Since 2001, I have always wanted to incorporate technology in my classroom. The district that I teach in is very big, but they have tried to have up to date technology (each classroom has a smartboard and I think all middle school and high school is 1:1.) Most years, the Technology Coaches for the district has classes in which you can get incentives (iPad, chromebook, document camera, etc.) for the classroom. I was blessed to have a wonderful Technology Coach who saw a passion for technology in me. I took one class in the summer of 2017 on Seesaw and I saw this as an opportunity to have the students start documenting what they were learning in the class. They were able to do a project and then they had to explain their project.
I saw children excited about their work and even finding errors in their project (and then redoing it.) The students were excited and for the parents that had signed up to see their child’s work loved seeing all the things that their child was learning. I was able to show people (speech therapist and diagnosition) who were testing children the work, too. Seesaw opened the door to collaboration, growth, communication, effort, self regulation, and so many other things. In December, Seesaw sent me an email to ask me to be an Ambassador and I took the training. I have done so much Seesaw trainings (through Seesaw, not the district) and gotten so many ideas that I can’t even use them all. I have shared Seesaw with the other teachers in my school (training in January) and some of the teachers have said that they will probably use it for this next school year. For those teachers in middle or high school, just look at this program, it is great!!
This past June, I was able to many trainings about Google, IPad, and Microsoft. I had gotten my class on Google Classroom and had success in it. K-2nd grades were able to get there on set of chromebooks in January. My AP saw that I was using the chromebooks for more than just a program (reading/ math) for the students to do and she gave me 2 days for our class to work on the chromebooks. I hope to have the chromebooks at least one day and I will have at least 5 IOS devices for the students to use in centers this year. Another class that I have mentioned before is Makerspace. Some of these activities will not be technology based, but I want the students to start creating things (coding.) Lots of different goals for this year for me!
As I have been learning about growth mindset, I have highlighted a lot of things in Dweck’s book and the readings that we have had to read. As a teacher, I learn everyday (even in first grade) and I never want to stop learning. That is probably the reason that I go to so many trainings and that I am in this masters class. I love the message- “Skills and achievement come through commitment and effort.” I want each of my students to know this too. Even though I feel like I am a Growth Mindset teacher, I know that I do have Fixed Mindset tendencies. As I was reading about Bobby Knight (I did graduate from Texas Tech, but not when he coached there), I kind of thought about my students being my “products.” When the students were learning the concepts in math, I saw that they were “getting”, but then on the test, they were frustrated and did not do very well. I know that it is okay to make mistakes, because it a way the students can learn. Test days are never fun at any age, but for 6 years olds….
I am going to continue to reread Carol Dweck’s book and all of the articles to keep me in check to be a “growth mindset” teacher. I know that I have triggers that I will be looking for and I don’t have to “beat” myself if I see Fanny (that is my Fixed Mindset name.) As I was reading the book, I was thinking of a couple of students that I had last year. They struggled and for one, he sometimes would not want to come to school because did not feel successful at all. I would like to work with a couple of students from last year to help them “get more of a growth mindset” mind. As I write my growth mindset plan, I am going to use it for my class this year and ask my principal if I could work with these kids. I went to a “GT” math training at TCU a couple of weeks ago and the trainer (who is a teacher too) told us about Success Criteria. I believe if the students are able to see their growth, it would help them in the long run.
The Universal Design for Learning has three networks- the “what”, the “how” and the “why.” The “what” is the recognition network which in the Bloom’s taxonomy is the knowledge and comprehension sections. A lot of times, the students think this is just memorization and do not try to dig deeper. The “how” is the strategic network which is the applying/ analyzing sections. The students are finding out that they are able to use“what” they know. The “why” is the effective network which is the synthesizing/ evaluating sections. This is where you get the students engaged and stay motivated. If they are not challenged or interested in what they are supposed to be learning, they are not really learning. The teacher needs to have differentiated learning for those students that already know that concept. This is where creativity starts for the children and also the teacher.
Dweck, C. (2016). Mindset- The New Psychology of Success. New York: Ballantine Books.