Crucial Conversations

Conversations that have high stakes, strong emotions, and differing opinions can be tough, but they are also some of the most important conversations to have. In order to be successful in these types of conversations, Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Swizler (2002) give some specific steps and skills to focus on in their book Crucial Conversations.

Patterson et al. (2002) recommend that we Start with Heart and remember that the only person we can control is ourselves. The following questions are good to keep in mind:

What do I really want for myself? * What do I really want for others? * What do I really want for the relationship?

I will probably need to think about all three of these during conversations about my Innovation Plan. It will be important for me to stay focused on my goal of implementing my plan, and not shift into competitive mode in which I just want to win the situation for winning’s sake. Instead of thinking of choices as either/or choices, I need to find ways to clarify what I WANT and what I DON’T WANT with an and question. Is it possible that there’s a way to accomplish both ideas?

The next step is to Learn to Look. Instead of just focusing on the content of a discussion, we need to be aware of other conditions, including physical, emotional, and behavioral signals that show that we’ve moved from a discussion into a Crucial Conversation. If this occurs, we need to move back into a safe area where all parties feel like they can say anything. When things are unsafe in a conversation, people can move to either silence or violence; withdrawing from the conversation or controlling the conversation, usually by attacking the other person. To self-monitor, it is important to ‘pay close attention to what you’re doing and the impact it’s having, and then alter your strategy if necessary.’ (Patterson, et al., 2002).

In order to Make it Safe in any conversation, it is important for everyone involved to have mutual purpose and mutual respect. When things get unsafe, it is important to step back, apologize if necessary, and then get to mutual respect. Patterson et al. (2002) suggest using the following four skills to do this: Commit to seek Mutual Purpose, Recognize the purpose behind the strategy, Invent a Mutual Purpose,, and Brainstorm new strategies.

Often, even in safe conversations, things can become emotional. Our instinct at this point might be fight or flight, but with the step of Master my Stories we can explain what’s going on with our feelings. Then we can refocus the dialogue to get back to the facts.

Many times, Crucial Conversations require some persuasion. It is important that we don’t let our persuasion become abrasive. In order to do this, we can STATE our Path and use these five tools: Share your facts, Tell your story, Ask for others’ paths, Talk tentatively, and Encourage testing. These tools can guide us through the what and how of talking about sensitive topics. We also need to remember to listen and Explore Others’ Paths. In this way, we can let others know that they are safe and that we want them to share their Path. In order to do this it is important to be sincere, curious, and patient. These four power listening skills can help: Ask to Get Things Rolling, Mirror to Confirm Feelings, Paraphrase to Acknowledge the Story, and Prime When You’re Getting Nowhere. If you have listened to another’s path and disagree with some or all of what they’re contributing to the conversation, remember to Agree, Build, and Compare your stories and paths.

The final part of having a Crucial Conversation is to Move to Action. It is important for all parties to have clear expectations about how decisions will be made: this needs to be part of the dialogue. To make decisions, there four methods to consider: Command, Consult, Vote, and Consensus. The method to be used in each situation needs to be defined. Some things to consider when choosing a decision-making method include: Who cares? Who knows? Who must agree? and How many people is it worth involving? Once a decision is made it needs to be put into action. The following elements need to be considered: Who? Does what? By when? and How will you follow up? These decisions should be put in writing in order to have documentation of the conversation.

When working to implement my Innovation Plan I will most likely have some Crucial Conversations. One Crucial Conversation I will need to have with administrators is about teachers using an online learning format in their classroom as part of the Blended Learning station rotation model. I will need to convince the administrators at my school that this plan is a good idea, and there are parts of it that I believe they will be hesitant about. Before each conversation I will need to prepare and be ready when things turn crucial. When reading the book, I took the quiz in the Learn to Look section and discovered that I especially need to focus on Start With Heart (which surprised me) and Move to Action (which didn’t surprise me). When reading more deeply about Start with Heart, I realized that I often don’t have specific goals in mind, and therefore it’s hard to stay focused. I need to begin with a goal, and when a conversation gets tough, I need to stop and remember that goal. Move to Action is always tough for me. I can have great ideas, but often don’t know how to get started on them or how to move forward. All the steps in between these two I feel like I could do, if only I could get better at the first and last! I think the key for me is to plan ahead and keep focused on more than just content when I’m having a Crucial Conversation.

References

Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., & Swizler, A. (2002). Crucial conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high. New York: McGraw-Hill.

