How Do You Define Leadership?


If you take a step back within the walls of your school, who is making the majority of the decisions?

Through connecting with other educators around the world, I often hear the stories of others in the world of leadership. When many answer the question above, the first answer I hear is usually “administrators and superintendents.” Others sometimes say “teacher leaders.” I rarely hear this response: “students.”

There are many schools around the globe that who are guiding authentic student voice for the decisions they make. But beyond this, I do believe that we have an underlying issue with how we define leadership.

Leadership is NOT:

-The role you have

-An age

-The years of experience you have in your position

-How many people are “below you” in your position

-A fancy name plate

If we look into how our schools are often run, we still have this traditional definition of what leadership is, and it defines everything we do.

In many cases, to become a school leader you need to meet a prerequisite of years even to be considered for a school administration experience. Although experience is important, why don’t we look at people for who they as individuals and what they bring to the table rather than following a set of parameters established before them?

When guidelines set everything we follow, it makes sense why teachers who speak to me from around the nation feel that they need to earn their leadership, even as a teacher.

If we have this mentality for our adults, chances are this can also be reflected in the way we treat students.

Do students walk into your school as leaders, or do they have to earn it? Leadership should not be viewed as a privilege for the few; it should be a right for us all.

As Todd Whitaker says, “The school should be changing more to fit the new teacher, not the other way around.”

We often expect kids, young teachers, and parents to adapt to us, rather than us learning from THEM.

Ralph Nader says, “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” I would like to challenge this; I believe that everyone is a leader, it is not something that we “produce.” If we do not see our own people as leaders, chances are we do not know their strengths. But, we can change this to create environments that help kids and teachers believe they matter.

How we define leadership is crucial. What does leadership mean to you and your kids?

Kara Welty

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Are We Spoon Feeding or Empowering?

Image Credit

As educators, we all start our journey because we love kids and want to help them.

What is interesting, though, is that over time, we learn strategies and develop unconscious habits to “help” students, when in reality we are unconsciously enabling students rather than empowering. Sometimes over helping even becomes instinctual. But even with the best intentions, our over “help” can often resemble spoon feeding.

Empowering students has always been a passion of mine. I am always engrossed in finding ways to stretch brains and mindsets, including my own, in new and different directions. This past week, the phenomenal 4th-grade teachers at my school, @clarkesclass @teammontgomery @msrittsclass, and I have been working on approaches to help students in this area and we have been brainstorming ideas to challenge thinking.

Therefore, this week I worked with 4th graders on a Digital Scavenger Hunt I created that closely resembles a Digital Breakout Edu format. Yet in my scavenger hunt; students had to think critically to think outside of the box, troubleshoot, and to create and solve technical problems they have never encountered before. Each step built on the action before it, and it required deep thinking and trial-and-error to reach the destination. Just like many Breakout Boxes do, I gave each student the ability to use two tips to ask for help along the way.

During this Digital Scavenger Hunts with the classes, numerous students were astonishingly focused on the tasks and determined to reach the destination at all costs! But, there were also many who looked at step 1 and immediately said: “This is too hard, I give up,” or “I quit.” This also occurred once students ran out of tips. Even though it was hard for us to not over help at times; When these moments occurred, it was the perfect opportunities to discuss with students the idea of “YET” and growth mindset. In other words, it is okay to be honest about frustrations when challenges arise, but we have to work hard to train our brains to think: “I may not get it YET, but I will if I keep trying and am patient.” We also discussed the idea of progress; We may not reach our desired destination now, but if we make growth, we should be proud of each stride we made.

Although discussing growth mindset and learning how our brains work helps jump start crucial conversations, what we often miss is to truly challenge students and to help them apply what they learned about growth mindset in real-life scenarios.

Some students revealed to us after the Digital Scavenger Hunt that they wanted to give up many times during this challenge because it was too hard, but they started thinking positive and then realized “Hey, I can do this!” When you empower students to lead with a growth mindset, once they do overcome challenges, their reactions are priceless. There is nothing that can replace a student proud of his or her accomplishments from exerting true grit.

