Category Archives: Motivation

Thinking Classrooms: Our “One Thing”

As the end of the year is beginning to appear on the near horizon, the student achievement team has been hard at work trying to organize and prepare for the next school year and the myriad of initiatives and changes coming. You will be hearing more about lots of things over the next two years: SB 191, Common Core, READ Act, Readiness plans, Unit Planning with Backwards Design, new state assessments, new state graduation guidelines, and the list will continue to grow. It will sometimes become easy to lose sight of our target and journey we set out on this year.

Those who may remember the movie “City Slickers” might remember Curly’s wisdom to Mitch about “finding your one thing”. We believe the philosophy of Thinking Classrooms is District 27J’s “one thing”. (If you have no idea what we are talking about, Google it 🙂  )

The idea of a Thinking Classroom isn’t something new, it’s not the latest magic pill, it’s not a curriculum and it’s not the same for everyone. A Thinking Classroom is more like a state of mind. A belief that the most important effect on a student’s learning and growth is their own thinking and hard work. A thinking classroom has relentless focus on good instruction, is about guiding student authentic engagement and discovery, and has intentional planning for learning.

One of our goals of this blog has been to offer a variety of perspectives, ideas, and videos to continue developing this state of mind for everyone. We believe this transformation could be monumental, but it starts with small yet significant steps. You must believe….believe that we can  and should do better for our students, believe you can do better for your students, believe they need better, and believe learning lives and happens with the student first.

Every building is working towards creating and implementing their vision of a Thinking Classroom and what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like. By creating a strong foundation around instruction, the coming work of content Standards transition, new state assessments, and other external factors will fall into place as a part of the work we are already doing, rather than yet another thing to do.

The world is changing faster everyday. What worked in school for our parents and worked for us will no longer work for our own children and students. What will work for them most likely won’t work for their children. As educators and an educational system, we must become agile, flexible and quicker to respond to change. Not for us, but for them. They will be forever shaped by our actions today.

Are you ready? Have you made the mind shift yet? Have you convinced your colleagues?

LET’S DO THIS THING!!!!!

photo credit: wallyg via photopin cc

Advice from a Blog about a Book

We often find inspiration and words of wisdom from unexpected places. The following statements were found in a blog…that was written about a book. The book is about social media. None of which is connected to anything about education or Thinking Classrooms.

HOWEVER, the beauty is—in the statements from the book’s author about lessons learned and shared by the blog’s author. And WOW…we were struck by the relevance and inspiration in these statements to our work towards Thinking Classrooms.

Take a minute to read the statements below! If you want to see the full article, you can find it here.

Where passion, skill, and purpose collide, bliss resides.

Beware of the shiny object syndrome (SOS). It’s important to know the difference between an opportunity and a distraction.

You can color outside the lines without crossing the line. Disruption and destruction have two different outcomes.

Learn how to push your own buttons. It’s important to motivate and inspire yourself. Everyone else is busy.

A five-degree shift changes your entire trajectory.

Your hustle factor is often your differentiating factor. Work hard.

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