Friday, November 21, 2014

Coaching Reflections - Take 3 (lots of great ideas, lots of encouragement)

This was another really positive week with a lot of progress.  I was able to meet with all my fellows, go to half of a Discovery Education Common Core Training, and then actually make it to see my fellow DLCs on Wednesday, which was much much needed.  You can't underestimate the value of collaboration and community!

One of the best parts of the week was when I was heading back to my office to grab my keys before heading home on Friday.  I ran into a teacher and said the friendly, "Have a great weekend", and he replied by saying, "I just want to thank you for being a ray of sunshine on our campus this year for tech support."  That was after a different teacher popped his head into my office on Thursday and told me what a positive difference I was making on the campus not only for him, but for so many people.  He mentioned specifically it was the fact that people felt they could come to me with any type of tech question and not feel stupid.  Comments like those are really meaningful, especially when I consider the leap of faith I took in leaving the comfort of the only position/school/district I'd known to become a Digital Learning Coach.  Every day it's that much more clear to me that God has opened the doors to bring me to the place He wants me to be...and I'm absolutely loving it!

Here are some reflections on what we are doing and the progress we are making in finding ways to integrate technology into the curriculum in ways that will improve and deepen student learning and/or make teaching and learning more efficient or effective.

Fellow #1
This fellow had seen Padlet and had talked with some of her colleagues who were using it and wanted to use it as a different type of class opener.  She has been using Google Forms and Infuse Learning to ask students questions about previous or upcoming concepts, get feedback on the homework, etc.  We had a great discussion about how she really feels like this integration of technology has her students more engaged in class and how she is able to really see what her students know and don't know much more clearly.  I asked her if she thought the students were more engaged because everything was still so "new" and exciting, and she said that she wasn't sure, but it would be interesting to see how things panned out as the year went on.  So, we decided to try out Padlet for a similar learning goal, but to "mix it up" for her students.  When students entered class, they went on Haiku, where she has a "Interactive in Class" page that everything is posted on for class openers or class activities.  The Padlet posed a question in the title of the wall and students answered to the best of their ability.  Both me and the teacher were able to walk around and ask students about their response, and help them to dig a little deeper.  Students are able to edit their own response, so many went back and added or modified their original response.

They started going over homework, which was on graphing absolute value functions, and I decided to plug the functions into Desmos to check a few things out I wasn't sure about.  After a few minutes, I had the opportunity to show my fellow the graphs and we decided to project them on the screen and have a class discussion.  So, this was totally impromptu and in no way planned, but it turned out to be an awesome learning experience for me, my fellow, and her students!

Afterwards, I was inspired to put together an "absolute value graph discovery activity" for Desmos, which you can see here... This has not yet been implemented in any classes, so I would appreciate any thoughts and feedback you have for it.

Fellow #2
This fellow planned a Thinglink activity for his students.  They have to choose four pictures that represent the time period / event they are studying and then "annotate" them using the Thinglink tags.  They can use text, other images, or videos as their tags.  They will be working in their study groups on this, but they can't "divide and conquer" - they must work together and collaborate on all four of them.

We also we able to talk about digital citizenship in terms of choosing images that are "labeled for non-commercial re-use" and citing the images with the image URL.  While this does narrow the available pictures, it helps teach an important lesson to students that everything on the internet is not free to use.  By embedding it into the lesson, there is immediate, practical application of this aspect of online ethics.

Funny enough, when I was going through my feedly yesterday, I came across an article titled "How to Attribute Creative Commons Photos".  Check it out as a great resource.

Implementation:  I visited one class period of the students working on the Thinglink activity.  They were highly engaged in analyzing the images, picking out different things they noticed and connecting it to what they had learned.  The teacher gave students the first image, and then gave them 3 topics of which they had to find their own image to annotate.  They embedded the Thinglinks into a Haiku Wikiproject.  I am looking forward to seeing the finished project and analyzing the use of Thinglink to help meet the learning objectives of this activity.

Fellow #3
We co-planned a lesson last week that embedded Socrative questions within the lesson.  This teacher does a great job of calling on all students throughout the class period but we wanted to be able to collect feedback from the entire class at certain points throughout the lesson.  I co-taught with her during 1st period and helped her navigate the Teacher-Paced questions throughout the lesson.  We weren't super happy with it; it stopped the flow of the class too much.  So, for 2nd period, I suggested using the Student-Paced questions, and just telling the students how many questions to answer at a time.  For example, it may have asked them what "m" was, then was "b" was, and then what the whole equation was (for y=mx+b).  That way, students could answer all 3 of those questions at their pace and get immediate feedback after each step.  The teacher could see the student responses on a nice grid as they came in and they were marked "red" or "green" right away.  The visual was just a lot nicer for the student-paced.  We had a great debrief and agreed that even though it was clunky and a little difficult, it did help to meet the learning goals of collecting better feedback from students throughout the lesson.  So, we are going to continue to give it a try and work through the weird parts.  Great lessons learned, and I'm glad we were able to do it together!

