Saturday, October 1, 2016

The 3 Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

If you haven’t been keeping up with The Innovative Educator, don’t worry. That’s what this wrap up is for.  Here are the three hottest posts that you don’t want to miss!

Taking the top spot for the first time is 6 Skills Students Today Must Develop. It includes some terrific tools to ensure these are the 21st century skills your students develop and provides a useful framework for implementing this work and having conversations about what students need for success today.  

After that is a post where I share ways that Books (and videos too!) Can Help Us Talk abt #BlackLivesMatter. The post has useful ideas such as inviting your students to help determine which books and videos should be available for class and school libraries.

Rounding out the top is The Biggest Barrier to Real Learning. Want to find out what it is? Then check it out.

If any of these posts are of interest, check em out and share with others using the buttons below on Twitter, Facebook, email or whichever platform you like best.

Sep 28, 2016, 1 comment
Sep 25, 2016, 3 comments
Sep 14, 2016, 2 comments

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

6 Skills Students Today Must Develop

You know the drill.  Our job as innovative educators is to prepare students for success in the 21st century, but what does that really mean? The 21st Century Learning Design rubric provides a great lens to help you see if you are ensuring students are developing the skills they’ll need for success when they move on to college and careers.
Here are the six skills:
Are students required to share responsibility and make substantive decisions with other people? Is their work interdependent?
Knowledge construction
Are students required to construct and apply knowledge? Is that knowledge interdisciplinary?
Is the learning activity long-term? Do students plan and assess their own work, and revise their work based on feedback?
Real-world problem-solving and innovation
Does the learning activity require solving authentic, real-world problems? Are students’ solutions implemented in the real world?
Use of information & communications tech for learning
Are students passive consumers of ICT, active users, or designers of an ICT product for an authentic audience?
Skilled communication
Are students required to communicate their own ideas regarding a concept or issue? Must their communication be supported with evidence and designed with a particular audience in mind?
What is great about this framework is it gives you tools for looking at each skill.  

These include the following:
  • Overview
  • Key questions
  • Rubric
  • Flowchart

Here is a flavor of what some of the components look like.

This provides an overview of definitions of key concepts and related examples.  

Key questions
Consider if you are fostering the skill by asking yourself important questions. Here is what this looks like when considering collaboration:

The rubric helps you assign each learning activity a number from 1 to 4, according to how strongly it offers opportunities to develop a given skill. Here is an example for real world problem-solving and innovation.
Flow Chart
There is a flow chart to help you think about where you fall on the rubric.  Here is what that looks like for self regulation.
So what do you think? Are these skills you are fostering in your classroom?  Does this give you a useful framework to think about it?  What do you like? What might you use in your work? You can check out the whole framework here.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Books Can Help Us Talk abt #BlackLivesMatter

I have black friends and colleagues disappointed with their non-black friends because they are not speaking up about why #BlackLivesMatter. Some of my white friends say this topic is out of their comfort zone. They are embarrassed by what is going on and don't know how to speak up because it is a touchy subject and they fear sounding, offensive, stupid, or being attacked. As a result they are silent, and when fear gets in the way of conversation, there are no winners.

As a white educator who has worked in Harlem since the 90s and lived here since 2001, the topic certainly hits close to home. I was the young Jewish girl came who came to teach at a school in Central Harlem, not as an idealistic young white TFAer but rather as one who worked my way through college to earn my masters degree to end up exactly where I wanted to be: in a school full of excited kids who I knew I knew little about and who in return knew little about me. We all had a lot to learn.

This is the story of how schools in general, and libraries in particular, can play a role in being a part of the solution.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

3 of The Hottest Posts Everyone's Reading

Have you been keeping up with The Innovative Educator? If not, that’s okay.  Here are the three hottest posts that you don’t want to miss!

Taking the top spot for the first time is The Biggest Barrier to Real LearningWant to find out what it is? Read the post.

Next up is a post that tells you how to become The Genius Hunter In Your Classroom

Rounding out the top is a great post for teachers to share with parents as back-to-school nights are on the horizon. It provides ideas for ways to grow learning and strengthen relationships with a #DeviceFreeDinner all week long.

If any of these posts are of interest, check em out and share with others using the buttons below on Twitter, Facebook, email or whichever platform you like best.

Sep 14, 2016, 1 comment
Sep 11, 2016, 4 comments
Sep 4, 2016, 1 comment

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

How and When to Teach Children to Type

Kids today are practically born with technology in their hands, but when should teachers and parents help those hands graduate from tapping, dragging, and swiping to home row and touch typing? Keyboarding skills are great to have because they save time and increase efficiency. What’s more, typing can be fun!  It’s like a game.
The time teach children to touch type is whenever they ask to learn. Watching others who have the ability to touch type seems almost magical and serves as a great way to motivate them to take interest themselves.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Can a Good Writer Be Bad at Diagramming Sentences?

I still remember standing at the chalkboard in Mrs. Kopald's fourth grade class diagramming a sentence. I had no idea what I was writing or why. I drew a straight line and all these branches and just wrote stuff on them. I didn't know what I was really doing and still don't know a past participle from a gerund or direct object. 

I felt similarly about iambic pentameter  in high school which looked like this:
 ×  / ×   /   ×  /      /  ×    ×   / (×)
To be or not to be, | that is the question
These were the types of activities that turned me off from writing for so many years. Can I really write if I don't know parts of speech or rules of grammar? Can I really rap (yeah, I did that in high school) if I don't know iambic pentameter.  

It's kinda like when that teacher tells you that you need to understand quadratic equations to be a good athlete in sports like baseball, or basketball, or for me, volleyball, but then you find out, really you don't.  
Quadratic Equation
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