Leslie Gale's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Standard 10 Meta-Reflection: Technology March 16, 2013

Becoming more familiar with the National Educational Technology Standards has probably been the most relevant piece of technology information I have learned in our EDTC 6433 class. The ISTE NETS for teachers (NETS-T) and students (NETS-S) provide a defined framework through which I can effectively address the necessary technology standards for myself and my students. Consideration of these standards as well as developing goals for both my students and myself is becoming an integral part of my curriculum planning.

One of our first tasks in EDTC 6433 was to complete a survey evaluating technology integration as it is currently practiced in our classrooms. Through this survey I was able to recognize that I was fairly strong in the NETS-T #4, Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility. Specifically, I am confident that I can address the diverse needs of my kindergarten students by “using learner-centered strategies providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools and resources” (ISTE NETS Survey for Students and Teachers, 2011). Students routinely access a variety of digital tools on a rotating basis to engage in and accomplish tasks such as calendar time, MimioSprout™ Early Reading Individualized Instruction, LWSD technology use student survey, and guided technology exploration with their buddy class.

The technology integration survey also indicated to me that I could do more to strengthen my skills in NETS-T #2, Develop and Design Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments. My technology goal was related to NETS-T #2-a,” …promote student motivation, learning and creativity through relevant learning experiences using digital tools and other technology” (ISTE NETS Survey for Students and Teachers, 2011). I decided that I would like to design more authentic learning experiences that provide motivation for students as they use technology to create and present evidence of their learning. I would also like for them to be responsible for and take ownership of the management of their projects. These goals align with NETS-T #2 (referenced above) and NETS-S #1, “My students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology”. I wanted students to be able to log on to their student accounts with little or no assistance as well as create, save, and later retrieve word documents that show some creativity and familiarity with sight words using font size, style, and/or color variations. In the Artifacts section below I have included links to a written description as well as a PowerPoint presentation that outlines how I integrated this technology in my classroom.

As I continue to critically examine technology integration in my classroom, I feel better equipped to identify areas where I can improve my practice and more effectively provide students with technology experiences that will enhance their learning. I am also more aware of ways that I can use technology to further develop methods of communication to students, families, colleagues and the community at large. Along these lines, I am thinking that my next venture into improving technology integration in my classroom will involve providing a variety of communication forums to students and parents such as Haiku discussion pages and a comprehensive class webpage. I also plan to expand students’ exposure to and use of technology tools that allow them to present their learning in a variety of ways, such as PowerPoint, as well as tools that enhance my own instructional presentations such as Glogster and the use of Voicethread.  So much technology and so little time!

Finally, as a result of this class I am better equipped to search for and evaluate curriculum that supports the technology NETS. One such find is a technology curriculum by Kali Delamagente (2011) that provides a comprehensive scope and sequence for kindergarten technology as well as links each learning experience to one or more relevant NETS. Another useful resource is Jacqui Murray’s article and lesson for kindergartners titled “How to Teach Digital Citizenship in Kindergarten” (2012). This blog entry contains a lesson and links that support NETS-t number 4: “Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility:  Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices.” (ISTE, 2012) Effectively crafting and evaluating technology curriculum is a particularly useful skills for educators as it perpetually enhances learning, teaching, and collaboration within the educational community.

Artifacts:

Tech Integration Write-Up

Tech Integration PPT

Resources

Delamagente, Kali. “Kindergarten Technology: 32 Lessons Every Kindergartner Can Accomplish.” Scribd. Structured Learning, 2011. Web. 10 Feb. 2013. <http://www.scribd.com/doc/16535675/Kindergarten-Technology-32-Lessons-Every-Kindergartner-Can-Accomplish&gt;.

ISTE NETS Survey for Students and Teachers. (2011, September 22). In Haiku Class Overview and Documents. Retrieved January 7, 2013, from https://lms.lwsd.org/rsnyder/edtc6433/cms_file/show/6949138.docx?t=1357161828

The International Society for Technology in Education . (2012). NETS. In ISTE. Retrieved August 12, 2013, from https://www.iste.org/standards

Murray, J. (2012, October 4). How to teach digital citizenship in kindergarten. In Ask a teacher anything. Retrieved June 30, 2013, from http://askatechteacher.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/how-to-teach-digital-citizenship-in-kindergarten/

Advertisements
 

Standards 6 and 7 Meta-Reflection: Communication and Collaboration June 2, 2012

As I reflect back on this course I notice that much of my most meaningful learning is related to improving collaboration with my colleagues and the school community and communicating the fruits of these collaborations with others in the profession.

Effective collaboration is not possible without sincere trust and transparency amongst educators within a system. Hirsh. & Hord (2010) state that trust and transparency foster a sense of mutual accountability by teachers to all students in a school, rather than just focusing solely on one’s own class for one year. One specific example of fostering a trusting relationship with other educators is establishing a lesson study group to explore a research question. This job embedded learning involves inviting peer teachers to observe teaching techniques and strategies, evaluate the student learning, and give and receive feedback. (Zepeda, 2012) In order for this to be an effective agent for increased teacher learning, educators must take the risk of opening up their classroom doors and letting their colleagues in. Sharing our collective expertise as well as accepting and honoring feedback are powerful tools we can utilize as we work towards school reform and increased student learning.

