A letter to parents: I want you to know…

Dear Parents,

As your child’s teacher, I want you to know;

I am not perfect, I will make mistakes.

I am constantly working on learning about my trade and how to be the best I can, so your child is excited to come to school each day.

As your child’s teacher, I want you to know;

I want to work with you to do what is best for your child.

Please reach out, I am here to listen.

As your child’s teacher, I want you to know;

I work long hours attempting to create engaging, and inspiring learning experiences so that your children will develop to be lifelong learners.

I believe that every learner in my care deserves the very best that I have to give.

As your child’s teacher, I want you to know;

I will not do it the way it has always been done because it is easy, I will do what I believe is best for each child even if it is hard.

Every child deserves a champion, and I hope that I can be that for every single child in my care.

As your child’s teacher, I want you to know,

I will love your child, as you do, unconditionally, without judgment,

In hopes that I can have an impact and inspire them to use their gifts and talents to make a difference in our world.

Sincerely,

Your Childs Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

Ideas, Long Term Memories and Actionable Energy

I’ve been thinking a lot about ideas recently.  What they are made up of, about how we exchange, share, elaborate on, and then send them into the world.  I wonder, do ideas follow the law of conservation of matter and energy?  Are ideas, like matter and energy, not created or destroyed and only changing form?  Do they also follow Einsteins famous equation, E = mc2(squared), (where, E is energy, m is mass and c is the speed of light,a constant) which in simple terms tells us that mass and energy are equivalent?

This made me think of my tribe, the #4OCFpln Voxer group where ideas flow at the speed of light.  As I listen to and engage in dialogue I am exposed to many differing perspectives on topics we discuss!  As a result a lot of the ideas become part of my long term memory.  And long term memories have mass.  So, if mass and energy are equivalent, those ideas in long term memory can be changed into energy and, according to the famous little equation, more mass more energy.

I can say that the ideas that I have collected, and created long term memories for have in fact created the energy for me to take action to improve myself and my profession (actionable energy) including:

  1.  Writing this blog.
  2. Trying so many new things in my classroom.
  3. Starting the process of looking into becoming an administrator.
  4. Being vunerable by sharing my #five4five challenge
  5. Reading, Reading, Reading, Reading, Reading
  6. Having the courage to speak up about issues in my school building
  7. Engaging in and leading book studies on Voxer
  8. Doing my first CoffeeEdu next Saturday
  9. Starting the planning process to create an Edcamp in the fall.
  10. Potty PD
  11. Created sketchnotes for the book, Let Them Speak
  12. And so much more….

Take the time to share, discuss and formulate ideas with other educators.  You may find ideas coming at you at the speed of light.  Just hold on, listen, share your own ideas and you may find, like me, you have the actionable energy to do things you never thought possible.  Find your tribe.  You are welcome to join ours, #4OCFpln.  Warp speed ahead.

 

What if… #IMMOOC 4 Week 1

Something interesting happened when I forgot to set a Google form that I was using as a formative assessment to “Limit to one response”.  Students who noticed this and weren’t satisfied with their results immediately retook the test.  At first my response was to stop them from doing it, but I then had a thought.   I’ve been reading, Learner Centered Innovation, by Katie Martin and was inspired to ask: “What if students could reflect on and retake an assessment until they showed proficiency?”   I thought, what is the harm in having them do the corrections in the moment, and learn and grow from their misunderstandings immediately?  Why not?

Our school uses a standards based grading system.  Students are encouraged to retake assessments and for most content areas it is a combination of correcting wrong responses and retaking.  For a while now I’ve had my students prepare for retakes by writing out (digitally or by hand) the correct response and then conferencing  with them, before or as the retake.  Then a couple weeks ago I forgot to limit the number of tries students could have on that Google form.  I found out that I didn’t need to conference with every single student as I always had done.  Some students simply needed to see the solution to make a change in their understanding.  I changed the form to include a reflection question for them to respond to after retaking the assessment.

Why Not_ (2)

Student response,

“I thought the distance jumped meant one for every jump, up and down. So I did 10 times one for every jump so I incorrectly read the directions. I now know the jump means up and then down, so really it was 20 jumps. I also messed up on the displacement because I thought that she moved 1 meter each time from when the base of the trampoline. I also now know that force and distance is how the work is done because distance is how far the object moves and the force makes that happen.”

