The Feedback-Friendly Classroom

How do you create a Feedback-Friendly culture with your learners?

Join the Book Club for the month of January, 2018, starting January 9 online at

TeachOntario: https://www.teachontario.ca/community/explore/TO-OSLA-book-club/projects/the-feedback-friendly-classroom-book-club

Check out Pembroke Publishers for more information about the book,

See you online!

Deborah McCallum

 

The Big Ideas in Education and STEAM

 

How do we plan for STEAM?

We start with the Big Ideas.

 

Attached is a chart I created to link the Big Ideas in Education with S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math). Big Ideas in Education STEAM

This chart is specifically geared toward the Ministry of Ontario curricula that address STEAM subjects, and specifically for Grade 3. However many of the Big Ideas remain the same across grades.

I also included overall expectations where there were no explicit big ideas already mapped out– just to get the picture.

The next step after this chart, is to first ask ourselves what other specific variables might come into play. We don’t need to have them all mapped out first however. Some specific expectations arise when student inquiries take us there.

Next, we need to think about the teaching strategies we will use. Our choices will depend on our students interests, inquiries and needs. They will also depend on social justice variables including equity, access, and privilege.

Finally, we will consider what tools will best support us.

Things to think about:

  • How does this relate to Growth Mindsets?
  • How can we harness strategies that help us understand what students are thinking, vs helping get the ‘right’ answer?
  • Can we be flexible enough to allow students to share their thinking in many different ways without being judgmental?
  • How can we help students document their own learning and engage in ongoing reflection?
  • How will our strategies help us to create a #feedbackfriendly classroom?

 

If you choose just 1 Big Idea, this does not mean that you are stuck only teaching that one subject. Remember that when you cluster the specific expectations around the Big Idea, they can be from any subject. However, you can also choose 1 or more Big Ideas to make explicit links to different subjects from the start. It is my belief that we cannot plan ahead for all specific expectations that will be met. If we did then this is treating education as a knowledge repository where students come to get the information from the teacher about the specific expectations. When we know the curriculum, we can allow for flexibility and let student inquiries, learning needs, interests and more guide us to the specific expectations that can be taught with various strategies and tools that best helps our students to achieve. All the while, still ensuring that we are covering the curriculum. It also allows for innovation, collaboration, and connections to real life.

Check out the attachment here. It always helps me to see the Big Ideas in one place.

Big Ideas in Education STEAM D

 

Deborah McCallum

c 2016

5 Steps for Planning the Big Ideas in Education – with Pokemon Go

Big Ideas in Education

Big Ideas in Education

Always start with the Big Ideas in education when you plan your days, weeks, units, and years. 

Avoid starting with Pokemon Go.

When you start with the technology, you risk gaps in learning – lest your practice become about the tool and not the curriculum for student achievement.

Does this mean not to use Technologies like PokemonGo ? Absolutely not. 

In fact, there many new resources and ideas being shared for using Pokemon Go with our students. (By the way, if you are interested, here is a link to ones that I have curated so far:

Curated Pokemon Resourceshttps://flipboard.com/cover/@deborahmccallum/pokemon-go-8vdrlbhmy)
https://cdn.flipboard.com/web/buttons/js/flbuttons.min.js
We know you have wonderful ideas for integrating Pokemon Go into your classrooms and learning environments. And you should have a curriculum that is flexible enough to follow student needs, interests and inquiries.

Planning lessons and units is hard work. There are a plethora of variables that educators need to keep in mind when planning. 

It can feel very overwhelming when we are met with new fad or trend that we feel like we need to integrate. 

We shouldn’t feel this way, and we don’t have to, because we always come back to the Big Ideas. Within the Big Ideas we remain flexible, and attuned with our students.

In other words, we are not planning for Pokemon Go – we are planning for the Big Ideas and our students. Our planning can include Pokemon Go, but only as it connects with the Big Ideas, and the learning needs, inquiries, interests of our students. We are helping students to achieve according to the curriculum. Not the technology. 

The Big Ideas lead to inquiries and problems that need to be solved. But let’s be clear,

Pokemon Go is neither a ‘Big Idea’ for learning, neither is it the ‘Problem’ that we need to solve.

Pokemon Go it is a tool. A resource. And like all tools and resources, there will be pros and cons that impact student learning.

Pokemon Go is definitely a trend. But can we still use it to support the Big Ideas? Absolutely. Particularly if we are always planning with several key steps in mind that I will outline below. 

