Notes for April 2011

1. How can using Google Apps enhance our students’ cognitive engagement?

2. My top three educational blogs

In this post, I would like to share with you some of the ways in which I have been engaging in my own professional development with regards to using technology in the classroom. Apart from following a selection of interesting educators on Twitter, including those listed below, I spend as much time as I can following several educational bloggers. Here are my top three favourites.

Richard Byrne’s Free technology for teachers is a gold mine of fantastic examples. He updates several times a week. It was through his postings that I found Kathy Schrock’s work above.

Keri-Lee Beasley is a friend of mine whose blog, Tip of the Iceberg bubbles over with enthusiasm and amazing technology applications that she uses in the primary division of UWC SEA in Singapore.

Kim Cofino blogs from Yokohama International School. She also shares amazing ideas and experiences about applying technology in the classroom. Her most recent posts explain the power of Twitter in helping everyone stay in touch after the most recent earthquake.

3. Mother Tongue Month

Following the Home Languages and Mother Tongue day that we had last term, I have volunteered to run this for next year so that I have a whole year to prepare for this event. There are two propositions that I have for my esteemed colleagues:

  • we have one month of home language celebrations, which include things like PTFA film nights (screening films from different languages for different audiences- e.g. some nights might be for parents only, others for children etc)
  • the one month celebration will be the anchor and focus but we will plan year long events, such as guest speakers etc to maintain an honest development and support of home languages.

I welcome any ideas and offers of support. I am beginning my planning now and am hungrily looking for committee members from all parts of the school.

4. The IB’s Global Engage project.

As part of the IB’s ongoing commitment to developing global citizens, this project has been created as an opportunity for students and teachers of all ages to become involved or to be inspired to become involved and to share their stories. Here is the official site.

Posted in Collaborative Learning, Curriculum Development, Developing Inquiry, Google Apps, Google Wave, Home Languages, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome to the 2010-2011 academic year

New IB publications that address cross programme issues:

1. Holistic Education an interpretation for teachers in the IB programmes

An exploration of what this term means in relation to the IB Programmes, especially the Learner Profile.

2. Concurrency of learning in the IB diploma and Middle Years Programmes.The focus in this text is to understand the concept and to see how it is used to provide a meaningful education for students in the final two IB programmes.

3. Human Ingenuity across IB programmes

This paper is an exploration of how each of the three IB programmes develops and harnesses human ingenuity; providing both a powerful educational experience and a meaningfully articulated one.

4. Intercultural understanding Exploring Muslim contexts to extend learning

I wrote about this new publication last year. There are example unit plans for the PYP and the MYP to help teachers explore Muslim cultural contexts.

Each of these publications may be found by clicking on the links above; on the OCC and on the BIS Curriculum Site here.

Introduction to Understanding by Design

For colleagues who wish to broaden their understanding of what UbD is and what concepts look like in different subjects, please refer to the many examples provided in the UbD site resources page here.

Supporting Home Languages

I have created a site that is intended to help us continue looking at our language policy and at the kinds of language support we can offer to home languages. I welcome contributions and ideas from anyone who would like to be involved in this important work. Simply click on the link to see what we have so far.

Professional Development

Please pay close attention to the information on the PD site

There are links for teaching and support staff to apply for PD. I have simplified the application form for ease of use. I am always happy to explore PD options with anyone at BIS.

Posted in Collaborative Learning, Curriculum Development, Home Languages, Professional Development, Professional Reading, Understanding by Design (UbD) | Leave a comment

Google Wave is now available for all!

Excellent tool for collaboration has just become open for all to use.
Here is the official Google Wave Blog that explains how to join and some great examples of how it works.

Posted in Collaborative Learning, Google Wave, Visible Thinking in Action | Tagged , | Leave a comment

May Update 2010

1. Improved PD Feedback

  • As many of you have experienced, it can be quite a challenge to provide good feedback of a workshop or a conference. How does one report on a three-day workshop in a thirty minute slot? In order to facilitate better transfer, a new section has been created on the BIS PD site, the new section is given the rather prosaic title: Feedback on PD. As colleagues attend various PD events, so I will add a page specifically for that training. See, for example the new pages on the EARCOS conference attended by the Peter, Hamish and Anthony. Or browse through Kristen’s notes on her PYP workshop: Teaching and Learning in the PYP.

2. Professional Development

  • In addition to the online PD application form, there is now also an online Cover Notice form. This will enable us to make proper arrangements for your absence. This form may be used for any time that you are not on campus and your classes or activities require cover.
  • In addition to providing links and resources for PD for the teaching staff, we are building our resources to facilitate better access to appropriate PD resources for teacher assistants.
  • If anyone has any information about PD resources, from useful books, websites to conferences, please do let me know so that we can continue to build the resources for all.

3. Google Wave as a powerful tool for learning and collaboration

  • As some of you are aware, we have been experimenting with Google’s latest product experiment: Google Wave. While this is still in preview mode, not even beta, we have found it to be a powerful tool that allows for real-time collaboration. To learn more about how it works, read the official Google Wave blog.
  • The grade 10 English class have been using the wave for half the year. They were able to write collaborative essays in real-time; share and comment on each other’s presentations in real-time and reflect on their own work, all live and visible to me. Unlike a series of emails, a Wave conversation is immediately viewable, every part of the conversation is already open. On top of that, it is easy to insert movies or documents, viewable at once, into a wave for everyone to discuss.
  • The grade 11 DP English A1 HL class used the Wave to collaborate on literary interpretations. They were able to use the brainstorming and mind mapping tools to plan their work.
  • The grade 12 DP English A1 HL class created collaborate notes to prepare for their paper two exam. An extension of their waves allowed for a real-time feed of their wave into a google doc.
  • At the Bambi Betts workshop here in December, several colleagues created collaborative notes as the workshop was underway.
  • At the UbD workshop Greg and I attended, we shared our notes live with other workshop participants.
  • Kerri-Lee Beasley, a friend of mine who teaches at UWC in Singapore, wrote this about using Google Wave with her grade 5 PYP class.
  • If you are interested in using Google Wave, please speak to anyone in technology: Chris Zavits, Craig Money or even me. You can request an invitation to join the Wave here.

