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June 14, 2017

Transforming thinking with Ayodele Harrison

One evening back in April, I came across a tweet about a Facebook live professional development event given by Ayodele Harrison.

I was intrigued by the title – Strategies & tools to engage disconnected students who hate learning math. Free online PD – so went to check it out. I came in towards the end of the session and knew that I had found a kindred teaching spirit in Ayodele!

Ayodele had not been one of my Twitter contacts before that night so it was sheer serendipity that I found that tweet in my timeline. We are now connected on Twitter and if you have an account, I suggest you click on his picture here and follow him – his tweets and resources will be valuable additions to your professional learning practice!

His message is one of relationship around learning. As teachers, we have the power to design learning situations and create an environment that will allow our students to talk about math and, through conversation, become more engaged in their math learning. Ayodele does work in the area of teaching and learning strategies as well as in an area that is strongly connected to our ability to use and adapt to new strategies – and that is through our own sense of self-efficacy in teaching.

What I just described is a very rudimentary description of what Ayodele can offer. I connected with his message and his delivery so much that I asked if we could use some of the Facebook live footage on PD Mosaic. Lucky for us – he agreed!

He is in the process of turning the hour-long event into a series of shorter videos, each one framing a specific aspect of his message about transforming mathematical thinking in our students. The first two videos are already live on PD Mosaic and the others will be added as they are completed. They form part of a collection of resources called Rethinking Math Teaching and Learning. Click on the image below to go directly to this collection.

Rethinking math on PD Mosaic

I invite you to watch the series as it unfolds on PD Mosaic. These videos are designed for Math teachers however Ayodele also provides great resources for ALL educators. Besides through his Twitter link above, you can connect with Ayodele at the following spots:

  • Ayodele’s YouTube channel – what a wealth of online learning!!
  • His website – “Educating is about positioning all learners to discover, understand and walk in their greatness.“- Ayodele Harrison
  • Ayodele’s Facebook page – Like his page to receive updates about future online PD sessions and other resources!

I am so happy to have created this connection with Ayodele. As I often say – we can only truly get better together!

Posted in: News, PD, Teaching Resources
June 13, 2017

Multi-level and Multi-subject Math & Science? Yup.

I am writing this blog post during a visit to Colleen Glover’s classroom with a team of teachers and consultants from the ETSB, NFSB, PROCEDE, and the RECIT. (this post was originally written on June 9, 2017)

Colleen is a Math and Science teacher at the Nova Career Centre of the New Frontiers School Board. Her classrooms are always multi-level and sometimes multi-subject as well.

With our new programs and the shift towards the use of learning situations for the development of competencies, teachers are questioning just how they are going to manage this when they teach multi-level and multi-subject groups using an individualized approach.

Well, Colleen manages her groups in a way that is not only possible but positively supports the philosophy of our new programs.

So, we organized a visit to her classroom so that teachers from the ETSB could see how she manages her individualized classes.

What a rich experience! I was inspired by watching the class unfold and seeing how Colleen organizes student learning within the context of different courses – including labs! Her individualized classroom is truly a community of learners. Students support each other in their learning. A group of students in one science course were creating solutions for a small group in another science course for their lab activity.

I particularly liked the celebration wall, where Colleen showcases copies of the acceptance letters her students receive from CEGEPs and universities!

The result of this day will be a video to share with the rest of the province because teachers have been asking for these kinds of resources so they can take a peek into the classrooms of their peers as we transition into teaching with our new programs.

While you are waiting for the video – I invite you to listen to the latest podcast, which is a conversation that took place after the visit, about the unique student/teacher relationship in Adult Education.

We are not alone and when we realize this, anything is possible!

Thank you, Colleen, for inviting us into your classroom!

June 13, 2017

Episode 2 – #TeacherStories The Student/Teacher Relationship in Adult Education

Last week a group of us visited Colleen Glover‘s Science and Math classroom at the Nova Career Centre of the New Frontiers School Board. We watched, listened, took pictures, and recorded some video footage. When the class was over, Avi Spector and Sonya Fiocco interviewed Colleen about what we had just seen in her classroom.

Observing the classroom

Once the formal interview was over, we settled into a conversation about a variety of topics. This podcast is an excerpt of that conversation and it focuses on the student/teacher relationship in Adult Education. Towards the end of the conversation, Colleen talks about how she uses Remind as a tool to keep in touch with her learners on a daily basis.

