I. Teachers demonstrate leadership. · II. Teachers establish a respectful environment for a diverse population of students. · III. Teachers know the content they teach. · IV. Teachers facilitate learning for their students. · V. Teachers reflect on their practice.

Voice and Choice for Littles: Kinder Research Project

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In the past, my Kinders have always participated in “shared research.” With a whole or small group, I have modeled how to use various tools for research (W.K.7), I’ve shown how to scan through the text to seek out the important parts, and I’ve shared how I can use this information (W.K.8) to write informational text all about a topic (W.K.2). From there, students used the information that we collected in our shared research to follow my modeling and also write all about that same topic.

And I recognized that while I was on the right track, showing students the importance of research in 21st century learning, I was the one picking the topic, doing the work, giving the information, and modeling the writing. Students, rather than gathering their information through research, were gathering their information from me to write all about a topic. Additionally, students were learning about a topic as a group – a topic that I chose for them to watch me research and potentially one that they had no interest in. I was the one doing, rather than them.

When I asked myself how to change it up and make this a more valuable experience, I was overwhelmed: overwhelmed with the idea of how to give a class of K students choice in what they researched, overwhelmed with how students would be able to independently gather information through research with limited reading skills, and overwhelmed with the idea of how to effectively organize personalized research for 22 Kindergarteners, where they have access to a variety of tools,

It was a risk, but one that I wanted and needed to take. In this post, you’ll see the steps I took to make it happen, the sharing and collaboration that started to take place among teachers along the way, and my reflections on the success of the project.

The Project

I broke the project into a 3 week time span.

Week 1- the research

Week 2- the “all about” books

Week 3- green screen informational movies

Week 1: The Research

I knew if students were going to be researching different topics, they would be working in small groups with common interests. So I figured that learning stations would be the best way to organize the research that went into the project. While I wanted to give voice and choice to students in this research project, I also knew that to make the project more effective for them and less scary for me, there needed to be some structure also. I narrowed it down to animal research, and from there, picked a diverse variety of animals students could pick from. On a simple, hand-written slip of paper, students ordered the animals 1-5, based on their research preferences; and from there, I was able to group students into research small groups. Students’ choices and interests were varied, allowing me to give them either 1st or 2nd choice.

5 animals meant 5 learning stations, and student small groups would rotate through all the different stations in 1 week: the 2 teacher-led stations (by me and my TA) would be the stations where the bulk of the new learning took place, and the other 3 would be more observational-based learning stations. We did one rotation per day during our 20-30 minute writing block each day. Each animal group had a folder, which gave them their task/materials for that day’s research. This is how I kept the stations organized, and, after thorough modeling, how students knew what to do during their station. Students knew that after all of this research, the goal was for them to know the characteristics of their animal, their animal’s habitat, what their animal eats, along with any other information that they find to be interesting about their animal and what it can do. Participating in these research stations would allow me to assess W.K.7, how well and effectively students participated in shared research.

Station 1: Brainpop/Make a Map: I led this station, as students would be logging into their individual Brainpop accounts, watching an informational video, and using the “make a map” tool to show their new learning.

Station 2: Habitat: Students observed pre-printed pictures of their animal’s habitat (located in their folder), and from their observations, spent time drawing and labeling the parts in their animals’ habitats.

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Station 3: “Nonfiction Boxes”: This is one of my “work on writing” centers that students are already familiar with, which is why I thought it would fit perfectly into an independent research station. While looking at pictures/info about their animal, students wrote down observational facts about the animal.

 

 

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Station 4: Informational read-aloud/puppet making: My TA led this station. She read them information about their animal using an animal encyclopedia, asked several comprehension questions for discussion after the reading, and then monitored while they made a “puppet” of their animal. This is the puppet they would use in the culminating green screen project.

 

 

Station 5: Pic Kids app: Students used a grid within the tool Pic Kids to insert photos of their animal and write can, have, are facts about their animal collaboratively.

Students rotated through the stations during week 1, periodically reflecting in their journals along the way.

Week 2: The All About Books

After a week of research, it was time to apply their learning to write informational text. Students were now going to organize their learning onto a planning sheet, and from there, create their all about books. Their planning sheet contained 4 sections for them to organize their information, indicated by pictures: characteristics, habitat, diet, and other interesting information. Students worked for a couple of writing blocks to plan, and a couple of writing blocks to make their books. This was the section of the lesson that addressed the majority of the learning objectives: W.K.8 (recalling information from research) and W.K.2 (write informational text).

