My Final Make

I’m so glad that I was able to take what I have learned through this course and apply it to a final make that I feel really made an impact.  Near the beginning of this semester, we were all asked to come up with inquiry questions that we would think about throughout the semester. I had some questions based on my “wobbling” moments as a teacher. One of my questions was how can I effectively handle the children in the class that act out more while also still making sure the rest of the children are still getting enough attention from me and getting the most out of the day’s lesson? I also had questions about how I could improve keeping the children in my class engaged.

 Throughout a lot of reflection during this semester I came to realize that I was expecting too much of my energetic bunch of toddlers (2 & 3-year-old to be exact). I would have children act out during learning activities because they were not engaged. Little learners like my group need to move around a lot and they need to be interested in what they are doing. Therefore, my final make was to have my class make sensory bottles. I chose to do this for a couple of different reasons. 

The first reason was because I wanted this project to be something that could come in handy for the future. For example, now when they are feeling ancy during an activity/feel the urge to move a little or need an opportunity to calm themselves down they can use their very own sensory bottle that they created themselves. Another reason I thought this would be a good project was because it incorporated STEM at a very early age. Our sensory bottles were “lava bottles” which taught them about science and how to make/engineer something themselves. I also knew this would be an interest-driven activity. I knew my group would love a learning experience where they could be hands-on & move around. I also made sure they all got to choose their own color that they wanted for their sensory/lava bottle. I invited parents to come be a part of the project as well. We made them near the end of the day during pick up time so that parents could see what their child was making. The children were so proud to show their parents what they made themselves. 

I’ve been using the sensory bottles during circle time to keep them engaged. For example, I will often tell them that if we can make it through a story without disruptions or if we can finish reviewing our shapes that they will get to use the sensory bottles at circle time. I feel it has really helped to keep them engaged. It’s also made me realize that I want to incorporate even more stem/sensory learning activities in future lesson plans.

Interest-driven: Children were able to move around freely during the project and were able to choose how they wanted their own sensory bottle to look which encouraged individuality by valuing each of their interests

Production Centered: Children made their sensory bottles on their own which helped them to learn new skills and made for a meaningful learning experience. This also gave them the opportunity to feel happy & proud that they created something independently.

Peer-supported: Children made different comments & observations while watching their friends create their sensory bottles

Shared Purpose: Children worked all together during the project but then were also able to use the sensory bottles they made in group activities.

Academically Orientated: Children were exposed to science & engineering through the creation of their sensory bottles

Openly Networked: Invite extended to parents to connect school & learning. I also hoped it would encourage parents to do a fun stem/sensory activity at home with their child.

Keep It Moving

Creating my final make for the semester, in many ways, felt like a beginning. It is true that I am at the end of my graduate studies (for now) and will be graduating in a few days, but the projects that I have completed this semester feel like only the beginning. For my culminating master’s project, I research Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy (CSP) and Hip Hop Based Education (HHBE). I also did extensive research on the Keystone Literature Exam. I used this research to create a unit plan that focused on centering students’ interests and cultures in the classroom, with the added goal of helping my students achieve higher scores on standardized tests.

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When I began to think about my final make for ED677, I knew immediately that I wanted it to be an extensive of my culminating project. I am extremely passionate about creating units that use CSP and HHBE to serve diverse groups of urban youth, so I knew that my connected project needed to continue moving this passion forward. I wanted to share my unit plan with others, but I didn’t want to just create a website and post the unit plan. Instead, I imagined two lessons that use CSP and HHBE to teach Common Core ELA Standards for 11th and 12th grade. After completing these lessons, I felt a whole new world open up in the creative space inside my head.

I decided to create a website where other educators can access my unit plan and my lessons aligned to Common Core Standards. I also created a spot where I can add examples of literary devices in different hip hop texts. What I want to focus on in the future is creating more lesson plans that use CSP and HHBE in ways that are aligned to the Common Core. I also hope to create more unit plans that focus on different standardized tests because, although I recognize that standardized tests are not valuable measures of a students’ intellect, I see it as my job to help my students perform well on tests. Performing well means overcoming language barriers, racial and socioeconomic bias, and years of disservice by the education and social systems we have in place in our country. Unfortunately, when I look for ready-to-go lessons that use Hip Hop songs, poems, or other texts, I find almost nothing online. I want to continue creating ready-to-go plans that other teachers can use.

