2017 – Five Ways to Construct Your Global Competency and (In)Form Your World View

Happy New Year! What kind of private Idaho will you construct for yourself in 2017?

How about for your students? How global will your instruction and their experiences be?  Will their world views be challenged and expanded? Will your class be recognized as relevant and prepare them for the future?

So, what is on the horizon.  This Smart Brief, “Why Global Should be the Education Movement for 2017” by Bonnie Lathram and Dave Potter asserts  that in 2017, “we are going to be powered by global innovations in learning…”  I feel confident these predictions will happen and broaden the range of educational opportunities and possibilities.

 

Also, I just came across this landmark report about Global Education from UNESCO in 1990, Learning: The Treasure WithinWow.  Be sure to digest and internalize this 20th century vision as it still needs to be realized!

Lastly, this piece from Ed Surge reminds us about forward thinking and preparing our students for tomorrow.

Ok, now it is time to take a stroll through these 5 points.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  Share them with your network, let me know what you think, and enjoy exploring and constructing!

 

1. Constructivism – Let your Students Know What/How Learning Is

I’ve always used the term “constructing knowledge” when talking with my students about learning and the experiences they will eventually have beyond high school.  I was surprised to find out that many of the educators I worked with had rarely used this term with their students—despite the teachers themselves being proponents of constructivism. Alternatively. words like “make”. “form”, or “create” may work better with students.  But then again, why not aim high, right? To assist with this exercise in being explicit and intentional with students about learning, I offer these planning questions and resources, both teacher and student directed.

  • Planning Questions

    Philographics is a series of posters that explain big ideas in simple shapes

    • How will you explain to students that they construct both their understanding and meaning?
    • How will you explain to students the difference between memorization and learning as a process?
    • How will you explain the “why” about learning about the past?

Education should be about students constructing knowledge to build their own personal view of the world, yet we rarely let them know that.. Constructing knowledge is about exploring new thoughts and opinions. So next time students ask the simple question, “What do I need to know?” teachers should frame the experience of education as an exercise in constructivism. Doing so empowers students to be active learners and dynamic thinkers, not just consumers of information.

 

 

2. Global Education Conference 2016  

Let’s start with this quote from Kofi Anan “I am often asked what can people do to become a good global citizen? I reply that it begins in your own community.”

We are multiple weeks removed from another fantastic Global Education Conference – huge amounts of gratitude to Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon.  With the start of the new year it is easy for your interest in global education to take a back seat.  One way to keep your interest alive and well and inspired is to review the  global education resources and tools of the conference.  Moreover, attempt to make at least one change with students, colleagues, and for your own growth. Enjoy!

If you like what you see, tweet it out to #globaled and keep me posted @CraigPerrier

 

3. EdChange Global Classrooms 2017

The Global Ed Conference is behind us, but on deck is an amazing event – EdChange Glo
bal Classrooms 2017!  Running from Feb 28th – March 1st  The  registration page for #ECGC17 can be found here.

  • The classroom event will take place in Qiqo Chat and login information will be sent out during the month of February to all those registered. All sessions will be located in one place and each will include collaborative notes and a video chat with up to 200 participants.
  • Is your class doing amazing things? Share and collaborate with classrooms all over the world at #ECGC17 and sign up to facilitate! We would also love to have more student led sessions.

 

4. Global Reports and Indices

Context matters. Information matters. Sources matter. Interpretation matters. Comparative approaches to learning expand the US frame beyond the arbitrary boundaries of nation-hood. In other words, framing US events, people, ideas etc. in relation to a non-US equivalent provides students with  a relational and relevant experience. Dive in  and analyze.

  • Global Terrorism Index: This is the fourth edition of the Global Terrorism Index which provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 16 years, covering the period from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2015
  • 2016 Index of Economic Freedom For over twenty years the Index has delivered thoughtful analysis in a clear, friendly, and straight-forward format. With new resources for users and a website tailored for research and education, the Index of Economic Freedom is poised to help readers track over two decades of the advancement in economic freedom, prosperity, and opportunity and promote these ideas in their homes, schools, and communities

  • 2015 Corruption Index From villages in rural India to the corridors of power in Brussels, Transparency International gives voice to the victims and witnesses of corruption. We work together with governments, businesses and citizens to stop the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals. As a global movement with one vision, we want a world free of corruption. Through chapters in more than 100 countries and an international secretariat in Berlin, we are leading the fight against corruption to turn this vision into reality.
  • Reporters Without Borders: 2016 World Press Freedom Index Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is the world’s biggest NGO specializing in the defence of media freedom, which we regard as the basic human right to be informed and to inform others. At the turn of the 21st century, nearly half of the world population still lacks access to free information
  • Freedom in the 50 States We score all 50 states on over 200 policies encompassing fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom. We weight public policies according to the estimated costs that government restrictions on freedom impose on their victims.
  • World Values Survey  is a global network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life, led by an international team of scholars, with the WVS association and secretariat headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. The survey, which started in 1981, seeks to use the most rigorous, high-quality research designs in each country. The WVS consists of nationally representative surveys conducted in almost 100 countries which contain almost 90 percent of the world’s population, using a common questionnaire.

 

5. Teaching Resources

What blog post would not be complete without a good resource potpourri? I hope you add these to your repertoire and share them with you network.  Have fun!

  • 100 Leaders in World History Fantastic collection of resources that  provide a way for teachers, students, parents, and community members to engage in thoughtful discussions. By studying the leaders of the past, we learn about people whose strength and determination teach us about leadership and commitment.
  • MACAT Videos on You Tube provide concise overview of the most important books and papers in 14 humanities and social sciences subjects. A powerful resource for students, teachers and lifelong learners everywhere, our analyses do much more than just summarize seminal texts.

  • Newsela is really incredible!  Newsela is the best way for students to master nonfiction in any subject.By combining real-time assessments with leveled content from premier daily news sources and eminent nonfiction publishers, Newsela makes reading to learn relevant, interesting, and effective regardless of interest or ability about a range of topics from around the world.
  • LizardPoint Simple, fairly clean, and pretty fun.  Create an account and try your skills at the quizzes on Geography and World Leaders.  Go get ’em.
  • US History in a Global Context:  a dynamic resource that addresses the scarcity of professional development programs dedicated this approach.  Additionally, the resources we have assembled are designed to inspire your creativity and develop your thought leadership as an advocate for this approach to teaching U.S.History.
  • FPRI – The Buthcer History Institute  The Butcher History Institute, co-chaired by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Walter A. McDougall and FPRI Senior Fellow David Eisenhower, aims to contribute to the more effective teaching of history and to the public discourse over America’s identity and its role in the world.

