#100DayChallenge – Day 4, 5 & 6

Some things I have learned or discovered over the past 3 days:  

  1. Learning something totally new makes me anxious!  The stuff I don’t know about podcasting far outweighs what I do know.  I am a task-oriented person, and I like to get things done.  It makes me anxious that I can’t cross this “learning to podcast” thing off my list.  I am still having fun and being challenged, so I will keep that as my focus.
  2. There are so many educators out there that are so passionate and giving of their time/resources/expertise to help out!  My last blog post was about Jeffrey Bradbury from www.teachercast.net .  His podcast about podcasting is a great resource!!  I also made a visit to a local high school to discuss a steam classroom.  The teacher there – Brett Slezak – was so passionate and supportive I secured him as one of my first guests on the show!  Brett can be found on Twitter @AVPhysEd  His expertise is so vast that my visit to his high school is a separate blog post in itself!
  3. I have a lot to learn!  The good news is I know how to surround myself with smart people.  One of our tech guys not only patiently helped me with the tech side of Skype, Call Recorder and Garage Band to name a few but he also taught me some psychology (AAA – Acknowledge, Align, Affirm).
  4. Blab https://blab.im/   A podcast show that I listened to this morning (#PrincipalPLN) featured the website blab.  I have not tried it out yet, but it seems to have some pretty cool connections to the educational world.   I am going to explore it as an option to connect with parents.  Please let me know what creative ways you are using this site.

Day 3 of #100DayChallenge

Well, I have to start this blog post with a shout-out to Jeffrey Bradbury, as he reached out to me about starting my podcast and has been a HUGE help already!  He has resources and blog posts that can help get you started on your own podcasting journey… Check him out at www.teachercast.net or follow him on Twitter (@TeacherCast).

Tonight I read one of his blog posts:  http://www.teachercast.net/helpful-tips-and-tricks-from-5-years-of-podcasting-experience/.  And although I’m still a bit overwhelmed by all that I don’t know, I’m continuing on this journey because I know I have to start somewhere.

I am wondering how to even record a conversation… So can I do that with a person over the phone?  Do I need the skype app?  I downloaded it, twisted my sister’s arm to download too, and will play around with making phone calls with her tomorrow.  I also started a google search on using Google Hang Outs (GHOs – I am proud of figuring out this acronym on my own) to record my podcast series, but from what I can tell, this can only be done live.  I think it’s important to keep editing as part of the process, so I don’t think GHOs is going to work for me.  If you are reading this and know differently, please share!

Jeff also shares that it will only be after 50-100 episodes that I learn the craft of podcasting.  WOW – I guess I do have a lot to learn.  I am wondering if people create some trial episodes with friends and family before beginning an official show, or is it best to just jump right in?  Please share your experiences 🙂



Day 2 of #100DayChallenge


A few of the small moves I made today towards my quest in creating my own podcast:  bigjourneys

  1. Setting up time with the tech guys at my school to discuss HOW to make a podcast.  Dedicating time on my calendar to doing this is critical; if it’s not on my calendar, it does not happen.
  2. Exploring other educator podcasts… I want to add value to the educator podcast scene, rather than creating something that already exists.  I could not find a podcast that has the goal of elevating female leadership  in educ If you know of such a podcast, please let me know.  I’d love to check it out!!  I am always curious about why more women do not take on formal leadership roles in education, and  I would love to highlight the women (especially local gals of Pittsburgh) in education who are making a positive impact on the lives of students and teachers.
  3. Connecting with a few podcast creators on twitter.

Excited to see where I will be on this journey in 98 days!


I’ve been thinking a lot about starting my own podcast series.  I enjoy listening to several podcast series on my almost one hour commute every day to work.  Creating podcasts will help in my quest to be a creator instead of a mere consumer.  When I create my own podcasts, I will not only learn more about teaching and learning but I will also get to share that learning with educators around the globe.  That’s a pretty cool opportunity!  It might end up being 1 listener, but I’m not going to worry about that right now 🙂


Principals and teachers in the Pittsburgh region have an amazing story to tell, and I would love to be a small part of sharing that story with the world.  In order to keep myself motivated and on track to create this podcast series, I will be sharing my journey through #100DayChallenge tweets.  If I do a little each day  and keep myself accountable by tweeting these small daily moves, then in 100 days I should be far on my journey of creating podcasts.


