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Showing posts from October, 2018

Choose Your Own Adventure

My classes this week have been awesome. Like, the kind of awesome that makes you a bit sad that a particular lesson and/or unit is coming to an end. So, unlike my usual posts, I am excited to share what I observed in my own classes this week as I watched students get excited to write a narrative story. That's right...I said excited . Read on to see how and why this phenomenon happened. Usually, this unit is not my favorite. Usually, I struggle to decide if my lessons and activities are enough to engage and inspire. Usually, I see very similar student artifacts although the prompt offers variety. Well, this time...I took a know, tried something new. Instead of making assumptions about its success, I just decided to jump in and make it my own. I was honest with my students that this activity was new and that I didn't know how it would go. I am thrilled to share that the risk was well worth it because my students are energized, working hard, and have been implementi

Formative Fiesta

“ Formative Assessment is a deliberate process used by teachers and students during instruction that provides actionable feedback used to adjust ongoing teaching and learning strategies to improve students’ attainment of curricular learning targets/goals ” Source:  Smarter Balanced We believe that formative assessment is one of the most powerful tools we can use to enhance learning and engage students in the learning process. The best educators use a variety of formative assessment techniques and tools to help everyone in the classroom gauge essential understandings.  The best formative assessments also help drive the learning experience for both teachers and students. Favorite Formative Resources and Strategies This week, I am excited to be co-authoring this post with my BFF and EdTech partner-in-crime,  Steve Wick .  He is the brains behind this awesome Formative Fiesta concept, which I believe took our Cafe Connect to the next level. Whenever I have a formativ

They Got Skills...They're Multiplying

Two completely different classes. Two unique groups of students. Two awesome lessons. The result...similar skills acquired by all. This week, I had the opportunity to visit two very different classes: Photography and AP European History. Both classes were highly engaged and super fun to observe: Photography : Students learned how to take pictures in motion using manual settings on their fancy cameras. They went into a dark room, half with flashlights and half with cameras, and practiced taking pictures of light in motion. To end the period, Ms. Bacskai let them have fun with the technique and create their own works of photographic art by bringing in other light options. The result...beautiful, unique photographs. AP European History: Students simulated a historical trial. Each student had a different role - prosecution, defense, judge, witness, or juror. They had to prepare and really master the assigned role and then play the part in order to demonstrate their understanding of

Engage / Empower / Inspire

We work at a place that believes in the power of collaboration. In a school of our size, it is extremely difficult to find opportunities to connect with other teachers around the building to discuss what's happening in our classrooms and future goals we have for instruction and learning. Three years ago, a small group of us organized and planned for a team of teachers to come together to engage, empower, and inspire one another. This team became the Future of Learning Team, and I am excited to share our story in today's post. As I prepared for our first meeting of the school year, I took time to browse past agendas and artifacts created by the team. Here is a brief timeline of our work:  Year 1: We started with about 26 people - two from each department. Teachers were asked to share something "great" from their classrooms, and as we went around the circle to share, I knew that we had something special. The rest of the year we discussed effective instructional