Heart Eyes // Dinara Mirtalipova

I spent the weekend sick in bed, falling down several Internet rabbit holes. One of them led me to Dinara Martalipova's Instagram feed, where I immediately fell in love with her stunning illustrations.

I  and have compiled for you a list of my loves, in no particular order:

  1. The mini-bio in video form. Genius.
  2. The use of the perfectest reds, which have an unintimidating orange-y tint. I have a thing for reds.
  3. The patterns. I want to wear it all.
  4. The beautiful influences of Uzbek and Russian folklore in her work that makes me want to know all of the stories.



Check out her website and her Etsy page for more goodies.

Reflecting on EduCon

On Sunday evening I put my feet up and sat, vegetative, on my bed for a long time before mobilizing to get on the outside of a cheeseburger at Rembrandt's.

Earned that.

I was on the other side of EduCon 2.8, and it was a terrific success.

This year I co-chaired the conference held in our little school, where SLA hosted over 500 visitors from all over who wanted to share in the teaching and learning with us.

It's pretty dang cool. Classroom doors are open and everyone is excited to talk about how we do what we do. Like-minded educators are reinvigorated and sharing ideas and inspired to continue to create and grow and effect change. Throughout the weekend sessions take place in the form of conversations, and yet again I walked away from all of them ready to grapple with the biggest ideas of this gig.

The conversation that struck the most chords with me this weekend was led by Philadelphia English teacher Cait Miner about using creative writing to foster a culture of care in the classroom. We talked about how creativity and skill-building exist in a false dichotomy and are not actually mutually exclusive at all. I knew that, somewhere in my brain, and needed to have it reinforced. Those ideas are still marinating this week. They inform so much of what I strive for in the classroom.

My very favorite thing about EduCon: students.

On Friday, I saw my 9th graders speak about their learning with adults and complete strangers. With total enthusiasm, they shared their projects, explained their classes, and invited everyone into their community.

The conference is almost entirely run by students; they're everywhere throughout the weekend. From the EduConcierge fielding tweets, to the film crew holding down the livestream, to the student co-chairs who honestly organized and oversaw the entire conference and a staff of their own, to the Coffee Czar who made sure every attendee was well-fueled and happy ... they run a tight ship.

It's the most awesome example of what young people can do when given a voice and a stake.

I led a conversation (though if we're being honest, the students definitely led it) about the Student Assistant Teaching Program at our school. I mostly sat back as 12th graders shared what they love about the program, how invested they are not only in their own learning, but in the experiences of the younger students they work with, and how much they value the growth of this community.

I didn't get to attend the session about cultivating student voice, but was delighted to discover via Twitter that one of my advisees had partnered with members of #EduColor and was down the hall, speaking about what matters most to her. That a conversation about cultivating student voice prominently featured -- you know -- student voice.

I've acted on multiple nap-portunities and remain wiped-out-tired, but I am still riding the positive vibes of the weekend. It's uplifting to be surrounded by so much care and joy for learning, and to be reminded of what we all love about this work. It's just what January needs.

Mark your calendars: EduCon X will take place January 27-29, 2017!

Heart Eyes // Approach the Abstract

One of my tangible goals for 2016 is to make a painting. I've never really painted before, yet I am finding myself quite attracted to a form I know so little about. I've been pinning some works that inspire me, and I'm so intrigued by the depth and nuance of pieces that might appear kind of simple at first glance.

Apparently I also like the color pink a lot more than I thought! Good to know.

Robert Roth

Sydney Licht

Michael Lyozin

Mark Rothko (duh)

Michelle Armas

Helen Frankenthaler

Heather Chontos