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Showing posts from March, 2018

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

Georgia on My Mind

Personal events this week have forced me to ignore any prompts and go from the heart. Fourteen years ago we brought home a 12 week old puppy. We named her Georgia (after the song but there is a constant battle over which version is better Willie Nelson or Ray Charles) and have cared for her ever since. This past weekend, our poochie passed unexpectedly. To say it has thrown me out of sorts would be an understatement. But, like usual my work carries me through. My affection for Georgia has been one of the strongest insights students get about me as a person. When they make their passion pages in their portfolio on day 1, they see Georgia at the very top on my passion page template. She is also the lock screen on the iPad students use to log into resource block. And she’s the wallpaper on the laptop I use in class. So even though I don’t spend much time in class talking about my dog, students have picked up on how big a part of my life she is. It’s amazing how many st

Feedback is More Than an Add-on

In modern PD, we spend a lot of time discussing the why of adopting new practices. But this week in IMMOOC , we are focusing on the how.  Specifically, the prompt I’m focusing on is, “How do you create more opportunities to connect and provide effective feedback to support those you serve?” I’d like to focus this post on the #1 tool I use in class for feedback, Pear Deck . Pear Deck is a great tool for students to interact with a presentation. It allows for collecting student thinking to drive instruction and creating opportunities for student reflection during instruction. Students can interact via any web enabled device from a laptop to a smartphone. It is a gigantic leap over clickers and tools like poll anywhere because of the interactions it allows learners to have and the forms of feedback that can be collected. With the recent addition of the Pear Deck add-on for Google Slides, I think it’s a great time to share more information about, how it can be used. Pear Deck

Unicorn Marshmallows Aren’t Innovation

I really like cereal. When I was a kid, I used to come home from school everyday and have a bowl of cereal. I was a big fan of Cookie Crisp, Cap’n Crunch, Franken Berry (never Count Chocula), and Lucky Charms.  While Cookie and Cap’n are fairly homogeneous. With Lucky Charms, it was a mix of lame cereal pieces and marshmallows. I mean come on, I can have marshmallows as food! I would sit in front of the TV watching GI Joe and eat a bowl (no milk just munching). Of course, I would eat the nasty oat cereal pieces first and save the marshmallows for last. Back when they were first introduced, Lucky Charms only had 4 marshmallow shapes: pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. As time has passed, more have been introduced. I specifically remember the addition of purple horseshoes.  Shapes have come and gone, but they don’t taste much different and those oat based cereal pieces have stayed relatively unchanged. Listening to the latest episode of the IMMOOC podc

When Assessments Smother Learning

Last week, I was reaching the end of a unit on forces. We did a few hands-on labs and the centerpiece of the unit was a maker activity in which students designed and built chariots for Spheros that could carry a passenger of at least 200 grams. They then had to program the Sphero to make 3 loops around a small track in the shortest amount of time while still carrying the rider. So when the activity was over, it was time to think of the unit assessment. I spent a day coming up with several different options for learners to investigate forces or come up with examples or find videos from YouTube and apply Newton’s 3 laws to them. That’s when I realized I was ignoring what was in front of my own face. My students were highly engaged in the Sphero activity. Why was I trying to create a whole new scenario when I could use this highly motivational activity to frame the summative assessment? It made me think, how often am I forcing learners to lose the momentum of a positive lea

Steps Towards the Center

Two years ago, I posted about what my ideal learning environment would be . The two years since I wrote that, I’ve been able to realize a little of what I thought. The idea of implementing passion projects in my physics courses has helped allow a real opportunity for learners to bring their interests into the classroom as I help find those connections between a learner’s passions and physics concepts. Moving to a more learner centered environment is a very daunting task. As we see videos online and hear stories from radically progressive student centered environments, it seems like an impossible shift to make. That’s why it’s so important for educators to see models proposed by great minds like Katie Martin who are able to get to the fundamentals of what make these experiences outside of the physical, for lack of a better word, “stuff” that first catches our eyes. In Learner Centered Innovatio n, Katie outlines 10 characteristics of Learner-Centered Experiences. A