Friday, April 1, 2016

The Innovator's Mindset Week 10: Final Thoughts

Getting a head start on the final week of the 2016 spring eLearning book club, what now? What are you going to do with the information you've gleaned from the book and the last 9 weeks of conversation? Do you have any questions still lingering that you'd like to ask other participants?

I realize that some districts' spring breaks will be running through the first week of April, so you all will have until midnight Eastern Monday, April 11th. In order to eligible for 12 PGPs and the professional development grant, you have to comment in all 10 weeks' discussions. Be sure to stay connected to this topic and other people who are innovating by using the Twitter hashtag #InnovatorsMindset. And stay connected with other educators across the state by using the hashtag #INeLearn.

54 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this book and the numerous ways I could apply -- not just my classroom, but our school environment and even life with my kids! I also felt the comments and reflections were more insightful and helpful for me to read than book clubs in the past. I really enjoyed hearing other people's thoughts and felt there was more interaction. I am excited to share this book with colleagues and have already shared the title of this book to our assistant principal along with my thoughts on why this would be a good read to help motivate and innovate teaching throughout the school. I am going to allow myself to make some changes in stages- first starting with reflection in the classroom. Specifically, I want to allow reflection for my students. This could offer insight into "would I want to be a learner in my own classroom". I have also started being more active with Twitter again (kind of fell out of the habit with some many other resources). Lastly, I realized that I am good about giving choice in the classroom but sometimes I fall short at home with my own kids. I am going to work on being better about this daily and maybe could avoid a few meltdowns. Look forward to the next book club!

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  2. I am appreciating the idea of giving students more choice and leadership in the classroom. Week 7 was powerful when we were to lead this book club discussion. I agree with Katie that the power of being connected with others through Twitter is powerful and I need to be more consistent in using it and reflecting in how I can take action from what I am learning through it.

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  3. The ideas that stuck with me the most are the school wide Identity Day and the concept of using choice with students. We try to connect with all of our students and use those connections to maximize student growth. Identity Day would be a great way to get all students to share something non-academic about their lives. Everyone has strengths but some students struggle in school but shine outside of school. I am excited to use choice with my preschool students. They love to share and will be very excited to have more control of the classroom.

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  4. The biggest thing I want to incorporate from square one next year are digital learning portfolios. My corporation uses Kidblog, which is a very worthy platform. I'd like my students to lead their conferences by showing their parents their growth through their digital portfolios. A colleague and I are discussing a student-led EDCamp model for next spring, where students can sign up to lead and share their knowledge, and students can choose workshops to attend. We are thinking this will be tied to curriculum--a little more focused on what they've learned in school than Identity Day, but we are open to broadening our horizons. I also am on Twitter all the time in the summer and on breaks (like this one!) but I cannot seem to fit it in my day when teaching. I like the idea of checking Twitter every day for a limited amount of time to catch up with the innovations going on. It would definitely mean setting a timer! Overall, it has been a great book--meaningful and with so many ideas for application. Thank you so much for hosting! (P.S. I may have signed up twice on the Google form--wanted to cover all my bases!)

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  5. It was George Couros who put me on the Twitter trail a few years ago @farandlow, and a challenge I now feel as a result of this book is to put some energy into blogging. I began that a couple of years ago, as well, but I would write about one or two entries, then fall off the wagon again. With the end of the school year approaching and summer starting, I find this a good time to reenter that world. I have the site already established with a few entries at https://farlowt.wordpress.com/ so it is only a matter of keeping myself accountable to reflect and compose my progress into a readable version of my life.

    My biggest takeaway from this book: my excitement about teaching and how I approach my educational 'professional' development has many correlations to my students' excitement and how they might like their own educational development to proceed. I feel that I have enthusiasm going for me and my students, yet the components of keeping my joy in place has much to do with some choices that I make and therefore, students would like to be able to make their own choices about their learning. THANKS, everyone, for your contributions and being very supportive to each other on this blog.

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  7. “To wonder. To explore.” This is my favorite. I think the sense of wonder has been lost in so many students, and it is lost early. It is my mission to look for ways to put the wonder back. I want to find new opportunities for my students to explore, especially to explore something that matters specifically to them. I have a lot of leeway to do this in a foreign language classroom. It is my intention to add some sparkle as often as I can. I will be on the lookout for new ways to accomplish this. Social networking can help me.

