St. Philips Academy

10 Posts authored by: kallen
kallen

Did I meet you at ISTE?

Posted by kallen Jun 26, 2012

Hi,

 

It was lovely to meet you! I've attached the handouts and my display material here. We believe in sharing what we've learned so please feel free to reach out with any questions and I'll do my best to answer them. Over the course of this summer I'll add posts to this group to highlight some of the specific examples around reinforcing student and teacher preparedness for 21st Century Learning here. If you like, you can sigm up for email notifications to get those updates in your inbox.

 

Here's a post to get you started that focuses on how we worked to curb technology frustrations at our school:

http://community.thinkfinity.org/community/professionaldevelopment/blog/2012/06/11/curb-technology-frustrations

 

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Just looking for a display or handout I had at ISTE? I've attached them all here!

 

21 CLC Handout includes my direct contact information

Scope of Tech includes how we slowly introduced our main hardware and software tools to K-8 students in a way that allows them to reap the benefits while focusing on content

Math Standards is a mapping of engaging math lessons for each Common Core standard in K-8  that we use in traditional classrooms and help us reinforce 21st Century skills

ISTE Poster highlights the 4 skills we needed to most consciusly focus on in all our grade leveks to ensure our students are prepared to use a fully engaging, interactie environment

 

Enjoy the end of the conference and I look forward to talking to all of you more in the future!

kallen

Visit St. Philip's at ISTE!

Posted by kallen Jun 22, 2012

Hi,

 

Two staff members from St. Philip's will be presenting a Poster Session at ISTE! Come visit us Tuesday from 4-6pm at theSDCC Halls DE Lobby.

 

We'll be presenting Batteries Included: Lessons Learned in a Digital Age Classroom. We'll share with you the lessons we've learned using our 21st Century Learning Center the past two years and, more importantly, how we prepared our students to learn effectively in a state of the art 21st Century Environment.

 

21clc-panorama.jpg

Can't make it? Don't worry, I'll be posting pieces of the presentation here!

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At the beginning of the school year the technology team introduced a Lower School laptop cart. Our teachers could immediately identify ways they could use the laptops in class (in many instances thanks to resources from Thinkfinity!). However, some of our K-2 teachers were concerned about classroom management individually distributing, using and collecting the laptops. By the end of the year even our Kindergarten classes were reserving the cart on a regular basis. During our end of the year PD they happily reflected on how successful the process was and the headstart our first grade classes and higher will now have integrating the laptops going forward.

 

Here are some of the steps we took to comfortably empower the teachers:

  1. Ensured teachers could trust the technology to be reliable. We developed a clear reservation and delivery policy. In our case we used Google Calendars and created a different calendar for each type of resource. Teachers could book an appointment on the "Lower School Laptop" cart calendar. One person from our tech team was responsible for confirming the appointment and making sure the cart was in the correct room and fully functional at the correct time.
  2. Developed a straight-forward distribution and collection procedure. From the tech team perspective it was important the laptops be collected and returned correctly to ensure they could stay charged for the next class, make it easy to scan and see if there are any problems, there was a clear space near an outlet for the cart to be parked in the classroom, and the risk of any laptops being dropped or mistreated was minimal. From a teachers' perspective it was important the process was as seamless as possible to maximize instruction time and minimize distractions to themselves and disorganization for the students.
  3.  

              Each school's procedure might vary based on typical school norms, room set-up and the actual cart and laptops. We brainstormed how this would work considering each of those categories with two classroom teachers. We then modeled it during Back-to-School PD and created easy to follow instructions that we posted on the carts to remind teachers in the moment. We made sure the procedure and instructions were clear enough that assisting, or sometimes even leading, laptop distribution and collection could be a classroom responsibility for one of the students.

  4. Used Computer Science to the students procedure and operation. Our Computer Science teacher scheduled time during her periods with each class to work with the students in their classroom environment as opposed to the computer lab. She coordinated this with the teachers in advance to make sure they didn't need to use their rooms during this time. After the students were comfortable with: getting the laptops, turning them on, using a touchpad mouse, accessing the programs they needed, shutting the laptops down, and returning them to the cart; the students were ready to to use the laptops as part of their other classes.
  5. Differentiated teacher support for the initial roll-out. Teachers had different preferences when it came time to roll-out the laptops in their lessons. It was very important to approach  this with a customer-service oriented attitude. If the first one or two uses go well the teachers will keep using technology, if it does not go well or feels like a hassle  the teachers are less likely to keep using it.

