Thursday, September 28, 2006
Margaret Wheatley who wrote Leadership and the new science, looks at chaos theory and its relationship to leadership, schools as living systems and the idea of servant leadership.
Robert Starratt says: "During ordinary times, which are never ordinary, but especially during a period of school restructuring, educational administrators need to consider their responsibility to promote an ethical environment in their schools." This is something I am very interested in.
My position in the new leadership structure is that of Domain Leader for English looking at the scope and sequence for the students studying in this discipline from years 7 to 12. The main new focus of the restructure is to look at horizontal integration across each year level. I think the role of the domain leader is to bring the new understandings of learning for the digital age to the discipline of English, not just continue doing what an English coordinator has always done. We need to do it with the emphasis being on links across discipline areas for each year level as well as looking at communication and reflection skills that are needed to help our students be lifelong learners.
So there was a lot to think about as a result of the presentation. I think that blogging is definitely a way that teachers can reflect critically with others. I also found a video via Ubiquitous Thoughts that Scott Mcleod at Dangerously Irrelevant thinks should be required viewing for secondary educators, among others. The talented student, Consuela Molino, who made this video is talking about college teaching but it also applies to us in secondary education. One of the quotes from the video says it all, I think: "If your sole purpose is just to prepare them for the future, then you have to go outside and see what the future's going to be."
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Also yesterday I participated in a live conversation with Nancy White in Seattle on Blogs and Community: launching a new paradigm for online community, which was hosted by the Knowledge Tree. It was the first time I had participated in an Elluminate event and it was interesting, although because it was the first time, the technology takes the foreground and not the experience itself. I think you have to get more familiar with the technology to allow it to be a totally transparent tool. The recording of the event can be found here and the article and a podcast with Nancy White can be found here. One of the interesting facets of the discussion that the 22 participants became, in effect, a community for the time we were in the discussion which felt very unusual when I asked a question in the text chat thinking that someone else would answer and Nancy herself stopped and commented on my question. And I was trying to be unobtrusive. One of the best things about blogging that I have experienced is the sense of inclusion I have felt since I joined the edublogosphere. I am glad that, in the words of the cliche, "you learn something new everyday", and if you're lucky it can be two things.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
I'm just reading Jeffrey Wilhelm's new book (with Michael Smith) called Going with the Flow: How to engage boys and girls in their Literacy Learning. It's full of good ideas for learning that is authentic, social and inquiry based. Just thought I'd share this excerpt:
Principles for making it Social
- Create a context of inquiry, whether for a lesson or a unit.
- Ask a significant question or pose a real problem.
- Connect the question/problem to the material, to student lives and to the world.
- Pose questions or problems that must be addressed from a number of perspectives.
- Foster debate; consider, read, and discuss these multiple points of view.
- Create situations in which students can read, write, talk, role-play, and make things together that address various facets of the question or problem.
- Provide time for exploration.
I try to do these things in my classroom already, as so many of us do, but it is good to be reminded. Even though it is not even the start of Term 4 (still another week of holidays!) there is a need to prepare for next year and the new curriculum opportunities that arise for us then, especially at our school where so many changes will be happening in 2007.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
It is now holidays for which I am grateful, but I wanted to mention also the last class of the term on Friday, which happened to be my Recreating the Writer blogging class. For anyone who does not see the point of classroom blogging, I wish they had been there in that classroom. The students were totally engaged on their blogs, some of them publishing poems or stories they had written in the last couple of weeks. The only sounds except for typing noises were, "How do you make a hyperlink again?" "How do you upload a file?" and the help from other students that was forthcoming. And then, "Ooh, look, I've got a comment from Brazil," or "I've left you a comment," speaking to a friend across the room. This continued till the very end of the class and I had to remind them that the bell would begoing in a few minutes. It is very satisfying and enjoyable to be in a room where creativity, thoughtfulness and communication were so evident. So good on you, David Crystal for recognising the significance of blogs.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
While there is ample evidence that diverting attention to spelling when writing "disrupts the planning process" of writing, there is an alternative to those who propose spending more time on direct spelling instruction:
Advise writers to delay focusing on correct spelling until their ideas are firmly in place, while, at the same time, building up spelling competence through massive reading.
A number of studies show that good writers delay editing concerns until the final draft, and "premature editing" has been shown to be a predictor of the frequency of writing blocks.
Sounds about right to me. At the same time there are strategies that we can teach students to self correct and at our school we are looking to have David Hornsby come to work with us on a whole school approach to teaching these strategies.
Krashen's final piece of advice: "let spelling develop naturally through massive reading in the early years, and provide older writers with some guidance in the use of spell-checkers and spelling dictionaries, as well as advising them to delay spelling concerns until the final draft."
I think this is something the movers and shakers of the Aussie group, the Literacy Educators Coalition have been saying as well.
Announcing the first annual “K12 Online 2006" convention for teachers, administrators and educators around the world interested in the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice. This year’s conference is scheduled to be held over two weeks, October 23-27 and October 30 - November 3 with the theme “Unleashing the Potential.” A call for proposals is below.
There will be four “conference strands”– two each week. Two presentations will be published in each strand each day, Monday - Friday, so four new presentations will be available each day over the course of the two-weeks. Each presentation will be given in podcast or screencast format and released via the conference blog (URL: TBA) and archived for posterity.
