Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Growth Mindset with Assessments

By Mark Heintz

The AP World exam just transpired and I am in full reflection mode.  I asked my students a few questions about things they felt they needed based on the test they just took.  The students felt they needed more writing practice throughout the year.  They felt they needed more individual practice with feedback on their ability to perform on the spot.  To give some context on the test, the exam has four components. Part one is fifty-five stimulus multiple choice questions. Part two is four short responses.  Part three is one document based question (DBQ). Part four is one long essay exam.  While AP does give a course framework, the students do not know the prompts or documents ahead of time.

To adequeately gather enough assessment data for each component, it takes a lot of class time.  To prepare the students for each component and give feedback along the way so students feel success, it takes a lot of class time.  Despite the enormous use of classtime, I feel they are one of the best elements of the class because they require the students to think. Since they take a lot of class time, I have often taught small elements of the essays in the first few units, but never had hard checkpoints or summative assessments for each writing component in each unit.

Based off the student feedback and my feelings on the year, I created an assessment chart to ensure a linear progression of the skills required for each component of the exam.  I wanted to hold myself accountable to formally assessing each part in each unit with the exception of the first unit which is a very short unit.  I did not want to assess the entire essay in the beginning because it would be too difficult and too time consuming.

To give an example of the progression, in the second unit, I will give the students a two document DBQ.  The students will only be required to write a thesis, give contextualization, and connect the two documents to their argument.  This will not require fifty-five minutes like it will at the end of the year.  It only assess three skills, which I can easily provide feedback to the students to help them grow by the next assessment. Each unit I add a skill or documents to progress them towards the final product of seven documents. Unit three adds the synthesis skill.  Unit four moves to four documents.  Unit five adds source component and five documents.  Furthermore, it gives me data on what my students have mastered and need help on at a very early stage in the year.  They do not need to be able to write a DBQ until the middle of May.

I have selected the DBQ's for each unit already and tailored the documents to get at the skills being assessed.  I am hoping that this holds me accountable to ensuring that students are progressing in the skills to be successful.   Furthermore, my hope is that the students will master the skill in smaller doses so I can make them feel comfortable with the exam, hold them to a higher writing standard in the end, and not spend as much class time in the last few weeks leading up the examination.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Read, Speak, Listen and Write - All in one activity!

By Linda Ashida - Inspired by Kirsten Fletcher

First, A shout out to Kirsten Fletcher for emailing the Collab Lab team with an invitation to visit her French classes to see her students engaged in a Running Dictation Relay Race.

Intrigued, we stopped by to find some students wandering around the room reading the walls, other students sitting at their desks seemingly waiting, and small groups of students crowded around one of their desks.

Kirsten explained the "method to the movement" that got all of her students--collaborating in groups of 2 or 3--engaged in using the language in all modes: reading, speaking, listening, and writing.

Step 1) 
One student in the group goes to read one of numerous sentence strips posted around the room. The student reads the sentence as many times as necessary to memorize it.

Step 2)
The student who reads the sentence reports back to the group and recites the sentence from memory to his partner(s) who must listen and write the sentence accurately, exactly as it was written.  If the student who read the sentence forgets any part he can go back,  re-read, then return to help his partner fill in the gaps.

Step 3) 
The students repeat this process with each of the sentence strips around the room, until they have all of the sentences written correctly.

While this activity is great for World Language classes to get students up and moving and using all modes of communication, it could be adapted easily in any language arts classes.  The content of the sentences could be easily modified to adapt to any level of language learners.

The activity could involve varied extensions as well.  For example, sentences from a story could be posted in random order.  Once completely written, the students would have to put them the correct order, building an additional layer of reading comprehension.

Kirsten is thankful--and would like to give credit to--her #langchat colleague Martina Bex for sharing this activity. 

To learn more, read Martina's blog posts:
Running Dictation Relay Race
Running Dictation Extension

Thursday, May 4, 2017

#214EdPrep: Nicole Reflects on Her Experiences

By: Nicole Holubec

Image result for educators rising d214
Thanks to the District 214 Educator Prep Program I’ve gotten to experience so many great things. Ever since I was a little kid I knew I wanted to be a teacher. When I heard about the College Intro to Education course being offered at school I knew I had to join and be apart of it and that was one of the greatest decisions I had ever made because I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet so many new people and make new connections. 

