Sunday, March 19, 2017

Let's Get Real

So this is my first post in over two months. My last post, ironically, interestingly, unsurprisingly to me, was to jump on a blogging challenge.

You see how well that went.

It was not for lack of good intentions. I have plenty of those - in fact, you're welcome to some of them. I'll never get to them all if I live forever.

This one was pretty particular, though, because it involved writing. Daily writing. And journaling. I started out gangbusters. The blogging, not so much, but I still didn't let myself get down about it, because I was journaling, and I was really paying attention to what was going on in my head...and in my heart... That ended up being what derailed me.

It wasn't too long before all that just got too overwhelming. So I bailed. For too long. As I was going through my writing process for my chapter in the EduMatch book, I went through a similar period where I had to step back from the influx of information in order to allow myself the time and space to process, but that's not what this was.

My basic behavioral response was the same - I became pretty scarce in my Voxer groups, my information consumption was much more of the Netflix variety than blog posts, articles, podcasts or anything of intellectual value. I would try to move forward on projects, but it felt like swimming through wet cement. I couldn't focus, the usual mad tangle of fantastically diverse but ultimately connectable ideas that I have to sort through like a neglected jewelry box felt more like the "before" version of Pleasantville. This was more than just my creative process. When I would pop into my Voxer groups, it always felt so good to hear the voices of friends and colleagues, I could feel the veil lift, the smile return...but almost immediately I became uncomfortable, and had to bow out again for awhile.

Don't get me wrong, I went to work every day, my co-workers and students likely didn't notice any change, but at home, alone, I would have frequent, inexplicable crying jags three or four times a night. My eating habits have left a lot to be desired, and frankly, I've gained a lot of weight in the last few months. I would tell myself Ben and Jerry make me feel better, but the self-loathing that followed is closer to the truth.

Since I moved downstate in August, (if you are from NYC or Long Island, don't argue with me. I'm originally fromSyracuse. Westchester will ALWAYS be downstate) my doctor has made "errors" in my prescriptions three times - every time I have needed refills since the move. The most recent error was leaving out the prescription for my anxiety/depression medication.

Yes. There it is. I have an official diagnosis of anxiety and depression. And I am a teacher. That was surprisingly hard to type. It will be even harder to click the Publish button. But what is more important is that I am not alone. Project Semicolon has been around since 2013, and not too long after that, SemicolonEDU became a thing. Educators like Joe Mazza, Nick Provenzano, and more recently Michael Buist have written about their struggles. That in itself is a feat that deserves recognition. In this country, we do not do a good job dealing with mental health. Contrary to physical ailments, no matter how much progress we make, there is still a stigma and a lot of shame attached to mental illness. So there it is. I have a mental illness. Two if you're counting.

Now the first five days after my prescription ran out, I felt better than I had in years. I thought that just maybe karma had intervened, and I had been on that particular medication for too long, and it was time to try living without it. Yeah...that was wrong. Things have been really rough for the two weeks or so since then. Really rough. My boyfriend (who lives four hours away, so we've had a long-distance relationship pretty much since the beginning) held up a metaphorical mirror to my recent behavior, and just WHOA. I'll be calling the doctor tomorrow. No matter how hard I try to deny it or control it (because even though I recognize it as a mental illness, I still beat myself up and think that if I were a better/stronger person I could pull myself together. I can't.

But the semicolon. In punctuation terms, the punctuation signals the end of an idea but indicating that more is yet to come. In the context of Project Semicolon, in the context of my tattoo, and that of so many others, it signifies that my story is not over. Suicidal thoughts can be part of depression. The semicolon tattoo is a constant reminder that your life is worth living. You have more to do, your story is not over.

@semicolonEDU is a Twitter account that has begun sharing stories and uplifting materials to any followers in need. There is a closed Facebook group for educators looking for more intimate support, and Joe Mazza will host a panel discussion with EduMatch at 6PM Sunday 3/26 on the topic.

My most important message to you here, is that if these are issues that you struggle with currently or have struggled with, you are not alone. You don't have to keep faking it. We are here to help, and to share our stories. The FB group is deliberately closed, because not everyone is ready to be "out". The Twitter account can be followed, as can #semicolonEDU, and lurkers and pseudonyms are welcome.

