Summarizing Creating Significant Learning Environment

When improving student learning I feel digital tools are the best to use.  But even with these tools we have to focus on what expressive learning is and how to adopt that in our classrooms. When learning becomes the center of our focus everything else will fall into place. The five weeks in this class I have been able to study meaningful learning and essential motivations to help develop my learning environment.

In my first week, I studied what made for the most significant learning environments. I learned that learning happens naturally in different situations all the time. During  the second week I researched authentic learning and created a learning philosophy. The third week focused  more on the aligning outcomes assessments, and activities that I want my learners to achieve over a year. After aligning goals, assessments and learning objectives in the fourth week I created a learning plan. In the fifth and final week I devoted my studies to Carol Dweck and her research on growth and fixed mindsets.

These past five weeks have given me a chance to reflect on how to create a significant learning environment for my students. Students want to be challenged and successful. Most importantly I have had a chance to reflect on the fact that not only students but even teachers want to learn. Students need to come first when planning learning environments. Teachers need to take the time to learn their students so they can create best learning environment possible.

As I use my innovative learning plan to guide student learning, and sharing my plan with others, I will center my focus on my students and how they learning.  When we get to know our students, we can figure out what digital tools are needed to enhance learning. Out students should always be our focus, and we should provide them with natural learning opportunities.



Growth Mindset

Image result for fixed and growth mindsetThere are many people who have had the “I can’t” feeling. I’ve met people who are not good at public speaking, sports, and thinking about myself not good at math. But that is a fixed mindset. After finishing this week of class I will strive to keep and continue a growth mindset. Instead of saying what I “can’t “do I will say I can’t do it “yet”.

Carol Dweck has done widespread research on fixed and growth mindsets. In the video shown in class Dweck describes the difference in each mindset, how they impact our motivations, and how we word our praise can influence these mindsets. A fixed mindset is the belief that we have an intrinsic ability level, and that once we begin to fail we have reached our peak. This mindset can lead to some people not wanting a challenge, playing the blame game when we mess up, and don’t take kindly to criticism. A growth mindset is the belief that there is growth when we make mistakes, and when we have determination and continue to practice we grow. A person with a growth mindset considers failure a step towards success. A person with a growth mindset will take on new challenges, and ask for help and will take criticism. With this mindset, these people will be successful in whatever the put their minds to. A growth mindset is important to have because it can be the difference between overall success and failure. An individual with a fixed mindset, will complain, blame, and possibly quit when they fail because they view failure as a shameful thing.

Dweck offers a great resource to get people started on a growth mindset with four steps.

  • Recognize the “voice” of a fixed mindset.
  • Make the mindful choice to develop a growth mindset.
  • Answer fixed mindset thoughts with growth mindset answers.
  • Live out a growth mindset.

As a person who believes strongly in the power of a growth mindset, I will always encourage my students to build their growth mindsets as well. I will help them work through the four steps that I mentioned above. I will have them voice their fixed mindset thoughts aloud, then answer their thoughts with growth mindset answers while encouraging them to make the choice to have a growth mindset. And finally challenge them to act out their growth mindsets. Making this a practice will eventually become a natural thing for them. When developing a growth, mindset is it must be maintained constantly. It is very easy to fall back into a fixed mindset when we don’t focus on growth and reflection. That is the main reason I will encourage my students daily to continuously develop their growth mindset. When a student feels like he or she has messed up I will keep them focused on a growth mindset that will help keep them strong-minded and become successful.

Another important step that I will use to develop a growth mindset in my students is to introduce them to the word “yet.” I encourage my students to change their thoughts from “I can’t,” to “I can’t do this yet.” I try to start with something that interests my students, and will engage the students.

Developing a growth mindset is a huge part of my innovation plan. When the school year starts, I will help students learn about growth and fixed mindsets, and to help students understand that they have the choice to think one way or the other. I will allow students to reflect and to grow in areas that they demonstrate weaknesses and challenge themselves.  With a growth mindset, our students will be able to self-confidently handle learning and any other challenges that come their way.


Dweck, C. (2006-2010) How can you change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Dweck, C. (2006-2010) Mindset online.


