Category Archives: Connecting Ideas

Doodling the C’s – Lesson 04: Memory Boosters

How do we practice Information Age skills?  Which of the C’s do we actively engage with, share in the-struggle-to-learn with others, and intentionally insert into daily practice?

Creativity and innovation, Communication, Critical thinking and problem solving, Collaboration, …

Last week’s lesson was on faces and figures.  Lesson 04 is on memory boosters.

Complete the five Memory Boosters Lessons:

Project (pick one):

  • Create a 7.5 x 10 poster of Lessons Learned from the Building Blocks, Lettering, Faces & Figures lessons using these building block.
  • Create a 7.5 x 10 poster for an upcoming class or lesson.
    • Mind map of connected ideas
    • Important message
    • Pathway of success for an essential learning.

Remember… It takes practice.

  • Share your poster with someone and ask for feedback.
  • Scan or take a photo of your work and insert it in your Doodling the C’s Google doc, on your blog, or in your My Learning portfolio.
  • Bonus: Tweet a copy of your poster using the hashtags #ShowYourWork #TrinityLearns (or your school’s hashtag)

Doodling the C’s – Lesson 03: Faces and Figures

How do we practice Information Age skills?  Which of the C’s do we actively engage with, share in the-struggle-to-learn with others, and intentionally insert into daily practice?

Creativity and innovation, Communication, Critical thinking and problem solving, Collaboration, …

Last week’s lesson was on lettering.  Lesson 03 is on faces and figures.

Complete the four Faces & Figures Lessons:

  1. Stick Peeps
  2. Faces
  3. Emotions
  4. Sketch-note Example

Want more practice?  Experiment with these ideas.

Project (pick one):

  • Create a 7.5 x 10 poster of Lessons Learned from the Building Blocks and Lettering lessons using the building block.  (I like Jo Boaler’s stem:  I wish everyone my age knew…)
  • Create a 7.5 x 10 poster to describe
    • an important person or event
    • an important idea(s) from our current Read Aloud
 Remember… It takes practice.
  • Share your poster with someone and ask for feedback.
  • Scan or take a photo of your work and insert it in your Doodling the C’s Google doc, on your blog, or in your My Learning portfolio.
  • Bonus: Tweet a copy of your poster using the hashtags #ShowYourWork #TrinityLearns (or your school’s hashtag)

Doodling the C’s – Lesson 02: Lettering

How do we practice Information Age skills?  Which of the C’s do we actively engage with, share in the-struggle-to-learn with others, and intentionally insert into daily practice?

Creativity and innovation, Communication, Critical thinking and problem solving, Collaboration, …

Last week’s lesson was on building blocks.  Lesson 02 is on lettering.

Complete the four lessons on Lettering:

Project (pick 1):
  • Refine your poster from 01: Building Blocks to include lettering and depth.
  • Create a 7.5 x 10 poster for one of the following:
    • Main character from a favorite book.
    • Upcoming essential learning and its progression
    • New or upcoming vocabulary word, process, skill
    • …or something of your choosing
Remember… It takes practice.
  • Share your poster with someone and ask for feedback.
  • Scan or take a photo of your work and insert it in your Doodling the C’s Google doc, on your blog, or in your My Learning portfolio.
  • Bonus: Tweet a copy of your poster using the hashtags #ShowYourWork #TrinityLearns (or your school’s hashtag)

Making #LL2LU Learning Progressions Visible

From Chapter 3: Grading Strategies that Support and Motivate Student Effort and Learning of Grading and Learning: Practices That Support Student Achievement, Susan Brookhart writes:

First, these teachers settled on the most important learning targets for grading. By learning targets, they meant standards phrased in student-friendly language so that students could use them in monitoring their own learning and, ultimately, understanding their grade.

One of these learning targets was ‘I can use decimals, fractions, and percent to solve a problem.’ The teachers listed statements for each proficiency level under that target and steps students might use to reach proficiency.

The [lowest] level was not failure but rather signified ‘I don’t get it yet, but I’m still working.’ (Brookhart, 30 pag.)

How are we making learning progressions visible to learners so that they monitor their own learning and understand how they are making progress?

Yet is such a powerful word. I love using yet to communicate support and issue subtle challenges.  Yet, used correctly, sends the message that I (you) will learn this.  I believe in you, and you believe in me. Sending the message “you can do it; we can help” says you are important.  You, not the class.  You.  You can do it; we can help.

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Self-assessment, self-directed learning, appropriate level of work that is challenging with support, and the opportunity to try again if you struggle are all reasons to have learning progressions visible to learners.

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Making the learning clear, communicating expectations, and charting a path for success are all reasons to try this method.Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 6.32.15 PM

In addition to reading the research of Tom Guskey, Doug Reeves, Rick Stiggins, Jan Chappius, Bob Marzano and many others, we’ve been watching and learning from TED talks.  My favorite for thinking about leveling formative assessments is Tom Chatfield: 7 ways games reward the brain.

As a community, we continue the challenging work of writing commonly agreed upon essential learnings for our student-learners.  Now that we are on a path of shared models of communication, we are able to develop feedback loops and formative assessments for student-learners to use to monitor their learning as well as empower learners to ask more questions.

By learning to insert feedback loops into our thought, questioning, and decision-making process, we increase the chance of staying on our desired path. Or, if the path needs to be modified, our midcourse corrections become less dramatic and disruptive. (Lichtman, 49 pag.)

