Deep Learning, Digitally

The Power of Yet

“On the path to discovering your shortcomings, don’t forget the YET.”

-author unknown

When I think about where my teaching falls in terms of  Deep Learning, Digitally, I think I am on my way there. I am definitely not there yet. When I read the other posts from the COETAILers in this cohort, sometimes I feel like I could be doing so much more. But then I remind myself that I shouldn’t be comparing myself to someone else because we all have our own learning journeys and experiences that have led us to where we are.

Just because I am not where I want to be yet, doesn’t mean I won’t get there. I teach the concept of the “Power of Yet” to my students at the beginning of the year. I want them to know that it is okay not to be able to do things yet. We all have room to grow. We all have things we cannot do yet. This isn’t only true for students; it is true for all of us.

So when I was feeling like I am not yet where I want to be with Deep Learning, Digitally, I had to remind myself that this is okay. Then I took some more time to see where other people were in their learning journey and got some great ideas!

Inspiration from others

After reading Cindy’s post for Week 3, I got the idea to redesign an upcoming Math unit using some of her ideas. I am new to grade 4 this year as well as my teaching partner. We use the Everyday Math series. This year I feel like we are both just trying to figure out the curriculum and stay afloat. So far we haven’t done much to make the Math units tech-rich. We pretty much follow the textbook and use the resources that come with the series. I want to do more though! I know I have students who need to be challenged more than the textbook offers.

In an effort to work towards teaching with Deep Learning in mind, I created this Math Unit with lots of inspiration from Cindy’s week 3 blog post while keeping Michael Fullan’s description of Deep Learning Tasks in mind.

Deep learning tasks are energised by the notion of ‘learning leadership’, in which students are expected to become leaders of their own learning, able to define and pursue their own learning goals using the resources, tools, and connections that digital access enables.

-Michael Fullan (A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning )

Redesigning a math unit for Deep Learning, Digitally

I decided to re-think an upcoming Math unit on Multdigit Multiplication for this task. As I said before, Math is pretty much taught from the Everyday Math series. Students have Math Journals where they complete math worksheets, participate in Math games (that come with the series), and practice skills on IXl and Khan Academy. There really isn’t much deep learning happening yet.

Most of my students go to after-school math tutors or academies. Students perform very well on the MAP test from Math. Fifteen out of twenty-one of my students perform above average (blue) on the MAP Test. This means these students need to be challenged.

I’ve found a few ways to do this. I’ve added their individual scores to Khan Academy so they get more individualized plans and found some real-world math application problems on Yummy Math. However, I know I could be more effective in my approach to differentiating instruction for the students. For example, not all of my students need to be doing all of the Everyday Math Journal Worksheets; especially if they can show they know how to do those skills already. I’d rather give them more authentic choices in their learning experience.

Overview of Redesigned Math Unit

Math Unit 4 Multidigit Multiplication

I designed my unit using a slide deck from Slidesgo that fit perfectly for Math. I used slides so that my students could access all of the standards, resources, and activities in one place. Then I started by looking at what standards were addressed in Unit 4 and the end of unit Math Assessment we use that fits with the Math series. After that, I thought about how I would go about teaching this unit.

I really like how Cindy explained that she front-loads the unit with mini-lessons that teach students the concepts and does an example with them. We use Math Notebooks so I will use those to build a resource with students that they can use throughout the unit. In the notebook, they will keep examples for each standard as a reference tool that will be provided to them in the first week of instruction.

Students will self-assess after each mini-lesson to determine if they are green: I can do this on my own and explain how to do this, yellow: I can do this on my own, or red: I can do this if I get help or look at an example. If time allows after the lessons, students can work on the optional activities that align with each standard (slides 16-18).

After the week of mini-lessons, students will work more independently to master the skills and demonstrate an understanding of the content standards or to challenge themselves using more inquiry-based type questions from Freckle. This will be done through a Multidigit Multiplication Placemat.

Multidigit Multiplication-Independent Practice Placemat

As students work through different problems, they will check in with me to see if they have shown their understanding or not. If not, they will continue to practice that standard through the day to day activities.

In addition to the Multidigit Multiplication Placemat problems, students will choose a mini-workshop to attend with me. I will offer these throughout the second week of the unit. The focus will be to support students who need help (based on their math homework) and to introduce the Math Challenge problems from Freckle for more advanced learners.

During week 2 of the unit, students will either be working to prove their understanding of the standards using the daily learning activities, placemat or challenging themselves using one of the Freckle real-world application problems.

When the unit ends, students will take a post-assessment. For now, I have the Everyday Math Assessment. However, I would also like to re-vamp this into something more authentic and meaningful. I haven’t gotten that far yet!

Final Thoughts

Although I realize this unit plan has room to grow, I think it is a good start in the right direction of getting students to learn deeply using technology. Many of the resources I provide for students wouldn’t be possible without technology.   And although it is only one unit out of the 8 we teach in Math, it is a start. We all start somewhere and this is my beginning to transforming learning in my classroom. And that’s the power of yet!

 

Deep Learning

There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.

