A Whale of a PBL

P21LogoHorizontalRGBtmThe following is a guest blog post from CEM partner Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s P21Blogazine

Driving Question: What if 2nd graders learned significant reading content through meaningful project work and shared their learning with others?

2nd graders at Katherine Smith School, a Project Based Learning School, in San Jose, California recently finished a PBL about  We read about whales. We thought about whales. We asked questions about whales. We did math problems about whales. We talked and thought about whales and we grouped whales. Then we presented our stories and shared our museum with its student created exhibits including a giant mock up of a whale’s heart.

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IN SEARCH OF WHALES

Although we live in a coastal state, many students have not traveled out of our community to our beaches, much less had any knowledge about whales.  Our project aimed to inspire inquiry into what they wanted to know about these giant creatures of the sea.

Our project launch began with our entry event at the IMax Theater. We saw the movie, “Humpback Whales” The sights and sounds of Humpback whales came alive for the students and the inquiry had begun with as we brainstormed an extensive “Need to Know” list.

RELEVANT CONTENT

In books selected by the students, we began learning about whales, their features and what made them unique. This was followed   by students working together to research different types of whales by using QR codes to access different articles and videos.  They recorded their findings in a research template.  Later, students used this template to write a non-fiction book about a self-selected whale.

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The rich vocabulary was made meaningful through the use of GLAD strategies such as a Cognitive Content Dictionary.  Students made predictions about the word, recorded the actual meaning, and created movements for each word.  We also recorded our findings about each whale we studied. We posted a process grid for reference throughout our project.

Midway through our project, we boarded a bus and headed to Cal Academy of Sciences to see a featured exhibit on whales.  Here we saw actual whale skeletons, baleen and learned about whale conservation.

TRANSFER TO MATH.

We infused our learning about whales into our math curriculum as well.  Our math unit focused on measurement. Students worked together with non-standard units (whales) to measure their bodies and also spineapply their learning using rulers to create a whale of their choice using given measurements. We used our bodies and laid end to end on our grass field to experience just how large a blue whale was! And then, we used measurements to make the big heart.

TRANSFER TO CIVIC ACTION

After learning about the plight of whales today and watching videos of whales entangled in fishing nets, we decided we wanted to do something to help.  We adopted a whale from the Pacific Whale Foundation whose mission is whale conservation

OUR EXHIBITION

For our Exhibition, we created an interactive whale museum not only to feature what we learned, but to teach others as well.

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  • One team of students collected fifty-gallon milk jugs to illustrate how much a baby blue whale drinks in a day.
  • Another team demonstrated how blubber keeps a whale warm by having visitors put their hands in ice water and then comparing after using a “blubber glove”. capture krill in a simulation using a comb as baleen.
  • One team made a comparison of the actual sizes of various whales. The size of each was measured out by the students and displayed on the wall.
  • The most dramatic display was the life size rendition of a blue whale’s heart with everyone pitching in.

OUR INDIVIDUAL WORK
In addition to the museum display, each student  made a digital book about their selected whale. Students were proud to read and display their digital version of their informational whale book, several of which were recorded by the students in their native language.

REFLECTION

We ended our STEAM PBL with a student reflection time which revealed the following:

  • My favorite part was presenting that I know that blubber keeps th whales warm.—Ashley
  • I liked people watching my book because other people learn about whales.—Daniela
  • I learned blue whales are the largest animal.—Omar
  • My favorite part was when we made our books and we showed our books to the upper grades because they didn’t know nothing (sic) about whales.—Giselle

Our second grade students ended these reflections with concluding stems noting that  “Whales are enormous”. “They are fascinating.”  “They are special.”  “They need our help.”  These were the ideas that 2nd graders wanted to teach others and were at the heart of this STEAM PBL.


About the Author

liepeltJill Liepelt is a second grade teacher at the P21 Exemplar Katherine Smith Elementary School in San Jose, California. Katherine Smith serves a 98% Hispanic student population. Title I Free and reduced students make up 81% of this school’s population.

 

 

 

 

You can read added posts from the P21Blogazine on this site or by subscribing to its RSS Feed at www.p21.org for three times per week posts. Monthly themes connect  21st Century Deeper Learning  and the 4Cs theory and practice.

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From STEM to STEAM: What Works, Exemplary Practices, Schools, and Models

P21LogoHorizontalRGBtmThe following is a guest blog post from CEM partner Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s P21Blogazine

 

Driving Question: What makes a STEM School

What makes a STEM school? That is the question that is most often asked. I have literally sat on so many panels (K12,Higher Ed, political, policy, and industry), participated in meetings from the White House to the schoolhouse, been active in research think tanks and included in numerous case studies to define what STEM is and what makes a STEM school and we are still asking this question.  Although some are attempting to answer this question by justifying the literal acronym for the taxonomy of STEM, I believe this is too simplistic and takes away from the true mission and meaning of STEM.

Because this blog gives me the chance, I will use my 10 years as a highly successful, inclusive, whole STEM school practitioner to present my answer to this question. I have told the beginning of this story thousands of times, but it bares repeating now as another STEM story is filling the the ears of some and attempting a new, exclusive definition in an attempt to hoist selective STEM schools as the Gold Standard for STEM.  As a passionate STEM proponent for ALL I take issue with this attempt to define STEM as good only for the affluent and already successful student. This post will explain why.

OUR STORY.

In 2006, the initial STEM campaign was launched in Texas as well as in a few other States to address the shortage of STEM workers entering into the workforce. The message delivered expressed a dire shortage of minority and underrepresented workers needed to close the STEM gap. Our charge as pioneer STEM leaders and educators was simple, yet daunting: to get underrepresented students to take more science, technology, engineering, and math courses in order to help expose them to STEM curriculum and develop an interest and desire to pursue STEM careers and STEM college pathways.  In fact, in order to be a designated a State STEM school in the few States that had designations, one had to meet qualifying indicators to serve a majority of underrepresented students that qualified as low socioeconomic status and have an inclusive open enrollment school with no selective criteria to attend. We had our mission and for the most part implementation was left to individual schools how best to do this.

As the architect of this new inclusive whole Texas STEM (TSTEM) school design, I needed to attract underrepresented students who for the most part were not successful in math and science, had little interest in STEM to leave their current school. They had to join this new STEM school to take more math and science courses, close the achievement gap, have student success where there had been none before, and continue to meet the higher operating standards of success with good attendance, less discipline, high graduation rates, and increased high-stakes student test scores.  As an experienced high school principal, I knew there was only way to make this happen and that was to redesign the entire STEM high school concept to meet all these needs and make it truly an inclusive whole STEM school.

With help, I designed, implemented and opened one of the first 31 STEM schools in Texas. Little did I know then that there were only a few hundred STEM schools across the country at that time and very few schools, if any to model STEM after. This STEM school redesigning phase shaped my whole definition of STEM and still drives my passion of STEM to this day.

INCLUDING UNDER-REPRESENTED STUDENTS

How was I going to find underrepresented students who had not been successful in math and science to s school that would ask them to take more math and science? This was the crux of the challenge. Being one of the first STEM schools in the country, I knew we had to have a story that would be a model for others. That part was easy. We were going to take all students without any selection criteria, give them more science, technology, engineering, math, and they were going to be successful.

More wasn’t enough. As part of my redesign efforts, I had to answer a nagging question. Why were these students for the most part unsuccessful in math and science,  especially with the countless hours and attempts at interventions provided in their traditional schools? The traditional direct teach model of instruction was part of the culprit. Many of these students were either bored, lost, or disengaged from lecture “sit and get” and the worksheets that followed.  Our answer was to change how we taught and helped these students learn not only more math and science, but math and science that was more rigorous. The answer came in a synthesis of practices which provide a new model of instruction and other ingredients that would change how the students learned.

  • Project-Based Learning. The first redesign STEM was in pedagogy from traditional direct teach to Project Based Learning. Curriculum would be delivered in teacher-made authentic projects designed with students’ interests at the core of their inquiry. These projects grouped students to work and learn collaboratively. Projects were active, hands-on learning experiences that not only provided the required knowledge, but also the opportunities for the application of that knowledge to solve authentic problems. This 100% PBL implementation would provide a different way of  learning for each student in an average of 50 projects a year.
  • 21st Century Essential Skills. After further questioning STEM industry executives asking “What makes a person successful in today’s organizations?”, I found that  the 21st Century “ESSENTIAL” skills of written and oral communication, collaboration, critical thinking/problem solving, and creativity/self efficacy/agency were almost unanimous nominees as the most important qualities of a successful employee. I was told by industry leader after leader, “We will teach them what they need to know about our company and products. We cannot teach them these real essential skills when they come to us.”

I concluded A STEM school must incorporate all of these 21st century essential skills to be designed, implemented, and assessed in units of learning. I ensured that we incorporated these essential 21st century skills in every project so as to prepare students for the real world by implementing these essential learning outcomes in every project. These outcomes were easily measured using a created rubric for each outcome as well as the observable student’s progress in public speaking skills, direct ownership of each project, and the cooperation within each group of students to ensure all group members were successful as well as each student’s voice in choice was heard in the end products.

  • A Learning First Schedule. A critical STEM redesign change was the easiest to communicate with the addition of rigorous science, technology, engineering, and math courses for all students. What was not easy was implementation of additional classes within the confines of a school day and the approved district school calendar while determining the PBL scheduling and how that would work in an all PBL environment.

The challenge to most STEM schools, including mine, was to implement a schedule that affords students who had not been academically successful more STEM classes, the  remediation opportunities to close their achievement gap and enough time in a class to make progress on projects. These time changes had to ensure that students in need of more assistance did not feel punished or undeserving by double blocked math and science classes when classes were single period. All students deserved a schedule that was not determined by the athletics or band periods or the bus schedule of other schools, but started with academics first.

As an inclusive whole STEM school what was needed was a schedule that took in academics first. A STEM school needs to be able critically analyze traditional school systems and redesign one and all  if needed to meet the students’ academic needs before school bus and sports needs. In all my years as a traditional school principal, I had created many types of schedules, but this was a different situation and required the ability to look critically at systems and then redesign systems to meet the academic needs. Therefore, I created an accelerated trimester schedule. By accelerating their course work in the trimester schedule, students were able to receive a full year credit after the first and second trimesters.  Since most core classes were integrated, students would received a full year credit in 2 courses. This left a 3rd trimester to either offer remediation or additional classes.

What transpired after the new schedule’s implementation changed the educational paradigm. Once bored students, now engaged into PBL all day, every day found the projects so engaging that student success flourished and we have never had enough students needing a remediation course to offer one. Therefore, we were able to add more STEM classes and most students were able to graduate with 5-6 years of Math, 6-7 years of Science, and 6-7 years of Engineering.

Finally I noted how our targeted students were bored with the textbooks, made up situations, and no real connections and no answers to their question “Why do we need to learn this?” Therefore, I intentionally did away with content teaching organized in departmental silos and called for integrated contents with team teaching situations. These allowed teachers to integrate projects with real world authentic problems and questions that students could actively engage with.  All projects were designed by the teachers using the State Standards with online research as the key component of each project. Textbooks disappeared.  We Implemented 1:1 technology that was seamlessly integrated throughout the school as all course work was put on a learning platform so that students and staff could use technology as the all pervasive invisible tool.

