celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘iste

How many of you dread the word “Monday”?

One click of a Google search for “Monday quotes” and you can see the struggle is real:

Monday Quotes

What if it was possible to actually look forward to Monday? Say what? Yes! I’m serious! What if you could start your week with anticipation of something good instead of something bad.

Impossible? I think not.

For those of you on Twitter, you already know a few hashtags people follow for inspiration. You can now add #celebratemonday to your list. No, I didn’t create the hashtag (even though some of you thought I did!) Those kudos belong to principal Sean Gaillard, a motivating force behind the Monday positivity movement. Check out this article by ISTE, explaining how it all began!

This Monday morning, I woke to find a tweet from Sean giving me a shout-out on Twitter:

Sean Gaillard Tweet

When was the last time you had someone give you a shout-out to others? On social media? On a MONDAY MORNING?

My day was made and I hadn’t even left my house.

I was tagged in another tweet from Ashley Hurley, a gal in my virtual PLN:

Ashley's Tweet


So inspiring! Already my brain was spinning, thinking of a random act of kindness I could do to #celebratemonday. How fun!

I had to leave school early today to take my middle child to get braces on his bottom teeth (definitely not a RAK in his eyes!) and while I waited in the office for him to gather his belongings from class, I gazed at the beautiful tree painted on the office wall.

Not just any tree. A Giving Tree.


There were only a few leaves left on the tree, but surely I had something I could give. I reached up and removed a leaf to bless a teacher at my son’s school.


While I waited in the orthodontics office for the dental technicians to add brackets and wires to my child’s teeth, I thought about the leaf I pulled. I don’t know Ms. Owens, but I could imagine her purpose for those stress balls. Maybe she’s a SPED teacher and knows how some students need to keep their hands active to refocus their attention. Maybe she’s a P.E. teacher and wants to use the balls as part of a class activity. Perhaps she’s a science teacher and wants to use the balls in an experiment. No matter the reason, she needed the balls and I couldn’t wait to fulfill her wish.

Guess who’s getting 12 new stress balls soon! ūüôā


Later today, I had another friend, Kitty Tripp, tag me in her post about a random act of kindness she completed for a stranger:

Kitty Tweet

So awesome!

If you are looking to be inspired on a Monday morning, check out the hashtag #celebratemonday on Twitter. You might be amazed how good it will make you feel! Share your joys as well – celebrating Mondays inspires everyone!

Have a wonderful week ahead! Feel free to comment below with something good that happened to you today and share with a friend!



Recently, I found myself in a heated discussion with someone else about the role “random” plays in the phrase “random acts of kindness” (also known as a RAK or RAOK.)

“You can’t call it a RAK if it’s not random. The fact that you are pre-planning the event takes away from the novelty of it being a true random act of kindness.”

My first instinct was to fight. To argue. To defend my position on RAKs: my purpose, my mission, my style. I was caught in the whirlwind of surprise and disbelief.

And then I laughed.

Yes, it’s true, I have been known to laugh at the most inappropriate times. Humor is probably my strongest defense mechanism and I use it without thinking. What a wonderful world we live in that we can have such petty disagreements as to whether or not a RAK could be random or pre-planned!

So I bring to you my last set of RAKs from the ISTE 2015 Conference – a set of TRULY random acts of kindness that made my heart happy:

Portable Battery Charger

As many of you know, Twitter is the social media of choice for technology conferences. Even if you’re not physically able to attend the conference, you can easily glean resources and make connections using the conference hashtag.¬†To get an idea of the power of a PLN, search the hashtags #ISTE2015, #ISTE15, #notatiste15 and #notatiste. There’s a wealth of resources right at your fingertips!

When you physically attend a conference, the worst thing that could happen is your device shutting down from low battery. I hate when this happens, so I always come prepared. While waiting for the first Ignite session, I sent out a tweet referencing my portable battery chargers (I had three in my purse, ready to go at a moment’s notice) and the power strip peeking out of my purse. Several people¬†read my tweet and commented back, then the conversation was lost in a sea of retweets, mentions, and hashtags.

A few hours later as we made our way back to the conference center to listen to the first Keynote speaker, I saw this tweet in my newsfeed:

charger tweet

Oh how funny! The tweet made me laugh, that someone actually remembered my previous comment. I tweeted out a photo of my charger case in response with the comment, “Hope you like pink!”


