Thursday, August 5, 2010

Who Makes Up Your Team?

One of my favorite blogs to read is The Principal of Change by George Couros. George is the elementary principal at Forest Green School and Connections for Learning, located in Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada. In his recent post entitled, 5 Things I Think About #rscon10, he listed five thoughts from the Reform Symposium which took place the weekend before. The point that I immediately connected to was the POWER OF A TEAM.

In his blog George wrote,

"1. Power of a team. - For the first ever Reform Symposium, I was so amazed at how this was all pulled together by Shelly Terrell, Kelly Tenkely, Jason Bedell, and Chris Rogers. Being able to do all of the work without being in the same place was amazing. I saw the #rscon10 tag all through the weekend and it was great to see Twitter buzzing from this event. Amazing work by those four passionate educators. Thank you. From what I saw from this team working together across the world, imagine what we could do in teams at our schools?"

After reading George's post I just had to write about the power of my team...

Hi George,

Once have written a great post that really made me reflect on my own experiences in education. As I read there were a few points that really stuck out for me, but the number one thing that caught my attention today was the POWER OF A TEAM!

I am fortunate enough at #vanmeter to be part of an amazing team. The two people that I work the closest with are my superintendent John Carver and secondary principal Deron Durflinger. We have been lucky enough to teach together, learn together, be in awe over our students together, present together, travel together, and see a wonderful change take place within our students and school community. As I strive to change education everyday, John and Deron are always the first two people to support me and cheer me on (even though sometimes they have to reel my excitement back just a bit. :) Deron's wife even refers to the three of us as "Team Twitter," which I smile at every time I hear. John and Deron are great friends and I feel lucky to share the same passion they have for education, change, and our students! It is essential for all parts of a school....administration, teachers, teacher librarians, technology support, other staff, and especially students and parents to feel like they are part of an amazing team! Coming together within a school community is the first step in creating change and having an united VOICE to be heard!

When I think of the POWER OF A TEAM I also think of my PLN! Amazing! Everyday I am blown away by the way that people in my PLN influence and inspire me. I am a better teacher and person because of my PLN. I have been able to offer our kids at #vanmeter unbelievable opportunities thanks to my PLN. Without my PLN would Mark Moran from findingDulcinea have taught my 7th graders about his amazing search engine for students called Sweet Search? Would they have learned about the web 2.0 tool called YouTellYou from its creator Ruggero Domenichini all the way from New Zealand with John Carver, Deron Durflinger, and others learning with them? Would I be teaching a Web 2.0/PLN class to our kids and Bill Bannick's high school students in Philadelphia? The members of my PLN are part of my team and want to work with me to make sure our kids have these experiences in their education. They want me to also be the best I can be! From the relationships I have built with others has come a pretty powerful team. I feel lucky and blessed to have such a great team behind me and our students everyday!

Together we can all make a difference! Shannon

As I reflect even more on the last few months, I look at what a team I have and how it grows each and every day! I not only gain from my team, but i also give and contribute too. Yesterday I helped Steven Anderson during a presentation by Skyping in to share what my PLN means to me. Two days ago, I Skyped in with Jason Bedell at the KIPP Charter School Network in Las Vegas to talk about 21st century librarians. And that morning Shawn Hyer, Jared Lange and myself Skyped with Nick Provenzano in a two hour long collaborative work session. Nick, Shawn, Jared and I are going to connect English classes at his school Grosse Pointe South and Van Meter School (#vmgps). Bill is also an essential part of my team! We have been working on developing our course all summer to provide an amazing experience to our students. School with start in a few weeks at Van Meter. I will be working as a team with John, Deron, staff, students, and the community through another school year.

I recently went to Philladelphia to #ntcamp! It was an amazing experience to meet even more friends from my team like Tom Whitby and Jerry Blumengarten. One of the best memories from #ntcamp was when four of my favorite friends from my PLN and I climbed the "Rocky Steps" at the Philadelphia Museum of the Art. Even with the 100 degree weather Kyle, Steven, Mary Beth, Gerald, and I all climbed the stairs, cheered each other on, and stopped at the top to take a picture! Here were five people who met on Twitter and are now wonderful friends and part of an amazing team.

Everyday I am thankful for the different facets of my family, friends, students, school, and my PLN. I know they are always here to support, learn, share, and CHEER me on. And I am always there for them as well.

So ask yourself “Who makes up your team?” And make sure you embrace and thank these people today! Just imagine what you can do with your team!


  1. This is terrific Shannon! I spoke at a library conference in Fort Worth, TX today. I explained that in January, I hardly knew anyone from Twitter. And yet 6 months later, I discussed Education Technology as I ate cheese steaks in Philadelphia, at midnight on a Friday, with (a) a librarian from Iowa, (b) the Web 2.0 Classroom founder from NC; (c) a tech director from Kansas City, (d) a Catholic High School Principal, a middle school reading teacher, and an elementary school technology teacher from Philadelphia. Your PLN is no longer your same-age peers within a 5 mile radius. It's anyone who cares as much as you do about reforming education; they can be decades older or younger, from down the block or across the world, and in any position remotely related to education. And your PLN provides real life support. I gave 3 presentations today; all of them were, to one degree or another, "crowd sourced" from Twitter, with people from all over the world weighing in.

  2. Thanks Shannon :) It means a lot to me that my post inspired you. Getting to follow you and see what you do, I am continuously amazed by the things that you do with/for your school. I am looking forward to seeing more of what you and your team do. I learned early that you can do more with a team than you can on your own.