Reflection: A Few of My Favorite Things

Anna Blakeslee

Reflection: A Few of My Favorite Things

This was my first year as a part of the SEED Team and as I reflect on the year, what stands out for me is how much knowledge I took in.  So much of what I absorbed keeps popping up again for discussion or just for deep thought. As I immersed myself in resources, collaborative work, and familiarizing myself with the SEED PAK, I came across many resources that shifted my thinking and made me ponder my professional practices, the students we serve, and sometimes my personal life.


Here are a few of the resources that blew my mind:


The Neuroscience of Leadership This article looks at how cognitive science can help shape and change habits and ideas in the workplace.  Organizational change is influenced by many factors that can make change more effective such as the following discussed in the article: change is pain, behaviorism doesn't work, humanism is overrated, focus is power, expectations shapes reality, and attention density shapes identity. Many of these factors are the opposite of what I had known about change.  This article helped me understand how deep change can be rooted in a person or establishment, how hard it is to “change”, and that the advancements in neuroscience are changing our understanding of human behavior (which seemed to be a theme for me this year).


The Science of The Individual There is a video in this resource that changed my life.  Todd Rose speaks to Talks at Google about his revolutionary discoveries in the field of science of the individual and the myth about average.  Not only did it support my beliefs about learners, it also changed my personal beliefs about myself. The statement that “there is no such thing as average” has had such an impact on my thinking as an educator and, in general, as a human trying to understand other humans.


Assessment Through The Students Eyes Over the last three years my views about assessment has shifted.  The resources I have experienced, classrooms I have visited, and my experience as a parent of a school-aged child have solidified my belief that assessments should be used as a tool for teachers and students to understand what concepts need more clarification, recognition of mistakes, and a place to provide feedback.  This article not only shows how damaging assessments can be for students but also gives some innovative and creative solutions for the use of assessments.


What You Should Know About Your Brain I told you neuroscience is a theme for me.  This article maps out what your brain does with information and how you can help your brain send information to the right parts of the brain to maximize potential and keep a healthy headspace. I love thinking about how my body reacts to information and how I can consciously help.  So interesting!!


The Amazing Adolescent Brain  Once again...blown away by the brain.  I love this article because it helped me understand the ever-fascinating teenager.  Why do they do things they do? The author does a great job of explaining and connecting the actions of the adolescent to survival methods and ways to help develop skills to become a successful member of society.  Seems crazy, right?! Read this article to be amazed.


My Favorite No and Highlighting Mistakes: A Grading Strategy Both of these resources demonstrate teacher Leah Alcala providing feedback and space for a growth mindset in a classroom setting.  Both are math related but could be used in other content areas.


Cats on a Ladder and First-Person Learning Experiences: Ryan Derby-Talbot Shout out to my buddy Ryan Derby-Talbot!  Not just a shout out because his TEDx Talk helped me wrap my brain around how to grapple with math, and why it is so important to let learners get “in the mess” with math to develop understanding.  It supports my passion to help educators shift from giving answers and algorithms to allowing exploration and understanding in math. When we give answers and algorithms math becomes boring but we can let math be fun and intriguing by allowing things to get messy.


I hope a few of my favorite things become some of yours as well.  Knowledge is power!