Monday, October 19, 2015

Ditch That Textbook Week 7: Ditch That Curriculum

In chapter 34 Matt writes, "The motivation to ditch that textbook isn't only -- or even mostly -- driven by a desire to go paperless or create technology-powered lessons; it's about purpose. What do you want to do with the powerful platform you've been given?" Why do you want to "ditch that textbook"? What do you want to be known for as a teacher? What do you want your students to be known for and/or to know at the end of the year? Is there another idea from this reading that you want to discuss?

Next week will be the conclusion of the fall book club. If you are behind in your reading and commenting, now is the time to catch up on both. You will have until Friday, October 30 to make your comments to all the blog posts to be eligible for the PD grant and PGPs.

139 comments:

  1. My dream is that we can get past the constraints a textbook may place on us. We are a new 1:1 corporation this year and I would love to see our teachers expand the learning for their students and themselves beyond what the textbook my offer. I would like to see them reach out and explore what might be out there to help our students continue to grow as learners, even after they leave our buildings.

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  2. Being a media specialist, I don't have a textbook to follow. My goal is to create independent library users who can walk into any library and know how to find information whether digital or book form. I think I have an advantage by not having a textbook to follow, but at the same time, I feel I need to find or create lessons/guides for instruction. I have come away with some great ideas! My goal is to create some instructional library videos for students and post on our school website or run during video announcements.

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    1. Miranda, I think your position is my dream job in this way -- you can give students the experiences that you think they really need to succeed in life without as many constraints. I love your ideas ... run with them! :)

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  3. As a journalism and English teacher, I want to utilize all of the resources at my disposal. Students in our corporation have 1:1 computer access, and I have the use of an ENO board in my classroom, which gives us the opportunity to enhance our use of technology in terms of access to all sorts of digital information and training, as well as ways to create work digitally. My goal is to add a little more each unit and each semester to my digital use. It can be overwhelming at times to make each transition.

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    1. Lori I agree making the transition to technology is daunting. I have found the time I spend inputting though is time well spent. Everything being online makes for easy modifications and frees up time in the long run. Best of luck to you!

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    2. Lori -- As a college journalism major (later transitioning to education), I think of all the exciting possibilities that the Internet and digital connections offer student journalists. I love your focus to add little by little. That's the best way to build a digital classroom empire -- one block at a time!

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    3. As a sixth grade language arts teacher, I have found the switch to technology-based learning to be scary. So many of my students come to me without the necessary foundation to meet sixth grade standards. They also struggle with seeing a device as a tool, rather than a toy. Many don't have the maturity and self-restraint to make wise choices with their devices no matter how diligent I am in monitoring the class as they work. I appreciate how my corporation has allowed us to have a blended classroom incorporating the technology, but still using some traditional ways of teaching. However, the pressure is intense to keep up with the teacher next door who is staying up with the latest and greatest technology tricks. My biggest challenge is finding time to even research what is out there. I hope that we can continue with the idea of finding a balance.

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  4. As a School Librarian (term I much prefer to Library Media Specialist), I obviously want my students to know how to find information in a library. However, I really feel like my goal for them throughout my class is to open their eyes to different things, expose them to different thoughts, make them think for themselves and form opinions, and along the way, get a little better understanding of what it takes to be a librarian. I want them to use the technology I show them when they leave here (and several have come back and said, "oh I created an animoto video for so-and-so's birthday.) However, with technology, if you aren't going forward, you are going backward, so I am constantly evaluating the new technology for my situation.
    I have to disagree with his comment, "they'd prefer to use digital devices to keep track of everything they need to remember and all they've created." I work in a high poverty district, which may influence this, but we have a lot of students who do not want to use the technology at all, and we are 1:1. Last year, I had a student who took her laptop (which they made her take) and put it in her locker. She refused to use it all year because she was so afraid of breaking something and having to pay for it. We have textbooks on the computer, and textbooks in classrooms, and when given the choice, over 75% will go for the textbook. I have students who want to hand write their papers instead of typing. Not to mention, the mounting research that is showing that technology is not helping students nearly as much as we think it should, and in some cases is actually making them learn less. Balance is key.

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    1. Betsy, how sad that this girls is afraid to break something!! I can understand that fear, but isn't it our job as educators to build a safe environment in which they can learn how to use this technology safely and responsibly? How is it she was allowed to keep her laptop in her locker all year? Weren't kids expected to USE these devices?

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    2. Yes, they were, but our administration has not found a workable solution to this problem. I have a student this year who has been in the library, we still have 9 desktops, every single day because he damaged his laptop last year, hasn't paid at least $50 on it, and they won't give him one this year. I have been beating my head against the wall trying to get them to see something needs changed. This is not acceptable for the students to not be in their classroom, but unfortunately I think they look at is as me not wanting the kids in the library, which is the furthest thing from the truth.

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    3. I can understand what you are saying. I have students who are hesitant about the technology, and I try to honor their feelings to an extent. However, I know that technology is not going away and I feel that schools have an obligation to give students the opportunity to explore it safely and become more comfortable with it. Technology will influence every aspect of their lives. Therefore, I expect them to be able to use the available technology proficiently. With that said, I often give my students choices in how they find answers, research, etc. Sometimes non-technological methods are more efficient. Use the method/resource that will get the job done most effectively.

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    4. Hi Betsy -- I can totally understand where you're coming from. I work with teachers and have had several students that see technology as a frustration or just don't see how it can improve their situation. I think changing perceptions is like trying to move an enormous boulder. Sometimes it doesn't feel like that boulder will ever move, but with persistent pushing, there's a small budge ... then a bit of a roll, and before you know it, that boulder is rolling down the hill. I hope you and your colleagues will keep finding ways that technology can make students lives and learning better (and not as an "I'm using tech for tech's sake") and that perception will slowly turn around. I think you have the right mindset for it. Keep pushing! :)

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  5. "Ditch that textbook" doesn't really mean what one might initially think. In fact, when I began reading this book over the summer, I thought I would be inclined to throw the books away. However, I have learned that my decision to keep a set of texts in my classroom, even though we are 1:1 for the first time this year, was actually a really good one. Our texts can be a great resource, a reference book so to speak. What I have learned, and have been working very hard at, is the text is not the curriculum. Using our newly developed curriculum map, the many resources I have utilized over the years and the many resources available to us online, I have developed lessons much more engaging and much more in line with what really matters.

    For example, today I was not at school. I was, however, able to provide my students with an interactive introduction to the US Supreme Court. They watched an introductory video, looked at the current court, worked on some vocabulary, and began looking at the specifics of a previous court ruling. Could we have utilized the text today? Sure, for some of the material, but certainly not all.

    I am just beginning to scratch the surface of the positive changes that can happen in my classroom with my students because of the technology at our fingertips. I am excited to continue to find the balance of what is really best for our students!

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    1. Susan
      I agree keeping the actual textbook is a great idea especially for those occasions when the first technology fails. I, too, kept the books as a reference when most of my material was online.

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    2. Well put! Textbooks are a supplement not curriculum. Use them when they are the best resource for students. I love the question you posed, "Could we have utilized the text today?" Sometimes it is a good option for our students. Excited for you to keep discovering new opportunities for your classroom! Have fun!

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    3. I agree, great thoughts! Both are important, but technology is a platform to add so many creative things to our everyday curriculum!

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    4. I only have had a classroom set of books. As a FACS teacher I have only used the book as a resource. I am limited to signing up for computers and many times not being able to get them when I need them but our school is starting to get more chrome books with the intent to go 1:1. I think books are important. So are the scholastic magazines that I get. I think encouraging students to use many sources for their information is my purpose in the classroom. Technology is not the only way to go but it has definitely opened up much more engaging lessons and that in turn increases student learning and sharing.

