Parenting in the Digital Age

This week, our counselors and tech team hosted a parent coffee morning on the subject of “Parenting in the Digital Age”. As the parent of a rising first grader who will be asked to buy my child an iPad for use at school next year, I was very interested in hearing what was said at this morning meeting. 

As a member of our school strategy team, I have been working with Grade 1 teachers to analyse at we already do in relation to iPad use. Our wonderings are focusing around the big ideas of:

  • educating students to be more mindful
  • the developmental path toward self-regulation
  • tech addiction – what are the facts?
  • what are our intentions for using technology in the first place

I recently came across the organization ZeroToThree. They caught my eye on Twitter when offering a webinar about screen time for young children in which they were planning on talking about “minimizing the negative effects of screen time”. 

Screen Sense: All the Need-to-Know Research on Screens for Children Under Three from ZEROTOTHREE on Vimeo.

This was the first I had seen anyone suggest that negative effects existed. Take a look. Most people when you ask them (and I did) start talking about creation over consumption. This is good. I have said these same things before. But I haven’t known what to say when it comes to minimizing what we know to be true: that there are negative effects of extended time on screens. Here are my notes from the Webinar. And here is a really useful and detailed report on the research behind the webinar

So, what are my big takeaways from looking into this thus far: 

E-AIMS

Negative effects of screen time can be minimised if the quality of content that your child is consuming/interacting with is high. If the TV they are watching is educational and interactive, if the apps are challenging and require mind-on thinking. ZeroToThree suggest you evaluate media and apps using E-AIMS:

  • Is it engaging? Is there a goal or story as part of the experience?
  • Is the child actively involved – that is, are they required to have their minds on? Are they responding to questions? Is it interactive?
  • Is the content meaningful? Does it reflect their everyday life and therefore can they relate to it?
  • Is it (or can it be) social? Is it language rich? Is there talking or responding? For some games or online experiences, this element can be provided by an adult or other child so there is an element of exchange within the experience. 

There is a flowchart to guide you through choosing media content that is available for download on the ZeroToThree website

For a copy of the full flow-chart, visit the ZeroToThree Website.

Evaluate

The suggestion is that all media pass through a simple test: 

  • Is it age appropriate?
  • Is your child on ‘auto-pilot’ while using?
  • Is your child challenged but not frustrated? 

This made me think about apps we load on iPads. Do they pass this test? Are we paying as much time and attention to the apps our kids use as we do the books they read? Are we as discerning? Are we seeking out the same quality? Are we playing the games with our kids the same way we might read with them (or read the same book as them before they read it?). 

Or, as Marina Gijzen put it: 

Is it intentional or out of control? 

Great question. I would argue that we have good intentions but our reality does not always match up. We are inconsistent. We are human. We want to allow for student choice – except when they make “poor” choices. In the case of technology, I would argue a need for a family/home/school/class agreement. I would also advocate for teachers to be mindful of when they are asking kids to use their tech and when it could be tech free. Sure there are great brainstorming apps, but there are markers and paper and they work well too. What percentage of your lesson are you expecting or allowing kids to be on a device? Now multiply that by the number of classes your child has in a day. 

What is your school doing to address tech use in your school beyond the ‘creation/consumption’ mandate? How are we helping our kids to self-regulate their behavior?

In terms of my own parent community, I enjoyed listening to our parents at the coffee morning. It made me think that there is still somewhat of a “them and us” divide with regard to kids and tech when really we all want the same thing: happy, healthy kids. Now to keep the conversations moving forward on how best we might achieve this in a way that is respectful, meaningful, and mindful.  Wish us luck! 

Secret Agency

unsplash-logoryan skjervem

Recently on Twitter, I posted a tweet in a moment of frustration but also deep questioning, hoping against all hope, that the ‘sunshine and jellybean’ type posts which Twitter EDU is somewhat known for, might step to the side for a moment so that my unperfect question could be posed. To my surprise, I quickly found I was not alone in my wondering, and, I got a massive amount of comments that were thoughtful, inspired, and most of all, really helpful.  

