Category Archives: Modern Learning

Extending Learning- Involving Parents

Involving parents in their children’s learning has been proven to yield higher learning achievements. Our students learn with greater enthusiasm, motivation and the make deeper connections to their lives.

As I am coaching a group of teachers at the Goethe Schule, a German school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the topic of why and how to increase parent involvement is a hot topic. The following blog post was originally written in Spanish (see below for original post) as part of the documentation of our work together.

Studies like The Harvard Family Research Project among others have found, that involving parents has been associated with higher academic achievement. These studies suggest to

  • communicate regularly
  • offer volunteer opportunities
  • assign interactive homework
  • support home learning
Involving parents in supporting their children’s learning at school is NOT a luxury says Edutopia — “– it’s an integral component of student achievement and school reform. “. Edutopia refers to decades of studies  on the effect of meaningful parent involvement programs in schools

Gaining parent involvement has been a difficult task for many educators. The idea to only communicate with parents via a newsletter, invite them to the classroom to observe or bring in snack food for a celebration will not do the trick. How do we involve parents in a “learnflow” to extend and amplify learning for our students? New words like “learnflow” , “Home Learning” and “Crowdsourcing” are gaining importance in the realm of 21st century teaching and learning. Parents have a significant role to play in these changes.

In another article by Edutopia, Lisa Mims observes the differences between traditional methods and modern methoda of involving parents.

Traditional Methods

  • Agenda Books
  • Flyers
  • Test folders
  • Phone calls
  • Inviting parents to the classroom

Modern Methods

  • website
  • blog
  • twitter
  • Notification apps (ex. Remind)

Linda Yollis, a teacher from Los Angeles is having much success in involving her students’ parents over the years. We can observe through her blog how she invites parents and other family members to participate through comments on the blog, contributions as authors when they are traveling and with images to provoke and extend learning discussions in the classroom.

Graciela C, a teacher fromthe Goethe Schule in Argenting, has investigated pedagogical techniques to involve parents for the purpose of extending learning. Graciela, not only extended the learning objectives and goals of her curriculum content, but also exposed her students to 21st century skills and literacies, such as communicate, collaborate, connect, critical thinking, network literacy, digital citizenship and information literacy.

Through her blog, Graciela has been documenting her learning journey of these pedagogical methods, but we can also see the results of he work. We can see her learnflow:

Introducing curricular content>  Family Challenge> Parent contributions with their children > Create a video from individual family contributions> Share the final video with students> Group reflections > Individual reflections via blog comments > parent survey.

learnflow-home-challenge

Through various blog posts (if you don’t read Spanish, you can use Google Translate), Graciela supports different phases of the learnflow and shares the final video, she put together of the crowdsourced contributions from families.

Her students were not only aware of their own thinking (metcognition), but they saw their classmates’ examples and connections between what they had learned in school and their lives at home around the concepts of responsibility and collaboration.

In order to close the learnflow cycle and learn more about parent involvement as a method to extend learning for her students, a survey was sent to the parents who had contributed. (Results of the survey to come soon…)


Take a look at other examples of crowdsourced videos and blog entries to solicit and take advantage of family contributions to extend learning in the classroom.

Blog Graciela C.

Alejandra O’s Blog

A Kindergarten teacher asked the parents of her class to contribute  video clips, filmed at home, as they talk with their children about traffic safety and they demonstrate in various scenarios their understanding. Watching the crowdsourced video back at school, gave the children an opportunitiy to not only share their own “segment” from home, but they learned about their classmates’ personalized perspective as well.

Les pedimos a los padres que nos envíen un vídeo corto de los chicos hablando acerca del tema y armamos una película. Miramos cada vídeo con los chicos en la sala y fue muy rico para ellos, ya que no sólo se vieron a sí mismos sino que también a sus compañeros y el haber hecho participar a las familias también le agregó mayor importancia y valor.

