Technology as Accelerator #immooc

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I love the buzz in the classroom when student are engaged to create something to share their learning; perhaps an Animoto video with captions, a comic strip, or Google Slides. When students get stuck, they call out, “Does anyone know….” and the expert in that medium jumps up to help. They become experts because they played with it; they used it and tried different aspects of it – fonts, inserts, color, picture cropping, etc. Sometimes the request by their peer is something new, and they figure out how together, and share it with others when needed.

Or sometimes, partners will share their idea for explaining their content on a Google Slide, and their partner suggests, “That’s too much content for a slide; how about an infographic? Do you see your lists; they are in categories – that’s your info. What image would explain this list…” — they discuss about the content and how to present it.

When we teach something, be it technology or content, we learn it better ourselves.  Whether we are teachers or students, teaching to others deepens our own understanding. How do we break down the silos of classrooms and build up the communities of practice? Perhaps teachers could “learn twice.”

How can teachers “learn twice?”  

One way is to share one’s learning with others. Take time in staff meetings to share a strategy — what it is and why you chose it. Better yet, keep a blog and reflect on your classroom strategies, share it with your peers, tweet it out. Get feedback, and keep learning. By writing a reflection, chances are you’ll fine-tune the ideas for the next time while providing something that someone else may need to know. Think of when you learned from someone else — imagine that someone else had blogged about it; their voice would have been heard by not just you, but by many. Every one has a story from which others can learn. Want help? Just ask.

Our desire as educators [administrators, teachers, paraprofessionals] to become “distinguished” will be enhanced by  “learning twice.”  By reflecting and sharing, we further our own understandings. George Couros, in the Innovators Mindset, reminds us of this importance of reflective sharing to an audience:

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Why blog?

It lets us experiment with technology and learn its benefits.It gives us a place to record our work, able to review when needed, and write another post about the next page in the journey as more understanding is achieved. It deepens our thinking as we consider the “other” audience beyond our building colleagues.

In addition, it puts us in the shoes of a learner once more. And that is key to improving and innovating in schools. Every thing we do is to improve the learning of students, yet if we continue with what is comfortable and traditional, we neglect the needed opportunities for the future of our students created by the technology students have in their pockets.

Focusing on the learner, not just the learning, shifts the focus to a larger moral imperative to embrace the opportunities to educate and empower the students in our schools and classrooms in powerful ways.

George Couros, Innovator’s Mindset LOC 1926

How do we build on what we do in powerful ways?

Building on what is already done in the classroom, teachers can harness the power within our pockets and with the tools in the classroom for more powerful learning.  Educators today must learn the tools that provide students with unlimited possibilities and opportunities for deeper learning. Blog to learn technology, and blog to reflect on the ways that technology empowers the learners in your care.

Learners are the driver; technology is the accelerator.

George Couros, Innovator’s Mindset LOC 1926

How does technology accelerate learning for the teacher?

If teachers blog their reflections and the classroom learning, teachers “learn twice.” If they begin blogging, they become users of technology, adding in, and hopefully creating pictures, infographics, videos, and hyperlinks, just as their students are. Here, technology accelerates the relevance of teachers to their students as they understand the communicative, creative, and reflective nature of a connected world.

Why learn technology?

Students today enjoy the instant connectedness of online communication, yet they often are not well versed in more sophisticated possibilities nor the importance of their digital footprint. Teachers implementing technology can guide students in these possibilities and with continuous conversation in digital citizenship. Students aren’t enamored with simply using technology, they want to create with technology. So, more importantly, teachers implementing technology can better the learning experience, which is the best and most innovative reason for learning technology.

Building complex learning experiences, where students are routinely thinking at high levels, interacting with their peers, and receiving careful guidance and support from their teachers is what grounds authentic engagement.

LaForgia, Jamie. DEMYSTIFYING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT, Discovery Education

However, we don’t want just engagement — keeping kids on task, we want deep learning.

Digital learning tools like Kahoot! and Socrative engage students because they’re fun and interactive. However, it’s clear, that these practices do not encourage the deep teaching and learning we want to see in classrooms. It’s our responsibility to help teachers move beyond superficial engagement and support them in creating cognitively engaging environments for all students.

LaForgia, Jamie. DEMYSTIFYING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT, Discovery Education

Technology empowers learners to clarify their own understanding, to develop their ideas through conversation with others, and to act on their ideas through their choices in who and what to share. Innovating — changing to make something better — with technology focuses on learning targets, provides a vehicle for practicing real world processes and creating real solutions for all students, and it offers a continuous feedback loop for formative assessment.

How could technology accelerate learning for students?

Take Student Talk as an example. A big push in many classrooms today is to move from lecture and teacher talk to more engagement and student talk. If the teacher is talking, the students are passive. If the students are talking, they connect with the learning. In fact, student talk is a powerful formative assessment.

Why is Student Talk important?

…skillful teachers make use of dialogic exchanges with students to both monitor understanding and initiate instructional moves to engage students in deeper explorations of content. P 51

Ford-Connors, Robertson, and Paratore | Classroom Talk as (In)Formative AssessmentVoices from the Middle, Volume 23 Number 3, March 2016

Educational research has shown over and over how important social interaction is to learning.

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Student talk is learning, and it provides the best vehicle for assessing student understanding of what is taught and providing interventions for misinformation or needed skills.

In fact, it is the assessment that accompanies instruction that offers the most trustworthy information about what students know and can do; and within the instructional cycle of teaching and learning that structures the school day, talk creates the currency through which knowledge is exchanged. P 56

Through dynamic and interactive teacher-student talk, routine exchanges become a valuable source of information to strengthen learning and form the heart of the teaching and learning cycle. P 56

Ford-Connors, Robertson, and Paratore | Classroom Talk as (In)Formative AssessmentVoices from the Middle, Volume 23 Number 3, March 2016

So, yes, students could work in groups and talk about the issue and then share out in class for a class discussion. They could take notes on paper and share those under the document camera. Teachers then note and provide feedback on student responses during the discussion.

By using anecdotal records to monitor students’ oral and written interactions with content, Ms. Jenner can readily see who needs additional support and what concepts or ideas require further exploration. P 55

The knowledge gained through students’ participation in dialogic exchanges with their teachers provides a view of students’ evolving understandings and acquisition of content, which, in turn, influences teachers’ instructional decisions and next steps. Assessment becomes “in-formative” when the teacher turns the observations and insights gathered during these interactions into more focused teaching actions and responses that address students’ immediate learning needs. P 56

Ford-Connors, Robertson, and Paratore | Classroom Talk as (In)Formative AssessmentVoices from the Middle, Volume 23 Number 3, March 2016

However, how many students in that situation are always engaged? And to be truly effective, keeping the conversation flowing without teachers taking anecdotal notes during the discussion is important for deeper learning.

