Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 in Review - Google+ Style

When I started to see people posting their Auto Awesome 2013 in Review videos I was intrigued. Would I receive one at all? Would the limited # of photos chosen for the video paint an accurate picture of my year? Every day I checked for my video until one morning I was given my Google gift not once, but twice! Both my accounts received their videos at the same time and I was absolutely tickled.

While I love the ease of creation (keep auto-backup on all year, wake up in Dec & click video - it doesn't get much simpler than that!) I find myself missing the details of the plot, setting, and characters that filled my bucket throughout the year. So I decided I wanted a record of these events, locations, and people who contributed to making 2013 what it was. I went through the videos and made a list so I can always look back on 2013 and remember the little details and big moments.

As I re-lived these moments and emotions through pictures I noticed a few education-related themes:
  • I love to learn. I love attending really awesome PD, reading great books, articles or posts, and having conversations (in-person and online) with brilliant people who provide me a different perspective or cause me to think about something more deeply or in a new way entirely. This past year has been a whirlwind of learning new things from people I admire and respect immensely.
  • I love sharing in the interest of helping others learn. Nothing brings me more pleasure than knowing a conversation, resource shared, or email helped someone. I absolutely love to talk to teachers and help them think through a problem of practice, lesson plan, or new idea. I love to share my classroom, my students, and my philosophy with others if I think it might help them think about something in a new or different way. I learn so much from the expertise and generosity others share with me and feel thankful for every opportunity I get to pay that forward.
  • I love to dream. I love to act on dreams to make them reality. I've been ever so fortunate to participate in some very innovative work this year around blended and personalized learning. Through this work I've been given the gift of re-imagining education and seeing a vision of a system that meets the needs of all students. Now that I see the dream I want nothing less. I want students to feel empowered, in charge of their own learning based on what they need and what they love. I want students to graduate completely prepared for the world they are entering because they were engaged in authentic, meaningful learning experiences that mattered. I want them to go out and make the world a better place knowing that their voice matters. I want society to value this kind of education and to value teachers as professionals. I want teachers to feel supported and to be trusted to do what is best for kids. I want to see effective, innovative teaching become a sustainable career.
  • I love my kids. This one is the most prevalent in my pictures, and the hardest to put into words right now. No matter what school, what grade, what class I am teaching I always end up loving my kids with all my heart and missing them dearly when the year comes to a close. Several years ago I was watching my 5th graders play a PE game on the field outside our windows and I got choked up seeing them laugh and run and work together as a team. I remember walking next door and asking my teammate, "Does it go away after you've taught for a long time? That feeling you get when you look at your kiddos at some random time and you just love them so completely with all your heart for no apparent reason at all?" Let's just say she STILL makes fun of me for it, but as corny as it sounds it is also very true. No matter how trying a student, class, or year is I always feel like we connect and come out on the other side like a family - a tight-knit community of individuals and learners who take care of and respect each other. When I see a kiddo reading quietly in the windowsill or watch a group of kids loudly working through a problem together it brings me the utmost joy and I can't help but want to hold on to that moment, that feeling. I am constantly snapping pictures of my kids receiving an award, performing on stage or presenting their artwork, or laying under a table working on their Chromebook because I know those are the little moments and big events that shape our lives.


So without further ado I give you a glimpse back into 2013, a year of loving and learning.


  • GoDaddy Holiday Party w/ my hubby - Dec- Phoenix, AZ 
  • Math-terpieces collaborative art & math project by my very awesome 4th graders - May
  • Some of my kiddos receiving their smART awards - Oct
  • Totally Awesome 80's KCAA Staff Musical w/ a colleague and our principal - Oct
  • Amazing student crew who ran the entire show (lighting, sets, sound, costumes, stage management...) for Totally Awesome 80's KCAA staff musical - Oct
  • Adventures at #EdCamp Colorado w/ Brittany Sundgren, my partner in crime and teaching) - Oct - Colorado Springs
  • A beautiful Colorado landscape one snowy morning along Santa Fe Dr. in Littleton as I headed to school - Nov
  • Our yearly tradition at the Melting Pot when the husband turned 34 in Oct
  • Sitting on the KCAA stage with my beautiful 4th graders after we won the attendance award for Sept 2013. (No small feat for these kiddos.)
  • A brilliant performance by KCAA 3rd graders acting out the story of electricity complete with Ben Franklin, Thomas Edison, and a time machine of course! - Oct
  • My babies from last year (big 5th graders now!) tearing up the KCAA stage with their hip-hop routine. - Oct
  • My favorite 6th grade math teacher, Clay Jessen, entertaining some rockstar 4th graders with a game of reverse rock paper scissors after they presented a PD about Chromebooks in the classroom to DPS teachers at Digital Educator Academy. - Oct
  • An important message I've been reminding myself of often: "Trust Your Heart".
  • 4th-11th graders singing and dancing one of their show choir numbers at KCAA First Friday - Dec
  • 4th graders facilitating #hourofcode with 2nd graders. The wifi was painfully slow / nonexistent but they handled it like pros. - Dec
  • View of Chase Stadium, location of the GoDaddy Holiday Party - Dec - Phoenix
  • Delicious pizza and a much-needed break from reality with my patient, brilliant husband. - Dec -Phoenix
  • Gingerbread village we visit every year in the hotel lobby - Dec - Phoenix


  • Roadtrip to Utah & California w/ my husband - July 
  • Denver skyline as we returned home from our summer trip.
  • Trogdor chilling in the backseat during the drive to UT.
  • Interactive exhibit at The Leonardo in SLC ("contemporary museum that explores the unexpected ways that science, technology, art, and creativity connect." - absolutely BRILLIANT, inspiring place everyone should visit someday).
  • Front of our duplex in Long Beach, complete with the Jasmine we planted over 6 years ago. - July
  • Steak dinner at the restaurant we had our rehearsal dinner and subsequent anniversaries until we moved to CO. - July - Manhattan Beach, CA
  • My favorite beach - Huntington Beach, CA - July
  • Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theater on the Cal State Long Beach campus. Many fond memories of dancing on this stage and watching others dance my choreography. - Long Beach
  • One of the seven gorgeous studios where I found my voice as an artist and my confidence as a professional dancer. - CSULB Dance Department, Long Beach.
  • The Southern California coastline that I miss dearly.
  • Sunflowers in full bloom welcoming me back to KCAA after a month away. - July
  • I promised a brilliant (former) student an outing to see fashion designs to inspire her own work, so we went to the Denver Art Museum textiles exhibit. I will never forget the way her face lit up with excitement,  anticipation, and pure awe when we entered this exhibit and she first laid eyes on Nick Cave's sound suits. Worth a million bucks and the memory chokes me up every time. - Aug