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Showing posts from August, 2017

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

Space for Every Learner

In spring of this year, I posted about a plan for personalizing practice in my classroom by creating physical and digital learning zones within the classroom . Well, a lot of physical and curricular changes occurred in my learning environment over the summer. So, I’m ready to start putting that plan into action. In terms of the curricular space of my learning space, I have 2 collaborators to thank. My co-teacher Andelee Espinosa and I are working to reach all learners in our classroom. The needs of our learners in physics encompasses a broader spectrum than ever before. We teach in a fully inclusive classroom in which over ⅓ of our physics students have an identified learning disability for which they receive accommodations. We firmly hold the belief that all of our learners can do physics. They may not all reach the same endpoint, but we can help all learners make gains in their ability to “do physics”. It is one thing to say that we want to reach all learners, but it

The Power of Twitter Lists

I'm getting to the point where when I open up my Twitter feed and scroll for about 8 minutes, I realize I've only made it about 20 minutes into the timeline. It begs the question, "What am I missing?" I understand that sometimes when I go to Twitter, I just want to drift with the current. Other times, though, I want to be purposeful with my stream. It could be getting specific news, ideas, or connecting with a community. In the name of feeding my specific needs, I've decided to use Twitter Lists a bit more intentionally. A Twitter list is a feed that consists solely of a specific list of user accounts.  You don't need to follow these users for them to be a part of a list.  You can create your own lists or subscribe to a list created by a different user. I first realized the power of a Twitter list when I discovered my district superintendent had created a Twitter list that consisted of the accounts of our schools and staff that are using Twitter for pr


Ever since Google Docs came into my world, I've used it to create many templates for my learners. From labs to reflection documents, I've used it as my default go to. As I've tried to allow learners more choice in their demonstration of mastery of outcomes, I haven't changed my use of docs as a lab template. I hope to change that this year. To do that, I've decided to design all lab templates as slides.  The hope is that this simple change will allow them more how they choose to present their learning. How does this simple change do that? Clarifies organization of the document by putting separate ideas on different slides Create a blank canvas for student creation on each slide Use speaker notes for instructions/prompts without disrupting flow of student ideas or as a space for more detailed explanation of student thoughts Allows students to more easily add multiple forms of media Create drawings Images Tables Videos from Drive or YouTube Easily

Rethinking the Gradebook

One of the main tasks before teachers as we begin the school year, is setting up our digital gradebooks. This year, I’m making a major change in the way I setup my gradebook based on the fact that I am moving from an outcomes that are contained within a unit of instruction to outcomes that carry over from unit to unit. Now, I am a science teacher.  So, I hope you don’t quickly tune out if you are not. I think as we move towards skills based outcomes, we need to work together to find systems of assessment and communication that work for all.  I would love to hear what others are doing.  I don’t have the answers. This is just my iteration of an idea. Hopefully we can innovate together. We work with Infinite Campus online gradebook. Our gradebook has weighted categories. A couple of years ago, I set these categories as tests, labs, and practice work.  Then, I moved to create a category for each unit outcome I created.  This became a little overwhelming as I’d have ~15 catego

Overarching Standards to Drive Personalization

Sometimes I feel that there is a great misunderstanding when it comes to personalizing learning in the classroom.  The idea that in a personalized learning environment students are free to do whatever they wish. That they are creating their learning experience from scratch.  In a PL environment the learner’s strengths, challenges, and interests are essential to recognize. But like any learning environment we are familiar with, standards and outcomes are just as essential to learning in a PL environment. When I began looking at outcomes in my classroom years ago, I was focused on outcomes specific to a unit. So once an outcome was mastered, it wasn’t revisited. I had heard of other districts that were looking at overarching outcomes that were not unit specific and were practiced across multiple units of instruction. I had a hard time wrapping my head around the idea.  How would I be able to keep track of content proficiency if I only tracked overarching outcomes? As in most cas