Connected Learners #ce14 #clmooc #DigiLit Sunday

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Connections.  Everywhere. A network of sharing and growing.

That’s what being a connected learner is.  My connection with #clmooc has expanded my focus from one classroom and one teacher, to a networked community from which I can give just as much as I can learn.

Here’s a network, a small one:

Note: You can enlarge the MindMap and click the related links.

Create your own mind maps at MindMeister
I’ve made several connections by following blogs of people I admire and learn from on Twitter and in other communities. Here you see and can link to the Two Writing Teachers and Grant Wiggins. Their blogs brought me information about projects, workshops, rubrics, and checklists. I had already read about and started using the question strategies noted in the Right Question book, but Grant Wiggins brought it new dimension.

I designed a project based on a focus question:

Thousands of kids from Central America are entering the United States illegally — and alone.”



Students wrote and considered open and closed questions before reading an article about it. Then they answered their top three questions.

By this time I had read the blogs and Grant’s book, so I designed an authentic task that would include several Common Core State Standards as students collaborated, investigated, discovered relevant content, designed a campaign, and edited each presentation:

“With a team of peers, collaborate to create an informational or persuasive campaign for an audience of your choice to share the information you research about “Thousands of kids from Central America are entering the United States illegally — and alone.” Each team member will create a project for your campaign that meets the expectations of an investigative researcher and project designer. Together, your artifacts will present a thorough, factual, and detailed explanation, and perhaps solution, of the topic. “

Along with the task, considering the Common Core State Standards,  I drafted a set of Essential Questions which we will consider all year:

Essential Questions:

  • Investigate: How do researchers investigate successfully?
  • Collaborate: What strategies and processes do collaborators need for success?
  • Discover and Develop Content: How do readers and writers determine and develop relevant, accurate, and complete topics?
  • Design and Organize Presentation: How do publishers design and organize content for their audience and purpose?
  • Edit Language: Why and how do editors and speakers use and edit with the rules for standard English grammar and language?

I had already drafted a rubric, and now revised it to include the Standards and the five topics of the Essential Questions. Finally, I created draft checklists that explain the rubric and allow students and I to connect and confer on the progress and growth of their work. We now have authentic work: Kids Alone.

Student chose their focus, audience, and purpose and began their investigations, collaborating in teams. I confer with each team as we discuss the checklists and transfer our progress to see how we meet the expectations on  the rubric.

Here are the project documents:

As we work on our campaigns, students are connecting with each other and with me. I provide feedback towards learning goals and standards, and peers teach peers as well. Here is one example from a team of four students: Debate: Are You For or Against Obama?  There audience is bloggers, and their purpose is to consider both sides of an issue.

So, through my connections in blogs, on Twitter, and through blogger’s books, I have developed a learning progression that differentiates student learning, expects high standards of work, and provides a venue for students to connect and collaborate as well. Since many have chosen to publish work online, their connections could grow globally.

We are all connected learners.

 


Post also part of NSD21 and DigiLit Sunday:

DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, October 19, 2014.

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#DigiLit Sunday Essentials #ce14 #ccss

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DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, October 12, 2014.

DigiLit Sunday  this week is a review of what is essential.  That’s been my focus this weekend as I develop tasks for students that are authentic for readers, writers, and researchers. What does that mean?

essentialquesitonsFortunately, I read in my Kindle App the book Essential Questions.

It’s great review for those of us who focus on projects because, no matter what, it’s student learning that is important. Grant Wiggins also wrote a great post on inquiry, PBL, and UbD — provides this gem:

“And that gradual release idea is the essence of backward design in UbD – and a great place to reflect this weekend. How am I designing the year to make it most likely that students become increasingly autonomous as questioners and arguers (in the Common Core sense) – while still learning and understanding content of value? Viewed this way, there is no dichotomy at all between UbD and inquiry-based pedagogy.”

“How am I designing the year to make it most likely that students become increasingly autonomous as questioners and arguers (in the Common Core sense) – while still learning and understanding content of value?”

