Writing down New Year Resolutions

Setting New Year’s resolutions can be a great way to focus on one’s goals and develop a growth mindset.

In his two-year study, University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson had 700 students write down their goals in a class called Maps of Meaning. Asking them to reflect on fundamental moments in their life that he referred to as “self-authoring,” Peterson instructed his students to list different strategies and goals that would help them overcome their obstacles. After 2 years, he found that the achievement gaps between minority groups and white students closed significantly for those who participated in the assignment compared to those in the control group who did not.  “The act of writing is more powerful than people think,” Peterson shared.

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Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash

Inspired by both Melissa Dahl’s story for The Cut and Anya Kamenetz’s NPR story about Dr. Peterson’s research, I wondered if students in class, or even at home, are encouraged to reflect on and write down goals.  As a result of these exercises, would these students be able to learn resilience?

Resilience is something that researchers are now identifying as a ‘growth mindset’, a term coined by Carol Dweck in her book, Mindset. Adopting a growth mindset encourages people to realize that their abilities can be improved over time with intentional and consistent effort. Goal writing seems like a great way for students to start learning and improving their own resilience.

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Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash

Around the same time that I discovered Peterson’s research, I was delighted to find a binder designed specifically for students and goal setting.  Titled ‘New Year’s Resolutions,’  the binder is curated by one of our Certified Trainers, Stella Maris Berdaxagar, who designed exercises for ELA students geared not only towards improving their writing skills, but also setting personal goals and writing New Year’s resolutions.

Berdaxagar’s binder has guided steps on how a teacher can provide activities that encourage teen and adult students to reflect not only on what they’ve accomplished in the past year, but also on what their new goals are, and how they plan to attain them. Berdaxagar also includes an impressive selection of engaging activities that help students learn skill sets that could last them a lifetime.

Please let me know what you think!

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New Year’s Resolution Binder by Stella Maris Berdaxagar

Ready to Impress?

Have you curated an impressive body of resources to share?  Feel free to contact me for a brief demo on how curators like Berdaxagar are easily packaging and distributing their resources with our online digital binders. 

You’re welcome to schedule a LiveBinders demo here.

This blog post is based on a personal project I have started about organization skills and learning in the digital age.  I’m always inspired by the cool binders I find on our Featured Binders page.

Increase Parent Involvement

Effective Organization of Content Helps Family Engagement Initiatives

At LiveBinders, we are lucky to be exposed to so many great resources and to hear from our users about the work they do to elevate student learning.  Last month I saw binders by our members Evelyn Azbell and Fred Cochran, who both happened to be coordinating Family engagement projects. I was impressed with how they organized their binders – the time they took to get it ‘right’. It occurred to me that part of the reason we should take the time to organize our content is to make sure our readers are engaged.  After all, everything we do is to make sure our audience ‘gets it’. Evelyn and Fred’s carefully curated binders not only caught my attention, but I learned something new upon examination of their binders. Here are some of my observations on what I found so intriguing.

Evelyn Azbell of @cesa9_families and @parenteducatorconnection is a Family Engagement Coordinator in Northern Wisconsin.  Her binders provide direct access to hard-to-find resources such as grant schedules, program documentation, and other important information.  The resources have always been available for anyone to access, but Evelyn has put her own curated guidance on those resources.

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I like the use of the subtle dark grey sub tabs between the red main tabs and the black base tabs that stay consistent with CESA9 colors – also gotta love that red!

In her WSPEI binder below, Evelyn takes advantage of 3rd party web applications to make her binders more inclusive for her viewers. There is more than one way to get access to her documents. If you are responsive to the infographic model, you can click on resources laid out on a Padlet page she has added to the main tab of her binder. Or you can grab the same resources from a Google folder she has linked inside of the binder in a tile format.  In addition, if you prefer the tab layout, each resource is also provided in its own tab or sub tabs of the binder. In other words, her audience will be able to find what they need in their preferred viewing format.

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Using Padlets as an additional visual map to resources is a fun way to make your binder interactive for your audiences’ diverse range of skill sets.

