Failure Isn't Final, It's Feedback

A couple weeks ago, as I was listening to my Precision Nutrition Coaching, I heard this motivational anecdote--

Remember, there's no such thing as failure, only feedback.
Something clicked in my brain. I've spent a good amount of time as an educator reading about growth mindset, and I've tried to be intentional about how I approach mistakes with students. I've used resources, like Khan Academy Learn Storm, to guide students through the neuroscience and set a tone for my classroom. And this one sentence made me question everything. So I did what I tend to do with questions--I asked them out loud.

The inspiring people of my educational Twitterverse did not disappoint. I was reminded of why I love Twitter. It's a space where I can have a question, share it, and gather perspectives asynchronously as I process through my own thoughts. As I was processing, and honestly fangirling a bit over George Couros actually engaging in this conversation, I was encouraged to write my…

Be Flexible...Beyond the Workshop Model

I don't know if I have mentioned the fact that I work with an amazing team of educators. I fancy myself an innovator, but these women push me daily to think deeper, go bigger, and break out of the box. I wouldn't be the educator I am today without them.

So many times we sat and discussed how we wish we had more time for this or that (Response To Intervention, Spiral Review, Reflection, etc.) You name it, we wanted to be doing it. Always racing the clock. In most teacher training I have been in, that is the piece that always comes up in the challenges and roadblocks talk. How do I get time on my side?

My brilliant fellow teacher, whom I am grateful to call my close friend, suggested we throw the daily schedule out the window...wait, what?!

I've been participating in what we called "Flexible Scheduling" for about 3 weeks now. Just as the transition from whole group to a workshop model changed my practice, this has turned my classroom on its head. In the best possib…

Learning, Mastery, Grades: One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Yesterday on my way home from school, I listened to a TED podcast from Sal Khan: Let's Teach for Mastery, Not Test Scores. Its a great way to spend 11 minutes, and I don't know about you but I love the cadence of his voice. Very Barack Obama-esque. Politics aside, I love hearing that man speak.

I was pumped after listening to this. It validated my recent cannonballs into flexible seating, and rubric based grading, and it lit my fire to the personalized learning schedule my team is currently launching. I will share those resources, and also give some perspective of how we got to this point in our classrooms. Its a step farther out on a continuum, not a switch that is flipped. 
I have been feeling more and more disillusioned by our grading system in my district. When a parent looks at an 89% in math on a report card, what does that tell them? What does it communicate?

I have asked about whether our district would consider standards based grading for a couple years, and there is …

Who's Who of #IMMOOC PLN

As part of this #IMMOOC experience, I was exposed to hundreds of educators and their thoughts, trials, and triumphs. If you are looking for your people, stop by and check out these fabulous educators that make me have all the teacher feels.

Kristen Nan-True Grit: She really spoke to my soul in a post about golden glue. Theresa Ducassoux-Off the Beaten Path in Music: A music teachers is giving me serious competitive collaboration for how to push my students to take their learning to new audiences.Kristin Houston-It Starts With A Screw:Kindergarten engineers. She proves there is no age requirement for innovation.

David Letterman's Top Ten #IMMOOC

The last #IMMOOC live chat was viewed, the last twitter chat tweeted. I'm still recovering from the book hangover, but it was stronger this time. I saw people and communicated with people online so it became real. Hunger Games never did. I suppose that is why I am so late with these last two posts for the book study. I will still blog, but it feels different. I am going to try and focus my rediscovered drive for blogging and being connected to a global PLN. I'm starting by reading Teach Like A Pirate. I have a laundry list of books that I want to get to, and now I have this format, this structure, to make the most of it. Excited, fueled, and hopeful even as we slide towards Thanksgiving Break.

So what's the big deal? Was the book any good? What did I take from it? I can't narrow down to only a few, but I'll do my best David Letterman.
Top 10 Innovative Ideas to Make a Reality 1. The Golden Circle of Storytelling 2. First Draft of Student Advisory Board 3. Campus Blog …

#IMMOOC Dive Under the Iceberg

Sylvia Duckworth's visual representation of success is so revealing. It struck a nerve. I have to be visible not only in my success, but in the process along the way. Process over product, or at least with it. But its a two-way system. I need to share my whole iceberg and look at other's when learning from them.

Often we look at people doing amazing things and think, "Wow! They make it look so easy!" I don't know about you, but EASY is a 4 letter word in my classroom. I discourage students to use it because it is undermining for some and unrepresentative for others. So why do I use it?

Nothing starts easy for anyone. 
The challenge is to follow up those thoughts with "How did she/he get there? What did it look like along the way?"

We need to ask those questions when we are learning, and give those answers when we are sharing. Its a true representation that will add fuel to the Crowd Accelerated Innovation. When we can learn from each other's success …

#IMMOOC Less is More

I had the pleasure of reading the book that lead to Barry Schwartz TED talk on the Paradox of Choice before I ever entered education. I thought about it in terms of decision making for life, but hadn't made the connection to education, innovation, and sharing.

*Kicks rocks* I am so guilty of sending a million emails over the course of the year for this thing or that thing that I think could be powerful in our classrooms. George, I hear you. I have felt no one was listening. Now, I know why and I don't blame them. It is clear that our campus and district are pushing three tools: Google Apps for Education, Schoology, and Twitter. I use these fluently, I think. Now that I have a focus, I can be more intentional about what and how I share. I also have ideas on how to share others' ideas, not just mine. We need to show how our staff is smart. We are all smart, we just need to expose it! Less gives focus. Focus gives intention. Intention breeds action.