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Showing posts from December, 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

May the Failure be with You

I like Star Wars.  I like it a lot. There are so many great lessons and quotes from the films. Yoda has to be one of the most quoted educational scholars ever.  That includes even in the newest episode “The Last Jedi” He has a great line about failure There is great power in learning from failure and I think many educators are embracing this. At times, though, I feel like rather than learning from failure, we’re failing and just redoing. I’m forgetting to make the learning from failure intentional. Am I placing as much importance on the learning as I am the grade recovery? Am I failing my learners in the process? When I think about the teachers in Star Wars films, they are not so good at providing safe environments for learners to fail. Ben Kenobi who allows his student Anakin to burn in lava and leaves him for dead Yoda who lets Luke go off and have his hand cut off by Darth Vader Luke who is driven to the point where he almost murders Ben Solo while he sle

Practicing off the Menu

Understanding one’s learning preferences is so important for any individual to be able to truly take control of his or her own learning. I’ve been incorporating choice in summative assessment for a couple of years now. But, I had been struggling this year when it came to thinking about providing more opportunities for students to choose their own practice options.  Who knew my inspiration for a possible solution would come from Panera.   I feel like this is not an original idea at all. But, it’s new to me so I want to share it out. I have often heard of student playlists and menus of options, but wasn’t sure how I could put that idea into practice. That was at least until I asked my students what options they wanted for practice. They gave me a variety of different options to build from. Using these student generated options, I created a Pick 2 Practice menu inspired by Panera.    A Pick 2 Practice session will run one day in a block.  It happens the day after a topic

What's the Deal with EdCamps?

I really enjoy attending educational conferences. There are always great keynotes and session speakers. But, many times I’ve been looking at session schedules and have chosen the least objectionable option.  Those times when nothing was related to my content area or professional goals. In these cases, I end up sitting in on a session that may not be applicable to my situation. No matter how engaging, it’s a hourlong experience that will not inform my practice. When I went to my first EdCamp in 2013, I didn’t know what to expect.  I had heard it called an UnConference, but that did not prepare me for the unique experience I had there. It was held on a Saturday in May at an area high school. I was amazed to see how many energized educators were present.  So often, I am used to people checking their email or doing work on laptops during the opening of a convention with a passing glance to what is going on up front. The opening of an EdCamp is energizing.  It is a model of how we ca

The Future Starts Now

When looking to implement change in my classroom, I often think big.  I spend time with great ideas that I will put into place when I have the time to sit down and plan them out. Too often, these great ideas become a low priority when faced with the day to day management of my workflow. So the change I’m looking to implement doesn’t get addressed until I have the time to plan.  That means during summer vacation. It’s a problem that the change I’m looking to make doesn’t happen until I have time to address it because it feels too big. With the help of Kate Sommerville from the Institute of Personalized Learning , I’m going through the process of mapping a classroom constellation that brings personalized learning to life in my classroom. I have been on my PL journey for several years, but this process has …. (explain how it has helped structure, support, grow your practice??). One of the key steps in the process is creating an action plan for immediate implementation. A

Canvas LMS Flipgrid Integration

I am really loving the Flipgrid app in Canvas. Why? It allows students to access class grids right from Canvas without having to share out links or codes. It allows me to create a Flipgrid response as a Canvas assignment. Students can turn in assignments as a Flipgrid response. With Speedgrader in Canvas, I can quickly see who has and hasn’t responded to a Flipgrid just like any other assignment submitted to Canvas. So, I wanted to share out how to easily add it to your canvas course. If the GIFs are too small for you, I created a quick video below. From Setting in Canvas, go to the Apps tab. This sets up a specific Flipgrid for your course. The Flipgrid can then be accessed via the side navigation by you or students. You can easily create assignment submissions to be Flipgrid responses during assignment creation. Students can easily submit their assignment directly to Flipgrid from the assignment page. Here’s the video compilation of th

Removing Grading Gives Freedom to Learn

We just finished our unit on energy in my physics classes. The unit centered on 2 major activities, a 3 day activity in which students built marble roller coasters out of pipe insulation and a 2 day activity in which students built virtual rollercoaster using an iPad app called Coaster Physics . Both of these activities were connected to the topics we were covering in the unit such as potential energy, kinetic energy, and the law of conservation of energy. But there was no required formal write-up or submission for either.  At the end of the unit, students had a variety of choices for the focus of the summative assessment. Two of the options were an analysis of the data from the different coaster activities. So for many students, the work done during on these activities over 5 days was never formally graded. As you can imagine, both of these activities were highly engaging. In the marble coaster activity, students worked in groups to create a functioning coaster with multiple