Monday, July 21, 2014

The Velvet Box: Sharing Your Treasures

When I started my blog I planned to post 3 or 4 times a month, but that didn't happen last month. The month of June flew by for me.  My last post was about taking time to refuel and reflect this summer, and I have been doing just that!  I've been reading for pleasure and for school, spending time with family and friends, canning and freezing vegetables from the garden, and doing the everyday "mom stuff".  It has been some much needed downtime.  Now, it's the middle of July and the ideas for the new school year are beginning to take over my thoughts.  July also brings thoughts of my nephew, Colton, because he would have turned 20 years old this month.  During Colton's battle with cancer, he was given a lot of things by people who wanted to do something to brighten his day.  Usually, it was things like toys, games, movies or candy- things that might help take his mind off his situation temporarily.  He kept some of it, but he really loved sharing it with others, especially his candy.  One of my sweetest memories I have of Colton was from the day before he passed away.  He had a red velvet box that he kept Hershey's Kisses or other treats in it by his bed for chocolate "emergencies".  It had been a long night and he was sitting in the recliner with his box of chocolates while his mom and I freshened up his bed.  As we finished and I walked over to him, he reached out his hand and offered me some of his "treasure".  It completely melted my heart! Such a simple act of giving spoke volumes to me!  As much as I didn't want to take his candy, I didn't want to turn down his precious offer.  So I sat down next to him and unwrapped the shiny, foil wrapper as I fought back the tears and tried to smile while I looked at his sweet smile and told him "Thank you."  It was the best Hershey's Kiss I've ever tasted!  It is a memory that I hold close to my heart and one that reminds me not to hold on too tightly to my "treasures" but to always be willing to share them with others, whatever they may be.
As I prepare my classroom and get ready to come together with my colleagues and new students, I look forward to sharing my "treasures" with them; the things that I've learned this summer, my time, my  prayers, whatever I'm able to give.  This is how we build relationships and community.   I believe this is how we grow.  If we take and take and never give back, we can become stagnant.  Just as the Dead Sea is stagnant because it only has water flowing into it and not out of it, we can become stagnant when we don't pass along the knowledge and experiences we've been blessed with.  We need to be willing to give as much as we receive.  This community of sharing is alive and well in education.  I'm blessed to work in an environment where sharing with colleagues is encouraged and welcomed.  This flow of information can also be seen on educational blogs, websites and Twitter.  As I've built my PLN through Twitter over this past year, I've been amazed at how all of them are so willing to share their knowledge and information with others.  They generously pass along their ideas, resources, advice, and information that will help others.  How many other professions do this?  There are so many great resources and ideas that are free for the taking if you just spend some time looking for it and are willing to receive it.  I encourage any educator to create and utilize a Twitter account to help build your own PLN.  Here is a list of a few members of my PLN, my "treasures"that I want to share with others:

Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher
Edudemic @Edudemic
Lisa Johnson @TechChef4u
Nicholas Provenzano @thenerdyteacher
Office of Ed Tech @OfficeOfEdTech
Julie Ramsay @JulieDRamsay
Class Tech Tips @ClassTechTips
edReformer @edReformer
Richars Byrne @iPadWells
Julie Reuter @jgbluedevil  
Med Kharbach @medkh9
Lori Elliot @drlorielliott
Education Radio @BAMRadioNetwork
Jeff Anderson @writeguyjeff
Edutopia @edutopia @RWTnow
NCTE @ncte
Heinemann Publishing @HeinemanPub
Marilee Sprenger @MarileeSprenger
Kasey Bell @ShakeUpLearning www.shakeuplearning
Nerdy Book Club www.nerdybookclub
Sharon Drake @shad
Aimee Bates @a1m33b8s
Michael Fowlkes @arabcitytc

These people are generously passing along their "treasures" with others. So, I encourage you to check them out and then look for opportunities to share your "treasures" with others around you.

"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  John 7:38