Domain 1: Planning and Preparation, Domain 3: Instruction

Don’t Agree With Me! it stunts my growth

My growth mindset is perpetually developing to the point that it becomes a relentless voice in my head.  I find myself rereading books and blogs, buying more books, listening intently to keynotes and conversations, and connecting with others outside my experience.  Still, I sit wondering about the unknown.  The unknown that creates an excitement of learning something new!

The excitement is what intrigues me about

others, 

teaching,

students,

LIFE!

A growth mindset requires thinking beyond isolation.  Collaborating is essential… if done correctly.  It is not a matter of grouping a handful of people together and assuming there is balance.  It takes action.  Action on the part of those facilitating and those collaborating.   Empowering the collaborators to bring their game… contribute, listen, question, and create.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
[kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n]

NOUN
the action of working with someone to produce or create something:

So when others agree with me, I cringe.  Not so much if it is a give and take conversation, but more so when I throw an idea out and it is jumped on without hesitation.  Taken and run with as if there is no room to grow.

It is simply a thought… an idea… a lightbulb moment!  It is one raindrop in a very big puddle.  One small fish and in a very big sea.  One crayon in the Ultimate 152 Pack!  So why are we just going with it?  Let’s create a rainbow of colors.  Let’s create a collage of ideas!

collage portrait

This is where my frustration gets the best of me.  Where I shut down and don’t want to give.  Not because I am the educational hoarder that must sign my name to every idea so that others give me credit, or worse yet don’t get to use at all (Not that I have ever been around that type… sigh).  Oh no, I am the giver of ideas.  I want to make things happen together.  I want others to toss their idea into the ring, grab my hand, and take me along for the ride!  I want to create life changing experiences together!

As Dave Burgess, author of Teach Like A Pirate, would say,

“I want to bring it!”

I am an idea generator.  My mind accumulates ideas faster than I can write them down.  I am not the best refiner by nature.  Execution of plans becomes a hot mess of moments that fall apart if I don’t stay on top of my game.  I NEED OTHERS!  I need balance and I NEED GROWTH!

Bottom line is…

Our classrooms are no different.  We need to remember that we have all types of learners and they all need to grow.  There are the idea generators, the makers and creators, the refiners, and the executors.  Collaborating is at the forefront because it creates a better overall learner.  Collaboration isn’t about one type of learner tossing an idea into the ring and the group takes off without feedback, discussion, and questioning.  Students would have little success being wrapped up in an isolated idea that simply needs more!

I am a student. 

We are all students. 

We need one another to grow!  

 

 

Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities

#IMMOOC Week 6: The Impact of Others

The IMMOOC journey is the epitome of innovation!  When you are having fun, are engaged, and find relevance in your own learning… TIME FLIES!  After 6 weeks of breaking down and rebuilding my mindset, I find myself with more enthusiasm than ever before.  I am full of ideas, reflection, and energy as I head into week 7 of “innovative leading.”

A NEW MINDSET.  One that has been shaped and formed by many hands.  I cannonballed into IMMOOC knowing that my life, not only as an educator but as a mother, wife, daughter, and friend, would never be the same.  Little did I realize that the relationships formed through blogging would impact me in a way unlike any other.

If I am being R.E.A.L. , there are so many posts that have touched my life, from Mike Mohammad, Tara Martin, to Annick Rauch and countless others in-between  It is so easy to continue to grow with their posts and views as they are the foundational family to my blogging.  So I challenged myself weeks ago to read more, reflect more, and open myself to others as that is what this journey is truly about.

Then came the final blogging challenge of the season. George Couros asked us to reflect on 3 other posts.   Challenge accepted.  Here are 3 that resonated within me:

 

CHANGE STARTS WITH ME by Jillian Schulte 

“The more we believe in the power of “me” (the power of our own ability to initiate change) the stronger will be our power of “we” (our collective ability to move the needle forward).”

 

Why Are We Still Assigning Homework? by Katie Martin

“As we think about what it means to be “smart” and what we will value, we have to acknowledge that information is abundant and rather memorizing and regurgitating content, we need students and educators who can learn, think, and act in ways that create new and better opportunities for those we serve. This requires that we examine traditions in education, like homework that may actually get in the way of learning and innovation.”

 

 

“In the spirit of trying new things, I’m going with Tumbler for my blog and sketch noting my takeaways from Innovator’s Mindset.”

