Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Planning a Clear Vision

Sixth post in a series from our staff-led Institute Day.

Joe Bush presented an Institute Day session encouraging teachers determine the vision of their courses.  He emphasized the importance of both defining your vision for yourself as a teacher, as well as defining what you would like your students to take away from your course.  You can read more about this in his blog post.  

In his session, Joe began with the essential question of "Does Vision Setting Work?"



Then, he used the example of Bruce Lee to demonstrate the impact of planning a clear vision.




Joe stressed the importance of breaking down your vision into steps that will help you achieve your goals.  Here is a document that he developed to aid in this creation:



The biggest teacher take-away was the idea of asking yourself "Why?" five times.  This theory is a way to get to the root cause of an issue you are facing.  Here is an example that Joe provided:



I want to lose 20 lbs.
Why? So I feel better
Why? So I can move better
Why? So I can play with my kids
Why? Because I want to spend time with them
Why? Because i love them and want to be with them forever.


So the root cause is that you want to live for your kids rather than just losing 20 lbs.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

So just now I was wondering... what will our Dual Language Program look like?

By Jessica Maciejewski

2018, here we come! I had the privilege of attending the DLeNM (Dual Language Education New Mexico) sponsored conference entitled, "La Cosecha," or "The Harvest," from November 9-12, 2016, in Santa Fe.

A few key points. Santa Fe was colder than Chicago. At 7000 feet, it was an adorable and quiet town in its off-season, but still replete with tons of great local shops and delicious food. Everything was adobe, and there is are strong, proud Navajo and Mexican populations. We showed up to the conference with more empty space than actual questions at this point, ready to learn, and discovered a whole world currently in formation. Finally, and possibly of the most importance: I WON THE CONFERENCE. There was a weird game in the app, and I won (until I hit a minor glitch that no one could figure out and tied but whatever here is a picture of me in all my glory):



When I returned, I asked a few colleagues what they would most want to know~ here are their questions and, to the best of my ability (!), some answers:

1. How long is a DL program? What are its goal / benefits?

>So, it seems like the most successful DL programs start in kindergarten or, at the latest, 1st grade, and last through 12th grade.

For Elk Grove HS, we are fortunate that Salt Creek Elementary and then Grove Middle School started a program! The first cohort of kids are currently in 7th grade, so we have this year and next year to prepare our program.

In Woodstock d200 (IL), which is a unified school district, they recently graduated their first full 1st-12th DL students. For them, the superintendent was able to make the choice to start it in their pre-K/K/1st grades and have it continue all the way up; non-unified school districts will have to vertically articulate across districts/principals/superintendents to make it happen.

>The goal is to achieve academic reading/written/listening/spoken fluency in two languages, or more tangibly, a seal of biliteracy on their diplomas. Illinois adopted an "Illinois Seal of Biliteracy" in 2013 which means that when students complete the high school requirements (see footnote), they graduate with a second certificate/seal. Each school can then add special cords or a medal or whatever. One cool thing Woodstock did was have kids design a logo for their DL program, then use it to make medals for kids as they completed the program in 8th grade. There's not really an official seal for middle school, but the school itself can host a special awards night, make certificates, etc. 


>Benefits include future college resume & job attractiveness, and as of January 1, 2017, each public university in Illinois is required "to accept the State Seal of Biliteracy as equivalent to 2 years of foreign language coursework taken during high school if a student's high school transcript indicates that he or she will be receiving or has received the State Seal of Biliteracy" (thanks, IL House Senate Bill 4330!).





2. How does a student qualify to be in a DL program?

This is kind of what we're figuring out. Obviously if kids come into EGHS having completed the program through 8th grade, they are in. But what about English/Spanish fluent transfers? Or what about a kid who isn't fluent in English yet and who might benefit from weaning off Spanish into English? So, no definitive answer yet on who, or on how. There isn't one test that we can think of using; instead, maybe we'll do interviews and/or observations at Salt Creek/Grove.


3. What models of DL schools are near us?

Interestingly, we went to New Mexico because they have SO many awesome programs and are kind of at the forefront of development... but there were also presenters there from Waukegan (trying to recruit New Mexicans to move to the ol' Plain State) and a fantastic presentation by not-too-far-away District 200 - Woodstock. 

