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Showing posts from April, 2016

Turning "What If's" into "Right Now's"

My PLC at Brookfield Central has chosen to take on James Rickabaugh’s new book Tapping the Power of Personalized Learning: A Roadmap for School Leadersas a book study project.   Our first meeting was centered around the “why” of our participation in the book study and the basic definition of Personalized learning put forth by the book.  We had our second meeting today and we focused on Chapter 1.

The focus of chapter 1 is the assumptions that lead to legacy practices and the facts that challenge those assumptions and therefore challenge legacy practices. In addition, the chapter focuses on the different levers we can use to produce change in our learning environments.  Those levers are Structures Samples Standards Strategies Self In our discussion, we focused on our reactions to these assumptions and how they have informed practice.  We also discussed ideas for taking steps towards moving our practice to one which attempts to move away from assumption of learning and learners and more towar…

Facing Challenges not Avoiding Them

The concept of a growth mindset has received great traction in the educational community.  If you are not familiar with the work of Carol Dweck, please watch either of the videos below to get some more information.

TedTalk (~10 min.)

EdWeek Keynote with Q & A (~ 60 min.)

A key takeaway for me here is how we address student "weaknesses".  In an environment where choice is allowed in terms of accessing, engaging, and expressing, it can be easy to fall into a pattern where we allow students to only operate in modes that they are strong in.  If students aren’t encouraged to work in multiple modes, this can reinforce the idea of the fixed mindset.

This is something I have seen in my classroom.  Students will continue to choose one form of assessment because it presents the least amount of challenge to demonstrate what they know and are able to do.  I am hoping to change this for term 4 in my classroom. I am not going to be removing choice from my classroom or forcing students int…

Learning Is More Than a Number

Exam time seems to be all about quantitative data.  Teachers are determining how many points students have, percentages are being translated into letter grades, quarter grades and final exams are being weighted and combined to determine that all important final percentage which will determine that final letter grade.  That letter will give us some idea of how well the learner mastered the course outcomes.  In addition, students are using online grade calculators to determine the minimum level they need to perform at in order  to earn the grade they desire.  Yes, final exam time is about arguing for the grade you deserve, but I feel that there is room for more. I always feel that final exam time should be just as much about reflection on learning as it is about expression of learning.

It is in that spirit that I am hoping to shift the focus of what goes in student portfolios in my courses. I currently ask students to do some reflection, but it seems minimal at best.  Over the course of …

Spring Reading

Book reports, do teachers still use them?  When I remember doing book reports in school, they were focused mostly on a simple plot summary.  I imagine teachers who do them today have students be more reflective in their reporting.
I read three different books over this spring break.  Two were fiction All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders and The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.  The other book I read was Tapping the Power of Personalized Learning by Dr. James Rickabaugh. For this report out I’m focusing on Dr. Rickabaugh’s book.
The subtitle of the book is A Roadmap for School Leaders.  A teacher looking at that subtitle may not see herself as a school leader, but this is not a narrow definition of the word “leader” educators may have become accustomed to.   In this case, leaders are those looking to institute change.  Educators are leaders.  Everyday we guide students through activities/lessons we played some role in designing.  
Don’t think of this book as something that you wi…