Margaret Wheatley

Loving on Children

One of the things that my school really cares about is that all children feel loved. We don’t just talk about it, but we truly stand by this through our actions and words. The children come first.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Our principal reinforces, “Do what is best for the children.” Whether that means trying something new in the classroom, purchasing a new learning tool, allowing a student to carry around a stuffed animal, if it is good for the students, she is supportive. 

Our school cares about individuals, families, and relationships. Because of this, we are able to make changes on the outside as well as within our school community. One example of this is through the implementation of Conscious Discipline. Last year, our principal introduced Conscious Discipline to our elementary teachers.  This approach to social and emotional learning has a strong foundation in safety,  connection, and problem-solving. This was something she felt passionate about, and she wanted to learn alongside the teachers to implement the practices of Conscious Discipline in our school.

Don’t change individuals, change groups. 

Michael Fullan

We have now spent over a year learning about Conscious Discipline. We’ve moved from learning about it to teaching our students how to use the foundational skills in their own lives. Slowly we are starting to see changes. We see changes in the way students communicate with each other, how they work together to solve a problem, and how they care for each other and the world. This is the perfect example of what Fullan says, “if you want to change the group, use the group to change the group.” Change doesn’t happen quickly, but when people work together the work continues on. It doesn’t stop when the principal for example that taught us about Conscious Discipline leaves. We will continue to LOVE ON ALL CHILDREN because this is what the group (the school) stands for.

When children feel loved, safe, and connected, they can learn. They can also collaborate and communicate more effectively, which will lead to deeper learning.

Fostering Learning Partnerships

Another way my school fosters deep learning is through community service. Early on, children are shown what it means to be change agents and to care about the community and the world around them. We do this by getting students involved in helping humanity. For example, our 5th graders are leading a fundraiser for Movember to raise awareness about cancer; especially those affected in Vietnam. The school is also launching a whole school community service project this year that will transform a local community center for the local people. Parents, teachers, and students will be involved in this work. These are just a few examples of how my school truly demonstrates character education, citizenship, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.

In my classroom, I work to develop relationships with my students from day one. I believe I am a partner in their learning. I want them to feel supported, safe to make mistakes, and listened to. I want the learning experience in my classroom to feel like an equal partnership with me. To me this means:

  1. Students and teachers work together to make students’ learning a contribution to their community.
  2. Students work actively with problems, ideas, materials, and people as they learn skills and content.

In working to achieve these goals, I learn alongside my students. At the same time, students take more responsibility for their learning, while learning how to become more independent, self-regulating learners.

Key Ideas from the Resources

My take-aways from this week’s learning on deep learning boils down to using the 6 C’s.

 

Frameworks for Learning

Simply adding technology to K-12 technology integration environments does not improve learning. What matters is how it is used to develop knowledge and skills.

-Zucker and Light, 2009

Technology Frameworks

Successful technology integration requires students to have access to a variety of tools that match the task at hand and provides students the opportunity to build a deeper understanding of content. Successful technology integration can accelerate student learning in a way that was once unimaginable. To transform student learning it is important to merge technology with content to create an enriched lesson or unit plan. Most importantly, don’t teach technology as a separate class. 

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Technology is just one piece of the puzzle.

When planning for technology integration and examining our practices as educators, we must keep in mind how and why we are using technology to enhance student learning. The technology frameworks: Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition Model (SAMR Model), Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge framework (TPACK), and Technology Integration Model (TIM) can all be helpful models in guiding teachers towards using purposeful technology in our classrooms. Let’s take a closer look at the key components of each model!

Comparing Technology Frameworks

         SAMR                           TIM                    TPACK
Picking the right strategy for the lesson on hand

How can educators engage and empower students through technology?

Focus is on levels of use of educational technology (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition)

Makes learning engaging

Offers pedagogical choices available to a teacher in designing a technology-infused lesson

Illustrates how technology can enhance learning

Focuses on planning, describing, and evaluating technology integration

Five interdependent characteristics of meaningful learning environments: active, constructive, goal-directed, authentic, and collaborative 

Five levels of technology integration (entry, adoption, adaptation, infusion, and transformation)

Merge technology with content to create the perfect lesson, don’t teach technology as a separate class

All about knowledge (technological, pedagogical, and content)

Makes learning more effective

Pedagogy and content are most important.

Solid teaching strategies and solid content knowledge drive instruction and tech components enhance learning.

Practices in my classroom

In my current classroom, we have 1-1 Chromebooks. My students use a computer almost every day to enhance their learning. If I were using the SAMR Model, I’d say I swim between Augmentation and Modification. One of my goals is to swim a bit deeper over to the Redefinition tier.

One way I am going to push myself to do that this week is by connecting with individuals in different areas around the world who have survived extreme weather events like tsunamis or earthquakes. My students are researching extreme weather events and one area of their research is to read first-hand experiences. I know several people who have survived some of these extreme weather events and I thought it would enhance student learning to talk to some of these people about their experiences.

Last week, students collaborated amongst their extreme weather research groups to create a quick presentation (one day to put it together) that would teach their classmates about their reading topics. First, I taught them the CARP Design Principles, then I showed them an example presentation that I designed on droughts. After that, the students used my template to create their own slides.

