Category Archives: Technology

Common denominators – “Let’s see why”

Everybody knows that you must have common denominators to add fractions, right?  Do we know why? If asked to construct a viable argument, could we? Can we draw it (i.e., communicate why visually)?  How mathematically flexible are we when it comes to fractions? From Jo Boaler’s How to Learn Math: for Students:

…we know that what separates high achievers from low achievers is not that high achievers know more math, it is that they interact with numbers flexibly and low achievers don’t.

Today’s Building Concepts lesson: Adding and Subtracting of Fractions with Unlike Denominators, had our young learners working to show their understanding of adding and subtracting fractions in multiple ways.

Kristi Story (@kstorysquared) used a phrase today that has really stuck with me is “Let’s see why…”  It immediately reminded me of Simon Sinek’s How great leaders inspire action.

And it’s those who start with “why” that have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.

I wonder if, when young learners struggle with numeracy, it is because they do not see why.  Have they been so concerned with “getting the right answer” that they have missed the theory, reasoning, and geometry? photo[1]

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What if we  leverage appropriate tools and use them strategically? What if we use technology to personalize learning and offer every learner the opportunity to see why?


#LL2LU draft for use equivalent fractions as a strategy to add and subtract fractions.

Level 4:
I can solve real-world and mathematical problems involving the four operations with rational numbers.

Level 3:
I can solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem.

Level 2:
I can add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators, including mixed numbers, by replacing given fractions with equivalent fractions.

Level 1:
I can understand addition and subtraction of fractions as joining and separating parts referring to the same whole.

I can recognize and generate simple equivalent fractions, and I can explain why the fractions are equivalent using a visual fraction model.


#LL2LU for I can apply mathematical flexibility.

  Level 4: I can analyze different pathways to success, find connections between pathways and add new strategies to my thinking.

Level 3: I can apply mathematical flexibility to show what I know using more than one method.

Level 2: I can show my work to document one successful  method.

Level 1: I can find and state a correct solution.


#LL2LU for I can construct a viable argument and critique the reasoning of others.

Level 4: I can build on the viable arguments of others and use their critique and feedback to improve my understanding of the solutions to a task. 

Level 3: I can construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

Level 2: I can communicate my thinking for why a conjecture must be true to others, and I can listen to and read the work of others and offer actionable, growth-oriented feedback using I like…, I wonder…, and What if… to help clarify or improve the work. 

Level 1: I can recognize given information, definitions, and established results that will contribute to a sound argument for a conjecture.

#BrightSpot Ethnography and #Buoyancy using Twitter – Learning Together

To pursue bright spots is to ask the question “What’s working, and how can we do more of it?” Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, in the real world, this obvious question is almost never asked. (p. 45, Heath and Heath)

…“buoyancy”— a quality that combines grittiness of spirit and sunniness of outlook. (Pink, 4 pag.)

What if we broadcast bright spots of learning? What if we intentionally observe our community and culture through a lens that some might call rose-colored? How might we collaboratively and creatively tell the story of what is most important? What if we document and share small moments?

As we have seen, even the smallest moments of positivity in the workplace can enhance efficiency, motivation, creativity, and productivity. (Achor, 58 pag.)

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 8.32.53 PM

At the end of this 1-PLU course, each learner should be able to say:

  • I can contribute to the bright spot ethnographic data collection of our learning community using Twitter.
  • I can use the power of positivity to elevate the learner and learning in and out of school.
  • I can bright spot learning in our school and inform the larger community of the myriad of learning experiences that happen daily.
  • I can foster and develop connections with other educators and experts to expand my Professional Learning Network (PLN).

How might we learn more about our community and each other? What if we continue to develop a culture and a habit of positivity, bright spots, and buoyancy?


Achor, Shawn (2010-09-14). The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Heath, Chip, and Dan Heath. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Waterville, Me.: Thorndike, 2011. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. (2012-12-31). To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others (p. 4). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

PD Lesson Planning: Progress Report Ideation – Part 2

Last week I wrote PD Lesson Planning: Progress Report Ideation – Part 1 and PD Lesson Planning: Progress Report Ideation – Part 1 reflection to share my current thinking about lesson planning for PD sessions that mirror what we want for lesson planning for student learning as well as a reflection on the experience from my perspective.  Going in, I knew this was at least a 2-part session for our work.  Part 2’s lesson plan and my pre-thinking is shared below.

