#DigiLit Sunday Blogging Challenge

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It’s 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: Click here.

This week: Get started or restarted with  class blogging !

I want to dive in to blogging with my students. We blog with Kidblog (Grades 6, 7) and Edublog (Grade 8). Last year was our first real attempt at blogging, as you can see at Kidblogs. I’ve archived my Grade 8′s already.

First of all, why student blogging? Read what Connected Principal George Couros says: 5 Reasons Your Students Should Blog. The main reason for me is to help students become  lifelong, connected and civil learners in our connected world. The second reason is that student blogging fits right in with the Common Core State Standards. Technology is integrated throughout the standards [ See the integration here, by Beth Goth], and students who blog will be synthesizing texts and using media to analyze and discuss the issues about which they are studying. And they’ll be applying the writing  / communication skills needed to share those reflections, compositions, and arguments. And, learning to leave a positive digital footprint that leads right back to them.

How will I restart this blogging habit to develop both reading and writing skills?

I’ve started the Edublogs Teach Class Blogging Challenge to get myself blogging, connecting, conversing, ready to get my students going as well. My first post at my class blog, Eagles Write, shares my new theme and some great ideas by three other teacher bloggers. I’ll remember all the tricks and tips and trials of starting a blog, and be prepared for my students. I’ll learn a few new tricks.

How about you? Are you thinking about blogging with your students? A good way to start is with one class blog — that’s how I ease into blogging with my new class of sixth grade students each year.  So how about joining a challenge?  Try Edublogs or other challenges — or join a group of teachers and just start together!

How do you start something new with students? Challenge yourself!  Dive in. Learn with them.

 

 

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Another Resource:

Why teachers should blog by Matt Davis

#leadershipday14 Leadership – Be the Compass

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It’s Leadership Day 2014, a call from Scott McLeod to offer insights for leaders in education. One topic of importance Scott addressed when he first started this discussion is

  • “what it means to prepare students for the digital, global world in which we now live.”

For leaders today, take time to do four things:

  1. Consider the Common Core State Standards for their Technology Integration; Beth Goff has done this for you here.
  2. Consider the ISTE NETS Standards for Administrators
  3. While considering these, watch kids: Not in the classroom, but wherever they gather
  4. Consider the world outside education, and what is “college and career ready”

1 Consider the Common Core State Standards for their Technology Integration

The  Common Core State Standards [CCSS] and the new assessments for these standards expect students to read online, research online, annotate online, compose online. Take a look at Michael Graham’s Google Apps Meets the Common Core. If your school is a Google Apps for Education [GAFE] school, then you already have an advantage for those integrated and expected technology skills in the CCSS. Students can research within their Google Docs with the research / scholar tools, share and collaborate on projects, revise and offer feedback, consider their revision history, and publish to an audience. They can use Calendar to plan their own or collaborative projects; they can call experts to interview through mail or hangouts; they can create websites of information that address issues. Teachers and students work together; assessment can be interactive or individual – with immediate personalized feedback; families can view what students are doing. Virtually all technology integration for CCSS is covered as a GAFE school.

2 Consider the ISTE NETS Standards for Administrators

Just look at the Admin Essentials. Here are a few:

Shared Vision–Proactive leadership in developing a shared vision for educational technology among all education stakeholders, including teachers and support staff, school and district administrators, teacher educators, students, parents, and the community

Empowered Leaders –Stakeholders at every level empowered to be leaders in effecting change

Curriculum Framework –Content standards and related digital curriculum resources that are aligned with and support digital age learning and work

Student-Centered Learning–Planning, teaching, and assessment centered around the needs and abilities of students

Assessment and Evaluation—Continuous assessment of teaching, learning, and leadership, and evaluation of the use of ICT and digital resources

Engaged Communities–Partnerships and collaboration within communities to support and fund the use of ICT and digital learning resources

Each of these requires the use of more than email. Today’s technology allows teachers to assess standards efficiently for focused instruction today.  I’ve already mentioned Google Apps ability to assess. GAFE also works with the free learning platform called Edmodo, which has just offered a free CCSS assessment tool, Snapshot. Ask your techy teachers; they’re already aware and willing to share. Build that shared vision together; empower your teacher-leaders. Help them build that curriculum centered on students. Build an engaged community with today’s tools: shared documents, video chats [hangouts], shared calendars. If collaboration is key, and the newest NWEA study indicates so, then using these tech tools to do so makes sense; the adults need to learn these tools as well to understand what students today already do.