My first daily move (#day1 of #100daychallenge) is making the commitment that every day I will do something to add to my knowledge about creating a podcast.  If you have resources or ideas for me, please share!  I would love to hear from you.

Day 2 of Reflection

These next 3 questions are posed in Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess.  If you are a teacher, this should be your next read, if you don’t own it already.  If you are on Twitter, you must follow #tlap for inspiration to do the hard work of teaching!  These are my attempts to understand myself better as a teacher and person.

Content Passion 

“Within your subject matter, what are you passionate about teaching?”  

I am thinking back to my years teaching mathematics, and sadly, I can’t identify what I was most passionate about teaching in this content area.  While teaching most concepts, I thought to myself, “When will all these students use this information? ”  Many times the only clear answer I had was in the next math class.  I know now I did not do the best job I could with designing lessons that helped students identify problems and then solve them.  I was a follower of the standards, and I used standards documents as a checklist.  I bet my students were bored 😦

I did serve as instructional math coach for a few years, and I can say for certain that I was most passionate about helping elementary teachers connect procedural knowledge to conceptual knowledge of mathematics.  Probably not many other people get excited about figuring out why division works the way it does or why a fraction divided by a fraction is the same as multiplying by the reciprocal.  The time I spent designing and then implementing professional development for elementary math teachers was exciting and fun!

Professional Passion

“Within your profession, but not specific to your subject matter, what are you passionate about?” 

I am most passionate about connecting students to their own passions and interests.  I hope to always center my work around connecting students to experiences that either help them figure out what they enjoy doing or even help them figure out what they definitely hope to never do again.  Being new to a leadership position, I am still figuring out how to support this work best with classroom teachers.

Personal Passion

“Completely outside of your profession, what are you passionate about?”

Yoga.  Definitely yoga.  If I lost my job tomorrow, I would complete my yoga teacher certification and do yoga EVERY DAY!  It is challenging, calming and just darn fun.   Even when I stink at it and I have lots of room for improvement, I feel accomplished after practice, so much stronger and attuned to myself.


These questions were harder to answer than you would think.  Take a moment to reflect on your answers!  I would love to see your responses.

Day 1 of Reflection

“The changes that are needed in schools will take root more readily if local and national policies actually support them.”  – Ken Robinson, Creative Schools



Seriously, we should not wait around for local and national policies to catch up to the innovative strategies/ideas that our schools need and our students deserve.

Here are some things I’ve been thinking a lot about lately; things I believe our schools need and our students deserve!

  1. Opportunities for students to learn what they want   I think the term of the day for this is “Passion-Based Learning.”    Once students have a keen sense of their interests (see point 3 below), students could create a learning schedule that is guided by professional educators.  These learnings could then be shared to a larger community of peers, educators or other stakeholders.  If done this way, imagine how many unique experiences and ideas could be shared within a school community?
  2. Opportunities for teachers to learn from each other and from students  With knowledge literally at our fingertips, it would be great to see all educators roll up their sleeves with students and learn how to use this ever-increasing pool of knowledge to find problems, solve problems and create solutions.  We all know that teachers are not the only sources of informational knowledge, but many times our classrooms still look like the students do not have access to Youtube, wikipedia, etc.  Wouldn’t it be great if students and teachers had more opportunities to use these additional resources to make sense of and evaluate information?   Wouldn’t it be even better if students and teachers were expected to identify problems through analysis/synthesis of these informational resources rather than just solve problems identified by a textbook publisher?
  3. Opportunities for students to explore passions and interests during the school day This one seems like a repeat of #1, but it recognizes that many students have never had the chance to figure out what they enjoy.  Some students figure it out coincidentally, while so many others graduate without a clue!   This type of learning looks messy and would require a lot of trust in students.  We could not expect that all students complete the same homework assignment on the same night.   We could not expect that students move from classroom to classroom in neat 42-minute chunks.
  4. Opportunities for students to NOT learn particular subjects    Now this idea will get some fired up, but I am not referring to basic proficiencies of reading and writing.  However, we continue giving the one-size-fits all curriculum to students in most subjects, and all students are expected to master all standards.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if students had more say in what they learned (within reason, of course)?  Why is it that all students are held to the same graduation requirements?  Wouldn’t we inspire so many more learners if we created graduation requirements that better mirrored their passions/interests?