Let's end the shame, and keep each other going.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rising to the Challenge

Thank you once again John Spencer! In his opening post of 2017, John challenged edubloggers (and other educators who have thus far been anxious about taking the step into the public eye with their writing) to step up their games.

So...step 1: Identify your goals, and post them publicly on John's blog via comments.

Blogging is something I have done in fits and starts for a number of years, but I have struggled with consistency. Every time I pick it back up I tell myself "this time, it will be for good!" This time I think I have been more consistent for a pretty good stretch, and since I have a bit of momentum, I think John's challenge is timed perfectly. his specifics also mesh well with my own ideas so here's part one:

  • post three times a week
John specified his days, I don't think I can be pinned down quite that much (I do what I want, as my daughter would say), but three posts a week, while ambitious, might be just the thing I need to get me in the habit to reach what has always been my goal of a weekly post ongoing.
  • write every day
I recently celebrated (OK, who am I kidding, I'm still celebrating) the publication of the first EduMatch book Snapshot in Education. This whirlwind experience has inspired me to commit to writing a full book in 2017. There. It's public. Nothing like making something public to pin a person down! With that said, I have purchased myself journals. Many journals. More jourothN one person could possibly need, but they all have different purposes, so that's my story, and I'm sticking to y! In any case, as part of my writing process I am reading A LOT, and journaling daily. So far so good!


  • Include audio or video in your posts
I have recently pondered the idea of starting a podcast, but have been very hesitant because it is a commitment above and beyond the two blogs (the other being mmetechie.blogspot.com) that I struggle with posting consistently and also I write much more coherently than I speak #truestory. So, this challenge is a blessing.

This is my first post of the challenge, but the first step is the most important! I challenge YOU to join the challenge! Get blogging! Your voice should be heard!

Friday, December 9, 2016

From the trenches

This will likely be the most difficult post I've written to date - at least on my edublogs. I started in a new position this September. My reasons for making this change after twenty years in the same district were many and complex, but high on the list was that I had begun to feel stagnant. In the twenty years I worked there, there was little turnover in my department, and I had begun to feel that not only had I reached the peak of what I could learn from the colleagues in my department, but also of what I could meaningfully contribute.  To put it simply, when it's time to go, it's time to go.

I knew my new position would come with new challenges:
  • totally different culture 
  • very involved parents
  • a tremendous need to step up my content game
just to name a few, and I arrived ready to face them head on. Or so I thought. Even after Back to School Night and Parent Conferences all seemed well -- almost curiously well. I was almost disappointed that I wasn't feeling the level of challenge I sought. Apparently appearances can be deceiving.

I now find myself in the midst of a tremendous struggle to maintain even the illusion of confidence. I feel extremely grateful for all of the work and study and reading I have done both independently and with colleagues like Dan Kreiness and Raye Wood on the topic of Growth Mindset, because it is this study, work, and collegial conversation that are getting me through right now. Weekend plans: reread Carol Dweck's book Mindset

Confidence been a lifelong struggle for me, despite what outward appearances may indicate. My first baby steps into leadership were in my regional organization LECNY: Language Educators of Central New York. It's a relatively small organization - membership rarely breaks 100. My entrance into a leadership role was purely accidental. A colleague was president at the time, and was trying to recruit candidates to run in the upcoming elections. She was partially responsible for the conference we both were attending, so she was feeling anxious. I made the blanket offer to help her in any way I could. The next thing I knew, my name was put forth as Second Vice President - a position that had previously not existed. Long story short, the additional position ended up being an excellent long-term decision for the organization, and it pushed me headlong into leadership. At the time I did not know it would be a four year commitment running through Second VP to VP to President to Past President, but that one moment, that one offer, started my leadership ball rolling. Probably just as well, because I may never have found the courage to take that first step on my own.

I include this story to give background for this excerpt from the first President's Message I wrote just over two years later that has been brought to mind in all of this:

I am honored and more than a little bit stunned to be writing this, the first of my President's Messages.  I feel I've been a bit of a late bloomer as a teacher leader, but that makes me want to express to my colleagues who are new to the profession or who might feel hesitant to step up as a presenter, the writer of an article, a board member, or just a volunteer:  I truly mean, with the utmost sincerity, if I can do it, you can do it.  There's nothing wrong with "lurking" as long as it isn't fear keeping you in the shadows.  Think of what we tell our shy speakers in class.


