Wednesday, January 18, 2012


This past Monday, Austin staff members received the book Mindset.  We will spend the next few months looking at it in-depth through a campus-wide book study.  Here is an overview provided by the book's website:

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships. When you read Mindset, you’ll see how.

Has anyone out there read this book?  What were your impressions or take-aways?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Your Output Is Messing With My Input!"

Wow!  Yesterday's professional learning on "Connectors" was a day of A-HAs and Hmmms.  Check out this video of an activity that got us to thinking about how we are connected as a campus and how everything that we do (our Output) affects others (their Input).

(Hey, don't laugh!  It's harder than it looks!)

 In an overly simplified nutshell, "Connectors" introduced us to the idea that every student and staff member is connected at Austin Elementary, and every word, action, and deed has an impact on our learning community.  Take a look at the connector below (we named her "Mustang Sally").  

 The left side of the Connector, or the Input, illustrates what comes to us; students that are smart, eager, tired, gifted, troubled, innocent, nervous, etc.  See below...
  The right side of the Connector, or the Output, shows how we want students to leave Austin Elementary; students that are encouraged, aware, passionate, happy, creative, playful, independent, etc.  See below...

   As "Connectors" taught us, what helps us make the transition from our Input to our Output are the Transforms (generally verbs) that we do to "transform" our Input to our Output.  Still with me?  Some of our Transforms were: laugh, provide, share, challenge, discipline, celebrate, empower, enrich, motivate, model, teach, correct, etc.  See below...

From there, we began to discuss how within the Austin Elementary Connector (Mustang Sally) there are individual Connectors and even grade level Connectors that, when aligned properly, build toward the desired Output of Mustang Sally.  Now I'm sure I've lost a few people.

Below are pictures of some of the aligning we did with our grade level content-specific Connectors.

Our final Mustang Sally (with the grade level Connectors inside) has been posted and will be used to facilitate discussions of content alignment and vision alignment.

Whew!  What a day!

Friday, January 6, 2012

"E-Time" Success!

We sucessfully completed our first session of E-Time!  I think we were all a bit nervous, but things went smoothly.  After all, this was a first for each of us.

Our teachers did an excellent job of introducing the concept of "enrichment."  We frequently overheard words such as passion, discovery, interest, and choice.  Students were excited to "take the wheel" in their own learning.  

After the concept of enrichment was introduced and E-Time was defined more clearly, students had a chance to spend some time on activities that matched their interests.

Check out the video below for a quick "recap" of the morning!
For more info about the Schoolwide Enrichment Model @ Austin Elementary, check out Lifelong Learning Made SEMple and follow us on Twitter with #AustinSEM .

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year's From Austin Elementary!

It is our first day back of 2012, and we are hitting the ground running!  January will be a month full of Professional Learning for Austin Elementary.  Here are just a few of the things coming up this month:
  • January 6- Our first day of E-Time!  (see previous posts)
  • January 12-  Several Austin teachers will attend a PBIS training at Region X on "Extreme Behavior Modification."  Should be interesting!
  • January 16-  The entire Austin staff will participate in a training on "Connectors."  
Check back soon for some photos and updates of our first day of E-Time!