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Feel free to use my Animal Research Note Planning template!

 

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Feel free to use my Writer’s Checklist template!

 

Once we finished the planning and writing of our books, students buddied up to peer edit their “all about” books: they gave each other feedback, and checked each book with a writer’s checklist. This was the first time I had my students use a writer’s checklist collaboratively, rather than independently, and it was the most successful my kinders have ever been using this rubric tool! 2 brains are better than 1!

 

Week 3: Green Screen Informational Movies

As an extension of W.K.8 (recalling research), I wanted students to work together to create informational green screen movies on their animal, and consequently create a teaching tool so that others could learn about their animal. Again, I was overwhelmed. How were small groups of Kindergarteners going to take their individual notes and information to make collaborative, collective green screen scripts. I wracked my brain for the best way, and thank goodness I ran into Chris Tuttell that morning! She took the best of my ideas, added her own ideas, and we had a plan.

Each animal small group worked at a table, with each student holding their individual scripts. Students in the 4-5 student animal small group formed smaller groups by partnering up and taking on 1-2 sections of the planning sheet. They partnered together to share their sentences in their particular assigned section (for example: habitat), and from there, partners circled the sentences between the 2 that best summarized and taught others about that section. Then, the partners in the small group came back together as a whole, and shared their circled sentences with a recorder in the group, who made the official script for each section.

To make it kinder-friendly, the script template was structured very similarly to their original story planning sheet.

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Feel free to use my Green Screen Research Script template!

Once the script was completed, we made copies for each team member and highlighted their respective lines. Students rehearsed and were ready to make their informational movies.

As we wrapped up this project, I was left with an overwhelming sense of satisfaction. I had taken a risk, it actually worked, students actually learned, and best of all, they had so much fun. In listening to their sweet voices in these green screen movies, I can hear a confidence and maturity in some of my students that I’ve never heard before. I love how certain tools can excite students in ways that I, nor they, ever imagined.

Click here to see our final green screen informational movies!


Collaboration Along the Way

Collaboration is where I should have started with this project, but since I had never tried anything quite like it with Kindergarteners, and struggled to find online resources/information of other K teachers who had tried it, I felt like the idea may not work and wanted to try it before mentioning it to my team. Once I started my research learning stations, I got excited that it was working and, with that boost of confidence, started sharing with my team! They were immediately excited about the structure, yet voice and choice, in the research project and started the project in their own classrooms, with slight adjustments/differences that helped fit the project to the learning and needs of their own students.

Kelsey Clarke, one of my teammates, and myself had meanwhile been anticipating a visit to our classrooms from Lisa Poirier, a K teacher we have connected with this year through different PD, events, and of course, Twitter! It so happened that Lisa was coming to observe our literacy blocks, and was able to see both of our projects in action. She got the perspective of my project, as we wrapped up the all about books and started making our green screen scripts…

….and Kelsey’s project, as she introduced and began the research centers.

Lisa, also excited about personalized research for her littles, took back some ideas as she began the project in her own classroom! Each of our projects had slight differences in implementation and outcome, but were all derived from the same common theme and idea.

After we all finished up the project, we used the green screen videos from each class as teaching tools: students teaching students about their animal. To amplify overall student learning, we gave students the opportunity to view the green screen movies of all 3 classes, and then Kelsey, Lisa, and I connected through Google Hangout for some student reflection.

It was amazing to hear students speak to what was easy and challenging in the project, what they really enjoyed about the project, along with the similarities and differences that they noticed between the 3 projects. Lisa’s class even asked for some tips for collaboration, to which students from the other 2 classes responded saying things like “Don’t fight…be kind! Listen to all members. Remember, it’s not just about 1 person’s idea…it’s about what everyone thinks!” These student-created green screen movies became authentic teaching tools, and gave us the chance to connect and reflect with others for added relevance and excitement.


My Own Reflections

What would I change next time?

>Next time, I would start with collaboration, rather than end there. Collaboration up-front will help finalize those challenges/intimidations before starting. Now that this project won’t really seem like a risk anymore, it should be easy starting here next time.

IMG_8415.jpg>Brainpop jr. is such a great tool with lots of new features. I had created individual student accounts, so that students could watch the video and make-a-map in their individual accounts. Little did I know that the video software was out of date on half of my desktops and would not play the videos. So we got creative. Sometimes, we would watch the video as a whole group, then go into our individual accounts to make a map. Sometimes, for sake of time, we’d watch the video together and then students would make a map as a small group, taking turns with the dragging and typing. Next time, I would have my students already familiar with how to login and utilize Brainpop in their individual accounts, and also ensure that the proper updates were already put in place on the desktops.

