Saturday, March 11, 2017

Implementation

Something we have been spending a lot in our region this time of year doing are learning walks.  We take a group of teachers to neighboring districts to watch classes throughout the day with a overview in the morning and a debrief at the end. With so many districts and teachers that we cover as facilitators, we get a chance to not only facilitate the discussion for the teachers participating but we also get to visit numerous teachers in our region in one day.

The most exciting part is when I step in to observe with a group of teachers and I see implementation of a technique or tool that I know a teacher just saw or heard about at a training or conference.  Just this week we visited a middle school ELA teacher, Eric Gustavson, that had taken something he saw at IETA in Boise with a great presenter Abbey Futrell in February and had it up and going in his classroom.

Do you spot it?  Mr. Gustavson attached Plickers to his numbered chromebooks in his 1:1 classroom with velcro.  Students had finished reading Newsela articles and took the quizzes, Plickers were then used to facilitate a discussion around the questions - not "what was the right answer to..."  This encouraged the students to analyze the questions and pick one where the answers fit one of the following categories:

A - Seemed Obvious
B - Two Good Choices
C - Confused You
D - Tricky Trick

Mr. Gustavson used the answers he collected from his students to call on and have them share the question they were thinking of from the quiz.  They were expected to be ready and the class held a 25 minute discussion around the questions they encountered.




Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Students Contributing to Classroom Blogs

One of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) student standards focuses on communication and collaboration; that students must communicate, interact, and publish with peers and experts using a variety of digital tools.  

What do you have students doing in your classroom to meet this standard?  One suggestion could be to have students write posts to a classroom blog.

Often times teachers are so busy during a jam packed day, they don’t have time to sit and write a blog post of classroom  happenings.  Thus, it becomes another after school extra added onto the full plate taken home each evening.

Solution is simple, let the students be blog authors.  

You can share rights with student accounts so they can become blog authors, but with this method you will need to change these rights each year.

An easier method to consider would be to have students email their blog posts into the blog.  As a student composes an email, the subject of the email is the title of the post, and the content of the message is the post itself.  Images can be included in the post.

Blogger settings have email options, providing you with the email address in which to send the post.  Many teachers prefer to have the option set on draft mode so they can preview the post before publishing.


By doing this students simply email in their post, the teacher proof reads the content, then publishes when ready.  All author credit is referenced to owner of the blog, so little students names are not taking part of this social media platform.  Some teachers have younger students create "pen names" using their favorite characters as an example, as explained in this blog post.

Have a designated blog author for the week.  Choose at random a few authors each week.  Have students write blog posts at least once every two weeks as a task they need to complete.  

Students will be motivated authors regardless of how you implement.  And you will be sharing stories of classroom happenings beyond the Friday folders that are sent home.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

We are at NCTies17!

We flew across the country to join thousands of educators at NCTies in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Don't worry, we will take lots of notes for all of those back home!

While we are here we will be presenting a few sessions:
Loving the student exhibits!  

Thursday, March 2nd
Transforming Compliance to Engagement 3:15 - 4:45pm in Marriott University A

Friday, March 3rd
Motivational Hooks to Provide Student Curiosity 11:30 - 12:15pm  in 302A

Checks for Understanding/Formative Assessment Tools
12:30 - 1:15pm in 306A

Resources will be posted before each session from this google site:
NCTies 2017 Empower the Classroom


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Every once in a while...

It's time to readjust!

Over the past year, our roles have shifted a bit at IMESD and with that our focus has shifted.  With the increase of instructional coaching that we've had the opportunity to do, we wanted to take our two "old" blogs and shift to one with the focus being - EMPOWER THE CLASSROOM.

What does that mean?  Will we still share tech tricks and tools?

Of course!  But we wanted to be sure we were focusing not just on the tools - but on the whole picture.  Best practice, classroom management, share amazing things that are happening, and of course, still the tool that we come across and how to bring it effectively into your classroom.

We hope to empower not just the classroom, but each teacher we work with and their students.  We hope to even share the empowerment with your administrators and others who stumble upon this blog.

Our old blogs are still live - so no tools are lost... but we hope you find this site to be useful, fun, and empowering!

As always, contact us with any questions, thoughts, or leads on amazing things that are happening in your corner of the world.  We love to come be a fly on the wall and share your greatness with everyone else!