I have known from day one at NIST International School how lucky I am to be working in such a vibrant community full of passionate learners. I am constantly inspired by colleagues and students here. It only recently came to my attention though, just how fortunate I am to have such specialized support in all areas of my learning. Most educators love to explore personal interests and share their learning journeys with the world but not every educator gets to do so in such a highly supported environment like mine. For my personal growth this year from basic classroom blogging to website publishing and connecting with the world, I am very grateful to Tosca Killoran, my Digital Learning Coach. She inspired me to get this site going and use both Weebly and Twitter to think, grow and reach out. Through setting up the backbone of my site, providing some specific education and pouring on lots of encouragement, I now have the tools I need to reach my lofty goals.
Check out more on Tosca's inspirational work in education here.
Every single time I step foot into another school, I learn at least ten times what I hoped to learn. This same phenomenon occured during my visit to Ogden International School of Chicago.
As a curious person on holiday in Chicago for the week (otherwise known as a nerd), I thought it would be the perfect time to explore a question that I have been asking for years. What are American schools really like? Having never worked in one myself and being fortunate enough to be teaching and learning in a fantastic school in Asia, I really had no idea any more. While I know that schools vary greatly depending on a wide range of factors, I was most interested in comparing apples to apples. I wanted to see what a PYP school in a metropolitan area in the US was like and how it compares to my beloved NIST.
While researching schools before my trip, I found that all of the PYP schools in the Chicago metropolitan area are public schools- another area of understanding I have come to lack in my years abroad. Having no idea how public PYP schools operate, I was thrilled to receive a response and invitation to visit Ogden.
On the day of my visit I was instantly impressed by the large park and intricate architecture just across the street from campus. A high degree of professionalism and kindness glowed from the guards, secretaries and faculty. After exciting afternoon touring the school, meeting with teachers and discussing PYP curriculum with the passionate PYP Coordinator, Taneal Sanders, I have to say that I was impressed that all of this PYP enthusiasm exists right here in the Midwest. I have always been proud of Minnesota's schools but I had no idea that the PYP was being implemented so well here in downtown Chicago. The more I learned, the more impressed I was. I have very little knowledge of the Common Core Curriculum but find it reassuring that even under its expectations, these students are still just as curious about the world around them as my own students in Bangkok. They are living the Learner Profile, just like I have seen in other parts of the world. After years of thinking it would be difficult to find the kind of internationally-minded, global citizens I am used to anywhere outside of my bubble of experience, I was truly proud to such learning in my own country.
As for my own learning, here's the short list of tid-bits I have already begun to explore more:
There is a big part of me that would love to be an artist. I've always known that but keep thinking that I can just do it as a hobby while enjoying my other passion- education. From time to time I get inspired and actually start creating again. The most recent creative inspiration came from visiting the Diploma Art Exhibition at NIST.
I paged through the graduating art students' journals and realized that I was missing a step in my artistic creation. I realized that they had searched for artists they liked and played around with copying bits from their work to build their own skills. As obvious as that seems, I hadn't thought of copying drawings that I like in an effort to build the abstract pattern toolbox that I lack when approaching new ideas. It is hard to draw interesting patterns without a starting point. I realized that I need to learn the language of the abstract black line drawings that I like in order to make the style my own.
The result? Pinterest boards for keeping track of designs, patterns and styles I like. After completing two drawings inspired (copied) from artists with styles I like, I think I'm already getting the hang of creating the kind of abstract black pen drawings that I love so much.
"Link everything to everything." Sean Thompson
Making Videos with Wes Przybylski:
*Keep videos ~2 minutes
*Use social media
*Students can make iMovie Trailers ending with questions for class discussion
*Make or Take? Doceri for making math videos
(Multiply grade level by 1.5 for recommended length of instructional video time)
*EDpuzzle- like Zaption but seems way better because it records the response data and organizes it for you
Subjective-Type Assessment with Davis Apas:
*Subjective-Type Assessments refer to assessments that do not have objective right/wrong answers
*Proposed effective method for assignment work flow
1. Prepare Starter Template
2. Distribute with Doctopus
3. Check/Mark/Comment with Goobric
Question for thought- In light of the fact that I believe in leveraging the social, collaborative nature of learners, what benefit does Google Classroom add that student blogs or websites don't? Is it not just as easy to require students to post their learning/assignments on their blogs? Don't blogs allow students to choose the format that they believe is best?
Deepen Your Digital Footprint with Sean Thompson:
*Sean's website with great resources
*PDF Book: Deepen Your Digital Footprint
*My underused platforms for professional sharing: Slideshare (PPT for Mac or PPT), Vimeo
*Sharing is caring
*Storify, paper.li, list.ly can send out regular updates from your Twitter feed
*Find people who are using Twitter well and follow people who they follow
*YouTube Channel: seansensei8 for IB or Tech categories
*Slideshare is easy to embed into your blog
*Scribd presents documents cleanly
*Twitter- learn how to use hashtags and follow people with similar focus (chekc out pleggio)
*Google+ is great for posting work: Circloscope can let you add people in batches, BIG for easy hits
*Pinterest- use for sharing creations and curating
*Rebel Mouse helps attract traffic to your sites
*Track your traffic on TweetsMap
*Mention Map shows who you are engaging with on Twitter
What is Making? with Glenn Davies:
*Copying is innovating
*Making helps with the motor skills kids are losing
*Heidi Hayes Jacobs- 21st Century Skills talk on TEDx
*Invent to Learn by Gary Stager- talks about why, what and how of making in schools
*Make Space by group from Stanford
Thought- The line of thinking that says we need to give students real problems supports the suggestion that PYP Central Ideas give students a statement instead of a real problem or essential question-driven unit of inquiry.
*Genius hour- guiding questions, research, share
*Design thinking- powerful for making and planning
*Ideo website has many resources
*Imagination Foundation has another design plan
*Glenn's design plan: Play, Question, Research, Share
*What will happen if. . . ? -this is real hypothesis
*A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink
A Google Integrated Classroom with Vaughan Pope:
*Google Education resources
*One great example: Google Search Lessons- this might be helpful to library teachers as well as homeroom teachers when teaching effective search skills
Question for thought- What is the benefit of going through the work to set up a Google Classroom vs. a Wordpress blog like we currently have?
Google Ninja makes Google Apps training available for free
Applied Learning from DEEP Dives:
Powtoons- Animated videos for teaching or learning
Flixel- Living Photos
Top tidbits to keep for further investigation:
Website, Presentation and Infographic all ready to go!
DEEP Learning kicks off tomorrow morning and I am pleased to say that my plan worked. By choosing to present on an idea that I have been experimenting with for months, I pushed myself to finally publish a conclusion. While I am sure that this is still the beginning of my mission to change reflection into a word that can be valued and enjoyed, it has been a thought provoking journey so far. Thank you to all the creative brains who have listened to my ideas and pushed me to grow already. Here we go 8am start tomorrow!