Thursday has been a mixed bag of emotions. I don’t think I have been this mentally fatigued since my undergrad years. Despite my brain feeling like oatmeal, I have never been more excited to work.Since first exploring New Tech this time last year, I kept trying to envision myself teaching in the PBL model. My undergraduate preparation introduced me to PBL and gave me a glimpse of what I wanted my classroom to look like, but until today I couldn’t see myself completely in the picture. I was able to see the whole picture today thanks to a series of clarifying moments spread throughout my training sessions.The first moment of clarity came on Monday during my Humanities session facilitated by Jose Garcia and Chris Brisco. During their sessions I was really trying to stay in learner mode and focus on what it feels like to be student in this system. As always, my mind began to wander off and I tried to analyze the purposes behind the tasks and protocols Jose and Chris implemented.Chris did a great job explaining how benchmarks can be used to assess both readiness and individual components of a project. Shortly after this explanation, I noticed the 1980’s cartoon robot Voltron on Jose’s desktop background. (For those of you not cool or nerdy enough to know what Voltron is, it is a robot made up of a team of other, smaller robots.) What a perfect symbol for both collaboration and explaining how benchmark components make up a larger project. My second moment of clarity came today working with my Cougar New Tech team.We were working to set category weights for ourschool-widee learning outcomes in our gradebooks. Going around the table each member explained why he or she felt each category deserved a certain weight. I was worried that content was losing its standing in our new system. Then I thought about the way I graded my students during my four years teaching in a traditional model. I was grading for agency. I was grading for written communication. I was grading for collaboration. I just wasn’t being very clear or mindful of it. By clearly defining each learning outcome, we can get the data we need from our students in order to foster the growth they need. I came into this week thinking I had a fairly good understanding of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I entered with a plan based on the my understanding at that exact moment in time. Through these new experiences, my plan has to be everchanging to compensate for new understandings and new realities. As our NST13 experience concludes, our real life experience begins. We start to move away from the hypothetical to the practical. Moving forward I have resolved to keep my mind open and treat each bump in the road as a learning experience. Change can be scary, but stagnation is far more dangerous.I came into this week thinking I had a fairly good understanding of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I entered with a plan based on the my understanding at that exact moment in time. Through these new experiences, my plan has to be everchanging to compensate for new understandings and new realities. As our NST13 experience concludes, our real life experience begins. We start to move away from the hypothetical to the practical. Moving forward I have resolved to keep my mind open and treat each bump in the road as a learning experience. Change can be scary, but stagnation is far more dangerous.

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