Is there a way to gather information on student understandings, confusions, academic vocabulary, and misinformation in a way that includes more students in the conversation for a more thorough assessment of strengths and needs during “student talk?”

How does technology accelerate Student Talk?

This is where technology becomes the accelerator; it augments the standard conversation and paper/pencil responses, often redefining the learning in ways that could not occur without technology. [See SAMR model within pedagogy for more information on augmentation and redefinition].

At the core of daily teaching is the ability to check for understanding in such a way that teachers learn how to help students. Fostering oral language and using questioning techniques aid this kind of informed check-in (Fisher & Frey, 2007).

The evidence on using student talk as a mechanism for learning is compelling; in classrooms with higher rates and levels of student talk, more students excel academically (Stichter, Stormont, & Lewis, 2009).

Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey. Feed Up, Back, Forward, ASCD November 2009 | Volume 67 | Number 3 Multiple Measures Pages 20-25

By using technology that allows all students to participate and discuss based on their ideas, all students grow and learn, and teachers have a digital record to review for next steps after already offering feedback during the writing and participatory conversations.

Through careful responses, they [teachers] provide additional information and/or feedback about students’ ideas and performance that can strengthen students’ understanding of content and further their knowledge of learning strategies within the context of the learning event. The assessment that occurs in these dialogic exchanges becomes formative because “the evidence is actually used to adapt the teaching work to meet the learning needs” Page 52

Ford-Connors, Robertson, and Paratore | Classroom Talk as (In)Formative AssessmentVoices from the Middle, Volume 23 Number 3, March 2016

To augment student talk, use technology to engage all students to empower them to better use academic vocabulary and consider and analyze concepts for deeper learning. In fact, through the use of technology to gather “student talk” from all students, students practice the best strategy for learning and remembering: retrieval.

Better than re-reading or note-taking, retrieval provides the connections needed by the brain to deepen memory and understanding. Retrieval means to pull out of memory what is known and what was studied, and reprocess it in one’s own words.

By engaging every student in retrieval practice, every student reaps its benefits for long-term learning

Pooja K. Agarwal, Ph.D. Henry L. Roediger, III, Ph.D. Mark A. McDaniel, Ph.D. Kathleen B. McDermott, Ph.D. (2013) How to Use Retrieval Practice to Improve Learning. Washington University in St. Louis

As students explain themselves on a focused question or statement, all students write from what they know, pulling in their background knowledge and adapting that to what they have learned in the lesson, reading, video, image, etc. When discussing with peers, they consider additional information and solidify the connections to build better knowledge.

By engaging in retrieval practice, students are able to evaluate what they know and what they don’t know, and then make better study decisions. Improved metacognition also benefits teachers: by seeing what students know and don’t know, teachers can adjust lesson plans to ensure that all students are on the same page.

Pooja K. Agarwal, Ph.D. Henry L. Roediger, III, Ph.D. Mark A. McDaniel, Ph.D. Kathleen B. McDermott, Ph.D. (2013) How to Use Retrieval Practice to Improve Learning. Washington University in St. Louis

Throughout this process using technology to engage more students, the teacher walks around and participates in discussions and thinking. With the information projected on a screen and in a laptop/tablet in her hands, the teacher is always aware of group work and thinking, and is more able to understand the thinking of most students. Pause a group or class as needed to answer questions most students have. With Google Classroom, students can easily share the link to their document or resource with the teacher who can share on screen. Debrief with the whole class by asking students to share what they are doing and thinking as far as the process and the content. Debriefing and clarifying with feedback is key to adapting and scaffolding the ideas so all student have the background knowledge and confidence to participate more fully.

An important component of metacognition is feedback, or providing students information about whether they got something correct or incorrect. Without feedback, students won’t know how they performed. Thus, feedback should always be provided to students after retrieval practice.

Pooja K. Agarwal, Ph.D. Henry L. Roediger, III, Ph.D. Mark A. McDaniel, Ph.D. Kathleen B. McDermott, Ph.D. (2013) How to Use Retrieval Practice to Improve Learning. Washington University in St. Louis

Because all students are adding ideas, receiving feedback, and clarifying their understanding, students are motivated and engaged as active participants in the topic under consideration, thinking and choosing of their learning, listening to others in the class conversation so they may extend their own ideas. In class conversations, students choose their part to discuss and clarify. Students are empowered, not just compliant.

The compliant, dutiful learner is easy to manage, does what’s expected, and participates when there’s little risk of being wrong.

Engaged learners often pursue their own train of thought about the topic under study, regardless of the task at hand.

If we want to grow capacity in our students; unearth student talents, dreams, and aspirations; and instill perseverance through a focus on doing hard work, learning from mistakes, and revising one’s work, we need to design classroom practices around securing real engagement.

Jackson, Robyn, and Allison Zmuda. “Four (Secret) Keys to Student Engagement.” Educational Leadership 72.1 (2014): 18-24.

To augment and redefine student talk, teachers implement technology that:

  • Follows research on pedagogy and learning
  • Focuses on learning targets
  • Provides a vehicle for all students to participate
    • Engaged in process and content
    • Empowered with own contributions
      • Shares concepts
      • Acknowledges new information
      • Revises own ideas with peer and teacher contributions
  • Enforces opportunities for retrieval through writing and talking
  • Offers feedback
    • for process and content done well
    • and to guide with correct processing and content information

What technology could accelerate Student Talk?

Here are five scenarios using Google Apps for Education with this process of independent, partner/team/group, and whole class debriefing.

1 Assessing Background Knowledge / Building Vocabulary

Provide a focus statement on the topic in an announcement in Google Classroom to be responded in comments by each student. A focus statement is one that presents a situation on the topic being studied and which is open-ended for discussion [Example: “Thousands of Native American children were taken from their families and sent to boarding schools to ‘Learn the ways of the white man.’ Today, Native Americans live in two worlds, the world of their tribe and the world of mainstream America.” ] After responding individually, students then partner up and together respond to the individual ideas in more comments that may:

  • Ask questions,
  • Ask for elaboration, etc.
  • Bring up vocabulary
  • Present basic knowledge of content

Students think about the topic and discuss what is known to build a framework for background knowledge and vocabulary.  As a final activity to move forward, share out in another announcement/question, a shared spreadsheet or document with “anyone can edit” [Wonder and Vocabulary or document] for students to wonder their questions and suggest vocabulary. After discussion, share as view only as a resource and further discussion as a class and begin reading resources for the project. Or more vocabulary can be added by students during readings, if the document remains shared to edit.

Remember, do not make a copy for all students, just share the one document. Use “revision history” if needed if work is deleted by mistake. This takes practice, but is easily mastered; students find this easier than adults.

2 During Reading / Developing Understanding and Vocabulary

Based on the previous activity, or starting from a reading section based on a focus statement, provide a forum for students to share their own ideas from the reading using a Student Discussion Focus “anyone can edit” spreadsheet or document. Provide the link through Google classroom or teacher slides/website.

