Finding your WHY?

In response to a TED talk given by Simon Sinek.

If you start with the why it connects directly to people’s behavior, their trust and their loyalty. Make a connection to the heart before you make a connection to the mind. People don’t buy what we do they buy why we do it.     -Simon Sinek “How great Leaders Inspire Action”

This is how I should feel about all my students:  “I love you just the way you are but love you too much to let you stay that way.”

I want to help students find their “native genius.”  When students find something that they love it fills them up.  Instead of sucking energy, it gives them energy.  If students can find something that they are really good and and enjoy it can fuel explorations and learning throughout their entire lives.  A student commented today, in a reflection about a spray painting session, “I finally found what I love in art.”

Focus on people not on stuff.  A good example of this when a student started peppering me with questions about my world travels.  She was hungry for stories and descriptions. I could have told her to get back to work but instead we had this great conversation that I think was inspiring to her and it also taught me an important lesson.  Students want to hear about my travels and my experiences in the Peace Corps.  How can I weave it into my teaching more?

Focus on student strengths everyday!  Instead of just saying “great job” give students specific feedback about their strengths and more importantly help them connect how they can use their strengths to tackle areas of weakness or desired growth.  Teaching and modeling for students how to recognize strengths in each other can have exponential results.  I am not the only one in the classroom doing it.

Help students be the best they can be.  This is the obvious generic WHY.

Get parents involved.  Not quite sure about this one as I don’t want to invite drama into the classroom.  Ask the students how their parents would like to be involved.

These are the pieces that go into my WHY.  It is important that my students know this.  Make sure they know this from day one: with how I introduce my classes, with quotes on the walls, with the focus of my coaching sessions with them.

 

Tyler

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The Innovator’s Mindset by @gcouros #innovatorsmindset

Following is a list of page numbers of quotes and ideas that inspired me.  I documented it here so that I won’t lose the ideas.  My goal is to have 3 goals for my own professional development of ideas I want to dive deeper into and take into the classroom.  I will document my journey with pursuing these goals in my future blogs.

p. 16 Innovate or die: like Starbucks

p 18: what is our Why?  TED Talk by Simon Sinek (best selling author of How great Leaders Inspire Action” Simon Sinek  Watch this and make some more notes on why this is important.

p. 19: Innovation is a way of thinking.  “It is a way of considering concepts, processes, and potential outcomes; it is not a thing, task, or even technology.

p. 20: Katie Martin “There is no substitute for a teacher who designs authentic, participatory, and relevant learning experiences for her unique population of students.”

p. 21 Josh Stumpenhorst says that students, not teachers, are the center of the classroom

p. 22 Innovation is making something new and better like the collaboration between Bill Ferriter (#plugusin) and #gcouros.  Connect with others and come up with things that are far better than something you can do yourself.  This reminds me of the work we did with Lalania.  Without her I couldn’t have done it.

p.23 technology makes it easy to quickly spread innovative ideas.

p. 24 How can I crowdsource?  Students can post on Instagram and create captions for the photographs that document their learning.  How can I get other students to learn from my students and visa versa?  I did start a class instagram account.  I am the one doing the posting.  I suppose that I have to put the information out there so that students can post in the account. Also I have to think about the Purpose; why are we doing this?  Instagram vs. blog.  Which one should I pursue first?

p. 26: we shouldn’t just make things that are different but instead make things that are pertinent to the students.  Ask them.  What do they think will increase and inspire their learning and engagement?  This can be a question that I put on the introductory questionnaire for students.  This is huge.  I need to be asking students a lot more questions.

p. 32: a teacher helped a student conquer his stammer by having the student listen to music while his student read out loud.  He got the idea from the King’s Speech movie.  This is innovation.  He used an old technology (walkman) and used it in a new way.  This is innovative.  Could I do something similar with using a headset to communicate with Hector, a student who loves gaming and wears a headset all day.  Just did a search and nothing popped up right away.  I would need a platform to connect with him on?  The phone or messenger is the first thing that is coming to mind.  Of course I wouldn’t need a headset for that.

