Friday, June 29, 2012

Project Proposal - Transparency and Reverse Teaching
Technology and Engineering Education - Gray New Gloucester Middle School

My district is changing to performance based assessment. Step 4 of the Classroom Design and Delivery Model we are using is:
4. Develop transparency so students can navigate their own learning

        • Identify desired learning
        • Create a system to allow students to chart progress through standards

I have already organized most of the Tech standards into units by grade level and have developed tasks or activities for many of the standards. I would like to present the standards and tasks for each unit  in two column charts and post the charts online for students to access.

For a system that allows students to chart progress through standards, I would like to use a system similar to the one demonstrated at the digital portfolio workshop where students make a copy of the desired learning chart and add links to their digitized work on the chart. Or I may have the students submit their evidence in an online form. I will have to learn more to set this up but the basic idea is that students will digitize their work and submit and store it electronically.

Reverse Teaching
I would like to have more how-to or informational videos for students available online with perhaps a short follow up quiz to check understanding of vocabulary, facts, steps, or procedures. I’m not sure if I will assign these as homework because some students don’t have the internet at home. However, having them available for students’ independent learning will free up time for project work and make it easier for absent students to make up work.

The videos will be posted in the same online venue as the unit charts. The choice of online site depends on a few things. I will have to check if Blogger is available at the school. I have a wikispaces site that seems to work well at the school so that is a possibility. The district is now using Google Apps but not all students had been assigned their accounts at the end of the school year and I don’t know the status of doing this school wide for the coming year.


I’ve attached a draft of my project proposal. I am actually going to use this plan, along with a letter, as a request to the administration and technology committee at my school to have the restrictions on Google Sites and Books removed from Google Apps. Luckily, I happen to be on the tech committee and think this might work. :) 
In short, my project goals are for students to become proficient in using Google Apps and create an electronic portfolio to showcase their learning. Students will share their work and ePortfolio with families, staff, and community at our Student Led Conferences.
This project will allow me to take what I already do with Google Apps and take it one step further. My classroom will become transparent by sharing our learning using our classroom website and, eventually, the student ePortfolios. My students, parents, school staff, and community will have access to our classroom activity anywhere, any time, any way. I sincerely hope (and believe) that my student ePortfolios will become the model for documentation of proficiency based learning at our school. 

A closer look at how I'll use reverse teaching and a transparent classroom can be seen here:

Project Proposal

Project Proposal
Grade Level
Sixth Grade

Subject Area(s)
Language Arts and Social Studies

Technology Overview
One of the concepts of this class that has really struck me is the idea that the use of technology must be taught as a skill, not merely being used specifically for one program/project/type. In line with this thinking most of my project proposal will be ways that I will integrate technology use in the classroom in broad terms. I will be utilizing many of the resources that I was introduced to at the technology institute in my classroom at the beginning of the school year.

Transparent Teaching

I want to begin the year by creating a class blog to demonstrate the transparent teaching aspect I’ve learned during this class. By maintaining a blog with videos and photos I hope to keep the parents informed by showing them what is happening in the classroom on a daily basis. I would like to experiment with creating tutorials and posting some of my lessons online to demonstrate both the transparent and reverse teaching aspects of the class.

I’d like to have the students contribute to the blog as well, discussing what is going on in their classes and responding to assignments. I think it would be valuable to have the students reflect on their lessons on a regular basis. What’s working? What’s not working? The instant feedback would be extremely helpful for me since I’m teaching in a new school this year.

I’ve really liked some of the ideas we talked about in class about having parents commenting on the blog as part of progress reports and project reflections. Ultimately, I’d like to the parents and students constantly interacting about what is going on in their classes.

I hope to utilize my class blog as another tool to show the administration what I’m doing in my classroom. It is another way to show how I’m assessing students and communicating with my parents.

I think that I will be opening my blog up to the school community after I have the blog established after a month or two. I think I will keep it limited to my school community.

I don’t think that I will be opening my blog up to this venue.

