When Tara Martin took education by storm with her #booksnaps post on Dave Burgess’ Teach Like a Pirate website over a year ago, I was HOOKED! I loved the idea of making learning and thinking visible by snapping pictures of what I was reading and adding bitmojis, emojis, thought bubbles, and text! Talk about powerful reflection! I began creating my own #booksnaps of what I was reading and immediately found myself making deeper connections to the text and retaining what I learned. My mind started spinning….this may be the answer to a puzzle I had been trying to solve! I was determined to find a way to adapt this amazing idea into my culinary world?
In Culinary Arts, reflection time is sometimes difficult. In my hands-on Career and Technical Education class, students are preparing amazing culinary creations on the daily. I build in time to evaluate and reflect on learning at the end of the class period, but the reality is….sometimes we run out of time. Learning is messy...literally. With dishes to clean, counters to sanitize, and floors to sweep, the ending of class can be rushed. There isn’t always enough time to taste the food and give valuable feedback. This was a problem. When students make amazingly delicious food, what do they want to do? Eat it, of course! It would be cruel and unusual punishment to make them wait to eat it until the next day.
So it made me think.... My students love taking pictures of their food and posting it to Snapchat and Instagram! How cool would it be if they created #foodnaps of their finished products while their learning was still fresh in their minds and posted them to a Padlet!? We could look at them the next day and evaluate together as a class! I had a good feeling this was the answer I was looking for!
I couldn’t wait to get my students foodsnappin’ the next day. I created a Padlet with columns for each period and shared the link on my daily announcement in our Google Classroom. As I gave students instructions for the day’s lab, I explained we were going to reflect a little differently. I mirrored my phone to our AppleTV, gave them a quick tutorial, and showed them how to upload their pictures to Padlet. Of course, most already Snapchatted anyway, so they immediately caught onto the idea and couldn’t wait to start snappin!
There are so many things I love about reflecting with #foodsnaps!
Flexibility. Time is of the essence in Culinary. Not every team finishes at the same time. One false move during the lab, and it can set a team back 10 or more minutes. Some students finish their creations with time to spare, and others are running out the door in a frenzy as the bell rings. Flexible reflecting allows some students to complete their #foodsnaps during class if there is time, and others can wait till they get home and have time to process.
Personalized Reflection. I love that in a class where students are collaborating in teams to create, they have an opportunity to personalize their creations with bitmojis, emojis, backgrounds, and text. It also allows for them to reflect individually on their learning; making connections to past recipes they’ve made or food they’ve eaten.
Speaks their Language. As my friend Tara says, “let’s speak in a language that kids understand”. Students were already speaking in “Snapchat” language already to share their pictures of food with friends and family, why not use this in a deeper and more meaningful way to reflect on learning!
Global Connections. One way we’ve taken #foodsnaps to another level this year is by sharing our learning through global collaborations. Brandi Miller’s 1st grade class in Auberndale, Florida has partnered with ours to experience a little piece of culinary with us. I have shared the link to our #foodsnaps Padlet and her students vote on their favorite with the star feature! My students love to share their creations with these first graders, and the first graders love to take part in the learning by voting on their favorites.
Attach Recipes. With the link feature in Snapchat, students can upload their recipes! Not only do they have a visual representation of their learning, but with resources attached! Students can also upload sketchnotes and other resources they've created for their learning.
Here is a quick video tutorial of how to create a #foodsnap...
If it wasn’t for #booksnaps, this idea wouldn’t have been born. Check out @TaraMartinEDU’s website, for many resources for creating #booksnaps not only on Snapchat, but also Google Slides, Seesaw, Google Draw, and more! Also, follow @TaraMartinEDU on Twitter and join in the #booksnaps community!
Would love to see your #foodsnaps on Twitter! Don’t have a culinary class? Take pictures of your own culinary creations. Also, #booksnaps have lots of cousins! How could you use this powerful form of reflection in your world?!
