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Growth Mindset for Teachers

Growth Mindset for Teachers

As the new school year gets underway, teachers across the country will be working to develop positive learning cultures in their classrooms. Many will extol the virtues of a growth mindset, pushing their students to try, fail, and try again in the name of learning.

Carol Dweck’s popular (and often misunderstood) research has become a pervasive force in classrooms, teaching students to change the way they view effort and success. In one classroom I visited, I saw a poster that gave examples of fixed vs. growth mindsets, including “Instead of: “This is too hard.” Say: “This may take some time and effort.” The students were prompted to add “yet” each time they said “I don’t know how to do this,” and were rewarded with stickers of superheroes saying “I never give up!”

We demand this of our children, but what about ourselves?

When I facilitate sessions about incorporating technology in the classroom, I see teachers disengage, roll their eyes, and start skimming Facebook after the first few things they tried took longer than they anticipated.

Technology is moving quickly, and our brains don’t move as quickly as our students in adopting it. There’s not enough time in the day; we have too many classes and not enough planning periods. Our principals already paid for one tool — why one more? Yes, sure, I hear you. But more than that, I believe every educator owes it to themselves (and the students they serve) to try a new technology tool this year, and I mean really try it with an open mind.

The International Society for Technology in Education, a.k.a. ISTE, defines this challenge in one of their standards for teachers, emphasizing a cycle of exploration, reflection, and planning that can take entire school years to get right:

Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness

Regardless of our own difficult experiences learning new technology, limiting the way we teach to the ways we were taught can only set them up for failure. The jobs of the future demand students that are adaptable, reflective learners. Using technology to seek information, present ideas, and collaborate increases student engagement, builds confidence and communication skills, and makes it easier for teachers to support a variety of learning styles. We must adapt to our students’ futures, not ask them to adapt to our pasts.

Modeling a Growth Mindset in the Classroom

Searching for just the right tool for your classroom will take time. Your students are unique, and your teaching style is developed authentically over time. So, you’ll need to invest time to learn the ins and outs of your new toy. You’ll click the wrong buttons. You’ll screw up the settings. Start over. Try again. Ask for help. Get frustrated. Have a breakthrough.

Just as we demand that our students pause and reflect before they say, “I can’t” and return to the comfort of the known, teachers should do the same. Invest in your own teacher tool belt. Just as when your new smartphone comes, you spend time to download your favorite apps and music and make it your own, invest that time in your classroom technology.

Part of getting accustomed to a new tool involves setting goals for its use. This goes beyond the prescribed methods that supposedly work in every classroom. As a teacher, you know the ins and outs of instruction better than anyone.  As you warm up for the new school year, make time to figure out how a tool can adapt to best fit your practices—not the other way around.

Administrators — it’s on you to make space for this in your schools. ISTE has standards and resources to support school leaders in developing a culture of genuine inquiry and innovation. Give your teachers time and ask them lots of questions — it’s what they’re asking for!

Kiddom was custom-built to combine multiple tools into one integrated education platform. We help educators establish a streamlined workflow to save teachers time and improve student outcomes, while also offering schools and districts significant cost savings. 

Get Started: Curriculum Development and Personalizing Assignments

Get Started: Curriculum Development and Personalizing Assignments

Kiddom’s Planner and Timeline are curriculum development tools that work together to help you plan ahead, then modify assignments when you need to.

Your Timeline (left) and Planner (right) work together to help you plan and deliver the right materials when you need them.


What is Planner?

You can think of Planner as a digital curriculum binder or bookshelf, storing resources like lesson plans, activities, worksheets, and videos for later use.

With Planner, you’re free to access any of the curricula you design from within any class: the activities and resources can be assigned to any student in any class.