Directions for Spreadsheet Version:

First students add their name in a row in column A, then write their own “most important idea” in column B. Next they write what surprised them from the reading in column C.

Partners or teams can now form to read all the information by their peers in the first section, recording their names a cell in a row of column D of the template. They discuss what was important and surprising, and then write any further questions they asked about the topic and what they answered in column E.

Next, each partner/team writes in column F their own focus statements based on the ideas they discussed and wrote about in the previous column.

Students now duplicate the “Duplicate This Sheet 1.” They rename the sheet with their name. Then they copy at least four of the focus statements other teams have suggested. Students then choose whether they agree/disagree with the statements and explain why.

The teacher can then make a copy of the template spreadsheet and link to the original work of the first day set to “view only.” Then share that fresh document with students for the next reading with “anyone can edit.”Students start the day in teams, discussing their ideas each team member rationalized in the original sheet through each one’s personalized sheet. If needed, reopen it for students to revise. [You could make a copy to save to compare; that would be easier than going through revision history for all student responses]. Then they repeat the process from the day before with today’s reading.

If kept open, at any time students can add vocabulary words on the vocabulary section: the word, why it’s important.  At any time and for any word, students can add a sentence that the word would be used as an explanation of the topic.  A column also provides a space for the word’s use in other situations.

3 Gathering Questions / Search Terms

Through Google Classroom or a link on a website or class slides viewable by students, share the link to a “Share Out” spreadsheet  shared as “anyone with the link can edit” with these directions [in green on worksheet]. The purpose of this discussion is to discover evidence already known that interests individuals and teams to finalize their own questions and possible search terms for their own research.

Choose your row. Answer the questions in each column:
1. What idea from your peers [or the reading, video, etc.] was most important to you and why?
2. What surprised you?
3. What questions would you ask to clarify the focus statement?

Next, ask students to choose the questions that most interest them as they work with a partner or trios. Ask them to copy/paste them into a cell in the blue column. [debrief]

Ask students to sign up for teams and and then choose their team’s questions by copying them into the yellow columns. [debrief]

Ask partners/teams to consider in the pink column what “key search words” would best help them find answers to their questions. [debrief] Provide feedback and details on how to search if students don’t have that skill yet.

Students are now ready to begin research on the part of the topic of interest to them.  Revise the questions/purpose according to your needs.

4 Right Question Institute: QFT

Digging deeper, the Question Formulation Technique is a process created by the Right Question Institute. Students respond to a focus statement to ask their own questions and begin their own research.  Here’s a modification from my class: QRT Focus; it can be used prior to reading, after reading, or after the teacher’s initial reading aloud of an article for background knowledge. It can be used for the student’s own team or individual focus statement for continued research.

5 On the Spot Share Out

At any time during a lesson, when the teacher wants to gather input from students to see what is understood so far and to discuss responses to clarify, use the Share Out template [spreadsheet or document] Students choose a spot, type their name, and type their response. The documents can be easily cleared for the next class and revision history will bring back the version for each class if needed.

Note: Primary students in Google documents can use “voice-typing” to input their text. Just go to Tools–> Voice-typing.

How do these “learn twice” and empower students?

Every time students are composing from their own ideas based on their conversations and lessons/readings/viewings, they are using their own words to reprocess the information and make connections. As they share with others, they teach them; as they listen to others, they add and change their own ideas again. As students form their own focus statements and questions to learn a part that interests them which they will share again with peers and hopefully publish for others in the world, they become engaged in the learning and empowered to discover their own understanding; they begin to own their learning with the agency to succeed.

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Using technology to better the learning strategy and pedagogy drives me to continuously learn more engaging and empowering tools. I must be relevant to my students to guide them into their future.

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By reflecting here, I learn twice: why do I do what I do in my classroom with these tools? I’ve clarified for myself here, and shared it with others who can build upon it. It’s up to all of us to learn from these opportunities through technologies and to share the what and how so all teachers can be dynamic, distinguished, relevant educators for our students.

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This means we must all be learners, engaging with information, communicating our understanding, collaborating with others, discovering our passions, and creating solutions to better the world.

I leave you with this moral imperative and the words of George Couros in Innovator’s Mindset, Chapter 9 for #immooc, and I hope you blog your strategies and  your templates and suggestions for enhancing student talk with technology to empower learners to build understanding and empower teachers to guide that understanding.

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Images created in Notegraphy by Sheri Edwards based on research notes

Resources:

George Couros. The Innovator’s Mindset. Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity. Dave Burgess Consulting 2015 Kindle Edition.

Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey. Feed Up, Back, Forward, ASCD November 2009 | Volume 67 | Number 3 Multiple Measures Pages 20-25

Ford-Connors, Robertson, and Paratore | Classroom Talk as (In)Formative AssessmentVoices from the Middle, Volume 23 Number 3, March 2016

Jackson, Robyn, and Allison Zmuda. “Four (Secret) Keys to Student Engagement.” Educational Leadership 72.1 (2014): 18-24.

LaForgia, Jamie. DEMYSTIFYING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT, Discovery Education

Pooja K. Agarwal, Ph.D. Henry L. Roediger, III, Ph.D. Mark A. McDaniel, Ph.D. Kathleen B. McDermott, Ph.D. (2013) How to Use Retrieval Practice to Improve Learning. Washington University in St. Louis

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Grade. Assess. Feedback

feedbackisthelearningkey

Ross Cooper asks a great question: Should the 4Cs be graded?

Should communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity be graded?

Remember that assessment is for learning, feedback for improvement, but grading is an evaluation of the moment.

Read Ross’s post and think about his ideas.

Rubrics can be created for anything, but are best created together with students, with a focus on what is proficient, rather than filling in the whole rubric with qualifiers. Just know what is proficient, to strive for, to exceed. Those criteria will change over the year as students’ starting points change and they nudge forward in their expertise.

What do students think critical thinking is?  or creativity?  Is there a common language from which learners can have a conversation?

For all the 4cs,  that’s the big question: is there a common language understood about the expectations? After having that conversation, students can identify where they use the skills, and how well they apply them. The criteria to me would be a living document, and may, if learning is truly the goal, be personalized for each student along a continuum. And the progress made certainly would indicate to the student his success and next goals.

But what about the more visible communication and collaboration skills?

Should we grade communication and collaboration? I think both should begin with a conversation and development of expectations with students. They should observe and assess where they are, and then choose improvement goals.

Communication and collaboration are part of the Common Core State Standards so learning targets of proficiency could develop from those.

However, in my real world of students, I’m thinking about success, and that means that the proficiency goals for students would be personalized. Some of my students are stretching towards college level goals, and some are still putting words together. If I want learning, then proficiency is a continuum, setting new goals together to reach the next level based on feedback on what was done well and where improvement is needed. Feedback from students themselves, peers, and the teacher. Feedback as conversation, whether in conversation face-to-face or in conversation on a collaborative document. But feedback is the key to learning.

