Sunday, January 29, 2017

Global Science Education Continuum 1/30/17

Qualities of LEAD 2021 & Portrait of a Graduate came to my mind when I saw this chart in a PBL session at the T-STEM Conference. I do think we strive hard in classrooms to make students "Global Citizens" by exposing them to the world beyond our school, yet I have never thought of this in terms of a continuum: awareness, parallel activities, shared data, stages of communication, collaboration and contribution.

I starting placing the exciting things that we have done at a campus level at Cannon on this continuum: Cardboard Challenge, Global Read Aloud, Linus Blanket Project, Skyping with Nepris, Google Expeditions and Heifer International. I can't wait to see the exciting things you are planning for the spring and I hope our scholars get the opportunity to be a part of each level on the continuum. So proud of your AMAZING WORK @ canSTEM!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Formative Assessments 1/23/17

Formative assessment is the backbone that drives our instruction. It provides information needed to adjust teaching and learning while instruction is still happening. The process serves as practice for the student and a check for understanding during the learning process. The formative assessment process also guides us in making decisions about future instruction. Here is a web based digital FREE formative assessment process to collect evidence of student learning called Go Formative. Watch this 1 minute video to learn how you can see all of your students work in live time from your computer. 

Take a look at 56 ways to check for understanding in your classroom to gain some ideas to help keep your engaged.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

FREE TEKS Aligned Program from Texas Wildlife Association 1/16/17

Please take a look at the link I have included for the FREE TEKS aligned program from Texas Wildlife Association that will come to our school so scholars can have hands-on, interactive and fun experiences!.

There are four topics to choose from. In Where is our Water? students explore the water cycle, ground water, aquifers, where we get our water and why it is so important to conserve it. Skins & Skulls is always a very popular presentation where students get to learn about animal adaptations and predator/prey relationships while examining real animal skins and skulls. Investigating Life Cycles is a hands-on exploration of the different life cycles of various organisms. And Let’s Talk Turkey is a fun discussion about what makes a bird a bird while examining the Wild Turkey ecology and its successful conservation story.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

7 Questions to End Your Week 1/9/17

January is always the month for me to reflect. I am not one to make New Year resolutions, but I do set some goals to renew my personal and professional passions. I saw this graphic "7 Questions to End Your Week" and it really spoke to me. Why do I use the New Year for reflection when I truly could be doing it weekly? Wouldn't it help me to be more productive, deal with things, focus and make a new plan to make next week different? I love the phrase "begin anew"!! I think we all deserve to begin anew, including our scholars.

Since student goal setting is a part of Lead 2021, take a look at this chart to see how helping students take these 7 steps weekly will help them to move forward more often. Please mark your calendars for our next student led conference half day on February 9th, just one short month away. Join with me by incorporating this for yourself as well.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Transparency & Digging Deeper with Follow-Up Questions 1/2/17

This time of year is always filled with “New Year Resolutions” of how we want to improve ourselves and begin with a fresh start. Our students feel the same way, yet need your guidance, support and opportunity to do so. Students want to come to school and be successfully engaged. One way to do this is to set up a transparent routine when calling on our students. 

As teachers, we fall into routines of calling on students who will “add to our lesson” and often unintentionally tend to leave some students out. One way to ensure we do not fall into this category is to begin a non-biased system for calling on students. Possible systems include Popsicle sticks with a student name on each in a can and draw a stick OR you could use apps like Stick Pick (used to be free but now cost money) or Randomly (free). This transparent process gives all students the same chance of being called on and ensures you treat all students fairly in your classroom. It also keeps all students on alert.
If you are fearful that some students may need support in answering, then allow students to sit with question partners in which they can consult. This helps build classroom community as well. 

The second semester is also a time to make sure we are asking higher level questions that make students dig deeper. I found this simple chart that is a quick way to make students justify their answers and help create critical discussions in your classroom. 

Looking forward to 2017 with you!