It isn't easy being a Pirate! To be a forward thinker who is willing to take risks and fail publicly. To be passionate about education in an all consuming manner that people look at you weird. It is challenging to live the life on a daily basis. What I have realized in my experience as a Pirate is: well that could be a long post in itself because there are many things, but I will focus on just a few. I have mentioned that being a Pirate is difficult, but something I like many other have chosen to do. We all have our own individual paths that have led us to TLAP and this calling. I realize in my daily reflections how unpirate like I was early in my career, and how much growth I have seen in my practice and passion for education as a result.
A major revelation to me on this journey is that it took both challenge and support from colleagues to get me here. I needed people to tell me I was doing a good job and that I was making a difference when I was struggling. I also needed others to challenge my thinking and educational philosophy when I wasn't doing what was best practice, or meeting the needs of my students. I needed a balance to not get to high or low in my view of my own practice. I always have room for growth and I am not a great teacher. I don't think I ever will be. I am someone who strives for greatness however and that has allowed me to continue to grow, learn, inspire others, and be relevant to students and education in general.
Sorry this post isn't supposed to be about me, but I find it hard not to reflect on my own struggles and journey when looking at this week's topic. I couldn't have made it to where I am without my supporting cast. This doesn't mean I am a rock star and they are the roadies, but rather they are the people who I rely on to gauge my current reality. These are the people who allow me to take risks and fail at times but are there with the safety net. They are people who push me to try new things because they believe I know what I am doing. They are people who call me out when I am not rocking the Pirate lifestyle and my methods don't measure up.
I hope we all have people like this. Those who make you want to do better and help you when you need that extra push. These are not those who simply agree with you because they don't like to make waves, but rather challenge your practice of giving extra credit for a sugar cube pyramid or bringing in boxes of tissues. They ask you why are you assigning homework, or that particular task? What do you want students to learn, and will your assessment measure that?
I am working with our curriculum department and teaching and learning to help teachers develop lessons for their classrooms that infuse technology. I along with other members of the technology integration team and LMS are assisting teachers in this endeavor. I am excited about the curriculum design process because they are utilizing Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe’s Understanding by Design, or Backward Design format. After attending a few meetings and discussing this with teachers and integrators, it struck me that in order for teachers to accomplish their unit plans and those tasked with assisting them with this, we all have to know what the teacher’s final goal is for their student. Simply put, teachers have to know what they want students to learn, and what they want the students to produce to demonstrate their mastery of the learning.
In pondering this process, I thought about how to best facilitate this discussion. Things we need to consider; teachers may not even know all that is available to them in terms of technological resources. We don’t want to create the cookie cutter lesson for teachers and students that doesn’t elicit excitement in the learning process. We want to select tools and techniques that are easily implemented by teachers and easy to use by students.
Those deep thoughts by Jack Handy (if you watched SNL) you get it - if you don’t get it- fake it so I don’t feel old. Anyway those thoughts brought me to the most creative educators I know - those Pirates on #sstlap. Tonight and our discussion of universal strategies. These could be technologies, but I hope to see learning strategies or activities that could be used by teachers to engage their students.
There are so many topics possible that I don’t know that I could do this all in an 8 questions format, so we may just have to include a Google Doc for your ideas to spill over into that everyone can collaborate and use to improve their own practice. The other aspect of this is that the questions are so general that your ideas could be used with other content, or other subject areas so all are welcome to join, share and learn.
Before the questions, a few updates-
#edcampsstlap potential dates Voting Results
#edcampsstlap potential topics
What content or subject area would you infuse the following activity or learning strategy to provide your students a meaningful learning experience?
What are some strategies/activities that you have used that can be replicated with other content?
Add your ideas to the Google Doc.
My hope for this conversation is to have you leave here with some ideas about learning activities that you can connect to your content areas.
Here is an interesting article about Hands-Off teaching. Letting students discover and solve issues for themselves.
Spring is here and it is the time of renewal and creation. I have found myself evaluating my choices of the past winter and have begun to make efforts to reinvigorate myself. As I look around at the birds returning, the sun shining, I am filled with the desire to be active, do more, create something and live each moment more completely.
