My list of blogging ideas is getting so long! It’s been so busy with work, that I have found little time to blog about all the things I want to. Instead, I’ve been trying to keep a list.
The first thing I’d like to catch up on is our district Engaging the Digital Learner Dinner Series. I talked about it a bit here, but didn’t talk about our speakers.
The night started out with some inspiring presentations from teachers from our own district. They described some of the amazing things they are doing in their own schools. We have such talent in our district and so many inspiring, out-of-the box things happening here, it was nice to be able to hear about them first hand.
After dinner, we had, Dean Shareski (@shareski on Twitter) speak with us. He was engaging, funny, thought-provoking, and also gave us a number of ideas we could try the next day! Before I talk about the great ideas he shared, I wanted to touch on something that really struck me.
Dean discussed how the Learning Outcomes for Language Arts in British Columbia are divided into six areas, which could, in turn, be separated into 2 areas: those that focused on consumption and those that focused on creation. As you look at this list, think about what we focus on as educators. What do we spend the most/least amount of time on?
I support Dean’s view when he said that in most classrooms, the 6 areas of the Language Arts curriculum, probably looks more like this (where we focus very little on viewing and representing in our classrooms):
So how can we, as educators and leaders in education, swing the pendulum so that we focus more on viewing and representing? We spend so much time on Reading and Writing, but what about the other areas? In the world we live in today, in the future that are students will be living in, more emphasis needs to be on creation and less on consumption.
Dean talked about the importance of sharing stories about LEARNING where students work is showcased. Real kids + real learning = Inspirational. We are doing this at our school through our Success Blog where we document what is happening at school during the week – showing photos, video and audio of students’ learning. This is a work in progress, but it is a start.
Tips from Dean
Some activities Dean talked about to help support and encourage creation, rather than consumption include:
Have students take photos.
Dean had us look at the photos on our mobile devises. We were looking for photos to fill in the blank with photos that would work:
What does _________ look like? (fill in the blank with: learning, beauty, wonder, serenity).
There were some powerful photos that individuals had taken that fit those descriptors. What an interesting activity!
6 Word Stories
Find an image and tell a 6 word story about it. This would be great to do in just about any unit of study/novel study/book study, etc… one could think of. I made a 6 Word Story when a teacher and I went to a day long in-service for the Innovative Learning Designs Teams at or District Education Centre. I took a photo of everyone working really hard on their inquiry questions. I made this 6 word story on the iPad using the app, Explain Everything.
Dean asked an important question:
How are you and your students using images to tell your story?
The Beauty of a Second
Dean showed us this video he made using 1-second video clips. It is a story of a day in his house. Take a look:
I was so intrigued, I had to do one as well. This is a video of my daughter and I going out for dinner one night last week – just the two of us (you can see how her two brothers felt about it at the beginning of the video). It was fun to create and it really tells the story of our dinner together – something that I’m sure we will return to and watch regularly.
Give yourself and your students a constraint and become a better story-teller. Try some 6 word stories and some 1-second video compilations!
Wouldn’t these be a fun projects for students to do?
It’s All About Sharing!
Dean talked about the importance of sharing. Sharing is key. I believe in this greatly! We can learn so much from one another, but we have to share in order to do this. How are you sharing what is happening in your school? How are you sharing your own learning?
As Chris Lehmann says,
“It is no longer enough to do powerful work if no one sees it.”
It is okay if things are not perfect, actually it’s encouraged – just get your work, ideas, and learning out there. Engage in the conversation of learning. Learning isn’t about being “finished” – it’s about LEARNING. It’s ALL about learning!
Finally, I wanted to share a video that Dean shared. It is a video that I have seen before, but one that always touches me. It is such an important video because it is about sharing and the importance of sharing. So many people I know don’t share because they feel they have nothing of value to share. They feel they aren’t as good as others who are sharing. I am always telling them otherwise. We have so much to learn from one another. How can we do that if we do not share?
So, please share with other. Allow others to learn from you.
Try new projects with your students. Look at how you can have your students represent their learning in different ways. Look at how you can encourage more creating and less consumption.
Some other resources Dean talked about:
Locate the visual inspiration you need. Free to use on your website/blog: (http://compfight.com/).
This is a wonderful example of a school blog that documents learning and all that happens in and around the school.
Tim Lauer is the principal of the Lewis Elementary (above). He documents what happens at the school every day with one photo. How powerful that must be for his student and their families! (http://timlauer.org/)
Boredshorts – Hilarious examples of conversations of young children being acted out by adults.
Dean recommended a couple of books by Clay Sherky.