My Final COETAIL Project- Course 5: Self-Advocacy Presentations

Unit Introduction

  • As we entered the final quarter of the year,  I started our Advocacy presentation unit off with a brainstorming session around their transition to grade 8 and what kinds of things they would want to share with their teachers. It was a group discussion allowing them to start looking for the words to help describe themselves as learners & individuals. Further lessons would then give them more vocabulary around how to speak about themselves in that same way with confidence and expand their self-awareness and demonstrate how to articulate what they need to get the most out of their learning and more importantly, enjoy the process!
  • Check out our Unit Planner linked here with some slight alterations made that will be shared in the video at the bottom of this post.

The Learning Process

  • After our brainstorming sessions, we had numerous SMART skills lessons allowing us to grow in educational vocabulary and reflect on ourselves as learners. I transformed an old pen and paper Executive Functioning survey to being a google doc, and found success with the reflection piece and debriefing the students with their own personal data.
From this... 

to this...


allowing for a greater level of independence and mini lessons on the vocabulary within the survey to add to their personalized Vocabulary journals.


  • From offering choice selections lessons through “bingo boards” (as seen in the final video) to direct instruction reading lessons my EAP (English for Academic Purposes) and LRC (Learning Resource Class) has a fine balance between independent activities and lessons that require active engagement. Allowing them to choose all activities in 1 language domain or complete one activity from each of the 4 domains (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking).
  • Many of which we started the year off completing together as a class and as the year went on similar activities then became some that they could complete independently- such as the Nearpod listening lessons.
  • As we got closer to the final assessment for our project, we dove back into their goals and charts of their progress and continued the reflection process. Partnering up to work on skills in similar areas as well as different partners whose strengths and weaknesses were opposite to them was beneficial. In these partnerships, they were able to discuss strategies and ways they focus on their strengths to help with things that are more challenging for them.
  • Here are a few altered (for confidentiality) screenshots of the final projects showcasing slides of the student’s work and some of their excitement to celebrate not only their growth and success around meeting their goals but to celebrate their differences and truly value the unique individualness of each and every one. Be sure to check out the final video reflection at the end of this post, to see parts of the presentations in action!

ISTE Standards for Students

Empowered Learner

Creative Communicator

Both Images taken by Shalene Huth
  • As an empowered learner my students (1a),  “Articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.” and  (1c) “Use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.”
  • As creative communicators my students (6a), “Choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication” and (6d) “Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.”
  • Allowing students the option of which platform they wanted to use to complete their project authentically embedded the ISTE Standards for students into my content area. It has gotten better as it has become easier to identify which units are using which ISTE standards, and how to go about planning meaningful lessons to help with significantly re-designing the task or to create an entirely new one.

    ISTE Standards for Educators

Image taken by Shalene Huth.      I have deepened my practice of the  educator ISTE standards, by using them in my unit and becoming more reflective in the designing stage, opposed to only at the completion of the unit. Looking at not only the standards I wanted the kids to model, but those designed for educators has allowed me to grow in the planning and implementation of this unit, ensuring that almost each standard is somehow incorporated into this final project.

I also realized that for the future I’d also like to focus on and continue to grow in Standard 3-Digital Citizenship:where "Educators inspire students to positively contribute to and responsibilty partcipate in the digital world."

ISTE Standards I was proud to meet through the implementation of my final project:

    • “Educators continually improve their practice by learning from and with others and exploring proven and promising practices that leverage technology to improve student learning.”
          • Specifically: “Set professional learning goals to explore and apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology and reflect on their effectiveness.”
    • “Educators seek out opportunities for leadership to support student empowerment and success and to improve teaching and learning.”
          • Specifically: “Educators: Shape, advance and accelerate a shared vision for empowered learning with technology by engaging with education stakeholders.” and “Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.”
    • “Educators dedicate time to collaborate with both colleagues and students to improve practice, discover and share resources and ideas, and solve problems.”
        • Specifically, “Educators: Collaborate and co-learn with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues.” and “Demonstrate cultural competency when communicating with students, parents and colleagues and interact with them as co-collaborators in student learning.”
    • “Educators design authentic, learner-driven activities and environments that recognize and accommodate learner variability.”
      • Specifically, “Educators: Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.”
    • “Educators facilitate learning with technology to support student achievement of the ISTE Standards for Students.
        • Specifically, “Educators: Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.”
    • “Educators understand and use data to drive their instruction and support students in achieving their learning goals.”
        • Specifically, “Educators: Provide alternative ways for students to demonstrate competency and reflect on their learning using technology.” and “Use assessment data to guide progress and communicate with students, parents, and education stakeholders to build student self-direction.”

