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Category Archives: Lifelong Learning

What’s Your Type?

Adobe just released this great interactive survey for people to find out their Creative Type. The 15 question survey assesses your overall habits and tendencies (how you think, act and see the world) and hones in to help you better understand your creative side.

We know that personality types are not just in one category or another, yet I see this survey a great one for teams or even students to get a better understanding of their creative potential as an individual (and if you do it and share with team, how it can used in that instance).

Here’s my Creative Type according to the survey:

Thoughts:

  • the strengths and potential section are bang on
  • I like the middle column where it further explains my Adventurer Type (in work).
  • I’ll be asking my work colleagues to complete it to see where their Creative Types land. It will be interesting to see if there is an Artist amongst us and do I already collaborate closely with them?
  • Read more about the scientific study of the creative process and the creative personality via the Adobe Create Magazine April edition.

Go ahead, I dare you to take 10 minutes (or less) to complete your Creative Type survey.

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Finding Meaningful Connections with Each Other

In a 24/7 world, thanks to technology, we need to remind ourselves that we all have a lot in common. We just do not notice it. In the classroom or on a school staff, take time to develop relationships. Add it to scheduled meetings, events, activities, lessons, etc. There are a number of protocols and frameworks available and I will list some of my favorites below. Check out TV Danemark and how they created meaningful connections (bring a tissue).

 

  • Student Perspective from LearnAlberta Inclusive Ed Library is filled with Interest Inventories and Surveys for the classroom but could be easily adapted for adults. From this information, appeal to their interests and use it throughout lessons, morning greetings, etc. These items can be templated online in a Google Doc or via a Google Form. A class shared Google Slide with one slide per student can also share interests and thoughts for the whole class to check out.
  • Say HELLO and GOODBYE to every student every day – this is the simplest yet most important personal connection teachers can make. Watch how a Kansas teacher does secret handshakes:

  • Let students inside your world – tell stories about your own family sprinkled throughout lessons and conversations. This makes teachers more relatable and accessible. Create a bulletin board, share photos add to the class blog or newsletter, whatever you are comfortable with.
  • Use critical thinking frameworks like Inquiry-pacs, Tools for Thought, Critical Challenges, Picture Setys, History Docs, etc. from The Critical Thinking Consortium to have students involved in the thinking, learning, discussion, not just the teacher.
  • Guide students with TRUST. Discuss what it means to be trustworthy, how we earn trust and how we can break it. Chart this out, review it, create posters. It is a powerful word. For instance, if a student has acted inappropriately on the playground, a teacher can say “I trusted you to act kindly on the playground and you broke that trust” and then work with the student in regaining that trust from their classmates.
  • Kagan Structures also provide great protocols. Take a read about using them for Emotional Intelligence and another regarding Silly Sports and Goofy Games.
  • Check out Huddle’s blog about the four main types of building activities – Communication, Problem Solving, Adaptability and Trust – and the activity write-ups. You will surely find one or two for you.

Robert J. Marzano has written widely that “the most powerful message from the research is that relationships are a matter of student perception” and really that “it’s what teachers DO that dictates how students perceive those relationships”.

And, don’t forget your colleagues! Create relationship building moments throughout the year, take a brain break and visit, share family or class stories. Join the #ObserveMe movement where you invite people into your classroom.

 

Learning Today in a 24/7 Connected World

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Photo Credit: Kellie M. Simpson Flickr via Compfight cc

Like a traditional board game, learning has moments where all the experiences connect into some genuine learning wins while other times it seems like there are not enough resources and/or supports (like board pieces) in place to be successful. This post reflects on the many discussions, resources, and ideas that Will Richardson, renowned blogger, author, and outspoken educational advocate,  shared during his two keynotes at the BlendED Alberta 2018 Symposium in Edmonton. 

Whether in an Outreach program, learning centre, distance learning program or classroom, teachers are using the online environment to expand and extend learning opportunities, building flexibility to student learning.  The blendED Symposium is designed to share emerging practices while providing opportunities for networking with sessions that will inspire and provoke delegates to think outside the traditional learning environment.

With today’s society changing at a rapid pace in all aspects of work, life, and general society, what are schools doing to prepare students?