If my students are to become independent, they need to have choice in doing the work of readers, writers, and researchers. They now need to develop from our work in previous years their own projects that present their work. They work to be collaborative and authentic.

Essential Questions as overarching and transferable elements of language arts are key. So I looked at the verbs and nouns in the Common Core State Standards for Language Arts and developed a set of questions to start the year — and will add to them as our projects dictate. Because I teach Language Arts, students have some options in content, and so I am releasing some questioning responsibility to students as we follow the Right Question strategy.

I realize that essential questions can be the guiding work of our coarse and also the specific questions of content.  So we consider Essential Questions, and a guiding rubric scale that includes more specific questions and criteria for the language arts content. But what does that mean? If I’m teaching and releasing responsibility, I need even more. The Two Writing Teachers reminded me of writing checklists, so with our new standards, we need new checklists, which I created for each of the essential components that guide our work: collaboration, investigation, content, design, and language. These are our beginning.

And how do we bring this all together for students? A ThingLink:

As we change our task — to choice or teacher driven, we have a basic set of essentials to guide our learning. It’s not perfect yet, but we are moving in the right direction, together.

So, in our work together, students and I are guided by essential questions, focused questions, scales, and checklists. Our work is open in ThingLink [Kidblog for students] and Google Apps.

How do you keep your projects open for students, including the essentials of learning?

#DigiLit Sunday Google Slides, Wordle, Veterans Day

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My favorite presentation tool: Google Slides.

First of all, it has really advanced since the time my students created the project I will share. Take a look at this Parent Night Slideshow. Google Slides has transitions, animations, and themes to really help students learn talking points and design.

That’s part of what two students did in my class a while back. The loved Wordle.net, but wanted to bring it in line with what we were learning about presentation, and to connect it with Veterans Day.

Every year the Nespelem American Legion Auxiliary sponsors a contest for Veterans Day. The theme is usually “Honor All Veterans.” Veterans Day is an important event in our community. In all the towns around, breakfasts, dinners, school assemblies, and Pow Wows honor those who served our country to keep us safe and free. We thank all those who sponsor activities, and especially the Nespelem American Legion Auxiliary.

The seventh and eighth grade students started with a prewriting plan in Google Docs which helped them think of nouns, strong verbs, and actions of those who served in the Armed Forces. Next the students revised and edited their work.

Two students, Tristen and Mysti, asked the  students to create word clouds using their essays as the source for the words (Wordle.net ). Each then saved the images, uploaded the wordles, and pasted their essays into a Google presentation. Each student explained why they chose the colors, word arrangements, and layout. This is their gift. Thanks to Tristen and Mysti for asking their peers to join.

We asked other schools in our Quad Blog Team to comment about our project and about Veterans Day. You can read those at our student blog here.

It was an engaging way to learn writing and design while also honoring our veterans. We may just do that again this year. How about you?

Based on this post: Writing Class Veterans Paragraph

 

DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, October 5, 2014.

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#ce14 #clmooc #etmooc Student Agency

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How do we help students develop the insight and initiative to be life-long, productive learners contributing to a better world? How do we develop student agency?

We know that motivation comes from a desire to learn, a purpose, an authentic interest, and a belief that success is possible. We know that learning is a social activity, that involvement with others enhances our reflection and goals. We’ve come to understand that reflection and feedback in authentic tasks in which we can improve and develop before publication or presentation builds motivation and agency.

So we also know that project-based learning can form a structure that develops the critical thinking and reflection habits that help learners make choices that guide improved learning.

But sometimes  these more open venues based on passion or student interest can flop. We need to understand that each student is at a different stage in their learning journey.  Here’s a review of this idea in an old video I made for #etmooc:

ETMOOC Slice from Sheri Edwards on Vimeo.

How do we provide the structure, the connection to the learning and the people, so students develop their voice to create their agency?

