Join Us for the Educator Development Series on Wednesday!

The Educator Development Series. It’s not just for new teachers!  The series is designed to facilitate learning for teachers who desire to shore up their foundational knowledge and skills. Personally, I am an educator who is always in need of shoring up in at least a couple of areas!

The series is hosted monthly at Cascade Middle School. This Wednesday, choose from a variety of breakout sessions including Elementary Reader’s Workshop, NCTM’s Effective Math Teaching Practices for Secondary, and much more.  Feel free to join us for any part of the series that fits your specific need, or sign up for all of it! This is a voluntary professional development opportunity. Clock hours are available if at least three hours or more of the series are attended throughout the year.

Teaching Students How to Call Bull

The University of Washington introduced a popular course this year called something very close to (but slightly more vulgar) Calling Bull. This course was designed to give students the intellectual tools to recognize and address fake news, inauthentic use of data, and pseudo-science.

They developed a companion website (with the same vulgar name) and shared it with the world. They received enough inquiries from secondary school teachers that they created a mirror website that scrubs out (most of) the vulgarity (see they last paragraph below for an explanation of that qualifier). While I don’t personally give a… let’s say darn… about the vulgarity of the original website, having one without the reference to excrement in its title is helpful in the public school arena.

Secondary teachers, especially teachers of contemporary world issues courses, may find the resources on the Calling Bull website helpful.

My favorite resources are the case studies which illustrate real examples of instances where a good bull detector would be helpful for consumers of information to have.

I also like the Tips and Tricks for Spotting and Calling Bull that explain how to approach information

There are also videos of lectures that address such topics as causation versus correlation, the manipulation of visual data, and reproducibility. These videos have not been scrubbed of the vulgarity described above so use with students is not advised. That said, they can still useful to the harder-to-offend teacher who wants to better understand these (and other) concepts as they relate to spotting and addressing bull.

To protect Constitutional rights, citizens must first understand them

Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat: I still get the local paper delivered in print on my front porch (well, sometimes it only gets as far as the driveway). I’m sure I could get the information I need via free, online avenues but I think it is important to support the local paper so I consider the money I spend on my subscription a bit of a donation (don’t contact the IRS: I do not claim this donation on my taxes).

In that print copy of my local paper this morning was an interesting editorial about the state of civics education (or lack thereof) as well as a call to action to improve it.

You can read it for free here but if you think being informed about your local community is important, you might just decide to subscribe. You don’t have to go print as they sell unlimited access to their online content as well.

 

The Origin of T.I.D.E.

Phase 1: A Small Epiphany:

It doesn’t take much of a look into the ideas of Design Thinking, Project Based Learning (PBL) and Cultivating Innovation to see their value in a 21st-century classroom. But finding places where they fit into the curricula, the classroom and the schedule takes a bit more imagination.d55733bf215489c554002c271a08db44--moro-be-ready

In Education, we have never been shy about figuring things out as we jump into them (building the plane as we fly). No reason not to use that approach with makerspaces and PBL. Unfortunately for most of the elementary schools in our district conversations around these topics ran aground when the topic of space came on deck. It was therefore hard to move the idea of a makerspace forward without a viable space option.

On the other hand, dropping the idea of cultivating creativity and a problem based challenge because we lacked a creative solution to a real world problem seemed the wrong way to go.

Now, an epiphany, however small, is still a good starting point. So when the idea of a trailer filled with tools and supplies was suggested, the collective ‘hmmm’, was a place to begin. It turns out one trick for going from small educational epiphany to reality is getting the right people to go hmmm.  It also turns out that getting the right people to listen is an odd combination of luck, chutzpah, and repetition. In this case, we hit that trifecta back in June of 2016.

Here our origin story has more growth spurts, lulls, awkward steps and moment of brilliance than any middle schooler.  Limited only by what we could dream up we moved from trailer to retired school bus, with a custom paint job, and started to imagine what the gang from Overhaulin’ or Pimp my Ride would do in this challenge.8b28c4415a67a9dbf510df93cc519900

Several times in that process we lost vision of our purpose and had to step back. (Sadly, as cool as an observation deck on top of the bus sounded, we couldn’t make a direct correlation between that and developing curriculum based problem solving skills so it had to go.) This brainstorming, imagining, even spit balling, of ideas allowed us to expand the concept as much as it forced us to define achievable goals. In the end, the goal boiled down to this:

Our mobile makerspace would provide classroom teachers with the people, plans, and parts needed to add project based learning to the curriculum they were already engaging with. Some of these would be projects that teachers couldn’t realistically do without “the bus.” Others would be ones they could but hadn’t thought of. We would be engineering ways to bring PBL into curriculum and classrooms.

The more jaded among us will simple smile knowingly as they read that the project lost funding before it even began, thus joining countless other good ideas never brought to fruition. Those more tenuous among us will smile and nod to read that sometimes the declarative statement “It’s not in the budget,” has a silent yet at the end that changes its meaning. In a system built with safety in mind rather than exploring, asking to tinker around with a custom fab school bus is not going to make the top of the funding, priority list without plenty of patience and pushing.   When our yet finally worked and money was found we were not exactly ready, but we jumped into action, mostly…

(to be continued)

Clever Badges Now Recommend for Use with iPads

The following information was shared with Elementary Academic Coaches and Elementary Teacher Librarians…
 
Recently we shared with you Classlink QuickCards (QR Code based login) as a method for younger students to easily log into apps for use on our iPads. Unfortunately, we have discovered some inconsistencies with Classlink Cards not logging students out of apps, thus causing the possibility of a student not being logged out when another student logs into Classlink on the iPad.
 
Clever Badges Recommended
Because of this inconsistency, we are no longer recommending the use of Classlink QuickCards with our student iPads. We are now suggesting that students utilize Clever Badges as the preferred method for accessing curricular tools on the iPad.
 
When using Clever Badges, it is important to remind students to log out of any apps they have opened using the badges and to also log out of Clever when finished.
 
Printing Clever Badges
For information on printing Clever Badges, please follow the link below.
 
Teachers can access Clever for Evergreen here:
 
Classlink Quick Cards and Chromebooks Working Properly
For those using Chromebooks, Classlink Quickcards continue to work properly and should be used to log younger students into Chromebooks. 

Panorama: Measuring and Supporting SEL

We have a number of assessments in place to measure and help support students’ academic learning, but that’s only one component of student growth. What about social and emotional learning (SEL)? How will we measure and support student growth in non-academic areas that are so crucial to both academic learning and life in general? How do we increase student voice in the work we do in schools?

 

Panorama Education | Supporting Student Success

Introducing Panorama – a suite of new surveys and supports for promoting SEL within Evergreen Public Schools. Continue reading “Panorama: Measuring and Supporting SEL”

Defining Authenticity in Historical Problem Solving

As I have investigated personalized learning in general and project-based learning (PBL) more specifically, one of the concept I have wrestled with is authenticity, especially how it relates to a study of history. This article from Edutopia has some interesting and illuminating ideas about where teachers (and students) can find authenticity within the “bumper guards” of grade-level historical content defined by the state.