November 30

Down the Stretch

It seems to me that after Thanksgiving sort of signifies an opening of the gates.  It means I should have already been doing Christmas shopping!  It means I need to get my holiday decorating done.  It means I need to be cleaning out and cleaning up.  It also means mid-term exams are looming on the horizon for high school and middle school classes.  With that in mind, I decided that this would be the first in a few ideas devoted to formative assessment.

You know about formative assessment – checks for understanding.  You’ve seen the research data.  So, let’s take a look at some formative assessment ideas.

There’s always the exit slip.  The teacher poses a quick question and students post a response.  Some ideas for a quick exit slip which integrates technology use by students are:

Questions for a Padlet post could range from the simple – post one fact about… or post the most important concept relating to… or choose a word that begins with the same letter of your name and, in your post, explain how it relates to… or describe the steps of… or well, the limits of the simple exit slip post for Padlet are only limited by your imagination.  The beauty of using this technique is that the wall will be available as long as the creator would like to keep it.  The information is readily available for planning follow-up lessons or for clarifying for better understanding.  Students can post anonymously or a requirement could be that they include their name.

The question could be just those mentioned above for a Padlet post.  Pose a question verbally and ask students to post a response.  With Socrative, the exit slip could take on the semblance of a quiz as well.  Prepared in advance, the teacher could target a few pointed questions to assess specific knowledge and understanding of the class material.  The questions can be multiple choice, short-answer, or true/false.  Again, the student response could be anonymous or require identification, whichever the teacher would prefer.  The responses are readily available by downloading a spreadsheet or the teacher could have the spreadsheet sent to his/her email for later viewing/recording.

The questions could be open-ended like those previously mentioned for the Padlet post or could also be more quiz-like either.  The versatility of Forms provides the opportunity to formulate many different question types – multiple choice, choose from a list, check-boxes, rank on a scale, short-answer, or paragraph form.  If memorization of vocabulary, dates, or terms is important, instant feedback can be provided.  If deeper thinking is desired, pose a more open-ended type of query.  Using a Google Form, the responder’s email identification can easily be collected which makes it appropriate for pin-pointing exactly who needs remediation or re-teaching.  Yet, anonymous responding is also an option.

Each of these options is quick, provides valuable feedback, and encourages reflection by students.  Most middle and high school students have some sort of technology readily available and could quickly access either of the options using a mobile device.

When you are needing a quick bit of data to guide your teaching, consider using one of these online exit slips as a collection tool!  After all, when we are in the stretch and the clock is ticking, quick, easy, and readily available is always valuable and vital.

November 20

Change It Up!

It seems we live in a constantly changing world.  The world of education is no different from the rest of our world – we are changing.  And thank goodness for that!  If we didn’t evolve and change over time, we would be living in a sad state.

I know that we have a lot of things going on in our world that are not good right now, to say the least.  The same can be said for education – there are things going on in the education world that are not good.  However, just like with the rest of the world, in the education world there are loads and loads of things that are good – really, really good!

I wrote about a teacher evolving and changing things up in his class just the other day.  He is constantly performing action research, whether he realizes it or not.  He tries different ways of teaching and new lesson plans day after day and year after year.  After assessment, if he sees that his students didn’t ‘get it,’ he is re-teaching and revamping to, hopefully see different results.  The last time I was visiting his classroom, he was purposefully performing Action Research to see if a theory he had just discovered was an actuality.  (I think he is going to find that his theory is absolutely correct, by the way.)

Interestingly, a few days later I was working with a math teacher who has great success with students using a traditional teacher teaches-students practice-teacher assesses kind of class method.  Even with the success he and his students have enjoyed, there have been times when this teacher has been required to re-teach or modify his approach.  It might be due to a student’s absence or the time when the teacher was away from his classroom due to the birth of a baby, but there was a necessity for changing up his methods and practices.  As a result, this teacher has created several digital and online tutorials.  Yet, during our work together that day, he mentioned that he thought the students learned more when they created the tutorials than when they worked through his tutorials.

Viola!  I wanted to jump up and down

and turn cartwheels

and wear a sparkly outfit

and clap and cheer!

Immediately, we began a conversation about how this might happen in his classroom.  The teacher became so excited about the concept that he was almost late starting his next class.

