Dare to Care

create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

09/Jun/2016
by Denise Krebs
Comments Off on My Own Genius Hour

My Own Genius Hour

At our school we ended our annual professional development time with a Genius Hour-style PD project. Each teacher worked alone or with a small group to learn, explore and then put into practice something that we needed in our teaching lives.

Dillian, grade 1 English, and I worked together to answer the question, “What new tools can we learn to help students articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral English and to demonstrate the ability to work effectively and respectfully in a variety of small group situations? (Check out Accountable Talk and others)”

We created that question on 17 April 2016. Then we got to work learning about Accountable Talk, something I had heard about (just in passing) at the Google Apps for Education Summit the weekend before.

We discovered the Institute for Learning at the University of Pittsburgh has published many free resources about Accountable Talk, as well as some resources you can purchase.

Accountable Talk is one of nine Principles of Learning. Pam Goldman describes these principles in podcasts 6, 7, and 8. Accountable Talk is specifically related to learning and teaching in the first seven Principles of Learning.

  1. Accountable Talk
  2. Socializing Intelligence
  3. Self-Management of Learning
  4. Academic Rigor in a Thinking Curriculum
  5. Clear Expectations
  6. Organizing for Effort
  7. Learning as Apprenticeship
  8. Fair and Credible Evaluations
  9. Recognition of Accomplishment

Here are my notes on the Accountable Talk podcasts. You can read some of the transcripts and more about each of the principles.

Dillian and I also signed up for a course entitled, “Creating Engaging Environments for English Language Classrooms,” from the University of Oregon. Class Completion BadgeIt’s been a great course, and I’m learning a lot, but Module 2 was particularly applicable. It was about small groups. In an article by Anne Hammond Byrd*, we learned strategies for engaging children in meaningful conversation and collaboration in small groups.

  1. Make students aware of the purpose and benefits of learning cooperatively. And don’t make grades one of the reasons!
  2. Practice cooperation skills with nonacademic games.
  3. Change the culture of your classroom.  “Consider  providing  students  with opportunities to practice communication within a group by allowing whole class conversations to occur freely without constant teacher direction. By creating an atmosphere that encourages social interaction within a group, teachers allow students to  become  more  comfortable with the structure of the cooperative learning lesson design. Allow students the freedom to discuss ideas in class discussions openly without raising their hands for permission to speak.” ~Anne Hammond Byrd
  4. Establish ground rules for all cooperative learning activities.
  5. Balance student status. That is, sometimes strong personalities will have most of the influence in a group. Groups should be changed up to balance the interactions. In fact, a good idea is to put several very quiet students together, where new leaders will emerge.
  6. Assign roles. Especially as they first learn what to do in their groups.
  7. Provide demanding tasks. This is a good one for me to take to heart. Sometimes I don’t have high expectations for partner and group work. I usually use partners to have students discuss something or practice the skills at hand. Sometimes small groups complete a practice game or task, but I need to remember that “together we are smarter.”  They can do so much more, and I can expect that of a small group. I like the idea of having small groups practice for a presentation, and then vote on the one student who gets the privilege of sharing in front of the whole class. (Definitely related to #3 and 5 above.)

By the first week of May, we were teaching children some short sentences in an attempt to empower them to use English in conversations.

What I Learned

My students mostly speak in Arabic when they are working in small groups. If they need to communicate with me, that’s the only time they really have to use English. I never scold them for not using English, because they need to make connections, they don’t have the vocabulary or comfort level needed to speak English, and I’m sure there are other reasons. I do, however, want to encourage them to try more English. My goal is that they will become bilingual, and if they don’t practice in English class, many of them do not practice at all.

My few experiences with teaching the sentences above resulted in some powerful conversations. We practiced asking each other how to say certain words in English and Arabic.

Our conversations reminded me of when I was taking Spanish classes in high school. One of the key phrases that empowered me was, “¿Cómo se dice _____ in español?” (or, How do you say _____ in Spanish?) It was nice to be able to speak in Spanish while at the same time receiving help from my peers.

I saw the same enthusiasm in the children as they practiced saying, “How do you say___ in English?” or “How do you say _____ in Arabic?”

