Saturday, December 19, 2015

Am I an Innovator? 

Dear Readers,

I see and hear the word "innovator" on a regular basis lately in the academic/educational world. Many definitions, examples and names have been associated with innovation.  But, what is an innovator?

My latest professional read by George Couros has my wheels turning. It has caused me to stop and reflect. Am I an innovator?  I like to think that I am a risk-taker, with a growth mindset, who thinks outside the box. Does it make me an innovator or just creative? Regardless, these are some of my favorite practices inspired by others!

Friday Flowers with The 7 Habits

I have always loved the concept of handing out Friday Flowers. I first saw it in a colleague's 4th grade classroom a few years ago. She would hand them out, or have students hand them out, to another student and share a compliment about him/her. I took the idea and started handing out Friday Flowers to students I saw implementing the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. It has been a huge success! The next step is having them hand them out to each other.

Lead Like a Pirate Admin Challenges

The concept, from Shelley Burgess and Beth Hauf, to drop anchors to teachers/staff in classrooms, caught my attention. I took the idea and starting dropping anchors of appreciate and notice to students and colleagues. One of them even said, "Oh, is this one of those anchors?" The smile on one student's face made my day!

Google Docs

I started using Google Docs in the classroom this year and have loved the ability to share and exchange documents with students. It has also allowed me to interact, using the comment feature, with the entire class or on an individual basis as often as they need or want me to. They can respond back to my feedback, ask questions, etc. Additionally, it has allowed the students to have peer conferences in an entirely new format! 

Professional Reading Circle

My principal hosts a monthly professional reading circle. She includes bookmarks with dates and chapters to be read. When forming student book clubs, I borrowed and revised her idea. I showed the students her bookmark and then put them in small groups. They were charged with the task of creating norms and determining the reading for each discussion date. They did a fantastic job! I went one step further and let them choose their second book, from a selection I had chosen based on their interests, just as my principal does. It has allowed my book clubs to be more student centered and driven.


Although I am unable to participate in this weekly chat, co-moderators Sean Giallard and Natalie Krayenvenger, have inspired me with their love of music. My students also love music, as do I, however selecting tunes to play during class took up too much time. I created a class playlist, that we add to, which provides them a "musical menu" to choose from. Consequently, I can choose a class DJ to be in charge. It has helped instill the love of music into Language & Literature!

Amazing Chats and Educators

I think about the chats that I regularly (or semi-regularly) participate in and the amazing connections and educators I have met around the world. (#tlap, #read4fun, #whatisschool, #leadupchat, #satchat, #satchatwc, #nt2t, #g2great, just to name a few) Thank you for always pushing my thinking, challenging me and supporting me. It is sincerely appreciated!

I wish you all a safe, relaxing and wonderful holiday season!