Suddenly it hit me. This guy really did need a charger! Going into a Keynote session with only 23% battery life? He wouldn’t even MAKE it to the main speaker in time. It was then that the joking over Twitter transformed¬†into a true RAK as I set out¬†to find¬†him, tweeting my location and searching the crowd to find¬†his group.


Yeah… 21,000 registered attendees and I was trying to find a guy I had never met. What were the chances?

Well, with a bit of perseverance, half a dozen tweets, and a great big dash of luck, we were able to connect and I gave him my portable charger to use. I walked away, thrilled! It was AWESOME to help someone else in their time of need, even if only for an extended battery life! I told him we had to take a selfie as proof¬†(and no worries… we met up the next day when he not only gave me my charger back, but also gave me another I could add to my collection! A pay-it-forward RAK back!)


The best irony of all? The person in this photo is Jason Markey¬†(@JasonMMarkey), principal of East Leyden High School in Franklin Park, IL. After I snapped the selfie with my phone, he said, “I loved your Ignite session on Random Acts of Kindness last year.” His comment left me literally speechless! Little did he know, I started following his #leydenpride hashtag shortly after last year’s ISTE Conference, blown away by his school’s commitment to sharing kindness through Twitter. What a small world!

Rain Jacket

When we arrived in Philly on Saturday night, the weather was nasty: cold, wet, rainy. The umbrella I brought was little protection from the wind and driving rain that pounded sideways against my skin. My coworker, Heather, offered up her rain jacket and I accepted with glee! What a perfectly timed, completely random RAK!

Photo Jun 27, 4 18 52 PM

Speaking of rain, a huge shout-out to Heather (@hcausey) and Stacie (@sctaylorITRT) who shared the driving responsibilities there and back in the midst of crazy traffic and endless rainstorms. These gals are AWESOME and you should definitely follow them on Twitter!

Photo Jul 01, 8 17 24 PM

Happy Birthday Flash Mob

As we were traveling to dinner one evening in the city, we spotted our dear friend, Chris O’Neal¬†(@onealchris), who now lives states away from our district. We immediately ran up and did a “Celebrity Selfie Flash Mob” (where we quickly gathered around him and snapped a photo). As we finished, he made the comment that it was an awesome birthday present (“What? Today is your BIRTHDAY?!?!”) so we immediately¬†serenaded him with the Happy Birthday song right there on the streets of Philly. Totally random and so much fun!

Photo Jun 28, 7 33 24 PM

The Liberty Bell

My oldest son is fascinated by coins. He has spent countless hours researching the images and words shown on coins and at a moment’s notice can give you a “Fun Fact of the Day” related to the history of any coin you find. When I told him I was traveling to Philadelphia, PA for the ISTE Conference, he said with amazement, “You mean where the Liberty Bell is? Did you know the half dollar has the Liberty Bell on it? And you get to see it for REAL?” To say he was excited for me to experience this little part of history was a grand understatement.

Due to the rain and our packed schedule (as well as hotel accommodations outside the city limits), it didn’t look like we would have time to visit the historical site. I tried to prep him the best I could when I called home the second day of the conference, but his disappointment was tangible, even states away.

And then… my amazing coworkers assembled one afternoon in the midst of rain storms and sun, grabbed me and said, “Let’s go!” We had no idea where we were walking; we took a turn right, then backtracked left, but eventually made it to the location of the famed symbol for independence. We made sure to take a photo to send back home to my son.

I have the best team EVER!

Photo Jun 29, 7 26 27 PM

May I Take Your Photo?

It may seem like such a small RAK, offering to take someone else’s photo, but what a wonderful way to help someone else capture a memory forever. I caught my coworker, Casey (@cnugentITRT), offering such kindness to a group of strangers as we were leaving a restaurant and made sure to capture the moment for my own Smile File.

Photo Jun 29, 8 00 15 PM

Expo Hall

One of the busiest places at the ISTE Conference is the Expo Hall. Hundreds of vendors, all vying for your attention, hoping to reel you in with the latest and greatest tool or “must have” addition to your school or district. Many times vendors come prepared to entice¬†with freebies, small trinkets to give away to say “Thanks” or promote their business.

While I know the end result for vendors is to walk away with sales and commissions, I am repeatedly impressed by their generosity. One vendor had these cute little bee shaped figures decorating their space. When I stopped to admire one, the sales rep said I could have one. I thanked her, but declined; my three kids would fight over who got to keep the toy. She simply smiled and gave me three of them, then handed me three foam airplane kits, too. Wow! How thoughtful!

