Thursday, December 24, 2009
"Yes, yes, yes!!!" Metaphoric pumping of the fists.
There is no better experience than that moment when teaching skills reap fruit...
These experiences most often happen when teacher and student understand each other, which is to say, when we invest in understanding our students to a depth beyond academic skill level. The message: I understand where you come from, and the challenges you face that weigh more heavily on you than anything I assign. Now let me guide you to see the strengths inside you"
There is no better experience than that moment when teaching skills reap fruit--
Except for that same moment when the student makes important learning connections.
Dangerous Minds - Choice
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Sometimes, as we scan students, noting with our instincts needs for support, we need to pause, mute everything else that shout demands, and
listen to the student.
In this video, what does the student struggle to communicate...in scene one,...two,...the rest of the video...
What do you hear?
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Thank you for your consideration...
New Boy is the winner of Best Narrative Short at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. It's about a boy's first day in a new school, and for the boy, a vastly different place. Consider the students new to your class after school starts, when culture is established. Consider how the boy's life story is a treasure chest that could enrich the lives of the boy, the other students, and the teacher--if you were her.
Pause reading. How did the boy or other characters make you feel?
Tell yourself about an epiphany or affirmation you got about the importance of knowing students...
Every student has a back story. It can be the key needed to help them succeed where once they believed only laid failure, achieve where they didn't know there was more to uncover, and learn new talents and interests where they didn't know they had.
Learning about backstory is work that's worthwhile to student learning and liberates educators in uncovering more options for instructional support.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
John McCarthy, Ed.S. – General Session on August 13, 2009
Participants texted questions they needed answered to move forward as edcuation leaders for re-imaginging Differentiated Instruction. The questions reflected the varioius needs for action from leading by example to facilitating professional growth and systemic change. Here are responses.
- Any books or websites available with examples of tiered lesson plans across the curriculum?
This site has several examples under Readiness. The interest and learning styles examples are not necessarily tiered focused, but may have ideas to look at.
- Teachers in our district want to know how to grade tiered lessons where students are working on different levels of activities?
- What is the name of the ASCD video series you showed this morning?
- Where do you start using Differentiated Instruction?
How to Differentiate Instruction in a Mixed Ability Classroom
--Great primer for where to start and common vocabulary
Fulfilling the Promise of Differentiated Instruction
--Deeper book for instructional practice and curriculum. Great resource for strategies.
- High school teachers will ask you about time! How do we fit DI into our short periods and still cover all the hsce’s?
- What is Compacting?
Carol Tomlinson. How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed Ability Classrooms. 2nd Edition, p. 98. (Book preview)
- What’s a good article on Standards-Based Grading?
ASCD’s Education Leadership has an excellent article for why schools should transition from traditional grading practices to a Standards-Based grading approach. In the issue, Expecting Excellence, read Seven Reasons for Standards-Based Grading by Patricia L. Scriffiny, Pages 70-74, October 2008 | Volume 66 | Number 2
A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades by Ken O’Connor is a great resource, and What’s Fair Isn’t Always Equal by Rick Wormelli is an effective way to start the conversation that leads to real change in grading practices. Here's a sneak preview.
- Can we get the Math video?
Day 2 opened with a general session to "Re-Imagine Differentiated Instructruction." In the course of the morning session participants explored the need for integrating Differentiated Instruction as part of effective models for student learning, beginning with the reflective question: Will you take responsibility for the learning success of your students? The learning time generated quite a productive conversation that spilled into the break as well as the entirity of the session.
Exploration included looking at how "Teachers respond" from Carol Tomlinson's work on the 3 cogs for differentiation (Fulfilling the Promise of the Differentiated Classroom, ASCD. p. 28.) Read the sample chapter. 3 Dimensional Instruction (John McCarthy, 2008):
- Identify the objective(s)
- Develop the assessment
- Brainstorm 8-15 3D processing activities to teach the concept(s)
- Build lesson steps with 3D processing activities
In this busy morning, participants texted questions, some of which were addressed during the session, while a compilation was answered in a post at MI ASCD. Here is the transcript.
The afternoon was a big hit. Participants left with much information and take aways to begin implementing in their schools. Thank you all who attended. The conference existed to support the critical need to help all students achieve.
Now the planning starts for next year and adding additional strands that go deeper and more complex.