In College Intro to Education I have learned the meaning behind what teaching is and I was able to create my own philosophy of teaching. I also got to take part in an internship which I am still currently in. Three days a week I get to go to Grove Jr. High and student teach. My rotations have been in 6th grade, Language Arts classes. 

I've taught lessons on annotations and have done “A Look Into High School” activity with my students. My annotations lesson is one that I actually have improved on. The first time I went through the lesson it was very simple, taking notes with paper and pen on an overhead projector, but the second time I taught it I changed things up and used technology. I created a Google Slides presentation for the students to take notes from, then a Nearpod activity to practice annotating, followed by a small quiz at the end to check for understanding. 

Besides going out on an internship, this class has given me many opportunities to work with different groups like Estudiantes Unidos, the Future Teachers Club from Devonshire Elementary, and first graders from Salt Creek Elementary. 

By working with these groups I’ve been able to get a first hand look into different ethnic and age groups which makes me more prepared for my future with the students I will have one day. Talking with these groups and hearing other students having the same passion that I do gave me even more motivation to continue in the field of education. 

Some of the greatest opportunities have also come my way thanks to the teachers in the Collab Lab. Ms. Ashida and Ms. Barry have come into my class, also along with Mrs. Miklusak and Mr. Heintz, and showed us different ways of teaching with and without technology and different styles of teaching. 

This collaboration with the Collab Lab led to an opportunity for me to present and take on the role of teaching the teachers at the EdCamp In-Service day at EGHS

Thanks to EdPrep I’ve gotten to grow as a person and as a future educator.

To learn more about the program, and the experiences of other EdPrep students, check out #214EdPrep on Twitter!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Spring Brings New Collaborations

Written by Linda Ashida

In all of the professional learning that the Collab Lab facilitates, we always look for opportunities to expand our collaboration across schools, both in person and virtually, using Periscope, Facetime or Skype, and Google Hangout.

We have written about some of these collaborations in previous posts:

In this post we'll highlight new collaborations we are enjoying this Spring.

April 2017 In-Service Day

Our April In-Service Day gave us the chance to connect with our colleagues at The Academy at Forest View.

The Collab Lab team planned a kind of hybrid EdCamp, giving all staff the opportunity to offer input on their needs and interest several weeks beforehand.  We used the feedback from staff to pre-plan some of the session offerings, and we also gave staff the opportunity to suggest workshops the morning of the In-service day.

Prior to the In-Service day, we got to thinking about the possibility of inviting some of our colleagues from the Academy at Forest View to join us, since, from prior collaborations, we knew that our staff had a shared interest in learning about, and/or sharing our practice, regarding social emotional learning and instructional technologies.

We weren't sure if the logistics would work to bring teachers together from two buildings, but we figured it didn't hurt to try! We thought it would be great, even if just a few of the teachers could join us, and if not in person, via Google Hangout or Periscope.

So, we presented our idea to Kara Kendrick, the Director of The Academy.  Not only was she open to the idea, but after sharing the idea with some of her teacher leaders involved in planning their day, we were able to work out a plan that would allow for the entire staff from the Academy to join us at Elk Grove for the morning EdCamp!

Staff from both schools facilitated sessions, and even student teachers and students joined in and presented too! As always, we documented our learning in each session using Google Docs so that we would all be able to access the notes for future reference, including for sessions we were interested in, but unable to attend.

Feedback from the day was very positive, with some great suggestions for future In-service days.  Almost all of the EG staff who completed our feedback form indicated how great it was to have this opportunity to get to know our colleagues from The Academy, and to learn with and from each other.  We have already discussed plans to continue our collaboration with them during the coming school year!

The visual below gives you a glimpse of some of the sessions.  Check out this link for more details.


Collab Lab Book Chat Series in May

A literacy research project done by our colleague, Katie Winstead, as part of her year-two Mentor Program project, inspired the Collab Lab to partner with Katie to host a book chat series.

We will meet on Tuesday mornings in May from 7:40-8:05 in the Collab Lab and we will read and discuss the book Readicide by Kelly Gallagher.

Each week we will share our key takeaways and questions. We will also reflect on our practice and, looking ahead to the coming school year, plan specific strategies that we can embed in our lessons to improve student literacy.

All EG staff are welcomed to join us, and we have extended the invitation to our colleagues across District 214 as well who will be able to join us via Google Hangout.

