Pursuing your Passion

I came across this comic from Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) and wanted to share as is relates to how you should pursue your own passion. Enjoy!

 

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Course 5 Final Project

 

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Wrapping Up Unit – Final Project Underway

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As I am finding out with any new unit that replaces an old one, it always takes more time then  intended.  In my last blog I outlined the phases my team has completed and just now finishing phase 4, which includes the final assessment for our Think Justice unit using the Civil Rights Movement as our main theme.

I have managed to capture student learning (and my own) through video or pictures along the way and begun to piece my final project together using iMovie.  What I’ve just realized is that I have at least an hour’s worth of video and too many pictures for a 10 minute final project.  I have some work to do.

This week my class is completing phase 4: Making Meaning. The purpose: organize information in ways that help us see patterns and make connections, then use patterns/connections to generate theories.  We are using the Civil Rights Movement as our main theme while looking at these essential questions:

  • What can we learn from historical human rights issues?
  • How have people protected and promoted human rights? (what happened?)
  • How have people made a difference? (value or belief in the power to make a change)

Students have been engaged in a variety of primary and secondary sources to learn various events that occurred within a Civil Rights issue. Next, they used a case study summary chart (below) to synthesize the information gathered in each exploration. Students will complete this in digital format.

Here are the examples of the case studies that students can choose from:

  1. 1947 baseball integration (Jackie Robinson)
  2. 1954 school integration (Brown vs Board of Education)
  3. 1955-1957 bus integration (Montgomery Bus Boycott)
  4. 1957 school integration (Little Rock 9)
  5. 1963 public dining integration (Woolworth sit-in)
  6. 1961 bus integration (Freedom Riders)
  7. 1963 organized movement to protest segregation (Birmingham Campaign)
  8. 1963 supporting integration rights (March on Washington)
  9. 1965-1977 Black Power (Malcolm X)
  10. Apartheid vs. Segregation
  • All resources for all 10 case studies are accessed through the ES Learning Commons. (Examination of the first case study was done together as a class).
  • Students must fill in the Case Study Summary Chart to capture what is learned.
  • At least one independently researched case study must be graded using rubric (below).
  • NOTE:  we’ve made sure to stress in the guided practice how to paraphrase (not plagiarize).

I’m hopeful in wrapping this up before we head into Spring Break next week.  First though, I need to trim some video!

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Project 5 Progress – I Think

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With about three weeks to go with my new Social Studies unit entitled Justice, I thought it might be time to share some of my progress up to this point. Having read @Sanne blog and reading about how she had begun to storyboard her movie for her final project helped me to get things rolling.  Also, I just noticed Seth’s final project posted on the COETAIL Online Cohort webpage and I panicked….slightly. Time to really get going.

I haven’t quite put my movie storyboard idea on paper yet as my ideas are running through my head (I trust this counts). I have been capturing video and pictures when possible as I make my way through teaching a brand new unit in social studies for my grade 5 class called Think Justice.  I should point out that all three social studies units are new this year and connect through the lens of ‘rights and responsibilities‘. Unit 1 looks at individual student responsibilities connected to digital citizenship (being responsible, respectful, honest and safe). Unit 2 examines what we can learn from historical social justice issues. Unit 3 draws on the learning made about digital citizenship and social justice to examine a contemporary social justice case study.  The 5th grade units are designed to intentionally build on concepts covered in earlier grades.

So unit 2, which I decided to use for my course 5 project is well underway and I am just about to start with phase 4 this week (there are 7 phases in total).

Phase 1: Tapping into Current Understanding                                                           Purpose: hook student interest, then access and engage what they currently understand

Groups of 4-5 students were given an artifact bag and explored a variety of pictures, websites, You Tube videos, and letters to peak their curiosity about the Civil Rights movement in the United States that occurred in the late 1950′s and early 60′s.  Here is what we included:

Phase 2: Finding Questions – Purpose: identify problems important enough for sustained investigation & plan a pathway of questions to guide the inquiry

See, Think, Wonder  – Woolworths sit-in image. View the Woolworths sit-in image using the following focus questions:

  • what do you see?
  • what do you wonder?
  • what do you think is going on?
  • OPTIONS for examining images:
    • KeyNote (see below)
    • annotate the image on marqueed.com (See previous blog post)
    • print the image and post on chart paper for students to annotate

    KeyNote Used:

Phase 3: Exploring New Perspectives – Purposes: to explore and evaluate varied perspectives, rehearse and record information in ways that help us remember, practice skills in ways that lead to mastery, interpret and represent information in ways that will lead to making meaning from it, rethink current understanding in light of new information.

