Saturday, January 31, 2015

OC CUE Tech Fest 2015 Presentations: Digital Annotation Tools + Digital Formative Assessment Tools

Please check out my OC CUE Tech Fest Presentation Slides and reflections below.

I had a great time presenting Diigo, Thinglink, and at OC Cue Tech Fest 2015.  While I probably needed two sessions, we were able to do a very quick overview of the powerful use of these tools in helping students dissect complex text of all types.  I feel like it was important to consider the tools for all types of complex text (text, images, and videos), and hopefully build excitement to continue to explore the tools past the session and start using them in the near future.

This was the first time I've formally presented on these tools, so it was far from perfect.  I went through and made an outline for future presentations in terms of time needed to go over the different parts.  You can see that here.  I also made a handout to give to participants as they come in with instructions on logging into the different accounts since verbal instructions were not the easiest..  You can see that here.

I also added a few things to the future presentation plan that I didn't have today, such as completed student examples to begin with, time built in for the padlet reflection (had walls ready but absolutely no time today), and separate instructions for laptops and tablets.

There are a lot of links to resources throughout the presentation, so please check them out.

Socrative and InfuseLearning were also fun!  We were able to look at ALL the features of Socrative, including Quick Quiz, Pre-Planned Quiz (teacher paced & student paced), Space Race, and Exit Ticket.  We then had about 10 minutes to explore InfuseLearning, so we looked at the features that were different than Socrative, looking at the Draw Response, Infuse Draw (I pushed out a picture and had them do a draw response), and Infuse Link.  I'm glad I figured out that the teacher has to be on Firefox for it to work (I was freaking out a bit earlier in the week when it wouldn't work on Chrome).

If I had another 15 minutes in the session, I would have liked the teachers to then log in as "teachers" and play around with creating quiz questions.  We also could have played with the "sort in order" and more options with the "Infuse Draw".  It also would have been nice to download and show the results documents from both Socrative and Infuse Learning.

Thank you to everyone who attended my sessions!  Please let me know what questions you have as you begin exploring these tools in your classrooms.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Brief Book Reviews for anyone who is (or interested in being) an Instructional Coach

Over the last several weeks since I finished "officially" going through the ISTE Coaching Academy Series, I read four very excellent books on coaching (tech coaching, instructional coaching, just working with adults/peers in general).  I would highly recommend the following:

Differentiated Coaching (Jane Kise)

The first half of this book focuses on "Staff Development that Changes Classroom Practices", and emphasized focusing on what teachers believe, what teachers need during change, what problems do teachers want to solve, and how can teachers collaborate?  Jane says, "The art of staff development is helping teachers understand where their strengths and beliefs lock them into practices that limit their freedom to help students succeed.  It isn't freedom for teachers to what they please, but freedom for them to entertain possibilities and stay open to new avenues for professional growth."

Some staff development topics covered:

  • things that teachers need during staff development
  • the pros and cons of the different methods of staff development delivery
Very important reminder: a great PD will not change teachers' attitudes and beliefs... it's the teachers experiencing successful implementation (themselves... not just seeing it work in other teachers' classrooms) that will make changes!


  • Three levels: superficial, segmented, and (the goal) instructional collaboration
  • what collaboration is
  • what it isn't
  • benefits of collaboration
  • things that get in the way of "instructional collaboration"
  • criteria to help build successful "instructional collaboration"

By the end of Part 1, Jane has detailed her six elements of effective staff development, which are:
  1. A deep understanding of teachers' strengths and beliefs.  (We must know why we're holding tightly to the ways we teach, otherwise we won't know how we need to change)
  2. Concrete evidence that influences beliefs and shows that change will be worth the effort (teachers must see that change will result in improved student achievement)
  3. Communication and assistance (coaching) in ways that meet each teacher's learning style and needs (different types of support are needed for different learners.  And support is DEFINITELY needed when teachers are changing their core practices)
  4. A focus on problems that concern the teachers (not adding another burden to them but helping them solve a problem they currently have)
  5. Deep, Level III Collaboration (Instructional Collaboration)
  6. A common framework for unbiased discussion of education (not about discussing who is right or wrong… it's about understanding which students different practices and policies will reach)

In Part 2, Jane jumps into Personality Type as the common framework for discussing classroom practices.  She uses the MDBI tool of Judging/Perceiving, Introversion/Extraversion, Sensing/Intuition, and Thinking/Feeling.  (As a note, I am either ISTJ or ISFJ).   What was so helpful with this is she went over coaching implications for each of the 8 choices.  She made the connection to education by saying that our educational beliefs are tightly bound to our personalities and how we take in information and make decisions.  Tying in to Part 1, Jane talked about the "ideal staff development day" for teachers with each of the different personality types, as well as the concerns and questions teachers of each type may have regarding changes.

