Friday, October 18, 2013

Blog Post #9

What can we learn about teaching and learning from these teachers?

Back To the Future
By: Briann Smith, Amanda Weller, Heather Smith, and Lisa Smith

In Brian Crosby’s TEDx video, Back To the Future, he discusses how he guides his student’s learning in a model technology classroom. Crosby has been an upper elementary teacher for over 30 years, and now he facilitates STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education for teachers and administrators in six counties in northern Nevada. He has a background in outdoor education and educational technology. He has also integrated his “at risk” students use of technology with field trips, art, hands-on activities and a problem-based approach, to build their schema of the world while connecting them to it.

Crosby starts his presentation off by describing the students that he works with. In his fourth grade class, 90% of his students are second language learners and at risk students. He describes at “risk students” as students of poverty. On the second day of school, he gave his fourth graders a survey with a few questions. The survey included questions such as: What city do you live? What state do you live in? What country do you live in? and What is your address? An overwhelming number of his students did not know the answer to the questions. In his presentation he went on to ask, “why is there such a disconnect for these kids?". He explained how the goal when teaching children in these circumstances is to not have a narrowed curriculum. Crosby stresses how important it is to help build a schema or knowledge of the world for students. In his presentation he goes on to show how he personally used technology, creativity, and hands on activities to help his students learn and think outside of the box.

In his classroom his students have laptops and they all have individual blogs. He also uses an interactive whiteboard and the class has several digital cameras. The different technology tools and resources allow his class the opportunity to think outside the box and work on creative projects. One of the projects the class did was the “High Hopes” High Altitude Balloon Project. The “High Hopes” project involved the students learning about the different layers in the atmosphere. In the project, the students completed the following:

  • They researched the history of the balloon & ballooning
  • They built a payload to send the balloon up in the air
  • The sent a balloon up over a 100,000 feet in the air.
  • The students embed their videos of the balloon project on their personal blogs
  • The students used flickr to share & store their photos of the balloon project
  • The students had to write a story from the point of view of the balloon
  • They used free online software to create book covers for their stories
  • They illustrated all of their stories with the pictures from flickr
  • They then posted their stories to their blogs
  • They used their Personal Learning Network to invite other students to join their “High Hopes” Project
  • They used Google Maps to track the balloon in the air
  • They used Skype to present & explain their projects to another class in New Zealand

  • The “High Hopes” project was very creative project for the students and they learned so much while doing it! This one project allowed the students to use so many skills and resources like, 21st Century Learning Tools and so much more. The students were able to not only collaborate with others inside their classroom, but with other students internationally as well. The project also included several Common Core Standards such as:

    English Language Arts Standards: Writing

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.4.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting

    English Language Arts Standards: Speaking & Listening
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.4 Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.5 Add audio recordings and visual displays to presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.

    Brian Crosby’s TEDx video presentation was very informative and inspiring. He essentially changed and impacted those children’s lives forever! He
    empowered them to become active learners and to use their creativity to think outside of the box. It was incredible to see the rapid change that took place in their learning. It is amazing to think that on the second day of school the students did not know the answers to basic questions like, what country do you live in? To think a few months later, for their “High Hopes” project they skyped with a class from New Zealand and presented their projects. This really shows how
    much they learned and grew within a short period of time.Brian Crosby is an excellent example of how a teacher can effectively engage their students and allow them to be active learners. As future teachers, we can learn to engage our students and allow them to do hands on activities that promote their learning. Students retain and learn more information, when they are given the opportunity to be actively involved in what they are learning and to learn on their own. Teachers can learn to expand their curriculum and allow their students to build their schemas and make experiences on their own. The “High Hopes” project is also a great example for teachers, because it was essentially a science project, but the students were able to do so much with it. They used 21st Century Learning Tools, they collaborated with others, they used their History and Writing skills, and they created video blog posts. This project was a perfect illustration on how a curriculum can be engaging and diverse.Crosby strongly believes that providing exciting and motivating hands-on, minds-on experiences, although crucial, is not good enough for our students.They require the time to “Go Deep” and leverage their learning through all aspects of the curriculum including integrated, rigorous language arts, math, art and social studies work.