A little glimpse of my own growth mindset before I knew what growth mindset was. And still it is easier to encourage in others than to grow in myself, but upon revisiting my own words and Dweck's first chapter, I'm giving myself a much-needed reality check. From Dweck's first chapter here are some fixed mindset responses to a situation that could be compared to my own:

"I'm a total failure...I feel worthless and dumb."

Almost the exact words I tearfully spoke into the phone to my boyfriend who just had no idea what I was talking about - I mean truly reacted as if I had said 1 + 1 = pineapple. And of course that was the appropriate reaction, because I was totally overreacting, and defaulting to the fixed mindset I grew up with.

As expected, this post has taken several days to compose, but I'm in a much better place now than I was when I began writing it. Part of that is due to Dweck. Part of that is due to my amazing, level-headed boyfriend who has an uncanny way of seeing through my emotional reactions and offering clear, logical suggestions when I am incapable of seeing them. Part of it was reminding myself why I made the move in the first place, and persistently seeking out feedback - no matter how painful and difficult - so I could move forward and make positive changes.

And so with positive momentum, the learning continues. And that's really what it's all about.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Maybe first we laugh together

It's been a tough few weeks. I've been in astate of partial hibernation for awhile now, trying to cope with the last days leading up to the election, and the time since. I'm going to be open and honest here, because I don't know how to be any other way, but please bear with me regardless of where your political loyalties lie, because this is for all of us.

I am a hard core Berner. really hard core, even though I didn't join Team Bernie until a bit late in the game - about ten months ago, for what it's worth. I had been following the news closely, knew I would not likely vote Republican because too many of their platforms conflict with my core ideals, but also knew I was not in favor of another Clinton presidency. There was simply not all that much information about Bernie in the mainstream media. For what it's worth. Also for what it's worth, I knew in 2011 when Trump tossed around the idea of running that I would never support him even if hell froze over. What I had seen of him (primarily on Fox News, I'll get back to that in a second) was mean-spirited and volatile. Considering the precarious nature of foreign relations even at the best of times, I knew he was not presidential material, although I never at that time even considered the possibility he could win.

And yes, I have been known to watch Fox News, because, and I agree with Ann Coulter on this point (proof that as diverse as opinions and perspectives may be there is always some commen ground) it is as important to look at opposing viewpoints as it is those with which you agree. From there Ann and I differ because she views it as knowing her enemy, whereas I use opposing viewpoints to learn and to challenge my own - to be sure than my opinion is truly aligned with my core beliefs.

In the aftermath, I have experienced a profound sense of grief, loss, and fear for what is to come. It took probably three days post-election for me to shake the feelings of, if I am to be perfectly honest, depression and despair. I got up every morning, taught my classes, did what had to be done, but at home alone it wasn't pretty.  Only after allowing myself to feel those feelings could I find my next step...

Joebama


I started sharing the memes on Facebook, at first because they were just too funny not to share. Then, it became something of a mission to try to find and share them all. I called it cheap therapy to help me cope with post-election trauma. I think most people took it as tongue-in-cheek, but really it wasn't. Humor was a critical part of the process I am still going through to try to heal. All along I have known that my next step would be action - Changing My Realm of Control - but on the way to figuring out how best to do that, I turned to humor.

I found that the memes were appreciated by my friends regardless of political affiliation. It was almost as though they were icebreakers that allowed opposing sides to come together without hostility, and just remember that we are all human, and can share harmless humor.

The other thing that I feel I need to mention, is that as I began looking through the memes, I began to notice the sheer number of photos of Barack Obama and Joe Biden where they seemed truly happy to be in one another's company. They laughed together, and the photos clearly showed evidence of a deep friendship. Two men who worked together for eight years in the public eye through many contentious battles, and yet were able to develop such a remarkable closeness.

Moving forward, I know there is much work to be done, but for now, maybe first we laugh together.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Peace

September 21 was the International Day of Peace as designated by the United Nations. I have been honored since June to participate in a group of educators who broadcast monthly via the Periscope app using the hashtag #passthescopeedu. Typically these broadcasts are 5-7 minute "pocket PD sessions", or expressions of inspiration on topics like "Global Connections", "What Is Your Creative Mojo", "Succeed Together", and "I Know What You Did This Summer - How Will You Implement Your Summer PD Learning?".