p. 32 teaching student the difference between a fixed and growth mindset is huge.  I need to have a poster up in the room about this. #gcouros has a picture of two heads, one with a locked lock and the other with an unlocked lock.  We not only need to teach our students about this mindset, but we need to adopt it ourselves!!  I can learn new things that I put my effort into!  This has be huge especially when it comes to blogging and using social media (something I didn’t feel comfortable with).  Growth Mindset graphic

p. 37 Resiliency and grit are very important parts of innovation.  These two characteristics need to be continuously developed.  Resiliency-the ability to come back after a failed attempt, Grit- resolve or strength of character.

p. 38 we should understand failure but not accept it.  It should drive us to keep finding better ways to reach/teach our students.  If you google why failure is important you will get tons of listings. Ask my students to do this sometime!

p. 40 typically students rely on the teacher for learning instead of creating their own learning experiences.  This tires the teacher out and the students leave school with tons of energy.  It should be the other way around.  “Everyone in the classroom is teacher and learner.”  This needs to be another poster in the room.

p. 42 we need to create better learning experiences for our students than the ones that we had. (reminds me of the Hawken motto: That each generation introduce its successors to a higher plain of life)

p. 45 watched the youtube video “Twitter in 60 Seconds.”  Maybe this would be a good way to introduce Twitter to my students.  Or I could try and have my students do the same thing as the teacher in the book and give them the challenge of making a video about something that we do in the art room. Twitter in 60 Seconds

p.49 This is a huge game changer: empathy.  “Would I want to be a learner in my own classroom?”  Since reading this I ask myself this often.  If the answer is no I need to change something.  Often the answer is yes which makes me happy.  But I have to remember that not everyone learns in the same way that I do.

p. 49 Ewan McIntosh says that “solving a problem is only one part of learning… finding the problem is an essential part of learning.”  This is something that I need to embrace.  It is okay for students to struggle and come up against barriers.  Not every experience need to be planned out and problem free for the students (like i learned it should be?!)

p. 53 “isolation is often the enemy of innovation.”  When I write this blog and participate in tweet chats I feel really good.  I feel that I am doing something important for me as a teacher.

p. 58 Check out vine and youtube from the perspective of my students and see how we could use it in the classroom. Vine

p. 59 It is very important for students to see me taking risks, like figuring out how to do the marbling.  What other examples can I think of?  If I can’t think of enough then I am not doing enough!!

p. 60 Mantra of an innovative educator link

p. 67 Simon Sinek says that we need to build more organizations that prioritize the care of human beings.  Amen!  If the people of the organization care for each other they will build the organization together.

p. 68-69 “If you are not trusted to make a common-sense decision why would you go above and beyond to innovate?”  I need to always need to build trust with my students.  I want to build int he mentality with my students that they are allowed to think for themselves and make decisions without always asking for permission.  Gordy is good as an administrator at trusting us.  He “unleashes our talent.”

p. 77 “Create regular opportunities for human interaction that help build relationships and spur innovation.”  art club, book club…  I could create “office hours”  where students can come and talk to me.  It will be a quiet safe place where they can talk about whatever they need to.

p. 82 It would be nice for students to get more regular feedback on their artwork.  If it was posted on line they could access the comments regularly.

p.83 Shadow a student throughout the day.  Do everything that student is expected to do.  This will give me a feel of what it is like to be them.

p. 85 or go with a student to a class that they are struggling with and help figure out what can be done to improve the situation.

p.87 create a portfolio.  Students can create a blog to show their growth over time.  This is an option I would like to give my students instead of completing the rubrics and reflections.

p.89 We have a para at our school that stops in regularly to help.  She is amazing at finding information on how to do new things.  If a student comes up with an idea and we want to try it, she is a great person to call on to help gather information.  It becomes a team effort.

p. 90 Innovation often comes from conflict and disagreement.  Don’t hang out with people who are just like me.

p, 91 focus on people not stuff

p. 94-95 why do it? Because we can.  Speaking to all that we can do with technology nowadays.

p.97 engaging vs. empowering  see graphic

p. 99-100 “Our job as educators is not to control people but to bring out the best in them.”  Have an identity day at ALC.