    Something else that comes to mind is that we can try one new thing. One, instead of 7 at the same time. I think my stress level will be much more manageable if I do this. Trying to do everything at once is frustrating. I realize that as long as I am moving forward, I’m still moving, and I shouldn’t get discouraged.

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    1. I love this. Time to wonder and explore!

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  8. This was a great book and it opens many possibilities for my teaching. Through the reading and the discussions with the book club, I take away so many ideas to improve my classroom. I will be planning an identity day and working on relationships. I will share the book and ideas with other staff. It is an ongoing process and I hope to continue learning and improving my mindset through further discussions and self-reflection.

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  9. I enjoyed reading the book and getting new ideas I can take to my classroom and share with others. It reminded me to keep trying new approaches and not one way is the only way. The last few years I have enjoyed the E-Learning Book Club and I hope it continues. Thank you all for your ideas and listening to mine.

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  10. I am excited about implementing the ideas of giving my students more choice and more of a voice within the classroom. By giving them more of a sense of ownership I hope to create a sense of confidence that they can carry with them on their own educational journey.
    I am excited about tackling connected learning by focusing on one idea at a time. Once I implement an idea, I can reflect and re asses on how to make it more successful the next time around. I am glad to know that I am not the only one who feels like I'm on information overload most of the time!

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  11. I really enjoyed the book and come away with so many ideas for my classroom as well as sharing with others in my school. Leadership in the classroom, student centered learning, trying to keep the innovator's mindset are all areas I will explore. Learning is never done and that is what will help me make sure to keep asking the important question of what is best for the student. Blogging is something I will be looking into this summer and I hope to bring it to my students this next school year. I love the idea! I loved the last two chapters and I found myself excited about becoming better at reaching students and improving learning for everyone. I want my students to explore their talents and passions. I will keep in mind that learning goes well beyond the curriculum. I will try to increase my twitter presence and realize the value of that. I want to share my enthusiasm with other teachers and administrators. I will start with having an Identity Day with my new students this quarter.

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  12. I plan to reread this book, as there was too much great information to absorb in a single read. I also want to revisit these blogs for the same reason. I plan to get more savvy with technology this summer so I can bring back some truly engaging activities for students. I have already started developing relationships, and just this past week, I began meeting with a fellow teacher who told me about a writing strategy that she has had great success with in her classroom; after seeing the results she was getting from her kiddos, I plan to try this with my own students.
    I embrace the idea that I will never "arrive"- I feel that this attitude actually reduces one's feelings of inadequacy, because as long as you are always challenging yourself to find what is out there, you are growing, and therefore, serving yourself and your students well.

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    1. Your sentence about never arriving, yet reducing the feelings of inadequacy would have at one time been a paradox for me. Starting out in any career, I think people want to feel accomplished; however, that probably stems from a feeling of being inadequate, so if that insecurity is taken away with everyone supporting each other, there is no longer that need. I feel in the past 20 years this has been one of the biggest shifts in education, that we are here to share with each other rather than compete. A continual challenge in any career is healthy, so I don't know why we would want it any other way.

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  13. I really enjoyed the book. It has definitely brought some things to my attention that I am going to look into innovating within my classroom. I have been participating in this book club for over a year and I hope that it continues! I really enjoy the books and reading the comments!

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  14. I really enjoyed this book and will keep it, so that I can go back and read different chapters that I want to reference. I am going to share this book with staff memebers, and work on getting us to share and help each other become better educators.

    I also am going to work on giving my students more choice and more voice, and I be a hand in guiding them, and not the "teacher." I want to look at my lessons and reflect on them and see how I can improve.

    I hope to continue the book club,just like others above me, I enjoy the books and reading what others share.

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  15. I really enjoyed participating in the book club again this Spring. I have a few things I'm taking away from this book going forward. One of those is the tips on forming relationships with students. This is something I've actually tried to avoid but going forward I'm going to make more of an attempt to get to know the kids in my classroom and form a connection.
    Another item I'm taking away from this book is the idea of digital portfolios. I mentioned in my last post that parent teacher conferences are not going how we would like at my school and someone has brought up the idea of portfolios. I like the idea of not only doing a portfolio but making it digital so the students have access to it inside and outside of class. As well as easily having access continually throughout their educational career.
    I'm looking forward to the next book picked for the book club and seeing where that leads me!