Are You Teaching for Tomorrow? Making the Turn to Global Education

Across the United States the new school year has commenced. 48950618.cached  To kick off SY 16-17 I want to share some thoughts & resources that impacted, or reinforced, my views on education this summer. Specifically, this post emphasizes the need for building student understanding of and ability to succeed in a globalized world. How teachers design learning experiences for students (the combination of resources, instruction, assessment, and student outcomes) is indicative of a teacher’s vision and understanding of the purpose of education.

As you explore the post and resources below, keep in mind 3 common aspects of the type of education I am highlighting:

  1. Content/Course work is always framed or connected to contemporary issues or present circumstances.
  2. The teacher is a facilitator of learning and supports student inquiry and development of skills and
    content.
  3. Students are expected to take action or produce information for public interaction and/or for the development of their own world view.  In short, assessments go beyond just the teacher’s eyes.

Ok, my point of entry for this topic is a very simple yet powerful reflective prompt.  In the last few months, this Image result for globe with question mark
question has repeatedly popped up in various media and manifested in conversations I had  with people from a range of professional backgrounds. Drum roll…

That question is: Are you teaching for tomorrow?

Despite being simple, this question generates complex and stimulating responses. Moreover, it can very well be the cornerstone of your personal educational philosophy, a guiding principle for a team/department, or, starting point to develop an instructional/assessment model. In other words, if an adult walked into a classroom, would they feel like they time traveled to their high school Image result for 1980s classroom overheadexperience of 1970s, 1980s, 1990s etc?  This would imply t hat students are being taught for 20th century goals with 20th century methods and beliefs. If so,  that  is an an eyebrow raiser indeed.

The most compelling way to teach for tomorrow  is to utilize practices that address global citizenship – a combination of knowledge, skills, and dispositions whose goal focuses on students’ futures – not to replicate the educational experiences their teacher had.   (On a side note it is imperative to prepare teachers to be globally competent in pre-service programs and to continue that training with continuing development opportunities. However,  this is for a future post but a teaser is provided below with the collaborative tool, Padlet).

Ok,  watch this inspiring Ted Talk about Global Citizenship/Education which includes the practice being done in urban centers and with elementary students.

 

What a great video… multiple main themes are expressed with applications.  Moreover, the sentiment about teaching for tomorrow is framed in practical contexts. Mary Hayden puts it this way:  

Even for those school-age students today who will never in adulthood leave their native shores, the future is certain to be so heavily influenced by international developments and their lives within national boundaries so affected by factors emanating from outside those boundaries that they will be hugely disadvantaged by an education that has not raised their awareness of, sensitivity to and facility with issues arising from beyond a national “home” context. 

By the way, if this statement doesn’t impact, reinforce, change, or inspire the way you teach or develop your own practice please let me know. We need to talk.

So, What Can Teaching For the Future Look Like?

I mentioned above 4 inroads for teachers to make a global turn for teaching and learning- resources, instruction, assessment, and student outcomes.  The suggestions below address each of these inroads (they are not Image result for world with light bulbmutually exclusive).  Utilizing any of them with your classes  explicitly and intentionally  teaches for tomorrow. Content knowledge, skills, and students’ world views are developed from a stance that is forward looking and applicable beyond classroom walls. Additionally, globalization (and all its systems, issues, possibilities etc.) – not nationalism, not a test, not industrialization -moves to the center of your students’ classroom experiences.

Here are some tools and suggestions to consider and follow up on. The bold orange headings are the topics/practices that embraces global education and citizenship.  Below them are links to online tools and resources related to the headings in orange. These are only a start…

 

 

 

 

So, to finish this post, but not this topic, I want share one more video that addresses the importance of global citizenship and effectively discredits the claim that global citizenship is impossible because of its reliance on nationhood.  To those individuals I refer them to the realities of stateless refugees and to the team of refugees who competed in the Rio Olympics.

Enjoy exploring the suggested readings and the Padlet comments below.  Lastly, Teach for Tomorrow! Your students and the world will be grateful.

 

Suggested Reading:

 

Padlet Used for Feedback on Global Education from a  Teacher Workshop:

U.S. History in a Global Context: A Free Resource for Educators

Globalization has changed the purpose of education. In response to the demands of an increasingly complex, nuanced, and connected world, schools in the United States offer a variety of global experiences for students.  These approaches seek to develop students’ global competencies. One way these competencies can be met is to globalize the teaching and learning of U.S. History.

Currently, the AP, IB,  the Common Core State Standards, the C3 Framework, and NCSS themes all share this call to infuse global perspectives into contemporary education.   Moreover, groups like the Asia Society, VIF, and World Savvy have identified frameworks and credentials addressing global competency for students and teachers. However, there is a need for resources, instructional approaches, and assessment types dedicated to placing U.S. History in a
Global Context instead of teaching it in isolation.
connectThe great news is that resource is now available!

The U.S. History in a Global Context project is a dynamic resource that supports teachers’ move toward this broader contextualization. The resources we have assembled are designed to inspire teacher creativity, develop lessons, modify instruction, and bolster understanding of the “How” and “Why” of globalizing U.S. History .

Additionally, we hope that the project develops your advocacy for this approach to teaching U.S. History. Ultimately, by using this “global turn” you will better prepare your students to succeed in the future.

  •  For an overview of the resource, watch this screencast:

http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cDeVfZ16OF

  •  Resource Website is here:

http://globalushistory.edublogs.org/

To finish, I want to reference the prolific historian, Dr. Peter Stearns. He notes,

“A more global framework creates new perspectives, and some fresh challenges, making American history a livelier experience and, of course, linking it to other history courses in a less fragmented way. Ultimately, I would suggest, a global approach to American history lets us deal with three key, and difficult, questions – important ones, but tough ones as well.”

I hope you enjoy and utilize this resource.  It will go through monthly updates throughout 2016.  If you would like to contribute to the resource, please reach out through the U.S, in Global Context feedback area.

What is TES? Exploring Teachers’ Global Marketplace of Ideas

I love going to farmers’ markets. I try to buy from a variety of farms in order to spread my support around. I also love Oliver Wendell Holmes 1919 dissent statement in Abrams v. United States.  In it he invokes the power an individual  can have among the collective.  He notes:

“Persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical. If you have no doubt of your premises or Wendell-Oliver-Holmesyour power and want a certain result with all your heart you naturally express your wishes in law and sweep away all opposition…But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas. . . . The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.”

In short,  Holmes believes that “the ‘marketplace of ideas’ is the foundation of the constitutional system, not merely the First Amendment, and efforts to suppress opinions by force therefore contradict a fundamental principle of the Constitution.”

Any marketplace  of ideas can be competitive, risky, rewarding, and collaborative. What happens when we apply this principle to the field of education… on a global level?

TES is what happens!

The English based Times Education Supplement (TES)  is dedicated to supporting the world’s teachers. Their mission “is to enable great teaching by helping educators find the tools and technology they need to excel, supporting them throughout their career and professional development.”