Sometime over the summer it occurred to me (as random things often do) that the International Day of Peace might be a really great theme for s #passthescopeedu edition. I suggested it to the group, and the idea was accepted wholeheartedly. Over the next several weeks the regular participants reached out to colleagues local (which covers the US) and international.

What transpired yesterday far surpassed my hopes, and consisted of some truly inspiring messages of Peace from students, educators and others around the world. What was utterly fascinating and eye-opening was the number of different angles to peace that were explored. Along the path of preparation, I fielded questions from several colleagues regarding what exactly would be an appropriate way to scope a message of peace. My initial concept was to keep it as broad as possible, allowing for performance, art, poetry, more traditional presentations, or other ideas that people felt could tie in. Valerie Lewis compiled this storify of the day's event, but there is a synopsis below. 

Matt Frattali (most often known as Matt Frat) posed the idea that Campaign Finance Reform is an obvious road to peace. He made a compelling argument on several fronts, and waved the flag to rally educators to take action for change.

Cassie Reeder enthusiastically spoke to the power of global connections as a way to promote peace even with our youngest students. As a World Language teacher and an educator who has been more and more actively seeking to connect my students with their peers around the globe, I really appreciated her presentation.

Valerie Lewis, a Georgia educator, is considered by most of us in #passthescopeedu to be the driving force behind us all (not to neglect Derek Larson, Toutoule Ntoya, whose scope will be mentioned later in this post, and the aforementioned Stacy Lovdahl who are huge parts of the #passthescopeedu team). She brought student voice to the stage with her International and Peace Clubs, as they gave their personal thoughts on peace. In a similarly-themed scope, Nicolette James had students from the National Honor Society and LGBT Club in her Long Island school share some very powerful personal messages and solutions.

Judy Arzt is easily the most prolific scoper I follow. She broadcasts from many different places around the country (Old Sturbridge Village!!!) and gives in-depth historical and cultural information to her viewers. I loved her take on peace, because she gave background information on about a dozen or so former winners of the Nobel Peace and their accomplishments. She was able to provide a historical context for peace that I had not seen in other scopes - yet another layer!

Barbara Cotter was one educator who brought student voice in the form of song, as she scoped from Micoud Primary in St. Lucia. The multi-talented Dene Gainey did the same from his classroom, and several French students in my school shared

Fabiana Casella in Argentina gave her personal thoughts on peace and love and their connection, and James and Miriam broadcast similar sentiments from their current home in Georgia, though they hail from the island of Haiti.

Kimberly Howell spoke about connecting children's literature to teach social justice, while Stacy Lovdahl facilitated a conversation with a very knowledgeable and articulate group of high school seniors about connections they had made to current issues of social justice and various books they had read. One of my Spanish 3 classes shared a project we have been working on with Matone de Chiwit on the issue of water scarcity in Latin America. Fabulous connections between content, social justice, and the theme of peace.

Brian Romero Smith also involved his students, using Digital Citizenship as an overarching theme.  Without calling it Digital Citizenship, Sarah Thomas drove home the point that we all need to be cognizant of the images of our children - particularly our children of color - that we post, repost, favorite, like or otherwise endorse on social media. #trendthepositive is a great message for adult Digital Citizens as well as our students.

Toutoule Ntoya expanded on a conversation that started in a Voxer group, and discussed the impact of colonialism on language and culture in the francophone African diaspora. As a French teacher, this was one of my favorite sessions, along with being an issue that I love discussing with my students.

Rachel Pierson had a group of 6th graders speak directly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly apropos given the origin of Peace Day.

Venus Miller, a Family and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner from Homestead, FL spoke about the intersection of mental illness and domestic violence, and the need for vigilance.

Ashaala Shanae, a Brooklyn-born singer, songwriter, and motivational speaker, directly addressed issues of racism and oppression of African Americans - specifically black men.

The breadth and depth of the perspectives shared was absolutely stunning. The coming together of such a diverse group of international voices with the unified message of peace is something that will stay with me for quite a long time, and something I hope to repeat next year.

So my challenge to you, is to make a plan to add your voice and your personal message of peace to the chorus next year. We truly can be the change, but only if we take that first step.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bringing Students to the Table to Make Real World Change

When I started this blog, I made a point to try to end each post with something of a challenge to those who read it. This time out, I'm stepping it up.  I consider this to be more of a full-on call to action.

