Sunday, October 12, 2014

Coaching Reflections - Take 1

I am really enjoying my new position.  The beginning of the year was a little crazy but now that it's been 2 weeks since the laptop roll-out, a routine is finally beginning to settle in.

My daily schedule varies greatly from day to day, but from week to week there is consistency.  I meet with each of my 10 fellows once a week during their prep (or lunch/ after school for the 3 that teach 6/5ths).  That is my "frame" for the week, and everything else fills in around those meetings.  In those open gaps I could be:
  • Planning for and then reflecting on meetings with fellows
    • I keep a "Journal" for each of the meetings where I plan a rough agenda, we take notes on what we talk about, and then the fellow reflects on what they've learned.  There is also a place to jot down things I need to do before the next meeting (whether it be finding out more info on how to use a tool, checking into something, etc).  After I meet with them, I leave their Google Doc open on my office computer until I have the chance to debrief in my head and then make plans for the following week.  I also like to respond back to their reflection to continue the conversation.  You can see the journal template I'm using here (it is constantly being edited as I figure out what is best for my workflow and fellow needs)
  • Meeting with non-fellow teachers during their preps helping them with some aspect of technology. 
    • Right now, I am using a weekly updated Doodle poll for teachers to select a meeting time.  I have it set so only one teacher can choose each time slot, and then I add it to my calendar manually.  I have looked at Appointment Slots through Google Calendar, but wasn't happy with a few quirks and problems that kept coming up so I am not using it for now. I would like to revisit it again later.
    • Most of the questions right now pertain to Haiku, which is our district's LMS.  I have helped teachers set up their classes, add their rosters, learn about how to add content blocks, using the quizzing tool, etc.   I am already brainstorming for how to make this more efficient next year.  We do have some video tutorials made that walk the teachers through how to do a lot of the setup, but by the time I had figured things out for this year (since it was all new to me), a lot of them had already tried things and were all at different points of completion and some had tried on their own without looking at the tutorials and had messed a lot of stuff up.  My goal is that by Year 3, they won't need me for Haiku stuff (Mission: To Develop Technologically Self-Sufficient Teachers), so I need to keep that in mind with how I organize and support the teachers next year.
  • Going into my fellows classrooms and either observing, co-teaching, or modeling a lesson
    •  Up to this point, I have just done observing and "supporting" (I wouldn't call it co-teaching yet).  This next week I will be actually modeling a lesson for using Diigo as an online annotation tool for an English class and showing students how to share the annotated URL with their teacher.  I will do that in 1st period, and then my fellow will do it for her students the next period.  In another class, my fellow will be having her students do their first Google form and I am just going to be in there to support and make sure everything goes well and to answer any questions along the way as she is using the data to guide her class time.
  • Doing research and playing around with different tools 
    • I have my never-ending list of stuff I want to look at, evaluate, or learn... when I get the chance!  
  • Creating tutorials (written and screencasts) for different things teachers need 
    • Most of the tutorials I've made so far have been for something on setting up AERIES (their gradebook) or Haiku (their LMS).  This week I am hoping to get one out about annotating with Diigo and with Adobe Reader XI (pre-installed on all student laptops).  I have a never-ending list, but I try to get at least one done a week depending on my schedule.
  • Supporting students with tech problems or questions
    • I go into the library every day during their break (12 minutes) and help our IT guy with any issues that students bring in.  We are in the process of developing a student tech help team, but this is working for now.
Things I've learned:
  • There are different hurdles for every teacher to get over as they progress on their journey of integrating technology.  It is important to start wherever the teacher is at and build from there.  For example, some teachers need to start with learning how to add content to Haiku, manage a class calendar, and make their workflow efficient.  Other teachers are good with that and are ready to start learning how to integrate Google Apps in their classroom.  Still others are already familiar with Google Apps and are ready to dig in deeper, learn about Add-ons and Formulas to streamline their workflow within Google Apps, and then explore other tools that will help their students to engage with the material more effectively and make parts of the teacher job more efficient.
  • Reflecting is not an easy thing for teachers who aren't used to it.  Most of the week 1-2 reflections were a description of what we talked about.  So, for the end of week 2 and starting this next week, I added prompts to the reflection box to help the teachers start thinking a little more.  I'm hoping this will help them to go beyond the "what" and think more about the "why".  If you have any ideas or suggestions for reflection prompts, please comment and let me know.