The 4th-grade teachers and I are currently planning mini-challenges that we will embed throughout the school year called Mindset ManiaThank you, @clarkesclass for the clever wording! These challenges will include anything from STEM to collaborative projects and they are designed to positively develop growth and innovators mindsets. I am looking forward to watching students grow as we embed thought processes like this into everything we do.

After all, nothing is sweeter than seeing a student proud of his or her accomplishments while endlessly persevering and learning new ideas along the way. If we aim to empower students today, the impact will last a lifetime.

Growth Mindset
This picture from today displays the joy that occurs when students reach their goals and realize “I CAN do this!”
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Success is Resourcefulness Over Resources


Image Credit-

You may remember Xanga as the blogging service that used to rule the world. I remember Xanga as a website that empowered me as a child. Ever since the days of Xanga, I have been engrossed with learning “how” technology works. To set the scene, during this period I was in 5th grade and my family just received our very first computer. At this point, I only knew how to do two things with a computer:

1. How to use Microsoft Word
2. AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) like a pro

Game Changer

Once my parents purchased dial-up internet, I stumbled across Xanga. Xanga was nothing short of a game-changer for how I saw the world. Before this moment, I never saw a website where kids, and people of many ages, posted their thoughts, pictures, and musical playlists.

My mind raced with endless questions; I immediately wanted to post my views, while reading the ideas of others. I also desired to learn how to change a site’s layout, script, font, color, and more. But, even with the internet, I did not know how to figure this out. Therefore, I determined that if I was going to find the answers my questions, I needed to play around with the website so I could learn myself. Through this determination, I taught myself HTML.

When I was in school, these tech skills were not valuable in the classroom, and I spent much of my alone time at home diving into this. I would have loved to be a kid today where coding, STEAM, and Makerspaces flourish in many schools.

What Will Prevail?

With all of this said, even though the tools are exciting, we cannot lose sight that the people should always take precedence over the “things.”

In some schools, even with the greatest tools, teachers wait to learn these technologies until someone shows them how to use it seamlessly. Then, students are often trained to remain at a standstill before trying a new tool, app, or game until a teacher shows them the way.

But, here is the issue- when we continually lead with this ideology, we are inadvertently teaching that the tool is more important than who we are. Also, without directly saying it, we are communicating learned helplessness when it is time to learn a new tool.

We need to shift our thinking to resourcefulness OVER resources. I love learning and teaching new tools when there is meaning behind it, but the tools will never solely propel us to our goals. What will prevail is the tenacity of the team and the students; Tenacity will always prevail over any opposing force. We cannot forget that technology is an essential asset, but it is not the end-all-be-all.

Lasting Thoughts

We can surround ourselves with:

-The most brilliant network
-The newest and brightest technology
-The highest quality of resources
-The largest sum of money

But, all of these incredible assets will not be as valuable unless we are equipped with the resourcefulness, determination, and self-reliance to navigate these assets. Technology is powerful, but WE are even more important; Let us become our best resource.

Kara Welty

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A Collection of Digital Citizenship Resources


In today’s world, it is crucial that we set our students up for success not only in the world around us but in the digital world as well.

Kids and adults in present time have to think much more purposefully about digital footprints than we ever had to in the past. As I tell students, this is not something to be scared of. Instead, we can think of it as an important responsibility and a big choice we have each day. We are in control; We can choose to leave a positive, negative, or neutral digital footprint each time we are online, so let us choose positivity!

With that said, here is a culmination of websites that contain resources, videos, and lesson plans that I have found useful. Since digital citizenship contains a large variety of subjects (For example: Digital identity, digital safety, digital communication, etc.), be sure to be knowledgeable in these areas, while determining the appropriate times to discuss and integrate these topics within your curriculum and school day.

A few of these sites differentiate items into leveled bands that they deem to be “grade-level appropriate.” As we always do, ensure to read through items, websites, and videos listed below before teaching to confirm they are indeed grade-level appropriate while differentiating as needed.

1.ISTE Standards for Students (2016)

The new and updated standards are clear, in depth, and just what a school needs to help develop age-appropriate tech skills for a variety of grade levels. On the above link, there is a place to purchase the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students ebook as well.

