A map is a representation or reflection of anything. I use several types of maps in life, daily! In class when we are discussing culture facts about the 24 Spanish-speaking countries of the world, or when a student confuses a continent with a country or a country with a city (it happens, hehe), or when my husband is lost (yes, it happens, a lot), or when my children and I document where we have traveled, or when getting ideas down on paper in order to formulate a larger thought or idea, I use a map. This course is truly driving me to reflect and connect. This week when I constructed my map, which yes is actually drawn on a napkin, I could physically see the paths I have taken to get here. I want to connect and stay connected in order to continue my growth, as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter and as a teacher! It is really, really noticeable that my journey to connected learning involves people, lots of people. Socialization is key! “Peer-supported learning absolutely involves having a social connection with others” (Teaching in the Connected Learning Classroom 34). Throughout my journey to connected learning I have made several stops to socialize and connect. I started swimming at the age of 4 years old. I made connections with other swimmers and coaches. From this point on my coaches my first year on the swim then connected me with other coaches and I improved my skills. And from here I then became a coach. I taught young and new swimmers to swim. I helped improve skills of already established swimmers. I mentioned earlier, when blogging about my interests, that volunteer work in my community was very important to me. As a mentor in the Big Brother/Big Sister organization, it was my role to create a safe and interest-driven environment for my mentee. I wanted to help this young boy become aware of his potential. I wanted to see him succeed. I wanted to see him enjoy the positives in his life, even when the negatives weighed heavily on him. And from this organization I developed a relationship with the coordinator who opened the door to even more opportunity. As I went on to college, I used what my peers and mentors taught me about myself. My eagerness to help others grow was an asset. I joined other networks and connected with different groups of people. I joined a sorority, I became an orientation leader, I tutored. These experiences then drove me to expand my networks internationally. I volunteered in orphanages in Mexico. I traveled throughout Europe and got my “volunteer fix.” And now, as a wife, mother and teacher I continue to help. I want my children to be the best they can be. I encourage them to create. I want them to experiment (safely, obviously). I want them to make a difference. In my classroom I strive to create what works best for my students. But sometimes I have to remind myself (and them) that we have to work outside of our comfort zone, but also bring in our expertise, in order to learn. So, join me (or swim with me) through my journey to connected learning! And let’s connect so I can add more to my world napkin!