February is a month that celebrates family, love and friendship! Of all these things, I am extremely fortunate to have so many inspiring colleagues that are also wonderful friends. Within the realm of education, practices and pedagogy are constantly evolving and it is because of these friends that I continue to push my own thinking and learning, reflect, and take risks for myself, my program and with my students. Whether it be lunchtime conversations, after-school workshops or casual coffee dates, three friends in particular have allowed me to pave new roads in my journey which I couldn't be more excited about!
Trista Dutt, Joanne Babalis, Vanessa Bianchi, and myself are all teachers, bloggers and passionate risk-takers who have enjoyed connecting as colleagues but also as friends, through networks like #CTInquiry: Connected through inquiry: A curious community of learners, social media (twitter, blogs), and in person.
“Four-ever Inspired” was created out of these unique, organic and inspiring conversations and connections that I've been fortunate enough to have created over the last four years of teaching within the York Region District School Board. To begin this exciting new chapter, the ladies of Fourever Inspired met at the Indigo Starbucks in Yorkdale Mall to brainstorm, collaborate and develop a plan for what we wanted our blogging community to be about...
A mosaic of creativity, learning and dreaming.
Each member of Fourever Inspired is colourful, creative, and dynamic in their own unique way. But...when together, the colours, creativity and passion that comes alive paints the most beautiful picture of collaborative learning.
The Evolving Educator
Vanessa Bianchi is an educator for the York Region District School Board, who is currently serving as a Grade 5 Homeroom Teacher. Through various leadership opportunities, workshops, conferences and collaborative efforts with colleagues, she has gained an interest in building positive and collaborative climates within the school environment. This collaboration allows for the design of intriguing spaces for students and teachers to learn, as well as construct curricular expectations around student-interest and passions, allowing for a dynamic educational experience.
Vanessa Bianchi and I became quick friends while teaching at the same school for the past three years. She is an extremely passionate, dedicated and driven Junior/Intermediate teacher, and we discovered quickly that we had lots in common and shared philosophies when it came to teaching, friendship, love and life. Our journey together as educators and friends continues to grow as we bounce ideas off each other constantly, share the many celebrations going on in our classrooms, and seek outside learning opportunities to fuel our passions.
Trista Dutt has a degree in Early Childhood Education, as well as her Bachelor of Education in Primary/Junior divisions and Kindergarten Specialist. She is currently teaching FDK at Moraine Hills PS, where she is a K-2 Lead Teacher and Learning @ Schools Classroom. She is passionate about the early years and exploring the world of play- and inquiry-based learning.
Trista and I had the privilege of meeting each other four years ago when we both landed our permanent contract positions with the York Region District School Board. I think back then we already had inklings that we would be seeing each other lots in the future! We were fortunate to be involved in a collaborative Math Hub with our two schools at the time which led to some wonderful new learning as we began our kindergarten journeys. I was instantly drawn to how passionate and knowledgeable Trista was, how eager she was to take risks in her learning and try new things within her program. We soon came to realize that we had lots of mutual friends within the field and I feel very lucky to have her within my Professional Learning Network.
-Joanne Marie Babalis-
TransformEd: Transforming our Learning Environment into a Space of Possibilities
Joanne Marie Babalis is a Teacher-Librarian, Early Years/Inquiry Lead Teacher, PhD student, and Kindergarten Additional Qualification instructor at York University. She is passionate about designing spaces that inspire inquiry-based learning and creative innovation for twenty-first century learners. Her blog, "TransformEd: Transforming our Learning Environment into a Space of Possibilities" www.myclassroomtransformation.blogspot.ca continues to reach educators throughout Canada and beyond. With each post, she hopes to make visible the power of inquiry, as well as the strong potential of all learners.
I was first introduced to the incredible work of Joanne Babalis by my old teaching partner, Heidi Theis who was an avid follower of her blog. After visiting Joanne's first Open House session, I witnessed firsthand the endless possibilities that classroom environments and the kindergarten curriculum can have on our youngest learners and how the practise of inquiry-based learning can have such a profound impact within the walls of our classrooms.
And so the journey begins...
We look forward to having you follow our journey!
“Four” more on the ladies of Fourever Inspired and the unique stories that brought them together, including those essential “work bag” items...
...visit Vanessa’s post, “Fourever Inspired: A Collaboration”: http://www.vanessabianchi.com
...visit Trista's post, “The Start of Something Truly Inspirational”: http://www.kindiekorner.blogspot.ca
...visit Joanne’s post, “4Ever Friends”: http://www.myclassroomtransformation.blogspot.ca
What's in my work bag?
Kate Spade Spiral Notebook, Michael Kors Glasses, iPad Air with iPad Air Smart Cover, MacBook Air, Learning in the Early Years (ETFOpley professional resource), Classroom Keys, Staedtler Coloured Pens, Sharpie Highlighter and Pen.