Course 3- Final Project

Creating & Sharing Digital Books

(Option 1: Unit Planner)

Books, Smartphone, Hand, Keep

Image was taken from Pixabay.com

My group members Julija & Simon are teaching from Lithuania & China, with myself in Russia; we were two Learning Support teachers and a Tech. integrationist.  We chose option 1 and created our own unit planner as each of us had already completed options 2 or 3 during course 2.

We went with the topic of personal narratives and reading fluency as it was a broad enough topic that worked well for everyone across early ES, late ES, and MS. Our lesson design and unit planner can easily be modified and adapted to suit all our grade levels. It also served as a great unit plan for upcoming lessons taking place in our classrooms.

boy's writing on bookwoman in black long sleeve shirt using macbook

Photo by Andrew Ebrahim  and  Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This time around I found myself taking on more of the organizational role than during course 2.  Administering the What’s App group, initiating the Zoom calls, and sharing the planning document that allowed us to link all the UbD template, Slide Deck, and Google Sheet rubric for convenience.

As for collaboration, my group was very easy going and flexible. Everyone’s ideas were brought together and evenly contributed to each component of our project. It also helped that we were only working out of two time zones

and only 5 hours ahead/behind one another.  We had four 40 minute meetings, which allowed us to go through the process of a truly great collaborative group project: brainstorming, drafting, revising, and finalizing. Each member bringing their own unique piece to the project.

This project was different than the past designed learning experience as it was directed at students and was able to be tailored to meet multiple grade levels. It allowed us to combine personal reading goals, writing narratives, and sharing book recommendations or original writing pieces to a larger audience. While teaching literary elements, steps in the writing process, and how to self-reflect and leave constructive feedback. Not to mention a number of tech pieces throughout as well such as: Writer Reader, Book Creator, FlipGrid, and Thinglink.

Here is our Unit Planner for Creating and sharing written work and book recommendations and.  Slide Deck for interactive student participation. 

Two things I learned over the course three-time frame were the two Google add-ons: NearPod and Peardeck. These add-ons turn any presentation with google slides into something that allows students to interact with the content as you teach, offering you real-time feedback throughout the lesson to help with pacing and guide the next day’s lessons.

If you’re not familiar with these Add-ons I highly recommend them and am confident they will transform your content delivery into true art.

Here is the Nearpod tutorial  and Peardeck tutorial .  I found Nearpod to have more available features whereas Peardeck allowed me to customize things to great detail.  Though I use both for grade 7 students, I think that younger students would like the Peardeck features more and older students would gravitate more towards the Nearpod features. Then once you’ve had the chance to experience them both, I’d watch the  Nearpod VS. Peardeck to see even more similarities and differences between the two great add-ons.Premium Photo | Hands of two men with blue and red boxing gloves bumped their fistsImage is taken from Freepik

The shared article: The Cycle of Socialization resonated with me the most during course 3, but isn’t directly reflected within the group project. As I move to facilitate this project in my co-caught classes, remembering to continually advocate for students, by questioning and challenging our current systems and providing students with a safe space that allows for them to do the same.  We must continue to break down barriers and build that safe environment for all collaborative discussions to take place.

Sometimes collaboration can even be easier with complete strangers on the other side of the world than with fellow colleagues you see day in and day out.  Why might that be??

Other aspects that have influenced me and are directly reflected within our project would be: Using design principles as students design their own pages in book creator, using the collaborative practices for students (from week 2) as they work together to share ideas and give feedback in the writing process, but what I think has influenced me the most during this course that came out the strongest within our project was the use of the Peardeck add-on.  This project was only the 2nd time I’ve designed lessons through this feature and I still find it as one of the greatest tools I’ve added to my tool belt.Tool Belt

After completion of this unit, I would hope that our students are feeling empowered to comfortably share their writing work or reading passages with classmates as well as learn how to give appropriate feedback and accept feedback with a growth mindset. I will be able to see evidence that students have learned these concepts when conferencing with them and hearing about how they have grown through goal setting, progress monitoring, and self-reflection. I will also see evidence that fellow teachers have learned something by seeing more interactive lessons with an increase in student engagement during content delivery times and taking risks when trying “new” digital platforms for student discussions and empowerment.

Prior to the break, we were able to plan and film FlipGrid book recommendations. That allowed our students to take 3 days to reflect on their reading goals, plan, and film a book talk that was posted on FlipGrid. Focusing on character and plot development, a chosen quote, and making recommendations tailored to specific audiences. I wasn’t able to facilitate the entire unit plan as we broke for October break. But I am continually looking for new ways to present content like in this Online Escape Room.  I hope to implement something like this when introducing literary elements after the break.  These book talks were the second “presentation” our 7th graders have given so far this year. The first one being an in-person cultural info-graphic (also greatly influenced by COETAIL Course 3 design principles) Based on student feedback, I would have changed the order of these presentations allowing the first one to be filmed and able to “re-do” as many times as needed with editing features of cropping and deleting and saving the in-person presentation for later on. Though with the Covid situation and not knowing when or how long we will get to have our kids face to face, it makes longer lesson planning more challenging. We’ve been flexible this year, really trying to slow down and just

take things one day at a time.

person sitting on stack of books while reading

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

What have been some of your mottos to make the most of your planning for unplannable times?