One of my favorite ways to document my learning during a conference is to sketchnote the sessions and keynotes with visual images and text. It’s something that I truly look forward to. This past week I went to the Spring CUE conference in Palm Springs, CA and once again, I thoroughly enjoyed sketching the keynotes and sessions I attended. I have found I am able to focus better, make deeper connections to the ideas, and retain the information longer when I allow my thoughts to fill the page with images and text. However, as one of the last sessions was coming to a close, I looked at my sketch and realized something. Though, my page was filled with images and text, there was very little color or detail. That’s because it wasn’t complete. My favorite part of sketchnoting comes after the session....the beauty comes in the reflection.
At times I am able to reflect immediately after the learning and other times it happens later as I fly home or decompress from the experience in my pajama’s in the living room. It doesn’t matter when it occurs, but it always does. This past week, as I settled into the airport after going through security I pulled out my ipad pro and opened up Paper53 to look at my sketchnotes from the week. With each quote I read and image I saw, the memories from each session came flooding back and I began to process. I rewrote some of my text, added in images, wrapped some of my thoughts in containers and bubbles, and colored. As a person who recharges in solitude, the act of coloring and creating is therapeutic for me. It brings me back to being a kid sprawled out on my bedroom floor with my big box of crayons and a coloring book. Coloring between the lines and adding my own unique details to the page, allowed me to process the day. It gave me time to untangle all of my complicated thoughts and ideas and organize them into manageable chunks. This is exactly what happens when I reflect on my sketches. I am able to take the new ideas and content, connect it to prior knowledge, and sort it out into manageable chunks of information that are meaningful and actionable. I also find that taking the time to make my sketches visually appealing, brings me joy. Like a photograph, it captures a memorable moment in time that I want to revisit.
When I teach sketchnoting to my students I also share the importance of the reflection time. I tell them to not worry so much about adding color and detail when they are documenting their learning. If it helps them focus, do it. However, if it distracts them from making connections and focusing on what they are learning, wait until after. I always try to carve out a minimum of 10 minutes for students to process what they sketch, add details, color, and ask questions of those around them to fill in missing information or make sense of what they recorded in their notes. I have found that my students really appreciate this time. Just as I do, they find this time of reflection to be valuable for connecting and sorting their new ideas and organizing them into chunks that are meaningful and actionable. For some students, they want to complete their sketches at home in solitude….I allow this too.
Sometimes I think people feel that if they can’t draw images, text, color, and make it beautiful before the learning is over, sketchnoting isn’t for them. I thought this too at first. However, I know now that this just isn’t how I process. I need time to reflect, sort, organize, and color. My sketchnotes have evolved over time as I’ve developed my own style and flow. The more I sketch, the more I love it and appreciate how valuable it is to my learning. I also find it's a way for me to give back to those who have shared their heart and passion as well as share to those who were unable to take part in the experience.
Here are some of my finished sketchnotes from #CUE18 that I completed on my flights home. It was an honor to capture the amazing presentations from my friends @taramartinEDU @jmattmiller and @julnilsmith in a sketchnote.
Here's an example of one I started when watching an episode of The Great British Bake-Off with my students today. You can see I've added some text and images, and a little color, but haven't finished yet.
Today I bundled up and headed out for a morning run. Most often I’ll cue up my favorite podcast and learn while I run, but today I knew I needed to shut off my mind and just go. I reminisced about my college days running on the cliffs of Point Loma, California with my Discman blaring Counting Crows and James Taylor. People knew me as the “girl who runs”. Running has always been therapeutic for me, a way to run off the stress of life, reflect, and re-energize. My body craves it, and yet I have not always prioritized it in my life. It’s easy to do what’s comfortable, even though we know it may not be what’s best for us.
As I was running this morning, I began to think of the scary leaps ahead of me in my educational journey. I feel like I am standing at the door of a plane ready to dive head first into the unkown. I know it will be exhilarating and awesome once I make the leap, but right now I stand breathless and paralyzed. All of my past insecurities and fears come flooding back as my mind wants to focus on all the “what ifs” when I should be thinking of the “whys”.
