Sunday, May 1, 2016


     My district just had their 2nd edtech conference this weekend.  iEngage Berwyn was a success, and here I am posing with a larger than life "i" with a paper mache dot because, honestly, I am a sucker for art projects.  Seeing such a large one on display at our edtech conference shows how important art integration is to so many of us educators here in Berwyn.  +Joshua Gunderlock did a great job making them.  I had the wonderful +Dana Scalzitti take my picture with the i, but I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with it.

     And then +George Couros spoke. 

     He said many things that spoke to me as an educator, and as a human being.  He speaks from the heart, and reminds us to remember our purpose, but challenges us to embrace positivity and innovation. He also really likes Justin Timberlake, whom I adore.  So, that's a win.  There were a ton of quotes that went around Twitter from his Keynote, but this one spoke to me loudest as a coach. 


     I think this is so incredibly true.  It's not just about doing activities with students, but having them connect it to their own understandings.  It's not just about spending 2 days at a conference, it's about reflecting on it.  I heard so many things from so many educators Friday and Saturday, including @jcouros, @MsMagiera, @askMsQ and #bsd100 staff.  How did their message affect me?

Here I go:


am Leah O'Donnell.

I am proud of the learning that happens at Hiawatha every day because our teachers put students first.  Sometimes that's hard to do, and negativity creeps in.  Find the positive. I need to do it, too.

am (like most people) afraid of change, but I also see the benefits of change.  That makes me brave enough to take the next step.  Change is an opportunity.

recognize that I am only who I am because of the people I have worked with along the way.  They are a part of me.  Keep looking for people to be part of your tribe.  

am who I am.  You can't take the Leah out of Mrs. O'Donnell, and I wouldn't want to.  I tell people when they matter to me, I cry when things touch me, and I take pictures to make memories and capture moments.  It makes me human.

recognize that other people are not me, and I need to respect that.  Empathy matters.

learn from my mistakes.  Most times.  I need to fail to sail, but I also need to not seek out failure.  It is a stepping stone, not a destination.  

love the fact that I can see the wonderful things my #bsd100 staff do, and I recognize it.  There were so many talents to recognize over these 2 days.  It's ok to celebrate the success of others.  

love learning from others, and connecting with others.  It energizes me.

want to make a difference in the lives of students in a way that matters.  

need to challenge myself to "do something nuts" to make myself even better.  But maybe not crazy nuts.  Just slightly nuts.

iEngage, and so do the rest of my colleagues in #bsd100.

Thanks to the iEngage Team for your innovation.  I loved being a small part of your crew.
Special thanks to +Jordan Garrett for taking over this year.  You did amazing.

Thanks to the educators who joined us Friday or Saturday for being part of our PLN.
My newest PLN members from outside of #bsd100? (Follow them!)
@jcouros (Keynote)
@MsMagiera (Keynote)
@askMsQ (Keynote)

Thanks to the classrooms who opened their doors to others.  

To see more pictures of the Hiawatha visits or the Saturday conference, click here.

Stay Connected!


  1. You're not the teacher that you imagined yourself 5 years ago because of your constant reflection. Failure happens when we take risks; I agree, no need to seek it! Great post on #iEngagebwyn I'm happy to be in your tribe!

    1. Thanks, Marilyn. I have certainly learned a thing or two from being in your tribe. :)

  2. Great post Leah! I love your "i" word- You picked the perfect one!

    1. I knew the words would come. :) Thanks for taking the picture! It probably seemed like a random request, but I am pretty random.

  3. Thank you not only for your kind words, but for being open and amazing. Your words meant a lot...and you love JT :) I look forward to continuing to connect!

    1. So... if you love JT as much as I do, then you probably have already seen these videos that Oprah made with him about growth mindset. They make me happy. If you haven't, go to this post about how JT is going to make me a better teacher:

      Also, I still can't believe the you commented on my blog. That made my night. You are such a bright light in the educational world!

  4. Such a great reflection, Leah. I particularly like "I am (like most people) afraid of change, but I also see the benefits of change. That makes me brave enough to take the next step. Change is an opportunity." You are spot on!