Additionally, TES is “home to the world’s largest online community of teachers with 7.3 million registered users… this network is one of the fastest growing of any profession globally, helping support, guide and inspire educators around the world.”

I was introduced to TES during last November’s Global Education Conference (see that presentation below).  I promptly became a member of TES (check out my TES page here) and contacted them to find out more.  From there, I met Gabe Barker.  Gabe was happy to sit for an interview about the education marketplace known as TES. His insights  follow.  Welcome to the new marketplace – Enjoy!

 

  1. Hi Gabe. Tell us about how you got involved in TES and explain the organization’s vision.

After teaching for a few years and then getting my graduate degree in education technology, I was looking for jobs that would keep me in that field. I saw an ad for the position on EdSurge and jumped at the opportunity to help as many teachers as possible to share, sell, and create teaching materials online.The high-levegabel vision of TES is quite simple – help teachers teach. We strive to support teachers in real, tangible ways. Since teachers are so strapped for time, they often can’t design every worksheet, lesson, handout, and quiz needed to teach a successful class and still have enough energy for their students in the classroom. Moreover, now that most states require classes to align with Common Core State Standards, teachers in the U.S. are in need of even more resources that they know are effective with real students.  Since teachers are the ones in class every day, they know best what materials actually increase student learning outcomes. TES works to meet that need. Every resource in the marketplace is created by a teacher for a teacher. For every resource purchased in the U.S., the teacher who created the resource gets 100% of the profit because we value the hard work that teachers put in to make those materials.In addition to this dynamic marketplace, we host Blendspace, a lesson-building product where teaching resources can be freely integrated and implemented; and Wikispaces, an open classroom management platform that facilitates student-teacher communication and collaboration.

 

2. What are some of the successes of TES and what is ahead for 2016?

Our greatest success this past year was launching the U.S. marketplace in August 2015, and it’s been a fast and furious five months since then. Shortly after this launch, we integrated Blendspace’s lesson builder and our marketplace platform so that educators can instantly incorporate the resources they discover on TES into digital lessons. We view this integration as a move toward making it even easier and effective for teachers to implement TES resources and engage students in differentiated, flipped, and/or group learning.Since we also care deeply about teachers and their experiences with TES, we provide personalized attention to authors via our content team (made up of all former teachers like myself!). In addition to that support, we strive to foster communication about best teaching and TES author practices through our Authors’ Hub and Teachers’ Lounge guest blog. We also offer exclusive Pinterest collections and boards filled with resources created by our educator community. As we move into 2016, we are launching the Teacher Advisory Board and the Ambassador Program in the US. The Teacher Advisory Board is composed of a small group of leaders in US education and the Ambassadors Program consists of teachers in the US and Canada. The Teacher Advisory Board is expected to give us insight into big trends in education, and the Ambassadors will provide product feedback and help out on various projects and initiatives (e.g., our guest blog, videos, etc). We have both the Teacher Advisory Board and Ambassador Program to better understand teachers’ perspectives, from their experiences with our products to broader issues impacting the education community.

 

 

3. What makes your program unique in the space of global citizenship education?

While most of my previous answers have focused on the US marketplace, it’s important to note that TES is truly a global platform. In our marketplace, teachers and other educators from around the world can discover Tes globaland share innovative teaching techniques and resources. Essentially, TES helps teachers incorporate global content and perspectives into local lessons, which works to increase global collaboration and further “flatten” the world of education. Furthermore, by using global content in their lessons, teachers help their students gain new insights about different parts of the world.

 

 

4. What are the best ways for teachers/schools to get involved?

It’s easy for teachers and schools to get involved with TES. The first step is to create a free account and search tes.com<http://tes.com><http://tes.com> for resources to try out with students. Schools can encourage team leaders to test resources from TES, and help other teachers use resources in the classroom. Additionally, individual teachers can become authors by uploading materials that they’ve created for their classrooms and making them available in the marketplace. They can either share their materials for free or sell them to earn 100% royalty. Moreover, we’re always looking for new teaching perspectives to share with our community. Teachers can submit a blog post or an article for publication in our guest blog.

 

5. What are some examples of feedback you have received on the teacher resource component of TES?

One of the best parts of my job is the daily communication and feedback I have with teachers in our community. We are thankful that we receive so much feedback from teachers! Here are a few gems:

“The uploader on TES resources is incredibly user-friendly and easy!! Thanks for this service!” – a seller of Spanish resources on TES

“I like the personal touch at TES which I haven’t had from other online marketplaces…it feels like I’m noticed and recognized.” – a Social Studies teacher on TES

“Thank you for your marketplace and always being ready to help!! I did the happy dance when I saw my sales this morning. :)” – An English Language Arts Teacher on TES

 

6. It has been a pleasure. What final words do you have for readers?

Teachers are some of the hardest working and most passionate professionals, and they don’t receive recognition often enough about their value and impact on students in their classrooms. TES provides a venue to help alleviate some of the stresses on teachers’ time, including finding effective resources and creating digital lessons, and to elevate and share their teaching practices with other educators around the world. Essentially, we hope to make a difference in teachers’ lives, so they can continue making a difference in students’ lives. We’re always open to feedback, and look forward to working with you!

 

The TES Presentation that Inspired Me…

During the 2015 Global Education Conference (please get involved with this) Jim Knight, Chief Education Adviser at  TES was a keynote speaker. As a former Cabinet minister in the Labour Government, Minister for Schools and Learners, and member of the Privy Council and the House of Lords, Jim Knight has skills in decision making, communication, media handling and strategic policy, and has unrivalled expertise in the inter-relationship between education, skills and employment policy given his ministerial experience. He also has a current understanding of the potential use of digital technology in the delivery of public services. See his presentation below.

The Global Concerns Classroom: Civic Education that Turns the World Around

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day.  My 2013 post framed Dr. King not merely as an American citizen, but rather as a global citizen… a concept that is widely used today in education and beyond.  In a 1979, Harry Belafonte performed the song  “Turn the World Around” on the Muppet show emphasizing the power of knowing, not otherizing, people and recognizing the agency and positive results that engagement can foster.   Watch the video below and enjoy!

 

How great is that?

In preparation for the segment, “designers at The Muppet Workshop did background research on African masks, to serve as the chorus. While these would be patterned very closely on real African masks, Jim Henson was very particular about selecting the final designs, since as Belafonte recalled, “he didn’t want to cause offense by choosing masks that would have some religious or national significance.”

Well done Mr. Henson.  And although some people may dismiss this as political correctness, an error in application of that term, I consider this understanding to be an example of global citizenship in practice.

So, what about today in 2016? Currently, there are a range of global citizen programs available for educators, schools, and communities to select GCC_logo_Colorfrom in order to bolster the global education experiences students have.  One program that stands out and should be explored by you  is “Global Concerns Classroom.” In their own words:

Global Concerns Classroom (GCC) is an innovative global education program that seeks to raise awareness of current international humanitarian issues in U.S. youth and to empower them to take meaningful action. Through dynamic resources, student engagement programs, and professional development for educators, GCC prepares youth to gain the knowledge and skills needed to be globally competent for the 21st century.

