Friday, May 20, 2011

Top 10 list 5/20/11

10. 10 ways for teachers to collaborate

9. Build a home-school connection - There’s an app for that

8. Cool way to make sounds online

7. Cool things to do with youtube videos

6. Love this.  Technology just a tool?  Oxygen just an element!

5. Interesting chart on traditional vs 21st century skills

4. 70 tools in 70 minutes - a great slideshare project

3. 50 ways to integrate technology

2. 5 coolest google search HACKS you didn’t know about

1. How do we prepare kids for jobs we don’t know about yet

Videos of the week!

Great book: Patrick Lencioni - THE FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM

Pale Blue dot

Here’s to the students who refused to be standardized

Howard Gardner on Digital Youth

Should teachers make more money?

Will Richardson, a leader in edtech and his thoughts on the 21st century learner

What can education learn from Hip-Hop

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dive into the data - Analyzing Assessment Data

Every unit I give formative assessments that drive my instruction.  I alter lessons plans, reteach and reassess as needed and seek to, through effective feedback and standards-based grading, help students succeed.

This got me to thinking.....

How do you analyze test data?  

Whether it is a quiz, a summative exam, a project?  What do you do at the end of the quarter, unit, project, etc. to wrap up and dive into the data?

Here's what I do at the end of every unit:

No one asks me to do it but I am able to gain valuable information about what worked and what didn't.  I know this is like performing a rather detailed autopsy of something that already happened and something I can do nothing about, but it changes my behavior for the next time I complete this unit.

What are your thoughts?  What do you do?  What data do you dive into?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Top 10 resources for 5/13/11

10. Museum of mathematics, SWEEET!

9. 5 fastest ways to improve your teaching

8. 4 mistakes educators make when integrating technology

7. 40 awesome sites to improve your skills

6. Why I flipteach!  A great post in the wall street journal

5. Surprise, Surprise, working in pairs, actually good!

4. Google Template for Student projects

3. 8 ways to support teachers to integrate technology

2. Mindsets and the end of the year slump

1. 32 ways to use google apps in the classroom

VIDEOS of the week

Two more TED-like sites for your motivational and big thinking pleasure

education is broken

Search, browse, check out various tutorials on how to do stuff on your computer or iOs.

Diane Ravitch on our own education system

Star Wars and Blooms taxonomy

Radiolab presents symmetry

Friday, May 13, 2011

Learning about Leading from a General

I watched this TED talk by General Stanley McChrystal and was impacted by some of the words he said when thinking about leadership, listening, leading, and trusting.

How can educational leadership learn from these very military ideas, from an uber-military person?  Simple.

General McChrystal has some real poignant moments in his TEDtalk for me that got me thinking.

1.  Leaders can let you fail, without being a failure.

I was in a job interview yesterday and kept thinking about this statement.  A good coach, facilitator, administrator and/or leader is someone that will be there by your side.  They will be there watching you fail, allowing you to fail, facilitating the learning process, reflecting with you, but never let you be a failure.

Listen, I know, failure sucks.  But there is beauty in failure.  I learned about it the tough way and began to really believe in what I do day in and day out to make myself a better teacher and better person.

As a leader you have to allow for failure but most importantly be there for your students, colleagues and staff and support them through that process.  Great leaders can let you fail.  Great leaders will support you through trying something new in your classroom, being their for you to reflect and helping you get better in the end.  Failure is not a destination, it's often just a detour on the road to where you want to go. We often find that to ever truly succeed we must at one point fail, the key is to surround yourself with great leaders that support you through that process and celebrate your growth in the end.

Some great resources on failure and how to change your view and celebrate it instead of lament it:

Fringe benefits of Failure - J.K. Rowling

On being wrong - Kathryn Schulz

Then What.... - Frank Gehry

Kinder, gentler model of success - Alain de Botton

What's our take away from this?  

As a leader we must support those around us, celebrate their victories of course, but as those of us learning about leadership know, it's more important to celebrate the failures.

2.  A leader is the leader NOT because they are right, but because they are willing to trust.

A leader doesn't get into his/her position all on their own.
A leader is not a leader if they look behind them and no one is there.
A leader is a leader not because they call themselves one, but because others believe in them.