Have a great school year!!!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Dr. Susan Allan’s keynote and general session set a great tone for the necessity, if not the urgency, for differentiation to take a greater role in instruction. She addressed the misnomers about what is differentiated instruction (DI) and what it is. For example, it’s not planning individualized lessons for every student, nor less work for struggling students and more work for students further along in their learning. Rather it’s meeting students where they are in learning, which forms groups based on common needs, interests, and/or learning profiles. DI is about teacher flexibility and developing a classroom towards a student-centered culture. She guided participants into a deep exploration of Readiness issues and strategies that support students from struggling to advanced. By the end of the morning session, I hope that participants walked away with a core understanding of Differentiated Instruction, and steps towards implanting.
In tomorrow morning’s general session I will discuss how as education leaders, administrators and teachers, we must re-imagine DI in a 21st century world. Thinking of DI needs to be expanded in our thinking, and viewed most significantly as a cornerstone to instructional pedagogy, regardless of the model or system that is followed. There’s a taste. More to come.
The Teacher panel was well balanced. The four teachers ranged from elementary to high school, and veteran to a teacher who completed one year. The questions were diverse. Responses had a common strand as to how best to develop successful practice that includes DI:
- Peer collaboration,
- Leadership support,
- Recognition of the complex work,
- Communicate with peers, students, and parents
One question focused on how to differentiate instruction with large class sizes. A panelist stated, “Differentiated Instruction may vary with class size, but there is no question that it will be implemented.”
The Grading and Assessment session was surprising in the turnout. I expected 10 or less as it was a mini-break out of 85 minutes. Most sessions were 3 hours and the mini-break out that preceded mine was a small number. Over 40 participants came after the common break. Clearly, grading is a hot enough concern that people want to know what are new options.
The issues around grading are challenging as traditional practices appear to fail students on multiple levels. Entrenched ideology around grading makes the issues more complex and deeply problematic. As one educator shared, what is a situation that plays out in many districts, getting a group of educators to agree on new solutions is next to impossible as discussions get bogged down over what to do. My intent in a 85 minute session was to raise awareness for why grading practices need to be assessed, and explore issues that might compel educational leaders to establish changes in grading policies. Not too ambitious :)
There are many compelling arguments for rethinking grading. Perhaps in a later piece I’ll go more in-depth into each.
- Percentages, Zeroes, and Mean (averaging) scoring are inconsistent in accurately assessing learning at best, and at worst kill student desire to put forth their best efforts.
- Grading often hurts students who take longer to learn a concept. In connection to this, mismatched assessments, that is reliability is questionable, gives inaccurate information.
- Factors such as participation, homework/classwork completion, and extra credit distort assessment of learning when factor into grades.
There’s more. A Repair Kit for Grading: 15 Fixes for Broken Grades by Ken O’Connor is a great resource, and What’s Fair Isn’t Always Equal by Rick Wormelli is an effective way to start the conversation that leads to real change in grading practices. Here's a sneak preview. In the end, I’d like to believe that the time was well spent. From the anecdotal feedback I received, perhaps it was.
A next step is to Standards-Based Grading. ASCD’s Education Leadership has an excellent article for why schools should transition from traditional grading practices to a Standards-Based grading approach. In the issue, Expecting Excellence, read Seven Reasons for Standards-Based Grading by Patricia L. Scriffiny, Pages 70-74, October 2008 | Volume 66 | Number 2
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
A major conference on Differentiated Instruction starts tomorrow in Michigan. It's a 2-Day event, kicked off by Dr. Susan Allan. The breakout sessions are done mostly by teacher practicioners. Participants will learn alot and take away much to impelement in their schools. May MI ASCD continue this great tradition each year.
During the conference, follow the goings on:
MI ASCD on Twitter
Check for conference updates, news, and DI ideas.
MI ASCD on Facebook
Check here for post conference news and updates, plus upcoming events in Michigan.
More to follow...
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
1. Am I in the right room?
2. Where am I suppose to sit?
3. What are the classroom rules?
4. What will I be doing in your classroom this year?
5. How will I be graded?
6. Who is my teacher as a person?
7. Will I be treated fairly in the classroom?
How well these questions are answered in planning prior to the 1st day is critical to success.
Their focus is on playtesting games written for curriculum support. I wonder what's out there where lessons and units are using MMORG as the environment. I'll follow the ning to learn more.
2 highlights were an elementary and a middle school. English Estates Elementary does project-based learning as curriculum approach. http://teachercenter.scps.k12.fl.us/ees What makes this worthwhile is their culture-building element. All students engage into Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as part of their learning content concepts. See their resources on their site. They have several resources on their systemic work.
