Overview of DitchSummit
I spent some time over break listening to and learning from the speakers Matt Miller interviewed on his DitchSummit. Some I had heard of and follow online and a few others I had never seen/heard before.
A couple of take-aways for me: Noah Giesel's "Don't Get Ready, Get Started" resonated with me, because like most of you, I tend to over plan and can be tentative about jumping into a new project without really knowing all the pitfalls/benefits ahead of time. Over the last 18 months or so, I have been doing "breakouts" with lots of different upper elementary classes. I had never done one as a teacher or as a participant before, but was totally intrigued by the idea. Luckily, I have a few brave teachers who let me try it out. It has been mostly a success, some better than others. But, my lesson learned- just do it. I can never anticipate everything that might happen- but "nothing will go wrong, if I do nothing at all", theory does not work well in practice. Here's a quote from Noah “Don’t get ready. Get started. Let’s do this. Be humble enough to be up front with our students to say, ‘This might not be perfect. This probably won’t be perfect. We’re going to make it better together.’” He went on to talk about preparing kids for the future. Worksheets won't cut it. "But jobs with info that can be Googled are not high-paying jobs. By playing it safe, we’re creating a huge danger for our young people’s futures.”
One other presenter, (they were all good), who gave so many great examples, was Paul Solarz. Paul is the author of Learn Like a Pirate. He is a fifth grade teacher who actively shares his and his students' work online.
Here's a quote from a review of Paul's book: "Would your class fall apart without you? Could your students learn if you didn't speak for an entire day? In Learn Like a PIRATE, Paul Solarz shares methods you can use to create a student-led classroom -- and prepare your students for a lifetime of self-led learning."
- Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
I am not a big fan of buzz words- and the "student-led classroom" is right up there with mindset, and 21st century learning... What does that mean, anyway? But Paul makes the buzz words real. He gave example, after example of how he does this in his classroom. He also talks about all the things that teachers worry about- covering the curriculum, classroom management, grades, test, etc. You can follow him on twitter, check out his book site online- great info in those links- or check out what he is doing in his classroom. Paul advocates his "marble theory" of intelligence. This is a brief summary: "It’s a bit of a metaphor for how we are, intelligence-wise. I believe that
all of us are born with the exact same number of marbles in our brain -- 1 billion (an arbitrary number). There are also thousands and thousands of Dixie cups. Each marble represents your ability to do something....We all have the same amount. It’s just about how you distribute them. In groups in the classroom, we need to ask, “How have my classmates distributed their marbles?” to determine their strengths. "
My initial take- creating this type of community in the classroom takes time and commitment- but it is well worth it for both the teacher and the students. You can join the LearnLAP PLN by signing up on this spreadsheet.
A couple of INFOGRAPHICS...
These two images came through my twitter feed over the break and both are worth sharing. One is from the educatorstechnology blog and purports to show you the "9 fundamental skills for the 21st century teacher". First of... there is no "list" that can show you this... can we put flexible, curious, empathetic on there too? But, these are skills that are useful. Some of the tools that are listed, I would recommend, a few I have never heard of... So- here's your table of skills.
The other infographic that I wanted to share is the ultimate cheatsheet for critical thinking from globalcitizen.org. I like the questions on this one- broad, versatile, can be used with just about any age group or topic.
Looking for new Ideas- try #GAFEchat
#gafechat is a twitter chat. You do not have to have a twitter account to follow a hashtag and learn from other educators. Twitter chats are easy to follow on participatelearning. You may surprise yourself! Try it! #gafechat is every other Tuesday from 9-10 pm. The GAFE- or google for education chat is fun- and you always learn something new. Here are the questions for tomorrow: