Here my final action plan. A lot of learning and a lot of room to still grow.
Here my final action plan. A lot of learning and a lot of room to still grow.
My original action plan (found here) spoke about the differences between the ed tech options of organizing my student materials for our ‘personalized unit’. Since then I’ve had a lot of discoveries, a lot of thoughts, tried A LOT of things, and spoken to a lot of people.
I’ve tried both the google site and the iBook and have some thoughts about both. But there was something else that I tried that I would rather blog about right now. So we’re taking a bit of a detour.
In the grade 10 course, my colleague and I wanted to do something for our upcoming unit on right triangle trigonometry. We came across this chart from twitter describing the differences between personalization, differentiation and individualization. (Click on the picture below to see the article it came from)
We had a realization. What we’ve been doing this entire time was much more differentiation and individualization than it was personalization.
We love the idea of personalization and what it can be for students, and wanted to push ourselves out of our comfort zone to give this to our students if possible. We realized that to push ourselves to the level of personalization, the piece that we could do was give the students personalized feedback that actually meant something.
We were particularly inspired by Ed Hitchcock’s post on standards based grading and went from there.
So here’s what we did:
All in all, I loved this unit. I think the feedback piece really helped our students know what they didn’t understand. Instead of a student getting a formative back and looking at the questions they got wrong and feeling like they didn’t know anything, we were really able to decipher exactly what they knew and what they didn’t know.
When we gave quizzes back, the students looked AT THE FEEDBACK instead of just the right/wrong answers!
Here is an example of a quiz and the chart on the back:
This particular student had to revisit topics 4, 6 and 12 on the math911 website. We built in extra days into the unit to make sure the students had time to catch up on their extra support.
Overall I’m really excited for what this did in this unit and I hope I can use it in my other classes to really elevate the feedback for my students. More to come on my Action plan later!
Taking the time to sit down and write about my action plan has been a long time coming. I’ve been trying to find a solution to my action plan question…
“How might we promote organization and student ownership while relaying the importance of independence in a personalized framework?”
What I was looking to solve by asking this question was :
“Is there a tool that can help consolidate all of the materials for the personalized units (explained in my last blog post) where students would only have to go to ONE place?”
I’m going to take you through some of my thought process, so bear with me. I promise I’ll get to my action plan!
Some things that my action plan is aiming to fix:
After some brainstorming at Cohort21 F2F #2, in my mind there were several routes to take:
So I did what any list-loving person does and created a Pros/Cons list for each:
|iTunes U Course||
After many lists and discussions here are my first choices:
1. My first choice as of right now would be iTunes U because I like the ability to link iBooks. iBooks are great for us, and as far as I understand this would provide an opportunity for students to open the iBooks without having to download them. This means that if we changed anything there would be an update and students would not have to download the newest version. However, there seems to be some technology issues with this, as a course must be public to use it on a MacBook. Because of this, I don’t know if this will be a viable option (as much as I want it to be – Maybe one day!)
2. My second choice would be an iBook that would contain the entire unit. It has all of the user friendliness and interactive nature, and creates an immersive experience for students. There is a problem that if we, as teachers updated it, the students would have to re-download it every time.
3. My third choice would be to create a Google Site. This seems like the most viable option as there are capabilities to embed Edpuzzle (I’ve been wanting to use it for a while), Geogebra applets, and Google Forms as quizzes. I could also have Flubaroo self-mark the Google forms to give instant feedback to the students.
To end my rambling (again), what I’ve decided to do for my action plan is:
Some things I’m still wondering:
We as educators are at a crossroads of change. We have a vague and blurred vision of where we should head, and a not so clear way to get there. We hear words like ‘personalization’, ‘blended’ and ‘mastery’, but all have our own interpretations of what those mean. The more articles or books I read, the more confusing but exciting it becomes.
Before I even begin to talk about my action plan there needs to be preamble, so here we go…
A really long Preamble:
Over the course of the last three years a few of my colleagues and I have been a part of a large change in the way we teach math. I’m no expert by any means, but just someone who is slowly working to chip away at the shift in math education (at least what I think it looks like). After a lot of research, tons of theoretical conversations with my amazing colleagues about pedagogy, and tons of adjustments along the way, here are some of the changes that we have implemented:
They can write tests early in the “Mastery Units” – I.e. We have test deadlines not days! (AH!)