This morning I revisited these ideas and want to encourage folks to do a bit of changing it up in their repertoire as well.  I was inspired by reading The New Trick That Transformed My Teaching.  Joyce Baumann shares her experience with taking a risk.  The post suggests that “to improve student outcomes, teachers must be willing to take risks, try new things, and ‘Fail Forward’ should the outcome be less than positive.”  Baumann describes how the result of her risk taking was that things went right and the results wound up be transformative for her as well as her students.

I almost didn’t watch the video of Baumann’s students conducting their scientific experiment.  If I hadn’t perhaps this post and my teacher friends’ experiences might not have reinforced the concept that changing it up is vital for the classroom.  Rarely do we get to see the enthusiasm of students in classes match that of Baumann’s students in the video.  They were awestruck by their experiment.  They were excited about their learning.  They could hardly wait to relate what they had experienced back to their teacher.  Are these experiences in the classroom rare because we don’t take risks and don’t change it up often enough?

What are you going to change up tomorrow?

November 19

Growing and Developing Tech Integration Schoolwide – Plan!

Recently a couple of the administrators in schools which I support as an instructional technology coach asked me about ways to better support their teachers at integrating technology into their everyday classroom use.  They mentioned that sometimes the teachers claim that there are too many barriers such not having access to the Computers on Wheels (COWs) at the school and unreliability of whether students will bring their own devices and time required to log on to a device before they can get to work.

Certainly these so-called barriers can be obstacles at times but I have also found these to be relatively easy to overcome.  I’ve noticed an upsurge in requests for the COWs in each school this year, to be sure.  With online testing being the norm, teachers want students comfortable and polished at using technology for assessment purposes.  I’ve also noticed that once teachers begin integrating the use of technology, they like the convenience for grading, accessibility, and organization with their students and student work.  Finally, I’ve noticed, too, that when a teacher integrates and expects students to use technology on a consistent basis, the students bring their devices to class and use them purposefully.

So, what other concepts need to be considered when improving teaching and learning by increasing technology integration?  I participated in a webinar and read a couple of the follow-up synopses which focused on just this topic and here is what I learned and what I would add to those synopses.

  1. Leadership and teachers should work together to set goals in their school.  Define the expectations.  Identify the availability of resources and set up ways that obstacles can be overcome.  A simple one might be to provide a COW for a group of teachers to share.  When a student doesn’t have a personal device or when he/she forgets to bring it to school, allow him/her to borrow from the COW.  Each class in a group might only need one or two devices and the groups could share.
  2. Reassure folks that nobody expects them to be experts immediately.  It is OK to fail.  Failing is an opportunity to learn and a stair-step for trying again.  Teachers and students all learn through failure and growth is important!  Referencing back to the previous point, don’t expect everybody to be at the same level of adaptation.  Teachers as well as students might be novices and just need a bit of time, practice, and support.
  3. Leadership must set the example of expectations.  If the administrators or team leaders at the school are not integrating technology into their practices, they are not modeling the expectations of teachers and students.  Sharing successes and failures can be humbling but it can also be quite a relief and provide freedom for yourself as well as others.
  4. Be certain to give explicit parameters.  Just like a teacher plans a lesson for students, the leadership committee of a school should offer up parameters for teachers.  Of course, those shouldn’t be etched in stone and could evolve over time!
  5. Develop a growth mindset.  Don’t hesitate to tell students you are going to try something different.  Tell them it is a pilot and they will be enthused to try to make it work!  They will be flattered that you want to try new things with them.  They will be impressed that you are taking a risk.

 

November 18

Using the ABCs

Sometimes the simplest, most elementary ideas really are the best.  One of the simplest, most elementary elements of learing is the alphabet.  Little children quickly learn the ABCs and apply the concepts accompanying them for the rest of their lives.  First they associate letters with sounds, pictures, and words.  Then, they associate them with an order – alphabetical.  As a classroom teacher, I used this principal each and every day.  I also used it for a guide to our learning plan, a way or reporting knowledge learned, and an assessment piece.

Most teachers have seen the simple BINGO-type board with the letters of the alphabet filling each block.  Students are assigned to a letter and expected to contribute information within that block on the page.  Sometimes the added requirement might be to use the letter as a way to incorporate a significant word.  For example, after studying an author, the student might be expected to contribute information about the writer using the assigned letter of the alphabet.  Example: Letter W = Wordsmith: Shakespeare is considered to be a master wordsmith because of the number of words he created and contributed to the English dictionary.

abc BINGO

Sometimes a similar board might be used to guide students in a brainstorming activity.  For example, after studying Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,”  students can create a list of words connecting to the mentor piece similar to the one below.

