Stephanie Goldman and her first-year mentee Lindsay George have used Google Drive and Google Classroom to supercharge their mentor/mentee relationship. Stephanie calls this the ACE method of mentoring: Access, Collaboration and Experimentation. Learn this powerful method of mentoring. Next week we’ll interview Lindsay George, the other half of this experience.
Stephanie Golden: ACE Mentor Relationship Building with Google Drive and Google Classroom
Link to show: www.coolcatteacher.com/e316
Date: May 21, 2018
Vicki: Today we’re talking with Stephanie Goldman, fourth grade language arts teacher here in Georgia, just a little bit above Augusta.
We’re going to talk about mentoring teachers with their use of technology through the Ace Mentorship Program.
Stephanie, what is the Ace Mentorship Program?
Stephanie: Well, it’s just an acronym that I actually came up with recently.
The A stands for access, the C stands for collaborate and the E stands for experiment.
It’s just something that has popped into my brain recently as I am mentoring a co-teacher in fourth grade. It’s her first year. She just graduated last year.
We are a Google school pushing one-to-one devices and integrated technology, meaningful technology.
Technology can improve the mentor induction teacher relationship
I just think that technology is a way to improve the mentor induction teacher relationship for many reasons. I think the biggest is probably the E for experiment. I just have a passion for induction teachers and pre-service teachers and I’ve just kind of always been an open-book for them.
I think technology has just really improved that relationship and the collaboration between the two.
Vicki: Let’s talk through the three pieces of this, kind of how it looks in this mentorship relationship. So access…
Stephanie: OK. Access. Like I said, I’m an open book. Give them access to your resources.
I’ve only been in the classroom — I say “only” because it’s gone quickly — for twelve years. I know that when I had my mentor induction relationship, I feel like I would always go and ask them.
And at the beginning of the year, you know, they would give you the resources, and then I kind of thought I felt like an annoyance.
When people feel like — I mean, I know that SHE didn’t think I was annoying — I just felt that way. When we feel that way, I think sometimes we kind of shy away from asking what we need.
Now that everything is digital, it’s in the cloud in Google Drive, I’ve kind of given my induction teacher access to everything. All my resources.
It’s mostly organized, but the search feature for Google Drive is excellent. If she’s looking for something for reading comprehension or inferences, she can just type that in to the search and come up with a lot of resources.
Vicki: So you’re literally giving her access to all of your digital files.
Vicki: You just say, “I give you complete access to the digital files and to me to just ask me about any of them.”
Stephanie: Yes. Access to that, so she can get it on the computer. When we’re at school she has access to it. When she’s at home, I think that’s one of the benefits of Google Drive. You don’t know what you need until right when you need it.
So she can go home on her Chromebook and she can search for something. I know that not everybody is as comfortable as I am with sharing everything, so if you wanted to just do shared folders or a team drive where you retain ownership, you can change permissions so that nobody can delete anything.
All of your stuff is safe, but they still have access.
Vicki: Oh, that’s so great…
So that’s the great thing about Google Drive, it’s that there are a lot of different opportunities.
Vicki: Yeah, and they can make it Read Only, and they can just make a copy.
OK. So C for collaborate.
Stephanie: Well, we’re lucky that she’s on the same grade level as I am, so we can have the in-person debrief, and we have collaborative planning during planning time, but the biggest thing is we do our lesson plans in Team Drive.
It just starts as a basic Google Doc, and we have a lot of freedom to choose what kind of format So we just have a basic table, and every day, and the different subjects planned out.
Going back to the access, I remember when I was first teaching with technology, and you would need a website. I would need to email the website to my co-teacher, and then she would have to open it.
But in the Google Doc, in the lesson plan, we can put links in the lesson plan. So if we’re watching a video, we would link the video in that lesson plan. All you have to do is open up that lesson plan for the day, and all your links are already there for you. All of our shared stuff is ready there. So she doesn’t have to come over and say, “Oh, can you remember to email me the insert?” It’s literally all there.
This is also great — once a week we have a designated learning plan that we put in for the next week, and we can kind of map out where the week’s going, and what she’s assigned to.
We’re kind of obsessed with the commenting feature on Google Docs, where I can tag her in a specific thing, I can assign her a specific assignment, and I can assign myself assignments.
I’m a big inbox zero type of person, as soon as I assign myself a comment and I tag that that’s the assignment that I’ve given a task, it pops up into my email. So when I get it done, I want to delete that email.
The same for her, so there’s no confusion about who was expected to do what in the collaborative planning.
Vicki: That’s important.
You just type plus, and you start typing their name, you type in their email, and in the comment, and it will have a little checkbox. And it will say, “Assign this to Stephanie Goldman.” and you’ll check it, and boom, she gets an email, and there you go. It just prevents SO much confusion, doesn’t it?
Stephanie: Yes. It does. Both of us are very similar in that we love to check that thing off, you know, we don’t want it hanging over our head. Like you said, there is no confusion about who is expected to do what in the delegation.
Vicki: That’s awesome. So you’ve given access, which is just so empowering and awesome. You’re collaborating, you’re actually using the tools that you’re going to be teaching with.
Imagine that! (laughs)
Vicki: And then this whole idea of experimenting — now, experimenting might scare some people. What do you mean by that?
