Michelle Nebel had sent me a tweet that my students might enjoy Genius Hour. I decided to investigate further and completed learning modules and webinars as part of my flex day. I learned that Genius Hour was developed after learning that Google and 3M offer their employees time to work on passion projects. Some great ideas have come out of this including gmail and post-its. The premise is that students should be allowed 20% of classroom time to work on projects that they are passionate about.
I began preparing my students for the Genius Hour Fair by watching Billions in Change. I highly recommend watching this, even if you never participate in Genius Hour. It is inspiring and shows what great things can happen when you choose to make a difference. The next step was to talk to my student about topics that they were passionate about. Students then wrote questions that showed analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. My goal was for students to pick topics for Genius Fair that had the potential to change lives. I noticed that some of the projects that were posted for Genius Fair were "cool," but didn't really have depth. This is the point where you as a teacher have to decide what is best for your students. My gifted students are capable of "raising the bar" and I am hoping that some of their projects inspire other teachers and students to have high expectations.
Marcie Como | District Bright Ideas
Samantha Kalkowski, Speech-Language Pathologist at the Early Childhood Center participated in a book study "The Sounds Contrast in Phonology" (SCIP). SCIP is a treatment program used to treat prekindergarten children and school-age children with Phonological Disorders. You can view her learning in the PowerPoint.
What were your building’s learning goals?
Westview’s learning goals were to provide teachers with additional technology training that they could immediately put into practice within their classes or teams.
For our Choice Based Sessions, we provided teachers with:
How did you meet your learning goals?
Teachers had time to immediately put into practice their new learning, such as creating Google Forms to use with their students.
What were your successes for the day?
Many teachers worked in teams to come up with ideas to use with Google classroom, one group came up with ideas and resources for transforming the physical space of our library and another team is working to align Class Dojo with PBIS.
What were your lessons learned and what will your next steps be?
Next steps include continued PD on transforming teaching and learning with technology. We are continuing to create, put into use, and learn more about Google and other technology based programs. We are also in the process of finding ways to reduce staff stress along with brainstorming ideas to transform our library.
At Elkhorn we divided our PD into two components. The first session focused on SBL. The learning objectives were:
We met our learning goals through various curated resources. We had opportunities to learn about topics of need for our building, discover a plethora of informational resources including videos, district resources, and other collections of information. We also had an opportunity to demonstrate our learning by creating short video clips for different real-world scenarios like the following video created by one teacher group:
A copy of our SBL presentation is included here:
A copy of our SRI/Lexile presentation is included here:
At Elkhorn we continually focus on coming together as a Professional Learning Community. As a result we experienced true growth through discussion and application of the topics. Every voice was heard and every member contributed to the group conversation; we view this as great success for this PD opportunity.
Elkhorn will continue to pursue best practices in SBL and SRI/Lexile with PLC discussions, PD opportunities, and by continuing to educate teachers, parents, students, and staff about SBL and SRI.
For the September 29th in-service, our building went back to study the fundamentals of how to build strong teams throughout the building. We focused on the characteristics of an effective team and reflected on how we could move toward becoming a stronger PLC, something we felt was necessary because we have changed a lot as a building since we first studied PLC's.
We started working toward these goals with a team building exercise where the teachers were split into groups and each group had to build a tower using a bag of supplies. During the challenge, the teams sent a representative to the library twice, once to discuss their strategies and once to trade supplies with the other groups. The teachers naturally took a competitive approach to the building challenge, which became part of the reflection after the challenge.
After building the towers, the teachers reflected on how the challenge mirrored what happens in our school. Each group had a different set of supplies, just like each team in our building adds different elements to our work. The groups had opportunities to share ideas and resources, just like our teams in our building, and just like what happens in our building, the work we do together is better than anything we can achieve on our own. After the building challenge, the teachers broke up into department teams to assess how they function as a team and to have critical conversations about how to move forward.
At the end of the day, our teachers had a better understanding of what it means to be a high functioning team and to think about how we can move forward as a building. Looking forward, our next steps will be to build up to renewing our implementation of data teams to maximize student learning at ESHS.
Create a learning opportunity for the January 5th all-district in-service that incorporates each of the ingredients listed below. You’ll create a presentation explaining the learning opportunity and present it to the committee and to our judges at the November 3rd PDC meeting.
Jeff Zoul @Jeff_Zoul
Assistant Superintendent in Teaching and Learning and Author of Leading Professional Learning and What Connected Educators Do Differently in addition to other books
Marcie Faust @mfaust
Director for Innovative Learning
David Lawrence @DrDaveLawrence
Superintendent of Schools
Patrick Larkin @patrickmlarkin
Assistant Superintendent, NASSP National Digital Principal
Mike Wheadon @mikewh
Trainer, Sydney Aust.
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants-Iron Chef Examples:
The Why Behind the Challenge
To model transformational learning
ESACC staff geared our 9-29 in-service around NEE’s Unit of Instruction (UOI). Two years ago, ESACC developed and implemented our first UOI. Last year, the staff reflected and revised the same unit of instruction, however, this year each teacher begins anew. The learning goals for our session were:
To begin, previous UOI struggles and successes were discussed. Feedback was provided to aide in the development of our new UOIs. We were also able to integrate Technical Skills Attainment (TSA) objectives in our UOI, as TSA assessment scores are a targeted area for school-wide improvement.
The data collection process has evolved at ESACC and adds a new approach with instructional units. In the past teachers collected data within each of their programs. This year, we’ve taken another step and are collecting data as a whole school. Teachers are tracking the percentage of TSA objectives covered, and the percentage of student mastery, with three school-wide data collection points looming. An aspect of UOI is how teachers collect data within their given unit, and teachers have extensively collaborated on how they will collect and utilize their information. The in-service provided time to marry the UOI with the new data collection process and give teachers a broad sense of how data relates to reflective practice.
This summer I had the opportunity to go to PBL World and the Technology Centers That Work Conference. I focused my learning on creating and implementing project-based learning in my carpentry class. Going in I felt that I did projects in my class that students enjoyed and learned carpentry skills and knowledge. One of the first things I learned (or realized) is that I can take what I am already doing and enhance it.
How I would enhance a project would be to add research, have students make decisions on their learning, and make their learning visible. An example of this is building a deck on our project house. Previously, I would provide students with a plan and have them build the deck. From what I learned over the summer is that I can have the students research deck designs, the location on the house (north, east, south, west), current trends, building codes, POA requirements, cost, etc. From what they learn they can design a deck for the project. I then can let the students share ideas and designs with the class and select a design or combination of designs to be built on the house. After the decisions are made the students then would build the deck. By adding the elements to the deck project, the students take ownership in the deck and obtain knowledge in areas that would not be covered in the standard deck project.
Randy Barnes | Carpentry/Construction Technology at Excelsior Springs Area Career Center
This is a resource build by the ESSD40 staff for to aid in transforming teaching and learning.
Inspire. Empower. Challenge.
Learning Out loud