Meeting Our Goals

  • The main goal for this unit was to present a video recording about themselves as a learner demonstrating clear English speaking and knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses while reflecting on their goals from this year.
  • For myself and this unit, I wanted to open it up to doing the project, not from a standard template- I’ve provided in the past, with explicit step-by-step instructions, but to give them the end goal and give them choice on how to reach it and bring, what I cherish and value: creativity, into my lessons.
Showing my students first hand, it can be extra rewarding to just "go rogue" as you can see here with a painting class I experienced... where I took the liberties to ask for black paint created my own pink and followed instructions in a different way. 

 

Photos taken by Shalene Huth
  • I think this project has challenged me to rethink traditional approaches, in the sense of breaking away from set graphic organizers and templates to allow more room for student choice. Then once students begin follow up with bringing in sentence starters, prompts, or graphic organizers to aid them.
  • It was also a goal of mine, to explore utilizing my own photos and to begin taking more “abstract” ones that could, later on, be used in blog posts- a goal of which I was thrilled to see come full circle in this post and within the images of my final video.

Adding to Our Toolbelt

  •  Movie Maker
  • Screen Casetify
  • Google forms-surveys
  • Google Docs.
  • Padlet & Flipgrid
  • Nearpod
  • Read & Write assistive tech.
  • Most of my students were familiar with a number of these and it’s great to see more and more teachers using them regularly within their classes. So what may be new to you, more often than not, is not new for our students.
  • Choosing the tool to match the task, is also an easy feat once you have a broader knowledge of what’s available to you.  Being able to start with knowing what you want and select a tech tool to best support it allows the focus to stay on the task with technology simply enhancing the redefinition of what we thought was possible in the many learner objectives and endless opportunities to show demonstrate of the expected outcomes. 

Sharing our Transformation

  • Being that I am the only SEN teacher for my grade level I shared this unit with the transition team and next year’s teachers. Teachers received an e-mail with links to each of the students’ videos for whom they will teach for grade 8. I will initiate collaboration through setting up the transition meetings and holding end-of-year progress meetings and support plan meetings with parents and classroom teachers. During this time, teachers will be able to ask the students directly any clarifying questions on their projects. We have been unable to have any of these meetings yet, due to Covid-19.
  • I will continue to share out my learning experiences with my colleagues as we implement new TTT (Teacher’s Training Teachers) sessions at our weekly Faculty and Dept. meetings (not just the monthly PD days) as well as through engaging them in the transition meetings and student support meetings.  Sharing these types of projects and the lessons leading up to our final outcome will also empower teachers better serve diverse groups of learners.
  • All of this will greatly impact the students I service, by taking these skills of self-awareness, self-advocacy, and empowerment and generalizing them into their general education classrooms and with a larger setting and in a subject that may be more challenging to them.

Learning Outcomes

  • Greater self-awareness, confidence, and advocacy skills!
  • Assessment task: creating a presentation (of any kind) with visuals and demonstrating speaking skills that can reflect on themselves as a learner and how they set goals and worked towards achieving them.
  •  They also learned about collaboration and speaking with their classmates and the classroom teacher is of utmost importance to continue to grow as a learner and to take more control over their education.
  • The enduring understandings that students walked away with were the different tools and vocabulary to utilize in ensuring they are getting the most out of every class lesson.
  • In end, the final transition piece will occur after the results of their WIDA language assessment in 2 weeks’ time. I am confident that all the students I worked with this year will reach a level 4 or 5 in the speaking domain as it has been a joy seeing their confidence grow and have some wonderful discussions, debates, and informal dialogue week after week.
Image taken from: https://view.publitas.com/dr-2/wida-speaking-rubric-writing-rubric-typed-1/page/1

Final Reflection

My COETAIL experience will impact my future practice, with whatever field I go into. As I am unexpectedly leaving my job and home in Moscow and on the search for something new and exciting back in Wisconsin! Everything I have gained through COETAIL, I am confident, has allowed me to take the next steps in whatever is to come.  I don’t know what my role will be in the fall, within education, but the COETAIL experience has given me numerous opportunities to expand my PLN and countless new tips and tricks with innovative tech skills that I am sure I will find success.  I will look for a position that allows me to continue to spread the joys of what it means to be a life long learner, eager to try new things, gather data, and continually reflect and meet the needs of ALL learners, who are eager to take control of their own learning and help make this world a better place

Be sure to check out the video for further reflection on the project itself!

