DT&L Bytes

Digital Teaching and Learning @PCHS │ May 21, 2018

Reflection, A Critical Tool for Every Educator

I encourage you to take some time for personal reflection. Use this break to reflect on your year and your practice before planning the upcoming year. It's a powerful practice.

Here's a previous post on the power of reflection, sources to support it, and tools to use. I hope that you take some time to engage in this practice while you recharge for the next school year.

Reflection is something vital to our development as educators, yet so easily dropped from our practice. The urgencies of the day can easily overshadow that moment to pause, breathe, and reflect. Those the reflective moments, however, are the moments from which we can truly grow.

Reflection isn’t a new practice in education, but it is a key practice of an innovative educator (Courcos 48). John Dewey described reflection as “behavior which involves active, persistent, and careful consideration of any belief or practice in light of the grounds that support it and the future consequences to which it leads” (qtd in Canning 18). A reflective educator asks him/herself questions like: What worked? What didn’t work? What would I change? What questions do I have moving forward? (Courcos 57). The process provides the educator with a view into what went well, what didn’t, why the lesson went well or didn’t, and the foundation which to make adjustments as necessary.

Talking about the importance of reflection is one thing, but what tool to use is another discussion. Choose a tool, which you’re comfortable using. I’ve used so many different tools over the years: paper (Leutchturm and Lemome are my favorites), apps (Day One is my favorite), blogs, and bullet journals. The tools isn’t what’s important, it’s the process. The process needs to be a regular process. Make the time, make it a habit.

Reflective practice is a key characteristic of an innovative educator, but student lesson reflection is also a powerful tool. I would add that a reflective educator asks his or her students the following questions: What worked? What didn’t work? What did you learn? What did you thing the goal was? What do you need me to know? What questions do you have? I had my students reflect as an exit ticket each day. It was quick, but powerful. I started with a paper form and moved later to a Google form when our school went 1:1. These were private, individual reflections where every student had a voice and provided me with daily insight as to the success of our daily goals and where we needed additional help.

If reflective practice has been around for so long, what makes it innovative? It’s innovative because it asks the necessary questions in order for innovation to happen. It helps us to answer these key questions: Would I want to be a learner in my own classroom? What is best for this student? What is this student’s passion? What are some ways we can create a true learning community? How does this work for our students? (Courcos 40).

Moving forward as an innovative educator can begin with a practice of regular (if not daily) reflection.


What's APPening - Summer, iPads and Resources

Underclassmen have the option of keeping their iPads over the summer. Any underclassmen who has chosen to not, will be turning them in BEFORE FINALS.

EVERYONE will need to backup their resources! Visit our 1:1 iPad page and our Summer iPad page for more information.

Don't forget to submit for vetting any new resources that you'd like to use next year.

Big picture

End Your Year with What Matters Most

"Beginnings set the tone, but endings don't come together on accident. There's something special about a narrative that ends really well." ~Aaron Hogan

"End Your Year with What Matter's Most" is Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth author, Aaron Hogan's latest blog post. Hogan writes about the importance of endings and challenges teachers to spend the month of May, our last month of the school year, in an intentional way. Admit it, we all have some kind of countdown happening as we prepare for exams and look forward to this well-needed period of rest, reflection and rejuvenation. Hogan is challenging us to to keep our connections with students and do it in an intentional and positive way.

Hogan's suggestions:

  • Schedule a calendar reminder to keep you on track.
  • Partner up with another teacher, teammate, or department member to walk this journey together.
  • Share you successes with others so that we can celebrate with you!

Read his blog post, check out his book, follow him on Twitter. He has a lot of wisdom and encouragement for us.

Which Digital Tools are You Using?

We've had a lot of freedom at Pine Creek regarding the tools we choose to use. We'd like to continue having you, the experts, continue to be the ones choosing the tools your students use. That's why we are asking you to partner with us.

Partner with us and help us ensure your tools for classes, teams, clubs and activities are approved and ready for to use when you need them. PLAN AHEAD. Visit Pine Creek's Resource List; it includes the resources submitted by you. Don't see the one you'd like to use? Visit the District database. Still don't see your resource? Fill out the Digital Tool Application and we'll get it submitted to District IT for approval. Once the tool is approved, we'll update our list and inform you. This process takes time, especially if a purchase needs to be made.

Please be patient with us and the District as we embark on this new process. The District database is continually being updated as is our own resource list. Our goal is to ensure you have the resources you need while protecting our students' privacy.

Have questions? Contact anyone of your Digital Resource Team members, Susan, Sasha or Steve.

What can your Digital Learning Coach do for you?

  • Share with you what tools we have available to you and your students
  • Show you how to use the tools we have
  • Push out course-specific apps to you and your students
  • Co-teach with you so that you can focus on the content and I can focus on the tool and any digital issues
  • Trouble-shoot issues, iPad and Desktop
  • Share our Vision and what it means as we travel down the road towards making that it real
  • Help you plan and reflect on lessons using digital tools
  • Provide Digital Citizenship tips and resources

I'm here to serve you!