Week 4: A Mindset for Embedding Tech

Embedding technology into SEN is always a rabbit hole. There are so many different things to try to help students with their executive functioning skills. Finding ones that work for you and your students is important, but also something that changes each year as the needs of your students also change year to year.

In addition to using Reading Plus & Khan Academy on a regular basis to help my students set goals and close skill gaps to achieve grade-level mastery, Trello was another site we found useful in a classroom that is more small group or 1:1 to keep track of what needs to be completed for their general education classes or the APP Ace Your Self-Study to help students with scheduling their time. Whereas for a pull-out English for Academic Purposes class, I found Duolingo for Schools, incredibly helpful, especially when not all students in your small group share a mother tongue language.

When supporting Humanities and Math courses I found Good Reads & Desmos: an online graphing program are another two technology components that really should be added to any classroom lessons; that is both incredibly reliable and easy to use.

What other handy go-to sites would you recommend? These are only a drop in the bucket to what is out there.

I always have my fall back website of Super Teacher Tools that has allowed me to create and save customized review games for any class that students need help in. Other tech-rich lessons I’ve planned for usually happen directly after our Fall and Spring MAP testing. Once my students have completed their Reading, Language, and Math exams, we dissect the scores and set goals with many of the wonderful reports that NWEA offers: Student Growth and Student Profile pages to name a few. We are able to identify the areas where skill gaps exist along with celebrating their strengths. This NWEA Response to Intervention is an easy to use site that helps you target the specific skills and standards students need to focus on to build their confidence in the general education classroom and perform on grade level.

Here is a helpful PDF that explains more about MAP Skills Navigator.

What really stuck out to me this week was the importance of ensuring all lessons include:

Relevant real-world tasks & Authentic Audiences

I find any lessons that have an authentic audience, such as a project with a final parent expo, advice columns for younger grades, or self-advocacy/self-awareness projects for transition years (their next year’s teachers will be reading them) are more meaningful and students tend to put more effort into them. I would love to start incorporating more of a larger audience like things on-line to really engage students in what interests them most.

The example lesson plans from fellow special educators around portfolios incredibly useful and gave me great ideas on how to tweak my own student video reflections. The site Teachers Pay Teachers is yet another example where I would love to be a contributor and not just a lurker (with the occasional interaction).

The ted talk: The Power of belief – mindset and success | Eduardo Briceno | TEDxManhattanBeach does a great job of explaining how hard work, focus, and persistence are all byproducts that are critical for success and that when addressing student’s levels of grit and persistence, we, as educators must address the mindset the underlies the task at hand.

This is all backed by the research of Carol Dweck’s growth mindset. I find her Ted Talk on The Power of Believing that you can Improve even more inspiring.

But whether it’s fixed or growth mindset isn’t what truly matters, but the ability to recognize when you have each one and how to switch it that allows you to be reflective and grow.

What things cause you to have a Fixed Mindset? Change? Technology? How can you overcome this, or better yet, switch it to growth?

Author: Shalene

This is my 3rd year in Russia- teaching SEN at the Anglo-American School of Moscow. Loving life... and always learning.

6 thoughts on “Week 4: A Mindset for Embedding Tech”

  1. Hi Shalene! I love how you included some of your go-to technology resources in your blog post. I want to bookmark them all and take some time to explore each one. Does Reading Plus require a paid subscription? I skimmed through the site and it looks like a good tool!

    Some of my go-to sites include Read Theory (assess students reading levels), Prodigy (math game), Newsela (current events set at a student’s reading level), and Epic (online books for free). I work with second graders and they LOVE when they get to play Prodigy. I like it too because I can select the standards or skills I want the students to practice. For the students, it feels more like a video game than a learning tool so they never get sick of it.

    When you talked about authentic audiences, I am doing the same things with my students. We have reading and writing celebrations at the end of each unit. We invite parents sometimes, and at other times we invite another class. However, I would love to start findings ways to include a larger audience. I follow @sean4d on Twitter and he is always inspiring me to make learning experiences more authentic and globally-minded. I haven’t done much with Flip Grid yet (I use Seesaw), but this is one tool he often uses to connect learners with a global audience. Getting ideas from others-another reason why I love using Twitter!

    I do love getting teaching ideas from others on Twitter, but at times these ideas give me anxiety (the thought of putting together a Global Read Aloud for example) and this causes me to have a Fixed Mindset. Instead, I just need to DO IT! I see all of these cool ways to connect learners in authentic ways, but when it comes to trying it out, I don’t. This is where I need to grow and change my mindset. I need to remember that everyone starts somewhere. Plus, other teachers, especially the ones I see the ideas from, generally want to help. Therefore, I need to use my PLN to grow.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas!

    1. I couldn’t agree more, many of these seem daunting, but the time has come to just try it! We have to start somewhere (beyond a COETAIL Class Blog… eventually… thanks for the additional sites, I’m familiar with Newsela, love it, but am excited to check out the others. I find MYSELF needing to use your symbaloo just to keep everything organized until you can determine which works best for you. (Reading Plus is a paid one, unfortunately, but talking with our SEN coordinator we’ve always managed to get enough logins for the kiddos who really need it)

  2. Hi Shalene. You have so many resources you’re using with your students! I especially appreciate how you’re setting the goals from MAP scores. This is something I would like to be able to use with my students. I’ve heard about it a couple of times from admin but it’s not something I’ve had the time to mess around with yet. You also fired my neurons with your comment about Teacher Pay Teacher. I’m all the time downloading stuff from the site but it never occurred to me to add content. I had only thought of the teachers offering material as business owners but never realizing I could add stuff too-even if I’m not trying to sell something. I was a lurker without even realizing it! Great blog post. Thank you. -Holly

    1. Wouldn’t it be great to get to that level of actually sharing all the amazing things we create… even if only 75% amazing, making something available for others to tweak and call their own. I wish I was there… like Etsy and crafts. Happy to talk you through the MAP Nav. Site, it’s a good one, perhaps even practice with the screencasts video. Here’s to the move to digital learning with a “steep” learning curve.

  3. Hi Shalene. It’s always interesting to see what technology resources other teachers are using. Like Holly mentioned, I also remember school admin mentioning the MAP Skills Navigator, but I have not used it yet. Is Khan Academy for all grade levels or only starting at a certain grade level? I know that the Grade 4 and 5 teachers at AAS use it and I was wondering if it is something that I can use with my Grade 2 students.

    I know that I have a fixed mindset with change or new things that I need to use in my teaching, though eventually I move to a growth mindset. You reminded me that I had wanted to teach my students about fixed and growth mindset early this school year, but that idea got lost in the shuffle of all the other things. I think that fixed and growth mindsets are easier to recognize in others than in ourselves, because we feel embarrassed or self-conscious about having a fixed mindset about something (I know this is true for myself).

    TeachersPayTeachers is also a resource that I use often. I have yet to post something on there that I have created, because I feel anxious about putting something on there that isn’t perfect (irrational, I know). Here’s to challenging ourselves to be contributors instead of lurkers!

    1. Hey Erika, yes I think it goes down to grade 2, and it’s nice as Khan is teaming up with MAP so it’s all in one place!! (sooo nice!) True, I think a deep reflection on growth/fixed mindset is good along with teaching kids to just be self-aware, it’s hard! Especially if the thing you are becoming aware of is challenging or more on the uncomfortable side. Thanks! Agree- here’s to being a creator! 🙂

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