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    5. Susan -- This textbook ditcher has had a classroom set of texts in his classroom for several years. I've found that I haven't wanted to go back to them, but in some disciplines and in some teachers' situations, having them provides a needed resource. That's all textbooks are -- a resource, and we want to have the best resources at our disposal! I love your perspective on "Ditch That Textbook" ... it's not about hating textbooks but being intentional.

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    6. I think you nailed it when you said "balance." I think teachers have to identify the tools that best deliver the content or present the problem to students in the most engaging way. That may involve technology, but then again, it may not.

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  6. I was most impacted by Miller's reminder to use the acronym of DITCH to question and improve your teaching. DIFFERENT is what my classroom already looks like as things have become more manageable and organized, not only for me but my students with online access to resources, directions, and communication. I would like to continue the improvement of using technology to include more sharing and communicating with family and community. INNOVATIVE is what my classroom has become as students are being introduced to new apps, tools, and resources making their learning fun as it provides a variety, other than the textbook. It is my goal to continue to utilize and introduce the endless apps and docs that can make students active. This will make them, as well as me, more TECH-laden and not stagnant in our learning. CREATIVE is students now having more choices in their learning experience. I hope to continue to provide choice in the classroom to make their learning more authentic and connected to their real world. HANDS-ON is how I want my class to transform. I hope with the use of technology that the main means of transfer of knowledge comes through hands on experiences. This is a big move from the lecture mode that had been the traditional vehicle for transfer of social studies content in the past.

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    1. Valerie, I really think you have expressed my feelings perfectly here. Thank you!

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    2. I love it, Valerie! I think if you're using that acronym -- DITCH -- your classroom will be so different from what students see every day that it will stand out and some amazing learning will happen there.

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  7. I want to be remembered by my students as the teacher who kept her students motivated and interested in what was going on. I think sometimes we go for the easy route, use the textbook, do the worksheets, etc and forget that kids love doing things in new ways. I find that after reading this book I now try to do more computer based lessons and activities because my students love doing those lessons and tend to be more engaged. When my class moves on to fifth grade I want them to remember things they did in fourth grade and use those tools to help them succeed in fifth grade and on into high school or college. I want them to see that learning continues as long as we let it grow.

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    1. Yes, I want my students to remember what they learned. I dislike it when I go to review a 3rd or 4th grade skill and they give you that deer in the headlight look. I want them to say, "Oh yeah, I remember that."

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    2. I agree Lyndzee. As a teacher, I would like my students to remember me as the teacher that taught them life-long lessons about reading and writing. I want them to leave my class knowing that at whatever level they are with those skills, they improved from when they started and begin loving something about reading and/or writing. I want students to remember the activities and skills we learned and apply it. I want to inspire my students in a variety of ways so that they will be remembered as students who see the value in reading and writing.

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    3. I love your comments about engagement, Lyndzee. It reminds me of this quote from "Teach Like a PIRATE" by Dave Burgess -- "Much of your success as an educator has to do with your attitude toward teaching and toward kids. The rest is based on your willingness to relentlessly search for what engages students in the classroom and then having the guts to do it." I sense that willingness in you!

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  8. Matt's question "What do you want to do with the powerful platform you've been given?" really resonates with me. I feel so blessed to have technology at our fingertips. I have the ability to transform education within my classroom and empower to kids to learn with-out the classroom, without the textbook. That is a powerful challenge.

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    1. Liz -- If I'm being totally honest, in the first few years I was in education, I didn't realize how powerful that platform was. It was a job I enjoyed doing, but I didn't realize how much of an inspiration and life-changer I could be as a teacher. (At one point in my life, I would have ended that last sentence with "as just a teacher" but now I know "just a teacher" is NO way to put it!) Now I'm really starting to get how powerful that platform is.

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  9. I would love to go totally paperless. I think carrying around all the papers and projects on a laptop would be great especially since I teach English. I love the doors technology has opened for students and it really has given them a view of the world that students may not experience if not for online. I also see how it really helps the shy or introverted student to come out and participate. All students would rather type then write a paper. Now more and more programs are being developed enabling students to finish with a more polished product. I would like to make a goal of video taping a lecture for my students. I think this would be a new and exciting venture for me.

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  10. I want my students to expand their base of knowledge and opportunity by being tech literate. I want them to know and understand search strategies. I want them to research topics they are curious about as they read literature and non-fiction text. I want technology to be a tool-- a resource that can be used for academic gain and self-improvement. I will never totally "ditch" my textbook due to the massive high stakes testing in my content area, but I do want to enhance my textbook. I want to use the scope and sequence of my textbook in a creative manner to generate additional student engagement. I want my students to be efficent learners. Sometimes this means pencil and paper and other times it means installing a new app. It all boils down to teaching students to be in charge of their learning by giving them opportunities to grow as learners.

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  11. I want to be the kind of teacher that inspires her students to reach for the stars. I want to motivate them to think for themselves. I hope they can gather information, examine it, compare it, and use it to create their own decisions. I want my students to think outside of the box. I want them to work together.
    My first year that I taught I was thrown into a practical arts classroom without a curriculum or textbooks. I did the best I could and we survived, but if I would have had the resources now, the technology that is out there now I think we could have rocked. I want to take my students as far as I can. Our school is working on getting technology into the fingertips of our students and I want to be ready to use what I've learned to advance my students into the fascinating world of technology.

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    1. I totally identify with that "I did the best I could and we survived..." experience. It makes us tougher though! Thanks for sharing!

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    2. Yes!!! I want my students not just to think for themselves, but to "punch fear in the face" (pg. 217) and take the initiative to motivate and influence others. I want them to bring what they have to offer to the world and take what the world offers as their own.

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    3. Barb and Tara -- That phrase "I did the best I could and we survived" is very telling. I hate that teachers are put in those positions ... my wife is teaching two brand new Advanced Placement classes right now and feels the same. If we want our students to thrive, we should be put in a position to help them thrive instead of tossing them overboard with us to try our best not to drown.
      Kristen -- Jon Acuff's phrase "punch fear in the face" is a pretty powerful one, isn't it? I love it too!

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  12. I too want to remember the acronym: Different, Innovative, Tech-laden, Creative, and Hands-on. My one word that I picked to work on this year is INTERACTIVE!

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  13. I still enjoy the use of a textbook, because there is nothing like the feel of a book in your hand that can take you places. However, I love the use of technology and the possibilities of where it can take a student. I want to continue to incorpoate the use of the computer in my classroom and continue to have lessons, assignments and tests with the computer, but only if the student is learning from it. I want them to be able to go and explore and see how helpful and useful the digital world is to them.

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    1. I agree that it should be a good balance and that technology has many possibilities. I think it is all about finding what is the most purposeful for each student, each activity, and each objective. In special ed, everything is differentiated...even technology. I have some students who can't physically work a mouse or touch an iPad, so technology looks a little different for them and they use paper or other manipulatives much more. I have other students who thrive with technology and it has opened up so many doors to learning and responding for them! I hope to continue to always look at what is best for students and what the main goal/purpose is for each and every thing I teach.

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  14. I want my students to be "in the know" as far as technology goes because that is the world we live in. As adults they will be expected to work with technology in almost any field. I don't expect them to use technology for every single activity, but it does offer more opportunities to learn. Technology also gives some students a voice. Teenagers are so used to using social media to communicate, why not embrace that? Why not use a platform where students can bounce ideas off each other without the fear of speaking in front of a group of people?

