Impact! – One Word 2019

Boom!  Pow!  Wham!  Pop!  Impact!  Just like the onomatopoeias used in comic books, I want my actions in 2019 to make “noise” causing people to think and change their mindset about how we help our students become independent, passionate, confident, solution-oriented citizens in this global world.  Much like a meteor entering the earth’s atmosphere becomes brighter because of the friction between the meteor and the atmosphere, I hope to create friction in a way that lights a fire facilitating change for all the learners in my care.

How can I use what I am learning to impact my colleagues, students and parents that I come in contact with on a daily basis?    

How can I impact the parts of our educational system that are outdated to better serve our students?

How can I help my students impact their community in positive ways?

How do I create meaningful opportunities and experiences that impact my students and their desire to use their talents and passions to change the world?

How will you impact those around you in 2019?

 

 

Advertisements

…I see… #IMMOOCB1 #IMMOOC

In thinking of where education is headed, I truly see students as the creators of content and change.   In helping students to connect with professionals for a year long passion project I have been seeing the potential that connecting students with these professionals can do.  What if students had direct access to the huge knowledge base from all the professionals in our communities?   What if there was a more organic connection between business and education that gave students a way to be able to contribute in authentic ways with those professionals to develop their passions earlier.  Students creating content for their communities!

What if students were also able to reach out to other students to ask them the questions they have about the geography, economy or political systems in their areas instead of hearing it second hand from a teacher or text?  I believe that connecting students to students through this creating of content for each other will help to build a more tolerant, understanding and truly connected world.  Students creating content for students.  This is the vision that I presented in my application for the Google Educator Innovator Program.  I didn’t get it this time…however I know I can do better and hope to do a better job as I misinterpreted  the number of characters as number of words and had to butcher my writing in the last 30 minutes before it was due!  I can’t wait to try again and do my very best!  :):):)

 

 

Learn on!

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

                                                  -Nelson Mandela

It is official!  I am now a Google Certified Educator Level 2, which has been about a year and a half in the making.  You can do it too!

It was a smooth process to complete the online self-paced training and being able to complete the units on my own time made it possible for me to fit the learning into my schedule.  I enjoyed integrating what I was learning into my instruction which allowed my students and me to learn together!   The new challenges in learning about and integrating the tools into instruction and sharing them with students were well worth a little bit of struggle as new things were presented and tweaked to work in our learning environment.   

I highly recommend to anyone using G suite that they also access the training that is available through Google Educator Training.  Each individual unit can be done in a short period of time and you don’t have to do them in order so you can learn what you want or need to learn!  The ability to take a test and get a certification allows for the learner to see their growth and is a super fun extra in my opinion.   The level one test will cost you $10.00 and the level 2 test costs $25.00.

Now I’m onto the next goal!  So fun!

Learn on!

 

Not Giving UP Week 5 #IMMOOC

I’m not one to quit.   Here are my reflections for Week 5 of the #IMMOOC .  They are a little late, but the time I spent reflecting and thinking is helping me to grow and move forward to new and better!   I was brave, did something tough and joined the Voxer group for the book study but then didn’t have time to listen and really become engaged in the tool as a way to collaborate and share.  I will definitely be revisiting Voxer as a tool in the future.  
I don’t think that measuring the impact of innovative practices is something that can be easily measured.  There are so many variables involved and many of the effects may not be seen immediately, in a year or even for decades.   I think we need to start looking at successes of our students later in life as well as in the present moment to really see if the risks we take have a lasting effect on the students that we spend so much time with.The greatest takeaways for me are that change is slow.  I’ve come to realize that I work on a much quicker timescale than most and need to really work harder on meeting people where they are.  As I have stepped into several leadership roles in my building I have to do a better job of being a mentor and coach.

I am working towards some google educator certifications that are helping me develop some new skills for being a better leader/mentor/coach.I’ve begun the Google Trainer Course after finishing the Google Certified Educator Level 2 google educator training and have found that the units are providing many tangible and useful strategies in helping me become a better leader, mentor, and coach.  I will continue to access this resource as to move forward.   The resource is free to educators that have Google apps for education and for me has been invaluable training that I have been able to do on my own time!  I will be taking the Level 2 test soon!

I believe that I can work with my colleagues that are also participating in the digital innovations pathways program to start to ask some important questions about how our students are using the one to one resource that the district has provided them.  How are we creating an independent self-guided and motivated students?   How might it look different at different grade levels?  What standards do we believe that students need to be proficient in before moving on to high school?  Which standards do we focus on?

