Teacher Leadership discussion on Blab by Laura Gilchrist

The #edbeat chat/Blab on Teacher Leadership just happened!

Edbeat Blab Screen
Edbeat Blab Screen

Check out the #edbeat tweetstream and the #edbeat Blab, a 30 minute video of us talking about Teacher Leadership. Educators shared, mentored, supported each other on both Twitter and Blab tonight.  It was a beautiful display of teacher voice impacting our entire connected community. What's that quote about the butterfly effect? Oh yea. Each voice impacts the universe? Yes it does.

Butterfly Effect Quote
Butterfly Effect Quote

Tonight's chat and Blab, as well as our Voxer and GHO discussions leading up to tonight, were a beautiful learning experience for me, on both an intellectual and a personal/social level. Phenomenal.

Our first Blab is in the books! We didn't know how it would go. We knew that even if we tried it and failed, we'd do it with positivity and mirth, because why not tilt your head back and laugh at the sky! :)

THANK YOU to #edbeat hosts Sean Gaillard and Natalie Krayenvenger, as well as my guest host partner-in-crime Elisabeth Bostwick. THANK YOU each and every person who watched, tweeted and shared.

Your voice is important. Please use it, share it, nurture it, trust it. We're here to support you!

Part 2 of the Teacher Leadership Series on #edbeat continues on March 23! 8pm CT/5PM PT. Elisabeth Bostwick and I are rubbing our hands together in a planning frenzy. See you soon!

EduBlessings.  ~Laura

Join the Teacher Leadership Conversation on #edbeat by Laura Gilchrist


A few weeks back Sean Gaillard and I got to talking, first on Twitter and then on Voxer. He asked if I'd be interested in guest moderating #edbeat on the topic of Teacher Leadership. I said YES to Sean. I think I may have shouted it! I appreciate Sean's positivity, kindness, and connectivity-genius. Leadership is my true passion and talking about teacher leadership is something that NEEDS TO HAPPEN.

I attended the 2016 National Summit on Teacher Leadership in Washington, DC on Feb 5-6 as part of the Kansas delegation, one of 20 state teams. The state teams talked around the big square summit table and crafted plans to increase teacher voice in both the long and short term. The National Summit on Teacher Leadership (#2016NSTL) was the tip-off of the big game. Discussions and action are necessary next steps.

National Summit on Teacher Leadership

Fast forward to last week. Voxer group with Sean and the brilliant Natalie Krayenvenger and Elisabeth Bostwick is formed. Ideas are flowing. "Let's do a Google Hangout." It was an epic teacher leadership conversation that lasted just shy of 2 hours. During that conversation we decided to add a blab to our chat--and it's the first #edbeat Blab. I love how it grew out of organic and spirited conversation.

Here are the questions we're talking about on #EDBEAT Wednesday night, March 9, 7pm Ct, both on Twitter and live on Blab. I invite you to join us and add your voice. Watch if you want, or join in. But be there and be a part of the teacher leadership discussion .

I will have a split screen of Blab and Twitter. You can always listen to the Blab in the background and participate actively in the Twitter Chat.

I tip my hat to everyone involved in education. Let's collide tomorrow night over teacher leadership.

#Edbeat Teacher Leadership Chat 2016 info #Edbeat Teacher Leadership Chat Questions

Invite Teachers to Write for Your School or District Blog by Laura Gilchrist

Teacher Blogging When I woke up Saturday morning, I was not expecting to find a teacher blogpost written and published less than 24 hours after sending out a user/author invite. Jason McGee had never blogged and I did not help him in any way, except to give him the platform and an inspirational nudge.

Jason McGee's 1st BLOGPOST!!


Update: Blogpost #2 by Jason. He has a gift for writing and storytelling.


The Backstory

Last week I launched a leadership blog for teachers at the two high schools where I serve as an instructional coach -- Turner High School and Journey School of Choice in Turner USD 202. Check it out. It is nothing fancy and didn't take long to setup. It a thing of beauty in my eyes because it is a vehicle for teacher voice at the school level. Our blog is called the Turner High Schools Teacher Leadership Blog. I used Edublogs, which is Wordpress based. Sue Waters and the Edublogs team answered every question I had, and did so within a couple of hours. Excellence!

The Story 

I emailed all staff about the blog and its purpose on Wednesday. You'll find the email below. I received a few bites. "Yes, I'm interested" or "I think I might try this" or "I want to but I don't feel qualified."  I went to the USERS section on the Edublog dashboard and added 10 teachers as user AUTHORS before I left on Friday afternoon. Jason McGee was one of them. He is a History/Econ teacher at THS who is passionate about authenticity and project-based learning. I added him Friday and by Saturday, he had published a blogpost.