Last night during a Graduate class I teach with @DoerDi Diane Doersch who is also my boss, we were introducing GeniusHour when she asked the class what they were passionate about. As the class responded, we all found ourselves commenting on each other's passion. We were getting to know each other and enjoying the experience. I began to think about my experience using GeniusHour in class and how the connections and deepening of relationships was a huge takeaway for me. This was really one of the best things I have ever done in my classroom.
Tonight I thought we could look at the concepts of Passion, Creation, Failure and the Learning process. One thing about GeniusHour is that it is predicated on the acceptance of failure. Students may fail and that is okay. They will learn from it. So tonight let's put ourselves in the role of learner and discuss Passion, Creation and what we want our legacy of education to be.
Q1 Passion! What is your passion in life? What do you love to do? What do you want to learn about? #sstlap
Q2 Learning- What is your greatest learning experience you have ever had? Think in terms of you as the learner! Why? #sstlap
Q3 FAIL: What has been your greatest failure as a learner? Something you weren't able to do, accomplish, or finish? How did you respond? #sstlap
Q4 SUCCESS: What has been your greatest triumph as a learner? #sstlap
Q5 Creation! What has been your greatest creation? First as a Learner, then you could add your educational creation. #sstlap
Q6 What is something that you have always wanted to create, produce, or do? #sstlap
Q7 How can you use these ideas w/Ss in your classroom? #sstlap
Q8 How can you create a school wide movement to embrace Ss passion and creativity? #sstlap
Dimension 3 is about evaluating sources and drawing conclusions and Dimension 4 is about communication and collaboration.
In Dimension 3 I found the following to be points of interest for curriculum development. (The following are taken from C3 Framework)
1. Students should use various technologies and skills to find information and to express their responses
to compelling and supporting questions through well-reasoned explanations and evidence-based
arguments. Through the rigorous analysis of sources and application of information from those sources,
students should make the evidence-based claims that will form the basis for their conclusions.
2. Whether students are constructing opinions, explanation, or arguments, they will gather information
from a variety of sources and evaluate the relevance of that information.
3. In contrast to opinions and explanations, argumentation involves the ability to understand the source-to-evidence relationship. That relationship emphasizes the development of claims and counterclaims and the purposeful selection of evidence in support of those claims and counterclaims. Students will learn to develop claims using evidence, but their initial claims will often be tentative and probing.
4. Inquiry in social studies is an inherently collaborative activity, and thus, Anchor Speaking and Listening
Standard 1 is particularly relevant in Dimension 3. Speaking and Listening Standard 1 calls on students
to “prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively”
5. As students gather and evaluate sources for relevant information and determine credibility toward building claims with evidence, they should have multiple opportunities to practice civil, democratic
discourse with diverse partners.
1. The inquiry process, as described in the C3 Framework, should include regular opportunities
for students to critique their work as well as the work of others. Critiquing conclusions requires an examination of sources, consideration of how evidence is being used to support claims, and an appraisal of the structure and form of arguments and explanations. The critiquing of arguments and explanations deepens students’ understanding of concepts and tools in the disciplines, and helps students strengthen their conclusions.
2. Social studies is the ideal staging ground for taking informed action because of its unique role in preparing students for civic life. In social studies, students use disciplinary knowledge, skills, and perspectives to inquire about problems involved in public issues; deliberate with other people about how to define and address issues; take constructive, independent, and collaborative action; reflect on their actions; and create and sustain groups.
3. Anchor Reading Standard 1 indicates the importance of employing evidence when communicating conclusions as well as forming a plan of action based on information and data. Both making decisions and presenting results stem from students being able to both identify and use “explicit” information found within texts, as well as draw and act upon “logical inferences” made from what they read (NGA
and CCSSO, 2010a, p. 10)
4. Anchor Speaking and Listening Standards 1-6 require that students engage one another strategically using different forms of media in a variety of contexts in order to present their knowledge and ideas. For
requires that students prepare and participate in a “range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners” (NGA and CCSSO, 2010a, p. 22).
focuses on student use of diverse types of media to enhance communication.
expects that students will evaluate speakers’ points of view, reasoning, and use of evidence.
expects that students will present “information, findings, and supporting evidence,” with consideration of “task, purpose, and audience” (NGA and CCSSO, 2010a, p. 22).
asks students to make strategic use of “media and visual displays” when presenting
(NGA and CCSSO, 2010a, p. 22).
requires that students take into consideration the context of their engagement.