ABC Sticky

After the class creates the list of words, students might select several to write paragraphs explaining the connections between the words and the mentor piece of informational text.  Liz Allen suggests just such an exercise in her post, Build Thinking Skills with Informational Text Projects.

Another way to stretch critical thinking is to challenge students to create an ABC book that shows progression.  Students might be asked to think about what came before.  For example, in a study involving the impact and effects of erosion, a student might begin with this:

R is for erosion.  The rains came and washed away the soil.  Topsoil was swept into the rivers and tributaries.  Even rocks can be worn away by a steady drip, drip, drip of water.

The same could be done as a predictor of the future.  Using the concept offered by George Shannon’s Tomorrow’s Alphabet, students might be expected to think differently about a concept.  For example, in a study of the ocean, a student might offer this:

S is for the energy which causes the oceans currents…

Then, progress to explain how the sun helps to account for temperature differences which makes an impact on the ocean’s currents.

Such exercises challenge students to think in different ways.  These strategies stretch the students to be creative.  Assignments could be for independent student work or for students working collaboratively.  The class could create an entire alphabet book collaboratively with each student contributing a representative letter.  Small groups could create an associative letter product to creatively express, explain, or describe.  Each of the three ways is very effective and certainly appropriate for different concepts and topics.

Differentiation is easy because students contribute in ways that show exactly what they know.  With that in mind, isn’t this a exceptional means of assessment?  Basically, all that is required as an assessment tool is a checklist for students and a simple rubric for the teacher to use as a scoring tool.

In the classroom, this alphabetic concept could be used for assignments such as book reports or event/famous person/era report.  It could be used as a way to convey multiple perspectives about a process such as mitosis.  I really think the limitations are only confined by the person who isn’t using such a strategy as a teaching tool!

In what way might your students associate the letters of the alphabet to your class content?

November 17

Quotable

When planning a professional development session recently, I was collecting a group of meaningful quotes from educational experts relating to the topic at hand.  This became a springboard of thought for me.  What if a teacher was looking for a way to jump-start an inquiry-based lesson and used relevant quotes?

Here is an example that I might pose to a class before we begin reading To Kill A Mockingbird:

  • “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.”
  • “You never understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
  • “I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday.”
  • “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
  • “The humanity of all Americans is diminished when any group is denied rights granted to others.”
  • “Hate is too great a burden to bear.  It injures the hater more than it injures the hated.”
  • “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”
  • “The time is always right to do what is right.”
  • “Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events.”
  • “If not us, then who?  If not now, then when?”

Instructions:

  1. Take some time to learn who is the originator of each of the quotes above.
  2. What commonality do these people and their words share?
  3. What impact did these people make on how we live today?
  4. Which of these quotes do you think is most important to be remembered and why?
  5. Which of these people would you most like to sit down and have a conversation with and why?
  6. What newsmaker from the past (not quoted here) would fit into this circle of folks?  Explain why you think that.
  7. What newsmaker from  today would fit into this circle of folks?  Explain why you think that.
  8. What words of wisdom of your own would you want added to this collection as a quote?

Notice that most of the quotes I selected for my collection are not those which are most famous and frequently quoted.

Notice that the quotes are from a broad cross-section of individuals.

Notice that the instructions/questions are more about a student’s thinking than they are about the topic.

Notice that the instructions/questions are open-ended but have high expectations that students will be thorough in their study and take the study beyond what is presented to them.

Now, I challenge you.  What would be included in the set of quotes you assemble for your next unit or topic of study?

P. S. I didn’t identify the source of my quotes on purpose.  Enjoy!

November 16

An Anchor for the Storm

Aren’t there times when we all look for an anchor to hold us down when we feel we are facing a storm?  Sometimes in the classroom, students probably have that same feeling.  They are stormed with questions and expectations day after day and look for anchors that will hold them down and be reliable.  This is where anchor charts can help.

When I first entered the educational business, I was always impressed with teachers who used inspirational quotes and professionally produced posters to guide students.  These have their place and do help to perk up a classroom and provide information to guide students.  I can still remember some that those teachers posted on the walls of their classrooms and I’ll bet their students do as well.