          Some teachers chose to observe a laptop lesson with the Computer Science teacher and then requested a person from the Tech Team stay in the room for their first lesson integration in case of problems. Other teachers felt more comfortable working independently and a person from the Tech Team simply stayed in the room for the first 15 minutes of the first lesson. Other teachers needed more support and I worked with them to develop a couple of lesson plans and co-taught with them the first time and stayed on hand the next couple of lessons for moral support.

 

By the middle of the school year even our youngest students and most tentative teachers were laptop experts, making the technology a truly useful tool that could be brought into any kind of class. 

I had the privilege of acting as a school representative for the Thinkfinity in an interview with Rose Stuckey-Kirk, the President of the Verizon Foundation, on the Lifetime show "The Balancing Act". I was able to highlight a few of the many reasons we find Thinkfinity to be such a valuable resource at our school, especially for our teachers.

 

You can view the video here .

kallen

Technology Summit Part 2

Posted by kallen May 20, 2011

This is a duplicate post to include the second series of attachments.

 

We held a Technology Summit for area independent and private schools on May 13, 2011. The Summit included two sets of workshops and a panel discussion.

 

 

The panel was titled "Technology in Our Schools: Is the Tail Wagging the Dog?" . It featured:

Andy Berndt, Google, Vice-President of the Creative Lab
Al Browne, Verizon Foundation, Vice-President, Education and Technology of the Verizon Foundation and National Director of Thinkfinity
Dave Clune, Educational Records Bureau, President
Miguel Brito, St. Philip’s Academy, Head of School

and was moderated by Elisa M. Basnight, Esq., BIR & Founder of Girls Action Network, Inc


 

You can view a recording of the panel here.

 

 

The Workshops were split into two series. The first series was intended to provide guidance about building 21st Century Skills in the context of everyday classes. This included:

  • Developing Collaboration and Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Creating Socially Responsible Global Citizens
  • Encouraging Media Literacy through Content Development

 

The second series was about how to use technology in the classroom. This included:

  • Plotting a Technology Scope and Sequence for Early Education
  • Bring the Classroom Home by Creating a "No Excuse" Culture and Supporting Parents through Communication
  • Use Thinkfinity for Free Online Resources and Professional Development

 

With the exception of the Thinkfinity Workshop which was led by the trainer, Theresa Gibbon, all of our workshops were led by our faculty. The PowerPoints for the first series of workshops are attached to the preceding post. The second series of workshops are attached to this post. The Technology Scope and Sequence Workshop also included a template to help teachers craft their own Scope and Sequence and that is also attached.

 

I hope these materials are the start of an on-going collaboration and conversation with any interested technology integration specialists. Please leave a comment or question if it brings up any thoughts or ideas.

We held a Technology Summit for area independent and private schools on May 13, 2011. The Summit included two sets of workshops and a panel discussion.

 

The panel was titled "Technology in Our Schools: Is the Tail Wagging the Dog?" . It featured:

Andy Berndt, Google, Vice-President of the Creative Lab
Al Browne, Verizon Foundation, Vice-President, Education and Technology of the Verizon Foundation and National Director of Thinkfinity
Dave Clune, Educational Records Bureau, President
Miguel Brito, St. Philip’s Academy, Head of School

and was moderated by Elisa M. Basnight, Esq., BIR & Founder of Girls Action Network, Inc

 

You can view a recording of the panel here.

 

 

The Workshops were split into two series. The first series was intended to provide guidance about building 21st Century Skills in the context of everyday classes. This included:

  • Developing Collaboration and Conflict Resolution Skills
  • Creating Socially Responsible Global Citizens
  • Encouraging Media Literacy through Content Development

 

The second series was about how to use technology in the classroom. This included:

  • Plotting a Technology Scope and Sequence for Early Education
  • Bring the Classroom Home by Creating a "No Excuse" Culture and Supporting Parents through Communication
  • Use Thinkfinity for Free Online Resources and Professional Development

 

With the exception of the Thinkfinity Workshop which was led by the trainer, Theresa Gibbon, all of our workshops were led by our faculty. The PowerPoints for the first series of workshops are attached to this post. THe second series of workshops will be attached to the next post. The Technology Scope and Sequence Workshop also included a template to help teachers craft their own Scope and Sequence and that is also attached.

