Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Is It purposeful Thinking For Learning?

I always get asked how do you get students thinking? If students are analyzing through reflections and feedback then they are thinking. The process of analyzing begins at the start of the year by allowing time for students to continuously reflect by breaking down information into parts and reasons.  Also allowing time and tools for students to speak and document what they have learned, how they have learned through self and peer assessment.

It involves many layers of co-constructed criteria starting with comparing and contrasting from background information or new learning. Students also immediately reflect on their learning and thinking. Analyzing through reflections allows students to become focused thinkers.

I will speak to the process from recent examples that we completed in June on Social Studies. Social studies is as engaging as Science or any other content. The Grade six students unpacked the curriculum through issues between Canada and international communities.The Grade 5 students were investigating issues with all three levels of governments from federal, provincial and municipal.

Of course having access to all Google apps (video notes, Snagit, Screencastify, Kaizena, CleanSave, Text Help Study Skills) and IOS apps (audioboom, Explain Everything) does affect the ability for students to analyze and express their thinking through tech tools. At the beginning of the year through various tasks students unpacked the purpose of technology for their learning. In my previous blogs I have shared many examples on analyzing.

Analyzing information online by using extensions and Add on like CleanSave and Text Help Study Skills.

Using Kaizena for peer feedback.

Students also shared their learning by using Green Screen and iMovie.  

Co-constructed criteria for the argument
Co-constructed criteria when analyzing classmates argument 

Students self assessment using screencastify for the choices of text and images representing his argument through Meme visual on Google Drawing . 

Videos demonstrating the process.

When students are analyzing:
  • They break down information into parts and reasons
  • They are problem solving by self questioning, which could further present with more inquiry and critical thinking. This process of questioning begins developing from the beginning of the year
  • The students are also thinking about their content and the main idea
  • All assumption could be confirmed or revised to explain
  • The students are thinking when self reflecting or self-analyzing
  • The students also understand their point of view of their reasoning and learning by explaining
  •  They are assessing colleagues work they are also knowledge building. they are comparing and contrasting against their own thinking
  • Learning is exciting and engaging and purposeful 
  • They are building empathy and understanding of a classmate's thinking
  • They are documenting and making learning visible
  • They are building confidence through the metacognitive loops of reflecting and giving feedback
When planning, I question what authentic purposeful learning should my students experience? It is important to give students choices of tasks based on the big ideas with clear co-constructed expectations. A daily ritual to keep in mind: Am I giving students time to reflect, consolidate as a team and give peer feedback? 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

ISTE A great Impression!

My mind is still at ISTE while still recovering and catching up from an exciting and exhausting five days of reflecting, learning and connecting. It was very organized with an online schedule, an app and a booklet of program and expos guide.

Philidelphia is a beautiful city surrounded by history and friendly people. Thanks To Shauna Pollock @misspollock who booked a small place near the waterfront that allowed us walking to and from the conference centre through the beautiful historical independence parks. It was great to be a roommate with Shauna and have early morning and late nights discussions about innovation and learning.  Shauna is also an inspiration and passionate educator who is innovative and creative. She is passionate about students' thinking and she shared her passion at an Ignite session about Imagineering of  imagination and engineering of Walt Disney. Can't wait until you have your own Imagineering Dream School!

Saturday was a great way to start the conference with Hack Education like Edcamp conference. Before the other fifteen thousand educators arrived it was a day to connect with teachers and learners from around the world with small group chats. I followed my passion on coding, programming, 3D printing gamification of learning and designing learning. 2015 HackEd Schedule

I began publishing videos of everyday images. Video one includes arriving at registration and HacK Education. No music on the videos!

As Sunday arrived it was the lens of many powerful educators who are all on the journey of learning, visioning and sharing.

Sunday was also the day that myself and my colleague Karen McEvoy @kmcevoy50  who is a consultant for Learning Connections and New Pedagogies For Deep Learning presented our poster session. It was a very busy session,  Karen sharing the capacity building at the board level and I shared the classroom learning environment and the partnership of learning. Karen has developed planning quadrants for the inquiry cycle as well as digital tools and resources accelerating and deepening learning skills. Karen's focus is always on building teachers capacity with students' voices. 

A link of our presentation is found on the ISTE site. 

This blog is not about the retell of the scheduled day by day sessions at ISTE. It is about the powerful learning and connections that I made with people from around the world.  All sessions were amazing and so many to choose from. I mostly enjoyed the playgrounds and the poster sessions as well as panels. It was a way to have conversations, share evidence and interact with the evidence, ask many questions, take pictures and videos, no time limit with the learning. My favorite panel was the Connected Educator Panel. Not only it was a starstruck moment with famous educators, it was set that all authors shared with teams of attendees,  It was more of conversations about passionate topics.

This video highlights the panel and more playgrounds.

Going to ISTE confirmed my confidence in continuing to explore and learn with my students to take more leadership with my own voice and learning experiences as I focus on my learning environment and my partnership with my students, my colleagues locally and globally. I sure will not be just watching, I will be sharing with educators without worrying about judgments of ideas and thinking. I will allow myself to truly connect and build a tribe of learning. At ISTE it was very magical to be part of a great community of educators and what is important is to continue discovering creativity. As educators we should always say: I can learn ..., I can do... and I will be...  What will drive your passion to the I can's...?

Colleagues at ISTE

More videos if you have time to watch,