|Professional Development News|
Some teachers say " Don't bring your drama into my classroom" Mr. Milligan requires it. His Pigman reenactment is a Piedmont tradition.
Over the years Mr. Milligan has honed the Pigman Trial project into a complete interdisciplinary lesson that encapsulates the best of IB, reading comprehension, creative thinking, multiple intelligences, and real-world skills development. That's a pretty impressive list from just one unit but it is an all-encompassing one that is true PBL, project based learning.
Even if you don't want to copy Mr. Milligan's full unit (and honestly who else could?) you can easily adapt pieces of dramatic-based learning to help your students master your content. It could be as simple as having students perform skits to explain units of a text, vocabulary charades or as complex as putting an aspect of your own content "on trial" or having students create a character from your content area and remain "in character" through a full class of interaction.
See Ms. Gurthie for more ideas or to plan together.
A student videographer prepared this full-length documentary video of this year's Pigman trial. Sure it's three hours long, but anywhere you click will show students thinking and arguing their point, and helping each other develop understanding in the process.
Thanks, Mr. Milligan, for using your own gifts in designing this active learning experience for Piedmont's seventh grade! For more information you can view some of Mr. Milligan's unit from his presentation on the Pigman Trial PBL year's North Carolina gifted conference here .
Are you considering trying a STEAM-infused student-choice-driven product into a curriculum that is usually paper and pen based? Ms. Brown and I use these talking points to introduce Maker Movement STEAM-infused learning into her sevent grade English Language Arts class for a novel project.
Here is the basic gist of how we introduced it together that you can adapt to suit your needs:
"The Maker Movement is something teachers are excited about in education because it gives you an opportunity to use your gifts that may not be traditionally gifts you can use or show off in school.
Now some of you are straight A students (is it cool to be straight A? Yes it is!) and for you writing might be your gift. You should choose to re write the ending.
Maybe writing is your thing but you are usually a songwriter - then write a song.
Maybe you struggle with words but you are good at building. This is your chance to use that skill. Many people say that the future will need you to use your skills for entrepreneurship more than we had to in Ms. Brown and my's day. So you need to know what your good at and how to sell yourself as a brand so people will want to hire you.
Don't choose the art choice if you don't have still in drawing. Don't wait til the last day and try to draw something on the bus when you have no skill, haven't made it special.
If you know what makes you special, then do that. If you don't know come see me in the media center and I'll help you choose.
One skill that is becoming more and more important is the skill of videography. (Tell story of $75,000 Belk Video Contest) If you'd like to do a video trailer of the book, I will be back next week to show you how. You need to really tell the story with video. Make a trailer, but don't make a video that doesn't really speak to the book or show your knowledge of the characters.
Maybe you'd like to create a 3D Object- Choose the whirligig building choice. If you know someone who is good with tools and that is something you'd like to do ask them to help you build with wood. You can also just cut paper and straws. But whatever you do make it great.
One of the points of maker movement is to use skills we don't always give you a chance to develop in school. You can code a whirligig in Scratch, engineer one to move, anything you want. But start work early so you have time to do a good job, or to fail and decide you want to change. Don't wait unitl the due date. Show off so I can post it and make you famous! Hopefully what you make will inspire other students to be their best and other teachers to try more projects like this.
Do you know that IQ is a myth? That the test was never meant to be given to neurologically healthy individuals and especially for it not to be used for ranking. Yes, there is such a thing as talent, but IQ is not fixed and everyone is gifted at something. Do your students know this? It's time to tell them because students who believe there is such a thing as "smart" or "dumb" do not try as hard as those who believe that smart can be achieved with effort.
For more on growth mindset google Carol Dweck
Following is a Youtube Playlist of videos that explain growth mindset. I am in a training right now that says we should explicitly teach students growth mindset. The video they used (in the playlist) is called Austin's Butterfly and it shows the butterfly images in the photo below. It illustrates how students can all get better over time with focused effort and constructive feedback. If you take time to show how this first grader improved his butterfly drawings from drawing one to drawing six, students will be more likely to trust that they will improve equally stunningly in your class.