Woodstock is a unified school district, which means they can decide, "Hey, all of us are going to do a DL program, and it's going to be awesome!" In D214, we can offer/try to vertically articulate with our feeder elementary and middle schools, but we don't have the same superintendent so there's a lot more negotiating involved.

Finally, Salt Creek Elementary and Grove Middle School are the awesome schools that already started the program, to whom we'll be looking for collaboration and guidance. Their district, d59, is consolidated with 11 elementary and 3 middle schools. 


4. How can a non-bilingual teacher help/support a DL program?

Right now in the creation process, we can just really use support and positive word-of-mouth. :) 

This includes valuing students who have experience of other languages~ thinking of "ESL" students NOT as "remedial," but as having a kind of hidden superpower. One of the fancy new terms is "emerging bilingual," which is pretty cool because they aren't necessarily remedial at all... maybe in their native language, these students would be in Honors or AP, and now they are learning academic vocabulary in English, too. 

Finally, just being excited and positive about the program, talking it up to students and parents, and assuaging any fears by pointing people with concerns/questions to our current crew, which includes: Ricky Castro, Dean Burrier-Sanchis, and me, Jessica Maciejewski, as well as our administrative staff.


Bonus facts! 
Check out how many states (this is as of 2016) have or are in the process of having a seal:

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Semester of Thanks

By Mark Heintz

As I have been continually inspired by Kim Miklusak, the most recent inspiration was from her latest blog post on her reflections from NCTE.  Since most of what I am reading is concerned with fear, doubt, hate on global events, I wanted to have a positive moment and reflect on the things I am thankful for this year.

The first thing I am thankful for are my students this year. I know how it sounds.  But really, they are great.  I will try to give just one instance.  I have been assigning Schoology checklists for some time, and this quarter I added a new element that was very challenging to my Human Geography students. I took some time to explain to my students how they should view the checklist as an opportunity to receive feedback on their learning and gaps in their understanding. They are very aware of how much I love to talk about education. Anyways, I wanted to instill the idea that if they are struggling, they need to advocate for themselves.  I gave them my email address and had them copy it down.  After that day, I had so many emails from students emailing me when they completed the checklist, asking for quick help, or saying how they were embarrassed to ask for help in person.  I was taken aback by those emails. Those kids should receive a special award for reaching out to me despite their anxiety.  One student emailed me because she was going to miss the day before a summative assessment, and she wanted to ensure she was ready.  This paragraph has gone on much longer than I intended, but my students are great!

Another thanks goes to all the teachers that have allowed me to visit their classroom this year.  I have been in to see graphics arts, math, English, PE, history, and chemistry courses this year.  I am still amazed at how open our school is. Every time I asked a teacher, they have been so willing to share their classroom. An English teacher who is retiring this year opened his door to everyone to showcase how he teaches the writing process. He contributes to a movie blog and he went through the writing process for that blog with each of his classes.  I have been a long time reader of the blog and was fortunate enough to visit his class one of the periods.  I was blown away!  It was amazing to witness how he writes, but also how he included his students in the process. A teacher who could have shut his door in his final year has been so open to sharing ideas and welcoming people into his classroom.  I know I continue to grow because of the exposure to new ideas and dialoguing with peers about student learning.




Before this gets too long, I am so thankful for the teacher led institute day.  I sat in on a session led by the 2016 Illinois Teacher of the Year, Ricky Castro.  The things he has accomplished and done for his students are amazing.  How he reaches out to students and parents who do not have an easy access to the school is stunning.  He quickly went through differences on cultural values and traits of different socio economic levels.  I had many take aways from his session and so many questions that have been percolating.  I saw why he was the teacher of the year in just a few minutes.
Finally, the other session I attended was by Emily Mikuzis and Jacqueline Figliulo on Metacognition.  I have struggled, like many other teachers how best to get students to think.  They had such positive stories to tell and I will follow up with a blog post just on that session.  But, for now, it has changed my questioning technique in my classroom.  


These are just a few of the things I am thankful for this semester! 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

#214OneDay - A Showcase of Learning in D214

By Linda Ashida

The #214OneDay campaign, during American Education Week, was a great way to showcase the engaging and innnovative learning experiences that happen on any given day in District 214.  A quick scroll through the #214OneDay tweets gives a glimpse into our classrooms to see the myriad ways students are preparing for their futures; to be Career Ready, College Ready and Life Ready.  I think it is impossible to read the tweets, see the photos, and not be inspired by our colleagues and students across the district! We have so much to learn from one another!


