Connected Learners #ce14 #clmooc #DigiLit Sunday

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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#clmooc #middleschool Inspiration

 

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Inspiration is all around. One place is #clmooc. That is a Connected Learning Massive Open Online Collaboration. I was involved as a participant and as part of the support team. Read about my #clmooc experience and learn about Connected Learning. It really isn’t anything new — except in how we are connected. Not through snail mail pen pals, not through TV news, not by traveling places. Although all those are available, in today’s world, we connect online through Google Hangouts, online communities like the clmooc Google Plus community, through social media, and through blogs, tweets, photo apps, etc. I can be connected right now to my friends around the world with a click of my mouse. That’s what has changed. That means we can pursue our interests, with peers around the world, for shared purposes, to learn academic goals, in an openly networked community to create products of interest for personal or societal reasons.

So education has changed, and I’m ready.

I’m ready and supported and inspired by my clmooc Google Plus community and my Twitter PLN, as I reciprocate the collaboration. I thank my CLMOOC connections and Twitter PLN for reaching out and connecting as peers in this networked world.

Some of the middle school educators have started a community of our own: Connect in the Middle at MightyBell. We’ve started small circles to plan and implement curriculum on Social JusticeePortfolios, and Connect2Learn, a collaborative blog for student writing prompts.

If you work with middle school students, please consider joining Connect in the Middle. Librarians, principals, teachers, etc. Join and add to our collaborative spirit; get inspired and connected, ready to help your students become Connected Learners.

See you there!

#clmooc #k6diglit Invitation to Stay Connected

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Margaret Simon asks a question: Tapping Student Connections

How do we tap into student interests and create online learning environments for them to connect to and learn from? 

That is the question for DigLit Sunday bloggers from Margaret Simon.  And I’ve written an invitation to stay connected as Middle School educators here. This post continues that invitation.

What about a hub — a blog of prompts for students?

One way I thought of is to form a group of Middle Level Educators who collaborate on a blog of prompts from which students respond, connect to other students, and perhaps plan collaboration on the prompts. The blog would be the hub of student choice, or teacher guidance, a Make Bank of our own. I created such a blog for us to develop to get us started and, for #clmooc-ers, to stay connected:

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Connect 2 Learn

If you’re already interested, here’s the spot to join by sending me an email: Contact Connect2Learn and choose “Facilitator Request” so I can add you to the blog as facilitator.

A bit more on Connect 2 Learn:

When we write, we often write first for ourselves to gather ideas [inside/personal], and then share and discuss with others [responsive/connective]. Next we may share out to inform [purposeful/informative/narrative], and we may also share out to  help others or make the world better [social action/argumentative/persuasive].

I thought perhaps these purposes would be good ways to organize the blog:

Do I want to be reflective / personal and perhaps share that with others [responsive]?

Do I want to take what I know, add it to others idea’s? [responsive]

Do I want to share information or a story? [purposeful]

Do I want to make the world better? [social action]

Of course, these are recursive — each of us moves through these frames of writing, these frames of thinking about writing — as we develop our projects.  These frames are not my ideas, but rather are the work of Liz Stephens and Kerry Ballast (Liz Stephens and Kerry Ballast (2011). Using Technology to Improve Adolescent Writing: Digital Make-Overs for Writing Lessons) who present this new paradigm for writing lessons that includes the four frames, four lenses to view process writing and assignments. I thought they made a great way to organize our collaborative prompts.  [I’ve written about this here and here [scroll down].

But: it would be our blog. Join, and help build it: Contact Connect2Learn and choose “Facilitator Request” so I can add you to the blog as facilitator.

But how do we discuss and plan our projects?

Many people have commented on how difficult it is to follow  threads of conversations — and find them again on Google Plus. So I researched and discovered another platform — MightyBell that serves as a focal point for general members, allows for smaller communities within the larger one [think planning projects with a team of educators], and even smaller circles of projects. That sounded like a possibility for better conversation and collaboration. Of course we would always stay connected throughout the year with #clmooc.