Progress Report – Faculty Ideation – Part II
February 6

VELD Meet in the Media Center near the circulation desk

12:30 – 12:35
Announcements
12:35 – 12:50
Gallery Walk to view all ideas – feedback and questions (see below)
12:55 – 1:10
Think, pair, share: In 2013, what should be included in a progress report?
1:10 – 1:25
Working with a partner: Draw, sketch, illustrate what the next iteration of
progress reports might look like at Trinity. Please sign both of your names on the back of the paper.  Give to Jill when finished.
1:25 – 1:30
Complete attendance and reflection document

ELD & ULD Meet in the Media Center near the circulation desk

3:30 – 3:35
Announcements
3:35 – 3:50
Gallery Walk to view all ideas – feedback and questions (see below)
3:55 – 4:10
Think, pair, share: In 2013, what should be included in a progress report?
4:10 – 4:25
Working with a partner: Draw, sketch, illustrate what the next iteration of progress reports might look like at Trinity. Please sign both of your names on the back of the paper.  Give to Jill when finished.
4:25 – 4:30
Complete attendance and reflection document


Gallery Walk 

Think, pair, share:

        • In 2013, what should be in the next iteration of our progress report?
        • Note: Let’s talk about what we should do, not what we are doing. Let’s talk about what will best serve our children and their families, not what we like and don’t like.

Work with a partner

        • Draw, sketch, illustrate what the next iteration of progress reports might look like at Trinity. Don’t be constrained by our current norm.
        • Please sign both of your names on the back of the paper, so that we can ask clarifying questions if needed.

Note: This is a continuation of the meeting last week

Look at a remix

      • Annie’s 1st Trimester 2012-13 Progress Report
      • Jill’s remix of Annie’s 1st Trimester 2012-13 Progress Report

I reviewed my original challenge, shown below, as I planned.

When designing professional develop learning experiences, are we as purposeful about the pedagogy and methodology as we are the content? Do we model with faculty what we want to see happening in our classrooms with children? Can we integrate technology? Can we model formative assessment practices? Can we design interactive learning experiences?

I, knowing that I’m wasting my time, downloaded every whiteboard photo from the  Flickr stream and inserted it into a Google doc hoping that some of the faculty will share their feedback digitally.

This time, I choose not publish the parameter for selecting your partner.  I intend to ask faculty to work with someone “not like them.” I do not want 2 science teachers or 2 first grade teachers as partners.  Once again, I reflected on collaboration by difference from Cathy Davidson’s book Now You See It.  Will faculty remember and consider how important collaboration by difference is in the learning process? We want diversity in the partners; we want collaboration by difference.

“Collaboration by difference respects and rewards different forms and levels of expertise, perspective, culture, age, ability, and insight, treating difference not as a deficit but as a point of distinction.”  (Davidson, 100 pag.)

Purposefully, we will use paper and pen for this ideation.  While we are still not making decisions, we want more permanence to the ideas.

So, in this one-hour faculty work session:

    • Faculty and I will access the Progress Report – Faculty Ideation – Part 2 Google doc for resources and the agenda.
    • We will use the white boards and the space in the Media Center for a Gallery Walk of ideas.
    • Faculty can use a Google doc to offer feedback on the ideas drawn on the shared white boards.
    • Faculty will work in pairs to draw, sketch, write, etc. on paper their ideas for a next step in our progress reporting.
    • Faculty will share the current version of their ideas by handing me these papers.  I will scan them to share them back to the faculty.
    • Faculty will offer feedback via Google form.

The plan calls for interactive learning for participants, some integration of technology, and a balance of technology and face-to-face engagement.  In my next post, I’ll share the outcomes from this hour of faculty learning.

Oh, and I have to remember to ask for feedback from both today’s session and last week’s session.  My hypothesis is that faculty thought of last week as Division Meetings rather than as Professional Development.  It was both.

_________________________

Davidson, Cathy N.  Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. New York: Viking, 2011. Print.

PD Lesson Planning: Progress Report Ideation – Part 1

When designing professional develop learning experiences, are we as purposeful about the pedagogy and methodology as we are the content? Do we model with faculty what we want to see happening in our classrooms with children? Can we integrate technology? Can we model formative assessment practices? Can we design interactive learning experiences?

