Trials and tribulations of 21st century educator

Monthly Archives: November 2012

How to learn? from mistakes

I really enjoyed the video from Diana Laufenberg because it touches on an aspect of education that is so basic and yet often forgotten.  Learning from one’s mistakes is a lesson that is often understood organically and from a very young age.  I don’t ever remember a teacher forcing me to remember this rule, but it was a lesson instilled in me when I was a kid.

Face it: you’re going to mess up, all humans do.  But, it’s what you do with your failures that makes you successful and achieve more goals.  Do you give-up and keep repeating the same mistake over and over? Or do you take that failure, learn from it, and try new methods until you achieve your goal?

This directly relates to my first years teaching.  Yeah, I’ve messed up (quite a bit, one may say).  But, I am constantly learning from mistakes in order to be a better teacher: tweaking lessons, editing tests, re-wording directions.  All with the goal of becoming a more effective teacher on the next go-round.

Now, this video also applies to students as well.  I think the concept of failure is viewed differently depending on the type of student.  For example, “accepting failure” for a student who is currently failing 4 out of 5 classes because they refuse to turn in work, won’t have the same impact as a kid that has all honors classes and a 3.5 GPA.  I personally never want to have that conversation with an honors parent: “oh, it’s ok that they completely bombed this project, they’ll learn from this experience and do better next time”.  Some parents have high (and often unrealistic) expectations for their kids, I don’t feel comfortable explaining to them that failure is ok.

I believe the concept of accepting and learning from mistakes is a great tool for education, and one that is often looked over.  However, it definitely depends on the student…


I have recently started utilizing my twitter account (granted, my personal account) a lot more in the past month.  I’ve started to follow more people especially related to news and other political content and I’ve posted a few pictures.  With the election the past week, I started following important candidates in order to stay up-to-date with their campaigns.  In addition, I have started following a few news outlets.  

Very quickly, especially the day of the election, I realized I had made a few mistakes in my decisions on who to follow.  First, my twitter account became inundated with (relatively) useless information.  Second, I made the mistake of setting up some push notifications for different candidates. I quickly realized that every time that person was mentioned, I got a text message.  In other words, when Shelia from Wisconsin voted for Obama and decided to tweet it, I got a text about it.  Finally, some of the news outlets decided to double tweet the same stories.  This just led to a lot of clutter and repetition on my feed.  

Once I corrected these things, I really enjoyed that instantaneous nature of twitter.  It made me feel “in the know” and “hip”.  I will continue to search for more people to follow and attempt to post more tweets.

I have been trying to pin more articles and videos for work as well.  I currently share a “work” board with Danielle Demarest on pinterest.  I have yet to explore the new “secret” board feature, I think it will help in planning a few surprise parties in the future.

“What can students actually do with an iPad?

I found this article to be very helpful in explaining the many uses of the iPad in the classroom. I do not currently have an iPad, but would love to get my hands on one to explore it’s application to the Social Studies curriculum.  I also believe that it would be a great topic for future professional (and technology) development.  

One criticism of the article is that the example lessons seem to have very similar products from the students.  By this I mean, the assessments are all project-based.  I would like to know more about what the iPad can do beyond recording a video or making a poster/flyer.  

In the future, I hope that the Lindbergh School District can provide these new technologies for its staff and students.  By now, a majority of teachers know the basics of how to use a computer, iPad, or other electronic device… now we want the ability to use those items in the classroom with EVERY student.  I understand the resources are tight, but in order to continue on as a leading school district in Missouri, we need make these items available to all of our students and staff all the time.