Moments like this are humbling. I am a risk taker. I love trying new things and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. I continue to leap, because I’ve experienced the value and the exponential growth it has brought. However, this did not happen overnight. It took one leap, then another, and another, until taking leaps in learning became natural. Looking back, my past leaps seem small, however, at the time they seemed really big...jumping out of an airplane BIG! As I share about risk taking and pushing past the boundaries of what’s possible, I need to remember how scary some leaps are for people and though they may seem like small leaps to me, to others they are ENORMOUS! We all have our fears and insecurities and what is comfortable for me may be paralyzing for someone else and vice versa. In fact to some, leaping out of a plane isn’t scary at all!
I am lucky to have encouraging people in my life. I have an amazing husband and family that cheer me on and dear local and PLN friends that give unexpected words of encouragement just when I most need it, reminding me of my “Why”. It’s amazing to know that others believe in you; cheering you on and ready to celebrate not only when you land, but when you jump! I want to be that same kind of encourager to others, always remembering how scary leaps can be. I want to cheer loudly and celebrate extravagantly the leaps of my colleagues and PLN as well, just as others have done for me.
Today I reflect on my past leaps and how much I’ve grown from each one. Each risk has brought exponential growth, and I know that those to come will be no different. Sometimes we need to look back on how far we've come to give us courage to keep moving ahead in our journey. I am encouraged in my educational journey by the words of so many that I highly respect:
“Being overwhelmed can lead to so much doubt. But even as I struggle with doubt from time to time, I’ve learned not to allow it to take root in my life. The way to beat it is to surround yourself with others who will remind you that you matter, that your work matters, and that you are making a difference”
-Adam Welcome #KidsDeserveIt
“We are each uniquely designed and have strengths that are specific to us as individuals. It’s like the beads in an old-school kaleidoscope toy; no two combinations are ever equivalent.”
-Tara Martin #REALedu #BookSnaps
“You can offer no finer gift or higher honor to the world than to find out what your drum is and then play it for all it’s worth.”
-Dave Burgess #TLAP
"You may feel like you have nothing to say, but you do have a story to tell”
-George Couros #InnovatorsMindset
“You don’t have to go as fast as everyone else, find your own rhythm.”
-Dan Tricarico #TheZenTeacher
“Perhaps not everyone can change the world, but everyone can make a positive influence in the world and in the lives of those around them.
-Jennifer Casa-Todd #SocialLEADIA
“Life is all about leaving a legacy”
-Michael Matera #XPLAP
Grab your parachute and take the leap!
Cheer on and celebrate others that are leaping too!
We all need to have people that believe in us!
This past week, The Amazing Race: International Cuisine was launched in Culinary Arts 3! With a refined game structure and new game mechanics, I am confident it will be the most AMAZING season yet! There are plenty of twists and turns to keep teams on their toes and we have some global collaborations in place that are already taking this game to another level!
My inspiration for my theme is the reality television game show, The Amazing Race that has been airing for 30 seasons on CBS. In this show, teams of two race around the globe competing with other contestants to get to each destination “Pit Stop” first. Contestants arriving first get special prizes and game advantages and last to arrive is eliminated from the race. As teams travel to various locations around the world, they are unlocking the clues provided at route markers in each leg that lead them to the next destination. Some clues direct them to perform a task that are related in some manner to the country wherein they are located or it’s culture. In each leg, teams are eliminated until three remain and vie to reach the the final destination first.
I used the basic game structure and mechanics of this popular television show to create my own culinary version. This is my basic game plan, however there are sure to be plenty of surprises along the way in our amazing race adventures!
Before the game launch, students form teams and create names and promotional video trailers. Spending a few days doing this allows students to bond with new team members before the race begins. I love the laughter, fun, and creativity that went into the creation of each of the team names and their video productions.
On game day, students come in to The Amazing Race theme song playing in the background. I have 8 tables set up with a Chromebook and an envelope labeled, "Route Information". Projected on the screen it says, “Get ready! The first leg of The Amazing Race is about to begin!
I tell students that when the clock starts, they are on a race to find their first route marker. They need to open the envelope revealing three images and figure out what location they all have in common. Once they determine that location, which is Lyon, France, they must run to find it on the globe I have at the front of the room. If they guess correctly, they will be handed another envelope that contains another clue. This clue is an image of a famous restaurant in Lyon. They have to locate the image in Google Maps and in Street View find the man in the red chef’s coat. This man holds the first route marker! When teams show me the man in red, I hand them a laminated route marker that is numbered with the place they arrived (ie. 1, 2, 3, etc.)