An important question to ask ourselves is: what is PRODUCTIVE learning?

How do we set up a learning environment that is relevant, active, engaging and supports the needs of all our students?

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What is your belief? How does your school or even school division support this work?

Another book to put on your professional reading list is Harari’s 21 Lessons for the 21st Century is a collection of essays, many of which build on articles for the New York Times, Bloomberg and elsewhere. This book follows a similar use of evolutionary psychology as self-help as his previous two books. The world is a scary, fast-changing place, so it’s no surprise our primitive brains struggle to navigate through it. We simply haven’t evolved to cope with automated checkouts and emailing after 7pm. Harari points out that humans are endlessly creative and sometimes we solve problems by changing the question rather than answering it. Hence, the large role that lifelong learning plays in each of us!

What are the contexts and conditions for this to occur?

Teacher answers around the world:                What people never say:     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For further reading, check out Timeless Learning a book written by an award-winning team of leaders, Chief Technology Officer Ira Socol, Superintendent Pam Moran, and Lab Schools Principal Chad Ratliff who demonstrate how you can implement innovative practices that have shown remarkable success.

 

How do we come up with the skills to address an algorithm-driven online existence?

In Alberta, some jurisdictions are already using gradeless report cards. Our own school division uses achievement indicators in grades 1-9 as seen HERE. Joe Bower, a former central Alberta teacher, shared the many ways he went gradeless in his classroom. His blog continues to be a great “go-to” for teachers to reflect on his experiences as well as update some of their own assessment practices.

Modern Learning

Some things to ponder:

  • What is learning?
  • What is “blended” learning?
  • What is our mission? Why “blended”?
  • Are we doing blended learning or blended teaching?
  • What is the most important role of the teacher in blended environments?
  • Do we have full empathy for the student experience in blended environments?
  • Are we co-constructing curriculum with students?
  • What opportunities are we creating for students to fulfill their greatest potentials?
  • How are we a model for blended learning?
  • Is our practice in “perpetual beta”?

Compare those questions with those directly from Richardson’s 10 Principles for Schools of Modern Learning. What do you think about being in “perpetual beta”? Is this a comfortable way to learn for teachers and students? How can we introduce this concept in the classroom? It certainly points to showing that nothing (like learning) is ever finished, rather knowledge is a constant conversation in the modern world. Have a peek into Peter Senge’s Schools that Learn (revised and updated) book.

What is the best way to provide a framework for students to show that productive learning is worthwhile?

Let’s make a move from Genius Hour and change it to Genius Learning; from Tinkerlab to tinkering our learning anytime/anywhere. We need to continue our professional conversations and provide the most inviting learning environments as possible. I look forward to seeing the influence that the new concept-based curriculum has in not only the K-4 classrooms in Alberta and also the upper grades as new curriculum rollouts will be seen over the next few years.

So, while we all like playing a “game”, it’s really not the games themselves that improve learning, but rather smart game design and its impact on the brain. Teachers and administrators want to provide students with modern productive and engaging learning activities.

 

 

Lead Yourself – Leadercast 2018

Leadercast Live focuses on the leadership issues most relevant to today’s leader. It is a pairing of inspiring messages and rich interaction with fellow leaders who are being intentional about raising their standard of leadership, through a creative, energetic and memorable experience. My school division hosts this annually in our Centre for Education Board room.

It is an exciting time bringing together various PSD employees, vendors, students and community members. I enjoy the excitement energy and thoughtfulness that the day brings. I also like coordinating my hosting efforts by setting up an elaborate theme for the day! I have a fantastic and creative Administrative Assistant that is just so phenomenal. We not only want the speakers to be the focus but also the environment.

Our group was joined with more than 100,000 leaders for the largest one­-day leadership event in the world this past Friday, May 4th!

This year, the Leadercast Live stage featured leaders who explained the power and importance of leading yourself first so you can lead others well. I posed three main questions of reflection at the start of the day for participants:

  • What does it look like to lead yourself?
  • How can you intentionally develop your own leadership skills and style?
  • What qualities do you hope to embody as a leader?