Notes:
At times you may hear some banging – it is a sign of a passionate conversation and hitting the table for emphasis!
ETP = Étudiants à temps plein (or full time students). If students are often absent, they can no longer be considered full-time and that can affect funding.

June 1, 2017

Episode 1 – #TeacherStories: A conversation with Emilie on how she organizes learning materials

*Note: I am learning how to integrate podcast posts into the blog, so I apologize if you receive this post twice! – Tracy*

This first podcast is a conversation with Emilie Bowles– History, Contemporary World, English (Sec 1-3), and Computer Science teacher at Nova Career and Education Centre in Chateauguay, Quebec. We talk about the tools she uses to organize resources for students as well as her own professional learning.

Music used in the podcast: Retro Soul from http://www.bensound.com

Resources mentionned in the podcast
Edmodo – I have never used it but I know a few teachers who really like it.
Microsoft Classroom – since our conversation, I have learned that Microsoft is discontinuing their classroom feature. A drag for those in Office 365 environments – THOUGH Google’s classroom is now open to anyone with a google account, be it personal or through your school board so that is helpful.
Emilie’s YouTube playlists
Collaborative slideshows as study aides and to facilitate feedback – see how this has been used for second language learners.
Loom chrome extension for video feedback
Connect – yearly learning and technology conference (in Canada!)
Google cardboard for virtual field trips
Aurasma – augmented reality book reviews
QR Codes – check out this video that talks about how QR Codes can help create equity in your classroom
La Classe CLIC – a flexible professional development room at CSSMI
Blogging in the Classroom
GIS – Geographic Information Systems
Kahn Academy – it has come a long way. I know teachers who use it for a variety of reasons – even for PD!

March 31, 2017

Telling our stories… with PowerPoint?

Short answer: Yes.

but let me elaborate.

Ever since a group of teachers told me that the professional development I had just done to them flopped big time, my direction has shifted.

(note the ‘to them’, that was intentional)

I was showing them something a group of consultants had made for them in order to encourage them to do things differently in their classrooms. Their response was…meh. They asked – why should we use this thing? We can already find all of that by ourselves, on the Internet. What they really wanted to see, they told me, was concrete examples of teachers in Adult Education, in Quebec, doing things differently in their classrooms.

I felt horrible – I had wasted their time, I had forgotten to ask what they needed before going in. Luckily, they let me know 😉

So, for the past 2 years that has been my mission. Avi Spector and I have created videos of teachers doing things differently in their classrooms. We use these videos in professional development, we share them on PDMosaic and on Twitter and YouTube. We see changes happening – the teachers we have highlighted are starting to offer professional development sessions themselves. They are influencing other teachers and their own practices are evolving as a result of it. When teachers work together, magic happens. And it is so good!

This year, I’m experiencing another shift. I am still seeking out stories of risk-taking, innovation, and success. I am also having more people ask me for help in sharing their stories – as in, they want to learn how to make their own videos. Especially when they hear that I use… wait for it… PowerPoint to make my teacher story videos. Now, PowerPoint is not the fanciest of video creation tools by far but what I love about it is that just about every educator in the Quebec school system has access to it on their classroom computer.

I always say that the biggest objective I have is to make myself obsolete and this shift I described above is playing into that. This year, as I collect teacher stories, I am working more in collaboration with the story tellers: consultants are starting to take video footage, teachers are starting to record themselves and collect creative commons images that are legal to use in videos – for some teachers, they are getting closer to not needing me at all in the creation process! (bittersweet – I do love this collaborative process…)

Parallel Story
While all of this was unfolding, the Service National of the RECIT, of which I am a member, has been looking at developing a platform for self-directed learning of teachers (l’autoformation en français). From the start, I was not interested in this platform. A lot of my energy goes to PD Mosaic, a different kind of space for online professional learning. As the year progressed and as more people were asking for help in making video, I decided to develop a course about making video capsules using PowerPoint. The course also deals with how to choose videos for your classroom and how to structure the viewing of the videos to maximise their impact on learning. The platform is currently in a testing phase and the course, along with the courses made by other members of the Service National, should be available to everyone by the beginning of the next school year. Here is a teaser video I created as part of the introduction to the course. (And yes, it was made with PowerPoint!)

Posted in: Blended Learning, Video