When I began this journey 9 or 10 months ago I was full of ideas and incredibly enthusiastic to make organizational change, but I honestly had no idea what I was doing. I remember getting an email from Dr. Harapnuik asking if we could have a phone conversation regarding my innovation plan to make sure I had a good grasp on what innovative efforts looked like. I had to shift my mindset from bringing in more people to taking what was already there and using it in a different way. What I eventually settled on was a rudimentary station rotation model that would be implemented during our mentor time on Mondays. This idea was almost immediately abandoned. This plan presented several unanticipated roadblocks like dissuading student collaboration and taking too much time for students to change seats between classes. Simply allowing students the autonomy to get up and seek help from a peer on mentor days alleviated a lot of the self-directed learning obstacles learners were encountered while working independently throughout the day.
My updated innovation plan is currently in place at Beverly Hills Intermediate School in Pasadena, Tx., and I have to say that I-again- jumped right into implementation without fully understanding the magnitude of what I was attempting to pull off. The idea was to fill knowledge and achievement gaps in students by having them participate in a Habits of Success class that would not only provide consistent intervention for reading and math skills but also help students become self-directed learners. In order to test the effectiveness of the class, I developed an action research plan. Throughout the Habits of Success course, students should develop a personalized Reads and Solves Tool Kit. Toolkits needed to be personalized for each student, would be based on individual needs identified by MAP scores, and resources modified from the Summit Learning Accessibility Resource Bank. This bank includes scaffolds that are research-based and grounded within the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) model. The purpose of my action research plan was to identify if utilizing the Reads and Solves Toolkit is an effective way of closing math and reading achievement gaps in students who enter the 7th grade Summit Learning (Connect Program) below grade level according to the MAP test.
What I did not take into consideration was the whirlwind/demand of the content students needed to master along with projects that had to be completed. The students that have gaps are almost always the students that are behind on their work. It has been challenging for me to help students catch up while at the same time providing intervention that not only fills knowledge gaps but creates self-directed behaviors. With the pressure of the whirlwind, It just seems like there isn’t enough time to implement the tool kits. Most of our class time has been consumed simply “catching up.”
Although we have not seen the closing in gaps that I would have like to see at this point, there has been measurable success. Our 7th grade students are almost 50% more “on track” than our 8th grade students who do not have the Habits of Success class in their schedule. The extra time has undoubtedly had a positive impact on our students’ work completion, but I still have not managed to conquer the knowledge gaps. I have promoted my innovation plan at various district convenings by sharing our campus success with district and school leaders. There is not an official plan to make a Habits of Success class a requirement on all campuses, but due to our success, all teams are encouraged to work in extra time in the schedule-whether it be an advisory period, workshops offered during student lunches, or simply and extra study hall class.
Apart from the lack of time, our district’s grading policy doesn’t align with a personalized learning vision. Technically, students have all year to grow their overall average (it is an average of all their combined projects and content learning), but we still have UIL obligations that require us to report a pass/fail status every 6 weeks. The district requires every student to meet a unilateral grading criteria at these times; the district also has a 10% policy that does not allow a teacher to fail more than 10% of students in a class. This causes a lot of stress at the grading period, and a lot of teachers resort to helping students more than they should or even cheating the system.
The idea behind personalized learning is based on the understanding that not all students begin their education at the same starting line, so it is our job to meet them where they are. With our grading policy, students are required to meet the same finish line no matter where they started. I would like to advocate for some changes regarding how students are graded and how we can create a flexible definition of what success looks like for our diverse learners.
Moving forward, I am using the following guiding question: How can we create a grading policy that adheres to UIL guidelines, challenges students to work within their Zone of Proximal Development, allows learners with gaps to fill them, and authentically assesses student achievement and learning? This question along with my lessons learned will provide me with a framework for taking next innovation project a step further-updating the district’s grading policy to better align with personalized learning values.
CAST. (2018). About universal design for learning. Retrieved 13 December 2018, From http://www.cast.org/our-work/about-udl.html#.XBKe91VKjct
NWEA. (2018). Map growth. Retrieved 13 December 2018, from https://www.nwea.org/map-growth/
Summit Learning. (2018) Summit teacher accessability resource bank. Retrieved 13 December 2018, from https://docs.google.com/document/d/1d1UYbDDySVLQLu0AStexdiCUSn1KYAhdjF41dWgOjWA/edit?usp=sharing
Summit Learning. (2018). What is summit learning? Retrieved 13 December 2018, from https://www.summitlearning.org/approach/learning-experience
UIL Texas. (2018). 2018-2019 Constitution & contest rules. Retrieved 13 December 2018, from https://www.uiltexas.org/policy/constitution
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
I think I first truly realized that I had choice, ownership and voice through my assignments when I started creating my innovation plan. Everything just sort of clicked during those first two weeks. I began to understand that my innovation plan would be something that I would see through to the very end. Honestly, I felt a lot of pressure during that time because I believed that this plan needed to be final at the time of submission.