3 While considering these, watch kids: Not in the classroom, but wherever they gather

Do you see many kids watching TV these days? Nope: they watch YouTube. YouTube is the go to place for learning. Need to know how to cut your bangs? Go to YouTube. Need a quick gift to make? Go to YouTube. Like the new duct-tape gifts — go to YouTube. Need to know something on Minecraft — go to YouTube.  Kids today find what they want to know online. Need help writing that essay for English — text or Facebook for help.  And they are creating and sharing what they know online. The are producing, not just consuming.  What does that say for rows of desks and your textbook? It’s time for change, with students at the center and technology as the tool for research, collaboration, and creation.

4 Consider the world outside education, and what is “college and career ready”

The world is flat; we don’t need to fly to Florida. We can confer with technology. Everything is interconnected. Information is everywhere, anywhere, anytime. Knowing how to build relationships and connections, to gather relevant and valid data, and to synthesize that for the project for your business requires new literacies and new collaboration skills. That’s why the CCSS integrates and expects students to use those tech tools.

 

There’s a great post by A J Juliani about how little our classrooms have changed — at least when considered from the outside, because many teachers are already innovating and reforming their classrooms.  A J Juliani picked up on the sad state of outside views of education in his post, Hey @Disney, Here’s What the Modern Classroom Looks Like. The Disney movie showed the same rows of desks with teacher at front as you would see in 1900′s. He says:

“If society continues to see this view of teaching and learning in shows and movies then their perspective on the educational system will be one that is outdated. Worse, it will be one that sees no need for change.”

Leaders, we’ve got to tell our stories — and wake up to the needed changes. So, leaders: let’s consider together: “what it means to prepare students for the digital, global world in which we now live?”  What do those tech standards in the CCSS really mean for today — and tomorrow? How much do our students know — and how can we guide them towards those collaborative and connective skills so needed in their world tomorrow?

Let’s collaborate on getting ourselves and our students into today’s connected world. How about I share a Google Doc and we get started thinking about what we can do? Let’s be the compass that guides us forward together.

CC Flickr by TheKarenD

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DigiLit Sunday #clmooc Writing

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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 I’m rethinking the writing process and tools.

Prior to digital tools, students would prewrite, draft, revise, review, revise, find feedback, and publish on paper. I’m not sure how many writers actually write this way. I know for fiction, I just start writing in Google Docs and let my characters start their journey. How would I help students experience this? How would it help develop word choice and plot?

Digital Tool

I’ve discovered a new tool I love, tackk.com . Be sure to sign up at the Education version if you chose to use this. It shares to Edmodo, and can be assigned through Edmodo so students can login with their Edmodo credentials. The Global Read Aloud is even using Tackk this year.  Public, or private, designing with Tackk is super easy. I like to know these things up front before I get excited about a new tool.

How can I help students experience the on-demand and online strategies of writing and revising?

Digital Prompt and Model

I designed a Tackk: FindWay as a story prompt and model to share with students. The prompt starts with the story and ends with directions and revision questions for peer collaboration.

Prompt and Model: Finding My Way

I created this story online, starting with a quest to find relief from the heat in a favorite swimming spot with friends. Tackk allows you to find glyphs, images, and videos to augment your own text using their built-in search for each. In addition, you can upload your own images and video.  It’s easy to move sections up and down and revise as needed.

During the story writing, I composed as a I wrote [see Directions at end], to fit the images that I could find. I prefer stills; I like the that I put myself into the image, instead of having action of a video clip take over my and my readers’ imaginations. It’s my choice; each writer must choose their own. I noticed many animations in the ‘gliphy’ search, which could work well for student stories.

During the story writing, I edited/revised as I wrote — descriptions, dialogue, imagery, action, etc.

During the story writing, I found the repetitive phrase to bring the good luck/bad luck of the story together: I sighed; I smiled.

