It is still amazing to me that what has started as a hobby has opened my world to so many wonderful opportunities. Blogging has enriched my life in so many ways, I feel truly blessed. I recently had the honor of being invited to Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration #DisneySMMC that was held at Walt Disney World in Orlando. This is an invite-only event hosted by Disney for media influencers and the experience has given me new meaning to the words “Disney Magic.” As a teacher, blogger, and a mom, I want to share some of my “take-aways” from this conference that I feel will benefit people from all walks of life.
1. Be Inspired.
Our first event of the conference was a reception hosted by Disney Citizenship. Disney Citizenship is a company-wide effort by Walt Disney to inspire kids and families to take action to make the world a healthier, happier, and inspirational place to be. Besides amazing food and a rocking DJ, everywhere you looked there were inspirational quotes being projected onto the walls. Words of wisdom from great innovators and creative individuals who have left their mark. My teacher brain was in overdrive. These are the qualities I strive for everyday in my classroom. It was very moving! I snapped pictures of many of the quotes and want to make them into posters to hang in my classroom. Check them out!
2. Be Creative.
Disney is synonymous with creativity, and everywhere I looked I was blown away with excitement. Disney creators push the envelope and create magical experiences for all ages. Here are some of my favorite Disney “WOW” moments.
3. Be the Future.
During the conference on Friday, attendees were hosted to many inspirational and motivating speakers. Eva Smith is the Head of Partner Marketing Communications and Insights at Pinterest. I was really excited to hear her speak because I am a Pinning junkie. I started pinning back when Pinterest was brand new and you had to be invited to join. Her talk summarized what I knew I loved about Pinterest. It helps me plan my future, whether it is school-related, family-related, or just something I want for me, I can find it on Pinterest. It helps me glean ideas from people like me!
4. Be Curious.
Where is curiosity a magical thing? At the Disney Imagicademy, of course! Another speaker at the conference was Dr. Tanya Altmann. I was REALLY excited to hear from her about the new Disney Imagicademy Apps. (If you are a mom or dad, you probably had one of her books when your babies were little!) She is one of the foremost experts on early childhood development. Have you seen these new apps? They are FANTASTIC! I put them on my iPad and they are great fun for my ELL and Firsties who need a little extra support. The shape songs on Mickey’s Shape Sing-Along are catchy and fun. I can hear my kids humming them long after they have stopped playing. What could be more engaging and purposeful? I love them!
5. Be Compassionate.
“Compassion is not compassion without action. We need to do something.” Check out 11-year old Vivienne Harr. She started a lemonade stand to end child slavery. Amazing story and an amazing young lady. We were all in awe of this young dynamo. Below is a link to her recent TED talk. You can also check out her website makeastand.com.
6. Be Persistent.
Did you know it took 5 years to create Disney’s latest animated film? I did not! During the conference, we got to hear from Disney Pixar Animation Studio producer Jonas Rivera. He produced Toy Story, Up, and most recently Disney’s new movie Inside Out. (Yes, we even got to see some of the movie! It is AWESOME!) Mr. Rivera shared the creative process behind this amazing film, and how his team worked and reworked the movie to achieve their goals. I think this is a great lesson for young and old learners alike. Writing is a creative process. You are never done, you are just ready for the next step.
7. Be Interested.
I’m not going to lie. I felt like a fish out of water being one of the few teacher bloggers at the conference. Usually, if there are teachers in the room, there isn’t an absence of things to talk about. There is so much common ground and we all can relate to each other. Being in a room with other moms, you would think it was the same. Alas, I found myself feeling a bit shy. Everyone was so very kind, but we all had our niches.
Guest speaker Chris Brogan gave us some great advice for networking. People like to talk about themselves. Be interested. He suggested asking questions like, “What project are you working on now?” He reminded us that no one is competition, and that we call all learn from one another. That, friends, is why I started blogging in the first place. I love to share and glean from other people. It makes me better and keeps me interested. It is a full circle and makes me whole.
8. Be THAT Someone Special.
So MANY Disney cast members made our trip special, but it was our encounter with Mary Poppins that will remain treasured. My muffin explained to Mary that she was in a Mary Poppins musical last summer. Mary asked her to dance with her on the way out. It was amazing and unforgettable.
While I don’t sing and dance as well as most of the Disney cast members, I think it is important to remember that our students are our audience. We need to be that someone special in their lives. Everyday.
9. Be a Motivator.
All-star, Super Bowl Champion Donald Driver also came to speak to our group. What does a football player and Dancing with Stars champion have to do with a bunch of mommy bloggers? In a word, Twitter. Donald is also known for his enormous following on social media. “Why do we blog?” he asked. “We all have a story to tell. Social media for me is getting together with my friends and fans to be able to share my thoughts on different ways that I can inspire, motivate, and change lives.”
I really took this to heart, friends. There is so much negativity surrounding education and teaching right now. It is hard to stay motivated and inspired. So many of my teacher friends have left the classroom because they were no longer inspired. I blog and read blogs for inspiration and to make myself better and motivate others. It has made me a better teacher, and it has enriched the lives of my students as well.
10. Be Present.
In the hustle and bustle of the school year, try as I may, I often lose sight of what is most important in my life – my family. I get very wrapped up in my students – their growth and achievement, professional development, and being there for my teammates, and the day-to-day grind and constant evaluations that is teaching today. This leaves me with small nuggets of quality time with my own children. During this trip, I rediscovered what it means to be present in my own children’s lives. They are growing at such a fast rate, that I feel like I am missing out. Thank you #DisneySMMC for the best Mother’s Day gift, ever.