Tag Archives: thinking

What Change Can You Make This Year?

I have always tried to do things a little bit differently.  I really don’t want my class to be like every other class.  I want something different and unique, something that would impact the students and leave a positive memory with them.

One of the first “changes” that I made was introducing music as part of the classroom
culture (no one in my school outside of the music folks did this).  I taught math (not music) but I knew that playing music during class could be beneficial.  So in my second year of teaching, I brought the boombox from home, found a Braveheart disc and it was game on.  I have had music playing in my room ever since (and expanded well beyond Braveheart – Spotify is amazing).

Another big change was transforming my teaching model from a traditional classroom to a flipped classroom.  This was difficult, but intentional.  I made this change because I had started to get into some really familiar routines and wanted to do something very different.  Another big change: at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year, I gamified my calculus class.  It was a struggle, it was fun, it was exciting, and the days zoomed by soooo fast!

Why did I change to a flipped class?  I thought it had potential!  Why did I gamify?  I thought it would make a big and fun difference!  I didn’t do these things just to do them.  I took intentional risks and left the friendly confines of the familiar for uncharted waters.

I had the opportunity to attend my first ISTE conference in 2013 and was so impressed!  I loved the vibe!  I loved the ideas I was getting from others!  I LOVED this conference!!  This conference really got me thinking about what I am doing in the classroom.  What could I change?  What needed to stay the same?  How could I help students own their learning (even more than in a flipped environment) and be even more brilliant with my practice?  All of these questions…I decided I had to go back and the very next year, my friend and I had a table session!

These ideas from ISTE had me looking around my school, one of the best public high schools in our state (True Story!) and I thought, we could be even more amazing….I dug into educational technology and the ideas from the conferences.  From this point forward life was all about change.  I would talk to any of my colleagues who would listen.  I would stop them in the hall.  Talk to them over the bathroom stalls.  Walk them to class.  Send staff wide emails…

Fast forward to January 2015, I resigned my teaching position to become a full time PhD student at Oklahoma State University.  This was change of the highest magnitude!  It was also very intentional.  One of the biggest reasons that I did this was to put myself into a position to help teachers make changes without being afraid.  I want to help them see that change is not bad, it can be so rewarding!  But it can be so difficult to start.

As I close in on completing course work this December, change is coming for me again.  I took some intentional steps to change my practice and they have led me on a journey I did not anticipate.  What steps of change can you take?  What can you do to improve your practice?  What step can you take today, that will make a positive difference tomorrow?



Psychology research finds perspiration more important than inspiration

Turns out Edison was pretty close to the mark! Researchers determined that eureka! moments do happen but diligence and hard work prepare engineers for those leaps.


what do you think? how is persistence important in your field? how can impress its importance on our students?


what creative habits do you practice regularly?

We logged a a few questions in the TECH Playground last week. here they are for you to ponder:

  • in what ways do you challenge yourself?
  • how do you create? how often?
  • in what ways do you challenge your own ideas?
  • how do you look at problems?

we had several great responses:

  • write pros/cons lists from multiple perspectives
  • I read things I know I won’t agree with
  • flip the subject and object of a problem statement

what habits do you practice? come by and share with us in 326 willard or drop us a comment below!


thinking in multiple dimensions

Judy Nalon dropped by the Playground and discussed cognition and following linear models (think a rigid, fixed process). after one has experienced that process, is one ready to skip unnecessary steps of a linear model? to be flexible  in thinking about the big picture? how do we model and teach that in our disciplines?

as we’re thinking about a problem or designing instruction, how do our a priori experiences and assumptions inform that process? how do we quickly adapt our processes and products to the classroom and our students?


the here and now…

Dr. Moon stopped by the Playground and left the following question for you:

“how do you stop worrying about the future and enjoy right now?”

what strategies do you employ to live in the moment, to experience an event? how do you reflect on your day?