Transparent Learning

This is an email I sent my staff on the first Saturday of our Winter break. We have 16 days officially off this year, so tell me–how would you feel if someone sent you this on your first day of break?  Do you read an invitation in here, or an expectation? How would someone be  accepted if they sent this to your staff?

Happy Holidays!
I hope you all have a blessed season and enjoy your time off—and use it as I plan to , to rest, rejuvenate myself, and take time to breathe and get to some of that list of “things to do” I never seem to get to when school is racing at breakneck speed.

In this time of such open information available everywhere we go online (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yammer, ASCD, NCTM, etc.), and the many blogs that are out there, this one came across Twitter this morning, speaking to the ability for DIY (do it yourself) PD.

It’s chock full of links to follow and explanations of the thinking she is doing, so feel free to explore it as much or as little as you want.

The idea of transparent learning is intriguing to me. Sheryl (the author of this particular blog post) says, “We teach others by transparently sharing what we are learning ourselves.”

I do that with my kids—when I am at  a conference, I always look for something to bring back to share that they will enjoy—might be a movie about schools today, or a new tool, or a youtube video, but I let them know what I am learning. I am constantly telling them things I learn from the many educators I learn from daily on the web.

What I don’t do well is make my learning transparent to you, and I believe we all need to do that more.  I learn something almost every time I get in a conversation with any of you, and I like that sharing and learning together.

I know many of you have no interest in using Twitter or Facebook professionally, or mixing the use you already make of one or the other between personal and professional. I use both professionally and am just beginning to use Facebook for personal connections.  Some of you are way ahead of me in that arena!

But I thought I’d share one way you can learn from the same folks I do without joining Twitter and that is to look at my Twittertimes. . . .that’s an app that synopsizes the tweets from the almost 1500 global educators I follow on Twitter and it highlights the most retweeted ones, and the ones that generate the most interest on Twitter.

Simply go to and read away.  I believe it changes daily based on my Twitterstream. I don’t check it that often, so am not sure.  🙂

So, to answer the question asked in Seth Godin’s email quoted in Sheryl’s blog, “What am I working on?” I’m telling you one of my New Year’s goals is to make my learning more transparent to people I work with.

One thing I am working on is blogging with 4th grade. We have two blogs set up— and .  Please feel free to go check it out and respond to them if you want.  Some of the kids have been blogging since we’ve been out of school on the 4th grade one—the top six blogs have been done SINCE our snow days began.

Each 4th grade teacher has at least one prolific blogger—Abby J., Jordan L and Jessica W. Enjoy reading their blog posts!!  I had to laugh when Jordan responded to Abby J and said, “that’s cool you blog on your own time it’s friday we have no school today because of snow that’s awesome.” when she had written two posts herself on the snow days!

Again, I hope everyone has fun on your time off! Enjoy!

2 thoughts on “Transparent Learning

  1. Paula, I enjoy tweeting with you (@POWERORGMath), applaud your blog guidance with 4th graders, and totally agree with you about being transparent with what we are learning. I believe the wheels turn so quickly that we just come back and apply what we’ve learned but don’t always take time to share on a regular basis unless we are in a formal “teaching” mode such as PD or classroom instruction. Thanks for sharing the post. I missed that one in my stream.

  2. Hi Paula,
    To answer your questions: First, I can’t honestly tell you how I would feel if I got a message like this on the first day of break because I do not attend to email from work on my days off. Timing aside, however, I find this to be a respectful invitation into your digital world. In the school environment in which I work, emails like this would be tolerated as long as they didn’t come out too often and the people who sent them would be appreciated for their unique perspective, ambition and technological prowess.

    I think it is great you are willing to share your learning processes and tools with your staff. I believe we cannot be educators unless we model the concepts we’re trying to teach. Keep up the wonderful work, Paula!

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