Salina Intermediate School uses teacher leadership with the principal to improve instruction and learning. http://salina-int.dearbornschools.org
They're doing great work on establishing focus on learning as a learning community. Students and teachers use many methods to teach and learn together. One example is through videos, such how and how not to meet collaborative and Co-Teaching.
Here are some usefulresources.
Today, I'm at a session called Game On.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Researchers found ranges of .7 to 1.7 seconds that teachers pause.
That is less time than to take a breath. Considering that an inhale is required to speak, only students with an immediate answer, and who is ready to articulate immediately has a chance to respond. And in some cases even they don't have enough time to "start" speaking. What researchers and other educational thinkers suggest is pausing for 3 or more seconds. Pause time is dependent on purpose and situation, but extending beyond the current pause rate has been found to give benefits to learning. Students are given time to think through the question, compose their answer, and speak.
This Ferris Beuller clip is a great parody of 0.5 pause time creates:
Reflective responses, and other answers that require critical thinking, I suggest pausing for 5 to 15 seconds. 10+ seconds may seem an eternity--I've done this, I know--but it gives consideration to the internal thinkers who are sometimes known as intraverts. (Link 2) These thinkers need personal time to consider their thoughts and check for understanding before they feel comfortable sharing with others. In 3 seconds, they will most likely not be ready to answer the question, unless the required response is based on recall or low level understanding. 5 seconds might be a stretch.
Used judiciously, 10 to 15 seconds is also a class-management tool. Ask a question. Pause for all students to consider the answer, because anyone of them could be called on. After the waited time, call on a student to answer the question. Don't wait for volunteers. Up to 15 seconds is plenty of time for most students to formulate an answer depending on the expect complexity of answers.
3-5 seconds of wait time is useful in other ways, such as pausing after giving students time to articulate their questions, teacher pauses in a lecture to give emphasis to a concept, thus allowing students to digest the information, or giving students time to consider the response by a peer or teacher.
What's important is recognizing that the giving of pause, or think time, emphasizes the value of the question being asked and the quality of answer expected.
- Researchers: Mary Budd Rowe (1987): First Wait-Time; Robert J. Stahl (1990): Think-time; Kenneth Tobin & Capie (1987), William W. Wilen (1987): Question Techniques
What is ‘Think Time’?
Information processing involves multiple cognitive tasks that take time. Students must have uninterrupted periods of time to process information; reflect on what has been said, observed, or done; and consider what their personal responses will be.
— Robert J. Stahl
Western Australian Institute of Technology
Wait time is defined in terms of the duration of pauses separating utterances during verbal interaction. The paper reviews studies involving wait time in a range of subject areas and grade levels. When average wait time was greater than a threshold value of 3 seconds, changes in teacher and student discourse were observed and higher cognitive level achievement was obtained in elementary, middle, and high school science. Achievement increases were also reported in middle school mathematics. Wait time appears to facilitate higher cognitive level learning by providing teachers and students with additional time to think.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Wisdom is found sometimes in the unlikliest of places. Napoleon may have been a dictator, and one who aspired to rule. A "dealer in hope" is part of what leadership can do. When put to good use, people are inspired to dream of possibilies.
The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet.
Another important facet for guiding people to fulfill a shared vision is to be a servant leader.
Sometimes it takes connecting with what's in the hearts of other, other times its sweetness, or cold facts of the new reality. People will follow that which is clear and shown to be in their best interests.
In education, schools, even districts, build and follow school improvement plans whose intent is to provide students a successful learning experience. This is done, in part, giving teachers the tools to do that job, and for guiding administrators with a road map for leading the adults towards success. Such accomplishment takes a lot of work and sacrifices by the adults. There are no short cuts. No free rides. In most cases, effective school improvement plans require a shift in thinking by educators as to the ways business is done must change.
What gets monitored, gets done. What is not monitored does not get done.
As schools strive to become more skillful, better at meeting student needs, success is about building buy-in among staff. Not everyone will be on board. Yet a persistant leader can bring along staff by staying the course of action. There are veterans who with each initiative will murmur, "This too shall pass." While seeming cynical, those teachers and administrators speak from experience not fantasy. Resistance is a form of conserving ones energy for the real work. Change for its on sake does not by nature take root.
