Wednesday, July 4, 2018

#cyberPD - Week One

I appreciate the opportunity to read Being the Change by Sara K. Ahmed and connect with others who are doing the same in the #cyberPD community. I love the collective voices of this community as we journey through our learning together. 

I read the intro and Chapters 1 & 2 slowly because I wanted to take in the deeper meaning nestled among the words on the page. I kept trying to step back from focusing on the words to create a broader image of my understanding and the impact this book could make in classrooms and schools. I think sometimes when we read professional books we grab ideas from the surface of our understanding and think about how we can implement them in our classrooms. But slowing down and thinking about the larger landscape of Sarah’s words helps us understand more deeply the subtle changes we can make in our classrooms and how the shape of our words in conversations can create a larger and lasting legacy in our classrooms and schools. 

Step back and think beyond the page to a wider perspective of what Sara is trying to say to us. Like Peter Johnston in Choice Words, it’s the words we choose, the way we say them, and when we interject ourselves into classroom conversations that makes all the difference in the world. Sara champions the voices of children as she shares her collaborations with students and encourages us all to make room for the identity of each child. 

Sara says that kindness, compassion and empathy have become buzzwords on posters in our schools. This conversation that Sara is having with us in Being the Change is much more than that. We need to guard against homogenizing these ideas and hold fast to a deeper understanding and more thoughtful collaborations with students. Sustaining this deeper understanding will take a little more energy than hanging posters on the walls. It will take a consistent state of reflection as we build communities that can make a difference in the world. 

Where do we find the courage and commitment to step forward in building relationships that matter. Right here in #cyberPD. It's the place to begin. Our conversations with each other will plant the seeds of deeper understanding and create a passion for what we can accomplish in our classrooms and schools. I feel energized when I read the posts from others in the group. I am looking forward to the conversations throughout July and I can feel an energy building that will recognize and value the identities of students who come together to make a difference in the world.


  1. When I was reading, I kept stopping and staring off into space, considering the ideas. My husband kept asking, "What's wrong?" Isn't that telling that the activity of "mulling over things" looks like I'm doing nothing, or that something is wrong? I wonder, how much space/time do we make in our classrooms to allow students to process or mull over the ideas they are encountering? I know when I design workshops for teachers, I intentionally build in this time, but with students, I don't always provide that. In considering schema theory, this time is especially important to help reframe schemas - figure out how the new information fits with old information. When there is significant differences, this can take some time to juggle.

    1. Glad to know that you had a similar experience. And I like your reminder about giving students that kind of time.

  2. I LOVE that those of us who have been a part of #cyberpd for awhile have several shared texts to connect to. I also kept noting Sara's carefully chosen language as she referenced Peter Johnston and I know this is something I need to improve on in my own discussions with students (hence the need for some of the conversations to be more thought out/planned for beforehand). Lots to think about here!

  3. One idea that stood out for me in the introduction was that compassion is a buzzword in schools, but we really need to be walking the walking and doing more to model it and help students understand what it means. I think this book definitely shows how we can begin to foster students' empathy and compassion.

  4. When we read we kept thinking about her language. Our words are so important and you capture that here in your post. This book isn't simply lesson ideas. It is a way to reflect on all we do so we can deepen students' understanding of social comprehension. This book is all about reflection and perspective taking - two life skills our kids need.

  5. As I read, I kept going back to how important our language is. A professor once told me that when we begin to ask ourselves, "How do I...?" it always comes back to language and how we are using it. Like you, I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this book with others and learn together.

  6. You're so right. This isn't just a book to change little things in our classrooms, this is a revolution that can change the world. It's HUGE.

  7. Wow ... agree with you on everything and you just helped me see things in a new light! I'm the one digging into the work and thinking about the lessons ... but it is BIGGER than the lessons. It's so much more -- as Mary Lee said, "This is a revolution that can change the world. It's HUGE." Thank you for opening my eyes to seeing the bigger picture.

    Thank you for sharing your words and thoughts with us. You have given me a new perspective on this book.