Personal Courage, Choice and Ownership

On my campus the fear comes from rampant rumors and retaliation as if the adults are still in high school and have to protect their nonprofessional reputations.  I truly believe that all parts of the COVA model are beneficial but my biggest challenge to overcome will be my choice and ownership.  I have seen growth mindset and choice really help the students (and myself) reignite engagement however, progress is stiffed at times in very high stakes situation when politics, friendships, relationships (inappropriate ones) and cliques amongst the staff are creating a place for the children that is really not a school at all.  My choice to do what is in the best interest of the students could come with a hefty slap on the hand or being thrown under the bus when a scapegoat is needed.  I struggle with feeling safe or being able to be authentically vulnerable daily.

I am working on the courage to create a blog as a part of my voice for my ePortfolio but in the mean time I will post (and have shared) Eduardo Briceno’s Ted talk, a website with 25 ways that teachers can connect better with their colleagues, several of my ideas and products of the growth mindset work that I have been trying in my classroom.  Even though I get mostly positive feedback it tends to be  dead end to the conversation so it is not spreading anywhere near as rampant as the latest gossip.  The COVA model is essential and I am attempting to tackle the rejection in the traditional learning model by engaging in it with more than my assigned students.  I have been able to employ the COVA model within an after school tutorial/enrichment program where the director allows me jump off the page more and more as she sees how the students respond to the methods that I use.  Most of my methods come from what  have learned here in the master’s program since I have actively working on learning and teaching the growth mindset and modeling the COVA model.

I hope to use this new found courage to bring positive change to my organization and the overall focus back on the students.  Passion, purpose and positivity is possible as a teacher so that we can all ignite sparks within learners.


Problem. Solving?

The problem solving model

Over the years I have seen and almost tried it all but every time I got to problem solving it didn’t matter what new model I was trained on it wasn’t as effective as I thought that it should be.  I spent a great deal of my time trying to convinced the students that they could not only remember the problem solving process presented but that they could eventually flow through it on their own.  I realized that it was like pulling teeth with the students because I couldn’t get them to connect to or buy into the process.  I was also battling previous required rote skills that meant nothing to many of them.  I started to talk with the students about the processes that they have tried and the strategies they remembered to use.  Many teachers use and swear by the examples below and I’m all for reaching every learning so by all means if they work then allow students the success in using them.  I just could not get them to draw it, fill it in, remember it or use it successfully.

Problem Solving Template Example

Frayer Model Example

Problem Solving Steps

I knew that there had to be something else that I could do to best reach my students and bring a little joy back into the problem solving process.  I watched the student frustrations, listened to misconceptions and looked through their attempted processes to assist me in thinking about a possible solution.

Continue reading “Problem. Solving?”

Posted in A marathon NOT a sprint, Driving Disruption, Insanity


Each school year just about everything changes except the way that we approach it.  I love the idea of a fresh start for each student (each day) and a great deal of the material should be presented daily to each fresh started student.

I feel that math hasn’t changed so much over the last decade that we have to confuse students and push parent help away.  The idea of “my way” that tends to be standard reasoning to enforce memorization is frustrating to me.  On one hand we stand to embrace uniqueness to assist with social bullying problems but then we demand that everyone solve math problems the same exact way for fear of failure. This is where the importance of the growth mindset becomes the catalyst for change and helps the COVA method to become more widely excepted.

I believe is trying to solve the problem from outside of the box but not in a scripted or practiced way.  I tend to use analogies and many real life references to not only engage my students but help them to see how and why each concept is worth trying to learning.