When I was a classroom teacher, I used a few of those fancy, professionally produced posters on my walls.  However, I sometimes couldn’t find just the right one that was needed to remind students of good writing traits or comma rules and the like.  Or, I might not have the funds reserved in my meager teaching account to be able to afford those beautifully printed materials.  So, I would create my own – meticulously lettering or using die-cut letters and shapes.  Sometimes I would call upon my daughter to use her creativity and artsy talents to create charts and posters.  My room was always full of information posted on the walls.  At one point, I was told that I might consider cleaning off some of the wall space because I might be “overstimulating my students.”

Fast-forward a couple of years in my classroom career and I accidentally sat in a workshop led by Jeff Anderson who had a new book, Mechanically Inclined.  His presentation was so dynamic and resonated with me within a matter of minutes.  So, of course, I rushed to the trade show at the conference and purchased the book!  I still recommend it and a couple of other Anderson ideas to teachers with whom I work.

One of the things that really made a difference in my classroom practice – and I think it made a difference in my students’ learning – was a suggestion by Jeff about anchor charts.  Let the students make them.  That seemed to make a huge difference in my middle school classroom.  When a student was struggling with something such as a comma rule or homonyms or needed to expand his or her vocabulary for common words like said, I might spend a bit of small group or one-on-one conference time with that student.  Then, when the student showed mastery, he or she would be the anchor chart creator.  The student(s) would be instucted to grab the marker bucket, some bulletin board paper or a large piece of chart paper and create a teaching chart to help other students learn and remember the concept.  The students would choose a place on the wall to post the anchor chart and it would hang there until time for the high stakes test in the spring.

The charts would have to be covered or removed prior to the big test, but I would always notice students gazing in the direction of the different charts during the actual test.  Their mind’s eye was visualizing the anchor chart and it’s instruction to guide them in answering questions correctly or write using the concept.  I even had students tell me that they could “look at the space where that chart hung and see it.”

Perhaps the action of making the chart stimulated the learning or perhaps it anchored the knowledge in a brain already battling the storm of learning.  Maybe it was the ownership of the knowledge and the creation of the chart that made a difference.  At any rate, the charts always looked very kid-friendly, dynamic, and eye-catching and they seemed to make more of a difference than the pretty, purchased posters, too.  So, when your students seem to be battling a storm in their learning, maybe you need to let them create an anchor – an anchor chart.

By the way, if you want more ideas for anchor charts, check out this post: An Anchor Chart Mashup

November 12

A List of Titles

Earlier this week a middle school teacher and I were talking and thinking about lessons.  She shared some excellent writing and reading and thinking activities that had been going on in her class.  As is usually the case when I sit for a brainstorming session with an exceptional teacher, I think I walked away with more ideas than I shared.  I’m very fortunate to work with folks like that who inspire me and invigorate my thinking.

One of the things this teacher mentioned that she would like to do is assign her studentss a writing assignment that would turn into a series of broadcasts or podcasts.  Immediately my mind began a journey through different ideas and ways in which her students could accomplish such an assignment in an efficient and effective manner.

That conversation came back to mind today as I was exploring a new (to me) favorite resource, This Amerian Life. One of the tabs I clicked into is called Favorites.  As I scanned down the short list of titles, my thought was: Wow! wouldn’t the titles alone provide an exceptional collection of writing prompts for when a student didn’t really know what to write?  The list included:

  • Three Miles
  • 129 Cars
  • Switched at Birth
  • The Giant Pool of Money
  • Babysitting
  • Notes on Camp
  • Somewhere in the Arabian Sea

I remember posting a list like this on the board for my middle school students when I was a classroom teacher.  Sometimes they would take the exact title and make it their own.  For example, Three Miles might become a reflective piece about a student’s experience as a runner.  For another student it might become a work of fiction that became a suspense short story.  For yet another student, it might become a descriptive piece sharing a moment in time and what an observer would see in a short stretch of road.

Other students might take the same title and adapt it to be their own.  One might change it to be something like Three Hundred Miles and write about a long trip to visit a relative.  Another student might adapt the distance to reflect an off-road-vehicle race experience.