    I like the textbook for some things. As a reading teacher I like the fact that so many resources are in one spot (some may argue that the internet can be the same type of resource, but I digress). Questions or actvities that I may not even think of are directly connected with the story I am having students read. In some aspects, "ditching the textbook" is good, but I think there needs to be a balance, especially in the Language Arts classes. As adults, students will still be expected to use paper/pencil as well. We cannot completely replace "the textbook". Students should be able to learn using both platforms.

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    1. I agree with you, Brianne. There are times in an English class that using the textbook makes sense. I kept my old grammar textbooks and we use them for a quick practice. I have found that sometimes the exercises in these grammar books are superior to the ones I can find online. At other times, I love the online resources I am able to find that are an upgrade to what would be available in my textbook only. A blend of the two is working for me, and I am always on the search for additional resources. I actually love researching what is available online. This does take time, but I enjoy it, and I enjoy creating lessons, so this is one of my favorite things about teaching.

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  15. This book study came at a perfect time for me. I have been able to put into practice many of the things Matt has discussed in his book. I have been teaching a group of 4th and 5th graders a unit on coding. Last week the group that I am teaching came RUNNING into my class excited to start working on their project. It was so awesome to see students that excited to learn something new. When class was over they begged to stay just a few minutes longer. Their excitement about this class really made me see the value of ditching our textbooks even more!

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    1. That's awesome! I agree that they seem to overall be more engaged when technology can be added in!

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    2. Wow ... what an #eduwin! You want them to come running in the door instead of running out!

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    3. That is my goal. I want my students to WANT to come to class. I'm so tired of the moaning and complaining about things that I've planned. In the end I want them engaged and excited!

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  16. In 2008, I “ditched the textbook” because I didn’t have a choice; we didn’t even have enough textbooks for a classroom set so I brainstormed ways to teach and build English lessons and a Social Studies curriculum that spanned thousands of miles and years without technology. Uggh. It was rough. The experiential learning that I was forced into has become a passion. Now I teach in a 1:1 school, and it’s not as much of a struggle to curate resources, give digital assignments to students, or even to explore different parts of the world. My passion is teaching human rights-based/literacy-based curriculum to my 7th grade historians in which I try to incorporate reading and writing skills alongside things like empathy, social justice, action steps, etc. As a result, I’ve cried more in my classroom over the past couple of years than I care to admit; but my students know what I’m about, and we learn what we are made of together.

    My students will tell you my go-to mission statement throughout the school year is that “I don’t care whether you leave my classroom knowing the capital of Mongolia (it’s Ulaanbaatar by the way), you can Google that in seconds! I care that you aren’t ‘Sheeple’ that critically think for yourselves and genuinely care about others…” My goal is that students can analyze and synthesize information from primary and secondary sources to construct their own historical or social narrative of the world. I dream about the citizens of our country and our world that our students will become; I enjoy the process of what I’m learning and who I’m becoming from the incredible compassion and points-of-view students share. How did I get here? It’s been quite a journey, but it’s far from over. This book has given me lots of ideas/challenges to dig deeper and further expand those experiences I give my students that I mentioned earlier. Here we go!

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    1. Tara -- I've loved your story and perspective since I first found out about you and have learned about you online. Your focus is awesome -- no "sheeple," think for yourselves, care for others.

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    2. Thanks Matt! Back at ya! I'm so thankful we had sessions at e3 in Warsaw next to each other! Looking forward to collaborating more in the future!

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    3. Thanks Matt! Back at ya! I'm so thankful we had sessions at e3 in Warsaw next to each other! Looking forward to collaborating more in the future!

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  17. I want to "Ditch that Textbook," because I want my students to have a lifelong love of music.

    Becoming a comprehensive musician (able to read, understand, and perform music without aid) is important, but I don't think that it is the end-game as an elementary music teacher. My goal is to help my students fall in love with music: with singing, dancing, playing instruments. I hope that the time spent in my elementary general music classroom will inspire students to join band in high school, sing in choir at church, or even just go listen to live music with friends. I hope that by providing a music foundation, my students will go on to have a life-long appreciation for music.

    I wrote a mission statement while in college, but I did not update it once I graduated. Matt Miller (author) encourages me to truly think about what I want my students to get out of my class.

    I also connected with Matt when he said that he could easily "ditch that textbook" because he is a "self-contained" subject matter--meaning he is the sole educator for that subject matter for the entire school. I, too, am alone in my field (the only music teacher); I could easily change my curriculum, and it would not effect anyone else in my building.

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    1. Being that "self-contained" subject matter is a blessing and a curse sometimes, isn't it? :)

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  18. I want my students to remember me as a teacher who challenged them and made learning fun. I want to ditch the textbook so I can make lessons that are more engaging and exciting for students. I also want the lessons to encourage them to look for more information. Having the technology at their fingertips will help them to explore their questions on their own, without depending on me to be the "gatekeeper". I agree with several of the other posts about keeping the textbook and using it as a reference. I think the textbook does have some value, and should not be completely discarded.

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    1. I want that to be me too! Challenging and fun . . . what a legacy! This book made me want to read Teach Like a Pirate. There are many similar ideals, like increasing student engagement and meeting the needs of all our learners. Students CAN have fun while they are learning.

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  19. I love the idea that textbooks are a tool in the curriculum- not THE curriculum. When we branch out and use technology where it will enhance- we enable students to be independent thinkers, problem solvers, and comprehend more deeply. This is what I want. Not a once size fits all program, but a classroom of thinkers! I want the tools to serve our purposes, not be driven by the tools. This is how I envision ditching the textbook.

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    1. I am also drawn to creating thinkers. I am working to slow the students down and encourage them to be the ones to think about how technology can help build their learning. Perhaps its finding a game that helps them study facts they don't know or using a vocab app to help them find amazing words they can use in their writing.

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    2. "Textbooks are a tool in the curriculum-not THE curriculum." is exactly what I believe about ditching the textbook as well. There are times that we need to give the students creative choices and possibly...they may choose a textbook.

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  20. As a physical education teacher you can only use technology so much, but I would like to incorporate videos into our class. Possibly giving instructions for games or having students make their own videos demonstrating how to play various games, etc. We also complete journals during P.E. and students can complete these on their chrome books as well.
    During health, however, I would like to start using our chrome books more since this is the first year we have 1:1 in all of our classes. I think making videos sounds fun, but still trying to figure out the best way to do this. I would also like to become more familiar with the Canvas program/technology we are using as a school corporation, and have students submit their work through Canvas.
    I think this book has got me thinking about "change"....that would be my one word description of how I want this year to go. I would like to not be afraid to try something new, and if it fails so what move on and try something else. I know I cannot completely ditch the book yet, but I would like to make the transition within a few years because I know that is where we are headed.
    I liked the paragraph Matt says "When lessons go wrong, roll with the punches. Be flexible. Don't be too hard on yourself. Learn from your mistakes, and improve your approach for the next time. Your students will forgive you when they see that you're willing to try new things and make school more relevant to them." This makes me want to jump in and just try some of the things that I truly want to do.

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    1. I agree with about everything you said. I would also like to incorporate more videos and other technology into my classroom. I have found that technology has let me expand upon the topics being studied. My students like playing Kahoot for review. This is a form of technology I would never have used if not for the book.
      I have been thinking about how I can change my classroom to more technology based. This book has been very helpful at asking questions, giving ideas etc. My biggest problem is me being afraid something will go wrong. After reading the book, I am more willing to try something new. If something doesn't work, regroup and try again. Also, I am finding that my students are excited that I am trying new technology. They really like being my test subjects for something new.

