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Showing posts from October, 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

Product Day 4: Maximize Student Expression with Explain Everything

As students continue to work on their projects many of them are choosing to do some if not all of their work in Explain Everything because of its rich multimedia abilities in the iOS environment. I just wanted to give a quick overview of why I think Explain Everything provides endless possibilities for students to demonstrate mastery of objectives and ISTE standards . The video is about 12 minutes, so I'll leave it there.

Product Day 3: iWish iOS iMovie was iMproved

In my class, we are 1:1 with iPads.  Students are creating their project videos on iPads.  iMovie for iOS is a powerful video editing software tool for iOS.  The user interface is very intuitive, but there are still many little features that students and teachers may not be aware of.  It can do a lot, but after working with iMovie on a Mac, the iOS version leaves a lot to be desired.  Students know the difference. It seems like every time we use iMovie on the iPads, we discover a new way it can't do something that the desktop version can do.  This usually leads to frustration and requires us to find workarounds. I just thought I'd give a quick tour of iMovie for iOS and highlight some features that are good and frustrating commissions. Adding Media is Easy On the right side of the screen, you can see the ability to sort from video, photo, and music libraries to decide what media to add to your project.  When a video is added it is easy to make audio and visual adju

Product Creation Day 2

As teachers, we tend to be told to introduce the rubric on day one of an assignment.  This allows students to know exactly how they will be graded.  But today was the day that we shared the product rubric with the students. The rubric can be seen below: I built this rubric using pieces from rubrics at . In my opinion, it doesn't seem logical to hand something like this the first week of the term before students have decided what their area of focus will be.  This seems like a specific document that will make more sense to students as they synthesize their data pieces to present. This rubric is the group rubric and that how the final project is graded.  Remember there have been individual summative pieces as the units have been completed to determine individual mastery of content.  The data from these pieces will provide the evidence for the final product. Today we had a bit of an issue during our class period.  The access the to the internet got sketchy and it w

Product Creation Day 1

One of my most formative video gaming experiences from childhood was playing one-on-one with my friends.  I don't mean outside on the court, I mean on a computer.  Yes, for those of you who aren't familiar with it one of the classic basketball games from the early 80's was a one-on-one game that pitted Larry Bird vs. Michael Jordan.  I honestly don't have any great insight here tying the game to my classroom, just had to mention the game. This week, my student in physics are putting together their final video project which is the culmination of the last 8 weeks of study.  All the data has been collected and the concepts have been covered, but they need to create a text which will summarize their work. Today was a day in which I spoke with groups about which concepts they would address in their video.  A day like today is one in which I hate the phrase "guide on the side."  I don't mind the idea of guide because in each of my conversations today,

Teaching the 4 C’s Without Sacrificing Content

As a part of my educational philosophy, I am trying to incorporate opportunities to explicitly practice and assess critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity within my classroom.   But, there has always been a fear that I would have to sacrifice content in order to achieve this goal.  A recent experience made me realize that this does not have to be the case. In my physics class, we have been studying Newton’s laws of motion.  Part of our summative assessment involved students being tasked with a problem.  They would be given a set of three carts and they had to design an evidence based strategy to give one cart the greatest displacement.  There were rules like no touching the ground and all carts had to start together.  But, outside of those rules, students were given creative freedom.   Now, the goal of the problem itself is not an authentic scientific experience at all.  But, there are many more important goals embedded within this assessment.  In

Canvas + Universal Design for Learning in Less Than 15 Minutes

I said 15 minutes so I'll keep this short. On October 9th, the Elmbrook School District hosted a Wisconsin CanvasCon focused on making learning personal.  I was lucky enough to be able to present at the conference.  I did a quick screen cast of my presentation below (I took 45 minutes and made it less than 15).  The focus of the presentation is the ways in which Canvas allows teachers to fully realize Universal Design for Learning.  Below that, you'll find my full presentation.

Personal Goals are Personal

When I was young, my goal in life was to be a dermatologist.  I took classes in high school geared towards this goal.  How did I come to this goal?  My parents told me it was what I’d be.  As time progressed, I began to realize my goals in life had to be my own.  As teachers of specific content, we need to realize that all of our students do not have the goal to be a master in our field of instruction. This step of allowing students to determine their own goals in taking our class is one key to moving to a truly personalized environment.  As an instructor, I am FAR FAR away from realizing this aspect of instruction.  But with the help of my co-teacher Andelee Espinosa, we are beginning to realize what this can look like with one of our students who has a very specific set of goals. I won't go into the specifics of this student’s situation, but teachers will all recognize the situation as not unique in education.  This student is taking our physics course for credit acquisiti

Any Road Will Take You There

The idea of a personalized learning environment seems like a wonderful idea.  Students working at their own pace and on their own way to demonstrate mastery of learning targets.  But as a teacher, it seems like an impossible task to manage.  How could it be possible to keep everyone on track?  It has the possibility of being a chaotic environment which could feel like a free for all.   This week in our physics course, we are finally seeing what we had envisioned become reality.  We are into our 3rd unit of the school year. It is projectile motion and we're nearing the end of it. For their summative assessment for the unit, students will be assessed using the following rubric. Although all students had the same outcomes, they were given a variety of different ways to demonstrate mastery. Option 1: Sports Project Check-in Our project for the 1st term focuses on the driving question “How can I use physics to hack sports?”  Students are focusing on a specific techni