#edblogaday 1 Lots of Cs

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Why is blogging important to teaching and learning?

Consider

Teaching is all about learning, and discovering what works to inspire learning is a thoughtful, reflective process. What works? What doesn’t? Will it work next time? Will this lesson work for each learner? Blogging helps teachers consider the how and what and why of their craft to improve for the next day and the next learner. Blogging — writing — helps us think through our process as it affects our learners. Blogging about teaching and learning allows me to critically think about my plans, processes, lessons, successes, and failures to improve my craft to improve the learning in my classroom. Example: Considering Feedback

Communicate

Blogging about teaching and learning communicates to others what could be if adapted in their classroom; we communicate our ideas so others may learn. And we read others’ posts to learn and share how we adapted others’ ideas. We communicate our stories so others may discover the real world of teaching and learning. Example: Communicate an idea: Drama

Create

As educators consider, communicate, and reciprocate their ideas, they create strategies and lessons which others can adapt. The act of writing is an act of creating: it sets in words for others to consider the possibilities and opportunities for everyone’s growth. When I read someone else’s idea, I consider my own place and adapt and remix the ideas to fit my world. I reflect and credit others who then may try my idea or the original, and remix to fit their world. It’s a reciprocal, creative remixing to improve the experience of learners. Example: Create and Remix: Notetaking

Connect

Educators blog to connect on different levels: connecting educators in similar disciplines, connecting families to schools, connecting classrooms for collaboration or conversation. Blogging for teaching and learning creates a connected web of resources, a virtual online library of ideas for educators, disciplines, families, and students. Example: Connected Classrooms = Connected Writers

Blogging about teaching and learning connects us to learn life together.


Image Credit: Sheri Edwards 

WC: 342

Please join the 140WC challenge

Cross-posted at AskWhatElse

 

 

Refresh and #C4C15

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Refreshing this blog after stumbling on the fact that one of my PLN friends, Matthew Brewer, is a Teacher of the Year for Washington State! That’s awesome!  But what’s more important is what that means: it means he has important things to share about teaching and learning.  Please read his blog here: Learning by the Lake.

In Customers or Products, he reminds us that education is about the student — and the passions and talents that are their potentials for our futures as well as theirs.

Schools exist as a means to give students the opportunity to experience a myriad of different opinions and points of view as they discover their own natural passions and abilities.

Think about that. I know those in my PLN who live this — their #geniushour programs promote it.

And how about this idea from the same post:

…build a generation of careful and critical thinkers who have tried and failed just enough to know what they can and cannot do and aren’t afraid to push their mental and physical limits. We need students who can identify in themselves their own passions and convictions and can pursue those passions and voice their convictions with energy and enthusiasm.”

I agree completely, and hope that in our work together, that my students find their interests and strengths, passions and talents. I offer choice and team projects based on focus statements that allow students to ask their own questions.

And this idea is something I’m working on

Education is individualized as much as possible

and assessment is a conversation,

not a spreadsheet.

It is the conversations that encourage students to improve, when our class work is valuable enough that students want to improve.

Our Google Apps allow that conversation to continue online through peer and teacher comments on student work, offering feedback on what is done well and suggestions for what could be better. The focus is on the work, not a grade. I’ve also changed my rubric, which I’ve blogged about here [ Ideas for Rubrics: Feedback ].  I think of above and meeting standards as an “I see” comment and below standards as “I suggest” comments. From the comments and conversations, students understand exactly how to improve and revise. My assessment is conversation, not spreadsheets, and my students learn by doing, not “getting done.” My students and their learning is not finding facts, but is finding focus. And it is through that focus that students discover not just a “how to,” but also “how I believe.”

dewey_doing

Congratulations, again, Matthew, on your work and the recognition of that work as “Teacher of the Year.” I’m thankful to be inspired by you.


 

This post is part of

Ben Wilkoff‘s #C4C15 Comments for Community Project

#clmooc #lightandshadow

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I’ve been missing Kim’s Friday Photos.

I wondered where I would find light and shadows in my yard. The day is cool and crisp today but the sun is bright, peeking over the edge of hill across the river, illuminating the blossoms on our pear tree.

