Sunday, July 23, 2017

Play Well..Build On: Building a Lego team.



It's almost time to go back to school and educators are starting to think to about how to bring people together to connect. Last year, I was inspired by the work of a teacher that I coached. He introduced me to the 16 Personalities Quiz. His goal was to use the results of the quiz to help students to better understand cognitive diversity. Cognitive diversity refers to the many different ways that we think, respond, create, learn, and interact with each other and in the world. The idea is used in the work place to build strong teams. It is said that embracing cognitive diversity in a team can build innovation and is a powerful tool.

Regina Dugan, head of Facebook’s secretive Building 8, describes the importance of diversity to the creative process HERE. She says, “The ultimate goal is cognitive diversity, and cognitive diversity is correlated with identity diversity...You have to get to the place where you aren’t made comfortable by the fact that everyone is the same, but rather feel inspired by how different we are. We get better problem-solving that way.” 

As educators, we know that the foundation of an effective learning environment is trust and community. However, one of the most common challenges I have observed at school sites is creative differences within a staff. This got me thinking about how to use the 16 Personality Quiz as a tool for building inclusion and creating a foundation for teamwork at a school site. According to Mark Miller, VP of Marketing, Emergenetics International, "The power of having cognitive diversity in the workplace is the same power that companies try to attain through strong leadership and great communication. It's a more inclusive, collaborative, and open space where people feel empowered to create and implement ideas." Excited about the potential of creating a school culture that embraces cognitive diversity, this led me to design a HyperDoc for leaders to use with a staff in an effort to build inclusion within teams and embrace the culture of the people within the school.

The HyperDoc is called, Play Well...Build On. Inspired by the LEGO company slogan and culture, I designed a professional development training for educators that can be used as an all day training or it can be broken up over time. All the work shared on the HyperDoc is intended for adults to experience learning, but can easily be modified to be used in a classroom setting with students as well. Follow along with the HyperDoc linked above and let me describe the pedagogy behind the lesson: 

ENGAGE: Begin by watching the LEGO career recruitment video. Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, the LEGO Brand Group’s Chairman, describes the LEGO Group Culture and how they embrace diversity in the workplace to play, create, and build together. As the group watches the video, participants jot down their thinking on a shared Google document to capture all the thinking around the video during and after showing the video. (There is a lot of rich content packed into the 3-minute video. If needed, consider your time and watch twice. Watching video can be led like a close reading instructional strategy. There is new learning gained each time it is watched.) 
LEARN: During this section, teachers take the 16 Personalities Quiz. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to respond and gather results. 

EMPOWER: Everyone will have a chance to reflect on the quiz outcomes when they respond to the questions on the Google form. This form will only be viewed by the facilitator. This design is intentional. The leader will now know a little more about the people in the group and will be able to use that information to guide situations throughout the school year. 

GIVE: Guide and grow as a team when groups work together to design a Marshmallow Tower. The facilitator uses the personality quiz results to create homogenous groups for this activity. After the 18 minute challenge, discuss the process as a whole group. How did the group do with the challenge? How did it work with homogenous groups? 

OPEN: Be optimistic and open to new possibilities when the whole group solves a Breakout EDU challenge. During this challenge, the group will embrace the cognitive diversity of the team and work together to solve the challenge. Be sure to reflect on the process once the 45 minute time is up.

CREATE and SHARE: Using the LEGO acronym, educators have had an opportunity to reflect on who they are and how they interact with the group. Invite individuals to highlight their superpowers when they create an Adobe Spark post that illustrates the talents and skills that they bring to the group. Share the posts on a Padlet for all to see and to learn about each other. Revisit this Padlet throughout the school year as challenges arise and embracing cognitive diversity is needed. 

BUILD ON: After a day of learning and creating together, choose one or all three of the videos on the last slide to share. Work together to build an amazing school year! 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How to Give Students a Platform to Practice and Exercise Their Digital Voice


Students have so much to teach us and to share! We just have to be listening. The Internet provides a space for anyone to have a digital voice by interacting with social media, designing websites, recording videos or vlogs, writing blogs, and sharing their message. But how do we teach kids how to navigate this wide open creative space of the Internet? Google recently launched a website called Interland. This website teaches students how to "Be Internet Awesome." They created a game for kids to learn how to interact safely on the internet and it also includes free downloadable curriculum for teachers to use in their classroom. This game and resources teach students "HOW" to practice using their digital voice. 

