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Amy Heavin @AmyHeavin

Amy Heavin @AmyHeavin

Amy Heavin is the principal at Ryan Park Elementary School, MSD of Steuben County in Angola, IN. She has been a school administrator since 2010, and taught middle school English for 8 years prior. Passionate about curriculum and instruction, she pursues learning opportunities to blend 21st century essential skills instruction with best practices. As a moderator for the #INeLearn Twitter chat and contributor for EDWords and Fractus Learning, she promotes integration of strong pedagogy with technology in the classroom. Follow Amy on Twitter @AmyHeavin

Posted by on in Education Leadership

I walked into a classroom to find 23 students busy at work. I walked around, and each student cheerfully said hello and proudly showed off their work. I stopped at one table, and the little girl and little boy were just sitting. I asked if they were finished, and both said no and looked very sad. I asked them where their paper was, and they both said they didn’t get one. I told the boy and girl to go ask for one, that sometimes this happens, but they need to ask the teacher for a paper. They did, the teacher happily got them a piece of paper, and both got to work, smiles on their faces. Crisis resolved.


This instance got me thinking, as many events during the day tend to do. As educators, we are often so busy or not sure where to turn, so we never ask or step outside our comfort zone to try something new, taking a risk. Our professional growth is stale because our school day is so fast-paced, by the time we need to ask, the rest of the world has moved on, leaving us stuck with a comfortable teaching technique or same procedure. That little boy and girl were not sure what to do, despite knowing they could simply ask the question in order to get that piece of paper. But they both felt the time to ask had passed, and they weren’t sure what to do.


We cannot allow the opportunities for our professional growth slip by.


Professional learning is a passion of mine. There are multiple topics I enjoy reading and learning about, such as technology, literacy, leadership, and motivation. I often ask myself, “What do you want to focus on, learn more about?” And over the past few months, I am drawn to the development of collaborative communities within a school and throughout the wider educational community.

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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Words are powerful. Whether they are written or spoken, words convey meaning to our audience, or ourselves. Our words explore our thoughts and ideas, becoming our reflections of the day on the topic that fills our minds.  

From a very early age, we teach our children to “use their words” to express their wants and needs. As toddlers, my own children would grunt and point, scream and stomp, wanting something, and I would simply say, “Use your words.” Our children learn that words will produce reactions from others, learning and using this power at a young age. As parents, we mold and model our use of language in positive ways so that our children can learn to effectively utilize this skill. 

As soon as students enter our schools, we also teach our children the importance of words, not only in spoken language, but also in the power of the written word. Putting pencil to paper to express thoughts and ideas empowers our children to dive deeper into the meaning of the words they put on the page. It is a beautiful moment when a kindergartener writes his first phonetic sentence, sharing his joyous venture of the day! 

Throughout schooling, we ask our children to put pencil to paper, writing their thoughts, exploring content, and even typing their responses to questions. It is an expectation that all students know how to write well and are able to express their ideas effectively.

 Yet, as adults, our daily efforts to use our words in the ways we were taught in school succumbs to the daily grind of our work, pulling together these words for work-related tasks via email, memos, or plans. The thought of writing our reflections from the day or even the week seems tedious and time-consuming. With the demands of family and career, writing for our own enjoyment and reflection is often the last thing on our to-do list! 

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