 

 

I am not ending this #IMMOOC season with week 6… I am simply taking the fire lit under me and burning a new path in my journey!  Let’s light the world on fire… together!

BB8DE471-491C-4FDF-AF98-ED62EFA32119

Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities

#IMMOOC Week 5+: When You Know Better… You Do Better

When you know better, do you actually do better?  Or do you tell yourself that somehow, some way you have been given this gift that supersedes all knowledge and experience of others in your path?  Who is it that you imagine will show you a better way?  Is that person older, wiser with age or experience?  Are they new to the scene?  Do you have an image of better in your mind whereby all others are unable to get in?

Do you allow all creators of “better” into your world?

Do you let others break you down?

Better yet, are you willing to break yourself down in order to build a better you? To repair with gold or silver knowledge and experience.

day-10-kintsugi.jpg.pagespeed.ce_.h2da73-dL8

I look back at the last year of my life and I sit in awe!  The people that have come into my life are absolutely remarkable!  Let me rephrase… the people I opened my life up to are remarkable!  Professionally,  I have connected with over 700 other educators through twitter alone.  But let’s get real, they weren’t knocking down my door… I was pounding on theirs! I wanted more!  I wanted better!  I needed them in order to find the better me!

I have read over 10 books affiliated with education in one year.  May not seem like a lot to an avid reader, but for me, 10 books is like producing, filming and starring in my own movie!  It takes time!

That wasn’t enough though… I have built an in-house PD platform for colleagues to borrow books from me.  I am leading my first book study on #tlap in 10 short days for my district.  This study will once again connect me with educators to help create the gold glue of knowledge that fills my better person.

I took the leap from lurker to full fledge #IMMOOC member with leading educator in innovation and author of Innovator’s Mindset  George Couros!  I have read, reread, chatted, tweeted, blogged, and found myself in passionate conversations about this life-changing experience.  I have colleagues that have turned into friends… ones that have pushed me to push myself.

 “Get R.E.A.L.tell your Kristen Nan story!”, said Tara Martin

This gave me the desire to look for conferences that could connect me to my #IMMOOC #tlap family.  Which takes me to the most incredible, powerful, unforgettable, “better me” transformation I could have asked for… yes, my last 2 unforgettable days with New York’s Time’s best-selling author of Teach Like A Pirate, DAVE BURGESS!

Let me tell you about this POWERFUL experience8647beec-2ece-462a-a0d8-aaf3bcd26157.png

in my next blog! #hooks

Domain 1: Planning and Preparation, Domain 2: Classroom Environment, Domain 3: Instruction, Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities

#IMMOOC Week 5: Exploring 20/20 Vision

Do we share the same vision? The vision of CHANGE!

Were you ever asked where you see yourself in 5 years?  10 … even 20 years?  I remember when I was in college and I was being interviewed by a pledge sister within my sorority.  This was a common question.  I remember laughing at the “oh so young age of 20” thinking how on earth would I answer this question.  I wasn’t quite sure of the answer, but the one thing I was certain of was that I would change!  #changeforthebetter

5 years

I’ve spent more years in education than I was alive when I was asked that thought provoking question, yet no one has ever asked me where I see learning in 5 years.  10 years.  Why is that?  Do we not project change?  Is education destined to be the one constant in everyone’s life?  Do you have a vision?  I do!  Do we share the same vision and are you open to creating it together? Do we have 20/20 vision in education?

nearpod-vr

20/20 Vision:  the clarity of vision; dependent on optical and neural factors, i.e., (i) the sharpness of the retinal focus within the eye, (ii) the health and functioning of the retina, and (iii) the sensitivity of the interpretative faculty of the brain.

Wikipedia

What connection does the Wikipedia definition have to how we “see” within the educational system?  My vision may be blurred, but this is my view:

20/20 Vision in Education: the clarity of a shared vision; dependent on an open mindset and forward thinking, i.e…. (i) big thinking precedes great achievement- Wilferd Peterson, (ii) learners instead of students – Innovator’s Mindset, (iii) understanding that there are “8 things to look for in TODAY’s classroom” -Innovator’s Mindset (and the understanding that those 8 things may/should change over time), (iv) relationships

learnerfocussedclassroom

Let’s share this vision!  The only way we can possibly dive into this together is by asking our students, parents, community, AND one another.  I am confident that I have integrated all “8 of these things” into my classroom over the last two years, but the one I am most often viewing under a magnifying glass is “opportunity for innovation“.  This is my personal goal for growth, not only for my students, but myself!  This is one area where my students must understand and appreciate their own passion and purpose so that they can open doors to their own learning.

