Thursday, January 5, 2017

Periscoping our Way into Collaborations Across D214 and Beyond!

By Linda Ashida

The Collab Lab is very excited about our recent professional learning adventures using Periscope and Google Hangout to connect us with colleagues in other D214 schools and beyond!

These virtual professional learning experiences offer a great opportunity learn from our peers--and see strategies live and in action--without having to leave our own buildings. The follow-up Google Hangout chats foster a rich exchange of ideas on teaching practices that impact student success in our classes.

Today Kim Miklusak hosted "Round 3" (Previous Collab Blog posts describe "Round 1" and "Round 2"). Kim invited colleagues to join her AP English Language class, live-streamed via Periscope, to see a student-led writing skills workshop. 

At the beginning of the broadcast, Kim shared this written overview of the class to give context for the lesson that the virtual visitors would see:
Hi! I'm trying something new in class today; a student-centered writing skills workshop.  

Students have selected (or been assigned) their weakest of the 3 AP Language essay types.  Two days ago they planned their writing based on an old AP Exam essay prompt and yesterday they wrote their essay.  Today and Friday they are doing a variation of  a writer's workshop to read peers' essays and offer feedback.

They will start in a group of people who wrote the same essay to check content.

They will then rotate however they choose in order to work on skills-based writing elements from the rubric and peer editing docs with guiding questions. Students will then make edits based on the feedback.

Friday they will read the AP anchor papers and highlight elements on their paper, writing a short reflection on what score they would get and why.  There are no grades on this.  It is just practice in their weakest essay type, timing, and skills.  As an added rule, they are only allowed to ask me 2 questions this whole week.  They have to rely on their peers and the samples to guide them.

We broadcast from Kim's class for about fifteen minutes to give a good idea of what the rotations looked like and how the students used the guiding questions to focus on peer assessment, self-assessment and revision. We were able to see the students directing their own learning and collaborating with their peers, while Kim served as the facilitator of the process.  She circulated around the stations and listened to their conversations. On a few occasions she stopped to offer feedback to the whole class; but the students did most of the talking in this lesson.

After visiting Kim's class for ~15 minutes we invited D214 colleagues to join us for a 20-minute Google Hangout to debrief the lesson. We reflected on applications in our own classes of this kind of a student-centered writing process that uses clear criteria to guide both self-assessment and peer evaluation with multiple opportunities for non-graded formative feedback and revision.

We also discussed ideas to improve and expand our virtual collaborations, along with ideas to curate resources to share with other colleagues, even if they didn't participate in the class visit.

We'd like to thank Laura Monahan, Katie Alexander, and Dawn Bodden for joining us in the Google Hangout and sharing their insight and feedback.

We will be hosting "Round 4" of virtual professional learning collaborations next week in Rachel Barry's Math Class (Tuesday 1/10). Mark your calendars and stay tuned to the Collab Lab Twitter for more details on the schedule and the lesson. For now we can tell you that it will be an opportunity to see differentiation and formative assessment strategies using the app Class Kick.

Want to join us?  Do you have ideas for virtual professional learning collaborations like these?
Please let us know!

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