Friday, July 29, 2011

Frames and Prompts for Portfolios.

I'm putting my things in order.  Lining things up like a train.  The following is a list of prompts I discovered from a friend (thanks Val) to help me develop my resources for the e-portfolios my students will be working on.  I was thinking of giving one a week when I get the students to set up their eblogs.  Please add any others you can think of in the comment section.  Thanks.

Frames and Prompts for Portfolio Assessment
  • This piece of work shows….
  • The best part is …..
  •  If I did it again, I would ….
  • It was hard for me to learn …..
  •  I used to think …..  but now I know …
  • Three things I want you to notice about my work are: ….
  • I was surprised to learn that ……
  •  A question I am curious about and want to find the answer to is …..
  •  I was on the right track with my ideas about ….., but what I didn’t know was ……
  • Today my thinking is like ….  Because both …..
  •  I’ve been thinking …..
  •  I was trying to ……  It make me feel …..
  •  I was struggling with …….  So I …..
  • Today I changed ……  because ….
  •  If I were going to do this again, these are the changes I would make ……
  • Today we worked on ……   and ……
  •  The part I liked best about today is …..
  •   The part I liked least about today is …..
  • I’m having trouble with ……
  • Something I’d change is ……
  • I learned that ……
  • I wish I had been told more about …….
  • The part that still confuses me is ……..
  • I agreed with …….
  • I was surprised that …….
  • This work/book/unit reminds me of ……
  • The topic/issue I was working with today was …..
  • I tried to make the connection between …..  and …….  So ……
  • I found it easy to ……..
  • I had some trouble …..   but I solved it by ……
  • I still wonder …..
  • I feel ….. with /about my thinking because …..
  • When I made my plan I thought about …..  I should of thought of ….
  • First I decided on ……  Next I thought about …..  Then I ……
  • Most of my time today/this week was spent on …..
  • Next time I would ….

Adapted from “Thinking in the Classroom” by the Ministry of Education in British Columbia

New Web 2.0 tool - The snacks - Podsnack

Podsnack is a web 2.0 tools that lets you upload a playlist of songs or Pod casts.  There are a number of versions to look at when setting up a playlist and how it will look on your web site.  See below for the one I chose.

There are many more you can choose from, but I wanted to try one that was very difficult.

It's simple to use, and could have possibilities.  But when you get an account with Podsnack you also get a number of other tools to play with.  I enjoyed the survey that lets you email the survey to others.  Great for Marketing classes in high school.  Have fun and try it.  It's still in the testing phase, but fun to play with and free.

Summary handout to students on what to include in Portfolios

The following is a google word document that I have been working on for a few days, of an outline that I want my students to follow when they start creating their e-portfolio. It is a combination of a cumulative and summative assessment outline.  Although I am trying it with an electronic portfolio (I work in a computer lab), I am sure it can work with a paper version as well.  I have opened it up for sharing, so please feel free to edit it, download it or comment on it below.  See below what the outline looks like so far.  I tried to get a number of Bloom's taxonomy levels in this outline since my inquiry question deals with Bloom's digital taxonomy.  Thank you for your help, in advance.

Parts of your Portfolio

You are gathering up examples of your work.  Your portfolio needs to include the following items in it to show me your learning, your strengths and your weaknesses.  The order of each section of learning is not important.  You need to do a table of content to organize your material later, but what you enter in your portfolio does not have to be in the order of what is listed below.  That is the individuality of the portfolio. 

I need to see what you have worked on and what you still need to grow with.  Each selection (all the selections) should contain a comment from your teacher and a number of your peers (more then just one).  At the end of the comments I need for you to answer the “Summative Assessment” (see these question below) for each selection.  This will show growth and help you when you will present your portfolio.  Thank you.

This piece shows my creativity.  Please notice the originality of …….

This sample shows how I develop my ideas before I complete a fnal product.  I would like you to notice how I ….

This piece of work was chosen because it shows how much I have improved at …..

This item represents my perseverance at completing a difficult task.  I tried very hard to …

“Invisible” Pride
Not everything I do ends up on a piece of paper.  I would like to share with you the pride I felt when I …..