On January 30, we were supposed to have division meetings concerning progress reports and how we report learning, progress, and growth of our young learners.  The weather (tornadoes in our area) caused us to postpone the meeting until Friday, February 1 – a scheduled teacher work day.  Positives for making this decision included taking care of our children and their families as  carpool ran in heavy rain and seizing the opportunity for all divisions to work together during the same time and in the same space.

The original lesson plan, shared to all participants on Monday via email, had to be modified as follows:

Friday, February 1 – Meet in the Media Center

10:00-10:15
Quick write and share, see below

10:15-10:20
Snapshots of other feedback options – don’t be constrained by our current norm

10:20-10:50
Transition to vertical teams.  Using the provided whiteboards draw, write, design, etc. the ideal progress report considering the child at the enter, families needed feedback, and teacher workflow.

10:50-10:55
Share with others.  If you’d like to share your ideation digitally, take a photo of your work and email it to walked60son@photos.flickr.com.

10:55-11:00
Complete attendance and feedback form.

Quick write and Share:
Individually respond to the following prompts – digital copy if you want to share

      • Bright spots from current practices in progress reporting:  What are some positives about our current progress reports?
      • Wish list for progress reporting:  What changes would make the progress report more personalized and put the child at the center?
      • Anything else?  Knowing that progress reports are an important connection between home and school, what would be in a progress report that is a joy to report (for teachers) and read (for families) rather than a stress?

Vertical Teams – (pick your team)

Teams of 6.  Please have at least one Specials Teacher in each team and strive to have multiple grade level representation in each team.

Note:  One member of each team should take responsibility for the team’s whiteboard. We will share our ideas next Wednesday.

Below is the slide deck for the quick write and snapshot of other feedback options.

Intentionally, samples of report cards are not included in the slide deck.  We should not be constrained by what we know and already do.  Can we brainstorm other ways to provide feedback about growth and learning?

Will having faculty work in vertical teams help or hinder the brainstorming process?  This past summer, as a faculty, we read Cathy Davidson’s book Now You See It.  Will faculty remember and consider how important collaboration by difference is in the learning process?

“Collaboration by difference respects and rewards different forms and levels of expertise, perspective, culture, age, ability, and insight, treating difference not as a deficit but as a point of distinction.”  (Davidson, 100 pag.)

Purposefully, whiteboards and dry erase markers serve as tools for this brainstorming session.  We are not making decisions; we are dreaming, doodling, and thinking. Would using whiteboards and dry erase markers promote non-traditional thinking?  I think of Seth Godin’s post, Fear of Bad Ideas, where he states:

The problem is that you can’t have good ideas unless you’re willing to generate a lot of bad ones.  (Godin, n. pag.)

I also think of Cathy Davidson’s point:

“It always seems more cumbersome in the short-run to seek out divergent and even quirky opinions, but it turns out to be efficient in the end and necessary for success if one seeks an outcome that is unexpected and sustainable.”  (Davidson, 100 pag.)

Can we have a “bad idea” festival? Because of the temporary nature of the tools, will we be more opening to sharing and dreaming? Will we share odd and quirky ideas in search of an outcome that is unexpected and sustainable?

The strength of using the whiteboards is also a “problem” to consider.  In this two-part series of meetings, will the ideas stay intact for a week – the time between the two meetings?  Can we use technology to preserve the ideas as a back-up?  I remembered how Bob Dillon (@ideaguy42) showed a use of Flickr.  Can we preserve the ideas by taking a photo and sending them to a common Flickr stream?

So, in this one-hour faculty work session:

    • Faculty and I will access the Progress Report – Faculty Ideation – January 30 Google doc for resources and the agenda.
    • I will use Keynote to prompt the quick write and share visuals of a few ways to report progress.
    • Faculty will write using their MacBook, iPad, PC Tablet, or paper.
    • Faculty will work in vertical teams to draw, sketch, write, etc. on whiteboards.
    • Faculty will share the current version of their ideas by emailing a photo to my Flickr account.
    • Faculty will offer feedback via Google form.

So, the plan calls for interactive learning for participants, integration of technology, and a balance of technology to face-to-face engagement.  Whew! Seems like a lot for an hour.

