Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer Book Study: Mindset Chapter 2

Mindset, The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
Hi!
My friends, Greg {Kindergarten Smorgasboard} and Abigail {Kindergarten Chaos}, are hosting a book study on Carol S. Dweck's book Mindset, The New Psychology of Success
I am so excited to share my thoughts on chapter 2 of Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, along with Lisa from All Y'all Need!
If you haven't read Greg and Abigail's takeaways from chapter 1, be sure to head over to their blogs and do that, then read mine and Lisa's thought on chapter 2.
First of all, you need to know that this book is not like most professional books you've probably read. In the introduction, Mrs. Dweck gives a disclaimer concerning the grammar..."I know it and I love it, but I haven't always followed it in this book. I start sentences with ands and buts. I end sentences with prepositions...I've done this for informality and immediacy..."  I LOVE this. Because it's exactly how we speak. It feels like Mrs. Dweck is having a conversation with you.  She shares examples that have been taken straight from the headlines.  She talks about people I "know", like Michael Jordan! This book is a quick and easy read, but filled with so much insight about the mind and how it works!

Ok, so let's get to chapter 2.
What is a mindset? Believing that your qualities are set, or fixed, creates in you the need to prove yourself constantly.  A person with this mindset believes that they only have a certain amount of intelligence and they must constantly live up to that amount or they will be viewed as a failure.  The growth mindset is based on the belief that you can stretch your abilities through application and experience. This person faces a challenge head on and doesn't back down. The challenge is viewed as an opportunity to learn and while failure may occur, it does not discourage or intimidate this person.
To further understand the two mindsets and to help you determine which one you possess, maybe this example will help you like it did me.  Mrs. Dweck and her research team asked young adults to describe their ideal mates.  People with the fixed mindset said their ideal mate would worship them, put them on a pedestal, and make them feel perfect.  Those with a growth mindset said their ideal mate would see their faults and help them work on them, challenge them to be a better person, and encourage them to learn new things.  TOTALLY different! 

Another question also interested me.  The research team asked children all the way to young adults when they felt smart.  The people with a fixed mindset said, "When I don't make any mistakes.  When I finish something fast and it's perfect.  When something is easy for me, but others can't do it."  So think back on the children you've taught that would give you an answer like one of these.  Now you know they have a fixed mindset.  They thrive when things are safely within their grasp.  If they are not performing well at a task, they lose interest.  They only like an activity if they perform well right away.
When students with a growth mindset were asked when they felt smart, their answers, as you probably have already guessed, were quite different. They felt smart when "I work on something for a long time and start to figure it out.  When it's really heard, and I try really hard, and I can do something I couldn't do before." For them it's not about immediate perfection, it's about working through a challenge.  

Mindsets also change the meaning of failure.  A person with a fixed mindset transforms it from an action to an identity.  I am a failure.  This mindset obviously causes self-esteem issues.  Failure can still be a painful experience for those with a growth mindset, but it doesn't define that person. It's a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from.  

Mindsets also change the meaning of effort.  Mrs. Dweck uses the old story of the tortoise and the hare to illustrate this point.  The moral of the story is supposed to be that slow and steady wins the race, but she asks the question, " did any of us ever really want to be the tortoise?"  No, she says, "we just wanted to be a less foolish hare."  YES! This is spot on!  The story really teaches us that effort is for the slow turtles,  but occasionally the slow turtles can finish first if the talented people drop the ball!  

Through her research, Mrs. Dweck found that the mindset you choose for yourself affects the way you lead your life.  The key word there is choose. Because you choose it, you can change it! 
We can all grow our mindset! Now that we know how to identify mindset, we can work to unlock the fixed mindsets in our selves, or students, and begin to look at the world with a new set of lenses!

I am living proof that you can change your mindset.  Growing up, I was a quiet child who liked to make my parents proud.  I didn't stretch myself or place myself in situations where I might fail.  I married while I was in college and still had this fixed mindset, along with a spouse who did not encourage me to dream big or reach for the stars.  I spent many years envious of my friends who had a growth mindset, until the day I realized I deserved to live as the person I knew I was deep down.  So I made about a million changes and can happily tell you I have a new perspective on live and a new mindset to go with it!  I only surround myself with likeminded people who challenge me to be better than I was yesterday, help me see my faults and encourage me to work on them, and support me in my wild and crazy dreams!

What is your mindset?? Link up your post below!