Look for future Collab Blog posts with updates on our Book chat series to see what we learn!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Classroom Tools for Engagement

In this previous blog post on a session from our April 3rd Institute Day, Peter King shared some multi-purpose tools for teachers to provide feedback through engaging activities.  Here are some additional tools for the classroom that can be use to increase student engagement.

- Bouncy Balls is a website that monitors the noise levels in the classroom. As the class gets louder, the balls bounce higher. It is a visual reminder for students to keep sound down in the classroom.  You can adjust the sensitivity based on your preference or the activity in class.

- Noisli generates white noise to help students concentrate in class. There are numerous options of noise to choose from including rain, wind, the ocean, etc.

- InstaGrok allows students to research a topic through an interactive web. They search a topic and then general subtopics pop up. Students are then able to explore their topic by watching videos, reading articles, and search images to help them better understand a topic or concept.

- Memegenerator allows you to explore existing memes or create your own. This is especially fun to use with a Quizziz activity!

- Tagul is a teacher-generated word cloud, which you can adjust the shape and color of the image. This could be a great study tool for students or just something fun to decorate your classroom with!

- Mentimeter creates a word cloud from student input, based on a question or topic that the teacher poses. One teacher suggested that this would be a great idea to intro a unit as a KWL. Peter suggested using this also to build relationships by asking "What did you do this weekend?" or "What did you do over Spring Break?"

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Motivating Students with Feedback

As always, the Collab Lab was guided by feedback from staff in planning the April 3, 2017 In-Service Day.  That feedback led to some designated sessions, including an emphasis on social-emotional learning, while still allowing room in the schedule for sessions to be suggested on April 3rd.  With staff asking for SEL sessions, the staff at The Academy at Forest View also joined us to present and participate.

One of the EdCamp sessions allowed teachers to discuss ways to motivate students through various uses of feedback.  Peter King, from The Academy at Forest View, and his student teachers shared some multi-purpose tools for teachers to provide feedback through engaging activities:

This is an assessment tool in game form.  Students compete against one another but are able to work at their own pace.  You can adjust settings for time, order of questions (random or set), due date, etc.  Students get to create an avatar, and they receive funny memes after each answer they select.  Teachers can pull from pre-made quizzes and share their own quizzes with other teachers.

Here is a teacher-led, student-engaged activity for the classroom.  You can import an already created presentation into Nearpod, and enhance it with interactive formative activities for students to answer a questions, watch a video, or draw a diagram.  Teachers can dictate which slide all devices are on, or you can set it into student-led mode.  Here, teachers are also able to share their presentations or pull from the public domain of already created Neared activities.

This activity provides students with an interactive way to showcase their knowledge of multiple choice and true/false questions.  Students hold up their assigned QR code in the direction of their multiple choice answer (A, B, C, D, E), and the teacher scans the QR codes with his or her iPad.  Students are able to answer without feeling self-conscious, only seeing whether or not their answer was read by the iPad, while the data is immediate for the teacher to see who answers which questions correctly.

Here is a competitive, timed formative assessment method for multiple choice questions.  Students compete against their peers to answer prior to the buzzer, with the correct answers in quicker time get awarded more points.  The leaderboard is updated after each question.  Now, they have updated to allow for a Podium of top 3 winners, instead of just the sole winner.  This increases motivation with students to keep competing, even if they aren't in first place.  Lastly, they have added a feature called "Jumble", which is designed for questions that rearrange events, build a step-by-step order, or unscramble concepts.

This website allows you to quickly turn a Google Sheet into a fun activity.  You can choose from creating notecards to a Jeopardy game, crossword puzzle, Bingo game, a Mad Lib, and many other engaging activities for students.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Vive la collaboration! A Language and Cultural Adventure in Europe!

By Kirsten Fletcher & Effie Kalkounas

On Thursday March 23rd, 2017 a group of upper level French students, led by Kirsten Fletcher of Elk Grove High School and Sara Kahle-Ruiz of Rolling Meadows, embarked on a whirlwind tour to France, Switzerland and the principality of Monaco.  Chaperones included Effie Kalkounos of Elk Grove High School, and Caleb Parnin, Linda Thorson, and Tim Waters of Rolling Meadows High School.

The itinerary included the city of lights, Paris and its beautiful landmarks: the Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysées, L’Arc de Triomphe.  Students then took the TGV- Train à Grande Vitesse, France’s bullet train, to Switzerland.  Mrs. Kahle-Ruiz had grown up in Switzerland and showed the group many of her favorite sites. Their stops in Switzerland included Geneva and Lausanne where students witnessed firsthand the beautiful Alp mountains.  In Geneva, students connected to history and science content as they visited the UN and CERN. After Switzerland, the group went to Grenoble France, a beautiful mountain town where students saw breathtaking views at the top of the mountains. Then, students stopped in the magical town of Annecy with its pristine lake and backdrop of the Alp mountains.

