Adobe Voice meets Powerful Provocations in PYP

The inquiry team at school is working on a series of staff meetings devoted to inquiry and building inquiry into our planning of units of work to allow students to grow individual inquiries.  It is our nod to Genius Hour and we want to see it embedded into units of inquiry in a way that lets students see that they can follow their passions and curiosities through the lens of an inquiry unit.

We are starting later this week with a look at our provocations. In preparing for this meeting, we started thinking about the criteria for a great provocation.  Very timely was the PYP chat on Sept 11th which was about….Provocations!  There are loads of great resources on the PYP Chat Wiki that you should check out.

As life would have it, I was ‘stuck’ (I will never complain about this part of being a mom) reading to and snuggling with my daughter so I missed the first 45 minutes of the Europe PYP Chat.  A quick read back indicated that there wasn’t a real tie in to what we were doing  in terms of creating provocation guidelines for teachers.  So I shared ours.  It looked like this:

Provocations

Some good ideas but the presentation? Not my cup of tea at all.  So, what to do?  I tend to think in pictures so started sketching out some ideas.  I shared these with our art teacher and we were on to something but then life and time (or lack thereof) got in the way and I knew I wasn’t giving her enough time to work her magic.  And then I remembered Adobe Voice.

I had shared this with our German teachers and I loved how easy it was to use.  It was perfect for the job at hand and in about 13 minutes, I had created this:

What do you consider when creating provocations?

What makes your provocations powerful?

Dot Day – Make it Matter!

Dot Day

 

Yesterday was Dot Day!  Did you ‘make your mark’?  More importantly, did you ‘make it matter’?

My Dot Day was spent proctoring online standardized tests – the antithesis of Dot Day, ironically.  I made a special trip down to our cafeteria to check out our Dot Day wall of awesome which cheered my spirits immensely thanks to our gorgeous art gals, Lisa and Kate.

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4And then I came home and forgot to read The Dot to my daughter and play her the Make Your Mark song (but I promise I will keep Dot Day alive and do those tonight!).

After bedtime, I came down to work on a MOOC I am currently enrolled in: Powerful Tools For Teaching and Learning: Digital Storytelling.   We are spending five weeks learning about the power of telling stories digitally.  It is already one of my new favorite things.  Our first assignment was to create the plan for the story we will make and this is what I am going to do in honor of Dot Day:

Digital Storytelling Plan

 

So, while it may not have started out as the best Dot Day, it has ended up being a super inspirational Dot Day for me, for sure! I think Vashti would be proud – and I hope I can do justice to such a great book (and author!) in my story!

Dot Day, forever!

POSTSCRIPT: I have started my storyboard and I think I want to change it as a tool for teachers to promote Dot Day and why we as teachers need to make our mark too.  Thoughts?

Bias in Teaching

One of the things I love about my role as Learning Technology teacher, is that I get to work with all the teachers at my school. They come to my room or I go to theirs, and prior to our meeting, we get to discuss how and why they would like to integrate technology into their teaching. 

As I work with teachers, I get to see them in their natural habitat and see a different side of the person who I have lunch with, sit down at recess with, or talk to during meetings.  I get to see them as a teacher. And I get to see what they love, what they value, what is important to them in their classroom.  I also get to see what falls a little lower on the ladder of importance for them. I listen to the choices they make when talking to and with our students and I see them in the way they communicate. 

And that makes me think about my own teaching. 

Where is my bias?  What do I value above other things? When have I come across to my students as having a strong opinion for or against something – and is this ok?  

When you google ‘bias in teaching’ you get a whole lots of hits for gender bias, political bias, hidden bias.  This is not really what I am talking about.  I am talking about the bias that comes from teachers being human and having opinions about the job they have been asked to do.  As teachers, we sign on to teach.  This is a wide-open task that is narrowed down by the philosophy, vision, and mission of a school.  When we sign on to work somewhere, we sign on to live out the values of the school. But we are human.  And we have our own ideals and vision too.  

Some teachers don’t love math – and research has pointed to parents and teachers passing on their own math anxiety to their students. What about other subjects?  Are we unconsciously (or consciously) pushing our own agenda when it comes to what we highlight as important?

What do you do when your vision, your ideals, your beliefs do not mesh with that of your school?  Where is the bias in your teaching? 

 

What Is School For?

What is school for?

According to Seth Godin, this is a question we’re not nearly spending enough time asking each other.

Today, Seth posted on his blog: The wasteful fraud of sorting youth for meritocracy. His post his brilliant.  I know that I say everything Seth does is brilliant, but this is really worth reading. It challenges us to rethink the way we ‘do school’ and the way we ‘sort’ children in school.  Is this what school is for?  A giant institutional sorting hat?

 My husband and I watched this video (and by this, I mean I played it over and over and he kept asking when my “very exciting video” would be over).  It did lead to an interesting discussion that we have had before on the purpose of school and what sort of education we want for our daughter. We realize she is still a baby, but it is good to talk about it.  It makes me wonder how many others are having this conversation too.  When we think about what we want for our daughter the list reads something like this:

-to be inspired to learn

-to delve deeper into things she is passionate about

-to become a caring, kind, collaborator

-to learn about the world she lives in and the people she shares the planet with

-to have fun, to play, to try new things

-to ask if she needs help

-to do something interesting, to figure things out

 

Does that sound like your school? 