>I would love to make my stations more rigorous and more learning-packed next time. This time, I had some stations where actual learning and research took place, but other stations were more observational, simply looking at pictures to gather information. When taking a risk, sometimes we add in elements that bring a sense of comfort and make a task seem more doable. That way, when attempting it again later, those original risks seem less scary, and make room for new risks you might take the next time around. So next time, I would like my kinders using additional tools in their research stations, for a wider variety of experience and learning. Maybe youtube kids? NC Wise Owl? Pebble Go? Discovery Ed? Adding a variety of nonfiction easy readers to my classroom library? Not only would I like to add new research tools, but have my students already accustomed to using them when they get into their learning stations for a research project. As research is such a relevant skill, I’d love for student research to become a consistently-used skill, rather than a skill simply used for 1 big research project.

>Quality-wise, Google Hangout was a bit lacking when it came to the visual and sound elements. We’re wondering if there’s a way to connect and reflect more clearly?

>This time, I gave voice and choice on what animal students researched. As I continue trying this project in future years, I can’t wait to see how it will grow. Some possibilities I’m contemplating: How could I structure it for students to choose their research tools? Rather than having everyone complete a green screen movie as their culminating teaching tool, how could I give student choice in the teaching tool they will each create? These are all possibilities that would have seemed overwhelming during my first trial run of the project, but possibilities I now feel inspired to consider, in collaboration with my teammates.

As always, my little ones have proven to me that #kindersCAN. Throughout and after the project, I shared my hesitations with them in trying this research project, and how it was scary for me to turn it over to them, knowing how chaotic all of the different topics and tools could get with a room of little people. But I told them that I believed in them, because they had never given me a reason not to. And as they worked, they took part in similar reflections. Throughout the week, we took time to reflect and describe what we were finding easy and hard in our research. Seeing my students’ awareness and grasp of their own learning, just as I had shared my own reflections with them, was powerful.

Each time I do this project, I believe that it will get better and more effective. And at some point, maybe research will stop being referred to as a project in my classroom, and become a frequently and consistently integrated tool for learning and exploring our personal curiosities……maybe #geniushour is in our near future!

I. Teachers demonstrate leadership. · II. Teachers establish a respectful environment for a diverse population of students. · IV. Teachers facilitate learning for their students. · V. Teachers reflect on their practice.

Mindset- Theirs and Mine

It’s amazing how mindset – a single word and concept – can be detrimental to teaching and learning, but can also be the reason for teacher and student success. Lately, I’ve been reflecting on mindset, how it affects success, and how teacher and student mindsets also affect one another.

My mindset- that of the educator:

Working many hours outside of the 8 hour day, taking the time to connect to a PLN of other educators, voluntary PD, educational reading and book studies by choice – all signs of an educator who is continuing as a learner, and consequently, an educator with the right mindset.  For some, dedicating extra time throughout the week to plan, share, and learn is a priority; but for others, these things are just “more to add to the plate.” So what’s the difference between the teacher volunteering extra time to learn and the teacher who refers to these same actions as “too much” or “overwhelming”? It’s a mindset.

Just to clarify, there are times that any job can become overwhelming; and teachers definitely experience this feeling at times throughout the school year. But when “overwhelming” turns into an excuse to avoid risk-taking, that’s when it becomes more of a mindset issue. My own mindset has been transforming from the beginning of my journey in education. To give a small example, when I started my student teaching over 3 years ago, I remember being initially surprised there was a weekly grade-level planning time (boy, did I have a lot to learn)…I assumed that teachers who had been teaching a while would just use last year’s plans to get them through each week. Those thoughts reflected my current mindset: not only did I have so much to learn about the importance of collaborative planning, but these thoughts also revealed my thinking that teachers could dedicate less time and effort to the job if they just re-used the same plans each year. Finding ways to save time can be very valuable for educators, but again, should not be an excuse to deny your students of the experience they deserve. Reflecting now and having learned so much since carrying those initial misconceptions, it’s scary to think where students today would be if we all just used “last year’s plans” every year. Sadly though, this detrimental mindset does exist; and there are teachers in our own district and beyond teaching today’s students with yesterday’s lessons and tools.