I stopped at another vendor station, enticed by their PLN buttons I had seen other people wearing. When I explained that I was doing a PD presentation focused on expanding your PLN through socia media, she reached under the table and handed me an entire bag of buttons. Not one. Not two. Not even five. AN ENTIRE BAG! I was so giddy, I could barely contain my glee!

Photo Jul 01, 11 54 55 AM

So much generosity. Sheets of stickers. Pointers. Keychains. If you’ve ever had a conversation with an elementary teacher, you know they are desperate for any toy or knick-knack to stock their prize box or classroom store. These trinkets were treasures indeed!

I even had Billy Krakower¬†(@wkrakower), the amazing co-moderator of #satchat and #njed messaging me to give me a ribbon for my badge, a Tomorrow’s Classrooms Today shirt, and some travel bags. He was so kind to go out of his way to connect with me in the midst of this enormous group of people just to pass along his kindness.

As you can see from the stories above, the truly random acts of kindness are just as meaningful as the ones that are pre-planned. Many of you do these types of RAKs on a regular basis and never give a thought to just how wonderful your actions are for the receiver. For me, conferences are a fantastic venue to notice unique opportunities to bless others.

And to round out all the RAKs, I even had another gal compliment me on my favorite skirt. ūüôā

Photo Jun 29, 12 37 51 PM


In addition to preparing Blessing Bags for the ISTE Conference, I packed some extra goodies to surprise conference presenters and attendees. There were three separate random acts of kindness, but each asked the recipients to tweet out the RAK using the hashtag #ISTERAK if they found them. The photos shared on Twitter were priceless and brought a smile to my face each day! Maybe these will give you some inspiration for easy-to-share RAKs with others!

Free Compliments

I printed a few sheets of paper titled “Free Compliments” with tear-off tabs at the bottom. Some of the compliments included sayings like “You’re Beautiful!” and “I wish I could pin you on Pinterest.” I taped the compliment sheets to the back of restroom doors, thinking they would be seen by many. Here are a few of the photos shared of this RAK:



“You are tech savvy!”


“You are tweet worthy”


“I like your style!”

The biggest thrill came at the end of the conference when ISTE (@isteconnects) tweeted out a photo of my compliment sheet, all tabs taken, with this message for all their participants:


“#ISTERAK spreading kindness at #ISTE2015. Attendees, you are all amazing!!”


If you are looking for some “nerds”, a technology conference with 21,000 registered participants is the place to be! I left these boxes in random places inside the convention center to be discovered by whomever. Here are a few of the lucky “nerds”… how awesome that all four boxes were tweeted out!


Here is one box I left on a seat. Below are the photos posted by others to Twitter.





You Are Worth 100 Grand

I am a strong believer that you should compliment someone when they do something well. For this reason, I like to bring along 100 Grand chocolates with a little note saying “You are worth 100 Grand.” Here are a few people that received some sweet treats for their awesomeness:


Right after Adam Bellow (@adambellow) and Dean Shareski’s (@shareski) session on “Hacking Keynote”, I ran up on the stage and handed them both 100 Grand. Their presentation was funny and informative with lots of opportunities for learning and sharing.


I had so much fun touring the poster sessions, especially those where students shared their work. The Tech Ninja Squad was a technology club for 4th and 5th graders and these gals were very eager to share all the cool projects they made!


Another poster session I loved had students sharing the projects they created with green screen technology.


They definitely earned their rewards as they patiently walked me through each step of the process. Twice.


I had my first “celebrity selfie” moment where their teacher (Pam Craig – @Pcraig911) looked at my name tag and said, “I follow you on Twitter!” What a fun moment – I’m not used to being on the receiving line of that statement! (And yes, I’m wearing a cape. You didn’t know I was a superhero? Ha!)


After using my cell phone and iPad all day, it was time for me to find an outlet and charge my devices. As another random act of kindness, I carry a power strip in my purse a conferences so I can share my multiple outlets with others. It’s a great way to meet new people, too!


One person I sat beside had THE most amazing accessory holder for all his chargers and cables. I was so impressed, I left him 100 Grand, too.


Speaking of chargers… there were all these little lock boxes at the convention center and in Reading Terminal Market where people could charge their devices for FREE. Talk about a random act of kindness – that was AWESOME! Each box contained a key where you could lock your device and leave it. I predict we will see a LOT more of these around town – in classrooms, too!