Very compelling indeed!  At a conference this past November, I had the pleasure of meeting  GCC Education Officer, Margi Bhatt.  We reconnected in the new year and discussed GCC and global education.  Margi’s insights about GCC’s  vision, resources, and her own work are provided below.  Be sure to connect with her and explore how GCC can contribute to your school and class.

 

1) Tell us about how you got involved in GCC.

After finishing my Master’s at Teachers College in International Education Development, I was eagerly seeking a position at an education NGO in New York City that not only captured my interest but whose mission I could believe in. Concern Worldwide’s reputation was well-known at Teachers College and when I saw there was an opportunity to work in the domestic education side of it through the Global Concerns Classroom program, I jumped at the opportunity! Luckily, the fit was great and I was hired for the job! I’ve been here for almost a year and half now.Margi

2) What are some of the successes of GCC and what is ahead for 2016?

GCC has been active since 2001, though it has taken on many faces since its conception. One of the strongest aspects of GCC is the content it provides teachers and students through standards-aligned curricula and our global issue guides. Because GCC sits under the greater INGO Concern Worldwide, we have access to up-to-date material on global issues. We source our information directly from our teams in the field so we can best capture what’s happening around the world and make it accessible for the US classroom.

All our resources are completely free of charge as well and as streamlined, easy to implement as possible for our teachers. Having been teachers ourselves, team GCC is always teacher-conscious and we hear great things from our participating teachers about the resources we provide, which gives us pride in our work! You can read more about our approach to programming on our website!

The last two years, we’ve focused our yearlong programming on Innovations in Global Health and Global Climate Impact. The yearlong program includes standards-aligned curriculum in the fall (5-6 lessons, 50 minutes each), Global Youth Summit in the winter, Community Action Plan and a Showcase event the spring, followed by the overseas field visit opportunity in the summer.

For the 2016-17 school year, we will turn our focus to Humanitarian Emergencies. Our curriculum will cover both manmade and natural disasters and how humanitarian organizations like Concern Worldwide respond in times of crisis. The lessons will include information about the humanitarian landscape and emphasize the importance of coordination. Our Global Youth Summit in the winter will give students the opportunity to put all this to the test through a simulated emergency scenario.  We are very excited for what’s to come!

 

3) What makes your program unique in the space of global citizenship education?

 Besides the fact that all our resources and program participation is completely free of charge, one very unique factorGcc unit of the GCC program is the annual overseas field visit. After participating in the various components of our program throughout the school year, students who are deeply interested in the global issues they’ve learned about are invited by their teachers to apply for a field visit opportunity.

Chosen students (and their teachers!) spend a week visiting Concern Worldwide programs in the field, with previous trips to Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia. This experience is hugely impactful for students as they are able to complicate and deepen their understanding of development work. You can read about our students’ experience last summer in Ethiopia on the GCC Blog!

Student alumni of our field visits have gone on to explore college degrees and career tracks in this field, citing their GCC/Concern experience as an inspiration. Teachers who participate in the visit find they are better equipped to talk about global citizenship topics in the classrooms back home and are more motivated to include global concepts in the topics they teach. We are thrilled to be able to provide such a special opportunity for our students and teachers!

 

4) What resources do you have for teachers?

 We have ten global issue guides focusing on major humanitarian and development issues in various countries, seven standards-aligned, ready-to-go unit plans (5-6 lessons, 50 minutes each), student narrated videos, and classroom posters to help teachers get the conversation started. Most recently, we’ve added an issue guide and unit plan on Climate Change in Niger. Our Water poster is very popular!

All of our resources are available on our website for free in PDF downloadable format. Teachers can also request hard copies of our issue guides for their classroom library. In 2015, we received dozens of requests from teachers all over the world, impacting hundreds of students.

In addition, teachers are welcome to request any other needs they may have for teaching global issues in the classroom and we do our best to provide guidance and additional resources.

 (sample video from GCC)

5) Are you seeing more schools in the USA making a move toward global education?

Yes, definitely! We are continually hearing from teachers all over the US seeking resources on global topics. Most recently, I’ve noticed a trend at the state-level for creating a global citizenship certification program for high school students. A lot of times, it’s the teachers themselves who are leading these campaigns to make global education a priority and to create incentives for their students to take part. States like Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and others are at various levels for making the certification program a reality. With these programs in effect, we hope that our resources will help fill any gaps teachers and administrators experience in their need for curriculum. Very exciting to see global education trending, especially since, from my conversations with teachers and students, it’s what they want to be teaching and learning!

 

6) How can schools get involved with GCC?

Currently, our yearlong program is available to high schoolers in NYC, Chicago, and Boston metro-areas. Any educator that fits those two criteria (geography and grade-level) are welcome to register on our website for next year’s program on Humanitarian Emergencies. Once registered, teachers will receive further information on the details of the programming, including curriculum and dates for events.

For those who don’t quite fit the bill, we have amazing online resources, PDF-downloadable and for free! If you’re a teacher looking to teach about global issues, you will find global issue guides per topic and by country on our site. In addition, there are 5-6 lesson (50 minutes each) unit plans on topics like Climate Change, Child Survival, hungerDisplacement, Education, HIV and AIDS, Hunger, and Water. There are also student-narrated videos to play in the classroom, as well as classroom posters to get the conversation started!

If teachers have other needs related to teaching global issues, we are always ready to receive requests and provide whatever resources and assistance!

 

 7) It has been a pleasure.  What final words do you have for readers?

Having worked with teachers the last couple of years on global citizenship education through GCC, I see first-hand the demand on teachers from all sides – administrators, students, guardians, and peers. It can be challenging in such a shifting educational environment to continue to provide great learning for students with energy and without losing sight of what is at stake – after all, the next generation of leaders are in the classrooms today!

In the last two years, I’ve also seen amazing teachers who are so dedicated to their work, which inspires me continuously to provide them with the most effective and streamlined tools to make their jobs easier. I will never forget last fall in Chicago, when a teacher came up to me after our professional development session – she hugged me and explained that she’s been looking for something like the GCC program for her students and she’s so thrilled that she’s found it!

Global citizenship education is quickly becoming essential to better prepare students for the 21st-century and to generally provide them with critical perspective on global issues. I am happy to be a part of the work that is making this happen!

To keep updated on all we’re doing at GCC, follow us on social media, where we’re constantly updating on the latest big thing and providing additional resources for teachers! You can find us on Facebook at Global Concerns Classroom, on Twitter @concerngcc, and Instagram at GlobalConcernsClassroom. Be sure to also check out our blog, where we post on international awareness days – an easy way to bring current events and global issues into your classroom!