Check them out in this  #214OneDay Storify!










Collaborate to Learn! Engaging Students with Google Docs

Fifth post in a series from our  staff-led Institute Day.

 

Student engagement and collaboration were the focus of the Interdisciplinary session facilitated by Chris Cirricione (World Language and Social Science), Dan Davisson (Social Science), Krista Glosson (Science) and Sandra Lee (English):




  

 Get Students Collaborating with Google Docs! 
A jackpot of inter-disciplinary examples

From crowd-sourcing key info for a study guide, to team-building and friendly competition in Greek Game simulation, to collaborating on data collection, and peer editing, the strategies shared will inspire you with new ideas for your own courses to engage your students in their learning and collaborate with classmates.

Some highlights: 

Chris Cirrincione shared an example of how students "crowd-source" key info on Ancient Civilizations using a Google doc with color codes to distinguish groups' participation. To ensure engagement on the Doc, Chris scaffolds a prior step. He has all of the students do pre-work on a printed version of the doc so they come prepared to collaborate with their groups on the Google Doc. Once they begin collaborating on the doc, the colors serve as a formative assessment tool. For example, a quick glance at the doc (see below) reveals little participation by the orange group, so Chris made sure to check in with that group to help them get back on track.



Chris also uses Google Slides for collaboration with his Spanish classes. Working in groups, and on the same slide deck, students demonstrate their understanding of vocabulary by making slides with visuals and using the words in original sentences to demonstrate their understanding.  Students can peer-edit slides, and Chris can formatively assess and give feedback as they work. The final product serves as a wonderful study resource for all of the students in the class.


Dan Davisson also uses Google Docs and Google slides to have his student collaborate, and even compete, to show evidence of their learning. Working in groups, students collaborate on a specific section of the doc, trying to finish before other groups. At the same time they can "overtake" a group by closely attending to their work and adding missing information.  Once students complete their section of the doc or slides, their work serves as a resource for all of their classmates for future study.  You will notice that Dan reinforces key vocabulary by including a list of key terms in the instructions (in blue) that students are encouraged to use in their writing.  Dan even includes a gaming element to encourage quality work. Dan follows their work as they write (more formative assessment!) and he awards them badges as they work, real-time for deep thought, critical analysis, making connectings, using vocabulary, etc.  You can see the badges in the narrow column of the doc.


These kind of activities also allow for peer-editing. As students complete their own sections they are continually checking each other's work to add missing information. The combination of collaboration and competition and gaming elements really works well to get all students engaged! And they have fun too!


Krista Glosson shared examples of how students collaborate on Google Sheets to gather data for experiments, for example in this Potato Molarity Lab:

                  

Instead of having each student, or every group collect all of the data, Krista assigns certain data sets to each group. Students work more efficiently by collaborating on the data entry and compilation. This activity also builds in authentic accountability, as students depend on the information entered by their classmates to be able to analzye the data as a whole to reach accurate conclusions.  And, like the previous examples, the doc serves as a formative assessment tool. Krista can easily view the data students while students are working to provide real-time feedback.


Sandra Lee shared examples of how her students use Google Docs to do peer edit writing. Students work in pairs and use colors to identify, in their partner's piece, evidence of quality writing on the rubric. Like Chris, Sandra uses this as a formative assessment tool. She circulates during the activity to check the students' work.  At a glance, due to the colored annotations, Sandra can confirm understanding of the writing process and provide support as needed, and even diagnose common challenges that she can address with the entire class. So, students have multiple opportunities to reflect on and then revise their work, using feedback from both their peers and the teacher.

 

As a follow-up to their Institute Day session, Chris, Dan, Sandra and Krista hosted a Teaming on Tuesday demonstration in the Collab Lab and/or a Peer Observation invitation to see these strategies in action in their classrooms!  A huge shout out to them for sharing their practice with us with great examples from their students!

Do you want to learn more?  Do you have student-engagement strategies to share?
Come see us in the Collab Lab! . . . or leave a comment below.
 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Collaborate to Learn! Engaging Students with Google Docs



 
Fifth post in a series from our  staff-led Institute Day.