I am going to work hard to continue to reflect using this blog as often as I can.  I really need to create a space and time to reflect regularly so that I am keeping my thoughts organized and making sure to move forward to new and better.  I also hope to create a google +, blog or some kind of way for our building to share great ideas.

As I reflect on what this book means to me its that I really do have to be brave and continue to work towards and fight for what I believe is best for learners, all ages of learners.  Even if it means that it starts with my classroom and begins to trickle out into the spaces that surround me and inspires others to take risks to create unique and exciting learning environments for all learners!    I will continue to ask hard questions and move forward.  I will not give up.

Seeing differently…Week 4 #IMMOOC

The examples that resonate with me about strengths-based leadership is the idea that we have to do a better job reaching out to people where they are and not assuming that they are where we are.  I know the benefits of taking the time to hear someone’s story in order to understand where they are coming from and know it is critical but am beginning to see things differently.  I know I need to be more intentional in looking for strengths and help others to see the strengths others see in them and the strengths they see in themselves.   I believe it is important to ask myself, what are my strengths?  They are:  Energetic, forward thinking, highly curious, open minded to new ideas, love learning, inspire others, spontaneous, enjoy collaboration.  What traits am I lacking?  Thinking all the details through,  Organization, restraint.  How am I excluding those around me because they see it differently?

The professional learning opportunities that I am choosing to participate usually have at least one of the “8 Things to Look for in Today’s Classrooms” present, however, I believe professional development needs a redesign.  Echoed by teachers I speak with everywhere is that most professional development is the sit and get type!  I am currently participating in a program that my district IT department has developed called the Digital Innovation Program.  I have grown a tremendous amount, however, am still thirsty for time to reflect and move forward by reflecting and sharing with others, but there just isn’t enough time in the day or allowed when we are at our trainings.  As a result, I have worked independently to grow through the books and connections I am making on my own.  That is why I have chosen to participate in this book study!  It has encouraged me to get my thoughts down even if only for myself!  I am realizing that I must find a way to use my time more efficiently!  Hmmmmm…What does that look like?  How can we all share how we see the world more and share the difference as we see them?

On “Powerful learning first, technology second” (bit.ly/5foundation)

It was that time again, the annual walking field trip 8th-grade students take to a local dairy to learn about the chemical and physical changes that occur throughout the milking process. Each year 145+ students, 20+ chaperones, and 4+ teachers took the mile long trek to a local Dairy to learn about science content within the context of something that is in their community.  Students spend the day learning from professionals/professors in the dairy industry about how the animals are cared for, how the waste is managed, end products and the processes that create them, and how the animals are milked which allows them to understand what is happening there and be a little more tolerant of the smell that sometimes comes from it!   It’s a special day that ends with a picnic at a local park for lunch before students walk back to school for the end of the day!  This year I really wanted to do something different with the information students collected at the dairy so they were given the task of producing something that was able to show their understanding of chemical and physical changes occurring at the dairy which we will share on twitter and youtube as soon as I have the proper permissions.  I shared all the images (250+) that I had taken during the field trip and then they went ahead choosing different district approved tech tools, paper/marker, etc. to create their product!  I found that the powerful learning that students did with the professionals at the dairy sharing their real world knowledge and careers had an impact on the quality of output and time that students put into formalizing what they learned at the dairy!

Questions to focus on this week!

What does the astronomy look like?  What do I need to do to actually gamify the unit?  How can I tie in asking questions before our telescope night and how do I get student voice into the unit?  What if I was to survey students asking what they need to learn best and then structure this unit around those needs?  Really want to give students their own voice in how they learn and what they learn to meet the standards!

How can I start to utilize this idea of strengths-based leadership to help push those that I mentor and myself further?  What things am I looking for?

 

 

 

 

Moving forward… Week 3 #IMMOOC

 

 

In order to support innovation in my building, I am doing my best to model new and better by taking risks and trying things that will allow for more learning in my content area!  I believe that I need to show what it looks like to “do” education differently and then others who are interested in following down the same path will inquire about the changes they are seeing me make and ask how they to can use those same strategies in their learning spaces.  I have found that people are in fact taking notice and asking, “How did you do that?”  I am still hearing from staff members, “You are so creative, I could never do that.” and I respond, “This doesn’t come naturally without hard work.  I am constantly reading and collaborating in order to create the experiences that my students are talking about in the classroom.”   We have begun to do demo slams at our monthly staff meetings which consist of about a three-minute quick demonstration of a best practice.  Resources are linked to a shared space where others can use them to do similar things in their classrooms.