It can be very useful for student learning for many reasons. It can support the curriculum, it can harness skills and technologies that modern learners need. Technologies absolutely have a place in our schools and with students – provided we are always attending to equity, access and issues of social justice with students.

However, Pokemon Go is not THE curriculum. It is not THE Big Idea. It is not THE inquiry. It is not THE problem that will need to be solved. Nor is it THE expectation or Learning Goal that will need to be met.

Rather, it is just an amazing new tool that can be harnessed to support the Big Ideas, inquiries, learning goals. It is a tool to support the kind of problem solving that is happening in our learning environments. For instance, it can be harnessed to support the Big Ideas, problems and inquiries surrounding mapping skills, visual-spatial literacy, graphing, measurement, vocabulary and much much more.

The following are 5 Basic Steps to help educators keep the Big Ideas in mind

  1. Find the Big Idea that will flexibly guide your learning over the course of a lesson or unit.
  2. Next, cluster all of the specific expectations around this idea from across the curriculum. This does not necessarily have to be planned ahead. When we are knowledgeable about the curriculum and our students, and the different types of technologies that exist, then we can ‘go with the flow’, and see what specific expectations end up being met based on student inquiries and problem solving.
  3. Create and follow new inquiries with the students as they happen.
  4. Identify the problems that need to be solved within the Inquiries. Always start with the problems.
  5. Finally, decide what tech tools will meet that need.

Within each Big Idea, lies a new world of wicked problems and amazing new inquiries that really open up how our students think and reason. When new inquiries take shape, we begin to see the problems that need to be solved. Educators can work to harness the inquiries and harness the problem solving process with students as they relate to the Big Ideas.

Always stick to the Big Ideas first. Find your Big idea, cluster your expectations around it from across the curriculum.

Next, identify the ‘problem’ connected with your Big Idea. Once you know what that is, then you can decide what technology tool to use.

Always keep in mind: Pokemon Go is neither a Big Idea for learning, neither is it the problem that we need to solve. It is a tech tool that can help us solve various problems and connect with the Big Ideas that we have identified for student learning.

 

Deborah McCallum

c 2016

Feedback Matrix for Instructional Design

The art and science of giving feedback is complex. What may appear to be quite easy to give, while at the same time quite difficult to fit in a busy schedule- is actually a complex process that we need to involve learners in.

The following is a Feedback Matrix that I created to help educators consider the variables that go in to feedback processes with learners. These considerations will facilitate the design of your learning environment with learning tasks built on a strong foundation of using the #feedbackfriendly classroom as a pedagogy.

The variables considered are:

  • Teacher Variables
  • Student Variables
  • Subject
  • Context or Place
  • Learning Goals
  • Tasks to Reach Goals
  • Achievement

The Feedback Matrix by Deborah McCallum

 

This framework supports the idea that we can design our learning environments for Feedback Friendly Pedgagogies that are inclusive, collaborative, and support modern learners.

Please consider the chart as a guide for creating your own Feedback Friendly classroom

Deborah McCallum

 

Feedback_Matrix_by_Deborah_McCallum

Deborah McCallum

c 2016

Math Assessment, Home Connections

Learning Commons Technology Mini-MOOC

Learning Commons Technology Mini-MOOC

The purposes of a Library Learning Commons are inherent in the 5 Standards of the Canadian Library Association. They can be found in the Leading Learning Document.

They are as follows:

  1. Facilitating collaborative engagement to cultivate and empower a community of learners.
  2. Advancing the learning community to achieve school goals.
  3. Cultivating effective instructional design to co-plan, teach and assess learning.
  4. Fostering literacies to empower life-long learners.
  5. Designing learning environments to support participatory learning.

The Learning Commons therefore plays a big role in providing options for collaborative engagement, innovation in learning design opportunities,  and multiple literacies. That is why I created this Technology Mini-MOOC.

I created this mini-mooc with the goal of providing free, flexible and safe spaces to try out new tech skills. This is a way to increase engagement of students, educators and parents alike. By increasing basic technology skills, we are also increasing the differentiated pathways that can engage learners, and improve student achievement.

It is important to provide agile, and differentiated learning experiences for all learners.

This MOOC is about fostering digital and technical literacies that can empower and promote life-long learning. Enrollment is set at 10 per term in order to provide personalized feedback and guidance to candidates if needed. No timelines, no deadlines. When students, educators, parents and community have a safe space to go to build confidence and agency in tech skills, we are helping them to gain vital skills in a globalized, future-oriented learning environment.