Any “grade” must be fairly decided by criteria and conversation of achievement of that criteria. It must be a fair representation of the student’s progress, and that representation will change over time.

Ross shared a great truth by Rick Wormeli:

“Students can learn without grades, but they can’t learn without timely, descriptive, feedback.”  ~ Rick Wormeli

Because I think the learning will come from the doing, and the reflection on what helped and what didn’t will better guide next steps than a grade would, I would have that feedback conversation with kids during their projects and together decide what and if to grade – for all the 4cs– what and if to grade as a conversation.

 

Musings on Innovation for #immooc

 

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What are some examples that you consider innovative?  How is it new and better than what previously existed?

An example of a change in practice that is innovative in the classroom and becoming more so is that of the commenting feature in Google Apps so that I can give ongoing, synchronous or asynchronous, feedback to students, and they can give feedback to each other. We can have an ongoing conversation that leads the student to their success in more ways than a simple objective. With Kaizena, I can even give voice feedback, although I’ve found the written feedback to be more effective.

In addition, students can use their voice in Google Docs to type their work, which is so beneficial to some students whose great ideas somehow cannot get from their brain through their fingers onto the paper.

In the past, I’d have to gather the documents on flash drives, a shared drive, or on paper, provide written or typed feedback and send it back. Not nearly the smooth process we now have using Google Classroom with Google Docs.

In my teaching, I’m always looking for ways to help each student be successful. For instance texts on the Mac can be read to students who may not be fluent enough to read more difficult text. They know to highlight the text, click command-option-escape, and listen to the text as often as they need to understand and come up with their own questions and understanding, in their Google Doc with voice. In the past, a partner or myself could read it to them– but now they are in control. In fact my students know how to use rewordify.com to paste in text and select an easier reading level.  I’m always asking, “What does this learner need?”

In thinking about Language Arts and the tools of communication, inquiry, collaboration, design, and publication, I also understand that my goals need to represent today and tomorrow — the evolving world of interconnectedness, analysis and curation of constant information, and development and publication of one’s own ideas. Therefore, our essential questions reflect those goals:

essentialquestionsrelevantt

And our tools support our learning: Google Apps for Education, Thinglink, Padlet, blogs and blog buddies. It’s not that we’re using the tools, but how we use them as publishers, editors, designers, authors that makes us — students and teachers — innovators.

designendgoalindividual

In my life, I’m still figuring out how to innovate what was my teaching career into some other avenue. I’ve continued my Twitter conversations and connections and still participate in things like #clmooc and #immooc. I am a forever learner.

What has changed in our world is our instant connectedness, which is a good and a bad thing. So it is necessary for our student to be discerning viewers and creators of content — to do so to better the world.  That’s a mantra to keep emphasizing — to better the world. Some of us have that as a gift, others are so traumatized that survival precludes them from thinking of others. So we must share how to innovate to get beyond survival to be in control and making things better for oneself and others — to do something amazing.

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If I were to design a school, I’d think about these:

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Based on Connected Learning theory [#clmooc]:

Connected Learning

By innovating with the tools to which we have access today, much of this we can accomplish as learner-centered experiences: interest-driven, peer-supported, shared purpose, production-centered, and openly networked to meet our personalized academic goals and essential questions for learners, today and tomorrow.

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In examining the eight characteristics of an innovator, I thought in terms of my students. How could we be innovators together?

I could ask them:  Imagine a world where you are in control, where you find creativity and contentment, passion and province, connections and community? Imagine this together. What would it look like? We can think of this journey, and prepare our minds to succeed:

Be an innovator, someone who believes that ability, intelligence, and talents are developed,leading to the creation of better ideas — a better world.

Let’s start asking ourselves these questions:

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I started that journey with my students with collaborative tools [GAFE and wikis], blogging, and student choice for their voice in a community of learners, and now I have a way to introduce them to an innovator’s vision of and mindset for the world.

How did you start your journey?  What questions did you ask?


Images:

Change by @gcouros #immooc

Quotes created with Notegraphy

Design A School by Sheri Edwards in Keynote

Innovator’s World in Keynote

Connected Learning theory

Purpose of Education #immooc

deweysre

I’ve really been thinking about this. Our school systems in the United States formed with local boards of education so that the community’s education goals direct what happens in their school. Of course, the State Departments of Education mandate curriculum and their goals, and the US Department of Education and its purse strings mandate their own policies. With the State and Federal mandates determining funding, our schools focus on those goals and mandates, which in this time period include standardized testing, teacher evaluations, and various curricular requirements. This tangle of mandates strangle any true purpose of education, which must focus on the students, and I’m not sure the local community has much say, since the school board of directors usually focuses on improving those test scores as well.

What are the tests testing? Do we need tests to discern whether or not a student can read, do math, or communicate clearly? Do we really need tests to see where students are in the development of their thinking processes — to tell fact from fiction, and to synthesize ideas in discussion and debate with others to reach a set of understandings?

I don’t think so; I think teachers could observe, assess, guide, and scaffold learners to move successfully from where they are to where they could be successful as critical and creative learners on their own.

Because what is the purpose of education? Our public education system accepts all students, and our purpose must be to guide them to discover who they are, to know what their strengths are and could be, and to enrich their world with choices in possibilities through authentic group and personal goals. This is a process of living and working together to discover the understandings of how the world works by doing the work.

The purpose of education is to support and enrich the learners so they can learn on their own, no matter what the situation. As Seymour Papert says, “The good way to learn is to use it now.” Education must be doing what is needed by students as they choose and work through an authentic, relevant, and beneficent interest or inquiry.

In the doing, we learn. We learn more than the objective specific to the curriculum; we learn to investigate, share, discuss, debate, share, design, provide feedback, organize, determine relevance, create and remix, present, etc. Not everyone is learning the same things, because individuals or teams are focused on what each needs to reach their purpose.

Innovation breaks through patterns of routine and encourages attainment of essential goals through better strategies, processes, and tools that engage learners as active advocates and architects of their goals, learning, and life plans, working with peers to make the world better.

Innovation isn’t a big thing, although it could be. Innovation can simply be choices in what and how to study. The choices are the innovation.  Innovation can be stepping back and thinking, “Does every one have to take a test to show what they know?” — and providing or asking students what that would look like. Innovation can be simply just that: making decisions with students.

It can be strategies: how to turn uncivil arguments into civil and respectful debates.

It can be tools: social bookmarking, YouTube Live debates

It can be processes and protocols developed together with participants.

Innovation takes the usual or mundane, reinvigorates the purpose, and creates better engagement to meet that purpose.

Big or small, innovation moves people and education forward for the better, as each student moves forward knowing his/her strengths and goals while building the knowledge and skills to meet their goals.