In this year’s #clmooc,  the organizers developed a support team to monitor and collaborate with members as an encouragement to participation. Because a sense of belonging and a connection with other members provides the support needed to make choices, and the freedom to choose what and when to participate allowed members to grow in their learning at their pace and for their purpose. People skipped some projects, and then became deeply involved in others. Learning is personal; learning is social. But the key to all of this really is based on what Daniel Pink suggests: People need autonomy, purpose, and mastery for motivation. If we review the literature on motivation and behavior, William Glasser’s work provides a background for autonomy, purpose, and mastery. Glasser suggests that we “behave” to meet the basic needs of freedom [autonomy], belonging [purpose], power [autonomy, mastery], and fun [purpose].

One of the best explanations of student agency connected to Glasser’s work is by Jackie Gerstein: Learner Agency, Technology, and Emotional Intelligence.

To build agency and voice in the connected learners of today, freedom to choose the learning is high on the list — autonomy and purpose.  But to make the choice, learners need to feel they belong and that they have the power to master the undertaking.  And our task is to be the support team, the guides to understand where and how the learners will take  that next step.

Both #clmooc and #etmooc provided the connections, collaboration, and support for their learners.  How do we translate that into a transformed classroom for today?

#DigiLit Sunday Differentiation

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DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, September 28, 2014.

 

How do I differentiate reading materials so students can approach grade level standards?

I’ve discovered four valuable resources with a Common Core State Standards focus:
Actively Learn   Link to your Google Account; set up classes for students with different levels of reading material.

NEWSela  Link to your Google Account; set up classes for students with different levels of reading material

ReadWorks Leveled Reading Passages

ReadWriteThink Lessons, Online Inter-actives

I love that I can find leveled texts to challenge students or to bring them into the conversation so they can think critically and collaborate to learn the skills needed to be life-long readers.

What sites have you found to help your differentiation of reading materials?

#Digilit Sunday Google Apps and iPads

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DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, September 21, 2014.

 

 What I learned on Twitter on Sunday….

Tips for Using Google Apps on the iPad

Note: the most common tip from the experts:  Use Google Chrome app.

To keep up with all news Google Drive, follow their blog: Google Drive

or the official Google Blog

 

1. Five Tips for Google + iPad: Click here to go to article: Tips


Summary:

1. Download Google Apps: Install all of the featured apps on this page: Google Apps for iOS. All of Google’s mobile apps work as a team. Links will open in Chrome instead of Safari.

2. Google Search App: Enable hands-free, voice search trigger for the Google Search app.
Now simply say, “Okay, Google,” your device will beep, and start “listening” for your search query. If you ask a question, Google will read the answer back to you! Think of how much this can help students.  “Okay, Google,” can be enabled in Google Chrome on the desktop. Chrome on the iPad can also do voice search, but not “Okay, Google.”

3. gMail App: Use the gMail app, not the native iOS Mail app, which sucks up your storage space. The Gmail app is better, faster, and is cloud-based. The Gmail app will also let you connect multiple gmail accounts. If you don’t have a personal gMail account, consider getting one for all the benefits of the spam filters, speed, and the other apps associated with it.

4. Use a Google Calendar App: Google Desktop Calendar plays nicely with most other calendar applications out there, but to get the gcal functionality you have on the desktop, use a Google Calendar app.  Although Google does not offer an official Google Calendar app for the iPad, choose one with gcal functionality. Kasey recommends Sunrise (free) or Calendars 5 by Readdle ($6.99).

5. Google+ Google Plus is currently the fastest growing social network. With Google+ app on your iOS device you can auto-backup your photos and videos to Google! What is the number one storage hog on iPads?  photos and videos. Let Google+ back up to your Google+ account.

Also, Google+ is builds your personal learning network and your collaboration with like-minded educators. Kasey’s 5 Reasons Educators Should Use Google Plus.

2. Add images to Google Docs on the iPad

 

Watch the video in the link; read the directions.