Gabriela B’s Blog

Gabriela B, another Kindergarten teachers asked parents to support their children in learning about a specific animal. As children become “experts” of their chosen animal, they record a video sharing their research and articulate their learning. That video was then shared on the classroom blog as well as presented by the students in class.

Trabajando juntos : KIGA y Familias

En las próximas entradas iremos compartiendo con Uds un trabajo muy especial. Los niños manifestaron el deseo de saber mas sobre algunos animales. Por lo tanto cada uno de ellos eligió uno para realizar una investigación personal. Esta investigación la harán en sus hogares con ayuda de sus familias, enviando el producto de la misma al Jardín para presentárselo a sus compañeros.

How are YOU investigating parent involvement and the connection to extend learning with your students? What are some techniques your are investigating? Please share some of your thoughts and examples on the topic.


Involucrando a las familias en el aprendizaje de sus hijos ha demostrado que el logro del aprendizaje (learning achievement) es más alto, nuestros alumnos aprenden con más ganas y la motivación y las conexiones que los alumnos hacen con la vida real son más profundos.

Estudios como The Harvard Family Research Project concluyeron que al involucrar a los padres se ha asociado con logros más académicos más elevados.

Hay más estudios y investigaciones que comparten ideas como lograr involucrar a los padres. Esos estudios sugieren:

  • comunicar regularmente
  • ofrecer oportunidades de voluntar
  • asignar tareas interactivas
  • apoyar “home learning” (aprender en casa)
Involucrar a los padres para apoyar el aprendizaje de los hijos en el colegio no es un lujo, declara Edutopia (la fundación educacional de George Lucas)– “es un componente integral del logro académico y de la reforma de las escuelas”. Edutopia se refiere a décadas de estudios de investigación sobre el efecto de acompañamiento (involucramiento) significativo de padres.

Lograr un “involucramiento” significativo ha sido una tarea difícil para muchos docentes. La idea, no es solamente comunicarse con los padres o invitarles a la sala a observar, pero poder integrarlos en un “learnflow” (un flujo de aprendizaje) para extender y ampliar el aprendizaje de los alumnos. Palabras como learnflow, además de “Home Learning” (aprender en casa) y “Crowdsourcing” (colaboración abierta) están tomando cada vez más un rol significativo en el mundo de la educación del siglo XXI. Los padres tienen (juegan) un papel significativo en ese cambio.

En otro artículo de Edutopia, Lisa Mims muestra métodos tradicionales vs. métodos modernos a involucrar los padres.
Ella nombra como métodos tradicionales :

  • agendas
  • folletos
  • carpetas
  • llamadas telefónicas
  • invitar a los padres a la sala

y como métodos modernos:

  • página web
  • blog
  • twitter
  • apps de notificación (ej. Remind)

Linda Yollis, una docente en Los Angeles, EEUU está logrando con mucho éxito involucrar a las familias de sus alumnos hace varios años. A través de su Blog podemos ver como invita a los padres y familias a participar a través de comentarios en el blog, de sus contribuciones como autores cuando están viajando y contribuyen con imágenes que provocan discusiones estimulantes.

Graciela C. ha investigado técnicas pedagógicas y ha avanzado con mucho éxito en distintas oportunidades a no solamente involucrar sino también en aprovechar, sumar la ayuda de las familias para contribuir y extender el aprendizaje de sus alumnos.

Graciela, no solamente extendió las metas y objetivos del área del currículum escolar, también expone a los alumnos a capacidades y alfabetizaciones significativas del siglo XXI como comunicar, colaborar, crear, conectar y pensamiento crítico, alfabetización en las redes, de los medios, ciudadanía digital y alfabetización de la información.

A través de su blog, Graciela documenta su viaje de aprendizaje de estas técnicas pedagógicas, podemos ver los frutos de su trabajo y pasos de aprendizaje de ella y el de los alumnos.