After that, students boarded a bus and were off to the south of France: Provence, which is Mrs. Kalkounos’ favorite part of France! With its sunny climate, exquisite beaches and Mediterranean flair, it is no wonder why people flock to the French Riviera. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and warm.  The people were friendly as they tried to coax us into their stores to buy lavender and various other trinkets.  The best part of the trip, in my opinion, was the Mediterranean boat cruise in the village of Cassis.  The natural beauty of this area was astounding! The group finished their trip in Nice. Ah yes, isn’t it nice to be in Nice! The students were able to go to beach and dip their toes in the Mediterranean, walk through the Promenade des Anglais and enjoy lovely French food like salade niçoise, crêpes, croissants au chocolat and more. The group even took the opportunity to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie in French!

Because the trip was limited to students currently enrolled in French classes, the tour guide was able to give students a lot of information in French. She interacted with them and encouraged them to speak and read French at every opportunity. Every evening we were treated to authentic French food. The students who participated in this trip were enthusiastic about trying new foods, using their French, and learning to interact with the local culture. Read on to see what our own students wrote!

And to finish with a reflection from student Anna Slezak:

"This year's trip to France and Switzerland was a wonderful opportunity which built my confidence and taught me how to adapt in a foreign setting. It expanded my cultural sensitivity, teaching me how to act in unfamiliar situations. Simple things like ordering lunch or asking for directions push me out of my comfort zone and taught me to connect with people despite differences. Now I want to become fluent in the French language with the hope of coming back one day and carrying out a full conversation. I'm very thankful for the chance to explore this amazing country and learn about its culture and language."

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Using Metacognitive Strategies to Increase Student Reading Engagement

By Jackie Figliulo 

Whether asking students to engage with class-assigned texts or books of their choosing during independent reading, I’ve always struggled to get students interested in being readers.  And why should they be interested?  Because-the-teacher-said-so works for very few students.  Then when a text challenges students, its subject matter is “boring,” or their cell phones are mere inches from their itching finger tips, because-the-teacher-said-so just simply won’t cut it.  

Enter metacognitive strategies.

Telling students to think about their thinking piques their interest as we start our class each year.  Showing them that we all approach and experience a variety of texts in our own way allows them to understand there is no one way to be a reader and a thinker. Showing students it’s ok to not know everything and to ask questions is a valuable part of being a reader.  Promoting metacognitive strategies in class also tells students that their individual experiences matter and are valuable.  
In my English classes, I most intentionally employ metacognitive strategies during independent reading.  Students bring a book of their choosing to class on Fridays and are instructed to read for a given amount of time (25 minutes in quarter one, 30 minutes in quarter two, etc).  Once they’ve read, they complete a metacognitive reflection, answering five out of seven questions that applied to their reading experience that day.  Each quarter we make improvements to the reflection sheets so that students can use them in ways that make most sense to them as critical thinkers.

Now, how can I assess students’ thinking and reflections in a meaningful way? The metacognitive conversation.  

Each quarter, I return the students’ reading reflections all at once.  They get to look through their reading experiences from the last ten weeks and reflect on their progress, problems, and evolving thinking.  Using their own reflections as evidence, students prepare for our summative assessment:  the metacognitive conversation.  

Students must prepare for the metacognitive conversation by answering six to seven questions about their reading for the quarter.  They must reflect on what they did throughout the quarter and then set goals or propose solutions to their reading road blocks for the following quarter.  The day before our formal conversation, we review the procedure, expectations, and evaluation [see assignment sheet], then choose two student facilitators to guide the discussion the next day.  In order to participate, students must have their reflections and admittance slip (completed questions).  During the conversation, students discuss their thinking, approaches to the text, problems they encountered, and make recommendations to each other about text choices or methods.  At the close of the conversation, students complete a self assessment of their performance during the discussion.  Their reading reflections, admittance slips, self assessments, and my notes make up their final grades.  
The metacognitive conversation is a valuable, focused evaluation of one of my overarching quarter learning targets: students will be critical thinkers of texts and their own thinking.  It allows students of all reading levels to show growth and be measured on their own personal progress.

