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Showing posts from April, 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

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 Leaders as 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 o

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

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

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 T apping 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 som