Now let's talk about the "WHY." Interacting digitally is not something that is a trend and it's not going away. If we don't teach them how, then who will? If we don't show them the strategies for having a positive online footprint, then we might miss their stories. Not only is it important to teach kids how to interact on the Internet, but also when they do, then we can capture the essence of their young selves. When I was a kid I was always making videos with my dad's VHS video camera or recording myself singing on a cassette tape. I loved being on stage. Watching those videos or listening to those tapes is like being in a timewarp. It's amazing to see and listen to my young self. For kids these days, they have a broader audience and they can showcase their ideas, stories, and talents in so many different ways. 

Here is an example. When I ask my student's what they want to be when they grow up, many will say that they want to be a YouTuber. They will work for subscribers and likes. Anyone who checks out YouTube can find hours of videos of kids being awesome! Check out this video in which a kid shows how he remixed a popular fidget spinner into an eraser fidget spinner. There are hundreds of versions of this online. While you watch, notice a couple of things: The YouTube Channel is a nickname, the profile picture is a scooter, the comments are disabled, and embedding the video onto other sites is disabled. (In order to watch the video, you have to watch it on YouTube.) These are four great strategies for having a safe and age-appropriate online presence. Rather than not allow access, show them how. Did you also notice that this video is a remix of the old "How to" speech standard? I wonder if this kid knew when he recorded this video that he was completing a speech requirement? I'm pretty sure that he made the video because he is hoping for those good old thumbs up "likes." Go ahead and give him one if you can. You'll make his day!



If you are looking for more resources on teaching kids how to practice and exercise their digital voice, then check out the Digital Voice HyperDoc. Here is an outline of the digital lesson design built into this HyperDoc: 
EXPLORE: The lesson begins with giving students time to explore examples of kids who have a strong digital voice. By exploring their stories and resources, students can study their digital footprints as a mentor text and think about the kind of footprint they want to create. 
EXPLAIN: Next students are taught what makes a good blog. They read blogs by other kids and the teacher can teach elements of strong writing. 
APPLY:  Finally, students are encouraged to launch their own personal blog.  This can take journal writing to a whole new level! On their blogs, they can practice writing skills, and they can practice speaking and listening skills when they record videos. The blog can serve as a digital portfolio for all that they create. It is a place to capture their stories, their learning, and their process. (Some people prefer to have students create websites instead of blogs. That works too! I prefer the blog because it can serve two purposes. It can be a place to update when inspired and it can have pages built into it like a website.)
SHARE: Unless the blog is shared, then it is the same as a Google Doc living in a Google Drive. Help students share their blogs with each other and beyond the classroom. Students can have pen pals in another school or within the same school. Blogs also can be shared with parents and families or on social media. One way to easily collect the links to all your student blogs is to create a Google form and have students share their blog links with you. Once shared, students will need to learn how to comment and give feedback on blogs. Don't forget to build in a lesson on digital feedback and comments. The resources are linked onto the HyperDoc. 




Blogs are just the beginning! They can be a place for kids to capture all of their stories, writing, and digital voice. If you have an example of students practicing their digital voice, please share in the comments. If you have a HyperDoc that teaches digital voice, please share at www.teachersgiveshare.net. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Discussion Strategies: Teaching and Tech


This HyperDoc provides resources for teachers to integrate various 
instructional strategies 

to engage students in discussion face to face and/or using technology. 
View resources at HERE
A teacher recently asked me, “How do I create a more active learning environment and provide more opportunities for my students to discuss ideas?” I offered suggestions based on the strategies that came to mind, but I wanted to go deeper with more specific ideas for the teacher. This led me to searching  for specific strategies to share. I came across this blog post called The Big List of Class Discussion Strategies by Jennifer Gonzalez. Her website, Cult of Pedagogy, is a wonderful resource for teachers to find practical tips and guides to teaching. When I created this slide deck, I included some of the resources she highlights in her blog. Each slide of this presentation has two columns. On the left, view the teaching strategy, the pedagogy or a video description. Thank You Jennifer Gonzalez for the teaching ideas!
On the right column of the slides entitled, TECH, I included ideas for how to take the good teaching practices and implement them using a web tool. This list is curated based on my knowledge of blended learning. If you have a new suggestion or idea to add to this slide deck, please let me know! I’d love to add to these resources. Additionally, if you try one of these strategies in your classroom, I’d love to hear about it. Please send me an email or a tweet to share your success or question to problem solve!  

Mindful Mentoring

A leader is a mindful mentor and continuously follows five steps to guide decision making, creation, and collaboration with colleagues. 