Thank you Margi.  It has been a pleasure.  I look forward to staying in touch and seeing the continued impact GCC will have on global education.

Whoa ho, so is life!

Italo Calvino, Technology, and the US DOE: 6 Moves for the Current Millennium

Happy New Year! I hope that 2016 is an enlightening and inspiring year for you.

I remember reading Italo Calvino’s   Six Memos for the Next Millennium at cafes and along Ipanema beach in ipanemaRio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Reading it in 2003 the millennium had already started and Calvino’s swansong was nearly two decades old.  But “Six Memos” resonated with me in a way that transcended Calvino’s focus on literacy criticism  and theory, “(the work was an )investigation into the literary values that he wished to bequeath to future generations.” In short, I felt the world and education profession had passed through a gateway.  What did we bring with us as a guide in the new era?

Calvino prepared a series of lectures in 1985. Five of them were planned in Italy. He intended to complete the sixth while in the United States. However, prior to his departure, Calvino died, his sixth lecture was unfinished. The title of the compilation indicating six memos was retained, although the book contains only five.

The topics/values which Calvino highlights  in his lecture series are:

  1. Lightness
  2. Quickness
  3. Exactitude
  4. Visibility
  5. Multiplicity
  6. Consistency (never finished)

Below is a rare interview with Calvino recorded just before his death and broadcast on BBC TV just after his death.

So, it is now 2016 and we are well into the new millennium. What is the current status of education in your world? How do you, your students, and your colleagues use technology as a tool for teaching and learning?And lastly, what can Calvino offer us as we frame education and ed technology in this millennium?

Calvino talks about the new novel and the need for change in the literary craft. I contend that the qualities Calvino identifies in Six Memos for the Next Millennium are useful and relevant guides for us in education.  A new craft for teaching and learning is needed so that when you see a classroom today, it should not be a replication of the 1980s or 1990s.  One of the key factors in education’s evolution is the ubiquity and potential of technology.

 

 Six Uses of Technology 

Education Week’s recent Spotlight “Leaders in Technology and Innovation” contained a range of insights and case studies regarding the implementation and current use of ed tech.  A point that stood out in the publication echoed adad-and-kid-barter-tech common sentiment among educators expressing the limits of technology in teaching and learning.  Taken from an evaluation of a 1:1 initiative in Charlotte, NC, the program noted that  “on average, students and teachers used the laptops for one lesson per day, often for ‘superficial’ academic purposes, with Internet browsing the primary form of use.”

This observation is a legitimate concern.  Such use is a limitation to education in this millennium. Certainly there must be more to do with technology. especially in a 1:1 setting.  But what else can be done?

To begin answering this question, I have returned to Calvino for inspiration.  Below you will find a use of ed tech matched with one of the qualities found in Six Memos for the Next Millennium.  Combined they represent changes in education that are facilitated by technology. With the start of the new year, there is no better time to try one, or more, with your students.

  1. Video Conference and Chat with Students Beyond the School (Lightness) “I have tried to remove weight, sometimes from people, sometimes from heavenly bodies, sometimes from cities; above all I have tried to remove weight from the structure of stories and from language.”
    • Why do it? Collaboration, engaging with students on a global scale, and communication skills
    • Try this: http://tonyblairfaithfoundation.org/projects/facetofaith 
  2. Use Social Media for Formative Assessments (Quickness) “Quickness of style and thought means above all agility, mobility, and ease, all qualities that go with writing where it is natural to digress, to jump from one subject to another, to lose the thread a hundred times and find it again after a hundred more twists and turns.”
    • Why do it? Authentic setting, full class participation, learning beyond class time
    • Try this: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/frictionless-formative-assessment-social-media-paige-alfonzo
  3. Students Create a Portfolio (Exactitude) “To my mind exactitude means three things above all: (1) a well-defined and well-calculated plan for the work in question; (2) an evocation of clear, incisive, memorable visual images;(3) a language as precise as possible both in choice of words and in expression of the subtleties of thought and imagination”
    • Why do it?  Used to collect, organize, reflect upon, and share student work – digital presence
    • Try this:   https://threering.com/     OR    https://sites.google.com/site/googlioproject/ 
  4. Creating Media (Visibility) “…the power of bringing visions into focus with our eyes shut, of bringing forth forms and colours from the lines of black letters on a white page, and in fact of thinking in terms of images.”
    • Why do it? Student generated information is part of this millennium.  Not just written papers…
    • Try thisInfographics, video, images, screencasts, podcasts… subscribe to this: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/ 
  5. Require Students to Apply Knowledge to Contemporary Issues (Multiplicity) “…the grand challenge for literature is to be capable of weaving together the various branches of knowledge, the various “codes” into a manifold and multifaceted vision of the world.”
    • Why do it? Taking informed action and/or using knowledge to impact a student’s worldview makes learning relevant.
    • Try this: http://www.c3teachers.org/taking-in4med-action-45-options-for-dimension-4/ 
  6. Modify/Develop Online Resources (Consistency) 
    • Why do it? Students engage with already created resources and contribute/edit the source with what they know.
    • Try this: Students can fact check, suggest modifications, and provide updates to existing information.  http://edtechteacher.org/my-product/fact-check-your-textbook/

Implementing any of these in your classroom will move the experiences of your students into the 21st century.  But this list of 6 is by no means the final word.  To explore more options, and an even greater vision, let’s finish with the US DOE’s recent 100 plus page “memo.”

 

Introducing the US DOE 2016 National Education Technology Plan

Give this document a read.  I am confident that it will inspire, inform, provide context and possibilities.  Moreover, the number of resources and models will surprise you.  Checkout the vision of the plan:

“The National Education Technology Plan is the flagship educational technology policy document for the United States. The 2016 Plan, Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education, articulates a
vision of equity, active use, and collaborative leadership to make everywhere, all-the-time learning possible. While acknowledging the continuing need to provide greater equity of access to technology itself, the plan goes further to call upon all involved in American education to ensure equity of access to transformational learning experiences enabled by technology.”

For the sake of this blog, it is section 2 of the plan that is most relevant. It is titled,  “Teaching With Technology”  Goal: Educators will be supported by technology that connects them to people, data, content, resources, expertise, and learning experiences that can empower and inspire them to provide more effective teaching for all learners.

Start there as a very practical in-road to changing teaching and learning in your school using ed tech.  Even better -for inspiration and an overview of the section – start with the short video below .

What Now…

Let’s finish with this Calvino quote.  I love it because it reinforces the need for change and the new.  Indeed, the wheel of education does deserve to be reinvented.

“Whenever humanity seems coWriter Italo Calvino in a Cafendemned to heaviness, I think I should fly like Perseus into a different space. I don’t mean escaping into dreams or into the irrational. I mean that I have to change my approach, look at the world from a different perspective, with a different logic and with fresh methods of cognition and verification. The images of lightness that I seek should not fade away like dreams dissolved by the realities of present and future…”

The heaviness of teacher centered and teacher directed learning anchors education to the previous millennium. How light will you become in 2016?

