Opening Minds Part 1

Last summer I participated in #cyberPD with Cathy Mere, Laura Komos and Jill Fisch.  It was an amazing learning experience for me.  I had never read a professional book with that many people not to mention able to read their reflections on book.  This year when I saw tweets about #cyberPD again, I knew it was something I had to be a part of.




 Opening Minds by Peter Johnston was on my TBR pile for the summer so I was thrilled when it was chosen as our group read.

As teachers one of our jobs is to create the kind of classroom where mistakes are okay, opinions are valued and all kinds of ideas are respected.  Peter starts off by showing us examples of such classrooms and specific language the teacher uses to foster this learning.  There is a quote on page 4 that I think sums up Peter's thinking perfectly "Teaching is planned opportunism.  We have an idea of what we want to teach children, and we plan ways to make that learning possible.  When we put our plans into action, children offer us opportunities to say something, or not and the choices we make affect what happens next.  Teaching requires constant improvisation.  It is jazz."  Our words and each minute choice we make can affect the learning environment in our classroom.  That is an awesome responsibility we have.

Peter goes on to lay out two different theories of thinking.  The fixed theory and dynamic theory.  Fixed is the belief that you are what you are and there is nothing you can do to change it.  Dynamic theory is the belief that you can change and hard work will allow you to do that.  I've heard the basic theory of these two mindsets before but had never read about them in such great detail.  I got to thinking about some former students and which theory they fell into.  I couldn't help but think maybe if I had changed my words just a little bit I could have moved a few more kiddos from the fixed to the dynamic theories.  I am excited to read on and develop new language to use in my classroom to help move learners from fixed to dynamic theories, while pushing those dynamic thinkers even farther.

Thank you Cathy for hosting this week's #cyberPD blogs.
Don't forget to stop by Jill and Laura's blogs in the coming weeks to keep the discussion going.
July 18 at My Primary Passion with Jill Fisch
July 25 at Our Camp Read-A-Lot with Laura Komos
July 26 on Twitter (time TBD)

Comments

  1. "As teachers one of our jobs is to create the kind of classroom where mistakes are okay, opinions are valued and all kinds of ideas are respected." Nicole, that said it all. You talk about our responsibility in thinking about our words and making the changes in our language needed for improvement. As I read your post I thought about our Conferring discussion last year. It seems this is an important layer in continuing it.

    I'm glad you have joined the conversation.

    Cathy

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  2. Hi Nicole,
    As I read Opening Minds, I had to confront my own negative connotations with the word "mistake." I was reading p.2 in which Pegeen says “I just made a big mistake as a reader. I got distracted when someone came into the room. So I’m going to reread this section here.” My internal voice immediately said, "that's not is mistake...that's just an occurrence...getting distracted is something that happens to readers..." Luckily for my own changing perspective, Johnston responded to my thinking on page 3 (he must have known that someone out there would be thinking...mistake???) and writes:
    "First, she leveled the power difference between teacher and students. She said, 'I make mistakes just like you.' Second, her comment began to explain the meaning of errors. When you make a mistake, it means nothing more than that. Fix it. Learn from it. It does not mean you are incompetent, stupid, or not a good person."
    Nicole, thanks for pointing out that our job involves providing for a safe environment to make mistakes and a constructive environment to facilitate the learning from the mistakes.
    Here's to changing the way I think and use the word "mistake" in my classroom and in my life.

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  3. "Our words and each minute choice we make can affect the learning environment in our classroom. That is an awesome responsibility we have."

    Those words that you wrote sum it all up for me. They are both intimidating and inspiring at the same time. It is a huge responsibility.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I picked up on the same quote that Cathy did! I love this! "As teachers one of our jobs is to create the kind of classroom where mistakes are okay, opinions are valued and all kinds of ideas are respected." Isn't this really the heart of what it's all about? Thanks so much for joining in!
    ~Laura

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