Thursday, August 18, 2011

August 18 Build You PLN with this PLN

Wowser ! Another great day!

Grammasheri GKid 1 of 10

First, I entered yesterday's blog in the dark back in the room as my roommate drifted early into sleep.  So I forgot to thank Tim Sorey for his always helpful and inspiring model of excellent teaching. He throws on instructional and collegial hats to guide us and join with us in discovering what works in our educational strategies and content. So, I just want to ask in thinking about properties of matter, or transfer energy, what are "thoughts"?

Next, what is my feedback? WOWSER!  All the presenters and presentations provided powerful paths to improve our teaching to improve student learning. The last two years, we have learned and shared from the best; this year the best of us and our former teachers shared those learnings as lessons we completed here and can conduct back at school from the modeling provided.  So thank you for:
  • Excellent presentators, presentations, lessons, discussions
  • Time for networking and idea sharing: discussions, both formal and informal
  • Active participation
  • Open and inviting climate
  • Intro to another reflective component of teaching: Lesson Study
  • Love Wenatchi Hall: what a beautiful building
  • Breaks, snacks, and a pig
  • Comfort Suites
So today, thanks to Kathleen Ferguson and Gary Morrison-Nelson for a thorough introduction to unit development with GLAD strategies.  The examples and adaptations from beginning to end with a fantastic handout really demonstrated how the process flows to help provide metacognitive strategies so students can continuously hook new learning to old, building new concepts daily and correcting misperceptions through the continual review of relevant concepts. Thanks so much!

Finally the dynamic jedi of Web 2.0 tools, Matt Brewer, inspired participants to build their Personal Learning Network -- expanding their current building and MSP network into the global community through the power of Twitter (@mbrewer_SL ). Be sure to read his Google Doc "The Power of My PLN" to learn from his "tweeps." Remember: five minutes a day could bring you a wealth of useful strategies, tools, and blogs to read. More suggestions for building a PLN from my blog: What Else Posts. Thanks, Matt for your fast-paced and hands-on session.

And as a thank you, I created a site for the MSP group: "This project shares some of the strategies and tools of social networking that help chunk learning so that teachers can intermittently through the teaching process assess the levels of understanding of students in their classrooms so that adjustments, reteaching, or extensions can occur to ensure all students learn."  Ask What Else:
I hope it is of some help to those learning Web 2.0 tools.

Thanks again for another great learning event.

Sheri Edwards  (@grammasheri )  What Else  Ask What Else: Tools For You
Reflect curiosity and wonder...
Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness..

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 17 Questions and Options

Questions and Options
Questions and options: that's what today emphasized.

What questions do you have?
What questions would you ask?
How else could this work?
How could this be adapted to other levels? other topics?

I just want to say that Nancy and Todd, Gail, Erin, Aaren, and Darrin (sorry about any misspellings) presented fantastic models of excellent lessons today. Every day so far these models for us offer such marvelous methods of how to adapt the 5Es to fit each and any topic and standard. If the kids in these districts represented by the teachers from the last three days are not learning, it's not because of the teaching or lessons.  These teachers are fabulous and I thank them for the time and effort taken to share with us.

Nancy and Todd presented something very simple that shared their way of teaching. While Todd engaged us in questions and options, Nancy annotated the information on the board. This demonstrated how each student for their labs creates a part/function list, a labeled diagram of the process, a flow chart of the system, and an organized list of all variables for their own inquiry. Their students apply systems and inquiry; they have practiced the standards of systems, inquiry, and application. Wowser.

Who wouldn't be excited to learn about Antarctica with a scientist as a guide? Another Wowser and thank you to Jeff Bowman for inviting us on his journey. To have a human connection, a real person students can know is so powerful for students to think, "I could do this." Such an inspiration.

And, of course, we finished our day with a network of friends and food. Thanks Jeff Bullock for understanding that people need to grow together to work together.

So here's a pictorial summary of the day. Enjoy, and thank you all.

