Category Archives: Professional Generosity

The City that Plays Together, Stays Together!

CCOL

 

What do you get when you mix 108 amazing Chicago organizations, 4,204 engaging learning opportunities, passionate leaders, higher education institutions, generous funding organizations, and 400,000 youth of Chicago? The Chicago City of Learning! (CCOL) An explosive convergence of possibility all focused on supporting youth in developing self-directed, interest-driven learning and achievement… that connects that learning to college and career….complete with a rigorous badging system. 

Want to be part of something bigger?

You can feel the electricity  in the room during the planning meetings with the vast array of stakeholders involved in bringing CCOL to the youth of Chicago as a network of support that provides 24/7 access to quality learning. This is personalized learning that covers the entire city…every neighborhood, every street, every learner.  And the city is rising up to support the entire effort.

Check it out. If you don’t live near Chicago, maybe your city could use the template to create something in your area.

Classroom 2.0 LIVE!

What an honor to be chosen as the Featured Teacher for Classroom 2.0 LIVE! If you are interested in Project-based Learning or 21st Century Learning, here is the recording.  Here’s the Livebinder link to all of the projects and resources mentioned in the presentation.

Make sure you visit the Classroom 2.0 LIVE site and check the calendar for upcoming events and archives. They are always a great resource for cutting edge education ideas and resources.

The 2013 School Leadership Summit announced by TICAL and Steve Hargadon

 

Tomorrow, March 28th, 2013! Don’t miss out!

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Surround Yourself with those Who See Greatness Within You

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” Surround yourself with the Dreamers and the Doers, the Believers… and most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it in yourself. They strive for us to see the potential of greatness that lies within us. Never forget that they let us break down our walls and wipe off our masks and teach us to be and believe you are perfect as you.”

A quote used by a man who died at 85 years old…and lived as an artist, illustrator, and wise, generous soul. Tom Dunnington was influential in my son’s life…and many others. May we all live to inspire greatness in others the way he has. There is no greater legacy than that.

iEARN at 25. Going Strong with Teddy Bears in the Front!

Although we have participated in iEARN projects before, for the first time, a class in our school, Mill Creek Elementary in Geneva, IL, USA, participated in the Teddy Bear Project through iEARN. It’s been great hearing about their exchange with Wen Ya Elementary in Taiwan.

 

What a great organization. There are many global collaborative education organizations out there now, but iEARN…well, they were the true cutting edge for us all. They have only become stronger in their numbers, larger in their geographic reach and curriculum scope, and more influential during their 25 years. Lucky for all of us, they have retained all of their professional generosity, humanity and incredible inclusiveness. They are true leaders in every possible way. Happy 25th iEARN! I’m proud to be among your many admirers and participant teachers.

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We’re celebrating our furry friends today, and invite you to join our Teddy Bear Picnic. The iEARN Teddy Bear Project has been a favorite of hundreds of thousands of teachers and students in more than 8,000 schools worldwide since 1996, and we’re spending the day sharing stories, images, and the joy of global collaboration in one of its most huggable forms.

Congratulations to all participating schools worldwide, and a big thank you to the current Teddy Bear Project Facilitators Rasagnya Puppala and Fumi (Bee) Ito in Japan, for all their bear care.






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What We Have Done as an Educational Community is Priceless

Change. In education,we are accustomed to seeing changes in philosophy, funding, materials, focus, ideology, scheduling, and leadership. Right now, we are in the middle of the biggest change in our careers, and what we have been doing as educators is priceless.

The difference between this change and the zillions of changes before it, is that now we have a connected community. There should be no district, school, or teacher working in isolation trying to figure it out alone. Since the last major change, we as educators have pulled together. We have organized ourselves on every level, from superintendents to classroom teachers and everyone in between . We have posted our opinions, knowledge, and resources on blogs and websites and twitter. We have shared like no other industry. We have stepped up for our districts, our schools and our students to make education better for each and every learner. We have demonstrated professional generosity on a level never seen before. So it is there that we will learn and grow…and change…together. This change will not be like ones before. We will make it work for our students and for our districts,  and we will make it more cohesive… because we are working together.

You’re in a Global Project. Now What?

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There are so many great organizations and global collaborative project options, so just jump in! Once you get your feet wet and figure out the terrain, it’s time to make global projects work for you by specifically addressing your curriculum. You’ve opened up your classroom to the world to allow your students to connect and learn with kids all over, but curriculum standards are different around the world. It is easy to make the project not only collaborative, but also individual to suit your needs.

I’ll take a project my class finished recently to demonstrate how to tailor a project to fit your own needs. Using Data to Understand the World was a collaborative project between Illinois, Alaska, Taiwan, Canada, Costa Rica, Ireland, and Australia.  It spanned grades 3-6. On the surface, it was a project to compare geography throughout the world by tracking data (temperature, precipitation and sunlight), and then discussing topics (animals, plants, and land forms). Each participating teacher agreed to provide the data and to participate in a conversation among classes. I could have left it there, but I used the project as a backbone to integrate my curriculum. In our district, the 5th grade curriculum includes:

  1. Ecosystems (Science)
  2. Compare and Contrast (Language Arts)
  3. Informational writing (Language Arts)
  4. Data and graphing (Math)
  5. Culture (Social Studies)

So to address those things, I included these aspects:

  1.  Ecosystems: I used my science text-book as we worked. Then I assigned deeper investigative research on the relationship between sunlight, location to the equator, hemispheres, and the ecosystem.
  2. Compare and Contrast: Students chose two countries to compare and contrast animals and discussed how geographical location effected animal population.
  3. Informational writing: Students chose a country’s plant posting and wrote an informational piece after researching.
  4. Data and graphing: We used the data from around the world each month to graph and chart. We learned about mean, median, mode while comparing the counties and relating that to distance from the equator. I used my math book to teach these lessons while we worked.
  5. Culture: throughout the project, we discussed culture as we Skyped, discussed, interacted with kids and teachers.

In addition, we used edmodo.com as a place for students to interact directly. I taught digital and global citizenship, collaboration, and technology while we worked online.  Schools participated on different levels and to different degrees, so I used that to frame my collaborative connections.

I chose Using Data to Understand the World in this example, but this can be done with any global project. So far this  year, we have worked with iEARN and Flat Classroom, and through kidblog.org. This individualization can be done with any project, so start small. Also, take advantage of the other teachers out there. Educators that are online in global projects are  there to mentor and help as well. There is an amazing network of teachers online that welcome questions with open arms, so don’t be shy! Professional generosity is abundant. Jump in!

Here are some great places to start:

iEARN

Flat Classroom

Global Classroom

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