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How We Express Ourselves: Making a Museum in a Box

We believe in thanking our sources! This post was sourced from the following blog/website: http://ilearntechnology.com/wordpress/?p=5887

The following is a new blog post related to education and teaching and relevant to our website visitors. The blog post is not based on the opinions or values of our company but is related to education and teaching, so we wanted to share it with YOU! If you ever have any questions please let us know. Now… on to the post!

In the last eight years, my posting habits have become pretty sparse, to say the least. Starting and running a school…it’s a lot. It keeps me busy and thoroughly exhausted. I miss it. I miss the cadence of posting regularly and interacting with my education friends virtually. I miss swapping ideas and being thoroughly steeped in what is happening in ed tech.

Not being in the classroom impacts this as well. When I was in the classroom, my posts had an immediate purpose; they were things that I was doing or dreaming of doing, with my students the next day.

As I was considering the best way to jump back into blogging, I couldn’t see going back to the way I’ve posted in the past. It’s not that there was anything wrong with the way I posted, but it isn’t where I am today. It doesn’t feel as natural and genuine. I also am unwilling to retire iLearn Technology all together. For one, I still come back here regularly to find a resource that I used with students to make recommendations to teachers. Secondly, I still have so much to share! It just may look a little different than it has in the past.

For all of my education friends who have been with me since 2007, I can’t tell you how enormously grateful I am for all of you. You have shaped me as an educator and a human more than you could possibly know. For those who have joined somewhere along my journey, I’m grateful for you as well! I hope that you’ll continue to find reasons to come to iLearn Technology.

These days, rather than merely sharing a technology tool that I’ve found useful, I want to do so within a broader context. At Anastasis, we are a school powered by questions. We love the way that questions open opportunities for exploration, discovery, and new connections within learning. Within our inquiry blocks, we use technology as a tool that helps us dive deeper, capture our learning, think critically, and make connections. My intent is to share our learning through the inquiry, introduce you to new (and old) technology tools that have supported our inquiry, and hopefully inspire you to use technology in new ways.

This will likely lead to longer posts that are packed full of ideas and links, the posts won’t be daily as they were for so many years, but (hopefully) they will be rich. I’d love your thoughts and input as I try out this new format! Thank you for sticking with me even as my posts have come to a crawl.

How We Express Ourselves: Museum in a Box

At Anastasis, every 5-6 weeks, we begin our exploration into a new inquiry block. These blocks begin over the summer when I dream and put together a new lens to view the inquiry block through for our primary, intermediate, and jr. high classes. Not to get too in the weeds about that process, but essentially I’m looking at Next Generation Science standards, Colorado Social Studies Standards, and Common Core as I build each block.

Over the last five weeks, students have been working on a block called: “How We Express Ourselves.” Based on the IB’s PYP, this is “an inquiry into the ways in which we discover and express ideas, feelings, nature, culture, beliefs and values; the ways in which we reflect on, extend, and enjoy our creativity; our appreciation for the aesthetic.” Using this as my base, the lens for our primary students became: Art can help us understand other cultures, histories, celebrations, rituals, and spiritual beliefs.

Students would explore this inquiry prompt through the following questions: What are artifacts? How does art help express and reflect culture? How do cultures express themselves through story? How does art help communicate and reflect the history and technology of the time? How is art used in celebrations? How has this changed throughout history? How do fossils tell us a story of the past? How do artifacts tell an account of the past? How has art been used throughout history to help us understand the values, understanding of the world, and spiritual beliefs? How do archeologists work? How does a museum curator work?

The nature of the inquiry is that each one of these questions grows legs and pretty soon we are delving deep into rich learning and exploration!

We began our inquiry block with a provocation; in this case, we took our students to explore artifacts at the Denver Art Museum. Students also examined artifacts using Google Arts and Culture online. During these trips, the learner’s job was to notice and wonder. What did they notice about the artifacts they were exploring? What did it make them wonder? This led to wonderful classroom discussions and further investigation of archeology and curators.

The primary students continued their exploration with the following some videos about how archeologists work and how museums curate.