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  16. This was the best book I have read in a long time. There are so many great things in it, so it is one I must go back and reread several times. Some of the takeaways I have already implemented: I have restarted my blogging again, and I have started a web page designed to be my digital portfolio. I have been challenged to look for more ways to become innovative while still in the box and not use the state as an excuse to not try something. It was nice to interact with colleagues and peers in a different way. This was my first eLearning book club, but I doubt it will be my last.

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    1. I also like what he wrote about digital portfolios and would like to see the teachers in my building try this approach. I think it would be great for reflection and growth. I also like your comment about not using the state as an excuse not to start something. Unfortunately many of us in education have used that as excuse for why we aren't being more innovative in the classroom.

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  17. My plan is to give both students are teachers more choices. A group of us have been asked to lead PLCs next year. I'm hoping we will use some of George's inspiration to guide us.

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  19. I would like to challenge all our teachers to let the students see them learning new things. Too often we are afraid to try new things in the classroom for fear the students will realize we are not the expert. That is ok! George's quote from Scott McLeod, in the middle of page 183, said it the best for me. I think learning for our students would be so much more powerful if we could get to this point.

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    1. Pretty much summarized my post from an earlier week! We need to be able to learn with the students as well! :)

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  20. This is the first book on Education that I have read in a few years and has inspired me to continue to educate myself. One takeaway from the book is to try small changes, but constant changes towards innovation. I may not be able to change my entire classroom right now but I can work towards changing every semester and every year. I would like to continue by changing one thing in my classroom each semester working towards the goal of becoming an innovative educator.

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    1. Great thoughts Michael! I agree with you about making small changes towards innovation. I tend to feel overwhelmed with ALL the things that are presented in these types of books and conferences I attend. My summer is going to entail focusing on a few of these techniques and finding a way to integrate them in my curriculum/classroom.

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  21. I really enjoyed the book. I think the biggest thing I've learned is to just keep an open mind and not be such a "creature of habit". I think the students will also have a lot great ideas about making lessons and classes more innovative if they are just given a chance to voice their opinion and like us, try something new.

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  22. I found this book to be interesting. I'm going to try to be connected more with other school librarians via instagram, blogs, etc. Looking forward to the summer selection.

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  23. I love the idea that we will never arrive. It reminds me that we need to continue to evolve and learn for the sake of our students.

    It's great to be able to read the comments of other educators and know that I am not alone in my concerns. I have also seen some great ideas from other members that I would like to utilize in my classroom.

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  24. I have already joined twitter and scoped out some options from other participants as to good people to follow. I think this will be a great way to collect ideas from others.
    I want to be more open to finding ways to offer my students choice so they have more "buy-in" for the content. I also want to provide more opportunities for students to work together and collaborate on at least one topic or problem each day.

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  25. I really took away a lot of inspiration from this book. I took pages of notes that I plan to review this summer to help give me a focus/foundation with which to start approaching/planning for next year. I also would like to encourage other educators in my building to read the book. The more people who have the innovator's mindset, the more we will move education forward and thus impact more and more students. This was my first virtual book club, and I look forward to more! Thank you for providing the opportunity.

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  26. I loved this book and took so much of it as a personal challenge to the way I approach my role in training and professional development. I love the phrase "relentless restlessness" and the line "If you think you are "there," you are already probably falling behind." "Lifelong learning" has become a cliche in education, but the intentions behind it are true now more than ever. I appreciate the challenge to truly embrace our Innovator's Mindset and apply our lifelong learning. I feel lucky to work with like-minded educators in an environment that supports risk taking, and I hope to be more open about the risks I take as well.

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    1. You are modeling that "lifelong learning" for us!! Congrats on being named a Google Educator!!

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  27. I found the book to be very insightful and inspiring. I particularly liked when he talked about innovating inside the box. We as educators have many restraints that keep us from being able to do what we would like to do in our schools. Changes at the state level, the focus on testing,and financial issues have educators feeling boxed in. I like how he points out we don't just need to innovate outside the box, but inside as well. Just because we face limits or challenges we should still try to be innovative within the box we find ourselves in.