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Here are some of the responses that really got me thinking: 

Finding the Sweet Spot

This image from Maggie has definitely been a huge help when talking with students about their work. 

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

It actually reminded me of some posts on questions that I have used with students in the past when trying to create their own inquiries. Ask Great Questions speaks to the depth and quality of questions we can ask with students.  And Questioning Conceptually which drives home the idea of developing questions worth inquiring into via a number of thinking routines – in particular, the Visible Thinking routine Question Sorts   This routine is used by our grade 4 CNU teachers to help students choose ideas worth inquiring into and would transfer to any aged audience – especially middle school. 

Drive

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Autonomy. Mastery. Purpose. These things are somewhat out of whack for me and my kids (I think). Most of all purpose. “Why do you want to do this?” or “How might you share your learning” are really difficult questions for some kids to answer. What I am finding though, is “Show it on the TV screens around the school” is becoming a really popular response. They want their peers to see their work – simple. They want that feedback. Other kids are looking to go further. Just this morning I got this email from one of my 8th Graders: 

How cool is this kid? I love stuff like this! Motivated by other students to rally his advisory group to action. I can’t wait to support him on this. Celebrating those who ARE motivated  and keeping trying with those who are not as per this suggestion: 

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Making Time

Time is a massive factor. Fortunately, we have a lot of teachers all working together and we are each allocated students to mentor. This tweet stood out to me: 

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Thinking about this I put together the following spreadsheet of questions. I am able to check in with 2 or 3 students during the X-block hour that I am working with my group. I have modeled these questions from this Kath Murdoch blog post: Getting Personal

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Having students respond to the question, “How do you know what success will look like? is proving to also be helpful. It puts the ownership of the project back in the hands of the students and reinforces that they are not doing this for me or for a rubric or even for a grade, but for a purpose of their own choosing. Which is challenging but also empowering for some. Working hand in hand with TIME, is it’s friend…

Trust

Today on Twitter, Tania Mansfield posted the following: 

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

The word TRUST kept jumping out at me as this is something we talked about earlier in the year as being vital in building a cohesive team as per the Lencioni Trust Pyramid (in which an absence of trust is a leading cause of dysfunction within a team). 

Lencioni Trust Pyramid

So I responded to Tania’s tweet: 

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

To which Tania replied to the original thread on student agency in MYP:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

This made me think of what happened when I did just what Tania suggests we do in her tweet:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Do I think there is a ‘secret’ to Agency? Probably. The secret is going to be different for different kids though – and that is the secret within itself. My tweet is not indicative of ALL students – just the one or two I worked with on that day. Their purpose is becoming more clear, we are spending more time with each other, I am showing them I can be trusted to support them should they choose to take greater risks in the challenges they set themselves. It is an ever changing game or dance between the two of us. Learning about each other and what we are capable of, who we are, what we can do or can’t do….yet.  

I don’t have all the answers but thanks to this one Tweet, I do have a lot more than I began with. What’s up your sleeve when it comes to growing a culture of student agency in the Middle School? Another educator, Mary Wade has recently posted in light of my tweet: Strategies to trust students to own their learning when they seem uninterested. It is full of great ideas and is definitely worth reading to further your thinking on this topic.  Mary concludes her post with an Alfie Kohn quote that I love: 

“Working with people to help them do a job better, learn more effectively, or acquire good values takes time, thought, effort, and courage.”

Alfie Kohn

I am grateful to those educators who engaged with my tweet. Your time, thought, effort, and courage was very much appreciated. 

Reflections on Learning2

Recently, I led Extended Sessions on “Prioritizing Play” at the Learning2 conference hosted by the American School in Japan. 

This was my third L2 and my second time as an L2 Leader. As I began researching for this event I realized that I was accumulating a mountain of material. How to condense this into 2 and a half hours? 

With my decisions made and my presentation curated, I began. I am not “a natural” when it comes to working with adults in this more formal ‘classroom’ type setting. And despite polling the participants in order to tailor the session to their needs, I had that nagging doubt that I may not be leading them in the direction they needed or wanted to go. 

