“Inside every great teacher, there is an even greater one waiting to come out.” By Author Unknown

An excellent post from my friend and ASCD Emerging Leader colleague Brianna Crowley.  Source: Building Empathy From the Start: A New First Day Tradition?

“Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and a platform to anyone willing to engage.” By Amy Jo Martin

I was lucky to meet Dr. Will at #ISTE15 this year at a Personalized Learning PLN breakfast. A few weeks ago I was excited to be on the famous Dr Will show. Dr. Will start blogging in 2009 when he was a Family Life Educator. Since becoming an instructional technologist, the blog has evolved to focus on the educational applications of going digital. Via timely and engaging articles, vlogs, and podcasts, his mission is to empower, educate, and lead discussions about how educators are using a multitude of technologies for professional development and for reimagining their classrooms. You should check out his website and follow his vblogs to learn more from educators all over the world and what they are doing in their classrooms and/or district. Check out the vblog where he featured Personalized Learning below:

“People are incapable of stereotyping you; you stereotype yourself because you’re the one who accepts roles that put you in this rut or in this stereotype.” Eva Mendes

Researchers say if we reduce stereotype threats, we will reduce achievement gaps in all areas. Stereotype threat refers to the risk of confirming negative stereotypes about an individual’s racial, ethnic, gender, or cultural group. (1) This is not a new term as Steele and Aronson in 1995 rekindle the discussion that original started in 1965 and recently has come back into the forefront. Always campaign #LikeAGirl (see video below) has started a new movement around stereotype threat.

I believe we can reduce the stereotype threat by being aware of it. Below are more resources that can help you in the classroom decline the stereotype threat.

Stereotype Threat: Definition, Examples & Theories 

How to Expel Hurtful Stereotypes from Classrooms across the Country

Stereotype Threat and education.com 

Reducing StereoType Threat 

Resources/Sites for Girls and STEM that I have collected

Please share any resources you have around stereotype threat in the comments.

(1.) “Stereotype Threat – The Glossary of Education Reform.” 2013. 15 Aug. 2015 <http://edglossary.org/stereotype-threat/>

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” By Brian Tracy

It is hard to believe it has been four years since I started this blog. My first blog post was about my vision which was, “To collaborate with educators to make a difference in education through improving methods and reflecting. I want to seek new perspectives, take risks and continue to pursue my passions of curriculum and instruction, technology and 21st century learning.” This vision still holds true!

Here are the three biggest lessons I have learned through my blogging experience. When I first started blogging…

  1. I did it to help me reflect as an educator in order to improve my craft. Lesson learned: There are many reflective practices. I realized over the years there are different types of reflective thinking such as situational and dialectical. Blogging has helped me improve all of these ways and has been a great lesson that has improved my teaching practice. To learn more about these reflective practices read: Fostering Reflection by Lana M Danielson
  2. I was worried about if I was going to have something to write about each week and were people going to care what I had to say. Lesson learned: Be yourself. I first realized that what I go through and/or  think about is the same as other educators and if it is not then maybe it will help someone learn something new. The second lesson was my best ideas/blogs typically were not generated from sitting in front of a computer on Sunday mornings but it was from the experience in the classroom, interactions with others etc. I know have a blog note and through-out the week I find myself saying ‘this might be a good blog post’ and I jot it down. Some of the ideas make great blog posts while others are still marinating and/or might never become blog posts and that’s okay.
  3. I didn’t realize how much I would learn from my readers. Lesson learned: The importance of making connections. My readers have provided thought-provoking comments, amazing sites to add to my toolkit of resources along with awesome ideas to further my practice.

I look forward to many more years of learning and growing with all of you!

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” by Malcolm X

Below are some websites that you should add to your toolkit of resources for your classroom for both you and your students to utilize. I like them all but did add an asterisk next to my favorites. Some are new while others are oldie but goodies

Create Engaging Video Lessons: Metta, Zaption, Vialogues, Ted-Ed*, EdPuzzle* and Google Forms*

Virtual Field Trips: 3D Gallery, Google Cultural Institute, Google Lit Trips*, Google Trek*

Presentations: PowToon, Prezi, Haiku Deck, Emaze, Piktochart

Interactive Sites: Blendspace*, Thinglink* GooseChase* Canva

Assessments: Quizizz, Jeopardy labs, iClickerKahoot*, Plickers*, Google Forms*

Content: iTunes U, Open Ed, Newsela*, Crash Course* a You Tube Channel by John and Hank Green (Yes the author and his brother)

“Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” By William Pollard

It is a simple question you need to ask yourself as an educator; are you helping to inspire your creativity or are you stifling them? Are you allowing the students voice and choice or are you (the teacher) always needing to be in control? Are you asking the right questions through exploration or are you demanding right answers? See what happens when third grade students think there is a correct answer:

Interesting isn’t it! If we give our students a safe learning environment with a foundation but allow there to be no ceiling, they have room to be creative and still master standards. If you have not seen Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity? It is a must watch.

How can you foster more creativity in the classroom? Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Allow student voice and choice on assignments

2. Model creativity.

3. Incorporate Genius Hour into the schedule

4. Help students believe in themselves to be creative (sometimes we stifle this by setting limits without meaning too – such as rubrics)

5. Think about how you ask the question and what your expectation is for the students to answer

6. Encourage Design Thinking (Here is a previous blog post on this)

7. Assess in different ways. Allow students to show mastery through an iMovie or Skit, it doesn’t always have to be paper/pencil.

8. Allow for mistakes and a safe learning environment

9. Not everything needs a grade. Create some assignments to help students master a skill but don’t grade them, use them for feedback and improvement which fosters creativity.

10. Get out of the students way

Further reading on creativity:

Why Creativity Now? 

Fundamentals of Creativity

Sparking Student Creativity: A Practical Ways to Promote Innovation Thinking and Problem Solving

“Dispositions to learning should be key performance indicators of the outcomes of schooling. Many teachers believe that, if achievement is enhanced, there is a ripple effect to these dispositions. However such a belief is not defensible. Such dispositions need planned interventions.” – John Hattie (2009), Visible Learning

Teaching non-cognitive skills (also known as life skills, soft-skills, dispositions, habits of mind) are just as important as teaching our students the cognitive skills. Non-cognitive skills are traits and skills that help students (really everyone) facilitate success in everyday life. Non-cognitive skills are attributes teachers strive to foster in students. These skills seldom stand alone and are even more important in this day of age where almost everything we do is working with others.

There are many non-cognitive skills such as the famous four C’s of critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication but we need to go beyond just them and think about how learners need to also be reflective, adaptable and flexible as well.

3 Quick Strategies to Embed Non-Cognitive Skills into the Classroom:

1. Praise effort, not ability and have students reflect on their work.

2. Highlight skill and talk about it purposefully. This could be done in morning meeting, classroom meeting or part of a lesson. It could also be when you notice a student, character or someone famous doing an exemplar job at one of the skills you could make it apart of a discussion.

3. Have a Genius Hour, Makerspace and/or Experiential Learning area where students can explore and tinker.

More Books/Articles on Non-Cognitive Skills:

The Need to Address Non-Cognitive Skills in the Education

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