Connected Learning: Empowering Students and Engaging Teachers



Starting on April 14th, I’ll be leading a three part webinar series offered by Heinemann. Here is the brief description of each of the part:

  • Tuesday, April 14, 2015 Session 1 from 4:00-5:15 pm:

Participants will learn how connected educators empower their students’ learning. Witness stories and examples from classrooms around the country and learn how these educators are making learning meaningful for their students every day.

  • Tuesday, April 21, 2015 Session 2 from 4:00-5:15 pm:

Participants will learn about the various social media tools and online communities that are fostering teacher engagement and collaboration. In this session, we will also brainstorm ways we can engage our school community, parents, and students through these channels.

  • Tuesday, April 28, 2015 Session 3 from 4:00-5:15 pm:

Participants will have a chance to form their connected learning plan and think about the ways they can take what they have learned in this webinar and apply it to the rest of the school year. They will also receive guidance and support with identifying specific communities of interest to join after the webinar is over.

My ultimate hope that through this webinar, we will build another online network of support for one and other and the participants in these webinar sessions will stay connected long after the series is over. Instead of just talking about the benefits of having a robust network of colleagues to tap into, some of the participants might even start their own local face-to-face or online networks for colleagues in their schools or districts. Ultimately, the goal is to apply all of this work to improving our students’ learning experience. To bring the joy, passion, and curiosity that we hope that all our students would embody. I hope you’ll join in and if you’d like more information, you can find it here. Thanks and hope to see you soon! Let’s have some fun together this April.



Congratulations to Nancie Atwell! #teacherprize

I am joining the chorus of many admirers and those who have learned from Nancie Atwell as she accepts the Global Teacher Prize for her life’s work on behalf of students and teachers everywhere.  I loved what she said about what she hopes this prize will do:



A few years ago at the NCTE conference, Nancie and I were speaking at the same event and she saw me briefly address the audience. As I walked back to my seat next to her, she said to me, “you’re going places kid, way to go!” That unabashed moment of encouragement has stayed with me till this day. Thank you for inspiring countless number of teachers like me with your work. Thank you Nancie!



Learning in DC at #TLconf2015

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On March 14th, I have the pleasure of joining teachers from across the country for the Teaching and Learning Conference in Washington DC. I will be presenting a Deeper Learning session where I’ll be sharing some of the ideas I’ve gathered from my classroom practice.

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I hope that you’ll stop by and say hi if you plan on being there. I’ll also be doing a book signing right after my session. Looking forward to a weekend of learning in DC!

Coming back & Poetry of Mary Oliver in the classroom

The last time I posted an entry on this blog, the school year was about to start, and I was giddy with the excitement of another school year.

It is now the beginning of March and even though, I have continued to journal, write alongside my students, this blog has mostly remained unchanged since that first day of school.

Perhaps because I am now teaching my Storytelling class to my seniors and having a blast with them, or maybe because finally the urge to write, to think, to share has overpowered my hesitations, I am finally here and am posting this entry.

In my Storytelling class, we started with personal memoirs and have since turned towards poetry. Yesterday we started class with Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” and gave my students a chance to play with language, I want to acknowledge the creativity and originality of two my students. We started by listening to a reading by the poet of

“Wild Geese”

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Then I asked my students to choose one line from the poem and write their own poem to it. I did the same exercise alongside my students.

Then my students shared their poems, their play with language out loud. Here are two responses that stood out to me.

Kenyatta B. wrote:

You do not have to be good

That’s a lie, you have to be the best

You have to work, work, work and work some more

They lie to you everyday and say life isn’t a competition but it is

You do not have to be good

You have to be the best


Bryanna J. shared:

In the family of things

you await your turn

patiently in the presence of your peers you are chosen 

to be an individual amongst the masses

They didn’t tell you that it was going to be hard, 

Nor did they tell you to be patient 

but you have been all along.

How is your writing going? What kind of writing are you doing with your students?

Returning to City Year for a Day


I started my post-college career by securing my first job as a staff member at City Year in Philadelphia. City Year’s work is aimed is all about helping students reach their full potential.

At City Year, we partner with public schools in high-poverty communities to help bridge the gap between what students need and what schools are designed to provide. In doing so, we’re helping students reach their full potential and make it to graduation in communities all across America.

