As my district, Salisbury Township School District, continues to explore the 4 C’s – communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity – Lisa has written a book that focuses on what she cites as the C that is often times neglected, communication. She adds, “While there are multiple books available to support creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration, very little content is available to support students with communication – the highest rated of the critical 4 C’s among employers [from a 2012 American Management Association survey].”
Considering the direction of my district (and education, in general) I could see Cultivating Communication in the Classroom being used by K-12 teachers when planning lessons, and/or it could easily be leveraged as a textbook for a communications course.
Lisa’s intentions mimic my thoughts:
The ultimate goal of this book is to provide a success-ready resource that will support educators with designing learning experiences that allow students to flex these communication competencies, while providing students with tools and authentic opportunities to foster the continued growth of these skills throughout and beyond their secondary education.
The Innovative Teaching Academy is an online course/program created and run by A.J. Juliani. Throughout the six months, A.J. and a team of innovative leaders will lead discussions, activities, and projects that help teachers and leaders develop the knowledge and skills for innovative teaching and learning.
You’ll build knowledge of innovative practices, resources, and research each week in readings, videos and discussions. You’ll also receive a specific mini-course each month that will help build your skills in the areas of blogging, social media, design thinking, project based learning, learning space redesign, and habit stacking.
When does the course take place?
April 2nd to September 30th, and all materials will still be available after September. Each individual/team can go at their own pace, although there will be live video Q&A roundtable sessions on specific dates.
Since Erin and I released Hacking Project Based Learning this past December, we have been happy to hear from teachers and students who are benefiting from what we wrote. At the same time, we have received several messages that look like the one above. These are messages in which readers imply our book, and the #HackingPBL framework, is the one way to do to project based learning (PBL). And, since they weren’t doing it this way, they were falling short.
Here are a few thoughts I have on situations such as these.
A few days ago, the above tweet was sent out by Chris McGee, a friend of mine and an assistant principal out of St. Louis, Missouri.
While these words can apply to countless areas of education, I found myself thinking about them this past Friday during a professional development session in which an excellent Heinemann consultant, Sheila, was working with my district’s elementary level on Fountas and Pinnell’s Benchmark Assessment System (BAS)…In short, the BAS is an assessment that’s administered to students, one-on-one, usually two or three times a school year to determine each student’s three reading levels: independent, instructional, and hard. All levels are indicated by a letter on Fountas and Pinnell’s Text Level Gradient, which ranges from A-Z.
Towards the end of the professional development, after Sheila had spent the time focusing on (1) how to find each student’s levels and (2) how to use qualitative data to drive instruction, she made it a point to say something to the effect of, “Despite all the testing, Irene Fountas and Gay Pinnell have always left it up to the teacher to decide at which level to instruct each student.” When she uttered these words, my thoughts shot in two different directions.
About a month ago I was chatting with a colleague who was inspired to implement project based learning (PBL) in her classroom, took it upon herself to do so, and her first attempt at it was a complete flop.
While talking with her about what took place, she mentioned how many bloggers and writers (including myself) spend a lot of time talking about what we should do, but we don’t always reveal the struggles we endured to arrive at our current belief system.
Although I’m sure there are countless reasons as to why we should be transparent about our trials and errors, there are a few that immediately come to mind:
From my point of view, writing or talking about my past practices helps me to strategically reflect, which then informs what I’m currently doing.
From the point of view of someone who is following in the footsteps of others (my colleague), it is often comforting to know what we’re enduring is “all part of the game” and comparable what others have gone through, and not just exclusive to those “who don’t know what the heck they’re doing.”