Looking back on my very first innovation plan makes me feel proud of how far I have come from the beginning of this journey. The COVA approach forced me to create meaningful projects. My work could not be completed just sitting down one Sunday afternoon and carry out some specific action that was dictated by my professor. My projects required intense thought and reflection regarding a larger vision. In order to adjust to this type of learning, I shifted my mindset from “What does my professor want?” to “What does my organization need?” and “How can I use CSLE to make those improvements?” Once I made that shift, taking control of my own voice started to come naturally. Throughout the program, I was incredibly grateful for the opportunity to create meaningful change within my organization. I also found that our personalized learning program-Summit Learning-was almost totally aligned with the principles of CSLE. Since my district had to make many adaptations-like our grading policy- to the model, this gave me a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on how our program was run through my innovation plan and learning within the DLL program.
My innovation plan is absolutely authentic; it aimed to create a “Habits of Success Class” for ALL incoming 7th Connect (Summit Learning in Pasadena, Tx) students at Beverly Hills Intermediate. The class infuses AVID techniques: Socratic seminars, peer-led tutorials, note taking workshops, and other strategies to not only help students conquer academic fears, but allow them develop the habits of success in a safe environment. We were able to find a place in the schedule for this class, and I am currently teaching it. The other campuses in my district have not all created a “Habits of Success Class”, but since it has been so successful, they have all been encouraged to incorporate some sort of elective that allows students extra time in completing their coursework. Each campus that has implemented it has had the authority to use the time as they see fit. My innovation plan has deeply contributed to the success of Summit Learning on my campus, and even though it has a long way to go, thanks to the COVA model, I was able to make real change within my organization.
COVA and CSLE absolutely align with my learning philosophy. I believe authentic learning happens when the student engages in real world experiences and collaborates with their peers. I have always felt this way about learning, but I believe that the DLL program validated my conclusions. In K-12 education, it seems that learning has become incredibly drill based and geared at passing a test. We miss out on authentic learning every day because administrators see it as a waste of time. However, there is immense research that supports project based learning and the idea that students make the most gains when they engage in a productive struggle. This is when cognitive skills have room to truly grow. I have been using COVA in my classroom for the passed three years though projects. Projects are the foundation of the Summit Learning approach. They ground student learning by allowing students to participate in hands-on classwork that equips them with the habits and mindsets they need to succeed in life after high school. The final products that students complete are diverse and grant learners opportunities to choose how to articulate their learning. I plan to continue to utilize the COVA approach for not only students but for teacher professional development as well. I am convinced that this method allows for deeper learning while creating an environment conducive to innovative change within an organization.
In order to prepare my learners for the COVA approach, I will start by giving small choices within assignments. For example, allowing students to choose between creating a video or creating a Google Slides to demonstrate learning of the functions of the human body would allow them to take ownership of their learning and not overwhelm them right at the beginning. Over time, they will appreciate the ability to choose how to show what they know. I think the challenges will lie in changing student, parent, and educators'/administrators' mindsets that choice and ownership actually do provoke deeper learning. I have observed a misconception that project based learning can be non-educational and even a waste of time. It will take time and evidence to foster an evolution in these stereotypes.
Digital Citizenship Mantra
Below, you will find my reflective essay that explores my theoretical and practical understanding of the elements of Digital Citizenship.