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  21. Why do I want to “ditch my textbook”? As I started to read this book I really noticed how much I agreed with the things I was reading and that I was already partially ditching my textbook. I have been slowly implementing ideas that don’t use the textbook over my first five years as a teacher. As I was reading, and especially towards the end when he was talking about the purpose and what I want the students to know and what I want to be known for, I realized this is something I really need to embrace even more and dive into. The times when I do ditch the book are the most fun to me as well as the students. Of course I need more of that! I want to be known for a fun class that actually taught students things that they’ll remember because it’s the things they need to know. Teaching Family and Consumer Science it’s a little…okay, probably a lot…easier to make my class fun. I want my students to not only walk out of class telling others that it’s a class they have to take because they loved it so much but then I want them to actually remember when we talked about debit vs. credit cards, be able to write checks, be able to brown ground beef and make spaghetti or tacos for their families, or remember to use their manners when they think about the videos they created.
    As I read this book it also coincided with implementation of a new learning platform (Schoology) and the talk of elearning days at my school. There are colleagues absolutely dragging their feet and refusing to come along with the technology train. All this is happening while I’m reading that education is changing, students can google things to get answers, and they don’t need to open books or go to the master of the subject. We need to embrace this change and I am so happy that I am!!

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  22. For me, looking beyond the textbook is key. As a science teacher, the book can be boring. I want the kids to have practical applications and real life experiences. We do as many labs as I can with the materials I can get (and what I'm comfortable doing with 11/12 year olds.) As textbook adoptions loom next year I'm interested in seeing what non-textbook options there will be. If we as a corporation still end up adopting books, I'd be ok with the idea of still having the book as a resource, but not the focus of the classroom.
    I'm also glad that Matt stressed not to rush into all the changes at once. By slowing changing things year after year I feel much more comfortable without a book in the future than I would have been 5 years ago.

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  23. As a PE teacher I do not have a textbook. I don't even have a textbook for my health classes. I want to be known for being creative in teaching the materials in a fun way. Previously, when teaching in a regular classroom I would have never thought to move outside the textbook. But now I am always trying to think of new ways to bring the subject matter in a creative and fun way. I wish there were more ideas out their for special teachers. I know many people don't want gym, music and art in the schools anymore but these subjects brings creativity and extension of subject areas into the students life.

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  24. I teach 6th grade and when we go 1:1 next year, I want to have the tools and resources at my disposal to make a seemless transition. I want my students to realize the depths of knowledge at their disposal and how to be good users of that knowledge. I cannot expect them to walk in know how to do those things, but I need to be able to teach them how to access that knowledge and use it correctly.

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  25. I want my students to make connections between school and real world possibilities. I intentionally use the word 'possibilities' because it is important that students remain open to many different options for what they might encounter and where their lives lead. Too quickly students discount some areas of study or some topics as not useful to them. Therefore, it is my goal to help students make a link between our class activities and the usefulness of these skills in similar encounters elsewhere. While I see many advantages of not relying on a textbook, I am less concerned about the information source and more focused on what we do with it. I teach 8th grade math and beginning Spanish; not a lot of changes have happened with the basic principles of those subject areas. On the other hand, moving beyond the framework of a textbook has opened many possibilities of interaction and involvement with the content not previously possible. I appreciate the input of many different educators and experiences.

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  26. I first began the process of ditching my textbook out of anger and stubbornness. It was time to adopt a textbook for the English departments of our school district and I wanted to go to an on-line textbook that included access to videos and resources used to enhance the curriculum. The program also included an essay grader. Several of the other English teachers in my school argued to not adopt anything and just to develop resources from scratch even though it would take hours of work on curriculum and the constant need for change as websites disappeared or new ones became available. They won the argument so I committed myself to the idea that my class would be textbook free and starting changing my curriculum and resources to match this concept. After many hours of work, I learned that some of the teachers who argued to be textbook-free were just pulling old copies of the textbook off of shelves and re-using them. I refused.

    Since then, I have continued my commitment to get away from a textbook. That’s one of the reasons why I signed up for this blog and why I attended a presentation by Matt. The reason why I ditched my textbook was not my best moment but the results of that decision have been good. I guess this is just one case in which being stubborn and refusing to go back to textbooks paid off.

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    1. While I understand that sometimes we do not need to reinvent the wheel, I am concerned by the number of teachers who refuse to acknowledge the fact that our students live in a connected world and educators have a responsibility to learn about and become a part of that world, too. A teacher told me the other day that no one can make her use technology of any sort in her classroom. It was not in her contract. I explained my reasons for using it, but it fell on deaf ears. I am concerned that teachers who refuse to meet today's students in their world are going to find themselves left behind and eventually pushed out. It is unfortunate for the students and the teachers. Many of those teachers do indeed have great skills; they just need to update their methods to educate today's learners.

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  27. Even though I don’t use a text book in my area, I have become more motivated to try some new, more technology-based things in my library. I definitely want to get more updated on digital books and plan to have more online databases and resources available for the teachers. I think the hardest part of moving to new things is just getting the classroom teachers to try new things. I find most feel what they are doing is working so why change it? We have made one of our corporation-wide goals this year to get the media specialist in the classrooms more and help the teachers get more acquainted with the technology we have available to them. After reading the numerous responses from others during these posts, I have some great ideas on some things I would like to introduce to specific departments and subject areas.

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  28. I want my students to see the connection between school and their future lives outside of school. Our students live in a technology-saturated society, and it is highly likely that many of the jobs they will have will require a technology background. By giving my kids hands-on experience with computers and digital learning, hopefully they will be better prepared for their future.
    And I am hoping, if I'm being honest, that digital learning and "ditching the textbook" will make my life as a teacher a little easier. I keep telling myself that all the creating and uploading on the front-end will pay off down the road. :-)

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    1. I am finding that technology is paying off by making my life easier. You are right. It is time intensive in the beginning to create and upload. However, once you have created it, it is there. I use Google Drive and am beginning to use Google Classroom. I find that using the GAFE allows me to organize and differentiate for students more effectively. I am not carrying reams of paper home to grade, and my planning seems to be easier. This aspect of technology has been a plus for me in regards to time management.

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  29. Why do I want to ditch the textbook? The answer is I don't. I do want the textbook not to be the focus of the learning. It can be used as a guide and as a tool. I want the focus of the learning to be the content and the exploration of that content. I want technology to be used as the tool for that exploration. I want my students to use their digital learning skills throughout their entire lives. We don't know what kind of jobs or skills they will have and need in the future. Being able to think and research what what they need will be a skill they can use forever.

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  30. Stepping away from the safety of a textbook and all the prepared materials that come with it is terrifying, but ultimately I want to do what is best for my students. I want my students to be able to think, and create. I want students who can do more than simply recite facts memorized for a test. I want them to be able to use the information gained to think critically and solve problems. I want to challenge students and help them to reach their potential. I want students who are unafraid to take risks. In the end I want students who can be successful in the lives that they will lead after they leave school. If in looking back, our schools have failed to prepare students for the challenges they will face in the world beyond our walls, then in my opinion we have failed.

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    1. "If in looking back, our schools have failed to prepare students for the challenges they will face in the world beyond our walls, then in my opinion we have failed."

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. Preparing them for the challenges they will face includes teaching them digital literacy. As I learn more about using technology in the classroom, I am convinced that students must be skilled in knowing what resource is the best resource to use for the task at hand and how to use all possible resources that are available (technological and non-technological). It seems an impossible task at times, but to ignore any part of it is to fail the students.

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  31. I want to expand my students learning by not having a textbook. Since we are a 1:1 school with ipads the world of history is totally open to them. The internet is so full of great history material. I also think going without a book helps my students feel more involved in their education. My students do history research and inform the class what they learned. I think no matter how unbiased a book company tries to be when they tell the story of the United States history they are biased in some way or another I feel leading students on a journey without a textbook that more learning is going on.
    I want to ditch the textbook because I think it allows me to bring history alive and to increase student learning.
    I want my class to be known as an exciting class where lots of learning happens.