What has been one of your best “innovations”that have broken through the usual to better focus the team’s goals?

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#DigiLit Sunday Part 2 The Numbers

Beginnings, Part 2

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Over thirty-one years of teaching, I didn’t have any “numbers” to support the strategies I chose, but I did continuously reflect on the impact my choices in tasks, groupings, and follow through had on student learning and behavior. I built a toolbox of strategies and activities that frequently worked for students from my own experience and through researched strategies in National Council of Teachers of English [NCTE], International Reading Association [now the International Literacy Association], ASCD [formerly Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development], and others according to the content areas I was teaching. I’ve built an extended professional learning network on Google Plus and on Twitter to share and discuss the issues and goals in order to be better for my students.

And why did I do this?  I want to be the best for my students and myself, and the professors in my courses in teaching at Eastern Washington University expected active learners and researchers who found real students to work with and reflect on that work, searching in the professional organization journals for solutions to student dilemmas. I had practiced reflective teaching before I was awarded my teacher credentials. I’m not sure all teachers had that experience.

reciprocal teaching dylan william hattie.002

Poster by Sheri Edwards; Images public domain from pixabay.com

Always though, the focus is on the learning of the person — not the standards or covering the curriculum — the focus is who we are and how we help each other as learners by building a learning community with positive relationships with each other.

One of the key lessons of Visible Learning by John Hattie (2009) is that those strategies that make learning visible provide teachers a repertoire of choices to enable students to become their own teachers  in the classroom and throughout their lives. One trait of excellent teachers is that they intervene with just the right strategy or task at just the right time for just the right student based on the impact of their previous teaching with feedback for how to stay moving on the student’s learning goal. With a wealth of strategies for instruction, teachers extend that imperative of being on the learning path to release the student as his/her own teacher to learn and improve as engaged learners in their own passions or interests wherever they are. The goal is lifelong learners, not test-takers or re-tellers of information.

In Visible Learning for Literacy by Fisher, Frey, Hattie, (2016), the authors suggest that, since the goal of our instruction is for students to become their own teachers, then teachers must “become learners of their own teaching,” (page 4, Kindle). We must reflect on the impact of our teaching on the learning. A reflective teacher asks and gathers information on these questions:

  • How effective was today’s lesson?
  • What was learned?
  • Who learned it?
  • Who did not learn it?
  • Who missed something?
  • Who learned something else, and why?

And students want to know: What? So What? Now What?

dewey_doing

Over one hundred years ago, John Dewey, a founding philosopher of education, grounded us in this truth: that learning is doing. Today, educators access a wealth of research that guides them in answering the reflective questions that result in the feedback and interventions to guide the learners in their care.

And students want to be doing, not watch the teacher do.

Michael Toth, CEO of Learning Sciences International, says that “It takes the concept of deliberate practice if you want to be the best in the field,” to which Robert Marzano, Executive Director of LSI adds, “Even small improvements in teacher effectiveness can have a positive impact on student achievement. (Becoming a Reflective Teacher webinar).

Indeed, it is the small  things we do as teachers every minute of every class that does impact student learning. It is this knowledge and reflective thinking — to be a “learner of my teaching” — to make  small improvements that guides me in better instruction, and in really knowing my students.

In Beginnings, Part 1, I shared a series of lesson actions to explain the flow and purpose of the beginning of my school year. As I read the books by Hattie and others, I can now add the research numbers behind the instruction. View the numbers here [I chose the Learning for Teachers in green since I am a teacher].  I’m not much of a numbers person — I lean to the “doing,” but it is my “doing” those numbers seem to support. It’s important, though, to also read the information about the strategies, to understand the “why” of the data numbers.  Take problem based learning at 0.21, a very low impact. However, in digging into the data Hattie explains that most of those studies about problem/project based learning dove right into critical thinking, instead of first building a knowledge base with students from which problems can be understood. Good problem/project based learning includes that, and Hattie suggests that would then have a higher success factor (Fisher, Frey, Hattie, 2016, p. 37).

So, let’s examine the “doing.”

Goals

  • Determine and practice expectations of a learning community

  • Discuss and learn protocols for entering, leaving, independent work, group work, discussions, turning in work, computer use, agreements, disagreements

  • Accomplish and celebrate learning / work together

Reaching towards a target goal has an effect size of 0.50 — I have them in mind and the students have theirs: Collaborative Grouping / Working together / Learning Community guidelines. More on this later.

This building of relationships according to Hattie’s research has a .72 effect size — an effect size means it has the potential to have a great effect on student learning; the closer to “1,” the greater the effect. And guess what? In building that relationship, in being fair, trustworthy, and caring, teachers build their credibility with students and that effect size is .90.

  • Invitational greeting at the door from teacher

  • Setting the first goal: a collaborative activity on screen [idea from Joy Kirr and Sandy Merz]

  • Students collaborate on seating from the directions

    • I observe, waiting until absolutely necessary to intervene

    • I may ask a question about the prompt to a student

    • I may encourage a student to speak up, or others to listen

So, to start the year greeting the young people who smile [or not] as they enter the room is an important first thoughtful beginning. And the choices made over the minutes in class each of the first days determine teacher credibility and student tone and attitude for the rest of the year.

Did you know that cooperative vs competitive learning has an effect size of 0.54, and that cooperative vs individual learning has an effect size of 0.59? So building a collaborative learning community, where students are helping each other learn in conversation, debate, dialogue, and products pushes forward any goals we have! It is most useful for deeper learning. During this activity, students are moving from learning about collaboration to doing collaboration in a safe and easy activity using ideas they already can talk about. And peer tutoring has an effect size of 0.55, so if someone doesn’t know a topic about which they are sorting themselves, a peer will explain so they meet the criteria. That’s the beauty of these introductory activities: the surface knowledge is already within their understanding – or one of their peer’s understanding, so that success is achievable and the thinking about HOW they solved the seating activity can also be discovered in reflection and conversation with their group.

I’m always standing, wandering, listening, encouraging during any lessons. I look for the confusion, the struggle, and the successes. When students can’t solve their own confusion, I figure out the best way to intervene: a question to them so they can clarify, another strategy, organizer, or review to set the students in just the right place to move on; or, if needed, stopping the whole class for questions or a quick tip.  That’s scaffolding instruction for two things: 1) so the student knows they will receive help [not answers or solutions] so they can succeed, and 2) to provide the vehicle for success.  Scaffolding has an effect size of 0.53.