BACK TO THE QUESTION

There is a recent set of voices that believe the easy answer to “What is a Stem School?” question is simply to identify STEM schools based upon the acronym and the taxonomy of S.T.E.M. Their answer is to implement additional rigorous Math and Science classes. This they argue is the difference between a comprehensive high school and a STEM school. As evidence, they point to highly selective STEM schools that have the financial resources to hire more staff and add numerous STEM courses to a “deserving” population of students  who are admitted based upon set criteria of test scores, grades, aptitude tests, recommendations, references, past behavior and attendance and sometimes having enough money to attend and/or live at the school. These voices highlight these high performing selective STEM schools as the pinnacle of what a STEM school is and should be. They are calling these schools “The Gold Standard of STEM Schools”.

As a seasoned educational change agent and STEM advocate, I absolutely believe all students should have the benefit of additional rigorous math and science classes.  I do believe this is true for all students including students at highly selective STEM schools. However, I find it disingenuous and polarizing to claim these highly selective STEM schools to be the pinnacle of STEM schools.  Most selective schools are self-appointed as STEM schools with no official designation. They serve a selective high achieving student population that could be successful in any school environment.

If STEM were just about adding more STEM classes or selecting students who already are successful, it would be easy to define a STEM school. Where are the challenges of serving underrepresented low socioeconomic youth? The closing the STEM gap by students traditionally not successful in math and science? Increased graduation rates of 1st generation college going students? Where is the story?

Most inclusive STEM schools lack the capability or authority to be highly selective and often have to overcome many years of student challenges, learning gaps, and teacher preparedness to provide STEM opportunities. These are the schools that look to engage students by looking for Edison’s “better way.” PBL, authentic personalized learning, and fully incorporated 21st Century essential skills of the real world, all work to create curriculum that engages and provides opportunity for real world authentic problems in place of obsolete methods for flooding students with information to memorize. These inclusive STEM schools use technology seamlessly as the invisible tool of student inquiry for promoting in and exploring ways to provide additional STEM opportunities such as additional rigorous math and science and engineering classes, internships, industry partnerships, STEM clubs,  and student engagement. In these lie the stories of how inclusive STEM school successfully close the STEM gap.

A FINAL ANALYSIS

In a final analysis, one cannot expect the opportunities available to students in a rural low income areas to be the same as those in a wealthy suburban areas, but should any of these students be denied learning opportunities in a whole school devoted to STEM? I contend that whole STEM schools that close the achievement gap, increase student awareness of STEM, spark the imagination and interest in STEM and offer STEM classes in ways that engage the students are what STEM is all about. When these inclusive, whole STEM schools serve underrepresented students through redesigned schools for the 21st Century’s authentic personalized STEM learning, show data for student success against great odds, they should be held as the Gold Standard for what makes a STEM school. They are what answers our driving question.

THE FINAL QUESTION: HOW WELL DOES INCLUSION WORK?

After a year of designing and planning, the door to Manor New Technology High School opened in 2007, an Inclusive Whole STEM School and was awarded the distinction of a Texas Designated STEM School. Manor New Technology High School has been recognized as a national STEM school for student success, graduation rates, 1st generation college going rates, and college persistence rates. The design of a 100% project based learning public high school that focused on STEM curriculum and 21st century essential skills was recognized by President Obama in his 2013 visit for the successful PBL STEM practices and the positive impact the school’s design had on student achievement. Manor New Tech was noted as a National Model for High School Redesign as highlighted in the $300 Million Race to the Top Proposal and recognized by Harvard University at the Achievement Gap Initiative in response and recognition for closing the achievement gap. Furthermore, in his March 3, 2010 speech, US Secretary Arne Duncan highlighted Manor New Technology High School as a “model school for reaching underserved youth”.

The school has been selected by many organizations including The Partnership for 21st Century Learning as an exemplar model of 21st Century Learning. There are many more highlights that an inclusive whole STEM high school design like Manor New Tech could show. It is the kind of school that should be considered a STEM School of the highest order.


About the Author

Steve Zipkes, was the founding principal of the STEM award winning and P21 Exemplar High School, Manor New Tech.  He is founder and President of Advanced Reasoning in Education, Inc.  In January, Steve moved to Cedars Next Generation High School in Austin, Texas where he and a faculty cohort are readying that school for a Fall, 2016 opening. He is a Distinguished Educator; Edutopia: School That Works: PBL Recipient; and National STEM Visionary Award 2014 Recipient.

You can read added posts from the P21Blogazine on this site or by subscribing to its RSS Feed at www.p21.org for three times per week posts. Monthly themes connect  21st Century Deeper Learning  and the 4Cs theory and practice.

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Guest Post: Kathleen Bellanca – What’s Really in the Bag? Part II

P21LogoHorizontalRGBtmThis two-part post provided in collaboration with the P21Blogazine from the Partnership for 21st Century Learning. 

(Yesterday, Kate shared thoughts on the episodic, unconnected, mandate-directed professional development commonly provided today’s educators. Kate introduced a response: the Proactive Professional Learning Experience. In this post, Kate describes the elements of the PPLE cycle of professional learning.)

Driving Question:  What does the proactive cycle for professional learning look like in practice?

Around and around she goes. Where she stops nobody knows”.

The roulette barker’s words speak to the chance of the wheel. Where will the ball fall when the spinning stops? No body knows. It’s all a bet on chance.

Ironically, those same words take the chance out of professional learning and describe how the Proactive Professional Learning Experience provides teachers with the highest possibility of success when implementing improvements for their classrooms. That success is more assured because the learning cycle that guides the PPLE model goes around and around. The teacher has the opportunity to improve the quality of the new implementation in the classroom with each revolution of the five phase cycle. How many chances to refine depend on many factors. What is important is that the teacher, like any skilled craftsman, has the opportunity first to make an improvement, observe how it works and continue refinement until it is doing what was intended.

The Professional Learning Experience Cycle

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Let’s examine what happens in the five elements of the PPLE cycle.

  1. Consult and Evaluate. Todd, a fifth grade teacher, analyzes his students’ annual mathematics test scores. With his principal, Mrs. Jackson, he notes that five students are at the bottom of the scale in mathematical problem solving. The two review what he tried. (He had said: “I have tried everything.”) What they noted is that he had tried everything that was recommended in the text book and added some tricks he had heard at a professional math conference. These five students had not responded. Now, it was time to dig deeper into the students’ past performance as well as get some added data. They decided Todd would interview each of the five and their parents and prior grade teacher. Todd would try and discover more clues about why these five were struggling so hard.
  2. Plan.  Having discovered that these five had been doing  poorly with math problem solving for several prior years but had been passed on to the next grade because their “real math” the computation skills were above average. Clearly, none had grasped what it meant to solve a problem. They just followed the steps blindly, hoping to get “the right answer.” Said one parent: “it didn’t seem like there was time to get them to learn how to problem solve. They just had to do it and hope for the best.”

Todd took his analysis and decided that he had to find a different answer  which would enable the students to stop and think about problem solving and understand what types of thinking they had to do. Memorizing a procedure had already failed, so why repeat that approach?

At this point, Todd was stuck. He had no idea what to do. Mrs. Jackson, however, knew what she could do. She called a colleague in another district school. Her friend was a mathematician whose students excelled at problem solving. Could she help? The result was a plan for Todd to set up a proactive learning experience that would not only enable these students to discover how to solve math problems, but also enable him to do a better job in the future teaching other students the key “how to.”

Mrs. Jackson’s friend helped Todd structure his plan as a problem-based learning experience.

    • A definition. The plan started with a definition of his challenge which he defined as “some of my students are poor mathematical problem solvers. They don’t seem to understand how to solve math problems without a memorized procedure. Thus, my problem is to learn how to teach them what problem solving means and how to problem solve with a variety of math problems.
    • The Steps: Todd’s plan called for him to spend three one-hour sessions with his coach’s guiding questions in hands. He was to answer the questions and then start with his own questions to guide their discussion.  Prior to the discussion,  the coach prepared herself with responses that would begin to build Todd’s  understanding of the problem solving process and what Todd would need to teach the students.

Each time the met over the next several weeks, she would end with a “homework” assignment for him to implement with his class. In the first assignment, he would do more data collection about what the students did and did not understand about problem solving and report the results to his mediator. From there he would construct problem solving tasks with hands on material, ask hem to construct and solve real world problems they faced every day that included math and then begin to practice problem solving solely in math by transferring their understanding of the problem solving process into mathematics. His goal was to have his students think like mathematicians who had real world problems to solve. His responsibility was to take ideas learned with the coach, plan, do and assess the results.

  1. Implement. The plan called for Todd to do what he discussed with his coach transferring theory about problem solving into classroom action. With his principal’s encouragement, Todd set aside the prescribed lesson plan which combined direct instruction with textbook exercises.  Each day, his plan called for teaching the children directly about problem solving by asking them to create and solve their own hands-on problems such as finding a shorter walk to school, saving money for new computer games, calculating their fitness regimen and then drawing conclusions about the problem solving methods they used. He added his own formative assessments to tell him how well each student was “getting it.”
  2. On-going support. Todd’s professional improvement plan called for an overtime implementation, one step at a time. His coach would hold him accountable to take the information he gathered in their work sessions and do what they planned for the students. He was also accountable for assessing and reporting on what was happening.  At scheduled intervals, she observed for herself what he was doing and provided feedback, encouragement, and sometimes redirection. Most important was the support she provided when each step did not work out perfectly. Once a month, the principal also met with the pair, offering encouragement for this new direction.
  3. Results.“The proof is in the pudding” was an often repeated mantra of the coach. She emphasized that formative results could often be discouraging. However, she also stressed that the frustration that came when students struggled was also the clue for taking a different tact with a student other than have the student repeat again what had not worked. In the end, it was the results that mattered. The students’ ability to show what they were understanding of problem solving and where Todd needed to start the next cycle in his own learning as well as the students’.

Learning Foremost

These five elements make it easy of an observer to see and hear a PPLE in action. Over time, anywhere from a school calendar quarter to a year, a teacher is engaged in taking these five elements as steps in solving an instructional problem. That problem starts in the classroom with what and how the students are or are not learning. At times the PPLE may also help the teacher match to a mandate such as Common Core or RTI. For the teacher to benefit most from the PPLE, it is essential that mandates be secondary and that it be connected to the PPLE as appropriate, but never driving it. Professional Learning then is more than a bag of chips.


About the Author

KballancaKate Bellanca has dedicated her career to working directly with districts, schools, families, and other helping professionals to assist them in affecting change in students learning. Today, Kate is Chief Executive Officer at the International Renewal Institute.  Email: kjb@iriinc.us. Website: www.iriinc.us; Facebook: International Renewal Institute; Twitter: @iriinc; LinkedIn: International Renewal Institute.

 

You can read added posts from the P21Blogazine on this site or by subscribing to its RSS Feed at www.p21.org for three times per week posts. Monthly themes connect  21st Century Deeper Learning  and the 4Cs theory and practice.