  • Blended Learning Cycle
    By: Briann Smith, Amanda Weller, Heather Smith, and Lisa Smith

    In this video Paul Andersen explains how you can use Lewis Diagrams and VSEPR Models to make predictions about molecules.
    Here is an example of a Lewis Diagram

  • The Lewis diagrams are a two-dimensional representations of covalent bonds and the VSEPR models show how the molecule could exist in three dimensional space. 

  • Pi bonding and odd valence electrons require an extension of this model.

    Bozeman Science is the main topic covered in Paul Andersen's blog. Paul's blog is divided into several different tabs and content areas. Each tab provides you with different sources of valuable information pertaining to Paul's experiments. Paul provides several different youtube videos with useful instruction and information All of his videos are accessible from his blog site. You can click on any of the links to view videos with specific content areas.
    This is the content areas that are provided in Paul's blog:
    AP Biology
    AP Chemistry
    Anatomy & Physiology
    Earth Science Educational
    Next Generation Science Standards
    Statistics & Graphing

    Blended Learning Cycle Video:
    In this video , Paul talks about some of his previous educational videos. Their success rates were not so high, but he did learn a lot from them which he
    uses now. Blending learning is one of the sources that Paul learned from previous experiences. He has began to use this approach a lot with his class. He gives several examples of approaches that he has previously used. Paul has grabbed and made use of several classroom inspirations that he has gained from other teachers and outside sources. He visited China and took notes on the activities and approaches they used in the classroom. Paul brought back this approach to use with his class and to share with others.

    Blending learning is defined by blending online and classroom learning. Paul defines the 5 E's and their importance; if you use this approach be sure to explain them to your students. There are 6 parts to the blending learning cycle, which are:
    Summary Quiz

    "The hook on learning is what really gets the students attention."

    The students’ need to do investigations within learning. Video the students’ using a podcast. Teachers can use this approach to view with the students’ later instead of a classroom lecture. The review portion requires you to meet individually with the student to check their understanding. The summary quiz shows the students’ understanding.

    Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners 
    By:Briann Smith, Amanda Weller, Heather Smith, and Lisa Smith

    Mark Church gives his students a collaborative assignment and asked them to create within their group a headline on their current study.The students talk openly about their thoughts and what their headline should be. The teacher then takes the headline and posts them onto a bulletin board so that everyone can view. Over the next few weeks the class will continue their study on the topic.Later, the teacher will ask how their individual headlines have changed since the beginning of the lesson and what they learned.

    This type of learning process is great for getting a student that would normally be shy and unspoken to gain the acceptance of their peers and learn to work with other students. Giving a child the opportunity to think about their own thoughts is a great way to get their motivation in action and also it gives each individual team member a feeling of self worth.

    Ron Ritchhart discussing the importance of thinking:
    In today’s world teachers need their students to have flexibility in order to be able to discuss and/or create problems that result in working together as a group. It’s not just about the lessons, but more about the culture in which the lessons are being taught that set the groundwork for the outcome of the learner.

    Chalk Talk:
    Chalk Talk is one way of having something visible in the classroom to allow students to have thoughts to fall back on when needed. You post a question that is deep enough to have the students collaborate on and then document the students thoughts by posting them on the board. This allows the students access to information so that if they have questions the teacher may revert them to the Chalk Talk for their answer. This also shows a visible outline of what the students are learning in the classroom and would be easy for an observer to pick up on.

    Roosevelt Elementary's PBL Program
    By: Briann Smith, Amanda Weller, Heather Smith, and Lisa Smith

    After watching Roosevelt Elementary’s PBL Program , one thing is clear: Every teacher and parent interviewed feels strongly about Project-Based Learning (PBL) and that PBL is an excellent way for students to learn!

