Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Learners Thrive

Our family took the 700 year tour Mesa Verde this summer. Our guide, Ruth, whose grandparents homesteaded nearby, recounted an amazing history from pit homes to cliff dwellings. On the stairs down to Cliff Palace, I turned my ankle on a rock. I stumbled. Before I could even call out, an arm grabbed me and pulled me close to  the cliff wall.  It was a woman my Mom's age.  We gasped. Disaster avoided. She said, "can you just imagine raising children here?" We peered over the edge in wonder.

I imagine that Ancestral Puebloan children learned quickly to stay away from canyon's edge.  To survive they had to learn. I imagine they learned to build, to hunt, to read weather signs,  to grow, to store, to grind and to cook. They had to learn about their environment, about edible plants (yucca, juniper berries, wild carrot, pinon nuts) and water sources.

It seems as if we teachers needs to learn too if we are to do more than survive the current educational landscape. Learning helps me thrive and my favorite place to learn is Twitter. On Twitter I can dip into a rich resource stream and fish for ideas--plenty to feed my curiosity or calm my teacher angst on any give nday. Meenoo Rami, founder of #engchat and author of Thrive, describes Twitter as the place that helped her feel not alone. The Twitter flock lifts me up on days that are hard and inspires me to learn, investigate and grow. When I participate or host a chat on twitter, I feel surrounded by encouragement.  I love to learn and I learn best in community. Like the woman who pulled me back from the cliff's edge at  Mesa Verde, my teacher friends and virtual colleagues on Twitter pull be back from feeling overwhelmed at the start of a new school year.

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to host #nctechat with Karen Terlecky. Our topic, Building Classroom Community. Karen and I planned ahead. We noted resources we wanted to share and crafted questions together. It was great fun talking and planning with Karen.  Twitter chats can be a whirlwind, but boy is it fun sharing the energy of our ideas. I hope you can take some time to do just that this month.

If you missed the chat Sunday and would like to slip into the story and skim the resources shared, find the archive by @NCTEStory  here

Happy new school year! I hope you have a great start.

Lee Ann

Hosted by the team at Two Writing Teachers, link up your Slice of Life 
on Tuesdays throughout the year. 

Works Cited

Rami, Meenoo. Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2013.


  1. Lee Ann, loved Meenoo's thought, "Twitter as the place that helped her feel not alone." I agree.
    I did engage in Sunday's chat and found it stimulating. Good job! My SOL offering is about the upcoming Summer Serenity Gallery that you are a part of. You can find the post at http://beyondliteracylink.blogspot.com/2014/08/summer-serenity-photo-essay-unfolds-in.html.

    I am glad that we met on Twitter.

  2. Thanks for the chat link as I missed it on Sunday. You are right, I want to do more than survive; I want to thrive! Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Ooh, I love Mesa Verde! What an incredible place! I love visiting historical sites of all kinds and imagining what life would have been like back then.

    Also, just had to add that Karen Terlecky was my neighbor when I was little! Twitter makes the world so small! :-)

  4. I so loved all the photos you shared on FB, Lee Ann - some day I hope to get there myself. Thanks for the Twitter chat - it went so fast that I had a hard time keeping up with all the learning being shared. Amazing!

  5. I'm sorry I missed your chat-family intervened, Lee Ann. I even had a sticky for it! Thank you for sharing the archive!

  6. Forgot to mention, since I'm in CO, I've been to Mesa Verde many times, with & without students. Glad you were okay, and that you had a good trip, too. It's a magical place in sw CO.