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Guest Post: Kathleen Bellanca – It’s More Than A Bag Of Chips! Part I

P21LogoHorizontalRGBtm

This two-part post provided in collaboration with the P21Blogazine from the Partnership for 21st Century Learning. 

Driving Question: Professional Development: Reactive or Proactive?

From the 90s, I remember a popular saying: “All that and a bag of chips”. This saying basically refers to the episodic shifts that make life and worries different every day. With teens, the changes deal with what is cool at a given moment. What is cool changes from day to day. Their shifts, like so many chips in a bag, are ever changing in shape and form. Today the teen worries about who is the most popular, who is the cutest, who is the best athlete. Tomorrow, it’s a different chip.

Today, I see many educators attending quick, superficial in-service events around the latest topic or trend in education, told “what “ it is, and then being sent back to the classroom to implement what they have learned. That’s it. No time to stop and think. Just go and do tomorrow…at least until the next hot topic comes along. With classrooms filled to the max, new standards, new tests and new mandates, is it any wonder that so many teachers are overwhelmed and not sure where to go or what to do. There are just too many chips to gobble down.

Just as many speak about how we are cramming too much information into students, I think we often are  doing the same to our teachers–RTI.  Standards for kids.   Standards for teachers.  AYP. Formative tests. Summative tests. More formative tests.  One command follows another to make sure the assembly line has all the widgets working up to snuff. We have turned education into a competition for conformity rather than continuing to take our teachers to the next level in their understanding and practice. We have squeezed out individual talent. Stay inside the lines.  Eat every chip as fast as you can because tomorrow will bring a new bag to swallow.

I am hearing over and over that the United States Education System is in a very dismal place. “Yes”, we do have very little money for our schools. “Yes”, we have too much student testing. “Yes”, we have more students being placed in special education than sound testing warrants. “Yes”, we have more requirements for teachers to implement and push students past standardized tests. “Yes”. more  and more, our education looks at how to refine the widgets on the assembly line and forgets that learning is first.

From Reactive to Proactive

It is human nature to react to change. However, today our teachers are locked into being 100% reactive to every chip that comes out of the bag. An overabundance of shallow tests has created a super-reactive mindset. And of course, when things don’t go right, who is at fault?  Too many look at the teachers as the main suspect. “Your students’ didn’t meet the standards.” “Your students get good test scores.” “Your kids are dropping out.” With the fingers of fault pointing at them teachers can do little more than  continue to react.

Because teachers have no control over what is going to come next into their classrooms, it is extremely hard for them to control what changes happen. What the federal or state government will require, what the latest technology will come out with next, what catastrophe happens in their town or the world, teachers can’t predict. So instead of having them struggle with how to handle the mandate chips, ,  can school leaders not help teachers cope with change and take control of the learning in their classrooms by being proactive rather than reactive?

There is a way to answer that question with a loud “yes!” My notion of what works is what I call the Proactive Professional Learning Experience™  (PPLE). PPLE is at least a one year learning program that focuses on the bag and not the chips.  PPLE’s are a model of professional learning that enables teachers to think and act outside the box, critically and creatively, communicate with each other and collaborate to find local solutions to the learning challenges faced by their students.. The goal of PPLE is to build a culture for learning that enables teachers to continually adapt to “the latest and greatest”  by  learning how to manage change, not be its victim.

“A Proactive Professional Learning Experience is a specific and systematic mode of interaction based on the social-constructivist view point which incorporates the practice of 21st-century skills in communication, knowledge sharing, critical thinking and use of relevant technologies so that educators can generalize and transfer their knowledge and build a strong foundation for communicating ideas. It creates a culture of change management that enables educators to advance learning rather than react to mandates and other episodic changes.. (Bellanca, K, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015.)

In PPLE’s, teachers are able to take a proactive stance to any idea, including a mandate, test their ideas about how a new idea might work in their classrooms, synthesize the ideas of others, and build deeper understanding of what they are learning and how they will implement the topic so that it solves a particular problem, or resolve a needs they see in their school.

The worth of a PPPE is deep.

  • Large and small group discussions allow for debate and uncover the local value of an idea.
  • Teachers are afforded opportunities to exercise self-regulation, self-determination, and a desire to persevere.
  • Insightful discussion, motivation, collaborative skills, and the ability to problem solve emerge as key teaching tools.
  • Increasing teachers’ opportunity to talk with one another and discuss their ideas also increases their ability to support their thinking, develop reasoning skills, and to argue their opinions persuasively and respectfully.
  • A feeling of community and collaboration develops in and outside of school.

The PPLE’s Goal

A Proactive Professional Learning Experience has the goal of creating a new culture of learning for and by teachers. They build it. They make it. In that culture, they consider mandates as well as local issues, determine how best to respond to those mandates and issues for the good of their children, and how to reject what doesn’t fit. They aren’t eating one chip at a time without careful examination of what it provides for the learning health of their children. They study the bag.

The PPLE culture is enacted  in  a given school or group of schools by enabling them to look at what are their current problems and challenges and breaking that big problem into smaller ones, analyzing them (qualitatively and quantitatively), and developing a cohesive plan for systematic implementation for both teachers and for students. Teachers start with an inquiry into the topic—who, what, when, how and most importantly, why.  After they plan how they will implement their ideas, they welcome on-going classroom visits throughout the year by experts in the field so they gain other points of view through feedback. By year’s end, there are evident, countable changes in teaching practice as well as more substantive evidence of student learning than any of the current standardized tests provide.

They are able to do this, because the culture puts into place a cycle of professional learning that involves not only hearing information about a mandate, hot topic or local concern, the examine it, make plans for how to implement it in their own classrooms, are supported by school leaders for making their changes, and review the results of their work so as to refine a new idea into a best practice or reject it after thoughtful consideration of the data.

Professional Learning Experiences Cycle

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More Equals Less

In many areas of the United States, I do hear teachers’ and school leaders’ frustrations with not being able to solve specific problems in order to increase student success in a way that fits their school.  Those frustrations are like a bag of chips–multiple things to do with no connection of parts to the whole. Eating single chips is not enough. Single bites are episodic.  What will help nourish the school is a proactive culture of change in which teachers get the chance to taste test the whole bag, make connections and make new ideas work for their kids.

 Tomorrow’s  Post: Part II: What’s In the Bag? The PPLE Cycle in Practice


About the Author

KballancaKate Bellanca has dedicated her career to working directly with districts, schools, families, and other helping professionals to assist them in affecting change in students learning. Today, Kate is Chief Executive Officer at the International Renewal Institute.  Email: kjb@iriinc.us. Website: www.iriinc.us; Facebook: International Renewal Institute; Twitter: @iriinc; LinkedIn: International Renewal Institute.

 

You can read added posts from the P21Blogazine on this site or by subscribing to its RSS Feed at www.p21.org for three times per week posts. Monthly themes connect  21st Century Deeper Learning  and the 4Cs theory and practice.

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Guest Post: Steve Zipkes – Professional Learning and PBL: An Open Letter To George Bernard Shaw

P21LogoHorizontalRGBtmThe following is a guest blog post from CEM partner Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s P21Blogazine

Driving Question: Why Is George Bernard Shaw All Wet?

We have all heard the disparaging idiom by George Bernard Shaw: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”  At every Advanced Reasoning In Education Global PBL Academy, we are proud to pour a bucket of water over his head and prove him all-wrong.

Teachers Learning From Teachers

How do we do that?  First, learning from many years of experience readying new staff in our own school and improving our own work with PBL in the classroom, we discovered the absolute value of teachers learning from teachers.  As we work with educators around the country, we call on those who have proven by their own PBL classroom success that they can enable other teachers to change children’s lives.  Our facilitator’s teach students first and then, with what they have lived and learned in their own classrooms, they teach other teachers.

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Our facilitators have passed the test of classroom fire. Their advanced degrees are the degrees of well-honed experience. They are not academicians who have read about what they teach without ever having been teachers of children and adolescents. They are not asking others to do with PBL what they have not done well over and over themselves. Working with like-minded colleagues, they have honed their craft by taking on one of the most difficult challenges in any job, anywhere…readying students for college and careers in our fast-paced global economy. They teach what they have learned to do.

George: “You Are All Wet.”

Here is what we can tell George Bernard Shaw: “Our facilitators do. Our facilitators teach. As wise as you may have been on other matters, Today’s teaching is the doing of a very specialized job that requires a very special mindset. We want you to take note of what we do as we teachers teach our peers.”

  • We do implement Project-Based Learning in our own classrooms, and have each individually done so for almost a decade, well scrutinized for the quality of our teaching and our PD work.
  • We do author dozens of our own original projects, using the exact procedures we have developed for our training program.
  • We do thoughtfully hone and refine our craft by interacting with students in the authentic setting of our own classrooms.
  • We do receive international acclaim for our work, including in dozens of white papers and a visit from President Obama.
  • We do facilitate by teaching through 100% Project-Based Learning so our adult. learners can learn by doing, not by listening.
  • We do assess the quality of our own work and that of our students by examining what we and how they are doing their learning.
  • We do provide the support and assistance that is important for all novice PBL facilitators who are serious about refining their teacher leader craft and becoming facilitators for deeper learning.

100% PBL

Because we teach 100% PBL every day in every class, we do the same in our PBL training programs. 100% PBL, learned from doing, ensures all of our participants leave our academies knowing how to do. Our training is not just knowing about the research. It’s not just knowing the theory. It’s not just watching video of exemplar practices.  It’s doing PBL from project ideation to implementation and management, start to the finish of a PBL academy program. It is our journey with our adult students for three engaging and insightful days, a journey into learning that is deep, meaningful and lasting and led by practicing experts out of their own classrooms.

“We are here to teach. We are here to do”. That is our mantra. “George, we dare you to try it.”


About the Author

Steve Zipkes was the founding principal of the award winning Manor New Tech High School, a P21 Exemplar School.  Steve now manages the Advanced Reasoning in Education Global PBL Academy. (http://advancedreasoningined.com/, which offers school, district, and regional educator professional learning programs for PBL.  Steve is  regular contributor to the P21 Blogazine.

You can read added posts from the P21Blogazine on this site or by subscribing to its RSS Feed at www.p21.org for three times per week posts. Monthly themes connect  21st Century Deeper Learning  and the 4Cs theory and practice.

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Guest Post: Melinda George – Rethinking Professional Learning: The Role of Technology

P21LogoHorizontalRGBtmThe following is a guest blog post from CEM partner Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s P21Blogazine

Driving Question: How Can Schools Rethink Professional Learning to Improve School Success?

Twenty-four years ago, I stepped through the doors of my first fourth grade classroom.  I was a young, dedicated, new teacher ready, I thought, for the opportunities and challenges of my new classroom and hoping to bring some of my experiences and interests to my students.

I walked through the door with my personal computer, the heaviest, biggest portable computer you can imagine.  I knew how to use it for word processing.  How could I not know how to use it with my students?  And boy, were those kids excited.  Suddenly everyone wanted to do Writer’s Workshop because it meant they got to use the computer.