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  32. Why I want to ditch my textbook is easy: I hate it. This new book adoption took away a versatile text that I loved. Given that I have 5 levels, it’s hard to remake every lesson at once, so I have to pick and choose. It’s so overwhelming to look at the whole, so I am taking bits of the boring book and changing them into clearer explanations and better activities. I am in the trying-new-things phase, so I am searching for new tools for my Spanish teacher toolbox. I’m looking for things that will save me time. I am looking for things that are fun. I want things that get the kids more involved in actually using and speaking their foreign language. I am determined to be open to anything new that might work, even if I’ve never seen it before.

    I would like to be known for creativity and dedication, teaching clear lessons that are remembered and used in the future. Oh how I love to hear that my former students are finding success in their college classes! I love to hear that my student are using their foreign language for something real.

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  33. I agree with what many have stated. That there is a time and a place for our technology per say. I think it offers great tools to engage them, to get the "buy in" we talk about. It offers ways to let students participate that maybe in the past wouldn't have done so. I like the idea of learning with the students. I have heard one student say, "I dinked with it Mrs. M and look what I learned about it." She has explored a piece of technology, isn't afraid to play with it and has learned from it. I like that the technology is asking our kids to use something they know to learn something new and it is immediate. I enjoy seeing the spark in kids for learning. The excitement using the tech causes. The younger kids are just laying a base for what they learn next. It's the learning of it and the playing around with it that allow them to then do things with it later. IT is a neat time to be teaching and watching the changes in education.

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    1. I love how the children get excited about the technology. Since I struggle sometimes remembering the tools, the kids will help too. We are learning together and thus I am teaching them to collaborate and extend their thoughts in a helpful way.

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  34. I like to use the textbooks as a good reference. It makes designing and outlining a math curriculum much easier. I also like to add content to the lessons and rearrange when necessary. I find I have more freedom and flexibility. I use technology when I can find things that benefit the learning environment but don't foresee being all paperless any time soon. The added work to ditch the textbook is paying off but I am taking baby steps and making a few changes each year rather than overwhelm myself.

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    1. I have to agree with you. I teach Algebra I and Algebra II and I need the textbooks as a reference. I have rearranged things and have added new stuff every year. I like to see students work out problems, if they too much in their heads it just causes simple errors they could avoid.

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  35. Wow, what do I want as my legacy. That is a big question. I guess I would want it to be that I would be just what my students needed me to be. The thing I have learned over the years is that different students need me to be different things for them. Some students need me to show compassion and give them the extra hug to start their day. Some students need me to see their potential and help them get there. Some students need me to provide the structure they may be lacking in their lives. The list goes on and on. We work to do it all and be it all. I want to be able to recognize and meet each need my student has and work to be that for them. I also want to empower my students to recognize needs in themselves. I want them to know what they need and work to achieve it on their own. I am working hard this year to create a class of thinkers. They need to think about what they want to learn. I want them to think about what they need to learn. I want them to then find a way to figure it out. Too often students learn that if they wait long enough someone else will do the thinking for them, or life will move on and they will be let off the hook. Ditching that textbook is a start, most students are not going to run to a textbook find the answers they seek. I want them to realize how fortunate they are to live in a time when so much is literally at their fingertips. They have to learn to think and know how to use it. I want to help them with that.

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    1. I like what you said about teaching your students how to learn to think. That will give them the tools they need to be creative.

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    2. I like what you said about each student has a different need from you. It's easy to forget that!

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    3. "...to create a class of thinkers." I love that line! To me, that is the whole purpose of education. Your entire post resonates with me. In order to create a class of thinkers, we have to be what each student needs us to be. A wise teacher told me very early in my career to meet students where they are. You cannot help them grow until you meet them where they are, and they certainly do not all start in the same place. I enjoyed reading this. Your words have provided food for thought. :)

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    4. Very well said Kathy. I like the part about teaching your students to think and about finding out what each student needs from you.

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  36. I really picked up on the mission statement, major theme, check lists, and pick one or 2 new tools or strategies. I think that is doable. As long as we zone in the the skills/standards we want our students to develop. Keeping in mind the information and processes we want them to learn and the experiences we want them to have.

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  37. What's the one word you chose to encapsulate what you want to accomplish this year? That thought really rings a bell for me as I tend to roll with the changes (or get distracted) so much that I lose track of my focus. I chose the word "inspire". People that inspire cultivate change and growth in others. I don't have a big plan made for this yet, but I at least chose a word. :)

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    1. I like the word inspire. When people describe influential people, one of the first words they use is inspirational or inspired. Great choice of a word!

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  38. I want to see growth in my students and myself. I want them to view math as more than an obstacle to overcome. Students generally see no relevance to math in the world which I find difficult not to see, but seem to miss in showing them when teaching concepts.
    Often students see no value in learning for the sake of learning which I find fun. Not all learning has to be about what I know I can do with it. Growth of my mind just because often proves fruitful when I least expect. The reluctance to learn unless I see specific value is frustrating, but may be overcome by first starting with specific tasks with great relevance by hands on learning. Technology may be just the right key.

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  39. The mission statement idea brought back memories of my undergrad years. One day of class there was a note on the door saying upon entering the room do not talk. At out seats there was further directions to think about this day as our last day on earth. There was somber music playing in the background. This exercise was very important for us to think about how we wanted the world to remember us when we are gone.

    I want my students to think of me as very kind, patient, and treating everyone equally. I want my students to think of my class as useful; giving practical tips they could use in their everyday life. The idea of ditching the textbook is not new to me. Textbooks are seldom used in class. I try to offer several ways of presenting/reviewing information for each of my students. I know that people learn in different ways and this gives me the opportunity to reach all of them at one point or another.

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  41. I want my students to become curious and confident learners who know how to ask critical questions and seek answers using the most effective resources, whatever they may be. I want them automatically to apply the skills they have learned to communicate intelligently and coherently with people face to face, in writing, or on the computer. Those are lifelong skills that require literacy (traditional and digital), citizenship, and confidence.

    Given the technology available today, it is easier than ever for students to engage in literate conversations with people from many different walks of life. They can also explore that which ignites their curiosity and creatively share their findings with others. These opportunities can help students gain confidence and become the lifelong learners that we want them to be while they meet all necessary requirements in engaging and worthwhile ways.

    These are the things that I want my students to accomplish in my class. I love it when they are excited to arrive at school each morning and seem surprised to discover that the end of the day came so quickly.

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  42. I don't view the textbook as a villain, but as a tool that has its place in my arsenal of resources. I want to utilize these resources in a way that excites my students and makes them think learning is fun and that it can be approached in different ways. In first grade we are learning to read, and I bombard them with words--using flashcards, games, paper, technology, something for everyone! This sets the example for them of what I want them to be known for--"problem solvers", a phrase I use frequently with them. They see that I can teach them in many ways, they can learn using different styles, and there is more than one way to find a solution. I want them to be unafraid to offer their answers and opinions and excited about trying.!

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  43. This might sound ironic considering my job title (Instructional Technology Coach), but so often I find myself redirecting conversations AWAY from technology. My goal is to support teachers in integrating technology, but it seems as though the very word "technology" gets in the way of that. Leading with the technology does not put student learning first. Our words and our vision need some time to come together. Knowing how to create a google form does not necessarily equate to successful technology integration. I feel inspired to support my teachers in integrating tech, but I want everything to truly be driven by student learning goals. I love that Matt writes that his motivations aren't technology driven. I want our East Porter Teachers to be supported and inspired to take risks and redefine learning, knowing that technology is another tool to assist this process.