A big part of what has helped transform my own mindset over the years are other inspiring teachers and leaders constantly striving to #becomebetter. Educators are more likely to think and act with a growth, learner’s mindset when they are inspired by a leader who has one. The amount of hours we put in doesn’t define our mindset, but our thinking, along with the questions we ask ourselves, do. Every educator out there should be able to explain the steps they are taking to continue learning, and if not, then how do you expect your students to be a learner in your classroom?

So are we satisfied where we are now, or are we dedicating time to become better for our kids?

Their mindset- that of the learner:

The learner’s mindset is related to and affected by the teacher’s mindset. If you’re bored with a lesson, they probably are too. If you’re doubting your students’ ability to successfully reach your expectations, they probably are too. If you aren’t taking risks and learning more, why should they take risks and learn more? We have to model the mindset we want for our students. When teachers inspire a classroom culture of joy and innovation, combined with a strong sense of community where “mistakes” are part of the process, a growth mindset for learners will start to take shape.

I’m open with my students when I’m taking a risk with an activity they’re working on. And at the end of the lesson, after asking them to personally reflect on how it went, I often share my own “teacher” reflection with them: What went well with the lesson from my perspective? What surprised me? What would I do differently if I were going to teach this lesson again? In being transparent with my kinders, I’ve seen an increase in student self-esteem and less fear of making mistakes in the classroom. By modeling my own truthful reflections, I’ve also seen more honesty when they reflect on their success with a lesson.

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We all have someone along the way who helps inspire this mindset within us. Even as educators, we look to leaders who model this type of mindset. It is my hope that each day as I strive to model this mindset, I will inspire my students to take risks and become better too.

I. Teachers demonstrate leadership. · III. Teachers know the content they teach. · IV. Teachers facilitate learning for their students. · V. Teachers reflect on their practice.

A Whole New World: Being a Connected Educator

I set my alarm to wake up at 6 a.m. yesterday. Yes, yesterday was a Saturday, and no, I was not forced to do so. And as I sit here reflecting today, I can officially say that I GET IT –  I get why all of these other educators want to spend their Saturday together learning at EdCamps. Yesterday’s EdCamp Wake experience was full of amazing learning and connecting; and EdCamps, by design, set themselves up for these genuine experiences: attendees write down what they want to learn about, and sessions are generated based directly off of these ideas. These sessions are packed full of great information…we ask questions, share thoughts, and simply learn from each other! I attended sessions on podcasting, technology for young learners, and PBL, leaving with many takeaways in addition to takeaways gained through collaborative session notes and following the #EdCampWake twitter hashtag during the day.

But what resounds inside me most after yesterday’s experience is a thought that is in many ways new to me, and one I’ve kept coming back to for the past month: the value in being a connected educator and the excitement and learning that it brings.

We, as educators, are so much more powerful together than we are individually. Without sharing and connecting, we would each have to do all of the inventing and work ten times harder. And there is so much going on beyond the walls of just one school. During this day in age, connecting with those at your school in meetings/collaborative planning times isn’t always enough. The more people we connect with, the more fresh ideas we have access to. George Couros’ words resonate in my mind: Isolation is now a choice educators make.

So here are the ways that I am working to stay connected in the ever-changing world of education.

Twitter:

A month ago, I joined the Twitter world, and my biggest regret now is that I didn’t join sooner. I have learned so much from educators in my own school, in my district, and all over the state and beyond since creating a twitter account a month ago. How much more could I have shared and learned by getting on Twitter sooner? Outside from connecting with your own team and school, twitter is the first step to connecting on a larger scale. I have genuinely enjoyed expanding my PLN, spreading the #kindersCAN movement, and meeting and learning from so many awesome educators I never would have known, all through Twitter.

And another George Couros inspiration…

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Looking forward to starting our own Twitter challenge at WES, in hopes of increasing staff motivation to connect on Twitter and join in the fun!

Blogging:

2 weeks have passed since my first blog post, and here I am on post number 3! Even in this short amount of time, I’m realizing how little I was taking the time to sit down and ask myself the same questions I ask my students to ask themselves: How did it go? What could I change for next time? Where am I in my learning? When you look at blogging as a reflection, it’s a lot less intimidating. And really, people learn the most from hearing the thinking behind an idea or the challenges someone faced in an experience. Blogging connects educators on an even deeper level, as we take the time to share, read, and respond to one another’s personal reflections.