From everything available on Google, Youtube, Twitter, our PLN, and helpful links provided by the COETAIL instructor, the 2 tips I really took with me for the creation of my video were:

“…You have to be able to see the feeling…” & “…just lift your chin up, go forward and don’t worry about nothing…”

Take from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3qlFtZJwP8

Final Project Video Reflection

C5 Choice 2: My first 2 Training Sessions

Professional Development

Back in October, I was thankful for not only attending a Teacher’s Training Teachers (TTT) session to learn all about Google Add-On’s, but I was able to lead my own sessions as well.  What I learned from my colleagues about Peardeck and Nearpod, helped transform my pull-out classroom lessons which greatly impacted student learning and engagement in the new digital age of on-line teaching due to covid. The best part of that PD day was it was relevant and motivating for me… and drew upon my background knowledge of google slides- what I was already using within my classes.

Photo by Alysha Rosly on Unsplash

Google Docs.

For my first TTT lead Session, I trained people using the features of Google Documents specifically for Individualized Learning Plan or Intervention/ Goal Tracking. The collaboration aspect of Google Docs. allows for not only students, but parents and the students’ teachers to be shared on their goal tracking document. This allows the most frequent home/school communication around their child’s goals. And more importantly, the comment feature allows classroom teachers to validate the student’s daily to weekly reflection or tracking on their goals. This ensures that the ownership of the goals remains with the student.  Below you can see how I’ve taken LeeAnn Jung’s goal tracking method and converted it to a Google Doc. I had the privilege of meeting her at a PD session while in Dubai, she was, at the time working on a new software program for her model and suggested the color-coding addition which you now see in our tracker below.  All leading towards creating self-directed learning environments for our students who receive SEN supports! The second tracker shown below was a student who met their goal in a matter of months when using researched-based interventions like those found on Intervention Central or those found in the PRIM.  When utilizing these proven practices, year-long ILP (IEP) goals have a greater chance of being met!

Google Sheets

We also had Friday PD mornings within our SEN dept. this allowed people to regularly share out new and exciting things they were learning about and have 20-30 minutes to teach others in their department about what Proven Practice you were using or other Professional Development you were attending and one main idea to focus on and implement change in your classroom. I used this for my second training session on Google Sheets specifically for tracking Measures of Academic Performance (MAP) data in Reading, Writing, and Language. But again due to Covid, we were unable to do the language test this year, so I primarily focused on Math and Reading.

With the google sheets, conditional formatting, it allows me, as case manager to view which students are performing on grade level and which are above/below grade level expectations to allow me to better plan my lessons and implement the necessary interventions.

Later on, I was able to apply this same training, but for EAL and utilizing it with the WIDA language test we give and tracking the 4 domains of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Utalizing the conditional formatting feature within Google Sheets allows for a better visual of where students on your caseload are performing at. Again, it doesn’t take into consideration all their individual strengths and qualitative data, purely a numbers and test scores representation. Just as the quantitative data is important when creating the full picture of the child, it is also important to refer to the Universal Design for Learning   that helps take a step back to look at the curriculum to meet all the diverse needs of our learners & change the world!

I hoped each of these training sessions would be equally meaningful as they have helped me develop my craft when used to better understand the students we case manage and teach. Along with having the tools and resources to track the data, it helps students self-monitor their goals and progress and most importantly- celebrate their growths and successes as learners.Singapore Fireworks Celebration Fireworks 2008 - Team Korea ( Korean Fantasia )

"Singapore Fireworks Celebration Fireworks 2008 - Team Korea ( Korean Fantasia )" by kazeeee is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Life-Long Learners

Survey Question: I will be able to utilize this tracker or something similar within my current group of students.

and the feedback comments:

Above you can see some of the responses to my reflection survey of the few participants who were in attendance. Leading specialty PD sessions generally I’d only have 2-3 volunteers who come, or at times some want to come but then realize that it doesn’t necessarily apply to them.  I always find it interesting… the new ties educators can make in how to use a tool and transform it or make it their own and applicable to them and what they teach. (Such as when I led a Rocket Math Program Training which then got converted into reading Sight Music for choir- how fun!)

Lifelong Learning | A word cloud featuring "Lifelong Learnin… | Flickr

Photo taken from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/182229932@N07/49014247267

 

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.