Another benefit of using metacognitive strategies and this method of assessment is the community it builds in our classroom.  I come to know how my students think as individuals and can use that to inform and differentiate my instruction.  Additionally, students get the chance to relate to one another as academics, not just as peers sharing the same space each day.  

I continue to struggle with intentionally embedding metacognitive strategies in all parts of our curriculum.  I hope to create a classroom where individual, critical thinking becomes the class norm, not just something we do on certain days.  However, the metacognitive conversation days give me hope that my students and I are at least on our way!

Please feel free to come observe a metacognitive conversation at the end of May (exact date, TBD) periods 2, 3, 6, 7, 8! :)

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Are Creative Projects a Dying Art?

Lately, as I reflect on my unit plans, I find myself continually coming back to the same questions. What is the purpose of this activity? Is this going to help my kids master the learning targets? Is this going to give me the information I need about where they are currently at with regards to mastery? When I answer these questions truthfully, it sometimes means that I no longer see any justification for some of the “fun activities” that go along with novels I am teaching. As much as we have a good time creating funny Facebook profiles for Lady Macbeth, I’m not totally convinced that the activity provides anything more than just a few laughs. But, does that mean that I should cut out all opportunities for creativity in my classes? I sure hope not.

I recently gave my Honors World Literature students (sophomores) an opportunity to demonstrate in a creative way their understanding of Chinua Achebe’s important African novel, Things Fall Apart. I asked them to focus on important themes, character development, cultural significance of the novel, and/or metaphorical and philosophical analysis of the text. They had a lot of freedom in designing and implementing their visions, but the learning targets were the same for everyone:

  1. I can thoughtfully evaluate and explain important themes, characters, and significant events in Things Fall Apart.
  2. I can understand the point of view of a particular culture presented in a work of literature.
  3. I can provide formal, written analysis to explain my creative project, including textual evidence (quotes + page #s).
  4. I can speak with enthusiasm and expertise when presenting to my classmates.

It might sound cheesy,  but watching these students really pour their hearts into their projects was nothing short of inspiring. I was truly blown away by their creativity. More importantly, I was thoroughly impressed by their insightful commentary and meaningful conversations with classmates regarding the novel. So, was this creative project a worthwhile assessment? I’ll let you be the judge.

For more information on each project, please leave a comment or contact Kristen on the Twitter link above!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

#214EdPrep: Karolina Shares Her Teaching Experience

This is the fifth in a series of blog posts discussing the collaboration of the Collab Lab and our EG Ed Prep students.  Please follow along on our journey using the hashtag #214EdPrep or clicking on the label #214EdPrep in the word cloud!

By:  Karolina Rusiniak

I intern at Clearmont Elementary school with the ESL program. The teachers compose normal lessons with the students, such as math centers etc. just like they would in their regular English classroom. I decided to try the app Classkick with the class this last Friday.  [See this past blog post about the Spark Session on Classkick.] I prepared a slideshow of about 12 pages of line graphs and worksheets and fraction free response questions. 

When I arrived, the class was divided into six groups each working at a different math center and would rotate every ten minutes or so. The students were very excited to do the classkick! They told me they have never done such an activity where they could directly write on their chrome book and have the teacher check their work automatically. They informed me that they loved the fact that I could check their work as they go and that I could give them stickers as rewards. Also, they loved working at their own pace through the presentation. 

What we found as a challenge was that it was hard to write on their chrome books and having the opportunity to write on their tablets would make it much easier. Some students successfully logged into classkick through the internet on their tablets and said it was much easier than working on their laptops. I am still working on exploring the program, but, personally, the only challenge I came across was that since the kids were divided into six groups, some would get on and some would get off the program and I would have to take some time and look for the students that are on the program to check their works- they were scattered all over the list. 

Other than that, I really loved using the program and they informed me that they would love for me to make another slideshow for their math centers again. I think that if I could change some things about the program, I would come up with a more effective way to alert the teacher when the student presses "please check", and I would love to have the students who are working on the program to show up in one place and the students who aren't to be moved somewhere else, yet still visible. Overall, I really enjoyed working with the program! I took some pictures, but I was told I could only use them for classroom purposes, but i will gladly show them to You in person.