Continuing Growth and Learning
This piece I had problems with.  Although my strengths on this piece were ……  My weaknesses that I need to work on are …..

In this piece I will describes an event that happened in class where learning took place.  I have included the stages of the work I did and the final product.  In this post I answer the questions who, what, when, where, how, describe, and list the events.

Understanding - Organizing and selecting facts and ideas
In this piece I retell (in your own words) the main idea of what I learned today.

Using these rules/guidelines/principles
  This piece shows I used the following rules/guidelines/principles …………….                

Analyzing - Separating a whole into component parts
 This piece is an example of the parts of  features of ………..

The following piece shows the classification of ………………..  The diagram is an outline of ………..

These pieces are a comparison of….. and ………………  When you see these  pieces you can tell …………..

Evaluating –
This is my example of an opinions, judgments or decisions.   It lead me to ….. learning.

This is an example of me prioritizing a project.  These problems occurred..  But this helped me …..

This is an example of when I disagreed with the teacher.  In the teacher’s opinion …..  but in my opinion …..  I believe this because of it’s importance ……  because……

Criteria Making
This is an example of a rubric/criteria sheet I created to mark this work of mine.  These criteria/areas of marking were important to me because ……

Creating - Combining ideas to form a new whole
In this piece I competed it alone.  I create/design a new ….  I should of …… and if I modify this……. or eliminate this then….    I had this problem but I think if I …….  then this would happen……

If I eliminated/reversed or rearranged
  a part of this piece……………. Then this happened ….

Synthesis – Finding a Solution
This is an example of a solution I came up with when I/my group had a problem.  This is what happened: …

Synthesis – Redoing something
This is an example of a remake of …………………  I decided to change ……………. And ……………  for the following reasons….

Summative Assessment
I think, after reading the quality of responses of my teacher and my peers, considering the criteria/expectations given in the class and what I should of learned, my feedback for this project should now be: (choose one and give your reasoning behind it).

Needs Improvement
Incomplete/ Inconsistent
Exceeds expectations, you went beyond what was asked for you to learn
Fully meets expectations, you’ve reach the goal that was set out for you.
Meets expectations but only to the minimum amount.  You did not want to fully explore this.
Can do better, and you know it.  You did not want to explore this to its fullest.
Is not fully completed.  Was not finished or no learning was shown.

Because of the following reasons (describe specifics to support your self-assessment – give proof).

Next Step
The Next step that I need to focus on to improve this area of learning is….

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Connecting everything together

As I sit here typing up this entry on my new IPad I wonder why I'm connecting everything together. My admin team gave me this IPad to play with over the summer to test it, down different Apps that may enhance learning in our school and see how far the school/teachers could go with this new technology. It's my first time on an IPad, and I'm still learning (do we ever stop learning with technology?) how to download, how to get rid of Apps when they're on you pad, how to use the different apps, which Apps have trouble, etc. You know the drill, just play with as much as possible (what the necks up with this tiny keypad, two finger typing!!!).

So here I am, and I realize that I'll want students to upload their work to eportfolios or to blog their experiences, so now I've hooked up my Twitter and my blog to the IPad. Once hooked, how do you get it unhooked? Do you really think students will go to the problem of hooking and unhooking Eblog to each IPad they ever use? These IPads are like personal computers where the student will want to change backgrounds and settings,size of print, sound level, etc. Teachers will have to keep an eye out of what settings students change.

But is that so important? The changing of pictures on the pad? The important thing is for the teacher to know how to get inappropriate pictures off the desktop. That means more training into the settings of the pad, more so then how much teachers needed to know for laptops/computers managed (setting were locked up) that the teacher was using in class. More training in the control features (hooking up to the wireless, controlling the volume of the IPad,etc). It's not hard to learn, it will just take time, like typing on this small keyboard (that's it! I'm buying a keyboard attachment!!!!). Next job is listing everything I need to truing teachers on.

Thanks for listening.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad
N. Painchaud

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Teaching teachers new technology.