Examining a perspective: habits of mind

Students read two primary source letters with different perspectives.

1. Segregation perspective: Harry Hemmick letter to Little Rock 9 School District

Extension idea 1: watch YouTube clip of Mike Wallace interview with Gov. Faubus http://cs.pn/W2r2YH

Extension idea 2: have students write a letter back to Harry Hemmick

Extension idea 3: have students research Harry Hemmick and Virgil Blossom to gain a deeper understanding of their perspectives

2. Integration perspective: Jackie Robinson letter to President Eisenhower

Students use the following questions to guide them:

  • What is the writer’s stance?
  • What are the writer’s main points?
  • What evidence does the writer give to support the stance?
  • Who wrote this piece? What information do you have about the writer?
  • What bias does the writer show in his / her line of thinking?
  • How reliable is the evidence and how credible is the author / presenter?
  • Challenge question: What might be the consequences be if readers believe the author?

Phase 4: Making Meaning – Purpose: organize information in ways that help us see patterns and make connections, then use patterns/connections to generate theories

Engage with a variety of primary and secondary sources to learn various events that occurred within that issue. Use the case study summary chart (attached) to synthesize the information gathered in each exploration.

CASE STUDIES

  1. 1947 baseball integration (Jackie Robinson)
  2. 1954 school integration (Brown vs Board of Education)
  3. 1955-1957 bus integration (Montgomery Bus Boycott)
  4. 1957 school integration (Little Rock 9)
  5. 1963 public dining integration (Woolworth sit-in)
  6. 1961 bus integration (Freedom Riders)
  7. 1963 organized movement to protest segregation (Birmingham Campaign)
  8. 1963 supporting integration rights (March on Washington)
  9. 1965-1977 Black Power (Malcolm X)
  10. Apartheid vs. Segregation

Phase 4 starts Monday….will blog about this next week!

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Google Apps Summit Tokyo in Video

Thought I would post these.  A couple videos that Glenda Baker and Brendan Madden, two teachers at the American School in Japan, pulled together for the Google Apps Summit  held at ASIJ last weekend.

Enjoy!

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Google Summit Tokyo

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I just attended a Google Apps for Educators this weekend held for the first time in Tokyo.  We were fortunate to have it on our campus here at the American School in Japan (ASIJ) and, a true highlight for me, managed to be one of the presenters.  My first time!

It was a fantastic conference and my mind is full of Google Apps that I am eager to try with my students on Monday.  Each presentation I attended was very informative and I left each hour long session with a new program to add to my growing tech toolbox!

The two keynote speakers were equally as impressive.  If you haven’t heard Rushton Hurley before then you need to check him out.  You can find a quick write-up from the Google Apps Presenters Page hereHe founded and is executive director of the educational nonprofit Next Vista for Learning (http://NextVista.org), which houses a free library of videos by and for teachers and students.

On Sunday morning, we were entertained by Jim Sill.  A former television producer who became a teacher, and, until very recently, became a consultant for Google and leads workshops mainly with collaborative tools, social media and video production.  In my mind, he is an expert with You Tube!

Finally, on Sunday, session 6, I presented, along with two of my colleagues our social studies unit entitled Digital Citizenship.  I have blogged about this before, but this was the first time that I had actually presented about Digital Citizenship to a group of people.  It was a great, collaborative effort and we received some great feedback and acknowledgement from the group of teachers, students, and administrators who attended our hour long session.

I have attached our presentation below. Included is a link to all our resources.  Hopefully they might be of some use to you.

 

Here is the link to our resources: bit.ly/g5citizen

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Discussing Images Online

As I begin my launch into my final project for course 5 I wanted to share a great tech find from our IT department.  They came across a new program called Marqueed.com and felt it might be useful with the start of our new Social Studies unit about Think Justice.  Overall, it is a pretty nifty program.  The gist is that it allows you to upload a picture, create text boxes around photos and share.  As the program boasts, it’s one of the easiest ways to discuss images.

