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Original posting at Learning Personalized:
We are so excited to share our guest blogger this week:
Mrs. P from Mrs. P’s Magic Library!
Her favorite book is Wanda’s Wart – written and illustrated by Robin Robinson http://www.robinillustration.com/books/
Wanda’s Wart is an all-ages indie picture book about the importance of friendship, honesty—and not being afraid to stand out for what makes you an individual. This story may be a tool for dealing with certain kinds of bullying, and for kids who run the risk of suppressing their interests and talents just to fit in. I love the message that we could all be a little more fearless about being ourselves, warts and all. You can enjoy a reading of this story at my free website too.
Thank you so much, Mrs. P, for sharing your favorite book and helping us to #BookItForward! If you’d like to see and hear much more from Mrs. P, be sure to visit her Magic Library where you can hear stories, play games, and do lots of fun activities!
Now it’s your turn!
What is your recommendation?
#BookItForward encourages people to share a book they love with a person they love. It can be a new book, a used book, or a recommendation for a library book!
- CHOOSE a great book.
- GIVE it or recommend it to someone who would enjoy it.
- POST a photo of the book tagged with #BookItForward on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
- TAG three people in the post to nominate them to #BookItForward next!
by Heidi Hayes Jacobs
Ubiquitous in every sphere of education; the word “technology” is splattered loosely. No subliminal messaging here, the term is to mean that schools with wifi, tablets, one to one laptop programs, and smart boards are preparing students for the future. Simply having a computer doesn’t mean that the curriculum and instruction are contemporary and relevant. Students can be using the internet to research irrelevant and dated content. A word processor does not ensure quality writing competence. When a group of middle school students runs around campus with flip cameras, it is unlikely they will produce a first rate documentary. Perhaps there is some kind of magical thinking, that digital tools will prompt innovative outcomes.I share this concern as a firmly committed advocate for the modernization of learning opportunities.
Most telling is our current obsession with dated assessment forms. Teachers are not encouraged to innovate when their institutions are pushing time traveling to the past. Although mission statements are packed with phrases like “tomorrow’s school” and “careers of the future” and “global preparedness”, the truth is that all fifty states in my country value assessments that are basically identical in format to those used thirty years ago.Multiple choice, short answer essay prompts to de-contextualized paragraphs are the raison de vivre. Some national publishers are creating on-line testing, but the items are still the same type as those used when standardized testing first was developed. Certainly our learners need ACCESS to the global portals and dynamic applications available through digital media in order to become literate and connected, but access is insufficient.
We should pay attention to school faculties, leaders, and individual teachers who are actively and boldly upgrading curriculum content to reflect timely issues and problems and crafting modern assessments such as digital-media-global project based learning opportunities. Website curation, app design, global network research, and video/audio production are indicative of modern learning environments not only for students but for their teachers as well. What might happen if in our discourse we replace the loose use of the word technology with the phrase contemporary learning environments?
cross-posted from Just Start for Kids and Schools
Natural learning experiences are generated by observation and questioning. As individuals share their different perspectives, each of us begin to make meaning of these experiences and deepen our understanding of the world.
Hiking on the cliffs above the the Pacific Ocean with my nine year old son creates for us a safe space to explore the world. Questions abound as we come across animals, plants, rock strata, and even the wonderful variety of people we encounter. And as a science teacher I may have an idea of much of what we come across, I hear from the nine year old perspective new questions and thoughts that may have never occurred to me. There are no texts or assignments forcing students down a path that the teacher wants the student to focus. Instead, the child’s questioning and wonderment lead the discussions and the ideas to explore. The generated excitement even invites those people passing by to add their understanding and questions. Learning opened through the initial questions and new insight allowed us to look at the experience in new ways:
- Why are all the organisms under plants or why are the animals a certain color?
- What eats what?
- Why there are more insects than lizards?
- Why do the birds circle above?
- Why? Why? Why?
The TEDTalk21 invitation to remember a safe learning space reminded me of how a simple hike led to an natural and engaging learning experience in which my 9 year old has developed a new understanding of the world in which he lives. But it has also opened a new learning experience for myself. Seeing the child’s excitement and the additional different perspectives brought into the experience has led me to wonder:
- How can this excitement and natural engagement become the learning norm in my classroom?
- How can these natural interactions be replicated to invite in others through new formats using digital literacy so that everyone can impact their own creative learning process?
Actively participating with the Lead21 team in learning how to actively engage learning through the use of technology to replicate this system has opened a new world.
Why are so many of us using technology as a replacement of the ribbon based typewriter instead of the social environment that could help learning flourish?
Setting up something as simple as a student blog opens the door to the natural learning cycle. Asking students to publish their learning, followed by others positively promoting different perspectives or inquiries, provides students an opportunity to re-engage with all these ideas to deepen their understanding. The static learning experience transforms into a dynamic space that strengthens them as resilient learners.
For teachers, this promotes deeper learning of the content, but also of three essential components to becoming engaged, life-long learners. We can help them learn to self-regulate, self-motivate and self-evaluate their learning process and products. As teachers, we need to:
- Promote and actively engage students in asking where they are in their learning process
- Ask what strategies they have employed and how they have worked
- Ask what their engagement is trying to achieve
- Ask what their next steps need to be in order achieve their goal
We can never create a destination to where every student wants to go to, but our students can. By opening up the learning experience to a more natural, collaborative, self directed way, students can take charge of and build their own meaningful learning process.
Reflection question (would love to see your comments below):
How do you set up the use of technology to incorporate the natural learning cycle in order to help students deepen meaning making and become more independent learners?
Craig is a high school biology teacher in Northern San Diego County.
Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano and Mike Fisher had the opportunity to visit Stephen Wilmarth and his 1:1 iPad initiative at the Number 1 Middle School attached to Central China Normal University in Wuhan, China.
Cross posted to Langwitches.
How is geography being taught in your school? Is it a weekly time block designated under the umbrella of Social Studies in Elementary School? Is it a semester or one year required credit course in High School?
Geography is a separate subject. Really?
Heidi Hayes Jacobs says (p. 36) in her Curriculum 21. (ASCD, 2010) book:
Geography should be cut as a snapshot unit with an integrated approach continuously woven into the academic year. Rather than the token “let’s start off the school year with our classic unit on geography,” the curriculum should include an ongoing injection and use of geography and a full range of maps. When schools do not use maps of all kinds with regularity in a range of classes (English, science, art), our students do not get to apply geography in a meaningful way.
Heidi Hayes Jacobs compares a segregated and isolated teaching unit of geography to a first grade teacher posting an ABCs poster on the wall, only to take it down after a month.
It is about making continuous connections of geography themes to what we teach. Where does the content fit into the world? How does the content relate to other subject areas. How does it affect the people who live there? Where do we find Math concepts in the physical world around us? Do literary or historic perspectives change due to geographic locations? How does Geography impact the economy?
How can we help classroom teachers make these connections from their teaching subject/content to geographic awareness/compentency?
Vivek Wathwa states in an article on TechCrunch about American competitiveness in the global educational field that
if we create the incentives for American children to study math and science and to complete advanced degrees, the magic will happen. In addition to math and science, we should teach our children about world culture, geography, and global markets. In the era of globalization, these subjects are equally important.
Bill Ferriter (@plugusin) recently tweeted
Really heartsick about NC’s decision to make social studies a history instead of geography focus. That’s narrowminded in today’s world.
If geography is equally important as math and science, than why is it being made a “lesser” focus?
I presented recently at the Teacher2Teacher conference in Bow Island, Alberta, Canada. The topic of one of my sessions was: “Geography is All Around Us”
Take a look at the slides and check out the tools and resource links discussed at the presentation for examples how geography can AND should be integrated into other subject areas.
- Twitter- Bus2 Antarctica
- Read Around The World
- In Search of Pachamama
- Google Lit Trips
- Flat Stantley Podcast
- Posterous Blog- Defining Japan
- Teddy Bears Around The World
- What Could It Mean? VoiceThread
- Free Rice
- Math Maps
- Current Events
- Around The World With 80 Schools
How do you integrate Geography into your subject area? How can you upgrade one unit, one lesson or one assignment to integrate geography. What tools are you using? What projects are participating in? Please share you tips and techniques.
Take a look at previous blog posts on Langwitches with examples of Geography integration:
- Geography Awareness Week-Get Lost in Mapping: Find Your Place in the World
- The Logistics of Creating a Current News Events Google Map
- Our Own Private Pirate Island
- News Events Assignment with a Twist
- Map Skills on the SmartBoard
- Framing a Field Trip with Google Earth
- 6 Schools- 6 Countries-1 Hour
- Beyond the Playground: Google Earth for Elementary Students
- Writing a Story in Google Maps
- Connecting the Dots… with Google Earth
- Flat Stanley Podcast
- Podcasting with First Grade
Here are a few tips through Twitter.
Cross Posted to Langwitches Blog
I am usually a fast reader, but I have been taking my time with this book. There is not only a wealth of information, but it connects to so many of my thoughts and ideas I have contemplated in my mind as well as on this blog over the last few years. It resonated with me when Heidi Hayes Jacobs says:
a school does not need reform— it needs new forms.
Heidi advocates that
New essential curriculum will need revision- actual replacements of dated content, skills, and assessments with more timely choices.
I really liked her approach when she suggests the distinction between a “growth model” instead of a “change model” that needs to be introduced to a school’s culture.
As I was reading the book (hard copy, not on my Kindle), I was using highlighters to not miss thoughts or quotes that I wanted to remember. It did not take long to realize that I was highlighting too much 🙂 How was I going to get through this book and make sense of it, connect and wrap it around my thoughts which were floating around but had not been verbalized?
I know that I work best through concepts and ideas when I create diagrams or use mind mapping tools. I really like using the SmartArt Graphics in PowerPoint. The visuals below are a summary of what I “read out of the book”, the most important points in my mind and quotes.
- Understanding of knowledge, creation & authority
- Make meaning of information to create new knowledge
- Find, evaluate, organize, interpret & distribute information
- Pattern recognition, critical thinking, perception
- Gather knowledge to become intelligent vs. apply knowledge
- Social production is enabled by power of networks to connect people
- Nature of learning & teaching
- Locating experts & eyewitnesses
- Relationships NOT technologies determine learning
- Enhancing the process of learning to be (Identity)
- Compete. Cooperate & connect with global peers
- Greater understanding of 95% of world’s population
- Knowledge-driven global economy
- Global competency knowledge, language &respect
- Global perspective
- Critical Thinking
- Literary Authority & participatory culture
- Media is shaping the way students think and express themselves
- No longer print-centric world
- Find, analyze, evaluate, organize, remix, store and share media
- Gather data about own learning
- Self-Modifying as lifelong learner
- Alternative assessment tool
- Non-linear learning
- Semantic Web
- Interdisciplinary linkage to real world applications
- Global Connectivity
- Ubiquitous connectivity
- Learning is social
- Collective Intelligence
- Engage students to produce meaningful contributions
- Students making contributions to learning communities
- Establishing & maintaining working relationships
- Tools to share what we learn open up new ways of thinking
- Professional Development
- Nationally/ Internationally
- Foreign Languages
I also like taking quotes and create visuals of them.