 

I hope these materials are the start of an on-going collaboration and conversation with any interested technology integration specialists. Please leave a comment or question if it brings up any thoughts or ideas.

As our school continues to embrace technology I want to make sure that parents feel included and involved. We might move at a different pace then our parent community and I don't want them to feel isolated from the work their children are doing in the classroom. One of the steps I've taken to include our parents was to host a 21st Century Workshop. I hosted the same workshop at multiple times in a two week period to make it as easy as possible for our parents to attend.

 

My goals were to:

  • Introduce the technology their children were using
  • Explain why that technology will enhance the effectiveness of class instruction
  • Let the parents see the technology in action to ease any fears that glitches would detract from instructional time
  • Troubleshoot any problems they might have with the online communications

 

I found that the parents could be divided into 3 groups:

  • No knowledge of technology and interested in how things worked and what they could/should do at home
  • Aware of the technology their kids are using and felt strongly technology integration was important to keep things relevant for our students, very interested in celllphone integration
  • Advanced understanding of technology in the business world, interested in why we chose to invest in the areas we have as opposed to other purchases

 

Overall it was a fantastic experience and I learned as much as I think the parents did. My hope is to host similar events throughout the year next year, tailored for each type of technology parent.

 

I've attached the PPT I used for the session with extra notes layered in for some context.

kallen

Cross-Grade Collaboration

Posted by kallen May 18, 2011

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As the school year draws to a close, I'm starting to outline how we can push our 21st Century Skill-building even further next year. We've focused on collaboration as a key skill within all our grades. However the more we talk about collaboration, the more I hear back from people how critical that skill is going to be in the future workforce. I'm committed that we will develop our students to be model collaborators, even in the more challenging circumstances.

 

One way we'll approach this is by identifying opportunities for our students to collaborate with others that are not of their peer group. I think finding opportunities for students different grades to collaborate with each other will help us create teachable moments around communication challenges and creating a final product when different specialists are working in a separate time and place.

 

Our 5th and 3rd grade teachers are in the process of organically piloting that model in preparation for our annual Science Spectacular Week. The third graders are performing a science-themed musical (which is incredibly exciting in it's own right!) and our 5th graders are building their set. The 3rd graders submitted a design, the 5th graders sketched out their ideas, which the 3rd graders then reviewed, and the 5th graders are now building!

 

In the future I think we can push this process farther by scaffolding the iterations and modes of communication between the two grades and encouraging them to self-reflect at each phase of the process. For example, the third graders can verbally communicate their ideas and the 5th graders can respond in writing. Then the 3rd graders will reflect on how close the 5th grade response was to their initial ideas. The 3rd graders can then respond in writing and the 5th graders can identify how close the two written pieces were, what areas they think they can improve on and what ideas they missed the first time. Then the 5th graders could respond with a sketch and present it to the 3rd graders (using screensharing software) and answer questions. The 5th graders could then have the 3rd graders "sign-off" on a final design and host a 3rd grade visit half-way through the building process. By the end each class will have experienced how modes of communication impact collaboration and how different ideas at different stages can make a project better.

 

I hope to host a school-wide curriculum overview during our June professional development to identify other opportunities in which grades can collaborate on projects throughout the school year. I think working in this way will be exciting for our students, help make some assignments feel more relevant and enhance their understanding of the importance of clear communication for effective collaboration.

kallen

The Wonderful World of Wikis

Posted by kallen Apr 1, 2011

I love simple tools that can have dynamic uses. We are finding wikis to be a great example of that.

 

While all of our teachers have blogs and use them in wonderful and creative ways. A blog tends to be a one-way conversation, owned by the teacher. Wikis are a great way to open the discussion so that it can be peer or student-led as well as document knowledge so that it can be referenced later on.