There is a great video that helps to explain the program and its many uses.  I encourage you to have a look.

In my lesson today I broke my class into five groups and sent this photo to them using the Marqueed program.  Each group had to look at the photo and then wrote what they see, think and wonder using either the text box tool or the drawing tool.  The photo is from the Woolworths sit-in as I wanted to view one detailed-rich image that highlights a social justice violation.  They had to share what they wrote within their group and then we held a whole class discussion.

hunterbear.org

To the left is a screen shot with 3 different areas that I randomly selected to show as an example.  You can hide the annotations or open them up as you discuss each section.  The drawing tool allows you to highlight certain areas if you wish.

Overall, I found this to be a very worthy program.  It was easy to use and took no time to set up and send to my class.

Basically, the purpose of this lesson was to identify problems important enough for sustained investigation and plan a pathway of questions to guide the inquiry.  With the help of Marqueed.com I was able to achieve this and learned a new program that I would definitely use again!

 

 

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Project Ideas

Sean MacEntee

My brainstorm of  three options I have in mind for Course 5 project.  Keeping in mind the following:

  • Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?
  • What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?
  • What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?
  • What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

Idea 1:

My grade level has been revamping our Social Studies units this year and it would make sense to use this as a possibility for the Course 5 project.  We are in the process of creating three new units that run about six to eight weeks in length of the course of a year from Early Explorers, Colonial America, and the American Revolution to a more current lens of Digital Citizenship, Justice, and Taking IT Global.

All three social studies units tie together through the lens of rights and responsibilities. In unit 1, we look at individual student responsibilities to follow responsible, respectful, honest and safe behavior (as outlined in the Acceptable Use Agreements). In unit 2, we will take a historical view of a variety of social justice issues. In unit 3, we’ll tie together the digital piece from unit one and the social justice piece from unit 2 to examine a more contemporary view of case studies in which groups or individuals have mobilized people for a cause.

The 5th grade units are designed to intentionally build on concepts covered in earlier grades, particularly 3rd grade where they teach individual growth and goal setting based on the SLOs, Global Citizenship (the qualities that make someone influential in a contemporary, not historical, setting), and Global Comparisons (the conditions of various communities around the world and how peoples’ needs are being met, perhaps with a specific look at Tohoku, the area hit my the earthquake and tsunami in 4-11).

My concerns at this point are that this is a new unit, one that we have not taught yet and while my learning curve is steep, we have not finalized our formative or summative assessments yet.

As for a shift in pedagogy, I will need to brush up on my human rights issues.  Perhaps one of the bigger shifts will be allowing the students become the experts when doing their research on a specific topic.  Here are our essential questions:

  • What can we learn from historical human rights issues?
  • How have people protected and promoted human rights? (what happened?)
  • How have people made a difference? (value or belief in the power to make a change)

Research is going to be a fairly new skill for many of the students especially with how to find information on the internet that relates to their topic and at a reading level they can comprehend.  How we are going to present this information will be another skill to learn.  We are not sure of how they will share their information.

Idea 2:

A second idea I am grappling with is a science unit we teach: Human Growth and Development.  A three week unit that we teach at the end of the school year. This unit needs to be re-vamped and brought into the 21 Century learning schema.  I have thought of using iBooks Author and creating our own digital textbook that covers our essential questions:

  • What changes occur during puberty?
  • How can I prepare myself for puberty?
  • How can I show sensitivity to my peers while they go through puberty?

My concerns for this unit would be the time frame.  The last three weeks in May would push this past the due date for Course 5.  Things are also ramped-up at the end of the year with report cards and the end of the school year may not be the best time for pulling this assignment together.  However, this unit needs to be changed and brought into the realm of 21 Century learning.  We always have good intentions of working on this unit, but where it falls within the school year calendar it never gets the attention in needs and deserves.

As for my own pedagogy, nothing would really need to change other than trying to bring more technology into the unit.  I have begun to explore more resource options and there is some great information on-line from very reputable sources.  There is also some very inappropriate information and we would have to be very careful in how we use our MacBooks and the internet to teach this unit.

This unit is more paper/pencil in style.  Not that I am saying there is anything wrong with this.  This could be a unit that we could flip, in the sense that work could be completed at home, which might help with parent involvement.  We have created our own workbook for this unit and it would be neat to explore how iBook Author might enhance the learning for this unit.  The skills they would learn from this program would be incredible….in my mind!