  • Celebrate in class discussion

    • Refer to the goal: form groups

    • Acknowledge  and accept the events of participation – confusion, perseverance, and success

  • Give students a scrap of paper —

    • ask each to think of one event that started the success or ended a confusion

    • Ask them to write what worked and what didn’t

  • Ask them to share in their groups and to create lists on poster paper of What Worked to Succeed and What Did Not Work

In this sequence, I’m asking students to think about what they’ve done — think about their doing and thinking and reflect on what worked and what didn’t work. We’re reviewing our goal, and focusing on how to achieve it. We’re setting the guidelines for what we would expect if we expect success.  This metacognition has an effect size of 0.69. Notice I ask them to write about what worked or not as individuals first, then to discuss with the group, during which time students begin to learn to listen to opposing ideas and to agree or not in positive ways. Writing focuses one’s thinking, pulling the ideas together, both for individuals and as groups. These are key to both metacognition and to literacy learning  (Fisher, Frey, Hattie, 2016, p. 76). And because we are building guidelines, we move towards class cohesion, with an effect size of 0.53. I’m also guiding them in a problem to solve — what works for success in our group tasks. Problem-solving is 0.61. They need this guided activity more than once [which will occur over the next few days] in order to learn the techniques they need for self-generated problems  (Fisher, Frey, Hattie, 2016, p. 26). I’m not telling them how to behave, we’re figuring it out together based on the activities – what we will expect- back to goals for ourselves as learners.

  • Pull the class together and ask for a few quick responses from each list, without repeating

  • Listen for the key point and ask a clarifying question each time, to get at a specific example from their perspective; it’s my chance to be truly interested in their ideas

  • Ask students to go back and revise their lists to be more specific

  • Hang up the posters and give students dots to place by the most important “What Worked” strategies

  • Ask students to get or go to a computer to the class home page to link to a document “Learning Community Guidelines” with a table for “Our Guidelines”  Ask students to add things that we all should do based on the posters and experience to be successful at projects [students choose a row to add as many guidelines as they can]. If using paper, students each write their own but by discussing in groups to create their paper versions in their own notebook.

This is one of the most important parts of the lesson. It’s focused on the goals and also on the people, our community. Relationships develop when people know you care. I’m a pretty strict teacher in the sense that I’m diligent, and I expect the students to be diligent as well, and some kids don’t like to work that hard. But I know my students listen because days later, they’ll repeat or suggest some expectation or strategy I had mentioned as an alternative, in case the one I’m teaching doesn’t work for them. And they know that no matter what occurs — if there’s a bad day for either of us — they know I care that they succeed so the next day is good again. So this truly listening to their perspective and idea, and asking them to build on it is a key part of building that trust. And it serves literacy because we need that evidence and elaboration to prove our points. Here the expectation is set listen, to elaborate, to revise, to agree, speak up, disagree agreeably, and to help each other. We are learning and modeling and practicing the protocols that will guide us through the year together. This is also a formative assessment; I’m listening and acknowledging the ideas and providing feedback in the form of a question so the student can build their idea. I am communicating my expectation for elaboration, example, and details. Feedback’s effect size is .075. Feedback is specific, not praise – it’s a key strategy for improved learning (Fisher, Frey, Hattie, 2016, p. 17).

Another important aspect of this activity is the concept map created first by individuals and then as groups and finally as a class — What Works / What doesn’t. Students are analyzing and sorting ideas, a thinking strategy needed for deeper understanding. But it’s not the organizer that makes the thinking deeper — it’s what students do with the organizer that deepens learning. In this case, students discuss with the notes, elaborate and revise the notes, choose the most important, and then write from them.  This activity introduces them to a simple T-chart, one of many organizers that help think through complex ideas. Again, it sets the stage for what’s ahead. And it’s the using the notes that brings the deeper thinking  and deeper learning. The effect size for this use of concept maps is 0.60 (Fisher, Frey, Hattie, 2016, p. 80).

Another important point about class and group discussions is to encourage student to student conversations to clarify and carry the ideas further without the teacher as arbitrator of the conversation. At any time I can begin that journey by directing students to share together on a point, so we have just increased the impact on student learning. True classroom discussions like that has an effect size of 0.82! So step back whenever possible.

Students now have the knowledge to begin writing the guidelines for the community.

  • If guidelines are on the computer, randomly pick one group to edit to take out the duplicates; If guidelines are on paper, ask one student to type up each group’s list, editing for duplicates. The rest move on to the next task. For this task, choose a fast typer 🙂

  • Ask each student to make two lists of what we’ve done in the classroom so far:

    • A list of what the students did

    • A list of what the teacher did

  • Ask student groups to share make a list on poster paper of what we’ve done so far in the classroom

    • A list of what students did

    • A list of what teacher did

  • Put the edited learning community guidelines up and ask students if they are complete [teacher may add too]

  • Are they agreeable? Ask the students to type their name below the guidelines

  • Hang up  the  “What We Did” posters

  • Review the Community Guidelines with students but in the context of expectations for classroom protocol, which may include [we’ll review this over the week, so it doesn’t need to take long or be this complete on this day]:

    • Enter the room [tomorrow students will have their own copy of the Guidelines and a notebook to store in the room — which they need daily as part of entry]

      • Student

        • Be prepared — pens, pencils, papers, class notebooks, library books, all ready to go

        • Look for and complete entry task

        • If no entry task, read or write [on projects]

      • Teacher

        • Entry task ready

        • Reading  / Writing ready

        • Greets students / reviews work

    • Individual Work [student and teacher]

      • Quiet

      • On own

      • In own area

      • Distraction free

      • Teacher conferences

    • Group Work

      • Student

        • All participate

        • Listen

        • Discuss

        • Positive voices

        • Agree to disagree

        • Support with evidence

        • Invite all to participate

        • Roles [to be expanded on later [leader, timekeeper, statistician, recorder, morale officer]

      • Teacher

        • Monitors groups

        • Confers with groups

        • Feedback

      • Closing

          • Ask students what we will probably need to do to close our class:

            • Exit Thoughts

            • Clean areas

            • Computer protocol

            • Turn in

            • Class work away in own area

            • My rule: Stand by desks for dismissal

            • Last class: Stacks chairs and stands by desk

In this activity, we learn that the whole class will not always be working on the same activity — here we have two activities occurring that will help complete the project. And we review another organizer [teacher and student participation] based on the concept of classroom protocol expectations for both teacher and students. This will be another continuous conversation as different aspects of class needs occur [fire drills, phone calls, visitors, online safety, computer use, etc.]. It doesn’t happen in one day. We learn that we are flexible, and always learning — and that is an important understanding of a learning community. Because we learn these and add to the charts over several days, we begin to refer to them, revise them, and make them ours over time. Did you know that spaced practice as opposed to mass practice has an effect size of 0.71? That’s why we practice, not all at once, not in one day.

  • Exit Thoughts: What confuses you? What’s the most important thing you learned about being successful in this class? This can be on paper or in a Share Out document.  Students practice closing protocol.