    So What Is Project-Based Learning (PBL)???
  • In-depth learning
  • Integrated thematic instruction
  • Based on “real world” problems
  • Research-based
  • Projects and presentations
    PBL offers:
  • Teacher Collaboration
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Students can really show they 
  •     understand something
            *The application of knowledge is genuine

  • Students have the ability to make decisions in their own
            *Giving them a sense of power
            *Allowing them to experience what adult’s experience everyday
  • 21st Century Life Skills/ Social Skills that builds upon each other:
  •         *Learn to perform presentations
            *Learn about public speaking
            *Learn what it means to be a good audience
            *Learn to be proud of their work
            *Learn to show what they know
            *Work independently and in cooperative groups
            *Communicate with each other
            *Solve problems
            *Support each other
            *Answer to each other (just like adults in the business world have to)

  • Community Participation: encouragement of adults from community to come to 
  •     school and give real life experiences

  • Student engagement: building background knowledge; igniting students to love to learn; and teaching self-motivation, student interaction, and self-reflection

  • School-Wide Problem-Based Learning:
            *Collaboration as a grade level (and across grade levels)
            *Bringing in more resources to support each other
            *Students given the ability to have conversations with other students
            *Creating a more cohesive environment at school
            *Community grows a lot stronger and tighter because of program

    Like the teachers in
    the video mentioned, PBL is NOT easy! It takes a lot of work from the teacher, the student, and the community. The rewards, though, are inspiring and more than worth it. PBL doesn’t just teach the required subject matter. PBL teaches children how to think for themselves, how to find that spark inside themselves to get them to question the things around them, and how to want to know more about their world. Just “doing a project” or “solving a problem” is not enough to count as PBL. A key component is that the problems — and the types of solutions students create — should be authentic. In other words, they should mimic the types of tasks people do in careers, outside of the classroom walls.

    What Can We Learn About Teaching from Roosevelt Elementary’s PBL Program Even though I already knew the “basics” about PBL, the teachers and parents at Roosevelt Elementary have taught me so much more. Other than all of the information previously mentioned, I have learned that PBL is not just another traditional project. You do not simply give instructions and materials and have students make something to fulfill state standards. You give them tools and necessary information and “turn them loose” to research, discuss, facilitate, inquire, and interact. As a future teacher, I could only dream that I will be capable of incorporating PBL frequently into my classroom. I have realized how important PBL can be (when used correctly). Roosevelt Elementary is a prime example of a school and a community coming together in hopes of educating and pushing our youth to the highest peaks in order for them to achieve limitless opportunities. These high expectations are achieved through PBL and all it has to offer our future!

    1. Below are some tips to incorporate into this blog post, also the post is very lengthy. Maybe condensing the next post would be a way to entice the reader to keep reading. Other than that it looks really good, your pictures and videos are working perfectly. Keep up the good work.

      This was a colaberative post, they wrote:

      He described at “risk students” as students of poverty

      *This should be: He describes at "risk students" as students of poverty.

      They wrote:

      What city do you live?, What state do you live in?, What country do you live in?, and What is your address?

      *I am not positive but I do not think you need these commas. The ? mark should be the end of the sentence the commas don't really make sense. You should just list the questions and leave the commas out.

      They wrote:

      In his presentation he went on to ask, “why is there such a disconnect for these kids”.

      *There should be a ? mark after kids?"

      Example: "Why is there such a disconnection for these kids?".

      They wrote:

      Crosby stressed how important it is to help students who have not had many experiences and inputs to build a schema of the world.

      Crosby stresses how important it is to help build a schema or knowledge of the world these children live in. Since they are poverty students, they do not have worldly experiences other students may have.

      *This breaks the sentence up and makes it more understandable.

    2. Were these done collaboratively? A lot of "I..." in the last summary.

      Otherwise thorough, thoughtful, interesting, very well done!