So I created Connect in the Middle community at Mightybell with a circle for planning the collaborative blog called Connect 2 Learn, same name as the blog.

An invitation

Please consider joining with myself and others — for planning and collaboration, join these two communities:

Connect in the Middle community

Connect 2 Learn Circle

and the collaborative blog hub:

Connect 2 Learn  Contact Connect2Learn

Hopefully, these will help us stay connected as Middle School educators, planning projects with and for our students, to identify the entry points for play and learning, and  to lead them towards a connected learning path.

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#clmooc Invitation Middle School Educators

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An Invitation to Connect Middle School Educators
Teachers, Principals, Librarians, etc.

As a member of #clmooc, I created two collaborative spaces: Connect in the Middle and Connect 2 Learn to provide a space for middle school educators to connect and plan for their own and their students’ collaborative efforts. This platform is free up to 100 members, so it can help us stay connected as a a group.

I teach language arts to grades 6, 7, 8 in a very rural area of Wa State. 

Join me in Connect in the Middle https://mightybell.com/communities/connect-in-the-middle
Connect in the Middle provides a space for middle school educators to connect and plan for their own and their students collaborative efforts

Our goal is to establish a community where members can connect to share ideas, or form a circle within the community to plan collaborative projects or other needed discussions (CCSS, for example.).

A circle within the Connect in the Middle MightyBell Community is Connect 2 Learn on Mightybell https://mightybell.com/spaces/85832 

Middle School Educators who would like to connect classrooms through prompts on a collaborative blog can discuss that idea here
I teach language arts to grades 6 7 8 in a rural are of Wa State. I would like my students to collaborate or connect with other students in authentic writing to guide them in online citizenship and in their own passions through their own writing and making.

I blog here whatelse.edublogs.org/
And created this blog
connect2learn.edublogs.org as the connective blog for students to find tasks of interest to them to connect, perhaps collaborate, with other students.

This space provides a place to discuss how to develop these connections and prompts.

I hope you join.

#clmooc Play Revision

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REVISING a Blog I Started Last Year

Revision Steps — ideas so far

1.  Starting: A reflection and revision of my work last year in the post: Play is the Game

2. Adding Meme Activities to Connect2Learn Blog

a. Memes as Avatars [revising an old activity ]
b. Memes  Activities which link to Mindy A Early’s meme activities

3. I am looking for any middle school teachers who want to connect and develop the Connect 2 Learn blog.

An Invitation

As I said in Part 1:

So, I’d like to invite the middle school teachers to help me with this, if it fits their interests. We’ve all got our own standards to meet, but we’ve learned through CLMOOC that those can be met in a variety of ways, and that connections and collaborations deepen the learning of more than finite objectives.

So, what if a group of middle school teachers collaborated on a blog of makes and prompts that promote the Connected Learning Principles through the lens of the Thinking Frames? The blog would suggest the prompts and makes; the students could write about their projects in their own blogs or Google Docs [ and collaborate in Google Docs or Wikis ], and share their play/work in comments on the blog prompt.

Whether we incorporate prompts from Digital.IsCLMOOC Make Bank, or our own prompts, the blog will be the hub for our connected classrooms. Here’s what it might look like:  Connect 2 Learn Blog, Connected Learning and Writing FramesGuidelines. I’m hoping a middle school community blog will provide the hub for connected learning and play with writing [in all its forms].

I’m excited to be more playful this year, to bring joy back to the classroom. I want my students to expand their worldview carefully and become more digitally literate. And maybe together we can make it “Game on!”

How about you?

Will you Connect 2 Learn to keep the game going?

#clmooc Play is the game

Play / Collaboration

Play is the game, and collaboration is the strategy. Mindshift’s Jordan Shapiro article reiterates this:

          • Play is useful because it simulates real life experience — physical, emotional, and/or intellectual — in a safe, iterative and social environment, not because it has winners and losers.