Finally, the exit ticket, the formative assessment that tells me what the students know or not, another model for what we’ll be doing throughout the year, and most important, not for the students, but for me, the teacher. I will know the true impact of this day’s lessons, and know what to do tomorrow to make sure that for each student, I’m leading him or her on the path towards a successful year of learning. Formative assessment has an effect size of 0.90, but only if I use this information to inform my instruction. Of course, throughout the day, I’ve been conducting formative assessments while presenting information and getting feedback, while listening to groups, while managing discussions, and while interacting with individuals. I’ve been adapting the timing, the process, and the product of each step on the spot based on what students need. Perhaps a role-play was added to show how to have a discussion in groups or how to point out an error politely. Perhaps paper over computers, or vice versa. But the goal and the flow move forward to live these questions:

  • How do researchers investigate successfully?

  • What strategies and processes do collaborators need for success?

  • How do readers and writers determine and develop relevant, accurate, and complete topics?

  • How do publishers design and organize content for their audience and purpose?

  • Why and how do editors and speakers use and edit with the rules for standard English grammar and language ?

I’m in a dance with students, listening to their beat, and adjusting the learning path for their success. It’s a dance, not numbers, because it is what we do that matters; it is our community of learners that makes a difference in life. It’s a dance along a string I lay out, so students may discover their own steps and beat along it.

So, keep dancing and laying out that string — and think about how your strategies “by the numbers” and by your experience provide a pace that fits each student because you too know what works for your kids! And all the while, both you and your students grow and learn and improve together.

reciprocal teaching chomsky

Choose 2 Matter

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Resources

Chomsky, Noam Review of The Young Socratics. http://theyoungsocratics.com/reviews. Retrieved from Website, August, 2016.

Chomsky, Noam (1995). Excerpted from Class Warfare, 1995, pp. 19-23, 27-31 https://chomsky.info/warfare02/ retrieved from website August, 2016.

Dewey, J. (1916). Democracy and education. New York: Macmillan, p181

Fisher, Douglas, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie. Visible Learning for Literacy, Grades K-12: Implementing the Practices That Work Best to Accelerate Student Learning.2016. Kindle

Marzano, R. and Toth, Michael. “Becoming a Reflective Teacher” Learning Sciences International Webinar, Retrieved 8.24.16

Hattie, J. Corrections in VL2.pdf. Ingham Intermediate School District Wiki http://leadershipacademy.wiki.inghamisd.org/file/view/Corrections%20in%20VL2.pdf/548965844/Corrections%20in%20VL2.pdf Web, retrieved 8.24.16
Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning. New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. Kindle

Hattie, John. Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning. London: Routledge, 2012. Kindle


Cross-post here

This post is part of Margaret Simon’s blogging challenge.

Read more here.

Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

#DigiLitSunday First Days Part 1

 

Transitions

Moment Between Worlds

Beginnings, Part 1

Teachers and students are in a moment now between worlds, between the summer of exploration on our own and autumn of investigation in school. And I am in the moment between active and retired. Yet, I still ponder how I would [and did] start the year.

Those first days set the tone and community for the rest of the year. I want students to know we’ll be serious thinkers in dialogue with one another to tease out our understandings. I want them to know we’re in this learning journey together, and we need to set goals and provide feedback to each other, supporting or letting go when needed in a learning community that extends beyond the classroom.

Building the learning community is of utmost importance — building my credibility and accepting the students as credible learners!  To accomplish this, the first few days need to:

  • Determine and practice expectations of a learning community
  • Discuss and learn protocols for entering, leaving, independent work, group work, discussions, turning in work, computer use, agreements, disagreements
  • Accomplish and celebrate learning / work together

What do we do the first day?

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Here’s an outline. Notice the flow of activity from individual to group to class. Notice students are doing the work, and teacher is supporting, scaffolding as needed. Each activity should be quick to capture the ideas and prevent dead time; more ideas can be added over the next few days as we continue the collaborative seating activity and a reading/writing activity. I don’t worry about accomplishing all of this in one day, but we don’t dwell either; that’s part of the teacher’s management and understanding the pulse of student interest.  We will continue to refer to the charts on Works / Or not and Student / Teacher actions this first day and the first few days so we see that all of us are participating together to grow in our learning.

seat_entry

  • Invitational greeting at the door from teacher
  • Setting the first goal: a collaborative activity on screen [idea from Joy Kirr and Sandy Merz]
  • Students collaborate on seating from the directions
    • I observe, waiting until absolutely necessary to intervene
    • I may ask a question about the prompt to a student
    • I may encourage a student to speak up, or others to listen
  • Celebrate in class discussion
    • Refer to the goal: form groups
    • Acknowledge  and accept the events of participation – confusion, perseverance, and success
      • Note: We discuss who was a leader that day in helping to organize, who asked questions to clarify, who helped, who added an idea, etc. Each succeeding day students will improve in their openness and appropriate requests and conversations. Each day another student will take the lead, each day they will learn better ways to interact with and involve their peers, and each day they will learn positive ways to encourage each other. Most importantly, the students are collaborating not just with their usual friends, but with whomever is in their group that day. If students can speak up, lead, discuss with each of their classmates, including those they may not have chosen, then we are well on our way to becoming connected learners with peers around the world.
  • Give students a scrap of paper —
    • ask each to think of one event that started the success or ended a confusion
    • Ask them to write what worked and what didn’t
  • Ask them to share in their groups and to create lists on poster paper of What Worked to Succeed and What Did Not Work
  • Pull the class together and ask for a few quick responses from each list, without repeating
  • Listen for the key point and ask a clarifying question each time, to get at a specific example from their perspective; it’s my chance to be truly interested in their ideas
  • Ask students to go back and revise their lists to be more specific
  • Hang up the posters and give students dots to place by the most important “What Worked” strategies

    IMG_8705

    Paper Version Learning Community

  • IMG_8709

    Paper Version

    Ask students to get or go to a computer to the class home page to link to a document “Learning Community Guidelines” with a table for “Our Guidelines”  Ask students to add things that we all should do based on the posters and experience to be successful at projects [students choose a row to add as many guidelines as they can]

If using paper, students each write their own but by discussing in groups to create their paper versions in their own notebook.