When I look at the school vs. learning image I feel proud that I have taken the step to create a student-centered environment in my classroom with all of those characteristics.  I’ve changed the structure of my classroom experience for students and we are all learning alongside each other!

It has been a challenging and exciting start to the year and I am excited to see what my students are capable of as we feed each other forward!

As far as reflections from last week’s questions to consider in my classroom.

What does a class meeting lo0k like?

We had our first class meeting in each of the 6 sections of science 8 that I teach and it went well!  Students were brave and had an opportunity to share a personal thing about themselves that we may not know.  We also discussed intelligence and the idea of a growth mindset!

How can I have students create something authentic using the content from the dairy?

Students created a product that had to show their proficiency for showing the difference between physical and chemical changes occurring at the dairy!  I am currently looking over student work and am excited to see what the results are!  The intention is to put them up on our youtube channel as well as tweet out some of the exemplars on twitter!  The idea of having their work seen by the world really did inspire students to produce a product they are proud of!

The questions that I am thinking about this week as I move forward are:

How do I continue to build on the mystery of using Scooby Doo in the law of conservation of mass?  What fun spin or twist can be added to the lab work we are going to do?

What tweaks do I want to put on the astronomy unit I teach?  Do I want to gamify it and how does that look?  How will I prepare students for their “telescope time” at the local university observatory?

SO FUN!!!!!

 

Reflections on New and Better Week 2 #IMMOOC

There are several things this year that I am working on making new and better than they were before.  Our school has a one to one program and this change gives students autonomy in how they process and master content.  It is changing the way I think about everything.  Here is a couple of examples of how I believe I am changing the way content is delivered into something better and new in my science 8 classroom!

Science Digital Interactive Notebooks:

I decided to take the interactive notebooks that we use in my science classroom from a paper notebook into a digital format.    The notebook creates easy access to resources that we use in class much like a website.  It creates a space for students to link how they are processing content in their own unique way and they can’t lose it or forget to save using Google apps for education!  I’m finding that it is easy and more efficient to communicate with students!  Both better and new because it truly does allow for individualized education and access for all students!  The first step….

Digital Late/Missing Assignment Turn in Form

I have always had a physical space in my classroom where students turn in paper assignments.  However, with the change that I’ve made moving to a digital interactive notebook and the google classroom, I found that I was unable to keep up with each google classroom, each assignment, and resubmitted assignments.  To solve the problem I created a Google form that students use to share a link to missing or resubmitted assignments so that I am able to quickly process these assignments.  This makes it easier for students to communicate when they have turned in an assignment and makes for a quicker return as I am able to do it from anywhere with an app on my phone and don’t have to remember to check the turn in box.  New and better!

Cornell Note Taking

The Cornell notes student take now have links to videos and resources students can use to help them if they choose to use it.  Because the notes are in a google document students are able to use the “Research Tool” to insert images, find videos, data and cite it as they go!  It makes it so much richer as we are able to share so many different examples visually in an instant.

Breakout EDU Syllabus/Course Content Introduction Activity

This year I decided to introduce expectations and the course topics for my science 8 class using a  Breakout EDU  activity that I created based on what I wanted students discussing to solve the puzzles!  I created my own box out of a cooler with a lock, a chain and eight different lock boxes to get out of!  I hid the 27 clues all over the room with a green dot sticker on each so they knew it was an actual clue!  The activity created a movement around the room allowing students to get to know where things were in the classroom.  Students naturally were curious about the locked box and worked together to solve the puzzles, working on one then moving to another when no good ideas came.  It allowed my students to start to build trust with one another and also sent a message that I believed they could do it and “breakout”.   Several of the class periods counted down as the timer approached 0 seconds!

Asking Students what they think

I really loved the idea presented during the youtube live session two of asking students that aren’t meeting the standards, why they think they aren’t.  This seems so simple yet I’m imagining how powerful it could be.  Give students a say in their education!  Just makes sense.  I am going to work with my team around this question and how we can get our students thoughts about the things that affect their educational experience and their learning!

As I reflect on what I have created this year I realize there is still so much more to do and what has been done is not great, yet.  It is the beginning of a new mindset!  I move forward one foot in front of the other!

As I move into this new week I am inspired and excited to continuing to create opportunities for students to learn by creating!  Opportunities continue to be created for innovation if we continue to ask questions.  So here is mine for the week:

I need to continue to ask what other parts of instruction can be changed to make them new and better?

How can I use our field trip to the dairy to create an opportunity for students to create something authentic to share what they learn there?

What does a class meeting look like?