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Category Archives: Lifelong Learning

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

 

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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?

 

Google in the Classroom: Tasks, Tracking and Grading

Photo via Blue Diamond Gallery

I usually don’t share as many GSuite resources at one time, but they all had a similar theme!

There are many great ways to create tasks, track progress and offer viable assessments with these resources.

 

Got How? You Also Need to Know Your Why

In May of this year, I wrote about The Elusive Why: Yours and Theirs, and today I continue this stream of thought with looking at the HOW but really to need to KNOW YOUR WHY. Whether this wny is personal or professional there are some important pieces that we need in place in order to find our “calling”, our “passion” or the reason why we get up in the morning every day.

Just taking time throughout the week to look at the upcoming personal/professional activities is important. Yet, having some sort of growth plan will allow for these weekly overviews to connect and make sense with your BIG goals. With this “big picture” plan of personal/professional life in place, we can begin to make incremental changes in our daily habits and routines, and our life will start to change. If you haven’t read Stephen Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, definitely check it out!

As well, watch Michael Jr’s short video clip on this topic. It’s a video definitely worth showing your colleagues, family, friends and even students.

Now it’s my time to work on my annual Teacher Professional Growth Plan. As per my teacher organization (Alberta Teacher’s Association), “developing the plan is a professional function through which teachers demonstrate their commitment to lifelong professional learning while fulfilling their regulatory requirement pertaining to continuing education. The key components of developing the plan found in the policy governing growth plans states a teacher’s annual growth plan shall:

  • Reflect goals and objectives based on an assessment of learning needs by the individual teacher
  • Show a demonstrable relationship to the Teaching Quality Standard
  • Take into consideration the educational plans for the school, school board and Alberta Education”

I hope this inspired some conversation on your part!

 

Undivided Attention: BioBreak PD

Nowadays we are bombarded with a variety of messages, information, and resources that are made available through social media, email, word of mouth, video, TV, posters and promotional gadgets. How do organizations and specifically educational teams get these types of messages, information and resources in front of teachers?

Yes, through the exact ways that were mentioned above! YET, in this world where even 7 seconds is precious, I want to leave teachers thinking about a specific resource or idea.

Over the summer my Twitter PLN used #bathroom PD which gave me a great idea to provide learning during bio breaks. No, I didn’t want to invest in fancy frames like Boston Pizza and I wanted to stay away from actual washroom stalls. However, I do know that washing and drying hands do take a minute or two so I’ve asked each school site to put up the edTech Focus inSTALLment posters in this area.

Each coloured poster is slipped into a plastic sheet protector and is put up for a specific two-week period.

Follow this blog so you can see the embargoed posters.

 

 

Jump Into THIS Reading List

I.Love.To.Read.

My reading tastes vary and I usually have 3-4 books going on at the same time while also reading various blogs and magazine articles. I find that I always pull out interesting gems of information and/or experiences from the literature that I read.

I read both print and digital. No preferences there. Yes, I like to highlight/write down and can do it in either medium. For audio, I stick mainly to podcasts but there may be an audiobook out there that I will find that I like, so far, nothing yet.

Esquire has a list of 80 books of which some are now on my list to read.

Other reading review list sites are GoodReads, Booklist Online, Chapters Indigo New & Hot and the NY Times Best Sellers.

Do you have any favorites that you have read over the year that you would like to share?

 

Habits: Make ’em Small in order to get Big Results

Habits.

We all have them.

Some are good habits and others we need to let go if we want to move forward professionally and/or personally. If you are interested in habit formation and performance improvement then take 52 minutes and watch and take notes on this video. The speaker, James Clear, shares his work and other research that is relatable for any field of work or personal paths. This particular video was taped during Snaps, a leadership conference that unites key influencers from across the basketball world for a weekend of inspiration, leadership development and relationship-building.

While watching, think about some of the goals and habits your currently have. And write down any great triggers to change or move you forward as you listen to James.

If you are wanting to show this to staff and/or students (I’m in education), my suggestion would be to break down the three parts of the video. Show them on three different days so that staff/students have time to process but not too far apart that they don’t recall the information.

If you are working with colleagues in another sector, figure out what is best to have each part of the video work for your situation. If you have weekly meetings, then you could use each part of this video over three weeks. Or if it is during a work retreat, add more time in between the parts of the video so that staff can write down and do the suggested work.

  • Introduction (0:00-7:19) and Why do some habits stick and others fail? (7:19-22:03)

Ask staff/students to watch the introduction and write down any key thoughts. Stop the video at 7:19 and Think, Pair, Share. If time have some pair share with the whole group. Or those thoughts could be put onto Post-it Notes and stuck on a wall.

Watch part I which is 15 minutes long, again with some note-taking. Write down some systems thinking and goals in your current work, any triggers, list all the things you do (complete the Trigger TChart Exercise) and add a new habit. Share any thoughts with a partner and/or small group.

  • How do I know what to change? (22:03-37:10)

Watch part II, a 15 minute section of the video. List any of your distractions, try the Closing Open Loops exercise. Download and fill in the Eisenhower Box. Share some of your top information in each of the quadrant with a partner, small group.

  • How do I get started and take action? (37:10 – 52:44)

Watch part II, the last 15 minutes. Write down a pre-commitment statement or set up something in your calendar. Statements like ” During next week, I will partake in ___(date)___, ___(time) or any visual cues you might use. And if this topic is of more interest to you, download James’ Transform Your Habits: The Science of How to Stick to Good Habits and Break Bad Ones document.