It may be a far-off dream, but I want to continue the work that I have been doing so that I can build a more robust resource for other educators. I began my Connected journey last summer when I took

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The primary text resource in Meenoo’s class.

Meenoo Rami’s class “Teacher Practice in a Connected World” (and perhaps even before then when reading Kira Baker-Doyle’s Transformative Teachers). Kira’s book and Meenoo’s class showed me the importance of educators being connected, and I want to start contributing to the national and global network of educators that have been shaping my practice. Who knows, maybe I’ll see the day when a book with my name on it is sitting on the shelves!

Sharing my final make with other educators in ED677 confirmed for me that this is valuable work. I feel honored and grateful to have been able to spend a semester learning with educators who have completely different backgrounds, goals, and jobs than I do. I believe that it is our job to serve each and every one of our students in ways that are meaningful to them, and I want to do everything I can to contribute to that goal.

Civics is Life Semester Reflection

In what ways have you been successful this semester?

I have grown this semester as an educator by incorporating more opportunities for students into the way to teach. I am a huge believer in treating people the way I want to be treated. As a teacher I should also encourage my students to learn they way they want to learn-  this is the essence of connected learning. I have also been very successful at collaborating with my colleagues at school and my peers in ED677… teamwork makes the dream work!

In what ways do you still want to improve?

I am still working on storing that courage and finding ways for my students to take charge of their civics education. I feel that I have gotten better at this and my final make will drive this process in the years to come. Although teachers can never relinquish total control of the class, we should all strive to find that balance where students are taking responsibility  and learning to take ownership of their academics.

How do your successes and reflections on improvement inform your thoughts and questions about connected learning moving forward?

My successes and reflections are unique to my experiences. ED677 has been a positive force and I would recommend this course to each and every one of my colleagues. With this in mind, I think the beauty of connected learning is that it can be applied to all content areas and all age groups. Elementary level students can collaborate on activities while high school seniors can connect on community based civic advocacy projects. Connected learning has no bounds!

Moving forward I must continue to evolve. The students of tomorrow will differ from the students of today- I need to keep stepping up my game in order to be ready for what they may have in store.

What are your goals moving forward?

Personally I want to continue with my education and stay on top of the best current practice. I am receiving my Masters in a few weeks but I hope to plan out my next course of action soon.

In my civics classroom I would really like to implement some community based projects for my seniors. Philadelphia will be holding an election for mayor in November 2019. With Election Day fast approaching, perhaps I can get my students active in the mayoral race. This would be a great way for them to network in their communities and connect with young people that share concerns over the future of Philly.

Final Make

Overview: This is an outline for a unit that I will be teaching next year. This outline will be used to create a digital interface that students will be able to navigate to complete their projects. Next year, I plan to record myself modeling some of the material and embedding within the interface for future classes.

This project-based learning unit will directly connect to the current 3rd grade science curriculum. This unit will focus on the solar system, specifically the sun, the moon, and the planets.  The project will span 4-5 weeks and will operate in phases. Each phase will have a goal or driving question that will connect to the curriculum, specific teaching points and demonstrations as well as tasks and skills that students will need to complete each phase. Students will be able to move at their own pace but will be required to check in with me to make sure they have met the objectives for the phase.   At each checkpoint, I will  give constructive feedback and use a rubric to help guide students future work.

The Rubric: Created by two of the PEN (gifted education) teachers that work in my district, this rubric will focus on 4 domains- quantity, quality, autonomy and collaboration.This rubric is focused on the process rather than the final product.

Each domain will be organized into 3 categories: adjust, strive and sustain.  If students are having difficulty meeting their goals they will need to be prepared to discuss how they will adjust in order to meet their goals. Students who are meeting goals throughout each phase will be prompted to think about how they can strive for more. Finally, students exceeding their goals will be asked how they will continue to sustain. Students will also be required to reflect on how they will prioritize their work.

