August bring us the new school year! I am excited to begin and get creative with ways to reach teachers and all areas of education with PD-zine. I introduced this “electronic professional development resource” in May. Took a little hiatus… (vacation in a MUST- hehe) and now it’s BACK! I love being able to collaborate with fellow colleagues and reaching out to extend my PLN. There are AMAZING people out there and willing to share experiences and knowledge. There is a wealth! Quite frankly, through Twitter I have learned an immense amount and connected with so many passionate people wanting to truly “make a difference!”
Soooo… PD-zine! I hope you find it useful, helpful, supportive, and most of all fun! Something you can look to now, look to later and yet always be there! This month’s focus is on collaboration (Yes, one of the 4 C’s) and cooperative learning. These two are HUGE concepts by themselves, which is explained. I wanted to take the perspective of neutrality and let you realize that you have the power in your classroom. Both are essential and beneficial, but you truly need to see the distinction.
Through this process, I am excited to connect with teacherswithapps and Jon Spencer! I love how we all can come together and support one another. Such an amazing feeling!
Teacherswithapps is an educational app review and resource site. Seriously check them out! I was impressed with the quick response when I asked for permission to use content and the overall site when I first looked into it. Jayne Clare (co-founder of TWA), herself, reached out to me! Also, I hope to submit some reviews myself to help in their process of a site designated to assist teachers to find reviews of apps in education to use responsibly in the classroom. This site is organized and the blog posts are incredible resources!
Jon Spencer (@spencerideas) exerts energy and creativity! Sign up to follow him on both Twitter and his blog for amazing FREE resources! Just the fact that he is “on a quest to transform schools into bastions of creativity and wonder” is infectious enough to say heck ya- he is awesome! Believing that all people are naturally creative, Jon is on a mission to empower students to be creative thinkers and through his resources and enthusiasm he is going to do just that. What more can you ask for than students to become creative learners in this ever-evolving world?!?!
So without further adieu… Check it out! This month it is focused on Collaboration & Cooperative Learning… “Learn” some content, “Teach” something new, try a few new “Tech Tools, check out the “Spotlight” (shout out to @coachingqbana), and more! Click away! Comment away! I am crawling with excitement!
Check it out at my WEBSITE listed under the PD-zine tab OR click above!
I have come to LOVE doing Breakout EDU with classes. As an instructional coach, I have been honored to be able to conduct a Breakout EDU with classes ranging from Kindergarten to middle school grades to even adults through the EdTechTeam Summits. (Check out one of these summits. Period. So much fun and mind-blowing- Check for one near you TODAY!) From one a box format to a group/station format. I have both used what is available graciously free through Breakout EDU and created my own. (One day I will actually sit down and submit to share the wealth of my created ones. I ❤ Holiday, yet content themed ones! Soooo fun!)
I thoroughly enjoy seeing teachers realize the power of collaboration among their students and just what their students are capable of.
From an instructional coach perspective “modeling” how a Breakout EDU is done with students, these are my take aways:
Teachers can be uncomfortable- they do not know what to expect. They do not know the “answers.” The unknown can be unsettling. Coaching take: Explain the process and give the teacher questions through the process. Do you see how they are or are not working together? What could you do as a facilitator NOT an instructor? Does anything stick out to you that is particularly surprising? Maybe a student who normally is in the shadows has become a leader… What are YOU learning?
Students are AHHHMAZING!
From wanting a “clue” when in fact, they are working on a big piece of the clue to begin with. Persuading others to take a clue either so quick in the beginning of time OR that “one” student holding out to not take a clue (not for malicious or pain in the rear reasons either!). Because remember… they all must collectively agree to receive a clue.
From working in a large collective group to small group to even almost individual. To watch that unfold in spectacular. This is where we can talk about the hoarding or clues or keeping it to themselves… great for the debrief afterwards! hehe
From their EXCITEMENT! Seriously, they long for the unknown, the puzzle, the mystery, the “prize.” What is better than those faces?!?!?! Now the prize is an entire different story… Do they in fact need a prize or treat or is just solving the clues and opening the box(es) enough? This… I am sure can take on a whole new level and different blog post.
From the debrief… What worked? What didn’t work? What can you or all of you do better next time? How did you collaborate together? Did you use clues- why or why not? I love when they say… “yeah, but you’ve done this before with other classes, were we the quickest?” Almost always, approximately 99% of the time… the complete revelation that working TOGETHER for the same purpose will always be better than working alone. Looooove it!
EVERY, I mean every, class is different. It doesn’t matter the grade. It doesn’t matter the teacher, class period, nothing. every single one is different. Hmmm… what does that mean? Again, could be a completely new post, but simply and stereotypically, we are all different and uniquely and wonderfully made! Now let’s put that in the perspective of working together!
Two of the best things, besides working with teachers and students, going back to do more whether in the same class or different ones and the other is creating Breakouts! As school approaches an end, here is a breakout designed based on the book Last Day Blues.
I created it with second graders in mind:
Premise: As in the story, we are preparing for the last day of school. Mrs. Hartwell’s class has left a gift for you and your teacher to celebrate school coming to an end. The thing is, it is contained in this box. The box is guarded just for your class, but you have to find a way to get to it. There are clues left around the room and you only have 45 minutes until it goes bad.