In my next post, I’ll share the outcomes from this hour of faculty learning.  As this is a two-part lesson, I plan to write and share the lesson plan and outcomes of part 2 soon.

_________________________

Davidson, Cathy N.  Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. New York: Viking, 2011. Print.

“Seth’s Blog.” Seth’s Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.

#PBL Must See: Brittany Wenger – Global Neural Network Cloud Service for Breast Cancer Detection – #TEDxAtlanta

“The more you know, the more you wonder.”
~ Brittany Wenger

This is must see if you are interested in PBL and integrated studies.

Meet 17-year-old Brittany Wenger:

We have got to ask:

  • What if we listen more closely to what interests our learners?
  • What if we strive to hone our skills as facilitators and coaches of learning?
  • How do we acknowledge that a learner’s interests and passions can drive them to learn and grow in ways we cannot predict?
  • How do we makes space in the day for choice, research, design, inquiry, investigation, failure, and success?  
  • How do we support personalized learning?

 _________________________

Many, many thanks to TEDxAtlanta and Unboundary for the joyful and challenging day of learning!  If you have not already, you should check out the rest of Edge of the South.

LEARNing: Using technology “differently” (#1)

Last week I was “schooled” in using technology by a first grader.  She was invited to write for edu180atl.  Her post was published on 5.2.12.  To draft her post, we selected two pictures to use as inspiration.  She wrote a story for each picture and selected one for submission.  HOW she used technology to write was a HUGE lesson for me.

She took my computer from me and wrote 3 sentences.  There was a word that had a red “crinkly” line under it.

 

The instant feedback transitioned the technology to teachnology; it caused her to ask herself questions.  Finally, she asked me how to spell inspired.  Then, she read her 3 sentences out loud and decided that she needed another sentence in between two of the current sentences.  (Do I do that when I write?)

She was determined to have 200 words, not 198 words or 205 words.  She wanted 200 words exactly.  She learned how to use the word count feature since both stories were in the same document.  She read out loud and deleted words.  She read out loud again and added words.  It was awesome to watch.  She chose to ask to have a “peer” editor.  “Are there 2 words that I can delete? I want exactly 200 words.”  How much more confidence would I have about my writing if I had published articles and ideas when I was younger?

This experience with my first grader makes me wonder about learning – well, anything – with technology.  What assumptions do we make about what learners will and won’t learn if we put technology in their hands?

“How can we focus on what we do best without missing new opportunities to do better?” (Davidson, 17 pag.)

_________________________

Davidson, Cathy N. “I’ll Count-You Take Care of the Gorilla.” Introduction. Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. New York: Viking, 2011. 17. Print.

Empathy: Testing and being tested

We regularly test our learners’ progress. How might we “walk in our learners’ shoes?”

On our last professional development day, our faculty participated in  the WayFind Teacher Assessment for Effective 21st Century Teachers, designed by learning.com.  It was a great lesson in empathy.  There were varied reactions (as you can imagine) from my friends and colleagues about the test and being tested.  I wonder how many of our student-learners feel the same when tested in class.

While clearly described as a diagnostic assessment by our co-Deans of IT, several of us experienced angst and stress about being tested.  I wonder how our students deal with this stress from 7 courses each requiring 4-7 tests per semester that are summative rather than diagnostic.  How often have I dismissed the nervousness of a student when they seek reassurance from me before a test?  (Shame on me!)

The WayFind Assessment was given on the computer.  How many of us wanted and expected immediate feedback?  It was given on the computer; why didn’t I get my results when I pressed submit?  I remember how irritated I have been with the children when they have circled back after lunch and asked if I have graded their papers.  Really?  I just gave the test before lunch.  When would I have had time to grade them?  We wanted to know our results because we were interested in the outcome.  We wanted to verify and see the results of our success.  Isn’t that what every learner wants?

Perhaps the most important of all the questions asked by faculty:  Can I have a second chance to take the assessment?  It was said to me at least a half a dozen times.  As soon as I turned it in, I knew more answers! I would do better the next time.

It is tough to walk in our learners’ shoes. So, what should be learned?

I have the results from my WayFind assessment.  I know where I stand according to the WayFind results.  What other lessons are to be learned from this experience?

I wonder if I (we) will learn the additional and perhaps more important lessons from the experience.

________________________

Following Quantum Progress‘s good example, I’m including my WayFind Assessment results below.