Are you LEARNing?

Every so often, I browse some of my favorite blogs for inspiration. I found the reminder I needed this morning on DEN Guru Jen Wagner’s blog ‘Thoughts by Jen‘.

I have the privilege of traveling, presenting, and learning among very talented educators each week, but after I read Jen’s post “Opportunity: LEARN”  I have to ask myself am I really LEARNing?!?

Here’s a snippet from her post

So I invite you to LEARN as much as you can — at the next conference you attend by:

L:  Listening
You know what you think.  You pretty much agree with what you think.  So stop and listen to what others think.  Don’t be preparing your response as they speak.  But truly listen….to the words said, to the words unspoken, to the body language, to the facial expression, to the emotion, thought, convictions, and ideas.  Don’t feel you always need to add your thoughts — at least not immediately.

E:  Eavesdropping
Listen to the conversations that are not planned.  Sit down in the hallway and listen as people wander by.  Wander the exhibit hall and stand with someone as a demonstrator tells them all about the product.   Then invite the person into a conversation with you to discuss what you just heard.  As you wait for a session to start, be aware of the conversations around you…..and go ahead, get up and move into those conversations.

A:  Asking Questions
Don’t be afraid to ask what you think everyone else already knows….because you might find everyone else is wondering the same.  And ask beyond the “why, what, when”, etc.   Be brave to challenge the question….not criticize or condemn, but get beyond the obvious and often the fluff to find out more.

R:  Re-evaluating
What you hear might not jive with what you know, trust, or believe — but don’t diminish an idea just because of that.  Toy around with the ideas you disagree with to see what the deeper reason might be and seesaw with the ideas you feel so strongly on just to see what gave them such a strong foundation.

N:  Networking
Don’t leave a conference without making a connection with at least 3 to 5 new people (hopefully, much more!) that will become your allies.  Exchange twitter names, blog urls, skype names, etc etc etc.  Make a commitment to STAY IN TOUCH, to be each others sounding boards, accountability partners, litmus tests of ideas, etc.

Share with us something you have LEARNed recently from completely one of the activities above!

p.s. Thanks Jen for continually being a source of inspiration for me!




  1. Margaret Dumas said:

    I learned so much yesterday at our DEN event with Melanie! I am definitely impressed with the resources available to us through DE and I have barely scratched the surface of ways to use them. I just realized this morning that my students can generate content folders! Now I am suggesting that they complete all the research first, adding their sources to their content folder, then build the board.

  2. Paula Word said:

    I enjoyed our first session with DEN. I am so impressed with all that is being used in our district and how many resources are available through our wonderful teachers in Baldwin County. We exchanged many ideas and resources. I have researched many of the sites and ideas and I am eager to learn even more!!!

  3. Danyl January said:

    Listen: My first DEN event opened my eyes to the many possible uses of Discovery Educations beyond showing clips or movies to introduce or reinforce a lesson. I loved listening and learning about the resources that are available. I think one thing I have taken away from the meeting is knowing I can set up a class in Discovery Education and give assignments for students to complete. I hope to learn more about the possibility of taking virtual field trips.

  4. Sally Labak said:

    I am curious about the storyboards and how I can use them with Kindergarteners. If anyone out there has any examples please share.

  5. Mark Spradling said:

    Eavesdropping: At my first DEN event I found my seat early and waited as others came in and got settled. Doing this really allowed me to absorb some of my fellow colleagues knowledge on various DE topics. Without intervening I was able to learn tricks others use and solutions to similar problems that I was dealing with at the time. It can be very informative to be a fly on the wall.

  6. Madison Hill said:

    Re-evaluating: I love this because I am always doing this to myself not only as a teach but as a person as well. I am glad we get to share ideas and feel comfortable as a group to see if something is right or if we missed something or just to make sure we are getting the right information. I feel strongly about my ideas but when I hear another persons point of view then it gives me a chance to sit back and really think about what is going on and to see if I need to change mine or add to it. That’s why I love coming together as a group and sharing ideas. This LEARN article was very interesting, thank you for sharing.

