The creator of this video brings up some really great points. How are we supposed to get our students ready for the future, if we still teach them the same way as 150 years ago? How can we transform education, when our system limits creativity in classes that are tested?
A while back, and I mean a while back, I started to blog about how people could incorporate the different phases of Explore, Flip, Apply to their classrooms. Well, I have finally had enough time to get to work on the Apply phase.
The Apply phase to me is about having the students show you what they learned. I am not big on tests, but I am big on students showing their understanding. Here are some examples:
In an English class, the best way to Apply what students have learned is for them to write in a public forum where they could get feedback. I feel that we shelter our students to much sometimes and that we need to have them connect with others and get peer feedback that is not from a classmate or teacher. Kidblog is a great blogging platform that is safe enough, yet you can connect your classes with others easily.
In a Social Studies Class, it depends on what area you are covering. In my class, I teach World History, and one of the areas we discuss are leaders in Ancient China. So, my students take on the persona of one of these famous emperors and they have a discussion based on what that individual would have said over topics the students have chosen to discuss.
In a Science classroom, you could have students recreate experiments and video blog discussing what is happening and describing the process.
In math class, have the students create new math problems or if you are working with fractions, have them bake or make something in school to have everyone share.
The Apply Phase is about students demonstrating what they learned during the Explore and Flip phase. Don't let it be a test. Make it more a more authentic experience from them!
This is Jacob. Jacob is a very bright young man. Jacob was not happy with what school was giving him, so he went out and started learning what he wanted to learn. In this powerful TEDxTeen talk, Jacob talks about how we need to do more learning-thinking-creating in our classrooms to get more students engaged about what we are teaching. Please enjoy.
As I was pursuing the App store, I found a great new app from Getty Images. If you don't know Getty Images, they are the people behind some of the best photos taken in history. As I teach social studies, I am always on the look out for great images to spark inquiry and conversation in my classroom. By starting with an image like this one, you can have your students engage in conversations about what is going on in this photo. What might they be talking about? So many questions that you and your students could come up with to start your discussion. I suggest you look through their online bank.
As I continue to push my understanding of new teaching pedagogies and trying to incorporate best practices, I am changing the name of this website to reflect what is new in my thinking and practices.
As I tell my students and fellow faculty members, "if we want our students to be life long learners, then we need to model the same behavior."
I hope you enjoy the new posts that will be coming forth.
Last week, my Ted-Ed Club we were talking about what makes an idea great and worth sharing. While they had came up with an idea that they were passionate about, they were struggling with what made ideas great. So, I had them search ed.ted.com for two videos on their topics. One of my students was looking for a talk on education and came across this jewel. In it, Simon Sinek describes what makes a good leader and there are great references in the talk that can be translated to the classroom and school environment.
I hope you can find the meaning in this that I have and start to help students understand what makes a great leader and why people follow them. Enjoy!
As the school is set to begin for me in three weeks, I keep finding myself toying with what I am going to do different this year. I think sometimes teachers get so used to teaching what they have always taught the same way because it is safe for them. They know it’s going to work. I on the other hand, have a different philosophy. At the end of each learning cycle, I have my students evaluate the cycle as well as myself. This serves two purposes. One, it get students into the practice of reflection, which we all know is a valuable skill our students need to have, and secondly, I continue to practice to self-reflect. The area that was lacking in most of my learning cycles from both my students point of view and my point of view is inquiry. While I speak and use inquiry in my lessons on a daily basis, I feel that my students and I can do a better job when it comes to this area. I need to find more engaging images, videos, and sources to hook my students at the beginning of an inquiry cycle, and my students need to know how to ask better questions.
Last year at ISTE in San Antonio, I met a group from The Inquiry Process. It is a website based out of Canada that has great resources on how to implement the Inquiry Process into your classroom. Also, part of better inquiry, are better questions. For teachers its important to ask questions that students can’t simply Google to find the answers. The group at notosh have a great resource about this too.
So my challenge is to make inquiry the number one priority in my classroom this year. What is your top priority?
Recently I was at the first ever EdTechTeacher Summit in Chicago where Will Richardson was the Keynote speaker on Tuesday. (If you would like to see what he is all about, I suggest you watch his three TedX talks here, here, and here) He spoke to us about how he was an unhappy public school dad. He brought up many great points, but he mainly spoke about the differences between Traditional Learning vs. Modern Learning. One of the main points that stuck with me the most is when he showed a picture of giant library filled with information. Back in the day, thats where people went to get information, students relied on teachers to tell them the information they didn’t know, to “teach them.” Now, students have laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, etc that hold all that information and is accessible any time, any place. Before, students went to school because they needed to know content, needed to learn knowledge, and wanted information. Do our schools still need to focus on these concepts? As stated above, if a student needs to know how to solve an Algebraic equations, they can just look it up on Wolfram Alpha now. So, do they NEED to come to school to get content, knowledge, and information or should school be something more?