My first session was high energy from the get-go. Keen participants, eager to share, eager to debate, discuss, and to reflect on their own learning. I was able to connect and relate and share ideas. I finished the session and it felt “successful”. This was reflected in the generous feedback I was given.

Great presenter – this should have been a whole day workshop. Too much good stuff to pack into the short time.

This session was amazing. Great presentation, lots of resources, approachable and knowledgeable presenter. Thank you

I thoroughly enjoyed the session and found it to be very informative.

L2 Participant Feedback

The second session felt different. A little more hesitant. A little more resistant? Pockets of energy and enthusiasm but a lot of critical thinkers. Deep questioners. We never got into the flow of the topic unlike the previous day. And I wasn’t able to turn that around. I left the second session buoyed by some of the personal connections I made but ultimately deflated by my inability to turn the discussion around.  And my feedback reflected my reaction to the session. Numerically, I went from solid 4’s and 5’s (out of 5) to a more solid 3/4 mix with a healthy dose of 2’s and a few 5’s. One ‘other’ comment: “It was a bit draggy” leapt out at me, and I took that to heart. But then I looked at the other comments. When asked, “What is one “takeaway” you are going to act on?” some participants responded: 

L2 Participant Comments  
Incorporating more play into my schedule. 
Continuting to explore resources

Using play as a means of assessing students skills.
Integrating play into my teaching seamlessly, and understanding that it’s ok for children to walk away from playing.
There are different types of ‘play’, for my group of students I will be more focused on guided play and games.
Useful resources shared the presenter
Have students write their own rubrics, think about ways play can capture standards that aren’t included in a given lesson, give every child a ball!
Prioritizing play is something I want to make time for. Letting go of “norms” I’m used to as a teacher, and embracing the authentic learning that can come out of this is something that inspires me to make more effort to include it in my lessons. 
Incorporating play, unstructured and structured play, in and outside the classroom to enhance and optimize learning. 
Play is important for learners of all ages! Include play more often 
Ask students to define Play in their own words
Use play activities for reinforcement or breaking into a new unit. 

And I realized that whether or not I scored a 2 was beside the point to some extent. I just proved what Dylan Wiliam et.al say about grades vs. feedback. I had looked at the numbers and based my success or failure on these alone. Yet the comments suggest that the participants have been thinking, reflecting, and learning, despite what their numerical scores might say.

I still stand by the lower scores and will endeavor to make explicit the learning outcomes the next time I present. Perhaps these were unclear? Perhaps our jilted way of ‘dragging’ through the session meant that we disconnected from our intentions? One strategy I would like to try next time I present is to have the participants reframe the learning objectives for each stage of the session. If my first objective is made clear, how can each participant then make it personal? 

L2 Talks

L2 talks are one of my favorite parts of the conference. The entire playlist is on the Learning2 Youtube page

If you haven’t seen an L2 talk before, here are some of my favorites (although truth be told, they were all pretty great!). This is a nice selection to get you going, constructed around the conference theme “It’s personal”.

Teaching Isn’t Magic – Geoff Derry

Geoff and I only “Twitter-knew” each other until we met in Tokyo. Through our interconnected network of friends and acquaintances, we started to see that our connection ran a little deeper than international schools – we both worked at Camp Pecometh on the Eastern Shore of Maryland back in the 90’s. It was a riot to meet Geoff and to share Pecometh memories and to marvel at how small the world feels sometimes. Geoff’s talk is pure magic.

Weirdness is a lot of things – Mike Bycraft

Mike is interesting, creative, a maker, a dad, a husband, an educator. And he’s weird. He delivers a personal talk about the power we all have to be like his 2nd grade teacher and embrace weirdness:  “It does look a little weird. But that’s o.k.” -Ms. Taylor

Filling the Space – Tricia Friedman

Tricia is a good friend and a great educator. She is someone who is able to reflect deeply, care generously, discuss respectfully, and strive tirelessly to advocate for equality in all realms of life. Her experience as a queer educator and the support she offers ally’s, form the basis of this challenging talk. 

