Let me begin with a confession. I LOVE social media for professional connection and collaboration. I LOATHE social media in relation to my personal life. I simply do not use it. I am a pretty private person and like to share special moments the old-fashioned way, rarely posting about my personal life online. And if I am really honest, scrolling through the personal feeds of others can be fun, but it tends to waste a lot of my time...and sometimes, make me feel less than. Less than because I am not sharing pictures and updates as they are. Less than because they are having much more fun than I am. Less than because they seem to be enjoying every minute of their lives and I can find myself struggling to make it all work.

So, when I read this Big Fresh post by Brenda Powers at Choice Literacy, I was uplifted. In it, Brenda talks about our Instagram selves and our Google selves. Our Instagram selves showcase the things that are going well, our successes and things that make us feel confident….the things we choose to tell others. But our Google selves showcase the hidden self-talk of our minds: private, honest reflections at how our life is at that very moment. We might ask Google how to lose weight, to make sense of medical symptoms (never a good idea, by the way), how to coach reluctant teachers, how to be happier in our jobs and more. Think about your last Google searches. What were they and what might they say about your state of being and living at that moment? Pretty telling, right?!

This sketchtivity offers teachers a powerful way to share what is honestly on their hearts and minds related to their teaching. In your next session, give teachers some sticky notes or a link to an anonymous Padlet wall instead. Ask teachers to think about their teaching and classroom life and share their secret Google searches to make them better. Here are a few ways I have tried this with success that you could try in your own coaching.

  • As an opening move: As teachers enter the room for a professional learning session, book study or grade level meeting, ask them to think about the topic of learning for the session and capture what they might search about it on Google to generate questions to launch conversation. Teachers can share their searches on sticky notes or on an anonymous digital wall, but either way, you ensure the conversation is focused on what matters most to teachers.
  • As a way to reflect: After learning together, ask teachers what questions they still have that they might Google later on to help push their learning forward. Capture these searches and use them to plan your next session.
  • As a parking lot: Create a small display in your coaching space asking teachers for their secret Google searches, like a suggestion box. Or, create an anonymous digital wall linked to your website instead. Teachers can add to either board at any time to inform your planning and coaching.

Many of us harness the power of the Google search bar on a daily basis in our own lives. Why not capitalize on that same practice for our coaching? Share your ideas for trying this in your own coaching below and if you're up for it, I'd love to know your own private Google searches about your coaching life. How can this community support you?



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  1. I love this idea Stephanie! It’s a coincidence that I just had a discussion with a colleague this morning about the social media side of sharing our lives because I don’t do it either and I feel like such an oddball. Like there’s no one else in the world who feels this way. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. Thank you for sharing this great idea. I would love to share it with my community.

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    1. I'm so glad you found this helpful! You are definitely not alone and I hope your community enjoys it, too!

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