Stephanie: Well, I mean… technology is so ever-changing. I am not afraid to make mistakes in front of my students. I’m not afraid to make mistakes in front of my induction teacher or with my induction teacher.
With previous, less technological mentor induction relationships, I feel like the mentor had so much classroom experience, that sometimes they would always have lessons that would be successful.
You would plan something, and it would go well for the mentor teacher, but then the induction teacher kind of had a fail moment.
There was kind of a disconnect between the mentor saying. “How do I help the induction teacher learn from that and kind of make that process visible?” to where, now, when I try a new technology tool, and it doesn’t work, that would be similar to her trying to do an instructional strategy, technological or not, and having it fail, and first attempt in learning, not a fail.
But me going through that process and being transparent with her, “OK, this tool didn’t work, maybe it was my delivery of instruction,” or something. And I can think through that and reflect on my experience with her. I think that’s really helped when she introduces a new technology tool or a lesson didn’t go well.
Vicki: So basically, you are intentionally experimenting with something new, and you are authentically reflecting with her on what went right and what went wrong, and you’re letting her see you struggle.
Stephanie: Yes, exactly. And I think that is something that we, as mentor teachers, don’t do enough of because we have just become so comfortable in our lessons and our subject matter and things like that. The introduction of all this new technology is a great opportunity to show that process.
Let them see you struggle
Vicki: I think they used to say, never let them see you sweat, but I think it’s okay.
I’m even transparent and open with my students. So we’ll just have something go completely wrong and I’ll go, “Guys, this was a faceplant! This was terrible! Let’s take a different approach, or give me some feedback so we can do better for next time.”
I think that that transparency just shows our human side and makes us a — I mean, who wants to work with somebody who’s arrogant and pretends like they do everything right? Because nobody does everything right.
Stephanie: Right, exactly. Showing that to her and our students just helps them in so many different ways.
Vicki: I love this, Stephanie!
Vicki: So this is the ACE Mentorship Program approach for building that mentor relationship as you’re helping a new teacher join in.
You know, I would love at some point, and maybe you could put me in touch with her, to interview the other end of this mentoring relationship, but can you give us a peek into how she’s feeling about this?
Stephanie: She loves it. She wasn’t really a self-professed technology geek like I am, but over the year, we kind of had a lot of experiences together.
We are co-teachers in each other’s Google Classrooms, so the students get a double benefit of having two teachers posting and commenting on their work and things like that.
We’ve done a lot of co-teaching classes together where there was mostly writing where the students were in the Google classroom together. They turn in their writing, or while they’re working on it we both get a chance to comment on it and actually do face-to-face conferences with that technology.
Before she even came to the school, last spring there was a call for proposals at the Georgia Council for Social Studies with an emphasis on technology. And I said, “Hey, do you want to present?” She’s like, “Well, yeah, I guess.”
Stephanie: We’ve actually presented at two conferences this year, and she’s actually become Google-certified educator level 1 this year.
She’s definitely integrating all that technology. The students love it. The digital natives love to have immediate feedback.
I think that she’s had a pretty successful year. It’s been my favorite mentor induction relationship so far. Just because she has access to anything, and I feel like I’m an open book, you know? She can get what she needs.
Vicki: Teachers, you know that we have to do better at bringing people into the profession.
Vicki: I think that being an open book, giving open resources, co-teaching teaching in Google classrooms — I think this is a fantastic model for what it can be and how we can learn from one another.
And Stephanie, I’m just so encouraged, I appreciate you sharing your ACE Mentoring Approach with us.
And remarkable teachers, if you try this out, would you please tweet me?
You may already have something like this going, I would love to know more about successful mentoring approaches when you’re inducting new teachers into the profession.
This is fantastic.
Thank you, Stephanie!
Stephanie: Thank you so much for having me!
Contact us about the show: https://www.coolcatteacher.com/contact/
Transcribed by Kymberli Mulford [email protected]
Bio as submitted
Stephanie Goldman currently teaches fourth grade language arts and social studies in a 1:1 chromebook classroom at Lincoln County Elementary School in Lincolnton, Georgia. She previously taught in Richmond County (GA) and Spartanburg (SC) County District 1. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. She has been honored as Rollins Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year in 2012 and a top five finalist for Richmond County School’s County Teacher of the Year, and as Lincoln County Elementary School’s and Lincoln County’s Teacher of the Year in 2016.
Steph enjoys integrating technology in the classroom to increase student learning and engagement, as well as to make life easier for teachers. She has a passion for mentoring induction and pre-service teachers and helping them to integrate technology as they begin in their teaching career.
She is a Google Certified Educator Levels 1 and 2 as well as a Google Trainer. She loves being a “Google Nerd” and sharing what she has learned. This past spring, she co-taught a Google Certified Educator Level 1 boot camp for Lincoln County. She has presented sessions for the CSRA Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) and the First District RESA, at Augusta University’s Impacting Student Learning Conference and for an Augusta University graduate class, at the Georgia Council for the Social Studies’ Annual Conference, and for AppsEvents. This summer, she plans to present at an AppsEvents summit and at Ed Tech Team’s Peach Summit.
When not teaching or on the computer, Steph can be found with her husband, Matt, and her three young daughters, or making a joyful noise directing the church choir and playing in the band. She can be found on twitter @dearfutureteach.
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