Monday, October 31, 2016

Fall Cue Reflection

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I had the most wonderful weekend of learning & leading at Fall CUE.

Friday started off fabulously with keynote speaker Dave Burgess. His excitement and enthusiasm set the tone for my entire weekend.  I now have the Pirate curse, as I can't think of any lessons without considering what it would look like with a mask and snorkel, or even better yet a scuba tank.  His personal examples of how he was able to create experiences with his students are engraved in my memory. It was a true pleasure to meet someone so passionate about creating memories in education. 

Later in the morning, I was able to share my excitement about BreakoutEDU by running a mini Breakout game and participating in a panel discussion about how we were able to bring Breakout to our district's teachers and students.  

The amazing Jon Corippo led a wonderful session based on redesigning the Madeline Hunter seven step lesson plan to engage students.  I came back with some awesome ideas to infuse Google Slides, the Frayer Model, and Pecha Flickr to create packaged learning for students.  Since it's all about reps, I need to get started soon. 

I've always been interested in the idea of Project-Based Learning and was able to attend an excellent session that included great planning sheets to get started.  Hearing it explained again, just after finishing GLAD training last week,  had my mind working overtime about ways to integrate the two.  

To end the conference, I was able to catch a session by "The Weird Teacher", Doug Robertson.  He had a great message about teacher mindset, ideas for flexible classroom arrangement and wonderful ideas about keeping the joy in our profession.  

I am back from the conference, busy as ever, but energized by being around so many teachers who love what they do and believe that kids deserve us at our best.

Friday, May 6, 2016

No Worksheet Week Reflection

As a teacher, I never quite knew how to tackle the concept of #noworksheetweek.  I seriously thought it meant to cut-out the use of paper for an entire week.  Even though my classroom was iPad-based, I couldn't fathom the idea of not using pre-made right/wrong answer type of work  during the week.  I pretty much just pretended not to know that it was no worksheet week and went about business as usual.

Thanks to my job as an instructional coach, and the gentle guidance and wisdom of the paperless Rae Fearing, I have come to understand alternatives to worksheets.  My eyes are open to a new world and my personal teaching/classroom will never look the same.

It was my goal this week to bring as many new ideas to the classrooms that I work in as teachers were willing to accept.

Many ideas that teachers chose this week came from the Gameboard HyperDoc that I proposed to teachers a couple of weeks ago as a gamified shift in teaching/learning.

I began the week by introducing the concept of student-led edcamp to 5th graders at Joe Hamilton. Students volunteered to lead 15 minute time periods on topics of their choice.  I was surprised by the variety of ideas that they suggested.  Students had a lot of choice in deciding what they would learn about. I was not disappointed when I returned on Friday to see the presentations in action.  Students can't wait to try it again.  The teacher allowed time in class for students to work and was surprised by the initiative shown, with many students choosing to continue working on them at home.

Another exciting activity that I tried this week was Mystery Skype.  Students were introduced to the idea behind Mystery Skype and  volunteered for roles during the experience.  Student engagement was at its highest when asking questions, researching maps, and googling clues as to the location of the other classroom.  More teachers have asked to start mystery-skyping after hearing about it.

Genius Hour continued in 4 of the classrooms, with students being deep into their projects and research.

A lot of activities will continue until the end of the year as I ran out of time to reach all of the classrooms who are willing to try new ideas.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Teacher Tools That I am Thankful For...

As my Thanksgiving vacation winds down, my thoughts focus on work and some of the teacher tools that I am most thankful for:
Google Classroom
Google Classroom allows teachers to create and push assignments to students paperlessly.  I love that I am able to view and comment on assignments from any device.  Google Drive organizes completed Google Classroom assignments in folders.
Google Documents
I have always admired how easy it is to use Google Docs, but with my recent introduction to HyperDocs, I have a new love for how powerful they can be in the classroom.  HyperDocs give teachers the ability to design a lesson that contains instructions, links, tasks, and many creative ways to get kids thinking.
Math Manipulatives
Last year I attended a wonderful math training in our district by Kim Sutton.  She introduced our group to many fun math tools that gamify the boring practice of learning math facts. Among my favorite were double dice, triple dice, place value dice and decahedron double dice.
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Monday, November 9, 2015

Brush Bots with Little Makers

Students from Mary Peacock visited the makerspace today.  They constructed brush bots from toothbrush heads, a battery, a motor, and wires.  They ended the day with brush bot battles and races.

Fluency with Fourth Graders

I started another week of Fluency Building Routines with a 4th grade class.  They were excited about working on their own fluency skills, and about the idea of being responsible to help another person build reading fluency during partner time.  They took turns reading to each other, timing each other, and graphing their results on a chart.

Peer Editing with Two Stars and a Wish

I ended my Narrative Writing Unit in 3 great classrooms on Friday.  We spent some time peer editing with clock appointments.  The students used Three Stars and a Wish feedback forms to offer compliments and areas for improvement to writing partners.  It got a little noisy, but the conversations were centered on writing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Editing & Revising Made Fun

I was out and about in 4th and 5th grade classrooms with my editing & revising tool kits.  Students actually enjoyed marking up their rough draft narratives with the fun tools.