Q1A ST1- Conversations- What opportunity do you give Ss to Participate in conversations & Collab experiences w/ diverse partners? #sstlap
Q1B D3 What strategies do you model to assist students in building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively #sstlap
Q2A D3 - Info Gathering- How do you guide Ss through the research/analysis of varied sources of info? What strategies do you use to assist in creating meaning? #sstlap
Q2B D3- What strategies do you use to help your students analyze information and create well reasoned opinions, explanations, or arguments? #sstlap
Q2C D3- How do you help students determine the validity of the claims and counterclaims made in their sources of information? #sstlap
Q3 ST2- Media and Communication- how do you utilize technology to provide students a platform for their ideas and voice, or use it to make connections beyond class? #sstlap
Q4 ST3- Listening- We want Ss to be good listeners, what activities will assist Ss in this process to to evaluate speakers’ points of view, reasoning, and use of evidence. #sstlap
Q5 ST4- Present like a Pirate- not only should Ss create engaging presentations how do you model Pirate Presentations? #sstlap
Q6 ST5- Visuals - It's all about the Visuals! - How do you use visuals in presentations? What do you expect of Ss and what are some great Ss examples #sstlap
Q7 D4- Peer Review- Ss critique can be a powerful resource. What are some ways you utilize peer critiques? How do you prepare Ss to create constructive feedback? #sstlap
Q8 D4- Informed action- Make Social Studies relevant for your Ss! What lessons do/could you connect to Ss lives where they take real action for change? #sstlap
The first few concepts about conversations and information were so interconnected between D3 and D4 that I had a hard time separating them. Thus there are multiple parts for Q1 and Q2. Each question is subtly different, and could lead to unique responses which is why I felt the need to include them off. I guess I could have separated Dimension 3 and Dimension 4 to two separate chats, but when I started I struggled to think of 6+ questions about information gathering. Now I have an abundance of questions and only 60 minutes to fly through them. Over planning has always been an issue. We will get to what we can, you always have access to the questions and can revisit them at a later date if necessary. I will as always post the archives below.
I had an interesting conversation with a few teachers and admins recently and it made me think about how some teachers are not on the Pirate ship yet. I have spoken of my journey to becoming a Pirate several times in posts. I did a number of things that weren't best practices, many times because those were the way that I was taught as a student and in my teacher prep. In the past few years my philosophy about education, the purpose of grading and homework has changed. I am still on a journey to become the educator I want to be. I hope you will join me in a conversation about best practices and delve into some of the issues facing educators daily.
I also decided to take a break from C3 framework because Chuck Taft will be MIA this week and he is much more well versed in the framework than I am.
And another BIG ALSO- I didn't forget about #edcampsstlap. It is something that has some logistical pieces that we need to decide on. The first thing is the day of the week- Please vote in the form below when will work best for you. EDCAMPSSTLAP VOTING
Questions for SSTLAP
Q1 What is the best #tlap strategy you have used this year? And Why? #sstlap
Q2 Homework - What is its purpose and role in your classroom? If you give it why? #sstlap
Q3 What do you do if students don't complete their assignments? Do they get to participate in class activities the next day? #sstlap
Q4 Grading - What is the purpose of Grades? What role do/should they play in learning? #sstlap
Q5 Assessment - How do you determine student mastery of your content? MC tests, essays, projects, etc. Why? #sstlap
Q6 What do you do if students aren't able to complete the assessment at the appropriate level? Can they revise? Why or why not? #sstlap
Q7 Lesson Planning- You can't teach it all, how to you decide what you will/won't include? Do you use Essential Questions? #sstlap
Q8 Engagement - How do you create engaging lessons for your Ss? What is most important to include in a lesson to make it engaging? #sstlap
Other things to consider in our discussion of Best Practices-
We are Pirates, how do we get others to view education the Pirate Way? How can we help others change their practice to focus on student learning/experiences and not grades? How can we ensure that students have multiple opportunities to learn and demonstrate their mastery? How can we build relationships that will forever change the face of education?