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Showing posts from October, 2016

Open House by Teachers for Teachers

I am part of our building's personalized learning leadership team.  One of our goals has been to support staff in the implementation of PL elements in their classroom.  To this end, we hope to go beyond explaining what they elements are and to delve into how they can be achieved in a classroom. Today, we had the opportunity to do just that.  

Our team approached several teacher who we knew were having success with PL elements in addition to those who grants for PL proposals they submitted in the spring.  We ended up with a wide range of options that spanned almost all content areas.  


NAME DESCRIPTION Chris Demos
(Biology) Standards Guided Learning, Assessment AS Learning, Progressions Towards Deeper Learning: Learn how Chris has implemented a structure in which students are held accountable for demonstrating how they have met course standards by providing evidence and defending that evidence. John Wilkinson
(Physics) Personal Learning Goals, Progressions Towards Deeper Learning, Customize…

IMMOOC WeMOOC Takeawyas

Over the past couple of months it has been my pleasure to be a part of the Innovator's Mindset MOOC (massive online open course).  I was able to participate in the last episode of the live MOOC hangout which will be turned into a podcast.


Below are blog posts on takeaways from the book when I read it this summer: Part 1: What Is an Innovator's Mindset? Part 2: Create a Culture of Innovation Part 3: Release the Kraken Part 4: Putting Mindset Into Action
I just wanted to share some of my brief takeaways for the online community experience.
There are so many talented people out there. I was amazed to read all of the brilliant blog reflections of my fellow #IMMOOC members. It was great to see all the different perspectives and paths people took from a similar prompt. Those posts shed new light on my own reading of the book.
There are so many risk takers out there. To hear what others were trying out for the first time was awesome. It really served as an extra push to try something new.
The…

My First Dip into WeVideo

I took my first dip into WeVideo today.  WeVideo is a video editing solution for those working with Chromebooks.  I have been using iMovie for video editing since I first started editing on a computer (before that it was to VCRs).  But iMovie on iOS devices is frustratingly limited and YouTube Video Editing is not quite user friendly yet.  WeVideo could be a great solution for those who have videoclips and photos in Google Drive and want to be able to create video using ChromeOS.

Like I said, this is a first dip.  Down the road I hope to have a more in depth post about it.  but wanted to highlight a few basics with some GIFs.

From the WeVideo top menu you can choose Media and upload files directly from Google Drive to your WeVideo Media Library.


When creating a new project, it is easy to simply drop in videos and photos from your media, rearrange and trim.

Once you've got a video or photo inserted, you can do a deep edit of the clip or image including adding titles, cropping, adding m…

Being more Proficient with Proficiency.

As a part of the Innovator's Mindset MOOC, we've been challenged to implement a change with the goal of innovation. A couple of weeks ago, I had an idea that I want to put in place for my classroom. It's not huge, but it will require a significant step from me to implement and make it meaningful for students.

Over the past years, I have been developing proficiency scales for each of the major unit objectives in my Physics courses.  I've modeled these scales I first learned about from Marzano Research. Find a great bank here and access with a free account. I try to have students look at the scale when we complete a formative quiz and rate themselves on that scale.  But, it's not until we approach the summative assessment where we really take the time to break down what each level looks like in depth.  They then create their own piece of media to demonstrate mastery. I'm looking to change up the way I present the proficiency scale a bit.

I've decided that for t…

Inclusion: From Least Restrictive Environments to Most Accessible Learning

In the Innovators Mindset MOOC podcast this week, we are focusing on the final part of George Couros's book and moving forward with innovation measuring innovation beyond simple numbers. I just wanted to reflect a little on my journey with inclusion in my classroom and what I would like it to be.
One of the first courses in my 2 year certification program at UW-Madison was Individuals with Disabilities. It was taught by the great Alice Udvari-Solner. The focus of the course was on the "why" of inclusion not simply from a legal perspective but a moral one.  The primary focus of the course was providing future educators strategies to design instruction to reach all learners.  By the end of the course, we realized was that the way we approach instruction for students with disabilities is the way we should approach instruction for all students. She forced us to confront how sometimes labels hide abilities and good grades can hide challenges.
That was 18 years ago. Nine years …

Recipe for A Perfect Day?

Today marks the end of 6 weeks of the school year.  It might be a bold statement, but I can't imagine a better day than the one I just had. If I don't sit back to capture some thoughts on why it was able to happen and not simply what happened, I feel that I'll miss the point. That includes not time to proofread.  This is all off the top of my head.  Errors just add to the flavor at least that sounds like a good excuse.

 A perfect day doesn't just happen.  A perfect day is one you make happen.  And if today is any proof, it never happens because you did it alone.

There were a couple of distinct phases to my day.  The first half of the school day involved a collaboration between one of my physics classes and Kate Sommerville and Angela Patterson's 5th grade class at Swanson Elementary school.  It was a collaboration planned during the summer days when the thought of frost was far from our minds. that day we sat down and mapped out all of our collaborations for the s…

Relationships: If a Student Speaks in a Classroom, Will Anyone Hear It?

To quote George Couros from the Innovator's Mindset: The three most important words in education are: relationships, relationships, relationships. Without them, we have nothing." I think by using technology to help give all students a voice in my classroom, I'm starting to make some headway in that area.
At the end of our unit on linear motion, I again had students complete a Google form for feedback in several areas. I asked them to focus on what was helping them learn, what was not helping, and what they would like me to try in the next unit to help them learn.  I then took the feedback and put it into a Pear Deck slide and had them choose the number one factor for them. Below are the results for the what helped learning.

Pear Deck and options for summative assessments I expected to be pretty well liked.  I was surprised to see so many students favor hard copy notes. This is when I print off the Pear Deck slides ahead of time so that they can write down their own notes as …