Its not a perfect response or a process, but it does allow for the students to own their learning and recognize how they have grown in their understanding!  Having a record of the reflection also allows the teacher to check in and have a starting point for conversations with students.

This is how the data looked without any retakes.

Why Not_

This is data with original data and only the highest retake score if a student choose to retake.

Why Not_ (3)

Overall this process shifted from a bell curve to a plateau with only a couple students near the bottom and most students at the top!  I’m excited to continue this practice.  Student feedback is next!

The bell curve wasn’t the only thing that shifted.  My mindset shifted to explore the new and unknown as I asked, “What if?”  I realized that these changes can be small and have a major impact on my students understanding of the content!

 

 

Who is your Slimetist?

My niece Emma is a Slimetist.  That’s right, a self-proclaimed 11-year-old Slimetist!  You may have one in your household too.  She has made about seven gallons of slime, watched just about every video on every variation on how to make it, and has done this all on her own time.  She is problem-solving, thinking creatively, using the scientific method and math skills to do something she loves.  She inspired me through her genuine enthusiasm and passion that was shining through when she talked about it and made me realize that I need to provide these types of experiences for my students.  She showed confidence and used communication skills as she filmed her own 45-minute video (which we edited to about 14 minutes).  She’s even considering creating a slime business. As I listened to and watched her I couldn’t help but wonder, why is it that most students don’t have time to do this type of work at school?   and …  How can I  provide more opportunities like this for students to follow their own line of questioning in order to show understanding, application, and synthesis of the science content that they are learning in the time they spend with me? As education evolves we are all faced with this challenge of helping students to develop the skills for solving the big problems of the world.  This year I want to work on creating opportunities for my students to begin to look for and find their own inner slimetist.   So where do you get your inspiration from to do better for your students?  Who’s your slimetist?

Check out her video here:  Emmas’ 1st How to Make Slime Video!

 

 

 

 

…I see… #IMMOOCB1 #IMMOOC

In thinking of where education is headed, I truly see students as the creators of content and change.   In helping students to connect with professionals for a year long passion project I have been seeing the potential that connecting students with these professionals can do.  What if students had direct access to the huge knowledge base from all the professionals in our communities?   What if there was a more organic connection between business and education that gave students a way to be able to contribute in authentic ways with those professionals to develop their passions earlier.  Students creating content for their communities!

What if students were also able to reach out to other students to ask them the questions they have about the geography, economy or political systems in their areas instead of hearing it second hand from a teacher or text?  I believe that connecting students to students through this creating of content for each other will help to build a more tolerant, understanding and truly connected world.  Students creating content for students.  This is the vision that I presented in my application for the Google Educator Innovator Program.  I didn’t get it this time…however I know I can do better and hope to do a better job as I misinterpreted  the number of characters as number of words and had to butcher my writing in the last 30 minutes before it was due!  I can’t wait to try again and do my very best!  :):):)

 

 

Learn on!

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

                                                  -Nelson Mandela

It is official!  I am now a Google Certified Educator Level 2, which has been about a year and a half in the making.  You can do it too!

It was a smooth process to complete the online self-paced training and being able to complete the units on my own time made it possible for me to fit the learning into my schedule.  I enjoyed integrating what I was learning into my instruction which allowed my students and me to learn together!   The new challenges in learning about and integrating the tools into instruction and sharing them with students were well worth a little bit of struggle as new things were presented and tweaked to work in our learning environment.   

I highly recommend to anyone using G suite that they also access the training that is available through Google Educator Training.  Each individual unit can be done in a short period of time and you don’t have to do them in order so you can learn what you want or need to learn!  The ability to take a test and get a certification allows for the learner to see their growth and is a super fun extra in my opinion.   The level one test will cost you $10.00 and the level 2 test costs $25.00.

Now I’m onto the next goal!  So fun!

Learn on!

 

Creators of Content

We are all creators of content.

This week the new thing that I am trying is to help students become creators of content.  In the process of creating the example and a tutorial for students to use to become creators of content I made the connection that one of the many reasons I love being a teacher is that I get to create content.  I also realized how many design decisions I was making and what a great opportunity it is for students to have to create content to show not only their understanding of a topic but also their ability to design, problem solve and troubleshoot when creating something!  Such a transferable skill!

This what I created to help students create content for examples of energy transformations.

Energy Transformation Video Example

Tutorial Video for Creating Energy Transformation Video

Create.  Create.  Create.