Reverse Teaching
I would like to assign the students watching lessons on the blog as homework. I’m curious to see how students and parents will respond to this flipped classroom. I’m also interested in how students might respond to tutorials/lesson explanations posted by other students. I don’t expect students to do this at the very beginning of the school year, but I think it would be another way to approach reverse teaching. I was also thinking about students having a place where they could just post questions and answers to each other. I would moderate, but I wouldn’t be involved in this piece. If the questions weren’t addressed on the blog, I would have the students discuss the answers or find the answers during the next class period. After having attended the workshop on OpenCourseWare, I was really intrigued by the online study groups that developed by themselves in places like Open Study. I’m curious about how sixth grade students would tackle similar problems if given the tools.
Project Plan(s) Proposals

Idea 1

Idea 1 will focus on helping the students learn the history and key ideas focusing on constellations and galaxy formation/motion.
How do I plan to implement transparency.
  • The students will do a number of activities to help model constellations and learn some of the common constellations.   Students will upload images from their constellation activities into their Final Product Blog (they will use eBogger - we have an Googles apps for all students).  Some examples would be:
    • 3-D Constellation
    • Constellation Cookies
    • Creative Skywheels.
  • The other major level would be the final products. The students will create a Glogster on their assigned constellation.  The Glosters they create will be linked on Moodle and on the Final Project Blog.
Access:  Students (classwide); Parents; Administration; final Glogsters will be featured on the class webpage (community & world)
Reverse Teaching
  • All content on constellations will be found on the web and viewed through podcasts and web based resources. I will provide in-class activities and group discussions to help reinforce the concepts.
  • In the past I have demoed all the tech programs.  I am planning on creating instructional tutorials (or find) on Glogster & eBlogger.  The students will learn how to use these resources through these tutorials and resources with time to practice and refine their techniques.

Idea 2

Idea 2 focuses on the learning key concepts associated with the moon, lunar travel and lunar history.  I plan to use Moonbase Alpha for this.
  • Students will post their progress on how successful they are with their missions through the blog.  They will use screenshots to help validate their posts.  The lesson plan questions will be answered here.
  • Students will create their final moonbases and reports using Glogster. They will build their moonbase using Google Sketchup. The links to the glogs will be looked to the class Moodle and their blog.
Access:  Students (classwide); Parents; Administration; final Glogsters will be featured on the class webpage (community & world)
Reverse Teaching
  • The students will learn how to play Moonbase Alpha through tutorials and the use of the instruction manual.
  • The students will learn how to use sketchup through the use of tutorials and guided activities.
  • The students will access information about the moon and moonbases through video tutorials, web resources and podcasts.

The CraveWright machine in action.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Our focus this week has been on Reverse Instruction and Transparent teaching.  Kelley has been modeling his classroom style.  I found this article which I thought presented the same idea in a more traditional classroom setting.  Thought I would share.  :)

Flip your classroom through reverse instruction by

One Size Will NEVER Fit All

Never in a million years did I think I'd be handling power tools, making robots, and designing a house at school. Actually, I never imagined myself using a chop saw ... ever. (Will come in handy this fall when we redo our floors!) 

This morning as Commissioner Bowen mentioned the schools that are a part of the Cohort for Customized Learning, it really put together some of the pieces that I hadn't yet heard from my school, which happens to be one of the districts included. This fall I will be piloting a vertical team and teaching Language Arts and Social Studies to a mixed classroom of seventh and eighth graders. (Maybe even some bright sixth grade kids who, at their own pace, become proficient at the standards they're working on.) I'm not skeptical of the idea, in fact I'm more than excited. Although I know that in any given classroom you've got 25 kids at all different levels, the intentions of the vertical team at my school is to bring that number to maybe 25 kids at four or five similar levels. Still, am I supposed to cut myself into five different pieces to teach five different levels in one fifty minute class? Teaching eighth grade (and I'm crossing my fingers for seventh!), as we mentioned in class, they're a little more independent. Or, they can become so through modeling, practice, and good management.