A Sweet Success Story

Just this week, one of the students spontaneously used the question, “Will you tell me more?” It was in response to a child, during show and tell, who had invited up several students for an impromptu skit of sorts. She was asking them questions, and they responded good-naturedly. It was all very fun and engaging. At one point, though, she asked an incomprehensible question. Without missing a beat, he said, “Will you tell me more?”  He looked up at me, with an enormous smile, and pointed to the sentence strip questions.

Next Year

Now, we have finished with the school year, and next year I will move up to Grade 5. I will definitely bring what I have learned about empowering students with language to help them communicate better in English. We will do cooperative groups with engaging, yet demanding, tasks. I will recognize from the start that the students don’t speak and understand English as much as their English teachers have assumed they do. Finally, I will work hard to build a culture of trust, understanding, acceptance, vulnerability, and safety for all the students.

Here are some of the helpful resources I’ve been using:

04/May/2016
by Denise Krebs
Comments Off on “Hey, Kids Let’s Put on a Show” Webinar

“Hey, Kids Let’s Put on a Show” Webinar

It was great to hear this webinar with Danielle Capretti. “Hey, Kids!  Let’s Put on a Show!” Theater in the English Language Classroom. She’s an expert on using drama and dance in EFL classes in countries around the world.

Moderator Katie took over during some technical difficulty on Danielle’s end and actually started the presentation. After a few minutes we were able to get started again. Danielle went through a lot of resources for young, secondary and adult classrooms. I’ve shared them below.

She covered the topics of

  • choosing a text or script–student-written, teacher-written, free online, purchased. Others?
  • casting for the parts–teacher chooses, volunteers, auditions. How else?
  • preparation–table work (understanding the words and content) and blocking (moving through the play so the audience gets the most out of it.
  • performance–do you have them memorize or do readers’ theater? Have them do warm-ups like breathing, exercise and tongue twisters. She had a lovely dramatic voice herself, and inspired me to practice enunciating, “The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue.” Finally, you can have them do a last minute speed run through–no blocking. Just the spoken lines, fast. If they can do this they should be ready.

Thanks to Danielle, Moderator Katie and Moderator Amy!

So, I’ll be checking out the resources and finding what drama I can do in my classroom very soon.

Resources

  1. American English website
  2. American Rhythms – music, lyrics and classroom activities
  3. The Best Resources on Using Drama in the Classroom by Larry Ferlazzo
  4. Royalty-Free One-Act Plays
  5. ESL Ideas: Using Abstract Drama Scripts in the drama, language and ESL Classroom
  6. Dr. Chase Young: Readers’ Theater Scripts
  7. Free Stage Play Scripts by D.M. Larson
  8. Aaron Shepard’s webpage
  9. Aaron’s Reader’s Theater Edition
  10. All Eugene O’Neill one-act plays are public domain.

18/Apr/2016
by Denise Krebs
Comments Off on Google Apps for Education Summit, Bahrain, Day 2

Google Apps for Education Summit, Bahrain, Day 2

A couple days late, but I had to share what I learned at the Google Apps for Education Summit, Day 2. I loved this conference with so many people from so many schools and places!

I was looking forward to the second day, even though my thoughts were with the Accreditation Steering Committee team from my school, which also met today. I had to miss it, but I was not disappointed to be at the Google Summit!

Ben Friesen‘s keynote was as captivating as yesterday’s by Mark! It was so inspiring. It just made me want to keep on creating, annotating and sharing.

The first breakout session, however, was a disappointment. Really, I should learnBen Collage to just not take a chance on vendor sessions. I was sitting in the front row, excited to learn how to use the reading and writing app I had downloaded the night before. However, then I learned that we have to buy a license to use it. I guess the version on my computer is a 30-day trial. I wasn’t enamored enough with the demo to even want to buy it.

The next two sessions I attended were by our keynote speaker–Ben Friesen. One session was using Google Drawings and the other My Maps.

In the first session, we worked on a collaborative drawing of the 1980’s with Ben. It was fun, and, if you click, you can see the messiness of large group collaboration. Then he demonstrated some of the features we can use. A few new features I learned:

  1. There is a red snap-to grid to mark the center of the canvas. That is handy.
  2. You can  connect box lines to group the boxes in a graphic organizer. That way if you need to move the box, the line comes along with it.
  3. You can customize the size of the canvas to fit the project you need. Go to File–Page setup. For instance, if the limit of the header size is 800 x 200 pixels, you make your canvas that size and create it just the right size. No need to crop or fit in later when it’s uploaded.