4. New additions to the staff PD shelf

5. Understanding by Design

Greg Parker and I attended two UbD training workshops held over two weekends, one in 2009, one in 2010 at the Singapore American School. In order to support everyone’s understanding and development of UbD- especially because this is HOW we write our curriculum, we have put together this site for your reference: Understanding by Design.

Posted in Curriculum Development, Google Wave, IBAP Workshops, Jay McTighe, Staff Reference Library, Technology, Understanding by Design (UbD) | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Google Docs: Tools for the 21st century teaching

Read this interesting account of how an educator uses Google Docs to transform her class practices.

Thursday, February 18, 2010 4:02 PM

Guest post: Tara Seale teaches 9th grade English in the Bryant Public School District and recently attended the Google Teacher Academy.

English teachers polled in the last decade of the last century about the one tool that they could not live without in their classrooms would probably select the overhead projector. In the first decade of the 21st Century, English teachers would probably choose a document camera, but in future decades, the tool will be web-based. I already teach in a web-based environment, and Google Docs is the web-based tool that has become the organizational center of my classroom.

I share assignments with my students as a view only file. Students make a copy of the file so they can annotate the directions. This is a weblink of an assignment: Expository Essay defining the word perseverance. This is an annotated copy of the assignment: Google Doc Annotated Copy of Expository Essay Assignment. No longer do I hear, “Mrs. Seale, can I have another copy of that assignment? I lost mine.”

Docs also teaches organizational skills. Students create folders to keep up with assignments. The most important folder is the folder students share with the teacher. All graded writing goes into this folder, and it serves as a writing portfolio for the semester. I do not have to hunt student work; it is organized in a student folder. At the end of the day, I leave with just a laptop, no papers to lug around.

Each student folder is in a group class folder. The class folder contains each student’s writing for the semester:

Each student’s online writing portfolio folder is also shared with his or her parents. Parents can even comment on student work and participate in the revision and editing process.

For students, Google Docs is an invaluable tool in the writing process. Students do not need a flash drive to carry drafts to and from home. Also, students can share writing with peer editors. After peer editing, students move their final draft into their English 9 folder. As the final editor, I leave comments to assist the student in revising his or her final draft. It is satisfying to browse through the revision history and see that a student is considering each comment as they revise: Yea! They are really reading what I wrote! Usually, students do not read teacher comments that are hand written on paper, but it seems to work in Google Docs.

Recently, a student working at home asked if I could read her paper before she submitted it later that week. I left comments and asked questions on the Google doc as the student wrote and revised, and it turned into a successful tutoring session. Thanks Google Docs!

Posted by: Tara Seale, English Teacher and Instructional Technology Specialist

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Three new publications to visit on the Staffroom shelves!

The Skillfill Teacher by John Saphier et al is an excellent read. This work was highly recommended by Bambi Betts during the workshop she presented here. To find out more about the authors or to read sample chapters, simply click on the title of the text in the first sentence of this post.

ASCD publications

As you know, we have a membership with this organization that entitles us to several deliveries of the editors’ choice of publication. The most recent delivery seems to be causing quite a sensation in the world of education. I wrote about this to the parents in this week’s Newsflash. We have ten copies available in the staffroom for your perusal. To read more about the editor, Heidi Hayes Jacobs and to read sample chapters online, simply click on the link here: Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World.

Earlier in the year, we were sent a copy of the latest edition of Multiple Intelligences in the classroom. I have added a link to this title to take you a summary of this very useful text that also includes sample chapters online in case you can’t wait to start reading!

We welcome your comments and contributions to the PD shelf.

Posted in ASCD, Curriculum Development, Multiple Intelligences, Staff Reference Library | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

What’s new on the Staffroom Teachers’ Resources Bookshelf?

With the mid semester break fast approaching and especially for those of you wondering what is best for reading under a blanket by flashlight during Nyepi, here is a list of the latest works to be found on the ever more exciting shelves in the staffroom. Feel free to peruse any works that take your interest. Feel even freer to write a comment about any of the resources on this forum.

Hover your cursor over the title of the work and a snapshot preview will give you details about the work. Clicking on the title will take you to where that book is on Google Books- you can read a lot more about each work from there if that is what tickles your fancy. Of course you could just browse the books themselves over coffee or lunch in the staffroom.

The Strategic Teacher, selecting the Right Research- Based Strategy for Every Lesson by Harvey Silver et al.

Five Minds for the Future by Howard Gardner

Changing Minds by Howard Gardner

Developing More Curious Minds by John Barell

Building Academic Vocabulary Teacher’s Manual by R. Marzano et al

Reaching all by Creating Tribes Learning Communities by Jeanne Gibbs

The Element by Sir Ken Robinson

Formative Assessment: Responding to your students by Harry Tuttle

Posted in ASCD, Developing Inquiry, Formative Assessment, Howard Gardner, Ken Robinson, Robert Marzano, Staff Reference Library, Tribes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment