Skip to main content


Showing posts from January, 2016

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

I Dislike the Sound of My Voice, but ...

I was privileged to be on Epiphany Learning's i am Me. podcast this month.  Check out their great podcast and start from the first episodes, the first 3 are my favorite. I don't like the sound of my voice, but if you have the time the support of a listen would be great. The staff at Epiphany Learning and Laura Henderson do a great job with the podcast. Also, any feedback would be great too. Episode 023: Helping students find their best way to learn, with Mike Mohammad. Podcast: Play in new window | Download Mike Mohammad was born and raised in Sheboygan, WI. He attended UW Madison where he received his degree in Secondary Education in Broadfield Science and Biology with additional certifications in chemistry and physics.

10 Minute Personalized Workout.

I posted about this before, but it's so good it needs to be done more. So you want to get a snapshot of your learners without collecting 100 different forms. Also, you want to illustrate to students that they are different and give them the "why" of personalization. Here's how to learn the range of your class quickly while still getting quality data. Thanks to Andelee Espinosa with the brilliant post-it note hack. 10 minutes 6 post its per student white board Set up whiteboard into a table Strength Challenge Access (how to get) Engage (how to express) Express (how to show) Students fill 1 strength and 1 challenge for each category Here are some starters for students to think about. Access (How you get information) Engage (How you Work) Express (How you show) Reading Listening Words Pictures Videos Paper Computer Copy of notes Taking my own notes Collaboration Leading

The Simple WHY of Personalized Learning

Everyone needs motivation to push a little further. There needs to be a reason to make that effort. There needs to be a “why”. At the completion of an instructional unit, I ask my students 3 questions: What helped you learn What didn't help you learn What's one thing I should try to improve your learning At the end of the current term, I asked those questions again. The results were clear. My students have diametrically opposed needs which is the WHY of personalized learning.  Based on these results, I need to personalize even more. Helped Me Learn Didn’t Help Me Learn Canvas problems The canvas problems. Flexibility of the class, as well as interactive presentations.  I didn't like the somewhat flexible due dates because they make it difficult for me to be motivated to finish my work. The canvas quizzes allowed me to learn on my own I did not learn as well when we had to learn individually. The group projects helped

Student Learning Is the most Authentic Project

At the end of my physics course, there are fundamental content understandings and science skills students need to have about the physical world.  That is why they are taking physics. In addition, though,  I want them to have a better understanding of who they are as learners.  As a part of my journey towards making learning more personal, I am trying to recognize that students have different preferred learning environments.  I want students to be able to explore different modes of learning and learn about how they learn.  To that end, I have had students work on creating a personal learning preference document. As I try to implement more project based learning into my classroom, I realized that having my students create and share a personal learning profile may be the most beneficial and authentic project for them.  Let me try to frame it in terms of the essential design elements of PBL: Challenging Problem or Question The driving question for this project could


As a part of my Edutopia reading practice, I came upon the following post: Mid-Year Reflection: Setting PD Goals by Monica Burns In the post, she recommends a process of  Looking back on the year so far and acknowledge all you have done  Determining areas your like to grow Draft a plan to accomplish those goals Hold yourself accountable to these goals So, I'm taking some time today to look at steps 1 and 2 as I reflect on the first half of this school year. Changes in Learning and Assessment Started the year with new collaborative seating arrangement. Students completed a Personal Learning Preference sheet on the first day of class and revisited it during the course Unlike last year, I began AP Physics by giving students options for demonstrating mastery from unit 1. As the year went on I transformed the student portfolio into a vehicle to submit course artifacts for grading rather than simply a place for reflection. I set up my online gradeb

Listen to the Experts: Advice to Teachers on Canvas LMS

As we come to the close of term 2 in the block, my current students are ending their time with me.  Although I like to get feedback through the entire course, the end of the course provides a great time for reflection.   The first piece of reflection I’m having my students do this week is related to technology.   As more teachers in our district use Canvas LMS, it's important that we get advice on how to best use it from experts. Students use Canvas in my course virtually everyday so I consider them experts. So why not listen to advice from those who use it the most and whose opinion matters most. Summarizing the advice 1) Model how Canvas will be used in your classroom. 2) Use the c alendar to help students keep track of assignments and test dates. 3) Upload worksheets and answer keys. 4) Keep all your uploaded files organized. 5) Consider using online document submission. 6) If you're going to use a Canvas feature, find a way to use it regu