 

C3W5-Breaking Down Barriers

Structured discussions through technology platforms, like FlipGrid, allow our students to be heard and give them the time to process the information on their own time and to plan out their reply to ensure they can say exactly what they mean. 

We can begin to break down systems of oppression, one small step at a time, as classroom by classroom teachers are challenging the system, asking questions, educating the adults of the future, to appreciate those around us and treat everyone with respect. 

Reading the Cycle of Socialization has impacted my practice, as I continue to make waves and challenge the system every step of the way. It’s only through more and more education can we see that something is wrong with the picture and that it is up to us to say and do something about it. 

“….We are who we are…. so why can’t we just all get along…”

Identifying as a single, mid-’30s, white, cisgender heterosexual female, who’s a native English speaker, middle-class, Christain, well abled, and educated with post-secondary schooling, I would argue that most of what I identify with has been privileged. Also understanding that being female may be the only group I am part of that has continually faced oppression. Historically, whether it was the right to vote or title 9, or more current topics like the possible overturning of cases like Roe v. Wade; it is still very clear that gender plays a large role in women’s opportunities and decisions. These were just a few videos I have enjoyed really showing the empowerment for women in sports, one day we won’t need this day, and that women’s movement is a movement. Then there’s the opposite side as well of being told we’re too emotional or the 48 things Women will hear in a lifetime.  All of this has impacted my role as an educator as I learn to carry myself with more poise as my enthusiasm and passion for educating and advocating for students, specifically those with special needs, can at times, be taken the wrong way and hinder any chances of promotion. 

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

I have used Flipgrid with many classrooms and students in the past, now more than ever, with more and more teaching days going to digital learning. No longer having the opportunity to teach face to face, has allowed some students to re-watch instructional videos as many times as they need. It allows students to pause the teacher, and reflect on their own level of understanding at each different stage of the learning process. This experience differed from past text rendering, with: the addition of flipgrid and making it global. In the past we have done these in professional development sessions and small in person groups with a facilitator timing each round. With the addition of Flipgrid, I love that it allows the participant time to between each round to gather and organize their thoughts. Allowing them as make re-takes as needed before presenting their thoughts to the rest of the audience. I think utilizing these types of platforms, as well as padlet, allows us to plan for real-world learning experiences through sharing students’ ideas to a wider audience and allow for students to ask questions in a safe environment. 

The U.S. Department of Education said it best, “America is not yet the country it strives to be—a place where all who are willing to work hard can get ahead, join a thriving middle class, and lead fulfilling lives.”

Until we are all willing to give more power to the powerless and educate those (especially) with learned helplessness, I can only imagine how we will continue with an attempt to close achievement gaps. We need to find more importance in education and raise in the world rankings by learning from other countries.

With the past four years and the current year greatly affected by the corona virus global pandemic, I worry that those less fortunate, without easy access to wifi and 1:1 devices, have only fallen further behind and increased the achievement gap.

“We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else.” —President Barack Obama

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

Don’t forget to check out our Global Discussion on the Cycle of

Socialization, here’s what I had to say:

Check it out and join in!

Community Text Rendering.

C3Wk4- The Art of Communication

Visual aides have a quick way to either support your content or completely overwhelm or even bore your audience.

man in pink crew neck t-shirt

Communication, especially for students who have auditory processing difficulties or who don’t speak English as their first language rely on these visuals to fully comprehend the content. Educators need to not only rely on how they were taught, but continue to model how to be present while learning.

Photo by THABANG MADNSELA on Unsplash

We have all experienced boredom… the last thing any educator wants is for those feelings to be present in the classroom

Olivia Chow's Community Art Project - Screwed Out of Our Share

“Olivia Chow’s Community Art Project – Screwed Out of Our Share” by Tania Liu is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The first step I would take to support my colleagues with enhancing their communication with visual aides would be to show them the Ted Talk:

The Art of Delivering Information | Mike Johnston | TEDxLaSierraUniversity

I couldn’t agree more that educators tend to get bogged down with the content and focus less on the delivery. The actual education aspects all being in the delivery. The delivery of the content is where the art form comes into play and can be seen as a talent.

“Cracking the Code” is seen as the step that we as educators must take when asking ourselves,

“WHY isn’t the kid getting it?”

and even more importantly telling ourselves,

“It’s on ME!”

Continually looking for ways to present and deliver our content in the most engaging ways possible is the reason education is an art form, not just a science. We must treat each and every lesson like a sold-out performance, where our students are eagerly awaiting the tickets.

Magnifying, Glass, Detective, Looking, Lens, Proof

The books “Teach Like a Pirate” and “Tech like a Pirate” are more resources I have found beneficial. They help your students make real-world connections and get excited about their learning. Eventually leading up to the ultimate goal of students being more in control over their learning.

The visual aid I chose to update this week was our referral chart for the Student of Concerns process. I think almost every year these charts change as our school evolves on how to best meet the needs of our students.

