“One Team, Endless Dreams” Opening Day Activity

Collaboration, Creativity, Culture Building, Growth Mindset, Motivation

Inspired by Daniel Pink’s What’s Your Sentence video and activity I had completed as an MAET student, we created an activity for our opening day keynote. We asked our staff to reflect upon the unique talents that they each bring to the team that make us strong and successful.

Then we sent our staff off to create their individual sentences. Many of our staff members hung them on the walls of their classrooms and offices as a reminder of why they are here and how they want to be remembered. At the end of the year, we shared with the staff this video and asked them to reflect upon how they had lived up to that sentence or how that sentence had changed for them over the course of the past school year.

 

 

 

Maker Camp: Building a Maker Mindset

Collaboration, Growth Mindset, Maker Camp, Maker Mindset, Maker Movement, MakerEd, MakerSpace, Motivation

Everyone is a Maker.

At Maker Camp, we explicitly introduced something we called a “Maker Mindset”. We decided that it was important to highlight different parts of a Maker Mindset every week of Maker Camp. Maker Mindset introduced and reinforced qualities and the kind of growth mindset that our students needed to recognize in themselves while making and creating.

Our first Maker Mindset introduced the belief that everyone can be a maker. We knew many of the students came to Maker Camp because they had an interest in making, but we worked on projects that involved a wide variety of topics and skills that could easily have become overwhelming, frustrating and lead to feelings of defeat. We wanted students to understand that they all brought unique qualities with them that made them each unique makers. Creativity, problem solving, techy skills that students commonly see themselves lacking can all be practiced and developed- they are not a prerequisite to making.

Making and creating- along with the ownership and pride in that experience- is inherently part of being human. We have been doing it since the beginning.

As a result, we included our “Super Maker” project to kick off Maker Camp. This project prompted students to create a popsicle stick superhero of themselves, write their name and some of their making strengths. We posted them on the wall and asked students to use the wall for collaboration and support. If you wanted to make a movie, but you did not consider yourself a very good artist- go to the Super Maker wall and find someone who lists drawing or animation as one of their strengths. Ask that person for help or if they would like to collaborate on a project. This was a great way to connect our campers and reinforce the Maker Mindset belief that everyone is a Maker.

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CEP 813: Annotated Assessment/Evaluation Exemplar

Assessment, Collaboration, Creativity, Learning Theory, MAET Year 3, Tech Integration

Assessment of Student Perceptions of 21st Century Learning

K-1Next-GenStudentSurvey-February2015-page-001The assessment that I have chosen to analyze was designed for Kindergarten and first grade students to self-assess their learning and learning environment in Saline Area Schools Next Generation classrooms. The Next Generation classrooms utilize 1:1 technology, flexible learning spaces and emphasize effective pedagogy with the development of 21st century skills. The assessment was designed and developed with feedback from the Next Generation classroom teachers, the Instructional Technology Director and myself. This assessment is a series of statements that were read aloud to students while they had a paper copy in front of them. They had to circle the smiley face if they thought that the statement applied to them most of the time, the straight line face if they thought that it sometimes applied to them and the sad face if they felt that the statement never applied to them. The assessment was anonymous in order to promote honesty and objectivity but which classroom each assessment hailed from was identified. The assessment was intended to be administered both mid-year and end of year.

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Purpose and Alignment to Professional Standards

The purpose of this assessment was to provide feedback to the Instructional Technology Director, teachers, students and the district about how Next Generation classrooms are incorporating 21st century skills particularly creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. Standardized assessments do not measure the soft skills like creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication but we know that their development is crucial for students to be successful in the workplace and can potentially have impact on student achievement. In analyzing the data received from this learning environments assessment combined with data from standardized assessments, we could begin to present evidence of their impact on student achievement. It also was designed to allow students to reflect on their learning experiences in the unique learning setting and how it has impacted them as a student this year.

The assessment aligns with the ISTE Standards for Students and the Partnership for 21st Century Learning’s Framework for 21st Century Learning. The goal was to measure students’ perceptions of their opportunities to be creative, critically think, communicate, collaborate, the impact of their flexible learning environment and access to technology for learning. Because the assessment was anonymous, the results will provide feedback on class-wide and program-wide student perceptions on the impact of certain activities on their learning. The way the assessment is currently administered does not provide specific results for each student.

Intended Use

The assessment is formative in nature as “evidence is actually used to adapt the teaching to meet student needs” (Black and Wiliam, 1998, p. 140). The data is compiled and analyzed and the Next Generation teachers meet individually with the Instructional Technology Director to discuss the results. The student data from this soft skills perception assessment is combined with standardized assessment student data to determine correlations particularly in analyzing achievement gaps and student growth. The discussion consists of reflection about positive correlations and highlights things that the teacher is doing well as evident in both sets of data and also addresses areas of improvement and what adjustments and changes that teacher might make to their learning environment and/or instruction to address those areas. The assessment is again administered at the end of the school year and the process is repeated. The information from this assessment combined with the other assessments created for the other grade levels of Next Generation classrooms and the standardized assessment data was also used to inform the Instructional Technology Director about current trends, areas of improvement and correlations between soft skills and academic achievement that are evidential support and data visualization for furthering the efforts of Next Generation programming within the district.

Assumptions Embedded within Assessment

In administering this assessment, we assumed that all students understood the prompts when they were read aloud and could match the written numbers with the spoken number prompt. We also assumed that students clearly understood the meaning of the smiley face, straight face and sad face and what they represented when they selected each. We assumed they could physically circle the response they chose. We assumed that each student would be honest when responding to the prompts. We also assumed that students would not be influenced by peers, the teacher or the assessment administrator when responding to the prompts. Finally, we assumed that this was an appropriate amount of prompts to gain enough information within an appropriate time-frame that did not extend past the attention span of the students.

