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What Changes When You Think About Your Thinking?

Written By: Paula Neidlinger - May• 02•14

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur job is not to make up anybody’s mind, but to open minds and to make the agony of the decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking.

~Author Unknown

Change is the result of creating a classroom environment of engaged and empowered students who feel they have control over their education and are willing to think about their thinking.  Personal growth results from inspiration, imagination, collaboration, and creation- values we all need to embrace.  During the last eight months, my students have become agents of change through the power of passion, perseverance, curiosity, and thinking.  These changes are a direct result of my own change in thinking- all as a result of becoming a connected educator.

I first began rethinking – my thinking- this past summer after reading Classroom Habitudes by @Angela Maier, as part of the Indiana eLearning Book Club series.  The reading and collaboration that followed, led me to more research into the concept of Genius Hour.  Through the encouragement of @JoyKirr, I boarded the Genius Hour retinue in January of this year.  Anti-bullying programs, Autism Awareness campaigns, community volunteer programs, Garments for Goodwill school campaign,  and Riley’s Hospital writing initiative, are all examples of how Genius Hour has ignited my students’ drive to make a difference in the world around them.   Students have transformed their ideas into reality by changing how they think about their thinking.

“Since philosophy is the art which teaches us how to live, and since children need to learn it as much as we do at other ages, why do we not instruct them in it?”

Michel De Montaigne On Education 1533-1592


I truly believe a mind-shift is only limited by our own thinking. The Indiana Department of eLearning has played a significant role in my mind-shift this past year.  Through encouragement from our Indiana eLearning Leaders, Michelle Green – @mrg_3 ; Candace Dodson- @candacedodson; Meri Carnahan- @mkcarnahan ;  and Jason Bailey- @jbailey626, I not only attended several 2013 Summer of eLearning conferences but was a presenter at several as well.  I’m honored and excited to once again be presenting at several “Dive In” eLearning conferences during the summer of 2014.  We are very fortunate in Indiana to have an eLearning team, which consistently promotes and encourages self-growth, collaboration, and thinking for all.  I encourage all educators to take advantage of their state’s eLearning workshops and conferences, as mind-shift opportunities.  Become a ‘Connected Educator’- immerse yourself in thinking.thinking1

Social Media, specifically Thursday night INelearn “Tweet-Ups,” have provided the educational vehicle for sharing and collaborating with incredible, passionate educators from across the state on a weekly basis.   It has opened my eyes and ears to people that have changed the way I think and teach and has pushed my beliefs.  Michelle Green, leader and ‘Tweet-Up’ connoisseur, pointed out during a recent ‘tweet-up’- “We sometimes forget that as educators, we need to step out of our comfort zone as well- we don’t need to have all the answers.”  This quote is the epitome of my change in thinking. I encourage all educators to ‘Connect’ with your colleagues through social media such as Twitter- immerse yourself in thinking.

Now, 104,000+ page views and 33 blog posts later, I’ve learned several things about blogging, and how reflection is a necessary component when thinking about my thinking.  First, and foremost, writing consistently twice a week for the last eight months has been a high hurdle to clear.  There were some weeks when I was completely stumped about what to write, but I learned that reading consistently impacted my thinking and writing.  Social media opened the doors to numerous viewpoints, other than my own, which reinforced the idea that – just when you think you have education figured out- you don’t.  We are each the best teacher among us.  We need to take the time to read, listen, and learn from one another.  I urge all educators to read, write, and blog- reflect on your thinking.

We don’t need thinking2all of the answers.   If we choose to move forward and get out of our box, whatever it is, others will follow.  We never know when our own passion for learning and thinking will be the fortifying force in a student’s life.  Our thinking habits become models to the students who look up to us.  Read, write, collaborate, and communicate- immerse yourself in thinking about your thinking.  I am a teacher with a passion for thinking and learning, encapsulating the young, inquisitive minds in my classroom.


The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking. ~Albert Einstein

Thinking About Our Thinking


How has your thinking changed?




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