Sunday, October 23, 2016

Innovator's Mindset - Part 2: Laying the Groundwork

I am in a book study about the book The Innovator's Mindset. Our second assignment was to choose something from the second part of the book and write about it, get involved with it, react to it, etc. No less than 10 times in this section did I think to myself "There is the quote I am going to write my blog about." But then I read on and had the same reaction 2 pages later. The ideas brought forth in this section are not only thought provoking, but also action provoking. After letting the ideas meld in my mind for a day or two, I have decided upon which portion to focus.

Pages 82-84 talk about Disrupting Your Routine. It includes a blog post in which an educator discusses being a student in the school for two days. The author did everything the students did, took the notes, listened to the lessons, did the school work. The author had the following three take aways...

  1. Students sit all day, and sitting is exhausting. 
  2. High School students are sitting passively and listening during approximately ninety percent of their classes. 
  3. You feel a little bit like a nuisance all day long. 
I found myself reflecting on what our students do all day. I am in the classroom teaching my own students far less now then I have been in previous years, but that means I spend much more time walking around the hallways traveling between places. I think Merton has phenomenal teachers, but I do find that I see a lot of students sitting in their desks. I found myself wondering how our students are actually spending their time. I think it is difficult for teachers to always put together the bigger picture of their students' days when their main focus is on the curricular goals they have for their content area. I found myself wondering what the results of my day(s) as a student would be. 

So I have decided to take action. Instead of wondering what a day in the life of a Merton student would be like, I am going to live a day, or two, in the shoes of our middle schoolers. I am not going in to evaluate the teachers, but instead to be able to come back with an overall look at what a day in our student's shoes would be like. I want to be able to come back with technology integration ideas, engagement ideas, and feedback that will help start conversations.

The book poses the question "Would you want to be a student in your classroom?" I want to experience life as a student in each of our classrooms, so that I can go back and help create environments that will make me want to live as a student in our classrooms each and every day. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Items 2, 3, 9 & 12 Checked off the 16 Things List

In my effort to continue pushing my zone of comfort, and therefore helping the staff I work with push their zone of comfort, In continued this week to check things off the 16 things to try in 2016 list posted by Shake Up Learning. While this list doesn't dictate my day, my goals for tech integration, or my conversations with teachers, it is a good reminder on my desk of where I should be aiming to go with my personal understanding and utilization of technology. Therefore, this week I bring you 1/4 of the list checked off and ready to share. 

Item #2: Sketchnoting: I had tried this last week and posted my attempt. However, I was convinced I could do it better before checking it off the list. This week I left a piece of paper and my package of colored sharpies on my desk and worked to add something to my paper each day as I accomplished it (or at the end of the day reflecting on what I had accomplished) I did far less doodling in between, and like the vibrant colors sharpies provided as opposed to colored pencils the week before. Maybe next week I will attempt a digital version, but for now here is a Sketchnote of my week. 

Item #3: Blogging: I have never been good at journal. The idea of writing things in a little book that no one was ever going to read gave me no comfort. I can't tell you how many pretty journals I begged my mother to buy me, only to use the first 3 pages and never write in them again. To start this school year I decided that I would try blogging (again...I had a failed attempt in college). I don't have a huge following, and I am not sure I ever will, but blogging makes me feel like I am writing for a potential audience and a potential purpose. So if you have read this far in my blog, thank you for being my purpose in continuing to write!

Item #9: Google+ Community: A few years ago I joined Google+ and was told it was going to be the next facebook where I wanted to check things and post things constantly. Needless to say Google+ has not caught on in my social circle as swiftly as facebook, but in my professional circle it is picking up steam. A book chat professional development series that I am participating in is now through a Google+ Community, and our school improvement committee created and joined a community as well. I see it serving a different connecting purpose for me as compared to facebook, but I think that's a good thing to have separation of personal and professional in that aspect of my technology life. 

Item #12: A Voxer Chat: I will be honest, Voxer freaks me out a little bit. I don't know if it was my principals story of leaving the app on while using the bathroom and providing his group a special soundtrack to their chat, or just the idea of having another thing to keep track of using, but I wasn't one to jump on the Voxer bandwagon. However, I am part of a book discussion right now on the George Couros book The Innovator's Mindset and being asked to use Voxer as one of the communication tools. I don't hate it, but I have not yet fallen in love with it' to the point that I am walking around appearing to talk to myself while actually voxing people. I have played with it enough to cross it off my 16 before 2016 list, but not enough to make a final determination on how long it will remain among my other apps. 

Monday, October 3, 2016

Item 1 & 2 in 16 Things Teachers should try in 2016

I recently read a blog post by ShakeUpLearning about the 16 things that educators should be trying this year. It is always interesting to me to see what people think is the next great thing in education and to try to predict where I need to be ready to help teachers go in their teaching. I decided to take some time to see how many of these things I am already doing, and what I needed to give a chance. 

Item 1: Google Cardboard. 
    Google Cardboard is something that I am familiar with. We had the opportunity last year to be a pilot site for Google Expeditions and had 500 students use cardboard in the same day! It was awesome. Now that Google expeditions kits are coming to the market place it is my goal to purchase one for our district as a resource that teachers can access to give their students as close to an authentic experience in places that we would never have had the opportunity to access. 

Item 2: Sketchnoting
    Oh great! I was on item two of the list and don't even know what the words mean. Google I go. I discovered that Sketchnoting is this idea that you can draw/doodle/graphic organizer your notes along the way. This infographic from explains the basics of what you are attempting to do, and Leigh Cassell's share of Sylvia Reosenthal's sktechnote about sketchnoting helped as well. 

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