These five steps are:

  1. Question: Use this cycle of questions and ensure that all voices are heard. Start with asking about what is going well, then ask about challenges, hold others accountable for actions by asking about next steps, and finally ask for what kind of support is needed.  
  2. Listen: Practice listening with an open mind and an open heart. Make time to hear all ideas and suggestions before moving forward and listen without making judgments on the ideas presented.
  3. Acknowledge: Appreciate others for their contributions. Acknowledge positive and negative behaviors. Be fair, honest, and kind when interacting with others.    
  4. Suggest: Offer suggestions to solve problems and never push ideas onto others. When asked, provide specific feedback and always practice a growth mindset.
  5. Empower: Be empowered by surrounding yourself with positive mentors and continuous learning opportunities. Empower others with authentic relationships and mutual respect.  


This HyperDoc includes resources for students or staff to participate in a mindfulness mini-unit. 
View lessons at goo.gl/eoJQId

Sunday, November 13, 2016

#HyperDocs for Administrators

In June of 2016, The HyperDoc Handbook was released with over 60 different HyperDoc lessons for classroom teachers to copy, use, and remix. The book also includes strategies for designing your own HyperDocs. Since the release of the book, the #HyperDoc(s) hashtag has been active with educators around the world sharing lessons, successes, and challenges around blended learning and digital lesson design. If you are wondering what the hype is all about, then take a look at this sketch drawn by Carrie Wilson. (Thank you, Carrie! This image really helps people to understand the  potential of HyperDocs!)
The HyperDocs.co website describes, "HyperDocs, a transformative, interactive Google Doc replacing the worksheet method of delivering instruction, is the ultimate change agent in the blended learning classroom. With strong educational philosophies built into each one, HyperDocs have the potential to shift the way you instruct with technology. They are created by teachers and given to students to engage, educate, and inspire learning. It’s not about teaching technology, it’s about using the technology to TEACH."

Learning Cycle is Connect • Content • Community
While classroom teachers and students have been having all the fun, HyperDocs can also be designed for professional development and for administrators to use with staff. Just like classroom teachers, administrators are always looking for effective strategies to integrate technology, share information, collect thinking, and problem solve. And what do all administrators wish they had? More face time with their teachers! That is why the Staff Meeting HyperDoc Template was created. This template was designed to support busy administrators who are looking for efficiency during a quick 45-minute staff meeting. If you would like to use this agenda, file + make a copy, and you can add your own content to the agenda. The learning cycle of this meeting agenda is Inspire • Connect • Explore • Reflect. 
  • INSPIRE: (5 minutes) Start your staff meeting off with something to inspire the group. Everyone in education works so hard. Find something funny, inspiring, or moving to set the tone for your meeting and link it to the document. Some ideas might be: Quote • Inspiring video • Story • Meme • Cartoon 
  • CONNECT: (10 minutes) Design an activity for staff to actively participate in. Dedicate this time to model an instructional connector and bring everyone together. This can involve tech or be no tech. Looking for some ideas? Check out these possible resources: Go Noodle HERETRIBES Learning Community HERE • Improv Games HERETeam Building activities on Pinterest HEREPositive Rewards for Adults HERE
  • EXPLORE: (20 minutes) Instead of standing and delivering information, why not try embedding a multimedia text set of resources onto the staff agenda and providing time for exploration of resources? Consider how you might facilitate the exploration time. I recommend partnering teachers up and letting them explore with two teachers and one device. When we sit with a partner and explore resources, we typically have conversations and process the information together. This also models a strategy that teachers can use with their students when exploring content. While partnerships are looking at resources, administrators can move around the room and make 1 on 1 connections. Rotate partners each time you facilitate this activity so that staff will have opportunities to connect with everyone. This builds trust, fosters inclusion, and helps everyone gets to know each other. 
  • REFLECT: (10 minutes) When it is time to bring the group back together, open the link on the Google Doc to with anyone with the link can edit and allow staff to respond directly to the editable document. During this time, collect thinking from everyone in the room and offer a space for continuous problem-solving. Staff can choose to write in their name or not. Administrators can follow up in person or address as a whole group. Reflection is broken up into 4 parts: 
    QUESTIONS
    IDEAS
    DEMO SLAMS
    APPRECIATIONS
    Provide this safe digital space for staff to process information and ask questions. Allow all the voices in the room to be heard.
    Inspire innovation and a growth mindset by listening to new ideas and creating a shared community of change agents.
    Build in time to show each other quick tech tips. There is always something new to learn or something that might make our digital lives more efficient. Have a few late adopters on staff? Quick weekly PD.
    Build an inclusive community and encourage staff to stop and thank each other for all the things they do for each other day to day.
Another role of an administrator is to meet with teachers to set individual goals and evaluate their teaching. In an effort to organize and capture the goal setting process for administrators and teachers in one shared space, The Goal Setting HyperDoc was designed. Administrators can share this document with individual teachers and use it as documentation to demonstrate goals and progress. Teachers will appreciate the clear expectations and resources for personal and professional growth. 