However, I didn’t have the slightest idea of how to effectively integrate it into the classroom. And collaboration with my peers was not an option.  The technology was too new for my school.  There were no Internet connections in the classrooms.  More importantly, there were no professional learning opportunities for me. There was no one to observe using a computer in his/her classroom; no one to model a lesson for me that might be exciting for my students; no one to test out new software or add-ons; and no one to plan a curriculum with technology as an integral component for learning.

So you might say, “That was twenty-four years ago”. Yes, and the need for meaningful professional learning around digital tools and technologies is as urgent now as it was back then.  Probably it is even more urgent today because the tools are an integral part of real life and if we want to prepare students for college, career and life, they need to be able to use digital tools productively.

It has repeatedly been shown that teaching is the single most important lever for improving student achievement.  We, therefore, have an urgent mandate to support teachers and prepare them for the coming opportunities and challenges that a modern learning environment demands.  We want teachers to be able to teach in a paradigm where all students are using their knowledge, skills and digital tools in a way that prepares them for real life, a deeper learning environment.

To do this, we need to organize schools for our teachers to be successful and this means overhauling teacher professional learning systems and the conditions under which this professional learning takes place.

Factors to Consider

There are several factors that need to be considered as we rethink professional learning, particularly around digital learning.  These include: time, tools, context, and trust.  For every tool and subsequent change that is needed or desired, there needs to be consideration of how we are supporting the educators who will use these tools in their learning environments.

Teachers should have a voice in determining their own professional learning and their needs to be buy-in from the teachers.  For every professional learning opportunity, there should be an understanding of why the professional learning is needed and how, specifically, it is going to improve their teaching and the learning of their students while fitting into their curriculum and plan for teaching.


About the Author

M-George

Melinda G. George, President of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF), began her career as a fourth-grade teacher in the District of Columbia Public Schools. From 2002 to 2006, Melinda served as the first executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). To learn more about Melinda’s work, visit www.nctaf.org and follow her on Twitter @MelindaGeorge2.

 

For Melinda George’s complete commentary on new ways to foster professional development, go to Solution Tree Press’s latest collection on deeper learning themes: Connecting the Dots, Effective Teaching and Deeper Professional Learning. (2015). This post adapted with permission. All rights reserved. You can read added posts from the P21Blogazine on this site or by subscribing to its RSS Feed at www.p21.org for three times per week posts.

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Guest Post: Jill Pilon – Secondary Teachers Transform Their Practice

P21LogoHorizontalRGBtmThe following is a guest blog post from CEM partner Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s P21Blogazine

Driving Question: How do teachers improve effectiveness by providing choice in high school literature classes?

“. . . it is our responsibility to make all our students feel like readers, to make our students become readers, and to make our students remain readers long after they have left our schools.” (Gallagher, 2003, p. 3)

It has long been a common concern among secondary English teachers that many students don’t read assigned texts, often relying on SparkNotes to successfully complete assignments and prepare for assessments. Why is this happening? Why aren’t adolescent learners appropriately engrossed in the canon of literature beloved by their instructors?  Can teachers make changes that will better engage students as thoughtful readers?

When asked, students often cite busy schedules or refer to the texts as boring. Probably the more accurate explanation is that these readers lack the stamina to remain engaged in lengthy, complex material and the skills to make meaningful, and thereby engaging, interpretations of ideas and themes.

In truth, high school students are still learning to read; there is an ongoing need for targeted instruction designed to build increasingly sophisticated vocabulary and comprehension skills. However, a downward trend in reading among high school students over the last 25 years (National Endowment for the Arts report, 2007) is further evidence that something isn’t working with current instructional practices.

Looking For Success

Penny Kittle, high school English teacher and K-12 literacy coach in Conway, New Hampshire, is among a group of practitioners who believe that traditional approaches to teaching literature may contribute to this lack of progress in reading at the secondary level. When all students in a given class are asked to read the same book, those who are less capable resist the difficulty and those who are more capable resent the lack of cognitive challenge.

Even though many students appear to be turned off to reading literature, Kittle maintains that “teenagers want to read – if we let them.” (Kittle, p. 1) She advocates for differentiated curriculum design and instructional structures that allow students to take greater control of their own learning.

A Shift to Agency

Recognizing that adolescents still have much to learn about reading and that studying one whole-class novel after another won’t result in a high percentage of truly-engaged or accomplished readers, English teachers at Farmington High School in Connecticut are working to increase their effectiveness by exploring ways to shift to more student-centered learning practices that focus on teaching the student, not the book.

Although the approach of teaching a single book to a full class has not been entirely abandoned, teachers are finding ways to enhance buy-in by alternating these common reading experiences with choice units of study. Common reading experiences are used to establish a community of learners and to build a set of skills and understandings. The subsequent choice units are developed to include greater student agency in the learning process.

The district’s model of effective 21st Century instruction, The Framework for Teaching and Learning, serves as a vision for curriculum and instructional planning. Teachers design day to day lessons with this Framework in mind and are supported in knowing that the district as a whole is aiming to  increase student voice in classrooms at all levels.

 Creating New Curriculum.

In this past year. one team of teachers piloted a curriculum that included several choice units, each of which took place after completion of a whole-class novel study. During these three-week units, students were offered a selection of eight high-interest texts of varied difficulty. All novels related to a single essential question – How does literature help us explore the struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community? Students directed their own learning by establishing a schedule, using class time to read and hold small group discussions, journaling to clarify thinking, and reflecting about personal performance. Daily learning targets that were the focus of brief daily mini-lessons included

  • previewing, selecting, and making a commitment to read a book
  • collaborating with a small group to make a reading plan (see sample calendar below)
  • using close reading strategies (character development, word choice, theme)
  • writing about thinking using a variety of journaling strategies
  • having meaningful discussions about thematic elements
  • using feedback and models to revise a thematic analysis
  • using digital media to collaborate and create a book review
  • completing a self-assessment using a rubric or criteria list

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The following table shows how the design of these units reflects district beliefs about how students learn best:

The Framework for Teaching and Learning (Farmington Public Schools)

Students learn best when they:

Choice Literature Unit Design

Students:

. . . have a sense of belonging to a positive learning community in which they have regular opportunities to work collaboratively.
  • read and discuss choice texts in small groups or partnerships
  • work in a setting that values multiple perspectives and values reading to learn about big ideas
. . . understand performance expectations and are individually supported in meeting challenging standards.
  • use rubrics and criteria lists to self-assess quality of written responses (journal entries) and final projects
  • receive teacher feedback and coaching based on review of a variety of formative assessments
  • receive and use teacher and peer feedback during text-based small group discussions
  • read texts at a comfortable level of difficulty
. . . see content as meaningful and organized around big ideas and questions and can transfer learning to new contexts.
  • use essential questions from previous units and keys concepts in literature to frame written responses and discussions
  • focus efforts on reading to explore big ideas, not on reading to complete assessment tasks
. . . are actively engaged in authentic learning tasks and given opportunities to construct meaning and develop understanding.
  • prepare for and conduct personal discussions to share insights and analyze texts
  • produce book trailers posted on the library website
. . . make choices about and take responsibility for their own learning goals and progress.
  • choose their own texts and ways to record thinking
  • create a personal schedule for completing the work
  • choose which written responses (journal entries) to submit for evaluation
  • choose a format for final project
  • reflect about quality of their own work and make plans for improvement

Students Appreciate Choice

Students appreciate the choice units.  “With choice comes value,” according to sophomore Meg Sanders. “When students have the freedom to make their own choices in literature, the essential question and the reason behind the unit become so much more important to students.” Senior Shannon Connolly thinks “Choice is the key to being happy, just as the characters in many books discover. . . The characters in The Hunger Games hated being forced to fight in a sport that they didn’t agree with, so they revolted. The same was true for the peasants in A Tale of Two Cities . . . These two books had the same basic plot line, and similar messages, but when was the last time you heard a teen say: “Oooo, The Hunger Games? No way! I want to read A Tale of Two Cities – it’s far more enticing and metaphorical!” Shannon reminds us that teens don’t like to be told what to do, and they particularly hate having to respond to questions and prompts provided by a teacher. They want to be trusted to explore text meaning with fewer constraints.

A Sense of Autonomy

When writing about motivation, Daniel Pink states that a sense of autonomy is important to better performance and personal satisfaction. He defines autonomy as the desire to be self-directed. With the advent of the choice literature units at Farmington High School, English teachers have embraced the professional responsibility to make all students feel like autonomous lifelong readers.

Resources


About the Author

pilon

Jill Pilon has been a literacy specialist with the Farmington Public Schools for the past 9 years, working with students and teachers in grades K-12. She brings many years of experience as a classroom and special education teacher, intervention coordinator, and professional developer to her role.

You can read added posts from the P21Blogazine on this site or by subscribing to its RSS Feed at www.p21.org for three times per week posts. Monthly themes connect  21st Century Deeper Learning  and the 4Cs theory and practice.

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Guest Post: Kiera Chase – What’s So Special? Five Principles For The Effective Teaching Of Students With Special Needs

P21LogoHorizontalRGBtmThe following is a guest blog post from CEM partner Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s P21Blogazine

Driving Question: What promotes deeper learning by students with special needs?

My many years as a special education teacher, administrator, instructional coach, and now researcher have provided me with some best practices that I feel can be applied in multiple contexts. From the work our teachers have done to center their instruction and assessment on deeper learning, we have learned more powerful ways to individualize instruction not just to meet the goals of the IEPs, but to help students become active and engaged 21st century deeper learners. Academic work is at the center, but the Cs are essential in helping each student grow.

To be effective working with special education students in any school, I offer this assertion: We must use effective teaching strategies with all students. In that context, we must be masters of the curriculum, instruction, and assessment practices that give each student the chance and challenge to succeed in the present and prepare for the future.

Using obsolete methods and ignoring the evidence on best practices simply will not do. Effective teachers pay close attention to how they are bringing critical and creative thinking, collaboration, and communication to each student by using methods, especially those including PBL, technology, and formative assessment, that foster their growth as a whole child about to become a full-time citizen.

To meet this challenge, the most effective teachers of students with diverse academic needs meet the following descriptions.

  • They  do not shy away from tough conversations: They focus on each student’s strengths, growth, persistence, and future goals and insist on full inclusion.
  • They present material, academic or otherwise, using a variety of media: Once a teacher has identified what works best with a student, the teacher can utilize a particular medium more frequently.
  • They call on many evidence-rich instructional strategies for students: They focus on breaking difficult tasks down into smaller components and plan time for special education students to reapply these smaller chunks in conjunction with other chunks to perform a larger objective. They never lose sight of the bigger objectives, never lose sight of how discreet skills are interconnected, and never ask for students to call on a skill they haven’t helped them to learn and perfect.
  • They think creatively about how to use all the digital tools at their disposal including the mobile phones all students know how to use: All smartphones have built-in accessibility features. These can be used in a variety of ways to individualize instruction.
  • They rely on the IEP process to empower the student: Well-read on disability theory, they avoid deficit planning (Harry & Klingner, 2007), become advocates for students, and problem solve what teaching tactics (such as smaller group size, smaller presentation audience) are adaptable without lowering expec- tations to think, problem solve, collaborate, and communicate.