Another growth mindset example students might understand is the video game example. When a student starts out on level one and they die, they are not sad about it, they just keep going knowing full well that they will improve with practice. Help them transfer that surety and confidence to the effort they put into your classroom.
See me if you want to connect this to your actual content lesson in a more direct way or if you want me to come speak as a former psych teacher to your students about neuroplasticity (I can even tell them about the student I taught who LITERALLY had half a brain- and her entire brain rewired so you would never even notice!)
b22238Thanks to @btcostello05 on Twitter who pointed out to me that that this is the last year any k-8 students would have been born before 9/11. His school event and the members of his Voxer group also inspired this post. And thanks to@artlaflamme for suggesting the documentary.
The following lesson was created after reading the children's book The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordecai Gerstein.
It tells the true story (nonfiction alert for your Common Core needs!) of Mr. Phillipe Petit walking the wires between the Twin Towers when the World Trade Center was first built.
Documentary footage here
The stunt embodies beautiful messages of hope in humanity and of optimism and creativity.
It should inspire some good conversations if you read it and discuss with your class.
It can be an accompaniment to a more traditional memorial lesson or a good note to end on that may help heal hurts.
5 Steps Lesson :
Introduce the purpose. "Today is 9/11 and on this day in history we memorialize those who died in the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City among other locations.
The Twin towers were the tallest towers in the world - a quarter of a mile high. One little-known fact about them is that when they were first built, a high rope walker actually walked on a wire between them! He snuck up to their roof, shot an arrow with a wire on it across to his friends on the other tower and then performed for amazed onlookers for more than an hour in the sky!
That daredevil's name is Phillipe Petit and he has some inspiring words for you about how to follow your dreams and achieve the impossible.
2- Read storybook and/or show one of the following video clips, depending on the ages or interests of your students:
3- Discussion Questions and larger lesson tie ins:
"He looked not at the towers but at the space between them"
Issue: Thinking "outside the box" and an artist temperament:
Have you ever seen something totally differently than most people would? Do you see yourself as an artist in how you see things? Why or why not?
"Of course he knew that ...the police and the owners of the towers would never allow it. You must be crazy! they would say. You'd fall for sure"
Issue: Positive Deviance:
Was he wrong to break the law? What is the role of public and private safety versus an artistic dream...
Issue: How far should you go for a friend? for your job?:
Would you have helped Phillipe carry the 440 lb reel of cable up 180 stairs to the roof if he was your friend?
Would you have walked on the wire to stop him if you'd been a cop then?
"Bad luck" thought Phillipe but he did not quit.
Would you have quit trying amidst his setbacks? Should he have? How do you motivate yourself past your strings of 'bad luck?' do you believe in bad luck? good luck?
"Though during his performance some boys playing on his wire jerked it and Phillipe fell...but caught himself"
Have you ever done something accidental or on purpose that messed up someone else? How did you react?
Have you ever "caught yourself" and fixed a problem that was about to be big?
"He could feel the towers breathing.
He was not afraid.
He felt alone and happy and absolutely free"
Issue: Figurative language: Why does the author say 'he could feel the towers breathing" when we all know towers don't breathe?
He was not afraid Have you ever felt unafraid when others would be scared?
When have you felt absolutely free?
Issue: metacognition and taking another's point of view: Why do you think I read this book with you today? Why did we spend this time discussing it? How would you commemorate 9/11 if you were a teacher?
4- Physical activities:
Did you get a feel for Phillipe's bravery (see the added talks below for more on that) doing all that up in the air so high! Would you try high wire walking? What physical feats are you proud of/impressed by?
5- Conclusion and/ Links to Further Exploration:
Let's all try to honor the victims of 9/11 today by not giving up when things seem hard and by believing in ourselves and our dreams.
To learn more about what Mr. Petit can teach us,
Click below To view Mr.Petit speaking (some adult language- please preview and show clips as needed) TED Talk-style on the highly educational topics of:
The days of teachers spouting simplistic short-sighted shortcuts like " No citing .com's -they are not respected academically" (shudder) or "Wikipedia can never be used for research" or even "there is nothing of academic value on Youtube" are thankfully over! This a lesson in credible sources relating it to real life scam awareness and digital citizenship on social media
Game -Dig Cit Forced Choices- both in social media and in academics
Have you ever copied and pasted - words? -images into a slideshow? Used an entire song? (show google search by usage rights)
Started a project at the last minute?
