Making Connections


Prior to enrolling in the Creating Significant Learning Environments course, I knew that creating a classroom that fostered learning is important.  After reading, A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change, I realized it was more than just the classroom.  To create a significant learning environment, the learning extends passed the four walls of a classroom.  In order to create a significant learning environment, I realized that I need to support my students, by allowing them to drive the instruction and be in charge of their learning.  By giving the students this responsibility, they are able to collaborate, communicate and reflect outside the classroom.  They are able to continue to grow and make meaningful connections and have  positive attitude towards their learning.

When I was able to develop my learning philosophy, I was able to make a true connection to the creating significant learning environments.  Prior to my developing my learning philosophy I decided to look back at my learning manifesto.  When comparing the two, I was able to see my growth and understanding.  My learning manifesto seemed to be my personal thoughts without the research.  I feel that my learning philosophy was a well-informed thought on learning.  It was pretty amazing to see how it related to the learning environments.  I believe that all students can learn and that they should be lifelong learners.  Student can develop the lifelong learner mentality taking responsibility and ownership of their learning.  Making meaningful connections makes lifelong connections.

Being able to create a significant learning environment, takes strategic planning.  Throughout the course, I was able to continue to develop my innovation plan, by mapping out general plans for implementing ePortfolios in the classroom. In order to plan for the implementation of  ePorfolios in the the classroom, I first needed to look at the big picture.  After reading Fink’s, A Self-Directed Guide to Course Design , it gave me helped me create the 3 column table.  By aligning outcomes, assessments, and activities, I was able to make my innovation plan one step closer to a reality.

After getting a general plan of the implementation of ePortfolios in the classroom, I was able to get more specific.  While reading, Understanding by DesignI was able to I was able to focus on an aspect of my BHAG, and establish: a goal, what should be understood, essential questions, what students will learn, what students will be able to do, tasks, evidence and step-by-step activities.  I was able to design my own UbD plan.  Creating this plan once again got me once step closer to make my innovation plan a reality.  It was amazing to see everything start to come to life!

Throughout this course, it felt like each assignment was building off of the other and even relating to other, previous assignments.  I was given a chance to revisit my original growth mindset plan.  When reflecting on what I had written then and what I wrote on my updated growth mindset plan, I notices similarities and differences.  I noticed that allow I had some similar beliefs, they were more informed and researched.  By reading about creating significant learning environments and reflecting on making my learning environment, I realized how much the growth mindset and significant learning environments coincided.  By using the ePortfolios to assist with creating a significant learning environment it fosters the my philosophy of being lifelong learners.

Throughout this course, it felt like each assignment built off of another.  Just like my students, it was useful to see the relevancy of each assignment.  By completing each assignment, it really showcased the importance of the growth mindset and how it is the glue that holds everything together.  This course not only taught me to about the content, but it also assured with me that my belief about learning and my students is one worth fighting. Our goal as teachers is to expose them to this way of thinking, give them opportunities to explore and challenge themselves and making learning enjoyable.  By doing this we are giving our students the chance to develop into lifelong learners.


Dweck, C. (2006) Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York, NY: Random House.

Fink, L. D. (2003). A self-directed guide to designing courses for significant learning. Retrieved from:

How to develop a growth mindset in schools. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design, Expanded 2nd Edition. Pearson. ISBN 0131950843

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