Finally we worked on our own header for a Google Classroom, which I won’t be using for a while until our students get their own GAFE email addresses assigned. Next on my wish list.

The session I looked most forward to was using My Maps. I love maps and, I really wanted to see how Ben so cleverly compared the true size of Greenland (2.17 sq km) with Saudi Arabia (2.15 sq km) in the Demo Slam on Friday. You would never know these two countries were so similar in size if you use the all too-popular Mercator projection.

I majored in geography in college, largely because of my love for maps. In this session, it was exciting to see the great transformation over the past few years in what Google has done with their map programs. I hadn’t been paying attention!

I used to make maps showing where the participants were from in the Global Read Aloud and other experiences. I still used Maps and Forms, but it was more difficult importing my data with third party applications that most of the time I didn’t understand. Nowadays, My Maps skips the middleman! Excellent. We each easily used the same data to work on our map of places we wanted to take a virtual field trip, manipulating the data during this session. In my map you can see different colors for all the teachers who shared their Twitter handle. Ben’s was a far better and more productive  presentation than one I made several years ago when mapping our connections. (If you visit that link, I’m sorry to say you’ll find that some of the links to my maps have been lost into some unknown digital graveyard.) Ben also shared two warm-up mapping games for kids and adults–GeoGuessr and Smarty Pins. Very fun!

During the last session, I had fun using the virtual reality glasses and apps with Shina in the Google Cardboard session. Amazing! Shina is a geeky technology coach in Saudi Arabia. (And my new friend. She is the first person I met Friday morning at breakfast.) She is also the journalism teacher for her district. Her students make the yearbook for the school, and she helps them use new technologies to make a physical book more interactive. Last year’s book had tons of examples of augmented and virtual reality for readers to access in order to enhance the book. One example was a 360-degree photo sphere of the old campus they vacated last year, so it will always be available as a memory to students.

Speaking of photo spheres (Not that photosphere, Astronomers!), I took my first 360 degree photo in our meeting room at St. Christopher’s School while we waited for the last keynote to start. (Again, I was reminded of all the wide world of learning, creating, and producing we can do with just an Android device! So many things we don’t even know about, YET.) I’ll be ordering some Google Cardboard glasses ASAP!

Finally, Chrystal Hoe did a nice job wrapping up with the session with another keynote address. I loved the video she showed about Erno Rubrik about the importance of asking questions to make amazing things happen!

Check out the schedule to see what other sessions there were.

I’d like to make a challenge to my new friend, Asma, who I enjoyed tweeting with and meeting at the Google Summit. I hope to read on your new blog what you learned last weekend!

15/Apr/2016
by Denise Krebs
4 Comments

Google Apps for Education Summit, Bahrain, Day 1

I had so much fun at the GAFE Summit today! I love learning new things, and there was much to learn. It had been a long time since I was at a tech conference, and my first ever Google Summit. This one is meeting at St. Christopher’s School in Saar, Bahrain. There are people from at least a dozen countries around the region and beyond.

Mark Garrison, Ben Friesen, Chrystal Hoe, Mark Hammons, Jeff Layman, and Lissa Layman are the team leaders for this weekend. They are all very knowledgeable, approachable, and they love to learn and share.

Here are just a few brief takeaways from my first day.

Mark Garrison had a great keynote address. I was inspired to be better, to give up some of the things in my practice that aren’t working. I will START some new things, STOP some old things, and continue to SHARE my learning. It is in making my learning visible that I learn the most. I truly am the chief among learners, and I delight in it. You can share what you are learning these days at the Start, Stop and Share Challenge that Mark shared with us. I will do that after the Summit is finished.

I also went to two other sessions with Mark. One on the 4C’s – communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. These 4C’s are in the tagline on this blog and on my classroom blog (actually 5 C’s on my class blog). I aspire to teach these always, and I loved Mark’s challenge to make these part of our lesson plans. Plan how and when we will let students practice each skill! The second session was a round table discussion about Start, Stop and Share. I heard from passionate educators from all over the region. They are here to make the world a better place, starting at their schools.