4DX and a WIG

Last week I really enjoyed reading Influencer and couldn’t imagine finding a plan that fit together more easily. But I did! I really like The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) plan! I feel like it is just a different perspective on the same goals, but the combination of the two helps me to think through my Innovation Plan in a focused way.

I will need to meet with my team to implement the changes in my plan. 4DX has 5 specific stages that I will work through in helping the teachers at my school become as effective as possible.

Stage 1: Getting Clear

In this stage, my team and I will need to focus in on one or two wildly important goals, or WIGs, based around using the blended learning station rotation model for implementing a district required reading program. We will then brainstorm and choose two or three high-leverage lead measures to focus on. We will brainstorm about a good way to monitor our progress with a simple scoreboard, which will be in a location where we can all see how we are progressing toward our goal. In stage 1 we will also plan a time and place for our weekly WIG sessions. By planning ahead and having clarity in our purpose, I will be setting the team up for success!

Stage 2: Launch

Executing our plan and focusing on our lead measures will be difficult to do within the whirlwind of our school. If we can trust the process and implement our lead measures with fidelity, we should make progress. During our Launch stage I will be looking for teachers who are modeling our measures smoothly. I will also keep my eye out for those who are resistant to the change.

Stage 3: Adoption

Often times, when a new plan doesn’t work in the beginning, it is abandoned. This is why so many new plans are implemented, which causes feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed. By keeping my team and the teachers at my school focused on the WIG and the Lead Measures, I believe that we will see results more quickly. When teachers make commitments each week and hold each other accountable, they will be able to push through the initial phase of feeling overwhelmed and begin to see the scoreboard moving forward. We will need to keep in mind the idea that we can adjust as we notice what is working and what isn’t. Our weekly WIG meetings will allow us time to review and adjust as needed. As an instructional coach on my campus, I can put effort into mentoring and training teachers along the way. Focusing on those who aren’t resistant but are not necessarily models will encourage them to make progress.

Stage 4: Optimization

It will be exciting and interesting to see what creative ideas my team will come up with to optimize the their performance and the lead measures. Teachers often have amazing thoughts, but no time or permission to implement them. WIG meetings focusing on WIGs will give them the opportunities to try new things. To celebrate these ideas and innovative ways that they are being implemented, WIG meetings will need to include recognition and encouragement both from me and from other team members to each other.

Stage 5: Habits

When my team reaches the WIG that we set, which I’m sure we will, there will need to be celebration. This will encourage the teachers to move on to a new WIG and keep making progress. I will enjoy seeing people who started as resisters become models on the campus, and teams celebrating each other for their progress. The ideas of 4DX will become habits, and guide us through WIGs each year. Our school will make great gains.

My Innovation Plan focus on improving student engagement and attendance rates through blended learning will benefit from the implementation of ideas from the Influencer model and the 4DX model.

Six Sources of Influence

Focus, Measure, and Vital Behaviors

I hope to achieve more student engagement and higher attendance levels across my elementary campus by incorporating a district-mandated online reading program into a blended learning model.

I will measure student engagement by using time on task data from classroom observations as well as surveys for students and teachers to complete. Weekly attendance data will also be collected and analyzed.

The organizational influencers who will be involved are myself, teachers, campus principal and assistant principals, ACTION director (superintendent), parents and the community.

The vital behaviors that I plan to implement are:

  1. Educate the teachers on my campus about blended learning and the benefits it can have in their classrooms.
  2. Assist teachers with planning and implementing blended learning lessons and incorporating a schedule conducive to the station rotation model.
  3. Help teachers set up Google Classroom to make the station rotation model possible in their classrooms.

Sources of Influence

By incorporating all six sources of influence, I hope to put a positive twist on a difficult situation and help teachers feel that they are still impacting their students’ lives.

 

Motivation

Ability

Personal

Teachers on my campus are being required to implement an online reading program with their students.  A blended learning model of station rotation will help them get the most out of the time they have with their students each day, as well as allow the reading program to compliment their teaching instead of replace it. Teachers will appreciate focusing on the benefits of blended learning rather than on the online program that they feel is replacing their teaching. Scenarios and videos will help teachers see examples of what blended learning can look like in an elementary school. I will be on campus to model lessons or assist in classrooms as teachers begin to implement blended learning. In this role, I can talk through situations in real-time with teachers, and give them feedback about what is working and what is not working.

