Covington’s Math Teachers: Meeting Their Students Right Where They Are in Their Learning Journey

 Covington’s 7th grade PLC decided to tackle a common problem by collaborating and ultimately creating a “just-in-time” learning experience for their students.  This team of math teachers wanted to figure out how they could support their students in filling in knowledge gaps while still moving forward with the 7th grade math standards.

We all know firsthand that if we aren’t using a subject or chunk of knowledge, we are apt to forget it. With this acknowledgement in mind, the teachers decided to use their PD time to create a data base of videos, notes and practice that students can access any time via ItsLearning and OneNote.

The goal is for students to access this digital resource twice a week for 20 minutes while the teachers meet individually with five-eight students during this work time. While the rest of the class is accessing this “just-in-time” content, the teachers are conferring with students on an individual basis and learning more about each student’s learning journey.

Join us in the Tech Sandbox!

Just the right mix of support and exploration.

When it comes to integrating tech into the classroom, most people need time to explore and someone in the wings who can be available to answer questions. 

Your EdTech Team will be hosting a Tech Sandbox for teachers of all grade levels at Frontier Middle School on June 26, 27, and 28th. 

Drop into the sandbox at anytime to explore these tech tools: Hapara, OneNote, Google Classroom, It’s Learning, and Seesaw.  The entire EdTech Team will be available to answer questions and support you right where you are with the tools that you need.

  • If you’d like a short introductory face-to-face launch, check out the schedule here.
  • Miss the launch? No worries! Anytime video launches are available for Hapara, Seesaw & Google Classroom.  The EdTech Team will also be available to help you get started on OneNote and It’sLearning as needed.

The Sandbox is open to teachers and staff of ALL grade levels.  Come and play with us!

Modeling is More Than Replicating

Students often examine and interact with models as they learn content. But is it really modeling when students create a 3-dimensional representation of a cell?

cell model

We’ll use the word “modeling” here to refer to the practice of developing and using models in science. Teacher modeling of behaviors, skills, and cognitive routines is incredibly important in classrooms, but this post will focus on students’ interactions with conceptual models.

From the page 50 of the Framework for K-12 Science Education:

Science often involves the construction and use of a wide variety of models and simulations to help develop explanations about natural phenomena. Models make it possible to go beyond observables and imagine a world not yet seen. Models enable predictions of the form “if … then … therefore” to be made in order to test hypothetical explanations.

Creating the cell representation pictured above might demonstrate a student’s ability to design to criteria or to recall the shape of organelles, but it isn’t really an explanation or prediction. Continue reading “Modeling is More Than Replicating”

Now Even More Great Courses in the One by One Line-up! Check it out!

Now there are even more great courses to choose from in the One by One line-up!

Did you know that our conference will be opened to the public on Monday, May 22nd? Be sure to register now to ensure that you have first chance at the courses that are best for you! Spread the word!

Library Girl Jennifer LaGarde brings us…

New Tricks for Old Dogs: a BreakoutEDU Experience

The interwebs are for more than just getting information.  There is a whole host of tools that can transform learning in your classroom – some of them have been around for decades.  In this session, we’ll teach some of those old dogs to do some new tricks while immersed in a BreakoutEDU experience that is a digital and physical hybrid. Strategies for introducing this type of activity to your students and the tools used to create it will be shared. (3-12)

An Act of Justice: The Roles of School Librarians in Breaking The Cycle of Poverty

If, as Nelson Mandela said, “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” school libraries represent a unique and powerful opportunity to impact our most vulnerable students.  In this session, Jennifer LaGarde explores ways in which we can build school library spaces and programs that both help students living in poverty envision a better life but that also, empower them with the skills and abilities necessary to achieving it. (K-12)

140 Character Love Story: Harnessing The Power of Twitter for Professional Learning.

When teachers connect, students win! Still, there are far too many educators who have yet to take advantage of Twitter as a tool for building professional relationships, growing a personal learning network (PLNs) and finding resources to improve teaching and learning for students. In this session, we’ll focus on why being connected matters and participants will leave with a vast array of resources to help make becoming a connected educator easy! (K-12)

Moving from Decoration to Documentation: Creating Library Spaces That Matter

First impressions matter. And in this session, participants will explore ways to create library spaces that not only cultivate learning, but that also reflect innovative practice.  With an emphasis on tips and suggestions from the field, that can be achieved on any budget, the focus of this session will be to help School Library Media Coordinators create spaces that leave every visitor (be they a student, parent, principal or school board member) absolutely convinced that the work happening in the library is both aligned to school-wide goals AND positively impacts student learning. (K-12)

Read. Tweet. Repeat.  Using Social Media To Cultivate Communities of Readers.