The Process: Students will select a planet in our solar system and identify whether or not it would be inhabitable. This planet would need to meet several pieces of criteria to qualify as an inhabitable planet. At the beginning of the unit students will Skype with an astronomer  to help guide their research, at the end of the unit students will create a visual presentation to share with the astronomer and receive feedback. Our unit will conclude with a final Skype and allow students to ask follow-up questions.

Connected Learning and Shared Purpose: Students will be working together collaboratively to investigate and research other planets within the solar system. Students will also present this information to their peers and an authentic audience (via Skype)  who will be able to give them feedback about their design. Students will also have the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers in the school including the QUEST teacher, PEN teacher and librarian who will help support their learning.

Equity and Accessibility: Each phase of the project will be attached to a driving question/goal and tasks or skills that need to be completed. Materials and resources will also be available to help students conduct quality research. The outline of this project will be used to build a digital interface using Power Point that students will use throughout the project. This interface will include visuals, videos, and links to resources and articles,  making information accessible to all learners and allow for students to work at their own pace. 

Student Choice: Students will be given a voice in deciding which planet they are interested in researching and a choice of how they would like to present their information to their audience.

Empathy:  Students will be able to explore concerns regarding the need to find new planets within the solar system to live and possible solutions that could help our planet combat the effects of pollution. Through these explorations empathy for our environment could be nurtured.

Authentic Audience: Students will have the opportunity to connect and share their final makes with an expert in the field. This expert will be able to proved feedback and answer any lingering questions.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XDOGLiJjS89OyjtHe3rOixzdgaCk3Y2hEa-Udvr-FOw/edit?usp=sharing

Reflecting on Small Steps and Consultations for my Final Make

I can’t believe I am about to finish my final make, complete all my degree requirements, and receive my Masters degree on May 16th! This semester has certainly been a long journey for me- maybe its because I could see the light at the end of tunnel. Its funny how that works… the closer it gets the farther away it seems. 

Since January I have completed student teaching for special education and earned my additional certification. Also, I had the privilege of working closely with all of you in as we were introduced to connected learning. As I put the finishing touches on my final make I felt this was a good time to pause and reflect….

Each week we created makes and found resources that contributed to equity in learning and teaching. At first I found some of these task to be tedious, but I quickly realized how important the small steps we take each week play such an important role on the path to connected learning. I am going to take much of what we did in ED677 and apply it to the way I teach Civics. So much of what my students and I do in class centers on debate and discussion it only makes sense that I extend these discussions beyond the classroom (my final make will do just that!).

In ED677 we have done a lot on our own building on our core teaching foundation. We have also worked together to help each other incorporate connected learning principles into our teaching tool kits. Lastly, we consulted to aid each other with our final projects- this consultation process was a great help for me. I hope my suggestions helped out the ladies on Team Dolphin- your guidance certainly helped me elevate my final make to higher heights- Thank You!

Good luck to everyone wrapping up their projects and reflecting on their self evaluations. I have enjoyed reading the ones you’ve posted already and I am looking forward to checking out those debuting soon… See everyone Thursday!

Reflecting on Small Steps and Consultations for my Final Make

I can’t believe I am about to finish my final make, complete all my degree requirements, and receive my Masters degree on May 16th! This semester has certainly been a long journey for me- maybe its because I could see the light at the end of tunnel. Its funny how that works… the closer it gets the farther away it seems. 

Since January I have completed student teaching for special education and earned my additional certification. Also, I had the privilege of working closely with all of you in as we were introduced to connected learning. As I put the finishing touches on my final make I felt this was a good time to pause and reflect….

Each week we created makes and found resources that contributed to equity in learning and teaching. At first I found some of these task to be tedious, but I quickly realized how important the small steps we take each week play such an important role on the path to connected learning. I am going to take much of what we did in ED677 and apply it to the way I teach Civics. So much of what my students and I do in class centers on debate and discussion it only makes sense that I extend these discussions beyond the classroom (my final make will do just that!).

In ED677 we have done a lot on our own building on our core teaching foundation. We have also worked together to help each other incorporate connected learning principles into our teaching tool kits. Lastly, we consulted to aid each other with our final projects- this consultation process was a great help for me. I hope my suggestions helped out the ladies on Team Dolphin- your guidance certainly helped me elevate my final make to higher heights- Thank You!

