I'm going on my third year in my current district, and asked if I could present at the new teacher orientation. I offered "Resources for Teaching and Learning" as my topic. Using AASL Standard's foundations as my guide, I gave an overview of what it is that teacher-librarians do and what we have to offer. I began with Collaborate and the slogan "Your librarian is your new best friend!" and ended with Curate to move on to the main topic for the session. I also handed out AASL's One Pager for Educators.
It went pretty well, but as always is my issue, there's never enough time! Thinking because I'm a big picture thinker, I always feel the need to share the BIG picture. The problem is that then there's never enough time for the focus. In retrospect, I should have chosen one or the other. I also wish I had created a board in Dotstorming, or had new teachers physically vote with garage sale price stickers, to choose which foundations they felt were most valuable, followed by discussion defending their choices. Thinking their participation would work well for a quick review/formative assessment strategy.
A group of us from various districts were invited to teach at a two week summer camp held at XinKing International School, in Shaanxi Province, China. Before we left, we knew the following in regards to or teaching assignments:
I was told I would be teaching "Makerspace", which made sense since I've created a makerspace in our library. That being said, Makerspace as a class, especially without a makerspace, is a bit of a conundrum! Yes I was told I could order supplies, but surely not the kind of supplies available for use in our makerspace.
Since Maker Ed encompasses a variety of systems, (such as hydroponics, electronics, textiles etc), I thought video creation would offer a great learning experience. However, my suggestion was denied, do to the fact that needed equipment would be difficult to acquire.
The theory behind Maker Ed is for students to have time to tynker with tools in order to consider...imagine their possibilities. Students then work through ta design thinking process to solve problems, create and innovate. Without the tools, I thought I'd start with design sprints, where students practice the design process, and then have them choose from challenges to work through. (Purpose + creativity = Innovation). We could offer "tools" such as pipe cleaners, cardboard, clay etc., which I ordered. I also brought six Makey Makey's just in case, because they were small, and fairly inexpensive if lost.
The first day of class we participated in a getting to know you activity I found in the book Gamestorming, which I also brought with me...just in case! I found out that students play a lot of video games but they've never had the opportunity to create them. When I asked them if they'd like to learn, they were beyond excited.
I requested using the computer lab, but was told it may take a few days to get access. In also seeing their interest in drawing, I decided that during our next meeting students would create role playing games. I gave them variables they needed to create, thinking creative constraints. Including presentations and feedback, this took approximately three class periods, and the students flourished!
I checked into Scratch, and found out it's available in numerous languages, including Chinese! With the extremely valued assistance of a student from the Mount Olive HS Robotics Team, who joined us on our trip, we realized that Scratch 3.0 required Windows 10.0, and the computers in the lab were still running 8.0. We ended up downloading a Chrome browser knock off, (Google products aren't available in China), to each computer each morning, until finally getting the password to download to all computers from a master terminal, midway into the second week. I also created one outlook e-mail for students to use to create accounts.
Most of the learning they did on their own, and my awesome student friend from Mt. Olive, who is a big time coder, stepped in when necessary. Not only did students get to create video games, they ended up using the Makey Makeys to create game controllers.
So, here's the "what I learned in the process":
All in all I'm glad I took the risk, and certainly feel better prepared for future "teaching in another country" experiences!
No matter what search engine you're using, the number one factor that guides their algorithms are the terms you enter in the search box. Yet, the one search strategy too often under utilized is identifying and using alternate terms.
I recommend the concise video tutorial below, created by the UNC Writing Center. All of their resources are great, plus they're creative commons licensed!
The tutorial models adding synonyms and narrower and broader terms. and walks students through the process using their own search needs.
Many students will additionally benefit with strategies for finding the terms they're adding. A few suggestions include:
One Look: Reverse Dictionary (word for phrase) and Thesaurus
Phrase Thesaurus: Phrase for word.
Wordnik Definitions, examples and related words
More information about search and additional strategies can be found HERE. As always, I'm here to answer any questions and assist you and your students!
Hi all! The first time I tried back channeling, a "writing" discussion instead of a "speaking" discussion, I was blown away by the students who all of a sudden, so to speak, spoke up! I also loved that I had a record of the discussion, and could later on one to one conference with students who in some way weren't getting it. Today's Meet, my tool of choice, is no longer available, but Yo Teach is just as good! To begin, go to Yo Teach and create a room, where the discussion will take place, by giving it a title and description. The title needs to be unique, so you may have to try a few times! Next, I recommend enabling admin features, which allows you to: mute or remove students from a discussion, delete your room, and view student participation statistics. By checking off "hide from search results" access is limited to those with the direct URL. You'll need to create a password to access admin features, however, it's your choice as to whether students will need an entry password to get into the room. If you decide to make your room searchable, I'd recommend enabling an entry password, or you can share room with students via URL or QR code.
There are a variety of ways one might incorporate back channeling; I like to create a Twitter chat type scenario, where I send out discussion prompts as Q's, and students either answer the prompt or address another students post. We review the following expectations before beginning the discussion.
Courtesy of AllSides.com