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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

STEM in the Classroom: with Animation Studio by HUE

Last year I decided I wanted to start STEM Maker Stations in my library.  I started small and easy with puzzles, educational board games, and maker activities like creating bookmarks and small books.  Then I realized that I was neglecting the T!  Thankfully, the folks at HUE have a heart for librarians and they sent me a HUE HD Pro Camera and Animation Studio, which is a stop motion animation kit.  While HUE provided me with these products to test in my library, all opinions are mine!
The HUE HD Pro Camera is PERFECT for small spaces! I connected it to the laptop that runs my Smartboard, because sometimes the illustrations in books are so tiny that we need to see them on the big screen!  I have a small student desk that holds all of my technology for the board, so the size of this camera is perfect for me. 
Image this desk with a laptop as well. Now do you see
why the camera's design is perfect??
While it is small, it can do so much! Not only does it project your image/object, it can take still pictures, has a built-in microphone, and can record videos! The camera comes with a base, but you can also plug it straight in to your USB port.  How cool is that?! My favorite use for the camera so far, other than just projecting illustrations in books, was when I used it to help me teach the students how to play a new game that I’d recently purchased.  The camera was perfect for showing the gameboard and cards with tiny fonts.

I am super excited about the Animation Studio! The animation kit comes with a camera, software, and an easy-for-kids-to-understand instruction book. 
Animation Studio by HUE
The software is preloaded with sample stop motion videos that are amazing and really show your students what can be achieved.  What I love about the instruction book is that it teaches the reader how each one of those videos were made!
The software is easy to use and very student friendly. I didn’t read any directions, just played around with the software and in just a few minutes I made a movie!!  The movie making process was really quite simple.  First I downloaded the software, using the enclosed DVD. 
After I installed the software, I plugged in the document camera and was ready to begin creating!  Something else I like about this camera is that you can use the provided base or you can plug the camera directly into your laptop, as shown below.
I built a simple Lego scene, took a picture, changed the position of the Lego man, then took another picture. 
After about 5 photos, I decided that was enough and clicked the play button in the animation software. You have the option to speed up or slow down the pictures, and even to add text to each one! There are plenty of options to further customize your movie scenes, like preloaded backgrounds, adding music or recording voice narration.  My students are going to LOVE this!

So without any further ado, here’s my Lego movie, titled Tiiiimmmmberrrrr!
video
I can’t wait to see the videos my students create!
Just think of all the ways you can use this software in your classroom...your students could make videos about a math task, science experiment, a timeline in social studies, write a story to accompany a video using Legos, and SO MUCH MORE!!
Do you have any HUE products in your classroom? Tell us what you have and how you use them in the comments below!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Cooking up Metacognition with a Reading Salad!

If you missed yesterday's post, I am sharing a chapter at a time of Tanny McGregor's book, Comprehension Connections.
Chapter two is on a word I love- Metacognition.  I love it because it means “thinking about thinking”.  It’s a pretty cool concept, no matter what you’re thinking about.  Our students need to know that this is a thing.  They need to be aware and have a name for it.  Don’t shy away from using this term either, students love using multisyllabic words correctly.  I taught my first graders schema and stamina and they used them at every opportunity!

Each chapter/reading skill lesson starts with a Launch.  The launch here is defining the term metacognition and talking about what it could mean as a reader.

The second step is introducing a Concrete experience.  The concrete in this chapter is The Reading Salad.  McGregor begins with a narrative of how she did this activity with a group of students.  She demonstrated how she can sound like a good reader, but admitted that she was fake reading, because she was not thinking about the text as she read.  After a discussion on real verses fake reading, she introduces bowls labeled text, thinking, and real reading salad.  The discussion continues with a conversation on how a tossed salad is a mixture of lettuce and tomatoes, real reading is a mixture of text and thinking.  The text bowl holds red cards labeled text and the thinking bowl hold green cards labeled thinking.  McGregor then conducts a think aloud using a different passage.  Students drop in red and green cards as she alternates reading and thinking aloud.  These students will always be able to connect a salad with thinking about their reading!  I LOVE THIS!

I created a set of text and thinking cards, but I swapped the colors.  While I was researching metacognition (on Pinterest, of course), I found an anchor chart created by First Year Teaching Tales where she linked thinking to the tomatoes, because we have juicy thoughts.  This stuck with me and I couldn’t think of a reason why they couldn’t be swapped, so I did.
This is my friend Tonia and I at a state training where we shared this idea.
You can download the resource, which includes a brief explanation, by clicking the picture below.
The Sensory activity is a graphic organizer of metacognition, specifically thinking about reading.  A 2’ wide thought bubble with a hole in the middle for your student’s head is also an idea presented in the book.  I love that idea too!

