Category Archives: 21st Century Learning

7:20 TED talk and doodle session #TrinityLearns #showyourwork


(sketch by @katonims129)

How might we experiment and learn together about creativity, communication, critical reasoning, and collaboration? What if we risk, practice, and share to make our thinking visible? How will we grow and learn if we practice and accept feedback?

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 8.30.28 PM

As you can see from the email above, Kato Nims and I have been experimenting with sketch noting or doodling to take visual notes since the beginning of the school year.

Twenty-four of our colleagues responded that they would like to participate on Thursday with several more asking for another session next week because of carpool duty.  The little experiment turned into a bigger experiment.

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 8.58.38 PM

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 9.00.37 PMEighteen of us gathered in the Art room at 7:20 this morning and another six met this afternoon. We watched Kiran bir Sethi teaches kids to take charge and sketched.

We shared our sketches and ideas in small groups and debriefed the experience.  We will try again next week. I wonder who might take action on this experiment in other venues to learn with others.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Resources shared in our session:


Back to school: Pre-Planning 2014 agenda and opportunities

How do we celebrate our culture and show quick snapshots of what we value to new members of our community? How do we leverage digital tools to communicate, collaborate, and take control when we have choice?

As a Leadership Team, we designed an agenda for celebration, learning, and teaming.

We use Google docs and spreadsheets to communicate, collaborate, and choose time slots for learning.  The tweets shown are linked back to the source if more detail is wanted.  There is a quote from each of the nine summer reading books to offer a snippet from the books not chosen by any member of our community.

How do we celebrate our culture? How might we leverage digital tools to communicate, collaborate and offer choice? What if we up the ante on our infusion of the 4 Cs?


#LL2LU Fractions – we are smarter than me & modeling C’s – #MPVschool & #TrinityLearns

A new definition of strength: Can we learn together? What if we collaborate, ask for feedback, and lean in to leverage expertise and perspective of others?

If we truly believe in communication, collaboration, and the other C’s, how are we – as lead learners – modeling and taking action?

<Note the timestamps in the following communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving.>

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 9.20.13 PM


“Hear” snippets of Nicole’s thoughts as she is developing the assessment shown above:

    •  I’m  writing a mathematics unit for a grade level that I have never taught to learn, to  help my team, to help our young learners.
    • This is hard.
    • I’m trying to model backwards design unit planning (Grant Wiggins hung the moon, most recently evidenced by his math blog post today). Stage 2 (How will I know when they have learned it?) must come before Stage 3 (the learning plan). Teachers should have access to the assessments (formative and summative) at the beginning of the unit.
    • Our learning outcomes are all I have to work with.  Reading these standards in depth helps me some, but I need feedback.
    • I heart Google.
    • The “I can…” statements need to be student-friendly. They will be directly related to the standards-based rubric we will need to create.
    • I’ve worked through several leveled assessments as collaborations with classroom teachers, but I have yet to write one independently.
    • Wait, why am I writing this independently? It’s nearly midnight. I’m sending this to Jill.

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.09.54 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.09.34 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.08.44 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.08.56 PM

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.10.19 PM

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.10.03 PM

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.09.05 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.09.44 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.10.12 PM

“Hear” snippets of Jill’s thoughts as she gave feedback and edited the assessment shown above:

      • Wow…Such good work.
      • Level 1 “I can decompose a figure into equal parts. I can name each part.”  
        • I wonder if decompose is a 3rd grade word. (I do not know.)  I also wonder about “partition” as a 3rd grade word.
        • I wonder if you are having a resolution problem with the shapes in Level 1. The image shown is a rectangle, not a square.
        • I wonder how successful a child can be partitioning the circle without having the center marked and using a compass.
      • Level 2 “I can represent a fraction on the number line when some fractions are given to me.“  
        • Can we eliminate the word “some” and/or simplify?
        • What if we say I can represent fractions on a number line?
        • What if we add number lines to identify fractions before asking students to take action on number lines? Just this month, Jennifer Wilson and I presented on conceptual understanding of fractions and the new way to convey a consistent story using number lines. 
        • My TI-Nspire software and the fraction lessons will give me number lines. I’m not sure about mixed numbers and partitions past 1, but Nicole will know.  At least adding a visual might help.

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 7.10.26 PM

Nicole thinking:

How on earth did Jill create this fancy number line in a Google doc? I like her train of thought here but think the visual at it stands now will be too hard for grade 3 students.

Jill’s thinking:

Right. Number lines too hard. Would it be easier if we think together now that we are both awake?

Below is a copy of the next iteration of this assessment after a Google hangout discussion and co-learning conversation.

How might we collaborate, ask for feedback, and lean in to leverage expertise and perspective of others?

A new definition of strength: We are stronger than me. Learn and share!

[Cross posted on Curriculum Reflections] 

@HughHerr’s TED talk on new bionics celebrates humanity and shows need for mashup of STEM and Design Thinking

Hugh Herr: The new bionics that let us run, climb and dance is a must watch for all.

