In case you missed it, the Winter Olympics has been showcasing the best athletes in the world. I am a huge fan of the Winter Olympics because of the unique events. I mean you have a huge range of events, most I can't do. I tried downhill skiing once and left with a badly sprained ankle. #neveragain And the halfpipe where they contort themselves and complete insane tricks is even more amazing as it calls for not just ability but a little insanity that you would fly out of a halfpipe of snow that is 22 feet high and propel yourself another 14-17 feet higher revolving and flipping before coming landing on a curved wall of the pipe to do it another 5 times before your run is done. Then there are all the games on ice. Well most of them are again mind boggling to me. Ice skating, speed skating and hockey take talent to be able to run and jump while on the ice. It is inspiring to watch the figure skaters leap in the air, much like the snow boarders flying through the air with reckless abandon.
The one event that I could remotely have a chance at participating it is Curling. I have gone curling. And while I only did it once, I didn't leave with any injuries. I don't want to portray curling as easy, as my experience demonstrated to me that there is a lot of skill involved. However seeing people of all ages participate in curling provides hope that this could be an activity that I do participate in for years. While I don't have delusions of grandeur that I would be an Olympic athlete, I love the fact that the winter Olympics has such a variety of events that inspire people to get up and move even when temperatures fall.
One great example of this was the Men's Cross Country event where one of the athlete's fell down after getting tangled with a group in the front of the race only 150 meters into the race. He fell, was hit in the head and had another athlete fall on top of him. This athlete upon getting back on his feet found himself at the end of the pack, in last place. The question for him at this point is what to do next? He could have given up. I am sure he was hurting from the blow to the head and the rest of the fall. He could have given into the pain and disappointment. He didn't chose to give up, instead he decided that he came to the Olympics to do his best. As the race went on the announcers discussed the leaders, strategy, and the back and forth action of the lead group trading places in the front. The race continued with little notice of the racers who fell so long ago. It wasn't until the final leg of the race that this determined individual was able to catch the lead pack. Then incredibly he was able to move up to the front of the pack, but even more amazing was that he broke away from the pack and was able to win by a sizable margin.
The Olympics has been an inspiration experience for me and the basis of this week's chat.
Check out the questions here.
I have been working on a PD project the past month using Google Forms, Sheets, and the Add on Autocrat. The set up is to have participants complete tasks and submit their artifacts of learning using a Google Form. The next step is to create a template to share the badge and data from the sheet on a Google Doc or Google Slides template. You then use the Add On Autocrat to merge the data from the sheet to the new document. It sounds easy enough, but getting it set up perfectly takes a little practice.
When you get it right, it is magical. You can use this to create self directed, self paced activities for students that the sheet can analyze and push the results out to students immediately. It may sound similar to what Forms Quiz can do, but there is so much more with the addition of Auto Crat.
So this week I have been exploring what else it can do, and I created a Trading Card Template that pulls from the form and creates a Google Slide. Yes you could just create each slide yourself, but the vision here is to have students collaboratively add their information to the Form and then create something amazing that all students can access together.
I am just starting to explore this tool, but am seeing so much potential for a tool this tool.
Tonight's questions are made using this set up and I hope you will check out AutoCrat.
I hope to be able to add the templates and set up here soon.
Process - Create the form, slide template, then use AutoCrat in Sheets.
Everyday that I get on Twitter, I am inspired by the dedicated, passionate, creative, risk taking educators that I am connected with. I get to engage with teachers who inspire me to be more than I was yesterday. They share their love of students and their desire to change the face of education. I get excited by what I have learned from them and the things that I have been able to do as a result of their work.
I spent the last month working on a personalized PD model for Google Tools. I used the work of Alice Keeler and her PD spreadsheet as the inspiration. She created a badging system that outlines skills and tasks for staff and then when they complete it they earn a badge. I wanted to adapt this for our teachers' needs and went about finding suitable tasks. I came across Kasey Bell's list of Google level 1 certification tasks. What came out of this inspiration is a list of about 150 tasks each with a unique badge to recognize the work that staff have done to learn about using the tools.
The process I developed with the help of one of our district's amazing technicians, allows staff to submit their artifacts via a Google form and after I acknowledge the submission, they are sent a certificate of completion and their badge. They also are added to a leaderboard to show who has earned the most points by completing the most or tasks. I will share out the process in another post, when we are out of Beta testing.
I wanted to share this because the countless hours of work I have put into this system has taught me many lessons. Some of them are even positive. The biggest takeaways from this experience has been seeing what is possible when you set your mind to something. I often doubt what I am capable of, or accept my current reality as good enough. When I see what others are doing, it rekindles the fire to do more, and be more. I appreciate my PLN for providing the inspiration to not only reflect on the areas I need to improve, but also providing guidance and support in leading me to take risks, try new things, and grow.
This week's chat is about Inspiration. I have taken a few quotes and used them as the basis of our conversation.
This week I have found a number of great resources about professional practice and professional development. I have been inspired by these resources by amazing educators and wanted to share them with you. I hope you find them useful and meaningful as well.
