Breaking Out #IMMOOC

img_5185-2

Today I spent time doing breakouts with sixth grade classes. For those who aren’t familiar, think breakout rooms but on a smaller scale.

Students work in small groups with clues tied to given content. In today’s breakout, the content was tied to Gary Paulsen novels and adventures. Once the groups solved the clues, they could attempt at the locks which are either directional, numerical, or word.

Students must use clues, collaboration, problem solving, and content knowledge to solve the clues that will unlock the box.

This is an exciting and new way for students to learn and demonstrate learning. It is the 4Cs (collaboration, communication, critical thinking, creativity) pulled into content in different ways.

I was taken aback when one student asked for the point of as we were debriefing after the break out. So I threw it back at the class; I took a deep breath, wondering if anyone had gotten it. I knew we hadn’t wasted our time. I had watched them work together; have great discourse; use their brains in new ways. BUT had they?

Deep breath. One student responded: we have to collaborate.

Ahhhh. Yes.

Another: we have to work together.

Yes, you do.

We have to look up information on our iPads. Figure it out.

That is true.

They had gotten it. Learning. Wrapped up in a new package.

They got it!

The Connected Educator #IMMOOC

Continuing on my journey this week with George Couros and 1800 of my closest friends in #IMMOOC, I continue to reflect on this concept of innovation: what does it mean for me and our schools? How can I innovate to help the students in my school learn better?

A few things came across my Twitter feed this week, which makes me think of one huge thing: CONNECTEDNESS! For me, being connected has been an enormous asset in my path to innovation. The more teachers I can get connected, the more innovation will be happening in our schools.

Across my Twitter feed in a given day, so many ideas come across. Here are a few highlights from this past week that show innovation in different ways:

This school is looking at discipline which can be a hot topic. If what we do doesn’t change behavior (suspension, detention, time out, rewards), we haven’t done anything. Maybe meditation is truly the answer or one answer.

Here we see a principal building rapport with his students through the simple yet powerful act of read-aloud.

Barbara Bray and Kathleen McClaskey use UDL to move our thinking from looking at students (and students to looking at themselves) through a fixed mindset to one of growth. Using UDL in our classrooms is so powerful!

In each of these cases, I can’t imagine not having had Twitter to connect me to these people and this information. Innovation through my PLN has been so powerful. It has changed my practice time after time.

Can’t wait to see what this week brings!

Purpose of School #IMMOOC

The purpose of education is simple and complex. It is simple because we must prepare our students for the world they will graduate into. This is complex because this world is ever-changing. It isn’t the factory line driven world of the 1900’s that our Prussian-style education system is still preparing our students for.

Because of this, we must make some drastic changes to our classrooms and schools to meet our students where they are and prepare them for the unknowns that the world brings.

We know that many careers that our students will choose post-graduation have not even been thought of yet. The best thing that we can do for them is to make students good at learning; good at thinking; good at problem solving; and most of all, good at relating to others. These are the skills that are important in this century.

In this century we can Google any fact or any calculation faster than we can retrieve it from our head. With critical thinking skills students can figure out how to access information and the accuracy of the information that they’re accessing.

The innovation that we most need is open-mindedness to imagine the unimaginable. To recreate schools and get away from low-level trivial knowledge into deeper levels of thinking.

To embrace this change, I try to model it. As an instructional coach, I meet people at their level of comfort and show them how a tool or strategy can enhance learning in their classroom. It is my responsibility to take them from where they are to a place they might not realize even exists: slowly and within their comfort zone.

 

Implementing Change: ISTE 2016

I was fortunate to attend ISTE and bring some ideas and technologies back to my school. Below are some of my favorites!

Bloxels

Bloxel

This is a way for students to create their own video game. First you use cubes and a board to build the structure. Then you take a picture of the board and it becomes the actual video game board….so cool! Create a character and you’re off!

CUE STEAMpunk Playground

Hopscotch: this is an iOS app that is a FREE way for students to learn to code. It’s available now  and so. much. fun.

Swift 3: iOS also. This is a free app for students to learn to program. Powerful application for schools!

Drones/Sphero: why not use drones and Sphero to teach content? Think STEAM rather than giving it lip service. By integrating these into our subjects, we can better engage our students in their world and make content come to life! My students will be coming up with a way to create a Sphero/Ollie obstacle course for our tech lab…..

Virtual Reality

Whether it’s Google Cardboard or another, this is the perfect way to take a 36o degree field trip under the ocean or abroad. Students will love it as it opens your classroom to the world in ways never seen before. We can create our own with students through older technology like Pano360 or newer technology like Ricoh Theta and a selfie stick. Easy and educational.

Risk-Taking

iFLy

Finally, conquering fears. I went to iFly for some indoor skydiving with some others from my district. I have no problem taking risks when it comes to my professional life, but my personal life, well, I think I speak for most of us there when I say we were a bit scared. I conquered a fear and modeled what I preach.

Creation: Let’s Get it Made!

Creation

Creation Presentation

 

Downtime

 

Over the break I took some much needed time to rejuvenate.

And then I jumped right back into EdCampVoxer to get some much needed personalized professional learning! What an amazing few days it was! Sessions about blogging, school culture, personalized PL, and coaching. Everything I needed to get myself ready for second semester.

