Showing posts from 2017

Learning, Mastery, Grades: One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Yesterday on my way home from school, I listened to a TED podcast from Sal Khan: Let's Teach for Mastery, Not Test Scores . Its a great way to spend 11 minutes, and I don't know about you but I love the cadence of his voice. Very Barack Obama-esque. Politics aside, I love hearing that man speak. I was pumped after listening to this. It validated my recent cannonballs into flexible seating, and rubric based grading, and it lit my fire to the personalized learning schedule my team is currently launching. I will share those resources, and also give some perspective of how we got to this point in our classrooms. Its a step farther out on a continuum, not a switch that is flipped.  I have been feeling more and more disillusioned by our grading system in my district. When a parent looks at an 89% in math on a report card, what does that tell them? What does it communicate? I have asked about whether our district would consider standards based grading for a couple ye

Who's Who of #IMMOOC PLN

As part of this #IMMOOC experience, I was exposed to hundreds of educators and their thoughts, trials, and triumphs. If you are looking for your people, stop by and check out these fabulous educators that make me have all the teacher feels.   Kristen Nan-True Grit : She really spoke to my soul in a post about golden glue.    Theresa Ducassoux-Off the Beaten Path in Music : A music teachers is giving me serious competitive collaboration for how to push my students to take their learning to new audiences.   Kristin Houston-It Starts With A Screw :Kindergarten engineers. She proves there is no age requirement for innovation.

David Letterman's Top Ten #IMMOOC

The last #IMMOOC live chat was viewed, the last twitter chat tweeted. I'm still recovering from the book hangover, but it was stronger this time. I saw people and communicated with people online so it became real. Hunger Games never did. I suppose that is why I am so late with these last two posts for the book study. I will still blog, but it feels different. I am going to try and focus my rediscovered drive for blogging and being connected to a global PLN. I'm starting by reading Teach Like A Pirate. I have a laundry list of books that I want to get to, and now I have this format, this structure, to make the most of it. Excited, fueled, and hopeful even as we slide towards Thanksgiving Break. So what's the big deal? Was the book any good? What did I take from it? I can't narrow down to only a few, but I'll do my best David Letterman. Top 10 Innovative Ideas to Make a Reality 1. The Golden Circle of Storytelling 2. First Draft of Student Advisory Boa

#IMMOOC Dive Under the Iceberg

Sylvia Duckworth's visual representation of success is so revealing. It struck a nerve. I have to be visible not only in my success, but in the process along the way. Process over product, or at least with it. But its a two-way system. I need to share my whole iceberg and look at other's when learning from them. Often we look at people doing amazing things and think, "Wow! They make it look so easy !" I don't know about you, but EASY is a 4 letter word in my classroom. I discourage students to use it because it is undermining for some and unrepresentative for others. So why do I use it? Nothing starts easy for anyone.  The challenge is to follow up those thoughts with "How did she/he get there? What did it look like along the way?" We need to ask those questions when we are learning, and give those answers when we are sharing. Its a true representation that will add fuel to the Crowd Accelerated Innovation. When we can learn from each other&

#IMMOOC Less is More

I had the pleasure of reading the book that lead to  Barry Schwartz TED talk on the Paradox of Choice  before I ever entered education. I thought about it in terms of decision making for life, but hadn't made the connection to education, innovation, and sharing. *Kicks rocks* I am so guilty of sending a million emails over the course of the year for this thing or that thing that I think could be powerful in our classrooms. George, I hear you. I have felt no one was listening. Now, I know why and I don't blame them. It is clear that our campus and district are pushing three tools: Google Apps for Education, Schoology, and Twitter. I use these fluently, I think. Now that I have a focus, I can be more intentional about what and how I share. I also have ideas on how to share others' ideas, not just mine. We need to show how our staff is smart. We are all smart, we just need to expose it! Less gives focus. Focus gives intention. Intention breeds action. 

