Yesterday my fellow Cohor21-ers and I met again for our second Face 2 Face meeting. Motivated by this upcoming meeting, I spent a few evenings last week catching up a bit on what had been going on; reading blogs, checking Twitter more frequently and watching some of the Hangouts. After a few crazy weeks of colds, family events, school events, report cards and starting to coach again, thinking about my PLN and Cohort 21 was pushed to the back burner. The F2F came at the right time, before everything else took priority, and some of the Cohort tools ended up in that  eternal “I should try that one day” pile that sits on my desk and in lost PD file folders (I hope I’m not the only one!) Just when I needed it, the fire got restarted, and the enthusiasm rekindled. Justin and Garth, you are right on track with the article I happened upon this week: 10 Keys to Making Professional Learning Meaningful. You are hitting up most of the points, especially , #6: No One-Day Wonders and of course # 8: Maximize 21st Century Tools. 

The whole nature of Cohort 21 is that we have no choice but to stay connected, and to DO things. To use not only what we learn about together, (Google Apps, Twitter, Diigo, WordPress blog, socrative, polleverywhere, etc) but what we learn from the larger PLN that we are now connected to, and which is constantly growing. Then of course comes the other key component, the Action Plan.

Three years ago, I participated in the IBSC’s Action reseach program and examined the question: How can boys’ engagement and achievement in the study of Foreign Languages be developed and enhanced? This program was an excellent introduction to the idea of action research to improve one’s practice. I learned a lot from my research, but I think the experience as a whole is what has lasting effects. I want to continue to challenge myself to become a better teacher, and to meet like-minded teachers. Which now leads me to my current question of a potential action plan…

I’ve been thinking about some ideas for a while now, but can’t seem to narrow it down and commit to one. Part of my problem is that I am having trouble deciding which course to focus on. Currently I am teaching two sections of grade 9 Core French, and one section each of Information and Communication Technology in Business (BTT1O), Canadian History (gr 10), and Presentation and Speaking Skills (gr 11)….all taught in French as part of my school’s Extended French curriculum.

My initial thought was to integrate an action plan in my core French classes, and focus on a Flipped classroom. I’ve never tried this before, but see it as an amazing tool that I want to know more about.Core French at the grade 9 level is always interesting as it is a required course, and students come from a variety of backgrounds, each with their own strengths and weaknesses with the language. A flipped classroom could help solve the feeling of sounding like a broken record sometimes, and allow students at different levels to review lessons as needed.

I was also considering doing a collaborative activity with Jen Bibby, using some of the Google Apps for connecting two of our classes. To help build oral communication skills in our students.

Then, yesterday we were presented with the idea of SAMR. This was the first time I’d ever really thought about the way we use technology, and then I started thinking of heading in this direction for my action plan.


Still with no clear direction, I listened to some other people’s ideas for their action plans, and eventually started a conversation with Tim and Mike. Tim happened to show us this prezi by Jim Cash. It was like a lightening bolt struck me. I could do his redefinition example in my history class. This is only my second year teaching the French version of this course, and I have never been happy with the idea of having the students write a 6-page essay as their final summative task. Having the students create a mulit-media assignment makes so much more sense. They will still need to do the same amount of historical inquiry, but the output task is much less onerous for a second language student.

Needless to say, I’m still not 100% sure of my direction. This week I’m going to speak with my History department head and the Academic Director to make sure that my course can have a different summative evaluation than it’s English counterpart. Also, I plan to talk to another colleague who has started using more flipped lessons in his French classes.  Hopefully over the next couple weeks, I’ll have a better road map!





6 thoughts on “What to do?

  1. Well done, Carolyn. You’re one step ahead of me, as you’ve actually written your post AND started to make sense of the many threads that you can possibly follow. I also found that Saturday helped me to focus… I look forward to seeing what you choose to implement.

  2. Carolyn,
    It seems that the second F2F session has got you thinking…I can only imagine the challenge of delineating all of the possible areas of investigation down to one action plan; perhaps exploring the flipped classroom,or maybe designing a summative multi-media assignment? Both sound intriguing (and so do so many other possibilities!). Perhaps that decisive lightening bolt will strike in the near future. Until then, relax and enjoy exploring the options!

  3. Hi Carolyn,
    Great to catch up with you on the weekend and to hear that your family illnesses are on the mend! That is half the battle for sure. The nice thing about Cohort 21 is that you can prioritize when you need to, and focus when it is best for you. Great to see you and others using this flexibility to their advantage.

    Your ideas are inspiring, and you’ve got some great decisions to make – any of which will benefit your students, colleagues and your school as well. I really like the idea of exploring SAMR and developing a plan around best practices, with a focus on integrating technology in your history course. You have a rich field of ideas here, so don’t feel that making a decision on one is cutting off any of the others. I think that you’ll find heavy cross-over between a few of them.

    Thanks for a great, thoughtful post.

  4. Hi Carolyn,
    It’s great to see all the areas you’re considering for your Action Plan – I’d love to collaborate with you in the exploration of google hangouts and voicethread in order for our students to improve their speaking ability in French! Once I’ve published my initial thoughts on my Action Plan we can have some back and forth about the possibilities ahead!

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