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    1. I agree. We should use the tools that best fit the learning goal at hand. I made a "trophy" one year for my students called "The Joy of Learning" trophy. I was teaching upper grades at the time, and my students were always asking me what would they get if they participated or got a question right. I would always answer that their prize was the joy of learning. That answer didn't satisfy them, so I went home and made the trophy. We all got a good laugh when I pulled out the trophy for the first time. Now I am back in kindergarten. I keep the trophy on a shelf to remind me that my purpose is to instill the joy of learning into the hearts of my students no matter what we are studying. I need to teach my students how to question, how to search, how to collaborate, so that they can take the joy of learning with them wherever they go.

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  44. I have watched my students go from excited about a new topic to "Ugh! Why do we have to do another worksheet?!" in two seconds flat. That right there is the top reason why I want to "ditch that textbook!" I'm sick of my students losing their love of learning because all we ever do is worksheet after worksheet. I love to see them be creative and actually learn something and how to apply it to their lives. I don't want them to sit, silently, and complete a million worksheets that I eventually will have to grade. I want to be known as the teacher that changed the student's perspective on learning. I want them to leave my classes with a love of learning so strong that they will continue to seek knowledge during the summer and after school hours. Forcing them to do worksheets is going to get them as far away from that goal as possible. The only reason they do the worksheets is because without them, their grades would be EXTREMELY low. They aren't doing them because they want to succeed at a skill, they are doing it so they aren't grounded at the end of the grading period.
    My goal by the end of the year is to make my students realize that learning is a lot more than completing worksheets and taking tests. I want them to realize that there are hundreds and thousands of ways to learn new information and use it in their daily lives.
    I loved the topic of the one word legacy. I think that is such a cool concept that I really want to take some time and come up with a word for the remainder of this school year.

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  45. The biggest take away from this book is "trying to not do it all at once." I often see teachers on blogs or twitter doing things I haven't even thought about or don't even know how to do. I also see all the possibles and feel overwhelmed. I have to keep reminding myself to try what I can. I can add other things as times goes on. Keeping my students' future in mind is what is important and helping them become lifelong learners who are self motivated.

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    1. Well said! Too often we return to our classrooms after attending a conference feeling overwhelmed with new ideas that just have to be implemented now. More often than not, we struggle to find the best way to incorporate all of this new information...so we end up not using any of it! My school corporation went one-to-one K-12 last year. It has been a goal of mine to slowly include the iPads in my first grade classroom by introducing 1-2 new apps each month. It has worked well in giving my students time to become experts at using each one. They will be confident in using them during our eLearning snow day lessons this winter.

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  46. I want to be known as a teacher who engages and excites students regularly. I want my students to have a passion for learning and reading. I want a room full of students who are eager to learn and will be lifelong learners. I love learning. I love having intense conversations about a variety of topics. I love getting carried away in a conversation and losing track of time. That is what I want for my students. Total engagement and immersion into ideas and concepts and discussions.

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    1. I agree- even the very best textbook has difficulty engaging students in the way that other enthusiastic learners and teachers can! I don't remember ever willingly immersing myself into a textbook, ever!

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  47. There are many reasons to ditch the textbook. I think that the increase in student engagement would be at the top of the list. I'm already trying to find ways to use Google Earth and other static pictures to enhance our current social studies topics. My students were shocked to see that Hoosier Hill (the highest point in IN) wasn't really much of a hill at all. I also think that getting outside the typical back and forth of read the book - answer questions - read more of the chapter - answer more questions and so on allows us to focus on the variety of learning styles in our classrooms. I also want to help teach my students the research skills and problem solving strategies that they can use for their entire life. By using technology as the primary source in my classroom I can put real tools into my students hands and guide them through the process.

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  48. I like to utilize PBL activities when I can in my classroom and many of the ideas that Matt mentions in his book work well for pbl. I want to be known as a teacher that provides authentic learning opportunities for students, and I want my students to become adept problem solvers in the world of business. As we all know, students will need to be skilled in the use of technology in their future endeavors as employees and entrepreneurs so I feel that we should be incorporating it in the learning environment when possible. Ditching the textbook certainly provides so many opportunities to do so.

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  49. Ditching that Textbook was easy for me- no one, not even history lovers, enjoys reading Social Studies textbooks! In the name of making everything factual and politically correct, the textbook is boring, dense, and tedious to read and learn from. I'd much rather use digital resources, creative videos, fiction and non-fictoin trade books and novels, and hands-on simulations and projects. I love social studies because of the experiences I've had- and that's what helps my students learn best, experiences. Textbooks are fine at times- there are a few graphic organizers in the book that we still use, and there are ways to make reading a textbook better for learning- but usually, I ditch my textbook with great glee for better resources!

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  50. Here's what I love about all these comments about this section -- you all seem to see that textbooks shouldn't be the sole guide and they shouldn't be blindly discarded. They're a resource, and we should use our own minds and experiences to guide students through our curriculum instead of a single one-size-fits-all book. All of you seem to get that, and I love it!

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  51. I agree with some of the other people who have posted that technology is a tool for the curriculum but is not the curriculum itself. Too often, when we have new resources, buzz words, etc, in education, we tend to focus on them heavily until the new one comes along. Technology is here to stay, but it will be up to each teacher to find the appropriate uses for it in the classroom. As a band teacher, I can find ways for my students to use their school-issued Chromebooks in meaningful ways, but learning to play an instrument still takes center stage. My general music classes, on the other hand, are a great opportunity to find ways to utilize technology to enhance the curriculum. I hope that my students will learn to be excited and curious about music and will find some ways that they may continue to learn about and enjoy music throughout their entire lives.

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  52. As a teacher, I want to be known for not letting students fall through the cracks of the educational system. There are so many students who are passed along without earning the education they need to succeed in life after school. I refuse to contribute to those numbers. My expectations are high but fair of all my students. More often than not, students believe they cannot do well in school because no one has ever said they could. School is the first step in the journey towards a better life, and I simply will not let my students continue in their idle ways. In my mind, it is my job to create situations for students to progress as individuals outside of the normal “textbook.”

    I want students to know that they are not just learning basic English Language Arts skills in how to read and comprehend literature and how to write an essay. They are also gaining invaluable experience in areas such as: analyzing complicated situations, finding solutions to problems, and managing time. These experiences in “life-curriculum” are not found in textbooks but can be discovered by interacting with readings and passages provided within the textbooks’ pages. In order to mature in these areas, students must take what they learn with their interactions without “textbooks” and apply them to the world.

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  54. I have not ditched my textbook all together yet. I have incorporated both the textbook and technology in my classroom for the past few years. I have trouble getting rid of resources that seem to still work with my students. Technology enhances a good teacher's classroom but sometimes I find other resources are quicker and get the point across. As I am beginning to see the end of my career approaching, I am not sure that I will completely ditch my textbook but I will continue to grow my digital resources. I want my students to have the best learning experience that they can…with or without a textbook...with or without technology. I hope my students learn, have fun and are excited to be in my room.

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    1. Well said, Sandy. I think your students leave SHS with an excellent education in Spanish! They get to create, participate, and practice their Spanish skills. Your class has been a favorite class of my daughter's and of my other students as long as I have taught at SHS.

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  55. As a teacher, I want to be known for making learning fun and exciting. I want my students to develop a love for learning, and make them want to come back for more the next day! I believe that embracing change and experimenting with technology in the classroom is definitely a part of that. My first graders are growing up in a technological age. They were born with computers, Internet, and iPads surrounding them. I am hesitant to completely toss out my current curriculum, because I believe strongly that I am doing some great things for my students. However, I am excited to incorporate new ideas and slowly revolutionize my classroom. I want my students to be a part of that change and to help drive the instruction.

