Where does inspiration lie? Everywhere!

This is my attempt to pounce on and then shape the words I breathe.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm back!

I see a summertime pattern here--it has been a year since I had time, inclination, and inspiration to add a post. Today the inspiration came from Teacher Librarian making a final comment in a course she took on using Web 2.0. Her entire post is revealing, but this part helped me the most in thinking about the next year at FLC:

But I hadn’t made the leap of understanding that I did when I watched the Stephen Heppell video the other day. Listening to him discuss metacognition and how we can work with the twenty first century learner or we can choose to ignore that Google exists and continue to teach as we have for years. Putting Heppell’s ideas together with Lana saying how she teaches a few kids in each class to be organizers of the wiki (leaders and teachers), and Lisa saying how she wants to do cross curricular collab in secondary, and Lisa also wondering what would happen if she collaboratively planned a unit with her students using a wiki, created a big shift for me. I have known since my career began at a little alternative school in Vancouver, that teachers are not all knowing beings who share their knowledge with students, but that teachers are facilitators of student learning. But for teachers to collaborate with students to create new learnings had not occurred to me until yesterday.

Me either.

Franklin Learning Center has won a joint grant with another school to develop project-based real world learning in our classrooms steeped technology. Teachers now have MacBooks to create with and have been promised interactive white boards in the fall. As I think of the changes I need to make in my approach to the core curriculum and creative writing, I will try to incorporate student collaboration on the creation of each unit. I think this will help them learn more about what "the standards" are that we base our activities on and evaluate for. And it will help me learn how to take them beyond the standards.

Last year I researched Web 2.0, but this year I am REQUIRED to move forward. What a change! I am not in shock exactly, but am a little overwhelmed. The trainer facilitating our move forward into new territory, Mike Muir of Maine, reminds us to "eat one piece of the pie at a time," but we have to show progress in this direction.

My new questions are: How confusing will it be for students to hear about this initiative differently in each of their classes, to continue doing traditional work toward the standards along with some innovations? Will they be as patient with our individual learning curves as we try to be with theirs?

2 comments:

  1. Susan,

    It's great working with a reflective teacher!

    Your questions are good ones. My experience with doing this work tells me that kids today are used to dealing with complex information and will do just fine hearing about the initiative in different ways.

    I think this is especially true if you invite them to be co-travelers on your journey. Let them know about the grant and how all the teachers are working to learn these new techniques. Ask them to be patient while you try new things with the promise of making learning more engaging and interesting. And be sure to show them how to be successful with projects, since many of your students already know how to be successful in school and may be anxious about new experiences.

    Mike

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  2. Susan,

    Have you followed any of the work of Paul Allison from the New York Writing Project? His experience might be helpful to you this year as you embark on a very exciting journey.

    Mardys

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