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Showing posts from May, 2015

EdCamp Elmbrook 21

  We had out 5th annual EdCamp this past Saturday and it was a very different PD experience. Due to the pandemic, we help the EdCamp virtually. That meant that anyone across the globe could attend. While we usually only have educators from out region attend, we had educators across the nation and in some in Canada attend. In addition, we had an attendee from Turkey! The conference was conducted using Zoom and Zoom breakout rooms for the sessions. The team did a great job of organization and management. I could go on, but this is my first blog post in a while and I'd like to keep it brief. Below you'll find the session board for the day with notes docs linked. We had some wonderful sessions and the notes documents house some wonderful thoughts and resources. So, I recommend checking them out. Although this EdCamp was only for the morning, there was a lot of learning to be had. We had no technology issues from our end as organizers but I can imagine participants may have had iss

In Bloom

My classroom does not have windows. So on weekends, I like to get outside. About three years ago, we began planting tulip bulbs in our yard. Usually it occurs over a couple of days in October after the initial upheaval of a new school year has passed. They bloom right around the time we are entering the final stretch of the school year.  So as we approach the final weeks of school, what are you doing in your classroom? Are you frantically trying to plant more seeds of content? Or are you enriching what you've planted and letting it grow and blossom.  This metaphor may feel like a bit of a stretch, but I couldn't resist. (Maybe I'm just trying to save flower pics because I'm not on Facebook.) I've got some activities planned the next couple of weeks that I'm trying for the first time.  I am quite scared to try these new things.  But, I trust my students will enjoy the opportunity to bloom. I would love to hear what you are up to as this year comes to a close.


I like to get my students perspective on how our class in terms of how class is going in terms of the process of learning and assessment.  Informal interviews provide that opportunity.  I'm always afraid it will turn into an interrogation. I never want students to feel like Dustin Hoffman in this intense scene from Marathon Man.   Not for the Squeamish. I've written up a few blogs from my perspective of the Continuous Classroom Improvement Cycle as I begin to get my feet wet in the process.  I wanted to get the student's perspective of the process, though.  Last week I asked my students to give informal presentations on each stage of the cycle as it is run in our class. I put these interviews together into a rough video. The major document that drives this process from class centered to student centered is described in a previous post . The students have been through several cycles so far and are very accustomed to the rhythms of the cycle.  I hope to collect

What I learned at Camp

Today I am attending EdCamp Milwaukee .  EdCamp is an unconference where educators pitch ideas for sessions the morning of and attendees go to sessions of choice and "vote with their feet" This is my 3rd year attending edCamp MKE.  It is hosted by Tammy Lind , Chad Kafka , and Beth Lisowski . 1st session I was in dealt with Standards based grading. My biggest takeaways were What grade is a 3? Should it be an A? Sorry, I can't get away from grades.  We're not there yet. Why as a teacher should I be defining what "exceeds" mastery looks like?  Shouldn't students show me what it looks like for them to exceed?  I'm going to be scratching my rubric for our next summative assessment based on this concept. Can I create skills rubrics that might have long term measurement while having content rubrics that have short term measurement? If we're going to do this, it has to be clear to both teacher, parents, and students what all these numbers an

The 4 C's Collaborate to Enhance PBL

It's been awhile since I last posted.  I feel like I've got lots of lost time to make up.  Well, my co-teaching partner and I put together our first full blown PBL unit with the help of the Buck Institute's fantastic book PBL for 21st Century Success .   What I found most useful was the ability to align the process in term of the 4 C's.  The table below is simply a reorganization of the work presented in the book. If we were going to go full on PBL, we decided not to go with a project I had created from scratch.  Using the resource bank at , I found a project called Blocking Sound I had actually encountered before while taking a course via .  The project involved students designing materials to soundproof walls. I slightly modified the driving question to focus on the needs of my classroom. Modifying the table above, we designed a plan specific to our unit.   My first big mistake was not presenting the driving question earli

Your Personal Canvas

As a part of a recent professional development day at Brookfield Central, I gave a presentation covering how I have used the learning management system Canvas to add personalization to my assessments.  Even more than what I currently do, I higlighted how Canvas can be used to align formative and summative assessments to the same learning outcomes.  Once this is done, students and teachers can track progress towards mastery of learning outcomes.   The personalized learning model our district is guided by was designed by Cooperative Educational Service Agency 1 .  The image below is a guide to the essentials of personalized learning.  For more information about CESA 1 and their model of personalized learning, follow this link . This presentation was not designed as a stand alone. So forgive me if there seems to be any gaps.  I would love to discuss this further with