If you have a HyperDoc to share or you are looking for a HyperDoc on a different topic, please join the Teachers Give Teachers community by checking out the resources and links below. We are #bettertogether!  


Want more? Stay connected to the HyperDoc community!
PDBAMZbW_400x400.pngThis image rendered as PNG inThis image rendered as PNG inThis image rendered as PNG inFile:Pinterest Shiny Icon.svg
For more INFORMATION visit: www.hyperdocs.co

Watch the Google EDU On Air Episode where this HyperDoc is explained:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Share a Cup of Success: A HyperDoc to Build an Inclusive Community

What would you do if you walked into a staff meeting and you were greeted with smiles, tables cloths, coffee, tea, and appreciations? Wouldn't it just energize you for the day or maybe even inspire you to try the same activity with your students or other colleagues? This is what my colleague, Julie Twisselman did for me during our last coach forum of the school year. She coordinated such a thoughtful meeting that allowed our team to reflect and set new goals for the next school year. This is what she did.

The purpose of the meeting was to review the results of an online survey of the teachers that we had worked with all year. Reviewing specific anonymous feedback can sometimes be difficult to do because people are truly honest about their feelings. However, being brave enough to ask and review results is also an important part of the learning process. As a mindful mentor, Julie planned a special event for us to reflect on the comments from the survey. Her lesson helped to build community and inclusion so that we were open to truly listening to the feedback and personally growing in our educational practice. We started the meeting by viewing the video "Share a Cup of Success."




After the video, she explained how she had sifted through the feedback from the end of the year surveys and printed off one positive comment about each individual coach. She read the first comment aloud. Once she was done, she invited that coach to come up to a table decorated with a tablecloth and an assortment of different colored coffee mugs. The coach was invited to choose a coffee mug and pull from a pile of comments to read aloud about another coach. We each took turns reading aloud the words about our colleagues and walking away with a coffee mug. The room glowed as each educator had a public moment of appreciation. 

After this activity, we partnered up with a colleague and we were invited to fill our mugs at the coffee and tea bar. Using a handout of questions from the video, each partnership took turns discussing successes from the school year and setting new goals. At the end of the meeting, we debriefed with whole group appreciations and celebrated each other's successes from the school year. 

Inspired by this experience, I created a HYPERDOC to package up all the goodness that was created during this meeting. I am giving this gift to any educator who is interested in sharing a cup of success with their colleagues. Packaging up an experience on HyperDoc archives the lesson for future use. Sharing the HyperDoc with the Teachers Give Teachers community at www.teachersgiveteachers.net or @TsGiveTs might help another group of educators to make the same connections. HyperDocs are not gifts for graduations, birthdays, or Christmas. HyperDocs are the kind of gifts that you give when you are inspired to do so. If you are doing something awesome in your school, please share with the TGT community. When you share, you are helping a much larger audience of educators to do something really awesome too!  


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Year End Review

It's the end of the school year and everyone is so busy with moving on ceremonies, graduations, good-byes, thank you's, and celebrations. Even though it's such a busy time, don't forget to take some time to reflect on your own accomplishments. There are many benefits to reflecting on your teaching practice. Here is to name a few: 








  1. COLLECTING YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN A JAR OF AWESOME NURTURES A GROWTH MINDSET: No matter how long one teaches, there is always room to grow. Some say it is a journey in life. Collecting your accomplishments over the years is a little like scrap booking the family photos. It takes some time, but it's so worth it when you look back and remember the milestones that together create your own personal educational journey. Use this digital Jar of Awesome to collect all the awesome things that you accomplished this school year. (This idea was shared with me from another instructional coach, Joy Sherrat.) 
  2. SHARE YOUR REFLECTIONS WITH COLLEAGUES FOR ENCOURAGEMENT: Use this Year End Reflection HyperDoc to share the specifics of what you accomplished this year. Have you ever been at a gathering with a group of teachers on the last day of school? We love to chat about what worked and what we still want to try. Typically, these conversations spark ideas in other educators for various directions to go in their classroom. Take a few minutes to complete the questions on this document to keep for yourself or consider posting your reflections on Twitter @TsGiveTs using the hashtag #HyperDocs. If you share your document as "anyone with the link can comment," then your PLN (Professional Learning Network) will be able to comment and send you words of encouragement. Not on Twitter? No problem! Share the document with departments or grade level teams to connect with other educators.
      

Once the final school bell rings and it is time for summer, take a well deserved summer break! Say your good-byes, close up the classroom, shut down the laptops and enjoy your summer. The life of an educator requires a lot of energy and the school year/school day are packed with busy demands. It's time to feel proud of your work and rejuvenate. For the next school year will be beginning before you know it.