These random acts of kindness were fun to share throughout the conference and cost me about $6 in all. If you want to see who posted what, search the hashtag #ISTERAK on Twitter!

Today I arrived in Philadelphia, PA for the ISTE Conference (#ISTE2015 for those of you on Twitter) – a jam-packed whirlwind of learning for all things related to educational technology. (That’s a really fancy way of saying the most awesome conference ever for teachers-turned-tech-geeks like me.)

As you may know, Philly is called the “City of Brotherly Love.” This evening we had the opportunity to shower a local restaurant with kindness, by pre-paying pizza slices for homeless in the area at Rosa’s Fresh Pizza. The concept is simple:

Each slice of pizza costs $1. You can buy a post-it note for $1 and write a personal message, then put your note anywhere in the restaurant. If someone is hungry, but doesn’t have any money, they can take a post-it off the wall and trade it in for a slice of pizza.


On average, Rosa’s feeds 40 homeless people a day. Multiply that by 365 days in a year and you can see how this small RAK could impact many!

Knowing I would be in town for this conference, I posted on FB an opportunity for any friends to join me in this random act of kindness. It would be a virtual RAK Mob for them, but a real one for me as several of my Twitter PLN (personal learning network) were planning to visit and donate as well. I couldn’t WAIT for today to arrive!

Well, arrive it did, complete with cold, dreary temperatures and pouring down rain.

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Not quite the “ideal weather” for walking around an unfamiliar city, that’s for sure! My co-worker, Heather, was kind enough to lend me an extra rain jacket as we shared an umbrella, braving the driving rain and winds with Stacie and Fay.


Earlier in the day, Fay and I passed the time away in the backseat of the van writing out post-it notes for all the donations received. Thank goodness the drive was 6 hours – we had plenty of time to get everything ready for tonight! With each note we wrote, we thought about the blessings we were passing along to others.



Despite the drenched jeans, soggy footwear, really bad hair, and a few wrong turns, we finally arrived at Rosa’s Fresh Pizza.




Photo Jun 27, 7 07 09 PM


There was a short line, so we waited patiently for our turn to order. While we waited, we were able to watch the cook toss the pizza dough just like in the movies. That was such fun! Before too long, it was our turn to order. We bought several slices of pizza to eat for our dinner, then it was my turn to RAK Rosa’s!

If you click on the blue link above and watch the video, you already know how much money we donated, but for those who don’t have video-enabled devices, let me share the joy that we were able to purchase 125 slices of pizza for those in need!


Oh, what a wonderful RAK! The entire restaurant erupted in applause when we finished and everyone had smiles on their faces! Then came the really fun part… placing all 125 post-it notes on the restaurant walls!

IMG_0243  IMG_0244  IMG_0245

Photo Jun 27, 11 14 48 PM

We had so many post-it notes, we had to place them all around the restaurant with customers offering to help. The camaraderie of everyone there, helping one another for a common cause, was a humbling, yet energizing moment.

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Stacie brought her own donations and filled out post-it notes on the spot, and Heather did her own RAK by purchasing me an official “Rosa’s Pizza” t-shirt, with half the proceeds going towards pizza slices for the homeless.

IMG_0259  IMG_0277

We ate our pizza and took time to read the sweet notes and letters taped to the walls.





And then… I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and it was like a family reunion! All my favorite Twitter peeps, the guys and gals I’ve been chatting with though social media for the past year were HERE! I’ve¬†never met any of them in real life, yet felt as if I’ve known them forever! What a joyous way to wrap up my night!


Me and Ashley Hurley (@ashleyhurley)


Sarah Thomas (@sarahdateechur), me and Ashley (and an awesome photo bomber in the back!)


Rodney Turner (@techyturner) and Tara Linney (@TechTeacherT)


#ISTE2015 РEduMatch was HERE!

If you are attending the ISTE Conference this week and would like to join in on this RAK Mob, it’s not too late! Grab a friend or two, make your way down to 25 S. 11th Street and get ready to be humbled and blessed all at once. It’s a unique opportunity to join in the fun and leave this city of brotherly love a little better than when you arrived. Visit the @SliceofISTE website¬†for more information!

All week long I’ll share blog posts of random acts of kindness I see and do during the conference. If you do a RAK, post on¬†Twitter with #ISTERAK – our own personal hashtag for documenting random acts of kindness while at ISTE.