Then she jumps into Differentiated Coaching.  There are four criteria she states for successful coaching:
  1. Committed to the process (both coach and coachee)
  2. Trust
  3. Clear goals (agreed upon mutually)
  4. Agree on "what does success mean"

According to Jane, there are four different coaching styles:
- Coach as useful resource
- Coach as encouraging sage
- Coach as collegial mentor
- Coach as expert

She outlines ways to work with all sixteen of the different personality type combinations, what they will be looking for in a coach, and how to support them in a way that meets their needs.  Each of the four different coaching styles are useful depending on the personality type of the "coachee"

She has a plethora of great resources on her website as well.  This book provided me a framework and context to approach the teachers I am working with in terms of their personality type, which greatly affects their beliefs about education, teaching, and learning.

Mentoring Matters (Lipton & Wellman)
This book is more geared toward people who are mentoring new teachers (like BTSA mentors in California), but it still had a great amount of information and resources for anyone who is working peer-peer.

  • A mentor must balance between: offering support, creating challenge, and facilitating a professional vision.
  • There is a continuum of interaction between consulting (expert coaching), collaboration, and what the authors just call "coaching", but I generally refer to as "cognitive coaching".   They go over the intentions, actions, cues, and potential issues for each of the three places on the continuum.
  • The authors provide a template for planning & problem solving conversations as well as reflecting conversations.
  • There was a whole section on verbal tools for a coach, such as pausing, paraphrasing, inquiring, probing, and extending.  (most of this stuff I was introduced to in the training with Steve Regur in September).
This book is a great "coaching toolkit" reference point, especially in regards to conversation templates and verbal tools. 

Coaching Classroom Instruction (Marzano)

This book is an amazing resource that I know I will be opening up time and again.  It starts with some of the research and theory behind coaching, along with some different models of coaching. Marzano then uses his 41 elements from the Art and Science of Teaching Model, broken down into segments of "routine events", "events addressing content", and "events enacted on the spot".  
He provides a 0 to 4 scale (Not Using - Beginning - Developing - Applying - Innovating)  and explicitly details how to help teachers move from level 0 to level 4.
  • 0 to 1 - Learn about research, theory, and strategies associated with the element.  Strategies can be from this book or coach/teacher developed
  • 1 to 2 - Correctly execute strategies
  • 2 to 3 - Monitor student responses to the strategy
  • 3 to 4 - Integrate several strategies to make a macro-strategy and/or adapting strategy for different student needs.
So, for all 41 elements he provides:

  • research to back the element
  • strategies to help apply the element
  • actions to correctly execute the element
  • desired student responses for each element
  • how to merge multiple strategies together
  • how to provide extra support or scaffolding for each element
  • how to provide extension or challenge for each element.
I feel like this book was incredibly practical and offered resources that would have taken me forever to find.  Even simply the research behind the 41 elements is huge!  I can see this being used in a practical way with my teachers when we are trying new strategies in class to have specific actions, desired outcomes, scaffolding/extension ideas, etc.

Building Teachers' Capacity for Success (Hall & Simeral)
*Note: I only read Part 1 and Part 2.  Part 3 was about the administrator's role in helping build teacher capacity for success.  I know it will be great, but decided to set it aside for the time being while I am focusing on my coaching strategies.
  • For a coach and administrator, there are common responsibilities, distinct responsibilities, and overlapping responsibilities.  It is very important that these are clear!
  • Effective Coaches:
    • Are highly self-reflective
    • Are able to build and maintain trustworthy relationships
    • Are skilled in recognizing others' strengths, abilities, and beliefs
    • Are servant leaders
    • Are patient
    • Consider "the bus question" (if you got hit by a bus and were incapacitated for a length of time, are your teachers better off for working with you?  Has your coaching helped develop meaningful change?)
  • The coaching continuum refers to the teacher's ability to self-reflect and analyze their practice.  The four stages of self-reflection are:
    • - Unaware (Coach's goal is to create awareness of the need for change and foster a desire to learn)
    • - Conscious (Coach's goal is to motivate and show how to apply pedagogical knowledge consistently)
    • - Action (Coach's goal is to build on experience and help strengthen expertise)
    • - Refinement (Coach's goal is to encourage long-term growth and continued reflection)

For each of the stages, the authors talk about in detail:

  • the teacher's reflective tendencies
  • related classroom characteristics
  • my role as a coach
  • coaching strategies that foster reflective growth.
This book provided another framework in which to view the teachers I am working with in terms of where they are with self-reflection of the teaching and learning that is happening in their classroom.  I could identify clearly with several of the stages with the teachers I am working with and it helped me to understand a little more why they might be the way they are and some strategies to help move them forward.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Flipping with Kirch: Designing a Flipped Learning Environment - Webinar Archive

I had a great time presenting with on Tuesday for a webinar about the shifts in a flipped classroom and how to design a flipped learning environment.  For those of you who weren't able to attend, you can find the archive here.

For your reference the slides (including reflection and planning prompts), can be found here.

If you have any follow-up questions or need any resources I referred to in the presentation, please comment on this post.  There are a lot of resources linked on this document here.

Links from presentation:

Reflection questions from throughout presentation:
  • Which of the three Flipped Learning Shifts intrigues or excites you the most & why?
    • Student-Centered
    • Active Learning
    • Higher Order Thinking
  • Why is allowing time for inquiry, exploration, or hypothesizing before direct instruction important?
    • What might this look like in your class?
  • What Video Tip(s) resonate with you the most?  Why?
  • How do you organize your content and expectations for your students?
  • How do you hold your students accountable for watching and engaging with the video?
  • How do your videos give your students structured processing time?
  • How do you gather feedback from your students before they enter the group learning space?
  • What activities could your students participate in to discuss and review what they learned from the video?
  • How will you spend the “practice and apply” portion of your class time?
  • How will you formatively assess your students in a variety of ways?
  • How will you facilitate students creatively showing their understanding?
  • Why is the “design of a teacher” so important for those implementing flipped learning?
  • What is the best use of your face to face time?
  • How can you make your group learning space more student-centered & get students more actively involved in their learning?
  • What lower-level thinking activities can be moved outside of class?
  • What do you want students to be able to do MORE of in class? (HOT)
  • How will you leverage the use of technology to help support you fulfilling your answers?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Upcoming Webinars and Conference Presentations


Webinar with "Flipping with Kirch".  
Tuesday, January 13 
4-5pm PST 
Free Registration here.

OCCue Tech Fest
Saturday, January 31
Serra Catholic School, Rancho Santa Margarita
  • Formative Assessments on the Fly
  • Digital Annotations with Diigo, Thinglink, and

CUE 2015
Thursday, March 19
Palm Springs, CA
  • WSQing your Way to FlipClass Success


ISTE 2015
June 28th - July 1st (Sun - Wed)
Philadelphia, PA
  • WSQing your Way to FlipClass Success
  • Flipping Your Class: From Start To Finish (Workshop)
  • Come Learn and Play: Create your first Touchcast today (BYOD)
  • Many Ways to Flipped Success (Panel)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top 11 Key Takeaways and Lessons from the ISTE Coaching Academy:

The  ISTE Coaching Academy Series has been one of the best uses of my time over the last couple of months.  I have a stack of more books and resources to continue to learn from that I only found because of what was referenced in the course.  Yay for reading and learning time!

I wanted to take some time to actually look back at the last six course reflection posts and pull together some very practical applications and changes that have been made (or will be made as I start back next week) in my coaching practices.  If my thoughts refer to a specific article, resource, or course, I've put those in parentheses after the comment.
Top 11 Key Takeaways and Lessons from the ISTE Coaching Academy:

