Tag Archives: 21st Century

What Happens if We Make a Mistake?

My husband Phil and I have been involved in this great program called Cool Little Kids.  It’s Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for young children (3-6) that are experience signs of anxious behaviour.  It’s a parent program to learn strategies to help your children overcome anxieties. We’ve only attended 2 sessions so far we’ve already learned so much to help our daughter Keelyn.

Something that I’ve taken away both session is the question “what do you think will happen if you do x”.  It’s a great way to start conversation with children and allow them to express how they feel.

I used this idea with my class this week during a math lesson.  I gave them the open-ended task for perimeter “How many figures can you create with a perimeter of 16cm?”  Many were up for the challenge and problem solved a bunch of creative solutions.  A couple were frustrated and expressed “I can’t do it” and one didn’t even try.  I asked those kids “what do you think will happen if you make a mistake”.  You could see their thoughts turning and one student said “I’ll get a bad mark on my report card” and another said “I’ll look dumb” and another said “I’ll feel frustrated”. Finally a fourth student said “I think that if we keep making mistakes we will still learn about perimeter.”  When I inquired what do you mean? He said, “well if you keep drawing figures and counting the perimeter you are learning how to figure it out”. I smiled for this answer was perfect and really profound for a 9 year old.

We brought the question back to the whole class as a discussion and talked about how taking a chance and trying out something even if it isn’t something we are comfortable with and even if we make a mistake has a ton of value and a ton of learning.  I feel like my students really got it.  In fact the next day we did a perimeter/minecraft art activity where the kids did block letters for their names or initials like text in minecraft (I was quickly corrected that it was pixels not blocks) and had to calculate the perimeter.  My most reluctant student happily created his letters and even calculated the perimeter without the normal worry lines on his face.  Maybe it was pairing the activity with the name “minecraft” that made him give it a shot – but I like to think it was the pep talk about making mistakes.  I guess time will tell!

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#Peel21st Blog Hop – What Does 21st Century Learning Mean to Me

I’ve had the opportunity to connect with many #Peel21st educators and other members of my twitter PLN to discuss 21st century teaching and learning and what it means to us.  When the #Peel21st Blog Hop was presented I was excited to share as I missed out on the first round.  Read on to learn what I think about the meaning of 21st century learning and then check out the other blog posts listed at the bottom of my post.  

Happy Reading!

When @jrichea presented the #peel21st Blog Hop I was excited to participate. I was even more excited that the topic was 21st Century Learning and what it means to me. I’m having difficulty articulating it. Images of BYOD, Twitter, #geniushour and inquiry float around. While I certainly feel that those are elements to successful 21st Century learning I don’t think they define it. When I think about my own two children Keelyn and William I can’t help but hope for an education system that embraces their interests, quirks and nurtures their passions. That doesn’t make them feel self conscious or embarrassed when they don’t “fit in the box”.  That’s what 21st Century learning means to me.

Keelyn and William - 21st Century Learners!

Keelyn and William – 21st Century Learners!

Blog Hop Participants 

21st Century Teacher or Learner?

I often struggle with this am I a 21st Century Teacher or Learner?  Pretty much at every moment of the day I sway between the two teacher, learner, teacher, learner.  I guess really the answer is I’m both.  I have a good tech understanding but there is WAY more that I don’t know.  I think what makes me a good 21st century teacher is that I’m willing to learn.  I like to test out new apps and ideas and learn things along with my students and from my colleagues.  But this can bring about a lot of frustration when things don’t go as planned, and they often do not.  

Last night I participated in a #geniushour chat on Twitter.  I casually thought I could plan my math unit and chat but I was so involved in the learning that the math was pushed to the side for an hour.  It was honestly the coolest professional development I could be a part of.  Me, in my living room, with my coffee and my children in bed.  I connected globally with amazing educators who are starting out with #geniushour or are well versed in it.  I am so excited to bring #geniushour to my class!  Tomorrow is the launch day, I’ve been pumping them up all week for it.  Stay tuned for updates.

This year I’ve decided to go with a digital daybook.  I’m using the app Plan Book (both on my MAC and iPad) and so far it’s pretty great.  It’s a bit cumbersome to set up your schedule but once you do it’s pretty easy.  I’m hoping to connect via twitter with others who are using it for some tips.  I like that you can email the plans and when needed print them for supply teachers.  Here’s a picture of what my desk looks like right at the moment. Note the Pumpkin Spice Latte (Happy Fall)




I love Twitter for education.  You have instant access to information.  Students can type in a question and have thousands of teachers and other students help them out. You can have a “buddy Twitter” class which is kind of like the 21st Century version of Pen Pals.  Last year I always had a Tweeter of the Day who would post up live tweets from school events, and our classroom happenings.  The students really looked forward to their day to Tweet and use the different devices.

I hope to keep on our Twitter path this year and try out some other activities with it.  Here is a guide with 35 suggestions on using Twitter in the classroom!