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Showing posts from September, 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

Don't Just Remake, Innovate!

This week marks the opening of Antoine Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven . It is a remake of the 1960 film of the same name which was a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai .  It may be a matter of subjective opinion, but neither of these remake’s provide an improvement on the original masterpiece. As defined by George Couros, neither are "innovative".  In chapter 1 of The Innovator’s Mindset, Couros defines innovation as “ as a way of thinking that creates something new and better.” So while these “Magnificent” films might be newer, they are not by definition innovative (in my opinion).  Even the very good Japanese remake 13 Assassins can’t top the original masterpiece. Some innovations require time to tell the tale.  Will be getting rid of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 prove to be better?  Time has not judged “New” Coke or Crystal Pepsi kindly. I didn’t need much time to determine that one of my favorite classroom tools I discovered last year was an innovation

Portfolios: Once More, With Feeling

I had earlier talked about my new design for student portfolios in my class. After finishing out first unit I had students finish up the first unit entry.  For this first unit I pulled back a bit on my full outline I planned for each unit. It is my hope that this first unit page will serve as a toe dipping and in our second unit I can add more elements that I had intended to add originally.  I felt that getting students comfortable in the Google Sites environment the first go around and giving them some feedback was more important than having them start out with my full blown vision. So, this go around our unit page was divided into 3 sections. Objectives For our first go around, I simply had students add the unit objectives to this section.  In our next unit, I plan to have them write them in their own words as well. Narrative The intention of this section is for students to reflect of their performance on formative quizzes.  In the first unit we had 2 quizzes.  I dropp

They're Quite Aware What They're Going Through

This post picks up where the last one left off. That post discussed how I'm trying to make outcomes more clear to students .  This post will focus on the feedback from students. In a great blog post, George Couros states that “Empathy is where innovation begins.” By empathy, Couros means that we are able to see our the learning experience from the perspective of our learners. There are many ways to do this, but I have found the easiest and most powerful way to gain insight into the learner experience to ask for it. As Bowie says about the youth, “They’re quite aware of what they’re going through.” I have found three keys to getting good constructive feedback of their classroom experience from students Make it anonymous. Give them write in their own words don’t stop at questions that are simply “agree”/“disagree” or a Likert Scale. The most important key is to act on the feedback. If you want students to express meaningful feedback, show them their feedback is mea

Taking the Pace I'm Going Through

As a part of the Innovator's Mindset MOOC  set up by George Couros, we have been given weekly prompts to consider.  To be honest, this was a blog post I was drafting when I read the first prompt and realized it was perfectly timed.   The prompt was as follows: “Change is an opportunity to do something amazing.”   How are you embracing change to spur  innovation in your own context? I believe that all great change begins with the why. Change can be something done to us or done by us. I pride myself to be an individual that doesn't wait to be told to change. I look at the landscape in front of me (in the form of feedback from students, administrators , and my own reflections) and try a new iteration in the hopes that it will be as George Couros states in The Innovator's Mindset " New and Better". It is always my hope that each iteration will be an innovation. Many times what is new is not always better. But, it is always a