ASCD 2012 – Monday

Monday has arrived. Many more bodies on the train today. My day started with a realization that I left my conference badge on my dining room table. But thanks to the badge recycle bins scattered throughout the convention center, I will survive the day.

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Many thanks to Amy from Virginia for being green.

Developing Social Media Policies for Schools. Facilitated by Steve Anderson and Sam Walker

If you wouldn’t say it to your momma standing on a table in the middle of a mall, don’t say it online.

Biggest concerns for social media in schools reported by the group were cyber bullying and inappropriate relations by both students and staff.  But the number of kids online and the number of messages sent continues to increase.  Over 73% of teens participate in social networks, yet we close the door on them when they come to school.  And it is starting earlier….Club Penguin is the largest social media site for younger kids.

Do went want kids collaborating, sharing, connecting?  Of course, but we need to train teachers to facilitate differently.  The use of social media tools means that students can learn at different rates, at the times they choose.  One of Steve’s colleagues does a social media project where students choose what they would like to learn and report out on it.  We need to raise a generation of kids who are comfortable with collaborating, and they are doing it already on their own.  How do we facilitate that in schools?  Many schools want to embrace social media, but under rules they define.

As part of an improvement plan, Steve and Sam’s district developed a goal for social media which includes students, parents and educators.  They have also embraced problem-based learning to allow students to explore ideas.  In one interesting project given to third graders, the challenge was to develop a list of Internet usage rules, which would then be presented to parents.  Their district does not have a social media policy for teachers, except to say that teachers are “strongly discouraged” from contacting students after-hours via social media, and that teachers are expected to follow the same general ethical standards policies of all employees.

I appreciate Steve’s message: “Why continue to put in place restrictive policies that handcuff the ability of educators to do their jobs?”.  We need to embrace the possibilities and the wealth of collaboration which social media provide.

Check out the presentation, and more from Steve’s blog: Blogging About the Web 2.0 Connected Classroom

You can follow Steve on twitter @web20classroom, where he frequently posts ideas and articles.

Developing a Framework for Science and Math Instructional Coaching

Given that this is my first year as a math instructional coach, I am eager to absorb ideas for maximizing my effect as a coach.  The team of 4 today I heard speak are from the Chicago area, largely DePaul University.

The team has developed a concerns-based adoption model (CBAM) which helps facilitate change in the questions teachers ask, and identifies ways to assess 7 stages of concern, based on the adoption model from Hall and Hord in “Change in Schools, Facilitating the Process”.  The model measures teacher progress from the awareness / informational level, and moves them towards management and collaboration.  Charlotte Danielson’s Framework for Teaching was also incorporated into the model to identify and measure teacher proficiency in the implementation of curriculum.  The team has identified components of successful science and math classrooms, and developed rubrics which incorporate the Danielson models for basic / proficient / distinguished practice.

I appreciated a comment from one of the moderators, who noted that we need to differentiate for teachers in the same manner we need to differentiate teaching strategies with our students.  A needs inventory is utilized in Chicago in order to identify needs on both the teacher and coach end, and have teachers reflect upon their classroom practice.  For example, the question “how confident do you feel pushing student thinking through the use of questioning and wait time” may open a door for a teacher to seek help with a coach, but may also cause a teacher to honestly evaluate and reflect upon their current classroom practice even if coaching is not utilized.

In order to facilitate effective lesson planning, the team developed a checklist for orchestrating productive math discussions: anticipate – monitor – select – sequence – make connections.  The coaches then address proficiency and misconceptions in each area through pre-conference planning and post-lesson reflection.

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