A successful leader must trust.  Being trustworthy is easy, giving trust away is hard.  Leadership in education or in any field requires those in a position of leadership to trust those that surround them.  The colleagues and employees, the roles and responsibilities laid forth in a job description, the trust that tasks will be completed in order to accomplish the goals of the organization.  Without trust there is no leadership.

Every interview I've been on has asked me; "What do you do if a teacher is not doing their job/meeting expectations?"  This is a tough question simply because without developing a relationship with this person it's hard to talk about trust, faith, and belief in the person that they can achieve the objectives/expectations of the position.  I always answer objectively and speak about facts but it's hard to speak about numbers and ideas without caring for the individual that this question is crafted for.

What's our take away from this?

Trust in leadership is all about empathy, can you be empathetic and effective at the same time?  The answer is a resounding yes.  And that yes is centered around the trust you build as a leader, trust in others and trust in the organization's success.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Using Lucid Charts in the classroom


I teach 6th grade science and reading strategies.  With every reading strategy I teach a 21st century skill associated with that strategy.  My reading strategy for this week is making connections between texts.  A text-to-text connection.

Other posts I've done:
Commenting on a blog

I have been seeking new ways to visually show making connections outside of pencil and paper and wants to show the connectedness of print, media, and other text based materials.  Then along came Lucid charts.

Lucid charts is best described as a online, FREE, web based, flow chart creator.  It has the capacity to work colaboratively and publishes a number of ways.  So far, to me, it has WAY more capabilities than my little 6th graders can utilize but they loved the flexibility and creativity they were afforded by the program.  I thought it was awesome and the kids thought it was very cool too.  My tech specialist that were watching me use it were so intrigued they got on right away and created an account.  Very cool!

Lesson Plan
  • Teach making connections: text-to-self (see the digital versions and student products here)
  • Teach making connections: Text-to-text using Lesson 46 in the daybook activity
  • Give feedback on daybook lesson
  • Provided student an opportunity to demonstrate making connections using the book they are currently reading
  • Give feedback on making connections using their book
  • Create a flow chart using lucid charts about their day today, set up how we can use this to make connections
  • Give feedback on flow chart
  • create connections model for students to demonstrate how the connections should be made and provide guidelines
  • My model is the image located to the right here->
  • Have students make connections using Lucid charts following key provided.

Set up

I had never used lucid charts but heard about if from Larry Ferlazzo's blog.  I'll tell you soemthing, if Larry likes it, I like it.  That's the bottom line.  I jumped right in plaued with it for a couple minutes and had no problem seeing endless possibilities for thsi free service.

  • made copies of Lesson 46 in daybook.
  • made copies of my model for the final days activities
  • Reserved two classes on two days of the computer lab
  • Enjoyed watching the creativity flow!

Evidence of student work

This being the first time I completed this task its hard to discuss what and how it would be scored.  

There are two separate entities here to be assessed:

1.  Is the student capable of making connections usin the book they are reading (curriculum item).
2.  Can the student utilize a flowchart creation application to create a visual puzzle of the book and connections they are making.

Student work: (I did notice some of the images didn't translate to the finished product, you'll get the drift if you see a large blank spot, that's where an image was at one time.)

Just fun!

One of my students even made a flowchart of the movie The Black Swan.  FUN!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Top 10 list for 5/6/11

Top 10 list

10.  Social media doesn’t cause bullying, it catches it

9.  Class size matters ONLY when the teacher does everything.

8. SH*T my students write.  Man, I had this idea years ago and should have pounced:

7.  The history of the flipped classroom

6.  A GREAT article in the American Prospect:  The test Generation

5.  5 simple web apps to save you time at work

4.  Tuesday Night’s edchat was on Web 2.0 tools.  Compiled from around the world here are some resources and how teachers are using them

3.  Innovate my class.  Grant writing process to get what you need to do that idea you’ve been thinking about.  Now what’s your excise for not innovating your instruction?  Quit saying “If only...”

2.  This stings a little...7 solutions for teachers who want 21st century students

1.  Want to be a GREAT teacher, don’t go to Professional Development!  Got your interest, read this:

Videos of the week

Love this video:  Google docs through the eyes of a student:

Aren’t we BORN to learn.  Think about this video as you line your desks up in rows and set up your classroom procedures.  Fascinating!  How does work and play in your room look?

RSA ANIMATE - Changing education paradigms from Sir Ken Robinson.  REVOLUTIONARY Ideas!

Great info for ALL students.  How to prevent a printing nightmare