What are your goals to fuel your passion?  Mine are set… I hit the button to attend not one, but TWO incredible conferences this year!  Why?  GO BIG OR GO HOME! Top 2 Keynote Speakers in education… 

  1. Dave Burgess is the New York Times Best Selling author of Teach Like a Pirate and co-author of P is for Pirate.  Keynote in PITTSBURGH, PA next Thursday, October 27-28
  2. George Couros is a leading educator in the area of innovative leadership, teaching, and learning; author of Innovator’s Mindset.  Keynote in Hershey, PA December 3-6

I can bring on the enthusiasm, options, idea generator moments, 30 Second Pitch, as well as open doors for them to embrace new ways of thinking, but if they do not make a connection to what they are most passionate about we will find ourselves with only a singular vision, and limited execution.  Let’s not hallucinate! #fuelyourpassion

Vision

Vision without execution is hallucination – Thomas Edison

Domain 4: Professional Responsibilities

#IMMOOC Week 4: Climb A Ladder or Take The Ride

Relationships! RelationSHIPS!  RELATIONSHIPS!

With a goal driven mind, there is always the question whirling around in my head of what will be next personally and professionally.  Am I satisfied?  Do I envision more?  Is this enough… at least for the moment? There are times I feel accomplished.  Other times I feel defeated by the mere expectation I had for the outcome that never graced the highest rung on my ladder.

“IF WE WANT TO CREATE A CULTURE OF INNOVATION, WE MUST FIRST FOCUS ON FURTHERING OUR OWN LEARNING AND GROWTH.”

George Couros, Innovator’s Mindset

That ladder… the one with extensions that project beyond the ceiling of my ability.  It doesn’t intimidate me.  It doesn’t hang over my head giving me boundaries to my dreams.  It is more often the driving force that fuels my fire to reach higher and higher.  I am a dreamer.  Dreaming matters.  It helps me become what I aspire to be.  I thrive on “greatness” in every sense of the word.  I am driven to achieve beyond my own ability with the deliberate decision to place myself in the presence of opportunity.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again, staying stagnant is my worst nightmare.  Therefore I shall dream!  Therefore I shall connect! #relationships

relationships_or_relationsinks

When the rungs of the ladder feel like a mile apart, how do I find the strength to pull myself up one more step?  The ultimate pirate Dave Burgess says it best, “Find your crew! All Pirates travel with a crew; you can’t sail, navigate, and fight battles on your own.”  Oh, is he right!  My crew is what helps me to reset my inspirational compass so that it points straight forward.

canva quote.jpg

My crew is how I gather the strength to place my hand on the next rung.  That strength turns into inspiration.  The inspiration fuels my dreams.  My dreams turn into my reality.  My crew is not limited to the boundaries of my district (although I have AMAZING people around me every day).  My crew is global thanks to twitter (and blogging of course)! They may not even realize it, but they are my crew in every sense of the word: Dave Burgess, Tara Martin, George Couros, Katie Martin, Alice Keeler, Annick Rauch, Aaron Hogan, my IMMOOC family and many more.  I am the teacher I am today because of this crew! Breaking down the walls… taking the ride!  #twitter #tlap #IMMOOC

Yes, I must climb the ladder to reach my goals, but it is just as important that I stop and take the rideIt’s the ride that rejuvenates my soul.  It’s the ride that makes me laugh uncontrollably… call it a joyride if you must.  Just as the sea captures the spirit of a pirate, this ride has my hair blowing in the wind, with nothing but joy flooding my mind.