Idea 3:

The last idea I have been thinking for Course 5 is how I use portfolios.  My team has been moving away from the paper style portfolio where everything is in a binder and then presented to parents at a student-led conference in March. Last year we began to have students create their own blog using Weebly.com and used this as a digital portfolio.  Although, they still had a binder with much of their work in it to share with their parents.  My goal would be to completely eliminate the binder of work altogether and just go with a digital portfolio.

My concern is that this isn’t really a unit of study.  Would this still meet the requirements of the Course 5 Project objectives?

This idea would require a shift in pedagogy in the sense that all student work would be in digital format as opposed paper.  I like this idea as I want to eliminate their binder portfolio in its entirety.

We have been using Weebly since the beginning of the year and it is taking time to get all their work onto their blog.  We are getting close and about ready to publish, hopefully, before we leave for winter break.  Student skill level has been very high as they have learned to embed video, documents, and maintain a blog each week.  Some students are further than others in the process (much like learning) and it’s been fun to watch students helping each other with this program.

 

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Device-filled Classroom Management

ASIJ Logo

So in your device-filled classroom, how have you changed (or how will you change) your classroom management practices? What tried-and-true methods can be updated to work in your new environment? What methods need to be rethought, revamped or retired? What do you feel have been your successes? What have been some of your challenges?

It has been a very exciting and successful year at ASIJ with our 1:1 program at the fifth grade level.  After piloting a variety of devices over the last three years (Lenovo Netbook, iPad and MacBook Pro)  we ended up agreeing to use the MacBook Pro.  We launched this school year with our new Digital Citizenship unit focusing on our new Acceptable Use Agreement form.  See below.

Once we had this signed and returned by both parents and students,  we began to focus on the device itself and created a MacBook Know-How for students to follow. Essentially, the do’s and don’ts of student devices. Here is a Zen-like Keynote that my grade level pulled together for an all grade level information session on our expectations.

Here’s what has worked so far:

  • Device turned off by 8pm (parents have been very supportive of this).
  • Student responsibility to recharge device each night.
  • No email during the day (unless permission granted).
  • No You Tube without teacher permission.
  • Restriction with downloading games (must be of educational value and with teacher permission).
  • MackBook closed during teacher instruction.  The beauty of the MacBook is that when you close the screen the computer doesn’t shut off!
  • Device remains at school during school breaks/holidays.
  • Consequences are immediate if students are not adhering to the AUA.

Rethinking or Challenges:

  • Not allowing students to use device on buses (our buses are wireless).
  • Not allowing students to delete history.  We check their on-line activity frequently.  This takes time.
  • How to create a balance of too much screen time and face to face discussion.
  • Keyboarding skills.
  • Integration within all areas of study.
  • Email etiquette.
  • Where to store devices in my classroom.

In short, I have thoroughly enjoyed our device filled classroom and my students are very enthusiastic this year to be using such a great machine.  They absolutely love it when I say, “Ok, please take out your MacBook!”

 

 

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The Future of Technology

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Will education as we know it change because of technology? Where and how will you be teaching in 5, 10, 15 years time?

I stumbled upon this Blog from Jordan Lujewaan entitled 10 Ways the Next 10 Years Are Going To Be Mind-Blowing.  He covers technological advancements ranging from robotics, architecture, health and clothing.  Interesting times to say the least.  Well worth a look and the videos are interesting.

I particularly resonated with number five on Lujewaan’s list in “How We Interact With the World.”  I have embeded the video here so you don’t have to click on a new link.  This comes from the engineers at Google who are playing with how we will begin to start integrating the information on the internet with our surroundings.

The learning that will take place in the classroom to me will be mind-boggling with this form of technology.  Where is this going to leave school libraries?

Lujewann also makes reference to another article by gizmag.  In this article, by Mark Webb, scribes about how augmented reality glasses are being created to project real world images.  Webb states that “aside from obvious uses like gaming, the Wrap 920AR has the potential to be harnessed for education, with books “coming alive” with overlaid information.”  I am “envisioning” students sitting in classrooms wearing these glasses and being “connected” all day.

Or, are classrooms even going to be needed?

 

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