 

Summering with Shulman: What did you add to your (T)PCK Repertoire?

When I am asked by people for advice or have the ears of social studies educators I work with (rookie or veteran) I like to share this bit of advice–  “Each year, be sure to add at least one new aspect of teaching to your repertoire.”  I have come to consider this sentiment to be a core belief, maybe wisdom at this point, of my professional philosophy and personal world view.

This synthesis of professional and personal convictions reminds me of scholar Lee Shulman’s concept of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). Shulman stressed the interplay of two domains often considered to be exclusive aspects of K-16 teaching: subject matter expertise and instruction. He reminds us,

“If teachers are to be successful they would have to confront both issues (of content and pedagogy) simultaneously, by embodying the aspects of content most germane to its teachability… It represents the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems, or issues are organized, represented, and adapted to the diverse interests and abilities of learners, and presented for instruction.” (Shulman, 1986, p. 8-9)

Here is Shulman in 2011 reflecting on teaching and education.  The 55 minutes are well worth it. So get a coffee and some ice cream, and enjoy!

 

Welcome back. In 1987 Shulman co-authored an article I consider part of the pedagogical canon, “150 different ways of knowing: Representations of knowledge in teaching.”  In essence,  a synthesis of understanding by the teacher is part of each class and, in turn, the educator’s professional expertise. For example, using a high school English class reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin as an example, pedagogical uses of literature and the role of discussion  as an instructional strategy in uncovering meanings in the work, combined with subject matter knowledge of the history of slavery and abolition can be represented using a simple Venn diagram labeled with Shulman’s theory.

So, from Shulman, I return to my very simple recommendation: expand your instructional repertoire every year by trying something new that can help students engage with your content.  This summer my goal was…well still is… to improve my expertise with a range of educational technology tools  so that I can use them with my students and promote them among my colleagues. Each of them can be used with online, traditional and blended approaches to teaching and learning.  Moreover, the 6 tools below are applicable to a range of content areas. Mastering them and then using them with intent in your classes will place you in that sweet spot of Shulman’s Venn diagram.

 

1) Thinglink (Interactive Images)

This tool “develops interactive images that help students develop 21st-century skills and enrich their enthusiasm for learning… It’s an engaging, all-inclusive tool for students to demonstrate their learning, though its full potential depends on how teachers use it.”

I am super excited about this one.  You, and your students, can take any image (including maps, political cartoons, data charts, etc.) and add information to it – explanatory notes, prompts and questions, video, additional information, links, etc.  I created this one below to collect the Atlantic World via music. In the end, with ThingLink, your creativity, content knowledge. and instructional vision is the limit.

9 Songs About Society from the Atlantic World, 1957-1988

   

 

 

2) Google Cultural Institute: Historic Moments (Online Exhibits/Content) From the f0lks at Google, the Historic Moment portal to their umbrella website “Cultural Institute” provides “online exhibitions detailing the stories behind significant moments in human history. Each exhibition tells a story using documents, photos, videos and in some cases personal accounts of events.” Wow! Be sure to explore tutorials on the site or a growing repository by people online. The content is growing  and is useful for online, face to face, ad blended approaches to teaching about the past.  So far, my two favorites are “The Second World War in 100 Objects” and “Nelson Mandela: One Man’s Memory.”  Bookmark this one and share it far and wide.   

 

3) Joomla! (Content Management Platform)  “A content management platform is software that keeps track of every piece of content on your Web site, much like your local public library keeps track of books and stores them. Content can be simple text, photos, music, video, documents, or just about anything you can think of. A major advantage of using a CMS is that it requires almost no technical skill or knowledge to manage. A mobile-ready and user-friendly way to build your website. Choose from thousands of features and designs. Joomla! is free and open source.”  How do you organize and present you resources to students? Where can students interact with the assignments, resources, and assessments you create and use?  Joomla is ideal for creating your own electronic portfolio as well and getting your research out in the public sphere.    

 

4) Social Explorer (Visualizing Data): This tool was introduced to me by my colleague, Patti Winch. See, sharing does work! “Social Explorer provides quick and easy access to current and historical census data and demographic information. The easy-to-use web interface lets users create maps and reports to illustrate, analyze, and understand demography and social change.”  Amazingly, it contains data from each census back to 1790!  I am excited to tap into this tool with gusto.  Take a look at what can be done.  

 

    5) Screencast-o-matic  (Presentations) –Screencast-o-matic is video and audio screen capture software. In the classroom, Screencast-o-matic is useful for recording audio commentary on student writing, recording a mini-lecture, narrating a presentation, or any other function you can think of! Ok, so this isn’t a new one for me, but they have recently expanded by adding a bunch of new features.  So, I need to catch up.  I have students create their own explaining their final paper topic Here is a short example of a screencast I made and use in class.

 

      6) Ted Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing: (Online Lessons) “TED-Ed’s commitment to creating lessons worth sharing is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas. Within TED-Ed’s growing library of lessons, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between talented educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed platform.”

My goal is to submit a lesson that will be accepted and then made into a Ted Ed lesson.  Review your resources, and your colleagues (because you can nominate teachers too) for outstanding lessons.  We all have gems that should be shared with as many educators and students.

Now, if these tools have not captured your interest, check out these two lists for more options.

 

So, where can this bring us. Back to Shulman of course, and then beyond.  By recognizing educational technology as a domain of knowledge for educators’ to master, we transfer PCK to TPCK.  “Technological pedagogical content knowledge refers to the knowledge and understanding of the interplay between CK, PK and TK when using technology for teaching and learning (Schmidt, Thompson, Koehler, Shin, & Mishra, 2009). It includes an understanding of the complexity of relationships between students, teachers, content, practices and technologies (Archambault & Crippen, 2009).”  

Whatever tools you add to your repertoire, I say congratulations! You have modeled life-long learning and are an inspiration to your students and colleagues.  Let me know what works for you, suggest additional tools, and stay in touch via twitter:  @CraigPerrier 

Enjoy the rest of your summer!   

Read This and Write That: 6 Tools that Engage and Build Your Students’ Literacy

What are you currently reading? I am in the middle of Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His GunGary Marx’s 21 Trends for the 21st Century and whatever I find interesting on Flipboard.  It was on that wonderful app where I came across an article sharing these quotes about the wonder and power of books and reading in general:

“Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, you cannot expect a genius to look out.”     -J.K. Rowling

“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.”     -Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.”                         -John Green

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”                                                                -Frederick Douglass

Our students’ literacy levels, that is the ability  to be read, write, and communicate both verbally and with a range of media, directly impacts their capacity  to think critically.  Let’s define that ubiquitous 21st century educational objective, critical thinking, using this visual.