Podemos ver el learnflow (flujo de aprendizaje):

Introduciendo el contenido> desafío para la casa> contribución de los papás con los chicos> crear videos> compartir el video (crowdsourced) final con los chicos> reflexión en grupo > reflexión individual a través de comentarios > encuesta a los padres

learnflow

La siguientes entrada al blog de Graciela apoya la documentación de las diferentes estaciones del “learnflow”. Más abajo verán los videos que Graciela trabajó para no solamente mostrarlos videos contribuidos, poder mostrar un “crowdsourced” video de colaboración abierta entre todos los participantes.

Los chicos, no solamente fueron conscientes de sus propios pensamientos, pero pudieron ver los ejemplos y conexiones de sus compañeros entre lo que hablaron y aprendieron en la escuela con su vida (home learning) en sus casas alrededor de los conceptos de la responsabilidad y la colaboración.


Otros ejemplos de crowdsourced videos y entradas de blog con la contribución de las familias para extender el aprendizaje.

Blog de Graciela C.

El blog de Alejandra O

Les pedimos a los padres que nos envíen un vídeo corto de los chicos hablando acerca del tema y armamos una película. Miramos cada vídeo con los chicos en la sala y fue muy rico para ellos, ya que no sólo se vieron a sí mismos sino que también a sus compañeros y el haber hecho participar a las familias también le agregó mayor importancia y valor.

El Blog de Gabriela B

Trabajando juntos : KIGA y Familias

En las próximas entradas iremos compartiendo con Uds un trabajo muy especial. Los niños manifestaron el deseo de saber mas sobre algunos animales. Por lo tanto cada uno de ellos eligió uno para realizar una investigación personal. Esta investigación la harán en sus hogares con ayuda de sus familias, enviando el producto de la misma al Jardín para presentárselo a sus compañeros.

Para cerrar el learnflow de esta experiencia de Graciela sobre el tema responsabilidad y colaboración, pedimos una vez más la ayuda de los padres para aprender más sobre la pedagogía de involucrar a los padres y los efectos en el aprendizaje de los chicos. Por favor respondan a la siguiente encuesta.

 

I am So Excited to Announce #amplifiEDU Courses

If you read my previous post, you know that I have been working with 3 other women educators and entrepreneurs to bring you relevant affordable courses.

I am so excited to share with you that amplifiEDucation’s first two courses are now available in the amplifiEDU store. Thank you  to those of you who shared your thoughts in the survey. We heard you!

courses-amplifiedu2

  • You want high-quality, affordable courses (under $10) created by experienced educators.
  • You want the convenience of working on your own time and at your own pace.
  • You want resources you will return to again and again to use with your students.

Visit amplifieducation to check out the first courses created!


Contact me to receive a 50% off coupon off your first course as a thank you for being a loyal Langwitches Blog reader.


courses-amplifiedu

Course: Upgrade your KWL Chart to the 21st Century by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

AUDIENCE: This course is for any teacher using the traditional KWL (Know- Want to know- Learned) Chart and wanting to embed 21st century skills and literacies to the practice. It is for educators looking to structure the learning process and help students make their thinking and learning visible to themselves and others.

DESCRIPTION: Welcome to the “Upgrade your KWL Chart to the 21st century” course by amplifiEDucation. Are you familiar with the traditional KWL chart as a graphic organizer to guide student learning? Have you ever wondered how you can amplify learning by upgrading the chart with a few simple steps to include 21st century skills and literacies? The upgraded chart is based on the belief that

  • – REFLECTION is an integral part of the learning process
  • – through technology tools our access to INFORMATION has exponentially expanded
  • – our ability to take ACTION goes beyond affecting people we are able to reach face to face
  • – technology tools allow us to express and communicate in OTHER FORMS of media beyond words and text

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN:  In this course, you will learn about the KWHLAQ graphic organizer: What it is? You will discover its history and uses as well as tools, platforms and visible thinking routines that support each phase of the organizer. You will look at ideas to use the KWHLAQ chart for your own learning and in your own classroom.