Once all teams have received their route markers, it is time to select their countries! I tell them this first leg of the race will be Europe! I have chosen 4 countries in Europe that they will be choosing from to research and prepare a dish for. Four weeks from now when we arrive at the Pit Stop, teams will be presenting what they’ve learned and a dish they prepared from that country for an authentic audience of local chefs and staff members.
The name of each country is on a 3x5 card with the word “entree” or “dessert”. To keep things exciting, I also wrote "Wild Card" on one card. If a team chooses the “Wild Card” they can select anywhere in Europe that they’d like. Starting with the Route Marker #1, teams in consecutive order select their country & meal category. This will be the country that they will be researching for leg 1 of the race!
The Amazing Race is off to an EPIC* start! Stay tuned, many more exciting adventures in The Amazing Race to come! Follow us on #culinarySMHS for race updates!
*I was informed by my son today that the word EPIC was outdated and laughable. I say... it’s making a comeback!
Everywhere I turn I find frustrated teachers. These words echo in my head from bits of conversations I hear...
...they want to be entertained
...they don't show up on time
...they are entitled
...they lack focus
...they are lazy
...they don't meet deadlines
...so much pressure
...too many initiatives
...too many students
...too many hoops
...not enough time...
This week was an extremely difficult one for me. I just started a new semester with new kiddos, and have half of the energy I started with at the beginning of the school year. It took everything in me to fight these thoughts from creeping into my mind. I'm exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed. I pushed the negative back by taking some time to reflect on what I do and how I do it. The words "innovate inside of the box" came to mind, so I picked up one of my favorite books, Innovator's Mindset, and began reading...
"Let’s not kid ourselves. In education, especially the public sector, schools are not overloaded with funding. Innovating in our schools requires a different type of thinking, one that doesn’t focus on ideas that are “outside of the box” but those that allow us to be innovative despite budgetary constraints. In other words, we need to learn to innovate inside the box." -- George Couros
Many of us in education can say our schools are lacking either funding, resources, time, technology, or support... It's the box we live in. However, it's how we innovate inside those constraints that make the difference. Do we focus on all the limitations we have, or do we get creative and think about how we can do something new and better within the box we are given.
George Couros talks about the following 8 Characteristics of an Innovator's Mindset in his book and now as I read them again, I realize the extreme degree my mindset has shifted over the past few years and how it truly has saved me from the frustrations and burn out that so many educators face.
1. Empathetic - I am continuously asking myself the George Couros question, "Would I want to be a learner in my own classroom?" We can't expect our students to respond to the same methods of learning that we did. They are growing up in a different era. When we put ourselves in their shoes and see the world as they do, we will create learning experiences that are powerful. Inspired by Tara Martin’s BookSnaps idea, my students create FoodSnaps to reflect on their creations using Snapchat; a tool that speaks their language. This is just one example of finding ways to create learning experiences that meets students where they’re at.
2. Problem Finders/Solvers - I spend a lot less time on posing problems to students, and let them find the problems instead. So much learning happens when we get out of the way and encourage our students to find their own solutions. They become empowered and truly make learning their own. Instead of feeding students tons of information to consume, I now have students find this information on their own as well as find and solve their own problems. To take it further, creating authentic audiences by inviting in restaurant owners and staff for students to share their learning with takes it to a completely different level as the relevance and meaning skyrockets.
3 . Risk Takers - For many years, I waited for perfect before I launched a new idea or lesson. The reality was, more often than not, perfect never came and I just continued maintaining the status quo in fear that my new idea would fail. Since embracing an Innovator’s Mindset, I don’t fear risk taking anymore. I am continually pushing the boundaries of what’s possible to create amazing experiences for my students. Those ideas and lessons do fail at times, but the wins far outweigh the losses and I’ve grown leaps and bounds in the iterative process of refining my practice. I also have found that modeling that risk taking with my students is so vital.. Students get used to my crazy ideas and embrace them as we learn together. Experiencing my boldness in teaching gives them the freedom to risk boldly too. So much growth happens when we take big leaps.