Take a look at Seth’s Stop Stealing Dreams TEDx talk.  

 

“If you care enough about your work to be willing to be criticized for it, you have done a good day’s work.” ~ Seth Godin

So, again, What is school for?

Will Richardson posted 19 Back to School Questions for School Administrators.  The list is thoughtful, engaging, and would produce some pretty interesting dialogue.  I particularly like the following four questions that pertain to my new line of work:

  • How do you use technology to learn?
  • What was the last artifact of your own learning that you created with technology?
  • What expectations do you have for your teachers’ use of technology in their own learning?
  • What expectations do you have for your teachers’ use of technology in the classroom?

He then went on to ask his readers for a suggestion to round the list out to 20. I started off by offering this:

Tweet One

and then after reading through all of this from Seth, changed my mind to this:

Tweet Two

If you have not read Seth’s manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams and you care about education and the future of education, then I implore you to find the time to read it.  It doesn’t have all the answers but it has a lot to get you thinking – and it led me to Imagine A School of my dreams. 

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 10.53.22 PM

 

 

 

Teaching Above the Line

My friend Brian recently posted his reflections on Technology Leadership.  One of his points regarded the use of the SAMR model which is an evaluative tool that helps teachers ‘push their teaching above the line’ from enhancement to transformation. This tool is, as Brian points out, very well known in tech circles.  But what about non-tech circles?

SAMR Model

There are three Learning Technology teachers at my school and we all agree that technology should be used to transform student learning in a way that would not be possible without technology.  But what about the teachers we work with?  Do they all share our philosophy? Do they know the SAMR model? Do they care to?

Take a look at this intro to SAMR in 120 seconds or a 4 minute version via Commonsense Media 

So, are we all committed to “teaching above the line”?  I watched this video and still wanted more.  More ideas about how to share this model with teachers in a way that would help them begin to integrate technology in a ‘teach above the line’ kind of way.  A quick search led to the following resources, including one that is really interesting to me on transforming classroom learning blogs:
  NOTE: I like this chart (above) but I am hesitant to label or box apps into one category.  A lot of it depends not only on the app you are using but the way in which you are using it and WHY you are using it.  I’m not saying the above mash-ups are wrong, I am just saying to use this graphic as a guide and think about what you are really doing when you start using technology to transform your teaching and learning. 

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 18.24.42

Part of a four step model for lesson planning from Edudemic. Click image for website.

   

I still think there is a long way to go in working toward school ‘above the line’.  I still have conversations in which people don’t see the difference between Khan Academy and a worksheet.  Really? A website that delivers levelled problems that increase or decrease in complexity given the speed and accuracy of your response with the option of seeing a step-by-step play of how to solve the problem and an embedded, world-class explanation of the problem via video if you are still stuck, and instant feedback on your progress, versus a piece of paper that offers no feedback or differentiation until it has been turned in to a teacher, graded, and returned?

This graphic, while to the point, asks and important question:

Credit: Bill Ferriter @plugusin

I like the ideas in this graphic and the sentiment behind it as described by the author and by another blogger. For me, in addition to this it is a matter of thinking about Starting With Why – what is your why?

Why technology?

Why are you using technology in your classroom?

Making Thinking Visible

I love the visible thinking routines from Project Zero. They are stunning and give amazing insights into the things children know. If you have not used them before to help your students express themselves, now is a good time to start!

Need more encouragement than that? Check out this post by MYP teacher Rebekah Madrid. Ironically, Rebekah used to teacher at Munich International School (where I am now) and now teaches at Yokohama International School (where I used to teach).  She was inspired by the elementary teachers at YIS school who were successfully using thinking routines to draw out student learning, and she explains what happens in her class as a result of her bringing thinking routines to her classroom.

Our colleague, Frank Curkovic, (who has since left YIS for Singapore) created these stunning guides to both the Making Thinking Visible routines and the Artful Thinking routines.  Check them out:

 

Click for link to Issuu

Artful Thinking

 

 

 

 

If you are at all interested in tech integration, transformational learning, the future of learning, design thinking, and visible thinking, get comfy with a cup of tea and Rebekah’s blog and you won’t be disappointed.

Make Your Mark!

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 23.10.39

It’s coming soon!  International Dot Day is on September 15, 2014.  It is a day to celebrate “making your mark”. I have posted about Dot Day before:  Dot Day 2012 and Dot Day 2013.  Both posts will give you lots of ideas for Dot Day and some thoughts on how we as educators, can help students connect rather than simply collect the dots on their learning journey.

This year, FableVision Studios have come up with a song for Dot Day.  If you are familiar with “The Dot” you will see the connection between the book and the song and be inspired to make, make, make your mark! How can you encourage your students to use their talents to make their mark?

 

The Dot Song from FableVision on Vimeo.

Here are the lyrics (download the PDF)

Dot Day Lyrics

 

Are you interested in joining the Dot Day celebration? Sign up today! Discover more creative ways to celebrate Dot Day
on the FableVision blog and Pinterest pages.