Social

Through an online poll, I will find out who the opinion leaders are on my campus. Enlisting them to be some of the first to incorporate the station rotation model into their classrooms will be encouraging to other teachers. It will also be powerful if some teachers allow me to video examples of blended learning working well, and show them to the faculty. Our campus has a Google Community to post pictures and affirmations. Teachers can post pictures of their students engaged in any aspect of blended learning, and I can encourage administration to post pictures and affirmations as well. I will facilitate weekly meetings with the teachers so that they can discuss with each other what is happening in their classrooms and work through problems together. This will also be a time of celebrations, to give teachers opportunity to acknowledge what is working well. For any professional development that I provide on campus, I will attempt to use a blended learning model to give teachers ideas and examples.

Structural

Our campus is expected to implement an online reading program. There will be ACTION directors and supervisors checking to see that the program is used with fidelity; they are taking personal responsibility for the progress that they believe they will see. Confirm that teachers have the computers and headphones needed to allow their students access to the online program, as well as making sure that their classrooms are set up in a manner conducive to a station rotation model of blended learning.

 

Resources

Grenny, J., Maxfield, D., Shimberg, A. (2013). How to 10X Your Influence. Provo, Utah: VitalSmarts.

Harapnuik, D. (2016, January 28). It’s About Learning: 4 Effective Ways to Find and Test Vital Behaviors. Retrieved from: http://www.harapnuik.org/?p=6253

Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

What is my WHY and why is it important?

WHY – I believe that all children have a desire and an ability

to learn and to succeed.

HOW – As adult role models and leaders we foster

curiosity and creativity in our students.

WHAT – We expose our students to questions and tasks that

encourage them to love learning.

When I run into former students out in the real world, they remember me. Not because they did well in my class or because I taught them every ounce of the curriculum. They remember me because I listened to them. They remember me because I laughed with them and got messy with them. They remember me because I learned just as much from them as they did from me. And I made them feel like they did amazing things. Because they did.

“They may forget what you said but they will never forget

how you made them feel.”  – Carl W. Buehner

What are we waiting for? The time is now! If we are going to guide the next generation to becoming the leaders of tomorrow, we need to start setting the right example and encourage them to become lifelong learners. It’s not enough to make the grade. It’s not enough to get high test scores. It’s not enough to comply with rules. We need to show them how to be thinkers and problem solvers and innovators. They need to have opportunities to take risks and make mistakes and ask questions. We have to make them believe in themselves and to feel successful. They need to see that they can change the world.
why-what-how

Growth Mindset

When working on creating a significant learning environment, it is important to have, and to encourage in your students, a growth mindset. When you understand how your brain learns, you can see that there are many ways for it to grow and increase its ability.

As I said in my learning philosophy, I believe John Van de Walle (Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally, 2004) explains this best with his dot theory. ‘Consider the picture to be a small section of our cognitive makeup. The blue dots represent existing ideas. The lines joining the ideas represent our logical connections or relationships that have developed between and among ideas. The red dot is an emerging idea, one that is being constructed. Whatever existing ideas (blue dots) are used in the construction will necessarily be connected to the new idea (red dot) because those were the ideas that gave meaning to it.’ (p. 20).

blue-dots-and-red-dots

Without allowing our brains to make connections between ideas, we won’t learn. With a growth mindset we see that our abilities can grow through practice and perseverance, while with a fixed mindset we think that if we don’t have natural talent, we’ll never be good.

We all have experiences or times in our lives when we have a fixed mindset, and the key is to work our way to a growth mindset. One of the best ways to develop a growth mindset is to listen for you fixed mindset ‘voice’ and think about the choice you’ll make in how you react. When you talk back with a growth mindset ‘voice’ and take a growth mindset action, you can change the way you view the situation. Carol Dweck explains these steps to turn around our mindset on her website, mindsetonline.com.

As a teacher, my mindset can influence many people around me. I want to model a growth mindset for the teachers and students at my school. When I crouch down and have a conversation with a student about their writing, I try to focus on pointing out what the student has learned. When I watch teachers during a math lesson, and they feel like their students didn’t grasp what they wanted them to, I help them see the positive, and then we discuss what the teacher could do differently tomorrow to make things work. Sometimes teachers feel like there isn’t enough time in a day, week, or year to ‘get through’ all of the things they’re supposed to teach. But by encouraging their students to work through challenges, learn from feedback, and always try their best, their students will be able to learn so much more! Watching a class of students who are excited to solve a problem or research the answer to a question they have is very powerful. Students WANT to learn!