Summary:

1. Chrome app works best.

2. In Chrome choose “mobile site” and go to drive.google.com to log in.

3. Create a new document– stay in Chrome; don’t go to the Drive app.

4. Choose Document and add a title, click create.

5. This is the important part: When the page loads with your new document, click on ‘Desktop’ for the page mode type at the bottom of the page. See bottom of above image.

6. Now you can click “insert —> image” from the menu. [screenshot]

7. Click the blue Add Image button in the middle of the pop-up that appears. Choose Camera Roll.  [screenshot]

8 Choose your picture.

 

3. Google Drive’s Magic ‘i’ — the iPad and Google  = Collaboration

On the desktop, when you click a document [pdf, slides, document, spreadsheets] in  the list on your Drive, the new Drive asks “Open-in” from which you can open virtually any document.

How do you get to the “open-in” on your iPad?

When you click the “i” button in an iPad app, you discover the choice to “Open in.“  Almost any product you make on the iPad can be uploaded to Google Drive and housed in the cloud.

Example: Students [or teachers] create an iMovie. They go to Google Drive, choose the upload button and then upload that iMovie from the camera roll into their Drive accounts using the “Open in” choice. They can share that file and/or movie/photo with their peer from Google Drive, and now the students can collaborate in iMovie — or what ever app file you’re working with.

As you can see, I’ve added to my knowledge from the experts on Twitter, where anyone is an expert if you know an answer to the questions asked. It’s an open forum that levels the field: experts and novices become collaborators with their own expertise.

Sunday, I focused on learning about Google Apps with the iPad since our teachers use their iPads with our Google Apps for Education.

How do you start Twitter? Start with a personal account. Here are several resources:

Twitter 101 

Twitter Prezi 

Twitter Handout

Twitter Post

As Steve Jobs said, “Just ask.” What are your questions?


Please remember this is a school-related site. Model digital citizenship. Thank you.

#DigiLit Sunday Assessing Blogs

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How do you assess blogs?

What is your purpose?

That is the question.

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DigiLit Sunday is a Sunday post on literacy, an invitation by Margaret Simon, to share literacy strategies and tools for the classroom. This week’s list of bloggers: Sunday, September 14, 2014.

This week’s DigiLit Sunday is a follow-up to Margaret’s question last week: How do I turn this activity into data? 

How do you assess blogs?

What is your purpose?

That is the question, and that determines the data.

For some, the purpose may be writing fluency. Then assessment would be to provide feedback on the increased number and length of posts.  [ CCSS: 10. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences. ]

As students develop fluency, suggest organization of paragraphs — not the five-sentence paragraph, but the idea of topic and support. [CCSS: 4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. ]

Next, add in conventions — sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.

If fluency and foundational skills are not the focus, then consider:

  • design — the theme, layout, widgets, links, focus, invitation to participate, categories, tags [CCSS: 6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.] 
  • content — topic, support details, vocabulary, questions, style [ CCSS: 1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. 2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. 3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. ]
  • conventions

Perhaps the focus is writing:

  • organization
  • ideas
    •  [CCSS: 4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. ]
  • voice
  • word choice
  • sentence fluency
  • conventions
    • [CCSS: 5  Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. ]

Perhaps the focus is collaboration:

  • research
  • connect
  • share
  • collaborate
    • [CCSS: 6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others  7  Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. 8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism. ]
    • [CCSS Speaking and Listening 

Comprehension and Collaboration 1 Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively. 2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally. 3 Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric.

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas 4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. 5 Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.]

For a thorough review of blogging with students, see Silvia Tolisano’s work at Langwitches:

I especially like this rubric she created [click to enlarge]:

Silvia Tolisano’s Rubric

My hope is my “assessment” is a conversation with students and students with each other, so that the learning is a growth goal of which reflection inspires improvement. Therefore, an ongoing component of blogging would be a reflection by the student of the growth their blog demonstrates. If I must give score from a rubric, the important part is still the conversation, goal-setting, and reflection!

What are your thoughts about assessing blogs and gathering data?