Some of the most valuable resources I came across during this course are:
Krueger, N. (2017). Digital citizenship is the new citizenship. ISTE. Retrieved from www.iste.org/explore/articleDetail?articleid=1052&category=Digital-citizenship&article
Snakenborg, J., Van Acker, R., & Gable, R. A. (2011). Cyberbullying: Prevention and Intervention to Protect Our Children and Youth. Preventing School Failure, 55(2), 88–95. https://doi-org.libproxy.lamar.edu/10.1080/1045988X.2011.539454
Watson, K. S. (2018). Shaping Digital Citizens: Cyberbullying prevention is a natural fit in school libraries. American Libraries, 49(9/10/2018), 57. Retrieved from https://libproxy.lamar.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=131666852&site=ehost-live
Grom Social. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VnAU2lbf2c&feature=youtu.be
I didn't get social media until I was in college, and I am eternally grateful for that. Not only because there could potentially be a permanent record of all of the poor decision I made as an adolescent..but more so the bullying. As a child, I was bullied relentlessly. My nickname is Kitty, and that prompted my classmates to call me cruel names and constantly make fun of me when I was called on in class. My mom passed away when I was eleven, and I was even bullied for that. I heard comments like "Kill yourself like your mom did.", "At least my mom loves me; she didn't have to commit suicide to escape me." All kinds of unspeakable things were said to me. I couldn't imagine not being able to escape those tormentors after school or being forced to endure the effects of a hateful comments online. There were many times that I started to believe the words that were being said to me so frequently. I even resorted to self-harm in some instances and contemplated suicide. No human being should ever have to endure such cruel treatment or feel like that need to question their own existence.
The resources I would like to share this week are cyberbullying resources for educators. As teachers, our responsibility goes beyond the standard scope and sequence given to us by our districts. We must educate students on community building, tolerance, empathy and directly teach them what it means to be a good digital citizen. I truly believe that the key to changing the world is education.
Common Sense Education: Anti-Cyberbullying Toolkit
AFT: Online Safety and Cyberbullying Resources
Childnet International: Cyberbullying Resources for Educators
At the end of week 3 I am sitting here in my living room contemplating all of the copyright and fair use laws I have broken as an educator. I am definitely in shock! I always believed that if I was not making money off of the use of someone else’s work, especially in an educational setting, that I was in the clear. It is so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of teaching, that distributing someone else’s lessons, graphic organizers, photocopies of copyrighted materials from a workbook to colleagues, etc.I will definitely be reconsidering these practices. That being said, I also did not know that all of the course content I have created for my classroom is not owned by me. I do a lot of work at home, although on a school issued device, but I imagined that since I created it, it was mine! Another eye opening moment. I’m glad that I hadn’t started putting that stuff on Teachers Pay Teachers, yet!
Education World has broken down copyright and fair use for educators into five easy to follow parts. This will be helpful for educators who are short on time but need more information on how to properly use intellectual materials in their classrooms.
The University of Rhode Island put this Copyright and Fair Use guide on their website, and I found it incredibly helpful as I was completing the case studies this week. The guide defines copyright and fair use and gives example scenarios with films, images, books, articles etc.
This week, I have had several “aha” moments in regards to Digital Access and Net Neutrality, and I believe I have made an essential connection that every educator must be aware. These two elements are by far the starting point in ensuring that every learner has equal educational opportunities. Digital Access means that any learner can learn anything from anywhere as long as an open and affordable internet is in place.
My campus is incredibly lucky as we are a totally 1:1 campus, and 10,000 students in our district now have the ability to participate in Connect Personalized Learning (a Summit Learning education model). It is such an amazing opportunity for our students to have equal opportunities for success after high school, and I was thrilled when I learned the extent of my students technology access. What I failed to realize when I first started teaching with personalized learning is that many of my students had no access to internet at home and had no way to come early to school or stay after to attend tutorials. This access creates a divide among my students as some have the opportunity to get ahead (or even keep up) at home and others’ progress is halted due to their limited access. My district is working to install wifi towers all over the area, so every student will have access to internet at home. This will obviously be a game changer for many of our learners.
While the work my district is doing with wifi towers is a giant step, we will ultimately have to face the new challenges that will arise without the promise of Net Neutrality. Public education is one of the last services provided to people who cannot afford a more “quality” option. This attack on the access to a free education not only endangers the futures of individual students, but it hinders the progression of our society’s advancement in a serious way. Taking away open and affordable internet means that children and learners everywhere are not being properly invested in. We are missing out on the ingenuity of an entire population.
