According to dictionary.com, dissonance can be defined as “lack of agreement or consistency.”
From my research, it is one of the hallmarks of any successful organization.
In Good to Great Jim Collins declares:
A handful of years ago I was teaching fourth grade when the whole idea of the flipped classroom entered my radar. The Educause definition of the topic states:
The flipped classroom is a pedagogical model in which the typical lecture and homework elements of a course are reversed. Short video lectures are viewed by students at home before the class session, while in-class time is devoted to exercises, projects, or discussions.
In short, get the direct instruction out of the way so class time can be dedicated to problem solving.
Front-loading direct instruction goes against everything that I believe in as an educator, and therefore, so does the way in which most classrooms are flipped.
In the previous post (part 1 of 2), we explored the fact that student response apps (Socrative, Kahoot!, Plickers, etc.) are often mislabeled as “formative assessment tools.” What makes them formative depends on the context in which they are used. Formative assessment is a process, and in order for a tool to play a part in this process the results/data it produces must be leveraged to differentiate instruction or learning.
Now, let’s explore a second problem with these apps, which is the belief that they are not generally associated with higher-order thinking.
Right now, one of my classes is finishing up their current Language Arts project, Making Waves. This project, which was inspired by Colton Shone, a journalism student at Arizona State, requires students to create a radio broadcast through the use of Apple GarageBand. Everything is wrapped in the essential question, “What is an effective radio broadcast?”
Students complete the project in groups of two. The majority of their work is done in a Google document, and I created a template to provide them with a starting point. (To save a Google file as a template, access your files > right-click on your file of choice > Submit to template gallery. After, copy the template’s link and share it with your students.)
A PDF version of the template is here, and below is a shortened version of these directions:
A few weeks ago I went to EdcampNYC. After the event I spent some time talking to Monica Burns (@ClassTechTips), who blogs regularly for Edutopia, which has always been one of favorite websites for all things progressive in education. After conversing with Monica I was inspired to try to get some of my work published as well.
After about ten days and a handful of emails back and forth, my first post on Edutopia was published. The post – “Author Commentary That’s Simply App Smashing” – describes a reading comprehension activity that is enhanced through the use of a few iPad apps. I am most proud of the fact that one of my fourth grade students, Meghan, took the time to contribute a student reflection of the activity, which she wrote on a day’s notice.
Here is a link to the blog post on Edutopia.
Connect with Ross on Twitter.
As mentioned in a previous post, one element of effective professional development is taking into consideration who is on the receiving end of it (in regards to their experiences, beliefs, attitudes, current practices, etc.). On a recent webcast I listened to Daniel Pink claim how the project-based learning label is constantly overused and misused by educators, and this is a statement with which I can easily agree. As a result, when presenting project-based learning professional development it could be advantageous to not just discuss best practice, but to take educators from where they might be (projects) to where we think they should land (project-based learning).
We will compare and contrast the two columns on the chart, one step at a time, while also discussing how the transition could be made from projects to project-based learning in a way that is transparent and simplified.
In order to learn about character traits, motivations, and analysis, my students spend time creating fake Facebook profiles for their favorite book or movie characters.
With the Common Core State Standards staring everyone in the face, many districts are left scrambling to either (1) purchase “Common Core certified” materials or (2) adapt their old materials for the Common Core. In general, I prefer the latter. Simply purchasing a new series could most likely lead to teachers “doing the same thing” but with new materials, treating the series as if it is the curriculum when it is just a tool or resource. Furthermore, it is obvious that publishers have rushed their products to market in an effort to cash in on the new standards. (I’m surprised that our cafeteria milk has yet to be Common Core approved.)
When rolling out Common Core professional development in a subject such as Language Arts, it could be advantageous to focus on the current series, as this is where most teachers are comfortable. Then, discuss how to reinvent the series in order to meet the needs of the Common Core and higher-order thinking.
At a recent building-based professional development session, we took the following steps:
When I first started teaching about six years ago, one of the biggest mistakes I made was believing that reading comprehension did not consist of much more than reading texts and then answering follow-up questions. Then, everything changed when I read Mosaic of Thought by Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmermann, followed by Strategies That Work by Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis. Now, all of my reading comprehension instruction is encompassed by the essential question, “How can I understand while I am reading?” In other words, it is what great readers do while they are reading that makes them great. This teaching relies heavily on student metacognition and the explicit strategies of monitoring comprehension, activating and connecting to background knowledge, questioning, visualizing, inferring, determining importance in text, and summarizing and synthesizing information. (It is also my firm belief that students should be consistently using these strategies from first grade through high school.)
I am always looking for unique ways to leverage different technologies in order to teach these explicit strategies, and to help in deepening student understanding of what they read. A few weeks ago, I decided to use the augmented reality iOS app, colAR Mix, to teach the strategy of visualizing through a writing workshop. ColAR Mix is an app that literally brings drawings to life! Through the app’s official website, the user can print out coloring pages. Then, when the app’s camera is focused on the printed page, the drawing pops out of the page and animates. It is really one of those things that has to be seen to be believed.
Currently, I am a student at Lehigh University, where I am in the process of earning my K-12 Principal Certification. For the current class that I am attending, one of my assignments was to lead the class “in a brief (no more than 20-minute) professional dialogue regarding a topic of [my] choice that relates to the principalship or to instructional areas within K-12 schools.” My presentation took place last Wednesday night, and it focused on creativity in the classroom.