Lissa Layman had a great session, which was an overview of Google Sites, Documents, Slides, Forms, Calendar, and more. I immediately thought of something I will STOP, and that is sending home a paper form gathering email addresses and other beginning of the year information. I will have them complete a Google form so the info can come in digitally with much fewer errors than the paper versions produce. (Why didn’t I think of this before? I use Google forms!)

I got to experience BreakoutEDU! Such fun! We solved the game and “broke out.” I had heard of it before, but it didn’t make sense until I experienced it. (So true of so much of life, right?) I am looking forward to bringing a box back from the US this summer and participating with my Imagination Chapter.

I could go on and on about all of the Demo Slam segments. Three minutes each, showing a sweet app or hack or some digital nicety that makes the crowd go, WOW! Some of my favorites were My Map. (More on that later, as I tried it and failed miserably.) Another favorite was that Keep converts image text to editable text! What? I never knew. I came home and showed my husband, and he loved it so. It was an early birthday present for him!

The hour is late, and I’ll be up again to do another day tomorrow, so more tomorrow. In the meantime, there are more photos here, and my notes from today are here.

04/Aug/2015
by Denise Krebs
Comments Off on Mindset for Learning and Growing

Mindset for Learning and Growing

In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented. You have a choice. Mindsets are just beliefs. They’re powerful beliefs, but they’re just something in your mind, and you can change your mind.

Carol Dweck, Mindset, Loc 317 in Kindle.

I want to change my mindset in every area of my life! As I read Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: A New Psychology of Success, I thought of the times and areas in life that I have had a growth mindset (computers, reading and writing), and I also think of many when I have had a fixed mindset (sports, music, and learning languages).

My belief in all children’s ability to grow and learn has developed over the years. Thank God. I am saddened by some memories I have of my first years of teaching. I know I reinforced fixed mindsets in children. Even today, I still make mistakes. Carol’s book will help me, especially connecting and believing in those children who don’t believe in themselves.

I look forward to discussing Mindset with other #geniushour teachers on Thursday, 6 August, at 6 pm Pacific Time/9 pm Eastern. (Or for those in Arabia Standard Time, 4:00 a.m. on Friday.) Join us if you want to learn more about fixed and growth mindsets.

I’ve gathered below some quotes from the book on each of the two mindsets. I could have gone on and on–so many good thoughts–but I wanted to put these here as a reminder of the ideas, descriptions and vocabulary that I will need to practice, learn and teach. My goal for the coming school year is to practice and teach the growth mindset. (That’s my one sentence for this summer, Joy.)  (The Kindle location number is given for each.)

Fixed Mindset

  Growth Mindset

Fixed mindset—creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character—well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics. Loc 158

…one consuming goal—look smart, don’t look dumb. Who cared about or enjoyed learning when our whole being was at stake every time she gave us a test or called on us in class? Loc 164

…labeling themselves and throwing up their hands Loc 219

…risk and effort are two things that might reveal your inadequacies and show that you were not up to the task. Loc 227

…your qualities are carved in stone Loc 238

…a fixed ability that needs to be proven Loc 310

…fixed traits—success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Loc 313

Validating yourself. Loc 313

…children with the fixed mindset want to make sure they succeed. Smart people should always succeed. Loc 335

…fixed mindset didn’t want to expose their deficiencies…to feel smart in the short run, they were willing to put their college careers at risk. Loc 352

…fixed mindset makes people into nonlearners. Loc 353

It’s about being perfect right now. Loc 459

The fixed mindset does not allow people the luxury of becoming. They have to already be. Loc 481

…failure has been transformed from an action (I failed) to an identity (I am a failure). Loc 599

But those with the fixed mindset said they would study less for the next test. If you don’t have the ability, why waste your time? And, they said, they would seriously consider cheating! Loc 648

…instead of trying to learn from and repair their failures, people with the fixed mindset may simply try to repair their self-esteem. Loc 650

But students in the fixed mindset chose to look at the tests of people who had done really poorly. That was their way of feeling better about themselves. Loc 652

People with the fixed mindset tell us, “If you have to work at something, you must not be good at it.” They add, “Things come easily to people who are true geniuses.” Loc 725