Fellow #4
With this fellow, we just practiced with some tech.  We went over Google Forms again and I showed her "summary of responses" for a form she created for one of her classes last week.  I also showed her some features of her Epson Interactive Whiteboard to get her mind thinking of ways she may be able to use that.  We also talked about the Socrative Exit Ticket  and she is really excited to use that in her unit starting after Thanksgiving Break.  She thought she wanted to do a Google Form for it, but that would mean she would have to create a new one for each day.  With the Exit Ticket, it is pre-made, and all she has to do is orally tell the students what to respond to for the third question and it will not require as much pre-planning on her part.  This will be fun!

Fellow #5 
This fellow developed a set of "I Can" statements for her current unit and then put them on a Google Form for the students to self-evaluate where they were at.  Keep in mind this was not prompted or guided by me at all! (Yay - our mission is to develop technologically self-sufficient teachers and they are definitely getting to that point!).  We were able to discuss how powerful having those statements are not only for the teacher in terms of planning, but for the student in terms of monitoring their own learning.  I hope to build on this to help the math department as a whole have "I Can" statements for each of their courses.

Fellow #6
We finally had the chance to debrief all of our Socrative activities from last week, and it was really good.  I did some searching online for some different prebrief and debrief questioning prompts, and I like what I found - I've done 2 debriefs talking through these questions and they have gone well.  I'm still looking to improve it, so please give me feedback!  (see below this section)

We gave a student feedback survey on Google Forms and my fellow was able to see how helpful it was to gather student feedback and get student opinion on class activities.  Most of them enjoyed the "Space Race" activity the most, but they also enjoyed the other two types (teacher-paced and student-paced).  They gave some great suggestions in terms of having time to review the PDF results during class time where they could ask more questions rather than that just being the homework the night after the activity.  We are excited to continue using it.

We set four clear goals for this fellow that we will be focusing on over the next several months:
1. Collecting student notes and posting a picture each day on Haiku as examples for both students and teachers.  We set up Dropbox Camera Upload so she can snap a picture with her iPhone and it syncs automatically to her computer for easy upload to Haiku
2. Start using a timer in class to help with transitioning to different activities and monitoring the length of different activities in class.
3. Start playing around with the room arrangement (currently in rows) to see what we could do if we had partners, groups of 3, etc.  And, how instruction could change to take advantage of the collaboration.
4. Continue to use Socrative. We are starting by planning a 2-5 question warmup for each day.  However, we would like to expand to using the Exit Ticket, Live within the Lesson, and then continue doing a review activity on Socrative.

PREBRIEF REFLECTION (complete before lesson implementation)
What are the learning goals/objectives?  What outcomes are you hoping to see?  
How will you know if students have met these goals / objectives / outcomes?
What activities, problems, tasks, or questions are going to help you achieve those goals?
Is this lesson introducing new knowledge or is it practicing / reviewing /  applying knowledge already taught?

  • What do you want me to look for?
  • What do you want me to listen for?
  • What do you want me to do? (Model, Co-Teach, Cognitive)


Lesson Notes & Observations from Crystal:
Lesson Reflections and Ideas for the future (from fellow & coach)
Reflection from Fellow (complete after lesson. We will discuss these questions during our debrief):
  • Did you enjoy the lesson? Why or why not?
  • Did the students enjoy the lesson? Why or why not?  What evidence do you have?
  • Was the lesson effective at meeting the lesson goals / student outcomes? Why or why not?  What evidence do you have?
  • If you taught this lesson or used this tool again, what would you keep the same? Why?
  • If you taught this lesson or used this tool again, what would you refine, change or disband? Why?
  • What did you learn from teaching this lesson or using this tool about yourself, your students, or your content area?
  • What problems or issues did you have along the way (in planning or implementation) that you had to address or solve?  How did you do this?
  • What would you like to learn more about? (teaching strategy, tech tool, etc).  What should our next Coaching Cycle be about?


Notes from Debrief (in addition to Lesson Reflections above)

Fellow #7
We just practiced with some tech today, mainly uploading files to Google Drive, sharing to "everyone with the link" and then hyperlinking the Google Document in a mass email to parents through the grading system... too many steps than are needed for a "simple" task, but it was the only way to accomplish it.  We also sent out our "live" Google Sheet for signups for an upcoming music concert/assembly and watched as people logged on within minutes of sending out the emails and signed up their names.  That was fun :)

Fellow #8
We did a lot of brainstorming today, mainly with figuring out the settings for Haiku assessments that would allow students to view the results only when the teacher wanted them to (i.e. after everyone had finished the assessments).  You can do that by setting a "password" for taking and then a "password" for reviewing.
We also were trying to figure out a way to have students sign up for the bi-weekly (Tues/Thurs) tutorial period in an online way.  Right now, every teacher just has a signup sheet.  We thought through the process of having students sign up on a Google Form.  I told her about FormLimiter, but that would mean that students couldn't "erase" their name once they had signed up and she would need to make a new form for every session (twice a week).  So, I showed her how you can turn a form "off", and how you can "hide" rows on the response spreadsheet, so she could continue to use the same form/spreadsheet, turn it "off" once the max number of students had signed up (around 30), and then turn it back on for the next tutorial period.  Sort of clunky work flow, but we'll see if it will work.