Planner (at right) can be made up of assignments, playlists, and resources


Planner is organized to help you think about the big picture, but then dig deeper. Structurally, it’s laid out like this:

  • Curriculum: This is one overarching set of units. Every new class has a “Master Curriculum” with the same name as the class. This curriculum will be shared with your co-teachers who have access to your class.
  • Unit: a unit can be organized around a topic or skill, and includes playlists or individual assignments. Unit titles and descriptions are only visible to teachers — not students — as it is purely a way to organize things.
  • Assignment Groups: a number of assignments that are grouped together to serve a purpose, such as remediation, self-paced instruction, differentiation, review, or by topic. The assignments in them can be assigned to students together as a set or individually.
  • Assignment: When you create an assignment in Planner, you can add an attachment from your computer, Google Drive, or Kiddom’s library. You will add standards, due dates, and grading settings when you assign it to students.

What is Timeline?

Your Timeline shows you (and your students) assessments and resources that have been assigned. It shows all of the assignments you have sent to your class (or an individual student), in chronological order. You can even filter assignments that are late or you haven’t graded yet.



You can create assignments directly in Timeline, but these will only be available in the class you’re in. To be able to re-use the assignment in the future or in another class, consider creating the assignment in Planner first.

How do Planner and Timeline work together?

Once you’ve made an assignment or playlist in Planner, you can drag it over into your Timeline to assign it to an individual student, a group, or the whole class. The original assignment (or playlist) remains exactly the same in your Planner to be used again, and a copy of it is created in your Timeline. You can edit the assignment that’s in your Timeline to modify standards, rubrics, points, a due date, or more detailed instructions for your current class.


Easily drag-and-drop assignments and playlists from Planner into Timeline


Use these tools in tandem for more efficient planning, and spend more time getting to know your students, analyzing their work, and giving them feedback. Happy Planning!

Read more about using Planner like Pinterest or get additional curriculum planning support from our Help Desk.

Book a 1:1 demo with a Kiddom team member for personalized support.

Collaborative Teaching in Our Pilot Schools: 3 Case Studies

Collaborative Teaching in Our Pilot Schools: 3 Case Studies

When co-teachers are in sync, classes move more smoothly from entry routine to exit ticket. And when teachers have tools to communicate more efficiently, they can build curriculum that helps students thrive.

When students get off-track, teachers come together to support, leveraging the skills of all adults. But when collaboration falters, it stunts student growth. Lack of structured co-planning can prevent teachers from sharing student data or anecdotes, and curriculum planning or interventions fail.

Fostering collaborative adult relationships is both an art and a science. Some of the work is investing time to get to know each other as whole people, leading with inquiry and empathy, and supporting each other’s learning. In today’s classrooms, there are often several adults supporting students in various capacities. Each adult has a role to play in the development of crucial student skills, and if they can’t work together, student achievement suffers. But there is also a crucial, technical aspect to collaboration in the 21st century. When you are responsible for writing curriculum, presenting to students, and assessing their progress as a team, the tools you use to communicate are a core part of your work.

At Kiddom, we’re excited about our newest collaboration features to help teachers save time and plan more efficiently, giving them time to get to know their colleagues and work more productively together.

Collaboration Made Easy

  • Adding a collaborator is as simple as entering their email address — once they accept, you can begin working together.
  • Share your classes with multiple adults — there is no limit to the number of collaborators each class can have. And there are levels of sharing and editing access to ensure that everyone can play a role.

Each of the schools within Kiddom’s pilot community are using collaboration features a little differently, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Here’s how some of our pilot communities are collaborating to make strides this year.

Case Study #1: Support the Whole Child Together

In one small, private special education pilot Kiddom school, there are as many therapists and paraprofessionals providing services to students as there are classroom teachers. In order for student treatment to be effective, adults must be consistent in their expectations for students, and need constant access to student data to keep families informed of progress. For this reason, each teacher has added every speech therapist, occupational therapist, or counselor as a “view only” collaborator to see student grades and assignments. With this information, students can develop and track progress towards time management goals in counseling sessions, work with teaching assistants to make up missing work, or practice strategies learned in speech therapy using actual class assignments.