2. Common Sense Media

A scope and sequence for K-12 Digital Curriculum with lessons to use in your class.  The grade level bands are divided between K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Therefore, I have used some of the lessons as a resource, but not a linear guide to follow step-by-step, since many supplemental skills will need to be added, based on what your kids need.

3. KidsSmart

A kids-based website divided into digital topics that are filled with conversational starters and videos to preview and use. Check-it-out!

4. Digital Citizenship Program – The Lester B Pearson School Board

My dear friend, @danaariss shared this Canadian based site with me. Thank you, Dana! Once you click the link, scroll down the site to see a multitude lessons and curriculum resources.

5. Media Smarts – Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy

Dana also recommended this marvelous link. Tip: This is a site you will want to spend time navigating through. I am especially a fan of the relevant parent resources with topics that are trending today.

6. Digital Citizenship Survival Kit via @mrbadura

This idea from Craig was brilliant, I just taught a digital citizenship lesson today and embedded this idea within it and called mine the “Digital Toolkit.” I also added in a highlighter for future references to remind students to highlight the positive that they see others, and themselves do online. Thank you, Craig for this superb concept.

7. Digital Footprint – 5 Things













Although we need to help prepare students for potential dangers online, it is also crucial that we broadcast how positive digital footprints can change the world for the better, and it all starts with us. I ask students to think to themselves, “Does what I do online represent who I really am and who I want to be?” Remind them that today is a chance to start fresh.

Ask students to write and illustrate their footprint template with five positive words that they want others to think and feel when people see them online today and in the future. After completing, we began a “museum walk” to view the finished results around the room. I loved viewing words that students wrote like “positive, adventurous, kind, compassionate, smart, helpful, good friend, etc.” Reading these thoughts confirmed my belief that students want to be empowered to make a meaningful impact. Let us help them realize that they are not just digital leaders tomorrow- They are digital leaders TODAY!

Do you have any resources, links, videos, or lessons that you use to teach digital citizenship? If so, please share below!

Kara Welty

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Flexible Seating at Our Model School- Featuring Five Colleagues

Over the summer, our school transformed in many ways to be even more excellent for students. We have had countless meaningful conversations on how to make our environments best suited for students and I am so proud that in our K-5 model school, we implementing school-wide flexible seating!

Our district was beyond generous with supporting innovative desk options and hokki stools/chairs to all of our classrooms in the building. Teachers have also brought in many of their materials, seating arrangements, and decorations.

In the past, I have played around with flexible seating as an educator and have been astonished by the results. This year, as a Mentor Teacher and Technology Integrationist, I am a support system to my colleagues and students. Therefore, It has been an extraordinary experience to work with many teachers as they set-up their classrooms to find out what works for their kiddos, while seeing how that differs from class to class based on the ages and learners.

This post will feature five incredible colleagues that I am fortunate enough to work beside: Angie Clarke (4th grade), Cara Cahill (3rd grade), Jordan Shawhan (2nd grade), Lauren Montgomery (4th grade), and Molly Rittenhouse (4th grade). They have done an spectacular job designing their spaces while adding their personal flair!

But, before I show you the grand tour of their spaces, I asked the ladies some questions to see their thoughts (almost a month into school) to see how the flexible seating is going thus far. I culminated their ideas in this chart below:

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Each teacher was asked the questions individually. Even so, every teacher above said “student choice” was their favorite part of flexible seating; Teachers also stated that “choice” was the feature of flexible seating that their students adored the most. How neat is that?

You are probably also wanting to know more about what students think of their spaces!

All of the teachers are raving about inclined student interest, and I can second that from being in the classrooms myself and from experiencing flexible seating with my former students as well. As far as the “most favorite” or “least preferred” seating arrangements goes, it depends on the individual learner. The only commonalities between grade levels thus far are overall the hokki stool is a favorite while sitting at the desk in a regular chair is the least favorite. But, there are always exceptions to the general rule. There are a few students who do prefer sitting at the desk above all of the other seating options. Even so, additional student favorites are the bungee chair and standing table.

Are you ready now? Here is a sneak peak into their warm and inviting classrooms- Take a look:


Ms. Angie Clarke’s 4th Grade Class@ClarkesClass

Check-out her beginning of the year tour of her designed class here!

