HELP! Me Unpack the Standards: A Framework for Teacher & Student Clarity

Adobe Spark (16)In just about any classroom I enter I notice a “Learning Objective” or “I Can” statement located at the front of the room. Sometimes this statement consists of underlined words, is laminated on a beautifully bordered sentence strips, or is hurriedly written with a black expo in the designated corner on the whiteboard. The teacher states the learning target at the beginning of the lesson and students copy it down, word for word, into their notebook. But, when I ask the students what they are learning and why I am continually met with blank stares… The frustration in the teacher’s voice is evident during the coaching conversation following the class. They can’t seem to understand how or why the “I Can” statement that is clearly posted never transfers or remains with their students.

I have found two major reasons for this phenomenon, and both are fixable. First, the learning objective is typically “owned” by the teacher and not the student. The teacher determines it, the teacher writes it down, the teacher states it, and then the teacher begins the lesson. For an objective, target, or “I Can” statement to be student-centered and student-owned there must be a dialogue between the teacher and the students involving the What and the Why. What are we learning? What is our goal? Why is it important? And what does success look like?

Secondly, a student’s misunderstanding of  the learning and why it is important often occurs because of the teacher’s surface level understanding of the standards. When a teacher’s understanding of the standards (whether local, state, or national) remains at the surface-level kids suffer. To truly have a deep understanding of the standards, teachers must be given time and support to unpack them independently and collaboratively. This unpacking helps to bring clarity to teachers and positively impacts student achievement. The following template was adapted from Hattie, Fisher, & Frey and provides guidance on digging deeply into the standards.

Standard

 

 

Concepts (Nouns) Skills (Verbs)

 

 

 

Surface Skills & Knowledge Needed

 

 

 

 

Deep Skills & Knowledge Needed

 

 

 

 

Enduring Understanding(s) Assessment

 

 

 

 

Unpacking the standards brings clarity to teachers which directly impacts students. Not only can learning and targets be expressed at deep levels, but when discussed with the students, achievement is impacted. When students wrestle with the “what” and the “why” of the learning objective or “I Can” statement understanding moves past surface to deep. And what you will find is a well-articulated response when you ask students what they are learning and why.

Write. Create. Publish: 4 Student-Centered Writing Projects to do Before Summer Break

4

At dinner, I was informed by my third and seventh grader that they had 23 days left of school. Wow – 23 days – the school year has flown by. As the weather turns warmer and classroom windows begin opening once again, it is important to maximize the small amount of time we have left with our students. Writing and sharing their voice with the classroom and globe will foster engagement, relevance, and practice with essential skills all students need.

Below are 4 of my favorite Student-Centered Writing Projects to do before Summer Break:

  1. Future MeScreenshot 2017-04-25 at 9.52.30 PMFutureMe.org is a free website that allows students to send an email to their future self. Users get to select the date it will be delivered, whether the letter is private or can be posted on a public forum, and can attach images to the email. Students will love seeing an email pop up in their inbox that they had forgotten they wrote. While content can be a variety of things or left entirely up to the student, here are a few questions that my students loved to write about: What are you most proud of from this year? What is one new thing you want to try this summer?  What are you going to miss the most from ___ grade? Who did you get to know better this year? What are your goals for next year?
  2. Curated Google SiteScreenshot 2017-04-25 at 10.11.40 PMAt the end of each year, create a memory website full of pictures, videos, and student work samples. When I did this in my classroom, I had students share their favorite pieces with me so I could collect and curate them in one spot. This reflection can be coupled with writing where students are  The new Google Sites is perfect for this type of project. Living in the cloud, Google Sites is accessible for everyone and it integrates easily with Google Drive making curation easy! No Google Sites, don’t worry, Padlet would work too!  
  3. Flipgridflipgrid_all_devicesCatch the# FlipgridFever and have students create a Grid of Gratitude for support staff or retirees. Flipgrid is a collaborative video discussion platform that lets users create and respond to each other via video. Use Flipgrid to thank support staff in the building or a beloved teacher before they retire. Creating short videos is engaging and meaningful to students and allows them to use a contemporary mode to share their thoughts.  
  4. 6 Word MemoirClass of 2012 6 Word MemoirsCredited to Ernest Hemingway for writing the first, 6 Word Memoirs is a favorite writing activity to use at the end of the year with students. Having students share who they are at this moment in time using only 6 words requires reflection, analysis, and succinct writing. Adding an image or video to the project reinforces the multi-modality that can be used to share their work with a public audience. As a teacher, they were always my favorite writing projects to read. Here is an example from my former classroom  Student Examples Check out Smith Magazine for more publishing and sharing opportunities for students!