No Special Treatment

The most effective teacher for children with special needs is the one that knows and relies on best practices for deeper learning in the framework of well-planned IEPs. There is no special treatment for these children that puts aside what research shows as effective practice just because special needs are evident.  Every child deserves the opportunity and assistance not only to grasp important ideas, but to develop the 21st Century Skills that will lead to deeper understanding.


About the Author

Kiera Chase. Since starting her 15 year career as a special education teacher, Kiera has worked in a variety of different programmatic models and developed a strong commitment to educational equity and socially restorative practices. She is a frequent contributor to the P21Blogazine (www.p21.org)

This extract taken from Kiera’s full essay on effective teaching and children of inclusion in Connecting the Dots:  Teacher Effectiveness and Deeper Professional Learning released earlier this month by Solution Tree Press, Bloomington, Indiana, as the third collection in its series on Deeper Learning. Excerpted with permission. All rights reserved. 

For additional posts on this topic and other 21st Century Deeper Learning Themes, go to the P21Blogazine (http;www.p21.org/blog). You can also sign up for P21’s free RSS feed for the three times weekly posts in your mail.

 

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Guest Post: Will Richardson – Effective Teaching: New Roles For A Digital Generation

P21LogoHorizontalRGBtmThe following is a guest blog post from CEM partner Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s P21Blogazine

Driving Questions: What roles must effective teachers play for new generations of learners in our digital world?

Working under the assumption, and it’s a large assumption that the role of the teacher must change when faced with a modern world filled with vastly new and different opportunities to learn, I have to ask what will those changed roles look like? What, specifically, will teachers need to know and be able to do to fully serve their students in this vastly reconfigured and highly technological world?

The Digital Challenge

The challenges that current technologies pose to the profession are great.  They are summed up well by authors Alan Collins and Richard Halverson who write:

“There are deep incompatibilities between the demands of the new technologies and the traditional school. Technology makes life more difficult for teachers. It requires new skills that teachers often have not learned in their professional development. Further, the lockstep model of most classrooms undercuts the power of the new technologies to individualize learning. Teachers can feel that the endless amount of information available on the web undermines their classroom expertise. Much of what students pick up from the web is of doubtful reliability, and there are few widely accepted norms for how to evaluate it. Cell phones and video games are seen mainly as devices that distract students from classroom instruction” (Collins 6).

Because of the tremendous technological advances we now find ourselves facing, I would argue that the whole idea of teaching now needs to be rethought, and that begins with the acknowledgment that the Web and its affordances for learning are not going away, that Internet access significantly amplifies an individual’s ability to learn in powerful new ways on her own, and that because of that, new narratives around learning and education will need to be written. That last may be the most difficult as despite the potentials to learn with these new technologies, most teachers find it difficult to let go of their nostalgia for their own experience as students in classrooms with teachers in schools. And many others feel uncertain about or unprepared for what the new roles of teachers may become.

Modern Teaching in a Technology-Driven World

Let me repeat: the value we assign to teachers at this moment of expanding access to content, information, knowledge, and expertise must change. Take a look at the current definition of “teacher” from Merriam-Webster online:

“Teacher (noun) –  “a person or thing that teaches something; especially a person whose job is to teach students about certain subjects.”

Interesting, isn’t it? Especially now, here in the second decade of the 21st Century, when the very nature of teaching seems to be listing on the precipice of a huge,  messy change. All of a sudden in our modern, interconnected world, teachers are everywhere, with all different types of expertise and passions, offering all sorts of opportunities for learners. And now, “things” as teachers are becoming more ubiquitous as well. It’s no longer hard to find software programs that teach us Algebra or French, or virtual tutors and “teaching machines” to help us master whatever content we want to master. And increasingly, we teach ourselves about anything we want to learn, not just “certain subjects.”

With universal Internet access open to two year olds, teachers are no longer the smartest people in the “room,” and while this may be a shift in thinking, it’s no doubt a good thing. I know this firsthand. Back in 2002, when my students and I found ourselves in a computer-filled, internet-connected classroom, all sorts of teachers taught my kids in ways that I could not.

  • My Modern American Literature class read The Secret Life of Bees as the author Sue Monk Kidd was interacting with my students on a classroom blog, answering their questions, giving deep background, and commenting on their interpretations of the story.
  • Scott Higham, a Pulitzer Prize winner from the Washington Post, was one of dozens of professional journalists mentoring my journalism students on their blogs.

 Seven New Roles for Effective Teachers.

My early experiences as a teacher in that highly connected environment fit with George Siemens’ redefinition of the role of the teacher, which he argued  “will be dramatically different from the current norm.” As we move toward a more networked structure for education, an effective teacher must shift away from control and move instead toward influence in terms of shaping, but not dictating the learning environment.

Siemens suggests that effective teachers will transition to a different set of roles in the classroom.

  • Teachers will be amplifiers in the sense that they will use their own connections to strengthen those of their students.
  • They will be curators of ideas and work that happens in the classroom space, selecting and sharing best practices or provocative questions to challenge learners.
  • They will need to be way finders who use social interactions to make sense of complex information or subjects.
  • Fourth, teachers will need to be aggregators who are adept at pulling in information from a variety of sources in order to “reveal the content and conversation structure of the course as it unfolds, rather than defining it in advance.”
  • They will also act as an expert filters who provide a relevant, ongoing stream of content to students.
  • All along, they will serve as a transparent model for the types of learning interactions now possible in online spaces.
  • And, finally, teachers will be required to have a persistent presence online in order to make all the rest of these roles effective (Siemens).

It almost goes without saying that few current teachers play those roles in their classrooms today.

Resources

  • Collins, Allan, and Richard Halverson. Rethinking Education in an Age of Technology. New York, NY: Teachers College, Columbia U, 2009. Print.
  • Siemens, George. “Teaching in Social and Technological Networks.” Connectivism. 16 Feb. 2010. Web. 7 Nov. 2014.

About the Author

Will Richardson has spent the last dozen years developing an international reputation as a leading thinker and writer about the intersection of social online learning networks and education. He has authored four books, most recently Why School? How Education Must Change When Learning and Information are Everywhere (September, 2012) published by TED books and based on his most recent TEDx talk in Melbourne, Australia.

This post is an excerpt from Will’s extensive article “Teaching Modern Learners: New Contexts, New Literacies, New Roles.” in Bellanca, J. (In press: February, 2016) Connecting the Dots: Teacher Effectiveness and Professional Development. Solution Tree Press with permission and all rights reserved. It is shared through our partnership with the Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s Blogazine. For additional posts on student agency and other 21st Century Deeper Learning Themes, go to the P21Blogazine (http;www.p21.org/blog). You can also sign up for P21’s free RSS feed for the three times weekly posts in your mail

 

 

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Social Emotional Learning in School Settings

Snip20151103_37Mark Garibaldi, Researcher with American Institutes for Research’s Health and Social Development Program, discusses his research in this growing and vital field in education.

Rod Berger: What areas of social emotional learning are you currently focused on and what areas of research might surprise the general public?

Mark Garibaldi:  My research focuses on educational programs, systems, and spaces that support learning, performance, and social and emotional outcomes. Within that broad scope, my recent work on social and emotional learning (SEL) that may surprise the public has focused on the influence of built school environments on socialization processes associated with relationships between teachers and students and peers. The built environment is considered one aspect of the requisite conditions for learning but the design of these spaces are rarely based on design standards that ensure optimal student outcomes (beyond academic performance). That being said, through this work we hope to eventually produce design standards that can be applied to architectural designs of school environments.

RB: How has the research, in this area, changed during your career?

MG: I have been doing research on social and emotional learning for only about five years so I’m considered somewhat new to this work compared to other experts who have been forging this area since the 1990’s. However, based on recent evaluations of school- and community-based initiatives focused on SEL, I would say one notable shift has been the focus on understanding how school districts can plan and implement systemwide SEL. I have been fortunate to be a part of this exciting work through AIR.

RB: We hear more and more about “school climate” in the greater discussion of social and emotional learning. What changes in school climate have been taking place that indicate schools and districts are making a concerted effort in this area?

MG: This is a good question, Rod. To answer the question, I should preface a few things about the relationship between social climate and social and emotional learning. First, school climate is multidimensional and typically refers to a few things. First, climate refers to the quality and character of school life and involves many aspects of a students’ educational experience. Climate also refers to the norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching practices, learning styles, and organizational structures.

Snip20151103_36

This being said, if school climate and academic standards were the rails of a ladder, we see social and emotional competencies as the rungs of a ladder that hold them together. We think this because school climate focuses on the overarching structures and conditions necessary for successful teaching and learning, whereas SEL focuses on the process for skill development.

We also believe this because you can add value when there is a joint focus on the conditions necessary for learning and student skill development given that school climate and SEL promote and enhance one another. The results of this relationship can also be seen when districts and schools integrate school climate and SEL efforts, which in turn, supports other, ongoing initiatives including bullying prevention, school safety, positive behavior supports, and mental health.

In answer to your question, district and schools are increasingly adopting measures to collect data to determine the impact of their efforts to improve school climate. AIR’s SEL Solutions has been at the forefront with districts to help them through the process of supporting SEL and school climate initiatives.

Theme
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Overview
Led by a coalition of projects and Centers at American Institutes for ResearchResearchers continue to show the importance of supporting the development of children’s and youth’s social and emotional skills in school settings. As a result, education policymakers, district and school administrators, teachers, and popular media have invested greater attention to understanding, planning, and improving education systems that promote Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), a process through which children and youth develop and apply the requisite knowledge, attitudes, and skills that enable them to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make ethical decisions.

To further engage the education community about SEL and related approaches to support positive child and youth development, CEM 2015 is offering a series of events that address three main topics surrounding SEL: school climate and conditions for learning, and employability skills.  In partnership with The Education Policy Center at AIR, The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders, The College and Career Readiness and Success Center, and AIR’s SEL and School Climate Services will host seven events that (1) introduce the importance of SEL for students in the school context, (2) show how SEL is related to other competencies associated with college and career readiness (3) and offer administrators and educators guidance, tips and tools for  how to promote SEL, and improve their capacity to support social and emotional learning.

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S.T.A.T. Delivering Access to Baltimore County Schools

InterviewSnip20151102_26
Dr. S. Dallas Dance, Superintendent of the Baltimore County School System, discusses the S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow) program designed to create a 1:1 digital learning environment for all students. S.T.A.T. began with the development of curriculum in core content areas to redefine how instruction is delivered, placing a stronger emphasis on personalized instruction and critical thinking skills.

Interviewee

Distinguished as a vibrant and visionary leader, Superintendent Dr. S. Dallas Dance has united Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) students, staff and the community into Team BCPS, a powerful force committed to producing globally competitive graduates. As superintendent of the 25th largest school system in the nation, Dr. Dance, whose tenure began in 2012, is responsible for overseeing the instruction of 110,000 students and leading and managing a $1.6 billion budget, 19,000 employees, and 173 schools, centers and programs.

 

Interviewer

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Dr. Rod Berger is a global education media personality featured on the edCircuit, in EdTech Review India, Scholastic’s District Administrator and on RFD TV’s Rural Education Special. As an industry personality Dr. Berger has interviewed Ministers of Education, leading voices like Sir Ken Robinson, U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, AFT President Randi Weingarten and others.

