Saturday, December 29, 2012

EduOnAir: Eric Curts, "Rolling Out Google Apps For Education"

Published on May 7, 2012
This Google+ Hangout was part of the Education On Air conference on May 2, 2012.

Hangout Description:
Google Apps for Education is a powerful suite of free web-based tools for schools including Gmail, Google Calendar, Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Forms, Sites, Blogger, and more. Learn step by step how our district rolled out Google Apps to our staff and students, why we chose Google Apps, plus staff training, challenges faced, lessons learned, the benefits of cloud computing, practical examples of how staff and students are using Google Apps, and how we are saving money while expanding educational opportunities for everyone in our district.

For more details and resources related to this presentation please see here:

Session hashtag: #rollinggafe
Conference hashtag: #eduonair

For more information:
--Conference website:
--Google in Education Page on Google+:
--Other videos:

Friday, December 28, 2012

How to Lead an Inventive Life: TEDxYouth@Khartoum2012 Suhaila

Published on Dec 24, 2012
Suhaila: Her talk is about leading an inventive life and how she thinks that in
every one there is an inventor waiting to emerge. She presents a way in which
anyone can achieve that way of life.

Connecting with your life's purpose: Sandra Hilton at TEDxWhitehall

Published on Dec 28, 2012
Sandra Hilton talks about the importance of connecting with your life's purpose.

Sandra helps senior leaders of global organisations discover and define their purpose in order to be authentic and effective in an increasingly stressful and chaotic world. Her work is informed by her own life experience as Sandra has a pretty eclectic background. Before becoming a consultant, she spent several years as a project finance lawyer and before that worked in the film industry, living and working for almost ten years in Russia through the dramatic changes of the 90s.

Whatever she has been involved in, she is driven by the belief that everyone is more successful and more fulfilled when they're living on purpose and bring the value that only they can bring. Her passion is to help people understand, define and live that value and to serve her own life purpose of creating wholeness within herself and others.

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Monday, December 24, 2012

Google+ Communities - What we know after 1 week (part 3)

Streamed live on Dec 12, 2012
Google+ Communities - After 1 week; Ideas, thoughts, praise, concerns, ANSWERS. More info... find Ronnie on G+ here: The Product Mgr. for G+ Communities Brian Glick joined us! Wahoo here is a link to him: he says he would be happy to join your hangout! Visit Jesse at: & Nikol at:

We talk about how GPC or GPComm has evolved over the approx 120 hours since it has started, get some helpful answers from Brian and some great ideas from Jesse & Nikol.

I mention the idea that many Public Communities are popping up all over and the wave will likely turn to Private later (if not already). GPC may be best kept focused on specifics and less useful to us if they are too broad and become too big in what they cover... Time Will Tell.

Leave your thoughts and comments about your experiences with GPComm (and vote on GPC vs. GPComm as a nickname... the one with the Plus in it is a challenge for using as a hashtag!). If you found this valuable, please share it with those that would also like to learn.

Google+ Communities - What We Know After 18 Hours (part 2)

Streamed live on Dec 7, 2012
Google+ Communities - What We Know After 18 Hours... Now that we can make our own, we discuss Google Plus Communities (Groups). to visit Ronnie on G+, Jesse on G+ at: & Nikol Murphy on G+ at:'s discussion is based on what we have experienced to date. 

Google+ Communities - What You Need to Know (part 1)

Streamed live on Dec 6, 2012
Google+ Communities - What You Need to Know... We discuss the brand new release of Google Plus Communities (Groups). Visit Ronnie on G+ at: - Jesse on G+ at: & Nikol Murphy on G+ at: Just rolling out to us today... this is what we've been waiting for: TOPIC BASED Communities. Watch the video here to get an idea of what we might be doing with this cool new tool.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why Leadership Matters

By Will Deyamport, III, Ed.D Candidate

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard that teachers are the determining factor in a student’s academic success. Aside from that not being true, that frame of thought dismisses the importance of school, district, state, and federal leadership. A teacher can only do what the leadership has planned, designed, and allowed him or her to do. If the leadership’s primary focus is on raising test scores, then you are going to see that school not do well, no matter who or what type of teachers are at the school.

