Sunday, October 18, 2015

The best articles & resources I've found this week (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Success of the Week: TeachMeet Beckman

I decided to run a mini TeachMeet at our staff meeting this last week.  When I say "mini", I mean we had three 2-minute sessions of teachers sharing something awesome they do in their classes with technology followed by 1-minute of reflection and debriefing with colleagues.  It was a "test" to see the reaction, and to see if it's a model we want to continue to use.

It. Was. Awesome.

The 3 teachers each made 2-3 slides under the headings of "What I do" and "Three Reasons Why It's Awesome".

I asked for feedback from the staff and got so much positive feedback both in person and via email.  Here are just a few of their comments:

Teachmeet was a great way to see how others actually use technology and gives us ideas on how to use it ourselves in a non-threatening and non-committal manner. 

The TeachMeet format is terrific.  I kind of compare it to a verbal Twitter:  short, meaningful, designed to make an impact.  I suggest we have at least one or two of these two minute TeachMeet's every time we have a staff meeting (and, yes, that means that I will volunteer to present one myself at some point!) 

That was so much fun today! 

I encourage you to try out a mini-TeachMeet at your next Staff Meeting!  We are doing another one this next week!

Framing Coaching Conversations around TPACK and a "Third Point"

I blogged over the summer about the "A Year of Coaching" from a big picture viewpoint.  This post will delve in a little deeper to what a coaching cycle looks like and what I've learned about asking the right questions to lead the conversation in a way that will allow for maximum reflection and growth.

A coaching cycle, for me, consists of a pre-brief, implementation, and debrief.  I always try to be there on the day of implementation, but it doesn't always happen. They usually last anywhere from 1-3 weeks depending on how much prep it requires and how far out we are planning.
I have become a fan of the TPACK model as a way to frame my conversations with teachers in a way that allows us to focus on good instruction first, supported by technology.  I call the center part where all three overlap as the "sweet spot" - we want to make sure that we are considering all three aspects when going through a coaching cycle... and just because I'm a "Digital Learning Coach" doesn't mean we start with the Technological side first ;)

It was pretty exciting when my team took another look at our district's "TUSD Connect" Focus, which is:

We realized that TUSD Connect and TPACK go hand in hand!  Our district's vision aligns almost exactly with the TPACK model.  Now TPACK isn't just something "new" to talk about with teachers, it's just another way to support the conversation that has been happening for the last several years at our district.

I worked a lot this summer on gathering good questions to help support each of these three parts of TPACK... how can I guide a teacher through the reflective process in planning, implementing, and debriefing through the lens of content, pedagogy, and technology?  You are welcome to view my template of questions (which is still a work in progress) by clicking here.

[Please note that my questions have been accumulated from all over - web searches, in person conversations, etc... I can't take the credit for most of them :)  However, having them organized within the frame of TPACK has really made them more useful for me.]

Pre-Brief  (Date: ______)
Debrief (Date: ______)
Content Knowledge: What content / standard are you teaching?

Pedagogical Knowledge: How will you engage your students in learning?  What are you trying to do?

Technological Knowledge: What tools will allow you to accomplish your goals?

Reflective Focus / Essential Question: What will be focusing on during the implementation / observation that we will reflect on before, during, and after the coaching cycle?

I have found that having a reflective focus helps to serve as the "third point" in conversations because it is something the fellow chooses and it's centered around a content, pedagogical, and/or technological goal.  It allows us to look to that as our measure of "success" and helps build the capacity of the fellows to begin reflecting throughout the entire journey.

It's important to mention that a coaching conversation does not go through ALL of the sample question stems.  However, having a "toolbelt" of good questions to ask helps me to guide the conversation and ensure deeper reflection.  While I can't generally plan ahead for the questions I want to ask for a pre-brief, I will look through the debrief questions and pick out some specifically to talk through in our post-implementation conversation.

How do you structure your coaching conversations?  Do you have question stems and starters that you use to help guide the conversation?  Do you utilize a model like TPACK or something else?

This post is a part of Kathy Perret’s #EduCoach Blog Challenge. You can read more about it here.
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