4. Networked - There was a time that I lived in a culinary silo. I went through my school days feeling isolated and alone. How could anyone relate to my world of Chef’s knives and saute’ pans? I was so wrong. Once I discovered Twitter and began developing a Professional Learning Network, a whole new world opened up to me! I realized that that it was ridiculous to remain in a culinary silo when there were educators from across the educational spectrum from Kindergarten through Higher Education that I could not only learn from, but collaborate with! I begun to share the learning that was happening in my class and found ways to integrate the ideas I was learning from other educators into my class as well. I started participating in and even moderating Twitter chats to develop deeper connections. I joined in Voxer communities to discuss books and topics that I was passionate about. Without a doubt, I’ve grown exponentially as an educator since I’ve become globally connected.
5. Observant - George Couros says, “Sometimes the most valuable thing you get from the network ins’t an idea but the inspiration or courage to try something new.” I find this to be so true. I have become so much more courageous in my teaching as I’ve been inspired by my PLN. I look at my world through a new lense now as well. When I read, run, hike, watch TV, people watch, and go through my normal day to day life, I am continuously looking for inspiration to bring into my classroom. It is amazing how many ideas are just waiting for us to grab hold of them and make them our own brand of awesome!
6. Creators - Learning is powerful when students go beyond consumption to creation. My classes are creation-based by nature; students are collaborating on a daily basis to create amazing food. However, creating has taken on a whole new meaning as students are not just following recipes, but taking the skills and techniques they learn to make something entirely new. Empowering students to make learning their own by coming up with their own creations is one of the most powerful things to experience as an educator. To see their face light up with pride as they present their unique and delicious dishes makes my heart leap with joy. Learning becomes so much more rich and meaningful when we give students opportunities to create and connect at this level.
7. Resilient - This past week my students reviewed safety and sanitation by working in teams to solve a digital breakout. I have never seen my students so engaged and immersed in learning about safe food handling practices and during my 7th block of the day! It was difficult and challenging, but they were all in! Well, all but one student whose comment made me internally bristle, “Mrs. Richmond, why don’t you just have us do a worksheet…it would be easier.” Well, yes it would be easier…much easier. Though, I will guarantee that the answers that are regurgitated from that worksheet would not be retained or hold as much meaning as what is learned from the critical thinking and collaborating that happened as students gathered around to unlock the series of digital break out clues. How often are we encouraging our students to stretch their thinking? Are we feeding them the answers, or challenging them in a safe environment where they can take risks, fail, and risk again? Additionally, I’ve come to realize that not everyone is going to agree with my approach to teaching and learning. It hurts sometimes, but I know what I’m doing works because my students are evidence of that. I have to continue doing what I know is working, even when others don’t see the value or agree.
8. Reflective - One of the most powerful things I’ve begun to do as an educator is reflect regularly. Blog writing has become a wonderful and powerful way for me to not only document and share my learning, but to reflect on it myself. The more I do it, the more I crave it. I am able to make deeper connections as I put my practice into words and truly think about what is working and what is not. I also love to sketchnote my learning. When I read a book, attend PD, or listen to a podcast, I often will sketch my learning during and after to make deeper connections and allow it to resonate. As George states, “Looking back is crucial to moving forward.” Having my blog posts and sketchnotes to look back on has been powerful for me as I continue to learn and grow as an educator.
I can’t express enough how powerful these Innovator’s Mindset characteristics have been in my EDUjourney. They have helped transform me as an educator as I embrace “change as an opportunity to do something amazing”! As I hit the midyear mark this week, I can tell you, I am EXHAUSTED! Teaching is extremely hard work. We invest so much of ourselves in the lives of kids. There are days I am frustrated, tired, and feel like I do not have an ounce of energy left. All that to say, since developing an Innovator’s Mindset, those days don’t define me as an educator. No matter how strong my feelings of frustration or exhaustion gets, my passion for teaching and learning is stronger. Innovation is contagious! Don’t get stuck in your box….find ways to do something amazing within it. The more you innovate, the more you’ll crave it!
Culinary teacher & Discovery School Lead in Southern Oregon, passionate about finding innovative ways to make learning magical for students. Love to gamify!