With the new school year coming up and the grant starting, there will be a lot of teachers going out of their professional comfort zone.  (See Tom Whitby's article on Professional Comfort Zone).  After reading Tom's article and then Andrew Marcinek talking about teaching teachers' at their pace, it got me thinking about what I do.  

Like Marcinek, I'm a technology specialist (we call it computer facilitator in Surrey BC).  It is part of my duties/responsabilities to help the teachers grow in the area of technology and to promote the usage of  technology in classrooms.  If a teacher wants to use the computers with a tool to enhance their learning, if anything goes wrong, they call me.  Usually they know the technology or they've seen it at a professional development or department meeting.  Great that they want to try it.  But I take it a step further.

Marcinek says that "If your colleagues use PowerPoint effectively and the kids are learning from it then let them go. Let them check it off as technology integration!"  I disagree.  Let them use PowerPoint, but at some point show a few of the students in that classroom, or the teacher themself an example of Prezi and what it's capabilities are.  Perhaps the teacher has never heard of Prezi, so give them a choice.  

A good example of this situation is ordering at a restaurant.  You've been at this restaurant before and you know that the last time you ordered something you liked how it tasted.  But if you continue to order the same thing over and over again, does it not get boring?  And what are you missing out?  When others talk about that restaurant you can only contribute the one item that you ate.  So what can you say?  Same principle applies

Instead, you have a choice.  Most people ask the waiter/waitress what do they recommend.  Or they ask others at their table what they've order, or (and this is what I model I follow for my method of training) they look at other tables and see what others are eating, and see what looks good.  They get curious.   That's what I try to do.  I create an example or get an example of a new software or Web 2.0 tool, and I show the teacher.  "Hey look at how cool this is...".  Then I send them a copy, and wait.  Most teachers are inquisitive, and like trying new things, to learn.  Soon, those teachers try it out, or come to me and ask if I can show them how to use the new tool.  It's still at their pace, but with this method the teacher gets to see all the options on the menu before making their choice.

I agree with both authors mentioned above, it's best to master what you're trying to learn before moving onto another tool.  Some tools take a few days to master (my favorite is Wordle - what a great tool for english teachers to show poetry and the importance of word usage - see example below of a Wordle of the Song - the Boys of Fall by Kenny Chesney)

Other tools can be used to a full capacity, and can take quite a long time to use all of its capabilities
See below for an example of Voicethread, a Web 2.0 tool

This year many of our teachers are going on Twitter to help publish their observations, using a wiki or blogger to annotate, upload lesson plans, give exemplars of students' work, to basically share with other colleagues.  Keep an eye here and at the Sullivan Heights Blog to see what we're doing at our school and what teachers are going out of their comfort zone to try new methods of teaching, new technology, and basically help prepare students for the 21st century.  

Wish us luck!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


For a pre-assessment and assessment for learning this tool can't be beat!!!!  Edistorm is a brainstorming online tool that uses sticky notes to put up quick ideas when you put your students in groups, but it's so much more then that.  You can have students do work on it independently or in collaboration.  It has suggestions at the bottom (the bots area that has a thesaurus and related words.  You can have it public or private by inviting people.  It updates in real time when working collaboratively, and I the teacher can be invited in so I can see the work being done.

I asked the students to work in groups and to use colors but I was worried about them changing colors of their friends and such.  The first time we did it, we did an entire class storm, and there were students that were putting up garbage, but it was a great intro to what was inductive and critical thinking and what was just repetitive learning. Then we talked about marking for their solo projects.  I asked students to go into groups of no more then 3.  Then I asked them to do private storms and to invite me in.  Once there I could easily flip from one storm to another to see what they were doing.  But once more I was concerned about one student doing more work then the others.  I asked them to brainstorm at least 10 things each (that was 30 in total) of what they knew now about viruses.  I also asked them to use different colors but to change colors of the stickies was a click of the button, and I thought that maybe their friends (the quick ones) would do the work for their friends, so I wouldn't know for sure who did what.  When 30 ideas were on the bulletin board I asked them to vote and then delete all but the top 10 most voted ideas (once more going over what would earn 1 point, what would earn 3 points and what an excellent posting would be - 5 points).  In the end, students had to print out the summary report for me, and that's when I got what I needed, the names of the people who did what ideas, as well as the best voted ideas (I did not include the names here for protection of the students).  The report comes up with all the people in the group, as well as who created what.  After that, it was easy to put a mark (1, 3, or 5) by each comment and then take the time to discuss with the group why they got that mark.

