Embracing the Spark of Learning to Ignite a Fire of Passion

Anyone who’s ever been to an Ignite knows how fast, furious, and totally inspiring they can be. I’ve been lucky enough to attend several, and earlier this year, I took a leap of faith and accepted to present at our divisional Ignite evening: LRSD Ignite. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the format, an Ignite talk consists of 20 slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds, giving you a total of 5 minutes to share your story. The best presenters that I’ve seen seem to perfectly match their words to their visual slides in order to create a powerful impact. These talks are a wonderful way to share passions and projects in a condensed and concise way that can also create an opportunity to connect with one another in order to learn more. Inspire and be inspired; there are endless possibilities when taking what someone else is doing, putting your own spin on it, and applying it in your own context.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to prepare for my Ignite talk, but thankfully I had lots of support from my PLN to bounce ideas off of and pull it all together. I think all in all, I did a good job for this being my first Ignite talk, but I look forward to sharpening up and growing to make it even better next time. Since my Ignite talk has come up several time lately, I decided to write about it and share my journey to learning and growing in education, and how it is my passions that drives me! (Anything in italics are notes that I am adding now, which were not originally part of my Ignite.)

Slide1Hi everyone! My name is Annick Rauch and I’m a first grade French immersion teacher at École Sage Creek School. Tonight, I’m here to talk to you about “Embracing the SPARK of learning to ignite a FIRE of passion.”


Slide2So, I said I’m a teacher, but I’m also an avid social media user, blogger, and a mom of four boys – 5 if you count my husband! From hockey, to swimming, to homework, to working full time… well, I think you get my point. I’m a little busy.


Slide3The number one question I get is “HOW DO YOU DO IT?!” People believe I have some sort of super powers in order to do all that I do. The simple answer is that I do what I have to do… but I’m here tonight to share my secret… Are you ready?


Slide4It all comes down to PASSION! Where do your passions lay? If you follow that energy, you will find the time, even MAKE the time to dive into them, to learn, and to grow.


Slide5When I was busy popping babies out – you know, all four of them, my passions laid in things like baby wearing, cloth diapering, and making fancy birthday cakes. I learned everything I could about these things and surrounded myself with other people who were passionate about them, too. But passions changed, embrace change, and change with them! As George Couros said, “Change is an opportunity to do something amazing.”


Slide6When I went back to work after my last mat leave, I was ready to fully dive into this profession. I went to a conference at High Tech High in San Diego, and it changed everything for me. I was overcome with a sense of excitement and empowerment because I was surrounded by like-minded educators. This was the spark to my new passion!


Slide7I got onto Twitter and started following other passionate educators. In my news feed, I kept seeing “like a pirate” books and decided to order Learn like a Pirate! Then something magical happened, THE author, Paul Solarz replied to my tweet! WHAT! And his book transformed my classroom into a Student-led classroom, yes even in 1st grade! This kindled my flame.


Slide8I saw #IMMOOC being promoted and my curiosity was piqued. Without much knowledge of what a MOOC was, I decided to take a risk and go for it! I bought Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros and signed up. #IMMOOC fanned my flame.


Slide9Through this MOOC, I took another leap of faith and started my blog. I had no idea where it would go, but I discovered that my sleepless nights became less frequent because I was processing my thoughts and reflections as I wrote about them.


Slide10I continued to learn and grow with every round of #IMMOOC and became more involved every time. I even helped by hosting Twitter chats. And just last week, George asked me if I would help to facilitate an Instagram book study starting at the end of January. Join us! (This book study is now over, but you can read about the process here. Also, George and Josh Stumpenhorst are starting another Instagram book study with Drawn to Teach on April 22nd if you’d like to check that one out!) 


Slide11Between the #IMMOOC rounds, I picked up Teach like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. This book, and its community of educators, added a bundle of wood to my fire and made it rage bigger than ever! If you haven’t read this book, you seriously need to!


Slide12I got connected to even more like-minded educators who constantly push and support me to new heights! I continued to take more risks by hosting #tlap chats and noticed that more and more people wanted to hear what I had to share. (Since this Ignite, I’ve continued to take risks and have been fortunate to share my voice by being a guest on the Teachers on Fire and Teach Better Talk podcasts.) All that learning and growing transferred into my classroom. 


Slide13For 3 years now, I’ve been doing a huge 3D community PBL project stemming from the simple question: What makes a good community? We research. We plan. We share. We collaborate. We build. We learn.


Slide14The PRODUCT is always more impressive every year… many can’t believe that this is ALL done by 1st graders, but it’s really the PROCESS that is incredible.


Slide15Global connections is a powerful tool, and our students should have access to it! Thanks to technology today, it’s easy to connect with classroom and experts around the world to learn and grow in authentic ways beyond our classroom walls!


Slide16My students have had edu-rockstars read to them (shout out to Roman Nowak, Dave Burgess & Pirate Day, and Tara Martin & #REALyouSnaps). We’ve also connected with other classrooms for Global Read Aloud and to play Mystery Letter; similar to Mystery Skype (thanks Brandi Miller and Desirea Rieke). And one day, our curiosity spiked when we read a book about bridges. We connected with Tamara Letter who accepted to spend time answering some questions we had about a bridge that goes under water where she lives!


Slide17Last year, my best friend and colleague, Nycol and I noticed that our students were having trouble persisting when tasks got challenging and that’s how Growth Mindset Read Aloud #MindsetMondayLRSD was born. Each week, a hosting class reads a Growth Mindset book and leads a slow twitter chat by asking questions to others around the world through social media.


Slide18Classrooms can watch the video of the story and responding to the questions on Twitter. We are running the second round RIGHT NOW, and we would love if you and your students would join us! (The second round is now over, but Nycol and I look forward to doing it again next year! Subscribe to my blog by entering your e-mail address so that you don’t miss the next announcement! You’re also more than welcome to check out the old blog posts anytime and watch the videos with your students!)



And just last week, something CRAZY happened! An educator in Australia (Karen Caswellshared that she is staring a Kindness Read Aloud, inspired by us! Nycol and I created Growth Mindset Read Aloud. We overcame perfectionism. We shared it with the world. Now it’s spreading, and we amplified our impact. We reached Australia! (Kindness Read Aloud is also over, but check out Karen’s blog for some awesome stuff there, too!)



Remember that spark I had during that conference at High Tech High? I built on it and continue to build on it. It is THIS PASSION that allows me to do all that I do.

I would be incredibly honoured if my talk tonight was the spark for even just one of you here. If so, please connect with me and I’d be more than happy to be the fan for your flame.

What a thrill to relive this experience by going over my slides all over again! As an added note, I want to point out that surrounding yourself with people who already have a raging fire doesn’t extinguish yours, it ignites it and helps it grow! So, find your tribe, you know, those educators who will push, support, encourage, AND challenge you so that you can continue to strive to become the best possible you. If I can be so lucky as to be a part of that, please connect with me on Twitter or Instagram, so that we can continue to fan one another’s flames! xx

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