Instead of trying to compete with it, let’s harness the power of social media to generate excitement about reading, spark meaningful conversations and build the types of communities that support a life long love of reading. From #2jennsbookclub to #30secondbooktalks, this fun, interactive session is all about using the tools of today to keep our students and colleagues reading tomorrow. (3-12)

Katherine Livick, Professional Development Manager for Digital Learning, ESD 112 brings us…

Google My Maps in the Classroom

Did you know that your Google Apps for Education account includes the ability to create and edit customized Google maps? My Maps offers unique possibilities for fun, engaging, and student-centered learning across many content areas and grade levels. Come and check it out! (3-12)

Coding with Ozobot and Google Blockly

What can you do with a cute little robot that fits in the palm of your hand? Lots! This session will give you an overview and demonstration of how Ozobots can be used to teach coding, logic, and engineering concepts with students as young as third grade.

HEALTH WARNING: Please note that the Ozoblockly demo will involve rapidly flashing lights. Attendees who may be prone to seizures should use caution if attending this session. Please ask the presenter if you have any questions. (3-12)

David Jakes, expert in Personalized Learning Environments brings us…

Learning Space Design Challenge!

Great design starts with a sharpie, post-it notes, and trace paper.  In this session, begin developing the skills of an educator-designer that can help you to re-think and re-create learning spaces.  Work individually or in teams to create new designs that support new conditions for learning.  You’ll be challenged to sketch and draw like an architect, iterate your designs, and begin developing a design lens that helps you look at space differently.  You’ll have a chance to experience new furniture first-hand and incorporate it into your designs.

Our session goal will be to create a gallery of new spatial designs that can showcase the potential of educators to redesign their current spaces or create new spaces that dramatically impact teaching and learning. (K-12)

Beyond the Steel Frame Desk:  Why Furniture Matters

All educators can visualize the typical classroom and the traditional furniture that it contains.  But the vision of what the classroom is, and how it supports a contemporary learning experience, is rapidly changing.  For this to occur, there needs to be a fundamental change in how classrooms are designed to support student learning.  

In this session, you’ll have a chance to experience an essential element of that re-design process first hand – classroom furniture.  Learn what is available, the capabilities and the nuances of modern educational furniture, and how new furniture can directly support the design of new student learning experiences.  Join us to sit, stand, push and pull, swivel and rock, and learn what’s beyond the steel frame desk!

Workshop:  Understanding and Creating Next-Generation Learning Spaces

How people work, learn, and engage with others is dramatically changing.  New opportunities to connect with people, to resources, and to ideas emerge daily.  At the same time, new physical and digital spaces have emerged that support these new connections and opportunities.  As expected, these shifts have compelling implications for how school learning spaces are designed and how they function.  

In this workshop, learn about the trends and patterns that are impacting school learning space design.  We’ll examine classrooms, libraries, makerspaces, and digital spaces to see examples of best practice design and how these emergent trends are being incorporated into schools.  You’ll learn learning space basics, the language of learning spaces, and how to use a design process to create any type of learning space.  

This workshop is highly participatory and will provide you with the opportunity to evaluate your beliefs about the importance of learning spaces, how spaces impact teaching and learning, and how next-generation learning spaces are created and employed to provide students with the opportunity to engage and learn in new ways.

Tim Lauer, Director of Digital Learning for Evergreen Public Schools brings us…

Using Social Media to Tell Your Story

Schools can either tell their own story or let someone else tell it for them. They can highlight the work that exemplifies their mission, or they can put the power to choose in someone else’s hands, and then find themselves misconstrued or unfairly criticized. This session will explore a number of resources that allow schools to capitalize on the power of Social Media and ways to celebrate the best in your classroom, building, library, or district.(P-12)

Using Remind to Communicate with Families

What is Remind? Remind is a communication messaging service for teachers and administrators that allows them to reach parents and students via text messages. Parents opt in to receive announcements and other class/school communications. Many Evergreen teachers and administrators already utilize Remind to communicate with families and students. Learn how they use Remind to increase family and student engagement. (P-12)

Creating a Classroom or School Blog Using WordPress

Blogging is a great way for teachers to share the work taking place in their classrooms with parents, peers, and the larger school community. This session will introduce you to setting up a classroom blog. Participants will learn how to use WordPress to create and publish content. Participants will leave the session with a functioning classroom blog. (P-12)

Fake Fake News

Earlier this month I offered some resources that teachers could use to help fight fake news (see below for the original post). I realized recently that it may (unfortunately) be necessary to define exactly what “fake news” means since it can readily be seen and heard in at least two very different contexts.