Personalized professional learning is something I strive to do well in my school. It’s my first year in this position, so I am certainly evolving. I work hard to create learning opportunities both face-to-face and online for teachers that will meet their needs. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am not.

What did EdCampVoxer bring?

Voxer: Using this simple walkie talkie voice and text tool to create groups for teachers to communicate, share resources, and learn from one another.

Slack: This is an app I’ve only downloaded from the app store but not gone too deep into. I believe that there are great positive implications to it, though. This is a place where I could organize different groups for different purposes and people could opt in according to their wants/needs. A give coaching cohort could be one group, people interested in tools for one specific purpose could opt in to another. That way people don’t have to get cluttered inboxes. I see read potential in this!

Twitter: Not going too detailed into this one. One of the best ways to personalize PL. Join it. Join chats. Enough said.

Digital badging: A fun way to get credit for the learning that one accomplishes. These are set up through Mozilla or Credly or others and educators can convert badges to credits. Badges can also be shared via social media for fun.

Edcamp: This free unconference has become wildly popular all over the country. People attend ready to share knowledge or simply gain it. Sign up and show up for a day of unconventional learning: you will get out of it what you want! Do a search online to find one near you!

These are a few of the modes but when it comes right down to it, we have to work with our districts to be sure they are on board with personalized PL. The key is to move beyond one side fits all ‘sit and get’ to understanding that if personalized learning is the way to for our students, it is certainly the way to go for our teachers. Many systems are on their way, some more than others. It’s so important that teachers get the learning they need and crave.

Smore Flyers

Smore online flyers are a way to communicate with staff or community members. Check out this screencast video about how to use it.

Themes from ISTE2014

Moby

Post-ISTE my brain has been spinning–so many amazing ideas to make my way through. But that wasn’t before a long-needed vacation in Puerto Rico. There’s nothing like some time on the beach to sort through my notes and figure out my next steps.

Isla Verde, Puerto Rico

The one theme that held true for me at ISTE2014 is something I’ve always believed in: that it is about the children, our students. The content and the technology are the way that we engage them, but the teaching and the relationships are the most important thing in our field! Without relationships with the students in our classrooms we have nothing. Without relationships with the teachers around us we have nothing. Without relationships with our PLN we are less than we were before.

I believe so strongly that passion is the first thing we have to have as educators –whether we are teachers or administrators. The content-knowledge and the technology-knowledge help us deliver the information and reach our students but without that love for our students and that passion for what we do….it won’t matter a bit what we know.

So with these thoughts, I will continue to sort through all my session notes.

 

 

 

TwitterLand

 Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) Hannah Rosen


Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Hannah Rosen

 

As I reflect, I’m not even sure how I’ve gotten to this point. It has happened so subtly…. Several years ago I opened my Twitter account, followed a few people, and that was about it. This past summer that all changed. I don’t remember the catalyst for the change. I started following more educators and education organizations. I started reading feeds regularly. Then I discovered THE TWITTER CHAT. Oh my! How has it been possible that I didn’t know these existed? This simple one-hour-of-learning has revolutionized my week –okay, truth be told, most weeks, it’s much more than one hour. It’s #edtechchat on Mondays, #edchat (if there’s not tennis) on Tuesdays, then I have to choose #PTchat, #ATPLC, #SBL or #STEMgenius, then there’s #GAED, #BYOT,   #1to1ipad, and finally one my favorites….can’t seem to start the weekend off without it and my coffee #satchat. To think that a year ago I didn’t know these existed, and now I have built relationships WITH HUMAN BEINGS on Twitter. This is such a difficult thing to explain to people; I’ve spent months trying to explain the power of learning that can happen when I get to choose my own learning. I have done mini-chats with my own faculty, so they could experience one and feel confident enough to try it on their own. I pretty much scream it from the rooftops: TWITTER CHATS ARE POWERFUL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES…….. to anyone who will listen.

I know for me, I need to implement what I learn immediately. When I was in graduate school. my lesson plans often changed the next day to put something into practice. When I saw Jeff Anderson –one of my writing idols–speak one morning, my lesson plans changed for my afternoon classes. With the articles I read and discuss in these Twitter chats, I implement what I learn as I’m learning it. As an administrator, I get an idea and give it a try the next day. Sometimes I can directly utilize it; other times, it’s something for me to pass on to my teachers; other times still, it’s a way of thinking about something or a way of leading that will take me into the future.

I am looking forward to ISTE14 because there I will have the opportunity to put faces to many of the handles I have come to recognize. I value the relationships and the learning that has taken place in TwitterLand. I look forward to the daily and weekly inspiration that I cannot get any other place except there.

 

Entry-Level Technology or True Integration?

A Place to Reflect & Ruminate

Catina: teaching, learning, leading, creating

Talk Tech With Me

A collection of ideas and thoughts on technology in education.

Daily Shoot

If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow. John Dewey

Ditch That Textbook

Ed tech, creative teaching, less reliance on the textbook.

Connected Principals

Sharing. Learning. Leading.

Stump The Teacher

If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow. John Dewey

Posts - Learning in Hand

If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow. John Dewey

Cool Cat Teacher Blog

Be a Better Teacher. Live a Meaningful Life.

The Principal of Change

Stories of learning and leading

Miss Night's Marbles

If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow. John Dewey

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

%d bloggers like this: