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Part One:

Reflect on your classroom vs. school teacher mannerisms. Do you think you lean more one way than the other? What do you do to embody a "school teacher" approach? Is there anything that you feel you can do better?


The older I get the more I become a classroom teacher. As a younger teacher I had a lot more energy to help other teachers and be out in the school more working on committees in addition to doing my job. Now, as I am growing older, I am finding my priorities to be inside of my classroom for the students who I find in my classroom program. This is for several reasons. The first is that admittedly I am growing older and finding myself to be more tired, but also less patient with other adults. The 2nd is that I am finding the students within my own classroom walls need me more and more, I find them to be less resilient than when I first began to teach. What I can do better is take advantage of the opportunities that do come my way in the school at large and be more patient with those who haven’t been in the schools as long as I have.


Part Two:

Refer back to Dr. Pysyk (page 74) who went out of his way every morning to greet students as they came into the building. After a while other staff members stood outside their classroom doors to greet students as well. Since school is not in session right now, this may be more difficult to implement. However, consider something that you can do to disrupt your routine for the better. How can you connect with students that you may not be doing already? Or what do you currently do to make sure that you connect with your students and set the tone for your classroom/school?



The thing I do that connects with students the most is making good phone calls home periodically. It is so much fun when students come in and look at me…”You called my mom last night?” They just don’t understand why I would take the time to make a phone call and let their parents know they had a good day or did well on a test. I think, or I hope, it shows I care about them.

Something we do as a school is send written postcards to students through the mail. The postcards are printed with our school mascot and the school provides the postage. I just have to take the time to write the message to the students. I like this practice and I have a goal for this upcoming year to keep a list and send one to every one of my students. I want to make sure I have found something good to send home to them.



Katie Wood

After two weeks of training and eight days of fair, I'm beginning to get back into a routine again and completing my Virtual Book club.  I started to fill in my plate and decided I am a crazy Ag Teacher, but I want this life style and I have a great husband and kids who walk it with me each day.  I must say I reflect many times on how I can utilize something the students love to do with making my teaching life easier.  I think laying out two plates has helped me see a few things I can try this year.  #naaereads

The discussions around innovation in the classroom and school environments in this year’s NAAE Virtual Book Club have been fantastic! This summer the NAAE Virtual Book Club read The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros. While a heavier emphasis was toward school administrators, ideas and techniques mentioned in the book can easily be applied to the classroom and students.


The mindsets of the 35 active participants were outstanding. NAAE can’t wait to see how the readers put their thoughts in motion during the school year! Due to the short closing of Communities of Practice, all assignments now have a due date of August 20th. Professional Development Certificates will be sent out once all assignments have been completed.


Interested in being a part of the NAAE Virtual Book Club? Be sure to check the NAAE Virtual Book Club Communities of Practice page often for next summer’s read and any other opportunities that may come available!  

Are We There Yet?

Posted by Katie Wood Aug 12, 2016

“If we create a culture where every teacher believes they need to improve, not because they are not good enough but because they can be even better, there is no limit to what we can achieve.”

-Dylan Wiliam (Couros, 208)


In order to “improve” we need to take note of where we are after complete our readings of The Innovator’s Mindset. Use the attached Are We There Yet Self Assessment to reflect on Couros’ major points


Keep George in mind when he questions, “So, how do you know if your district, school or classroom is ‘there’ yet? The short answer is that you are not. We will never ‘arrive.’” (Couros, 216) There is power in that. By never “arriving,” we keep moving forward; keep improving- because we know we can be even better. Don’t use the assessment to focus on the negative improvements, but on your strengths. How can those grow to help your “weaknesses?”


When you implement your innovations in your classrooms or department this year, please let us know. Share on social media using #naaereads, or post in the Virtual Book Club page on CoP.

Thank you for an awesome summer of innovative discussion!

With the closing of CoP from August 5- August 12, you can find the July-August assignments on this Google Drive:

NAAE Virtual Book Club

(If you have trouble accessing this, please send an email to and I will send you a direct invitation.)

All Assignments will now be due August 20th. Once you have finished all assignments, you will be emailed your Professional Development Certificate. Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm on discussions and assignments! If you have any book suggestions for next year, please feel free to message or email us.

"Teachers learn how to teach by watching their teachers. We often create what we experience, which means that to change what happens in our schools, the experiences we create in our professional learning must first change." (Couros, 182)


Taking part in the book club is a huge part of continuing that professional learning. It is not a one-time life event (college/teaching certification). Once we are finished reading this book, how do we continue moving forward? How do we continue to innovate our classrooms, and ourselves? Again, we will look at the "8 Things to Look for in Today's Classroom." Except this time, we will come up with an idea for each that we can use to continue our learning. What is our goal for that area to develop professionally? How will the idea or action better our ourselves to better our students' experience? Use pages 185-198 to revisit the rationale behind all eight. Then use the attached template to record your answers and upload the document to the group.

Unleashing Your Talents

Posted by Katie Wood Aug 2, 2016

How do we choose what innovation to implement in our classroom? There are many, many choices available to us. As Couros has mentioned before, forcing everyone to do a blog, may not be the best solution. That may not be the best innovative method they could be using, and in turn could be just one more thing added to the educator's plate.


In Chapter 10, Couros suggests allowing for exploration:


"Although offering too many choices can lead to feelings of becoming overwhelmed, it is imperative that leaders are careful not to constrain those we serve by only allowing them to explore designated tools or resources. The consistent use of tools can create innovation in their use, but if you do not encourage and model constant exploration, teaching practices can become stagnant. While I'm intentional about not bombarding my staff with ideas, I encourage them to seek out and try new things. After all, exploration and trial and error, even if they are messy, are often where powerful learning happens. If people believe they can go above and beyond what they are already doing, I want them to do so. The one thing I ask is that they share their expertise and new learning with others to help us collectively move towards our vision. Ultimately, as leaders, we must recognize, as we're adding what's important and removing what's unnecessary from our staff member's "plates," that every single person's plate is a different size." (161, Couros)


Please use the attached template to explore what is on your plate and your students' plates. Think of all the activities that take up your time, what methods of technology/social media you use already, and do the same for your students' plate. You can use shapes or colors, or various text sizes to fill your plate. And just as Couros mentioned, every single person's plate is a different size, so if you need to adjust your plate size to bigger or smaller, feel free. After you have looked at both of your plates, are there any overlaps? Then answer the prompt on the third slide.


Post your plates in your own post. In the body of the post, please include a few hashtag ideas that you could use for your classroom, or department can collaborate or share your ideas, what lessons you are teaching in your class. It can also be insightful to see what perspective your student is taking away from the information being taught. As an alternative to creating your own post here, you can post your plates to social media using your hashtags and #naaereads (So I can find it! )