Thursday, December 4, 2014

Google Classroom

With the creation of a formal virtual school handbook, it's salient to discuss other tools that can help us manage a virtual classroom. One such tool is Google Classroom, which allows you to create an online course for your students:


As you can see, there's some functionality overlap with Focus/Moodle. Google's product team told me that they're not out to replace other systems, and that each has their niche. Think of Focus/Moodle as the better option to hold your static content and resources, and Google Classroom as a place to dynamically interact with and give feedback to your students through Google Drive:


To summarize, Google Classroom can help you:
  • Post announcements and assignments
  • Integrates with Google Drive easily
  • Stream facilitates sharing
You'd use it because:
  • Most of your assignments can be done in G Drive, or can be uploaded as a PDF or JPG
  • You want students to be able to contribute
  • You find Focus/Moodle too complicated

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Virtual School Handbook (and using Google Drive to see revision history)

We listened.

Based on some great feedback from our virtual school meeting the other week, we have updated the Google doc containing our plan (see the published version on the web here).



If you open the Google doc (link here), you can see the updated document.

This is also a great example of how you can use Google Docs to give feedback and see the revision process. By going to File > See revision history


 you'll see a list on the left of all recent changes made.


Changed text will be colored, rather than black:


Use this method to review the Virtual School Plan and see what's been updated, or with your students to see how their writing evolves (or who contributes in a shared document, and who doesn't). This is also a useful way to hold students accountable for unproductive participation.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Update on Reserving Resources

With the upcoming winter show, many of us will want to reserve the MPR. The MPR is reserved just like the computer labs and laptop carts (and headphones, now, too).

For instructions on how to reserve the MPR, see these instructions from Google.

If you'd like to just see what reservations are already there, see these instructions from Google on how to add the MPR on your Google Calendar, or just view the schedule in a separate window here.

If you're champing at the bit, you can see the calendar below:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Arts Integration

"Is It or Isn't It" PowerPoint 
Faculty Workshop 11-20-14

Includes:
  • Research supporting arts integrated instruction
  • Explanation of difference between a true arts integration lesson and a "hitched-on" arts activity
Link to PowerPoint:   https://drive.google.com/a/aisbmali.org/file/d/0B_R3ybAMlaTQUDRmcEt5RkdEd1U/view?usp=sharing





Script for PowerPoint
Includes explanation of each slide and activity in the workshop.

Link to the script: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_R3ybAMlaTQSW95czVwTVlsNFE/view?usp=sharing






Why Opossum Has a Bare Tale 
This is the American Indian folktale used in activity.

Link to story: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_R3ybAMlaTQUDRmcEt5RkdEd1U/view?usp=sharing






Sample Arts Integrated Lesson Plans

Reading
Teaching compare and contrast through sculpture (Grade 5: Source: Herberger Institute for Design & Arts):
 http://artswork.asu.edu/teachers/lesson_plans/integrated_arts/compare_contrast.php


Writing
Writing a personal narrative based on a Rodin sculpture (Grades 3 - 12; Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art): http://www.metmuseum.org/learn/for-educators/lesson-plans-and-pre-visit-guides/the-burghers-of-calais



Math
Teaching math through comic books (Grades K-4; Source: Kennedy Center): http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/educators/lessons/grade-3-4/Creating_Comic_Strips.aspx




Science
Lessons on scientific process and habits of mind using visual art (Grades 3-5; Source: Norton Museum of Art): http://schooltalkdev.palmbeach.k12.fl.us/sandbox/groups/artsintegrationgrant/wiki/76592/attachments/42f57/Scientific%20Process%20%26%20Science%20Habits%20of%20Mind.pdf?sessionID=efc8aad6bd1a7ee6f70f4b11ac89d8eaa09e076d

Lessons on Nature of Matter using sculpture (Grades 3-5; Source: Norton Museum of Art): 
http://schooltalkdev.palmbeach.k12.fl.us/sandbox/groups/artsintegrationgrant/wiki/76592/attachments/0203a/Nature%20of%20Matter%20%28Norton%29.pdf?sessionID=efc8aad6bd1a7ee6f70f4b11ac89d8eaa09e076d



Social Studies
Teaching American history through sculpture (Grades 6-8; Source: National Endowment for the Humanities): http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/massachusetts-54th-regiment-honoring-heroes#sect-activities

Teaching civil rights using music (Grades 9 -12; Source: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame): http://rockhall.com/education/resources/lesson-plans/sti-lesson-1/





Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Using Twitter for Professional Dialogue and Development

Mali: Beautiful, and isolating. Photo Credit: Alexbip via Compfight cc
I love the close community of our small school. At the same time, the small faculty can be a challenge in terms of professional growth because we don't have colleagues teaching the same subject that we can use as sounding boards. Flying to conferences is time-consuming and expensive, and using email lets us talk with people we know at other schools but isn't good at helping us find new connections.

One solution to the problem of being professionally isolated is to use Twitter. Yes, the same tool that Lady Gaga uses to announce her latest single is something that you can use to improve your practice. So what is Twitter?