StamenShadowsPear

I zoomed in and snapped a screenshot to view closer the shadows created by even the thin filaments of the stamen. Isn’t that amazing?

PearBlossomStamenShadowsCloseUP

I actually couldn’t believe the shot; I just reached up above my head with my iPhone and clicked. Then I had to research pears, because the trees were here when we moved in 25 years ago. We’re wondering if we should try this: Thanks for the great ideas for photography Kim and Kevin. Sheri

cross posted at iAnthology Ning

And Haiku

napwrimo15_april11_spring_pears.001

#140WC Welcome Challenge #clmooc #etmooc

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A Challenge

On November 10th, 2014 I made a commitment to myself and invited others to join — teachers, students, bloggers. The commitment? Write 140 words each day — 140 words more or less — but write — blog — everyday.  I wrote that challenge here: #140WC and continued each day since: #140WC posts.  Urbie Delgado has joined the challenge and posts regularly at Puzzling Mix.

#140WC

 

 

Why? 

Everyday I consider things I see, hear, read…. but they’re passing thoughts. So, why not take time each day and write. 140 words on some of these:

Do you gather ideas throughout the day?

Do you have ideas that meander through your mind?

Do you want to blog more but your topic hides?

Do you ever think, “I wish I’d written that down….?”

Then this challenge is for you!

Write 140 words each day! [or a little more or less — a thought each day!]

  • Share your ideas.
  • Share a link.
  • Share your lesson.
  • Share your reflection.
  • Share your questions.
  • Share your answers.
  • Share a tweet with your input
  • Share a blog with your insights
  • Share to carry on the conversation….

The benefit?

In a 140 words each day, your journey is formed, your ideas saved, your reflection framed.

In 140 words each day, your writing flows and grows more clearly.

In 140 words in day, your past and path is forged forward.

Challenge:

Will you join?  How about once a week? a month? 140 Word Count — you can do it!


Link to #140WC Badge

Join the #140WC Challenge

#DigiLit Sunday GiverCraft #EDGamify

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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, November 16, 2014.

sundaydiglit

 

 

Something exciting is happening to the balance of my classroom. It’s tipped to student control. We’ve been invited to participate in a Minecraft EDU based on the book, The Giver. The project is called Givercraft and was created at the University of Alaska Educational Technology EDET 698: Gamification and the classroom can be found on twitter at #EDGamify.

The purpose is:

“As educators it is our mission to provide high-quality, developmentally appropriate and engaging instruction to students. Through the use of MinecraftEDU students can demonstrate knowledge and understanding through building, collaboration and creativity. We hope to help fellow educators become familiar with alternative methods of assessment and instruction that integrates multiple subjects including technology.”

I have seen my grandchildren play Minecraft. I have tried it [installed on my iPhone]. All I can do is punch holes. Bam. Not good. So this is my chance to learn what my students want to use to learn with. It’s my chance to see how it works — -to become “familiar with alternative methods of assessment and instruction that integrates multiple subjects including technology.”

I participated in a practice session and failed. Miserably.  Have you ever taken a gaming personality test? I think this is the one I took last year. I’m an Explorer— off the charts. So I get frustrated with all the bangs and zombies and tedious builds. As Wikipedia says, “The Explorer will often enrich themselves in any back story or lore they can find about the people and places in-game” and “They often meet other Explorers and can swap experiences.”  That would be me.

So although I fail the MinecraftEDU teacher practice mission, I am thoroughly excited that my students will be able to create a Giver community based on the details of the book, working as a team to create the world of a “Nine.” And my students are thrilled, and that’s just the first task. The creators have developed modules that will require critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving based on evidence from the book to meet Common Core State Standards. Students take screenshots of their work in MineCraftEDU GiverCraft and upload them to a private wiki to explain their evidence. This is awesome.

I succeed at being willing to let go of the control and allow students to take the lead. I’m the guide. I’ve done this with other tech platforms, such as BitStrips for Schools. I create the activities, and students learn the tool that demonstrates their understanding.

What do I mean by tipping the balance to student control? With our invitation, we had only two weeks to read the novel — and even then we had obstacles – my training days, sports, testing. We didn’t think we’d make it, but we will. Tomorrow we finish the book in time to start the game.