Please join the MOOC, or peruse the site as we create new networked learning communities together that enable us to respond to ever changing school, district and global demands.

While still a work in progress, I would appreciate feedback to make this better for when it officially launches.

Please check out our site at: Learning Commons Technology in Learning Mini-MOOC

 

 

Deborah McCallum

c 2015

Learning Commons Technology Mini-MOOC

Learning Commons Technology Mini-MOOC

The purposes of a Library Learning Commons are inherent in the 5 Standards of the Canadian Library Association. They can be found in the Leading Learning Document.

They are as follows:

  1. Facilitating collaborative engagement to cultivate and empower a community of learners.
  2. Advancing the learning community to achieve school goals.
  3. Cultivating effective instructional design to co-plan, teach and assess learning.
  4. Fostering literacies to empower life-long learners.
  5. Designing learning environments to support participatory learning.

The Learning Commons therefore plays a big role in providing options for collaborative engagement, innovation in learning design opportunities,  and multiple literacies. That is why I created this Technology Mini-MOOC.

I created this mini-mooc with the goal of providing free, flexible and safe spaces to try out new tech skills. This is a way to increase engagement of students, educators and parents alike. By increasing basic technology skills, we are also increasing the differentiated pathways that can engage learners, and improve student achievement.

It is important to provide agile, and differentiated learning experiences for all learners.

This MOOC is about fostering digital and technical literacies that can empower and promote life-long learning. Enrollment is set at 10 per term in order to provide personalized feedback and guidance to candidates if needed. No timelines, no deadlines. When students, educators, parents and community have a safe space to go to build confidence and agency in tech skills, we are helping them to gain vital skills in a globalized, future-oriented learning environment.

Please join the MOOC, or peruse the site as we create new networked learning communities together that enable us to respond to ever changing school, district and global demands.

While still a work in progress, I would appreciate feedback to make this better for when it officially launches.

Please check out our site at: Learning Commons Technology in Learning Mini-MOOC

 

 

Deborah McCallum

c 2015

The Innovation Narrative & the Learning Commons

 

Our libraries and Learning Commons are key to supporting innovation. Therefore, Librarians are at the heart of the innovation narrative that takes place in our schools. Librarians are facilitators of learning and knowledge building. Sometimes this is about technology, sometimes it is about other resources, but it is always about people. We don’t make changes (or shouldn’t make changes) for innovation in and of itself, but because it helps other people and fulfills the needs of a learning community. I think that this is at the heart of the Innovation story that we tell in our schools.

hands-598145_1280

What is innovation? Is it a culture? A process? A principle? Mindset? Maybe it is all of these things at once. Whatever the basis is of our own unique Innovation narrative, we need to make it about our learners.

Anyone who has ever tried to innovate, knows that it can feel a lot like climbing the world’s largest mountain. And if you do in fact make it to the top, which side do you look over? Are you looking over a side with the newest disruptive technology? Are you looking out over another side and viewing social problems that need healing?  Innovating doesn’t always need to be part of a story that is disruptive or like moving a mountain. Sometimes powerful innovation comes from the ground level, and finding new ways to meet learner needs each day. 

 Librarians are there to serve our learning communities, and in an ever changing world, so too comes the ever changing demands. Innovation narratives are best told with the needs of the learners at the heart of our story. How will you know how to innovate if you do not know your community? Perhaps it is more like an ‘Innovative Dance’, as we do our best to move in sync with the new ideas, needs and wants of others. Always listening, checking assumptions, asking, and never forcing ideas. That Learning Commons is quite the busy place with the ongoing innovation going on!

The truth is, that innovation is ultimately a narrative about the needs of our learning communities. It is about finding new solutions to problems. How can we best serve the needs, problems, issues that are directly impacting our school and broader communities? The Learning Commons is all about this.

True innovation is more than just the progress of technology. Ultimately, it is about finding new solutions to problems – people problems. Learning problems. Not tech problems. This story involves:

  • vision
  • diverse perspectives
  • connections
  • negotiations
  • goal setting
  • managing challenges
  • collaborating
  • dealing with barriers including budgets, available resources, personalities, scheduling, physical space, capacity and other contextual variables

With these key ingredients of the innovation story in my mind, I am now wondering if Innovation is truly a new story for Libraries, or if it is an old story that we are continuing to perfect to meet the needs of our learners in the 21st century?

What do you think?

Deborah McCallum

c 2015