Friday, October 20, 2017

Engage Students in Learning with Video: EdPuzzle

What is EdPuzzle, you ask?

EdPuzzle is a site that allows users to select a video and easily customize it by editing, cropping, recording audio and adding questions to make an engaging presentation or learning experience. It is also a great formative assessment tool; a unique way for students to demonstrate their understanding.

Kirsten Fletcher has found EdPuzzle to be a great tool to engage her students in learning and she facilitated a workshop to share with her colleagues for our October 2017 Institute Day.

We have heard from several teachers who attended her session about how Kirsten's examples have inspired them to use EdPuzzle in their own classes.

The notes from the session serve as a great resource for those that missed it and due to popular demand, Kirsten has offered to repeat the session for our Teaming on Tuesday Learning Lab on October 24th.

We hope you'll join us! Not at EG? You can join us remotely! Just send us a direct message to the Collab Lab Twitter, and we'll send you a calendar invite and link to join us via Zoom!







Thursday, October 19, 2017

One Year in AP: A New Unit, Same Skills (Week Nine)

By Mark Heintz

Context

I have two main focuses as I write this weekly blog. Two driving questions that I have in my mind while making decisions.  They are:
  • How do I know if my students know? 
  • How do I get them to know if they know?  
Whether that is a skill or content, I want to know if they know it.   I no longer think it is acceptable for me to guess or get a feeling on whether or not they know it. Getting the students to know if they know it is down right hard, but I am really attempting to get to a point where the students can recognize their understandings or progress on their skill levels and content knowledge.  Therefore, the purpose of this year of reflection is see how I make progress towards these two goals and elicit feedback from staff, students, and hopefully people who follow along in the journey.  You can read how last week went here.

Week Nine: Answer the Question

My content instructional goal this week was centered around commerce in the post classical era.



My skill instructional goal was centered on the long essay.  The essay was: Analyze similarities and differences in TWO of the following trade networks in the period 600 C.E. to 1450 C.E.
Med. Sea
Trans-Saharan
Silk Road
Indian Ocean Basin

The focus was on the thesis, contextualization, and using evidence to support an argument portions of the essay.



Cite Specific Evidence

The content and the skill this week overlapped perfectly.  Each day layered more content that the students could use in their essay.  Students contextualized the prompt first and wrote their response. Then I had them write the thesis.  The next day they selected their evidence.  Finally on Friday the students put all of the pieces together.

To have students check their content knowledge (and get out of their seats), students grouped together around a maps I had hung around all over the room. As I shouted out content questions, the students competed against one another to correctly identify where that information could be found on the maps. The great thing about the activity was that students getting up and walking around the room served as a brain break at the same time that it allowed them––and me––to check their misunderstandings. Here is a short video of that in action:


The students then analyzed a chart on trade to activate background knowledge and to begin pulling evidence to support a claim to prepare for their writing.



Here are the students working on their statements.  



Here are the students chunking information and selecting which evidence best supports their claim to continue to prepare for their writing. At the same time, I circulated and their notes allowed me to see their thinking, ascertain their understanding and respond to misconceptions and questions.



Reasoning

The week was powerful.  The layering of the skills and the content worked great.  The students self-assessed their work everyday.  I put the rubric on Schoology so the students constantly referred back to it to check their progress.  At the end of the week the students worked on the essay by themselves, and the progress was amazing. The self check went great and they understood the flow.  

The students knew the content.  I posted the objectives on Monday and through the warm ups and map breaks, they mastered it.  It was fairly easy to comprehend, but it was a lot of information.  I was impressed at how quickly they picked it up and could use it in their essays.  

Reflection and Impact

I loved the week.  I spent a lot of time on one topic and skill set, but I felt like it paid off.  I actually listened to myself for once and stuck to the plan.  I normally lose focus and shift to something else by the end of the week, but this blog helped me stay on course.  On Friday, I was going to change my plan and deviate from writing the essay.  But then I reminded myself that the essay was the focus! It seriously took will power to have the students write the essay on Friday, but I was so glad I did.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Construction Zone: Drafting Blueprints for Learning: EGHS Teacher Led Institute Day

October 16th was a great day of collaboration and learning for our 6th Annual Teacher-Led Institute Day.  24 different workshops were offered in the morning. The workshops were planned and facilitated by 38 staff, 10 students, and 3 community professionals! The topics for the workshops were determined in response to a survey shared with staff weeks before, and from feedback from shared from previous professional learning experiences. In the afternoon, staff had time to work in their PLCs to share and apply their learning from the morning sessions, and to prepare for a great start the the 2nd Quarter!