That is a great list that leads to central questions about education. What are your favorite skills on the list?  Are your students developing them? Do you explicitly let students know that they are developing those skills?

I argue that being explicit is a key step in teaching and learning. For one thing, it helps students answer the question “why?”  But the type of experiences we provide students with to both develop and and demonstrate their literacy skills is significant.

For some c0ntext, take a look at this history of reading…hmmm over 2 million views. Well done.

Consider adding these electronic literacy  tools  to your repertoire. Try them out, or at least one, this year. They can add an additional way to engage your students, and ultimately develop their critical thinking skills.

  1. Newsela provides articles to students at 5 varying levels of difficulty but with the same content.  Super easy to use and has collaborative and annotation features.  As their website says: Newsela is an innovative way to build reading comprehension with nonfiction that’s always relevant: daily news. It’s easy and amazing.
  2. Wordle is a fun tool that visually displays words of a selected text in varying sizes by their frequency.  You can ask students to predict what the piece is about, or ask them to define/use the most common words in the piece, or have them create a wordle to analyze their own writing.  See the example below.  What text do you think it is?Uncharter
  3. Genius is an online tool that breaks down line by line annotations edited by anyone in the world. Luckily, Genius has a specific education feature that can be explored here in a controlled area/class: If you are an educator interested in using Genius in your classroom, check out our Teacher’s Guide. To learn more about Education Genius and to activate your Genius “Educator” account contact education@genius.com. I have used this with students to collaborate on a document.  For example, here is the link to Frederick Douglass’s speech “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July”  http://genius.com/Frederick-douglass-what-to-the-slave-is-the-fourth-of-july-annotated
  4. Sentence Starters are powerful tools that demystify writing and helps students get over writers block and frustration.  The website I suggested is from Auckland, NZ. But there are an abundance of these online to select from.  If you are a Pinterest fan you can find multiple boards there too.
  5. Thinklink allows you and students to create interactive visuals.  In a recent blog, the website Ed technology has expanded on the tool’s educational potential:  “The images you create can come alive by adding to them text, video, music, and links. ThingLink has also recently rolled out a new feature, which is still in beta, that allows you to add interactive pinmarks to YouTube videos. These pin marks can be links to other videos or websites. The ability to enrich images with different media content makes ThingLink an ideal tool to incorporate in your instruction. There are a variety of ways you can use ThingLink with your students and the visual below provides 27 examples of activities that students can do using this platform.”
  6. Word Walls are an effective tool to enhance literacy. They should be part of every… that’s right I said it… EVERY classroom.  If time is an issue, have students make them. If space is an issue, consider restructuring your room space.  Teachers can also call these “Concept Walls”  and use them for larger ideas for a unit or course.  But these must be referenced and used by students in order to make them effective.  If you aren’t using a word/concept wall, why aren’t you?

Finally, I love this list by Kathy Schrock which qualifies/categorizes literacy according to content and skill areas that each possess their own nuances, jargon, and skills.  The one to add, possibly, is cultural literacy… but that may be folded under the global literacy domain.

Oh ,by the way, the wordle I used was from the preamble to the UN Charter. Spread the news and enjoy!

Globalizing the US History Survey: Free, Self-Paced, Online, Collaborative, Professional Development Modules

I am extremely happy to announce the launch of the project Globalizing US History Survey: Free, Self-Paced, Online, Collaborative, Professional Development Modules 

We feel this project is ideal for the demands of the AP US History Course, IB History of Americas, the Common Core, and any US History course state standards.  Teachers, curriculum specialists, scholars, and anyone interested in this topic are welcome to engage with this project.

For a general overview, checkout this screencast about the project! 

If you can’t wait and want to get right in here is the project link:

 

We just want to repeat… this project is a 100% free professional development opportunity that utilizes social media, self-pacing, and professional collaboration.

Background

The concept was part of my graduate work at Northeastern University during my MA in History in 2011.  Subsequently. the project was funded by the Longview Imagegenerosity of the Longview Foundation and was created in partnership with the NCHE. A major inspiration for my thinking was the 2000 La Pierta Report. The report welcomed the 21st century with a challenge to US history educators everywhere.  I encourage you to read the entire piece. I have placed some main vision excerpts below:

“National history remains important, and will of course continue to be so in the future. But the national history we are describing resituates the nation as one of many scales, foci, and themes of historical analysis. Our students and public audiences will gain a heightened sense of nation-making…

BannerGlobal2By looking beyond the official borders of the United States and back again, students, we anticipate, will better understand the emergence of the United States in the world and the significance of its direct power and presence. We expect them to understand the controversial power and presence of the United States as a symbol beyond our borders. We hope students will gain a historical comprehension of the difference between being a peripheral colony and a powerful nation, and they will be introduced to some of the large historical processes, not all contained within the nation, that might explain such a shift in the geography of global power…

We believe that there is a general societal need for such enlarged historical understanding of the United States. We hope that the history curriculum at all levels, not only in colleges and universities but also in the K-12 levels will address itself to these issues… It is essential that college and university departments–which carry the responsibility for training historians who will teach at the K-12 levels–begin this work of integration…

The United States history survey course is properly a focal point for the creation of an internationalized American history. If in the survey course one embraces the simple advice to follow the people, the money, the knowledges, and the things, one would quite easily–on the basis of pure empiricism–find oneself internationalizing the study of American history.”

The Project

Recent trends have called for the “globalizing” of American education through 21st Century teaching and learning and the Common Core State Standards. These educational demands coincide with efforts in the history profession to internationalize the United States history survey course. Combined, these two paradigm shifts have generated demand to construct and teach histories that are rigorous and relevant in preparation for college and career readiness. Globalizing history education, therefore, involves an “opening” of students’ conceptions of the past through expanded content, broader methodology, and units of analysis that go beyond the nation. Preparing history teachers to do this is integral to the longevity and success of global education. This project addresses gaps in thought leadership and the scarcity of professional development programs dedicated to globalizing the U.S. history survey.Globe

At the core of this project are five modules participants engage with at their own pace. The predicted time to complete each module is 6 hours. The five project modules, listed below, span the 20th century

 Each module has a similar structure and features. In addition to selected primary and secondary sources/media,  five scholars created presentations unique to this project.

  • Gregg Brazinsky – George Washington University
  • Joseph R. Golowka –  Binghamton University
  • Greg Adler – Eastside Union High School District
  • Eric D. Pullin –  Carthage College
  • P. Masila Mutisya – North Carolina Central University

Also, Dr. Peter Stearns was generous enough to lend his support of the project. He notes “”A more global framework creates new perspectives, and some fresh challenges, making American history a livelier experience and, of course, linking it to other history courses in a less fragmented way. Ultimately, I would suggest, a global approach to American history lets us deal with three key, and difficult, questions – important ones, but tough ones as well.” See his full recording here.

