Teacher Innovation #4: PBL and Online Learning Platforms

Adobe Spark (4)

Post #4 comes from another esteemed colleague and ELA friend, Brooke Webb. Brooke was our school’s Teacher of the Year just two years ago and as you will read, truly deserved the accolade. I can always count on Brooke to be on the cusp of innovation in our school. I want to be careful to point out that innovation is not necessarily this concept of creating something entirely new; rather, innovation in our school is typically taking best practices and escalating them in way to build more authentic learning results for our students (i.e. calls for civil engagement, solving local problems, serving community members, building up resources, etc.). To get to this more authentic work, Brooke works diligently to help students see how their studies interconnect. Brooke, like myself, worries about how we continue to teach our content in silos, keeping students from seeing the benefit of cross-curricular learning and engagement. In her post today, Brooke presents the work she did taking on project-based learning and using our online learning platform (eCLASS) to help her students navigate the complexity of the tasks involved.

Previous Teacher Innovation Entries: Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3

by Brooke Webb

PBL AND eCLASS IN ELECTIVES: POP UP GREEK MYTHOLOGY MUSEUM

Project Based Learning (PBL) empowers students to take control of their own learning through self-directed research, creation, innovation,  revision, and authentic presentation or publishing to a larger audience. As a language arts teacher, I find that PBL lends itself very well to the high school language arts classroom as we have the choice to cover our standards via a plethora of avenues. This year, I am teaching a language arts elective class that focuses on ancient cultures’ mythology texts. Having never taught an elective class before, I decided that I would try something new in my teaching path and use only PBL projects to assess my classes’ mastery of the standards. Continue reading

Teacher Innovation #3: “SCRUM It Up with Kanban with a Side of Trello”

Adobe Spark (3)

Post number 3 comes from another colleague and friend, Keith Phillips. Keith is part of my school’s CTE (Career & Technology Education) department and has run and developed our Audio/Visual & Film program for the last four years. Keith is one of my favorite teachers to collaborate with on various projects. He is basically fearless when it comes to trying out new tech and pedagogical approaches in his classroom. He’s a sponge for learning and when he catches fire for something in his classroom, the results are incredible for the kids. His post today introduces SCRUM, a project management protocol found within the Agile model of project design, which fortune 500 companies and various universities use. Keith uses SCRUM to run his many on-going projects and prepare his students for the project methodology they’ll likely see in their careers (A/V careers or otherwise). Finally, Keith dives into how he is transitioning to SCRUM online for his students using a program called Trello.

Previous Teacher Innovation Entries: Part 1 // Part 2

by Keith Phillips

 

If you came into the start of my class this past year you may have heard me say, “SCRUM it up!” and wonder why I was using a rugby term in my classroom.  For those that have never heard of SCRUM, it is an Agile framework for completing complex projects.  When working with SCRUM, the project leader or Scrum Master leads his group members            through a standing meeting.  In the SCRUM each member must answer three questions; What did I do yesterday?, What am I doing today?, and        Did I have any roadblocks?.  The Scrum Master keeps everyone on task and anything that isn’t relevant to the three questions gets placed into the “Parking Lot” for discussion at a later time.  This helps all group members to stay on task and limits the length of the meeting. Continue reading

Teacher Innovation #2: “Using Affinity Spaces in the Secondary ELA Classroom”

Adobe Spark (2)

Post number 2 of the innovation series comes from another friend, but not one I have had the honor of working directly with yet, Derek Wright. Derek has been teaching for 4 years and in that short time has done some amazing work in his classroom and as a leader in his school.  Derek’s emphasis on exploring what James Gee calls “affinity spaces” with students is an innovative approach to building community in a classroom as well as develop those much desired, but often unquantifiable, metacognitive skills.

Previous Teacher Innovation Entries: Part 1

by Derek Wright

A very brief introduction:

All students want to learn. Period. But, if we are being honest with ourselves, all students do not want the way schools are currently setup. Everyday though students are learning, collaborating, and producing new content. They are doing this through an idea called “affinity spaces”. Affinity spaces are note only places where passionate learning takes place, but it is a place where content is being produced and consumed. These are highly engaging places that a community is built around learning, teaching, and producing. I am not going to spend a lot of time writing about the theory behind affinity spaces, but if you are interested in more theory about affinity spaces read Dr. James Paul Gee’s book What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literary, and read Dr. Jayne Lammers, Dr. Jen Scott Curwood, and Dr. Alica Marie Magnifico’s article “Toward an affinity space methodology: Considerations for literacy research”.  This assignment idea came from being in Dr. Ryan Rish’s class during my undergraduate degree at KSU. Continue reading

Teacher Innovation #1: “Week 19: Equipping Seniors to Leave Our Classroom Nests”

Adobe Spark (1)

The first entry in the Teacher Innovation Summer Series comes from my colleague and friend Bill Smith. Bill is veteran teacher having taught in an ELA classroom for 14 years. This past year, Bill worked closely with many of our seniors and as you will read, he faced a few interesting challenges. Today’s post focuses on developing authentic conversations with senior who are on the verge of leaving our familiar and prescriptive schoolhouses.

by Bill Smith

“But I haven’t done anything yet! I’m just a student…”

“How do I calculate my HOPE [scholarship] GPA…?”

“I don’t have any work experience….”

“What’s the passing score for the SAT?”

“My ACT score wasn’t good enough. Now what…?”

“Who am I supposed to get references from…?”

What is that smell? Fear? Exasperation? Is it coming from them or me? Why do I have to fight so hard against making assumptions about what my students are capable of, of how far they’ve progressed? Maybe I’ve just overlayed my own high school template on this situation: I think I saw my guidance counselor once in the four years I was there, and one of my English teachers kept a poster of SAT dates by her door. That was it; at no time did any of my classroom teachers connect me we resources, skills, practices, or people to help me get to college. And of course I was going to college, so I’d just wait for the conclusion of that chapter of my life for someone to wave their magic wand and make an English major ready to get out and land some interviews. Continue reading