I look at the headlines, (Election 2016!!) and the more extreme things that turn up in my facebook feed (rapists walking free after three months, or not at all; yet another black man shot dead by police; abused children, abused elders.  When will it stop?

It just might stop if we actively start growing empathy in our students. STEM, STEAM, Makerspaces...as a World Language Teacher I have been on a crusade for nearly two years to bring WL to the STEM table. Content integration, interdisciplinary projects, honestly the names have become completely meaningless to me by now.  We need to be working together and making connections.

Then came Design Thinking.  I had been following John Spencer's posts and video shorts, but when I read the book Launch that he wrote with A.J. Juliani I was struck by the first phase of the Launch process:

EMPATHY

That is what we are missing from our STEM class and our Makerspaces.  Our Project Based Learning endeavors must begin (and I would add end) with EMPATHY.  That is perhaps the single most important ingredient we can cultivate in our schools -- and notice that I am not using the word "skill", because I don't quite think EMPATHY fits that category.  It is more of an essence that is always there at the start, but that can wither away if hate is allowed to take its place.  At the same time, once it grows, once you show it and share it, you will always have more.

This realization brought me to the desire (insistence if I am to be completely honest) to have a Service Learning component to my projects.  I have spent about six months at this point marveling at the seemingly random connections I've made, and the opportunities both for myself and for my students that have dropped into my path.  Upon reflection, however, I think it is just further proof of what my good friend Fran Siracusa has said: Good Brings Good.  Such an incredibly simple concept, but one that is proving to be true every step of this journey I am on with my students -- and I choose those words very deliberately.  This is not a journey on which I am leading them, we are truly learning together. And isn't that something powerful on its own!

In May, I wrote this post about Going Glocal after connecting with Karishma Bhagani and her organization Matone de Chiwit.  All by itself that post has a whole lot of kismet going on!  I had grand plans to weave Karishma's work into what I was going to be doing with a project-based team at my (now former) school.  Things changed.

The weekend between New Teacher Orientation at my new school and meeting the students for the first time I attended EduPassions.  It was unbelievable as a conference.  Totally inspiring, practical ideas I implemented day 1...and my door prize.  I won a year's subscription to Nepris. Now I'm a self-proclaimed techie rebel, but I had never heard of Nepris.  Yet, I put it on my list of top 3 prize choices, because Nepris claims to "Connect Industry Professionals to Every Classroom". I was intrigued.  While walking to get coffee, I decided to throw together a description of what we are doing with Matone de Chiwit, and see if they could find us a match.

Ryan Beltran confirmed his participation within a day and a half. Ryan is the founder of Elequa.io, and also a filmmaker. Oh, and fluent in Spanish. His expertise could not have fit our needs any better. So to bring this chapter of my story to a close, today, Wednesday September 14, was our sixth day of school. My students have learned about water scarcity in Latin America, divided themselves into project strands (Marketing, Fundraising, Research) and posed professional questions (in Spanish) to an expert in the field.  On Day 6.  My other Spanish 3 class didn't have the same opportunity, but that's OK, because


  1. The video will be available soon.
  2. Tomorrow they are presenting their project plans via Periscope to educators around the world - and inviting them to join us in making a difference.

In my research to create a database of Service Learning Experiences for WL Teachers and their students, I have been overwhelmed at the possibilities that are available to give our students authentic learning opportunities WHILE MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE. The opportunities are out there, and once you begin the process of making connections, the good takes over.

This is a call to action.  If you've never done a PBL Project before, do one that HELPS.  Find a problem in your community or elsewhere on the globe, and HEAL. Let's displace all the hate by growing empathy so big the hate has nowhere left to go.  It's time.

What will you do?  Let us know!

Monday, July 4, 2016

To ISTE or Not to ISTE, When Work Is Play, and My Tribe Sings Karaoke

I can't ever tell if I'm really good at titling my posts or really bad, but this one pretty near defied my best efforts.  I wrote a couple of "techier" posts on my other blog about my #notatiste experience this year, but as conversations within the #notatiste16 Karaoke Party Voxer Group (it's a real thing, I promise) evolved, we made the group decision to collaboratively blog about what we learned through the days leading up to "The Event".  I must, however, be perfectly clear:  none of us will reveal all of our secrets.  In many ways, the #notatiste16 Karaoke Party Voxer Group is like Vegas -- what happens there stays there (although unlike Vegas, we only gambled with our dignity.) On the other hand, there were some conversations and realizations that we collectively reached that definitely bear mentioning, because being mindful of some of them, I believe, can lead to positive change in the way teachers interact and learn from one another.