I love the energy of Angie’s class! One of my favorite spaces in her room is the reading area that you see below; It feels like a living room that you want to lounge in for a lifetime. There are plenty of comfortable chair options, background drapes, dim lighting, and faint classical music playing in the background!

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Mrs. Cara Cahill’s 3rd Grade Class@CahillCara

Cara has an enormous variety of seating options in her classroom that students love (and I do, too!). Cara’s students are having a blast with the bungee chairs that Cara purchased for her kiddos. The lap desks in her classroom are also a fantastic alternative to clipboards. I also love the bright colors that Cara chose for her classroom; It gives the space such a lively feeling!


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Ms. Lauren Montgomery’s 4th Grade Class@TeamMontgomery4

Lauren is only a second-year teacher, but she already is becoming a pro with flexible seating. I am so impressed with her willingness to try new things! Lauren’s area is very organized, with many caddies to place learning tools. Many of these caddies can be purchased at the dollar store! Lauren is excited to continue experimenting with flexible seating as the year goes on.

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Ms. Molly Ritts 4th Grade Class@MsRittsClass

Molly has been doing marvelous things with flexible seating! I love her collaborative arrangements with the student tables. Molly also has pillows with removable sleeves/covers that the students often use for workspaces; The removability of these pillow cases makes it easy for Molly to toss them into the wash for regular cleaning. Students always look so comfortable in this space and they enjoy having choices in their learning.

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Ms. Jordan Shawhan’s 2nd Grade Class@MsShawhan3TE
Although Jordan’s classroom is smaller in size, she has done a marvelous job of giving her environment such a personalized touch; It is very impressive to see what she has done! Jordan has organizational caddies (as you see below) that are fantastic resources! I love the caddy organization with handles for easy mobility of supplies.

Ms. Shawhan's Class

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Flexible seating is not just about chair accommodations. The overall environment, lighting, temperature, and other factors contribute greatly as well.  Moreover, it is really about empowering students to make choices in their learning journey. When students are encouraged to make meaningful choices to impact their learning, it can build into change that will transcend beyond the classroom.

Another huge BRAVO to the daring ladies featured in this post! Join them on their continued learning journey this year by following them on Twitter. At the end of the school year, I will write a follow-up post so you can view their reflections on flexible seating. Stay tuned!

Until then- Best of luck in your flexible seating journey,

Kara Welty

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Build a Mobile Green Screen for $10

Do you want to build a green screen for next to nothing in cost? I hope I can shed light on a few ideas to make your wish a reality.

The process of making a green screen seems overwhelming at first, but the creation can be as simplistic or elaborate as you want. Likewise, you can pick your price on a green screen. For example, if you only want to spend ten dollars and make your own, you can do that. There are also a variety of other cheap remedies, like constructing a green screen with pipe cleaners. While on the other hand, you can spend $100+ and buy a ready-made kit for you on a website like Amazon.

At my school, we are in the search for the perfect spot for our Makerspace. So in the meantime; I wanted to create a “mobile” green screen that I could easily take with me from class-to-class since I am regularly collaborating with our K-5 teachers. Another important piece was that I wanted this green screen to be low-cost. Since we plan on building a fabric green screen in our future Makerspace room, I wanted to create something that would fit the bill of a mobile and easy-to-use unit that would be accessible to teachers and myself in the present day.

Therefore, this green screen was born.

But, before we get started, many people ask me “why” we use the color green in video making. To answer this, the green screen, and blue screens are often go-to colors because they are the hues that differ the most from the majority of human skin tones. Other uniformed colors can also be used, but green and blue are preferred.

In my opinion, neon/lime green is the optimal choice because it is unique and will contrast most clothing as well. Since blue is more likely to be worn, that particular combination not ideal. To paint the picture, if a student is wearing a blue shirt with a blue screen; Their upper torso will disappear.

Now, here is picture overview on how I built my easy green screen:




Green Screen Blog Post

To give a little background, our 3rd-grade teachers are in the initial stages of a climate and weather unit. I thought this green screen would be perfect for “Kid Meteorologists.” Today, I taught several students in 3rd-grade classes how to create green screen videos. In the very near future, they will venture out to teach their students and teachers, too.