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  28. I am going to look at using some kind of Digital Portfolio next year. I don't know yet what that will look like, as I am not familiar enough with the concept yet, and I need to see how that can integrate into Google Classroom or Canvas which we are supposed to start using next year. I am planning to start next semester by assigning the students to chosoe any topic relating to biology that interests them. They will write a "blog post" about their interest, why they are interested and some of the things they would like to know more about relating to their interest. My plan is that during each unit they will write a post about how that item of interest relates to the unit we are currently studying. They will also include projects and assignments given during class in their digital portfolio. I am interested to see what kind of topics the students might come up with, the reasons they will give for their interest and how their understanding of the topics will grow. I think this will be a good way to get outside the box of teaching to the test all the time.

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  29. I am going to look at using some kind of Digital Portfolio next year. I don't know yet what that will look like, as I am not familiar enough with the concept yet, and I need to see how that can integrate into Google Classroom or Canvas which we are supposed to start using next year. I am planning to start next semester by assigning the students to chosoe any topic relating to biology that interests them. They will write a "blog post" about their interest, why they are interested and some of the things they would like to know more about relating to their interest. My plan is that during each unit they will write a post about how that item of interest relates to the unit we are currently studying. They will also include projects and assignments given during class in their digital portfolio. I am interested to see what kind of topics the students might come up with, the reasons they will give for their interest and how their understanding of the topics will grow. I think this will be a good way to get outside the box of teaching to the test all the time.

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    1. This sounds like a great idea to get them personally interested in your subject matter. May I suggest you give them a list of topics to possibly consider? I personally struggle with narrowing ideas down from the "big picture". Good luck with your endeavors!

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  30. The book has inspired me to really look over my current curriculum and see what needs updated or all together replaced. I also feel like I should become more connected to the world via social media. I know I don't focus enough on reflection, and today I caught myself thinking, "I should have my students write a reflection on the project they just completed and what they would do differently next time." I think adding some of these "evolving" projects might happen for next school year. Do it once, reflect, do it again. Or maybe the option to do something like that for some sort of bonus. Currently I have them read several books throughout the semester, I might incorporate book blogs as an aspect of that. I have been inspired with several different ideas to put into play.

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  31. What now for me moving forward? Continue to use the technology available to myself and my students. Specifically, we have an eLearning Day coming up, we are scheduled to all have chromebooks next year, and this book has encouraged me to join Twitter to continue to challenge myself to be as innovative as possible in my classroom. I enjoyed the book and the comments everyone has posted, and am very thankful to have had this opportunity to learn and grow.

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  32. I have really enjoyed the book. Mr. Couros spoke at our school in the fall and I wanted to read the book. When this came up, I was excited that I would be held accountable for reading it! IT was great, I have used the thoughts throughout the spring as I have conversed with staff. I am excited about trying to get professional groups together in the fall based on strengths. I know we are working on using technology as a tool, now I have resources to back up ideas.

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  33. I think that the biggest thing that I got from this book was that children start out with innovative minds. I think of kids who can turn a cardboard box into a rocket ship. I remember my young cousin pretending to fish with a stick as her fishing pole and the fallen leaves as her fish. Then I flash forward to third graders who have started to lose these innovative thought patterns. How can we prevent that from happening? This is where I want to from here.

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  34. My next steps are to share this entire book with our staff, to push and encourage conversations that can help to change the culture of our school and district. Our mission statement has changed to encompass innovation and I want to champion what innovation really is, not just technology, but student thinking that can happen in many new ways. Eportfolios is one way that we can begin to change our culture. We need teachers to become lifelong learners, not just give it lip service. Include student voices in all conversations and we can become great!

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  35. As an avid reader of professional development books, I felt like this one in particular had a really resounding effect. It reinforced some beliefs that I had, validated some things that I am doing, and reminded me to change and innovate. I would love to implement an "Identity Day" in my school and I would love to share this book with my administrators and hopefully we as a district could develop professional development that engages and offers change as we try to do for our students.

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  36. I think my next step is to share this book with other teachers and encourage them to be excited about teaching. I also want to try to figure out a way for my students to start some sort of digital portfolio next year. I think it would be so beneficial for students to see their growth, not only in their writing but in their thinking. Great book with great ideas!