Potential Challenges

This assessment could prove difficult for struggling readers as the students needed to have at the very least an ability to correlate what number was said to what was written on the paper. The assessment could definitely be challenging for ELL students as the prompts were written for a general education audience and did not include any picture supporting prompts to help with unfamiliar vocabulary in the statement portion. The smiley faces may also potentially be confusing to an ELL student as the cultural connotations may vary. This assessment also proved difficult for students because it was survey and responses were to be based on opinion and the students struggled with the idea that there was not a right and a wrong answer.

Implications for Assessment Re-design

This assessment echoes some of Lorrie Shepard’s suggested strategies for developing informative and useful assessments (2000, p. 10). It is on-going and administered at multiple points throughout the year, although it could also be administered at the beginning of the school year as a baseline and to provide transparency and set clear expectations for both teachers and students. This assessment provides insight into student perceptions that are used to provide feedback for the teacher. I think that in doing that we are gaining valuable information but we are also potentially overlooking the teacher’s perspective and prior knowledge. If the teacher identifies that they believe that they are really strong at allowing students to use technology to show what they know but the student responses show the opposite perception, being able to see and connect that data has the potential to lead to a more meaningful discussion and reflection on what the underlying cause of that is. A potential improvement could be to create a matching assessment that is designed to gauge teacher perceptions of their own teaching of this material. Currently, we are providing a self-assessment for students but not creating that same self-assessment piece for teachers.

References

Black, P. & Williams, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessments. Phi Delta Kappan, 80(2), 139-144.

Casner-Lotto, J., & Barrington, L. (2006). Are They Really Ready to Work? Employers’ Perspectives on the Basic Knowledge and Applied Skills of New Entrants to the 21st Century US Workforce. Partnership for 21st Century Skills. 1 Massachusetts Avenue NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20001.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2015). Standards for Students . Retrieved 31 May 2015, from http://www.iste.org/standards/ISTE-standards/standards-for-students

Partnership for 21st Century Learning. (2015). Framework for 21st Century Learning – P21. Retrieved 31 May 2015, from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework

Shepard, L. (2000). The role of assessment in learning culture. Educational Researcher, 29(7), 4-14.

Stimulating Creativity in a Maker Space

Collaboration, Creativity, Innovation, Maker Movement, MakerEd, MakerSpace, STEM

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Our first Next Generation Classrooms teacher professional development of the year was focused on creativity. These teachers have one to one iPads in their classrooms, flexible learning spaces including multiple collaborative work spaces and focus on including 21st century skills as part of their curriculum.

Through my work in the MAET program at MSU, I have grown an interest in the Maker Movement and its implications in education. We were offered an opportunity to work on a 20% time project as part of our work in Saline so I have chosen to work on creating a Maker Space in our fourth and fifth grade building. In order to prepare for that project, I toured a Maker Space operating in Ann Arbor called Maker Works. I thought it was an inspiring space with tools that made you really think about all of the elements that go into creating a product.

Our director of tech toured the space shortly after and loved the idea of holding our Next Gen training there! The rest of the design was up to the Maker Works team and they did a fantastic job designing a fun, engaging and out of the box creative experience for our teachers.

IMG_1498The teachers first got a tour of the facility which is much bigger than it appears! They toured the circuitry room, the collaboration room, the woodworking shop, the metalworking shop and the crafting room. The group learned a little about the company and the space and its emphasis on providing a space for anyone to come and make. They talked a lot about the awesome collaboration amongst all ages that they see there as people learn and help each other with creative projects.

Then, the teachers were introduced to their creative challenge. The teachers had to save the world by creating a superhero identity. They designed a superpower and superhero name. They designed an emblem to go with that superhero and gave the superhero a back story.

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Assisted by a Maker Works helper, the teachers transformed their sketched emblem designs into CorelDraw on the computer. The designs then were sent to a vinyl cutter which our superintendent and assistant superintendent of curriculum helped to set up! The teachers printed and then cut out their vinyl design, placed them on a t-shirt and then heat pressed them onto the t-shirt. Pretty awesome!

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From there, teachers used the laser cutter to cut superhero masks and then decorate using an assortment of materials. The teachers could then cut and sew a cape to attach to their t-shirt.

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Our tech director also put together an awesome creativity stimulator for these teachers that they were given the night before the training. What a great way to get them in the mood for some training! She included some purposeful items like vanilla coffee as vanilla is a proven creativity booster. She included Sir Ken Robinson’s book Out of Our Minds– which I am now currently reading!IMG_1470IMG_1473We ran out of time to reflect as a group on our experience but followed up with an e-mail with some ideas to self-reflect on their creative experience. We also included the K-2, 3-6 and 7-12 creativity rubrics that we want teachers to start incorporating with their students to better evaluate the creativity skills that their students are gaining in their experience as a Next Generation student.

Collaboration MAET Year 2

Collaboration, MAET Year 2, PLN

4techCollaboration plays a large role in this year’s MAET cohort. We rated ourselves on technology skills on a scale from 1-5 and were asked to divide into groups based off of similar ratings. Our groups would be the collaborative circles in which we would create many of our large scale projects for the semester. 4Tech formed through this process and as luck would have it consisted of a familiar group of ladies that I had pleasure of working with in the East Lansing cohort the previous year. Alexis Miller, Renee Jorae, Kate McCallum and myself created the group 4Tech as there are four of us focused on technology. We are excited to work and learn together!