Teacher Innovation #9: “Teacher Reflection on PBL: Overcoming Obstacles & Making Changes”

Adobe Spark (4)

Post #9 is courtesy of Brooke Webb again. Brooke is a colleague and friend and contributed earlier to the series here. Brooke’s a dynamic and innovative teacher, so I knew I had to have her share more than once. Today she shares her reflections on growing as teacher who uses PBL (project-based learning) to enhance student learning over the years. Most of the post focuses on reflecting on two PBLs she conducted this past year. This reflection is as real as it gets. Brooke is candid and encouraging, which is perfect for teachers thinking of using PBL or still wary of it’s potential after trying it. This type of writing makes me very thankful for the people I work alongside day in and day out. Brooke’s teaching practices are iterative and reflexive much how any teacher should be. Enjoy!

Previous Series Entries: Post #1 // Post #2 // Post #3 // Post #4 // Post #5 // Post #6 // Post #7 // Post #8

by Brooke Webb

The following is a narrative based upon my experiences of overcoming obstacles and challenges I faced when planning and executing two different PBL projects in my classroom this past year. This musing is not an attempt to be scholarly with cited sources and cross-referencing academic texts, but rather, I wanted to share some real life insight into my triumphs and tribulations with PBL from the teacher’s perspective. Continue reading

Teacher Innovation #8: “True Collaboration: The Magic of Planning, Designing, and Teaching Alongside Colleagues”

Adobe Spark (8)

The 8th post of my Summer Teacher Innovation Series comes from another ELA colleague, mentor, and friend, Nadine Bell. Nadine has been teaching nearly 30 years and shows zero signs of slowing down! I had the pleasure of working closely with her the last two years, working alongside her on the 9th grade ELA course team and as regular collaborator for academy-related planning. Nadine is everything you would want from a veteran teacher–knowledgeable, collaborative, wise, and reflective. She also breaks all the negative stereotypes often unfairly lobbed at veteran educators. As you will read in today’s post, she hates the idea of her practice being left to stagnate, so when you come to her with a harebrained scheme of how to start changing a few teaching paradigms in your school building, well, she says ‘yes!’ The practice Nadine shares today is hopefully the shape of what is to come in our schoolhouse where teachers bring classes together to co-teach content based on those teachers’ strengths. I am very excited to share this post. Enjoy!

Previous Series Entries: Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3 // Part 4 // Part 5 // Part 6 // Part 7

by Nadine Bell

Jeff Spence is the former COO and president of Innovolt, a specialty company who patented intelligent electronics management technology, and current CEO of NexDefense, and is an expert on facilitating collaboration as a business model in the corporate sector. As I listened to Spence share his partnering with Gwinnett County Public Schools to introduce this model into the classroom, I couldn’t help but think this is what should be happening in the co-taught setting (the least restrictive environment for a special education student where the general education teacher works with a special education resource teacher to meet the needs of a student(s) Individualized Educational Plan (IEP). However, anyone who has been in the classroom for any length of time and had the opportunity to have a co-taught class knows that typically, at least at the high school level, the general education teacher provides the instruction and the special education teacher is often simply a behavior monitor at least and at best a teacher who will initiate small group instruction as a form of remediation or ensure compliance with small group testing.  Of course there are exceptions, but generally speaking, seldom is the co-taught classroom one of true collaboration. Continue reading

Teacher Innovation #7: “Flipgrid: A Tool to Nurture Your Classroom Ecospace”

Adobe Spark (7)

Post #7 comes from Deborah Aughey. Deborah is a doctoral candidate at Kennesaw State University and a cutting-edge, veteran ELA teacher who has quite literally traveled the world. We met as cohort mates at KSU in the summer of 2013. I consider her a good friend, and an innovative teacher, pushing her students to use the power of the mini-computers in their pockets to do productive and insightful work. When I asked Deborah to contribute to this series, she immediately jumped at the chance to write about Flipgrid. Never heard of it? Me either until about a month ago when Deborah introduced me to it. I am continually amazed at how Deborah is always on the cutting edge of EduTech and integrating it into her classroom nearly seamlessly. Today’s post is truly for anyone looking to inspire the growth of students’ reflexive skills using the technology our students know and love.