We are now ready to move to the Wordless Picture Book portion of the lesson.  Wordless books DEMAND thinking about thinking, because there are no words to get in the way!  The Red Book by Barbara Lehman (2004) is suggested, but I am unfamiliar with this book.  Do you know it? It’s on my to-order-list.
Sentence stems are great to use at this point.  You can download a ton for free on Teacher’s Pay Teachers, just look for some you like!

The last step in the sequence is Time for Text and McGregor refers to several professional resources for lesson ideas.

Some of my favorite quotes from this chapter are:
A library is thought in cold storage. –Herbert Samuel, politician
A moment’s thinking is an hour in words.  –Thomas Hood, poet

Here is a look at some of the other pages in my free download above.





I would love to hear your thoughts on metacognition and teaching real vs. fake reading! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Comprehension Connections: Building a Bridge to Strategic Reading

I recently found a great teacher resource titled Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Reading by Tanny McGregor.  I say great because it is 8 easy to read chapters on different comprehension strategies.  Each chapter includes reading research, photographs and easy to incorporate activities.  My plan is to share a chapter a day with you!
Bridge Building 101 is the first chapter and talks about how Tanny discovered, through trial and error, the way to connect kids to reading and, most importantly, thinking about reading!
She developed a Launching Sequence (a progression for planning lessons that include a gradual release of responsibility) that consists of several lessons that span just a few days. 
The Launching Sequence is as follows:
Concrete Experiences- A lesson with a concrete focus.  Connections are made between background knowledge and new information.
Sensory Exercise- A lesson that might include art, music or food and links the concrete experience with the way kids learn.  It also provides time for practice.
Wordless Picture Books- Books with little to no text to allow an opportunity to practice the thinking strategy without the responsibility of decoding.
Time for Text- Independence increases as students practice the skills they've learned.
The Concrete Experience involves an actual object.  A speckled rock.  An old shoe.  A seashell.  Something that you can refer back to and say, "Remember when my old house shoe to school...?"  These concrete objects are the base of the "launching lesson".  This object creatively links background knowledge to the content you are about to present.  An old house-shoe is definitely going to be thought about long after the day is through and won't be easily forgotten.  We've also got to remember that reading is a social activity! Students need to talk about what they've read.  That's why I am not one of those librarians who are constantly shushing and giving the death stare to students who are engaged in purposeful talk!!
Turn and Talk is a great way to get students to engage with one another.  McGregor also says she provides thinking stems during each lesson.  Eventually, these thinking stems will sound less like parrot-talk and more authentic.  
I'd like to leave you with McGregor's cautionary note (found on page 7):
"It's tempting to start believing that the stuff of concrete lessons is what's important.  There's nothing magical about the concrete objects alone.  When it comes to meaningful instruction, it is never really about the stuff; it's about thinking and talking and learning.  These concrete ideas simply give us a way in to the hearts and minds of our students."
That is seriously some good stuff!
Come back tomorrow to read all about metacognition and leave with a freebie!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Using Static in a Good Way!

I hate static.  It's so annoying.  Especially when you get to work and realize you have a skirt-full of static and have to suffer with it all day long!  I have always thought static was sent straight from the devil, but I've just recently realized that its' powers can be used for good!
Shoplet asked me to review a product for them that uses static to our advantage!
EcoStatic SlickyBoard is a 25x30 sheet of dry erase "film" that clings to the wall!  You can use Post-it notes, dry erase markers, and even tape things to it.  I've had mine on the wall for about 2 weeks and it hasn't moved an inch.  I like the large size of the sheet and how well it stays on the wall.  The sheet does have some wrinkles in it, but you can get them mostly smoothed out.
I also wrote on it with a dry erase marker and I wasn't pleased with how it erased.  
The directions say to erase within a day, but this was after only a few hours.

Shoplet also sells SlickyNotes Notpads and the slips cling to the SlickyBoard.  I really like using them for orders for my small t-shirt business.
Once you write on them with a sharpie, it is permanent and don't count on reusing them.

Overall, I like the concept, but I wish dry erase markers erased cleanly.  It could have been just the brand I used though, and you may have better luck. 