Personalized – When Possible
Overall we’ve found that certain units and content are better taught a certain way. Skill based units generally are best when students are given ample opportunity to practice – this works perfectly with the personalized units. Graphing data and relationships is perfect for projects! Everything we implement includes the thought process of how can we make this as personalized as possible. By personalized we mean that there should be multiple entry points and we’re working on multiple exit opportunities too. We don’t even know what a truly personalized math classroom looks like yet!
I’ve helped to build all of these changes, but now what?
Some challenges we’ve had with the ‘mastery units’:
After consistently researching and trying new things I’m more confused than ever. What really works in the classroom? I find myself searching for an answer, but is there one? Am I really going to find something to help me solve all of my problems? Probably not, but all I can do is chip away at my goals, continue to solve problems along the way and be crazy enough to change my thinking and practice…
The only thing that’s crystal clear to me is…
we want less of this:
And more of this:
Like many I’m sure, was nervous for the first day of cohort 21. Almost like those first day of school jitters when you don’t know where you’ll sit, or who you’ll meet. I had no idea what to expect, but it blew my expectations out of the water. Given that I’m a math teacher by trade, lists and organization are the way my mind works, so here we go…
4 reasons that joining cohort 21 was the best decision I’ve made all year.
1. The positive people and environment
We’ve all seen those people, and been those people who have negative thoughts and question things. The ‘buts’, the ‘I don’t knows’, the ‘I already know this’ are frequently heard anywhere, even from our students. This is not what I experienced at cohort. Everyone was keen to learn new things or new features of something they already knew. There was only ‘wows’ and ‘how abouts’. People were willing to share their experiences and their understanding of things, without questioning the use of any of the tech tools. After this realization, I knew it was the right decision.
2. Time to set aside
We as teachers don’t often have time to set aside to reflect on our practice, and just play with new tools that have potential in our classroom. Just time to share with others, see and hear what others are using in their classroom, or to explore. Given that this is a professional development opportunity, I cannot wait to reflect on my practice, gain from others, and they hopefully in turn make me a better educator as we move forward through this year.
3. New Learning – even in the ‘in-betweens’
I, having had twitter for a number of years, was unsure what I could possibly learn from a twitter session. I approached it with an open mind, and who knew that twitter deck existed? Or that twitter chats are actually much more simple than I had anticipated? We got to participate in a twitter chat using Hashtags, something I hadn’t done before. My negative thoughts were quickly thrown out the window when I realized that I, too can learn something.
The ‘in-betweens’ were my favourite though. Amongst all of the learning of the specific tools: Diigo, Twitter, WordPress and Google Hangouts, there was more… as there often is. In passing, Tim Rollwagen mentioned that he had used ThingLink in his classroom (see his blog entry on this here). Given our growth mindsets, and our eagerness to ask questions we were all instantly wondering what it was. After spending my break playing around with it, it is officially my new favourite ‘find’. I quickly thought of how I could use it in the math classroom, and everything it could be used for. More on this later, since I have a feeling I will be incorporating it into my action plan.
4. It is the best part of my day.. All Day long
You know those parts of the days where you say ‘oh cool’ or ‘I wonder how I could use this because it’s super neat’ or ‘I might be able to use this this way’. The entire day was like this. It was overwhelming in the best way possible. It was exciting, scary, and just plain awesome. I loved being able to set aside time in my day to explore and become excited about something new that I thought had potential in my classroom. I can’t wait for more opportunities like this. As someone who has a pretty good handle on the technology and is not really afraid to take risks in the classroom, this is my… shall we say… coolaid. I love new tech pieces that make things better and really enhance what I’m trying to build in my classroom. I also love hearing other ideas and while I’m listening I find myself thinking of how I can improve what I am doing. To me, the most amazing part about this profession is when we share our ideas and our practice with each other.
Looking forward to even more ideas and learning in the coming Face to Face sessions and the ‘in-betweens’.
Welcome to Cohort 21. This is the first post on your new blog. This journal is an integral part of your Cohort 21 experience. Here you will reflect, share and collaborate as you move through the C21 learning cycle towards your action plan.
Cohort 21 is a unique professional development opportunity open to CIS Ontario teachers and school leaders who are seeking to explore what it means to a teacher in the 21st century.