Previous Series Entries: Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3 // Part 4 // Part 5 // Part 6

by Deborah Aughey
NBCT, Ed.S.

Is your classroom a container? Or is it an ecoscape?

I’ve been thinking about these ideas ever since Dr. Ryan Rish, now of the University of Buffalo, posed these questions to my cadre of Ed.Specialist/Doctoral students at Kennesaw State University in the summer of 2013. Leander, Phillips, and Taylor (2010) challenged researchers and educators in The Changing Social Spaces of Learning: Mapping New Mobilities to provide a space, place, and attention to students’ contradictory practices of literacy and mobility. Continue reading

Teacher Innovation #6: Using Zines to Promote Black History & Identity Work in the ELA Classroom

Adobe Spark (6)

Post #6 is close to my heart and comes from friend and colleague, Glenn Chance. Glenn is a second year ELA teacher at my school. And while technically Glenn is new to teaching, he came to the classroom with plenty of life experience. Glenn has guest posted before. On his first post, I explained his background as a high school dropout, longtime retail worker, and eventual scholar. The reason this post is close to my heart, as the title suggests, is Glenn writes about his use of zines and purposeful identity work in his classroom. Glenn is a relatively fearless, early-years teacher. We talked almost every day this past school year, and I enjoyed watching his tremendous growth. As you will see from his post, Glenn understands how important genuinely combining literature, writing, and identity work really is. I highly recommend reading this post all the way through–especially, if you are considering doing zine work in your own classroom.

Previous Series Entries: Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3 // Part 4 // Part 5

by Glenn Chance

Introduction – What is a Zine?

Check out these links to learn more – Zines in Action
http://grrrlzines.net/agogo.htm
https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/blog-posts/john-depasquale/zine-making-101/

A zine is a way of saying magazine, just shortened to the last four letters.  Zines are magazines, only miniaturized.  They aren’t new, and have actually been around for decades.  If you’ve ever belonged to a fandom, chances are, there is a zine about it somewhere, or at least there was at one time.   Continue reading

Teacher Innovation #5: “Learning is Inquiry, not Acceptance”

Adobe Spark (5)

Post #5 comes compliments of a friend and former doctoral cohort compatriot, Nick Thompson. Nick is currently a doctoral student at The University of Georgia, but before he attended UGA, Nick taught in a public high school in the metro-Atlanta area for years, including a few of those years when we both started our doctoral journey at Kennesaw State University. Much of Nick’s research interests have been driven by comparing medical doctor preparation and practice to that of educator preparation and practice. That’s the lens he brings to today’s post. While Nick shares an experience from his classroom two years ago in the same vein of previous posters in the series, Nick starts this post with a bigger picture in mind. The innovation we are looking at today is both internal and external. Internal in the sense of how a teacher contemplates teaching English language arts (ELA) canon through inquiry, and external in the sense of how teacher preparation programs do or do not require an educator-in-training to be an inquirer him or herself.

Previous Series Entries: Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3 // Part 4

by Nick Thompson

The Progressive Movement

Around the turn of the 20th century, John Dewey was working hard to fight for a more democratic society through education, arguing that a “society with too few independent thinkers is vulnerable to control by disturbed and opportunistic leaders. A society which wants to create and maintain a free and democratic social system must create responsible independence of thought among its young.” At the same time, the Carnegie foundation appointed a man named Flexner to make a comprehensive report on the state of medical education in America. Flexner visited 150 medical schools, university-based and otherwise, and his resulting report changed the face of medical training to this day. It was he who proposed the four-year curriculum that is still followed in most medical schools. Continue reading