             

             

 

   

        • There are connected, networked ways of knowing that will dominate the digital future. Sharing and collaboration go hand-in-hand with integrating non-competitive and non-commodified ways of playing. The way students play and learn today is the way they will work tomorrow.

           

 

     

So, how do we play and collaborate? In our CLMOOC, we have done both this week [ see my #f5f ]. We are still playing:

Each of us took the invitation to a game of our interest, or we followed the games of others just to observe. We incorporated interest, peers, and sharpened our writing skills (academics).  Through our shared purpose, we created products openly. I’d say we met the criteria of Connected Learning:  

Confirmation

We even confirmed our participation and paradigm shifts by observations, through f5fs, and  in reflections [this is mine], sharing badges of accomplishment.   Have you applied yours [ unofficial f5f and CLmooc ].

Connected Learning: Play, Connect, Collaborate, Create

So, how do I carry this into my classroom — and connect to yours? Our planning and designing is based on Connected Learning Principles through the framework of Thinking Frames, adapting the “Writing Frames” of Liz Stephens and Kerry Ballast.

Inside Thinking: investigating, discovering, and documenting a topic of interest to you by connecting with text, images, sounds, videos, etc. I saw this as we connected to our own game-playing and our own lives living through our poetry.

Responsive Thinking: communicating successfully face to face and online to collaborate and create through interactions and feedback to make sense of a topic by defining, labeling, questioning, challenging, and validating topic information. We tweeted, posted, and joined in #25wordstories and more. Some people met in Hangouts. We moved from our “inside,” personal ideas to sharing and discussions.

Purposeful Thinking: investigating and presenting one’s own or one’s collaborative team’s interpretation of the topic for an audience to review, be that notes, media, image, text, etc. We folded a story and Kevin Hodgson presented it to us orally.

Social Action Thinking: exploring and collaborating to create a multimedia production to move others to action using reasoned argument with digital tools that emphasize the message. Ah! Litterati! I bet you didn’t think we’d get to “social action” while playing, but there it is!  Thank you, Janis Shelby Jones!

Whether we are writing posts, comments, or tweets; poetry; annotated images; podcasts: we are composing and revising for the digital literacies for which our students need fluency. And we did this through playing collaborative literary games. William Zinsser explains:

“Writing is thinking on paper.” “Writing and learning and thinking are the same process.”

Our brains solve puzzles. Transferring ideas onto paper is a puzzle; it’s a process that requires careful thought, and the puzzling, although hard, is fun — we feel accomplished when we’ve done it right. And doing it right means, according to Zinsser,

“Four basic premises of writing: clarity, brevity, simplicity, and humanity.”

I believe we accomplished  that. We should design a “Zinsser” badge! I’m really not into objectivized anything because we all learn what we need to learn at different times and in different ways. At any one time, we are expert and novice; so data and rubrics and badges don’t fit what I see as a lifelong learning continuum. And if we are moving towards interest-based learning, then even in similar projects, each person will learn something different, at a different level. To me, it’s too hard to quantify. So, yes, I accept that I’m shifting paradigms and will display the badge. I did attempt to welcome and guide #clmooc-ers and I know I provided guidance to several, so I will accept the Learning Concierge badge. But that’s not the end. I’m going to get better in both arenas. It just says that I’ve started my journey, and when you ask me at the end of CLMOOC, I’ll have more to add to a reflection on both. So, in my classroom, we’ll start with the Thinking Frames — and I’ll perhaps create a card/badge for each, but I’ve got a thinglink ready for all of them:  
So, I’m thinking of the writing class teacher with the elaborate game for his six trait writing class. I’d love to design that, but it isn’t going to happen. But I could create a card game of sorts using the Thinking Frames — a royal flush with all of the drafts completed, for instance. Some may be drafts, some ideas, some finished, and could be different projects — but the frames are iterative, so that’s OK. It shows learning and progress. It’s like Scott Glass considers with his first student projects:

…these kind of projects immediately introduce to the students a few critical ideas:

  1. They will use their devices to create,
  2. They will consider what is meaningful to them,
  3. They will share their work.