 

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thank-you

Thank you to all the connected educators, organizations, volunteers, staff members, and many others who made Connected Educator Month 2015 possible.

We really couldn’t have done it without you!

Sincerely, all of us at Connected Educator Month

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edConnectr: Gotta Be In…To Win

 
Interview
Mark Sylvester talks about how edConnecter has changed the interactions educators have during CEM and what we can learn about connected networks of lifelong learners.

Interviewee

Mark Sylvester is the Co-Founder and CEO of introNetworks. Since 2003, when the company deployed a social network for the world famous TED Conference, the company has successfully created hundreds of introNetwork Communities across a customer base that includes global organizations that want to make a cultural change in how they connect with their various audiences.

Mark has been on the leading edge of software development for more than twenty years. As a co-founder of Wavefront Technologies, Mark and his team developed software that completely revolutionized the way the world is entertained. He co-designed Wavefront’s flagship product, Advanced Visualizer, which was the first commercial 3D modeling and animation system.

 

Interviewer

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Dr. Rod Berger is a global education media personality featured on the edCircuit, in EdTech Review India, Scholastic’s District Administrator and on RFD TV’s Rural Education Special. As an industry personality Dr. Berger has interviewed Ministers of Education, leading voices like Sir Ken Robinson, U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, AFT President Randi Weingarten and others.

 

edConnectr Basics

 

See additional tutorials here.

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This Week’s Best of the Web Roundup: October 30

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We’ve chosen a few highlights from the Web and social media to wind up this Connected Educator Month. But first, a Halloween laugh from Twitter:

Seasonal Math Humor

Sparking Creativity in Education
by Rod Berger

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Molly McMahon, Program Director at IDEO and a leading voice at The Teachers Guild, talks about creativity in the classroom and the creative teachers that bring life to local schools. The Guild is run by by IDEO’s Design for Learning Studio and Riverdale Country School’s Delta Group. They are a team of educators and designers, inspired by teachers across the globe who are innovating every day. The Guild gives a special shout out to those who dare to experiment with The Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit. See more…

Personalized Professional Development

by Allison Rodman

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The scene is all too familiar—teachers return from summer and file neatly into auditorium rows or cafeteria tables, ready to hear “the next big thing” that will be the instructional focus for the upcoming school year. At times these initiatives represent the latest best practices in teaching and learning, but often they are simply old strategies repackaged within a new program or set of tools. Teachers respectfully absorb the content and make surface-level changes to their practice that are evident in the next round of administrative observations. However, seldom do sessions of this nature result in long-term instructional change. As a result, students become disengaged, test scores flatline or drop, and educators grow frustrated with a system that does not meet their professional needs. See more…

Open Educational Resources

Leadership for Tomorrow
How to cultivate a mindset of innovation

by Ben Gilpin and Brad Gustafson

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Principals must embrace a mindset of innovation to stay current with pedagogical shifts and best practice. It is no longer acceptable to ignore social media or other innovations that are predominant outside the field of education. Principals are among the lead learners on their campuses, and instructional leadership should reflect the 21st century context in which our schools operate. See more…

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Multi-Tiered Systems of Support


Interview
Amy Peterson discusses research and the impact of multi-tiered systems of support in educational settings.

Interviewee

 

Amy Peterson is a researcher in the Education Program at the American Institutes for Research (AIR).

 

 

Interviewer

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Dr. Rod Berger is a global education media personality featured on the edCircuit, in EdTech Review India, Scholastic’s District Administrator and on RFD TV’s Rural Education Special. As an industry personality Dr. Berger has interviewed Ministers of Education, leading voices like Sir Ken Robinson, U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, AFT President Randi Weingarten and others.

 
 

Theme

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Led by the National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII); the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability and Reform (CEEDAR); the Center on Response to Intervention at American Institutes for Research, and the National Center on Systemic Improvement (NCSI):  Almost every state is implementing, developing, or planning some form of multi-tiered system of support (e.g., response to intervention, schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports) to intervene early and to improve outcomes for struggling students. A Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is a decision-making framework that integrates assessment and a continuum of instruction and intervention through which educators can make meaningful connections to accomplish the common goal of raising achievement for all students (learn more).

Through events and activities developed around the Connected Educator Month (CEM) Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) theme, we will highlight work from the National Center on Intensive Intervention (NCII); the Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR); the Center on Response to Intervention at American Institutes for Research and the National Center on Systemic Improvement (NCSI), among other resources, to support the implementation of MTSS and the essential components that make up an MTSS framework. Events will vary in focus from policies to professional development resources that are available. Check back soon to see the full list of events.

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Valuing the Voices of Experts

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Frank Gallagher & Julie Evans

Change is easier, and often more effective, when it’s done with you rather than to you. Many times in the past, education reform has come from the top down, without teachers having a voice.

We’ll never get “future ready” schools without the active involvement of educators in all aspects of the process. At Cable Impacts Foundation, when we embarked on the project to create “Building Your Roadmap for 21st Century Learning Environments,” a tool education leaders could use to map out and manage transforming their schools into technology-rich hubs of personalized digital learning and 21st century teaching, we involved teachers from the beginning. Their voices defined the teaching component of the Roadmap. The voice of teachers played a key role in constructing the Future Ready Schools initiative, as well.

So what do teachers think is most needed for creating a “future ready” school? Since 2003, the Speak Up Research Project has been asking students and teachers that kind of question. Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, the organization that runs the Speak Up Project summarizes what the teacher survey data tells us.

Teachers have a unique perspective on what is working, what is not working and what other things should be done to improve their effectiveness and impact student learning. They see four things that are vital for creating a future ready school.

First, teachers realize that they need professional development but the traditional in-service methods just don’t work anymore. Educators want PD that is highly personalized to their strengths and weaknesses, contextualized to be relevant to their curriculum, and timely – providing just the right amount of coaching and mentoring exactly when they need it.

Second, teachers value opportunities to collaborate and learn from each other. Increasingly, that’s being done through social media tools and online communities that become their “home team” of colleagues and coaches with whom they can share advice and support.

Third, teachers want to be at the table when digital tools are being evaluated and selected for classroom use. In many schools and districts, the decisions about and investments in online curriculum, digital content licenses, e-textbooks and even what websites can be used with students are being made by individuals several steps removed from the classroom. Administrators look first for digital content that is research based while teachers seek products that are created or evaluated by other teachers, and that they can modify or customize.

Fourth, teachers want their administrators to be authentic, co-learners with them on the journey to creating future-ready schools. Educators want to have confidence that their leaders truly understand the challenges they face, that they have a personal understanding of a new classroom models, and that they will provide the supports necessary for teachers to build capacity.

In the Roadmap project, teachers gave us great insight into what was needed and the best ways to deliver resources and PD to meet those needs. Too often school reform has failed, in part because teachers weren’t an integral part of the process. With the fast-paced, constantly evolving, globally economy, complex civic and social spaces, change is a given. We can’t afford to ignore the voices of teachers.

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Frank Gallagher is VP of Education at Cable Impacts Foundation, the pro-social foundation of the cable telecommunications industry dedicated to leveraging cable’s resources – including its platform, technology and content – to empower consumers and enhance communities. Cable Impacts is the lead sponsor and curator of the Future Ready theme of Connected Educator Month.

 
 

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Julie Evans is CEO or Project Tomorrow, a non-profit group driven to ensure that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world and well known for its Speak Up surveys.

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Guest Post: Tara Vazquez and Alicia Bowman – Enacting A District’s Vision for Student Agency

P21LogoHorizontalRGBtmThe following is a guest blog post from CEM partner Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s P21Blogazine 

 

Driving Question: How can a district vision elevate the agency of students in everyday learning?

At West Woods Upper Elementary School, we are focusing on the role of student “leading their own learning”. Like other schools in the Farmington District, we have set up an instructional rounds structure throughout the year. Each month, a team of teachers participates in instructional rounds under the leadership of an administrator. Focus is on the role of students and teachers  in the context of students “leading their own learning. In one instance, we defined one problem of practice through the question: What evidence do we see of students taking responsibility for meeting the learning targets? We use the data collected from the instructional rounds to inform our practice and guide our professional development.

As any good inquiry should, our investigations have led us to more questions. We continue to work as a learning community to explore ways to further elevate the role of the student and realize our Vision of the Graduate for every child. It is this Vision which has guided everyone in the district to bring aligned practice about student agency into every classroom.

The District Vision: A Context for Change

In 2010, Farmington Public Schools developed its Vision of the Graduate. This vision defined the learning and innovation skills needed by students to achieve academic and personal excellence in the classroom and beyond. It aimed for deeper learning by all through

  • Critical thinking and reasoning
  • Collaboration and communication
  • Problem solving and innovation
  • Self-direction and resourcefulness.

In order to realize this vision, district leaders and teachers focused on revamping our curriculum. We want all students to develop these skills.  As we learned from our studies of Richard Elmore’s “instructional core” (content, teacher, student), changes in one element of the core must be accompanied by changes in the other two elements. To this end, a team of teachers and administrators formed a committee to study and explore research related to best practices in education. The resulting Framework outlined five principles about our desired practice. For each principle, we clearly defined the role of the teacher and the role of the student. Principle #5 focused on the development of student responsibility through agency.

Principle #5: Individual Student Responsibility Through Agency.

This principle starts with the premise that students learn best when they make choices about and take responsibility for their own learning goals and progress. The principle details how teachers and students do move the idea to practice.

Teachers…

  • Design learning tasks that require students to be self-directed, make choices and manage time effectively to achieve their learning goals
  • Structure group tasks to ensure individual and collective accountability
  • Plan for regular opportunities for student reflection through discussion and writing
  • Foster a growth mindset helping students to see mistakes as learning opportunities
  • Celebrate resiliency and resourcefulness in the face of setbacks or obstacles

Students…

  • Evaluate the quality of their performances / work products
  • Set learning goals and reflect on progress
  • Learn from their own mistakes and develop new strategies
  • Advocate for themselves by asking for help when needed
  • Learn to become self-directed to make choices that match interests and learning needs
  • Assume responsibility for good work habits
  • Develop leadership skills in areas of interest (www.fpsct.org).

From Principle To Practice

Once we had completed the district framework, district leaders put systems and structures in place to build the capacity of teachers so they could bring the Framework to life in the classroom. Grade-level teams, departmental teams, and school-based teams studied principles in depth by conducting action research, using common texts, participating in instructional rounds, and partaking in cross-grade/cross-subject discussions. Exemplars of practice were highlighted through “ignite” presentations at Convocation each fall and through district-wide professional development during which teachers presented to other teachers.

While the Framework continued to have a positive impact on our work, we still sought to further elevate the level of student independence and responsibility. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we have selected a common text to drive our work forward: Leaders of Their Own Learning by Berger, Rugen, and Woodfin.  This text is grounding our work as we study, develop, and implement ways to heighten the role of the student in the learning process. Our discussions are framed around several key ideas from this text:

Learning Targets:

In order to transfer ownership for meeting objectives from the teacher to the student, we are developing and communicating clear learning targets (both long term and daily). Students are learning strategies to monitor their own progress as they work toward meeting these targets. Some of these targets are connected to our graduation standards and performance outcomes in each subject, and others are derived from our Vision of the Graduate.