Soon, students and teachers alike will be leaving the doors for the last time to begin summer break. Make these last days together impactful, encouraging growth in self, and fostering relationships. And please share! If you try any of these ideas, tweet and share a picture to #MakeLitREAL

G-Suite to Support Student Writing, Google Teacher Tribe Podcast

Day 3 Digital Storytelling

When I got the inquiry to record a podcast with my friends Kasey Bell and Matt Miller on their weekly Google Teacher Tribe show I jumped at the chance to talk about the many options to support student writing using GSuite. I met Kasey and Matt at the Austin Google Teacher Academy (now called Google Innovator) and am a huge fan of their work to support teachers and students at a global level.

I have recently seen a reemergence of podcasts as a way to connect and share information and stories and was honored to be part of their “Tribe”. Listen to Podcast 13 where I share information on student writing and how Google can support the process and be sure to subscribe to their podcast for more Googley Information.

Shaelynn’s List of Google Resources, Apps, Add-Ons, and Extensions to Support Writing

Brainstorm Drafting/Writing Revising/Editing Publishing
Draw

Mindmup

Mindmeister

Coggle

Brainstorming Race

Google Scholar

Google Books

Google Save

GSuite

Explore in Docs

Translate

Voice Typing

Google Similar Pages

 

 

 

Keep

Highlighting Tool

Grammarly

Read & Write

Bitmojis

Text Help Study Skills

 

 

Any GSuite

Blogger

YouTube

Google Sites

 

 

 

 

Assessment/Feedback Apps/Exts./Add-Ons Citations Copyright-free Images
Joe Zoo Express

Orange Slice

Kaizena

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Tab

Google Similar Pages

Grammarly

Google Save

Screencastify

First Draft News Check

Hypothesis

Hemingway App

Storyboard That

Soundtrap

Book Creator (Coming Soon)

Powtoon

Sketchboard

EasyBib

Cite This for Me

Apogee

Wayback Machine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Noun Project

Pixaby

Unsplash 

Realistic Shots

Life of Pix 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me know if you have others to add to my list and be sure to check back soon as I am releasing a book in the fall that will support all your literacy needs through an EdTech Redesign! Sign up on this Google Form to be notified when my book is out!

Urban Legends, Headline Hooks, and Ideation: 3 Edtech Writing Activities for Inquiry

Adobe Spark (9)Writing is often short-changed in most classrooms but it is through writing that students demonstrate their understanding of texts, concepts, and topics. Writing about their learning provides insight into what a student understands and where the gaps occurred. For example, I assign a chapter in The Giver for my students to read and the next day in class I kick off the discussion by having students take five minutes to write down everything they know about a Utopian Society, how it has impacted the characters and the setting of the novel. This 5 minute activity provides me with data to inform my instruction. It provides a small glimpse into my students’ understanding of the novel and theme.

Writing as a type of assessment is typically what most teachers think of and utilize in their classrooms but there is a second reason to have students write (and write, and write, and write a lot more). Writing allows us to wrestle with ideas, make a mess with our thinking, and sift the top ideas and thoughts we may have not known were in our heads. It is through writing that exploration and inquiry can be launched in the classroom.

3 Edtech Writing Strategies for Inquiry:

Urban LegendsWomen wearing leggings are denied boarding for their flights, the current slime craze has serious health implications for youth, Disney VHS movies with the Black Diamond cases are worth thousands of dollars. Using myths, Urban Legends, and other misinformation is an engaging way to launch kids into exploration. Not only does this type of activity lead to more reading, writing, and investigation; but it also promotes healthy skepticism in the information age.  During this exploration, students work to uncover the truth and also ask themselves how this phenomenon takes place and what catapults these Urban Legends into popularity. Great places to start:

Why Might This Be? – This strategy is great for brainstorming and ideation. Collect provocative statements from newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. Share each line one at a time while students list possible reasons for each (one minute per headline works well). Students are answering the question “Why Might This Be?” as the list as many possibilities. These lists serve as instigators to launch students into an inquiry or exploration unit where student choice is provided.