By setting up a framework of thinking about their work in our class — the work of authors of media — students have an idea of the flow of our time together, and that the ideas come from themselves as much as from me. Hack is a good word for prompts and interests while they are developing.

But we all know it’s more than a framework; we need some guidance for what that work might look like.

How will our play, our work, our inquiry, our interests develop in process and product? Inquiry Frames.

Embrace a story.

Tell your story — how the project developed and why.
Explain a story — what’s the issue?
Create a story — narrate a fictional, nonfictional, or remixed story.

Create quality contributions.

As you inquire on the narration or facts of your story, contribute to the topic so that others may learn or question more.
Develop your story and document its formation and process.
Create a path for others to follow.
Create multi-media that explains, questions, invites, or solves the ideas of your topic, your story.

Consider worthy intentions.

Thoughtfully dig into your topic. Consider the facts and the story. Consider its value to yourself and others. Choose to matter; your time and others’ time is valuable.

Value and provide critiques.

Communicate your ideas to others — get suggestions, and help others with their topics. Value the input into your drafts and creations. Consider the feedback as from your audience — what they understand and need. Give feedback that improves others’ work and ideas in a positive way. A critique helps you and others expand ideas and revise confusion.

Share inquiry and results.

As you learn your topic and work with others, share your process and questions; get critiques. Share your results and reflections so others understand your process and the product.

Engage connections.

During your inquiry, engage others in research and conversation. Perhaps collaborate on the drafts, research, and product. Discover more ideas and expand your own. Find commonality in differences, and decide on the most relevant and possible of your ideas and suggestions. If needed, provide more than one opinion or solution. Let your audience decide — or ask them for more ideas.

Mesh all in academic goals.

As you inquire, research, connect, collaborate, analyze, and create, consider the academic goals learned: content, process, collaborative, design, etc. Be clear about your learning in your documentation, products, and reflections.

What I’m thinking about here are expectations as starting points for conversation on what we’re learning and how to develop ideas, which will depend on the student’s audience and purpose. I appreciate the ideas for games from Jennifer Denslow, which will help develop a sense for connectedness and conversation. These inquiry frames provide guideposts for connected learning. So, as Scott Glass said in his blog:

 “I suggested that teachers early on challenge students with quick creative challenges aimed at having students reflect on and create multimedia statements about themselves.”

By starting out with word play and memes, we can discuss the process through the Thinking and Inquiry frames. From there, the game is on — I don’t know what it will look like, but I’ll take advice from my students. My feedback usually includes specific information, and those students become the teachers for the others who don’t get it. We usually get wrapped up in knowing that by the end of the time, all of us will understand, demonstrated through their project. It just seems like we are already collaborating and playing.  I think we just need to celebrate it — the completion, the process, the products — as another level of our learning game. I’ll let my students design the concept and badge. We’ll start and end the year with this one:

 

Connections

And finally, how do we connect to learn? Hmmm, it just so happens I started this last year, and as I continue on my learning continuum, I’ve revised it. So, I’d like to invite the middle school teachers to help me with this, if it fits their interests. We’ve all got our own standards to meet, but we’ve learned through CLMOOC that those can be met in a variety of ways, and that connections and collaborations deepen the learning of more than finite objectives. So, what if a group of middle school teachers collaborated on a blog of makes and prompts that promote the Connected Learning Principles through the lens of the Thinking Frames? The blog would suggest the prompts and makes; the students could write about their projects in their own blogs or Google Docs [ and collaborate in Google Docs or Wikis ], and share their play/work in comments on the blog prompt. Whether we incorporate prompts from Digital.IsCLMOOC Make Bank, or our own prompts, the blog will be the hub for our connected classrooms. Here’s what it might look like:  Blog, Connected Learning and Writing Frames, Guidelines.

I’m excited to be more playful this year, to bring joy back to the classroom. I want my students to expand their worldview carefully and become more digitally literate. And maybe together we can make it “Game on!”

How about you?

Will you connect 2 learn to keep the game going?

 

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