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  56. When I think of ditching curriculum?? Nirvana!! That would be amazing!!!! Yes, of course, we still have to be accountable and things can't be a free-for-all in our classrooms. There's freedom and there's anarchy. Anarchy accomplishes nothing.

    As I've read through the posts on this topic, I agree that textbooks can be o.k., at times. It is nice to have everything organized into one place. As Matt said, it all goes back to purpose. I think it all goes back to effectiveness. We don't want to ditch textbooks just for the sake of ditching them. We don't want to ditch them because we're afraid of being labeled as "non technology" or an "old school" thinker.

    It's critical to know exactly why we go digital in our classrooms, to believe in it, feel comfortable with it, and grow!

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  57. When I think of ditching curriculum?? Nirvana!! That would be amazing!!!! Yes, of course, we still have to be accountable and things can't be a free-for-all in our classrooms. There's freedom and there's anarchy. Anarchy accomplishes nothing.

    As I've read through the posts on this topic, I agree that textbooks can be o.k., at times. It is nice to have everything organized into one place. As Matt said, it all goes back to purpose. I think it all goes back to effectiveness. We don't want to ditch textbooks just for the sake of ditching them. We don't want to ditch them because we're afraid of being labeled as "non technology" or an "old school" thinker.

    It's critical to know exactly why we go digital in our classrooms, to believe in it, feel comfortable with it, and grow!

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  58. I have been absorbing many of the ideas talked about in the book. I am going to do what Matt suggested, just do a little at a time. Our school went 1:1, 5 years ago and I have been making adjustments ever since. I know I need to incorporate more technology and I'll get there! I am concerned about preparing my students for the now new ISTEP test and the new SAT. There has been a lot of change for all of us.

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  59. In my past years of teaching at a previous school, my lessons were driven by text learning and followed up by a worksheet. This was not very motivational to some students. Some thrived with this method of consistency. I clearly am aware that this method is not for everyone. I want my students to really be involved in their learning and to take charge. I am now in a 1:1 school, and am so much more aware of what students can do with this technology. There is no need for text and worksheets every single day. My teaching style is more relaxed, but yet more effective. Students love technology driven lessons and are used to this style. I believe this helps prepare them for their future use of technology. My students no longer have that "bored" look on their faces because they are always doing something different.

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  60. As a junior Social Studies teacher, I want to be able to access and utilize all the resources possible. I am aware that surveys across America show that typically junior high Social Studies is one of the least popular classes out there. I want that to change, at least in my classroom! We are beginning 1:1 next year and this will allow enormous opportunities for me to use technology in so many different ways to enhance my lessons. I have a ton of work to do between now and then, but I think this can really bring history to life for these kids and allow them to see it in a totally different light. I am looking forward to the digital training we willrecieve 2nd semester.

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  61. I want my students to become independent thinkers and learners. I love that the iPads can encourage them to explore topics they are interested in and help them take their learning a step forward.

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  62. I want my students to become independent thinkers and learners. I love that the iPads can encourage them to explore topics they are interested in and help them take their learning a step forward.

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  63. I have recently transitioned from a classroom high school math teacher to the new position of technology integration specialist. My goals are a little different now because I no longer have the constraints of needing my activities to be centered around mathematics. As a math teacher I tried bringing as much technology into the classroom as possible. I tried different things in class (i.e. - online assessments, students created worthwhile projects, using graphing utilities to analyze instead of just find an answer, etc.) I enjoyed attempting these new things so I could give my students a love of math that did not necessarily involve a book, a paper, and a pencil.
    However, now I LOVE my new position! I have been lucky enough to be financially supported to order some cutting-edge technology to implement in all classrooms across the school. My school is on fall break this week, but I am in my office a few days this week to work on collaboration stations for the teachers and the students. (This is how much I enjoy my new position, I am actually working on fall break.) I'm hoping with these new technologies, I can give students opportunities that they may not have at home, or in their life once they leave this school. I really want them to think that their ideas and creativity matter, and that they can dream big and have some tools to work on their dreams. I would love to instill a passion for learning in all the students as they continue to be lifelong learners.

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  64. The most exciting thing technology offers teachers, is the opportunity to let their creative ideas flow freely. We need to move away from the days of "week 1 = chapter 1, week 2=chapter 2" Technology allows us to create deep learning opportunities for every student, no matter of their preferred learning style. Teachers can now create units of study which cover the needed content, give students a high level of choice/ownership, and hopefully, cross curricular boundaries. As a new eLearning Coach, it is my job to create an environment where creativity and risk-taking is valued, and there is no fear of failing. We need to give every teacher the opportunity to push the boundaries of their teaching at their own pace. I don't think we can force teachers to use technology in specific ways. The key is to help them merge their pedagogy with the technology tools they need to be successful. It's time to ditch all traditional textbooks and start creating learning experiences that meet the students where they are.

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  65. I want to be a resource, among many, that my students use to learn effectively. I want to push my students to be problem-solvers, to be able to think for themselves and if something should come up know how to maneuver through it. Ditching the textbook to me means more than just doing everything online, I feel as though I need to approach my thinking in lesson plans, objectives, goals and assessments in a different way. As times change and students change the way they learn, their hobbies and use of technology, we as teachers need to adapt as well. Using the endless opportunities offered by the internet, we can have students who can further their understanding, long for more knowledge and learn to love learning when they find things that truly interest them.

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  66. There are so many things that I wish I could be. I guess overall, I hope that I can be helpful to my students. I want to be available to help them grow into confident learners and deep thinkers. I want to be able to come to me for help if they need it. I need to be able to help them meet the challenges they will face in the future, as well. I want to help them see education as something fun, interesting, and life-long. It's so hard to narrow down my role because I don't know how I will influence my students in the future. It depends so much on them and their needs!

    I think the main thing I will take away from this book is that I can't be afraid to try. I don't have to start big, but if I don't start at all, I am guaranteed to lose the potential for learning to take place. That is something I have to keep in mind when I am hesitant to implement something that may not go as planned!

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  67. There are so many things that I wish I could be. I guess overall, I hope that I can be helpful to my students. I want to be available to help them grow into confident learners and deep thinkers. I want to be able to come to me for help if they need it. I need to be able to help them meet the challenges they will face in the future, as well. I want to help them see education as something fun, interesting, and life-long. It's so hard to narrow down my role because I don't know how I will influence my students in the future. It depends so much on them and their needs!

    I think the main thing I will take away from this book is that I can't be afraid to try. I don't have to start big, but if I don't start at all, I am guaranteed to lose the potential for learning to take place. That is something I have to keep in mind when I am hesitant to implement something that may not go as planned!

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  68. I want to ditch the textbook because, well the textbooks are outdated and sitting in front a book is NOT what students will doing in a career field.

    Now, before all Language Arts teachers jump down my throat, there is a time and place for reading fro ma text. I love reading novels and short stories, but students who have devices to read said works can! I do all my reviews digitally and creative prjects can be done digitally.

    I am trying to create a space they will recognize when they leave my classroom and join the college classroom or workforce.

    **I got my oil changed and the tech had a computer and iPad to help him and me finish the transaction**

    I want to be known as the teacher who stayed ahead of the curve and created fun and engaging lessons. I also want students to get away from my four walls and realize, I KNOW HOW TO DO THIS!