#IMMOOC 250 Word Challege: Strengths Based Systems

Some people call me a leader. Some people call me a rogue teacher. Which is it? Who decides? I think I am a leader, but I do not want to be THE leader. I don't want to be in charge, but I want to share and push people's thinking and teaching and learning. It is my strength. Risk taking. Jumping in with both feet without a lot of perseverating on details, and then sharing my experience, my struggles, my successes, listening to feedback, and turning it around the next day or week or year. In my strength, I feel like I could be so helpful to our organization at large. I'm just waiting to be tapped. I'm doing what I can to put myself out there, but I'm also waiting on someone to figure out what to do with me, in a sense. Are our kids doing this? Are they sitting in class waiting for us to tap into their strength and show us their potential of what they can contribute to our classrooms? Are there other staff members waiting for someone on top to pick us out and

A Day in the Life of an Innovator #IMMOOC

Relationships and collaboration are crucial to innovation, but what about working in isolation? Where does that come into play? A couple weeks ago I had an opportunity to get @GoogleforEdu and #googleexpeditionsAR on my campus. I've coordinated a similar day with Google Cardboard 3 years ago, and it was just as much of a whirlwind this year. Relationships and collaboration are crucial. I wouldn't be able to get to where I have in isolation, but this day was a good snapshot of what it might look like at times when you do venture out on your own, whether by choice or necessity.  Let me break down the timeline for you that led to the day of isolated innovation. Saturday, October 7th 10:17 am I respond to an email I get as being part of a GEG-CENTX (Google Plus group of Central Texas Educators) in which there is an application to apply for this experience. I forward that information on to my administrator to see if she supports it if we are chosen. I didn't want to wai

Embrace the Constant Change #IMMOOC

What is one thing that you used to do in education that you no longer do or believe in? Why the change? This is a question that I hope every educator can answer. If we are a product of our experiences, and up until recently the majority of classrooms modeled the industrial age of interchangeable parts and people ( Seth Godin TED Talk Stop Stealing Dreams ), then we probably started very differently than where we are today. I know I did.  Note Taking THEN: In a 5th grade class, I started my career with lots of note-taking. I would spend entire class periods, up to 60 minutes, setting up students with information to apply in a lab later, which required students to get the information they needed via lecture and notes. I thought I was hitting two learning styles by talking and showing. NOW: Notes are references or practice, and usually last no longer than 15 minutes. They are interactive-there is a lot of questioning happening during the note taking process. I try to have students

Validation and Learning: the #IMMOOC Paradigm

Two weeks into this #IMMOOC challenge I prescribed myself, and not only am I surviving, I am fully engaged and ideas are pouring out of my ears. I can hardly contain my excitement, but I think my principal will help me with that, as I am sure she is really over my emails. :) I have rarely read a book DURING the school year. I found my spreadsheet soulmate in @alicekeeler. This is going on my must read list of books for sure. Validation. It is a bridge builder. It lowers the affective filter. It primes your heart and brain to take in new information and make the connection to ways you can use that information.  I have had countless conversations with my colleagues at various levels about our grading system. What does an 86 in math mean? I stopped taking points off for no name. That doesn't have anything to do with how well a student understands rounding. I've stopped averaging first and second attempts. The goal is mastery, right? Don't we have the whole year to

#IMMOOC 2 Ways to Enter the Swimming Pool of Innovation

 Innovation. What a word, right? It has this heavy aura that can make some feel immediately inept.  "No, not me. I'm not an innovator. I can barely figure out my email." The funny thing is, this is not a new way of teaching or living. Innovation is a life force. Its been around since the dawn of time. And we all do it.  Innovation is the answer to a dead end, whether organically derived or forced down by a mandate or policy change. Do you still post your attendance on a slip of paper for the office staff or aides to come around and collect each day? Probably not.  Do your classroom worksheet copies still look like this? Doubt it. When you think you cannot be an innovative person, realize you already are. Everyone is innovating, but we are doing it differently. Here's a lesson I learned from one comedic innovator, Molly Shannon. There are two ways to get into a pool. One toe at a time, testing the water as you go, or jumping in. Thos