Scishow for Kids

NatGeo Kids Archeology

iLearn Technology: Museum in a Box

I had stumbled across this Museum in a Box site as I was pulling together some resources for teachers, and my first thought was: we should make our own Museum in a Box collections with a central “hub” where the students could share their learning! I immediately showed the teachers this site, convincing them that we could figure out how to re-create the central hub.

iLearn Technology: MetKids Artifacts

We went to the local cigar store to collect some suitable “museum boxes” for each student with an extra box that would become the hub. The students went to work researching artifacts that they would like to create. They used the METKids website as well as the DK find out! site to conduct their research. The METKids was a great place to begin because even our early-readers could conduct research independently with this well-designed site. They learned about basic notetaking and made decisions about which items they would like to include in their own collections. Next, they set to work creating their artifacts out of clay, paper, fabric, paint, and glue. They used their artifacts to measure and develop dividers for their boxes.

iLearn Technology: Voice Recorder app

Each student made an audio recording with a free app called Voice Recorder (ios) saved as an MP3 file.

While the students were busy at work, I was too. I wanted to help create a hub so that the students could place their artifact on our main box and have it trigger the kids sound file. To do this, I used a Raspberry Pi, a cheap Target dollar-spot speaker, an RFID reader, and RFID stickers. My Raspberry Pi coding skills are severely limited, but I knew that it was possible to connect an RFID reader to the Raspberry Pi and have it trigger a saved audio file. Internet to the rescue! After a quick search, I found an Instructables with pictures to help me out! Following the directions, I connected the pins from the Pi to the RFID reader and installed a power button and an LED light so that I could see when it was powered on. I deconstructed and connected the cheap speaker. My husband, eager for a reason to use his CNC machine, designed the top of the box so that the speaker could sit inside the box and allow for the sound to come out (the honeycomb design you see in the pictures). To make it extra fancy, he also carved our school logo out of the top of the cigar box.

Teachers sent me the kid’s audio files, and I uploaded the MP3 files as individual folders on the Pi and linked each file to an RFID sticker. When the RFID sticker gets passed over the RFID reader, it plays the associated audio file!

Sample of the audio file.

Now for the most fun: teaching the kids how all of the “guts” work and showing them how the stickers cause their audio files to play! They were suitably impressed by this feat! The kids placed the stickers on the bottom of the corresponding artifact, and we had our very own museums curated with their voice walking each visitor through the collection.

The kids learned so much in this block! The obvious: archeology, curation, artifacts, the technology behind our boxes. The less obvious: research and note-taking, reading with expression, measurement, making decisions about the resources needed to create their own artifacts, reasoning with evidence, building explanations, making interpretations, making connections, observing closely, considering different viewpoints, and a hundred other “soft skills” that occur naturally in the inquiry process.


Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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This Week’s “Round-Up” Of Useful Posts & Articles On Ed Policy Issues

We believe in thanking our sources! This post was sourced from the following blog/website: http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/2019/04/07/this-weeks-round-up-of-useful-posts-articles-on-ed-policy-issues-209/

The following is a new blog post related to education and teaching and relevant to our website visitors. The blog post is not based on the opinions or values of our company but is related to education and teaching, so we wanted to share it with YOU! If you ever have any questions please let us know. Now… on to the post!

 

Here are some recent useful posts and articles on educational policy issues (You might also be interested in THE BEST ARTICLES, VIDEOS & POSTS ON EDUCATION POLICY IN 2018 – PART TWO):’

We’ve got a one-day strike coming up this Thursday. Here are new additions to A BEGINNING LIST OF THE BEST RESOURCES FOR LEARNING ABOUT OUR SACRAMENTO DISTRICT’S FINANCIAL FIASCO:

Sac City Unified strike is set. How will it affect students, teachers and the district? is from The Sacramento Bee.

Sports, gifted programs could face cuts in Sac City Unified budget crisis, board told is from The Sacramento Bee.

Is Sacramento the Next Big Fight in #RedForEd Wave? is from The California Educator.

How Sacramento City schools can pay $500 for substitutes if teachers go on strike is from ABC 10.

 

This is a good video from Ed Source:

Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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Book review – Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools, Today

We believe in thanking our sources! This post was sourced from the following blog/website: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/dangerouslyirrelevant/~3/ZkOtUDuwjwQ/book-review-learning-transformed-8-keys-to-designing-tomorrows-schools-today.html

The following is a new blog post related to education and teaching and relevant to our website visitors. The blog post is not based on the opinions or values of our company but is related to education and teaching, so we wanted to share it with YOU! If you ever have any questions please let us know. Now… on to the post!

This post is a review of Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools, Today by Eric Sheninger and Tom Murray. Disclaimer: both are friends of mine so keep that in mind as you read below. My short recommendation? There is lots of value in this book and a great deal of information that validates what we know about good leadership and strong school organizations.