 

Domain 2: Classroom Environment, Domain 3: Instruction

#IMMOOC Week 3: Permission=Trust; Without it We Have Nothing

TRUST: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something

This is the one word that can make or break a relationship… all relationships!  Do you trust me?  Do you trust that I have your best interest at heart?  Do you feel it in my core?  I know that when I look in your eyes I am conveying trust.  When I tell you that I honestly believe that taking a chance on change can lead to amazing things.  Do you see it?  Do you hear it in my voice?  The confidence I have to make this decision.  The grit that runs deep in my soul that will take this to a new level.  Do you trust me? #truth

Years ago, I remember laughing with my colleague as we took in the advice of asking for forgiveness rather than permission.  The laugh was half-hearted because we felt the true depth of not being trusted.  If you had asked anyone if we were trustworthy, the answer/word spoken would have been yes, yet when we tried moving forward we were continuously met with the word/action of no.  I wish I could say that I was always able to take the higher road, but I am human and found myself breaking.  I looked to bid to other positions or to possibly leave the district as a whole.  I wanted to find innovation the easy way in place of creating it with roadblocks at every turn.  Where was my grit then?  It was there, but “the innovation-squelching effect of no” was “spreading like wildfire” in ME! -Innovator’s Mindset #truth

THE POWER OF “NO” VERSUSES A CULTURE OF “YES -Innovator’s Mindset

This didn’t just end with me.  The power behind no stayed with me and I found myself saying it more and more within my classroom and within my building.  How did I take “no” and spread it like a virus so quickly?  I had always been a YES GIRL!  Yes, I can make that happen!  Yes, I would love another student teacher!  Yes, I can have that done in no time!  Yes turned to no.  I told myself it was a compliance issue, a form of respect that I simply had to follow the rules, but was it?  Was I being spiteful?  Was I using my restrictions and limitations as an excuse for not being innovative?  Did I take this word “no” so personally that I then stepped down from committees and took on the negative attitude of… get someone else to do it?  What was happening to me?  I don’t suppose the onlookers saw this as clear as I do now.  I love what I do too much to allow that to truly be seen.  But I felt it.  I felt it in my core.  I am positive you could see it in my eyes.  The glow wasn’t there… the drive had been stolen from me with one repeated word… NO! #truth

CHANGE CAN HAPPEN ONE PERSON AT A TIME -Innovator’s Mindset

I looked over and saw my new Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jacie Maslyk standing in the doorway.  I walked over.  She asked me what I would like to see happening in my classroom.  I chuckled.  The same half-hearted laugh I had become accustom to at “work”.

Side note:  My passion for teaching had been sucked out of me and for the first time I found myself going to work each day.

Was she serious?  Does she really want to know?  Do I TRUST her?  If I open my heart and tell her how I really feel will this be another smoke blowing session or does she truly care?  Is she setting me up?  Is she going to take my words and use them against me?  Or does she actually see me as an “investment in place of an expenditure?”

I took a chance.  I saw the trust in her eyes.  She cared… I could feel it!  I opened up and told her I wanted to break down the walls to learning!  I wanted to go beyond the compliance that had been demanded of me.  I wanted to relight the energy in my students… I WANTED TO LIGHT THE WORLD ON FIRE! Okay, so maybe those weren’t my exact words, but I promise you she felt the message.

And that is when it happened… I decided to once again ask for permission.  Do you know what she said…  “Why not, we wont know unless we try!”  I started reading book after book.  I got on Twitter and started building my #PLN that turned into my #PLF.  I jumped into educational chats and found myself looking up the definition to #IMMOOC for the first time.  I felt my soul on fire… I was ready to Teach Like A Pirate again.  Thank you Dave Burgess!

“Our job sometimes, is simply to be the spark, help build confidence, and then get out of the way.” -Innovator’s Mindset

On that day, Dr. Jacie Maslyk was my spark!  She believed in me.  She trusted me.  She has built a trust WITH me and in turn we have relit the spark in our children, continue to build confidence, and are getting out of the way!

Is this #truth or am I just blowing smoke?  Well, a few weeks ago I was surprised by Chevron/Steelers with Week 1 Leader in the Classroom Award.  This award was beyond anything that I could have imagined.  It wasn’t for years of service or for having a big heart and loving my students (which has always been a given), it was for remaking learning… for being INNOVATIVE in the classroom.  I was blessed to receive $1,000, a Steelers’ authentic jersey, tickets to an upcoming Steelers vs Patriots game, and front page of the Sunday paper.  Beyond all of the beautiful gifts that were presented to me, the one that meant the most was when I heard “Leader of Innovation in the Classroom“.  That my friends, is the biggest YES ever!

