Category Archives: Creativity

Review, revisit, recommit to norms – our hopes and dreams

Strong teams regularly self-assess how well they function within their norms – the hopes and dreams for how they are when together. As we learn and grow together, we pause to reflect, revise, and recommit to strengthen our teams by reviewing our community norms.

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  • We commit to collaboratively design the agenda for each team meeting and that the agendas are shared ahead of the meetings. (ALT)
  • We commit to fostering a growth mindset with our learners and ourselves. We embrace the power of yet. (Carol Dweck)
  • We commit to use technology as a tool for learning and not as a barrier between us. (ALT)
  • We commit to speaking about our learners as if they are in the room with us. (Katherine Boles, Harvard)
  • We learn, i.e., we have permission to change our minds. (Elizabeth Stratmore)
  • We agree to ask for and offer the umbrella of mercy. (Tim Kanold)
  • We serve all learners. Teams committee to take responsibility, together, to differentiate to help all learners learn and grow.
  • We resist labeling students – all learners.  We agree to design for the edges to dramatically expand our talent pool. (Todd Rose)

How might we strengthen our team? What if we review, reflect, and recommit to our hopes and dreams of how we are?

Deep understanding: visualize, connect, comprehend

We need to give students the opportunity to develop their own rich and deep understanding of our number system.  With that understanding, they will be able to develop and use a wide array of strategies in ways that make sense for the problem at hand.  (Flynn, 8 pag.)

Let’s say that the essential-to-learn is I can subtract within 100.  In our community we hold essential I can show what I know more than one way. 

Using our anchor text, we find the following strategies:

  • I can subtract tens and one on a hundred chart.
  • I can count back to subtract on an open number line.
  • I can add up to subtract on an open number line.
  • I can break apart numbers to subtract.
  • I can subtract using compensation.

What if we engage, as a team, to deepen our understanding of subtraction?

Deep learning focuses on recognizing relationships among ideas. During deep learning, students engage more actively and deliberately with information in order to discover and understand the underlying mathematical structure. (Hattie, 136 pag.)

In his Effective Practices for Advancing the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics class last week, Mike Flynn highlighted three advantages  of using representations to deepen understanding.

  • Representations build conceptual understanding and help assess comprehension.
  • Representations serve as a tool to make sense of the task and the mathematics.
  • Representations help develop proof of generalizations.

What if we, as a team, prepare to facilitate experiences so that learners can say I can subtract within 100 by deepening our understanding with words, pictures, numbers, and symbols?

Context: Annie had some money in her “mad money” jar.  Today, she added $39 to the jar and discovered that she now has $65. How much money was in the “mad money” jar before today?

2ndgrade65-39

Can we connect the context to each of the above strategies? Can we connect one strategy to another strategy?

If we challenge ourselves to “do the math” using words, pictures, numbers, and symbols, we deepen our understanding and increase our ability to ask more questions to advance thinking.

How might we use Van de Walle’s ideas for developing conceptual understanding through multiple representations to assess comprehension and understanding?


Flynn, Michael. Beyond Answers: Exploring Mathematical Practices with Young Children. Portland, Maine.: Stenhouse, 2017. Print.

Hattie, John A. (Allan); Fisher, Douglas B.; Frey, Nancy; Gojak, Linda M.; Moore, Sara Delano; Mellman, William L. (2016-09-16). Visible Learning for Mathematics, Grades K-12: What Works Best to Optimize Student Learning (Corwin Mathematics Series). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.

Van de Walle, John. Teaching Student-centered Mathematics: Developmentally Appropriate Instruction for Grades Pre-K-2. Boston: Pearson, 2014. Print.

#GISAConference 2016: notes and quick reflection

2016 GISA Annual Conference
Monday, November 7, 2016

Wendy Mogel (@DrWendyMogel) encourages us to raise wildflowers instead of bonsai trees.  She challenges our community to help our children through the journey to independence instead of hoping to skip over the struggles that come with the journey.

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Justin Cahill (@justybubPE), Brian Balocki (@BrianBalocki), and John Turner were serious about Keeping Kids in Motion. While originally scheduled into a traditional classroom, they encouraged everyone to check in and join them outside of experiential lessons to implement in PE and in base classrooms.  They taught the why, the how, and the what of keeping kids (of any age) in motion. Best GISA session EVER!

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Mary Cantwell (@scitechyEDU) facilitated a conversation around design, STEM, STEAM, and Design Thinking.  My big, lingering take-aways are the following questions.

