Since bullying is a common issue in schools, especially middle schools, I decided to copy the creative action of Jeff Nichols, another coach within our district, by adding "The Bully Button" to our school's main webpage.
When a student clicks this button, it takes them to a Google Form I created that allows them to quickly report a bullying incident with as few or as many details as they would like to share. They can choose to identify themselves or they can remain anonymous. Once they submit the form, I have it set to notify via email the school administrator who can then address the incident.

If you are a Google Docs user and want to set up something similar for your school, here are the steps you can follow to make your own "Bully Button."
  1. Create a button using whatever tool you are familiar with and put it onto your website (I use PowerPoint and then simply snip out the image and save as a jpeg). You may also simply put text on your site and link it to the form. A "button" is not necessary but stands out more than simple hypertext.
  2. Create the form in Google Docs and copy the link to the live form to your clipboard so you can link the button/text on your school webpage to your live form. The link to the live form is always at the bottom of the page when you are editing the form.
  3. Next, share the form with whoever will need access to the reports* (admins, counselors, SRO, etc.) by clicking "SHARE" in the upper right hand part of the screen and entering their email addresses. The default is for them to be able to edit. Leave it this way. *These users must have a Google account linked to the email address you enter in order to view the responses to the form.
  4. Now, click on the TOOLS menu and choose "Notification Rules." Check the boxes "A user submits a form," "Any changes are made" and "Email Right Away." This will ensure that when a form is submitted, you will be notified via email w/a link to the form and can quickly view the info.
  5. You will also need to make sure all the people sharing the form follow these same steps to set up the Notification Rules so they get the email.
  6. Share with your faculty, staff, parents, and students that the option is now available to them and hopefully they will use it when needed.

Now that we have this button live, I used our school's social media presence to make students aware that they can now report bullies digitally. I hope this creates a way for students who are reluctant to speak out about bullying incidents to share what they know with someone who will step in and help. I am sure as with any opportunity to anonymously share information, we will get some bogus reports BUT if we get one genuine report that allows us to help a victim, then it's worth the time it to took to do it. I know for me, I would have never called a "hotline" or filled out an incident report and put it in a box, but I probably would have clicked a "bully button."

Loads of ideas are furiously competing for attention on the center stage (which isn't very large) in my very overwhelmed mind at this point as I reflect on my first full day at Educon (the end of day 2).  I've engaged with so many new ideas and people that have :
1.  Stretched my thinking
2.  Challenge my norms.
3.  Forced  me to look at my own personal strengths and weaknesses.
4.  Inspired a personal/sincere passion to make kids into confident risk-takers who knows how to learn and will find success.

A Few Things I have Learned from Educon thus far:
1. I will sleep when I die. That is it.
2. I need to be more reflective. Period.  Okay, so maybe not Period.  I need to be more reflective, make those reflections concrete AND transparert through this blog while constantly reevaluating my role as teacher/learner.
3. PLN's are great virtually but PLNs are AMAZING when face2face connections are made! For me, those face2face connections act as an affirmation to this frequently indescribable notion that I have surrounded myself with brilliant learners who share similar passions and dreams for a successful, SUSTAINABLE educational system that addresses the needs of EVERY LEARNER every day in every classroom.
3.2 Avatars are often misleading.  Just because you expect someone to sound a certain way or be a certain height, don't count on it.
4.  Presentations are great but conversations are way better.  I could listen to Joyce Valenza talk about citation issues or Kristen Hokanson share on how her role as a parent shapes her view of education.  Would I learn something? Maybe.  But would I learn more by talking to to others who are wresting with the challenges and ideas they shared? Absolutely!  The conversations I have engaged in with my fellow Educonners and PLN have been meaningful and transformative on many different levels.  
5.  If I don't reflect AND ACT with some sense of immediacy on the feelings, ideas and challenges that have been imparted to me through this learning experience then I am failing myself, my colleagues and those kids who have a right to become more passionate, equipped learners.
6.  People here are approachable, social and want to connect just like I do.  Waiting to be introduced doesn't get you anywhere.  Go for it!  Introduce yourself and prepare to be overwhelmed by the kindness, sincerity and willingness to share from like-minded folks.
7.  Make sure you understand the precise location of your hotel in relation to those places you visit and don't allow yourself to get too far from where you will rest your bones at the end of the day even if you think it's not all that far.

Reflections and thoughts on some of the sessions I attended and conversations I had will soon follow.

A follow up to the previous post- Everyone here is amazing and all my fears and anxiety were a waste of time.  Thanks @djakes (David Jakes) for your comment and leveling the playing field.  All my expectations as to how awesome this conference, as well as the people, would be have been blown away.  This experience as a whole has engaged me in such a way that resistance is futile and growth is inevitable.  Educon is way more bigger than the sum of its parts.    

This will be my first time to attend Educon and as I sit here in the Orlando airport with some time to really ponder what's about to go down, I am excited and nervous all at the same time. It's like...well, going to my first Educon! I'm excited about all that I am going to learn as well as the potential for some transformative, engaging conversations that I hope to involve myself in. But then again, I am nervous about those conversations as well. You see, for me, lots of the folks attending Educon are those that I have put up on a pedestal and in my geeky world of education stuff, lots of these folks are almost like celebrities to me. No, they don't make money like Brad Pitt and aren't household names (at least not to 99.9% of the other people I know), but they are the people leading the conversations within education that matter to me. I see them as brave people blazing new trails daily with a sense of purpose and confidence that is very admirable. They talk about the things I am passionate about and challenge those notions that I sometimes don't fully understand or want to change within myself. They are the people that help me grow as a professional educator, the people I look to when I need to find direction and keep moving forward. So to be sharing the same room with them or even the same building is a bit intimidating and to think that I could actually find myself tossing around ideas and challenges with them, well that's just plain nerve-racking. I know it's just me and I know (or at least hope) that they don't see themselves that way. And from what others who have been to educon say about the awesome conversations, I am sure all are very approachable. But I still have that hurdle to get over, that self-induced feeling of intimidation. I guess we will see how it goes. I am sure it will be an awesome experience and regardless of my feelings, I am ready to jump in with both feet... shaky as they may be! And if my one encounter with a REAL celebrity (Lance Armstrong...I am a competitive cyclist, so he's a pretty big deal to me) proves to be true, I will quickly realize that we are all pretty much the same. As Frederick Buechner said in a round-about way, we are people seeking to find and make a difference in that place where our passion meets the world's great needs.