teachers with great tech skills needing help with curriculum development and older teachers needing help with tech skills.”  As a good presenter should, she has given us some sites to look at and programs to use.

I have had the good fortune in my life to have people to inspire me.  I hope all of you do as well.

Great Resource

If you have not seen Joyce Valenza in action you have missed an opportunity to see a walking search engine, who has a passion for helping students research, find the right book, and to put their knowledge to use.  She must never sleep.  She has a website, The Never Ending Search, that investigates new, fairly new, and old sites that are of great use to students and teachers alike.  Then mosey over to her library’s wiki, Springfield Library, where she has sites, blogs, apps, etc., all nicely organized for us.  So many resources that you will never need another place to look.

Joyce is blends technology into embedded lessons, guides students in investigating new resources and guides them in ways to use their information.  If you have a chance to see her at a conference leap at it.