In general, the word "karaoke" sparks immediate, powerful reactions as soon as it is mentioned.  Some people love it, others (most people I know) would rather chew on broken glass.  It was at the EdCamp Organizers' Summit that I first became aware that these people I was connecting with professionally, these people I came to refer to as "my tribe" -- passionate educators willing to do just about anything in the name of improving their craft and making education better for our children -- had among them quite a few karaoke aficionados. As karaoke is really my only hobby, I have spent an inordinate amount of time over the last 20 or so years singing in odd places. (Think twice before you ever hand me a mic.)  All of a sudden, in the lobby of the conference center, professional networking morphed into spontaneous group songs belted at the tops of our lungs.  I was home.

Then, I heard that Ed Tech Karaoke was an actual THING at ISTE. My tribe. Except I couldn't go to Denver.  It was truly accidental that the idea of a virtual karaoke party connected with #notatiste caught my eye.  Or maybe the universe was trying to unite me with more of my tribe, because we, as a group, almost instantly self-identified as a tribe that would outlive the one night event with relationships enduring. (Yes, the #notatiste Karaoke Party Voxer group is still open for spontaneous bursts of song.)

The theme that emerged from the very start was that the #notatiste Karaoke Party Voxer group was a safe space. Within that space the interactions became more spirited, the "trash talking" commenced, and we all simply felt free to be ourselves without risk of judgement.  (our in-group hashtag was #norulesnoboundaries).  This is something we have known about in regard to our classrooms:  Safety encourages spontaneity and risk-taking.  Now we were experiencing it for ourselves, and so the creativity was unleashed.  Despite the fact that this event had the lowest of the low stakes (let's face it, it's karaoke, no one expects you to really be able to sing) there was increasing chatter among group members about planning (although some of the "stealth planning" didn't become clear until the event was in progress), practice, set lists... (I'm not kidding).  We all were so invested in this event, and the relationships grew from there.  We became a tribe.

The day of the event, several members half-jokingly talked about feeling guilty for spending more time in the Karaoke Party group than with other #notatiste events and activities.  But as the conversation flowed, we realized that the deep connections we were making, the exploration of apps and troubleshooting that was occurring in order to get the party started were all valuable exercises that we could take back to our own classrooms. While it is true that we were talking through the technology to collaboratively solve problems driven by our immediate need (Karaoke Party), we came into the #notatiste space as a whole with the purpose of learning and improving our craft.  I guarantee that, party or not, what we all learned in that group will be applied in our classrooms.

We talk about relationships being key when dealing with our students, but then are critical of ourselves for "taking a break" from work to deepen and grow our professional relationships.  #thingsthatmakeyougohmmm
Toutoule Ntoya described his #notatiste experience as a "whirlwind" -- with all of the possibilities offered, I can only agree:  Ignite sessions, Periscopes of most everything that went on in Denver, Bingo, Twitter chats...it was easy to get caught up and forget to breathe.  Additionally, a recurring theme that surfaced both from the #notatiste crew and many who were in Denver was that by far the greatest benefit of participating in ISTE in person or #notatiste was the connections and the people.  Mic drop.  Quality PD doesn't have to be intense and cerebral at all times.

After the EdCamp Organizers' Summit in April, there was a lot of discussion in the EduMatch Voxer group about how overwhelming the intensity of some conferences can be, and the need to step back periodically and reflect, process, connect with others, simply take some quiet time, rather than simply hopping from session to session for 7-8 hours straight.  Simply put, social activities like the #notatiste Karaoke Party have just as much value as the time spent in sessions.  We need these times and activities to recharge and to deepen the relationships that we form during our professional activities.

So...to ISTE or Not to ISTE?  For me, the verdict is still out, but I've always known that work is at its finest when it is most like play, and now that I have found my karaoke-singing tribe, all is right with the world.

So my challenge to you is:  Go out and find your tribe, and make time to PLAY. #noguilt

Please visit the following blogs to read more about the #notatiste2016 Karaoke Party

Makisha Rogers:  #notatiste Karaoke and Why it Rocks
Toutoule Ntoya
Cynthia Day:  notatiste Karaoke
Dene Gaines
Dan Kreiness
Barbara Cotter