Student engagement and collaboration were the focus of the Interdisciplinary session facilitated by Chris Cirricione (World Language and Social Science), Dan Davisson (Social Science), Krista Glosson (Science) and Sandra Lee (English):


Get Students Collaborating with Google Docs! A jackpot of inter-disciplinary examples

From crowd-sourcing key info for a study guide, to team-building and friendly competition in Greek Game simulation, to collaborating on data collection, and peer editing, the strategies shared will inspire you with new ideas for your own courses to engage your students in their learning and collaborate with classmates.

Some highlights: 


Chris Cirrincione shared an example of how students "crowd-source" key info on Ancient civilizations using a Google doc with color codes to distinguish groups' participation. To ensure engagement on the Doc, Chris scaffolds a prior step. He has all of the students do pre-work on a printed version of the doc so they come prepared to collaborate with their groups on the Google Doc. Once they begin collaborating on the doc, the colors serve as a formative assessment tool. For example, a quick glance at the doc (see below) reveals little participation by the orange group, so Chris made sure to check in with that group to help them get back on track.



Chris also uses Google Slides for collaboration with his Spanish classes. Working in groups, and on the same slide deck, students demonstrate their understanding of vocabulary by making slides with visuals and using the words in a sentence to demonstrate their understanding.  Students can peer-edit slides, Chris can formatively assess and give feedback as they work, and the final product serves as a wonderful study resource for all of the students in the class.

Sandra Lee shared examples of how her students use Google Docs to peer edit writing. Students work in pairs and use colors to identify evidence of quality writing on the rubric. Like Chris, Sandra uses this as a formative assessment tool. She circulates during the activity to check the students work.  At a glance, due to the colored annotations, Sandra can confirm understanding of the writing process and provide support as needed, and even diagnose common challenges that she can address with the entire class.

Dan Davisson also uses Google Docs and Google slides to have his student collaborate, and even compete, to demonstrate their understanding. Working in groups, students collaborate on a specific secction of the doc, trying to finish before other groups. At they same time they can "overtake" a group by closely attending to their work and adding missing information.  Once students complete their section of the doc or slides, their work serves as a resource for all of their classmates for future study.  You will notice that Dan reinforces key vocabulary by including a list of key terms in the instructions (in blue) that students are encouraged to use in their writing.  Dan even includes a gaming element to encourage quality work. Dan follows their work as they write (more formative assessment!) and students are awarded badges depending on how well they complete their sections (in depth work/analysis, making connections, using vocabulary etc).

 These kind of activities serve as a variation of peer editing that Sandra does. As students complete their own sections they are continually checking each other's work to add missing information. The combination of collaboration and competition and gaming elements really works well to get all students engaged! And they have fun too!



Krista Glosson shared examples of how students collaborate on Google docs to gather data for experiments.  This activity builds in authentic accountability, as students depend on the data entered by their classmates to analzye their hypothesis.  Students work more efficiently as well, by collaborating on the data entry and compilation.

As a follow-up to their Institute Day session, Chris, Dan, Sandra and Krista hosted a Teaming on Tuesday demonstration in the Collab Lab and/or a Peer Observation invitation to see these strategies in action in their classrooms!  A huge shout out to them for sharing their practice with us with great examples from their students!

Do you want to learn more?  Do you have student-engagement/collaboration strategies to share?

Come see us in the Collab Lab! . . . or leave a comment below.
 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Split View Multi-tasking in Math

By: Rachel Barry

In case you didn't know, the iOS 9 update (from last year) included a new feature called Split View Multi-tasking.  If you would like to learn about the process to open both apps, please read this Gadgets360 article here.  

This allows you to open up two apps at once, on one screen.  When I had first learned of this, I realized how cool it would be for students to be able to have their calculator app open while solving math problems in Notability.  Here is what this looks like:



Very cool!  Some students like this, while others still prefer having their TI-84 calculator separate.  Regardless, a great feature, especially for when a student forgets his/her calculator.

I was really excited the other day, when I was walking by a student and saw them using this feature in a new way.  To give you some background first, our curricula includes formative assessments through Schoology quizzes.  


Students have a .pdf version of these formative quizzes, so that they can download the document into Notability and have something to write on to solve the problems.  They then have to type their answers into Schoology.  This can be cumbersome and time-consuming.  