When I present this, these are discussions for our class, including asking students for feedback on my work, which I ask them to do as they finish their stories. Of course, they could opt to create a story, revising together as I did.

Tackk, as you see, illustrates beautifully, including sound. The right sidebar offers choice in design, easy to discover, and a custom URL can be created.

Finally, Tackk lets others collaborate or comment. It can be shared with many sites, like Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and more. And it can be embedded in a webpage or blog [see below].

Digital Writing

What do you think?

I can see this for sharing nonfiction ideas as well as fiction. I found it very easy to revise as I designed and composed with many options inserting media.  Students would be able to follow a creative process and share their efforts. This is a powerful tool for composing: thinking and revising with text, images, and video alone or in collaboration.

How could you use Tackk in your classroom?


 

Maker MIndset #clmooc #teachdonow

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Jackie Gerstein at UsergeneratedEducation pushes us constantly to think through the educational mandates and silver bullets to focus on students and their learning. What will best guide students to become thinking, caring, productive persons?

The first thirty-eight slides of her presentation [ below ] provide thoughtful background theories and key questions to consider for our classrooms.

 

Slide 8: Something to do. We lost this when state standards developed in the 1990s. We removed the authenticity of doing and replaced it with intangible verbiage, which would have been the learning had we continued with the doing.

Slide 22: The most important question for classrooms – because doing is learning.

Slide 27: Love this question. After all, aren’t we trying to make the world better?

Slide 29: The Soft Skills – the process of planning, searching, gathering, sharing, collaborating, listening, debating, revising. The skills we learn through doing and doing together.

With each of these first thirty-eight slides, I say – that’s what what we need to consider! That’s our goal… I appreciate that Jackie shares these slides and continues with examples in the latter part.

Jackie’s Thinglink provides more information to consider:

Refer to the work of those who focused on learning as opposed to standards or skill objectives. Review the work of Dewey [and here], Vygotsky, Bruner, Papert [and here]. For Language Arts, see the work of James Moffett [ and here ].

Consider these ideas and questions. Consider the students in your classroom. When did we lose the doing? We learn what we need while doing something. We learn the strategies as we go, with support from our collaboration with peers or colleagues. Every time we do something, we build on what we learned before. That is the power of project-based learning. Students today are fading out in classrooms, bored with the posted objective; they want to learn what is of interest to them — or a question, an issue that piques their interests. With information readily available, it is the questions asked about that information that leads to learning and understanding it; it is what we want to do with the information that allows us to learn deeper. It is the sharing and collaborating with a shared purpose that propels us to do more and better to discover an answer and produce the results for others to contribute; this is learning. It fits in any classroom.

How will we as educators bring the power of the question and the doing back into our classrooms?

dewey_doing

 


Source of Quote

Dewey, John. Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. New York: Macmillan, 1916. Print. p. 181
Cross Post

#clmooc #teachdonow Social Media PLN

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Social Media and Ed Tech: Reflection on Professional Learning

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 1 What did your professional learning look like 6 years ago, and how has it changed?

 Six Years ago, I was still a lurker on Twitter, but was a Saturday participant in Classroom Live 2.0. Now I share and connect on Twitter, Google Plus,  and Nings.

Now I’m participating in and supporting MOOCs [etmooc and clmooc ] to connect, share, converse, and collaborate on learning issues.

My Twitter friend Denise Krebs and I planned a beginner’s presentation online through twitter and google docs to present at Connected Educator Month 2012.  We started a teacher Flickr group and we have met in person!

I’ve vlogged with colleagues through Ben Wilkoff’s Fellowship of the Open Spokes, something that is still scary to me.

Middle School teachers from clmooc  are creating spaces [google, MightyBell, blogs ] to collaborate as teachers and with our students.

I’ve joined the conversation online, and am trying to bring our staff online.  Yet, as Vicki Davis suggests, Title One schools are focused on drilling kids to learn, and in the process are enlarging the digital divide. Fortunately, we are moving forward in that area, to use the tools students will use in their futures, such as collaborative tools. Therefore, we are a Google Apps for Education school. Our new principal understands that tech tools provide access to learning for many kids.

