Wonder More - Fear Less

Dare Everyday.
You know, my brand is sometimes a lot to live up to. I'm not always daring. I won't buy a 3D printer until I know I can get projects kiddos create cranked out in a timely fashion or that we can reliably
afford the materials and upkeep supplies and I don't think I'll ever ditch Dewey. 

You don't ALWAYS have to be daring in BIG ways, consider daring something small every day. 

Dare to keep smiling to that kid who never smiles back. It's easy to smile to the kiddos you adore & have a connection with. But try to smile consistently, to that kiddos who is all prickles and burs. You will be surprised at the results. It took me 8 months once to get a reluctant grin back. Dare to take pictures of your kids being awesome and daring every day.  Consider daring to Say Yes! To a School Instagram! We always have our phones handy, consider using Instagram, Vine, & Flickr to share great moments with parents and the community.

When thinking about the next school year -I'd like to suggest we keep in mind that we should be ready to try new things without letting fear stop us. To go beyond our comfort zone. Even if you choose only one thing that makes you squirmy inside, that's good for your practice and our profession. This way, we can truly say to our kiddos that we are pushing ourselves to fail/win and try again just like we ask them to do every day!

Wonder More. 
Wonder what could happen if we go beyond our comfort zone. Wonder what could we achieve if we put back the wonderment in our classrooms. Don't always tell everything - give our kiddos the gift of supposing. Opening discussions with this theme - which fits into ANY of our subject areas. Try it. Wonder for a moment about the conversations you could have starting with wonder and suppose. It's not really magical, but it can do ....well, wonders! 
I wonder if I've driven this home yet. I wonder if I should go onto my next point. LOL 
Dr. Justin Tarte is one of those inspiring education leaders in our amazing PLN that I really like and admire! His blog is fantastic and I sometimes read it nodding along and saying YES! This quote exemplifies how we both believe that change, however difficult, is necessary in our profession.  
Here's what I've been thinking lately
Fear Less. 
Fail - Win - Try Again.
I am not afraid to look like total DOOFUS in front of my kiddos! Whether it's trying a new device, piece of tech, or a new teaching style. I'll say something like this:
"OK guys, this is really new, I don't know if this is gonna work, it could totally bomb,  and I may even need your help to make this fly, but let's give it a whirl!"
After I say that, they immediately perk up! I also sometimes will compare it to gaming - by failing, sometimes often, that's how you learn to WIN! By admitting my vulnerability to them also makes me human and gives them permission to take honest chances.  
As a matter of fact, some of the times I've done that, fell flat on my face,  and asked for help and patience - those have been the MOST exciting and transformative experiences I've ever had in my 23+ years of teaching! And kids remember the willingness to try far more than if it works or not.

20 years ago I had a 100 foot phone cord and a 14.4 k modem that I bought myself to dial up to the University of Maryland's server because my school district didn't have the Interwebs yet. I said to my kiddos then - all 28 of us gathered around the tiny 14" Mac LCIII pizza box computer, that we may or may not get though, but if we did we were going to add this to our research unit Where in the USA Carmen Sandiego by searching this place called Yahoo that had a page filled with up to date facts about every US State!  They were entranced and excited when it worked and really good sports when it didn't. Four of those kids are teachers in my district now. \\FTW!//

Be You. 
Don't be afraid to be the authentic you to your kiddos. 
Sure, I say be a bit austere the first few months getting to know the kids and setting your ground rules. My Mom (retired teacher of 40 years) told me to not to smile until Thanksgiving. Have you heard that, too? Yeah. It works. After you get your classroom management on point, then you can relax a little and be your own self to the kids. I'm unabashedly goofy, doofy, nerdy, ADHD, & mercurial. My kids either dig it or don't. Whatever. Not trying to GET the kids to like you is key. Be you and they eventually will. Or won't. Whatever, keep your center, know you're coming from a place of  authenticity & passion for our profession and it will show.  

Have a great year, everyone! Keep trying, peeps! Never give up - never surrender! 

Because see, I've been thinking of this saying for a while now.
For both myself, teachers, & my kiddos. 
You don't have to free climb
or do urban parkour to stretch yourself.
Every day
Every School Year.
If it scares you a little, you're on the right track! 

Pick one thing this year that scares you and try it! 

OK, I better hang up now - my Mom might be trying to call me & getting just a busy signal. LOL

Your turn! What scares you the most? 
What do you worry about trying with your kiddos?
Add your ideas & thoughts in the comments, please!


  1. Thanks for your reference to Dr. Tate. I didn't know we had this wonderful resource right here in Missouri (I'm on the other side of the state - Kansas City area). I couldn't find a search box on his blog and wondered if he ever discusses the role of libraries and libraries and our role in the educational process specifically?

    1. Ok, thanks for your comment, and you're welcome - Justin is GREAT!
      Now, as for your question: I suggest you contact Dr. Justin Tarte directly either on Twitter or comment on his blog. OR: You're a former librarian - even if Justin doesn't have a search bar on his blog - why not just GOOGLE "Justin Tarte and library topic you're looking for blog?" Behold The magic of Google!
      Can I also encourage you to contribute to your own blog? I checked out http://librarylistenings.blogspot.com/ and you don't have any posts! DUDE! You're retired, get writing! LOL Just kidding, enjoy!

  2. Being considered the "tech expert" I feel a lot of pressure for tech lessons to go well and we all know that crazy things can happen. I try to roll with it and model how to adjust and continue. I hope that those moments make my teachers feel better about when things like that happen to them.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Tamara! Yup! I think it's great when people see us struggling and coping w/ "tech adversity" makes us human, let's them know it's ok, and shows them how we can roll under pressure!
      PS. You are such an inspiring tech leader!

  3. Hi Gwyneth, My name is C. Natalia Garduno, I am a member of the Media Center at the Country Day School Costa Rica, I read your last blog entry and found it amazingly inspiring. In response to your question What scares me the most? (In relation trying new technology and embracing changes) Being daring to try new things that are new to me with my students (I have to admit it, I am not very tech oriented but always willing to learn) is something that really scares me. But as you said when you show your students that authenticity and place yourself as a normal human, Kids will be appreciative of my effort and contribute and even help. In this sense, a real learning community will occur. If I achieve that, I am sure it will be an unforgettable experience!
    I give classes at the media center from K-2nd grade and I am very interested in using fun ways to introduce new books and new technology with the little ones.
    Will follow your blog for ideas!
    Thank you, you are very inspirational and daring! Good on you!
    Natalia Garduno

  4. Thank you for this inspiring post before the school starts again. We are implementing technology standards this year and many teachers fear these new technology standards. I am going outside my comfort zone by starting a blog and plan on having students blog as well. I know there will be failures but we learn from them. "We will embrace the fail." It's important that we show students that you can learn from your failures.

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