The first way to interpret “fake news” is the way I intended it to be interpreted in my post. Let’s call this “real fake news” (I know that is a bit awkward). This would be something published (in print, on-line, on TV, etc.) that is created purposefully to mislead. An example of this kind of “fake news” you may have heard about in the real real news (confused yet?) about Macedonian teens who made lots of money by fabricating fake news designed to get clicks (clicks can equal $$ on the internet).

Adding to the confusion is the President who had done his best to redefine the term fake news by using it to describe legitimate media outlets who happen to report something unflattering to his administration such as this tweet from April 25:

“Don’t let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL. It will get built and help stop drugs, human trafficking etc.” 

Politics aside, this re-branding of this term very likely has created even more confusion for young people trying to figure out their world (and trying to figure out who to trust).

 

Here is the original post with resources for addressing fake news:

Fighting Fake News? Try these Online Resources

One of the key pieces of life-long learning that teachers can instill is the ability to question and evaluate information. For help teaching students about how to fight fake news, check out these free online resources:

Revoicing: A Tool to Engage All Learners in Academic Conversations

kids talk nissenAt a session at the Washington Association of Bilingual Educators conference I attended last month, the speaker, Sarah Ferris, is an ELL Coach in the Bellingham Public Schools, presented her teaching tip article called Revoicing A Tool to Engage All Learners in Academic Conversations. I found it very helpful in naming some of the work and research I’ve been trying with teachers this year to get ELLs talking in the classroom. I linked it above in hopes that you will find or be reminded of some helpful ways to increase talking in your classroom through teacher revoicing, paraphrasing and questioning strategies.

Remember, if students can hear it, read it, and say it, they can write it and that will translate into comprehension and application!

This school year I’ve been lucky enough to be in a position where I am able have time allotted in my day to research, plan, co-plan, collaborate and co-teach best  and next practice lessons with teachers to work toward getting students of differing levels of English language proficiency contributing to the classroom conversations. It has been a blessing to be able to set goals to actually get students talking in classrooms instead of trying to get them to be quiet enough to get anything done!

Now you might think I’ve completely lost my mind but I assure you, kids talking in class, and I mean talking about the things we want them to be talking about and using the language we want and they need to be using is actually really good! We know that in order to understand and communicate what we learn, we do that through the vehicle of language. To be able to understand what we read and learn, to communicate in oral or written word, to process, comprehend and communicate complex thinking, we need to have the language to do so.

Here is an example. ELL students do plenty of inferring all day, in all situations of their lives, not just school.boys talk nissen The newer they are to the English language, the more they have to infer about what is happening around them to function, fit in, navigate life and ultimately to survive, let alone learn. Yet until you explicitly teach students what inferring means, how, when and where we do it and name it, they have no idea that is what they are doing all day. We have to provide the language, the structure of how and when to use the language, and to then help them identify how using inferring gets to deeper levels of thinking and understanding.

Part of the process of language learning is the act of using the language in all domains of language acquisition. The domains are reading, listening, speaking and writing. Reading and listening are receptive language functions and speaking and writing are productive language functions. They all go together. If students are listening and reading and taking information in, that is good AND they also need to be producing language in the forms of speaking and writing to really understand and go deeper in their application.

Understanding all of the above leads me to this…We have to get our ELL students
involved in academic discussions in our classrooms all day in all content areas!
This year I have been working with teachers on ways to get ELL students engaged through sentence frames, sentence starters, and learning tasks that involve students posted framestalking to each other in whole group, small group, and partner work. We have been finding our ELL students making gains in their writing as a result of the explicit instruction, scaffolding, and increased talk time for all students. Sentence frames have provided access for academic language and how and when to use it and discussion frames have promoted real conversation and dialogue.

 

Happy talking!

Rhonda Walton

ELD Specialist, Marrion Elementary

Take the Challenge

reading-without-walls-logoExpand your reading horizons and take the Reading Without Walls challenge! National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Gene Luen Yang, calls us all to read without walls, exploring books promoting diverse understandings and opening readers’ eyes to new ideas and experiences.   To take the challenge:

  1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you.
  2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about.
  3. Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun.
  4. Invite  others to do the same!