As a teacher in Texas during the 2006-2007 school year I participated in a lesson study group that included teachers across all grade levels. We focused our study on a series of 4th grade lessons that addressed the genre of biographies. I appreciated the discussions we had as they were from the perspective of many different grade levels. The lessons were rich as a result of our collective input. It was also helpful to engage in lesson planning and analysis for a different grade level.  I was able to gain new learning and apply it to vertical alignment.

As I combine my learning from my lesson study experience in 2007 with what I have learned about lesson study as presented in Zepeda, I believe that this type of professional development can have the greatest impact on teacher learning. In 2004, Lewis et al. (as cited in Zepeda, 2012, pp. 228-229) defined seven pathways to instructional improvement through lesson study as well as their related challenges. Benefits such as increased teacher knowledge in instruction and subject matter, improved collaboration skills, stronger motivation, and improved quality of lessons were referenced and create a strong case in support of lesson study. The challenges included trust, fear of failure, feelings of isolation, identifying oneself as a researcher, time, and resources. Probably the most daunting of these challenges is time and resources, as is the case with many worthwhile practices of professional development. I believe that as we gain momentum in effective teacher learning, such as lesson study, and practice efficient use of money and time, we can realize the full impact of our efforts on the ultimate goal of improving student learning.

There is no doubt that effective collaboration between educators and the greater community is a worthwhile endeavor, to say the least. One aspect of this practice that I had not considered prior to this course is the importance of sharing our collaborative learning with others in the profession. Learning in isolation or in small cohorts can stifle the potential growth of teachers. This was clearly illustrated in 2 case studies we read about in this course. Michelson  (2007) gave an account of a small group of teachers who were undergoing a series of literacy coaching sessions with significant success. This had been going on for two years before efforts were put forth to bring other teachers within the school on board. There was some resistance, mistrust, and resentment from the rest of the staff which was due, in large part, to inadequate communication between the “coached” group of teachers and their peers. Kane (2007) described a situation in which a district math specialist was leading a group of teachers in a process to refine the district math standards. This teacher leader was dismayed that the district curriculum director did not invite more math teacher specialists, who were already in place in area schools, to participate. She did not see the value in allowing all teachers to have a chance to experience this form of professional development, rather than just the “expert” teachers.

In order to achieve the ultimate goal of maximizing student learning, teacher leaders need to not only foster collaboration with other teachers but also help create a system that allows for the communication of these learning experiences to other teachers.  Zepeda (2012) consistently conveys this important step as he describes the culminating activities of professional development groups such as learning circles, lesson study, action research teams, and critical friends groups. These teams can share their learning through publishing findings in a professional journal or magazine, conducting a workshop, or even simply making it an agenda item on a staff meeting. We should not keep our new learning to ourselves.

Facilitating participation by other teachers in various professional development activities, especially those whose voices are not usually heard, is another way teacher leaders can broaden the scope of teacher learning. However, as Moore and Donaldson state (as cited in Hilty, 2011), this can be met with much resistance if teachers are overly concerned with protecting their autonomy, reinforcing their seniority, or ensuring egalitarianism. Moore and Donaldson went on to describe several coping strategies teacher leaders employ to deal with such resistance such as waiting to be asked before offering their expertise, only working with willing colleagues, emphasizing their role as supporter rather than supervisor, and seeking more support for their teacher leader roles. Moore and Donaldson’s essay offered many insights into how teacher leaders can respectfully and tactfully influence other teachers in an effort to further the cause of increased student learning. These strategies will be helpful to me as I continue to work on my role as teacher leader in the ever changing landscape of education.

I have crafted a portfolio that reflects my learning in support of Standards 6 and 7, Communication and Collaboration, and have created links to these artifacts below:

Standard 6 – Communication: Scenes of Educator Learning Exhibit A

Standard 7 – Collaboration: Scenes of Educator Learning Exhibit B

References

Hilty, E., (2011). Teacher leadership: The “new” foundations of teacher education. (pp. 211-217) New York, New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.

Hirsh, S. & Hord, S. (2010). Building hope, giving affirmation: Learning communities that address social justice issues bring equity to the classroom. Journal of Staff Development, 31(4), 10-17.

Kane, D., (2007) Considering all voices. Leadership Cases 2007 School Level Reform, Retrieved from https://learn.spu.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-755044-dt-content-rid-671379_1/courses/EDU6600_45677201123/CSTP.ConsideringAllVoices.pdf

Michelson, J, (2007) Filling a leadership vacuum. Leadership Cases 2007 School Level Reform, Retrieved from https://learn.spu.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-755044-dt-content-rid-671378_1/courses/EDU6600_45677201123/CSTP.FillingLeadershipVacuum.pdf

Zepeda, S.J. (2012) Professional development: What works. Larchmont, New York: Eye on Education.