Here is one of the awesome videos we put together; We had the best time creating!

“Kid Meteorologist”- Weather of the Day
Other thoughts to point out:

  • To be honest, it does not matter what side you add the tape to when you are taping the posters together; When you create the video on the app, the green tape will disappear, just like the poster. But, I decided to add the green tape to the sticker side of the poster (for aesthetic reasons), while making the opposing side tape and label free.
  • Since I work with K-5 kiddos, I chose four pieces of poster board. But, I did buy 10, just in case I decided to add more to my base. Feel free to do what sounds best to you and your students.
  • I have been using a few pieces of the green duck tape to attach the green screen to the wall. I roll the pieces and put it behind the green screen. I have liked this idea since I want to be able to make any wall into a green screen at the drop of a hat.
  • I must say that my favorite green screen app is “Do Ink.”
  • I love using iPads for green screen video creation, so that is the device we used for this particular activity.

As I mentioned above, we will be building another green screen in the future for our Makerspace Studio. We are considering other ideas for green screens in the classrooms as well. Stay tuned!

Kara Welty

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10 Habits of Positive Educators

Positive Educators

My mom is my role model for happiness. She taught me, years ago, that you do not just have good days, you CREATE them. Throughout the years, this quote has stuck with me and has shaped me into the person I am and the person I strive to be. This overarching idea of positivity has inspired me to create this post.

Most people may not realize that positive educators are habitual in nature. Here are 10 Habits, of the many, that I have curated to help shape my own mindset.

Positive people and educators:

1. Look for the positive, rid the negative

As Tony Robbins says, you cannot pretend that the negativity or the “weeds” around you do not exist. For example, continually repeating “there are no weeds, there are no weeds,” will not magically cause the adverse aspects of your life to disappear. Instead, focus on the positive and actively LOOK for it. What you focus on, you will find. When you do see negativity, train your brain to do something about the issue, rather than venting and sulking. Action and mindset are the only ways to accomplish change.

2. Are fountains, not drains

Listen to your inner dialogue and outer dialogue. What tone and messages are you communicating to others about yourself and your values? We need to be aware of the messages and body languages we are sending out to others. Be the fountain, not the drain.

3. Lift those up around them

I often think to myself, “What can I do to make ___________’s day?” I try to be in tune to those who may need an extra lift of love and I do everything in my power to act on that observation with purpose and care.

4. Are grateful

Cheerful people notice the small things that others do around them to be positive change makers. Try to show your appreciation to others in all they do. When you show others that their time is valuable to you and that they matter, you are more likely to see continued positive results from that individual; This applies to students and colleagues alike. Every single person wants to feel noticed, even if they do not show it.

5. Do not forget about other happy people!

When you see a happy person, it is usually not a coincidence. Happy people regularly make efforts to maintain joyful spirits. Do not forget about your happy people! Your blissful colleagues, students, and friends are often the people who need love the most. Happy people fill up the buckets of others, but also crave and need that same love in return.

6. See life through outside lenses

Positive educators do not just understand their life; They take the time to think about what others are dealing with in front of and behind the scenes. Positive educators do not just consider their opinion; they think of the “why” behind the views and actions of others before making irrational judgments and conclusions.

7. Do not make a mountain out of a molehill

Stop. Breathe. Refocus. Positive people catch themselves before reaching an oblivion of pure terror and stress. When you feel your heartbeat rising, ask yourself: Will this problem matter tomorrow? In 3 weeks? In a year? Regain perspective and move forward accordingly.

8. Find value in everyone

Everyone around you has a strength and personal treasure to share with the world. Find value in EVERYONE around you, even in times when it may be difficult. Once you find that special gift in someone, your viewpoint of them will change forever.

9. Read regularly

Find a happy person and I guarantee you that you also have found an avid reader. Happy people look to the advice of others to continually self-improve and read, read, read!

10. Think of each day as another chance to start fresh!

Positive people do not allow yesterday’s problems to weigh them down today. Moreover, they know that each moment and each day is an incredible opportunity to begin again with a fresh slate of limitless opportunities!