A special thanks to the following people whose generosity and passion for kindness made this RAK possible:

Sarah Armentrout

Amy Gregory

Torrie Goodman

Jennifer Hicks

Heather Nunnally

Allison Waggy

Vicki Williams

You inspire me every single day!

Be blessed, my friends, and follow me on Twitter (@HCPSTinyTech) to stay up-to-date with conference tweets, RAKS, and more!


As my final post about random acts of kindness shown at the ISTE conference, I would be remiss if I did not include the ISTE organization itself and the vendors who helped to make this conference possible. ¬†Here are a few of my favorite moments: Photo Jul 12, 8 55 26 AM The first act of kindness I received after entering the Georgia World Conference Center and picking up my presenter bag, was a coupon for a “free sweet treat.” ¬†If you’ve never had a King of Pops popsicle, you are missing out! ¬†It was heavenly, especially on such a hot, summer day!

Another ISTE RAK was a fun app challenge where they asked us to create a magazine cover using our own photo, highlighting the rollout of their new digital magazine, Entrsekt.  If we completed the challenge, we received a certain number of points which we could add to our total in their networking game.  Here was my magazine cover, taken right before my ISTE Ignite presentation: Photo Jul 01, 7 19 39 AM Later that day, I received an email that both Heather and I could pick up a free ISTE t-shirt for participating in the challenge.  WOW!  What an exciting random act of kindness!  It was completely unexpected, but thrilled me to no end! In the vendor hall, I discovered that swag was a hot commodity.

My first stop was Edmodo. Earlier in the month, I finished creating an eight module professional development course for the teachers and administrators in my district to learn more about Edmodo, so I definitely wanted to make sure my learning was up-to-date.  I was thrilled to discover that Snapshot would be synced to the Virginia Standards of Learning in the Fall of 2014!  Yay!  I then took my turn at the wheel of goodies and walked away with an Edmodo tumblr!  Sweet! Photo Jun 29, 2 46 34 PM As a SMART Exemplary Educator, I was invited by SMART to attend a rooftop gathering one evening and the views were spectacular!  I was mesmerized!  I also received a bag filled with SMART SEE goodies and got to meet some amazing #smarties as well! Photo Jun 28, 10 03 28 PM My team also received goodies from Graphite, a platform provided by Common Sense Media to inform educators about the best apps, games, and websites for the classroom.  This spring we became Common Sense Media Certified Educators on Graphite and we received matching shirts! How fun! Photo Jul 01, 4 07 54 PM (1)Back in the vendor hall, I had fun interacting with the trade show reps as I played their games and asked questions about their products.  Some people are a little apprehensive about approaching vendors with questions, but not me.  I feel like the more I know about a particular product, the better I can advise others to make informed purchasing decisions!



I was drawn to Edmentum’s display because of their HUGE “Plinko” display (brought me back to my childhood summers watching The Price is Right!) Although the video of me playing Plinko is too blurry to share (seriously!), I did win a mini-frisbee that made me smile! Photo Jul 12, 11 28 46 AM I spent quite a while chatting with the representatives at TechSmith – they were very friendly and kind! ¬†After exchanging stories, they shared several goodies with me, one being this awesome light-up yo-yo: Photo Jul 12, 11 34 31 AM Photo Jul 12, 11 29 06 AM As the vendor hall came to a close at the end of the conference, I was blessed by E-Line Media who allowed me to have a few extra bags we could pass out at our district’s Leadership Conference in August. ¬†The gentleman standing right behind me in the photo was given a few bags, too! ¬†So generous and kind! Photo Jul 01, 2 35 53 PM I was even blessed by vendors on the bus ride back to the hotel! ¬†I realized the Co-Founder and CEO of Remind.com, Brett Kopf, was making his way to sit behind me and in a matter of minutes, I was walking away with the cutest bottles of hand sanitizer you’ve ever seen! ¬†(I didn’t take a picture of the product, only the CEO for our Celeb Selfie wall, lol.) Photo Jun 30, 6 16 49 PM Yes, folks, it’s true. ¬†I’m an official swaginista! I think the gadgets and gizmos are great conversation starters and best of all, I can pay it forward by passing the swag along to others. ¬†It’s truly a win-win for vendors and conference attendees! I could write hundreds of blog posts about the kindness shown throughout this conference, but I¬†think the past few blog posts paint an accurate picture of what I experienced in my random acts of kindness given and received.