The SlickyNotes slide around the Slickyboard easily, so you can quickly move information from one side to the other. 
Overall, I like this product and will continue to use it for keeping up with my t-shirt orders!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Viva Las Vegas:A TpT Conference Linky with Elementary Entourage

I could sum up my Vegas trip in word...AWESOME.  But if I did that, you wouldn't know why!
I only have about a million pictures, so to keep this post from going on and on, I put a lot if them in a Filpogram, so take 3 minutes and watch it!
video

I attended SDE's Differentiated Instruction and the Teacher's Pay Teacher's Conference.  There were so many great speakers and I came home with so much information!
Just some of the amazing people I met were (from L to R) Erin Klein {from Kleinspiration}, Meredith Lynn {from Write Brain Books}, Kimberly Geswein {KG Fonts},  and Kristin Oldham {from A Teeny Tiny Teacher}.
Angela Watson {from The Cornerstone} presented an amazing session on expanding your impact and expertise on TpT.  GoNoodle was in the exhibit hall and I met Taylor & Freckles and scored some cool swag.  Sessions were packed and so very informative.  Look for future blog posts on some of the sessions and companies who were in the exhibit hall!
Chris Pombonyo {Famous in First}, Kayla Delzer {Top Dog Teaching}, and Chad Boender {Male Kindergarten Teacher} are some of my new friends!!
All AMAZING people.
I was also excited to spend some time with my Nashville pals, Greg & Jason, AKA The Mister!  Jason is just a gem.  He is so supportive of Greg and is always there to help him succeed!
Chad and Jason were my zip lining partners on Fremont Street!  Despite how it looks, Chad is old enough to teach & drink, even though he was carded everywhere. LOL :)
Kayla just recorded a Tedx Talk in Fargo-can't wait to watch it!
I can't even tell you how awesome these people are!
Chis is hilarious and is dancing every time you turn around.
Not really sure what to say about Stacy, except that how much we are alike scares me a little... :)
Suz is a friend I met at the 1st Spring Teacher Blogger Meet Up in Indiana.  She's just great.
I'm still convinced that All Y'all Need is made up of only Amy and Lisa, who are both just pure sunshine.  Hopefully, I will meet Laura one of these days!
Tracy and Michelle are friends that I feel like I've known forever, even though it's only been a few years.  Love both of them.
Jen Jones was on my list of people to meet in Vegas...CHECK! She is a delight!
I also got to have dinner with Amy Biddison, from Teaching in Blue Jeans.
We even zip-lined down Fremont Street!!  
While I wasn't exactly a winner at the casino (I quickly lost my winnings- a whopping $3.35), 
I was a winner when it comes to lifelong friends and crazy memories!
Can't wait 'til next year!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The best home laminator!

I recently received an offer from Shoplet.com to review the Fellowes Saturn Laminator.
Some product specifics are:
  • Laminator features a rapid, one-minute warm-up with InstaHeat Technology.
  • The 9-1/2" entry width accommodates multiple document sizes.
  • Saturn3i 95 Laminator delivers hot lamination for 3 mil or 5 mil and cold setting for self-adhesive pouches.

I eagerly accepted this opportunity and here are my honest opinions!

Pros
*Lightweight, but did not feel "cheap"
*Heated extremely quickly!
*I have never used cold lamination, but I can now if I want!
*There is a ledge on the back of the laminator to catch your work as it comes through.
*MOST IMPORTANTLY, the lamination actually sealed all the way around my paper!  Usually when laminating with a small laminator, there are some edges that don't seal very well.  I was VERY impressed with how this one sealed!

Cons:
*There are only 10 laminating pouches that come with the laminator. BUT, that is better than none!
*A little pricey, compared to other small laminators, but you do get what you pay for!

The Fellowes Saturn 3i 95 Laminator is seriously the best home laminator I've ever used.  It heats quickly, seals completely, and has an automatic shutoff feature.
If you need a good laminator, this is a great one!




Thursday, June 18, 2015

Win a GlassTech Case for your Microsoft Surface Pro!

I'm happy to announce that I am giving away a GlassTech case for the Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Pro 3 on behalf of Gumdrop Cases
This would be perfect for your classroom!

The Gumdrop Cases GlassTech for Microsoft Surface features:
  • Ruggedized, impact-resistant skin - perfect for accident-prone kids and families
  • Tempered glass screen protector for ultimate touch sensitivity, with a special smudge-free coating
  • Fully compatible with the Microsoft Surface keyboard and kickstand
Learn more about the GlassTech for Microsoft Surface 3 here, and the GlassTech for Microsoft Surface  Pro 3 here. The cases are available in Green, Black and Red, and start at $59.

**Enter to win a case by leaving a comment below.**
I'm sorry, but the winner must be in the US.
Let me know why you think you should win the case in the comments along with you color preference and email address. 
Thanks for your participation!



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