Kara Welty

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The Innovator’s Mindset: Start a Book Study in Your School

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New Adventure

This school year, I am a part of a once in a lifetime adventure. I have begun taking innovation to the next level as a Technology Integrationist and Mentor Teacher with a phenomenal elementary staff. As a result, to take this role, I moved to the Kansas City area two months ago to start this electrifying chapter!

My new school was restructured in a variety of ways. We have a brand new combination of staff members coming together for one common purpose: To make learning EXTRAORDINARY. Cultivating innovation is clearly not an easy feat, but it is a must. The individuals, staff, teachers, and principals that were chosen to educate in this environment are out of this world amazing!

It Takes a Team

Our incredible principal- Kevin Lathrom (@KLathrom), our marvelous Assistant Principal- Lauren Malone (@LaurenMalone3TE), and the rock star Director of Technology- Brent Catlett (@catlett1), and I collaborated for weeks during the summer to make learning awesome for kids. The idea of a summer book study came up instantaneously during a school visit, and it excited us all to the core.

Whether you have new staff like us, or not, a book study is a perfect chance to build community, dialogue, and a continuity of common language that can be at the heart of your school vision and mission. This work can be done simultaneously with the pairing of pushing ideas and mindsets to a whole new level, including your own.

Innovator’s Mindset

The first book that came to our minds was the Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros (@gcouros) – and if you have read it, you know exactly why the title was the first on our list.

If I had to describe the Innovator’s Mindset in one sentence, I would say it is the Educator’s Bible to Innovation. Since we are beginning the 1:1 journey at our school, having the Innovator’s Mindset as a foundational piece of our shared language is crucial; It is not about the devices, and it NEVER should be- it is about innovating HOW we educate.

The way George intertwine’s dialogue and storytelling to transcend his message is unmatched and translates very well to educators.

George has been a tremendous mentor for me in leadership and a remarkable friend- I am eternally grateful, truly. When I was lucky enough to meet him at #METC16 in Saint Louis, MO this February, he pushed me to read his book right away- not next week, but right then and there. In true George-like fashion, he drives your thinking seamlessly, whether in person or by reading his book.

In April, I sent an e-mail to our new staff inviting them to our book study, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive! Team members were excited to get on board and to push mindsets while building relationships before we started our new school year.

Voxer Book Chat

We focused on our book study during the month of June via Voxer. To prepare our staff, I sent out a Google Sheet that included spots for teachers to add their social media accounts, including Voxer. Many teachers then signed-up for Voxer and then added their names to this sheet. I then added everyone into our Voxer group so we that we could discuss the book as a team.

To give some background on the book, there are four parts to the Innovator’s Mindset, which is then divided into chapters. I took these four sections and decided that each week in June would be dedicated to one part of the book. Furthermore, George leaves discussion questions at the end of each chapter, which lends itself very nicely to a book chat format. Therefore, I chose three items from each part that I wanted us to focus on each week.

As I posted the weekly questions, I asked teachers to choose from one of the three questions (or more) to respond to. I encouraged everyone to add in their questions, responses, and takeaways.

But, even before jumping into the book questions, I began our book study with questions that dug deeper to who we are as learners, educators, and family members; This was crucial. We can discuss our reflections to books all day long, but if we do not at least have an idea of who we are as people and what we believe in, the words that we say will lack meaning and understanding.

Also, I posted questions on the same day every week and modeled how to respond by talking or by typing and I encouraged our group to respond in whichever way was most comfortable to them. *This could also be modified to fit as a Twitter Chat, Google+ chat, and beyond.


As a new team, this book study was meaningful for a variety of reasons. The time we spent together chatting about the book received positive praise from countless group members. I also believe that the conversations gave us a comfort level amongst one another. We started to see: Each other’s perspectives on the world around us, the expertise and strengths that each of us possessed, and what we stood for as educators and individuals.

In July, a month after our book study ended, we all met for building-wide professional development, and it was the first time that many of us had officially met “face-to-face.” As we started creating our school vision during these days, my eyes watered when I saw how many people were using the word “innovation” to describe what they wanted to see for our students, and for us. It was evident how much the book already shaped everyone’s mindsets, and that was priceless. In addition, I asked George if he would be willing to Google Hangout with us, and he said “YES!” Needless to say, our chat could not have ended on a higher note.