Models, Criteria, and Feedback:

Students use exemplars of work to develop a shared vision of high-quality work or performance. Through a variety of protocols, teachers guide students to examine the models and create a list of criteria for what constitutes good work. Students use this criteria while they create, revise, and self-assess their own work and performance. This criteria is also used as a foundation for feedback (teacher to student and student to student).

Using Data with Students:

 In order to have students take more responsibility for their learning, they monitor and assess their own progress. This involves learning the language of data, collecting and  analyzing data related to their learning, and setting goals. As we launched this work, we  realized that in order for students to evaluate their progress over time, we needed to identify recurrent tasks in each discipline area. Our district leaders are working to prioritize long-term learning targets and create a cohesive system to measure progress towards these targets in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Where We Are Today

If you walked into a classroom at West Woods, you would feel a learning buzz characterized by a partnership between students and teachers. You would notice both long term and daily learning targets driving the work cycle of creating, assessing, revising, and goal-setting. More specifically, you might observe students analyzing the results of a math pre assessment to determine needs and decide on individual  next steps for meeting the learning targets of a new unit. You might hear a small group of students critiquing an exemplar of a science investigation or a reader’s notebook entry and constructing a list of criteria that they will actively use to create and assess their own work. At conference time, you would find West Woods students leading the conversation about their progress toward meeting learning targets while presenting a portfolio of evidence to parents and teachers.

As we continue our journey, part of the challenge is building teacher capacity and bringing these high-level instructional practices to scale ensuring coherence and alignment throughout the school. In a culture of professional learning, we are committed to realizing our Vision of the Graduate for every child in every classroom.


About the Authors

Alicia Bowman is Connecticut’s Elementary Principal of the year and a Nationally Distinguished Principal. She has been an administrator at West Woods Upper Elementary School since 2008. Prior to serving as principal, she was a sixth-grade teacher and a curriculum specialist.

Tara Vazquez, a Nationally Board Certified teacher, has been a leader in the Farmington Public Schools for over 20 years. She has served as an elementary teacher, a curriculum specialist, a gifted and talented coordinator, and Farmington’s Teacher of the Year.

For additional posts on student agency and other 21st Century Deeper Learning Themes, go to the P21Blogazine (http;www.p21.org/blog). You can also sign up for P21’s free RSS feed for the three times weekly posts in your mail

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Educator Profile: Heidi Weber


Interview
Heidi Weber, an award winning educator from Ohio, talks about the profession of teaching and how she connects with educators around the country for her own professional learning.

Interviewee

 

Heidi Weber is a Gifted Intervention Specialist-LES National Board Certified Teacher, PBS Digital Innovator, Google Certified Educator and ISTE award winning teacher. Weber was also a 2013 winner of the NCTE Donald H. Graves award for the Excellence in the Teaching of Writing. Weber works with 3rd and 4th graders at Loveland Elementary School.

 

Interviewer

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Dr. Rod Berger is a global education media personality featured on the edCircuit, in EdTech Review India, Scholastic’s District Administrator and on RFD TV’s Rural Education Special. As an industry personality Dr. Berger has interviewed Ministers of Education, leading voices like Sir Ken Robinson, U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, AFT President Randi Weingarten and others.

 

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Be #FutureReady Now! Webinar October 29

The term “future ready” has become an important concept among school districts through the US over the past year since the Future Ready Summit was held in Washington DC in May 2014. In case you missed it, you can read more here.

  • What does “future ready” really mean to a school or school district?
  • What does a school or school district really look like if it is “future ready?”

You now get the chance to hear from four experts who will talk about how to build the culture in a school or school district to be “future ready” now! Educational practitioners from Lindsay Unified in California, Lowell School in Illinois, Portola Valley School District in California and Natomas Charter School in California will share how their institutions are future ready now.

Join the CUE Organization in partnership with Connected Educator Month for:
Future Ready: What Does This Really Mean?
Date: October 29 at 6:30 Eastern / 3:30 Pacific.

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Sparking Creativity in Education

Interview
Molly McMahon, Program Director at IDEO and a leading voice at The Teachers Guild, talks about creativity in the classroom and the creative teachers that bring life to local schools. The Guild is run by by IDEO’s Design for Learning Studio and Riverdale Country School’s Delta Group. They are a team of educators and designers, inspired by teachers across the globe who are innovating every day. The Guild gives a special shout out to those who dare to experiment with The Design Thinking for Educators Toolkit.

Interviewee

 

Molly McMahon is a Program Director at IDEO and is a part of the team at The Teachers Guild, in cooperation with IDEO’s Design for Learning Studio and Riverdale Country Schools Delta Group, supporting creativity and design within the teaching profession.

 

Interviewer

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Dr. Rod Berger is a global education media personality featured on the edCircuit, in EdTech Review India, Scholastic’s District Administrator and on RFD TV’s Rural Education Special. As an industry personality Dr. Berger has interviewed Ministers of Education, leading voices like Sir Ken Robinson, U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, AFT President Randi Weingarten and others.

 
 
Theme
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Overview
 
The 2015 Sparking Creativity & Curiosity in Students and Schools theme is led by The Teachers Guild. The Teachers Guild is a community for teachers who are daring to design new solutions for our students, schools, and the greater system every day. It’s where teachers use design thinking to tackle their biggest questions. They form teams, make each others’ ideas better, select favorite solutions, and share their reflections. It’s an initiative of IDEO’s Learning Studio and Riverdale Country School’s Delta Group and the goal is simple. Bring teachers together to collaborate on 30 education challenges in three years. Together, we will amaze our students, schools and system with better solutions designed by and for teachers.
 
Core Programming
 
Launch of the second Teachers Guild Collaboration: Sparking Student Curiosity: Join a vibrant, creative and innovative community of educators around the country in using a design thinking framework to create impactful ways to spark student curiosity. The collaboration will take place online on The Teachers Guild website, where the community will have the opportunity to brainstorm, prototype, and refine their ideas before favorites are selected. #SparkCuriosity. Runs all month long.

The Teachers Guild Book Club – October Reading: Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era: How can teaching and learning be enhanced through creative thinking and processes, unlikely juxtapositions, and cross-disciplinary perspectives? Join us for an evening of experimentation, exchange, and critical dialogue including over a dozen immersive experiences in the galleries led by contemporary artists, Museum educators, curators, and technologists and a TASK Party organized by artist Oliver Herring. Runs all month long.

Educator Event: Creativity Now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Design Thinking workshop led by The Teachers Guild Teacher Coaches: How can teaching and learning be enhanced through creative thinking and processes, unlikely juxtapositions, and cross-disciplinary perspectives? Join us for an evening of experimentation, exchange, and critical dialogue including over a dozen immersive experiences in the galleries led by contemporary artists, Museum educators, curators, and technologists and a TASK Party organized by artist Oliver Herring. Friday October 7, 4-7 PM Eastern.

Tweet Up on Sparking Student Curiosity: In anticipation of the Innovative Learning Conference, join The Teachers Guild on Twitter to share and build on each other’s ideas around sparking student curiosity. Join the conversation by using the hashtag #SparkingCuriosity. Friday October 8, All Day.

Beginning of the Select Phase of The Teachers Guild second collaboration: Sparking Student Curiosity:After collecting inspiration, brainstorming, prototyping and evolving concepts and solutions to spark student curiosity, favorite ideas submitted to The Teachers Guild collaboration will be selected. #SparkCuriosity. October 20th-30th.

Tweet Up on Sparking Student Curiosity: Join The Teachers Guild on Twitter to share photos from the 2015 Innovative Learning Conference and share favorite ideas and insights around sparking student curiosity. Join the conversation by using the hashtag #SparkCuriosity. Tuesday October 27, All Day.

 

 

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Expanding Learning Beyond the Bell


Interview
Jaime Singer spent time with us exploring the state of afterschool offerings, howSnip20151023_5
parents can evaluate their own school and ways to get involved. Singer is the co-author of the book, Beyond the Bell: A Toolkit for Creating High-Quality Afterschool and Expanded Learning Programs (4th Ed.).

Interviewee
Jaime S. Singer is a senior technical assistance consultant at AIR, where she works on projects for afterschool and expanded learning programs. She designs and implements state and national learning opportunities for the field of afterschool, provides technical assistance to afterschool practitioners on systemic support, and participates in afterschool policy meetings.She is co-author of the fourth edition of the seminal afterschool resource, Beyond the Bell®: A Toolkit for Creating High-Quality Afterschool and Expanded Learning Programs (4thEd.), a resource for afterschool program leaders and staff.

Interviewer

Snip20150929_80Dr. Rod Berger is a global education media personality featured on the edCircuit, in EdTech Review India, Scholastic’s District Administrator and on RFD TV’s Rural Education Special. As an industry personality Dr. Berger has interviewed Ministers of Education, leading voices like Sir Ken Robinson, U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, AFT President Randi Weingarten and others.

 

 

Theme
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Overview

Afterschool and expanded learning programs provide a place for young people to grow and learn during their out-of-school time. Research shows that high-quality afterschool programs lead to improvements in school performance, including decreased disciplinary incidences and improved school day attendance, course grades, and standardized test scores. In addition, participation in afterschool programs has been associated with improved socio-emotional skills and beliefs such as improved self-perception, interpersonal behaviors, and decision-making skills.
btb

The Beyond the Bell Service Line at AIR will host  events that follow the cycle of continuous improvement: develop, implement, evaluate, improve.

 

 

 

We invite you to join us in our exploration of Building Quality Beyond the Bell by:

  • Posting your own global events on the CEM calendar. Be sure to select “Building Quality Beyond the Bell” as your event theme.
  • Participating in Beyond the Bell and partner activities.
  • Join the CEM 2015 conversation on social media by searching #ce15! You will find all the Beyond the Bell theme content curated at #cemglobal15.

Core Programming

Kickoff: Afterschool and Expanded Learning: A National PerspectiveJoin us in the kick-off webinar for the Building Quality Beyond the Bell theme. Bob Stonehill and Carol McElvain from American Institutes for Research will provide an overview of the afterschool and expanded learning field, including what the research is showing about the positive outcomes related to out-of-school time programming. Gina Warner, Executive Director of the National AfterSchool Association and Jessica Chung, Project Director at Foundations, Inc. will discuss their organizations’ roles in the field. There will be time for questions from the audience. Miss this event? Click here to access the archive recording.

Advisory Boards: The Backbone of Your Afterschool Program: Behind every successful afterschool and expanded learning program is a strong advisory board. While the roles and responsibilities of advisory board members may differ from program to program, there are a few key things that advisory board members can and should help with. This webinar will walk through ways to involve advisory board members in visioning and asset mapping. We will provide Beyond the Bell tools for engaging advisory board members and discuss participatory planning. This podcast will be published Thursday, October 15 at 9 AM ET.