The idea of trying and still failing—of leaving yourself without excuses—is the worst fear within the fixed mindset, and it haunted and paralyzed her. Loc 764

…that success is about being more gifted than others, that failure does measure you, and that effort is for those who can’t make it on talent. Loc 799

In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted. Loc 865

…the natural does not analyze his deficiencies and coach or practice them away. The very idea of deficiencies is terrifying. Loc 1402

…key weapons of the fixed mindset—blame, excuses, and the stifling of critics and rivals. Loc 1948

You have permanent traits and I’m judging them. Loc 2928

We don’t care about who you are, what you’re interested in, and what you can become. We don’t care about learning. We will love and respect you only if you go to Harvard. Loc 3210

When teachers are judging them, students will sabotage the teacher by not trying. Loc 3417

Fixed-minded teachers often think of themselves as finished products. Their role is simply to impart their knowledge. Loc 3424

You have permanent traits and I’m judging them Loc 3596

Remember that praising children’s intelligence or talent, tempting as it is, sends a fixed-mindset message. Loc 3598

The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives. Loc 181

…your qualities can be cultivated Loc 239

…exceptional individuals have “a special talent for identifying their own strengths and weaknesses.” Loc 259

…a special talent for converting life’s setbacks into future successes. Loc 262

…creative achievement…perseverance and resilience. Loc 263

…a changeable ability that can be developed through learning Loc 310

…changing qualities—it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Loc 314

Developing yourself. Loc 314

They walk, they fall, they get up. They just barge forward. Loc 326

But for children with the growth mindset, success is about stretching themselves. It’s about becoming smarter. Loc 335

…growth mindset seized the chance. Loc 352

“I never stopped trying to be qualified for the job.” Loc 392

“This is hard. This is fun.” Loc 451

“[When] I work on something a long time and I start to figure it out.” Loc 461

“Becoming is better than being.” Loc 481

People with the growth mindset know that it takes time for potential to flower. Loc 523

A single point in time does not show trends, improvement, lack of effort, or mathematical ability.… Loc 532

Those in the growth mindset looked at the tests of people who had done far better than they had. As usual, they wanted to correct their deficiency. Loc 652

John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, says you aren’t a failure until you start to blame. What he means is that you can still be in the process of learning from your mistakes until you deny them. Loc 666

When people believe their basic qualities can be developed, failures may still hurt, but failures don’t define them. And if abilities can be expanded—if change and growth are possible—then there are still many paths to success. Loc 710

The growth mindset allows people to value what they’re doing regardless of the outcome. Loc 866

…even when you think you’re not good at something, you can still plunge into it wholeheartedly and stick to it. Actually, sometimes you plunge into something because you’re not good at it. Loc 936

“Come on, peach,” [Marva Collins] said to him, cupping his face in her hands, “we have work to do. You can’t just sit in a seat and grow smart.… I promise, you are going to do, and you are going to produce. I am not going to let you fail.” Loc 1151

Create an organization that prizes the development of ability—and watch the leaders emerge. Loc 2420

“I liked the effort you put in, but let’s work together some more and figure out what it is you don’t understand.” “We all have different learning curves. It may take more time for you to catch on to this and be comfortable with this material, but if you keep at it like this you will.” “Everyone learns in a different way. Let’s keep trying to find the way that works for you.” Loc 3012

Don’t judge. Teach. It’s a learning process. Loc 3160

But when students understand that school is for them—a way for them to grow their minds—they do not insist on sabotaging themselves. Loc 3417

Above all, a good teacher is one who continues to learn along with the students. Loc 3431

You’re a developing person and I’m interested in your development Loc 3597

…try to focus on the processes they used—their strategies, effort, or choices. Loc 3599

…try to figure out what they don’t understand and what learning strategies they don’t have. Remember that great teachers believe in the growth of talent and intellect, and are fascinated by the process of learning. Loc 3608

…our mission is developing people’s potential. Loc 3614

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Do You Feel Smart:
When You’re Flawless or When You’re Learning?

~Carol Dweck, Loc 452

Two Articles to Read to Help Avoid a Common Mindset Pitfall

Trying my hand at an art sketchbook. #edsketch

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