Used easybib or other auto citation generator?
Did you see any drama this summer? You liked it? You spoke out against it?
Favorite social media site is instagram? etc
LOL'd at a Vine this summer? (which one?)
Living Life Online magazine
The lap giraffe -discuss scams the sugar glider - real life animal but site is not credible- purpose
the tree octopus -discuss capow
To prevent being scammed, go "CAPOW!" to knock out" a bad website.
Unlike "Kaboom!", "CAPOW" is an acronym to remind you to check a site against other reputable sites and google for...
C-CURRENCY- is the info on the site recent? has it been maintained? You can tell by the "look" of it, by dates it has been updated, etc, by googling the info to see if it has been adjusted etc.
A-AUTHORITY- Is this website one from an authoritative institution? Is it peer reviewed? is it well respected source? Google the exact web address--what kinds of other sites refer to this site?
P-PURPOSE- Is this site trying to inform, persuade, argue? If the site is trying to sell you something, be aware.
O-OBJECTIVITY-Is this site covering all sides of the topic fairly? If not that is fine, you can still use it, but your research is not done-be sure to go to a site that supports other points of view.
W-WRITING STYLE: Misspellings, poor grammar, slang, are all signs that a site is not academic or may be a scam or a trick by someone not educated. If it is sloppy, it may have errors in its info or thinking as well.
LET's CAPOW these together right now in class:
DHM0 -discuss not taking the site's word for it and the difference between a lie and a bias
RYThospital -discuss not taking shortcuts
Emoji, hashtag webpage or superhero summary
Create your own emoji or Emoji Sentence or instagram hashtag summarizing the best advice of today.
"Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently" - Maya Angelou
Poet, performer, professor, and powerhouse Maya Angelou died today in Wake Forest NC at age 86.
If you would like to honor her today, you can read a poem of hers or ask students to do so.
Here is one that can also be used as a point of discussion on her passing, or the passing of any great person in students' family or society at large:
Discussion questions and activities follow. If you wish, select a few that you'd really like to try. I am a big believer in not asking a question unless you are TRULY curious what the answer will be.
If you don't want to discuss the poem, you can start by asking students if they agree with the lead quotation above.
When Great Trees Fall
When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.
When great trees fall
small things recoil into silence,
eroded beyond fear.
When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.
"We can learn to see each other and see ourselves in each other and recognize that human beings are more alike than we are unalike." - Maya Angelou
Discussion Questions and Activities -
Which one of these images is most powerful or disturbing to you? Why?
Read this article with your students.
Piedmont is featuring two all-school Olympics and Digital Learning Day events this February:
Digi Dine Olympics
Schoolwide Digital Learning Day Activity
During Feb 5 's Digi Dine BYOT lunch (and recess), students will have QR coded Olympics themed questions on their tables, around the cafeteria and field.
Students who wish to participate will to use their devices to scan and research the questions and then submit an answer via Google form - All Entries Must use their CMS (chomebook) login to drive (Pete Pirate's would be Ppiratexxxx@cms.gaggle.net (x=last 4 digits of student ID #)
Digi Dine Olympics winners will be chosen from the Google form submissions and will receive a Gold Medal (chocolate gold-foil covered) and names on our Olympics Hall(s) of Fame Display near Student Services.
Olympics Halls of Fame (literally, get it?!)
Check Ms Stone's big Olympics map and rings in the main hallway outside the auditorium for more info. QR codes will be on display in Piedmont's hallways throughout the Olympics. Don't just walk through the halls, this month these halls are Olympic Halls of Fame- so bring your BYOT device and scan for links to to amazing olympic feats !
Don't forget that teachers and students can check out Olympic lessons at NBClearn from school.
I am Lisa Gurthie the PD facilitator at Piedmont IB Middle School. She specializes in tech and arts integration, interdisciplinary, holistic education, and unschooling school to make it more real and relevant. One day I will modernize my "about" page. Check out the other blogs on this site for Lesson Ideas, Celebration of Good Teaching, and Piedmont PD