Instead of going through this multi-step process, this student decided to be much more efficient.  He used the Split View Multi-tasker feature to pull up Notability while working in tandem with the quiz open in Schoology.  Saves students so much time (and doesn't get them distracted!)





Monday, November 14, 2016

Creating Community Service Opportunities: Connections to Harper Promise

Fourth post in a series from our staff-led Institute Day.


In this presentation, Val Norris and Mindy Perkins debuted District 214's new web-based service learning tracking system, X2vol, which is a program that is embedded in the Naviance Program already used by students. They also brainstormed ways to create and communicate service opportunities for students.

Participation in community service and tracking it is required to maintain eligibility to the Harper Promise. This session gave staff a great opportunity to collaborate on the best ways to streamline our communication regarding opportunities for our students to serve their communities.



X2Vol - Naviance Community Service Tracker

X2Vol is a web-based community service tracker that can warehouse all student service hours, for multiple goals. It is housed within Naviance, so students, staff and parents will be familiar with the platform. The system will only be live for Freshmen and Sophomores.

Students can easily:
  • Locate and sign up for service opportunities
  • Receive reminders
  • Track progress against goals
    Freshmen need 5 hours
    Sophomores need 10 hours
    Juniors need 15 hours
    Seniors need 20 hours 
  • Add reflections to their experience
  • Connect service activities to their career cluster

Staff:
  • Can generate real-time reports and send out reminders
  • Can approve, partially-approve or deny hours online
  • Will eliminate storage, archival and form requirements
  • Can recognize students for their service more frequently
  • Eliminate parent phone calls related to service hour progress

Action Plan
  • Naviance can upgrade our system overnight and a tab will appear on all students Profile Page.
  • Counselors will work with the APSS and APSA to communicate to parents and students
  • Harper Promise Committee Teachers can communicate to other teachers:
Christina Barnum Sandy Bisinger
Cindy D’Alessandro Ricky Castro
Linda Ashida Bob Murphy
Becky Jordan Kim Ferraro
Courtney Lavand Mindy Perkins
Erin Ludewig Bob Murphy
Val Norris Chris Rogers
Shae Sohn Jason Spujth
Rita Sayre

For a tutorial on how students log their hours, click here.

View Eligibility in Infinite Campus

Staff have the ability to see students’ status in Infinite Campus.
  • Toggle over to Student Information.
  • Click on the "Harper Promise" tab.
    - Ineligible students are marked with the



              - Those who are still eligible are marked with a clear space.



Friday, November 11, 2016

How Restorative Practices Can Improve Behaviors

Third post in a series from our staff-led Institute Day.

In his presentation, Justin Penio explained current practices and policies of EGHS and provided teachers with tools to build relationships, manage classrooms, and respond to behavior issues.

Restorative practices changes the mindset of trying to control things to an environment of providing support and encouragement. When we try to maintain control, discipline becomes the focus, which can be limit-setting. Students improve behaviors more often when they are nurtured and given support.




Anticipated Outcomes:
  • Prioritize relationships, community and repairing harm instead of the need to assign blame and dispense punishment  
  • Encourages responsibility and accountability
  • Create positive school culture, respectful relationships, effective teaching and learning


Examples of Questioning:


  • What happened?
  • What where you thinking at the time?
  • What have you thought about since?
  • Who do you think has been affected by what you did?
  • What do you need to do to make things right?
  • How can we make sure this doesn’t happen again? 

Goals of Restorative Practices:

  • Change the behavior
  • Fits with new legislation
  • Incorporates best practices in a school community
  • Aimed to reduce referrals, suspensions, and expulsions


How This Looks At EG:
  • Expanded use of in-school suspension
  • MORE COMMUNICATION
  • Removal of certain privileges such as:
      • Open lunch
      • Parking
      • Intramurals
      • Participation in assemblies
      • Computer Labs
      • Homecoming events
      • Outreach program activities

Teacher Take-Aways:
- Try to avoid power struggles and conflict. These won't help students find motivation to learn.
- It helped to hear/see the Dean perspective on issues that we have with kids. Explaining the methods of support, and the reasons behind them, make the issue come full circle, so the kid can come back to class in a positive manner.