When I implement my innovation plan, I will need to encourage teachers to have a growth mindset. Things won’t always go well the first time they try, and I need to make sure they understand that it’s ok. Learning to teach in a different way needs to be a process, not an overnight change, and there will be challenges along the way. I’m excited to create a significant learning environment in which the teachers will know that I’m there to support them and guide them, and to model a growth mindset for them.

Understanding by Design

As a classroom teacher, I like the UbD design template better than Fink’s 3 Column Table. Backward Design is something that I’ve heard about, learned about, and planned with as a teacher, but this was my first time to read this book and really apply the concept in detail. When sharing a course goal with students, however, Fink’s Table seems to be a better choice. As a learner in EDLD 5313, I don’t need to know every detail that the UbD template requires; the 3 Column Table is adequate for my information.

Thinking through my lesson/course design in multiple ways has helped me to really define my course objectives and solidify what it is I want teachers to be doing. I’m excited to implement my innovation plan and watch teachers learn!

 

Stage 1 – Desired Results
Established Goals:

·         Learners will establish a significant learning environment in their classroom.

·         Learners will create lessons in a blended learning format to use in their classroom.

 

Understandings:

Students will understand that…

·         A significant learning environment is essential when implementing a blended learning format.

·         A blended learning format is beneficial to student success.

 

Essential Questions:

·         What will your classroom look like when you begin to implement technology for learning?

·         How do students in blended learning classrooms differ from those in more traditional classrooms?

 

Students will know…

·         What a significant learning environment is

·         Various models of blended learning

Students will be able to…

·         Identify key aspects of significant learning environments

·         Analyze and evaluate various blended learning models

·         Write a lesson/unit plan that involves blended learning opportunities

·         Explain how lessons/units are improved by the use of blended learning

Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence
Performance Tasks:

·         Create a lesson/unit plan incorporating blended learning experiences for their students.

·         Implement blended learning in their classroom.

·         Create videos or blog posts about blended learning in their classroom.

 

Other Evidence:

·         Participation in online class discussions.

·         Self reflection about using blended learning in the classroom, and the changes they’ve seen as they’ve implemented it.

·         Blended learning opportunities in many lesson plans throughout the year and ongoing.

Stage 3 – Learning Plan
Learning Activities:

·         This course will be implemented using an online format to model blended learning for teachers.

·         View videos and read articles about significant learning environments and blended learning models. Use strong videos to show teachers examples of how these things can be very positive for students.

·         Reflect on their current classroom and the changes they wish to see.

·         Participate in online discussions with classmates about what they are learning and how they’re working to implement it.

·         Create a lesson/unit plan that includes blended learning opportunities.

·         Participate in lesson planning sessions throughout the year to facilitate the implementation of blended learning.

·         Revise existing lesson plans to find ways to improve them with blended learning opportunities.

·         Create blog posts and/or videos about blended learning in their classroom.

·         Self-reflect about individual learning and the improvements in their students’ learning.

 

Aligning Outcomes, Activities, and Assessment for Learning

Creating my course learning goal and learning outcomes is a large part of my innovation plan. The way that I present information about blended learning and significant learning environments to teachers could determine their feelings toward the idea. I need to make my course engaging, interactive, and powerful so that teachers will buy-in and begin to use blended learning in their classrooms regularly.

 

Course Goal:

 Learners will establish a significant learning environment in their classroom and create blended learning lessons after participating in an online course.

 Learning Outcomes:

Learning Outcomes Learning Activities Assessment Activities
Foundational

Learners will identify the key aspects of a significant learning environment.

 

Learners will analyze and evaluate the various blended learning models.

 

Online visuals and reading about significant learning environments and blended learning models

 

Reflection on their current classroom and the changes they wish to see

 

 

Formative feedback on class discussions

Application

Learners will apply their knowledge of blended learning to design a lesson or unit for their class that includes blended learning experiences.

 

 

Creation of a lesson plan incorporating blended learning

 

Lesson or unit plan

Integration

Learners will explain how their lesson or unit is improved by the use of blended learning.

 

 

Use of a blended learning model to teach the course

 

Discussions with classmates in an online forum

 

 

Formative feedback on class discussions

 

Human Dimension / Caring

Learners will observe the benefits of a blended learning classroom.

 

 

Discussions with classmates in an online forum

 

 

 

Implementation of blended learning lessons in their classroom

Learning How to Learn

Learners will revise lesson plans to include blended learning opportunities.