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  37. Starting next year I will try and give my students more choice and freedom. I give them a bunch now but want to give them even more. I also want to try and start the digital portfolio. I also want to become more involved in social media with my 1980's class especially. This book has many great ideas!!

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  38. "Change is an opportunity to do something amazing." I couldn't stop thinking about this quote when I started the book and as I finished the book Couros mentioned it again. This quote will be what I take away from this reading. I am excited to do something amazing in my classroom and reading this book has inspired me in so many ways. I am glad I read this book and I am ready to start innovating new concepts/methods in my classroom.

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    1. Hi Lauren,
      Change can be scary, but as you mentioned, it can bring about amazing transformations in the classroom. We are only good for our students if we grow, change, and continue learning in our own practice. Good luck with the new changes in your classroom!

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  39. The timing of reading this book couldn't have been better. As we go 1-1 next year it is nice to read new ideas and suggestions, not only from the book, but from the comments of this blog. I will definitely need to re-read this book, as I felt there was so much I couldn't absorb the first time around.

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  40. I have really enjoyed this book. It has not only presented many new ideas, but has definitely encouraged me to evaluate my teaching and learning as well. One area that I know I need to grow is staying connected to others. I have yet to explore what Twitter has to offer in terms of connecting with other educators, but it is a resource I plan to investigate. I also plan to learn more about digital portfolios. This book is a great resource in education and learning!

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    1. I, too, want to pursue the idea of supporting teachers with digital portfolios. I think it could have a great impact on teacher and student learning. I would encourage you to seek out Twitter and all it has to offer. I cannot tell you how much I have learned from others within my PLN. It's like a 24-hour PD at fingertips. You will see your continued growth as an educator. :)

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  41. Collaboration is key! I need to find more teachers both in my subject and other areas to collaborate with to find more authentic learning opportunities for my students. As well, the same goes for my students. They need to be able to collaborate with each other to extend understanding, and have the opportunity to use technological to find other credible experts to collaborate with. More then anything, I want to give students the tools to be life long learners, not just engaging them but empowering them.

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  42. I came away from our book, "The Innovator's Mindset: Empowering Learning" learning and using new specific terms. The beginning chapters in the book talked about teacher - centric and learner- centric terms. I incorporated the term learner - centric in my new iep's, with the technology of iPad Apps. "Engaging vs. Empowering", will be in my foremost thoughts when writing my students' new IEP goals. I want to find ways, activities that tip the scale to illustrate empowered. Last month I witnessed first hand as my granddaughter reported on her autobiography about "Hitler". Alexa used "Biography.Org" and other websites, incorporating photos, and clips using PowerPoint. Alexa was so alive giving her grandparents an elaborate performance of what she learned about "Hitler, the Man." It was evident that Alexa's new innovative learning did not come from a history textbook experience, as she definitely was empowered by this learner - centric project. This quote from the last section of the book, "The biggest game changers in education are, and will always be, the educators who embrace the innovator's mindset. These teachers and educational leaders look at change as an opportunity, not an obstacle, and they constantly ask: "What is best for this learner?" After reading my entire colleague's comments the last 10 weeks, I know that these teachers and administrators are already using their innovator's mindset, providing the best educational experiences for each and every learner.

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  44. As I look ahead to next year, there are so many take aways I have from this book. To re-affirming beliefs I already had in my educational philosophy, to providing the confidence and insight needed to take more risks in the classroom, I look forward to putting into action the information I learned from George Couros. It is so wonderful to be part of a professional learning community that is willing to share, reflect, and grow from the experience as a whole. In addition, it has been great for me to personally reflect each week on the different topics and posts to grow in my own practice. Just as we ask our students to take risks and grow, we must set the bar by modeling the change we seek!

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  45. This is one of my favorite books that I've read in quite some time. After reading, I have a renewed sense of finding empowerment in our ongoing growth and reflection as educators. I feel like many of the ideas shared throughout the book are similar to things already taking place within my building and district; however, I know we can continue to grow and build upon those ideas to take student learning to an even deeper level. I've enjoyed connecting with other educators and reading their perspectives about the book. I know moving forward, I will continue to reflect and grow in my own learning and continue to support others in their growth as well. Thank you for book study! I have really enjoyed it.

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