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Showin' the PLN Love

I am not much a hugger, but I do feel a tremendous gratitude and love for my professional learning network.  The thing is, Bill Nye was right when he said, "everyone you will ever meet knows something you don't."  The educators I am fortunate enough to know - either in real life or digitally - are creative, thoughtful, brilliant, informed and innovative.  And they know a whole lot more than I do.  If I need an idea, if I need motivation, if I need inspiration or just to feel part of an amazing group, I don't have very far to go.

I can go next door, across the hall or downstairs to meet and collaborate with the incredible teachers at my school.

I can join a Twitter chat, read the posts of my amazing and reflective fellow Te@chThought edu-bloggers, check out Edutopia, LD Online or even YouTube.

Given this wealth of information and inspiration, it is easy to overlook two remarkable sources of professional learning I'd like to mention.

First, the pre-service teacher. These people are in our classrooms all the time and provide the enthusiasm and current research that we veterans sometimes lack.  I had a student teacher last spring and I learned many new strategies for formative assessment.  Tr. Allison found ways to make the most mundane review exciting for students and informative for teachers.  I learned a lot from her.

Secondly, the teachers of our own children offer insight and ideas.  When my son was in 6th grade, he had an incredible science teacher who taught me about new apps and technologies and showed me exciting ways to use them.  Charlie is in 8th grade now, but I still receive the occasional email from Mr. Newdeck sharing an exciting new way to teach and learn.

Educators in the know are all over the place.  While it might not be appropriate to go around hugging them, it is important to keep our eyes, ears and minds open.  It's a great time to be a teacher!