Fellow #9
This fellow had seen my tweet about Thinglink so wanted to explore it.  We ended up exploring Thinglink and as tools for students to annotate/take notes on both images (Thinglink) and Videos (  She is going to have them do an activity when we get back from Thanksgiving with Thinglink and still exploring options for using, possibly as a tool for a video they watch and take notes on at home.  It's always exciting meeting with this fellow and I love the ideas we are able to collaborate on!

Other Teachers:
We had a great PD session for the Late Start day where one of the teachers shared with the staff a few "Gradual Release of Responsibility" strategies and activities he uses in his class to help create a more student-centered classroom.  I was only able to stay for 2 of the 3 activities, but they were so great and I asked if I could come in to observe his class and even video tape the activities to be able to share privately with the staff on our Haiku page.  He was very open to that, so I look forward to the next time he uses one of the activities.

One of the activities was called "Bellringers", where basically you give the students a topic (a piece of text, a math problem, etc) and students go up front in groups of 3-10 and have a certain amount of time (2-5 minutes) have a discussion about the concept/idea/passage/problem in front of the class.  The teacher sits at the back with a bell, and when he/she hears something really profound, something the teacher "would have said", or something "you should definitely have in your notes", he rings the bell.  He keeps track of who he rings the bell for as a part of their participation grade, so students up front are striving to really participate and add meaning to the conversation, whereas students in the audience are listening closely and paying attention to when the bell is rung for really key ideas.

The other activity was a Vocabulary one (I don't remember the exact name) where students are given a list of up to 30-40 words some time in advance. Then, multiple strips of paper (probably 10-15 sets) are created, each with 10 random words from the list of 30-40.  All the strips are put in a bucket and the students grab a strip one at a time and go up front.  They have exactly 1 minute to use at least 5 of the words in context of answer a certain question/problem/concept.  Each of the strips is labeled w/ a letter so the teacher knows which list of words they are working off of.  He gets through an entire class in one period because it is literally one minute... the next student grabs their slip when the previous student begins so they have a minute to prep, and so on.
One of the key points is that the teacher always goes first, before any student(s) do these tasks.  I am very excited to see these in action!

Another great idea that was shared today was having some sessions during the tutorial period (Tues/Thurs for 30 minutes for all students) for "Basic Tech Proficiencies" for students (but not calling them basic...) such as sending an email, adding an attachment, typing in Google Docs, etc.  There are a lot of students, especially our EL/Transitional ones, who do not have experience with that and then "feel dumb" when they can't do it in class.  So, we want this to be positive, supportive, in small groups, and helpful.  I'm looking forward to being able to get this launched.

I have started meeting consistently with a non-fellow new teacher to help her with some different things.  She is actually doing some pretty awesome stuff already with VideoScribe, Prezi, Kahoot, Haiku Deck,and other stuff.  On Friday, we met for an hour and brainstormed organization for her Haiku pages and started adding content.  We are going to meet again next Tuesday to continue working on her Haiku pages, but also start talking about collaboration with Google Docs, Voice recording with either Google Voice, YouTube, or something else (still need to research), and see how else we can help make her first year teacher life more efficient.  I am really enjoying meeting with this new teacher!

I also met with a few random teachers to work on Google Drive (some just basic organization, others using Doctopus), getting Apple TV connected, and other small stuff

In other news, the math department got a site license for Kuta!  I'll be doing an overview/training for them on an upcoming late start just to make sure they are able to take full advantage of the features the software provides.  Wahoo!

Student Tech Team:
We had our second lunch meeting this week and continued to talk through our plans for the year.  I do have a great group of students and I'm looking forward to building our team together.

I met with a student who just transferred to our school from up north who was actually a part of a student tech team for a 1-to-1 iPad rollout.  We got to chat for about 30 minutes about how they did things and how things worked.  They were lucky enough to be able to actually have a class period "Technology Internship" so students were on duty during their actual class period and were getting credit for the time they were spending on it.

I also met with two of my seniors who are on the team to talk about leadership and to brainstorm ideas in a smaller group.  It was really positive and helped us to get on the same page with the goals and vision for the team.  I am looking forward to meeting again on Monday and then launching the team the week after Thanksgiving.

I hope you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving Week!

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