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  69. I really want my students to leave my classroom with a love of learning. I want them to WANT to come to school every day. I want to give them a basis to build the rest of their educational careers on, including how to use the technology, how to think, and how to interact with others appropriatly. I want them to remember their kindergarten year as the best year of their school life. Although I don't feel that ditching the textbook will make all of these things happen I do believe it will help me on my way to raising the best learners that I can.

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  70. I really want my students to leave my classroom with a love of learning. I want them to WANT to come to school every day. I want to give them a basis to build the rest of their educational careers on, including how to use the technology, how to think, and how to interact with others appropriatly. I want them to remember their kindergarten year as the best year of their school life. Although I don't feel that ditching the textbook will make all of these things happen I do believe it will help me on my way to raising the best learners that I can.

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    1. I appreciate your passion for making their foundational year in education the best ever. By reflecting, you are choosing to look at the curriculum in a new way. What skills are needed? How can each be addressed?

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  71. I want to make my lessons more interesting and fun for my students. Appropriate use of technology and fun and engaging activities need to happen. I do not think this means getting rid of the textbook, just do not use the textbook as your only resource. Kids want the material to be relevant and real life and that just doesn't happen with textbooks. I think staying connected with other professionals on twitter would also help bring ideas into my teaching. How can I get my students to think if I am not willing to use my own brain to reach out and discover new ideas and take a few risks?

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  72. I want to ditch my textbook to show students that information is all around them. It is not solely bound in a book, but in youtube videos, articles, primary and secondary sources, in others' lives--history is everywhere. With using a variety of sources for content, I want to teach students how to find it and analyze it on their own. This will give them not just history skills (because in the end, not too many care for history), but the reading, comprehension, and problem solving skills that will be useful in their everyday life. I want them to leave my classroom as a young citizen of the world, and I think technology and the internet is a great way to begin teaching them this concept, as well as independence and confidence. They will be able to go off on their own someday and do something great because they began doing so in my classroom (and other awesome teachers' classrooms as well!)

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  73. I have been trying more to 'ditch that textbook.' I do have textbooks for my 2nd through 5th grade music classes, but I try to go 'beyond them' and show them other things that the book cannot. Needless to say that our books are older too so they are out of date! I would like to be known for being creative and trying to think out of the box. I want my kids to know about all kinds of genres exist and not just the ones they tend to listen to all of the time.

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  74. I want to be know as a teacher who broadened the horizons of my students. Priority number one for me is that they carry things from my class that they use and that they remember fondly. That skill may have nothing to do with the actual subject matter, and more to do with applying things they learned or honed in my class to other situations. Sure, I would like them to be able to speak German. But it may be more important for many of my students that they learned that the world is bigger than their back yard, and that there is much to be appreciated and valued in the greater world out their. Maybe the skill they use is the ability to find ways to memorize things they need to remember. And perhaps, for some, it will be using the technology they learned or used in my class to do bigger and better things, beyond my classroom setting. Ditching my textbook is more likely, in my opinion, to lead to the realization of these types of goals than simply plodding along with a boring, old textbook.

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  75. I want my students to feel successful. I work with struggling students and often times, the grade level curriculum causes the students to feel powerless over their learning. I want my students to be able to show their learning in many ways. Motivation is a key as well. If I can create an activity that involves technology that will spark their interest, then it is necessary to help them to be successful. I want to be known as the teacher who helped make education be a positive aspect in their lives, to feel empowered to succeed.

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    1. Yes, yes, yes. they deserve to have the power. I want to teach them how to use that power and how to gain that power.

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  76. I want to prepare my students for their futures in the best way possible. I realize that ditching that textbook is a necessary step in doing so. I am still stuck in that "old school" mentality of seeing the value in textbooks, but I also realize that technology is certainly the crux of our students' futures. I want them to learn from me/my classroom that it's okay to make mistakes and that those mistakes are a crucial part of the learning process. I think that they often get discouraged with their mistakes, and we might as well. However, we make mistakes as teachers/adults/parents as well, and we must learn to accept them, learn from them, and move on. Students need to see those mistakes (within reason, of course), and they need to see us move on from them. I allow that room for error in my class. While I don't think that my middle school students realize that at this point, that's okay. I don't expect them to do so; I don't think that's fair. However, I think it's an important life skill for them to learn, nonetheless.

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    1. I agree that students have a hard time accepting that making a mistake opens up an opportunity to learn. I often quoted Miss Frizzle's favorite saying (from Magic School Bus) when I started my science class, "It's time to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!"

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  77. I want students to own their learning. I love receiving emails from students that contain links to articles and videos that they've discovered that they want to share with me because they know me well enough to know that I would be interested!

    As Curriculum Director, I want to encourage teachers to create a classroom culture where relationships are paramount and students feel valued. I believe most, if not all, of our teachers “think beyond the textbook.” We would all agree that not everyone is willing to dive into the deep end - going totally textbook-free - but at least most are willing to wade in the waters as long as an educational life-preserver (a.k.a. some sort of textbook) is available for them to grab onto. We need to encourage teachers to “jump in” and start somewhere. The problem for most? Decisions. What do I use? Where do I find the time? How does this fit? The answers come...one step (or stroke) at a time.

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  78. I want students to responsible for their learning like the book said "own it." I try to use real world examples as much as possible and keep the students up to date on current events to make sure there is more going out there than just whats in our small town. I also encourage the students to ask each other about their opinions and comments when we are reading or writing. I would eventually like to be able to walk into the classroom and have all the students know what they need to do so I can facilitate and spend more one on one time with them. I believe everyday could be like that but many of them could. The students learn differently and having three or four assessments to choose from on the same topic would also be ideal for each lesson. Over time and with help of technology I will get there.

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  79. The big questions, the legacy questions! This really hit home with my school right now. We lost a senior volleyball player, our best player, to a driving accident this week. It has shocked and devastated many people in our building and beyond. It reminded me of the second chance I've been given to teach, and how interconnected lives are. I teach in a school that is small enough that almost everyone knows everyone else. This week as we helped our kids deal with the tragedy, lesson plans were put aside and those big questions, the legacy questions, came to the forefront for all of us. I am happy to say the teen we lost was beloved by our school and community for her boundless energy and her continual sparkling smile. She had always treated others in a positive way, and that is being celebrated as we also grieve her loss.

    I feel I've made strides in recent years with technology, and there is always the newest thing to learn. Aside from implementing new technology strategies, I want to push myself to form deeper relationships with my students. I enjoy the connections I have made with the cooperative students, but I could work on developing better ones with some of my more difficult students. Always, I am looking to make my students stronger readers and writers. One way I'd like to do this is by doing a better job of sharing what they write. Blogging has helped, but we need to share with other students from other schools as well.

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  80. My reason for wanting to ditch that textbook is directly tied into my desire to be known as a teacher who creates meaningful, relevant, and engaging lessons that teach students more than just the standards. I want to be the teacher that teaches students how to think instead of what to think and technology is the vehicle I believe will be most beneficial and helpful in this endeavor as it allows for more creativity and freedom in the learning process than a bound textbook does. Technology allows thinking to be more organic and grow and expand to match the thought process of students while a textbook physically and metaphorically limits students and keeps them stuck inside the binding. Technology usage does not have to mean that paper learning is dead, it instead is a supplement that enables me to reach my dreams as a teacher and thus reach the needs of my students.

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  81. My take-away from this book is that textbooks are a resource just like everything else. If we are relying only on the textbook for instruction, we will be lacking in some areas. In this day and age when we have so much technology and information at our fingertips, it is a shame to not tap into it. Our students will be entering a world that we can not even imagine. The jobs they will have and the skills they will need are continually changing. We have the monumental task of trying to prepare them. We have to be willing to change our ways of reaching students and teaching them the skills.

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