What I liked about the book

Eric and Tom list eight ‘keys’ to intentionally designing tomorrow’s schools. They are:

  1. Leadership and school culture lay the foundation
  2. The learning experience must be redesigned and made personal
  3. Decisions must be grounded in evidence and driven by a Return on Instruction (ROI)
  4. Learning spaces must become learner-centered
  5. Professional learning must be relevant, engaging, ongoing, and made personal
  6. Technology must be leveraged and used as an accelerant for student learning
  7. Community collaboration and engagement must be woven into the fabric of a school’s culture
  8. Schools that transform learning are built to last as financial, political, and pedagogical sustainability ensure long-term success

It’s hard to argue with any of these. All are critically-important components of robust, future-ready schools and each gets substantial coverage in their respective book chapters. Tom and Eric back these up with a variety of research studies to support the importance of each one. And they write in an engaging way that keeps readers rolling along. All of this is good.

There are strong emphases throughout the book on building trust, fostering relationships, empowering others, the intentionality of the work, the importance of communication, and recognizing our power as change agents. This is all good too!

I thought Chapters 4 (learning spaces) and 5 (professional learning) were especially strong. Chapter 4 gave me a lot to think about and there are numerous ideas in Chapter 5 for taking educators’ learning in some new directions, particularly pages 152-155 where Eric and Tom describe some ways to move from hours- to outcomes-based ‘accountability’ for educator learning.

Finally, Tom and Eric have chosen to profile some great leaders and organizations throughout the book and also have selected some resonant quotes. My favorite is probably the quote from Joe Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis: ‘In the absence of knowledge, people make up their own.’

Some minor quibbles

There are some things that I wish were framed a little differently in the book. For instance, in Chapter 1, Eric and Tom say that ‘great leaders help others see the value of change by clearly articulating a compelling why and working to build support throughout consensus’ (p. 34). I wish they spent more time here talking about a visioning process that was less leader-centric and focused more on educators, students, and parents figuring out together what their why is instead of simply being sold their why by the leader. If we want shared understandings and commitments within organizations, I believe that process needs to be more communal rather than leader-driven. I’ve seen too many schools where the leader has a robust vision but never can ‘build support’ with the staff because she’s the only one that really owns it and is trying to then sell it to everyone else. Tom and Eric do talk a bit more about shared visioning on page 36 when they quote Kouzes & Posner, but that section doesn’t articulate what a ground-up process could look like.

In Chapter 2, Eric and Tom do a nice job of articulating ways that technology can enhance student learning. But the chapter sometimes feels a little technology-centric. There are numerous ways to give students access to deeper learning, greater student agency, and more authentic work opportunities that don’t involve learning technologies. Even though I’m an educational technology advocate, I would have liked some more discussion of project- and inquiry-based learning, performance assessments, community-based service learning, Harkness circles, and the wide variety of other non-technological possibilities that still result in robust learning. There is mention of a few of these things but I think in general these could have been fleshed out more. I did greatly appreciate the emphasis on equity in this chapter. Chapter 3 is similar. Tom and Eric discuss the concept of return on instruction but the chapter is framed dominantly within a lens of technology infusion. We need classrooms to move beyond factual recall and procedural regurgitation, and I know that Eric and Tom agree with that notion. But I think that non-technological learning and pedagogy could get some more attention in this chapter too. Although Tom and Eric state directly in Chapter 5 that ‘professional learning must focus on student outcomes through improved pedagogy – not on tools’ (p. 146), I think that idea gets lost in Chapter 3 amidst all of the technology discussions. 

The book closes on the idea of sustainable change. That’s an incredibly important topic and also is incredibly difficult to accomplish. There is a great deal of discussion in the chapter about what needs to be done, and I think Eric and Tom rightly identify numerous issues and tasks. They also do a nice job in this chapter of staying positive and encouraging people to recognize that great leadership is within their grasp. However, there is barely a mention in this chapter of one of the biggest barriers to organizational sustainability of change initiatives, which is leadership turnover. When superintendents, principals, and/or school boards turn over fairly frequently, teachers and communities get whipsawed by new innovations and new directions because those new leaders rarely continue the innovation pathways of their predecessors. Some discussion in this chapter of how to actually navigate that concern would have been helpful beyond the couple of sentences on political sustainability that merely acknowledge the issue.

