Lively discussions with experts in the field of education.
Student Centered Learning: Uncovering vs. Covering
Letting go of control in the classroom can be a challenging proposition, but for high school math teacher Rik Rowe it came naturally. His construction of a truly student centered learning environment has allowed students to become autonomous and self actualized learners. Rik has accomplished this through much thought, discussion and perseverance and he credits two weekly Twitter chats, #COLChat and #SBLChat for helping him to develop his mindset. on this unique experience his students are fortunate to have in his classroom.
Uncovering vs. Covering
It's readily apparent that Rik has a genuine understanding of what real learning looks like. Instead of telling his students what it is they need to learn and when they need to learn it, he asks them what they need more help understanding with- thus uncovering their understanding in a novel way. In this student centered learning environment students can enunciate what they are confused on and can not only ask for help from classmates, but help each other on these questions.
Student Centered Learning:
free to question
able to explain in their own way
making their own assessments
"I wish I had given up control to the students years ago. I wish I had developed a culture of learning and a trust and a respect that its their future, its their education- it's their opportunity to learn how to learn. I am there to guide them, I am not there to tell them what to do". - Rik Rowe
A great tool to use for comparing terms and concepts, including numerics and operations in math. Rik has discovered that using this game like tool for assessments has reduced test anxiety. This student centered learning environment builds confidence and creates a climate in which students can demonstrate their understandings in a way that suits them best.
Class Labs: Innovating Professional Development
Tired of the same old professional development? Class Labs represent a fresh approach to sustained effort to improve schools from within. My guest, Michele Corbet, is the principal at Morish Elementary in the Swartz Creek School District in Michigan has developed this comprehensive approach to staff development along with others in her school district.
Teachers observing each other supports the concept that there are experts within our own schools, and often they are underutilized or recognized. Taking a structured approach to sharing successful strategies leads to enormous rewards for the entire staff. The class labs model in the Swartz Creek district relies on these experts to share the inner workings of their classrooms with other teachers in their school. Creating a culture of continual learning allows this approach to be successful as each participant can learn strategies in a non threatening atmosphere.
"We have found that doing this has brought our teachers very close together- it has really shifted the culture. People are having the opportunity to see that they are not alone".- Michele Corbet
Class Labs Implementation Explore the need The fit- Does this model fit our culture? Resources- Can we do this? Evidence- Is it working? Readiness- Is staff ready? Capacity- Start on smaller scale? Michele can be found on Twitter as @michelecorbet and co-moderates #COLChat Mondays at 9PM EST. Kudos to her, and the entire Swartz Creek School District for forging ahead and implementing such a revolutionary model of staff development. Other experts mentioned in the interview who deserve recognition include Lisa Madden, and Sandy Cook.
Thanks again for listening to learning lab education radio, you can listen to more episodes and subscribe to the show on iTunes. Please consider leaving a five star review and comment if you have enjoyed this episode!
Improving Science Education: NGSS
Next Generation Science Standards represent an exceptional opportunity to revamp the way students learn science in our schools. My guest, Fred Ende, is the Assistant Director of Curriculum and Instructional Services at the P/NW BOCES in New York State. An ASCD emerging leader and science curriculum specialist Fred has a wealth of knowledge regarding science education, and education in general to share.
During this interview, we discuss how the NGSS departs from traditional science education in terms of anticipating implementation in the next few years. Fred shares some real paradigm shifting ideas that will require fundamental change to successfully incorporate into our schools they include:
Moving away from "canned lessons"
Discontinue recipe following with "cookie cutter" labs
Embracing longer term projects or portfolios
Focusing on iquiry rather than content memorization
"The days of multiple choice as a sole provider of data can't exist anymore. At the expense of easier to collect data we are not providing our students with the learning opportunities they need". - Fred Ende
This is a must listen episode for any educators interested in improving their instruction with reagrds to scientific or design thinking. It is very apparent the Fred has carefully analyzed the issues surrounding current scientific education, and has developed some very astute ideas to correct these deficiencies. Fred blogs at fredende.blogspot.com
Next Generation Science Standards Resources:
Next Generation Standards Hub
Next Gen Science
Thanks again for listening to learning lab education radio, you can listen to more episodes at learninglabradio.net and subscribe to the show on iTunes at learninglabradio.net/itunes
Standards Based Grading: Focus On Student Understanding
Learn about Standards Based Grading from Garnet Hillman who has successfully implemented SBG in her classroom and school district. A journey which began by incorporating differentiation, Garnet created her own report cards and developed a robust classroom workflow to support student learning. A total shift away from the traditional punitive grading climate, her standards based system clearly communicates the stages in understanding of students.
Standards Based Grading is:
Based on a scale of 1-4
Separates grades and behaviors
Garnet co-moderates Standards Based Learning Chat on wednesdays at 9PM EST on Twitter and documents her work through writing. Most recent authoring monthly posts on Sophia.org including the premier post titled “a teachers journey of positive deviance”.
Garnet's Go To SBG Resources:
"A Repair Kit For Grading" By Ken O'Connor
"Fair Isn't Always Equal" By Rick Wormeli
"On Your Mark" By Thomas Guskey
"The main message is that its worth it, to fill the gaps and not leave them because its going to mean failure for our kids." - Garnet Hillman
Garnet is always interested in helping others learn more about standards based grading, her website is garnethillman.com and Tweets regularly as @garnethillman
Google Apps: Transforming Urban Education
Google Apps For Education is transforming the educational landscape, nowhere is this more true than in urban school districts. This free and very robust suite of tools allows teachers and administrators to personalize large amounts of data in an efficient manner. My guest, Andrew Stillman, has created many of the free tools that are used in conjunction with Google Apps. Currently his work is focused on improving the handling of vast amounts of data in the urban school setting of New York City with New Visions For Public Schools- a non-profit.
New model of computing
Helps manage large volumes of school data
Fundamentally different in cost structure
Ability for students to access school community outside of school
"Unfortunately there is a disconnect between what is perceived as a need for innovation in education, and I wouldn't trivialize the substance of what happens in a classroom- the magic of a really skilled pedagog engaging students, but there are much more foundational needs that undermine all those other conversations".- Andrew Stillman
There are many very helpful add-ons that can be found at cloudlab.newvisions.org which is the central location for the work that Andrew and the team at New Visions are doing. Some of Andrew's most noted Add-Ons are Doctopus, FormRanger and siteMaestro. He can be found on Google+ (search Andrew Stillman) and on Twitter as @astillman.
Supporting Mastery Learning: Test Retakes
Retakes, allowing for retakes on assessments, supports mastery learning and has always made sense to me. In this episode I learn about the philosophy behind reiteration, strategies for implementation and getting started techniques from Rick Wormeli. Rick is an internationally recognized educational consultant and author. I received his award winning book titled "Meet Me In The Middle" in my first year of teaching from the Assistant Superintendent. It made a huge impact on me and really helped to shape my career from very early on.
Learn about the moral imperative behind allowing retakes.
Discover how retakes help students learn.
Gain strategies to implement in your classroom to help manage the workflow.
Do we claim to have integrity, to be moral, to being doing the right thing by our students and if so then maybe some of the conventional practices really no longer serve if they serve at all?- Rick Wormeli
One of the first national board certified teachers and also the recipient of Disney's American Teacher Awards 1996 Outstanding English Teacher of the Nation, Rick is always pursuing becoming a better educator. His video titled "Redos and Retakes and Do-Overs Part One" on YouTube revolutionized my classroom and experience for both myself and my students. Be sure to check out Rick on Twitter as @rickwormeli2. I recommend browsing through the collection of books he has written, you can find out more about the titles and topics on his publishers website Stenhouse.
Great Show Jasper!!