Awesome PD that doesn’t feel like “PD”:

Convergence. NCTIES. EdCamp Wake. These are the experiences that bring innovative educators together and inspire us to keep raising the bar. These are the moments that we get to learn together face-to-face, while building and expanding our PLNs with new educators we meet and interact with. In addition to connecting us, PD like EdCamp Wake gives educators the personalized experiences we want to provide for our students: it groups us together by common interests in what we are seeking to learn and opens up the floor to discussion-based wonders, questions, and sharing.

Connecting Classroom to Classroom:

We should never underestimate the value in class-to-class connections and opportunities for students. My kinders are currently connecting with kinders at nearby elementary school Underwood GT Magnet (teachers-Star and Tanya), to learn about community together as they seek to improve the community in some way. We’ve done a Google hangout, used Google maps to view and compare our schools, and have each student buddied up with a member of the opposite class to reflect and share with. (I’ll be sure to keep you posted on our kinder #20Time project and where it ends up taking us!) I share a little bit about this class-to-class connection to to say, that even just in these beginning stages of the project, it has been so exciting to see the meaning it has for the students and how they are so engaged in this authentic learning experience. Thanks to EdCamp there are lots of new ideas in the works for more collaborating across classrooms!

Reading:

This is my weakness…I’ll go ahead and call myself out- it’s that same old excuse of not having the time. But it ends here. I usually keep an ongoing list of all the books I plan to read to further my professional growth, knowing that during the summer, I’ll order them all and read them when I have time. But I know I’m missing out on learning by waiting till summer. So I’m MAKING the time, and I’m starting today. I can’t wait to connect with educators by reading their stories and their learning. And by taking this step, I open myself up to the opportunity for additional book studies with other educators.


This whole idea of being connected is something Kelsey and I just shared about at a staff meeting this past Thursday…in hopes that more would want to become part of this awesome, connected world of educators – a world that I am newly discovering. So one of my biggest joys this weekend was seeing 2 of our staff members, Hayley Parker (3rd grade teacher) and Sarah Kichefski (P.E. teacher), get twitter accounts and join us at EdCamp Wake! While our profession is all about the kids, our fellow educators are also teaching kids. So it’s just as important for us to spread the fire of passion and innovation to other educators, as it is important to implement passion and innovation with our own students. We want to increase the overall impact we’re having on kids. To me, our school is now 2 steps further from isolation with 2 new teachers on board to connect and learn more.

Being connected is all part of how we reflect on our practice. I used to make excuses about the time commitments of being connected, but in reality, we make time for what is important to us. Being connected is a new priority for me…and I can’t wait to see where it continues to take me in my teaching and learning!

I. Teachers demonstrate leadership. · IV. Teachers facilitate learning for their students. · V. Teachers reflect on their practice.

If we let them, #kindersCAN

A week ago today, I woke up refreshed from 2 packed days of learning at state-wide conference NCTIES. But racing through my mind, even more than all of the amazing takeaways I was ready to bring into my classroom, was the discovery of an audience I didn’t know existed. This year, NCTIES was different for me, because it was my very first time presenting alongside 2 wonderful educators and friends, Chris Tuttell (ITF-left) and Kelsey Clarke (K Teacher-center).

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The information we shared is near and dear to my heart, because it is something that I experience each day as a Kindergarten educator: the fact that #kindersCAN can do infinitely more than we may believe to be possible. So this audience that I discovered and referred to above, is the audience that rushed through the doors of our session that morning, leaving standing room only and wiping us clean of 2 days’ worth of handouts we had prepared. These were educators of young learners, like myself, who also believe that these littles can handle almost anything we challenge them with, given the right level of support. I believe in my kinders, but what I did not know is how many other educators in our state do too.

As Kelsey and I shared about the flexibility of our classrooms and how we incorporate technology throughout the day, I could tell from the start that we didn’t have to convince our audience that #kindersCAN…they already knew and believed that, which allowed us to connect with this audience from the start. They were here to gather ideas that would raise the bar for their young learners. And these educators didn’t stop spreading the love when our presentation ended. For the next 2 days, we continued to hear personal accounts of excitement about what we had shared, have since connected with many of these teachers to expand our PLNs, and are excited to welcome some of these very educators into our own classrooms so that they can see our kinders in action! My 2nd year at NCTIES taught me so much, giving me the inspiration to even start this reflection process through blogging; but more than anything, I still can’t shake the excitement of this inspiring audience on fire for their littles.

Did I mention that #kindersCAN also be the teachers? Seeing them showcase their work and the work of their peers was probably the highlight of the whole NCTIES experience.