 

Community Schools: Bridging the Gap in Education Afterschool: Please join American Institutes for a panel discussion on the benefits of a comprehensive community school model. Community schools provide students, families, and community members with supports and strategies to meet their needs both in and out of school. These opportunities include: family engagement; academics, youth and community development; and social, emotional, and physical health. This virtual panel discussion will provide key insights to federal and district implementation of comprehensive community schools, promising practices from community partners, and strategies for continuous quality improvement. Monday, October 19, from 10-11 AM ET. Miss this event? Click here to access the archive recording.

 Materials from this event:

How to Use Data to Improve Your Program or Practice: How do you effectively use your data to improve programs or practice? This webinar provides a conceptual overview and real world examples of a continuous quality improvement cycle, a progression that helps educators at all levels refine development and implementation of programs through evaluation. Presenters will share two different data collection processes that led to significant changes in programmatic structure. Our webinar will address the way in which researchers and practitioners think about data collection for improvement. Thursday, October 22, from 1-2 PM ET
Educator Tools for Improvement: Join this webinar to learn more about a variety of existing online tools and supports for afterschool and expanded learning educators. Our guest presenters from AIR will discuss tools for social emotional learning, strengthening connections to the school day, and more! Wednesday, October 28, from 2:30-3:30 ET.
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The Future of “Future Ready” on Oct 28, 2015 4:00 PM EDT

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Event Description

Join a panel of ed tech leaders as they explore the lessons learned and challenges ahead of the Future Ready initiative and similar efforts to help schools move towards being 21st century digital learning environments.

Where

Register for this event HERE

Panelists
 
Katrina headshotKatrina Stevens, Senior Advisor Office of Education Technology USDOE
Katrina manages Future Ready, Education Innovation Clusters and rapid cycle tech evaluation work. In former roles, Katrina worked to bring together stakeholders across the edtech ecosystem for meaningful dialogue and action. She spent the first 20 years of her career as an educator in schools, most recently in the central office at Baltimore County Public Schools. She cofounded and moderates #edtechchat, served as an international Startup Weekend Education Facilitator, and founded a monthly edtech happy hour.
 

Brian Lewis 4C vert crop MAR 14Brian Lewis, CEO ISTE
Brian joined ISTE in September 2012 following a 25-year career in both the public and private sectors. He has served as a nonprofit association leader in several capacities, including chief strategy officer and interim CEO for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), assistant executive director for the California School Boards Association (CSBA), director of governmental relations for the San Diego County Office of Education and the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA).
 
 
Julie Evans photo 1Julie Evans, CEO Project Tomorrow
Julie has been CEO of Project Tomorrow, one of the nation’s leading education nonprofit organizations, since 1999. She developed the Speak Up National Research Project in 2003 and has served as the chief researcher on this project and other digital learning national research projects. She is a speaker, writer and commentator on K-12 and higher ed issues around digital learning. Ms. Evans was named in April 2008 as one of the Top Ten Most Influential People in Education Technology over the past 10 years by eSchool News.
 
 
Snip20151026_17Darryl Adams, Superintendent Coachella Valley Unified School District, CA
Dr. Adams has spent 26 years as an educator serving as a music teacher, band director, middle school assistant principal, high school assistant principal, high school principal, director of human resources, assistant superintendent of human resources and superintendent. Dr. Adams has recently been selected by the White House and the USDOE as one of the Top 100 Innovative Superintendents in America and was praised by President Obama for leading the way in ensuring students have equity and access to technology and the Internet.
 
 
Moderator

Snip20151026_18Frank Gallagher, VP Education Cable Impacts Foundation
Frank is VP of Education of the Cable Impacts Foundation, the non-profit foundation of the cable telecommunications industry. Mr. Gallagher is the immediate past chair and member of the executive committee of the Partnership for 21st Century Learning and has previously served on the board of directors of National PTA. He also serves on the Board of the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET), the National Forum on Information Literacy.

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Look Ahead: Week of October 26

The month may be winding down, but the connected learning continues! Here are just a few of the events you can look forward to this final week.
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To access the calendar and register for these and other events, click here. Now’s your last chance to put any events you are hosting on the calendar!

Monday, October 26

Audio Clip: Sketching as Response and Assessment

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Innovations in Assessment

Voices from the Middle co-editor Nancy Frey talks with Renita Schmidt about her article in the December 2013 issue, “Sketching as Response and Assessment: From Misunderstanding to Better Instruction.” (7:50)

Game Jams: Students as Designers

6:00-7:00 p.m.

Sparking Creativity & Curiosity In Students And Schools

Excite Your Students with Designing and Playtesting Games — All While Teaching 21st Century Skills!

#CE15 and #edtechchat Special Event: Twitter Chat with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

8:00-9:00 p.m.

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Join Connected Educator Month in welcoming United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to his third annual Connected Educator Month Twitter chat. Help us celebrate his final Connected Educator Month as Secretary! Be a part of this historic event and interact with Secretary Duncan as he answers your questions and discusses pressing issues for the field.

Tuesday, October 27

Building the Human Capacity for a Digital Leap

2:00-3:00 p.m.

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CoSN, AASA – the superintendents association, and the National School Boards Association have formed a powerful partnership to provide the knowledge, resources, and networks to help school system leaders inform and strengthen their digital advocacy. Technology leadership and building the capacity of your team are important steps in enabling a digital leap. Join the webinar to learn about this effort and other resources to improve your human capacity.

The Teachers Guild Book Club Tweet Up and Meet Up

7:00-9:00 p.m.

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Join The Teachers Guild community online and in person to discuss this month’s book club read: Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era by Ted Dintersmith and Tony Wagner. We’ll chat about sparking student curiosity, reframing success, what it means to teach and learn in the 21st century and other big ideas in education.

Wednesday, October 28

Response to Intervention and the Adolescent Reader: Responsive Reading Practices and Strategies

8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

MTSS theme

To provide general education teachers, special education teachers, content area teachers, administrative and support staff with foundational knowledge regarding best practices for older students who struggle to read.

#cs10k #ce15 webinar – Integrating computer science across the PreK-12 curriculum

7:30-8:30 p.m.

cs10k

The CS10K Community welcomes featured panelists with national and state interest and expertise in the K12 curriculum and computer science education to discuss how best to integrate computer science from preschool to high school in order to build a more robust learning continuum. In most of today’s schools, students are limited to learning about computer science through courses in high school. What would happen if the basics of computer science were taught in PreK-8 math and science classes? How might these increased opportunities help to broaden opportunities, particularly for those students in underrepresented populations? Join us as we delve into these critical questions during #ce15’s STEM closing webinar.

Thursday, October 29

Digital Resources to Learn English and Content Across the Globe

3:00-4:00 p.m.

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Kids are learning English, and content in English, all over the world. BrainPOP brings together both English and content-learning with our unique resources and tools. With a focus on STEM, this webinar will highlight corresponding topics and games in multiple languages. And since STEM is BrainPOP’s free spotlight for the year, many of the topics we’ll explore in this webinar are free. The webinar will also demonstrate how to bring content and language together for English learners, with BrainPOP ESL’s content, academic language, lesson plan activities, and other teacher resources.

Personalized Professional Development

7:00-8:00 p.m.

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Do you want to provide your teachers with personalized support? Do find yourself preparing one size fits all PD? Do you want to spend more time coaching teachers? The Sanford Inspire Program’s On-Demand Modules provide each teacher with an individualized development experience. On-Demand Modules are 60-minute micro-courses that develop knowledge, skills, and mindsets around specific elements of inspirational teaching. This allows instructional coaches and leaders to spend their time coaching. All resources are free and open to the public. This is a repeat of our 10/14 session.

Friday, October 30

The Largest Online Gathering of K-5 Classrooms

1:15-1:45 p.m.

Largest Online Gathering

On Friday, October 30, 2015, K-5 teachers from across North America and beyond will click on a simple link and be joined together online for a live-streamed participatory event they will enjoy with their students from the comfort of the classroom!

Join in the fun as we celebrate the end of Connected Educator Month with songs, stories, movement, laughter and learning during the first annual “Largest Online Gathering of K-5 Classrooms.” Hosted by performer and teaching artist Dave Ruch (http://www.daveruch.com/distancelearning), and Powered by Zoom.

Future Ready Leaders: A Sneak Preview

3:00-4:30 p.m.

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Future Ready Leaders: A Sneak Preview will be hosted by OET Director Richard Culatta and project leaders from the American Institutes for Research and Powerful Learning Practice. They will be joined by superintendents from two of the districts featured by the Future Ready Leaders project. This webinar will provide an introduction to the project, including its goals and how the the team synthesized research on Future Ready practice, selected exemplary districts, produced a library of videos featuring those districts, and developed a tool to provide leaders with personalized playlists. The superintendents will share their experience in participating in the project, and will introduce a preview of several of the videos. The presentation will conclude by calling all district leaders to take action to become future ready.

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This Week’s Best of the Web Roundup: October 23

As we wrap up another Connected Educator week, here are a few highlights from around the Web and social media:

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Blogging to Enhance Your Professional Practice

By Kathy Perret

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Blogging provides educators an opportunity to write down their stories and enhance their professional practices. Educators have taken to this form of open communication to share ideas with others, reflect on educational practices, and connect and collaborate with one another.See More…


Words of Wisdom


Grading Smarter, Not Harder: Assessment Strategies That Motivate Kids and Help Them Learn

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with Myron Dueck

Do your students’ grades accurately reflect the extent of their learning? Do your grading practices contribute to students’ motivation and success?

Join Myron Dueck, author of the ASCD best-selling book Grading Smarter, Not Harder: Assessment Strategies That Motivate Kids and Help Them Learn, for a thought-provoking webinar that will inspire you to look at how you might improve your grading and assessment practices. See More…

Twitter Chats Worth Your Time

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Connecting Professional Learners


Interview

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach talks about her experiences with professional learners and the communities and opportunities most impacting their work in classrooms all around the world.

Interviewee

Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of  Powerful Learning Practice, where she works with schools and districts from across the United States and around the world to re-envision their learning cultures and communities. She also consults with governments, school districts and non-profits that are integrating online communities and networks into their professional learning initiatives, including the US Department of Education’s Future Ready Leaders initiative; Alberta, Canada Initiative for School Improvement’s (AISI) online community of practice; and Victoria, Australia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s literacy coach community. Sheryl is a sought-after presenter at national and international events, speaking on topics of 21st Century reform, teacher and educational leadership, community building, and educational issues impacting marginalized populations such as the homeless.

She is an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education’s Connected Educators Initiative and a leader in the annual worldwide Connected Educator Month. She currently serves on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Board of Directors and The National Science Foundation’s CS10K Board. Sheryl also served on the New Media Consortium’s 2012 Horizon.K12 Report Advisory Board and their 2013 Horizon Higher Education Report Advisory Board.

 

Interviewer

Snip20150929_80Dr. Rod Berger is a global education media personality featured on the edCircuit, in EdTech Review India, Scholastic’s District Administrator and on RFD TV’s Rural Education Special. As an industry personality Dr. Berger has interviewed Ministers of Education, leading voices like Sir Ken Robinson, U.S. Secretary Arne Duncan, AFT President Randi Weingarten and other global thought leaders. Dr. Berger is a guest lecturer at Vanderbilt University and resides with his wife and two children in Nashville.

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