Headline Hooks – This activity has students reading and writing their way through current NF sources. To start with, students spend 20 mins. or more reading articles that spark their interest. Here is a collection of digital sources to have kids explore! During their reading, students take note of what they want to explore more. This list becomes a plethora of ideas to support inquiry throughout the year. Use a graphic organizer once the student has chosen a Headline that Hooked them listing the topic on the top, what they know about it, what they think they will find out, and then what they did find out.

Resources – Kelly Gallagher, Write Like This

21 Inspiring EdTech Women You Should Know!

-music expresseswhat i simply cannot-Writing this third and final post in the EdTech Women Trailblazers series was bittersweet. Educators are often the most humble group of professionals one could meet and I was encouraged, inspired, and filled with joy as I read the thoughts and advice from all of the women I featured throughout March. (You can read Blog Post 1 & Post 2 to learn about other women in this series.) This series was my personal way to give back to the hundreds of educators I have connected with throughout my career. There are many inspiring educators doing what’s best for kids around the globe, this was just a small sampling of those I hold dear in my PLN. The resources, collaboration, and passion from these women often goes unnoticed; now is the time to celebrate! These trailblazers are helping to lead the way in creating a change in the field of education and I am truly honored to know all of them!

 

starrStarr Sackstein, Hybrid teach/teacher coach

  • “I’ve been a long-time advocate for every child/teacher to be an active participant in his/her learning experience, including their voices in everything from curriculum development to assessment.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Twitter, Voxer, GSuite
  • Advice: Develop relationships with your students and really listen when they tell you what they need. The more present you are for them, the more they will be for themselves.
  • Connect with Starr: Twitter @mssackstein or EdWeek Blog “Work in Progress”

 

franFran McVeigh, Literacy Consultant for Great Prairie AEA

  • “Being literate is the key to having the power to learn from text (books, stories, print, art, video, and nonverbal cues of people) and is within the realm of possibilities for EACH and EVERY student in school and for the rest of their lives.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Hyperdocs, Twitter, Voxer
  • Advice: Relationships, relationships, relationships! Treat everyone with the respect and dignity that you want to be treated with.
  • Connect with Fran: Twitter @franmcveigh    Blog, franmcveigh.wordpress.com

 

melissaDr. Melissa Nixon, Director of Title I

  • “Being an educator is committing to children and their families with a life of service and dedication for a better tomorrow.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Voxer
  • Advice: You make a difference to someone every day.  Be kind. Be generous. Don’t be afraid to care deeply.
  • Connect with Melissa: Twitter @mmnixon73  Email mmnixon73@gmail.com

 

katieKatie Siemer, Director of Curriculum and Technology Integration at Forward Edge. I serve districts in Ohio as an integration consultant and edtech coach!

  • “I face each new day in education with determination to make a small impact one teacher at a time, all while finding humor every step of the way!”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Tour Builder, Eric Curts’ Resources, ISTE EdTech Coaches PLN
  • Advice: Be passionate about something… your content area, using technology, an after school club with the kids… anything! Education is going to be really hard sometimes, so you need something you really care about to pull you through the not-so-glamorous times or you will burn out really quickly. Every kid needs a champion, and you can’t be a champion if you’re just going through the motions. Love what you do, do what you love, and don’t forget to laugh along the way!
  • Connect with Katie: Twitter @Katie_M_Ritter Blog http://talktechwithme.com Email ksiemer@forward-edge.net

 

KKharimaharima Richards, Education Consultant

  • My goal is to continue connecting with other educators & leaders as well as learn new and innovative ways to provide our students with 21st-century learning experiences.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Twitter, GSuite, Canva
  • Advice: Create a vision that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning. ~unknown
  • Connect with Kharima: Twitter & Instagram  @Kharima4 Linkedin or Email ksrichards4@gmail.com

 

File_000 (10)

 

