By Amanda Schaffer on April 26th, 2018
Continuous improvement isn’t just for those who need to work on specific skills.
Continuous improvement is for every professional, every teacher, every student, every person. At Florida Virtual School, we engage in professional learning because we never want to stop growing, expanding our “good enough” to our greatest potential. Continue reading
By Amanda Schaffer on October 12th, 2017
I’m not a science teacher. But I know that when the dark, gray, thick clouds roll in, it means rain isn’t far behind. Most people see dark clouds as foreboding and impending doom.
When they roll in, they run for cover. Continue reading
By Mary Mitchell on April 19th, 2017
At FLVS, our growing and learning continues daily! Learning isn’t just something our students do each and every day – our teachers do too.
Our professional learning team is an incredible group of educators who work tirelessly to help our teachers grow and learn so they can all reach their students effectively.
There are all kinds of exciting initiatives rooted in the Professional Learning team that we’re focused on in 2017.
We have amazing team members who benefit our teachers and staff with their commitment to providing stellar professional learning opportunities across our district.
Here are a few of the exciting learning opportunities we have for our teachers and staff to keep growing and learning: Continue reading
By Amanda Schaffer on March 1st, 2017
Last month I saw the movie “Hidden Figures” and I was so incredibly inspired.
I am a former English teacher, so my love is words and writing and reading. But I ventured to see this movie because it empowers women and sheds light on some pretty amazing mathematicians who had the power to make this word-loving English teacher a fan of math. I mean, as a teacher I’ve always loved data, but for me, seeing this movie reinforced why numbers are just as important as words.
We look at data a lot in education, but most of the time I believe we are just looking at numbers and not really grasping the full story data can tell us.
Data does tell a story.
Sometimes it’s a story we don’t want to hear; sometimes it’s a story we already know and we’re just validated. Sometimes it’s a story we never gave any thought and a whole new path is opened for us. If the data you look at regularly is just numbers on a screen and it’s not telling you a story, maybe some insights from “Hidden Figures” will help. Continue reading
By Amanda Schaffer on November 22nd, 2016
2016 is an incredible time to be a teacher.
I am grateful for each and every day I get to work alongside the best of the best in education.
While expectations are high, standards seem impossible to meet, and the everyday trials and struggles we face seem endless, this time in our country and our world is truly an incredible time to be a teacher. We have so much more access to research about how and why we learn. We have clearer pictures of our brains and all they can accomplish.
We might be up against some very difficult mountains to climb, but the teachers that have gone before us have never been as well equipped as we are today.
As a teacher I’ve always been fascinated with the brain – how it operates so much more than just our physical bodies. Each and every day, new research is published confirming something I think teachers have always known. Continue reading
By Amanda Schaffer on March 14th, 2016
Are we teaching our girls to fear failure?
Several months ago, my colleague Amy Lowyns, who teaches French for Florida Virtual School sent me an article on this very topic. Of course Amy knew how passionate I am about fostering a growth mindset in all of our students, but when she sent me this article, the idea that maybe we need to look deeper into what we are teaching our girls really lit a fire inside me.
We have been researching the idea that we are teaching our girls to fear failure ever since – and the research is hard-hitting, significant, and extremely eye-opening. Continue reading
By Amanda Schaffer on January 19th, 2016
My daughter is not quite two, yet her little brain is abuzz – learning new things at every turn of the corner.
Almost constantly she comes up against something new, something strange or challenging, and every time without fail, she looks up at me with her big brown eyes and says “help!”
It astonishes me how easily she is able to admit she needs a helping hand. How quickly she recognizes she’s facing something new and challenging and she may not get it right the first time. This mindset is what Carol Dweck calls a “growth mindset.” And most children my daughter’s age have it.
They are perfectly okay with asking for help, and not just asking, but receiving it. Continue reading
By Amanda Schaffer on November 3rd, 2015
In his critically acclaimed book, “The Global Achievement Gap,” author Tony Wagner explores what he considers to be “Seven Survival Skills for Careers, College and Citizenship.”
After spending time with the most successful executives and professional people in the world, Wagner came to the conclusion that there is a gap between what our students need to be successful when they enter the real world and what we are teaching them in the classroom.
As a result, he created a list of essential 21st Century skills that all people need in order to be successful in college, in their career, and for their overall citizenship. Continue reading
By Amanda Schaffer on September 28th, 2015
No one likes the feeling of failure, that lead rock deep inside your gut weighing you down. And for a long time, I was afraid of failure. This was because I didn’t understand what successful people know.
What successful people know is that failure doesn’t have to be the worst thing. It doesn’t have to ruin us or break us. In fact, the incredibly beautiful fact about failure is that it is as much a part of success as hard work, as talent, as passion, and drive. Failure is actually a huge piece of the success puzzle. It’s just that most people never recognize it. The sooner we realize that failure is just one part of the road to success, the sooner we can learn from our failures, get back on track, and grow. This is what it means to have a Growth Mindset. Continue reading
By Amanda Schaffer on August 12th, 2015
For a few weeks now, Target and Walmart have had their back-to-school aisles fully stocked with shiny new markers, notebooks, and binders.
All the tools to help students transition back to school without a hitch are on sale – and tax-free through August 16th! Walking down these aisles reminds me of the back-to-school traditions I used to have with my parents and sisters growing up.
My mom always took us shopping for our back-to-school clothes and of course filled our brand new backpacks with all the supplies and pens and paper they could hold. My dad would take us to school on the first day, but not before having an early morning breakfast at IHOP for some delicious back-to-school pancakes. Continue reading