Sunday, January 4, 2009


I was just getting ready to call it a night and started thinking about serendipity...a happy coincidence. My son would tell me, "That was random", but it really isn't.

I Began with a Plan
I knew, almost a year ahead of time, that I would be teaching in my current position. I probably killed a tree (slang for printed A LOT) with all the research I did for Kindergarten through eighth grade classes. It took me till this year - seven years later - to finally admit it needed to be recycled.

It's almost as if I needed to do all that research, look at all those static web pages, and try things out on my own before I got to where I am today. I'm pretty satisfied with the work I accomplish with my students. My original plan for the first year was to have K-3 work on similar tasks with some over lap in 3-5 and 5-8. The second year, I filled in new work for the even numbered grades and continued to bump it up year after year.

Here's Where Serendipity Works
I have a set of skills that I expect my students to achieve at each grade level, but I don't have to have the same project year after year. In previous years, I would have Kindergarten students draw any Christmas picture in December. The first graders drew an advent wreath. The third graders drew a Christmas card. This year, I had them do the same work, but the output is very different. Instead of a single printed page that came home in the backpack ... possibly crumpled up ... probably thrown in the garbage or at best recycled, we showed our work to students in other schools.

I arrived at this project as the result of a happy accident. I am a statistics junkie. I like to know how this blog posts I write are found. I've established several wikis with different educational content. I keep track of those pages, too. One day, I noticed someone came via so I stopped by. I was delighted by what I found. The site quickly became a daily stop. When I first found the site in September, I wrote that there were over 100 educators. Today there are 255 and counting.

I didn't plan these Winter Wonderland movies for Kindergarten, first, and third. The follow up lessons to creating the movies have all been serendipitous events.

Today's Gem
I stop by Twitter often during the day for a few minutes here and there. I share a comment, offer a hand, or otherwise connect with my network. Silvia Tolisano shared the following message: Please help my elementary school "Go Around The World with 80 Schools" Please retweet. Thanks

I went to the Langwitches blog and filled in the Google Form. We'll see where it leads my students and I. My sixth graders enjoyed a Skype experience last year. It was tied into a math project. My Kindergarten students enjoyed a Skype call in December. Whatever class (or classes) participate will come away excited. It's a quick in/ quick out type project. I will post information about the outcome after we participate.

Everything Happens for a Reason
This all ties into what Lisa Parisi shared as item number one on her list following the "Seven Things" meme. Everything happens for a reason. I don't know why I chose to type the search term into Google that led me to see my first wiki. Even preceding that, it was the way our school's secretary answered the phone that led me to enroll my son at Saint Michael. His enrollment, led to my joining the Home and School Association which in turn led to my job.

So, be on the lookout. The seemingly random choice you make today may have a ring of serendipity several months or years from now. Happy New Year and be open to the possibilities.

Image Citation:
Screen capture of my Statcounter page. I highly recommend their service!


  1. I am so glad you followed my tweet to "Around the World with 80 Schools". We are almost up to 40 schools, just a day after the tweet. Once we reach 80, I will chart our course with my students and start contacting our stops along the way. Currently I am working on a wiki to organize the project better and make it more accessible to others. I will be in touch soon!

  2. It's very interesting to read your story on how one little click led to a whole bunch of other great stuff. Please keep sharing what you're doing - there are many of us interested in learning with you.

  3. @Langwitches I really like these type of quick in/ quick out projects. It gives me a chance to show the students something new and often leads to other ideas.

    @IMC Guy It's always nice to receive notes like yours. I've been enjoying the blogging process and sharing what I do.