We also had fun with the Lead Yourself and the May 4th Be With You theme. Some of us dressed up as Star Wars characters, all of the food and drink items were labeled with Star Wars references. Leadership books were on display. The tables had the itinerary and lightsabers. The food tables had huge Star Wars LEGO models as well as Leadercast Speaker quotes. This year we had a wonderful set of sponsors – Cisco Canada and Compugen Inc.

Check out the visual summaries (sketchnotes) created by @jgough on each of the Leadercast Live 2018 speakers:

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I also added to the Speaker lineup a few special guests to make the day a little more personalized. We used our Webex platform to videoconference in the following:

  • our own infamous MCHS Choir to sing Oh Canada to start off the day
  • Willa Black, VP of Corporate Affairs for Cisco Canada that spoke about the Connected North program during the morning break
  • 5 Prescott students on how they are leaders in their environments during the lunch break

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Overall, Leadercast Live always sends me away with many gems and takeaways. Definitely, a day that I look forward to in experiencing with colleagues and one that I don’t mind taking all the extra time beforehand in setting up and coordinating.

 

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Get Techy w/Cultures

Social Studies teachers will really like these resources! From some amazing interactives to the unbelievable photography, students will be able to compare, communicate and reveal more about the world around them.

  • Dollar Street is a Gapminder project with a visual framework for understanding different standards of living within and between countries. Today they feature more than 264 homes in 50 countries. In total, they have more than 30 000 photos, and counting! Dollar Street sorts the homes by income to see how people really live. A great way to make comparisons between cultures. Watch the TEDtalk.

  • If It Were My Home 

    Use the country comparison tool to compare living conditions in your own country to those of another. You can also use the visualization tool to help understand the impact of a disaster. The Pakistan Flood and BP Oil Spill are currently featured.

 

Don’t be Wasteful!

In Alberta, students in grade four study Waste and Our World where they look at their local, national and international environments and see how they can make a difference in being eco-friendly.

There are a variety of resources available for this unit for teachers and students to interact with. What I’d like to point out is how teachers can structure this unit so that students not only consume the pertinent information but that they also have time to collaborate and then create/demonstrate their learning.

Background information

The village of Kamikatsu in Japan has taken their commitment to sustainability to a new level. While the rest of the country has a recycling rate of around 20 percent, Kamikatsu surpasses its neighbors with a staggering 80 percent. After becoming aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide associated with burning garbage, the town instated the Zero Waste Declaration with the goal of being completely waste-free by 2020.

Possible Tasks

  • 7 Day Household Waste Challenge and then make a copy of this Google Form to tally the results. How can your home, classroom or school become a Zero Waste environment like Kamikatsu? Post your findings and ideas in an online environment to get feedback from other experts and/or classrooms around the world.
  • Make A Difference Presentation template – create a Zero Waste proposal for your teacher, your Principal, the Superintendent, the Mayor or even a local community store. Post this to a classroom blog or other online environment.
  • Videoconference with various Waste Management experts, other schools who have or close to Zero Waste
  • Waste and Our World Action Plan
  • Waste Reduction Challenge

 

 

The Power of Yet

First grade reading - small group breakoutPhoto: Flickr by woodleywonderworks

As a fan of Carol Dweck, especially her research and books on Growth Mindset, I really enjoyed getting know who C.J. Luckey was via an e-newsletter. (Love his last name!) What a great experience to have a hip-hop artist and teacher (C.J.’s wife) combine their perspectives on growth mindsets and develop a down to earth musical extravaganza as way to reach students (and even teachers).

I had never heard of C.J., but to read about his experiences (see Mindset Works’ blog) just drew me in to his new E.P. entitled C.A.P.S. (Celebrating All Persevering Students).

The growth mindset has been a blessing to me. In many ways it has inspired me to change my perspective in life. The capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill, the willingness to learn is a choice. Learning is a choice I want to be intentional about making every day. 

~ C.J. Luckey

Using his gift of music, C.J. is teaching students some powerful growth mindset concepts in the learning environment. I especially like the simplicity of the message in the first song – The Power of Yet.

 

What do you think of C.J.’s message? How do you think students would react to this video? Do you think that they could come up with a multimedia message themselves (audio, video, poster, GSlide presentation, dance, meme, etc.) to share what they know about a growth mindset?