More blog posts to come.  Follow #214EdPrep and @EGCollabLab for more!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A New Angle to an Old Problem: work ethic & motivation

By Kim Miklusak

Motivation and work ethic are two common phrases uttered by teachers at times, usually in a negative way: Why don't students care about this?  Why do they wait until the last minute?  Why won't they get off their phones?  And there are definitely so many reasons to discuss and improve intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation, learning targets, assessment practices for us as educators, and so on.

But one thing I've also been trying lately in my classes is to re-frame how I speak with students who aren't "on task."  Instead of walking around and saying "get to work" and "why aren't you working," I'm asking them, "What can I do to help you be successful?" or sometimes "Under what conditions can I help you demonstrate what you are able to do?"  I remember our principal using a similar question once in terms of working with staff, and I thought, this may work with students as well--not all the time, of course.  Sometimes students just need to get to work. 

However, sometimes we need to change the conditions under which they are working to make them more successful.  That could mean letting them sit outside the classroom door or on the floor.  That could mean letting them put headphones in to take away distractions--or whatever best fits your students, your environment, and your subject.  Additionally, this re-phrasing makes the conversation less antagonistic, which can help to alleviate any tension or frustration.  Students may be more willing to say they don't understand something or need a handout they are missing if we aren't coming off as aggressive and frustrated.  I have found this with my group of seniors and our most recent essay.

In the end the outcome may be the same no matter how we phrase it, but I've found some more unwilling students actually open up and say what they need to work on--again, not always, and not all students--but perhaps more than I would have in the past.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Student Voice: Models of Student Work

By Mark Heintz

I have been going around school stopping students at random to hear what they feel teacher's do that impacts their learning.  It is so important to continually ask the population we serve to get their feedback on what helps them master the content and skills we are trying to teach.  The responses have been so insightful into what works for each of the unique learners that enter our classroom and can continue to drive the methods we use to instruct them.  Once I captured the student's voice, I tracked down the teacher to share and get their input on the practice that was highlighted. 

The student I asked in the video highlights the way Mr. Asmussen uses different levels of student samples to improve students writing ability. 


Here is Mr. Asmussen explaining the impact and process of using student samples in his instruction.  


Friday, March 10, 2017

#214EdPrep: Spark Sessions on Grouping Strategies & Using Manipulatives

This is the sixth in a series of blog posts discussing the collaboration of the Collab Lab and our EG Ed Prep students.  Please follow along on our journey using the hashtag #214EdPrep or clicking on the label #214EdPrep in the word cloud!

In continuation of our Spark Sessions (read more here and here) with our District 214 Ed Prep students, Kim Miklusak and Mark Heintz presented different methods of grouping students and how to use manipulatives to activate prior knowledge.

Spark Session #5: Learning Various Grouping Strategies from Mrs. Miklusak

Kim passed out a worksheet of the various grouping strategies with each group, who, as it turns out, were all set up in self-selected groups.  

She walked the students through each type of grouping style, describing the definition of each and making connections to times in other classes that the students would have participated in such groups.  They briefly discussed the positives and negatives to each type of group so that the students would be able to apply different strategies depending on what lessons they are using with their own students in the coming weeks.

Spark Session #6:  Using Manipulatives to Build Background Knowledge with Mr. Heintz

Mark passed out envelopes to each group.  He had both big and little rectangles cut out in each envelope.  First, he had students look at the big rectangles.  There are words and definitions on various edges of the rectangles, and students are to match them up to eventually form a large rectangle.  Students worked through to match the words with the proper definition.  Then, he discussed other uses of this activity, as well as discussing methods to make this more differentiated (i.e.: providing different students with different "cubes", adding distractors to the outside rectangles, adding a time constraint, etc.)

Next, he had students move to a new group, creating groups of 3-4 consisting of no students from their original table.  They now were going to play an activity called "Word Grab" using the small rectangle pieces from the envelopes.  For this game, he says a definition, and the students have to grab the correct word.  Each word was a reason to use the activity.  For instance a few of the words were background knowledge, prior learning, and movement. 

Mark and Kim ended the session by looping back to Kim's lesson to show the class how they used different student grouping strategies to complete Mark's lesson!

Social Media
Following the Spark Sessions, Linda Ashida reminded students about the benefits of using social media for professional learning as well as reflection.  She also showcased Hannah Irizarri's blog post, in which she shares how she used a strategy from last week's Spark Sessions in her own field placement.

More blog posts to come.  Follow #214EdPrep and @EGCollabLab for more!

3/10: This Week in the Collab Lab

In case you missed it, here is what has been happening this week!