A while back at a Google Apps for Education Summit in Lincoln, NE, I heard my friend Jeff Utecht deliver a great closing Keynote. He asked the audience, why do we meet? What are the purposes of schools today? This goes along with Will Richardson’s message, and many of the modern Keynote speakers today. Schools should be places where the focus is not on content, knowledge, and information, but more on concepts like creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, connections, and curiosity. Think about why you hang out with your friends or colleagues? Is it gain more content or is it collaborate and communicate? Our schools need to be inquiry based, authentic learning places that are transparent and meet the needs of modern learners, not those of a century ago. That is what I strive to do.
One challenge social studies and history teachers face today is making content relevant for our students. With so much information online, it is important that students are able to make connections. As I have said before, the best way for this to happen in my content area would be physical field trips, actually going to the places where events took place. However, in this day and age, that is not possible. You can do virtual field trips, which is a great alternative, but sometimes, I feel that they don’t have the WOW factor.
So, instead of virtual field trips I try to create as many hands-on experiences as I can. One that has worked really well for me is an activity that a student suggested when we were learning about Hunters and Gatherers.
After teaching Ancient Civilizations for five years, I changed up what I was doing. Instead I was teaching more on a regional basis than a chronological time frame. With all that was happening in Europe between the Ukraine and Russia, I wanted my students to have an understanding of this. So was we worked along with the textbook as a guide we covered early European History up through the EU in the first half of the year. Then we changed our focus onto Asia. Instead of starting with the history of the Middle East, we started in East Asia (China, Japan, Taiwan, North and South Korea) because of all the political turmoil going on in the Koreas. As the year got closer to finishing, my students were missing a crucial element in history, Hunters and Gatherers. So to end the year, I found some great resources from the Big History Project that I used in my classroom. However, I got the feeling my students weren't just quiet getting it. I stared the unit my typical way with an inquiry event first (showed a clip of the early life style), then used videos and resources from Big History to help my students learn more about this. However, I was missing the hands-on piece. So luckily our school is on 35 acres of wooded land. As I noticed some of them were not just quite understanding the concept and how hard this life was, one of my students asked if we could go outside and experience the challenges. So we did. We went out to a wooded section of the woods where they usually play capture the flag to keep them more contained in their hunting. The students had 15 minutes to gather up what ever they could find that was edible. Of course the boys tried to make tools and kill squirrels (which I told them at the beginning they could not, but they still tried to convince me) and the girls went right foraging for food. Some worked together in groups, others went on their own, and when time was up, we went inside to see what we had.
Students brought in mushrooms, leaves, grasses, wild onions and carrots, one student even found a frog! Then each group went around to see what everyone else had found. Then we discussed what life would be like for the earliest humans. The light bulbs started going off like crazy in their minds. You could see the connections being made. It was a great day of learning for everyone.
I also realize that not everyone has access to the outdoors like I do. So this got me thinking, how might someone else be able to accomplish a similar activity. I thought you could either create a scavenger hunt around your school and place certain items around the campus or if you are good with Augmented Reality, you could infuse this into the activity to make it more like a game. For instances, if a student found corn and they use AR to read the picture, have it say a little story about corn and they have to keep track of how many days worth of food that item could supply.
I am also wondering if this activity should be during the Explore phase or the Apply phase. What are your thoughts?
In today's educational landscape there are many teaching strategies out there. However this is not a teaching strategy, it is a is a framework for improving student achievement by structuring learning in a way that allows students to create meaningful connections. This is known by Understanding by Design (UbD) or backward design. Developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, the basis of UbD is that the teacher creates units by first designing the end of the unit or the assessment part. From here, the teacher designs the rest of lessons based on what the intended outcome is supposed to be. This is different from what most teachers do in which you design lessons first, then assess based on what you covered. It has made my assessments better as I am able to plan out my lessons better since I know what to expect at the end. I know I have not done this topic justice, so I have included four videos for you watch. The first video is by the developer Jay McTighe. Here he explains UbD. The following two are from a workshop that Grant Wiggins facilitated at the Avenues School in New York.
George Phillip is a social studies teacher and designer.
Ramsey Musallam - www.cyclesoflearning.com
Karl Lindgren-Streicher -
Josh Stumpenhorst -
Jason Bretzmann -
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