Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Staff Development Day

Yesterday was our district's staff development day.  Several school from around the area attended and several area teachers (and I'm proud to say many from ISD 564) presented.

I was fortunate enough to offer two classes.

The first was on using cell phones in the classroom.  This one was well attended, I had around 18 sign up and a few more than, including our superintendent, dropped in for it.

The class was likely, especially Mark Lee, whose daughter was in College Comp I last quarter and will be in College Comp II this quarter, who sat up front and modeled active learning perfectly.  I wish I could have taken a wood working class from him.

Here is a Slideshare version of my presentation.

Cell phones for sd(most current) copy from Kurt Reynolds

My second session was on 20 apps / sites I Can't Teach Without.  I couldn't believe the numbers signed up over this class.  I think it ended up being over 40 people.  Wow.

Simply because of the size, this one wasn't as engaging as my fist class.  But it was great to see a former student, Alex C, who is now a teacher himself (sixth grade over in RLCC) in the audience.  It wasn't that long ago that he was in my 10th grade comp class and then taking British Lit as a senior.  I miss that kid.  But I'm proud that he's teaching.

Here is a Youtube version of my presentation.

My final class was taught by Mary Mehsikomer from TIES.  It was titled 21st Century Skills - What are they and how do we teach them?

If you know me at all, or read this blog at all, you know this class is what I'm all about.

Here is a link to the information she shared.

When we discussed what are 21st century skills I noted the 4C's - Critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity.

I don't hit those things nearly enough in all of my class.  But where I think I hit those the best is in the last semester of my College Comp II course.

That is where we jig-saw Stephen Johnson's Where Good Ideas Come From and students work in groups with a faculty member or administrator to develop a lesson based on their chapter.  Then they must teach that lesson to the class.

Students exhibit critical thinking skills by dealing with a difficult, college level text.  They have to determine the chapter's main idea, connect it to the other chapters that have been previously presented, connect it to the real world, and learn to check if their audience is understanding it.

Students must collaborate not only with each member in the group, but the faculty member or administrator.  They must also collaborate with the class and react to how well the lesson plan is going (or how well it isn't going over with the class).

Students must communicate.  They have to set up times to meet with their faculty member or administrator.  Also, they must communicate their ideas and assignments to the class.

Finally, and this is where I'm proud to say the students were top notch, they created wonderfully creative assignments to model the main ideas in their chapters.  Just check out some of the pictures from my College Comp 2 class in a previous post for proof.

All in all, it was a great day.  Now bring on the kids!

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