Together We Are Better – Ben Sheridan

Ben’s talk on Professional Capital (Human/Social/Decisonal) and how that intersects with his own quest for a new tattoo, combine in this engaging talk about the power of being vulnerable in order to create something meaningful. 

Culturally Responsive Teaching – Gary Gray

Gary’s talk is powerfully engaging. “You’re too black. You’re not black enough” – a call to teachers to embrace culturally responsive teaching. All educators need to read this and ask themselves if their students are seeing themselves in the books, movies, lessons in your classroom. 
 

Photography Can Change the World – Dave Caleb

Visually stunning and a message that matches, Dave’s talk was inspiring for it’s depth, it’s beauty, and it’s meaning. A long-time fan of Dave’s photography, this was an L2 highlight for me. Every element of this talk could branch off into their own talks on relating to others, revealing truth, bearing witness, proving facts, protect what’s important, and celebrating our amazing world. 

Learning2 2019

Information is already up on the website and the call for L2 Leaders is out. Come and join us at Nanjing International School next year and be a part of the L2 conference experience: a conference by teachers, for teachers. As Chair of the hosting school team, I am very excited to be a part of this conference and I am looking forward to seeing the ideas grow and develop as we prepare for next October. Mark your calendars!  

Ladder of Feedback

PDF Download: Ladder of Feedback – Please use with your students. Respond in the comments with what worked and what you would change. 

Ladder of Feedback

I am working with MYP students on a Design unit at the moment in which they are designing a solution under the umbrella topic of “Improving Lives”. Everyone is at the stage of needing feedback on ideas in order to help inform their decision of which idea to pursue in more detail. To guide this process, I went in search of a thinking routine or protocol that might provide some structure to this feedback. This was prompted after discussing the idea of feedback (specifically the feedback I was giving students) with our Head of Upper School and me realizing that I needed to be more intentional in the way I gave feedback. This document from the Oregon Department of Education: Six Insights on Feedback, was a particularly useful refresher on all things Feedback related. I also found this post: Five Evidence Gathering Routines to be another useful one for future reference.

From there, I  was inspired by a Mind/Shift post on Developing Students’ Ability to Give and Take Effective Feedback.  It detailed a High School idea of using DeBono’s thinking hats to guide feedback and a modified ‘warm/cool’ feedback protocol for primary students. While these ideas got me thinking, I was looking for something a little more in depth than the warm/cool and a little more structured – or more specifically, something with a more defined structure already in place.

I came across some work on Student-Centered Peer Assessment that was really helpful. It outlined what peer assessment was, what it was not, and how to use it with students. It also outlined the use of the Ladder of Feedback. A little more investigating led me to this document on the Ladder of Feedback that went into further detail about the origin and the stages in the ladder.

Note: The first document led me to a website that was new to me: Students At The Centre Hub. I haven’t had a chance to fully check this out, but it looks pretty good. 

I found another resource which led me to add the final stage – giving thanks. I can’t remember where I saw this, but I liked the addition (and will try and find where I found this to link back to here).

IMG_1473

I used it with my 9th graders and it was pretty successful. It definitely scaffolded the conversations and encouraged participation. Student ideas were validated by their peers and opportunities arose for students to hear concerns and questions. Overall, the students said the protocol was useful and was something they saw as effective in getting information about their ideas. There were some groups who wanted to jump right up to the suggestions but had to slow down and start at the bottom. Some kids found giving thanks quite challenging so we talked about offering thanks for simply sharing your ideas.

I will use this again. I want to listen to what is being said by students and what I am saying as a sentence starter when kids get ‘stuck’ and see if the text on the sheet doesn’t need modifying to make it more effective.

How do you create opportunities for Peer Feedback in your classroom?

Edited to add: A friend (and member of my Mastermind Group) sent me the link to a PDF Download from IDEO called The Feedback Tango.  It goes into the nuances between those giving and receiving the feedback and with older students could be analysed as is. Younger students might need help with having it translated into more ‘kid speak’.  Both groups would “enjoy” doing a little Tango in the classroom 🙂

Prioritizing Play

PDFs for Workshop

Sonya – Play

 

MetaRubric-Cards

2018-scratch-game-design-teacher-guide

Pedagogical documentation

Mirror and Light

Learning Through Play

Learning Through Play – Neuroscience

FullSizeRender 9

The entrance to Marina Gijzen’s Office (Head of Primary) at NIS. The invitation to play was proudly displayed.

