Kristi's Portfolio Best Practices in Elementary & Secondary instruction

Assignments Designed for the 21st Century

Personalized Action Plan: My Best Learning Experience

I got the most out of the Personalized Action Plan assignment because all of the goals had a positive impact on the students and staff in our building. I am a practitioner over a theorist. Practical ideas and activities mean more to me than a bunch of research. Research plays an important role and has it's place in education. However, I am task based and enjoyed the process of creating and working on activities that would both create a spark of innovation and meet important accomplishments that continue to brand our school as a school of excellence.

Goal #1 involved earning Common Sense Media School Certification. Luckily, our school had already held a Digital Citizenship Day on Oct. 20th which led to our certification.

Students taking part in Common Sense Media lessons on Digital Citizenship.
Buffett Magnet Middle School earned Common Sense Media Certification in November, 2017.

Goal #2 was to use Skype in the Classroom.

Mrs. Guy's class Skyped with the Virginia Historical Society. The topic was: The Civil War-An American Turning Point.

Goal #3 was to plan and create a professional development experience for the teachers of my building based on best practices learned in the activities of this class.

"Rather than limiting educators' initiative, and thereby students' learning opportunities, let's create environments of competitive collaboration, where educators at all levels push and help one another to become better." George Couros
“Our job, sometimes, is simply to be the spark, help build confidence, and then get out of the way." George Couros
These pictures are from professional learning that took place in Oct. and Nov. at Buffett. The plan is to recreate this atmosphere with some new topics and practices according to philosophies learned in George Couros' book, "An Innovator's Mindset" and the 21CLD courses.

21st Century Learning Design Constructed Learning Activity

21st Century Learning Design Badge for Course Completion
Just a few pics of some 21st Century Learning taking place at Buffett. Pic 1-Sphero Obstacle Course, Pic 2-QR Code Scavenger Hunt, Pic 3-Engagement/Blended Learning with Kahoot!

Small Group Professional learning Project on Formative Assessment

I unfortunately missed the presentation part of this activity due to illness. I enjoyed working through planning a professional learning experience with classmates that modeled 21st Century Learning Design.

Photo Credit: Eileen Heller

Chalk and Wire Portfolio artifact Narrative

Blog Posts

Writing a blog post was something I never really saw myself doing. Being forced into writing a blog post, I gotta be honest, I wasn't very happy about it. The bi-weekly blog posts were by far the most difficult for me. I would put it off until the last day and then stress out about it forever! The posts took be a very long time to write-easily 3-4 hours each time. I probably could have reduced that time by doing some better pre-planning and prep but, alas, I did not! The blog posts were also the assignment that most surprised me the most. Maybe Eileen told everyone to tweet out their blog posts, I'll never know, but I took it as a compliment. Did I ever tweet them? No, I am still not confident in my writing to expose myself to that many people. I was surprised that what I wrote was deemed worthy enough for others to benefit from and read though and appreciate the compliment.

Post #1: To what extent do current standards and curriculum prepare students to take their place in the 21st Century? How can you empower learners, both students and staff, in your school?

Post #2: How do you know what your teaching is important for students to learn? How can you be an effective leader of change in your building?

Post #3: How and why should you build leaders of change in your school? What makes a professional development experience a meaningful experience?

Post #4: How can you provide meaningful experiences for your staff/students in your school? How do you, your school, and/or your district know you are successfully integrating technology and building 21st Century Skills for all learners?


I enjoyed the work of this class and appreciated the rigor and nudge to move out of my comfort zone (blogs). That being said, I think this course could do without the note-taking assignments mostly because I feel like the blog posts demonstrate an understanding of the texts read. This may have just been me and probably was, but I sometimes had trouble following all the directions and requirements. I think it was because we typed all of our work on the same document of the directions making the documents very long by the time they were complete. I think it would have been easier to have all the directions/requirements on one document and the work on another.

Advice to Future Students

Throughout the weeks of this course there was a lot of talk about the quantity of work required. I enjoyed the assignments and felt like the work completed was the most practical and meaningful of the courses in this program so far. I much preferred the work of the this course in comparison to the amount of papers I had to write for the course on differentiation. That being said, this course does require a lot of work. I don't feel it requires more work than other courses. There are just a lot of long term assignments that make it feel like more work. My advice is to get a strong start and make sure to chip away at assignments on schedule. For example, with the course goals, be sure to do something every week towards the goals. If each week, you find yourself writing that you're still working but have made no progress, you're going to be in trouble at the end. Further advice would be to choose things to complete in assignments that you've been wanting to do anyway or wish someone would do for you. This course offers the opportunity to practically implement concepts and content learned.


Kristi Tolliver

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