p.101 Every part of the building should be like a makers space.  We don’t need high tech and fancy equipment to make this happen.

p. 102 school promotes developing your own questions and finding answers. school vs. learning graphic

p. 108 what school should look like today should be a compelling question for everyone including parents and community members.  Get them involved.  Ask them what they think.

p. 112 John Dewey says “we do not learn from experience; we learn from reflecting on experience.”  Reflection time should not be optional.  I agree with this 100% percent and make this a required component of every assignment that students turn in.  Opportunities for innovation.  Take something that you find on the internet, youtube, and make it better.

p.113 Critical thinking is important for students.  There is so much information out there it is important to teach them how to detect the crap.  This is especially important in my classroom where students are watching a lot of videos.  What makes a good video?  Which videos do you want to avoid? Have a lesson on “crap Detection”-they would like that name too.

p. 114 we could have a board at ALC where students post problems that we have in our school community and others could choose one that they would like to work on.  I think this could be really powerful.  I would give my students credit for solving a problem for our school and coming up with an innovative idea!!

p.  115 blog launch party where students write a post and publish it on line.  How can I get my students more connected with people around the world?  See what i wrote above about starting a classroom blog.

p. 121 in order to help move others forward we must first look at ourselves in the mirror and make some changes.

p.  123 Great Classroom quote: Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.  LOVE IT!!

p. 124 Help students find what they love and help them develop their strengths!

p. 126 Tom Rath says that people who have the opportunity to focus on their strengthd everyday are six times more likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than 3 times likely to report having an excellent quality of life. Strength Finder 2.0

p. 127 we as educators need to push one another to grow.  Don’t leave growth to chance!!

p. 128 Blog about our strengths (not only is it more enjoyable, but others can truly learn from us.)

p. 129 Kelly Wilkins says we do not not fit people into jobs. We find the best people and fit the jobs to them.  This page made me think about a student I have who wears a headset for communicating when he plays video games.  I was wondering if I wore a headset if I would be able to communicate with him better.  Look into this.

p. 131 “finding someones native genius is the key that unlocks discretionary effort.  It propels people to go beyond what is required and offer their full intelligence.” Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown say in their book Multipliers.

p. 132 ask people what they want to do.  Perhaps there is a position that I or another teach would really thrive at.  They should be given the opportunity to try it if possible.

p. 135 I had the idea to check in weekly with my students about their strengths that they have identified.  If I focus more on their strengths then they will use them more in the classroom and feel more valued and happier.

p. 140 “Learning is the driver; technology is the accelerator.”  I need to think about what this means to me.

p.141 We as educators should embrace the role of learner!!  YES.

p. 142 technology isn’t a one size fits all.  We should be looking at ways technology can help the individual.  “Technology should personalize not standardize.”

p. 145 students can learn from people outside of the school not just the person organizing the lesson.  Skype session!!

p. 147 We shouldn’t just block social media sites but instead help students to navigate this really fast paced world.  Give the example of me getting onto vine for the first time.  If I go straight to the vines that are posted right when I go in I am going to get mass consumed crap.  But if I go straight in with a specific intention in mind I can find high quality.  Be intentional about what you are looking for.  I just googled educational vine videos and found the coolest videos 5 minute film festival.  Just from doing that I have so many cool ideas and things I want to show certain students!!

p. 149 Give my students incentives for broadening their digital footprint!!  How can I do this.  Which students would benefit most? “learners are the driver; technology is the accelerator.” Always keep this in mind. “It is only when we are willing to constantly expand and evaluate our own thinking that we will be able to create the environments our students so deeply deserve.”

p. 158 The learning happens when we know and make something out of it.  A teacher who is part of my PLN on twitter says that she teaches her students techniques and what they make is totally up to them.

p. 160 writing this blog is a form of a digital portfolio.  It monitors my growth and development.  The more I engage in this the more I can show my students how to do it.  I am embarrassed that I am only just starting to do this!!!  Wow.  I am so behind.