The keys to such an assignment are multi-fold.  First, there is a broad spectrum of topics from which students can choose for their writing.  Sometimes just a little inspiration of a few words is enough to nudge a writer who is stuck and looking for a direction with his/her writing.  Second, there is freedom to adapt and make a concept one’s own.  When students are not hemmed in and limited to a single topic, they find it far easier to make the writing flow on its own.  Third, when a student is expected to write about specific content, providing a bit of direction by listing some titles or topics seems to make getting started far easier.

Just think about it, if the content area topic was World War II and the teacher asked students to use those titles as inspiration to write a piece explaining something he/she had learned during a unit of study about WWII, wouldn’t that make getting started a little bit easier?  If the topic was The Civil Rights movement, the same titles might work and student writing would take on a whole different complection.  If the topic was Genetic Mutations, the same group of titles might work and the writing would shed an entirely different light.

While I’m not a fan of ‘prompt-writing,’ I do think it helps at times to provide a little suggestive list for students to give them a jump-start.  I’ve seen teachers use a set of dice, or craft sticks, or cards for students to select characters, setting, conflict, etc.  Sometimes this helps students and sometimes it shuts them down.  So, having choice is ultra important in order to differentiate and meet the needs of developing writers.

What might your list of titles look like for your class?

November 6

Action Research

One of the teachers with whom I work is peforming some action research.  He probably doesn’t even say that phrase – ever, though.  I think the words he used were collecting and analyzing data.  I appreciate data and have always used it a great deal in my educational experience.  However, I am especially interested in the data from this action research.

You see, I’ve been working with this teacher for a few years.  He has done a good job of integrating technology into his classroom.  When we began working together, he was primarily using what I would consider substitution level integration.  The students would use a combination of websites to answer questions which required the fill in of facts, dates, locations, etc. to identify and indicate understanding of social studies material.  His lessons were primarily fill in the blank using a word bank to complete the questions.  I encouraged him to try to employ more of a discovery or inquiry approach.  He just didn’t think his seventh graders were ready for that and he was quite concerned that they might not learn all that they needed to know in order to attain a high score on the end-of-year, high-stakes test.

My first steadfast attempt to nudge him to ‘bump things up’ was to ask him not to identify which questions would be answered on each website.  It was met with a bit of a frown but the teacher gave it a try and realized that really raised his expectation level of his students.  Over the years, this teacher has tolerated my nudges but by and large has resisted them for the most part.

I noticed a bit more in his expectations last year, however.  He began to ask students to answer document-based, essay-type questions and justify their answers by including references to the source.  Immediately, I pointed out to him how, without my even nudging him, he had ‘bumped things up’ and was expecting his students to do some deeper thinking and more rigorous work by making an assertion and justifying that assertion with referencing.  I encouraged him to take a step further and offer more choice for students in reporting their knowledge and understanding.  Yet, he just didn’t think his seventh graders were ready for that and he was quite concerned that they might be more distracted by the choices and they might not learn all that they needed to know in order to attain a high score on the end-of-year, high-stakes test.

Many were the times over the years when I left a meeting with him carrying a load of frustration that I just couldn’t seem to get this teacher to take a risk and let his students really show him what they were capable of doing.  Even last year, I offered several suggestions for ways that he could stretch his students and engage them in more rigorous lessons which required deeper thinking.  Still, there was resistance.

I had a meeting with this teacher earlier this week.  I was kind of blown away with the lesson he was ready to share with me.  He had assembled a group of images, maps, charts, etc.  The students were asked to see, think, and wonder.  At first, they were to look at the collage the teacher created and note only what they see – still facts and regurgitation of them.  Next, students were to make conjectures indicating what they were thinking in relation to the collage.  They were making inferences and thinking about how the assemblage related to one another and how it related to information in their textbook, and how it related to previous topics of study, and even how it related to the students’ world today.  The next step required that the students research to learn more.  They had developed wonderings and were to figure out the answer to what they wondered – basically, there was an interest in learning more and trying to figure out how all those things fit together and the relationships.  Students were expected to compare major features of religions in a country.  They were expected to explain the influence of other countries.  They were expected to analyze the use of military and the role of different government officials on society.  The expectation for thinking was deep.  The expectation for development of knowledge was vast.  This was truly a rigorous lesson which challenged the students.