I want to send a huge THANK YOU for the generous donation made by Pat McGettigan to the Hanover Education Foundation, which provided funding for this instructional technology learning experience.  Without his act of kindness, none of these memories and learning experiences would have been possible.

Throughout the ISTE conference, I was inspired. ¬†Engaged. ¬†Enthralled. ¬†Humbled. ¬†Awed. ¬†I was challenged by the two words of “What if…?” and I met that challenge by looking inside and allowing myself to dream about the possibilities. ¬†I was able to apply the lessons learned not only to my educational career, but my own personal goals as well. I left the conference excited. ¬†Hopeful. Impassioned. ¬†Invigorated. ¬†And for that, I am forever grateful! ¬†I can’t wait to share what I learned with others!

Thanks for reading and the next time you are offered a freebie from a business, be blessed by the kindness and pay it forward if you can! ¬†ūüôā

One of my favorite parts of the ISTE conference was interacting with people. As many of you know from my previous post, I made a deliberate attempt to show kindness to others, from leaving notes and candy in hidden places to actually purchasing gift cards for random strangers. I was hopeful that others would enjoy my RAKs and connect with me by tweeting out a picture or a shout out for the random act of kindness using the hashtag #ISTE2014RAK. Here are a few of my favorites!

Photo Jul 12, 11 18 03 AM

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This gal tweeted her message, then I ended up meeting her in the LeVar Burton session as she stood behind me in line.  How fun!

Photo Jun 30, 2 29 54 PM

Photo Jun 29, 5 15 10 PM

I also made sure to look for the good in others so I could acknowledge RAKs received. As I was standing at the ISTE advocacy station, signing a petition for more funding for educational technology, I mentioned how much I loved writing with the pen beside the clipboard. (Those of you know me well in real life are laughing right now because you know my adoration of the ultra fine tipped Sharpies!) ¬†Without hesitation, the girl smiled and said, “Keep it! ¬†I have another one just like it!”

Now this many not seem like a big deal to you, after all it’s just a writing utensil, right? ¬†But it was AWESOME! ¬†This was kindness, generosity, and care all rolled up in a cylindrical container that produced ink upon pressure. ¬†It made my morning!

Photo Jul 01, 10 27 48 AM

I was also appreciative of the kindness shown by vendors. ¬†Yes, many of them had swag to share with a purpose of engaging you as a potential customer, but some went above-and-beyond with their kindness. ¬†My next post will be about them. ūüôā

If I had to choose my most favorite RAK given and received, it would probably be the simple act of smiling at one another. ¬†Have you ever thought how much weight a smile can lift off your shoulders and mind? ¬†A smile is probably the easiest and most powerful tool we each have to show kindness to those we ¬†do and do not know. ¬†Imagine… 16,000 people smiling back at you as you sit beside them, pass them in the walkways, wait with them in line.

THAT, my friend, is the picture of joy. ¬†ūüôā

I encourage you to make a conscious effort to smile at someone today!  Put a little bit of good back into this world.  It will make you feel great when they reflect your smile right back!

Be blessed with kindness!


If you’ve read my Pollyanna blog, you have some background knowledge of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference. ¬†I was chosen as an Ignite presenter, which was such an honor, and challenged me in so many ways as a motivational speaker and educational presenter.

My presentation, only 5 minutes and 20 slides in length per Ignite specifications, focused on Blogging Random Acts of Kindness.  I wanted to share my experiences on a global platform Рnot only my personal contributions with doing random acts for others, but how this concept translates into the classroom with student bloggers.  (You can view my presentation here thanks to my friend, Stacie, for capturing it on her cell phone!)

Photo Jul 07, 6 03 52 PM

Prior to my presentation, I wanted to do a Random Act of Kindness which I felt would be a perfect way to calm my nerves and share my joy of being at this conference.  A few weeks prior, the company Atomic Learning sent me two shirts with the note below:

Photo Jun 23, 7 52 01 PM

I couldn’t wait to pay it forward by giving away the shirt! ¬†But the Ignite session was shared by several presenters, so I couldn’t do a drawing… and tossing it out to the audience didn’t seem like an appropriate choice either. I finally decided to put the shirt in a brown bag along with a 100 Grand candy bar that included notes like “I think you are worth 100 Grand” and “You are Tweet Worthy”. ¬†I also included a handwritten note for the recipient to tweet out the RAK using the hashtag #ISTE2014RAK and to pass the shirt along to someone else if it didn’t fit. ¬†When we arrived in the Murphy Ballroom, at the Georgia World Conference Center, I asked my friend, Heather, to put the bag on someone’s chair somewhere in the middle of the room.