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Innovation is not just encouraged, it is what we aim to do and who we aim to be. “Innovation” is even a part of our school Pride Pledge that our principals read each day in the morning announcements. Even though we are only three weeks into school, I can already see first-hand how risk-taking is happening each day.

As the year proceeds, I cannot wait to see how our mindsets continually shift, and more importantly, how our kids grow!

Kara Welty

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Aim for Work-Life Integration over Balance

-There is no such thing as work-life balance. The balance has to be within you.-

Ever since I began my career, I have heard and seen stories of struggle with workers, educators, and leaders striving for the abstract idea of “work and life balance.”

When people aim to reach this lofty goal of balance and do not reach it, they can feel filled with shame and guilt. They ask themselves questions like, “Am I a good enough mother, father, husband, wife, family member, or friend?” “Am I spending enough time or am I spending too much time at work?” “What do people think of me?”

I often wonder where this idea of balance came from and who put this into our heads? This may come as a shock to you, but there is not a scale out there that is tracking our journeys to balance because, in my opinion, real balance does not exist.

We may have this visual in our heads of what balance looks like, but that picture changes day-to-day based on demands placed upon us. Rather than striving for balance, what if we strive for a work and life integration? A life where our hobbies, career, family, friends and personal life are working together, rather than pulling us apart? Subsequently, what if we then chose the degree of work and life integration that we are okay with? I believe everyone should do what is important to them (whatever that is) and to integrate these items into their lives as desired, while not worrying what anyone else thinks.

No one can tell you what is best for you. Only you can figure that out; You are the one living and feeling the pulse of your life. You will adjust your integration levels naturally as your life changes with work, family, and beyond. Do not shoot for a perfect formula or feel pressure to do so. After all, we are simply humans doing the best we can living without a written guide to follow, so let’s follow our intuition.

Having said this, we do not have to have it all figured out. We just have to do whatever it is that makes each of us happy in all areas of our lives while giving ourselves grace along the way. Integrate what YOU want to integrate into your life. Then, choose the level at which you want to incorporate the different puzzle pieces. Leave the pressures behind to follow an ordained path set before us. Be you and own YOUR life.

Kara Welty


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The Roadmap for Tech Success in School & Life

Roadmap for Tech Success

I moved to a brand new city within the last two months, and let me tell you, Google Maps has become an even stronger best friend: Google Maps + Kara = Friends Forever.

I am using GPS to get me everywhere. To give myself credit, this is understandable since I have never lived in this city before. But, after days of using the GPS to travel to the same locations, I realized that I needed to let my comfort blanket go. It was time to start driving without the visual and speech support-“You can do this, Kara,” I told myself.

I am not going to lie, it was a little terrifying to put the good ole’ Google Maps aside and to trust that I could make it halfway across the city with a million intersections competing against me, but I knew I could handle it.

All-in-all, I am happy to report that I did make it safely to my destination that day all-in-one piece, and without a scratch on my car (or myself). I am going to call this a total win-win.

Before I go any further, thank goodness for technology; Technology makes my life easier each and every day. And for that, I am eternally grateful. But, I see a fine line we face each day when we trust our computers to navigate our every move, rather than stopping for a second to think about our experiences and intuition.

As funny as it may seem, these same rules apply to technology in education: Technology is incredible, but our minds are an even greater gift bestowed upon us.

Do not let the technology determine where you go. YOU determine where you’re going, then use your learning first to get you there. Technology is not our compass. WE are the compass.

The Roadmap for Tech Success in School & in Life:

  1. Know where you want to go first.
  2. Give yourself some space to think- Is technology really what we need to transform this?
  3. Plan your course and prepare for roadblocks you may stumble across.
  4. Adjust your journey & take a detour, if needed.
  5. Take a breath & enjoy the ride!
  6. Arrive (You will sooner or later).

I think Lady Antebellum said it best,“Let your heart sweet heart be your compass when your lost and you should follow it wherever it may go….”

Kara Welty

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