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Showing posts from October, 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
I was able to give a thank you speech today at the Convening on Personalized Learning to thank all of those who support my vision of transforming learning in the classroom. It was going to be a longer speech but I am very shy and cut out my little reaction to the misunderstandings that exist around personalized learning.  I am much braver in print on my blog, so here it goes: There is no one way to personalize learning for every student. There is no average student. There is no average classroom. There is no average school. So by definition, there is no single template or single tool to personalize for every student, every classroom, or every school. The same wand won’t produce magic for every wizard. But, we can all have the same goal for our system.  Nudging the locus of control of learning towards the learner. Allowing learners more ownership of learning through connections to the content and ownership over the process. Personalized Learning is not Laissez Faire learni

Innovate, Lose, Grow

One of the great stories of Innovation shared in Innovator's Mindset is that of Blockbuster and Netflix . A part of the story that I’d like to reflect on is the failure of Netflix. Most of us didn’t know about it because we didn’t have a personal interest in Netflix, yet. The graph below is taken from a series that Derek Bennington did at Chief Innovator .  As you can see Netflix was not an instant success. They lost money for years before they began to grow. In a meeting four years ago, our assistant superintendent for teaching and learning Dr. Dana Monogue began by drawing a curve on the board similar to this: She noted that the gains in our district had flatlined. Yes we were one of the highest performing district in the state now, but we weren’t preparing learners for tomorrow.  She put forth the challenge that we needed to change our model before we lost touch with the workplace of tomorrow and saw negative gains. She next drew a second curve that represen

Building Relationships with Flipgrid #IMMOOC

This will be my third year in which my physics students will be collaborating with an elementary school classroom. It is always a great experience but we’ve found a way to make this connection even better with technology. This year we are collaborating with Katie Spadoni’s 4th graders from Dixon Elementary School a mile from our high school. In the past, collaboration days involved school buses and permission slips.  Now we can innovate collaboration days into collaboration moments via Flipgrid.   I’ve heard a lot about Flipgrid this summer. I began experimenting with it earlier this school year. But this week I feel like I’ve discovered the power within. Our first collaboration moment was introductions.  These would usually be face to face on the day.  But using Flipgrid, my students were able to post an introduction and the 4th graders in Katie’s classroom were able to respond in kind.  We could see faces and hear voices.   Today on our visit, our students

Questions when Mapping a Personalized Path #IMMOOC

Personalizing learning is something I’m very passionate about in my classroom. As I was driving using the new version of Apple Maps, it led me to some essential questions when framing paths to outcome mastery to give learners more autonomy. There needs to be different ways to demonstrate the same skills. If the constraints put on learners isn’t a part of the skills or content being mastered, it doesn’t need to be essential to the process. Most due dates are created by the teacher. If mastery is the key, does it matter if it happened on Monday or Tuesday? There are so many great tools to assist all learners in letting them get to where they are going.  You are one of them. You need to know where you learners are at before you can determine their first step towards mastery. Pre Assessment is key. Rapid cycle feedback from teachers is more powerful than any grade. Reflection and self-assessment are even better than teacher feedba

When I Teach Alone, I Prefer to Teach by Myself.

This post was written in isolation.  So if it is a little scattered, you can blame my peer editors. In the spring of 2013, my district proposed the following questions to a cohort of educators: 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 work of the district? Individuals were asked to use these questions to guide the process of writing a proposal to change learning in their classrooms. That first question is quite personal.  It is not one that I think can start with a team of educators.  That first question requires ownership of an idea. It ties back to the idea of empowerment. Educational teams are essential, and each member can be engaged in

#IMMOOC Week 3.2: How Do I Quiz

Too often I hear the words student voice & choice smushed together. It's one thing to offer choice in your classroom, but how do you hear the voice of every student in your classroom? Voice in terms of where students are at in their learning, their struggles, and what is working for them is what should be driving the choices we design (or co-design) in our instruction. In a previous post, I discussed how I've changed up my quiz structure in the classroom.   This is thanks in big part to a tool called Pear Deck . They have a new free Google Slides add-on that makes creating interactive slideshows much simpler for everyone. Rather than explain what the Pear Deck add-on is, I'd like to walk you through a gif tour of how to use it.  To get the add-on start a slideshow and go to the add-on menu. Now you're ready to create a variety of interactive slides through the add-on.  You can edit anything on the slide.  The only rule is: Don't delete the banner

#IMMOOC Week 3: Why Do I Quiz?

The prompt for this week in the IMMOOC is What is one thing that you used to do in education that you no longer do or believe in? Why the change? When I read this prompt, the practice of mine that has changed the most and continues to evolve, my use of quizzes in the classroom. Forgive me if you've read me talk about this before.  But, it is a process that keeps evolving. As I began my student teaching and over my first decade of teaching, quizzes looked the same in my classes. There was a warning ahead of time for students.  Students were expected to study for the quiz. The quiz was a sheet of paper that had 1 or 2 sides of questions. Students would complete the quizzes in a silent environment with no interaction with other learners in the classroom. If they did not know the answer, they should make their best guess. I would take the quizzes home and return them the next day after putting scores into the grade book.  I've always been told that quizzes are formative

#IMMOOC Week 2: Coding is not Confidential

As a physics teacher, I am constantly looking for new ways for my students to conceptualize their knowledge and experiment with it. For this reason, I am always on the hunt for great new simulations. PhET Interactive Simulations have been a fantastic resource for my classroom. They are a great way for students to manipulate variables and see the effect instantaneously. These simulations aren't the only place they would see digital representations of physics. Every platform game has some form of a physics engine in it that students get to interact with. In my classroom, one of the games students analyze is Angry Birds. As I think more about this process on using simulations, I feel that there is something missing. Yesterday at the Wisconsin ASCD conference, I was able to hear Agnieszka (Aggie) Salter speak about the passion her elementary students have for coding in the classroom.  I honestly know very little about coding.  In fact, I dropped a Java course in college after