Sheri Edwards
Reflect curiosity and wonder...
Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness..

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Aug 16 Docs in Motion

Another fabulous day in Wenatchi Hall, filled with openness on one side and the shadowed barriers on the other.

We shared ideas in a "Lesson Study" review of Dan Durr's lesson "Motion Probe Inquiry." Several different possibilities for alternative lessons were suggested. Most people enjoyed the freedom of the lesson -- a challenge to which we (students) needed to consider the elements, mathematics, and procedures to solve the challenge. I loved how groups shared their ideas, how the people who "knew stuff" jumped in and shared possible ways to proceed. People from different groups explained their strategies to others. Those with the confidence from their own knowledge brought in those with less confidence, explaining their thinking with math, diagrams, examples. By the end of the session, solutions were found and each person, I think, expanded their knowledge of lesson possibilities, student responses, and content knowledge. This was a powerful example of an open lesson.

Next, in Nancy Ridenour's excellent Google Session, we learned how easy it is to share ideas through the powerful collaborative tools of Google Apps. Everyone got the opportunity to create and share a document, and create and share a form. How great is that? How often do you get to actually play with the tools? That's the best part of expanding knowledge, and we use it in the classroom with kids; Nancy gave us the same consideration. Thanks!

When you sign up for a Google Account, you open your world up to 24/7 secure document access, with sharing extended to those you choose (one person, groups, public). What is Google Apps? Go to: Google Apps User Group Overview for many resources to learn about Google Apps. With one account, you can create online (public or private) documents, spreadsheets (and charts, tables), presentations, calendars, drawings, your maps, email, websites, photos, and forms (surveys, quizzes--self-grading, too). For a quick overview, click here; or the beginning here; for a ten-minute explanation of what and why, watch here.

How do I use Google? Here's our district website, my class website, and my class newsletter blog. Our technology meetings occur via Google Docs-- we discuss and collaborate on our own times: because we wear so many hats, finding time for a face-to-face meeting is difficult. Our student area is private, and our 6, 7, 8 grade students create pseudonyms ("code names") for all their online work. They link to templates for assignments that include links to areas for research; students copy the template, renaming it with their code name and sharing it with the teacher. Teachers can offer feedback through both comment features (on the right side of the document as we saw in Nancy's demo, or insert comments to specific areas), and students will share their work with a peer for peer feedback. Revision history shows who did what. All this work is available anytime, anywhere. Google has passed the strictest government security requirements; YOU control what is shared and to whom. I have created a shared document with links to information on using Google in the Classroom: Google Apps? For What? If you and your students have access to computers, even just a few in the classroom, Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is a great investment (free). Many classes have sets of iPod touches, and use Google docs with them.


In groups or in Nancy Ridenour's Google Session, we discussed barriers to many issues: vertical alignment, technology in the classroom, open lesson format. Sometimes, the solutions are outside the box and some are unsolved.

At any rate, the day was great. Thanks.

Sheri Edwards
Reflect curiosity and wonder...
Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Prevent Eroding Lessons; Direct the Flow

Fun in the Coulee

This afternoon, thanks to Ralph Dawes, we studied water flow: It's downhill. To prevent lessons from eroding into bits of facts without substance, try the Lesson Study approach. Our school's observation expectations include the components of Lesson Study:
  • Steps of Lesson
  • Expected Responses
  • Teaching Points (goals)
  • Formative Evaluation (what did the students learn: how do you know; what are the next steps)
By preparing for an expected range of possible student responses, lessons can be altered on the spot depending on what the students demonstrate. Instead of losing momentum in the flow of the lesson because of misconceptions and lack of background knowledge, the lesson will simply flow in a new, needed direction because the possibilities of student reactions have been considered.

I hadn't read "Science Formative Assessment" by Page Keeley, but have borrowed it from the former science teacher for this week. Just skimming through it, I see strategies I already use in the classroom (Four Corners, Fish Bowl, Annotated Drawings, Concept Comics, Reciprocal Peer Questioning, Think-Pair-Share). I can't wait to learn more.

