EOY 2016-2017

With the final days of the school year rapidly approaching, we wanted to send out one last Instruction Site Post before you leave for the summer. Below are some links that relate to the end of an academic year. Some may remind you of why you are in education, some may be inspiring, others are silly, and still others might be helpful as you look forward to next year. Check them out!

TED talks: Talks from Inspiring Teachers

Get the Most Out of Summer by Vicki Davis: Edutopia

21 EOY Memes for Teachers: We Are Teachers

EOY Reflection questions: Minds in Bloom

Visit past Instruction Site posts: Instruction Site

Thank you for all you do for students in Bethel. Amazing things happen here and it’s because of the commitment by teachers, school leaders, and staff to ensure that we reach, teach, and inspire each student to excellence.

We appreciate you!

And, remember…

“They may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel.” — Carol Buchner

When Students Know More Than the Teacher

For the last 30 years the model of teacher as “sage on the stage” has gradually been evolving to teacher as “guide on the side.” Part of this change has been the exponential growth of knowledge needed to “know everything,” but the stronger influence has been a shift to individualized or personal learning. No longer can teachers be expected to know everything nor do they need to know everything in a world focusing more and more on the uniqueness of each learner and on the skills needed to learn.

This fear of not knowing enough or of students knowing more than we do is most apparent when using instructional technology. Personal devices, millions of apps, new operating systems and the invasion of social media into the educational process makes it hard, if not impossible, to keep up with what’s new. Jumping into the technology swimming pool might feel daunting.

So what can we do? Continue reading

Systems Thinking

As the current school year draws to a close we find ourselves already thinking and planning for the next one.  We are beginning to put together schedules, look at hiring new staff, and prioritize which strategies and practices we will need to implement.  Whether you are planning for leading a building, teaching a classroom, or working with a particular group of students, you might want to consider something referred to as “systems thinking.”

Systems thinking is not a skill that you can pick up in a day, but rather becomes a frame of mind.  Educators can apply systems thinking to the design of their organizational structures and they can also teach students to process ideas using this mindset.  Educator and author, Linda Booth Sweeney offers us 12 Habits of Mind which will enrich our capacity for thinking systematically and for teaching others the critical tools to do the same. For additional tools regarding systems thinking for you and your students; check out her website at http://www.lindaboothsweeney.net/.

12 Habits of Mind

  • Sees the Whole:  sees the world in terms of interrelated “wholes” or systems, rather than as single events, or snapshots;
  • Looks for Connections:  assumes that nothing stands in isolation; and so tends to look for connections among nature, ourselves, people, problems, and events;
  • Pays Attention to Boundaries:  “goes wide” (uses peripheral vision) to check the boundaries drawn around problems, knowing that systems are nested and how you define the system is critical to what you consider and don’t consider;
  • Changes Perspective: changes perspective to increase understanding, knowing that what we see depends on where we are in the system;
  • Looks for Stocks; knows that hidden accumulations (of knowledge, carbon dioxide, debt, and so on) can create delays and inertia;
  • Challenges Mental Models:  challenges one’s own assumptions about how the world works (our mental models) – and looks for how they may limit thinking;
  • Anticipates Unintended Consequences:  anticipates unintended consequences by tracing loops of cause and effect and always asking “what happens next?”;
  • Looks for Change over Time:  sees today’s events as a result of past trends and a harbinger of future ones;
  • Sees Self as Part of the System;  looks for influences from within the system, focusing less on blame and more on how the structure (or set of interrelationships) may be influencing behavior;
  • Embraces Ambiguity: holds the tension of paradox and ambiguity, without trying to resolve it quickly;
  • Finds Leverage: knows that solutions may be far away from problems and looks for areas of leverage, where a small change can have a large impact on the whole system;
  • Watches for Win/Lose Attitudes: is wary of “win/lose” mindsets, knowing they usually make matters worse in situations of high interdependence.

 

Building Number Sense in K-12 Math

Many people define number sense as being fluid and flexible in your thinking about numbers.  At some levels, this might mean composing and decomposing numbers into parts, be it whole numbers, rational numbers, equations, and more.  At other levels, it might mean comparing different qualities of numbers, expressions, equations, graphs, etc.  Using Imposter Sets is a strategy that will get your students talking about numbers.  Once you use this strategy, you might never want to stop!

How it works:  An imposter set is a set of 4 mathematical objects (numbers, shapes, graphs, models, etc.).  Students analyze the sets and determine “which one doesn’t belong”, or which one is the imposter!  Your job as the teacher is to allow them time to think, time to notice, and time to hear what others are noticing.  Imposter sets are open ended and have many possible answers.

Steps to implement using an Imposter Set:

  • Find or make an imposter set.  Go to wodb.ca to copy and paste ideas.  
  • Show the imposter set to your class:
    • Give the students think time (30 seconds or so)
    • Remind students that there is not one correct answer; there are many possible answers.  The fun is in defending your answer!
    • Let the students share what they see with their seat partner.
      • Provide the sentence frame: “ _____ is the imposter because ________.”

Facilitate a whole group share out making sure that students defend why they chose the imposter they did.

Sample Imposter Sets at K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12

        K-2                                                    3-5                                         6-8                                      9-12

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to watch a five minute video on how to implement imposter sets.

For more engaging ideas on number sense check out Steve Wyborney’s blog.

For a chance to win a $5 Starbucks gift card this week, please leave a comment about this post.  The winning name will be drawn next Thursday at noon.

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