 

 

Lesson planning session to facilitate the implementation of blended learning

 

Lesson plans

 

Videos or blog posts about blended learning in their classroom

 

My Learning Philosophy

Learning is a process that begins when we are born and continues throughout our entire lives. Every moment of every day we are learning new things; through experiences, observations, and other people. Babies and children are naturally curious, and seek information through their five senses and by asking questions of the adults around them. When my children were young and asked me question after question, I often put the question back on them by saying, “What do you think?” Their answers ranged from “I don’t know,” to ideas based on fact, to fantastical stories. I made sure to guide them with further questions to help them learn.
What happens when children come to school? Often times, teachers discourage questions from their students. It could be for the sake of time or because they don’t know how to answer. With two children at home, the questions could sometimes become overwhelming; but not nearly as overwhelming as questions from a class of 22 students! I wish it could be easier for teachers to foster their students’ natural curiosity and still focus on their curriculum. When children feel like their curiosity is not valued, they often stop asking questions. ‘Students come to the classroom with preconceptions about how the world works. If their initial understanding is not engaged, they may fail to grasp new concepts and information presented in the classroom.’ (Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, 1999, p. 2). John Van de Walle (2004) explains this thinking best with his dot theory. ‘Consider the picture to be a small section of our cognitive makeup. The blue dots represent existing ideas. The lines joining the ideas represent our logical connections or relationships that have developed between and among ideas. The red dot is an emerging idea, one that is being constructed. Whatever existing ideas (blue dots) are used in the construction will necessarily be connected to the new idea (red dot) because those were the ideas that gave meaning to it.’ (p. 20). This illustrates the idea of Constructivism; ‘learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge.’ (instructionaldesign.org, 2015). When teachers allow their students the time to ask and find answers to questions, real learning can occur.

blue-dots-and-red-dots

In a classroom where real learning takes place, there is a culture that allows and honors questions. In this type of classroom, ideas are discussed freely, students are involved in productive struggle, and mistakes are valued. It is through class discussions, problem solving, sharing work with one another, and hands-on activities that students learn. In his book The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, George Couros outlines eight things to look for in today’s classroom: voice, choice, time for reflection, opportunities for innovation, critical thinkers, problem solvers/finders, self-assessment, and connected learning (2015, p. 116).
Teachers have a different role in this type of classroom than they do in a more ‘traditional’ classroom. We are not givers of knowledge: most of the knowledge that students need to know can be found on the internet when it’s needed. Our job is to use formative assessments to find out where students are in the learning process, set up situations or problems that will encourage their next steps, and facilitate discussions between students. It is important to find balance; students need to learn basic facts, but they also need to be engaged in deep thinking. ‘Students’ abilities to acquire organized sets of facts and skills are actually enhanced when they are connected to meaningful problem-solving activities, and when students are helped to understand why, when, and how those facts and skills are relevant.’ (Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, 1999, p. 19). In order for learning to occur, teachers must explicitly teach students how they learn. They should help students to set goals, monitor their progress, and notice when they are moving forward in the process of learning.
One of the most important ways to encourage students to learn is to model for them. As teachers, we should never stop learning. We learn from our students and our colleagues, professional reading and our PLNs. We are one of the most important role models in children’s lives, and they learn by watching what we do and how we act. Show them that learning happens in and out of the classroom, and that it happens continuously.

 

References

9 Characteristics of 21st Century Learning. (2012, August 31). Retrieved September 05, 2016, from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/9-characteristics-of-21st-century-learning/

A Diagram of 21st Century Pedagogy. (2015, December 08). Retrieved September 05, 2016, from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/a-diagram-of-21st-century-pedagogy/

Constructivist Theory (Jerome Bruner). (2015). Retrieved September 05, 2016, from http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/constructivist.html

Couros, G. (2015). The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity. San Diego, CA: Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc.

Donovan, S., Bransford, J., Pellegrino, J. (1999). “How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice.” Retrieved September 05, 2016, from http://www.nap.edu/read/9457/chapter/1

Framework for 21st Century Learning – P21. (n.d.). Retrieved September 05, 2016, from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning: A Synthesis of Over 800 Meta-analyses Relating to Achievement. New York, New York: Routledge.