THE FOUR STRANDS ARE:
Strand A: A Week In The Classroom These presentations will focus on the practical pedagogical uses of online social tools (Web 2.0) giving concrete examples of how teachers are using the tools in their classes. They will also show how teachers plan for using these tools in the delivery of their curricular objectives.
Strand B: Basic/Advanced Training (one of each per day) Basic training is “how to” information on tool use in an educational setting, especially for newcomers. Advanced training is for teachers who have already started using Web 2.0 tools in their classes and are looking for: (a) advanced technology training (eg. how to write your own blog template or hack existing ones), (b) new tools they can make use of in their classes, (c) teaching ideas on how to mash tools together to create “something new,” (d) a pedagogical understanding of how technologies such as weblogs, wikis, podcasts, social bookmarking sites, RSS feeds and others can deepen learning and increase student achievement, or (e) use of assessment tools to measure the effectiveness of Read/Write Web technologies in their personal practice and with their students.
Strand A: Personal Professional Development Tips, ideas and resources on how to orchestrate your own professional development online; the tools that support Professional Learning Environments (PLEs); how to create opportunities to bring these technologies to the larger school community; how to effectively incorporate the tools into your personal or professional practice; or how to create a supportive, reflective virtual professional community around school-based goals.
Strand B: Overcoming Obstacles Tips, ideas and resources on how to deal with issues like: lack of access to tools/computers, filtering, parental/district concerns for online safety, and other IT concerns while trying to focus on best practice in the use of Web 2.0 tools.
CONVENORS and KEYNOTES: For organization purposes, each strand is overseen by a conference convenor who will assist and coordinate presenters in their strand. The first presentation in each strand will kick off with a keynote by a well known educator who has distinguished his/herself and is knowledgeable in the context of each topic. This year’s convenors and keynote presenters are:
A Week In The Classroom
Convenor: Darren Kuropatwa and Keynote: Bud Hunt
Bud Hunt teaches high school language arts and journalism at Olde Columbine High School in Longmont, Colorado. He is a teacher-consultant with and the Tech Liaison for the Colorado State University Writing Project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project, a group working to improve the teaching of writing in schools via regular and meaningful professional development. Bud is also the co-editor of the New Voices column of English Journal, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English. A consumer of copious amounts of New Media, Bud blogs and podcasts about his practice and larger educational issues at http://www.budtheteacher.com.
Convenor: Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Keynote: TBA
Personal Professional Development
Convenor: Will Richardson and Keynote: Ewan McIntosh
Ewan McIntosh is an educational technologist and teacher of French and German. Based in the Edinburgh area of Scotland he frequently works around the UK and Europe, leading student and teacher workshops and conferences. He is an experienced workshop facilitator in the area of Web 2.0 technologies in education across stages and curricular areas. Ewan blogs at http://edu.blogs.com
Convener: TBA and Keynote: Anne Davis
Anne is known for seeing the educational possibilities in the use ofweblogs with students in classrooms, having implemented wonderful ideasand weblog projects with students and teachers in K-12 classrooms and atthe university level. She currently works at Georgia State University inthe Instructional Technology Center in the College of Education as anInformation Systems Training Specialist. Her weblog, EduBlog Insightsis a co-winner of the Best Teacher Blog in the second international Edublog Awards, a web based event thatrecognizes the many diverse and imaginative ways in which weblogs arebeing used within education.
CALL FOR PROPOSALS: We’d like to invite you to submit a proposal to present at the conference. If you have something you’d like to share with the community, both people who are new to blogs and/or experienced bloggers please email the appropriate conference convenor above with your ideas. The deadline to submit a proposal (just the proposal, not the finished product) is September 30, 2006. One of us will contact you to finalize the date of your presentation. Your presentation may be delivered in any web-based medium (including but not limited to…podcasts, PowerPoint files, blogs, websites, wikis, screencasts, etc.) and must be emailed to your assigned conference convenor one week before it goes live, (see above strands) so that it can be uploaded to the server.
The conference organizers are:Darren Kuropatwa
Darren Kuropatwa is currently Department Head of Mathematics at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is known internationally for his ability to weave the use of online social tools meaningfully and concretely into his pedagogical practice and for “child safe” blogging practices. He has more than 20 years experience in both formal and informal education and 13 years experience in team building and leadership training. Darren has been facilitating workshops for educators in groups of 4 to 300 for the last 10 years. Darren’s professional blog is called A Difference ( http://adifference.blogspot.com).
Sheryl is a technology/education consultant for the National Education Association (NEA), the Center for Teaching Quality, SRI International, the Virginia Community College System, the Virginia Department of Education, the Miami-Dade Public Schools, and the Alabama Best Practices Center. She has had several journal articles and book chapters published, been featured on public broadcasting television and radio shows, and is a regular presenter at local, state, and national conferences speaking on topics of homelessness, teacher leadership, virtual community building, and 21st Century learning initiatives. Sheryl blogs at 21st Century Collaborative ( http://21stcenturylearning.typepad.com/blog/).
Will Richardson is known internationally for his work with educators and students to understand and implement instructional technologies and, more specifically, the tools of the Read/Write Web into their schools, classrooms and communities. A public school educator for twenty two years, Will’s own Weblog ( Weblogg-ed.com) is a primary resource for the creation and implementation of Weblog technologies on the K-12 level and is a leading voice for school reform in the context of the fundamental changes these new technologies are bringing to all aspects of life. Will is the critically acclaimed author of the best-selling book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Tools for Classrooms (March 2006, Corwin Press).
If you have any questions about any part of this, email one of us:
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