Are learning progressions visible and available for every learner?

  • If yes, will you share them with us using #LL2LU on Twitter ?
  • If no, can they be? What is holding you back from making them visible?

Brookhart, Susan M. Grading and Learning: Practices That Support Student Achievement. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2011. Print.

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Doodling the C’s – Lesson 01: Building Blocks

How do we practice Information Age skills?  Which of the C’s do we actively engage with, share in the-struggle-to-learn with others, and intentionally insert into daily practice?

Creativity and innovation, Communication, Critical thinking and problem solving, Collaboration, …

For Lesson 01: Building Blocks guided instruction, complete the four Building Blocks lessons from  Brain Doodles by Thomas Michaud (@mybraindoodles):

Project (pick one):

  • Create a 7.5 x 10 poster of Lessons Learned from the Building Blocks lessons using the building block.  (I like Jo Boaler‘s stem:  I wish everyone my age knew…)
  • Create a 7.5 x 10 poster for an upcoming class or lesson.
Remember… It takes practice.
  • Share your poster with someone and ask for feedback.
  • Scan or take a photo of your work and insert it in your Doodling the C’s Google doc, on your blog, or in your My Learning portfolio.
  • Bonus: Tweet a copy of your poster using the hashtags #ShowYourWork #TrinityLearns (or your school’s hashtag)

Doodling the C’s – Getting Started

How do we practice Information Age skills?  Which of the C’s do we actively engage with, share in the-struggle-to-learn with others, and intentionally insert into daily practice?

Creativity and innovationCommunicationCritical thinking and problem solvingCollaboration, …

At Trinity, a small cohort of faculty meet at either 7:15 a.m. or 3:30 p.m. to learn more about sketch noting.  We call it #doodling #TedTalkTuesday (or #TEDTalkThursday).  We meet, watch a TED talk, and doodle.  We share our work and offer each other feedback.

But, how do we differentiate for faculty unavailable at these times? In other words, how can we leverage technology to learn and share together?

Challenged by members of the Trinity Faculty to exercise creativity and critical problem solving,  I have started developing the following prototype to attempt to offer a solution to this identified need.

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At the end of these eight 75-minute sessions, participants should be able to say:

  • I can sketch basic elements of visual language.
  • I can use letters and numbers as images
  • I can doodle figures, sketch faces, and visually represent emotions.
  • I can use memory boosting techniques to learn to listen effectively.
  • I can show my work in public to share what I’m learning, to add to the learning of others, and to seek feedback to grow.

We will continue to meet face-to-face, in community, to learn together.  Will this offer additional friends and colleagues opportunities to practice, explore, and create with us?  Will we create another ripple in the pond?

Will you join us and add to our learning?


Shelley Paul (@lottascales) and I will be sharing our initial doodling experiences this week at GISA and GaETC, and inviting colleagues from Woodward #WAlearns and other schools to join us as we continue to explore visual thinking and graphic language for engaging with the C’s.

Enhancing Growth Mindset in Math – Learning together

We asked:

How might we, as a community of learners, grow in our knowledge and understanding to enhance the growth mindset of each of our young learners?

As a team, we have completed Jo Boaler’s How to Learn Math: For Students and have shared our thinking, understanding, and learning.

Blending online and face-to-face learning, we worked through the Stanford units outside of school so that we could explore and learn more when together.

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Here are some of the reflections shared by our team.

As a teacher my goal is to help children approach math and all subject areas with a growth mindset. It is of utmost importance that my students truly know that I believe in them and their ability to succeed!

Everyone my age should know that you should never equate being good at math with speed. Just because someone is a slower problem solver does not mean that they are a weak math student. Rather, sometimes the slower math thinkers are the strongest math thinkers because they are thinking about the problem on a deeper level. Being good at math is about being able to think deeply about the problem and making connections with it.

When talking to yourself about your work and learning new things, reminding yourself that you can try harder and improve is critical to potential success.  People are more willing to persevere through difficult tasks (and moments in life) when they engage in positive self talk.  

Mistakes and struggling, in life and in math, are the keys to learning, brain growth, and success.

Thinking slowly and deeply about math and new ideas is good and advantageous to your learning and growth.

Taking the time to think deeply about math problems is much more important than solving problems quickly.  The best mathematicians are the ones who embrace challenges and maintain a determined attitude when they do not arrive at quick and easy solutions.  

Number flexibility is so powerful for [students]. I love discussing how different students can arrive at the same answer but with multiple strategies. 

Working with others, hearing different strategies, and working strategically through problems with a group helps to look at problems in many different ways.

“I am giving you this feedback because I believe in you.”  As teachers, we always try to convey implicitly that we believe in our students, and that they are valued and loved in our class.  However, that explicit message is extraordinary.  It changes the entire perception of corrections or modifications to an essay–from “This is wrong, you need to make it right” to “I want to help you make this the best it can be,” a message we always intended to convey, but may not have been perceived.  

Good math thinkers think deeply and ask questions rather than speeding through for an answer.

Math is a topic that is filled with connections between big ideas.  Numbers are meant to be manipulated, and answers can be obtained through numerous pathways.  People who practice reasoning, discuss ideas with others, have a growth-mindset, and use positive mathematical strategies (as opposed to memorization) are the most successful.

We learn and share.

#ILoveMySchool