Category Archives: Education

You Can Only Grow as Big as Your Container

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Our ability to think and work creatively is heavily influenced by our workplace….the size of the container. District size doesn’t matter. What matters is group norms and culture. We can’t always control that in our work environments, but we can expand our container by connecting with expansive thinkers.

Intentionally choosing expansive thinkers as thought partners has been the defining element in my professional life. One way I’ve expanded my container is through work with a global team of educators. We only know what we know, and if we limit ourselves to our own district, we are often just reaffirming what we already think. Our global team was asked to keynote at the recent Global Education Conference.

How big is your container? Mine is as big as the world.

 

What is Your #1 Reason for Becoming a Connected Educator?

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I can only grow as large as my container. 

What’s your #1 reason for becoming a Connected Educator?

It’s Connected Educator Month, CEM, Check out the schedule!

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Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) and WorldVuze

Hangout with Julia Colburn

So, a random twitter story….

A year or so ago, I saw something come across twitter asking a specific question about Global Education. I responded and soon found myself on a Skype call with some excited, young entrepreneurs at a Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) event in Canada. One of them was Julia Coburn. They were developing a platform to connect students and teachers in a way I hadn’t seen before.  Today Julia  and I met on Google Hangout to discuss the pilot and subsequent launch of their project: WorldVuze.

It combines global student inquiry, survey data, multiple perspectives, written responses, and data filtering to provide snapshots of ideas, perspectives and much more…all around the globe.

About WorldVuze

WorldVuze is an online education platform where students from elementary to secondary school can share and explore multiple perspectives on any question with other students around the world.

For every question asked, student perspectives can be clustered geographically and compared within and between places – city to city, region to region, country to country.

How it can be used
Their vision is that students locally and globally will gain a deeper understanding of their world and feel more invested in their learning by sharing and exploring multiple perspectives with each other.

As a teacher you can:

  • Immediately connect your students to perspectives of other students around the world
  • Ask questions related to your curriculum on behalf of your class to a global community of students
  • Access real, first-hand perspectives that your students can use for research projects, class discussions, statistical analysis, and more!
  • Understand how your students communicate, think, and interact in a global community

The Pilot

The pilot will be taking place starting January 2014 with over 25 schools, both secondary and elementary, from over 10 countries: Tanzania, Nepal, Paraguay, Mexico, United States, Canada, Malaysia, Kosovo, Switzerland, Sweden, and England.

Follow them on twitter @worldvuze They have cool things coming up!

WorldVuze Home Page

Connected Educator Month Book Club

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October is Connected Educator Month! The CE Book Club is a great way to get involved. This video by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach will give you everything you need to know about how to participate and connect to other educators.

Connected Educators Month. Is your district on board?

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13 more days! Is your district ready to take advantage of this opportunity?

It is difficult to have connected educators without connected districts.  The CEM District Toolkit is filled with everything a district needs to become connected and to support professional learning on every level, no matter where they are on the connectedness spectrum. It is easy to use…embedded with videos and suggestions.

“The Connected Educators initiative’s mission is to help educators thrive in a connected world. Such environments are envisioned in the 2010 National Educational Technology Plan and are soon to become the norm due to efforts such as ConnectED. Connected Educators pursues this mission through seeking to understand and promote educators learning and collaborating through online communities of practice and social networks.”

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Don’t miss out. Jump in!

Do Not Open Until 2018!

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I came across a secret note in my classroom desk  from a student. She must have hidden it there at some point.  It was the typical style note you see in 5th grade, folded, stapled shut and written in red pen.  On the front it said:

Do Not Open Until May 2018!

Well, I did what any self-respecting adult would do; I opened it immediately. It had one simple line: Dear Mrs. Roman. Thank you. You have truly changed my life.  This got me thinking. Don’t we all change the lives of everyone we encounter? I can look back at seemingly insignificant interactions with people who totally changed the course of my life, sometimes in just a few words. “You’ll never go back to college. Once someone quits, they don’t go back,” from someone I only saw once when I was 19 years old in a group of us eating pizza at Joe’s Italian Foods in South Pasadena. I had quit school at St. Thomas University in St. Paul and moved to Los Angeles, every parent’s nightmare. Another time I recall was in a train station leaving on a trip with my then three-year-old daughter.  I was gripping her tiny hand and we were scurrying along in my usual hurried way when an older, gray-haired woman came up to me and kindly said, “That is an awfully quick pace for those little legs,” as she looked down and smiled at my daughter. As I sat on the 8-hour train ride, my anger at her rudeness in a matter that was none of her business melted away as I sat looking out the window at the blur of passing phone poles.