WHAT YOU WILL GET:  – Visual: Updated KWLHAQ visuals(pdf)  – Template: KWHLAQ chart template in PowerPoint (.pptx) to use with students  – Template: KWHLAQ chart template in Keynote (.keynote) to use with students

 

Course: 5 Steps for Creating Powerful Screencasts for Learning by Silvana Scarso

AUDIENCE: This course is for teachers who are interested in scaffolding student learning by making thinking visible and easily available. No matter your comfort level with technology, there is a learning opportunity for you:
If you are a novice technology user, you will follow easy step by step instructions that will allow the exploration of screencasting as a powerful tool for learning.
If you are a more experienced technology user but not yet familiar with screencasting, you will be able to quickly learn a new technology and use your creativity to explore its use.
If you have already experimented with screencasting, you will have the opportunity to reflect on your practice and expand its applications.

DESCRIPTION: Welcome to the “5 Steps for Creating Powerful Screencasts for Learning” course by amplifiEDucation. Have you heard about screencasts but don’t have a clear idea how it can be used for student learning? Have you ever wondered, “Why screencasting?” instead of simply video recording? Do you have any idea how easy it is to make a screencast? Would you like to experiment with easy-to-use tools and explore screencast possibilities that have impact on students?

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN:

  • How you can choose a screencast tool that adjusts to your needs.
  • How to feel comfortable doing a screencasting without much preparation.
  • How you can identify powerful screencasting opportunities in your teaching.
  • How you can explore screencasting with students to empower them as collaborative learners.
  • How you can select screencast sharing options that enhance learning.

WHAT YOU WILL GET:

  • Checklists: to help you choose a screencasting tool that becomes part of your practice workflow.

  • Printable cards: to help you choose and remember benefits of different screencasting options.

  • Printable cards: to help you follow steps for screencast creation.

  • Printable cards: to help you remember options for teacher and student screencasting.

Teacher Entrepreneurship: Realizing and Understanding that the Middle Man is Gone!

Steve Hargadon invited me to participate in the Teacher Entrepreneurship Week and asked for an interview to talk about my perspective.

With a tagline for Teacher entrepreneurship: Realizing and understanding that the middle man is gone! , I was on board.

In 4 days he recorded and curated interviews with almost 40 educators.

Four evenings of interviews, broadcast live on Google Hangouts on Air / YouTube. Steve Hargadon guides us through the world of teachers as agents of creation and change.

THE LINEUP:

Adam Bellow | Alice Keeler | Angela Maiers | Anne Mirtschin | Barbara Bray | Ben Wilkoff | Bernard Bull | Bill Ferriter | Chris Sloan | Curtis Bonk | Dan Meyer | David Warlick | Dean Shareski | Erin Klein | Esther Wojcicki | Gary Stager | Jon Corippo | Julie Lindsay | Karen Fasimpaur | Lee Kolbert | Lisa Nielsen | Lucy Gray | Matt Harris, Ed.D | Mike Lawrence | Nicholas Provenzano | Nicole Tucker-Smith | Paul Allison | Ramsay Musallam | Richard Byrne | Rushton Hurley | Shabbi Luthra | Shelly Sanchez Terrell | Silvia Tolisano | Steven Anderson | Suzie Boss | Sylvia Martinez | Tom Whitby | Vicki Davis | Will Richardson
See all the recordings here.

 

Announcing #amplifiEDU Chat

The concept of amplified education is fascinating!

The Free Dictionary defines the verb “amplify” as:

  1. To make larger or more powerful; increase.
  2. To add to, as by illustrations; make complete.

When I think of amplifying teaching and learning, I think of:

I am excited to be able to “amplify” my thoughts (pun intended) by “making learning larger”, “increase” the perspectives and best practices… work on adding puzzle pieces of teaching reflections from my learning network.