“IF WE WANT MEANINGFUL CHANGE, WE HAVE TO MAKE A CONNECTION TO THE HEART BEFORE WE CAN MAKE A CONNECTION TO THE MIND”

-Innovator’s Mindset

Domain 1: Planning and Preparation, Domain 2: Classroom Environment

#IMMOOC Week 2: “Save a life”: OBSERVE, STAT!

The journey I am on with Innovator’s Mindset continuously resets my inspirational compass.  This is now the third time I have read this amazing book by George Couros, yet it impacts me like it’s my first.  Maybe it’s the way I am observing others this time through; reading posts and listening attentively… or simply because my eyes are literally understanding some of his words for the first time.  #observe #reset

I  can’t help but think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves as educators.  We often think we need the answers to everything STAT, as if we are in the ER, not the classroom.  Do we take time to observe?  Even the ER doctor must observe, right? What if a doctor jumped right in without observing?  Would we end up in surgery for a sprain that only needed wrapped?  Would we find ourselves taking an antibiotic for a common cold?

Think about the first time you meet a child’s parents a mere two weeks into school at the annual Open House.  What is the first thing they are compelled to ask… How is my child doing?  That is a loaded question that comes with an incredible amount of responsibility.  If you answer with “great”, that may mislead the parent into thinking that everything is just fine when there may be concerns.  If you answer with, “okay” that opens the door to questions and a very awkward moment in front of others.  Let’s not even go to “not as well as I would like” because that simply shouldn’t exist in the first couple weeks of school, right?  Especially when you are the amazing teacher you hope to be which in turn should bring out the “amazingness” in every child, STAT!  What is so bad about saying, let me tell you about #observeme and how that impacts both my students and myself.  Why not open the door for an innovative approach that could benefit their child and remove the arrogance we embed into ourselves with the need to know everything? Observing leads to goals… isn’t that what we are searching for?

8-Characteristics-of-the-Innovators-Mindset

Observing can lead to amazing things, including the characteristics of an innovator’s mindset.  Isn’t that why facilitating is becoming the new teaching?  That is for another day… another blog!  Observing will give us:

  1. A New Perspective: How do they solve problems without me? Do they need me and how much?  If I am always posing the problem will they ever truly be able to solve it?  What about a scenario? Can they see the problem themselves without me?  Tossing out an idea, a skill, a concept, or event will allow me to observe their strengths and weaknesses so that I can in turn plan my next move.
  2. Individualized Goals: What do they need verses what do I want to give?  Is learning really about a pacing chart or a map?  I have students in class that were born at the same time others were crawling or even walking… all in one class!  Do you know how many milestones a baby has in their first year of life?  What on earth would I be doing right if I thought each of my learners were on the same “growth page”?  Did one baby sit and wait for another to crawl before they were allowed or tempted to walk?  Goals!  Each student must have goals that are focused on their own individual growth.
  3. Empathy: Who are they from the inside out? How do they show this to others and what does that tell me about them?  Observing a child’s reaction to a situation can speak volumes.  It is a map to their life experiences.  Are they able to have empathy?  Are they able to infer what is happening for others in that moment?  Can they truly put themselves in the other person’s shoes?  THE DAY MY LIFE CHANGED: It was the day that a child showed up for school sweating profusely.  To lighten the moment, I asked him, “What on earth were they serving at breakfast this morning?”  He wrapped his arms around me and said, “Oh Mrs. Nan, I missed breakfast.  I missed my bus this morning and had to run to school so I wouldn’t miss being with you.”  Tears rolled down my face.  I knew what that meant.  Would his peers?  Do they actually need to know or would they be able to show compassion and empathy without the tough details.  As I dried my eyes, I observed one child hand him a cereal bar that she had brought for her snack that day.  WOW-heart in my feet… this my friends, is why I teach!  This is what will make them the best they can be!  This is what opens doors to their minds and to learning.  This will always be the day that I knew I was helping “to create a school where students, staff, and parents are beating down the doors to get in… not out“.  Thank you Beth Houf and Shelley Burgess for helping me to Lead Like a Pirate!
  4. Habits of Learning: Who do they network with?  How? What foundation do they come with?  Do they have T.R.U.E. G.R.I.T. ?   Do they attempt to work alone?  Do they use the 4 C’s… Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity?

I am observant.  I notice… the smallest details.  The big impact.  The positive.  The mindset of all!  My journey continues and by observing I WILL LEARN… not for a moment, a day, or a week.  I will learn for a lifetime!  #ObserveMe