There is a reason why suburban schools are more successful than urban or rural schools. Discounting parental and communal support, what suburban schools do differently is focus on college admittance rates as well as developing the whole student. By not having such a narrow view of student success, suburban schools have more expansive and rigorous curriculum, greater expectations for their students, and empower their teachers to challenge their students. While urban and rural schools cling to rote memorization and hand cuff their teachers to teaching to the test.

OK. Yes, I know that suburban schools don’t have to deal with generations of poverty, high dropout rates and high rates of teenage pregnancy, and parental neglect. And yes, I know that suburban schools don’t have to deal with students who started school from behind on day one. However, that doesn’t excuse the lack of leadership that has been displayed by too many urban and rural leaders at the school, district, state and levels.

Leadership sets the overall tone of the school. They create the culture, choose the learning programs, and make the personnel decisions. Leadership is responsible for the mission and vision of the school and is charged with making sure that every action taken falls in alignment with said mission and vision. Leadership spearheads innovation and encourages the teachers as well as the students to bring their best selves to school. Plain and simple, leadership is the spoon that stirs the drink.

If urban and rural schools continue to make testing and graduation rates their be all, end all, then we are going to see more schools in urban and rural areas fall short. Fixing America's urban and rural  schools begins with fixing public education's leadership problem.

What I would like to see is a fundamental shift in how urban and rural schools live and breathe.  I want to see leadership that embraces change as an inevitability and seeks out opportunities in which their schools can move from a consumption model to a production model.  I want to see leadership that makes it its mission to develop the strengths and talents of students. And I want to see leadership that understands that we live in a global economy, and we can no longer prepare our students for the jobs/careers of yesterday. 

Will Deyamport, III, is an educational digital strategist, new media trainer, online content creator and Ed.D. Candidate at Capella University. With more than 13 years of experience recruiting, youth development, and  seminar and workshop design, Will is a thought-leader, astute at harnessing the power of digital media to build community, learning networks, disseminate information and create authentic learning experiences. In addition to being the founder of, Will is also a guest blogger for myPathfinder Career Blog and has been featured at, Will is working on his dissertation. The topic: Using social media to individualize professional development for teachers. In the future, Will hopes to become a university professor where he plans to lead the discussions about the social, cultural, technological, and educational issues of our time. He is fueled by engagement and collaboration, and he wants to be a part of an institution that fervently believes in the power of ideas to change how people think and live their lives.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Race and the Missing Ed Reform Agenda

By Will Deyamport, III, Ed.D. Candidate

Everyone from politicians to corporate big wigs to media personalities and pundits has weighed in on public education. With some blaming teachers and teachers’ unions and some blaming the government and the government’s role in public education, there are others who seek to privatize public education and those who huff and puff about the need to burn the whole system down. Those battles aside, the one discussion that is missing in reforming public education is nearly universal: race.
Normally the discussion of race centers on poverty and the lack of choice for kids of color. After which the conversation moves towards the parental guidance the students have or don’t have and the kinds of communities kids of color come from.  Not only is this conversation short-sighted, but it fails to address the real problems with race in public education.
To read the rest, please click here to go the Ecology of Ed.

StrengthsTalk Minisode 3

Today's minisode was with Margaret Buj who is an interview coach and senior recruiter. We talk about how to prepare for and make a winning impression in an interview. 

To take Margaret's free video course 'Get Hired!', click this link.

You can find Margaret on Twitter at

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Social Media and the 21st Century Educator - MAGC 2012 Presentation

For the first time I conducted a presentation with my wife, Elvira Deyamport, Ed.S., who is an elementary gifted education teacher. We covered the 3 social networking sites we believe every educator should join.