p. 171 “it isn’t how much you know that matters.  What matters is how much access you have to other people who know.  It isn’t just how intelligent your team members are; it is how much of that intelligence you can draw out and put to use. ”   SO TRUE!!

p. 173 “Obvious to you. Amazing to others.” video

p. 174 Revise my student questionnaire and ask more questions about writing and technology.

p. 177 What if all teachers just shared one thing that they learned each day using their schools hashtag.

p. 183 we need to immerse ourselves in learning instead of just talking about it.  I did this with the marbling process.  I wanted to learn how to do it so I threw myself in an tried it.  It took me three weeks to get a pretty extensive experience on marbling.

p. 184-185 teachers should be responsible for their own PD.  Don’t wait for a blogging workshop learn about it through other peoples blogs and youtube etc…  Just like I am doing with my blog.  Start doing it and immerse myself and then I know what it is like and I can help student on the journey as well.  8 things to look for in Today’s Classroom

hmmm perhaps I can post this and ask people what things they notice when they come into my room.  I could ask them to post their responses on Twitter or some other social media account.

p. 186 30 second videos.  Make one and pot it with the hashtag #eduin30 I just looked at it. I could see using this as a way for students to post reflections on their work.  #eduin30

p. 187 Choice: owning ones own learning.  ” Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.”

p. 187 Artedcamp.  This would be an awesome thing to do for the workshop week.  All the art teachers could offer a course and people would have to select one to go to.  I wonder if the organizers would see the benefit.

p. 192 Make a mural out of the I learn image.  Hw about on the art room window? I learn poster

p. 194 Having an understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses is very beneficial in every aspect of life.

p.  196 Teachers need to be connected.

p. 209 The more we write and read other people’s writing the better we become at writing.

p. 211 writing a blog, having students read other students’ blogs  How can I make this happen?  I just found this link why I googled art student blogs. 5 reasons why art students should blog.  Here is a high school art blog Art of Apex High School.  A list of art blogs Incredible Art Blogs

p. 212 whole school uses Edublogs so that they can all be on the same platform.  Maybe ask Jani and Leah about the edublog that they created.  Edublogs is part of wordpress which is good because that is what I am using.  I think starting off by looking into the community and seeing what other people are doing.  Perhaps I could have a student who is in charge of maintaining the class blog, or perhaps they could get English or writing credit for doing it. edublogs website

p. 213-214 Student being more connected.  When they read an author they want to know waht the handle is for hi/her!!

p. 215 Questions to ask students at the end of their schooling career: 1. Do you consider yourself as a successful, contributing member of society?2. Why did you give the answer above? . What impact do you think school had on your answers?

p. 221 as an educator, how can I help y students see their gifts?

p. 222 Erica Goldson High School valedictorian speech.  Wow!! speech

p. 224 Sharing our stories about our learning and the ways we empower students helps us make the emotional connections that drives change.

 

 

 

 

Will blogging make me a better teacher?

Okay so I am still on this journey to understand blogging and how it can make me a better educator.

What does #Innovators Mindest have to say?

I have been reading The Innovator’s Mindest by @gcouros for a #RPSlead book club and one of the tasks that we could do after reading Part One was to start a blog.  Hmmm…  What does @gcouros say about blogs…

It is important to network and it is important for us to share, just like we ask our students to share.  Writing a blog is a way to do this.

He also mentions an article by Clive Thompson called “Why Even the Worst Bloggers are Making us Smarter.”  When we know that other people will be reading our posts we are more likely to put more thought into them which in turn enhances our own learning. This is true for me so far.  I have put much more thought into the last two posts here then I ever would in a handwritten journal enter that I may never even reread myself.

If I am writing a blog I am much more likely to read other people’s Blog’s: both to get ideas on how to format etc… and to see what other people are writing about.  Then I will be more connected and learning more.

How about #Edumatch?

Last night I listened to the @Edu_match tweet and talk about Blogging aired on April 16th with @JonHarper70bd.  There were five people on the panel.  Two of them said that blogging has helped them more than any other professional development they have done as an educator.  They both said that they need to blog regularly and that they love reading other people’s blogs.  It’s a way for them to feel that they are not alone and that other’s are going through the same thing they are.