Finally, there are large chunks of several chapters that feel like long lists of leadership ideas that have been thrown together (see, e.g., Chapters 1 and 7). It’s not that the ideas or items are wrong or incorrect, it’s just hard to see how they all fit together. Tom and Eric do a great job of citing research in their book, but it would be helpful to have some research-based frameworks and mental models that tie the list items together. For instance, if there’s a three-page list of ten leadership ideas, why these specific ten and not others and how do they interact together to create a coherent whole? If there are two solid pages of bullet points, maybe those could be tied together into some kind of model that illustrates the connectivity of the disparate parts. Otherwise, we’re left to question where all of these ideas came from and how they’re supposed to work together.

All of these are minor quibbles and choices have to be made in any book about what to focus on and what to leave out. It’s Eric and Tom’s book, not mine, and they’ve done a nice job of presenting their arguments, their reasoning, a variety of resources, and numerous action steps that can be taken.

Questions I have after reading this book

  • How do we flesh out in more concrete detail – and with specific action steps – some of the ideas articulated in this book?
  • How do we navigate the twin challenges of leadership turnover and initiative fatigue due to successive leaders wanting to ‘put their stamp on’ the organization?
  • Much of the book is based on the research about good leadership. We’ve known for a long time much of what’s in the book, but those research-based leadership practices aren’t showing up in administrators’ actual practices. How can we as educational leadership researchers do a better job of translating our scholarship into actionable ideas and behaviors in the field?
  • How can schools do a better job of treating parents as authentic partners and co-designers in the learning of their children, not just passive recipients of whatever narrow boxes we educators try to put them into?
  • How can we foster the creation of ground-up visions for student learning and educational experiences rather than individual or oligarchic visions that then get sold to the rest of the community? And how can we involve students as substantive partners in that work?

Rating

I liked this book a lot, and I’m glad I have friends who make me smarter. I marked it up all over the place. I give it 5 highlighters (out of 5).

Highlighter5

Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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Teaching Is Establishing The Need To Know

We believe in thanking our sources! This post was sourced from the following blog/website: https://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/the-need-to-know-in-teaching-and-learning/

The following is a new blog post related to education and teaching and relevant to our website visitors. The blog post is not based on the opinions or values of our company but is related to education and teaching, so we wanted to share it with YOU! If you ever have any questions please let us know. Now… on to the post!

Teaching Is Establishing The Need To Know by Terry Heick Ed note: This has been updated from a 2014 post by the author The above image comes from a presentation from Jesse Stommel , an Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities at University of Wisconsin-Madison. And it makes an interesting point. ‘Not knowing’ is an awkward but precise label for the […]

The post Teaching Is Establishing The Need To Know appeared first on TeachThought.

Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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Secretary DeVos Applauds Consensus on Higher Education Reforms

We believe in thanking our sources! This post was sourced from the following blog/website: https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/secretary-devos-applauds-consensus-higher-education-reforms

The following is a new blog post related to education and teaching and relevant to our website visitors. The blog post is not based on the opinions or values of our company but is related to education and teaching, so we wanted to share it with YOU! If you ever have any questions please let us know. Now… on to the post!

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos welcomed news today that the committee debating her proposed “Accreditation and Innovation” higher education reforms reached consensus on the text of the draft rules. The package of higher education regulations is aimed at rethinking higher education to improve outcomes and accountability for students, institutions and taxpayers. The draft regulations, which will next be published for public comment, come after months of negotiated rulemaking that engaged a wide variety of higher education stakeholders.

Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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The 20-20-20 Rule: Why Students Need To Take Screen Breaks

We believe in thanking our sources! This post was sourced from the following blog/website: https://www.teachthought.com/technology/the-20-20-20-rule-why-students-need-to-take-screen-breaks/

The following is a new blog post related to education and teaching and relevant to our website visitors. The blog post is not based on the opinions or values of our company but is related to education and teaching, so we wanted to share it with YOU! If you ever have any questions please let us know. Now… on to the post!

The 20-20-20 Rule: Why Students Need To Take Screen Breaks contributed by Jenna Smith Many students turn to online charter schools because of the flexibility those programs offer. In online schooling, they can schedule class time around what works for them, integrating their passions or responsibilities into their day. On the outside, it might seem […]

The post The 20-20-20 Rule: Why Students Need To Take Screen Breaks appeared first on TeachThought.

Teachers and Educators are our heroes. We want to thank you for the work you do! Yours In Education! Time To Teach

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