Slow Jog to the Finish Line

people doing marathon

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The end of the school year is coming. I know this because the calendar says so. I also know this because the weather is finally looking and feeling like summer. And yet, as far as the work goes, we are still in the thick of it. So since we are still working, I will do one final share of resources and articles until we return from summer break.

7 out of 10 adults say they experience stress or anxiety everyday

First is somethingShawn Achor shared on Twitter.  Achor wrote The Happiness Advantage which we are reading as part of our positive education implementation. But honestly, if you interact with other people in any way, this is a book you might want to read regardless. You can read more about the book here in our ShipleyReads blog. This post from Happify is titled, How to beat stress and boost happiness. I feel like this is something we all could use at times and Happify has created a lovely infographic that offers numerous science-based suggestions that are easy to do.

“I don’t do math.”

Next up is a year’s worth (probably more) of materials from Jo Boaler that will enhance your teaching towards a growth mindset. The first is the mathematical mindsets teaching guide, teaching resources, and teaching videos. Next, if you have not browsed YouCubed’s site, you might want to get started. There is a wealth of material there including lessons, resources, articles, videos, and learning opportunities. It is really a treasure trove for those who teach or work with students. And for fun, an article from Stanford Magazine, Jo Boaler Wants Everyone to Love Math.

“You can’t get to the content if the relationship and the social-emotional well-being piece is not being attended to first,” 

If you boiled down positive psychology to just three words, they would be “Other people matter.” This next article, “The Power of Teacher Student Relationships to Boost Learning” highlights the importance of relationships between teachers and students to student learning. 

Consequences of Passive Learning = memorization without engagement

Continuing along the lines of how students learn best is this robust post, 102 Brain-Based Learning Resources for Brain-Based Teaching. This is basically a psych major’s dream list. There is A LOT here beginning with research. If you scroll down you will see a list of Brain and Learning Blogs including Brain Rules (which was one of our all school reading books) and Judy Willis’ R.A.D. Teach blog. Judy gave a two-day professional development at our school a number back in 2010 and I still remember the strategies she suggested to help the information stick. Towards the end of the article, you will find General Brain-based Learning Resources. 

I hope you have found these posts useful and that you will come back for new ones in the fall. Until then, I will repost some of the more popular posts from the archives!

 

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Highlights from The Innovator’s Mindset, Part 2: Chapters 4 & 5 #IMMOOC

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There are many bold statements from chapters 4 and 5 that really resonated with me. I used italics to show my thoughts and immediate responses to some of them below. As I was adding the highlights, I saw them as tweets and responded to them like I would if I was having a conversation about them.

Chapter 4

  • If you are not trusted to make a common-sense decision, why would you go above and beyond to become innovative?
    • If educators and teachers are constantly being micromanaged and questioned about every little thing, rather than trusted to do what is best for the students in their class, they may be loath to take that risk and try new things because they are not given the benefit of the doubt that they can make these choices for the learners they have in their classroom.
  • If innovation is going to be a priority in education, we need to create a culture where trust is the norm.
  • If something works, other educators in the building would be expected to do it, thus creating more work for everyone.
    • Is it fair to hold teachers back who want to take risks, be innovative, do something different to engage their students? Is it fair to the children if the students in the class next door are doing things that they do not get to do because their teacher is not ready (yet)?
  • If what’s best for learners is our primary concern, equity of opportunities will be created at the highest levels, not the lowest.
    • We need to create a culture where teachers collaborate, share, and learn from each other so that when one does something different, others want to do it as well. We need to applaud and learn from each other.
  • To quote Steve Jobs, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.
  • Rather than limiting educators’ initiative, and thereby students’ learning opportunities, let’s create environments of competitive collaboration, where educators at all levels push and help one another to become better.
    • Yes! When we work as a team, we can push each other to create the best learning environments for our students.
  • Likewise, we must build and strengthen relationships with (and between) our educators so that every individual sees him or herself as an integral part of a larger whole.
    • Like pieces of a puzzle or colorful threads, we all bring something different to our school. When we all work together towards the same goal, we create a beautiful masterpiece. (I believe a similar metaphor came out in the live chat with @TaraMartinEdu)
  • Instead of fear driving us to a place where “no” is our default, we need to strive to create a “culture of yes.”
    • We need to find ways to make our ideas work rather than give in to our negativity bias and look at all that could go wrong. We need to think instead, “what could go right with this idea!”
  • Even if other teachers don’t use my suggestions or ideas the same way I do, the simple act of sharing sparks creativity as we tweak, alter, and remix what we and others do.
    • Sometimes we just have to put things out there in the hope that something will catch on. If we don’t put our ideas out there, there is 100% chance they will go nowhere.
  • Our job, sometimes, is simply to be the spark, help build confidence, then get out of the way.
    • Yes! We must have confidence in our teachers so that they will have confidence in themselves when it comes to taking risks and trying something new.
  • If we want meaningful change, we have to make a connection to the heart before we can make a connection to the mind.
    • “Relationships, relationships, relationships” ~George Couros

Chapter 5

  • We’ve got to keep asking ourselves the question I posed earlier: Would I want to be a learner in my own classroom?
    • Just as in design-thinking we start with empathy, designing a classroom experience needs to start with the needs of the learners. We must always keep the learners in mind and remember that the group in your room this year is not the same and may not have the same needs as the group you had last year.
  • Can you imagine going to a place everyday where you felt your voice didn’t matter?
    • I would think that at that point it becomes get in, do what you need to do, and get out.
  • If we want “innovation” to flourish in our schools, we have to be willing to immerse ourselves in the environments where it is going to happen.
  • Another thing we must be willing to do is remove barriers that challenge those we serve.
    • Sometimes it is as simple as moving the laptopcart into the classroom or removing the block on certain websites.
  • It is my job to learn first if I want to lead well. As leaders and innovators, it can be easy to want to rush into change before we’ve taken the time to really explore what that change could and should look like.
  • Being present, learning first, and leading with the learner in mind will help you grown as an innovative leader.
  • Innovative leaders help people continuously grow with small steps that build both confidence and competence, so they are more willing and able to become more innovative themselves.
  • Trying to put yourself in the place of those you serve is where innovation begins.
    • Perhaps we all need to spend a day or two in our students (and colleague’s) shoes to really understand their learning experience.
  • We rarely create something different until we experience something different.
  • People are less likely to take risks and try new things if they don’t see those above the in the hierarchical structure doing the same thing.
    • We all must be willing to do what we are asking of others.
  • Innovation often comes from conflict and disagreement, not in an adversarial way but in a way that promotes divergent thinking.
    • Right! It is when we are trying to make something better, easier, or different that leads to creative innovations. What do we need to do to make this better?
  • If you want to be an innovative leader, your role isn’t simply to come up with new and better ideas, but to involve your staff in that mission.
    • We are all in this together!

photo credit: Upupa4me green ~ 13 marker via photopin (license)