Many times when I do a random act of kindness, I don’t have the privilege of seeing the reaction live. ¬†I often wonder, “What did they think when they got my surprise? ¬†Did they smile? ¬†Did they laugh? ¬†Did it brighten their day?” ¬†Today, however, I got to experience the reaction with full gusto!

About 5 minutes before the Ignite Round 2 session began, I saw my friend Heather approaching my chair. ¬†“Ummm… I think someone discovered your random act of kindness!” ¬†There was a sense of excitement and awe in her voice, and I turned to see what she was pointing at. ¬†Sure enough, there was a lady standing up in the center of the room exclaiming her joy in my RAK! ¬†Oh my goodness, what an amazing feeling to know that someone was experiencing such joy because of something I did! ¬†WOW!

Photo Jun 29, 9 38 32 AM (1)

Without even thinking, I got out of my chair and approached the woman and introduced myself. ¬†“YOU did this? ¬†How wonderful! ¬†I love it!” ¬†We laughed, hugged, and even had someone take our picture together. ¬†It was an AMAZING way to begin the Ignite session¬†and, quite frankly, I forgot about the fear and nervousness that had inched its way into my brain that morning.

Photo Jun 29, 9 08 22 AM

I returned to my seat with barely a few moments to spare, and as I was reviewing my notecards one last time, I heard a polite, “Excuse me…” and looked up to see a different woman kneeling in front of me. ¬†“I was sitting behind the gal who got your random act of kindness… My name is Susan Williams and I’m with Atomic Learning…” ¬†Wait… what?? ¬†You’re with the same company who actually sent me the shirt to give away in my session? ¬†And you ended up sitting directly behind the gal who received the RAK? What are the chances of THAT happening?!

The gal sitting beside me captured this moment. :)

This moment was captured by the gal sitting beside me. ūüôā

My Ignite presentation went well, I remembered all my speaking points and ended right on time. ¬†It was an exhilarating moment to be on stage, facing so many people, sharing my experiences with random acts of kindness. ¬†In fact, when I got to the part at the end of my speech where I said, “Maybe even you’ve experienced a random act of kindness at ISTE” the crowd erupted in applause! WOW!

As I stated in my presentation, I truly believe there is good in this world.  I am so blessed to be living in such a connected, digital age where I can share my stories with others and inspire more good to be done.  YOU are a blessing to me as well.  Knowing you are reading my blog holds me accountable for not only working to perfect my writing skills, but to find fun, creative, and easy ways to bless others.

“Imagine how much good we could put back into this world if we all committed to doing just

one random act of kindness a week.”

Be inspired! ¬†Share your stories with others! ¬†You will be surprised how good it makes YOU feel to share in kindness. ¬†And maybe, just maybe, in all your days of doing RAKs… you might just get RAK’d back. ¬†ūüôā

Photo Jun 29, 9 42 32 AM

POSTSCRIPT: ¬†The gal who received my RAK in the session did pay it forward by leaving the bag for someone else. ¬†How did I find out about it? ¬†On Twitter, of course! ¬†The new recipient tweeted this pic which only added to my joy! ¬†ūüôā

Photo Jun 29, 4 15 11 PM


I am already realizing there are just not enough hours in the day to do all the things I want to do! Today is my third day at ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education conference, and my sponge of learning about technology has been saturated so many times, I am overwhelmed with the process of wringing out my knowledge to learn more. This place is a vacuum of non-stop energy, swirling around faster than I can document!


I have been busy doing random acts of kindness throughout this conference. Here are just a few of the things I have left for other people to discover (or given to them myself!)





I even went all out and hid an extra special RAK to be discovered by someone at the conference:



It’s exciting to imagine the surprised smiles when people discover these RAKs as they experience all the wonderfulness of this technology conference. I’m hoping those that find my little acts of kindness will tweet on Twitter using the hashtag #iste2014RAK. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow me @HCPSTinyTech as I tweet about the neat things I learn and the fun people I meet. My next post will be about my Ignite presentation and the awesome RAK that happened right before I went on stage!

Now… To find the time to blog again… ūüôā


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