My favorite phrases – and the ones which forced me to bite my tongue the most – were when the teacher said, “I noticed that my students seemed to retain the knowledge they had built lots more with this lesson than with some of my past lessons.  I noticed that they seemed to know the material a lot more after this lesson.  So, I’m trying a similar approach with this next unit to see if that was a fluke or if this level of classroom expectation really works best.”

So, you see, he is performing action research.  He is in the trenches and learning alongside his students.  What do you think his data is going to show him?  What do you think the outcome of his research will be?

 

November 5

In a world of selfies…

I just finished reading It’s a “Selfie” Thing: The Role of Artifacts in Teacher Evaluation in AMLE.  The article drove home a concept that had been ruminating with me regarding our culture.  Truly, we have become obsessed with the concept of self eh selfies.  Just like most anything else in our culture, there are positives and negatives of this.  Here are a few of my thoughts in regard to selfies and education:

1. Selfies can be a means of reflection and reflection makes us better educators and better students.  Like the aforementioned article suggests, “look around your desk.  Do you see an education magazine?  An article clipped from the newspaper?  A social studies colleagues’s lesson on Redding, Connecticut, and Rebels because you are teaching My Brother Sam Is Dead?”

I would push you to expand your view.  Look around your classroom – be it the virtual classroom or the brick-and-mortar classroom.  What do you see that is evidence of your planning, sharing the passion of learning, sharing the passion of your content area?  What do you see that is evidence of student learning, student creativity, student collaboration, student struggle?  What do you see that is evidence of teacher supporting learning/growth of students or student supporting learning/growth of peers or of student supporting learning/growth of teacher?  Don’t just stop with the visual!  Listen to what you say.  Are your conversations peppered with evidence that you are a life-long learner?

2.  Selfies can be a means of showing that there is a community of learners and a culture for learning established.  Are there collaborative spaces in the brick-and-mortar classroom?  Are there collaborative spaces utilized in the virtual part of your classroom?  Are you using your formative assessment effectively to show you what needs to come next with instruction?  Are you collaborating with your peers to develop and improve the work which goes on in your classroom?  Can anybody who pops in the door see that students are secure in sharing their questions and comments and struggles and successes in learning?  Can anybody who pops in the door see that you are doing what is best for students?  Do you seek feedback from the most important folks – the learners?  Do you ask them questions such as this:

  • What is the most valuable thing you learned today?
  • What impact will your learning today make on your future?
  • What do you think you need to know more about?

Questions such as these certainly make students pause and think about the content and their learning and provide teachers with valuable information about effectiveness of lessons and teaching.

3.  Selfies can be short snapshots of student growth and progress.  Do your students engage in project-based learning where the learning is measured in the project and not in the end product?  Think about it, do you finish reading a good book and look over at your spouse and say, “Honey, I’m so excited about this book that I’m going to run downstairs and create a diorama about it!” or “I think I’ll write a five-paragraph essay about the author of this book!” or “I wish I could take a multiple choice test about this magazine article to show how much it means to me and how it will change the way I think or do things!”  Data is important and should be gathered, analyzed, and used for future planning.  However, data doesn’t always have to come from the end of the unit or the end of the topic study.  Data might be a quick exit slip, a sticky note documenting a teacher observation, an Educreations example where the student explained how to solve an equation – and it didn’t get the correct answer or follow the correct steps.  Do you have “selfies” of your students like that which could be shared with your administrator or peers or parents?  Do you have “selfies” of your own that demonstrate how you know where your students are so that you can meet them there and try to support them further to get where you want them to be?

4. Selfies might be truly a part of what has already been mentioned.  Do you pause and really give deep thought to what it is you want your students to know when you begin to plan a new lesson or unit?  Do you document that?  Do you pause and really think about what you and your student accomplished at the end of the class or the lesson or the day or the unit?  Do you document that?  Do you pause and really have conversations about your students, your lessons, your class with your peers beyond the grousing at the lunch table?  Do you share your successes and ask for ideas when something is not so successful?  Do you pose questions to your administrators, tech coach, peers on how to improve what goes on in your classroom?  Do you post those in a Google+ community or something of that nature?  Anybody who knows me very well knows that I am a firm believer in the concept that reflective writing is important.  My go-to for that concept is: How do I know what I think till I see what I write?

Selfies are certainly waaaaay too prevelent as self-absorbed displays in our culture.  However, selfies might become something that truly helps teachers and learners to grow.  What do your selfies show about you?