What I Learned from Kory
I thought that all I could learn from kindergarten teachers I'd learned back in 1970 in Mrs. Ducote's class, but Kory Graham has proven me wrong.
Being in daily contact with Kory for the past year as part of our connected educator teaching PLC has taught me a number of things. Her insightful questions have improved my teaching, her modeling has expanded my tech horizons, and her friendship has enriched my personal life.
Mrs. Graham taught me that smart boards work best in the hands of students and mounted at student height (yes, even kindergarteners can use them -I've seen them used in her classroom, along with educational iPad activities she designed.)
She showed me I can use Google Hangout for long-distance reading enrichment and she offered to help me when I admitted I found it daunting.
Her calm nature makes her a great tech tutor. She is approachable and positive and meets those who do not have her same expertise right where we are. She knows how to reassure those with tech anxiety. Nothing seems too hard with Kory on your team. She is a master of making a way.
She's one of the most ethical, conscientious, and truly helpful people I know. I've seen her work hand-in-hand with parents both in her classroom and across the country to make learning better for students.
She enjoys discovering new tools and information and asks amazing questions that probe thinking and open up possibilities. She single-handedly instituted and organized a reading night for her students and community families that continues each year solely because of the force of her commitment to doing what is best for students. She moderates educational chats of teachers as deftly as she navigates an obstacle course on field day. If something needs to be done, hand it to Kory and you can be sure it will get done and done well.
Before I met Kory I had the mistaken notion that early elementary teachers could not benefit from tech that those of us who teach older grades can. She's opened my eyes to many new ways to use social media, tech tools, apps and websites across all grades. I've also learned from her to speak distinctly, ask clarifying questions, and remain relentlessly curious. Rather than being shy about something, wonder aloud and see what you can learn.
She's taught me these things, but she is the master. Listening to her get to the bottom of an issue and find a solution is like watching a master artist: she makes it look easy. Kory is not just a tech-infused teacher; Kory lives a tech-infused life. She blends the best of old-school and new-school; of skills-based and experiential inquiry and brings it as a gift to all of those who have the pleasure to work and think with her each day.
News and Links of the Week
Latest Piedmont PD News includes info on National Board Certification, Discovery Place's professional development offerings for teachers, new quick PD's on handy efficient tech tricks to save you time and storage space: like the quickest way to upload to Google Docs, how to convert and embed a powerpoint, How to make a QR CODE ,chromebook and computer troubleshooting info, etc
Other Ed News from Around the Web:
Big Philosophical idea of the week:
Here's my second summer book report (blog report) on the best of what I've been hearing about education:
If anything you read below inspires you or if you just want to get a head start on your PDP next year, click here:
All You Ever Needed to Know about Personalized Learning
Amazing Personalized Learning site that explains the direction CMS is heading and offers all the latest tools in one spot thanks to Jill Thompson. (Note the shout out to Piedmont on this page as Ms. Newburger transforms the media center into a 21st century makerspace showplace. )
Mr. Parkins' Summer Faves:
If it's recommended by Mr. Parkins you know it's good.
Try the links below for a few easy ways to go 21st C. this school year- invite a backchannel or other audience response into your usual lessons- it increases engagement, participation, feedback, and some even make instant data graphs for you. To start, all you do is call one of these up on the projector and invite students to participate via their BYOT devices or chromebooks or ipads. (You will get a code or address for them to join you)
Speaking of BYOT, Mr. Parkins also recommends If you have a smartphone or tablet try Apps Gone Free- download it in your app store - saves tons of money and lets you try new apps to get new ideas of how to use i-devices in the classroom. Share this with your students as well.
Speaking of Students, besides remind 101 there is a new site people like called Remind.com https://www.remind.com/
Things I Read that Made Me Think:
Things I Saw that Made Me Think:
When you've finished our summer reading book, I've had a crazy amount of tabs open on my computer of things I've been meaning to share this summer. Here they are:
Summer Roundup of Great Links to check out: (volume 1)
The 1st three headings below are ISTE-found links from my fellow PD Facilitator, Nicole Cathey. She attended the international superstar of ed tech conferences, and shared these off the top of her head when I asked her about the most useful takeaways of ISTE:
ISTE 2014 Session Notes:
Attendees at ISTE shared their notes for you and placed links on this google doc. Scroll through it and click on the topics that interest you to read that attendee's session notes! Great way to share!
"21 Things" Sites:
If you go no farther this is a fun site to poke around 21Things for Teachers. They also have a "21 Things" site for administrators and for your students!
An algorythmically adapted personalized learning geared toward test prep site, called adaptive learning from Knewton. The site is connected to microsoft and Pearson. A lot of the info I found while researching is written from a business end (covered by Forbes and the economist) and higher ed stuff like their GMAT review course and there weren't a lot of teacher written reviews that my google was finding but this is an older review of the site as well as grockit-which sounds interesting http://www.hackeducation.com/2011/10/17/big-bucks-for-adaptive-learning-platforms/
Now here are a few links I've been holding that others have shared on Twitter:
Teaching Students to Ask the Right Questions:
I personally think nothing you can teach is more important than this for students' futures: http://rightquestion.org/education/
Another fantastic article about the importance of questioning as an oft-overlooked skill http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2014/03/why-its-imperative-to-teach-students-how-to-question-as-the-ultimate-survival-skill/
Making and Creating Resources:
Being a maker teacher is about interest in students creating, not just regurgitating. You do NOT need techy skills or enginnering skills yourself, just a mindset to let students create and build and design.
4 Steps to Becoming a Maker Teacher http://gettingsmart.com/2014/05/4-steps-becoming-maker-teacher
7 Tenents of Creative Thinking http://www.edutopia.org/blog/7-tenets-of-creative-thinking-michael-michalko
This weebly site is a great clearinghouse for all things PBL (project based learning) - it takes you from step 1 what is that? as far as you want to go.
If want to learn about PBL for free, you can pick a project you'd like your students to try and a class here at PBL university- some classes are full already but you can still get ideas and learn more about the projects, PBLU
LAST BUT NOT LEAST>>>
Along the lines of Making, Design Thinking is really taking off so here is some info on that in the classroom.
How to Apply Design Thinking in Your Class - Step By Step
I love KQED Mindshift, so here is everything tagged design thinking on that site
Interesting Links of the week
Here are some links if you want to think big thoughts about education.
Big thoughts about Grading
-What do your grades represent? Here are the latest in teh conversation raging about standards based, mastery, the failure of averages and percents.
How Did You Learn How to Learn
-Howard Garnder, multiple intelligences (not learning styles) and the failures of intuition.
Big Thoughts about Privilege
Goes to a short Google Doc with resources for thinking about and discussing race as it relates to education. really interesting quotes. Conversation welcome. More on race here.
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Lisa Gurthie is the PD facilitator at Piedmont IB Middle School. She specializes in tech and arts integration, interdisciplinary holistic education, and unschooling school to reconnect academia to real life. One day she will modernize her "about" page. She curates this blog for the professional development convenience of the teachers at Piedmont, but the editorial comments are her own.