Strong leadership is needed to have effective school improvement plans. Leaders need to involve staff in the planning, include them in the shaping of a plan, and hold them accountable to their commitments. A leader who pays lip service will see the school improvement plan become a paperweight rather than a vehicle for improving success by teachers teaching students, and learners learning. Sadly, too many well intentioned leaders get trapped in the day to day demands. Like parents of kids going away to college where they are out of sight and no longer guided, a swamped leader "hopes" the staff is following the plan and doing what's expected. Just like the leader, the staff also struggle to keep their heads afloat. Priority is survival. The first things cast overboard are the tools and expectations of the school improvement plan.
'Good directors, playwrights and leaders are enablers who make it possible for others to succeed by providing the means and opportunities for actions.' Anon
Leadership is passionate persistance about what's best for learners needs and ensuring that all staff strive to meet those identified needs.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Socrates continues to have an enormous impact on my life. He leads the teachers that influenced my thinking and the lenses I use to interpret the world. He’s known as one of the greatest philosophers for human kind, even in his own time. He taught or influenced Plato and Aristotle, both men also arguably great thinkers who transcend their era to ours. Consider Socratic Questioning, a highly respected instructional strategy named after the philosopher. The questioning process proves effective for helping expand student thought process. Socrates thinking, called the Socratic Method, was so phenomenal that his peers feared him for the power of how he influenced others to think for themselves. Yet this man believed that he “knew nothing,” that there was so much more for him to explore. And he did so until his death, orchestrated by those who feared him.
This blog exists for personal and professional reasons. My work as an educator drives me to explore many, many ways of teaching and learning. Blogging serves as an instructional/learning tool and a means for personal reflection. I’m not sure what reflections will have value beyond my desire to examine my thinking and, hopefully, grow my understanding. My interests are in ways of teaching and learning that are effective. I know and teach about many systems and strategies. There is so much more that I understand little or am not aware of. So this blog is a way to mine gems, explore undiscovered territory (at least unexplored by me), and experience many cognitive shifts by maintaining open-mindedness.
If there is vanity in publishing my ideas and belief systems so that others might examine what “wisdom” is contained, my hope is to recognize illuminations for what it is, and in that process grow beyond that naïveté. Learning is everywhere if we keep open-minds, and allow for the possibility that knowledge is malleable.
Socrates is a constant reminder to me of living with humility. The adage applies here in that the more I learn, one truth holds…there is so much more that is unknown. Every open ended question answered uncovers multiple questions. Especially in areas of my expertise, the people I teach benefit my understandings as well as from the leading thinkers in and outside the field of education.
This journey will explore concepts and views on education and life in general. For experience is indeed an effective teacher if we are but open to her lessons. My travels will lead to areas that don’t exist in my understanding, and into examining self-beliefs that I as yet do not hold. Perhaps my path will intersect with others, and for that opportunity, perhaps we’ll both be the richer. Throughout this experience, Socrates’ wisdom is my compass and Experience is the two by four for helping me keep perspective.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Covey tells a story about being on a train during a crazy moment. Two young children jumped on chairs, shouted and chased each other. Their behavior was better suited to a playground, not a public transit system. In the confinement of the train, people stared at the father with increasing impatience and agitation, demanding action with their eyes. The father sat oblivious to the silent demands and to his children, who’s activity increased in volume and intensity. When confronted about his kids needing attention, the father noticed his children as if breaking from a trance and seemed helpless to act. Apologetically, he explained that they’d come from the hospital where his wife just died. The father said he did not know how to tell his children that they’d lost their mother. What was apparent from a distance of a man with undisciplined children shielded the passengers from the deeper reality of pain and loss.
In “The Red Shoe” by Linda Webb (full text), an article from Education Leadership (September 2000), the author tells a story about her childhood experience entering kindergarten. Full of enthusiasm for the exciting world of school, she did everything asked of her in class. One day the children demonstrated if they knew how to tie their shoes. The girl volunteered to go first. She began tying her shoe using her teeth to pull the shoelace through the loop made with her fingers. Aghast, the teacher shouted, “Nasty Girl! What would your mother think of you putting that in your mouth?” What the teacher did not know is that the kindergartener’s mother was born without hands. The girl learned to tie her shoes from her mother.
“Seek first to understand then to be understood.” This Covey principle deals with being open to other people even when their actions or beliefs seem in opposition to our own. So when a person says something that makes me think they’re from another planet or the thought bubble that appears is, “I can’t believe you said that,” the temptation is to mentally close the door on them. Disengage in further genuine conversation, and if I can’t leave immediately, then watch the clock for when leaving is possible. Most times, I resist this urge and ask questions to understand that person’s point of view. Rather than set them up for failure by shutting down, inquiry gives the person voice, opportunity to express themselves. I may discover a perspective that brings me pause to consider. In the end, I may discover a new understanding, or respectfully agree to disagree.