Mandi Tolen, HS Math Teacher

  • “I want to make education better for students by making myself better and helping those around me be better.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Bitmoji, Desmos, GSuite
  • Advice: Learn something every day and be willing to share it with others.
  • Connect with Mandi: Twitter @TTmomTT Blog Infinitely Teaching   Instagram    Snapchat

 

 

erinErin Olson, Instructional Leader and Curriculum Director

  • “I do not want my students and my children to be the best in the world, I want my students and my children to be the best FOR the world. ”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Tweetdeck, Flipgrid, AdobeSpark
  • Advice: The learning experiences we design and the environment we create stays with students long after they leave our rooms…our students still learn from those experiences and that environment long after they leave our rooms. Bring love, compassion, and grace to the classroom.
  • Connect with Erin: Twitter@eolsonteacher Email mrseolsonteacher@gmail.com

 

AmberAmber Bridge, Digital Learning Consultant at Grant Wood AEA

  • “As an educator, I love to explore and create different learning structures and see the outcomes of risk-taking, creativity, and problem-solving in those structures.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Makerspace Movement, Green Screen by DoInk, Google Keep
  • Advice: Every individual in a classroom is a learner and a teacher if you chose to listen.
  • Connect with Amber: Twitter & Instagram  @abridgesmith

 

claraClara Galan, Community and Content Marketing Lead, Amazon Education K-12

  • “My passion is to help teachers and schools nurture students to become the next generation of independent creative problem solvers.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Remind, Kahoot, GAFE, OER Commons, Padlet. Buck Institute for Education, Common Sense Media and Edutopia
  • Advice: Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone – you never know where it will lead! Also, there isn’t one silver bullet (or tech tool) to solve the issues in education. Each group of learners (and each student) is unique in their needs and approaches.
  • Connect with Clara: Twitter @MsClaraGalan

 

amandaAmanda Dykes, Instructional Technology

  • “My goal is to help as many people as possible while keeping the focus on students and remembering school isn’t a place for adults to work but for students to learn.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: GSuite, YouTube Creator Studio, Adobe Spark
  • Advice: Don’t forget they are kids. They are not always going to sit still or stay quiet, they are not wired that way. Compliance isn’t what they are created to do. But they are created to make a difference and it takes understanding and love.
  • Connect with Amanda: Twitter h@amandacdykes

 

stacyStacy Behmer, Coordinator of Digital Learning, GWAEA

  • “You can’t steal second with your foot on first, take risks and keep on learning to make a difference for students.“
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Expeditions/VR, Voxer, Google Keep
  • Advice: Relationships are essential, get to know your students, parents and other educators and what passions they have and what type of learners they are because it enables you to better support and also builds your PLN!
  • Connect with Stacy: Twitter  @sbehmer

 

meghanMeghan Zigmond, 1st Grade Teacher & ITS

  • “Create an environment where all learners are encouraged to share their passions and curiosities, then build and grow them as a community.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Koma Koma Koma, Student Skechnotes / Doodles for visible thinking, & SeeSaw
  • Advice: Find your own passions and interests outside the classroom, then share them with your learners. Your passion and excitement for lifelong learning breeds more excitement! I think it makes learning more authentic for you and them, no matter if they are 6 or 36.
  • Connect with Meghan: Twitter / Instagram / Snapchat at @MeghanZigmond Blog zigzagstech.com   

 

bethBeth Still, Innovative Teaching and Learning Specialist

  • “My passion is to help educators discover the amazing things that can happen when they allow their students to have a voice.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Tour Builder, Google Sites (new), and Google Keep
  • Advice: Be brave enough to follow your dreams.
  • Connect with Beth: Twitter@BethStill

 

andreaAndrea Townsley, Curriculum / PD Leader and Instructional Coach at Benton CSD

  • “Everyone has something valuable to share and bring to the table, so making connections with colleagues within and outside of the district, community members, and families is a passion to help me to continue to learn, grow, and recharge.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Seesaw – as a parent and as a coach, Podcasts – Cult of Pedagogy & HACK Learning, & Train Ugly
  • Advice: Dance with your fears; don’t be content with your comfort zone.  Be a Jungle Tiger
  • Connect with Andrea: Twitter@townsleyaj  Blog townsleyaj.blogspot.com  Instagram @ajtownsley  