Next week, I will be leading two extended sessions on Prioritizing Play.  Now, I am no expert on Play but I am an educator and a mom and I want to think more deeply about how play is the work of childhood (to quote Jean Piaget) or, as Mr. Rogers elaborated: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning.”

In preparation for Learning2 at the American School in Japan, I have been collating resources/links/posts about play.  I am sharing them below in the hopes of inspiring those dabbling with play, to delve deeper into all it has to offer us as learners, parents, and educators.

The Image Of The Child

I will be starting the Extended Sessions and this blog post in the same way: asking the participants and the readers to consider: Who is the child? For more on what that means, read this post, or take a moment to reflect on your image of the child – the person in your classroom, the person you will interact with in your lesson. What is your image of them – because it will influence everything about how you engage with them.

Peter Gray

Resources on Play

These will be updated over the next week and following the sessions. If you have suggestions for material, please link below or send me links! 

Peter Gray Ph.D

Blogging - 6

Notes by me from “The Decline of Play” by Peter Gray


Teacher Tom

Teacher Tom has a great blog and is a teacher who embodies play in all that he does, in his own words:

Play is a pure good and should not need to be defended, but I also know we live in a real world where  policy-makers still consider play a mere relief from serious work rather than a core aspect of the real work of being human.”

-Teacher Tom

The Genius of Play

  • 6 Benefits of Play
  • Play Facts
  • Play Talk: Experts on education, childhood, and play share the latest information and research about the importance of play, childhood development, and tips you can use.

NZ Education Review

Creativity and Curiosity and Resilience

Play Frameworks

Linda Liukas – Principles of Play from Nation Conferences on Vimeo.

Benefits of Play

Documentation

“Documentation is not about finding answers, but generating questions.” (Filippini in Turner & Wilson, 2010, p. 9)

Playgrounds and Libraries

Loose Parts

LEGO

Lifelong Kindergarten

 

Play In The Early Years

Play and High School

Playfulness

DTN poster

Innovation Playlist

When you are ready to take the leap to innovate or change at your school and you want a guide to help you, look no further than the Innovation Playlist by Ted Dintersmith. The Innovation Playlist can help your school make positive, informed change. It hosts a WEALTH of information organized into “Albums” and “Tracks” that will guide your thinking about innovation.

Ideas Worth Sharing

Here are some of my favorite TED talks related to all things playful:

 

Your Intentional Empty Space

AKRosenthal (43 of 199)

I would like to offer youwhat I was given:a blank of sheet of paper.What will you do with your intentional empty space,with your fresh start?

-Jason Rosenthal

It is the time of year when many people start summarizing their learning and thinking ahead to what both the holidays hold and the new school year beyond that.

I am no different and with less than two days on the calendar, the countdown is surely on – although the making and creating hasn’t slowed down in the classroom!

My introspection this year takes a different turn as I am once again deeply inspired by a member of the Rosenthal family, Jason Rosenthal. Husband of Amy Krouse Rosenthal – one of “my people”. Jason suffered a deep loss when his wife Amy, 51, passed away from ovarian cancer. Recently he shared this loss and his subsequent journey into uncharted territory of doing life without Amy, in a recent TED talk:

 

Saying goodbye in International Schools can be a grief filled process. There is happiness, sure. Celebrations of friendships made. But there is definitely grief for friendships ending, or in my case, friendships that could have been – the year just goes so quickly to make all the connections you wished you could have!

In saying goodbye and in starting a new experience either in the same school with new colleagues, a different school, or a whole new life experience (hello ‘Adult GAP Year’ – I’m talking about you!) we are all gifted the opportunity of a figurative blank sheet of paper. The chance to create our own new reality. An intentionally empty space into which we get to create our fresh start.

What will you do with this gift?

How will you honor those you are parting ways with?