Some resources that explain why Net Neutrality matter to public education are listed below:
Gordon, N. (2017). Why net neutrality matters for k-12 education. Future Ed. Retrieved from https://www.future-ed.org/work/why-net-neutrality-matters-for-k-12-education/
Irwin, J. (2014). Why net neutrality matters to public education. Ed Surge. Retrieved from https://www.edsurge.com/news/2014-04-29-why-net-neutrality-matters-to-education
For my intermediate schoolers, I feel like the key takeaway regarding digital citizenship is that they are now leaving a digital footprint with every post, share, like, comment, email, Google search...you name it! These young people now have a digital record of their lives, and for most of them, it starts the day they are born. Moms and dads begin sharing a photo (or ten) almost every day for the duration of their baby’s childhood and adolescence. Temper tantrums, potty training moments, kindergarten graduation, and prom photos will follow these young people for the rest of their lives. With this digital culture comes the blending of citizenship and digital citizenship. In areas of the world where technology and social media are the norm, I feel safe saying that the two types of citizenship have become one in the same.
These things are mostly harmless, but with the desensitization that comes with constantly posting on line has created a culture of oversharing without the thought of consequence. For my students, I think this idea is the most important in terms of the elements of digital citizenship. They are so used to their lives being shared every single day, that they do not realize how it may be used against them some day or even how much it could damage the well being of another human. For the young people that I am currently educating, the key elements of digital citizenship that are the most important would be: digital etiquette, digital literacy, and digital access. Digital etiquette encourages students to be respectful. It’s like the golden rule, and I think we all can agree when we say that 7th graders could use more of that. Within today’s global society, digital literacy is an absolute necessity.. My students will need to possess the skills and mindsets that will allow them to create and communicate effectively via technology. Finally, digital access is fundamental. With the proper access to technology, any person can receive an education, from any place with a device and an internet connection.
I would use the resources below to begin introducing the concept of digital citizenship to my students.
Graduate Certificate in Blended/Personalized Learning from Texas Tech
The Graduate Certificate in Blended/Personalized Learning is designed to give practitioners hands-on knowledge around the following topics: 1) BL/PL Foundations; 2) Data Literacy and Data-Driven Instruction; 3) Fostering Student Agency; 4) Creating Community Connections and Collaborations; 5) Creating Multiple Pathways to Mastery; and 6) Promoting Competency-based learning. Graduates of this competency-based program will have significant experience in teaching in BL/PL contexts; using BL/PL pedagogical strategies; peer-coaching; and critically using technology to enable better BL/PL learning and teaching.
Summit Learning -Personalized Learning Program
The Summit Learning Program is a FREE service for public, charter, and private schools that is provided by a non-profit organization that started in the Bay Area in California. This program provides participating organizations with a personalized learning platform, high-quality content, and ongoing support and professional development for teachers and school/district leaders. This program is centered around three pillars: 1 to 1 mentoring, real-world projects, and individual pathways; these pillars produce four student outcomes: content knowledge, cognitive skills, habits of success, and a sense of purpose.
USCRossierOnlinne PhD in Organizational Change and Leadership
This Doctor of Education is meant for leaders who are looking to drive systemic, innovative change within their organizations. It is composed of a mix of blended online and real-world experiences. This degree will provide participants tools they will need in order to facilitate effective change efforts in any organization.
Although I do believe that any course can be redesigned and even enhanced through technology, there are a few courses that immediately pop into my head as I reflect on this question. I have described the two that would be the easiest to convert below.
For the course I am developing, my learners will be 7th grade students who are entering a personalized learning program for the first time. Through investigation and data analysis, my grade level team is discovering some disturbing trends regarding students’ abilities to function in a self directed learning environment as they are lacking study skills/habits of success and many possess severe gaps in learning. My teaching style puts the kiddo at the center of their learning, and I serve as a facilitator and guide them using cognitive coaching strategies in order to maximize the development of critical thinking skills. I have been teaching in a personalized learning environment using an online platform for two years now, and this is the first year that I will be not instructing a core area subject. My new role is geared towards teaching students how to be a self-directed learner, conducting partial group workshops to fill gaps in knowledge, and serve as an instructional coach to my team. The focus of the course I will be developing for 5318 will be a five week onboarding experience that encompasses: growth mindset, digital literacy skills, intro to the self-directed learning cycle/goal setting, note-taking skills, and finally the development of an ePortfolio that we will continue to utilize throughout the course. In order to ensure a significant learning environment, I must be sure to include the following pedagogies: foster collaborative discussion, incorporate very clear instructions and expectations, provide timely and goal oriented feedback, promote student ownership of all tasks and assessments, ensure that content is accessible to diverse learners, provide individualized support that is grounded in data.
When I think about it, teaching adults and children isn’t that different. Keeping this idea in mind, I plan on incorporating ideas from the five key principles of effective PD into my course design.
Standards for Professional Learning (2011). Retrieved from https://learningforward.org/standards