Wednesday, August 1, 2012

#cyberPD: Opening Minds - Final Thoughts

'"It's OK for things to be hard.  That's when we learn.  We show we believe in ourselves by saying things like 
'I don't get it yet.'"
Johnston p.115

My first goal is take time to reread Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives by Peter H. Johnston (Stenhouse, 2012).  I know I got the BIG ideas, but I'm sure there are so many little ideas that I need to decipher and connect to at home and in my classroom.  I was feeling very guilty about my language choices and feeling immense pressure to make big changes.  Learning from the other #cyberPD participants through reflective blog posts, forward thinking comments, and the fast Twitter chat (including Mr. Peter Johnston himself!) relieved my stress.

I'm REALLY not good at this yet, but I'm also not alone! 

As I was thinking about this post over the last couple days, I was bombarded by quotes shared from colleagues via Twitter (and other daily reading and browsing) consistently reminding me what is important:

"Our kids in our classroom might not remember WHAT we teach them, but they will never forget the experiences we give them." ~ Steven W. Anderson

"Our jobs are not to lecture content and spoon feed facts. Our lives as teachers are about inspiring kids." ~ Krissy Venosdale

"No guilt. Just action." ~ Peter Johnston

Mistakes are opportunities for learning. ~ Deb Frazier

Even with technology, it's about PROCESS over product. ~ Deb Frazier

"Do we intentionally teach the culture of the classroom before we demand it?" ~ Deb Frazier

Reducing instruction, increasing engagement. ~ Peter Johnston (Stenhouse blog)

"If you are an educator, you are an inspiration to someone.  Someone is looking up to you and wants to be like you." ~ Steven W. Anderson

"We need more discussions in schools about how to create engaging, motivating, authentic learning experiences." ~ Krissy Venosdale

"Don Graves found in 1978 Ford Foundation Study: One teacher can change a student as a reader and writer forever. Be that teacher." ~ Penny Kittle

". . . I figured out that SILENT and LISTEN are made of the same letters." ~ One For the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

One after the other, smacking me up side the head reminding me again what is important in my classroom:
  • Continue to focus on building a classroom learning community
  • Listen. Listen some more.
  • Use language to encourage the dynamic mindset
  • Focus on the process
  • Create a dialogic classroom:
    • Say less, listen more
    • Ask open questions
    • Provide wait time
    • Use more nonjudgemental responses
    • Teach students to listen and respond appropriately
  • Nurture a sense of inquiry, uncertainty to engage students
  • Remember teaching is planned opportunism, requires constant improvisation, and choosing more productive talk
  • Think together through books
Those are (a few) hefty goals.  The good news, I already incorporate many of these characteristics and teaching in my classroom, but there is always room for improvement -- that's the mindset I have!  I know as I read the other final thoughts I'll be jotting down more and more ideas.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts too!

I also hope this isn't the end of our conversations . . . let us continue on!

* * * * * * * * * * * 

#cyberPD: Learning more from others!

Final thoughts and reflections with Carol @ Carol's Corner
A collection of all the responses and thinking about Opening MindsJog the Web


  1. Michelle,

    What an amazing collection of quotes from Twitter! I saw a couple of them myself but your collection did show how this type of thinking is coming at us from all directions.

    I loved the quote from One for the Murphy's ~ "I figured out that SILENT and LISTEN are made of the same letters." My brain is still buzzing from that one.

    I also loved the Penny Kittle quote - I think that all of us aspire to be "that teacher" for some of our students. It is a very lofty goal.

    Thanks for sharing your collection. I have begun creating my lists for school and I think some of these will have to be added.

  2. One of the modules that we teach in Stephen Ministry training is "The Art of Listening". It is also one of the most important modules that we teach, because if we don't listen (and hear), we won't be able to help our care receivers. It sounds like you already have a lot of the basics, so now you can continue to implement and expand them. Love ya, M

  3. Michelle- Thanks so much for participating in the synthesis today. I'm impressed by how you have incorporated information from Johnston AND Twitter AND seemingly several other sources. You seem to have used that as a basis for some really concrete action steps you are going to put into play in your classroom this year (I think you were a literacy coach last year, is that right? Is that what you are doing this year?) Like you, I hope these conversations will continue. Feel like I still have a ton to learn from Johnston and from all of you!

  4. I am currently reading Opening Minds. I'm hoping to present it as an option for a book study with my staff this year. What a fabulous reminder that the words we choose create a path for our students learning. One thing that I hear my peers often say is , "What happened to intrisic motivation?" Over and over as I read this book, I think that as teachers we hold a key tool to teaching students to become the intrinsic learners we want them to be. What a great read to jump start a school year! :-) Also, I love the quotes you shared. Another great read for a new school year. :-)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.