approx read time: 2 min.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a coach with you in the classroom whenever you wanted? You know, someone who watches you play your game, and then helps you adjust your technique.
Imagine you got a great idea from a blog post, Twitter chat or conference workshop over the weekend. You’re going to try it out Monday. Wouldn’t it be great if someone else could be there to watch and give you some feedback, engage in some reflection? Someone who knows the learning targets, but is free to watch the action unfold rather than be caught up in facilitating?
Or maybe you have a tried and true activity that could use a refresh. It flows wonderfully, but you want to build on it and take it to the next level. Unfortunately, when one is engaged in facilitating the lesson, opportunities to observe and learn as a teacher are few and far between.
One way to see it all is with the use of a tool like Swivl. This little robotic video stand offers a great option to observe and reflect on your practice. You can either set it in a convenient spot and let it go, or you can wear the marker and have it follow you around as you speak. Upload your video and watch at your leisure. And if you choose, you can invite others to comment by sharing your video. You can expand this out to filming students as they work individually, in small groups or presenting. Share clips with students as exemplars. Using Swivl is an easy way to step into using the ISTE educator standards as you strive to increase modeling, collaboration, and student choice. Use Swivl to:
Leave a comment below to share how you’ve used Swivl or other video coaching methods to improve teaching and learning.
So I'm one of those who grew up mildly to mostly uncomfortable with math. As a high school student. I excelled at linguistics, and intellectual though processes. But math just didn't add up (haha) I loved the proofs of geometry. The built in meta-cognition worked for me. But algebra? in the traditional manner of do all the odd (or even) problems, show all your work, one right answer? Not so much. Sound familiar?
Now that I'm a part time field supervisor, coaching student teachers in all content areas, I've been brushing up on content specific methods and strategies. Enter Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler. This book has been life-changing. And it aligns with the design thinking work I've been doing the last couple of years. Whether you're a math teacher or not, this book is for you. Boaler provides excellent examples of how to create a collaborative classroom where students learn that there really is no such thing as a mistake. Instead, they are encouraged to share and debate ideas based on the familiar, claim, evidence, reasoning technique we see in science and language arts. Armed with the basics of number sense, students discover math facts for themselves in a constructivist style of learning. We are reminded that while there may be a right answer, there is no one right way to arrive at that answer and the power of allowing students to explore and explain their thinking.
Boaler provides tons of great examples of simple 'games' aka activities to encourage this thinking including one of my new favorite apps kenken puzzles along with a variety of resources from youcubed.org that will start you on the way to understanding the benefit of a growth mindset in mathematics.
She touches on a variety of related topics as well, such as the benefits of heterogeneous vs. homogeneous grouping in math classes. Her position on the role of homework is particularly relevant to any content area. She espouses the value of reflection as opposed to repetition, advocating for a sort of flipped classroom model in which the practice and discover is done in class with students engaging in self-assessment as homework.
As I visit schools and have sat in on curriculum committee work, I routinely hear how math is 'special' that there is such a broad range of abilities teachers require special consideration in designing programs that essentially track students and impose upon them a fixed mindset related to math ability, setting them up continued struggle, failure and lowered self-esteem. Jo Boaler offers practical methods that can be implemented without a complete curriculum re-write that will ease the tension and frustration for students and teachers alike. Add this book to your summer reading list!
reading time: 2 minutes (+ if you choose to do a little follow-up)
Today’s post is a call to action. The ability to recognize integrity and honesty in the news and social media is a necessary life skill for us all as empowered citizens in a global community.
As educators, the concept of fake news comes as no big surprise. We’ve been dealing with teaching kids how to recognize legitimate online resources for years with fun hoax Websites that help us in a light-hearted way like the infamous zapatopi tree octopus site. But in recent months, what used to be a more or less minor bump on the path of research skill building has taken a serious turn.
The 2016 election cycle, the coining of the term post-truth (??) and international crises that have been borne out of fake news bring new urgency to the need to ensure that our students are discerning consumers of media. It’s like propaganda on steroids. One well-publicized tweet that espouses a personal opinion can suddenly become ‘fact’ as it’s supported by a strong fake news article, or even a misleading headline designed to grab attention on a legitimate news item. Since many don’t read past headlines, beliefs (aka ‘facts’) are being cemented in 140 characters (or less) with alarming regularity these days.
The Huffington Post recently published a fantastic article on what to look for in a news article to verify its veracity. There are 8 recommended ways to check a source. You don’t have to do them all, any one of them would expose a counterfeit. As you dive in, be sure to follow the links. They lead to many valuable resources, including access to a codified list of ‘news’ sites created by a journalism professor to help students discern between fake news, misleading headlines, and satire.
If you only have one ed tech resolution this year, make it: Empower your students to act with discretion and to be resourceful and knowledgeable.
Carol Glanville, M.Ed.
Organizational Design Consultant