Scanning through interactions with people in my life that I can recall, some positive, some negative, most neutral, and surely millions gone from memory forever, I get the feeling that each one of those exchanges had the potential to impact my life or someone else’s in some way. Is it really important that we recognize each interaction that affects us or each time we have affected people we encounter? There are thousands of times this kind of thing happens in our weaving in and out of each other’s lives. Was it crucial that the guy in Joe’s know that he angered me enough to propel me back into college? And was it important that the woman in the train station realize that her comment pushed me to shift my way of being in the world in such a way that the quality of not only my life, but also the lives of my children, was significantly improved?

It would be nice to know those things, but in most cases we wont. That thought sure makes me see the every day in a different light.

dear

 

Reposted from a year ago.

10 Year Old Talent..amazing.

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I’ve taught 5th grade…10-11 year olds…for many years. It is amazing the talent there is in such young kids. You have to hear this. Akira, yes…and she’s 10.

Stay, sung and played by  AkiraSky

 

How to Change Education-From the Ground Up.

Great words by Sir Ken Robinson yet again.  He describes what most teachers know: effective change happens from the inside-out…or in his words “from the ground up.” The more we try to control education from the top down, the less we understand that education is about people and individuals. If we don’t fully embrace that, the farther we get from what we all want for our kids. We all have the same goal.

PBL and the 21st Century Competencies

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PBL for the 21st Century Success: Teaching Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication and Creativity, looks like another wonderful edition to the Project-based Learning books published through the non-profit Buck Institute for Education (BIE).  Suzy Boss, lead author, and John Larmer, Editor-in-Chief  of BIE, summarized the book in their June 5th webinar. Although it was written for middle and high school, as 5th grade teacher, I think it would work for upper elementary as well. I’ll give a few highlights here, but it is really worth a closer look.

  • Focuses on integrating and explicitly teaching the 21st century competencies, the 4Cs: critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication
  • There are chapters that focus on each of the 4Cs that provide:
    • Example projects
    • Classroom ‘Look fors’ that we should be seeing over time to demonstrate learning
    • Infographics that deliberately explain how the Cs can be integrated in every aspect of the project
    • Rubrics to assess the Cs at all of the four stages of the project

In addition, you will find:

  • Research highlights throughout
  • Non-fiction emphasis
  • Alignment with the Common Core and explanations
  • Reflection prompts
  • Tech tips to help support the development of the 4Cs

You will find the webinar archived here.

The book, as well as their introductory PBL books,  can be purchased here.

You can find all of their webinars:

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Some Advice for Teachers…from some wise 5th graders

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Before my 5th graders move on to middle school, they’ve shared some of their expertise in their Advice Columns. Here are some tips for teachers.

  1. What I want in a good teacher is one that is nice, but isn’t totally lame and just lets you do whatever so you don’t learn anything.
  2.  I want a teacher that will still teach you so much and have a good time while doing it.
  3. You need to be funny.
  4. Make sure everyone is in a group and no one is left out.
  5. Try to collaborate with another class/school on a project.
  6. If there is a natural disaster, don’t freak out. Instead try to help out and start a fundraiser with your students.
  7. Be the kindest you can be.
  8. Don’t assume what a kid might say and ask, but listen to them.
  9. Try to help the world.
  10. Get kids involved.  Try to do as many projects as you can.
  11. Get attached to your students. Make them feel welcome and happy to be in your class.
  12. Try KidBlog. It is a safe and easy way to blog with other kids on a kid safe website where you can track your kids’ writing.
  13. Don’t always be so serious.
  14. Trust me, I learned all this the hard way. I started the year by asking my teacher everything, instead of just doing what I need to do. She sure changed that. If you still can’t take charge of your own life by middle school the only thing I have to tell you is: good luck.
  15. I want a teacher that can take charge when they need to. But not a teacher that yells at you all the time just because she wants to.
  16. Make sure that you wear cute outfits all of the time.  It not only makes you look better, but I think helps.
  17. Be a good combo of stern, nice, taking control, and teaching. I think that is the best kind of teacher to be like.
  18. When you have a sub, assign (within reason) fun things to do! DO not assign a boring thing just because a sub is there. It is like when I babysit. If I am boring or if their mom tells me to do boring stuff, then you have a big job to make it fun, but you will pull it off!
  19. It is not right to think that you know what is right for your students. The kids probably know what is good for them. I think you should know that the students know what is in their mind.
  20. Encouragement is one thing and Toughness is something else. I think that you should encourage the kids to think.
  21. Let us figure out things on our own so we get more responsible.
  22. Have a little fun with us.
  23. Do a lot of global projects.
  24. Think outside of the box when you are teaching.
  25. Look for a fun way to teach things.
  26. If you are a nice teacher who reprimands when needed and has fun with teaching and is fun to kids when you teach, then you are golden.