Sunday, March 31, 2013

Thomas Friedman Article

Need a Job? Invent It

 ". . . the goal of education today, . . . , should not be to make every child “college ready” but “innovation ready” — ready to add value to whatever they do."
“because knowledge is available on every Internet-connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know."
Here is a bold comment:  
"The capacity to innovate — the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life — and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important than academic knowledge."
Implications for us:
"What does that mean for teachers and principals?
Teachers,” he said, 'need to coach students to performance excellence, and principals must be instructional leaders who create the culture of collaboration required to innovate.' " 


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Where Does Explicit Direct Instruction Come in? (Feel free to comment!)

Here is an excellent to the point article on New Common Core and the type of instruction called for:

Can Student-Driven Learning Happen Under Common Core?

Posted by Ryan Schaaf on 

“Marsha Ratzel, board-certified teacher and author, makes clear connections that the Common Core State Standards openly promote student-driven learning. The standards also promote collaboration fluency in numerous areas. I am especially happy with how the CCSS brings listening and speaking back to prominence. They provide the opportunity to try new approaches, use new tools, and help your students create, create, create!”

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Notes from Apple Computer Educators

I recently had an opportunity to visit Apple Computer Headquarters and present with three other California superintendents in telling our story how technology is impacting learning in our respective districts.  I always enjoy these opportunities because I learn a great deal and get a feel for the latest push in educational technology.

Here are a few ideas, apps and trends I picked up:

Aurasma:  This is an augmented reality app.  This is very hard to describe, and the uses for education are endless.  The best way to describe it is to see a very simple introduction YouTube tutorial.  

Apps to look at and use more strategically in ourclasses
  • ·           Motion Math
  • ·           Algebra Touch
  • ·           Virtual history Roma 
  • ·           Frog dissection
  • ·           Milky Molly and the Tree Hut
  • ·           Romeo and Juliet 
We need to take advantage of these great tools:
  • ·           iBooks
  • ·           iBooks Author 
  • ·           iTunes U: Over 60000 free pieces of learning content
  • ·           iTunes U course manager
Dan Meyer is a celebrated math teacher witha great resource of videos:  
He gives an excellent example of the "why" behind the common core math principle.  

Educreations App: like Explain Everything but free
Had them ticket exit through Google forms

Chicago City School teachers have students fill out form in their learning management system called Schoology.  The form immediately tells the teacher who understood the lesson.  The teacher calls this an “Exit Ticket.”  What is powerful is the student response (if incorrect) will immediately guide the student to a tailored lesson already set up in iTunes U!

Monday, March 18, 2013

CUSD Instructional Model

This diagram represents what we have in place, how it all works together, and where we are going with the all the essential parts.  The ultimate essential question we have to answer daily is, "Are students learning?"  This is fluid and dynamic and is subject to revision, but this helps us understand what we do, how we do what we do, and most importantly, why we do what we do.  We also hope this helps everyone understand where the pieces fit for our staff development especially this next year with the varied trainings and support.  Yes, they are varied, but necessary, but the most important thing to consider is how all of this works toward the common thread: answering the most important question, "Are students learning."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Article From Education Week

The Time-Tested Dos and Don’ts of Using Classroom Technology 

Posted by Ian Jukes on 

 Author Paul Barnwell teaches English, creative writing, and digital media at Fern Creek Traditional High School in Louisville, Ky.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Apple Tour Visit

The district welcomed a technology tour of several of our K-12 classrooms with approximately 27 guests from Reef Sunset, Fowler, Burton, Sylvan and Kings River Hardwick School Districts.  The tour was sponsored by Apple Computer, and it was led and conducted by our Academic Coaches Shellie Escobedo, Kristina Seaman and Rich Lane.

Our guests were inspired and impressed at the innovative practices of
our teachers, the involvement and savvy of our students and new ways
students are using technology as a learning and information
management tool.

Here are some of the impressive practices we and the guests witnessed:

Students writing and producing persuasive adds using a variety of
modalities focused on good writing and communication being created in
an "ad like" file in Keynote and iMovie.

Students determining points on a graph, locating and identifying
points, finding related numbers to location while learning how those
points relate to geometrical shape, etc. using a related website.

Students creating challenging questions in their Cornell notes and
posting those questions to the screen using Air Play.  The questions
were well thought out and showed some complexity (6th grade).