 

We've used wikis in a few different ways this year:

  • We have one class that rotates the role of "Class Scribe", the scribe takes notes during each class and posts them on the wiki. It is then other students' responsibilities to read the notes and suggest any changes where needed. The notes are an extremely helpful tool for review as well as building the concept and practice of metacognition. As a teacher, it's also a great place for the students to document and reference things they often forget such as log-in information and commonly used links.
  • Our Middle School Social Studies teacher is currently using a wiki in his class as a forum for reflection and discussion at the start and conclusion of each of his units. This is another helpful methid to promote metacognition as the class has documentation to demonstrate what they've learned. It also gives the students a fun, safe way to extend dialogue about concepts outside of class. Their essay questions are often connected to this dialogue so it is a helpful tool for review prior to their tests as well.
  • We have also begun using wikis as a tool for professional development. Our Math department is in the process of changing our math curriculim, and the new curriculim will be adopted by a few different grades each year. This is going to require a lot of extra support for our teachers as well as a lot of communication between each grade. They will use the wiki to:
    • document notes from professional development and school visits that might not be immediately relevant to some teachers this year, but will be down the road
    • share best practices
    • share methods of instruction between grades so that other teachers can use similar frameworks for review

 

I think wikis have been slower to take hold in our school, for a couple of reasons. Our teachers were already comfortable using blogs and it is another new (but easy!) interface to learn; they don't tend to be as aesthetically pleasing as blogs; and there was some confusion about what a wiki is due to the popularity of Wikipedia and WikiLeaks. However, the more examples of effective wikis I'm seeing in action, the more I'm becoming a fan! We know how important colaboration, communication and metacognition is going to be to our students and wikis provide an opportunity for those three skills to be exercised.

 

I'd love to see examples of wikis in action in other places, if anyone has examples to share.

I had the opportunity to be a fly on the wall for an amazing experience with our 5th graders yesterday. With the help of, O'ia-da International Inc, a group in Newark, we videoconferenced with a school in Ghana! ghana.jpg

Our experiences videoconferencing have all been positive, but some less engaging than others. I've wondered at times if Skype isn't a more effective learning tool as it tends to have more interaction between audience and speaker. This event however, truly showcased why videoconferencing is so uniquely special.

 

Our students first "met" with representatives from O'ia-da who gave them a little background and told them what to expect. O'ia-da then conferenced in the school from Ghana and helped our teachers and the teachers there moderate the rest of experience.

 

The teachers and students from the Ghanian school went out of their way to make this a special event. They had songs prepared and even taught our students a dance - at one point students from both schools were clapping and dancing together. Our students and the Ghanian students each prepared a list of historical facts about their cultures to share with each other. It's always interesting to hear what aspects of history are important from a child's perspective (and the Ghanian school children were very proud of Ghana's contribution to the chocolate industry, among other things).

 

My absolute favorite part was the Q&A. This was the learning that resonated. Students from my school had the opportunity to ask questions that were answered by at least two students in Ghana, providing a different perspective. Then the Ghanian students had a turn asking questions. The students we spoke with had a natural poetry in thier view of the world and attachment to nature that consistently came across in their explanations and favorite things. They also all had iPods and videogame consoles and find the heat in Ghana "very aggravating". The Ghanian kids were very interested to learn about our kids' favorite athletes and sports teams and there was a lot of excitement on both ends when they uncovered sport-alliances, or rivalries. After one of our kids named their favorite restaurant as "Red Lobster" a teacher from Ghana who lived in the US for a year immediately needed to know if Red Lobster still had chedder biscuits (which led to cheering affirmation from our kids) . Then when asked about birthday celebrations, one of my students shared that she felt her birthday went mostly ignored. The Ghanian school made sure to sing her their version of a birthday song before we said good-bye.

 

I've spent the past day savoring the warmth I felt during that session and chuckling over the commonalities. I know our students felt it too, some of them have specifically stopped me in the hall to thank me for coordinating it (and an umprompted "thank you" from a 5th grader means a lot). The 5th grade class happens to be studying Ghana as part of the Kingdom of Askum for history right now, and yes, this experience ties in nicely. More then that though, as they're approaching middle school and a very challenging, introspective period in thier lives, I strongly believe this experience will help them recognize how interconnected they are to others and that those connections can be celebrated.