Skip to main content

The Breakfast Club RechargEd

Recharge Ed occurred Saturday morning at Kettle Moraine Middle School. It was an UnConference focused on personalized learning. After a long week,  it was a wonderful experience.  So what was recharging about getting up at 6:00 A.M. on a Saturday to go to school?

Traffic on a Saturday at 7:00 a.m. is actually quite light.  Feels pretty good to own the interstate even when I-94 only has one lane open.

Pulling into Kettle Moraine Middle School to see a parking lot full of cars.

Seeing a fellow science teacher from Brookfield Central High School walking in the door right ahead of me.

Freshly brewed coffee when you walk in the door.

Staff from Kettle Moraine School District taking their time on a weekend to host an event.

It's really something to look at a schedule and see so many wonderful options available. (Links will take you to session notes. So, click away)

Being in rooms where teaching are sharing the many ways (so many ways) they are finding to improve instruction and not letting the negativity of limitations  be the focus of the discussion. These are seen as challenges that can be faced. They are not something that leads to defeat and disillusionment.

Being in rooms where participants are using technology to share what they are learning rather than as an escape.

In the end, there are some great ideas I'll take away from Recharge Ed to my classroom. The biggest one will be trying to find simple ways to bring coding into my classroom using Scratch . I hope to allow students to demonstrate their understanding of physics by creating simple simulations.

But the real benefit was being around like minded teachers excited to discuss their craft.  They are vulnerable in their willingness to share the successes and challenges they face.  These educators function with a growth mindset in that these challenges are not insurmountable.  It is only a challenge until the find a solution that works in their classroom. By admitting that they need help to a group of peers, they will find that help.  The solutions may not be in the room, but the discussion will start the journey to a solution.

This is what recharges us.  Sharing the knowledge that teaching is not easy. .  Knowing we are not foolish for being optimistic.  Knowing we are safe to take a risk.  Knowing that failure comes before any worthwhile success.  Knowing that the challenge is worth it.  Knowing that when we fail we will not be alone.

Now, doesn't that sound like the kind of classroom you want to teach in?  

Popular posts from this blog

Waves of Innovation in Elmbrook Part 1

As a part of a graduate project, I am looking at innovations in education within my school district, Elmbrook Schools. I am specifically focusing on those looking to provide learners with more ownership over their own learning (a.k.a. personalizing learning). I've completed 4 interviews so far.  I had no intention of sharing them via this blog.  But, I think the stories and insights of these educators really are important for all.  They were vulnerable in a way that shows their passion for what they are undertaking.  They want the best for all learners not simply students, but educators who may hear their words.  So, please take the time to listen to their stories.  

In this video, Jeff Ortman a teacher in his 22nd year, discusses implementing strategies to give students ownership of their learning in his high school English classroom.  He discusses why he wanted to change his learning environment, his first steps to bring change, how choice and feedback are key to his classroom, a…

Can I Believe These Numbers?

Our union put out the results of a recent district survey.  The number of those who responded to the survey was low in comparison to the total number of certified staff. But the number and comments related to personalized learning struck me as troubling.

Based on this data, over half of the district staff polled are not onboard with the district's vision for personalized learning.  I would argue that not knowing the district vision for personalized learning is synonymous with not understanding what personalized learning is. The mission of the Elmbrook School Districtto inspire every student to think, to learn and to succeed.  By personalizing learning, we hope to achieve that mission.
I begin to question have we put the phrase before the meaning?  Have we thrown out this word without intention?  Have we made it to much of another thing to do rather than a method to achieve our shared vision.
These numbers shake me to the core.  After the recent presidential election, I realized I was…

How to Personalize Learning Part 3: Knowing How a Classroom Learns

Now, it may seem contradictory to state that teachers should create a classroom learner toolkit.  All individuals in our class have their own profile. We can’t simply design on blanket profile for the class.  That is very true.  That’s why Bray and McClaskey take a different approach to what a classroom learning toolkit looks like.  It is a 3-step process Class Learning Snapshot Preferences and Needs Class Learning Toolkit

Class Learning Snapshot In this model of designing tools for a whole classroom, the authors first recommend the teacher identify 4 learners who are diverse.  The Class Learning Snapshot records the specific strengths, talents, interests, and challenges of those four learners. If a teacher could meet the needs of these diverse learners through UDL, the needs of the other students in the class would probably be met.

Student Strengths, Talents, and Interests Challenges 1 It's easier for me to understand content when I am taught by a teacher and then am able to get informati…