Fred Cochran @cochran_fred  is a Coordinator for San Joaquin County Office of Education and an instructor for Teachers College San Joaquin @TeachCollegeSJ. He has been providing training resources to help schools in his district start their own Family Engagement programs.  What struck me initially was the order in which he shares his resources, making it easy for his busy team to find what they need quickly. Anything new that is added to the binder can be found in the Newly Added Resource tab.

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Fred carefully chooses his tab linear layout to keep his busy staff up-to-date on resources to share

It later occurred to Fred that he could create a template binder that other school districts could use to start their own Family Engagement initiative. In the example below, he has created placeholders for a district’s documentation, including any resources that are in Spanish.  For each main tab, he carefully crafted headers in a colorful image format with explanations of what each section is about.

Family engagement template_headers

In Fred’s Sample Parent Ambassador binder, he provides headers like this one in each main section to help guide the new Parent Ambassador. He also added placeholder sub tabs for Spanish version documents

If you are sharing resources across your state, feel free to review these binders as a model for your own design. Thank you Evelyn and Fred for sharing your hard work with us!

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CESA9 Family Engagement Binder 

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WSPEI 2017-2018 

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RSDSS Region 6 Family

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Sample Parent Ambassador Toolkit

 

Nominate a binder for the 2013 Top 10 Contest!

It’s that time of year again when you get to share with us a binder that you found really helpful or influential to you or your class. For the nominating process, first you share with us those helpful binders and then we will have a short voting period. When you nominate a binder, please describe why you are nominating the binder and we will add that to the voting binder for people to view.

Winners will receive a Top 10 label on their binder, have their binder posted on the Top 10 shelf, and receive bookmarks featuring their binder with a QR code for sharing. We would also like to give our winners an opportunity to share their insights and motivations for their binder when we make the announcement this year.

We look forward to seeing all the great LiveBinders you’ve used this year.

To make your nomination, please click on this Nomination binder:

Feel free to enter any number of binders from different categories (educational or other) – just be sure to share with us why you are nominating the binders.

Let the praise begin!

And the winners are…

First, congratulations to all of the 29 LiveBinder entries – out of over 100,000 binders, your binders were selected as a Top 10 Contender and that’s worth mentioning!  And to our Top 10 Favorite LiveBinder winners – double Congratulations are in order!!

For Barbara and I, it was so much fun to see the good sportsmanship carried out on twitter as all of you tried to engage people to participate.  We both had a good laugh when @mfisher1000 decided to take on the 3rd graders in @mthornton’s class. Who thought it would get that heated?

I think the main point to take a way from all of this is how useful your binders have been to people.  In this day and age where the internet is getting overwhelmingly bombarded with information – its nice to have people you trust and respect sort through content in a meaningful way.  We love the polished way in which these binders were carefully created. 

To honor all of the 2011 Top 10 binders, we’ve provided badges for your home pages and mini-badges that will appear next to your binder icons on your shelves and will also appear within your binders. We will email you your website badges shortly and your mini-badges should start showing up on your shelves and binders immediately.  Below are the Top 10 Favorite Binders – Congratulations everyone! 

Tina and Barbara

The LiveBinders community recently nominated and voted for their top ten LiveBinders. Here are the winners:

1. Michael Thornton’s

2. KB Konnected’s

3. Mike Fisher’s

4. Steven Anderson’s

5. Christopher Stefanski’s

6. Michelle Green’s

7. Marianne Griffith’s

8. Ann Marie Kennedy’s

9. Toby Price’s

10. Steven Anderson’s

Better Spelling Tips

Sometimes it just takes a little guidance to help a poor speller become a great speller.  In this livebinder are a few really good websites that break down spelling tips in a way that can help a young child develop good spelling habits.  This is not only useful for your 2nd grader, but your 5th grader, as well.  There is even an online free interactive game that your kids can play that will help them practice random spelling.  The game is located in the last tab of the binder below.

Click on this link to open the binder.