    • How will what you learned today affect you as a teacher, both in and out of the classroom?
    • Will the technology we looked at today help you or your students be more efficient or effective as a teacher?  If so, how?  If not, why?
Things I've worked on with my fellows so far:
  • Basic Tech 
    • Creating Email Signatures (and understanding the "settings" and "options" features)
    • Forwarding email from our Google Apps account to our Outlook account so they only have to check mail in one place
    • Managing your email inbox (deleting items, putting items in folders, etc)
    • Hyperlinking Text 
    • Purpose: Help get teachers more comfortable with the tech they use on a day to day basis.
  • Google Apps
    • Creating Google Forms for students to complete for the warmup or (for math) to complete after they do their practice problems to give feedback on which ones they need more help on. 
    • Purpose: Gives teacher better feedback of student learning; students held more accountable for their responses, helps teacher to guide and structure class time more effectively and efficiently.
    • Embedding Google Calendars on Haiku.  Teachers can embed/link the calendars ONCE on Haiku, and then just go to their Google Calendar page and update any and all class calendars in one location
    • Purpose: Efficiency!!
    • Google slides for student presentations.  Students share presentation with members in their group and the teacher, and then collaboratively work on the presentation.  We had each student responsible for one slide of the presentation to keep everyone accountable. The teacher was able to add comments to the slides as the students were working on them to give them feedback. Students presented and the teacher scored the presentations using a Google form rubric she created.  Then, using sum formulas, she was easily able to add up the student's scores and calculate it as a percentage that would go in the gradebook.  I showed her how to input the formula once and then drag the right corner of the box down to copy the formula into all boxes.  We also used the "find and replace" tool for the student peer evaluation rubrics.  They selected a group for "1st place", "2nd place" and "3rd place" and then we coded it to replace the "1st place" with 3 points, "2nd place" with 2 points, and "3rd place" with 1 point so the teacher could easily add up the points that each group earned. 
    • Purpose: This whole workflow was awesome.  Student collaboration, immediate teacher feedback, and then such an efficient workflow for the scoring and grading part of it.
    • Collaborative Google Drive folders to share answer keys and resources across a PLC.
    • Purpose: Collaboration! Efficiency!!
  • Other
    • Setting up quizzing through Haiku.  Haiku can automatically grade the quiz and will give the student his/her scores right away.  You can also set it up to be "practice" instead of "exam" and the student will receive feedback after each question.  You can set time limits on how long students have and open the quiz during a certain time window for each class period.
    • Purpose: Gives teacher and student great feedback on their learning/understanding. Saves teacher time with some basic grading.  
    • Khan Academy for enrichment practice (math).  Once students are a part of a class, the teacher can go to the appropriate "mission", which has the skills pretty well organized for that course.  Then, under "Skills Progress", the teacher can see which students have not yet attempted a certain exercise, who has attempted and struggled, who has attempted and done well, etc.  Then, with one click the teacher can "recommend" the students in certain categories to practice that exercise.
    • Purpose: Gives teacher and student great feedback about their learning.  A more game-based way for students to practice basic skills.
    • Creating video answer keys for math homework problems and posting on Haiku.
    • Purpose: Students can watch the videos anywhere, anytime, and at their own pace.  Teacher does not have to spend class time going over all the homework problems that different students may need. 
Keeping Track of Teacher Progress
  • I decided to make a spreadsheet of different tools I want teachers to be comfortable with by the end of the year.  Most of them are the things on Haiku and Google Drive, but they also go into different programs that can be used for student collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.  I am coding the teachers on a scale of 1-4 (see below) for each of the different areas.  It gives me a lot of information - reminders of where they are and what we've covered, ideas for where to go next, and long term goals for the future.  We are starting for the most part with things that teachers already know they want to try, but to a certain extent some of them "don't know what they don't know", so I wanted to have a place to keep track of ideas of things to introduce to them that would have an impact on their students.  Although my list is "by tool", my focus is more on what we want to see in the classroom (learning outcomes) and then looking at my "possibilities" and seeing which one will make the best fit.
1=introduced or modeled
2=worked on with coach guiding
3=worked on individually

I am also setting up some long-term goals for this year, which right now include starting up a student-run "Genius Bar" and having weekly tech trainings offered for teachers.  I'm going to write about my ideas and resources I've been given for those in different posts...

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