Mission Accomplished

Cohort 7, we’ve made it. Like the original Apollo astronauts, we started full of enthusiasm, though not exactly knowing where we were heading or how it would turn out. https://giphy.com/embed/vooluv4uvvi8g via GIPHY OUR JOURNEY Course 1 had us consider our network and reach out to each other to help it grow. We learned about responsible use of technology and social media in Course 2. Then Course 3 brought us both Zen and CRAAP Design Principles. And we SAMR’d our lessons and considered the what, why, and how of our profession in Course 4. And here we are tying a bow … Continue reading Mission Accomplished

Back on Board

I was so excited for Course 5. I had the opportunity to teach a brand new class at our school. One loosely based on the Math Studies curriculum, but that allowed for more flexibility with use of blogging, reflecting, spreadsheets, collaborative and project-based assessment. My first unit all UbDesigned and planned. All set and ready for my final CoETAIL project. And then one kid signed up. One. It was enough to make me… https://giphy.com/embed/10tIjpzIu8fe0 via GIPHY …or at least give up. Give up on CoETAIL. ūüė¶ I have to give credit to my network for picking me up A personal … Continue reading Back on Board

Many Hands Make Light Work

I travelled again to Iceland this past week with a group of 21 kids. Without a doubt it was the best trip I’ve yet had. Though I’m sure the fantastic weather and Northern Lights had a lot to do with the kids’ great attitudes, I couldn’t be prouder of their determination, focus, passion, and compassion. They smiled through all the hard work and asked for more of it as they widened and improved trails, shovelled and moved gravel and rocks, built a willow garden and turf wall, dug out ditches to improve drainage, trimmed willow bushes in campsites and turned … Continue reading Many Hands Make Light Work

What Problems Do You Want To Solve?

As a little girl, my parents and teachers used to ask¬†me “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Oddly enough, it was a paralyzing question. If everything is possible, how do you choose?¬†How can you even choose¬†what, when you don’t even know¬†why? “What Problems Do You Want to Solve?” Refugees. Clean Water. Literacy. Poverty. Climate Change. Clean Energy. Trash in the Oceans. Air Pollution. Housing. Bees. War. Parking. Transportation. Depression. Cancer. Nutrition. Diabetes. Bullying. Etc. Etc. Etc. What if, instead of asking kids what they want to be, we started asking them what problems they want to … Continue reading What Problems Do You Want To Solve?

Power to your People

People are your school. People are the system. People make things happen. — George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset Just as each leaf, each branch, each root and piece of bark¬†contributes to the beauty of this tree, so does each member contribute to making a school what it is.¬†Great schools not only draw out the best from their people, but celebrate their talents and encourage growth. Schools are¬†full of teacher-experts: experts in their fields, experts in pedagogy, experts in collaboration or organization, even experts in some activity or hobby. Here are some thoughts as to how you can¬†nurture those … Continue reading Power to your People

We need to think differently

Problem Based Learning. Project Based Learning. Challenge Based Learning. I’m having an existential crisis. Questioning everything I do. Am I and my fellow math teachers¬†still relevant? //embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js This week’s readings got my head spinning and sent me¬†on a mad web-searching frenzy. Who cares about rational functions? What even are rational functions? What is the purpose of education?¬†What are they doing in Finland? Why do we still divide schools¬†into subjects and departments?¬† We need to think differently. That’s the message I take away from this week’s readings. We. Not just me. We. Here’s what I know: I talk too much. I … Continue reading We need to think differently

90% Theft or Collaboration?

Some say¬†that¬†teaching is 90% theft and 10% ingenuity. Theft. What a dreadful way to describe what we do. I’m sure you’ve used someone else’s material or ideas, probably lots of times, but don’t let anyone call you a thief. You are not this bunny. //giphy.com/embed/VSiNfsl8VIRIk via GIPHY You are a networker, a collaborator, a sharer.¬†I prefer¬†to think of teaching as a craft that requires¬†learning together, reaching out to others, borrowing great ideas, tweaking them and giving back. No one can work in a vacuum. We all need each other to succeed in this business of teaching. And people need you. … Continue reading 90% Theft or Collaboration?

Final Project: Quadratics Unit

As I near the end of course 1, I’m considering¬†how I can get my students to collaborate more, to draw on each others’ strengths, to mess around with technology, and to figure things out for themselves.¬†My Grade 9 extended math class is currently learning quadratics, and this unit seemed as good as any for injecting new life and new experiences. Obviously, the kids need some content and skills. They will have to learn how to simplify square roots, solve quadratic equations, and graph quadratic functions. Much of the unit will be flipped with students watching short videos at home to … Continue reading Final Project: Quadratics Unit

Tweak your focus

A few weeks ago I wrote about the connected networks of trees in this blog-post. It was the¬†first of many a-ha! moments in the few short weeks of my COETAIL journey.¬†My latest a-ha! moment came while¬†reading¬†Collaborative Learning for the Digital Age¬†by¬†Cathy N. Davidson, professor of interdisciplinary studies at Duke University. In it she talks about her own reaction to the invisible gorilla experiment, in which viewers are asked to count how many times people in white shirts pass the basketball to each other. Because Dr. Davidson¬†knew she wouldn’t be able to focus on the assigned task, she decided to just … Continue reading Tweak your focus