As you can see in the first and second images, these were the old flow charts from 2018 and 2019. With keeping this week’s resources in mind I was able to summarize the information to keep it simple yet draw your attention to the main areas focusing on size and color contrast.

2018    2019

I gathered feedback at my grade level meeting using the Connections protocol. It was easily facilitated and I was able to gather data quickly in the sense that it was still very unclear what many of our acronyms stand for in SEN- which in it of itself is an acronym still not well known outside of the Special Education Needs world.  The feedback collected left us with a sense that most teachers are still unclear with the process on what to do when faced with struggling students, that pave the way for a smooth referral process into the Special Education program if need be.

This time around I made sure to keep things short and avoid the title being the largest thing on the page.  I simplified the sentences to shorter words which allowed me to go more in detail about being referred to the SEN program vs. just stating a “more intensive level of intervention”.  It was a little more difficult to achieve as a visual aid standing alone, but I chose to still create it in Google Slides so that it could have the animation highlighting the worlds and dimming them afterward when presenting this flow chart at our MS faculty meetings.  Highlighting a new section while you present while dimming the information you have already spoken about is a really effective way to hold your audience’s attention.

Having the title not be the largest thing on the slide was a surprise, but entirely made sense to keep your key points the largest. It leaves me wondering then why all templates within these programs have the slide designed that way from the start.   I was already implementing the design rules of only a few words on slides and avoiding full sentences, but these resources were a great reminder to ensure people are not getting bored and sitting through my presentations with an “ugh”.

How to Avoid Death by PowerPoint

by David JP Phillips- TEDxStockholmSalon and by Don Mcmillan (Stand up Comedy) were also great resources.  They reinforce the overuse of acronyms happening within many classrooms. We need to ensure that there is consistency between classrooms as well as the importance of font selection.

Life After Death by PowerPoint

What does your font say about you?

 

Six

 

I would like to learn more about the magic number of 6. As I find it fascinating how people on average recognize this number but once it goes over we start to count. We have used this rule before when working with Student Service Learning trips- whether it is called Week Without Walls or Discovery Week, these teacher-led trips 

Blue, Glass, Marbles, Kids, Games, Play, Round

often involve a high number of students traveling to another country for a period of time. When doing a risk analysis we have applied this rule of 6 in terms of the Teacher to Student Ratio. So that at any given moment when traveling throughout an airport, museum, or market you as the chaperone can quickly and effectively keep a watchful eye on the students you have been entrusted with. I know not every school follows this rule, at times chaperoning small groups that are larger than this.  But knowing that…

 

…it takes 500% more brain power energy to count…

I would think this would become a standardized practice for all positions where student safety could be at risk.

This weeks design principals have reminded me how many presentations we sit through as well as the ones our students participate in, must be more engaging and stress the importance of not only questioning and storytelling but reminding ourselves about dessert first and having passion when explaining.

You Are the Presentation

Not the Slides…

The Slides Are Your Visual Aide

YOU!

“YOU!” by Marcy Leigh is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Please don’t forget to take part in our Community Text Rendering that can be found here: COETAIL’S Cycle of Socialization. 

And leave a comment “below”- I’d love to see what your school’s Student of Concern Process looks likes and how to best communicate this with the wider school audience outside the SEN Departments.

C3W3: See What I Mean

This week I really enjoyed working in Piktochart and creatively re-doing my entire resume. I had started an infographic resume years ago, but after reading through this week’s resources, I realized I had to scrap the entire project and it was easier to begin a new one.  It wasn’t even up to the standards of screenshotting it for a before and after shot, it was that bad.

Collaborating with colleagues old and new I got some great tips and found the process of creating my infographic very rewarding.

I was able to insert a video type introduction/cover letter,

but also found that my project file size was too large to embed to the blog post, even just embedding the video alone was too large.  Having to break it up into segments, I found the resolution quality also then got lost in the downloads and uploads.

Playing around with spacing and color scales, I ended up with a product I’m quite happy with. This project made me look forward to when I begin to job search once again, but with the audience in mind, I couldn’t help but ask,

“Will more traditional schools and hiring committees appreciate or find value in this level of creativity and art?”

I would hate to design something that I feel truly and accurately represents me as an educator, but then hinder my chances on the job market.

Even with the audience in mind, I tried not to let it deter me from what I envisioned an infographic all about me would look like.  My only advice before diving in, without a template, is to really draft what you want to show first and then begin the creative process.  In the past, this process was greatly different as I would usually just get on Etsy for resume templates  and easily find a great looking one and plug all my information into it in no time.

Why re-invent the wheel, when many people have already perfected resume templates?

But below I embedded some screenshots into my blog as well, to hopefully sway more people into giving it a try, and seeing what you come up with. When researching these, I found very few educator examples, but many of which were for people in design type jobs.  But seeing all that there is out there, it was great to model and pull from many inspiring works and remix it up into something your very own.

I look forward to getting comments and feedback on how others find my resume and suggestions and ways to continue to make it better.- TYIA

Don’t forget to leave a comment…