How are we intentionally creating opportunities for learners to engage in human-centered problem-solving, integrating studies, and teaming with others?

thinkering and applying – #MakerEd #LearnAndShare

On February 26, I participated in a workshop with Lindsey OwnVinnie VrotnyJaymes Dec, and Andrew Carle on Maker Education.  It was AWESOME! (You can read a summary of the details of the workshop on Lindsey’s blog post, #MakerEd at #NAISac14!) I applaud their plan, pedagogy, and execution. It was a real workshop with learner choice and learning by doing. Here’s a glimpse of the action:

Image by Lindsey Own; used with permission.

My favorite of the experiences was the sewing station.  Using a strip of felt, snaps, an led, a battery, and some conductive thread, I created a wearable circuit. Now, I have to confess that I have, in my past, co-taught calculus-based physics to seniors.  While I was the calculus person on the team, I did quite well with circuits. I could read most problems, draw the circuit (in parallel or in series) and answer the question posed by the book.  Sewing my bracelet at NAIS was the first time I ever created, touched, designed a circuit. Amazing and sad at the same time.  How much more would I have understood about physics if I’d had the sewing experience first?

I wanted to have two leds on my bracelet.  In conversation with my 9-year old, she asked if her bracelet could have her name as well light up.  Trying to apply her ideas into my learning, here’s the next iteration in my learning:


I used 18 ct Aida cross stitch fabric and DMC thread to produce my bracelet.  I tried to capture the process in pictures.

I am grateful to  Lindsey OwnVinnie VrotnyJaymes Dec, and Andrew Carle for the experience at NAIS.

How might we connect ideas with our learners? How might we ramp up design and hands-on experiences to make additional opportunities for curiosity, creativity, critical reasoning, communication, collaboration, and control?

Developing a Virtual Learning Community – #T3Learns session

How might we stay connected, offer additional ideas, and share experiences with others? What if we leverage social media tools? How might we continue to lead learning without stretching ourselves too thin? How might we continue to contribute to our learning community when we are apart? How might we be more intentional in PD sessions to foster continued learning? What if we explore effective use of tools to develop and maintain connectedness and build learning communities? Will we learn and share?

Jeff McCalla, @jmccalla1 and Confessions of a Wannabe Super Teacher, and I facilitated a session for T3 instructors on building and maintaining learning communites to learn, share, and support learning.  Our lesson design, strategies, and resources are shared on the Developing a Virtual Learning Community Google doc.  We were charged with the responsibility to lead a session for T³ instructors to  brainstorm and share useful strategies to connect and learn from and with others. At the end of this session, our community should be able to say:

    • I can contribute to learning communities both face-to-face and virtually.
    • I can use social media to connect with fellow T3 instructors before , during, and after PD.
    • I can use social media to connect with participants before, during, and after our PD.

We ran 4 sessions today – all very different.  Jeff is a master of the art of questioning. He guided the discussion and connected to the learning plan while accommodating the learners in the room.  At each session we answered questions concerning the how and why of Twitter and blogging. His blog post What Super-power do you want? offered a grounding story for our discussion.  (Read comments by Bo and Jill to learn more.)

Here are snippets of our conversations, learning, and questions.

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.37.47 AM Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.37.47 AM Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.38.13 AM Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.38.33 AM Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 7.41.53 AM


Reflection: gift of time and reflection with Honors College learners

Leveraging the power of PLNs, Grant Lichtman (@GrantLichtman) connected Bo and me with Dave Ostroff (@DaveOstroff) sometime last summer.  In November, Grant suggested that I might enjoy spending a day learning with All Saints Episcopal School and Dave.  He was right.

Today the freshmen of the Tad Bird Honors College, Dave, and I gathered to learn together.  We accepted the challenge of the Gift Giving Project. Each member of this community committed to reflecting on some aspect of the experience tonight.  So, I am fulfilling my commitment to share what I learned from and with these 17 exceptional thinkers.


I like the tone and spirit of this group of learners, because I felt invited and accepted even though I was a stranger.  I wonder if this was because it was the second day of class and everyone is new to each other, or if this is a cultural norm.  What if we intentionally designed learning to be this open and accepting of others in all classrooms? How might we change education and learning by having this strong open door, all are welcome attitude everywhere?

I wonder if these learners know how powerful their work is and will be as they continue to problem find and problem solve together. I like how easy it seemed for them to roll up their sleeves and do the critical empathy work to actively listen and probe to uncover the root problem of their user.  What if we apply this work to local and global problems? How might we serve our communities by taking the time to ask enough questions to really hear and uncover needs?

I really like how fearless these learners are in their pursuit of understanding others and how they might serve one another.  I wonder if their fearlessness is understood, noticed, and acknowledged.  How might we bright spot the beauty of the risk and reward of listening with your heart? What if we practice sharing the unnoticed gems that require such bravery?

I love seeing the ideation of ideas. I love seeing them turn their 2-D drawings into 3-D prototypes to visualize point of view and possibilities. I wonder about the impact of the process and the product. What if we took the time to show what we know and think by building models of our ideas? How might we embrace additional creativity, communication, and collaboration by such acts?

I love the stories that accompany the ideation and prototyping. I wonder how we might capture the emotion, energy, and connectedness in these stories to share with others. What if we build to learn, create to communicate, and share? How might we better understand each other?


Accepted as a co-learner and embraced as a colleague, I learned with this community today.  How might we learn and share and connect and serve? What if we accept this as a responsibility?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.