While I obviously haven't been blogging- I have been fast at it. I would say I have been busy, but Dean Shareski (our new convener for K12Online ) has taught me we are all busy a nd I am not suppose to talk about how busy I am, but rather just talk about what I have been up to lately.
I keep a running "to-do" board above my desk. Lately, there have been too many "to-do" items to fit them all. My life is full of meaning, exciting and that word I am not suppose to say (whispering ...busy). So busy in fact that I forgot to share about one of my most passionate interests.
ABPC 21st Century Learners- Year 3 Culminating
What Was Different in Year 3?
We created a student strand and added students as members of the team. Together we looked at how to change teaching to a self-directed process tied to student passion and rigor, as well are core curriculum standards.
During the culminating event students and other team members were led in a fishbowl exercise that turned out to be the most enlightening experience I have had so far in working towards 21st Century educational reform. Students were asked hard questions about how they learn best and evidence of those strategies used by teachers in classrooms. They were asked what do teachers need to change to be the kind of teachers that would help you learn best? Their answers were profound and I realized for the first time I think-- if we would just ask kids what they need, they know and would tell us. Wow. What a concept.
Here are some of the projects from Alabama this year:
For our student project, we created a wiki. On this wiki, the students would choose a book to read that they wanted to carry on a conversation about in the wiki. Then, they would rate the book. Next, they would write why they rated the book the way they did. The next few sentences had to include a comprehension strategy that they used while reading the book. Whichever strategy they used, they had to support it with text and tell what detail from the story made them use that strategy. Then, they would write a sentence to try to encourage others to read the book, even if they gave it a low rating.
Finally, they would look at other responses other students had made and carry on a conversation about their book.
You can find out wiki at http://21centurylearners.wikispaces.com.
Challenger Middle School
Our professional development project is called "iTeach 2.0" and we invited the middle schools in our district to become a part of iTeach 2.0. Each school sent two teachers to a workshop we sponsored to learn about 21st century tools. We established a wiki for our team and participants to use to share ideas. Our April face to face meeting was a type of fair where each school shared a tool or project that they successfully used this semester. Our computer will display screen shots from our wiki and our display board will define data collected and cool tools explored during this year’s iTeach workshops. Our wiki is http://iteach2-0.wikispaces.com.
The students created posters, a website and a multi-media embedded PowerPoint to present to the student body. They learned so much about war torn
Ugandaand the suffering of the children there. They have a basic knowledge of how this war started. The amazing part is that we have not taught this information to our students. They have taken a project with very few guidelines and have learned so much! For this year, the project culminated in a fund-raiser, which raised $1778 in 3 days! This has become a project that encompasses many of the 21st century skills. Our students are learning about society, geography/history, communication, discernment, teamwork and many other skills. We will display a computer with a timeline/info about their project work and their presentation. We will have an additional computer with screen shots of their webpage. Their website is http://www.freewebs.com/guluschoolproject/
George Hall Elementary
Clay-Chalkville High School
For instance, we have teachers that have created wikis with the
main purpose to keep the students and parents updated on assignments and
projects that are coming up. At the same
time, other teachers use blogs to allow the students become more involved in
the learning process.
Middle School will showcase our journey from local to global connections through a photostory. We will highlight our challenges and how we have overcome them. We will also share our current projects that will lead us to district wide integration of Web 2.0 tools.
Not only do we begin our day with the Smart Board we also use this valuable learning tool in many other ways throughout the day. We display our morning messages, share interactive websites embedded in our daily lessons, and research an endless amount of information that can be easily displayed for all to see. This beneficial tool as helped foster communication through shared lessons created on the Smart Board software that assists teachers in planning and presenting the curriculum in a way that increases the students’ motivation to learn. The Smart Board, found in all classrooms, has become an irreplaceable learning tool that teachers and students just can’t seem to live without.