The Power of “Yet”

As educators we all want our students to be successful.  We work hard each and every day for ALL students to help them be successful.  There are many great instructional practices that we employ on a daily basis to help them be successful.  Great teachers use all of their tools in their toolboxes to help ALL students be successful.

Each day administrators go into classrooms to see all of these wonderful instructional practices put in place for students.  The one instructional practice that we do not get to see very often first hand is undoubtedly the most important, failure.  Failure leads to the path of success only if you learn from your failure.  Failure is where all of the lessons are.

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We need to teach students that failure is OK.  Many parents do not feel this way.  Many see a B or even a C on a progress report and just go through the roof (I too have been subject to this).  As I reflect back, I realize that I should have taken far different positions with my own children.  Seeing them struggle with trying to master something is OK.  If we swoop in and do it for them each and every time, they will never master the skill they need to.

These are reasons why we need to teach kids the Power of Yet.  Many students go through each day and say things like “I am not successful” or “I cannot find the answer”.  By teaching students that adding one word to each of these sentences, drastically changes the outlook for kids.

  • I am not successful, yet.
  • I cannot find the answer, yet.

These put hope in their despair.  Teaching students a growth mindset is important.  It will help them be sufficient on their own, want to have productive relationships in their lives, and enable them to seek new learning each day.  Daily growth in learning and relationships with others will lead students down a successful path.  One statement that I use on a regular basis with students is that “Failure is the rehearsal for success”.

I love this video by Will Smith on Failure.

Four Reasons Innovative Educators Should Boycott Standardized Tests

Four Reasons to Boycott Standardized Tests:

  1. Inaccurate conclusions of the effectiveness of innovative educators.
    In New York City they want to release teacher performance results which are based in large part on the outdated standardized tests their students are required to take. Passionate, innovative educators who are using 21st century technologies with their students will be penalized because they’re students have developed a modern writing process which can not be evaluated using outdated assessments.
  2. A double-edged sword when assessing success of technology grants
    As a grant manager I am required to show students progress on outdated standardized tests. I want the grant funding, so I am required to say they will show improvement, but I know the facts. Outdated assessments can’t measure the 21st century skills my students are developing and the reality is that using 21st century skills will actually result in a decrease in test scores even though my students are better writers and writing for an authentic audience.
  3. Outdated assessments are driving outdated instruction
    I was the PD manager for a 1:1 deployment of 24 schools. In some of the schools I went to students were not allowed to use laptops for writing or math because the students were taking a traditional tests and the schools did not want to risk getting shut down as a result of students using modern tools. They knew instinctively that when a student becomes accustomed to working with technology their thinking and creative processes change. This is shameful that today’s outdated assessments are holding our students in the past, and forcing innovative educators to carry out this edict.
  4. Unnecessary duplication of efforts.
    During my visits to tech-rich schools I often see students working with both paper/pencil and technology. Thousands of trees are killed and hours are wasted because educators want to ensure that students will be able to do well on the outdated tests. This requires students to do work on the computer, but also with paper/pencil so they can perform well on the tests that are stuck in the past.

The Innovative Educator: When students own the learning

Quotes:

The Innovative Educator: When students own the learning

      • Looking around my lab, here is what I saw being created:

        • Bitstrip comics starring themselves as scientists explaining the diversity of crustaceans.
        • Students researching sources using advanced search features for trust-worthy and relevant information
        • Online jeopardy game creations
        • Using Scratch to create interactive stories
        • PowerPoint and Prezi presentations
        • Using Flipcams and Moviemaker to create infomercials
        • Podcast radio interviews
        • Glogster Posters
    • EdTechIdeas: As teachers, it is often difficult to make a shift from forced learning (teacher delivered content) to student directed learning. I challenge you to just take one lesson; one activity; one afternoon and flip the way you’ve always done it in the past. Take a leap of faith, and relinquish control. See how you feel. Discover how your students feel. Feel the learning.
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