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.

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”

Meeting a Rock Star

A few years ago Eddie Vedder threw me his tambourine during a concert. I like to fantasize that he picked me out of the crowd because my praying mantis-like dance movements caught his eye; in reality I just out-jumped the people around me to snag it spinning in the air above our heads. Still, I felt connected to my musical idol in a way I never had before. (Humor me here.)  Continue reading “Meeting a Rock Star”

What’s the Work During Modeling?

Having looked at conceptual modeling in science last spring, this might be a good time to consider some questions about instructional modeling in any content.

Instructional modeling of strong and weak work is a key practice for helping our students meet their learning targets. Sam Bennett emphasizes modeling during mini-lessons and catches in That Workshop Book as a way for students to develop as readers and writers.

So what are students expected to do during the time that teachers are modeling? Do students know what they are expected to do? How can we help them get the most out of these minutes? Perhaps we need to engage students in some meta-modeling: demonstrating the thinking and reflective practices that we want students using as they observe us modeling. Metacognition is critical to all phases of learning, including instructional modeling.

Modeling strong and weak work is included as the second strategy of Jan Chappuis’ Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning. While it is a common practice to show students positive examples of work that is proficient or exemplary, sometimes we forget the value of modeling weak work. Not wanting to point fingers at struggling students, we might avoid sharing examples of student work that needs improvement. But in order to help students notice and be able to articulate the differences between strong and weak work, we need them to observe, discuss, and make comparisons for themselves. The act of comparing and identifying areas to improve becomes the student work during modeling. Two ideas for making modeling weak work a safer activity for students:

  1. Using the teacher’s “work” as a weak example. This provides a safer opportunity for students to examine work critically as they provide feedback to the teacher instead of one another.
  2. Looking at weak work or incorrect responses and asking “Why might an intelligent person have thought ____?” This creates an opportunity for students to be critical and identify misconceptions, while still honoring the thinking of students who might hold those same ideas.

What strategies do you use to help students get the most out of instructional modeling? Please share in the comments below!

 

Jennifer LaGarde Working With Evergreen Teacher Librarians

We are happy to share with you that Jennifer LaGarde will be working with us this year helping to support the work of our Teacher Librarians. Jennifer is a nationally recognized school librarian and she works with school districts around the country providing professional development and planning support. We are please to have Jennifer working with us throughout the 2017-2018 school year.

This week Jennifer is visiting 9 of our schools, and will be helping to lead our elementary teacher librarian Job-a-Like meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

 

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