 

wandaWanda Terral, District Technology Coordinator

  • “By empowering others, I empower myself.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: G Suite, Adobe Creative Cloud, Twitter
  • Advice: Embrace your imperfections. Many of us are perfectionists and, while that quality often makes us great at what we do, it also fuels our stress and frustration. Continue to strive to do your best and push the envelope while also embracing your imperfections. Remember, your imperfections are the stepping stones on your growth journey. Without them, personal growth stagnates.
  • Connect with Wanda: Twitter @wterral Google+ (+WandaTerral) Blog ignitionEDU.com), and a variety of other spots which are detailed on about.me/edtech

 

ValerieValerie Brinkman, 1:1 Coordinator/Tech Specialist

  • “My passion as an educator is to spark a lifelong interest in a topic or issue for students.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Bloxels, Digital Breakouts, Socrative
  • Advice: Remember that each student in an individual and comes to you with their own story. Take time to learn their story and connect with them on a personal level to allow for great learning and better educational experience.
  • Connect with Valerie: Twitter @BrinkmanValerie

 

kristinKristin Ziemke, Teacher & Author

 

jenniferJennifer Williams, Professor, GlobalEd Program Developer, ILA Board of Directors

  • “To take action for social good and transformational teaching and learning through the sharing of stories, perspective, and experience in our global classrooms.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Nearpod, Participate, Global Oneness Project
  • Advice: Endeavor to be a teacher where all the children of the world are your students and all lands of the earth are your classrooms.
  • Connect with Jennifer: Twitter @JenWilliamsEdu Website: www.calliopeglobal.com  

 

JuliJuli-Anne Benjamin, Instructional Coach

  • “Dedicated servant to the successful trajectory of children Everywhere.“
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Kahoot. Global Goals/Teach SDG’s and all things Culturally Responsive Pedagogy.
  • Advice: Work to build and curate relationships with children. KNOW them when they are in your space and ground your pedagogical practice in student choice and student voice.
  • Connect with Juli-Anne: Twitter @JuliB224  Email edcampbrooklyn@gmail.com  

 

LauraLaura Gilchrist, HS Instructional Coach in Kansas City

  • “I am passionate about creating a citywide ecosystem to support learner innovation, agency, and opportunity access both in schools and in cities so that our kids can walk into their futures self-identifying as connected learners and leaders.“
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Google Keep, NYT VR app, Podcast app (subscribe & listen to podcasts)
  • Advice: Believe in yourself, think big, and connect with educators and ideas beyond your school. Your unique voice and energy make a difference in many lives–a bigger difference than you will ever know! Keep leading and lighting the way for our kids and for each other!
  • Connect with Laura: Twitter @LauraGilchrist4  Linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/lauragilchrist4 Blog www.lauragilchrist4.com

 

mariaMaria (Galanis) Arfanakis, iCoach

 

 

annAnn Feldmann, District Instructional Technology Specialist, Bellevue Public Schools; Adjunct Professor, Peru State College and Doane University

  • “Once upon a time I was a young girl and had a dream of being a teacher.  I wanted to create a classroom that students would want to run to every day. I am happy to say, I am living my dream! I’m in a position to influence and foster a culture of teaching and learning that provides engaging, personalized, differentiated, and choice-driven learning for all students.”
  • Current Edtech Favorites: Seesaw Classkick Schoology Voxer and iPads
  • Advice: Being an educator is an awesome responsibility and a great privilege and honor. Never forget that our job as educators is to serve our students and staff. Embrace the opportunities that are presented each day. Use your strengths and talents to encourage one another. Be present and positive while you listen, learn, and lead. Inspire all the people in your path. It’s in the spirit of working together and celebrating successes that new ideas are generated and people have the courage to implement something new.  Anyone who works with me knows, that my philosophy is that we are better together and build a community strength on strength.  “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” -Helen  Keller
  • Connect with Ann: Twitter @annfeldmann1

 

When I started writing this series to celebrate Edtech Women Making an Impact I realized how fortunate I am to be connected (both virtually and in-person) to Trailblazers in the field of education. From Authors to Makers, Coaches to Advocates the passion exudes from these women who put kids first, share generously, and leaving their mark on the world!