  7. Martha Snider said:

    Re-LEARN: For those who have been around the DEN for a while, I think it’s important to “Re-LEARN.” As I was in the first DEN Ambassador session a week ago, there are new faces who know absolutely nothing about the DEN. They are simply teachers who are eager to learn anything and everything they might be able to use in the next day or the next week to help their students master a concept. That’s not to say that these educators are brand new to teaching and have nothing to give. Oh, NO! They most certainly do have a lot to share. For the “Spotlight on Strategies” alone, they had new treads for one of my favorites, Multiple Perspectives.” Another helped me identify another favorite, Fakebook. Let’s take the whole idea of “Re-LEARN” back to the classroom. What can we learn from our students? We teach what we most need to learn.

  8. Molly said:

    I am always observing the world around me in and out of the classroom setting. I learn a lot that way!

  9. Kris Higgins said:

    I am excited to participate in our DEN event this evening. So motivating to be a part of it.

  10. Debra Rottland said:

    Re-evaluating: Searching for newer and better ways to help my students become more involved in their learning is my goal each day, each year. I love the researching; however, at times I feel at loss, especially integrating technology beyond power point or word processing. Participating in DEN will enable me to learn from others beyond my school and district, and I am excited to be part of this group.

  11. Jay McGuffin said:

    Re-evaluating: I do this to myself quite often not only as a teacher but as a person as well. I find myself questioning my colleagues that claim technology is a burden in our specific, performance based classroom. I find that it initially is more work, but once it is set in place it seems to propel itself forward. I hope I can continue to re-evaluate my practices and encourage all teachers to do the same. I enjoy coming together as a group and sharing ideas. This LEARN article piqued my interest.

  12. Kelly VanderMolen said:

    Re-evaluating: looking at recent scores, I reevaluated the rigor and stamina that my students had. Along with my students we came up with a plan to increase both and discussed of it would impact them.

  13. Deb Hennessey said:

    listening…my Den Colleauge shared a fantastic idea for math class. As a summarizer… After students are complete a paper on a topic, or recording ideas in math notebook have them evaluate where they are with the topic by coloring a green (I’ve got it), yellow (need to practice and think about this more) or red ( I don’t understand) light at the top of the paper. I do this and can walk around at the end of class and conference with my red/yellow light students and figure out how to get them “green”. My friend suggested using it as a self study tool. Students reviewing work before a test know that they need to pay particular attention to studying ideas that gave them trouble earlier in the unit. What a simple strategy to enhance understanding!

  14. Keri Feming said:

    Networking is the hardest for me being that I’m a tad of an introvert.

    I could focus on that hurdle or look at it as a chance to have a really great focused conversation/interaction with others on something that is meaningful (big deal to introverts).

    With the focus on the goal (project or technology or …) creativity and engagement can flow!! Maybe that “structure” provides me understandable parameters.

    I can see how this would be important for those students in my classes that need clear expectations and clear purpose so that they know where and how they can plug in.

  15. Mary Barber said:

    Our first session was this morning. I know we will exchange ideas and resources while learning. I am excited about re-learning and sharing with my colleagues and meeting new people.

  16. Hope Whitaker said:

    I love the idea of getting to Network with other educators around the world and learning more through this DEN program.

  17. Babs said:

    Ask Questions. As a shy 5th grader, I never asked questions. One day, while she was teaching about the heart, I decided to muster up enough courage to do it…ask a question. For about 3 minutes I carefully crafted the wording of my question in my head. I slowly raised my hand and the teacher called on me right away. I did it! I had finally asked a question! Her response? “What do you think I’ve been up here explaining for the last 3 minutes!” Ugh. I think I waited five more years before asking another question! Mine was a painful connection to Your LEARNing mnemonic! 😉

  18. Lisa Pudwell said:

    In classroom situations, I feel that I am able to learn a lot by listening and eavesdropping on conversations that are going on around me. If I am unclear about something that has been taught, listening to others may clarify things or answer questions I have. However, I will ask clarifying questions when necessary. As a bit of an “over-thinker”, I am regularly re-evaluating things that have been said and things that I have heard. Finally, while I understand the importance and benefit of networking with others, it does not come as easily to me.

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