This project was quick and entertaining for the students, completed the purpose of what I wanted - to assess what students were learning and if I had to continue to teach on the topic, and assessment included who needed more help and who could go on.  It also showed me who needed help to take a further leap of learning - to critically think beyond what I taught.

Great tool, I recommend it for a quick assessment of students.  Just remember that it did take me a day to train the students on how to use it (and no, I did not tell them about how it shows me who did what comment - they learned that at the end.).

Take care.

Monday, July 18, 2011

What is "Project Based Learning" and "Challenge Based learning"?

Thanks to @snbeach for sharing an article from Eurogates on Project Based Learning.  The video that was on the web site was excellent and one that I retweeted for my fellow colleagues. I have included the video for reference for my colleagues.  It's from Stenden University.

After viewing this video I found another one that has an easier explanation, and great to share with colleagues as well.

But lets take this one step forward and work towards Challenge Based Learning.  Something that we'll done on one occasion or another and never even realized it.

So here I go, looking at what I've done last year, and where I can change my projects to make them more meaningful.

Last year I asked my students in Information Technology Grade 12 class to pick a local web site that they considered really terrible in web design principles.  I asked them to use Photoshop to redesign it - to redraw the design and be prepared to defend their new design.  Once that was completed, students were to redesign the web site in Adobe InDesign, put it up on the web and contact the company with the web site and try and sell the site to them.  One group got $300 for their efforts.  That was a lesson that really paid off for the kids and the others took more time in considering their projects after that.

This motivational experience showed me that when the project is relevant, with the possibilities and reward outside of the school, the effort improves ten fold.  I am sure I can do this in more projects for next year.  But make them Challenge Based.  That's my goal in Information Technology class.

Summer Vacation Starting and the Learning Continues...

I had taken a week off to go on vacation down to Vegas and while sitting at the pool refreshing myself, I realized that here I was on vacation the first week of my summer holidays as a teacher and what was I doing?  Reading "Learning by Doing" by the DuFours, Eaker, and Many, a handbook for creating Professional Learning Communities.  My husband threatened me, stating if I took my computer, I could go out to dinner with it and not him.  Needless to say, the computer stayed home, but not the learning.  I think most teachers need, like a fix or addiction, to continue to learn, to evolve almost.

A couple of days ago I went for a long hike with a friend, then we sat in a park and had a picnic.  The conversation came around to how much I was enjoying Twitter, how much I was learning from this new network of people who had so much to share .  The information coming through this social media tool is astounding.  The articles sited, the Web 2.0 tools explained, the videos and conferences discussed have and continue to help me grow professionally to no end.  When I suggested to my friend to get on this tool to help stimulate her work in Social Studies (A great site was listed a while before that I was explaining to her), she said no thanks.  She wanted to take a break from work and this summer she wanted to do nothing.  She didn't want to learn.  After I picked up my jaw off the ground, I told her I couldn't believe I heard those words from her mouth.  Learning was not work if you enjoyed what you were doing, and it was fun to discover so much, while making new friends from all over the world.  There was a whole new world out there that others were showing me, and the trip was so exciting and refreshing, it was rejuvenated me, not making me more tired.  

This technology grant that our school has won will be tiring but still, it will be exciting, and rejuvenating as well.  This summer is the prep time to get ready for it and although it is my free time, I am happy to continue learning to improve myself, improve the manner in which I teach, and continue to explore how to help my students learn to the best of their ability.

As for my friend, I'll give her some time to relax, and then I'll start showing her what she can do, what is out there. There are ways to entice others into your PLN  ;)

p.s. - she just called - she's coming over Friday to get set up on Twitter.  Passion wins again!