Svetlana Lucas MAGC 2012 Presentation

Svetlana Lucas is a middle school gifted education teacher, parent advocate for gifted children, and adjunct professor. Her presentation focused on how parents of gifted children can advocate for their children within the public school system.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

StrengthsTalk Minisode 2

I talk with life coach, speaker, author, and bow-tie designer Mike Bruny of The New Art of Conference Networking and 
Check it out Mike's book "Move the Crowd" here:

You can connect with Mike on Twitter:

StrengthsTalk Minisode 1

I talk with Leah Olson, Executive Direction of FACES Foundation. You may remember Leah from the talk on blogging. During the talk, we discuss what FACES Foundation is, the work they're doing, and how you can get involved. 

To learn more, check out their website:

To connect with Leah on Twitter, go to:

StrengthsTalk is a G+ talk show.

Friday, August 31, 2012

What are your 12 dreams for 12 months?

About the author: Muhammad received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tougaloo College, in Tougaloo, MS and received his Masters in Social Work degree from Clark-Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also a brother of the Beta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. Muhammad is married to his beautiful wife, Dayeshell and is the proud father of three children, Aminah, Amirah and Amir. For more information about the Dream Support Network, visit our or visit our location at 29 West Main Street, Rockville, CT. For more information about My People Clinical Services, visit our website at

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Simple Steps To Get Back On The Path Of Achieving your Dreams

By Isa Zapata

Dreams are part of us! We all have dreams but not all of us believe that there are achievable.

We all had dreams when we were kids but those dreams start to vanish, as we get older and learn about “limitations”. That’s when we start to say that dreams are for kids!

We’ll if that were true, Walt Disney may have never had created all his magical characters that bring so much joy to our lives, or Steve Jobs may never believed he could change the world working from his parents garage.

So yes dreams are possible! But it’s up to us to believe in them again and share them with the world. 

When you believe in yourself and your dreams, the whole world will!

Our dreams must come from our hearts and not from ego. And what I mean by that is dreams as life itself have always two paths in this, they are EGO or HEART.

An example of someone having a dream coming from EGO could be: “I want to become rich so I can have collections of Luxury Automobiles so I may show them off to all my friends” that’s a simple but clear example of a dream that comes from EGO.

Dreams that come from your heart are dreams based on making a difference, helping people (including our families) and adding something positive to society.

So it’s very important to know where our dreams come from. If you’re not sure which place does your dream come from then ask yourself if your dream can make a difference in someone else’s life, that simple shift will give the passion and strength to keep on going no matter what lies ahead.

Another quality to focus on is PERSEVERANCE. That word needs to be written on your forehead! Let’s be clear…I’m not talking about getting a tattoo but, just keep that word as your daily reminder when obstacles appear because they will. And when those obstacles come, remember the words from Winston Churchill “NEVER NEVER GIVE UP”.

When obstacles appear learn from your mistakes and keep on moving forward towards your dream!

It is very important to keep your mind open and be able to REINVENT YOURSELF if it’s necessary. Sometimes changes need to be made. We may start with an idea but that idea is not working so tweak it until it does.

NO PLAN B! Yes you heard that right! If you start following your dream with a plan B, it’s like getting married and have a girlfriend on the side in case the marriage doesn’t work. Can you imagine the result of that marriage? Well the same goes for your dreams if you have a plan b, you’ll never put all the guts that it takes to make it happen!

BYE BYE NEGATIVITY! Alienate negative people and thoughts from your life and mind! You don’t need to have daily reminders of all the bad things that can go wrong. Only surround yourself with people that support you and believe in you!

Tell the people around you that you gladly accept positive criticism to grow and perfect out whatever you are doing but do not accept negativity! Those are two very different things and you need to know how to differentiate them.

It’s also very important to remember that  “It’s not the destination but the journey that matters”  so enjoy every single second of the journey, both the good and the bad. Those moments are building something essential in yourself; they are building you to be the person capable of achieving their dreams!
Isa Zapata

