Sunday, April 13, 2014

What I Learned @teachSDA

Spring is here in Georgia!  The Dogwoods and Redbuds are finally in bloom and I'm beginning to see the first signs of spring fever in the classroom.  Hopefully your spring fever won't be too distracting.

Join us Monday night at 8pm on Twitter #teachSDA!  We will be talking about The How (and Why) It’s Time to Create Digital Student Portfolios.  Digital Student Portfolios are becoming more important now than ever! Students are creating and remixing information like never before – and where is all that amazing work going? At most schools it is wiped off the devices at the end of the year. This is why we need to publish student work in one place and let it serve as a home of student reflection, and a become a destination to unleash student pride and curiosity.

Now heres this weeks articles:
1. SPARK Ignites Hope
Education should make a difference in both the student and the teacher.  I also believe that student teacher programs should find ways to get their future teachers involved with and engaging students as soon and as much as possible.
Dr. Thomas Peterson, professor in the Department of Education Leadership and Professional Studies, Judge Dan Camp and a Juvenile Justice department official met to discuss providing a positive alternative intervention for youths ages 8 to 16 who have appeared at least once in the juvenile courts in Carroll County. Camp described many of the juveniles as having no spark or “dead eye.”
Students in Peterson’s “Investigating Contemporary Critical Issues in Education” class developed a new service project, Supporting People At Risk or SPARK. The project is now a part of the curriculum for the course.

2. Professional Development: More Than Just a Checkbox on a Form
I believe that most states require teachers to have a certain amount of professional development (PD) each year. I also believe that most states do not directly pay for this to happen, leaving the funding of any PD up to individual districts. At that point it comes down to budgetary priorities. Some schools have the means, but many others do not. Nevertheless, every school must check off a box on some form somewhere indicating that some degree of PD has been delivered. And so was born the idea of the full-day workshop at least once a year. The impact on the budget is minimal, all of the teachers receive a day of PD to carry them through the rest of the year, and most importantly, the box on the form can be checked. Does this sound familiar?

3. Confessions of a Tech Specialist: We Don’t Magically Know How to Do Everything
There is a myth that technology experts/specialist have all of the tech answers. We don’t. As a matter fact, if it were not for collaboration and google search, my trainings would be a black sheet of nothing…well, almost nothing! I do have SOME innovative ideas of my own.

4. Why It’s Important To Take Risks While Learning
Sometimes the process of learning something in order to be able to do it seems daunting. You know you want to get from point A to point B so that you can do C, but you really just want to be able to do C without a long wait. As teachers, you want your students to get there quickly and efficiently, too. While patience is a virtue, sometimes patience will get you nowhere fast.

5. Teaching Adolescents How to Evaluate the Quality of Online Information
An essential part of online research is the ability to critically evaluate information. This includes the ability to read and evaluate its level of accuracy, reliability and bias.

6. This Assessment...Not That Assessment
There's a difference, though, between capital-A assessment - standardized tests - and lowercase-a assessment, classroom-based formative assessments. It's a shame people hear "assessment" and think "test," because good assessment is at the heart of effective classroom instruction It helps teachers to create goals for students give effective feedback, and measure progress over time. We need to reclaim the word assessment so that it means the kind of classroom-embedded practices that support instruction and learning.

7. Behind the Numbers: Grading in Finnish Schools
Providing accurate grades is important, but it’s also important to consider other factors, too.

8. Edcamps: Remixing Professional Development
The term professional development (PD) has taken on many incarnations during the time I've been involved in education. When I first starting teaching, professional development was constructed in a very traditional format. It usually came in the form of a speaker, and the staff listened. More often than not, PD was an extremely passive experience.

9. 5 Ways to Give Your Students More Voice and Choice
The idea of co-constructing knowledge with students can be a scary thing for many of us teachers. The age-old role of teacher as orator, director, sage has been handed down for centuries and most of us grew up as students looking to teachers in this way. It's hard to shake.
Co-constructing knowledge means giving up the myself and them role of teacher and students and fully embracing the wonder and journey of us.

10. Theory of Knowledge, Social Media and Connected Learning in High School
What’s “Theory of Knowledge?” I asked Burvall. Her email reply confirmed my instinct to jump in on a high school tweet-chat about epistemology: “Theory of Knowledge is a compulsory course at the core of the International Baccalaureate program that offers students an opportunity to think about their own thinking, the nature of knowledge itself, and what constitutes knowledge in the various disciplines they study.

11. 7 Online Tools for Creating Charts & Diagrams

12. Change Your Classroom and You Might Change the World
This is not about technology. This is about hope. This is about impact. And it’s about choice.
Over the past few months I’ve been hit multiple times with the same truth: our work as educators REALLY matters. I’ve said that before to people, and I’ve heard it in classes and presentations…but for some reason I didn’t put it all together until recently.
Do you remember watching those Coca-Cola commercials? The ones where one person did a small act of kindness and then it continued to spread throughout the day. Teaching is a lot like that, except the way we handle students in our classroom can blossom farther and wider than you may ever imagine.


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