How might we impact our learners and their approach to solving problems every day?

and

If the users of our assessments are our learners, how might we design with them in mind and design using an empathetic lens?

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Rich Wormeli (@RickWormeli2) sent the message that students will only be creative, courageous, and persistent if they have teachers willing to be creative, courageous, and persistent. Sense-making is a worthy goal, but don’t stop there; strive for meaning-making. Relationships first.  Use assessment to reveal the story of learning.gisa2016-wormeli

#TLC2016 Day 2 Notes

Sharing my day two notes from the Teaching Learning Coaching conference:

Partnering for Impact: Realizing Our Best Potential 

How might we learn the art and the science of receiving feedback? Sheila Heen asks

Will you take the easy path or the more difficult one?

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Reflect and share your “guide to working with me” to help our teams learn to help each other learn.

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You cannot lead if you are not learning. ~ Michael Fullan

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Presentations that make an impact have 7 principles of partnerships. Know your core beliefs.

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I am grateful that Marsha Harris (@marshamac74) shared her notes from Sheila Heen’s keynote, Michael Fullan’s keynote, and Jim Knight and Kristin Anderson’s breakout session.  Her notes add context, commentary, and detail to my sketches.

#NCTMRegionals Inspire, Innovate, IGNITE! sketchnote

I had the opportunity to attend, live tweet, and sketch the 2016 Regional Conference & Exposition in Philadelphia opening session Inspire, Innovate, IGNITE! delivered by Chike Akua, Jimmie L. Davis, Matthew Larson, Sara Moore, Tom Reardon, Michael Steele, and Rose Mary Zbiek.

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I am grateful to Bob Lochel for sharing an artifact of evidence of my work.

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If interested, you can check out the presenters’ slide decks to add context to my notes at NCTM’s blog.

#ObserveMe – the other side – invitation and purpose

Observation by invitation and with purpose.

For context, stop and read Robert Kaplinsky’s
(@robertkaplinsky) #ObserveMe challenge if you haven’t.

How might we serve one another? What if we have questions about our practice? In a community of confident, competent risk-takers, it is safe to declare what we’d like to learn, our goals, and hoped for feedback.

Today, I served as observer-learner for two such teacher-learners.

Julia Kuipers (@J_kuipers3) 6th Grade Spanish:

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Since Julia was seeking feedback on how much time they spoke in the target language, I tried to incorporate a timestamp in my sketch.

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I could share my sketch in real-time prior to leaving the classroom for immediate feedback.  Later in the day, I could reflect on Julia’s class and use my sketch, I could offer additional feedback in her feedback collection form.

Her feedback form:

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I liked that I could write about what I noticed and what I wonder.  I made sure that I commented on what I saw that could be used as evidence of time in the target language, students empowered to level up and stretch themselves, and students serving as resources for each other.  I wondered about extending formative assessment to include performance as well as efficacy.


Megan Hayes-Golding (@mgolding) Physics:

First, it is important to note that we are not at the same school, though this is still observation by invitation and with purpose.

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While my sketch chronicled my observation, I noticed and noted when Megan provided levels of challenge within an activity and when students were set up for success when working independently.

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Since it was at the end of the day, I had the opportunity to debrief and offer direct feedback in conversation with Megan.


I am thankful for the learning experiences today.  I am grateful for the invitations. I appreciate knowing what to observe so that I can learn and serve.

Observation by invitation and with purpose.

Everyone learns.

Wow!


Addendum: Megan’s reflection of this #ObserveMe experience

Common mission and vision: Be together, not the same

What if we share common mission and vision?  During the 2015-16 school year, we worked together as a team on our SAIS accreditation.  We brainstormed, struggled, and learned together.

As a team, we have completed our professional learning during Pre-Planning.  I had the privilege of attending and participating in all meetings.  (I did not sketch the sessions I helped facilitate.)

Can you see our connectedness, themes, and common language?

August 9: All School Meeting

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August 9: Early Elementary Division meeting

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August 9: Upper Elementary Division meeting03-Berry-PrePlanning1

August 10: Deepen Understanding to Strengthen Academic Foundation

August 10: Goals, Structures, and Processes

August 11: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion04-Diversity-PrePlanning

August 11: Positive Discipline (a la Dr. Jane Nelsen)05-PositiveDiscipline1 06-PositiveDiscipline2

August 12: Strategic Teaming: Leadership, Voice, Hopes and Dreams

August 15:  Upper Elementary Division Meeting07-Berry-PrePlanning2

August 15: Early Elementary Division meeting08-Mitchell-PrePlanning2

Again… share common mission and vision.

Be together, not the same.