I enjoyed the reflection and discussion at the end; I could hear how others see the application of ideas for their particular situation, which adds to my own set of possible application choices. Just hearing others thoughts suddenly brings clarity to my own ideas, sometimes to seemingly unrelated issues. It develops links within the brain so the flow of concepts connect in one more way.

"A scientist's aim in a discussion with his colleagues
is not to persuade, but to clarify.

~ Leo Szilard, American Scientist

Sheri Edwards
Reflect curiosity and wonder...
Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...

Move it!

Monday 8/13

Acceleration is a change in velocity.
ninja town 024
Think about what's happening to the movement in time and space of this thin ninja. How is s/he "speeding up?"

/// / / / / / /

Since the intervals are increasing in distance in increasing amounts, the ninja is speeding up exponentially.

/ / / / / / / /

This ninja is accelerating at a constant rate because the distance intervals are equal.

However, if you read Bruce Palmquist's comment below, you must remember this:
" Your middle ninja is accelerating at a constant rate. But that rate is zero because her velocity is constant."

/ / / / ////

This ninja was accelerating at constant pace (see first four intervals) but then decreased acceleration (last three intervals).

What acceleration do you see with this ninja?

/ / / / / / / / / /////

How could you apply ninja's in your class?

Photo Credit: by glascow's finest.

Flickr CC

Sheri Edwards
Reflect curiosity and wonder...
Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness...


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Vocabulary Views

Our school is focusing on teaching reading in all content areas. I have been directed to teach reading during fifteen minutes of my writing classroom. Another area we must delve into is parent involvement, for which I have created reading homework assignments, based on the grade level expectations for grades 5 ,6 ,7 ,8. Those assignments can be viewed and downloaded here. I developed these from a template at TIPS: Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork.

One assignment deals with vocabulary. We use this in our class also. Here's our class activity (similar to our vocabulary homework assignment). Our students vocabulary repertoire is not diverse. We've been building fluency through re-readings and note-taking (another blog on that later), but even after re-reading, note-taking, and discussion a Martin Luther King, Jr play several times, two students asked, "What is a protest?" Never think students "get it." Some one or two or more is stuck, lost because their vocabulary and the schema that accompany it are incomplete. Therefore, I developed this vocabulary activity that has really helped my students. The most important part is this one:
Students choose ten interesting words while re-reading the text. I ask for "interesting" words, because I want them to choose good words, whether they know them or not. It sets us up for success at learning words we may not know.

The important directions:
Choose two words. List them inside the triangles. Write two details from your text that relate to each word. Put the details on the lines next to each triangle. On the third line, write a connection you have to each word.

By re-reading the text that contains their chosen vocabulary word, they are finding the context within which the word is used, thereby building their schema and understanding of the word. Every student found appropriate text. Then, through our discussion of the words and their contexts, the students could add a connection: an experience, an opinion, a movie, etc. It has been one of the most powerful lessons I've created. Wowser for us!

This would be easy to re-create just within a discussion or notes during any class. What do you think? Could you use it? How would you adapt it to fit your students and their needs?

Go here, scroll to Vocabulary_2.pdf, to download.

Sheri Edwards
Reflect curiosity and wonder...
Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness..

Photo Credit:
Question Mark CC 2.5 by Inductiveload via Wikimedia Commons

Other Resources from TMTW Wiki

Friday, August 20, 2010

MSP August 20

Life, the Universe, and Everything

42 things I've learned from the MSP Camp

Find them in the margins of Encyclopedia Galactica
which I dropped over Europa-- on the ice raft at left

Look it up on your next trip to Europa.
But I do have my towel -- do you have yours?

Thanks to all; looking forward to a great year !

Photo Credits:

Europa: NASA

Douglas Adams on TED
Douglas Adams on TED
Sheri Edwards
Reflect curiosity and wonder...
Go boldly and scatter seeds of kindness..