Thanksgiving the holiday is a little over a week away. Thanksgiving the activity should be an everyday occurrence. We should be thanking those around us for the support they provide, for the actions that bring us joy, inspiration, and challenge us to be the best we can be. There are people in our lives who help us do what we do and continue to do the awesome things we are able to accomplish.
I came across a post the other day by Stacy Jennings @sjennINSPIRE where teachers created a video where teachers tell the students they work with how the student inspires them. I think this is a phenomenal idea. I know many teachers share with students notes or conversations letting the student know they are making good progress, or doing a good job. This was to me, a little different. It was about how the student inspired them. How the student has impacted their life. The conversations seemed focused on the student as an individual who has unique personality traits and behaviors that were appreciated. This went beyond academic or athletic performance and showcased the student as a powerful force of inspiration who made the teacher's life better.
The video is below
A number of weeks ago, I shared another example of celebrating others and giving thanks. This one was aimed at teachers, or colleagues and what they do that makes our lives better. I wrote about it in my post Superheroes. I had asked teachers to share how awesome teachers and their colleagues are. What do teachers do to help students, to support us, to challenge us to be our best?
So this week I want to issue a few Thanksgiving Challenges to you.
You can share these in tweets, infographics, or videos documenting your successful completion of these challenges.
1. Share with a student how/why they inspire you to come to school, to do your best, to teach, to learn and grow as an educator.
2. Share with members of your PLN how they help you learn and grow. How do they support and inspire you to to be the best you can be?
3. Share with members of your staff how they help you learn and grow. How do they support and inspire you to to be the best you can be?
4. Document and share your acknowledgements of colleagues here - https://flipgrid.com/3349de create a video expressing how you are thankful for and why.
5. Share a strategy, tool, technology, etc. that you are thankful you have learned as it has made a difference in your educational practice.
6. Share with a family member(s) how they have supported you and helped you succeed and why you are thankful they are in your life.
7. Add your own challenges to others.
How do you create an environment where students feel respected, appreciated and cared for? This week I have met with several teachers and many of the conversations have had a common theme; teacher student relationships. There were some conversations where teachers expressed frustration with student behavior. Yes this happens. Students sometimes don't meet our expectations or behave in a way that can be frustrating. When this happens, how do we respond? Are we able to take a step back and deal with the behavior, or do we struggle to separate the behavior from the student? If we address the issue with the focus on the student rather than the behavior we can negatively impact our relationship.
Tonight is about ways we can build a positive learning environment for our students. Join the conversation and share your strategies for making your classroom a safe space for students.
Tonight we discuss Professional Development and hopefully learn a few resources and experiences we can share with each other to grow together.
In college while taking a 1945-Present US History class, I was asked to interview someone who was around during the Vietnam War. The professor may have said Vietnam Conflict as it was technically not a war, but I digress. When presented with this project, I think I went with the easiest person I could think of which was my dad. To be honest in thinking about it now, I think I likely knew my dad had served in the Navy, but didn't know much else. Over the years he didn't talk much about his experience. We knew he traveled to Japan as he had a couple of dolls that still reside in the living room of their home. I also remember him showing me a sword he got again while in the Navy and in Japan. I think the mementoes being from Japan precluded me from ever realizing he was involved in Vietnam. He never spoke of it.
When tasked with conducting the interview, I came home from college and we sat down to talk about it. He shared with me that he enlisted. Now at that point in my life I had known my dad for about 20 years. I knew he had a gun he used for hunting, which I think he only went like two years when my older brother went hunting. So my dad wasn't someone that I thought of as this gun ho Jo. He wasn't someone I saw as eager to go to war, or have a heightened sense of duty to country or patriotism that would drive him to volunteer. I was puzzled as to why he would put himself at risk voluntarily. This seemed at odds to the man I knew, especially knowing how unpopular the Vietnam was for many at that time. When I pressed him on this he told me, he had a high draft number, and he figured he was definitely going to get drafted. Facing almost guaranteed service, he decided to enlist. He said if you enlist you get to chose the branch of service. He chose the Navy and had several years serving in Vietnam. There are many differences between his experience and someone who was in the Army. One that he was thankful for was that he had a clean bunk every night and had hot meals.
As we talked he also shared that he had guys he grew up with that didn't make it back. He shared some of the stories of the things he saw, did, and heard about from people he knew, but little in way of graphic details about what we likely think of as the reality of war.
I could go on about the other really cool things he shared with me, like being on the recovery mission for one of the Apollo flights; they weren't the ship to recover it, because it was such a powerful experience for me. Getting to see a different side of my dad, hear about his experience, especially in context of a major historical event is still one of the best memories I have of spending time with him.
There are other people's stories that I haven't heard or experienced. There are people in my life that I haven't taken the time to learn about. There are things that I missed out on or am missing out on because I haven't take the time to start the conversation. I think interviewing people is such a powerful experience. One of the classes I work with, 3rd grade bilingual students started last year with a project where they interviewed the teachers in their building to help the entire school get to know the staff better. I have been thinking about this activity, along with the potential for using this to help students experience history. Tonight's chat is about the story of history and doing the work of history.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.