Edutopia Week 2

I haven't fallen back on my 2 - 20 min. commitment, but might feel like I might try to come up with a new way of reflecting on articles I read next week. Make Learning Last: How Diverse Learners Can Process Their Understanding Differentiated instruction considers approaches to content process products As teachers work through content, they need to provide opportunities for students to process instruction.  It doesn't take time away from instruction.  It is essential to instruction.  There are many ways for processing. Silent Reflection Journaling Partner Conversations Quick Surveys such as Kahoot, Poll Everywhere, Google Forms Recognizing and Overcoming False Growth Mindset "A growth mindset is the belief that you can develop your talents and abilities through hard work, good strategies, and help from others. It stands in opposition to a fixed mindset, which is the belief that talents and abilities are unalterable traits, ones that can

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 instr

Personalize Your PD and PLN with Podcasts

Heck, you don't have time to even read this.  So, start listening to educational podcasts to help create a broader Personal Learning Network. I'll get to the why later in this post if you got the time. My Favorite Podcasts for Teachers #EdChat Radio Click here for link in iTunes. Every Classroom Matters Click here for link in iTunes i am ME. Click here for link in iTunes On the Vendor Floor Click here for link in iTunes K-12 Greatest Hits Click here for link in iTunes So "why" podcasts? To be honest I don't really have time to read many blogs no matter how good they are.  If I'm in front of a screen dealing with educational content, I'm usually designing lessons,  correcting student work, or working on my graduate coursework.  So, even though I do write blog posts, they function mostly for personal reflection and synthesizing ideas. My primary PD occurs not with visual input, but with auditory

Do 10 Year Olds Who Need Driver's Ed.?

Meanwhile, a teacher begins her lesson by presenting the learning outcome ... Teacher : Today’s learning objective is " I can drive from the capitol building in Madison to Miller Park in Milwaukee in time for the game tonight ." Student 1: Why are we starting in Madison? We all live in different places? Teacher: Ok. Let’s go with, " I can drive to Miller Park in Milwaukee in time for the game tonight ." Student 2: I don’t like baseball, why do I have to get to Miller Park? Teacher: That’s true, how about I give you some choice in where you go. I can drive to a major landmark in Milwaukee in time for the game tonight . Student 2: If I’m not going to the game why do I have to get there in time for the game? Teacher: That’s true, how about I give you some choice in where you go. I can drive to a major landmark in Milwaukee in 12 hours . Student 2: Where did you come up with 12 hours?  Seems kind of random.

My 1st Week in Edutopia

So, I made a resoultion so here it goes.  This will just be a place for me to list the articles that clicked with me and some quick takeawyas from each.  By no means is this any sort of annotated list.  Just reflections from my week in Edutopia.  Be sure to visit the links to read the actual articles that sound interesting. I imagine I’ll develop a better format as time goes on. But this was a resolution I need to be able to keep.  So, I’m keeping it without overextending myself. Encouraging Neurodiversity in Your Makerspace or Classroom Students with neurodiversity needs can find great outlets in a makerspace and can shine. Students with Tourette Syndrome can find a flow to lessen tics in certain physical activities. Hands-on and station activities are a good way to channel energy of students with ADHD A great article providing ALL the cognitive benefits of makerspace

In Search of ... My Preferred Learning Environment.

Yes, JJ Abrams latest movie is Star Wars VII . But, I'm thinking of these scene in his version of Star Trek. About the future meeting the past. Almost three years ago, I was asked to describe my preferred learning environment.  As we enter 2016, 3 years have passed since I wrote this proposal.  Looking back on the proposal, I'm still amazed at the support that I was given from all of my administration. I was even more encouraged by my students' willingness to change and their enthusiasm to try new ideas and run with them. How would you answer the following questions if they were laid before you Describe your preferred future environment? What formative (short-term, less than 6 months) and summative (long-term, year-end, 2 years out) data can be used to demonstrate the impact of your preferred future? How can you leverage initiatives currently underway (e.g. literacy, Art & Science of Teaching, etc) to better align your preferred future with the wor