The following photos and links will give you an idea of what the day looked like.


The Schedule:


Here is the link to the complete Doc with the schedule for the day.

The Blueprints (Shared notes)

Each session had a "Blueprint" Google Doc for shared notes.  These notes will serve as an important an important resource for staff future reference and learning, and to connect to the content of sessions they might not have been able to attend.



Sharing our Story

In addition to curating resources in the shared "Blueprints" for each session, we shared our learning via Twitter using our professional learning hashtag #214Learns. 



Check out this Storify of tweets from the day to see more! 

The feedback from the day was overwhelmingly positive, and there were great suggestions, too. In addition to conversations with staff, we will be guided by the responses on the Institute Day Survey. Nearly 100 staff completed the survey and the feedback will guide us in planning future professional learning experiences. We have already begun using the feedback to plan our 2nd Quarter Teaming on Tuesday sessions to keep the conversations going. We see the Institute Day as a great springboard for ongoing conversations and learning.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Scare Me, But Just A Little Bit. S1E3 We Are EG Podcast


Though John Bottiglieri retired last year after teaching English at Elk Grove High School for 33 years, he will be long-remembered!

Many will remember him for his love of  Halloween––his favorite holiday––so we were excited that he came back to record this special Halloween episode of We Are EG. Give it a listen and learn whether or not Elk Grove High School is haunted, how he discovers the most popular Halloween candy, and how he came to own a gorilla costume!






Friday, October 13, 2017

Using Google Slides Q&A Interactive Feature

By Kim Miklusak

I had a presentation in my grad school class last night, and while preparing for it, I actually Googled "How to make Google Slides more interesting"...and that's how I got here.  Did you know that you can turn on an interactive Q&A option when you're presenting in Google Slides?

Here's are quick steps:
Step 1: The option to turn it on is found in 2 places: either under "present" or when you're already presenting, in the toolbar screen on the bottom.
Step 1, Option 1
Step 1, Option 2


Step 2
Step 2: a small box will pop up on your screen.  From there you will see "audience tool" and "speaker notes" in addition to the running timer, a pause option, and a of your slides.  From this screen you will press "start new" OR, and this is really cool, if you've presented before, it will show you the option to click on the notes from other recent times you've given this presentation.  This is a nice feature because it will allow you to address any questions ahead of time if you feel you need to.





Step 3
Step 3: You will now have the option to select the audience.  Mine defaulted to our district; however, you can turn on so that anyone with the URL can respond.  This is a nice feature because you can choose to toggle this off or own depending on your presentation and what you need.  Once you press this button, the screen will remain like this unless you have audience members writing questions or making comments.  If this happens, a notification will pop up on "audience tools."  Otherwise, you can remain on "speaker notes," if you have them, to continue your presentation.


Step 4
Step 4: One of the nice features about this is that the audience is able to see each other's comments (anonymously or by name).  Therefore, people have the ability to "like" a comment, allowing the presenter to see a popular question.  Additionally, the presenter can click on the "present" button under a comment.  This results in the comment overriding the presentation slide and showing up as its own slide.  This way the presenter can show the comment/question to the whole audience and address it.

HOW this went in my class: My screen in class wasn't letting me show only the "presenter view," so my whole class was able to see my notes.  This wasn't a problem in the setting I was in, but it would have been a problem if I were given a formal presentation.  I would expand the usage with this from just Q&A and also allow for comments.  I can see many uses for this--especially in classes that are lecture-heavy.

Leave us a comment below if you have other suggestions, uses, or experiences in your class!


Thursday, October 12, 2017

One Year in AP: Assessments (Week Eight)

By Mark Heintz

Context

I have two main focuses as I write this weekly blog. Two driving questions that I have in my mind while making decisions.  They are:
  • How do I know if my students know? 
  • How do I get them to know if they know?  
Whether that is a skill or content, I want to know if they know it.   I no longer think it is acceptable for me to guess or get a feeling on whether or not they know it. Getting the students to know if they know it is down right hard, but I am really attempting to get to a point where the students can recognize their understandings or progress on their skill levels and content knowledge.  Therefore, the purpose of this year of reflection is see how I make progress towards these two goals and elicit feedback from staff, students, and hopefully people who follow along in the journey.  You can read how last week went here.