What will you do over the summer to prepare your heart for new students, colleagues, experiences?

In life, Amy was a great source of happiness and really made me smile. In death, she has taught me to think more deeply about the gift of every day. She clung on to life fiercely. Even before she was dying.

#intentional

This might be my word for the coming year. I’ll keep you posted.


further reading…

You Might Want To Marry My Husband = Amy’s love letter to Jason

Amy Krouse Rosenthal Foundation

The Hardest Pill to Swallow

Tonight I read a post by Taryn BondClegg about trusting her students. It is worth the read and I will imagine many (most?) of us will recognize elements of ourselves in her writing.

I posted an almost knee-jerk reaction to her post in the form of this comment:

I worry/am concerned by this issue and how it pertains to grit/persistence/stick-ability. So many ideas end up in the “too hard” basket when teachers step back and trust the students. I wonder: were they interested to begin with? what DO they stick with (i.e. have they a record of being able to stick with something?) what constraints/parameters/scaffolds have been present in their past that have not added to their ability to “do for themselves”? how might we create opportunities prior to Exhibition for this kind of agentic learning? And then 1000 x over: What am I doing wrong?! The tension keeps me motivated and at the same time, when I see children afforded SO much in terms of the education/schooling they are getting and the levels of apathy (despite/because of?) our intentions, I do become frustrated. Learner agency rejected has to be one of the hardest pills for me to swallow.

Sonya terBorg

The hardest pill to swallow.

Learner Agency rejected.

 

Despite my visceral ‘ramblings’ I do think there are some points worth fleshing out although to what end, I am not sure (yet!). They are questions I grapple with and, to be clear, they may differ from the questions that led Taryn to her original post.

How might we create opportunities for agentic learning throughout the PYP?

Are we starting with the learner in mind? 

What are we doing for kids that they can do for themselves? 

And more recently, I am wondering about the source of the apparent apathy when learning constraints are lifted and learners are part of the decision making process.

Next year, I am shifting focus from PYP to MYP. At my school, that means working with students during X Block. After an initial planning meeting with a focus on next year, we agreed upon this cycle by Kath Murdoch (with a couple of tweaks) from her book “The Power of Inquiry”. When posting earlier on Twitter about types of inquiry cycles, Jane Ross, an educator-extraordinaire whom I admire greatly for her work in STEM, STEAM, iTime, and developing a Maker Mindset, reminded me that “the cycle itself isn’t as important as a really great question.”

fullsizeoutput_1c25.jpeg

Which has made me think about how important that initial “focus” portion of the inquiry is and the role we have in helping kids develop their questions that will lead to really deep and motivated inquiries. Cue Twitter (again) and a tweet by AJ Juliani: Crafting Your Own KADQ – a blog post by @GingerLewman on writing a kick-ass driving question.

There are no words to express how great this post is and I really hope it helps (as I re-read it multiple time) clarify the type of support and scaffolding I can work with kids on to help ensure that they are starting their inquiry at a point of entry that is motivating to them.

So, my initial wonderings and knee-jerk reaction to Taryn’s post, led me to reflect on what I am doing and hopefully, how I can do it better, thanks to the input of the Twitterverse. For anyone that doubts the power of the PLN…..that is yet another pill I will not swallow.

Reflections in Design

We do not learn from experience.

We learn from reflecting on experience.

-John Dewey

 

I read this great post from Jackie Gerstein about reflection in the maker space. I loved her cards and with many students from Grades 1-5 who are just beginning their learning journey in English, I was wondering how I could take this idea of reflection cards and eliminate the need to read in English.

The answer: Visible Thinking Routines. Specifically, Color, Symbol, Image.

My kids love to make. I want them to reflect on their time in Design but I also want to dedicate a very large chunk of our time together to making. So I needed something quick. Simple. Super easy. Something we can do in the two minutes after packing up.

So I have made a set of cards. Some colors, some symbols (thanks Keynote updated shapes!) and some images (thanks, Unsplash!). My plan is to have this deck of cards at the ready and to have kids reflect on their day in design:

What color was your day in design today?

What symbol represents you as a designer?