Email Chain about Blogging between Jason and Me.

Wednesday email 2/24/16 Laura to staff: Here is our blog! http://turnerhighschools.edublogs.org/ I will share step-by-step instructions on how to create a blogpost and publish yourself. Your voice matters!! (Today I am working with people on process of writing blogposts from the invite stage to the publishing stage so I can write good directions for everyone.) I am the only published blogger right now. Looking for some pioneers to start us off! On the right side of the blog you’ll find the Authors section. Everyone that publishes will be listed there. I’ll move it to the top after more people are listed. It will be featured prominently atop the blog. Each blogpost will be shared on social media channels. This is another positive venue for Turner High School, where we write the narrative instead of leaving our story to TV and newspaper outlets. 

Blogposts can be short or long or medium. :) Just start writing.  They can have one picture, no pictures, or lots of pictures, videos, & links. It’s about you expressing yourself as a writer, teacher, artist.  I recommend at least one picture per blogpost but this is certainly not necessary. It can be your own picture or it can be a picture that is licensed for use. (There is an easy way to find excellent images to use and photo credit is taken care of!) 

If you are interested in writing, and I want you to know every single person at THS has viewpoints, ideas, and lessons that need to be shared, please email me. We will work through it together.

My hope is you find your (worthy) voice and that it sets you free in a new world. You may decide to create your very own blog or write books or do other creative endeavors as a passionate lead learner.


Friday emails 2/26/16

Jason McGee:  I have a blog idea... Laura: What is the idea?!!!!   (and YAY!!) You are a natural blogger/writer….I know this. Jason: But I don't really even know what Blog is? Or if I even believe in Blog.... Laura:  http://lauragilchrist4.com

Saturday, 2/27/16

Jason: His response came Saturday morning in the form of a published blogpost shining forth from my phone! "The Sweet Taste of Motivation." It was something to behold. Read it and comment on it. He blogged about student motivation and feedback after serving as a judge in foods class at THS!


Why I Started a Teacher Leadership blog at My Schools

We keep telling teachers to share their stories and lead. Let's give them a tool to do that--at school. A school blog empowers teachers to use their voice. It gives them experience storytelling in a blog that's already setup. Teachers will be more likely to start their own blog after writing for their school blog, thanks to the familiarity and confidence afforded through experience. A simple user invite can be all teachers need to jump from a reserved to an empowered leader.

I attended two events in early February that pushed me from thinking about teacher voice to acting on it with intentionality. Teacher leadership/voice is the key. I am writing blogposts about both events.

  1. #2016NSTL: 1st annual National Summit on Teacher Leadership in DC. Blogpost about it here from Mark Sass.
  2. #METC16: Midwest Education Technology Community Conference in St Louis. Blogpost about it here from David Geurin.

George Couros' METC16 keynote challenged us to share our voice and to blog. One question he presented was "Where are you sharing your story?" I shared that very question that sparked my actions on the THS blog. Thanks, George Couros for the inspiration.

My bet is we'll see student blogging organically flow out of this as teacher voice and storytelling take root.

Upcoming Teacher Leadership Chat! 

Join me along with hosts Sean Gaillard and Natalie Krayenvenger March 9, 8ET/5PT on the #Edbeat hashtag as I lead a chat on Teacher Leadership. Use that voice!

She Ditched Her Teacher Desk by Laura Gilchrist


In my new role as the high school Instructional Coach in Turner USD 202 District, I noticed the innovative tweets coming from Cassie Nix at the 6th Grade Academy. I went over to meet her and check out her new standing workstation. My goal was to tweet and share the classroom design story with teachers at my high schools and with others via Twitter photos. I did not plan to do a mini interview--although I should have planned it! Luckily, she was game for an on-the-spot interview. Cassie is a natural in front of the camera. One take and we were done. The kids chimed in with their thoughts as well and are part of the video. I created the movie on my iphone using iMovie. I uploaded it straight to Youtube. My new hat: Educational video reporter. One of my 2016 goals. Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.36.24 AMI believe you will nod your head as you hear Mrs. Nix talk about why she made the desk change. I believe you will nod your head even more vigorously when you hear how she handled the desk change with the kids. Her student-centered, conversation-based approach to learning--together, as an entire class--is beautiful!

Here's the 3 minute Youtube video!