In addition, each module had multiple  teacher reviewers give feedback on the functionality,aesthetic, structure, clarity, utility, and resources of the modules.  Their insight was invaluable.

A View of Professional Development for Educators

This style of PD challenges the utility of the large conference.  These tend to be a one size fits all approach which ignores the personalization we celebrate in contemporary education with our students.  Often, these presentations demand little to nothing form participants. Yet, you still get credit hours/points for just being there.  This is hardly a 21st century approach for our profession.

This project celebrates teacher creativity, agency, leadership, and content expertise . It requires participants to generate resources and contribute content knowledge for the network to use. Upon completion of a module, participants will receive a PD certificate emailed from the NCHE to add to your professional file.

Spread the Word

Access to the project and  the 5 PD modules is through Blackboard Coursesites a free LMS.  It utilizes a self-enrolling policy, so sign right up.

Please spread the word by sharing the link below with your colleagues and network.  Enjoy and we look forward to your insights and feedback!

 

 

 

 

Classroom Design + Best Instructional Practices = A Buffet of Learning Experiences

Best practices in education can be ephemeral or dismissed as old practices in new clothing (titles, jargon, rationale).  Hkindergartneowever, I believe it is important to develop, and periodically reflect upon, one’s own educational philosophy and repertoire.  To this end, I consider the values of student options and choice, content variety, skill development, and frequent  student- teacher interaction to be valuable qualities in secondary social studies and history  classrooms.  To find the best instructional practice which synthesizes these educational aspects is not difficult. In fact, all we have to do is look in our past – to kindergarten.

Well, maybe not everything was learned, and certainly not just in kindergarten. The point is  that the instructional practices  on the  “Buffet of Learning Experiences” menu (Station/Rotation and Learning Zones) are staples in elementary schools, common in middle schools and (unfortunately) endangered/extinct in high schools.  The typical responses when asked about there absence in high schools have claimed teacher control issues, preparing students for college teaching, and lack of space. What’s more, when I see these approaches used in high school, the classes are marked by a dynamism and engagement which are indicative of great teaching and learning.  Just take a look at what can be learned at a buffet!

 

The two models described below require an intentional and dedicated level of planning, flexibility, and knowledge of content.  Moreover, teachers have to be willing to decenter themselves a bit. Total control and the idea that they are the center of all content knowledge is anti-thetical to these practices.  Teachers  are still “in control” of the class, but not the lecture, power point “you need to know this from me” control. Using  Station/Rotation and Learning Zones elevates the role of the teacher to instructional designer, learning facilitator, and content resource.  Lastly, it is important to note that these instructional practices should be done frequently and not treated as rare events or the alternative.  Station/Rotation and Learning Zones builds a  learning culture that celebrates student accountability, investigation, collaboration,. communication, creativity, and critical thinking (sound familiar?). These are all great things in education.

Eat up and come back for more!

 

Station/Rotation Models

This style of learning is so much fun.  Students would enter our classroom and rarely would they see the same setup two days in a row.  Chairs and desks were reconfigured for the class.  Students became familiar with the settings and help me transform our room from a Pink Floyd dystopian nightmare…

floyd

…to an active learning environment.

Checkout the two models below.  What would you change?  How many stations would you have? How big are the groups?

station rotation model 2.gif

 

 

 

station rotation model 1

A major question asks “what to do at each station?”  Below is a suggested list with short descriptions for each:

  • žTextbook Use Area – Students read, review or engage with sections of the textbook.
  • žWriting/Editing Area- Students write, self -edit, peer edit, practice a writing skill.
  • žComputer Area – Especially good if you have limited computers. Explore a website, research etc.
  • žPrimary Source Area- Analyze, discuss, do a DBQ, create a DBQ,
  • žVisual Area- Focus on cartoons, maps, infographics, charts etc
  • Media Area- Listen to a podcast, Ted Video, PPT etc
  • žDiscussion Area- a mini deliberation about a topic.  Students summarize main points
  • žTeacher Feedback Area-  Feedback on projects, grades, National History Day work etc.
  • žTeacher Instruction Area- A mini-lecture or clarification of unit, chapter content
  • žStudent Reflection Area- Metacognition exercises, Apply to the present, what did I learn comments
  • žQuestion Generating Area- Students come up with inquiries and practice how to dissect an issue with questions
  • Other –Sky is the limit… have fun inventing some

Needless to say, keep in mind that directions at each area should be clear and doable in the time allotted.  Teacher’s need not have their own station and can be on call as needed.  Lastly, be sure to identify the outcome of each station – this is the accountability part!

Learning Zones

This approach turns your class into a learning  lab.  Like above,  each zone’s experiences need to be clearly described. The main difference is that their is no set rotation.  Students move freely.  This can cause congestion.  But you can create a max time in a zone or a capacity number.  You can also say that students need to visit 4 of the 5 zones giving them an option. I suggest trying this for a week or two straight or for a full unit morphing your classroom into …

Thinking Zones

For more information on the Zone approach checkout: Bray and McClaskey “Six Steps to Personalize Learning” Learning and Leading. ISTE. May 2013 Issue. Their website is located here.

 

Consider reconfiguring the zones in the model above as activity stations from the list above and you have created a whole new buffet menu!

 

Classroom Layout

What is your classroom like? Is it inspiring? Welcoming? Do you display student work and opportunities? Does it show expectations and goals?

These three articles below discuss the claim:  “The layout of your classroom can have a serious impact on the way you teach and the way your students learn.”

 

Keys to Good Classroom Arrangement​

  • Avoid unnecessary congestion in high-traffic areas.
  • Consider potential distractions: windows, doors, etc.
  • Always have a clear view of students.
  • Verify that all students can see you, instructional displays (e.g., chalkboard) and daily assignments (weekly, if possible). Use walls and bulletin boards to display rules, procedures, assigned duties, a calendar, schedule, student work and extra-credit activities.
  • Place learning areas so students can move from one to another with little or no disruption. Leave walking space around students’ desks.
  • Avoid placing learning centers and work areas in “blind corners.”
  • Place storage space and necessary materials so they are easily accessible.
  • Arrange students’ desks in rows facing instructional areas until you’ve learned their names, work habits and personal traits.
  • Check all electrical equipment to be sure it works and learn how to use the equipment before using it in class.

Things to Consider

1. Where will your desk be?

2. How many student classroom desks do you need?

3. What classroom seating arrangement of the desks will you use; for example, groups,rows, U shapes, rows but in groups,etc?

4. Will you have any classroom computers? Where will you put the classroom computer tables?

5. Will you have a carpeted area, away from the students’ desks, where you can all come together for classroom meetings,etc.?

6. What other additional classroom furniture such as filing cabinets, bookshelves,working tables will there be?

7. How many classroom bulletin boards will you have?

8. What other classroom display ideas are swimming around in your head?

 

Tools that let you design your classroom (These are really fun)