 

Scenes of Educator Learning – Exhibit A May 17, 2012

C&I Program Standard 6 – Communication

CONTEXT

School A is located in Sammamish, Washington and currently has 612 students enrolled. Our school has been named one of Washington State’s High Achieving Award Winning schools and this year has received the School of Distinction Award. Samantha Smith staff enjoys a high level of involvement from parents and our school consistently reports 100% PTSA membership. School A also houses the district’s QUEST program for highly capable students.

School A staff strives to meet and exceed district and community expectations as well as our own expectations. After participating in and reviewing the 9 Characteristics Survey, our staff identified characteristic #4, Collaboration and Communication, as an area of focus for our Continuous Improvement Plan (CIP). Specifically, we will continue to develop strong collaborative relationships through the Professional Learning Community Model (PLC) as developed by DuFour, Dufour, Eaker, and Many (2006). According to DuFour, et al., a PLC is defined as “… an ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve.”

In addition to furthering our work in the foundations of PLC collaboration, our CIP also states that teams will formulate “specific, appropriate, and attainable” grade level SMART goals with strategies that support these goals.

Our Kindergarten team consists of two all day teachers and one half day teacher. We have a total of 66 students, 22 in each class. This is the second consecutive year that we have maintained the same grade level team and we look forward to the continued growth of our collaborative practices. In support of our school CIP, our kindergarten team embraced the PLC model of collaboration and put several PLC components in place during the 2011-2012 school year.  We also developed a SMART goal that pertains to the Numbers and Operations strand of our district math standards. The artifacts included later in this exhibit illustrate some of our work in these 2 areas.

Below is a timeline illustrating a series of tasks that address the 2 CIP goals highlighted in these exhibits, as well as the resources needed to accomplish these tasks.

TIMELINE                             (* denotes that an artifact for this item is included in this exhibit)

Date Task Resources
August, 2011 Create team norms *
September,  week 1 2011;Weekly   thereafter Establish weekly PLC team meetings. Common weekly planning time
September, week 2, 2011 Assess all students on number sense.   Identify students who are not at standard. Identify “specific, appropriate,   and attainable grade level *SMART goal”.   Analyze student data. CDSA, Number Sense*Gradebook   event scores
October, week 1, 2011;Weekly   thereafter Establish grade level intervention   block. Begin weekly RTI groups. Common math instruction time for grade   level, remediation and enrichment lessons/activities, (*interactive technology)
November, week 1, 2011; Monthly    thereafter Progress monitor number sense skills.   Adjust groups as necessary Progress monitor formative assessments
January, week 1, 2012 Assess number sense skills. Compare to   SMART goal.  Adjust groups as   necessary. CDSA Number Sense, assessment data
April, week 1, 2012 Assess number sense skills. Compare to   SMART goal.  Adjust groups as   necessary. CDSA Number sense, assessment data
June, week 2, 2012 Assess number sense skills. Analyze   data and compare to SMART goal.  Reflect   on whether or not goal was met. What improvements can be made for next year? CDSA Number sense, assessment data

ARTIFACTS

CIP Goal #1: PLC

Artifact: Team Norms

Our first step to establishing our grade level team as a PLC was to create a set of norms for our group meetings. DuFour, et al. states that clarification of team expectations promotes unity and collaboration within a team. To start this process, we simply discussed our “pet peeves” associated with meetings. Each of the 3 team members contributed to this list and, therefore, became invested in the process.

Artifact: Data Analysis

     As we met in our PLC group, my team and I would analyze data derived from student work. We share scores on common assessments, notice patterns amongst students and/or classes, and reflect on strategies we might have used to achieve positive results. Artifact #2 shows one format we would use when presenting data to the group. This screenshot comes from our online grade book which can display data in a variety of ways.

CIP Goal #2: SMART Goal/Interventions

Artifact: SMART Goal

As we moved forward with our PLC collaborations, our team developed goals in support of increased student learning in number sense. One particular SMART goal we developed states:

“We will use common assessment data to guide the content of our intervention times so that students that pass go from 62% at standard in Numbers and Operations in October 2011 (per CDSA  rubric, #1-3), to 97% at standard in June 2012.”

The goal sheet (link inserted above) includes a list of coded students who were identified as in need of remedial intervention, a list of intervention strategies, a timeline to administer the strategies and assess progress, and data sources used to track goal progress. This artifact our goal progress as of January, 2012.

 

Artifact: Number Fluency PPT

As we analyzed student data during our PLC meetings, we saw a need for student practice in number fluency and quantity. We used technology to offer practice that was both engaging and repetitive, such as the PowerPoint presentation featured in the above artifact. (To reduce the size of this attachment I only included a snapshot of 6 slides.)

REFLECTION

We are still in the process of carrying out our interventions within the PLC framework. We are monitoring student progress towards our goal that 97% of students will be at or above standard in number sense by June 2012. As we analyze our progress so far, we realize that we are within reach of this goal.

We have encountered several obstacles along the way and we will continue to reflect on them and work on how to address them in the coming year. Some of these obstacles include:

  • Need for more than 30 minutes per week for PLC planning time
  • Team time constraints relating to half day teacher schedule
  • Inadequate use of building support and administrative personnel

We acknowledge that progress has been made both in our commitment to the PLC model of collaboration and, most importantly, to student learning. We look forward to continuing this improvement process throughout the 2012-13 school year.