People, especially children, need their voices to be heard. When their actions or behaviors appear strange or inappropriate, it’s tempting to make executive decisions and move on. So much more is gain time is taken to understand, as was needed for the man on the train and the kindergartner.
“Seek to understand before being understood” reminds me to breathe. It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment, focus on one view, and miss the crucial detail. Consider an experiment on video. In it, people wearing white shirts and black shirts, pass two basketballs. As you watch, count how many passes are made by the players in white shirts.
Did you count 13, 14, 15, or 18?
Try this video instead, and count the passes by the players in white shirts.
Did you see the AgLoLrIiRlOlGa the first time?
When dealing with someone who I do not understand or agree with, this is tough to do in situations that are tense, emotional, or demand a decision. Breathing helps a person to pause long enough from acting so as to suspend judgment and consider the other person’s perspective. In some difficult situations, filled with tension and anger drives people to fight or flight. The person who flees or loses the battle is voiceless.
At a steering committee, members tackled the complex issue of drafting minimum competencies for computer skills by employees. I was among advocates who laid out a rationale and suggested guidelines to support the educators in the building to develop needed core skills to do their work and bridge the cultural gap between them and their technology literate students. The discussion seemed amicable and supportive of implementation when one fellow teacher expressed opposition to the plan. Her tone moved from conversational to argumentative to punishing statements that bordered on bullying. Any reasoning that I or others said seemed only to inflame her more. She used words and tone as a weapon to beat us into silence. Finally, a break was called in hopes that the tension would abate.
As combatants went to separate corners, I approached the leader of the opposition and asked her to explain her reasons. Her words were like a rough wind buffeting me. I leaned into the gale seeking understanding to the meaning behind her attack. Why, I wondered, was she so upset?
What became clear was that she was afraid of failure. Lacking computer skills, she did not want to be labeled. Prideful of her skills as a professional, admitting that she was unskilled in technology was a heavy blow to her confidence. I let her know that I understood how she felt, and that guiding her to the needed skills would be my personal mission. She felt heard. She believed that support would be at hand to ensure her success. Opposition dissolved.
While adults need to be heard, students are especially in need. An elementary child might be a monster in the classroom, doing everything possible to disrupt class from screaming, damaging property, to hitting other kids. Discipline is necessary to maintain authority, and understanding is a way to discovering and eliminating the on-going problem. What if the child’s parents are divorcing, and the kid believes demanding attention will bring them back together? Knowing the background, what if an adult talked to the child about the pain of parents separating, and suggests that positive attention is better than negative attention? How might that child respond? Or, what if the student is sent to the principal’s office, and, ultimately, is suspended for the improper behavior, but the root of the behavior is never explored with the child.
The beginning of a school year, I welcomed high school students to English class. One student, a large teen with a shock of curly red hair, entered class. Tardy, he strolled across the room with an amused expression as if challenging me to say something. Some would have asked for a tardy pass, and when one was not forth coming, sent him back to the office. As I breathed, something about his manner suggested taking a different course of action. Ignoring him, I continued the introduction. Seated, he tried to “press buttons” that would get my attention and send him swiftly to the discipline office.
Finally, I had him step outside of the classroom. He looked at the other students, moving with a triumphant swagger. He believed that his prediction would come true, that I would send him to the assistant principal’s office. Outside of the classroom, I asked him why he tried to disrupt the class when I’d done nothing to him? Belligerent at first, his words were like rushing water. I stood in the stream, allowing the water to pass. Breathing deeply, I held my objective in mind—to understand him and connect with his sense of fairness. His words turned from his game and became about his feelings of frustration and anger that he was labeled for failure. I was one of few adults who gave him space for his voice. He remained a constant challenge, but he came to my class and strove to be part of the community.
What I learn from these experiences is that breathing is a constant challenge. When stress is high, the airwaves constrict as instinct says there’s little time to breathe. Pausing even a few seconds can make the difference. Hopefully these stories help you to understand my perspective. If not, breathe, and search for the gorilla. :)
Saturday, February 28, 2009
I visited a Kim Possible station, where upon registering for my family, the KP Team member gave us a cell phone. Using its video capabilities, one of Kim's friends directed us to our destination: Japan. Each adventure is composed of about 5 quests, which took us throuhout the cultural center. At designated hotspots, we used the cell phone to activate more clues such as a baby robot peeking out of store shelves, a monkey statue rising out of the water, and spirits inhabiting a glowing chimney.