Mims, C. (2003). Meridian Article: Authentic Learning: A Practical Introduction & Guide for Implementation. Retrieved September 05, 2016, from https://www.ncsu.edu/meridian/win2003/authentic_learning/

Siemens, G. (2005, January). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved September 05, 2016, from http://www.itdl.org/journal/jan_05/article01.htm

Van de Walle, J. (2004). Elementary and middle school mathematics: Teaching developmentally. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Wheeler, S. (2013, May 20). Learning with ‘e’s: Learning theories for the digital age. Retrieved September 05, 2016, from http://www.steve-wheeler.co.uk/2013/05/learning-theories-for-digital-age.html

Creating a Significant Learning Environment

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘school?’ Does it conjure up a picture of a bright space with desks in rows and students sitting quietly and listening to the teacher? Douglas Thomas (2012) says in his TEDx talk, “We’ve looked at a way to prepare our students for the jobs of the 19 th century. It’s just that we’ve taken 200 years to perfect that method. And we’ve gotten it right. We are now training people for Industrial Revolution factory jobs and we’re doing a very good job of it. Unfortunately, those jobs no longer exist anymore.”

In the last 15 years, during my career as a teacher, I’ve been fortunate enough to work in a district that fosters growth. I have been to many professional learning classes that encourage us to understand our students, use their multiple intelligences to help them learn, create engaging lessons, and have students working in groups and moving around the classroom. But it’s not enough. Our world is changing so much faster than our education system is.

Ideally, it would be ‘out with the old and in with the new,’ and we’d have a complete renovation of teaching and learning. But change is hard, and many teachers don’t want to give up what they’ve always done. Henry Ford said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” This slow change just doesn’t seem to be working: we need to ‘get’ something new, quickly!

The idea of ‘teaching’ suggests that information is being transferred from the teacher to the student, but people today learn through various contexts. According to Thomas and Brown (2011) “In the new culture of learning, people learn through their interaction and participation with one another in fluid relationships that are the result of shared interests and opportunity,” (p. 50). This means that students can learn just as much from one another as they can from the teacher. All of the information they need can be found online, and it is constantly updating and changing with new discoveries and understanding. Teachers can be guides, facilitators, and questioners, but don’t need to be information-givers anymore. They are just one context for students to learn from, not the only content they need.

As a teacher of teachers, I can use this knowledge to transform my lessons as well. I want to model for teachers what they need to be doing in their classrooms, and what better way than to guide them and question them? I can be one context that they can use to understand this new culture of learning. Instead of one-time, sit-and- get professional development courses, I can use technology to provide questions and resources for teachers, and continue talking and working with them throughout the year. I can be there to take pictures of things that they’re doing that are working, and I can blog about their experiences, and mine. I can use Twitter and G+ Communities, and possibly Google Classroom to have conversations across the district with a wide variety of teachers. Hopefully, through my modeling, questions, and resources, I can help teachers to see that their ‘teaching’ needs to change. I want them to embrace holistic, authentic learning and encourage their students to innovate, create, and explore.

Douglas Thomas (2012) says that the two most powerful words in the world are ‘What if’. Think about it…What if students came to school excited about learning? What if students had time for imagination? What if students asked questions, and enjoyed helping each other find answers? What if students knew how to access the information they needed and wanted to learn? What if I can empower teachers to embrace the new culture of learning?

D. (2007, July 31). Progressive Education in the 1940s. Retrieved August 28, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opXKmwg8VQM

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace

Thomas, D. (2012). A New Culture of Learning, Douglas Thomas at TEDxUFM. Retrieved August 28, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM80GXlyX0U.

Learning is a Process

When does change go from being difficult to being enjoyable?

An innovation plan, including mine to implement a blended learning format in my school, can be a big change. Although many teachers will be excited, some teachers could have a difficult time with the change that is involved. But this change is needed. Students today learn through electronics, and it’s about time that teachers tune into this and get on board.

Through my research and reading, I’ve discovered ways that technology can be used in the classroom to assist students in their learning. I hope to use this knowledge to influence the teachers on my campus to incorporate technology into their classrooms. I believe that this will help students to become more engaged, and therefore to be present at school more often.

As an instructional coach, I plan to model lessons using technology and help teachers incorporate more technology into their lesson plans. See my Innovation Plan, Implementation Outline, and Literature Review for more information about my ideas.

Some books that I hope to read to continue my learning include:

The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change by Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

Amplify: Digital Teaching and Learning in the K-6 Classroom by Katie Muhtaris and Kirstin Ziemke

Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity by George Couros

The Human Side of School Change: Reform, Resistance, and the Real-Life Problems with Innovation by Robert Bass, The Jossey-Bass Education Series

50 Things You Can do With Google Classroom by Alice Keeler