2 What are the best resources you have found? How have they impacted your teaching and learning?

The number one game changer for reading and writing and feedback is Google Apps for Education. It is an ecosystem of tools that engages students in searching, creating, revising, and collaborating on topics. I’ve written about that ecosystem here. It’s a game-changer for my students and myself. As mentioned, I’ve planned many collaborations through Google Docs.

Edmodo and Kidblogs provide forums for sharing and conversation. Bitstrips and Voki classroom have helped students express the synthesis of their learning.  I’ve blogged about using the tools to read and write to learn Common Core State Standards as a guest blogger; the focus is not the tools, but the goal.

GooruLearning is a platform that allows teachers and students to research and collect resources through our Google Apps for Education. Search, research, and teamwork are all things we are beginning to do.

Of course, Twitter is my goto place for learning and sharing — I’ve found most of my tools, webinars, connections through the amazing people in my PLN and I cannot thank them enough! And, I’ve reciprocated with help to those asking.

3 What gaps or challenges do you feel exist between your current learning environment and your aspirational learning environment?

As mentioned, search, research, and teamwork are all things we are beginning to do in my classroom. I’ve taken and reviewed Dan Russell’s Google Search and shared that information at Rotary. We are learning these strategies in the classroom, adding more each year. My students know to cite sources and to use Creative Commons, but we need to dig deeper and be the explorers and collaborators for real issues of interest to students. That’s why I’ve started [late] to participate in the #teachdonow course as much as I can now that clmooc is winding down. As it says on my blog: “Students today enjoy the connectedness of social networking; it is part of their very being. My goal is to bring my instruction into that cloud to teach the content required in ways that inspire online responsibility and ethics in this new, very public world.”

4 What is your preferred learning style? How do you adapt your learning style to networked learning?

I prefer to learn by observing and then trying. I like encouraging feedback. Because I am a shy person outside of my classroom, the network has been so beneficial — just tweet and respond. I can do that.  Google Plus? Just post and search and comment; join communities. Discuss alternatives or differences. It’s much more involved and deeper than just studying from a book or sitting through a training. Google Apps for Education, Edmodo, and blogging have brought this positive learning environment to my students. Wowser!

dewey_edu_living_sre

5 Why do I connect with others? I want to help my students to connect to the global network as positive, problem-solving citizens.

Thanks to Michael Wesch  and Mindshift for explaining why this is important….

How about you? I want to do something. [ and did ] I want my students to know they can do something.

#clmooc #connectedlearning principles

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A Reflection on My #CLMOOC Work

Thanks to all for a marvelous, connected six weeks!

 Why connected learning? Why digital learning?

 

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Thanks to Margaret Simon for hosting DigiLit Sundays where educators share how they are using technology in their classrooms.  Please visit her site to read other posts.

#clmooc Mindset to Mindwave

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MINDSETS

 Growth Mindset: Embrace and Persist

Fixed Mindset: Avoid and Give Up

Carol Dweck’s advice [ via Jackie Gerstein's Mozilla Popcorn ]:

We are both. Accept the fixed, then talk back to that voice with a growth mindset.

Mindset What?

During our Twitter Chat last Thursday, August 1st, a question about mindsets was asked. These resources were tweeted back:

Deeper Learning Mooc Resources

Mindset Carol Dweck site

Learning Theories and Online Learning [mindsets of learning theories!]

And today, Jackie Gerstein has added more information about Mindsets. Her post, The Educator and the Growth Mindset, shares her infographic [below] and slides – click to view– amazing video embedded there. So, how strong is your growth mindset? Here’s a survey to find out: MindsetWorks Brainology 

So set your mind for connected learning and grow your connections!

 

Mindsets 4 Students, How?

Jackie’s slides also included Karen Fasimpaur’s “Lens into the Classroom” tuning protocol to help students develop a growth mindset.

 Important points:
“*Helping students develop systems and habits that translate to success

• Weekly goal-setting for academic performance.

• Frequent and specific teacher feedback on how to write goals that translate into action (learning strategies). Also coaching on academic mindset messaging.

• Weekly student-reflection on progress and how/if the specific action tried led to reaching their goal of academic success”

Help students set specific goals and monitor the progress with feedback and reflections. Help them grow a growth mindset.

Mindset — What Else?

It’s not easy to do this — students may say they believe, but often their actions do not support that belief.