Understanding by Design’s (UbD)

As I continue on my journey in graduate school, I am actually learning although at times I am overwhelmed.  My mom has been diagnosed with cancer for months and its taking its toll on our family. In spite of I will continue my master’s program because her strength and courage is pushing me to succeed.  This week’s assignment was creating a learning plan using the Understanding by Design (UbD) Model by Wiggins and McTighe. This is a backwards design model, and in my opinion is very similar to Fink’s 3 Column table.  When using an UbD model, it starts with identifying the desired results and skills. Next, you will determine what a performing task is. Finally, you will plan your learning experiences and instruction.

Image result for understanding by design


With this assignment I was able to use the learning goals ( Foundational, Integration, and Application, etc.) and input them in my Established Goals.  Everything flowed and kept me on track. The UbD model  is more detailed, and asks essential questions that will foster inquiry and understanding for learning.  I have gained a deeper understanding of effective planning using both the UbD Model and Fink’s 3 Column Table. I think the UbD model will be most valuable to my innovation plans. It will also be beneficial to teachers in developing goals for their classrooms. Below you will see my UbD:

Stage 1—Desired Results
Established Goals:

·        Students will analyze the roles and functions of individuals within a group.

·        Students will work together to analyze a given problem or question.

·        Students will work together to brainstorm and pre-plan a method of research for finding the solution or answer.


Students will understand that

·        Everyone in the  group has an important role to play

·        A problem or question consists of a variety of components to be investigated

·        A pre-plan and plan must be in place when investigating

Essential Questions:

·        How can a group function successfully and competently?

·        What approach or approaches can be taken when analyzing a problem or question?

·        What steps can be taken to begin conducting and organizing for their research?

Students will know

·        Group roles and names;  know that collaboration is key

·        Problems or questions consist of various components and are perceived differently

·        Pre-planning and planning are a vital part of organizing research

Students will be able to

·        Collaborate to identify, define, and assign group roles

·        Analyze a problem or question and consider other perspectives

·        Pre-plan and plan for a long-term research project

Stage 2—Assessment Evidence
Performance Tasks:

·        Groups—Students will identify, define, and assign group roles within their group.

·        Problem or question—Students will analyze a given problem or question by breaking it down into various components and record each individual’s perspective of what the problem or question means to them.

·        Pre-planning and planning—Students will come up with and pre-plan the steps to begin conducting and organizing their so they can find a solution or answer and then create a draft of an outline of their plan.

Other Evidence:

·        K-W-L Chart—Students will identify what they know, what they want to know, and what they’ve learned by using a K-W-L chart online.

·        Individual Reflection—Students will reflect on their individual roles with the project by using an online journal.

·        Group Reflection—Students will reflect on the group’s progression by using an online journal

Stage 3—Learning Plan
Learning Activities:

1.     Begin by telling students established goals. Students will think-pair-share about the meaning of the established goals. Clarify any misconceptions and explain established goals in detail. W, R

2.     Create groups randomly and students will sit with their group. T, O

3.     Have groups define and discuss the words “group” and “role” and present their findings. E, R

4.     As a whole group, discuss the essential question: How can a group function successfully and competently? W, H

5.     Have students identify, define, and assign group roles within their group. They will create an agreement specifying each individual’s role and responsibilities. E, T

6.     Introduce problem or question to each group. As a whole group, discuss the essential question: What approach or approaches can be taken when analyzing a problem or question? Have groups define and record each individual’s viewpoint of what the problem or question means to them. Then, have groups analyze the given problem or question by breaking it down into various components. W, H, E, O

7.     Have students begin to fill in their K-W-L chart using an electronic format such as Google Docs and Google Apps. Students will identify what they know, what they want to know, and what they have learned about their given problem or question. R, E-2, T, O

8.     As a whole group, discuss the essential question: What steps can be taken to begin conducting and organizing research? W, H

9.     Have groups think and pre-plan the steps to begin conducting and organizing research in order to find a solution or answer to their given problem or question. They will create a draft of an outline of their plan using an electronic format. R, T

10.  Have students reflect on their individual role during the project using an online journal entry. R, E-2, T

11.  Have groups reflect on the group’s progress during the project using an online journal entry.. R, E-2

Wiggins and McTighe’s (2005) WHERETO is an acronym that highlights the key elements and considerations for instructional planning (p. 197).

W = Ensure that students understand WHERE the unit is headed, and WHY.

H = HOOK students in the beginning and HOLD their attention throughout.

E = EQUIP students with necessary experiences, tools, knowledge, and know-how to meet performance goals.

R = Provide students with numerous opportunities to RETHINK big ideas, REFLECT on progress, and REVISE their work.

E = Build in opportunities for students to EVALUATE progress and self-assess.