Good luck to everyone wrapping up their projects and reflecting on their self evaluations. I have enjoyed reading the ones you’ve posted already and I am looking forward to checking out those debuting soon… See everyone Thursday!

Ed677 Self Assessment

  • In what ways have you been successful this semester?

Looking back on this semester I felt that I succeeded my personal mission of putting in the time and work to understand concepts that are new or unfamiliar to me.  I enjoyed taking my time to examine the readings and watch the videos that were provided on a weekly basis.  I learned to truly love blogging.  I have never blogged anything until the beginning of this class and I thought it was a huge success for me to confidently share my thoughts on a range of topics to colleagues.  I also felt at ease throughout this semester when reading other blogs from this class. I never got around to making comments to others work but my personal blogging was definitely a success.  I was successful in producing my weekly makes. I took pride in my work and I hope that it showed.  The find 5 Fridays turned out to be quite enjoyable every week.  I tried to keep it light and fun with most of the resources I had which allowed me to not stress over that weekly activity.  Most importantly, I was successful at going from an educator who had an idea about connected learning to an educator that cannot wait to implement the concept into my class on a more regular basis next school year.  I feel that my understanding of connected learning and equity have grown to the point where I could be a champion of these concepts in my school.  I hope to encourage teachers who are unaware of these ideas to try out connected learning in their classroom.  I know I was successful at completing this class when I am thinking about equity and compassion on a daily basis without giving any thought of this class in the process.  I am happy that I took this class and I have grown to enjoy the concepts of connected learning and everything that goes with it.  I know my development doesn’t stop here, but I can say that I have added more strategies to my “teaching repertoire” because of this class.


  • In what ways do you still want to improve?

Like I have mentioned in many of my blogs this semester, we as educators are never finished improving. I will always say that I need to improve in some way.  When it comes to connected learning, I feel like I need to improve on the actual connected learning lessons that I implement to my class.  In the second half of the semester I started incorporating connected learning lessons in my classes with mixed results.  I was happy to begin bringing the theories into practice.  I know through simple trial and error that I will learn how to fine tune my connected learning lessons for my science classrooms.  All it takes is time and effort and I will never stop trying to improve myself.  I am bit of a perfectionist and I love refining my ideas until my lessons are as strong as possible.

 

  • How does your successes and reflections on improvement inform your thoughts and questions about connected learning and teaching moving forward?

I think there is an obvious connection between reflections on improvement and questions on connected learning and teaching.  The pose/wobble/flow aspects of this class really helped me to understand this connection. I am a very big fan of reflection as a way to grow.  Using these methods in this connected learning class was no different.  Only after reflecting back on my teaching and learning will there be a chance of growth and development to occur. Throughout the semester I have been very successful at reflecting on the readings, videos, and blogs and using those reflections to develop answers to my questions in connected learning and equity. I don’t think learning would happen in this kind of class without a large amount of self reflection to help guide me through it.  Moving forward I will continue the practice of reflection (just as I am doing right now coincidentally) to continually improve upon my practices to include connected learning and equity lessons in my class.



  • What are your goals forward?

Halfway through this semester I set goals for myself to be completed by the end of the semester.  Now that the end of the semester is upon us I can gladly say that I completed those goals. But like I mentioned earlier in this assessment, development never ends.  It is a life-long process.  So even though my goal of taking connected learning from theory to practice has been completed for this semester, my new goal is to continue to develop ideas for connected learning and equity that would perfectly suit my science classroom. I need to build lessons that fit my style of teaching.  I need to constantly reflect on how I can improve upon these connected learning lessons. My goal is to carry over what I have learned this semester into the new school year where I can start fresh and gradually refine my lessons over time.  I enjoyed this class and I am going to carry forward all that I have learned and translate that into successful lessons in my school.  Another goal of mine is to consistently build student interest in science over the next school year through connected learning and equity lessons while encouraging students to think about their future and their community.  I will never stop my process of achieving these goals.

Christina,

I want to say thank you for all the resources you have provided this semester and I appreciate your help on any questions I had!

