This week the DLCs are excited to launch our first creativity contest! Teachers, classrooms, and students are encouraged to share what they love about Shakopee Schools. Pictographs, videos, presentations... there are no restrictions to the format, so let the creativity flow!
The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 26.
I think I speak for the entire DLC team when I say, “Wait. It’s already November?” This school year has been an exciting and busy start the school year. The DLC team has been busy working to support teachers and PLCs across the district as they integrate technology into their teaching practices to enhance the learning of students.
Last year was the first year where a building was 1:1 with iPads. This year, that initiative has expanded from one grade to all of 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grade. In Kindergarten last year, each classroom shifted to an all-day schedule. Each classroom was also equipped with a cart of 12 iPads. That initiative has moved up to 1st grade this year.
In addition to all of these devices being deployed to buildings across the district, each certified staff member has been provided a MacBook Air. At articulation meetings, vertical teams, PLCs, and while rotating classroom, staff members have been using their mobile technology to increase their productivity. While switching operating systems for the majority of staff in the district comes with a learning curve, being able to use these devices for months prior to the removal of desktop PCs should ease the transition to a predominately MacBook environment.
At the elementary buildings, we have been working with Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers often. The DLCs have been into all elementary buildings. Many of the K and 1 classrooms are starting to use an app called SeeSaw. It’s a multimedia digital journal of student’s work and has been very well received by staff, students, and parents alike. Students can upload pictures, videos, and files to SeeSaw, add a drawing and voiceover to their creation, and share their work with their teacher and parents. For example, a student might take a picture of counting manipulatives and draw a dot on each object as they count the number of objects outloud. Staff have also really enjoyed using Book Creator for projects and using their iPads at learning centers to provide differentiated instruction to all their students at the same time!
The media centers at all elementary and secondary buildings have also received a cart of iPads. In addition to the influx in devices, each media center is now equipped with a green screen studio! Students are using it to record immersive and authentic videos to demonstrate their learning, practice public speaking, and showcase their creativity.
The DLCs have been meeting with PLCs on a regular basis during PLC meetings, duty hours, and preps. A huge focus for our work with secondary teachers this year has been the adoption and on-going use of Canvas, our learning management system. Staff are using it to provide a one-stop-shop for due dates, distribute and collect digital files, administer quizzes, participate in discussion boards, make class more self-paced, provide detailed feedback, and much more.
With the start of another year in a 1:1 environment for Pearson, technology has empowered them to personalize learning for their students. One of the interdisciplinary teams of teachers and students has initiated a personalized learning environment. In addition to changes to their bell schedule, they plan to enable students to take more ownership of their learning. Each day, students will schedule what sessions they attend. The content of their courses will set up in a way in which students prove mastery of concepts and proceed at their own pace using Canvas and other digital tools. With a device in every kid’s hands, learning can happen anytime and anywhere. And the variety of creative tools at their disposal allows them to collaborate in real-time or asynchronously.
At the Junior High levels, all students have a device of some kind. 7th and 8th grade students are equipped with iPads and 9th graders have MacBook Airs. We’ve seen some awesome projects at the Junior High level, including a iBooks Author project where Spanish 2 and German 2 students made e-books and read them to 5th grade students at Sweeney. Some staff have also started recording their own screencasts so that students can listen to a lesson on how to learn to write an argumentative paragraph if they need more support with the skill. Then students used an app called Edpuzzle to answer questions about the video. Finally, students practiced the skill in a written assignment on Canvas. New electives, such as Digital Art and App Creation, have made the most of these digital tools while training students to use their creativity and critical thinking to master skills they can use in their future careers.
The DLCs really look forward to working with teachers on projects and lessons that infuse technology to enhance the learning of their students, engage every student in the room, expand the audience of their work, and develop critical skills they will need for their entire lives. We would love to come in and meet with you or your PLC to plan a lesson or project so fill out a request today!
Being an adoptive parent, there are many moments of “new learning”, both when your kids come into your home, as well as parenting them through toddler, child, tween and teen. In fact being a parent also of two step-children entering adulthood, I’d argue the learning never stops. They give you ample moments of an “ah-ha” awareness that gift your teaching in some capacity.
One of my most memorable moments, though, came after my kids were home a year or two, and I was struggling to write a follow up adoption report that could significantly portray to their mother that I shared her same aspirations of hope for these two amazing kids. In talking with the agency owner, I tried to explain my shortcomings in putting the pen to paper. She then told me that in the adoptive country, the words used to express this hope are, “be somebody, someday”.
It has been something I’ve never forgotten. As parents and teachers, this is a value that we try to convey to our students every day, even if we’re not simultaneously thinking it—it is what shapes our thinking and moves us forward…we want every kiddo to maximize his full potential and recognize and refine his talents. We take these kids into our classrooms knowing they are a “bundle of somebody amazing” and move that forward with the influence of our content area and knowledge—hoping to pique in them an interest to question and investigate what we’ve put before them, even further.
Where does technology fit into this? It’s really a great leveler. Once technology is in their hands, and they are provided a supportive environment to investigate, explore and be led to new learning, they have access to the wealth of information that is available.
Live too far away from New York to experience the Met? http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/collection/the-metropolitan-museum-of-art Visit the Google Cultural Institute or any other world-class museum: http://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/home
Love science and space? View last Friday’s *nearby* Supernova activity: http://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/nasa-spacecraft-take-aim-at-nearby-supernova/#.UubSGWTnZn0
Love music? Stream in your favorite orchestral works from your favorite public music radio station website.
You get the idea. Regardless of race, socioeconomic background, content area or ability to learn, technology affords one the opportunity to pursue his or her interests and passions to fully develop who he wants to be. Shaped artistically with a teacher guiding the path, this is a magnificent combination of ability and opportunity.