 

 

 

IMG_8707

 

  • If guidelines are on the computer, randomly pick one group to edit to take out the duplicates; If guidelines are on paper, ask one student to type up each group’s list, editing for duplicates. The rest move on to the next task. For this task, choose a fast typer 🙂
  • Ask each student to make two lists of what we’ve done in the classroom so far:
    • A list of what the students did
    • A list of what the teacher did
  • Ask student groups to share make a list on poster paper of what we’ve done so far in the classroom
    • A list of what students did
    • A list of what teacher did
  • Put the edited learning community guidelines up and ask students if they are complete [teacher may add too]
  • Are they agreeable? Ask the students to type their name below the guidelines
  • Hang up  the  “What We Did” posters
  • Review the Community Guidelines with students but in the context of expectations for classroom protocol, which may include [we’ll review this over the week, so it doesn’t need to take long this day]:
    • Enter the room [tomorrow students will have their own copy of the Guidelines and a notebook to store in the room — which they need daily as part of entry]
      • Student
        • Be prepared — pens, pencils, papers, class notebooks, library books, all ready to go
        • Look for and complete entry task
        • If no entry task, read or write [on projects]
      • Teacher
        • Entry task ready
        • Reading  / Writing ready
        • Greets students / reviews work
    • Individual Work [student and teacher]
      • Quiet
      • On own
      • In own area
      • Distraction free
      • Teacher conferences
    • Group Work
      • Student
        • All participate
        • Listen
        • Discuss
        • Positive voices
        • Agree to disagree
        • Support with evidence
        • Invite all to participate
        • Roles [to be expanded on later [leader, timekeeper, statistician, recorder, morale officer]
      • Teacher
        • Monitors groups
        • Confers with groups
        • Feedback
    • Closing
      • Ask students what we will probably need to do to close our class:
        • Exit Thoughts
        • Clean areas
        • Computer protocol
        • Turn in
        • Class work away in own area
        • My rule: Stand by desks for dismissal
        • Last class: Stacks chairs and stands by desk
  • Exit Thoughts: What confuses you? What’s the most important thing you learned about being successful in this class? This can be on paper or in a Share Out document.  Students practice closing protocol.

10356476345_2263de2e39_o

Over the next few days, we review the protocols, guidelines, and interactions, adding or revising as needed while still doing our work, debriefing before, during, and after to celebrate what we did well according to our living guidelines. Our work includes activities that will be similar to those we will do all year. We’ll do more seating collaboration and reading and discussing Tween Tribune articles with partners [ Activity here ], which includes individual and partner work. I can discover what interests they have, listen to them reading, and encourage the types of collaborative behavior we continuously discuss as part of our Learning Community guidelines. Some will read the articles individually and some together. The students can also listen [highlight option esc on a Mac] to the story together. I’ve not had a problem with kids listening together on the computer. This activity brings in student choice in how to fulfill expectations in reading and writing by organizing this partner work.

None of these activities require students to login; we’ll introduce logging in and computer expectations and guidelines as we work through the week and use computers. Our netiquette guidelines are reviewed continuously and extend online and offline.

Other activities are added as time allows, such as slowly introducing Power Writing, which gives me a sense of their writing, is engaging to the students, and develops writing fluency.

We will begin our course Essential Questions:

  • How do researchers investigate successfully?
  • What strategies and processes do collaborators need for success?
  • How do readers and writers determine and develop relevant, accurate, and complete topics?
  • How do publishers design and organize content for their audience and purpose?
  • Why and how do editors and speakers use and edit with the rules for standard English grammar and language ?

I introduce them to quick assessments in a Google Doc or a Google Spreadsheet.

8449087659_ea924b5d48_o

How did we do?

  • Determine and practice expectations of a learning community — individual, group, class, and even different tasks completed with positive actions
  • Discuss and learn protocols for entering, leaving, independent work, group work, discussions, turning in work, computer use, agreements, disagreements
  • Accomplish and celebrate learning / work together — charts and documents, shared documents, a living Learning Community Guidelines

And:

Common Core State Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.7.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • SL.1.b – Comprehension and Collaboration: Follow rules for collegial discussions, track progress toward specific goals and deadlines, and define individual roles as needed.
  • SL.1.c – Comprehension and Collaboration: Pose questions that elicit elaboration and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant observations and ideas that bring the discussion back on topic as needed.
  • SL.1.d – Comprehension and Collaboration: Acknowledge new information expressed by others and, when warranted, modify their own views.
  • SL.4 – Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

When we begin the reading / writing activities:

  • W 9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. [Includes RI 1, 2]
  • W 7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation.
  • RI.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone. [ See also Language 5]
  • RI.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author distinguishes his or her position from that of others.
  • Read [Investigate, Content]
  • RI 2 – Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
  1. 1 – Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • Write [Content}
  • 6-8.WHST.8 – Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.
  • 6-8.WHST.2.b – Text Types and Purposes: Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
  • 6-8.WHST.2.d – Text Types and Purposes: Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
  • W.6  Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and link to and cite sources as well as to interact and collaborate with others, including linking to and citing sources.

Every moment is filled with purpose towards our relationship and our focus; a teacher makes instant decisions on the fly based on student input, confusion, prior knowledge, attitude, skills, interactions. It’s a delicate dance moving forward, checking the beat of the moment with the steps towards the future.

IMG_8697

5bs
What will your first dance look like?

Part 2

A cross-post here.

This post is part of Margaret Simon’s blogging challenge.

Read more here.Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Slice of Life Cobbles

EndlessallisonRomeAdventure

 

Her feet hurt.

For hours she walked upon volcanic basalt cubes, the cobblestone streets of ancient Rome. One foot carefully placed, then another. Step by step in shoes without support in the arch or ankle, she tread through the tiny alleyways winding in ancient patterns to the places most of us only dream or read about: the Colosseum and the Pantheon.

The cobblestones cover the streets in the ancient city of Rome. They are cubes of basalt, a hard volcanic rock. The basalt cubes lay spaced atop the earth below, fitting together loosely to allow them to form to the earth. Settling into the ground, the cubes are uneven in height, creating a difficult terrain, much less friendly than the soft earth on the mountains of home in Washington State, where the wet earth would cushion her step beneath the tall firs.

The well-worn cobbles, two-thousand years old, welcome travelers; their unevenness forces them to notice the rugged roadway, and to notice each step of their adventure through the winding streets. Just as the firs of home have beckoned her towards the next bend in the narrow path,  the rows of cobbles now seem to say, “You’re almost there. Look ahead– look around the corner; there’s more to see. You can do it.”

The adventure itself eases her pain as she stops for a chocolate frappe and chats with locals. She steps back onto the cobbles, joins the troupe of travelers, and turns the corner to discover a new destination ahead, which will be followed by more.

Her feet quicken.

South_east_view_of_the_Pantheon_from_Piazza_Minerva,_2006

Public Domain Image: South_east_view_of_the_Pantheon_from_Piazza_Minerva

Life in Italy: Sampietrini

About the Roman Cobbles BBC


classroomsliceoflife

Writing Strategy:

Layering

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.2.B
Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.

Layer each idea one upon another.

Example:

For hours she walked upon volcanic basalt cubes, the cobblestone streets of ancient Rome. One foot carefully placed, then another. Step by step in shoes without support in the arch or ankle, she tread through the tiny alleyways winding in ancient patterns to the places most of us only dream or read about.

walk — ON cobblestone streets—  BY foot — EACH step –WILL tread — THROUGH alleyways —  TO places

Alliteration:  — repeated beginning consonant sounds –

s – Step by step in shoes without support

c – cobblestones cover

d- discover a new destination

Strong Verbs:  walk, tread, creating, welcomes, beckoned, steps, joins