About the authorIsa Zapata brings a whimsical and vibrant element to art, combining her Latin roots with an eclectic sensibility. After receiving a Master's degree in Marketing, Isa decided to move to Miami to pursue her passion for art.
Her breakthrough came in 2005 when she received the Artist in Residence position at Miami Children's Museum. She taught art workshops to children while giving her the opportunity to expand her artistic horizons.
Since launching her own company in 2006, Isa's art, fashion and home décor lines have become synonymous with individuality, positivity, sophistication and vibrancy. She’s created product lines with her original designs ranging from murals to hand-painted furniture, custom bedding, eco bags, lithographs and the newest addition to her fashion line: “"Limited Edition" t-shirts. Her work has been licensed making their way onto murals, door huggers, t-shirts and giclées for national and international companies such as: Laila’s, FDV and Picture.
Her artwork and wearable art decorate the lives of many famous celebrities such as: Juanes, Barbara Mori, Kike Santander among others. This prominence has significantly increased the value of her original artwork among art collectors worldwide.
Isa's talent has garnered much press attention. She’s been recognized as one of 2009’s “Top 20 Under Forty” by Brickell Magazine, one of SOFI Magazine and L’Oréal’s "33 Emerging Creative Minds You Need To Know For 2010." She’s prominently featured in The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, Al Rojo Vivo, Key Biscayne Magazine, District Magazine, NBC Miami, Comcast Newsmakers and Cada Dia: NBC/Telemundo, among others. Isa’s artwork has been seen by millions as they have been featured in Hispanic Telenovelas such as: “Perro Amor”, “El Rostro de Analia” and "Mi Corazon Insiste en Lola Volcan".  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Valerie Buckingham: The Importance of Authenticity

Valerie Buckingham, Head of North America Marketing of Nokia on "The Importance of Authenticity" at the Advertising & Marketing Content Hub at JWT during Social Media Week in New York City, February 13th, 2012 

Photo Credit: Social Media Week

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Interview with Allison Freeland of recently had the opportunity to conduct a student interview with Will Deyamport, III, MSEd. Will is currently a full-time online doctoral student. In addition, he presents at conferences, and writes for several blogs, including Will received his undergrad from University of Mississippi, and currently attends Capella University.

To read the rest of the interview, click here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Using Social Media in the Fashion Industry | Parsons The New School for Design

Parsons is a part of The New School, a university in New York City offering distinguished degree, certificate, and continuing education programs in art and design, liberal arts, management and policy, and the performing arts. PARSONS THE NEW SCHOOL FOR DESIGN |

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Muhammad received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tougaloo College, in Tougaloo, MS and received his Masters in Social Work degree from Clark-Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also a brother of the Beta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. Muhammad is married to his beautiful wife, Dayeshell and is the proud father of three children, Aminah, Amirah and Amir. For more information about the Dream Support Network, visit our or visit our location at 29 West Main Street, Rockville, CT. For more information about My People Clinical Services, visit our website at

Friday, July 13, 2012

You Don't Need Anyone's Permission

ChaChanna Simpson is a certified life coach, Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, speaker, author and Empress of Your Stellar Star, a self-empowerment company for women who are chronic people pleasers, struggle to say no and are finally ready to make themselves a priority. She’s made it her personal mission to remind women of the stellar person they are and teach them to love themselves just the way they are, no matter what they've done, how they look or what they do or do not have. Her workshops, coaching programs, and products are all designed to empower women to create a life they love where they no longer feel they need to be Superwoman. ChaChanna is also a strong believer of helping out in the community and spends her “free time” preparing meals for Inspirica once a month. She has been known to say, “We are all on this planet for a purpose: to help others. I refuse to believe we are on this planet to just wander around and only care about ourselves. Yes, we are born alone but we don’t exist alone.” ChaChanna is a graduate of The College of New Rochelle and is a member of Business Network International and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

So You Want to Edu-blog?

By  Katie Hellerman, M.Ed.

Imagine that we are looking at an index to your blog. Take ten minutes and write down as many titles to posts that would appear.

Determine the purpose of your blog.
Who is your audience? For example, I write for new teachers. Others really have an ed-tech leaning or subject area focus. You don't have to have a purpose, but I find it gives me a little bit of guidance when writing. Look at your list of blog topics. Are there any themes you can draw out?

Make a list of resources
What do you already have that you could modify and use on your blog?

Think about how you best express yourself.
In video, photos, cartoons, short stories, interviews...

Write your first post
Spend no more than a half-hour creating your first blog post. Remember, that it doesn’t have to be an opus or five paragraph essay. I like to keep it short and write the way that I would speak to someone. Again, tone, format and length are all your choice.