Week Eight: Answer the Question

My content instructional goal this week was centered around how empires grew and rose to power.


My skill instructional goal was centered around the document based question.



Cite Specific Evidence

The students took the unit assessment this week.  At the beginning of the year I mentioned that I created my assessment plan for the year. Each unit I was going to test each skill in each unit.



However, the students were already going to test over two days to finish the writing and the multiple choice portions of the test.  Therefore, I elected to not get feedback on the short answer.  The students will have a lot of opportunities to get/give feedback on those skills in the next unit.  

The three assessments the students took yielded the following data:


The DBQ was out of four possible points. Eventually it will grow to be out of seven.  


The long essay was out of two possible points. Eventually it will grow to be out of six.   

 

The content was out of seventy.  

Reasoning

So what does it all mean?   The DBQ went extremely well.  At this point, the students average about the same as my students from last year in May.  


The global average for ALL of the students who took DBQ across the world was 1.8/7.  So, the fact that my students have mastered a few of the smaller skills that will hopefully yield greater success in the months to come is a great result. 

The same went for the long essay.  There were some struggles and some of the students are still have trouble.  But their overall progress is great! I focused on just the thesis and context this unit and the students have made impressive progress towards mastery.

The content test was just basic factual recall.  For the most part students mastered a number of the content objectives.  The students struggled with Buddhism and its diffusion.  That is an area that I need to go back over and the students need to spend more time with.  But overall, they have a firm grasp on the content.  

To see whether or not they need how they were doing, I created a document in Notability to have the students grade bunch to see if they knew what samples met expectations. It enabled them to see if they knew what mastery looked like.  


Reflection and Impact

I am excited for how the year is progressing.  There are areas of need, but I know those areas and so do the students.  It was a great benchmark and I am glad I dropped the short answer. I would have over tested the students and they would not have been able to process the information in their reflection.  I am looking forward to the next unit and seeing how far the students can grow!


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

6-Step Process to Designing Curriculum (Part 1)

By Kim Miklusak

I am currently taking a Foundations of Curriculum and Instruction course at UIC.  Our textbook, while a medical curriculum textbook, reminds us that curriculum design crosses education fields and that what we are doing in our classes every year has its grounding in research.  Kern, Thomas, and Hughes in their book provide a 6-step approach to curriculum development.  I will cover the first step in the first installment.  My goal is to share the theory behind our current practices to serve as a guide as design and redesign our courses.

From Kern, Thomas, and Hughes. See link above.
Step 1: General Needs Assessment
In the general needs assessment you will identify the problem: something simple like "how do we do a better job of teaching X, Y, Z" or a more complex question like "why are students not able to get through the entire curriculum?"  For instance, how do we improve writing of a research paper?  Or how do we engage students in metacognitive reading practice?  The problem may not deal with content at all and instead focus on areas like teacher qualities or student attitudes.  You will analyze whom the problem affects, what it affects, and the quantitative/qualitative importance of these effects.

In the end, you need to consider the current approach as compared to the ideal approach.  That gap between current vs. ideal is your needs assessment and should be investigated from the angle of all stakeholders--teachers, students, administrators, etc.

In Practice:
What does this mean for our day-to-day lives in curriculum design?  First, I wonder when we sit down to redesign our curriculum, if we start with identifying problems.  If there isn't an identifiable problem, why are we redesigning?  Do we have metrics to show something is missing or not working effectively?  Or do we focus on "I'd like to..." or "wouldn't it be fun if..." thoughts, which have their place, but may not be a priority.

I also wonder in our curriculum designs if we take into account teacher qualities or student attitudes.  Do we consider what other factors may be limiting success in our curriculum such as stakeholders' prior knowledge and attitudes, personal skills and environmental forces, and current rewards/punishments?  Some of this is out of our control, but these are areas we should at least investigate as we reflect upon potential problems to address.

In the next blog post I will discuss Step 2--the targeted needs assessments--where we engage other stakeholders in redesigning the curriculum process.