Category Archives: Information Age Learning

Summer Learning 2017 – Choices and VTR – here’s the data

In a previous post, Summer Learning 2017 – Flyer and Choices, I describe our summer learning plans and choices.  We make a commitment to read and learn every summer.  This year, in addition to books and a stream of TED talks, Voices of Diversity, we offer the opportunity to read children’s literature and design learning intentions around character and values.

Here’s the data on what we selected to learn:

Another way to consider the data:

Throughout the year, the Academic Leadership Team has been working with teacher-teams in many ways in support of our team goal shown below.

We can design and implement a differentiated action plan across our  divisions to meet all learners where they are.

Tier 1 Differentiation: Learner Choice and Voice

Our plan involves using the Visible Thinking Routine Sentence-Phrase-Word across all selections to notice and note important, thought-provoking ideas.

Tier 2 Differentiation: Level Up Pathway to Success

To meet our expectations, learners should read, view, or plan closely using the Visible Thinking Routine Sentence-Phrase-Word when engaging with their selection.  To exceed our expectations, learners again have choice.  They can use both Sentence-Phrase-Word and Connect-Extend-Challenge for deeper, connected thinking. Or, learners can learn and share publicly using #TrinityLearns, #TrinityReads or posting comments on the connected blog pages for reading a book, viewing the TED talks, or using children’s literature to build character foundation.

Be together, not the same. Learn and share. Level up when you can.

Sneak peek: Leading Mathematics Education in the Digital Age

Leading Mathematics Education in the Digital Age
2017 NCSM Annual Conference
Pre-Conference Session
Sunday, April 2, 2017 from 1:00-5:00 p.m.
Jennifer Wilson
Jill Gough

How can leaders effectively lead mathematics education in the era of the digital age? There are many ways to contribute in our community and the global community, but we have to be willing to offer our voices. How might we take advantage of instructional tools to purposefully ensure that all students and teachers have voice: voice to share what we know and what we don’t know yet; voice to wonder what if and why; voice to lead and to question?

Sneak peek for our session includes:

How might we strengthen our flexibility to make sense and persevere? What if we deepen understanding to show what we know more than one way?

Interested? Here’s a sneak peek at a subset of our slides as they exist today. Disclaimer: Since this is a draft, the slides may change before we see you in San Antonio.

I wonder what Jennifer’s sneak peek looks like? Do you?

T3 International Conference: sketch notes for learning

2016 T³ International Conference
February 26-28, 2016, Orlando, Florida

Dylan Wiliam: Leadership for Teacher Learning

“Nothing has bigger impact on student learning than formative assessment.” How might we learn, grow, and change our habits.  What if we expect proficiency for all and excellence for many? How might we focus on learning to impact outcomes?

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Dylan Wiliam: Using Formative Assessment to Improve Instruction

How might we impact learning? Know and show what is essential to learn. Seek evidence that learning occurs. Strengthen relationships with learner.  Ask: what will have the biggest impact for student learning?

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Dylan Wilam: Protocol for Questions

How might we elicit evidence of learning? 1) High quality task selection. 2) High quality task presentation. 3) Know what evidence we are looking for. 4)  Empower learners to accumulate evidence so show and now they are learning.

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Deep Practice, Leveling, and Communication (TBT Remix)

Does a student know that they are confused and can they express that to their teacher? We need formative assessment and self-assessment to go hand-in-hand.

I agree that formative self-assessment is the key. Often, I think students don’t take the time to assess if they understand or are confused. I think that it is routine and “easy” in class. The student is practicing just like they’ve been coached in real time. When they get home, do they “practice like they play” or do they just get through the assignment? I think that is where deep practice comes into play. If they practice without assessing (checking for success) will they promote their confusion?  I tell my students that it is like practicing shooting free throws with your feet perpendicular to each other. Terrible form does not promote success. Zero practice is better than incorrect practice.

With that being said, I think that teachers must have realistic expectations about time and quality of assignments. If we expect students to engage in deep practice (to embrace the struggle) then we have to shorten our assignments to accommodate the additional time it will take to engage in the struggle.  We now ask students to complete anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 as many problems as in the past with the understanding that these problems will be attempted using the method of deep practice.

Our version of deep practice homework:
“We have significantly shortened this assignment from years past in order to allow you time to work these questions correctly. We want you do work with deep practice.

  • Please work each problem slowly and accurately.
  • Check the answer to the question immediately.
  • If correct, go to the next problem.
  • If not correct, mark through your work – don’t eraseleave evidence of your effort and thinking.
    • Try again.
    • If you make three attempts and can not get the correct answer, go on to the next problem. “

I also think that the formative assessments with “leveling” encourage the willingness to struggle. How many times has a student responded to you “I don’t get it”? Perhaps it is not a lack of effort. Perhaps it is a lack of connected vocabulary. It is not only that they don’t know how, is it that they don’t know what it is called either. It is hard to struggle through when you lack vocabulary, skill, and efficacy all at the same time. How might we help our learners attend to precision, to communicate in the language of our disciplines?

Now is the time to guide our young learners to develop voice, confidence (and trust), and a safe place to struggle.


Deep Practice, Leveling, and Communication was originally published on November 20, 2010

 

Empower learners to deepen their learning

How might we empower learners to deepen their understanding?