Here's where I can take a number of the things we've learned about reverse and transparent teaching this week into consideration. Posting videos for kids to watch at home or in their study hall (which falls at the end of the day - perfect!) demonstrating skills, instructions or even lectures as they return the following day ready to do more hands on, interactive activities. Allowing students to teach one another when they've finished or are advanced at something (on my four point rubric, being able to teach someone else that skill earns you a four - going from proficient to exceeds). Using Edmodo and Google Docs to create a classroom where students, parents, and even other (reluctant to use technology - maybe I can convince them!) teachers can interact, stay in contact, and explore what we're doing.

School, really, is the only place where we base everything upon age. In my work, do I work with people my age? Maybe a few, but most are quite older. Is this model really preparing kids for their future? Instead of being the traditional teacher who stands in front of the room and everyone faces foward, listens, and takes notes, I'd rather be the guide, challenging my students in real life situations which I know they'll face some day. Why waste their time (and my own) teaching the things they already know? Instead, we'll take pre-assessments, find out where our kids are at, regroup them based on "levels," and finally allow them to become proficient (or even master) certain skills. One size doesn't fit all. It never will.

I was really pleased to learn about some things this week that I can actually take with me and use in my own classroom. The workshops I took were relevant to what I actually do as a teacher. This is what we need to do for kids, too. Make learning important, relevant, and realistic. 

Carvewright technology was the subject of today's strand.  We watched a video tutorial that showed us how to use the carvewright machine and software and we were heavily supported by two over achieving 8th graders from Somerset Valley Middle School.  This project also springboarded us into the use of orbital sanders, compound miter saws and routers.  We just scratched the surface in terms of what the software is capable of and we learned some of the limitations of the machine.  Font is critical  when dealing with softwood projects, i.e. pine, spruce, cedar.  Understanding spacially what the picture/font will look like and will the routering and cutting effect the final product?

Very engaging, great job Keith!!
I used a chop saw for the first time today! This workshop has included a lot of new experiences for me. I didn't really think that I would be capable of using power tools mostly due to my clumsy nature. It has been a very empowering experience. I've stepped outside of my comfort zone this week, and in the process I've found that I'm capable of more than I realized. I'm including a before and after picture of my sign.

I had a great time learning about SketchUp.  I think the coolest aspect about learning how to use this tool was in the way we did it - Self discovery.  I typically deliver content using podcasts but I often show the kids how to use a "tool" like this.  Learning how to do this on your own was really helpful and I think important for the kids to undertsand.  They are so used to the "teacher" telling them what to do.  NEATO
 I like the hands on creative piece of lego robotics. Problem solving and critical thinking are key components to the robotics curriculum.  Students learn to work together effectively and are encouraged to support each others efforts.
CarveWright tutorials link

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 2 - Wheel’s Keep a Roll’n

Day 2 - Wheel’s keep a roll’n

Today we examined the reverse teaching approach using the topic Kelley uses with his 6th grade students.  We were responsible in creating (in a short time) real skateboards.  Normally his students are responsible for learning how to use all the tools required in the manufacturing of these boards. The students study the user manuals, watch podcasts, take quizzes, and eventually earn the right to start working on the skateboards.  We were able to bypass this step and work on these under Kelley’s guidance. We then through all the fabrication and assembly steps that the students would.  We were lucky to have several former students with us today to guide us through the process. They were a great help.  After painting, and adding important little details such as wheels we could try them out.  Cool. This was a great hands-on way to integrate English, art, math, and PE into a project the kids care about.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Afternoon Session 2 - Day 1 - Transparent Classroom

Went over how I use internet (blogs and google docs) to create transparent classroom

Afternoon Session - Day 1 - Variables

Learned about Analog vs Digital and how Variables can be taught by Programing Robots and using Scratch software

Strand Meeting - Day 1 - Hands on Activity

Did a hands on activity and learned how to take create a transparent classroom using blog. Learned how to use Reverse teaching techniques by seeing how other students can help, allowed to create and make mistakes