Together with Andrea Hernandez (USA), Chic Foote (New Zealand) and Silvana Scarso (Brazil), we will practice what we preach and amplify teaching and learning via a Twitter Chat, sparking a conversation and moving forward to

  • define amplified teaching and learning
  • share resources
  • support each other
  • learn with others
  • crowdsource examples of best practices in professional development and from the classroom
  • practice amplification skills

Interested? Join us for our first #amplifiEDU Twitter Chat on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 at 8 pm EST

[bctt tweet=”Amplified Education-Join us for the first #amplifiEDU Twitter Chat on Wednesday, Sept 9 at 8 pm EST”]

Our topic will be: Set the Tone for the New School Year : Amplify Learning (in honor of the Northern Hemisphere returning to school)

[bctt tweet=”#amplifiEDU Twitter Chat: Set the Tone for the New School Year : Amplify Learning -Wednesday, 9/9 @8pm “]

amplifiEDU-Twitter_Chat-Sept9   We have prepared 5 questions and 2 challengesQ1 Q2 Q3

C4

C5 Q6 Q7If you have never participated in a Twitter chat, why not give it a try? We promise we won’t bite and make it worth your while.

[bctt tweet=”Amplified Education-Join us for the first @amplifiEDU Twitter Chat on Wednesday, Sept 9 at 8 pm EST”]

You can check out the following resources to wrap your mind around Twitter Chats:

An Update to the Upgraded KWL for the 21st Century

In 2011, I wrote a blog post, titled Upgrade your KWL Chart to the 21st Century. It described how I learned about a new version of the traditional KWL (What do I Know, What do I Want to know and what have I Learned) via Chic Foote as it snuck in an “H“(How will I find out). That “H” seemed to make the increased importance of the information literacy visible.  I ended up on Maggie Hos-McGrane’s blog, which, according to John Barell’s book Why are School Buses always Yellow?, added yet two other abbreviations  (“A“- What action will I take and “Q“-What further Questions do I have?) to make up a  KWHLAQ acronym.


Interested in learning even more about Upgrading the KWL chart to the 21st Century? I created a course that walks you step-by -step through applications in the classroom.


The blog post included the visual chart below, which seemed to have made it the most popular blog post searched for and shared on Langwitches of all times. That seemed to demand an update to the visual after 4 years. 🙂 KWHLAQ chart templateI have used the chart consistently over the last few years as a framework to upgrade FOR the 21st century in lesson planning, professional development workshops, coaching and working directly with students and teachers. An essential component of sharing, as a teacher,  is the knowledge that one’s work has an impact on other teachers and students, who most likely one will never meet. It is even more gratifying reading of the excellent work others have done:

I have also used the KWHLAQ chart as one framework to promote Reflection as Part of the Learning Process, Not as an Add-on. In the following visual below I share ideas of how to embed the KWHLAQ framework in analog and digital activities. KWHLAQ-reflection-frameworkI am continuing to be intrigued by John Barell’s original inquiry strategy, how to use to bring awareness and experience opportunities for modern learning skills and literacies. Since Project Zero’s Visible Thinking Routines have been playing an integral part of my continuous work of Documenting4Learning, is was an easy connection to bring in the routines as a strategy in the KWHLAQ flow.

The new visual below is intended to give teachers and students more choices of make their thinking and learning visible using the following platforms, activities, tools, Visible Thinking Routines as an option or starting off point. The suggestions include tools and platforms that are specifically suited to connect, collaborate, communicate and create, 21st century style, one’s process and make it easier to amplify and to document4learning. The framework is based on

  • REFLECTION being an integral part of the learning process
  • the understanding that through technology tools our access to INFORMATION has exponentially expanded as well
  • our ability to take ACTION beyond affecting people we are able to reach face to face
  • that technology tools allow us to express and communicate in OTHER FORMS of media beyond words and text

KWHLAQ-v2-tolisanoWhat do you think? What other platforms, tools and activities would you include and organize according to the KWHLAQ chart? Let’s crowdsource more resources for the use of KWHLAQ for the 21st Century!


Interested in learning even more about Upgrading the KWL chart to the 21st Century? I created a course that walks you step-by -step through applications in the classroom. Head on over to amplifiEDucation to check it out.