  • A reminder of how truly important the job of a Digital Learning Coach is.  It is needed, it is necessary, it is important.  We have a huge role in transforming what professional development looks like on our campuses.  Teachers need training, but more than that they need the practice time and the follow-up support if true transformation is going to happen. Effective professional development is "PD that actually changes the way teachers teach". (ISTE Coaching Whitepaper)
  • Characteristics of a Good Coach (Course 1). It has been very helpful to find articles and descriptions of what makes a good coach.  No matter what position you are in, you want to know what it is that would make you do well in your position.  Have key attributes clearly explained (as well as why) has given me some encouragement (with the attributes I have already) as well as ideas for growth (with the attributes I need to continue to build).  One of the key attributes I always want to focus on, with both my fellows and staff in general, is "Providing a safe, risk-taking environment that is non-threatening, non-judgmental, and accepting". 
  • Clarification and development of the coaching cycle (Course 1).  I was able to develop a more clear Coaching Cycle Journal template that will help both me and my fellows to stay focused in our journey.  I am definitely a person that likes organization, so being able to finally wrap my head around this and put together an organized, descriptive flow chart makes me feel like I have a much clearer picture of where I am going.  One of the hard things about starting this position was feeling like there wasn't a clear road map.  I had to figure out a lot of things on my own through reaching out to others and researching online.  They helped me get started, but now I have the tools to pave my own path and see the road more clearly.
  • Coaching Norms (Course 1).  Norms is not a new topic, but honestly it was not one that I addressed with my fellows at the beginning of the year.  I think I was just overwhelmed with all this other stuff and in one of our trainings we learned about the "forming, storming, norming, performing" stages of group development (Tuckman Model).  That made me think to NOT develop norms at the beginning and just go through the forming and storming phases.  Now, I feel like it is important we define the norms.  Probably a little late, but better late than never, right?
  • The purpose of using technology (Course 2).  Does the tool improve, deepen, or enhance student learning?  If not, then why are we using it?  I really thought through a lot during this course about not just having technology be an add-on, but something that really impacts the learning environment.  It is now a question on the pre-brief section of our Coaching Cycle Journal so we actually consider it each and every time.
  • Effective Learning Norms (Course 3 and Course 5).  We had to go through the process that I am going to (hopefully) work through with my fellows throughout this semester.  What are the traits of effective learning?  What skills do students need to develop to be successful in college and career that can be emphasized and practiced within the context of your curriculum?  What type of activities must we develop to help meet those expectations?  All of this led me to really analyzing the four areas on the "Learning Activity Checklist" developed by Les Foltos and thinking through how I am going to use it with my fellows.  My plan is to not just present that to them, but to start conversations about what skills and competencies they are looking for their students to develop, how to relate those to the school's goals as well as college/career readiness.  As necessary and as we move through it, we can start referring to the four areas on the Learning Activity Checklist and using those to probe our thinking and help us find ways to improve the lessons.
  • Course 3 Six Key Takeaways... Rather than re-phrasing, I'm just going to copy paste them here:
    • Focus on the classroom and learning. Rethink the roles of student and teacher. Teacher must be coach/collaborator, not the dispenser of knowledge.
    • Look beyond "were they engaged" and focus on "did the technology help us meet the learning objectives?" and "did the students deepen their understanding because of the technology?"
    • Use technology to continually gather formative assessment data that then drives instruction and changes the way you approach the next day in class!
    • Technology is not a magic bullet that is always going to enhance student learning/achievement - it all depends on how it is being used!
    • Technology is not a goal in itself, it's a tool to help us achieve and support our goals.
    • We must adequately train the teachers to use the technology. This is not just familiarity with equipment but also seeing how it can be used effectively and then practicing how it can be used effectively!
  • Communication Skills (Course 3 and Course 5). This was a huge section for me that was repeated throughout the next several courses. I heard about it before I started coaching but it really didn't mean much to me at that point because I had no experience and no context. Now I feel like I can really begin intentionally building and developing the communication skills of active listening, paraphrasing, clarifying, and probing. I did a lot of research of sample probing questions and am hoping to really grow in that area this semester.
  • Lesson Improvement Process (Course 4). I basically redesigned my entire Coaching Cycle based on this course and what I learned from it. There was a focus on designing the learning task... and I found five amazing resources (specifically for math) that are going to be huge in the curriculum development we are working on with the transition to Common Core.
  • Key Attributes of Effective School Professional Development (Course 6). This really made me think "bigger picture" and "school culture" and what impact I can have on the culture of the school I am at. I set some key goals for helping improve professional development at my site (within my control) for next semester.
  • Problem Analysis to Coaching Roadblocks (Course 6). It helped that the sample we worked through was basically the problem I had to work through a few weeks ago. I can definitely see this process being used with future roadblocks.

Great resources I found throughout my time:

    Books on my To-Read List 
    (I haven't read them so can't summarize or vouch for them yet...)

    Bought and ready for my reading:

    Coaching Conversations: Transforming Your School One Conversation at a Time Paperback – March 30, 2010

    Differentiated Coaching: A Framework for Helping Teachers Change Paperback – February 1, 2006

    Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works, 2nd Edition Paperback – August 6, 2012

    Mentoring Matters: A Practical Guide To Learning Focused Relationships Paperback – July 30, 2003

    Building Teachers' Capacity for Success: A Collaborative Approach for Coaches and School Leaders Paperback – December 31, 2008

    Coaching Classroom Instruction (Classroom Strategies)Perfect Paperback – August 22, 2012

    On my Amazon List:

    Have any to add? Please comment below.

    ISTE Coaching Academy Series - Course 6 Reflection

    Time for the final ISTE Coaching Academy Course Reflection!
    I just finished working through the last course, entitled:"Sustained Professional Learning, Connecting to Your Coaching".  I've still got lots of reading and reflecting to do to (my list of books to read has probably tripled through the resources I've found in this series), but in terms of the official course content, [ ] checkmark!