Make a commitment.The worst thing you can do is start a blog and then flake out on it. What a waste of every-one's time! Decide how often you will post and force yourself to stick too it.

If you’ve gotten through all the above steps and you are still interested......Sign up for a blog!
If you don’t want to buy your own domain and hosting services, I think blogger would be a great place for you to start a free blog. You'll have to set up a google acct. But you really should have one anyway because of all the resources Google provides (google docs, reader, youtube). If you aren't keen on a google account my next suggestion would be to use Wordpress. It's what I use for my blog (I have my own domain and thus use I’ve heard the learning curve is significant, but the functionality is better.

You could also skip the whole blog process entirely and publish directly to Google+.

Connect your blog to a social media outlet
Part of the fun of having a blog is knowing that people are reading it. I’ve found that Twitter is a great place to share links to my post and to find other blogs that I like.

About the author: Katie Hellerman is a middle school teacher and success coach for pre-service and new educators. Her work with them focuses on setting short-term goals that lead to the achievement of long-term life goals. Katie is a graduate of Smith College and holds a MEd in Secondary Education from Vanderbilt’s Peabody School of Education.

Google+ Hangouts Best Practices - how to do a Google Plus Hangout

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Understanding Your “Why”

By Will Deyamport, III, Ed.D. Candidate

Yesterday, I came across Understanding Your “Why” by Stephanie Chandler. I was so inspired that I was moved to write my own post.

When it comes to discovering one's niche, calling, or career path,
most people look at their interests, passions, strengths, etc. We focus so much on the tangible traits that we can list or check off of a job listing, that we lose sight on the energy or feeling we get from doing the work. And so, in keeping with Stephanie Chandler's post, I started thinking about my Why and the reasons digital media speaks to me. 

Until sitting down to write this post, I couldn't put a finger on why I have had such a difficult time with finding my career path. Just now it dawned on me. My happiest, most successful jobs have been about me engaging and interacting with people. Starting with my first job as a retail sales associate to my time as a program coordinator to my time as a conversational tutor for adult ESL students to my time as a recruiter for a nonprofit organization. Yet, I have spent the last four years looking at my educational background and skill sets, as opposed to thinking back to the times in which I was energized and renewed from my work.  

I have always been social. Ever since I can remember, I have always enjoyed meeting new people, and felt a sense of  wonder and excitement from being surrounded by people. I am drawn to people's stories - their beliefs, successes, experiences and dreams. Nothing rejuvenates me more than dialogue.

I need discussion and interaction in my life. I derive tremendous satisfaction from being around people. What excites me the most or what I find most thrilling is connecting and the exchanging of ideas. I enjoy being a part of a larger conversation. This clarity has given me the insight I had been searching for, and lit a fire in me to pursue a career in higher education teaching educators the many educational applications of digital media. That is my Why.

After reading this, I challenge you to discover your Why. What stirs your soul? What excites you? What ignites your sense of possibility?  

Please leave a comment. I'd love to discuss your Why

Will Deyamport, III, is an educational digital strategist, online content creator and Ed.D. Candidate at Capella University. He has been featured on and writes a monthly piece for Will started his blog,, in 2009. Peoplegogy is a continuing education blog whose aim is to assist adults in improving both their personal and professional lives. Via timely and engaging articles and vlogs,’s mission is to empower individuals to live the kind of lives they want for themselves. Currently, Will is working on his dissertation, which focuses on using social media to individualize professional development for educators. Follow him on twitter @peoplegogy

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dream Chasing is Easy; Dream Chasing is Hard

By Abdul-Rahman Muhammad, MSW

Muhammad received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tougaloo College, in Tougaloo, MS and received his Masters in Social Work degree from Clark-Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is also a brother of the Beta Sigma Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. Muhammad is married to his beautiful wife, Dayeshell and is the proud father of three children, Aminah, Amirah and Amir.

