Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Mission Skills

Although my one person PLC may be coming to an end, I'll share my original goals and hypothesis,

Hypothesis:  Mission Skills can be taught/nurtured in a school setting.
Goals: Find empirical data that could be emulated as best practice by other schools hoping to improve a Mission Skill component.

Anecdotally, there are clearly activities like Robotics and Forensics that lend themselves to developing a mission skill.  In this case resilience....the success/failure cycle would seem to intuitively build that skill.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Entry Event for PBL

On Monday, September 14, I delivered my "entry event" for a PBL unit I am trying out on immigration.  The project is linked to the novel we read, which is about a Jewish family fleeing Russia in 1919. The entry event is supposed to get the students interested/excited/engaged in the project, but also should introduce the driving question that will push the project forward. During the session the students listened to the poem from the base of the Statue of Liberty, looked at different documents related to immigration, studied photographs of different immigrant groups across the years, and analyzed a graph showing numbers of immigrants coming to the US by year. At the end of the class, they were given a boat ticket to travel to America. (A blank ticket, that they will later fill out with the fictional details of an immigrant from a country of their choice!) 

The driving question is: "Why do people leave everything they know to move to a new country?" 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences

This year, I've decided to take another approach to Vocabulary homework in Seventh grade. Students were given exams to identify their learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic). They were also given a multiple intelligence test to help them understand that an I.Q. number doesn't necessarily define a person's intelligence.
With this information, students will decide the best way to learn words and definitions. They discuss strategies in small groups and may choose to work individually or in groups. At the end of the week, they inform me how they studied and how much time it took to study. Then they take a quiz. Every week, students will also learn to "tweak" their studying strategies. Since this is my first year trying this, I will update any progress made in class.

Here are some links if you would like more information:





Strategies for Different Learning Styles

Visual Learners:
  • use visual materials such as pictures, charts, maps, graphs, etc.
  • have a clear view of your teachers when they are speaking so you can see their body language and facial expression
  • use color to highlight important points in text
  • take notes or ask your teacher to provide handouts
  • illustrate your ideas as a picture or brainstorming bubble before writing them down
  • write a story and illustrate it
  • use multi-media (e.g. computers, videos, and filmstrips)
  • study in a quiet place away from verbal disturbances
  • read illustrated books
  • visualize information as a picture to aid memorization
Auditory Learners:
  • participate in class discussions/debates
  • make speeches and presentations
  • use a tape recorder during lectures instead of taking notes
  • read text out aloud
  • create musical jingles to aid memorization
  • create mnemonics to aid memorization
  • discuss your ideas verbally
  • dictate to someone while they write down your thoughts
  • use verbal analogies, and story telling to demonstrate your point
Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners
  • take frequent study breaks
  • move around to learn new things (e.g. read while on an exercise bike, mold a piece of clay to learn a new concept)
  • work at a standing position
  • chew gum while studying
  • use bright colors to highlight reading material
  • dress up your work space with posters
  • if you wish, listen to music while you study
  • skim through reading material to get a rough idea what it is about before settling down to read it in detail.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Integrating Technology in PreK

We have started working on a  PreK blog but it isn't ready for prime time yet!  We have a few parents who are on the no photo list so we will wait to talk about it at Back to School Night.  Our blog will go live in October.  In addition to this we have are go through the tutorials for Three Ring.  Three Ring is a documentation app where we an capture moments, photo, audio, and video.  We can make notes just for our eyes,  share information with individual families or the entire class if it is appropriate.  We hope that this tool will help us with launching provocations and project work in small groups with our class. But more importantly  creating a portfolio of information that will paint a picture of where each child is developmentally that will be easier for parents to understand during conferences in January. 


For the coding study group, click the link below to find out what we're doing here.

What is the difference between doing a project and project based learning?

Here is a site that has a great chart showing what is the difference between projects and project based learning.
There is also other info on the site as well.


Cultural Competency

What cultural competency is not:
  • “appreciation of diversity” - statement of purpose
  • Not mentioned in ESLRs

What we hope to explore:
  • not making it token (not isolating it to dress-up one day a year)
  • how does it become ingrained into curriculum
  • make what we’re teaching is culturally relevant
  • cultural appreciation vs. appropriation
  • definition of "culture"
  • are we addressing student experience when we’re attempting to “appreciate” diversity
  • privilege!
  • relationships to adults (each other)
    • how is this hard for us as adults/faculty?
    • how are we avoiding the conversation?
    • how can we agree to define cultural competency as a faculty?

  • how does that inform the way we act in the classroom
  • understanding the community, identifying the community
  • how do we define "cultural" activities within our community
  • inclusivity - shift language, actions

What goals we hope to accomplish:
  • For the year, how do we establish/define this for us as faculty (maybe next year we can work on implementing it into curriculum/discussion with students)
  • get on the same page in terms of understanding cultural competency
  • begin with the intention
  • PD / training
  • building awareness of gaps in our understanding
  • small and large conversations
  • becoming okay with tension, discomfort
  • sharing the same language
  • acknowledging privilege
  • how do we assess where we’re at? Who we are?

  • Facilitator for this conversation: Cheyenne Pronga (Cosmo)

Goal: Continue the conversation, read

PLC: Service learning for K-1

K-1 will be participating in making placements for Meals on Wheels to donate for the Thanksgiving holiday. Debbie will be contacting Meals on Wheels on Monday to arrange for a school visit. Began brainstorming optional projects: visiting retirement homes to donate time to work with seniors on crafts, pen pals with seniors living in retirement communities

PBL Discussion

First, we discussed the gold standard of problem based learning and how to could adapt a project we already have to make it PBL. By adapting a project we already do, it will be more manageable to accomplish this year.

Main Points of Gold Standard PBL
- Challenging problem
- Sustained inquiry
- Authenticity
- Student Voice and Choice
- Reflection
- Critique and Revision
- Public Product

Second, we spent time individually looking at http://bie.org/about. The BIE website includes a description, examples of projects and resources.


We researched some PD opportunities and explored the SVMI website for some classroom resources. We also decided to add a study skill element to our monthly discussion.

Supporting LGBTQ Students and LGBTQ History.

My plan for this group will involve the reading of two books:

1) LGBT Youth in America's schools by Jason Cianciotto and Sean Cahill:
This book deals with school policies towards LGBT students, and seeks to send educators and administrators in the way to be supportive and what are the best practices. It also relates the stories of several students and their experiences in schools. I notice they left off the Q here, so if the book feels incomplete there are a few other books that can perhaps supplement my learning with a third book. The goal would be to make my classroom a more welcoming place.

2) Understanding and Teaching US Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Edited by Leila J. Rupp and Susan K. Freeman. This is a collection of essays that are designed to help teachers integrate more LGBT history into their classrooms. I would try to incorporate some of this newfound knowledge into my own curriculum.

In addition, I'd be willing to look into guest speakers for those who might find it helpful to learn more about supporting LGBTQ students. While obviously I would not book anyone, I can at least provide some names to the administration if they feel like this topic merits it.

If anyone thinks that sounds interesting to them, feel free to talk to me about joining this group.

Monday, September 21, 2015

As a second grade team we started a edublog. We have been asked to share this with the ACS faculty and staff. It is a secure website and you need a password to access. We are hoping the enrichments will join our blog so it will be one stop viewing for the parents.
pombodavis@edublog.net Password acs2ndgrade. Happy blogging.