Connected Conversations

When I started my graduate school journey, I had my mind made up that I didn’t want to take many online classes. As part of the M.Ed. program at Arcadia, I have taken approximately half of my classes online. I have enjoyed many of them, and felt that I was able to learn well in online communities, but I have always preferred being in the classroom. ED677 has made me change my mind about online education.

What I value most about being in the classroom is the opportunity to collaborate with others, have conversations, and share ideas organically. I haven’t been able to get the same feeling from an online class, but our feedback process on FlipGrid over the last couple of weeks has finally given me what I wanted out of an online class. When I shared my idea for a final make, I was nervous about posting the video and letting others respond because I was afraid that they wouldn’t be able to understand the whole project with a short description. I also was afraid of embracing the “one-sided” feeling of not responding to comments.

However, I realized through this process that even if I try to state my purpose and thoughts perfectly, they will always be interpreted by different listeners in different ways. I realized that it did not matter if each responder understood exactly what was going through my head, because their feedback and suggestions were just as helpful and thought-provoking regardless.

Posting a video and responding to others helped me to feel more connected to this project and actually helped me to make some big changes in what I was originally planning to do. I realized that I could continue to shape my project based on feedback from individuals who are not teachers, or maybe even not in education.

Self-Assessment

• In what ways have you been successful this semester?

I think that I have been successful in a couple of ways. I feel that I have been successful in all my makes and my findings for the weeks. I have made sure I completely all assignments on time and posted my blogs each week except for a few exceptions. In the beginning I felt a little overwhelmed. I wasn’t quit sure how this course was going to go and I was confused on how the course was going to be run. Once I got the hang of it and started to understand the flow of the class, I had no problem completing all of the work assigned to me.

• In what ways do you still want to improve?

This has been a very rough semester for me, from being transferred to a new school in October and also completing my master’s thesis, I found myself getting very overwhelmed through these months. Thankfully with the help of friends and family I was able to push through and finish the semester on a strong note. Some areas I feel like I could have improved with participating in the gatherings. I wasn’t able to participate in any due to my schedule. I feel like I missed a lot during them gatherings. Even though they were recorded and I was able to re watch them, I feel like I could have contributed and learned more from attending.

• How do your successes and reflections on improvement inform your thoughts and questions about connected learning and teaching moving forward?

Before this course I didn’t know much about connected learning. I can honestly I never even heard the term before. This semester has been a great learning experience and I am excited to use what I learn in my classroom. I actually was asked in an interview a few weeks ago on how I will use connected learning in my classroom. If it wasn’t for this course, I wouldn’t have known how to answer that question. I am excited to say that I can walkaway from this class with a better understand of what connected learning is and be able to apply it into the classroom.

• What are your goals forward?

After this course, I gained great information on what connected learning is and how I can use it in the future. This course has taught me a great deal and I really enjoyed sharing my weekly makes with my class and being able to also learn from my classmate’s weekly makes. I plan to apply what I have learned in this class and instill this knowledge to my students in the future. I think one great takeaway was to be able to learn from my classmates and share my work. I would like to use this aspect with my students so they can be comfortable sharing their work and learning from. others.

Final Make

For this semester I focused doing my Masters Thesis on why students are struggling in math and why so many are not retaining the information being taught to them. For my final make I wanted to share an instruction strategy that I think can be beneficial for math teachers, Productive Struggle. In my final make I shared a task that I implemented with my 7th and 8th grades, the procedure I used to implement it, and the facilitating guided that was given to me by a graduate student from the University of Pennsylvania school of education.
I believe that students struggle in math and are not retaining the information that is being taught to them. I think there are many reasons to this. I think how math is being taught is an issue. In my findings, I found that I was able to engage my students more than I have been able to all year on just a simple word problem. Because they were interested in it, they were eager to solve the problem.  I feel that we as teachers need to not just teach to the textbook but use different strategies inside of the classroom to help our students. I have found that many teachers lack resources and like to just teach to the book but that sometimes does not help the students retain the information, which in return go on to the next year not prepared. At the end of my final make I also listed many best practices/instruction strategies that can be very useful to many math teachers in the future and also the mathematical cycle I used to implement the strategy.
My final Make:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NaRXoBljVp1Di_plQLMreX-WGGRnSc9FDj6tRJwcR2M/edit?usp=sharing