Which images describes how you are feeling as you leave design today?

What symbol matches your plans for our next design lesson?

What color matches your thinking in design today?

What image represents the way you worked with others?

Which symbol describes you while you were making?

What color represents how you feel about your prototype?

 

We are trying this out tomorrow. I will update this post to report how it went!  Other single subject teachers: how do you have your students reflect on their learning in your class?

If you want to download the color/symbol/image slides: Reflections in Design.

Exhibition, Design, Action!

My grade five learners are coming to the end of their self-chosen design projects. At the moment they are choosing how they want to reflect on their learning and what questions they want to be asked.

I am adding a question to their list:

How will this project inform your thinking for your work in the PYP Exhibition?

We have had a few false starts.

We have had a few failures.

We have had a few who have not used their time to best effect.

None of this matters, in my opinion, as long as this knowledge feeds forward into their next project. If they take what they learned, what worked, what didn’t, and they move forward in their learning.

So, to that end, we will be starting a new design project in a week or so in which they think about their Exhibition and think about what they are wanting to achieve. To that end, I saw a graphic on Twitter that was co-created by IB PYP teachers as a culmination of ideas from Twitter. I have recreated this graphic with some pictures to share with my learners. I want to support them in figuring out their purpose within the Exhibition and designing and creating something that moves them closer toward achieving that purpose.

Action

I like the idea of thinking about purpose and then creating and designing according to that purpose. Whilst doing this, I will be working with our IT Coach to look at how best to visually engage our audience by tapping into the work of Keri-Lee Beasley and her Design Secrets Revealed book on iTunes. This book provides a wealth of information about graphic design and effectively engaging your audience through the principles of design. It is a MUST for any teacher undertaking #pypx who can’t bear another presentation in rainbow colored Comic Sans font with ALL the transitions 🙂

 

If you are a single subject/specialist/integrator, how are you connecting with your learners undertaking the PYP Exhibition?


 

A note on student agency…

Recently, a new blog “Educator Voices” has started. A blog designed as “a place to share and celebrate how we are pushing the boundaries, shaking up the system and challenging the status quo.” It is a blog focused on making school different and there is a lot to say about student agency. I encourage you to check it out and engage in the comments on blog posts. This is a tipping point in education and in “school” as we know it. None of us have all the answers but if we keep sharing our ideas and championing each other, we are likely going to get closer to serving our kids in the best ways possible.

It Started With A Tweet…

PYPSST.001

It started with a Tweet:

Kristen and I worked together at Yokohama International School. She has a wicked sense of humor, a reflective stance on her role as a teacher, and plays a mean game of Settlers. She is also a PYP Coordinator in India, looking for ways to move teachers forward in transdisciplinary learning with specific focus on single subject teachers.

Kristen followed this initial tweet up with another offering a link to a google doc for single subject teachers to ‘sign up’.  For what? We weren’t sure…yet. Then we started to chat, and, in the spirit of teacher agency, we thought it best to turn it back to the teachers via a Twitter chat: #pypsst

We know Twitter isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we hope this will be a start and will at the least, connect some teachers with colleagues in similar situations in different parts of the world. Having been both a homeroom teacher and a single subject teacher, it is definitely a different position and one which needs some navigating and tweaking to “get right” – however that might look for you.

The first questions for the first chat are below. Take a look. And feel free to join in – single subject teacher or not (lurkers welcome too!). We look forward to seeing where this might go.

UPDATE: I signed up on the google doc early on. There are now more than 60+ names and a bunch of questions/areas of interest that people want to pursue. Take a look and see if there is anyone you or someone at your school might connect with!


 

A note on student agency…

Recently, a new blog “Educator Voices” has started. A blog designed as “a place to share and celebrate how we are pushing the boundaries, shaking up the system and challenging the status quo.” It is a blog focused on making school different and there is a lot to say about student agency. I encourage you to check it out and engage in the comments on blog posts. This is a tipping point in education and in “school” as we know it. None of us have all the answers but if we keep sharing our ideas and championing each other, we are likely going to get closer to serving our kids in the best ways possible.