After creating and administering common assessments, the next question is perhaps the most challenging: “Are students learning what we think they are supposed to be learning?” (Ferriter and Parry, 75 pag.)

What if our learners are grasping the content, but they are struggling to communicate what they know and how they arrive at a conclusion?

How might we make our expectations clear? What if we empower our learners to take action on their own behalf?

What if our culture embraces the three big ideas of a PLC?

Learning is our focus.
Collaboration is our culture.
Results guide our decisions.

Our #TrinityLearns 2nd grade team sat down together last week to analyze the results of the most recent common assessment.  While our young learners are grasping the basic concepts, we want more for them. We want confident, flexible thinkers and problem solvers.  We want our learners to show what they know more than one way, and we want strong clear communication so that the reader can follow the work without to infer understanding.

Teams at this point in the process are typically performing at a high level, taking collective responsibility for the performance of their students rather than responding as individuals. (Ferriter and Parry, 77 pag.)

As a team, these teachers sorted their students’ work into four levels, shared artifacts of levels with each other, and planned a common lesson.

Laurel Martin (@laurel_martin) explained to our children that the artifacts they analyzed were not from their class and that they belonged to a class across the hall.

Here’s the pitch to the students from Sarah Mokotoff’s (@2ndMokotoff) class:

Don’t you just love the messages: Be like scientists. Make observations. Offer feedback on how to improve.

Here’s what it looked like as the children analyzed artifacts from another 2nd grade class:

Once the analysis was complete, our teachers facilitated a discussion where the children developed a learning progression for this work.

From Kerry Coote (@CooteMrs):

We created these together after looking at student work samples that were assigned at each level. Our kids were so engaged in the activity; they were able to compare and give reasons why work was at a level 3 versus a level 4. It was really good to see! I believe this will empower them to be deeper thinkers and gradually move away from giving an answer without showing their thinking and work.

Here’s what the students in Grace Granade’s (@2ndGranade) class developed:

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More from Kerry Coote:

After we helped them develop the learning progression, we conferenced with each child looking at their math assessment. They  automatically self-assessed and assigned levels for their thinking. Many scored themselves lower at first, but the activity of crafting the learning progression helped in making sense of explaining their thinking! Today in math a boy asked me – “so Mrs. Coote, what are those levels again? I know the target is Level 3, but I want to use numbers, words, and pictures to get to level 4.”  It is all coming together and making sense more with these experiences!

In their morning meeting the next day, one of Kathy Bruyn’s (@KathyEE96) learners shared the poster she made the night before.

Don’t you love how she explained the near doubles fact and her precise language?  Wow!

Since we focus on learning and results, this team offered learners an opportunity to show growth.

From Samantha Steinberg (@spsteinberg):

This is an example of leveling up after looking at our assessment.  Initially, [he] used the learning progression to rate his work at level 3.  After reading my feedback, he added words to his next attempt to show his additional thinking.

Before the class developed the learning progression:

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After the class developed the learning progression:

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Can you see the difference in this child’s work, understanding, and communication?

A growth mindset isn’t just about effort. Perhaps the most common misconception is simply equating the growth mindset with effort. Certainly, effort is key for students’ achievement, but it’s not the only thing. Students need to try new strategies and seek input from others when they’re stuck. They need this repertoire of approaches—not just sheer effort—to learn and improve. (Dweck, n. pag.)

Kudos to our 2nd grade team for reaching for the top stages of  the seven stages of collaborative teams! Learning is our focus. Collaboration is our culture. Results guide our decisions.

How might we continue to empower learners to deepen their understanding?


Dweck, Carol. “Carol Dweck Revisits the ‘Growth Mindset’” Education Week. Education Week, 22 Sept. 2015. Web. 02 Oct. 2015.

Graham, Parry, and William Ferriter. Building a Professional Learning Community at Work: A Guide to the First Year. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2010. Print.

Thus – Strive to be one (TBT Remix)

What if we narrow the space between them and us? Let’s strive to become thus – the intersection between them and us.  How often do we point out our differences when we should be pointing out our connections?

  • Math vs. and Science,
  • Faculty vs. and Admin,
  • Academic vs. and Co-Curricular,
  • Teacher vs. and Student, etc.

I believe we have more commonalities than differences.

Imagine what it might be like to be thus,
to dwell in the intersection…

It has me wondering what actions we might take to move closer to being thus.

If we want integrated studies with more learning-centered classrooms, what is the next step? If it is about learning rather than teaching, how do we learn? What actions do we take? How do we become…

Thus.


Thus – Strive to be one was originally posted on November 19, 2012.

#TEDTalkTuesday: community problem solving

How are we engaging learners in community-issues problem solving? This week’s TED talk celebrates our own.

Andrew Hennessy – Turning “Lost” Into “Found”

My school faced a problem: An unruly Lost and Found space filled with multiple examples of the same clothing, namely blue fleece cover-ups. My goal was to reinvent the process for labeling, sorting, storing and returning items that get left behind at my school. The solution involved applying a wear-proof QR code that contains critical information used to help reunite the lost item with the owner.  Teachers use a phone based QR app complete with automated parental notification to make the magic happen.

How might we continue to teach community problem solving? What if we teach and learn more about perseverance?

How might we help our learners choose and collaborate projects that they care about?  What if we join a team of learners to discover how the content of our discipline can be used in the process of finding, working on, and solving problems?