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Showing posts from July, 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

Cooking my Content

I was lucky enough to see Dave Burgess speak today.  It was amazing. I’ve read Teach Like a Pirate but the presentation I was able to be a part of what speaks to one of his many messages. It's not just what's on the page. It's how we bring it to life! This is just a quick reflection. Content and standards are raw. They can be presented to learners, but that doesn’t mean they will be edible or nourishing. They won’t be coming back for more. In fact, they may take a bite and spit it out. They may even have a violent reaction to it. This summer, I’ve been working to design curricular units aligned to Next Generation Science Standards. I’ve been feeling great about my work. Until I started to hear Dave speak and realize how much I hadn’t thought about before I think about moving forward. Have I preheated? I can’t just put the lesson out there unless the stage is set. Have the students been primed to l

Building Student Centered Lessons

One of the goals of many new standards being proposed across the nation and globally from CCSS to NGSS and ISTE is to put students at the center of the learning experience. To "take ownership" over the learning. Katie Martin in her book Learner Centered Innovation lays out the 10 Characteristics of Learner Centered Experiences. If you haven't read her post highlighting the characteristics, read it here.  As I look to align my curriculum for the upcoming year, it is not as easy as it sounds. In a passion project situation student questioning leads them to new understandings that take them beyond content goals of my classroom. But when student questioning is supposed to lead to content (and skill) mastery it can become tough to guide that process. That is one of my biggest fears about our upcoming school year. When students ask questions, how can we honor them. In our new science standards every unit is guided by a real world phenomenon that addresses the content ou

Learning Forecast

My spring break is filled with little jobs I like to accomplish. One of those jobs is switching over the garage from winter to summer. See in Wisconsin, we truly have 4 seasons. Every year there is around a 100 degree difference between our coldest winter weather to our warmest summer weather. We get feet of snow in the winter and dew points above 70 in the summer. Every spring break, I am excited for the great garage switch over. The snowblower gets packed up and put in the back and the lawn mower gets pulled out an put in the front. The problem is though, the grass is never ready to be mowed over spring break and many times we haven’t seen the last of the snow for the year. This year we got several inches of snow shortly after the break so I had to undo my work just to get the snowblower out. Yet, I still find myself sticking to this yearly plan despite the fact that the weather doesn’t comply with my plan. A few years ago during a technology refresher for our school gradebo

What's the Deal with NGSS?

Thirty nine states in the US have either adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) or have used them as a guide for developing their own newly adopted standards . I am very pleased to see this movement as it represents a paradigm shift of what learning should look like in the classroom. As I look to align my classroom to the adopted Wisconsin State Standards (which have a great fidelity with NGSS which is why I’ll be referring to NGSS in this post), I’d like to use this post to give a brief overview of how these standards are unique and the difficulty in implementing them with true fidelity.   Three Different Dimensions Unlike a traditional list of science standards, the NGSS have been divided into 3 different categories or dimensions. These three dimensions are Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs), and Crosscutting Concepts (CCs). I hope I haven’t just lost you. Let me walk through what each of these three dimensions entails.

Raise Your Tiger

I was lucky enough to be able to see a screening of the new documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor today and was moved to reflect a bit. The documentary chronicles the work of Fred Rogers on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood . This post will be a bit scattered, but the film spoke to me and I had to put down my thoughts for myself more than anyone. I was a child who was raised on PBS, specifically Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. I am a parent of immigrants. My father worked long hours so I rarely saw him during daylight hours. My mother never had a day of formal schooling until she was in her 50’s. So in many ways, these shows were a strong learning tool until I began attending preschool. But, that story of my life as a first generation American and my parents is a tale for another day. My graduate work this summer has been focused on curriculum work. In all of that research into the complexity of the standards, it can be easy to lose the heart of our work. In an archival in