The control I tossed to the kids. Instead of worksheets and teacher guides, I handed the kids Post-It Notes. We knew we needed to understand the meaning of the book with evidence to support our ideas. So students listened to the story and added notes to the areas they thought were important. We’d stop and they would share  and discuss the story: its characters, its plot, its setting, its community, its rules, its world. Their ideas. Their analysis. Not my preconceived ideas. They took notes — on their own in their journals to remember the details of this “same and mean” world, as they summarized. This they do willingly, thoughtfully, even as usually struggling readers. I’m impressed.

In Givercraft, they will partner up and help each other with book and journal ready; but again, they will be in charge: thinking, communicating, collaborating, solving together with evidence from the text. They’ve signed their agreements of rules of behavior for GiverCraft and understand  this will be different than the game they usually play; they understand this focus is on learning from reading by creating and collaboration, and from writing by sharing their creations and explaining their evidence.

We can do this, and I [we] will learn how to build more units that take our required standards to a new level that totally engages students and promotes deeper learning. We will be a community of learners.

I’m so glad I dared to learn, just as I expect my students to do every day. It’s a great feeling to do this together, student and teacher.

#DigiLit Sunday #NaNoWriMo Google Apps

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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, November 9, 2014.

sundaydiglit

 

Our students in grades seven and eight are participating in #NaNoWriMo again this year. Each students sets their own goals and we continue to follow the Common Core State Standards aligned curriculum by Young Writers NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. I wrote about it last week, and this was our first week.

We actually have only twelve days of classroom time to allot for this due to trainings, conferences, and Thanksgiving. However the students are writing about what they know: their hobbies and interests. They took that lesson to heart: writers write about what they know [or research]. So students are writing about friendships made and lost, sports goals and goofs, and characters new and ancient.

Students draft their writing in Google Docs.  Our Teacher Dashboard by Hapara allows me to quickly see new additions, view, and click to add comments to encourage their continued efforts. I point out the positives to encourage their continued use of those strategies such as dialogue and description to help set the mood and tone for their action.

teacher_dashboard

 

nanao comments

 

Students share their novels with each other to also add comments and encourage each other. Students or teacher and student can carry on a feedback conversation through the comments and when completed, just click “Resolve.” The collaborative aspect of Google Apps for Education encourages writing by students through this process; it’s personalized learning at its best.

When not writing for NaNoWriMo, the apps allow for students to choose the app that best fits their audience and purpose: a blog? a Google site? a document? a slideshow? a survey [forms]? a spreadsheet with charts for data? a HangOut with experts? To meet the Common Core State Standards, collaboration and multi-media information are key. I’m so thankful our school district adopted this for our students.

 

 

#DigiLit Sunday #NaNoWriMo #clmooc

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sundaydiglit

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, November 2, 2014.

 

nanowrimo14

 Engaged !

In October, we begin our preparation for our novels, following the helpful curriculum by Young Writers NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month.  Notice: Common Core State Standards focus each lesson. That means, YES, you and your students can write a novel in November.

On Friday, we mapped out the days we can write in school and set our writing goals. Teachers write 30,000 words and students choose their own goals. Students are excited and talking about their novels.  Monday, we begin writing. Most will draft in Google Docs, leaving their “inner editor” in a box somewhere on a shelf so that only the flow of their story taps onto the page, one letter, word, sentence, paragraph at time — ideas driven by a character with problem.  That’s all you need to start, but if you need more, the Young Writers Program provides help:

Links to Start

Lesson Plans | NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

NaNoWriMo YWP: Middle School (6-8) Curriculum – Google Docs

Students | NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/files/ywp/nano_ywp_10_suggested_rubric.pdf

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

NaNoWriMo in the Classroom – Home

Teacher Stories

NaNoWriMo: An #EduAwesome Project for Your #BestYearEver | Edutopia

Wordsmith Agora – Let them Write !

Start

I’d like to thank my friends at #clmooc for inspiring me again — their 5 image story task set my imagination in motion for my novel; here’s my start.  It helped my students see how to start — with a character, an image in their mind, and a problem.

Are you ready? Are your students writing?  Check out our Virtual Classroom and watch our progress.