Sunday, November 30, 2014

Are Learning Communities effective?

An overdue post since superb conferences like GAFE and  BIT14 as well as amazing learning opportunities from our board the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) to the Learning Connection core team and our planning for December 10th face to face sharing with many colleagues from across the board.

Those three weeks in November have impacted my learning by curating more to my thinking. These thinking skills have confirmed and encouraged to deepen my practice with colleagues and my students.

On Saturday morning on twitter I came across this very pertinent tweet:

So true, without collaboration our growth is limited! These learning opportunities are always a result of collaborating face to face with colleagues. They have been a vaccination of thinking opportunities that jolts us to persevere and persist in our adventure with our students.

On Friday, being part of Learning Connection team and unpacking the 6 C`s  by Michael Fullan New Pedagogies for Deep Learning with my colleagues, tasks focused on the competencies of deep learning, These collaborative thinking tasks got the best out of us by developing a culture of collaborative thinking just like we are expected in our classroom.

The focus is always on the process of thinking skills not just the tools. We further explored concepts of tools, ideas on getting started and ideas for the classroom.  This culture of  collaborative learning takes determination, a culture of `yes`to collaboration, powerful pedagogical influences and seeking support with each other and empowering us to connect these pathways to our students.

As we expect from us to be learning partners with our students the same takes place at these meetings. Karen allows us to be in partnership in learning from and with each other as she permits for team collaboration of unpacking the thinking skills as she also becomes a learner with and from us.

These cultures of learning opportunities are permissions provided for us to allow us to take risks with our learning giving and taking back to our colleagues at school as well as our students where the transformational learning takes place.

As learning leaders where are we on these daily leadership journeys? How are we being grateful to collaborate and share our learning?
My learning is surely influenced on a daily basis from my colleagues at school, at the board office and colleagues from all school boards in Ottawa, Ontario and my large learning staff room twitter.

We need to always keep a positive learning perseverance, take those risks and keep connected for more learning practices and accept that learning is messy!

What new learning will I be trying with my students? I guess I need to keep publishing more of my posts rather than keeping them in draft. I should spend more time sharing the risk taking process of learning with my students.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Google Drawing And Documenting Learning

We have used many tools for capturing the thinking process and documenting our learning, from Audio Boom , explain everything and other IOS apps as well as GAPPS. In this post, I chose to share documentation of learning through Google Drawing. The students have been applying Google Drawing for explaining their thinking and learning since September. The students document their learning process by uploading it on the eportofolios. We have used Google Drawing with Keizena, attaching a link for the criteria on the drawing, checking for comprehension of a text, and screencasting for evidence of applying feedback.

Google drawing with Keizena: Many layers of sharing and documenting.

1- By commenting, this student explained her favorite photo taken during the Terry Fox walk in September at Kanata's Beaver Pond.

2- The student added a link to the same image, explaining her 2 other photos about the Beaver Pond in relation to the same image. At the top of this image the student's initials LC and next the link. 

3-The link leads to  the Google Drawing that explains what is in common of the 3 photos.

4- Students also added their voices to the Google drawing and teacher's  feedback was also recorded.

Google Drawing and success criteria attached on the Drawing. 

A student explained First Nation People adaptation to the environment. When the title (Les Algonquins) is clicked  the  document of the success criteria that is attached will be viewed for feedback.  The students made a copy of the original document of the criteria, shared and attached it to the drawing.

Google Drawing and assessment for reading comprehension

The students  either labeled the events or ordered the boxes after reading a text for a comprehension self assessment. 

We were very fortunate to have the WW1 supply Line Kit from the War Museum. The students created a Google Drawing explaining their feelings about the war by using the strategy CSI ( Color, Symbol and image). One of our focuses was to improve the French grammar, after feedback from the teacher, the students recorded the evidence of the feedback by using the extension screencastify or snagit.

The following video was uploaded on student's YouTube account:

Another video explaining how feedback was applied was uploaded on my YouTube account using my laptop as some students had difficulties connecting on the Chromebook with the extension.

Students connected  many skills when applying technology for documenting learning: 
  •  Responsibility and ownership of learning for providing evidence of the co-constructed criteria of tasks and learning goals, 
  •  The responsibility of planing, monitoring, assessing by peer, teacher and self-assessment,  promoting students' control of their own learning by being mindful, intentional and self-directed. 
  • Relating skills to self -regulation of the metacognitive process by promoting problem solving, trying and retrying,  applying many strategies, clarification of expectations, reflective questioning for their own perspective of designing learning. 
  • Collaboration for sharing, articulating their own learning .
  • Organization plays a big part of this process as students document their learning and upload to their eportfolios.
We will continue building skills focusing on the learning process with many tools for metacognitive purpose and making learning visible by the students for their classmates, their parents and for a global audience. Some self-reflective questioning that guides me while planning are:
  • Were the expectations clear?
  • Did I set a positive environment of trying and retrying by consolidating with my students?
  • Did I provide the time for learners questioning about the process?
  • Did I ensure learners were motivated? (Provocation so important)
  • Did I provide the resources for scaffolding and feedback?