Face 2 Face Sessions

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Using VNPS (vertical non-permanent surfaces) in my classroom has greatly changed student learning. No longer is the teacher the only holder of knowledge, students have more opportunities to learn from each other and share their knowledge with their peers.

Students also enjoy the problem solving using VNPS. When I interviewed 6 students this week, they all agreed that it was a great opportunity and worked well with their learning style. Usually the work at the VNPS has been either re-inforcement of a skill or review for an upcoming assessment. Students like the large work space, the ability to erase, if needed, and the opportunity to see a variety of solutions to a problem.

However, in my teaching brain, I feel like there is something missing to this work. After chatting with students and colleagues this week, I realize that part of my problem is that I can't really vocalize what I think is missing. Some things that I feel need thought are

  • how do I keep a record of the work that is done on the boards? Some students take photos for their own learning but I don't have a running log of the work that is being done.
  • how do students track their progress in acquiring skills while working at the board? If a student gets stuck and asks a peer for help, they may get the correct answer on the board but if the same issue arises in their homework, how do they know what to do if the work has been erased from the board?
  • how do students (or do they need to) reflect on their work at the boards? I feel there should be some individual follow up on how student learning of a skill has changed as a result of the problem solving at the boards.
  • how does the teacher provide more formal feedback to students about their learning of the key skills? Currently, the teacher walks around the room and provides on the spot feedback but how could this feedback be provided in a format that is more permanent?

So that's where my journey of the year will begin. Hopefully the next F2F session will give me a bit more clarity as to how to "solve" or a plan to follow to address at least one of these wonderings.

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Today was the first Face to Face meeting of this year's Cohort 21 and I'm so excited. The energy from the educators that surrounded me was amazing! I'm so looking forward to this journey this year and thrilled to be part of this group.

I'm not new to blogging. I created my first blog 2 years ago and used the opportunity to reflect on my teaching practice and things that I have tried in my classroom over the last few years.

I'm a bit more nervous about my Cohort 21 blog. I felt it was easy to blog before not knowing who was reading my post. Now that I've met the incredible educators that are part of this journey with me and know they will be reading my posts, I feel there is more at stake. But instead of worrying about writing the perfect blog post, I need to remember that this is an amazing opportunity to get support, input and opinions from this unique group of educators.

So thanks for a great first day @nblair, @ljensen, @mmoore, and @mbrims. Can't wait to see what is to come this year!

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c21_logo_mediumWelcome 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.