So what else can we do to help students by changing what we do and believe?  Several possible ideas crossed my path today:

Elana Aguilar’s Best Year Ever Edutopia Post  [Dive into your own PD; Enjoy your work (journal the positives); Connect with others]

From Walter McKensie’s post  3 TED Talks That Can Change How You Learn, Teach & Lead from Jeff Dunn’s post at Edudemic.

Renata Salecl: We have a choice in what kind of society we want to live [ starts at 13:00]

Joi Ito, Head of MIT Media Lab: Citizen Scientist and Now-ist – choosing to do something; learning over education; compass over maps;

“a new approach to creating in the moment: building quickly and improving constantly, without waiting for permission or for proof that you have the right idea.”

Roselinde Torres: What it takes to be a great leader

Where are you looking to anticipate change? [see around corners; shaping their future]

What is the diversity nature of your network? [solutions from diversity]

Are you courageous enough to abandon the past? [great leaders dare to be different]

5 Terry Elliott’s presentation of David Foster Wallace’s This is Water

“Awareness”

“This is the freedom of real education.”

“You get to decide how you see it.”

“This is water.”

 Mindset, CLMOOC, and What will you do?

How does this help?

1. I see that as much as I try, I also have some fixed ideas; we all do. One thing CLMOOC helps with is that positive modeling – that support for those trying new things. In this post are lots of support helps to remind me to keep trying, to talk to that doubter and to keep going. I’ll refer to Jackie’s Thinglink and Elana’s post [love the writing positives idea] and share them with others to discuss. Move forward. See around the corners. NOTE: you know you have eyes in the back of your head, so seeing around corners shouldn’t take that much more effort.

2. If I need support with maintaining a growth mindset, my students certainly do as well. CLMOOC demonstrated that conversation and relationships build the community needed to grow together, to support each other in trying new things. Taking time to “make” conversation through different venues [in class, on paper, in blogs and comments, in Google Docs/Slides, in images and labels, etc.], we can build that community that sees success is possible. Discussing both product and process, in person and in reflection, online or off, will promote a positive learning environment. We’ll connect for shared purposes on academic goals; we’ll share our interests and build in collaboration and peer support and feedback; we’ll develop protocols together for feedback and asking questions. By the end of CLMOOC our community had even more participants, some lurkers joining in before the end — the support and acceptance provided that choice and freedom; it’s how our classroom communities will grow as well.

3. From Renata, I know I must stand up to make this choice for myself and my students. From Joi Ito and CLMOOC, it’s the NOW-ist that counts– what is needed today to get us to our vision? It’s the compass over the map– the vision guides our path and choices. And from Rosalinde, I know that my online Professional Network is diverse, as is my school community. Listening to all ideas will guide choices and solutions, and part of my learning will help in school, as I speak up with a different voice, backed up by the CLMOOC-PLN. I will definitely need to “see around the corner” because mandates hold us in the past, but I will remember “this is water” and “I get to decide how I’ll see it.”

4. So, consider this: I accept the challenges ahead and will discover solutions with peers that include steps towards new ideas in our shared purposes through alternative avenues that my students and I try, share, and reflect on. We’ll listen to our voices, and choose to move forward, daring to be different in our diligence, and creating a dialogue of reflection to build success together. Our projects will move from our requirements and add student interests; we’ll connect with others and carry our conversations to them. We won’t have a mindset, we’ll have mindwaves that ebb and flow with mistakes and learning. Our focus will always be a mindwave forward.

5. That acceptance of a challenge and diving into the flow of possibilities has already resulted in action. Several Middle School teachers have already considered collaboration. Michelle Stein has created a poll daddy survey to help connect us with a focus. We’ve started a current in the stream of our CLMOOC-PLN and are starting the mindwave forward.

6. To my CLMOOC-PLN, remember that we always have a choice; it may include sidesteps, alternative paths, or need for support, but we know the mindset of accepting challenges and moving forward without giving up. Check back at CLMOOC and EducatorInnovator, refer to the Mindset supports here, and begin a strategy [see step 5] to stay connected.

What will you do?

I leave you with Jackie’s Mozilla Mindset Popcorn and “This is Water”