For more information about the Dream Support Network, visit our or visit our location at 29 West Main Street, Rockville, CT. For more information about My People Clinical Services, visit our website at

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Doctoral Confessions: Serendipity Embraced

By Suzanne Porath

Recently, I downloaded from Itunes a speech by Lee Shulman given at Stanford University entitled “Preparing Minds for Chance Favors: The Challenges of Routine and Surprise in Professional Education.”  Shulman attributes the origin of the word “serendipity” to Horace Walpole, who told a fairy tale about the princes of Seridip. In the story, the king sent his three sons out to learn about the world. According to Walpole, “as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.” Shulman links chance to happy accidents and sagacity to having a prepared mind that recognizes opportunities when presented.  I mention this story because it leads directly into my path to and through graduate school as a doctoral candidate.

It began with a tearful phone call from my mom that informed me that my dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer.  At the time, I was teaching at an international school in Aruba.  It was time to return to the US and without a job, housing, or clear plan, I ended the school year –  anxious yet gleefully anticipating a new stage in my life.  (Just a quick preview, so you aren't distressed, my dad is still with us and most likely working in the garden as I write this.  He received both chemo and radiation treatments with a positive attitude and has thrived.)

I had considered completing my PhD in education while overseas, but the online programs were not designed for ex-patriots.  I knew this was the opportunity for me to take the time to pursue my degree. Since the goal was to be near my parents, my choice of graduate school was limited to two schools.  I prepared a solid CV and statement of purpose, but without the advantage of knowing the campus or professors, I depended on someone taking a chance on me and accept me as their doctoral student.  Clearly, someone did take that chance, as I was accepted to UW-Madison in Curriculum and Instruction and will finish my dissertation in the next year.  Throughout this process, though, I've learned a few lessons about being a PhD student.

Lesson 1 – Be open to possibilities when they are presented.

Serendipity came into play again during my first meeting with my adviser just weeks before classes were to begin.  She asked if I was looking for funding, as the Teaching Assistant who was supervising student teachers had recently resigned.  Having been a classroom teacher for 12 years, I jumped at the chance.  I was fortunately to have that funding for 4.5 years. Even though it was at moments, time-consuming and stressful, I am grateful for the support and having the opportunity to visit numerous classrooms and schools.  I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for funding – so this was more chance than being prepared!  Throughout my graduate life, I worked hard to be prepared, but I also had to be an the lookout for chance opportunities when they arose.  When my initial adviser left the university, I had to find a new adviser, but through this I found a supportive group of critical peers and we write and present together.

Lesson 2 – Get in the habit of goal setting, writing and publishing – it is academia after all!

Having lived overseas for over 10 years, I thought I was going to weather the culture shock of returning to the US fairly well, but I wasn't prepared for the culture shock of academia.  Within the first month I was overwhelmed by the reading and writing and the constant doubt whether I had the smarts and gumption to complete the degree.  When I first reached out for help from veteran grad students, I was quickly slapped with the statement, “Graduate school is sink or swim.  If you can't swim, you don't belong here.”  Fortunately, I stumbled on Paul Silvia's book How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing and formed my own supportive writing group. I credit my own survival and positive attitude about academia to this group.  We used positive peer pressure to set and achieve writing goals, and, along the way, encouraged each other through the dramas of grad school.  In addition, an article I wrote connected me to my current research site.  Now that I'm a veteran grad student, I make sure to give the type of support to the new students that I was looking for.  And, I encourage everyone who will listen to plan and schedule writing sessions with an eye to publication.

Lesson 3 – Not everything you do needs to get 100% effort 100% of the time. Prioritize!

In my program, we have three years of classes before preliminary exams, which tend to be the literature review for the dissertation, including both methodology and theoretical framework.  My department tends to be qualitative focused, though more professors are beginning to do mixed-method work.  The guiding philosophy given to new graduate students is to explore, sift, and then winnow.  What many students, including myself, struggle with is having the doors flung open to every possibility and then having to deal with the recognition that you don't and can't know it all.  However, have faith in the process – as I got nearer to writing my proposal, my own focus become clearer.  I can see this struggle in the faces of the newbies – as they frantically try to thoroughly read every assignment.  As a grad student I had to balance supervising, teaching and my own course work, along with family responsibilities.  Jim Burke, my favorite writer and teacher, encouraged me to “honor your roles” - consciously choosing to prioritize and make time for those things that matter most, and sometimes that meant accepting an incomplete on a course until I could devote the time to it.