Case Study #2: Innovating Together

In another Kiddom pilot community, students will use a flex blended learning model to work on projects at their own pace, following personalized pathways based on their mastery levels in individual academic skills. Rather than move room to room for isolated disciplines every period, multi-subject teachers will act as facilitators and coaches in the room, guiding students through flexible, interdisciplinary projects. In this scenario, one head teacher acts as “owner” of the Kiddom account, created one class with all of the students and their personalized goals. Then, the rest of the team teachers are added as co-teachers with editing privileges in order to assign them projects and give students feedback.

Case Study #3: Sharing Outside of School

Many of the educators using Kiddom to collaborate are homeschool families working together to ensure that their students have access to quality materials. Homeschool families may not be able to see each other daily like traditional school communities, but with Kiddom, they can use Planner and our Library to plan units, and swap them with families who have created other content. Why reinvent the wheel when you can share in the workload?

The Kiddom team is committed to helping your school community grow. We want to hear and learn how your teacher teams are using our collaboration features. Tweet at us using #SharingIsCaring with collaboration tips!

Editor’s note: If your school or district is ready to join the Kiddom pilot community, click here to learn more. For resources on how to get started, check out our help desk or schedule a personalized, one-on-one demo.

Building “Good Noise” in Classrooms

Building “Good Noise” in Classrooms

The principal slams the door open and skids into my high school English classroom, sweating and red-faced, eyes darting across the room. Most students barely notice him come in; they’re all standing in clusters rehearsing opening remarks and giving each other pep talks. The two young women closest to the door look up at him, eyebrows raised, and then scan the room to see who’s in trouble.

“What’s happening….” he trails off. “Oh…I…thought. Um. What are you guys working on?”

A student silently points to the board. “Final debate prep begins now!” warns the SMARTBoard, with a timer ticking down the seconds until the main event.

“We’re getting ready to debate about these uniforms you got us wearing,” and I saw the realization pass across his face. The class was buzzing with energy, but was decidedly not out of control.

The principal finally leans in to me and says, “I thought they were fighting but…this is good noise,” as he walks out.

For decades, students were told to be compliant, to speak only when spoken to, and teachers with noisy classrooms were considered ineffective. Today, we know it’s more nuanced than that. Sure, kids shouting over each other or disrupting quiet work time is still inappropriate. But increased student talk time has also been proven to be an indicator of classrooms that breed inquiry, engagement, and achievement.

That “good noise” is fostered by curriculum with explicit instruction and practice with speaking and listening and collaboration skills. Debates, group projects, Socratic seminars, presentations, or competitions are all fertile ground for the development of academic skills alongside key social emotional competencies. Kiddom’s planning and assessment tools make it easier to give students ownership of their learning.

Use Planner to create Playlists, or groups of resources, to increase the amount of accountable student talk and engagement.

  • Students working in groups can be assigned individual roles based on their strengths and growth areas. For example, make a playlist for the “Presenter” that has exemplar speeches, checklists for rehearsing and soliciting feedback, and worksheets for anticipating audience questions. Each role gets their own, specialized playlist once the students have chosen or been assigned.
  • Provide student choice in topics for writing or research projects. Simply create Playlists of key texts and drag and drop them to your timeline to assign them to the students who chose each topic.

Teach Social Emotional Learning Skills in Context

  • Align assignments to CASEL’s social emotional standards and use pre-loaded SEL rubrics in tandem with academic standards to give students feedback on their ability to negotiate conflict with peers, communicate clearly, or seek help when needed.
  • Kiddom has pre-loaded speaking and listening standards from the Common Core or your state — assess students on the content of their presentation and on their ability to communicate.
  • Create custom standards in Kiddom to move students towards a class culture goal.

Beautiful Reports Support Student Self-Advocacy

  • Use Kiddom’s simple but detailed mastery reports to conference with students in groups or individually about their progress, gain insight into their perspectives, and use the information to tailor instruction further.
  • Kiddom’s student dashboard also makes it easy for them to log in at any time and see how they are doing, send a message to teachers for help, or guide their study focus.

