Literacy ShopTalk

"Prepare self-directed learners to think critically about the messages received and created by media.”

“Severe Alert”- Passion and Potential

Written By: Paula Neidlinger - Jan• 06•14

“SEVERE ALERT”– a Blizzard warning in effect for Marshall County; Wind Chill Warning; Heavy snow warning with up to 16 inches; Wind gusts up to 40 mph……





As a lifetime Hoosier, these alerts are common; however, today is probably one of the most alarming storms we’ve endured in over a decade.  Aside from the atrocity of today’s weather, it’s evolved into a day of personal analysis, convictions, and reflections of the past and present.  I’ve spent most of the day perusing blogs from an admirable fleet of educators.  My mind is spinning.

I wonder…… 

  • why do we allow ourselves only one day a year for personal reflection
  • why do we establish lofty goals that are unattainable
  • why are we discerned with our past accomplishments

Rather than focusing on my mistakes and shortcomings from the past year, I reflected on my accomplishments- all driven by personal passion.  My first thoughts… what are my passions?

  • I love to learn
  • I love to think
  • I love to read
  • I love to tweet
  • I love to write/blog
  • I love to explore tech tools

It occurred to me that I’m not short on passion, I just haven’t reached my full potential.  What a great feeling!  I am a “Veteran” teacher with a passion for learning, thinking, reading, and writing…..  encapsulating the young, inquisitive minds in my classroom.


My Wind Gusts:…..a force or agency that carries along or influences file591266176019

  • Michelle Green, Candace Dodson, and Jason Bailey– the Office of Indiana eLearning – have been enormous supporters at eLearning conferences, Thursday night “Tweet-Ups” and blogging initiatives.  Through their support, I have presented at several eLearning conferences throughout the state, which has enabled me to meet remarkable educators across the state and develop a strong PLN.
  • Twitter enabled me to meet a great group of educators from around the country now known as my “Blogging Crew” – #teach2blog was established as our official PLN.  Additionally, we have a Google+ community, Teach2Blog, which encourages and promotes collaboration on a daily basis.  The power of social media is immeasurable.
  • In August, I presented at my own corporation’s eLearning conference.  Unbeknownst to me, George Couros was sitting in the back of the room listening and tweeting.  Not only did he approach me with feedback afterwards, he also alluded to my presentation during his keynote.  His positive influence in just one day, impacted my approach to digital portfolios and my teaching.


My Heavy Snow Warning:…..having great weight


  • Twitter- I encourage all educators to engage in Twitter chats.  There are so many educators around the globe doing exciting, innovative work in the classroom.  I have yet to tap into the educational potential.
  • International Student Blogging Challenge– Do you want to incorporate blogging in the classroom?  I encourage all educators to enroll your class in the Student Blogging Challenge, which runs twice a year for ten weeks at a time.  I became a mentor for the first time this fall, but I didn’t live up to the expectations of the role.  I hope to do a better job of commenting and mentoring students this spring.
  • Blogging- The highlight of my year, which has carried the greatest weight- is establishing my own professional blog.  I have embraced the challenge and look forward to writing and sharing on a more regular basis throughout 2014.  I am honored to be a part of the Teach100 blogs through I encourage all educators to model and advocate the empirical excitement for writing both personally and professionally through blogging.


My Wind Chill Warning:…..a degree of cold that can be felt and that is usually unpleasant


  • Skype– If you’re looking for an effective avenue in which to open your students’ eyes to the world around them- try Skype.  We’re all aware of the possibilities, but too many times, we speak without taking action.  I finally initiated my first Skype in December.  An effective Skype lesson requires planning and technological configuration but well worth the effort.  The challenge is planning and scheduling a Skype event for five classes.  Nevertheless, I encourage all teachers to embark on a Skype event in 2014.  Plan for the unplanned!
  • Handing over your 2.0 tool belt to the students can be a challenge- regardless of whether you are 1:1, have a class set of tablets, or BYOD.  There are so many tools to choose from- learning what works and what doesn’t is NOT the true challenge.  The true challenge is relinquishing the tool belt; hand it over to the students.  I’ve taken the first step by initiating a student led tech team, which meets once a week after school.  After only four meetings, they have established a mission statement and constructed an initial website- Digital Storm Today– and a twitter  page – Digital Storm @DigitalStorm13.  I am excited to witness the sparks of learning as they discover new tools and strategies for learning through technology in 2014.

My Blizzard Warning:… overwhelming rush or deluge


  • My overwhelming rush for 2014 is establishing a Genius Hour.  Yes, this is the threshold of curriculum boundaries that we ponder as educators.  I am ready for the journey.  During the past semester, I implored students to think outside of the box. We incorporated language such as “Is it Google-able?”  During the last unit, I prompted students to question what it was that they really wondered about.  Students are so programmed to learn what we tell them to learn; my true challenge is to enable students to discover their individual passions and reach their true potential.  I need to cut the strings and facilitate student learning based on individual passions through discovery and curiosity.  Thank you to Joy Kirr for her Live Binder lessons and ideas for embarking on the Genius Hour  journey.


I’m not short on passion, I just haven’t reached my full potential.

“SEVERE ALERT”  …. have you reached your full potential?  Share your story!

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hit Counter provided by technology news
Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On YoutubeVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On Linkedin