  • Accessible from the web, on your phone, tablet, etc.
  • Lets you post a public message that anyone can read
  • Lets you join a conversation on a particular topic by using hashtags. For example, searching for #edchat will bring up all the recent messages where people are talking about education and have used that same hashtag
  • Helps you stay in touch with specific people and meet new people by "following" them so that their messages appear when you log in
  • Helps you share ideas by "retweeting" a message you've read from someone else. When you retweet something, it is forwarded to all the people who follow you.
  • Enables real-time discussion - you can join a chat with other teachers as it happens. This is unlike Google, which is used to find resources that someone has already written and posted. It's like the difference between walking into a conference room with educators from ten different countries and walking into a library where you find books.
One of the best things about Twitter is how many educators are already using it to have "Twitter chats," which are loosely organized chats that happen at a specific time every week. For example, Jeff F. and I participate in the "Africa Educators" chat (#africaed). Every Tuesday and Thursday the moderator posts a question, and we participate if we want by writing a tweet and including the hashtag #africaed. By searching for the same hashtag, we can see what other educators are writing about it and engage in direct conversation if we like. Because it's public, anyone can join in. It's a great way to meet new people (and follow them, and get people following you). Here's what it looks like:

I particularly find Twitter valuable because:

  • It’s public and global. You can learn from and connect with educators halfway across the globe and join conversations about a limitless variety of education topics.
  • It’s fast. Messages appear instantly.
  • It helps you connect. Educators who have chosen to join Twitter are generally interested in sharing with and learning from others, so it's a self-selected community of educators ready to tackle tough questions.
  • It helps you make the most of conferences. You can meet educators online, reconnect with them at conferences face to face, and continue your discussions after you leave.

There are plenty of other hashtags for you to use (one list, another list) to connect with a bigger  community, and you can find a schedule for other twitter chats here. Feel free to ask Matt if you need help getting started!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Resources from #learning2: Digital Citizenship and Genius Hour

Learning2 was held in Addis Ababa this year.
Jeff and Aafke both came back with great things to share from Learning 2. Here they are:

With Great Power comes Great Responsibility: 

One of the most empowering elements of social and digital media is the opportunity to learn anything, anytime, anywhere. There are thousands of worthwhile sources out there; how to seek out, select, and streamline information sources is often ignored in schools. We educators frequently hear the need to make learning authentic and real to kids. There is nothing so consistently entrenched in students’ daily lives as their use of digital technology, and ignoring this fact leads to missed learning opportunities. We’ll never stop students’ immature online activity, but we can teach them how to be proactive and mindful in how they employ their devices, opening the door to more productive classroom technology application.

Here you find some videos, class activities, parents resources, posters and articles.

Genius hour: Making time for passion in the classroom

Every student has a passion project inside, waiting to emerge if invited to do so. These dreams lie just beneath the surface, built on experiences and stories, fears and achievement. They just need a spark to catch fire. It is the job of teachers and other adults to provide that spark. Genius Hour — a regular time in class during which students get to pursue their own passion projects — is a gift that opens students up to the world of their own talents and interests. It allows them to reach beyond the routine, unlearn the rules they’ve been programmed to follow and embrace the uncertainty of their own audacious dreams.

Here you find some videos, class activities, parents resources, posters and articles.

--by Aafke Z.

Introducing AISB 2.0

Photo Credit: Unhindered by Talent via Compfight cc
Several secondary students and Mr. Kelsey are working on a strategic technology plan to move the school to a 1:1 computing model where each student has his/her own device.

The general steps of this project include: gathering members of the community to take part in the project, to a come up with a communication plan for AISB, followed by the creation of principles to guide us, then to gather the data needed to make effective decisions, to research the tools needed, and to create a project proposal, which once approved will come into use in the coming years.

The working group, called AISB 2.0, is composed of Kale K., Raphael M., Djelia T., Cheik K., Thierno I. , Gwenaelle P., Susanne M., Mell M., Karima H., Thiaby S. , Carla R., and  Mahmoud N. Following the break, they will reach out to members of the community including parents and teachers to get input. For more information on AISB’s new connectivity, learning and technology initiative or to volunteer please contact aisb2.0@aisbmali.org.

--by Susanne M.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

School Bandwidth Upgraded

Welcome to AISB's teaching and learning blog! Over the year, our goal is to develop this into a resource for tools and strategies that can help you motivate and develop your students.

With resourcefulness and information literacy becoming increasingly important and dependent on the internet, it's only fitting that we launch the blog by upgrading our school bandwidth! Afribone has increased our bandwidth by 50% to 6MBps, effective immediately. This puts us in the top five fastest AISA schools as measured on a per-student basis.


With the increased bandwidth, we can continue to encourage students to bring their own devices to support their learning, share and publish our students' work more quickly, and take advantage of cloud-based learning tools such as Chrome Apps for our school Chromebooks.

Soon to come: posts from Aafke and Jeff about what they learned from the Learning 2.0 conference.