Using Google Slides, the students were able to collaborate and I was able to offer feedback using the comment feature. Learning for all students was enhanced. The visuals and words in the slides were especially helpful for the audience especially because they are all English Language Learners. Originally, this was met to be a quick activity as students will continue to research a second weather event. However, I wanted to deepen students’ understanding of their topics by teaching each other. By putting together a presentation I was also able to teach students the CARP Design Principles as well as presentation skills.

Takeaways

For each model, there are different components that I find helpful. The SAMR Model by Ruben Puentedura makes it easy to think about the role of technology in supporting learning. It is helpful in identifying where a learning activity falls on the SAMR Model. 

Retrieved from : https://hookertech.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/samr-pool.jpg

The TIM Framework offers different approaches to integrating technology. The matrix framework of this model makes planning for technology integration easier because there are lots of videos and lessons for teachers. Seeing examples that fit into each cell on the matrix helps teachers see what each cell looks like in action. I find the website really helpful!

Photo Taken from: https://fcit.usf.edu/matrix/the-invisible-technology-integration-matrix/

Lastly, the TPACK Model focuses on technological, pedagogical, and content. At its core, solid teaching strategies and solid content knowledge drive instruction, and tech components enhance learning.

image ©2012 by tpack.org

After examing each model closely, I like the Technology Integration Matrix the best. I find it to be “user friendly” and the example lessons and videos help me generate ideas easier. Currently, my school does not use any of these technology integration frameworks. However, I am thinking it could be something that we start discussing. This year for the first time we have a S.T.E.M. teacher for elementary (who was once a COETAILer ). Hopefully, this is just the beginning of technology integration at our school and the development of our program will continue to grow.

Course 3 Final Project: Tackling Nonfiction Texts Bootcamp

Overview of Our Unit Plan

 

Tackling Nonfiction Texts Bootcamp Unit Outline

Reflection

For my collaborative project, I worked with Holly and Erika at the Anglo-American School of Moscow. I am a 4th-grade teacher at Concordia International School Hanoi and Erika and Holly teach 2nd and 3rd-grade students.

We decided to do a “Tackling Nonfiction Texts” Bootcamp because I am currently teaching a nonfiction unit, “Reading the Weather, Reading the World,” written by Lucy Calkins and her colleagues at Teachers College.

We planned a unit where the 4th-grade students could take their learning and knowledge of nonfiction texts to help support the learning process of 2nd and 3rd-grade learners who will be studying a nonfiction unit after us.

An example of a Text Structure example that was identified by a 4th-grade student and uploaded to Padlet.

The process of creating this unit plan with Erika and Holly gave us the opportunity to brainstorm ideas together, communicate in an effective, timely manner, and refine our unit plan by combining our ideas.

Our group worked well together because we all took part in creating the plan and we were all flexible about the topic and activities. I got the template for our unit going and Erika and Holly were able to fill in the gaps and create resources like the Infographic Lesson Outline. 

By creating a project with two educators in Russia, I was able to see that making global connections and working with others is not that difficult. Using Google Docs makes the collaborative process quite easy. Erika and I were even able to work on the unit plan at the same time while using the chat feature to ask each other clarifying questions as we developed the unit.

Developing this unit, allowed me to explore tools that I haven’t been using this year that I would like to utilize more often such as Padlet and Flipgrid. These two tools make global collaborations quite easy as well. This unit plan also allowed me to use what I learned about visual literacy in teaching my students good design principles.

Connections to Course 3 Learning

In this unit outline, we kept the learning from Course 3 in mind as we planned. We knew we wanted the students to create something visual as the final product. This seemed to be one of the big learning outcomes of Course 3. By having students create a visual aid that would support 2nd and 3rd-grade learners, we were able to teach students the CARP Design Principles that would help them produce effective visual aids.

We also wanted our students to collaborate as we did in creating this unit plan together. Students will collaborate through experiences such as a Text Features Scavenger hunt using padlet. The 4th graders will get continuous feedback throughout the process by using the comments on Padlet to improve their designs.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Students Outcomes

Our hope is that all students become better nonfiction readers because of this collaborative learning project. In addition, our hope is that students will learn how to globally collaborate with someone using tools such as Flipgrid and Padlet and use feedback to improve their designs.

Students will be able to demonstrate their learning of these concepts through their responses on the padlet exercises as well as their final responses using Flipgrid. The responses and feedback that students leave for one another will show the students’ ability to communicate effectively. We will also be able to use the final infographic visual as a way to assess students’ understanding of the CARP Design Principles that are taught in this unit plan.

Standards

3 (Knowledge Constructor) Students critically curate a variety of resources using digital tools to construct knowledge, produce creative artifacts and make meaningful learning experiences for themselves and others

    • 3a Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits
    • 3c Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.

6 (Creative Communicator) Students communicate clearly and express themselves creatively for a variety of purposes using the platforms, tools, styles, formats and digital media appropriate to their goals.

    • 6a Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
    • 6b Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
    • 6c Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.
    • 6d Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.

7 (Global Collaborator) Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.

      • 7a Students use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.