At a typical Kiddom school, hands are in the air, there’s a buzz in the room, and teachers and students are energized. Kiddom was designed to help improve teacher retention and increase student performance and graduation rates.

For the first time, the most important parts of teaching and learning are connected and simplified in Kiddom. Curriculum lives in one place and is easily measured and refined, instruction is personalized to meet the needs of each student, and data serves as a powerful system of support for every member of the learning community to keep students on track.

Use Planner Like Pinterest — 5 Tips for Saving Teaching Resources

Use Planner Like Pinterest — 5 Tips for Saving Teaching Resources

Last week I went to see Pipeline, a riveting play, at least on its surface, about education. I left the theater fantasizing about the opportunities for lesson plans that lived within the lines of the play. I went home and googled the Gwendolyn Brooks poem repeated throughout the narrative. I read an article about the playwright. I scanned YouTube for clips from The Wire and Dangerous Minds, both referenced by teachers in the play. I knew I’d want to use each of these things in unit or lesson plans someday, but I wasn’t quite sure how it all fit together. So, instead of pinning them to be lost between craft videos and recipes or saving them to a never-ending list of bookmarks, I added them to my Planner in Kiddom.

For teachers using Kiddom, when you find excellent curriculum resources and content, you can save them down in your Planner, organized in units or playlists, without assigning it to students until you (or they) are ready. Saving ideas on Pinterest to use later means remembering what you Pinned, searching through your boards to find it, and downloading it to send digitally or to print for students. With Kiddom’s Planner, you skip all of that and simply drag-and-drop the assignments into your Timeline to assign them to your class, students grouped by mastery level, or an individual student. Here are 5 tips for using Planner to save teaching resources.

1. Spark Creativity

To store thought-provoking photographs or illustrations to use as inspiration for daily free-write prompts or art critiques. Simply download the image in .pdf or .jpg format and attach them to the assignments, upload them to Google Drive (using Kiddom’s Google Drive integration), or copy-and-paste the URL into the assignment description.



2. Build Student Ownership

Offering students choice is a classic strategy to increase engagement, but it can be time-consuming to gather multiple sets of resources to meet student interest during the school year. With Planner, you can gather resources ahead of time, give students a range of options, and once they’ve chosen, assign them only relevant texts or assignments.



3. Enrich or Remediate

Students learn best when they learn at their own pace. If your Reports tell you that some students are still developing in a skill, you can assign them extra resources like videos or lower-level texts that you’ve stored in Planner. When a student is ready to move ahead after mastering one assignment, you can send them more challenging extension activities directly from Planner and right on time.



4. Bring Current Events to Life

History teachers can help students draw connections by saving current events articles that connect to historical topics, and assign when they reach that point in time. Math teachers can save articles about “math in the news” to ground theoretical concepts in everyday language. Saving articles means that you won’t have to waste time searching around to find that article from a few weeks ago — upload it to planner and it will be waiting for you.



5. Set Goals and Reflect

Strong social emotional skills can support students in becoming lifelong learners. Part of developing strong self-management and awareness skills is reflecting on your own progress and setting goals to improve. Pairing Planner with Kiddom’s Reports means being able to ask students to pause, reflect, and plan exactly at the right moment. Setting goals in the middle of a project may be frustrating for one student, and another student may need to complete personal reflection activities more frequently. With Planner, you’re a few seconds closer to more independent, thoughtful students.



A teacher friend once told me, “every time I ride the train, I see something I want to teach about. Content is everywhere.” She’s right. In this information age, there’s so much out there for our students to explore. With Planner, save the things that are just right for your students, and start the year strong. When you and your students are ready, drag-and-drop them into your classes and teach away.

P.S. At Kiddom, we support teachers in guiding 21st century students as active, engaged citizens. Book a free PD consult to learn more.

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