Some of them plan their blogs, others just write what’s on their mind like a conversation. No matter what they write someone always seems to be able to connect with what they have written.

They mentioned ways that their students use blogs, and that students really like to read each others’ blogs for the same reason we do.

Where am I now?

Last night I went on to two art teacher blogs that I had saved to my toolbar.  I can’t remember where I saw these listed, it might have been on somebody else’s blog.  The first was called “Northern Art Teacher.”  This was brilliant.  She had a series of video art chats with art teachers from around the country speaking on different topics.  I listened to a couple of them.  So awesome and totally something I would want to be a part of!

The other blog “Thoughts on Arting” looked great too and I will visit it again.

Already after two posts about blogging and doing a little digging around I have discovered a lot.  I am starting to feel more connected.  Overwhelmed, yes, but more connected.  Some of these people have been blogging for ten years.  If I have learned this much and feel this connected in 3 months (since joining Twitter, and 1 week since starting this blog).  I can’t imagine how much more connected and knowledgeable I will feel after a couple years!

I am now starting to understand the power of blogging.  Even if no one ever reads these!!

How can my students use it?

I have an idea that I would like to try with my students.  They each have to evaluate themselves using a rubric and reflect on their learning experience each week.  I am going to give them the option of writing a blog and reflecting in a more open format, chosen by them, instead of completing my rubrics and reflections.  I have a feeling some of them will love it.

I am starting to feel the power….

I’ll keep you posted.

Blogging is Our Job??!!

I have been reading about blogging on Twitter.  George Couros says that as teachers “blogging is our job.”  I am on a mission to find out more about what he means.  AND I am starting a blog so I can learn as I go.

I want to grow as a teacher.  I want to help my students be the best that they can be.  Will blogging help me with this?

I watched a few tutorials on Blogging by Leigh A Hall.  She has several and the first is “Blogging for Teachers: Part 1 – Why Blog?”  She says that there are many good reasons to blog one being that if we know how to do it then we are better able to help our students learn how.  However she did say that people are less interested in “our story” then they are in a topic they are interested in.  Hmmm… this seems to contradict what George says.  I’ll have to delve into this question more at a later time.

Why do I want to write a blog?  To be honest I am not sure, but I trust that it may transform my teaching practice in some way.  I like that George says that he writes for himself as a way to reflect on his teaching practice and write about things that he is excited to try in the classroom.  I would much rather write about something that I am excited about than picking a topic that I think other people would like and writing about that.

I am a little afraid of what are people going to think IF they read this.  Since I know that worrying about what other people think tends to be one of my biggest obstacles to trying new things, I am going to ignore those thoughts for now until I get feedback to the contrary.

Who is the audience?  As a teacher I suppose other teachers MIGHT read my blog.  But more likely I will be the one reading my blog as a way to reflect and build on  my teaching practice.  I am thinking that I would want my students and parents to read my blog so that they can be more engaged in the classroom.  How this would work is very fuzzy in my mind and will require some more investigation.

Other people’s blogs

In an attempt to learn more about blogging and to find out what types of blogs are out there I did a google search and I found these:

20 must follow art education blogs and Art Ed blog of the year

The most interesting blog I found was by a K-12 art teacher art ed guru  This is a pretty amazing blog but it was overwhelming because of all of the knowledge he has and the dozens of posts. Immediately I began to feel inferior and question some of the decisions I make in the classroom, but ultimately I discovered a great professional resource AND it caused me reflect on my practice.  Big WIN!  Leigh A. Hall says that it is important to see what other blogs there are out there so you can see where there might be a nice that hasn’t been filled.  I can see that point but I am thinking that it would be more valuable because of the community I could build and the knowledge I could acquire.

Blog vs. Website

I found an artist on Twitter, Jennifer Frith, who I often find myself referring my students to.  She has great videos and an attractive layout on her website that I know some of my students would really like.  It makes me wonder what is the difference between a website and a blog?  I think of her site as a blog but really it’s a website.  Why choose one over the other?

Well I am done with my very first blog post.  I am shocked that I am doing this but also hopeful and excited.