Week 8 Reflection
I had an amazing week. On Thursday I did a 4 hour training for 25 teachers regarding our district's new LMS - Schoology. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I attended the Alaska Science and Math Conference. On Friday and Sunday I presented on making math irresistible by bringing MinecraftEdu into the classroom. Every time I got a little nervous or would start to doubt myself I would remind myself that as a teacher I am a public speaker - thank you Dave Burgess for helping me to realize that. I did my best to channel the pirate in me. Thank you Chris Bryner for jumping in and helping. It was amazing listening to education leaders. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Graham and Dr Frenberg in person and was able to take their super cool paper circuit session. I also had the opportunity to meet Mia and Sunshine. I connected Sunshine with our IT person and together we helped her problem solve her Promethean board issue. I really hope she gets it working. J
Essential Question: What strategies do you use that are related to your “moral purpose”? How do these contribute to your overall leadership?
According to Fullan every effective leader has a moral purpose (2014). My mighty purpose as a teacher is to create the spark for further knowledge. My drive originated from my past experiences both as a student and teacher. In my life I been blessed to have had leaders and teachers who have motivated and pushed me to grow. I’ve seen my students come alive with curiosity and imagination. I’ve seen students fall in love with learning and it gives me strength.
In my constructionist, learner centered classroom you can see my moral purpose through various themes such as maker movement, game-based learning, project/problems based learning projects, etc. I also use a variety of strategies to support my moral purpose such as: instilling a growth mindset, coaching/facilitating learning, modeling & fostering curiosity and imagination. Authors Martinez & Stager, reminds educators that “one of the responsibilities of being a teacher is to translate the mandates of the educational system to something that helps children understand their world” (2013). My moral aspect is not limited to walls of the classroom.
21st Century learning requires students to think for themselves. They need to take control over their learning. Students need to be the center of their education experience to prepare themselves for their future. In today’s digital age the teacher is no longer the keeper of knowledge. Their role has shifted to the encourager and facilitator of learning. Likewise the role of the student has also changed. Traditional passive learning has been replaced by active learners making informed decisions and thinking for themselves.
In my classroom learning is fueled by curiosity. Amanda Lang, author of the book “The Power of Why” states, “Curious kids learn how to learn, and how to enjoy it – and that, more than any specific body of knowledge, is what they will need to have in the future” (Wright 2013). Educational activist Alfie Kohn notes “great teaching isn’t just about content but motivation and empowerment: Real learning gives you the mental habits, practice, and confidence to know that, in a crisis, you can count on yourself to learn something new.” (Davidison 2012)
I don’t want my students to leave my classroom just being good at “school” or being good at jumping through hoops. My classroom environment must engage learning. I foster creativity and curiosity. They learn how to fail and succeed. They learn how to collaborated and communicate in this global world. These strategies and overarching themes supports my moral purpose as an educator.
Mentor Project –
I am loving my mentor project but it is challenging. My mentor and I laid out a schedule but we ran into a schedule conflict on the 15th so we tried to double up and simplify a lesson and we ran into some issues. As a result students had some difficulty using the coordinate system in the Klondike World. My mentee said that she will go back and present a little lesson on how the coordinates work in Minecraft. The students are enjoying their time in Minecraft. They are really having difficulty understanding team work, which is kind of surprising. I guess the big overall issue is time.
As part of my mentor project I created a website www.MinecraftIntheClassroom.com I created the website for my mentee and others who might want to learn more about Minecraft in the classroom. On my site I have link to guides & lessons, my gamer quiz and ideas about how I have used MinecraftEdu in my class.
This week I presented about using Minecraft in the classroom at the State Math and Science Conference. It was standing room only. I was blessed to have Chris Bryner’s help during the presentation – thank you Chris. I created a Sway presentation on the overview of MinecraftEdu and game-based learning. My mentee attended as well.
Davidson, Cathy. "Why Flip The Classroom When We Can Make It Do Cartwheels?" Co.Exist. N.p., 09 May 2012. <http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679807/why-flip-the-classroom-when-we-can-make-it-do-cartwheels>.
Fullan, M. (2014). Leading in a Culture of Change. Somerset, NJ, USA: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com
Martinez, S., & Stager, G. (2013). Invent to learn: Making, tinkering, and engineering in the classroom. Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.
Park, Hyu-Yong. "Tensions between Teacher's and Students' Discourses in the Classroom." The Journal of Classroom Interaction 43.1 (2008): n. page. Eric.Ed.Gov. <http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ829005.pdf>.
Wright, Shelly. "Academic Teaching Doesn’t Prepare Students for Life." Powerful Learning Practice. N.p., 07 Nov. 2013. Web. <http://plpnetwork.com/2013/11/07/obsession-academic-teaching-preparing-kids-life/>.
Week 7 Reflection
This week’s reading came at the perfect time. I started reading Fullan’s “Leading in a Culture of Change” right before I met with my school administrator to discuss changes in our grading system. As I started reading chapter 1, it dawned on me, that as the official gradebook trainer for my school that I am a “leader” and I can use the 5 components of leadership to help me navigate and my fellow teachers navigate the new changes.
After reading the chapter I realized I had been going about tech leadership wrong. I had thought it was my job to find the perfect solution to problem. I had been determined to find a way to make a complex problem (made even more difficult due to rapid change) - simple. I was doing all kinds of things. I was reading and researching but the problem was so complex that I was just getting frustrated. Like Fullan said “leadership is needed for problems that do not have easy answers. The big problems of the day are complex, rife with paradoxes and dilemmas. For these problems there are no once-and-for-all answers. Yet we expect our leaders to provide solutions” (Fullan 2015). I think I should just frame that quote and hang it up somewhere.
I went into my meeting with a different mindset. I even shared Fullan’s quote. I told my principal that the only thing harder than change is leading educators through change. By focusing on my moral purpose I was able to make sure the natural resistance wouldn’t prevent good things from happening. During the meeting we came up with a plan to lead other teachers in my school through the big tech grading changes. On Thursday I will be leading the entire staff but I am confident that I have a good framework in place and will be able to lead others through this change.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.