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Sunday, May 8, 2016

30 Demo Lessons in 30 Days: Week 2 Reflections

Day 1

I had more meetings than demos today, but honestly, it was nice to start the week of slowly. I was BEAT after last week's mayhem...

Strip Design in 1st grade
  • After figuring things out in week 1, we started off quite a bit smoother in week 2. The site tech coach, after checking out my schedule for her site last week, had already run around loading apps as needed on the devices we'd be using at her site for the next few weeks. We had no trouble in this classroom getting up and running quickly!
  • I love watching the teachers taking notes and getting excited! I had offered this up and a chance to take a break if needed, just so I could do a little teaching, but so far, every single teacher has jumped right in to learn with us-- so proud of our hard-working teachers!
  • The students had a blast with Strip Design... I assigned them a two-digit number and asked them to show their number in as many ways as they could. Done? Great, think of some more! 
  • The task has turned out to be a great formative assessment. It's interesting to see which students are able to accurately represent their number in a variety of ways, who can think of even more creative ways, and who's not quite getting place value or how to compose/decompose two-digit numbers.

Co-planning in 1st grade... digital instructional options and Zearn
  • Last week I did a Hyperslides lesson with a 1st grade teacher who loved the idea, but could not see herself building these frequently due to all the prep. I appreciated the honesty!
  • Then she asked about Zearn... ah, yes! Zearn now has the 1st grade modules available! A number of teachers in our district have started using Zearn to supplement their work with Eureka Math and are super happy with this new product!
  • I walked her through some of the features, let her join my demo class as a student... she was super excited to find something that she feels is finally going to meet her needs in math class! We set up a follow-up appointment for next week to get her class all set up and then we'll get the kids started!

Day 2

Scratch Jr. in 2nd grade

  • Not only did I get to play around with Scratch Jr. in another class today, I also got to play around with some touchscreen Chromebooks-- suhweet! They've had them most of the year, so they weren't new to the students, but I was excited to see these new devices in action... looking like they'll be a nice addition to our tech program!
  • The task this time-- create an animation describing an equal groups, arrays, repeated addition problem
  • Just like last week in the Kinder room, students were a little distracted by the novelty of a new program to try, so we didn't get a ton of math done (however hard the classroom teacher tried to redirect them... I was a little looser with the task since I'm okay with them getting used to the tool before they can demonstrate the content)
    • I'm noticing how hard it is for many classroom teachers to relinquish control of their classes... especially newer teachers, who, even though they have a seasoned teacher coming in to guest teach, still feel as if they need to have students completely under control
    • This also signifies a larger goal for me as a coach... I need to focus some of my work with teachers on shifting their instructional practices away from leader of the classroom toward facilitator in the classroom... this need for control tells me that our teachers are still nervous about moving away from the "sage on the stage" model

Scratch Jr. in Kinder
  • I visited another Kindergarten class and decided on another coding lesson
  • This time, I tried incorporating a physical model of block coding before jumping into the digital work
    • Students lined up shoulder to shoulder and were given an index card with a rule on it (forward, backward, jump...), and when I stepping into the front of the line with a "Start" card (the event block), each student was supposed to do their task in order
    • I liked the idea of this intro activity, but I'm not sure the students really understood what we were doing
  • We tried having students work in partners in this class, mainly because the teacher only had a certain amount of iPads for us to use... I thought it would go better than it did... the Kindergarteners had a hard time working together and argued a lot over who got to touch the iPad, who's ideas to use, etc. Good to know... I'll stick to 1:1 settings for these intro activities as often as I can

Day 3

No demo lessons today, just meetings, a Lunch & Learn, and a tech training for our Special Ed department... all of which went fabulously! I got to use the information from the previous week's experiences in Kindergarten to help 1st grade teachers and special ed teachers see the potential of blended learning and digital portfolio tools.

Day 4

Book Creator in Kindergarten
  • We wrote math stories in this class using Book Creator
  • The students did REALLY well! 
  • It's interesting to visit so many different classrooms across the district the different ways students are learning and what teachers are teaching... students in this class 
Pic Collage for Kids in Kinder
  • This lesson I hadn't done in another classroom yet, so I was excited to try a little something different
  • The goals were similar to other lessons-- take a number and represent it in as many different ways as you can-- the tool was different
  • I liked this lesson a lot because the tool it self was so simple, students could focus their efforts on the math... until, of course, the students found the stickers feature... but we were able to refocus many, requiring that if they use stickers, those stickers must also represent their number somehow
Strip Design in 1st grade
  • I visited another 1st grade classroom at the site I started at on Monday, so I decided to recreate the same lesson from Monday, so both teachers could learn the tool and support each other
  • The students in both of these 1st grade classes were so creative-- it was really fun to work with this class, just as it was to work with the 1st grade room I worked with on Monday morning
  • Just as her partner teacher did on Monday morning, this teacher immediately grabbed a notebook and pen when I started teaching the lesson, taking notes on the use of the tool and our goals... it always excites me when a teacher who doesn't usually integrate much technology jumps in and wants to learn... she even helped support the students while they were working so that she could learn the tool better
  • I am also hoping the teachers are noticing the open ended tasks that I've been giving students... 
    • I used the end of module assessments from Eureka Math (our current curriculum) and tried to choose topics for students to practice based on the end of modules expectations, with a focus on low floor, high ceiling opportunities... 
    • A little different than many are used to teaching, but effective in having students practice working with place value concepts, modeling, patterns, reasoning abstractly...
  • The site coach dropped in during the lesson and seemed really excited by the task... she suggested I try this same tool in Kindergarten next week to let students work with numbers in this same way

Day 5

Pic Collage for Kids in Kinder
  • With the success of Pic Collage in the other classroom, I wanted to try this lesson again
  • Students loved it as before, and it was easy for most to learn quickly
  • I'm finding that I'm really having to push students' thinking and creativity with these open ended math tasks... a good practice that I hope some of the teachers will pick up
  • The students cheering in this class when they were able to create something was so inspiring... I think I'm on the right track :)
Strip Design in 1st grade
  • Same task, new school site
  • Again, I'm finding that visiting all of these classrooms is really eye opening for me as the district math/tech coach... I'm trying to use my experiences to plan what types of support and PD to offer next year... this group of students really struggled with modeling, moreso than other
    classrooms, so I'm thinking about planning PD around the importance of visualizing mathematics, the progression of part/whole models in K-5, and strategies for integrating these tasks into daily instruction
  • A huge success of this lesson... being asked to visit this classroom! This site's 1st grade team has been vocal about their lack of desire to integrate technology in their classroom (which I suspect is due to a lack of understanding of how to effectively integrate tech-based tasks for 21st century learning, other than letting students play math or ela games during free choice). Getting into one of these rooms means this teacher may potentially spread the word to others on the team about the possibilities of technology in their instruction...
This week I'm feeling fairly inspired! Typically, the TK-2 classrooms have been slower to integrate technology into instruction for a variety of reasons-- lack of confidence in students' abilities, lack of understanding of what tech-integration could look like, teachers' fears of inappropriate use by students, lack of teachers' confidence in their own tech skills, and more. Teachers allowing me to come visit and teach is a HUGE step forward-- more are interested in learning and shifting their instruction to include 21st century skills. I'm looking forward to next week!

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