 

My own journey with #kindersCAN has been in the works for almost 4 years now, since I started my student teaching in Kindergarten. The teacher that I learned from showed me what high expectations in a K classroom look like. She taught me that when you set the expectations high, accepting nothing less, they will meet you there or exceed your expectations. When I began teaching my first year in a STEM school, I took baby steps with technology, each time questioning whether such young learners could meet the challenge. If you’ve ever had a Kindergartener on a computer, logging in through multiple platforms, you also know the difficulties and frustrations that are involved (on the teacher’s end AND the student’s end). But each time I’d challenge them, they kept proving to me that THEY COULD DO IT! So why not keep raising the bar?

When I began at Washington GT Magnet the following year, our ITF Chris gave me the support I needed to grow in my confidence and belief that #kindersCAN! We would visit the ilab, a collaborative space for creating and critical thinking, to work on technology projects using different tools on the ipads and using Google. This was the year that I feel like I truly discovered what young learners are capable of, alongside my IMG_8155teammate Kelsey. And finally, this year, my 3rd year of teaching, is the year that all of the same tools I began using with my kinders last year have now become part of my daily instruction and my independent literacy and math centers. Something that I questioned they’d ever be able to do is now in a 15-20 minute independent center, and that concept honestly still blows my mind! This year I’ve also transformed my learning space to allow for flexibility and student choice; and they’ve proved to me that they can handle that too. The more that I have come to believe in them, the more that I have turned the control over to my little learners, giving them a more effective and authentic learning experience.

If you’re curious about what they can do, check out our presentation from NCTIES.

But I want to close with the “how”……HOW can they do it? Of course we now live in a digital world, where many of these young children have been exposed to things I probably never could’ve imagined experiencing as a little girl. But still, they are young, and for this kind of instruction to be effective, here are a few helpful tips I’ve learned first-hand that will help them be successful:

1. Let them play with the app before tying it to a specific academic objective. This will build confidence and allow them to click around, without fear of messing up a specific “assignment” you’re asking them to do.

2. Provide different levels of support. They should practice a new tool multiple times in an environment with support before sending them out on their own to do it independently. When we’re first learning the app, some students may need a kid friendly, step-by-step  “cheat sheet” to remind them what to do. Some may need a buddy to help. Some may need a modified assignment within the app to reach success.

3. Allow and encourage students to be leaders. Train them to turn to one another for help before coming to you. Teach the tool to a group of leaders who model first, and then have each leader work with a group trying it out for the first time. In an independent center, some students may need the support of a student leader for a while before they’re comfortable doing it alone. Using students as teachers has probably been most key to our success.

4. Have them reflect. What was difficult/easy? How can we use this app in other ways? How could we use it better next time? These questions hold them accountable and make them aware of their own success.

Ultimately, it’s not just about kinders. They may be the youngest, so in some ways, the most challenging. But teachers of all grade levels can take something away from our message, because if #kindersCAN, all kids can. So let’s keep learning so that we can let them.

I. Teachers demonstrate leadership. · V. Teachers reflect on their practice.

Taking it to the Next Level

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I’m done putting it off. No more excuses.

After listening to George Couros speak this past fall, I acknowledged and knew that some day I’d start a blog, but not yet. No time, fear of sharing, unable to commit to doing it well and consistently…all excuses I made in my mind. However, #ncties17 brought more inspiration. This time around, George googled me and actually called me out publicly, urging me to blog and consequently take my digital presence to the next level. And I think I may have talked myself out of it yet again had it not been for Kyle Hamstra, another amazing educator encouraging me to grow and learn through blogging. Finally, I did some thinking on my own this past weekend after an amazing, refreshing 2 days at NCTies. I couldn’t dismiss the thought that at the core of blogging is reflecting. And as a passionate and dedicated educator, am I too busy to reflect? That’s the question that sealed the deal for me.

But there are so many other reasons to start now. Along this journey of blogging, I hope to reflect on myself as an educator, learn from my personal growth over time, and build a digital portfolio, while also connecting with and learning from other educators. You will get a glimpse into my Kindergarten classroom of busy bees, my thoughts, and a little bit of my personal life, as I hope to get a glimpse into yours!

Ultimately, I hope to bring this authentic writing experience into my classroom, having my students reflect on their own growth over time while sharing with a larger audience. But the bottom line is, before my own students can begin this process (yes, Kindergarten students blogging…stay tuned for my next post on #kindersCAN), I have to try it and experience it for myself. So here it goes! I’m looking forward to becoming a better teacher and a better learner along the way.