This opportunity afforded me the look inside Philadelphia schools and the nudge I needed to get my teaching certificate and begin my journey. Last week, I had the opportunity to return to my first community and share my experience as a high school teacher. I spoke to corps member (Americorps volunteers) about the ways they can find inroads when tutoring and mentoring high school students. The experience and feedback was amazing and I am grateful for the opportunity. I hope I get to continue to stay involved with the organization that helped me get started on my journey as a teacher.

Many thanks to Michelle, Kellie, Sean, Jim, and other City Year leadership members who worked to get out to Boston last week.

In Conversation with Teachers from University of Southern Maine

I had the pleasure of “meeting” teachers from the University of Southern Maine via my online connection with Susan Dee. These participants had read Chapter 4 of Thrive and had collected their responses and questions in this google doc.

It was an invigorating discussion for me because their questions were honest, hard, and went beyond the platitudes that teachers often get. I hope I did justice to their inquiry and special thanks to Susan and other participants for their invitation into their learning community. If you want to check out our conversation from this morning, you can do so here:

Some of the questions we tackled together include:

What advice would you give to people who feel like they have never had any great role models for long periods of time (either as mentor teachers or colleagues) for teaching their specific subject. (For me, French) I feel like I’ve seen examples of what is not the greatest but not necessarily what is the greatest.

If teachers are supposed to show vulnerability, then how can we earn the respect of our students? Students will often test the boundaries of the rules early on, so how can we deal with this, while still showing an appropriate amount of vulnerability?

When I began teaching, I had a really hard time even finding a personal “voice” to listen to amid the noise of all that newness. Do you have any recommendations for first identifying one’s voice and sense of place within the structure and the complex personal relationships of the school system?

Start of @TheEdCollab – Congrats Chris!

I wanted to take a moment and congratulate my friend and colleague Chris Lehman as he embarks on a new adventure. If you missed his BIG annoucement yesterday, you can view it here:

This announcement leads me to wonder and seek feedback from you:

What kinds of services would you want from this group?

How do you think we can work together to best support teachers across the country?

What is a need in school that maybe speakers/consultants are not currently filling?

I am honored and humbled to be asked to join this work and I look forward to connecting with you soon! Many thanks for reading this post.

If you want to go far, go together

If you’ve been reading Thrive, then maybe you’ll consider joining a group of educators via the #EDThrive twitter chat on Monday July 21st at 7 PM ET. I am hoping to get a chance to connect with readers who I may not already “know” via twitter and hear their feedback. You’ll have an opportunity to share your teaching journey as well learn from other participants’ experiences. Please consider joining us for that evening. Here is more info:

If a Facebook group discussion is more like your thing, you might want to consider joining this Thrive discussion group created by John Scovill.

I am about to jump into that discussion and share some of my thoughts there, I hope you’ll consider joining this community for the next few weeks and share your thoughts as well. The greatest thing about having written Thrive is the continuing learning I am getting to do from the teachers who are sharing their thoughts on my work. I am truly grateful. The spirit of this book about not going alone and it is truly evident in these communities and conversations.

For example, this group of teachers in Indiana for past six weeks have been having a robust discussion around the book and ideas presented in it, you can join this conversation as well and contribute your own ideas to it.

Special thanks to all the teachers who are creating these opportunities for others to read, share, and discuss the ideas from this book. It means more than words can ever express. Thank you.

Salon (gathering) for Teachers — Free Event in Philadelphia on Monday July 21

On Monday July 21st at 11 am, I am hoping to bring together educators in Philadelphia to have a conversation around our practice. I posted the info below in a Facebook event and now there are already more than 10 educators planning on coming to this event.

Want to think more deeply about your practice and pedagogy?

Want to get a jump start on planning for next school year?

Want to connect with other inspirational teachers in the Philadelphia area?

I’ve been asked to meet and help support planning curriculum by several individuals in past few weeks. I figured why not gather more minds and share some of our ideas with one and another. So please consider coming and let’s (re)imagine and daydream about the next school year together.

Please help get the word out by sharing this event with your networks. Please feel free to bring others and invite other teachers to join us. Thank you! Hope to see you there.

Meenoo Rami

If you’re in Philly, I hope you’ll come out on Monday, see more info here. What would it look like if more of these salons were planned around the country. Steal my idea and create such an event for educators in your area and share your conversation with me. I hope you’re enjoying this month of July. Take care.