The kids loved the experience. They plowed through the clues, never allowing frustration at a subtle hint or evidence to deter. Each adventure took 30 to 40 minutes to complete, and the kids never tired. Japan, Great Britain, China, and Norway. We visited museums, stores, and restaurants. Each had history to tell and another clue to solve.
More pictures from my adventure in crime fighting.
- WebQuest.Org (Resources)
- Webquests Defined by Bernie Dodge
- Best of Webquests
- Kathy Schrock's take on Webquests
Monday, February 23, 2009
Teachers benefit from administration understanding the challenges and celebrations of instruction. There is a deeper knowledge of what resources instructors may need. Most importantly, reflection sessions after several visits can lead to teachers realizing their effectiveness and areas to expand their repoirtore of tools.
The role of administrator is observer coach, not evaluator. Doing walkthroughs raises awareness of areas of good practice, where systems are being implemented, and support needs. Administrators and observing teacher leaders deepen their knowledge by asking questions based on the lesson's objective(s) and assessment.
Students are the big winners as initiatives are implemented as intended, and instructional practices are honed. The result is that the educators get a good sense of what's really working, what needs to be changed, and what should be let go.
Walkthroughs support the addage: What gets monitored gets done. Too often initiatives are "implemented." Teacher leaders spend many hours planning and in-servicing the staff, or paid consultants conduct workshops, and then behind closed doors the initiatives are paid lip service. Which leads to another addage: This too shall pass.
There are good resources available. One is The Three Minute Classroom Walkthrough.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
- From Toy to Tool: Cell Phones in Learning
- Cell Phones for Learning (wiki)
- Ideas and Thoughts
- National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (Ireland)
Language Practice - Chat
- Cell Phones in Learning (another wiki)
For those industrious students who think of and plot out innovative ways to circumvent the rules, I want to find ways to channel that energy for "good." Thinking about it now, those kids are our future engineers, inventors, scientists, and teachers. No, I'm not implying anything shady here. Those occupations require ingenuity and thinking outside of the box.
Concern for misuse of cell phones is a serious issue to problem solve. The approach to finding answers could be best effective if we look for ways how to do, and not let fear or unfamiliarity forces us into a U-Turn.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The primary concept I learned from this experience is how powerful these tools are for communication as part of an elaborate interconnected community. Blogs, rss, wikis, Delicious, Flickr, Bloglines, and other tools can work together. There is space for authorship along with collaborative data production. The journey from Thing 1 to Thing 23 was so consuming with learning and reflection that with completing the steps myself, I might have become sad that it's over.
But, it's not over. I'm enjoying so much reading other participants' blogs and responding to them. Plus I have more ideas to explore, go back and deeply use what I'm learning. It's simply not over.
As I consider how to implement many of these tools, a new chapter opens, new adventures await, and I am excited like a college graduate is for the possibilities that stretch ahead.
[Addendum]: Got my answer while doing Thing 22. Sites can be private where needed. Learning is a great Thing.
I think I did Think 19 and 20 together. Already had iTunes installed. The podcasts sites listed previously, I subscribed to. They are:Podcast Alley because it has variety beyond education. Other topics are sometimes great places to find education related ideas for students.
I do a lot of work on Differentiated Instruction. This is an interesting way of explaining. Well worth using.
What's also nice is that the files can be exported in a variety of formats to share with others. Great tool for students to use. They can make the teacher a viewer to track progresss, or a co-user to post guiding comments and questions. Students have email of their own, particularly middle to older kids. Younger kids could, with parental permission and monitoring. It's a way to get them writing.
Addendum: Tagging is nice. Organizing is much better than the folders I have on my browser. I still am working on switching to going online for my bookmarks. I know that I can have them present as a side panel. I'm not sure I want to give up that screen space. Anyway, this is a delicious experience :)
The advantages to tagging is that it would be far better than the folders. I have useful sites I probably never see or duplicate bookmarking because I forget where they were. An important element is tagging accurately. That will take time, observation, and lots of practice.
I've been following a couple of blogs through Bloglines (Did I say I love that tool? I'm saying it again). Some get a lot of response. The discussions sometimes get heated, even disrespectful. But you know what? The people are ingaged. Many make conscise points, even if at times with limited logic. I've "watched" read where people with opposing opinions respectfully disagree, and continue their disecting of each other's thoughts, as well as some aha moments. Detentionslip is one such place to check out for current events in education. Warning: Material may suck you into the debates.