T = Be TAILORED to reflect individual talents, interests, styles, and needs.

O = Be ORGANIZED to optimize deep understanding as opposed to superficial coverage.


Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2006). Understanding by design [2nd Edition].  Upper Saddle River, New Jersy: Pearson Education, Inc.


Aligning Outcomes, Assessment and Activities

As part of my assignment I had to create a 3 column table. You can view my table below.

Learning Goals Learning Activities Assessment Activities

Students will identify and familiarize themselves with the use of technology devices they will use to create their presentations/projects.

Students will do blended learning via station rotations.

At some centers, struggling students will strengthen their content knowledge by working with a teacher or using an Internet site tailored to instructional videos. Other stations have students work individually on an interactive learning program, in small groups on enrichment projects, or receive peer tutoring.

Peer discussions and students will create and present their presentation/project.

Students will study the foundational skills necessary to personalize their learning and apply those skills when creating different types of multi-medias.

View other students’ projects and review visuals used for enhancements. Interpretation, role playing, group discussions



Students will collaborate, develop and produce presentations using digital media.

Work in small groups to create a digital project. Reflection, Discussion and

peer observations

Human Dimensions:

Students will look at and select personal experiences or ideas that will them develop and create their presentation/project.

Analyze and push students to take ownership of their presentation/project. Reflection on their presentation/project

Discuss their reflection with peers


Students will reflect and identify with peers by communicating and collaborating with the group to help with their presentation/project.

Students will develop a creative digital project using digital tools of their choice. Discussion and peer observation



Questions for Formulating Significant Learning Goals

“A year (or more) after this course is over, I want and hope that students will want to learn and have fun while doing. I want them to realize that if they fail use that as a step to success.”

My Big Harry Audacious Goal (BHAG) for the course is: Students will successfully plan, implement, and create a digital presentation.

Foundational Knowledge 

  • What key information (e.g., facts, terms, formulae, concepts, principles, relationships, etc.) is/are important for students to understand and remember in the future?
  • Students will need to understand and remember the reading and language arts standards that they have learned in this grade as well as previous grades. Students will also need to understand how to collaborate with each other to accomplish a goal. It is also important that students create an organized plan to help guide them throughout the project.
  • What key ideas (or perspectives) are important for students to understand in this course?
  • Reading is fundamental and can be applied to real world scenarios in meaningful ways.
  • A team can accomplish tasks that would be impossible for an individual.

Application Goals

  • What kinds of thinking are important for students to learn?
  • Critical thinking, in which students study and assess
  • Creative thinking, in which students visualize and create
  • Practical thinking, in which students solve problems and make decisions
  • Students will need to utilize critical thinking, creative thinking, and practical thinking in order to successfully meet the objective.

What important skills do students need to gain?

  • Teamwork, communication and listening skills, conflict resolution, computer and network skills, and public speaking skills.



  • Do students need to learn how to manage complex projects?
  • Students need to learn how to manage complex projects. With the project having complex parts it is a must that students learn how to handle issues as they arise and learn from mistakes. It is vital that students learn how to work together.

Integration Goals

  • What connections (similarities and interactions) should students recognize and make?
  • Students are expected to make connections within the content area in several ways. Students will also make connections between communication and reading when creating their presentations.
  • Among material in this course and the students’ own personal, social, and/or work life?

– This will align with personal goals as students will be able to choose the literature they want to retell and present. Students will also work together to choose to work on aspects of the project that they most interested in. Students will get a sense of purpose from the completion of this project.

Human Dimensions Goals

  • What could or should students learn about themselves?
  • Students will learn they have a voice. Students will learn to summarize (reenact) in their own way via digital media.
  • What could or should students learn about understanding others and/or interacting with them?
  • Students should learn that interacting with others can many times be a give and take situation. We all have something to bring to the table, so we shouldn’t expect one person to do everything.

Caring Goals

  • What changes/values do you hope students will adopt?
  • I hope that my students will learn to be more creative and take their time to plan and implement instead of rushing to complete the project. To take time and pride in their work.


“Learning-How-to-Learn” Goals

  • What would you like for students to learn about:
  • My students need to learn that things only happen when we set them in drive and go.
  • I want students to learn from their peers as they build relationships and share ideas on the project. I also want students to utilize books and websites to learn information as well.
  • Students will be expected to create an organized plan to help them become self learners. Students should utilize peers, mentors, and web and print resources to meet learning goals.