Friday, November 14, 2014

Coaching Reflections - Take 2 (What a great week!)

I've just had a really good week.  It doesn't hurt that Monday was a teacher work day, Tuesday there was no school, and today was a minimum day because teachers had "Report Card Night" on Wednesday.  It's just been really good.

Monday I offered 5 optional workshops for teachers on their work day on different tech stuff that I've been asked about.  I figured it would be better for me to teach several at once than go around and teach them all individually.  I offered workshops on Discovery Education, Google Forms, Doctopus, Socrative, and Diigo.  It was a crazy busy day, but I absolutely loved it.  I'm definitely doing what I love.  The teachers seemed to learn a lot and appreciate the sessions; I am excited to follow up with them next week to see how they are progressing and see what support they need to continue on.

Let me just summarize the exciting meetings I had with my fellows this week. I only met with 7 out of the 10 because of the two days off.

Fellow #1 - We've been working with Socrative and we planned three days of review using different features of the program: teacher-paced, space race, and student-paced.  I modeled the lesson during 4th period each day (last Friday, this Wednesday, this Thursday), helped my fellow get started with 5th period, and then she did the rest of 5th and all of 6th.  Let me tell you, it was so exciting to see how excited she was about the difference she saw in her students and their engagement/focus in class.  They took a test today, so we are anxious to see if there is a difference in their performance. We also had them do a reflection Google Form that we're already seeing great feedback on.  It's on my to-do list to do a detailed Lesson Reflection post with resources, pics, and other stuff at some point next week.  I was probably in this fellow's class 1-2 hours every day the last week, but it's just been so great seeing her make progress and take "bite-sized" pieces of new tech every week, seeing the excitement/joy in watching her watch her class, and to continue to build her excitement for using technology to transform the class environment.  One of the great things about Socrative is that we were able to download the reports by student at the end of the day, post them on Haiku, and the students could access them to see which ones they needed to review more.

Fellow #2 - This fellow implemented her first Google Form "Quiz" with Flubaroo this week on Unit Circle radians and terminal points. I went into her classroom for the first implementation to help everything run smoothly.  She asked for student feedback at the end of it.  One of the first questions I asked her was, "How do you think it went?" and she said "I would do it again".  It took longer for the students to take (12-13 minutes vs. 3-5), but it required a deeper level of critical thinking and comprehension than just filling out the Unit Circle by hand... AND it auto-graded!  We had a great discussion about that, and then delved into some Desmos talk.  I showed her some of the Desmos templates I had made for trig graphs last year and shared them with her (you can view those here and here) and then went to and showed her Desman and the Function Carnival... and she got SO excited and thought it was awesome! I'm really excited to see the whole-class implementation of one of these activities.

Fellow #3 - This fellow went to my Socrative training on Monday, and wants to start using it.  We decided to plan a lesson that uses the strategies she already has found success with (questioning students) and add in Socrative as a tool to provide better formative feedback to her throughout the class period.  We looked a lesson for next week on Writing Linear Equations from Data Tables and talked through the lesson, thinking of places where it would be good to get answers from the entire class via Socrative.  We created the quiz on Socrative and walked through it with me playing "the student".  I will be going into her class next Thursday to observe the lesson, we will debrief Thursday afternoon, and she will be doing a follow-up lesson also involving Socrative on Friday.

Fellow #4 - This fellow is always trying new things and trying to figure things out. Our meeting was short today, but she was having issues with her vlookup formulas so we talked through them and figured out the issues.  I find it important to remind them that asking questions is completely normal, and when I was first learning a lot of these tech tools, I was asking questions ALL the time.  (And, when I'm learning new things I am still asking questions!).  Whenever you encounter an issue and ask questions to find the solution, it gives you one more "tool" in your toolbox to try out the next time the issue occurs.   We started brainstorming ideas and she had the great idea to have the students record themselves (just using the Camera program on their laptops) while they are working through a word problem with a partner, so they can capture their real-time thoughts, questions, and explanations.  We are going to talk more about this  next week!

Fellow #5 - I showed this Fellow Google Forms last week for the first time and the first thing she told me was that she had an idea of how to use it!  She needed a place for teachers to sign up to attend the Christmas Concert, which she normally puts a poster in the staff lounge.  We ended up decided to use a fully editable Google Sheet, but now we have a digital signup sheet.  I showed her formulas like =sum( and =countif( and we learned how to color the background, change font sizes/alignments, etc.  I love the bite-size pieces of tech that help things to be done more efficiently!

Fellow #6- This fellow asked me to show him some things with Google Forms on Haiku, but it ended up being so much more.  We learned how to make a copy of a Google Form, embed it on Haiku, interpret and change the embed code height/width to be what we want, add a page break to a Google Form (and send certain answers to the extra page vs. other answers just to submit).  Then came two incredibly exciting things... he had never seen "show summary of results" and was IN COMPLETE AWE at the data (pie charts, bar graphs) that it just gave him automatically.  Like he just wanted to keep looking at it.  Then, we downloaded his rosters and created a =vlookup roster for one of his Google Forms that was going out to over 200 kids and I showed him how to use filters to see who still needed to do it.  This is a fellow who I haven't been able to show too many new things to, and it was just so great to see him so excited!

Fellow #7- This fellow went to an EdCamp last week and got inspired to do an "EdCafe" for student DBQ discussions (  She did all the research and was all ready to go; I just asked to be able to come in and watch.  It was awesome. I've asked her to do a guest blog post on the process, including planning and in class time, as well as student feedback.  That will be up in a couple of weeks, around Thanksgiving.  We debriefed right after and just talked through the process and how she thought it went and what she would change for next time (she is trying it again on Thursday of next week).  Then we just started talking about the changes she has seen in her classroom, and the first word she said was that it is much more "student-centered".  She is spending more time planning the lessons, but she sees that they are things she can continue to use throughout the years, so it is worth her time.  Her next step is to learn how to record some basic videos with either her document camera or iPad so she can model different skills such as annotating in a way that students can access anytime and at their own pace.

Besides my fellows, I was able to help a teacher set up her class Haiku pages for the first time, met with my "Beckman Tech Team" of students for our initial meeting (I'll blog more about that later), follow up with a teacher using Doctopus, help another teacher with downloading and uploading PDF files, and work with another teacher on exporting ExamView questions into Haiku.  In addition, the class set (12) of iPads for our Moderate/Severe Autism teacher came in and I got to help her talk through some set-up stuff.  All in a day's work :)

Not every week is this amazing, but I feel like all of my fellows made such great strides this week and are trying new, exciting things in their classroom that really have the potential to transform the class environment.

I'm hoping to be able to do some Lesson Reflection posts soon with more details on each of these, but we will see how my time looks this weekend. I'm excited that one of my fellows is going to do a guest blog post, and if it goes well I may ask some of my other fellows to share their lesson process on this blog, too.  So, look forward to that!

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