Written by Heath Kelley
Vulnerable as defined by the Oxford dictionary means “exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally”. However, by making oneself vulnerable a person unlocks their potential for growth. As researcher Brene Brown says, "vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change".
I feel that before growth mindset can catch on, a person must first be vulnerable. In your replies, it was obvious that we are working to create a growth mindset culture here at DMS.
Here are the responses:
I’m (trying) to create a Podcast about students and their experiences from the classroom that are memorable.
***Here is a preview from Zach. We will look forward to hearing more about this project in the future!***
On our snow day a week ago, my son and I worked together to make a birthday message for my Grandma. We used Denise's stop motion app from last fall's STEAM day and a couple balls of play dough, and it went really well. It took awhile to figure out how to build a stage for the iPad, how far to have it zoomed, how big to make the letters out of play dough, etc. but in the end it turned out nice.
I'm anxious for her to see it next month.
Here's another one from today: I pulled out and pushed in the bleachers for the first time today at DMS for the assembly. I had to find Jim so I could find where the controls were. Once I had the controls, I had to make sure the microphone cord was pulled out. I found out I didn't pull it out far enough, so I had to pull it out farther. Then I could pull out the bleachers. Once I pushed them back in when it was all over, I had to make sure the microphone cord was put back the way it should be. Then Mr. Albers and I had to watch the cameras from the assembly to try and figure out which cherub pried the metal warning plate off the 3rd bleacher and bent the metal on it to kingdom come exposing razor sharp edges during the presentation. :) Wheeeee!
This year I tried helping coach eighth-grade volleyball and it was definitely outside my comfort zone. I love volleyball and I love working with eighth-grade students, however it was very challenging in ways that surprised me. I relived many of those same experiences I had as a first-year teacher even though the students were the same kids I’ve had in class for four years.
Have all my courses on Canvas - this has allowed me to do lesson plans at home on Sundays rather than come to school - yea!
Trying to integrate some quiet "introspective" time - one way is each 7th grade student wrote and recorded a paragraph using imagery about a place/experience. We start each class period now closing our eyes, listening to the recording, and imagining being there. Takes 1-2 minutes and helps us settle in.
Starting to use Screencastify for directions and feedback.
At the beginning of this school year I decided that the best way to reach high school students was to start an Instagram account. I’m sure to some this sounds simple, but it really made me nervous. For one, I wasn’t really sure how Instagram worked and I didn’t want to cross a line with students into the friend zone where I was seeing posts from them that, well, I couldn’t “unsee.” And then there was that middle school feeling in my gut that I wouldn’t have any high school followers, I’d just be the dorky librarian trying silently and desperately to get kids to read. The happy ending to this story is that I have well over 100 DHS followers and its been a great way to build community and encourage students to stop in to check out books, and even play Bingo with me on Friday mornings.
Follow me at @mshortonlibrary!
It all started with a curiosity for a personal desire to be more present in each moment. I joined a book study on Mindfulness which centered around the book, Mindful Teaching and Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything
by Suki Sheth. After a few weeks of practicing some mindfulness, I began teaching my students a few strategies. My favorite is called "Take One." For one whole minute, the class is completely still. Basically, we focus on nothing but our breathing. After the one minute of mindful breathing, the class resumes. That's it. One minute. But, the results- astonishing. Students are much more focused and it works to create a calmness (for those days they come into your classroom all riled up). I have had more than half of my students tell me that they have started using this strategy outside of class as well. Take One isn't something I use every day, but when we do, I definitely see the positive benefits immediately!
- Sarah Nowack
A couple of things I tried for the first time was:
Classroom: Collaborative curriculum - getting student feedback on when the students felt they were ready to demonstrate their learning for a summative assessment. Also, what format the assessment should look like for them to best demonstrate their learning. Using Canvas to create an online discussion about the issues with deforestation in Brazil.
Personal: Running regularly this summer and then competing in the Nordic Fest Elvelopet and a half marathon this fall.
Meditation - After participating in a book study regarding Mindful Teaching (see book below), I began exploring meditation and even incorporated meditation with my students. At first, it was uncomfortable, awkward, and even a bit amusing, but soon became a very needed daily routine in my life. I use the Headspace app on my phone for my daily meditation practice. I have found it to help relieve stress, reduce my need to plan/organize every second of my day, and help me fall asleep at night. It has been life-changing! Students enjoy the quiet, thoughtful, peace of meditation as well.
This past November, I had the opportunity to co-teach a conference session with a music teacher from Texas. I've taught in settings where my co-teacher has taught segments and I've taught segments, but this was the first time I've had the chance to teach in a setting where we were passing the teaching back and forth throughout the lesson! It took SO much work in planning the activity, but it was pretty incredible -- and the results were something neither one of us could have dreamed of on our own!
I learned how to take information that students submitted using Google Forms and have it automatically fill into a Google Document, for each student, using the autocrat tool.
Something new I tried last year was a quarterly read aloud. I hadn't done it in the past because I thought it would take too much time from my instruction. I gave it a go last year and I don't think it is something I will ever stop. The first 5-10 minutes of each class period, I read a book to the kids. At the beginning of the quarter I select 3-5 options, give book talks, and the kids vote on which book they would like read to them. They love having ownership of their choices. It has created routine in my classroom as well. They know to come in, sit down, read directions on the board, and have materials ready for the lesson while I read aloud. They are so engaged and interested in the story and they are always extremely disappointed if there is ever a reason we don't get to read aloud. The oral fluency, vocabulary, and then discussion they get exposed to by reading a longer book aloud together has been extremely valuable. I am glad I tried something new last year because it quickly became a favorite part of every class period.
A blog dedicated to discussing instructional practices and reflecting on why we do what we do.
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