Lesson 4 – Look forward and backward – but stay focused on the present.

Five years ago, I had no idea I would be a doctoral candidate.  A year ago, I had no idea I would be researching in an elementary school.  A month ago, I had no idea I would be teaching 6th grade in the fall as I finish writing up my dissertation. I am excited to see how my 4 years of intensive study has changed the way I teach. While I have plans for the future, I know that chance favors the prepared mind, so I'm staying focused in the present to enjoy the companionship of friends and family, the excitement of teaching middle school, and the challenge of  academia.

Suzanne Porath is a dissertator at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in Curriculum and Instruction, Literacy studies. Her research focus is embedded professional development of teachers through collaborative reflection.  In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member at Concordia University Wisconsin.  Having been a classroom teacher for 12 years, Suzanne has returned to the full-time classroom teaching in middle school humanities.  Married to a director of information technology, her own professional development is infused with technology through Twitter @LitProfSuz and her blog which recounts her classroom days and grad school meanderings.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fashion Advice for the Maturing Woman

By Rachel Matthews Burton

Mature’. Unless associated with a vintage wine, or an aged cheese, we, womankind, do not particularly like the label.  Especially when it comes to our clothes.  The fashion challenge as we age, is finding clothing that respects that we are not twenty-one anymore, but does not transform us into our Grandmother. So, how do we put together a look that says, “I am not old, I am sophisticated. I am not irrelevant, (even though marketers seem to believe so), I am a professional and modern woman, who has it going on!”.  

Let us begin with the basics; A neutral pant, dress, skirt and blazer. ‘Neutral’ meaning a colour that will play well with others: black, grey, tan, navy. Find a great fit in the basics. Trust and patience is required here, oh!  and please, go hunting with an open mind. You must throw yourself at the mercy of a good sales associate and ask for their guidance in finding a shape that works well for your body. Here are some good examples of basics:

Spend most of your budget on your blazer, as cheap jackets tend to look, well, cheap. If you can afford one in a few neutral colours, go for it! The next step is to turn these few basics into something fabulous, fashion conscious and sophisticated.

Here`s how I suggest you do it: Blouses, shoes, belts, scarves and shoes that have pattern and, or, colour. (Because nothing screams drab and `mature` like a navy suit with a white shirt, navy pumps, belt and matching purse). A punch of colour can give you an instant facelift and will catapult you into this season. It will also revive boring blazers and carry you from the office to the weekend, (if you style it the right way).

Images: skirt: Beige suit: 

Just because you work in a corporate environment doesn`t mean you should wear a uniform of black or grey. Here are some great examples of how to wear colour fabulously:

Images in order of appearance:

But, if these brights scare you a little, scale down the colour with a purse or a belt:


If colour is simply something you can’t get comfortable with, take your inspiration from a woman who is always in the public eye and whose image is under very close scrutiny. Michelle Obama commands respect, dresses with impeccable style, is always on-trend and still manages to ‘look her age’.


To finish, I`d like you to take a look at the two looks and decide for yourself which feel `mature` in a good way, or, in not so good way. When you`re done, ask yourself why. Remember, you are as old as you feel and you feel the way you think, so think joyfully!

Images in order of appearance:

Rachel Matthews Burton was born and raised in the United Kingdom and Asia, she now calls Canada her home.  A mother, wife and business woman, Rachel has lived her passion as a professional fashion stylist and in her fourteen year career has become a top-billing veteran of the image-making industry. RMB has styled models, celebrities and everyday people for magazines, advertising campaigns and television shows. She has appeared as a style expert on dozens of television series, a spokesperson for large corporations and has been a guest writer in several high-profile magazines and online posts. Her ‘Rack to Rack’ fashion workshops have received accolades from local and national press, well known websites and respected fashion bloggers. Her partial portfolio and TV reel can be viewed at and more on her workshops can be seen at