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Elizabeth Leddy

Innovation Specialist

Mrs. Leddy’s job is to help students and teachers try new things, think in different ways, take risks, problem-solve, and see how to learn from their mistakes. As a mom of two young Graland students, she appreciates that other faculty/staff parents are so helpful in the parenting journey.

Impacting Students
During the Domino Challenge in Lower School Tinker Time, students work with a partner to successfully set up and knock down 15 dominoes. They must document their failures (maybe knocking a domino over as they are setting up, or all 15 not going down together) and their successes (at least 15 in a row and knocked down). We encourage students to challenge themselves and try to set a goal for more than 15 dominoes, or make their row into a different shape. The closing reflection piece is so important with this lesson because throughout their work time, students might feel frustrated and not want to "admit" their failure. They might feel embarrassed that they had 10 failures before getting one success. They might have a difficult time working with their partner on this activity. It is important to reflect on the fact that these are small failures, and we need to just take a deep breath and try again and persevere. Also, the little failures along the way can be frustrating, but when you get that success, it feels even better. Also, when students challenge themselves and try different things with their dominoes, although they may face more failures along the way, in the end the success feels more rewarding. Ultimately it isn't a competition of success/failures in the class, but a reflection on how it made them feel and how they responded to those frustrations and successes.

Lifelong Learner
I took a workshop called Effective Mentoring and Coaching that has impacted me in my role where I wear many hats. One big part of this is supporting teachers with innovation and technology, and I’ve transitioned to more of a coach model instead of just teaching the lessons for them. I went into this workshop with the question: how might I balance offering support, creating challenge, and facilitating vision with my teachers as students? I learned that I need to enter as a coach and empower the teacher to become independent. My goal is to support the teacher and build their confidence, while moving them toward accessing their internal resources. This might look different for my various "learners," so it is important that I provide scaffolds to meet their needs and help them through the planning and implementation of projects/lessons that involve innovation and technology.

Favorite Teaching Moment
After completing one of our design challenges, one of my Tinker Time students said, "Wow that was really frustrating and I wanted to quit, but instead I took a deep breath and said, ‘well, what can I do this time to make it work?’" When I work with students on the innovation skills, it is wonderful to hear them connect the skills we practice in the Gates Lab to other parts of their day. During our reflection part of Tinker Time, a second grader said "I was feeling frustrated in PE last week when I couldn't do something, but I took a deep breath and tried again and I could do it!"

Favorite Innovation Skill
Grit/Perseverance: I enjoy working with students on this skill and helping them reflect at the end of a challenge. At times, I might push students out of their comfort zones, so they can fail in a safe space. It is important to model and teach students how to take a deep breath, and say, “That was frustrating, but what can I do next time?” I once had a first grader who wanted to "erase the failures" that he was tallying up during the lesson. The point was for him to see the failures, think about what he could do next time, and eventually come to a success based on what he learned. By the end of the lesson, each of his successes were so exciting for him and his partner. I love seeing the students push through their failures, innovate new ways of approaching a problem, and find even more joy/pride in their success because of what they overcame or because the challenged themselves.

Why I Became a Teacher
I always wanted to be a teacher. I would come home from elementary school and teach my brother, who is four years younger, everything I had learned that day. We joke that that is why he is so smart! I always wanted to teach and I love working with children.

Outside the Classroom I’m ...
... baking or doing crafts with my children at home. I would like to be golfing ...

Favorite Childhood Memory
Spending time at my grandparents' cottages on Hutchins Lake in Fennville, Michigan. We would swim all day, do crafts, bake, do puzzles, and swim before bedtime. I have so many great memories at the lake.

Joined Graland in...
2009

Also Known As
Gates Coach, Character Task Force Member, Technology PLC Member, Graland Parent

Hometown
Holland, Michigan

Education
BS in human development and family studies from Colorado State University
MA in educational Psychology from University of Colorado

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Graland Country Day School

55 CLERMONT STREET    DENVER, CO 80220    303.399.0390   
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.