As connected educators, we find inspiration not only from our school colleagues but from our virtual faculty. We belong to a Voxer community. Jenn was having a conversation on Voxer with Joanne Duncan about unlocking each other’s potential. It occurs to us that the key that turns the lock is the deep substantive conversations that make us think. Here we are, all doing the work and when we share our insights it inspires us to think in a deeper way.
As always, as we reflect on our own learning, we had to ask the question who is inspiring our students to think deeper. Here is what they said:
“Keshavi inspires me especially during math time. She does math tricks or strategies that she shows to me that makes math easier. It makes me feel happy because I have someone to count on when I need help. It inspires me to make my own papers and charts to help me. When I watch her and see what she does, it gives me ideas about what I can do. “
“I think Tessa inspires me because she is very good at writing and reading. I don’t think I am good at writing but whenever I think of Tessa I think I should work harder and write better things. She is always writing something and this makes her really good at writing. I think if I write more like her I will get better at it. She makes me want to write more just like I read a lot.”
“Rileigh inspires me because she is so smart /intelligent and every time I look at her she is having fun. She never gets mad and has a good heart. She says good things about everyone and she helps others. She is able to get over things that bother her and I want to be able to do that. I watch her and I try to do what she does.”
“Keshavi inspires me because she is very smart and she can answer a lot of questions. She works really hard and she is helpful. When people need help, she will help them. I can’t copy her but I watch her and she inspires me to want to be better and work a little bit harder.”
“Natalie inspires me to do my best. We talk about things and that helps me work better. She treats me good and makes me happy all the time. When I’m happy, I work harder and I do better work. I never had her in my class, so I am happy because now we can do work together and this helps me learn.”
“Vinny inspires me a lot. When he is working hard, he can get his work done quickly. I watch him and it inspires me to work hard and get my work done too. He also helps people and I try to do the same. It is the right thing to do.”
Reflection is so revealing . These simple conversations lend so much insight into the learning process for these children. We need to name this for what it is, formative data. We can use this information to inform partnerships, set instructional goals, and demonstrate relevant behaviors through using student models. As we evaluated the children’s responses we saw both academic and social awareness at play. Growth mindset is not just jargon, this is it happening in real time. Through these conversations we can identify areas in which students are striving for personal growth. They haven’t mastered these things yet: using tools, immersion in the process, resilience in the face of challenges, collaboration to elevate our work, and the importance of pacing. These children can be mentors to each other as they work through the trials and tribulations of third grade.
Adults who have a growth mindset do this also. Jenn was encouraging JoAnn to take that step into blogging because it was something that she talked about wanting to do. Blogging offers teachers an opportunity to be introspective and thoughtful about their practice and their philosophy. Blogging has done this for us and reading blogs informs our practice, provides a connectedness and pushes us even further. We want to share some of the blogs from our Voxer community who we learn with every day.