Students in each classroom were working in a blended tech environment. On the iPads, students were working on building words and creating books using the apps like Montessori Spelling and Story Kit. Students were using the laptops and desktops to access web-based programs like Starfall and Lexia. 

In most of the 4th and 5th grade classrooms, students didn't even notice when we walked in, that's how engaged they were.  We saw well-planned lessons and students who felt comfortable using the technology.  It is evident that they use it often.  Students were using apps like Show ME, Voice memos for fluency and Popplet.

One teacher was instructing a class on how to create a commercial using iMovie. Students were then encouraged to practice before actually creating the comercial they wanted. The teacher instructed the students on how to fix timing issues that would arise. 

Students were creating sentences from math problems using rigor model words and streaming them up to the board for the class to see and critique using air server. 

Students were using Popplet to create timelines.

Students in some classrooms were working in a blended tech environment. On the iPads, students were working on building words and creating books using the apps like Montessori Spelling and Story Kit. Students were using the laptops and desktops to access web-based programs like Starfall and Lexia. 

Teachers had multiple grouping arrangements.  Some were doing EDI lessons with half the class, while the rest of the students worked in small groups and individually. Other teachers (and high school students) worked with small groups, giving individual instruction while the rest of the class worked in small groups or individually.

Lessons have been modified to meet the needs of every student in the classroom. The perfect example was a group of two boys that were working together on the same math app. One boy is in kindergarten and the other is in the third grade. The older student was able to assist the younger student and walk him through math problems.  The teacher went into the settings for each student and adjusted the level to meet their individual needs. 

Teachers were excited to share with guests and urged their kids to show, rather than tell, what they have been working on. Students were doing research to create Keynotes on animals that will be presented next week. Other classes were using Popplet for vocabulary development (see photo), Mad Libs to practice parts of speech, and Story Kit to demonstrate their knowledge of generalizations. 

One teacher had two students work on Keynote to "master it." She then had the rest of the class meet with these two students so they could get "cleared" to work on their keynote. When her class was done with their project, she sent them to neighboring teachers' classes to demonstrate and teach them how use the app. Way to get kids networking!

Visitor comments:
They (the teachers) don't need a computer lab or computer station in their classrooms. Anywhere (points at kids in chairs, on the floor, in corners) can be a computer workspace...;-).

One favorite comment from a group was regarding the level of engagement in the classrooms.  The visitors were amazed at how engaged the students were in each classroom.  The group was really impressed with the amount of interaction and collaboration between kids at this level.

They also commented on the amount of pride that the teachers had in their students. It was very evident in ALL classrooms that we visited. 

Apple Training for CUSD

Dr. Katie Van Sluys from Apple Computer provided a half-day training for administrators and coaches focused on how we can use technology to improve student learning and transform our classrooms.  Her discussions referenced the SAMR Model shown below. This model was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura.  The model aims to enable teachers to design, develop, and integrate digital learning experiences that utilize technology to transform learning experiences to lead to high levels of achievement for students.  She identified and gave specific examples of how we use technology in the classroom and where that use fits in the SAMR continuum.

Dr. Van Sluys provided powerful learning opportunities in using text to speech on the laptops and iPads.  Students can find various Internet articles, hit the “Reader” button in the search bar, select items to be read and use the Text to Speech Command to have the computer or iPad read the text.  This takes us beyond substitution and can be very helpful for literacy including use for EL kids in corrective speech. She demonstrated how we can take that speech and save it to iTunes as a reference for students or the teacher to use to assist in reading and fluency. The question posed, where does that fall?  We can use this in Centers for EL kids that struggle to read on their own.  This is also good for students to be exposed to more complex text.  This allows kids to engage more in the content versus focusing their attention on decoding. 

We also learned how to use Keynote to produce a presentation, use our voice to create written text in the Keynote, record the Keynote and save to Quicktime. This is a powerful example of how we strategically and capably use technology.  This is an example of we can create a multimodal assignment that is focused on the student message, (the content of the assignment).  The assignments should be rich, relevant and meaningful.  When we think of innovating with technology, we should focus more on the richness of the assignment and not the technology because kids already know how to use the technology.  We need to reach them to use these technology tools in smarter ways.  Students do not know how to ask best the best questions, and we are to help them ask those questions as they use the tools.  We ask them what they are doing and why does that matter. 

A powerful app: Shakespeare in Bits (several tools for word annunciation, definition, relationship story tree, video highlights and provides historical references).