    See my previous notes & reflections at the following links: 

    Course 1 Reflections 
    Course 2 Reflections,
    Course 3 Reflections
    Course 4 Reflections

    Course 5 Reflections

    This course focused on the ISTE Standards for Coaches 6: a,b,c, which state:

    a. Engage in continual learning to deepen content and pedagogical knowledge in technology integration and current and emerging technologies necessary to effectively implement the NETS·S and NETS·T
    b. Engage in continuous learning to deepen professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions in organizational change and leadership, project management, and adult learning to improve professional practice
    c. Regularly evaluate and reflect on their professional practice and dispositions to improve and strengthen their ability to effectively model and facilitate technology-enhanced learning experiences

    Course 6 started by having us look at the research-based attributes of effective school-based professional development (SBPD).

    The SBPD Standards are derived from the article Building Professional Community in Schools by Krus, Louis & Bryk (1994). You can read the article starting on page 3 here. You can see my highlights, comments, and analysis by looking at the article through this Notable link (sign up for free by logging in with Google if you haven't already - it's a great tool for online, collaborative PDF annotation!

    The six key attributes of school-based professional development are:

    • Reflective Dialogue
    • Deprivatization of Practice
    • Collaboration
    • Collective Focus on Student Learning
    • Shared Norms and Values
    • Structured Methodology (not directly listed in the article above)
    • Connected to other aspects of school change (not directly listed in the article above)
    The article mentions something I felt was really important: Are structural conditions or social and human resources more important in developing a professional community? From page 6, "Our research suggests that human resources - such as openness to improvement, trust and respect, teachers having knowledge and skills, supportive leadership and socialization - are more critical to the development of professional community than structural conditions." You can put all these things in place - time to collaborate, teachers working in close proximity, communication structures, etc... but if there is not a willingness on the part of the teachers to build the professional learning community, it really just isn't going to happen.

    Now, the question is... how do we begin that change process in teachers who are not interested in being a part of a professional learning community or truly reflecting and growing in their practice? Looks like I've got some more research cut out for me! Well, one of the courses I'm going to take this next semester is called "Schools As Professional Learning Communities"... so I guess that's a good thing ;)

    Sidebar: Imagine these attributes describing you and your colleagues. Wouldn't this be such a positive work environment?
    Value each other
    Empathetic to the way other people are
    Accepting that the aim of the relationship is to move everyone forward
    Focus on each other's strengths
    Providing positive feedback, guidance, and support

    Ok, so the goal of looking at the attributes of the effective school-based professional development was to reflect on our school and its current practices. Based on areas of weakness, I set out three goals to focus on in the second semester, all of which are already on the starting blocks. They are:
    1. Peer observations through the Tech Fellow program - I want my fellows seeing other fellows (and other teachers if possible) in action to learn, reflect, discuss, and grow.
    2. JOT (Just One Thing) Tech Sessions focused around teachers needs & questions. This is like a "Tech Thursday"
    3. Focus my coaching sessions and lesson designs moreso around students learning & needs and less around the tech tools. I've been working hard this break at redesigning a lot of my stuff for this! I'm excited to see how it works and what other tweaks I need to continue to make.

    We also learned about roadblocks to coaching and went through some problem analysis with these steps:

    1. Define the problem - Gather information, Identify relevant facts
    2. Identify the causes - Discuss possible causes with others, put yourself in their shoes, think of all possible causes
    3. Generate possible solutions - research ideas on the internet, ask others for ideas. Keep in mind what you can and can't control!
    4. Decide on a solution - Review suggestions and ideas to choose a solution. Make sure the solution is one that can be accomplished and is within your control.
    5. Plan - Identify goal & checkpoint; Identify action steps

    The example that was given was "not enough time" for coaching. It is an roadblock I have faced so it was nice to think through the issue and consider all the possible causes, many of which I could relate to. This is a great protocol I will be holding on to to think through the roadblocks that I know I will continue to face in this journey.

    A few other resources I found throughout this course:
    Effective Professional Development - article from 1996 but still true today!

    The last challenge of the Academy was to start blogging to share and reflect on what you have learned professionally. I think I have already met that challenge :)

    Thanks for following my journey through the ISTE Coaching Academy. I would love to hear about your journey and learning - please comment if you have or are going through the Academy. I'd love to connect and continue the conversation!

    See all of my ISTE Coaching Academy Course Reflections here:
    Course 1 Reflections 
    Course 2 Reflections,
    Course 3 Reflections
    Course 4 Reflections

    Course 5 Reflections

    Course 6 Reflections
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