Candace Marcotte

One educator, determined to create an engaging and dynamic experience for learners of all ages.


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Creativity and Choice in Assessment

Looking to provide more choice in how students demonstrate their understanding?  Check out these Multiple Intelligence choice boards that provide you and your students with creative ways to show what they know!  These choice boards were developed for K-8 teachers and were a part of a professional development on creativity.  If you open the slides, you’ll find that grade levels for each board (or really, wheel!) are mentioned in the presenter notes section.


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Running an Edcamp Style PD!

Teachers in our district have the option of attending a district Institute Day (PD Day) over the summer or during the school year.  I was asked to lead a session with my fellow Technology Facilitator and our middle school Instructional Coach. We wanted to spice things up and provide an authentic learning environment for our teachers, so we decided to implement an Edcamp style PD.  We utilized the first half of the day for our Edcamp and during the second half of the day, teachers worked with in their PLCs to put their new knowledge into action and develop plans and assessments for the year.  We had about 70 middle school teachers participate in our day of learning and all content areas were included.

If you don’t know about the Edcamp craze, check it out here.  We started the day with a bit of a keynote that the three of us prepared, which reviewed TPACK and SAMR.  After a brief discussion, we prompted our staff to participate in a Quickfire Challenge to demonstrate their understanding of the framework and model.  Quickfire Challenges are a concept which can be attributed to Dr. Leigh Graves Wolf of Michigan State University (see her post here about them).  Having been a student in the Master of Arts in Educational Technology program at MSU, I have lived through so many Quickfires and love how they sparked my interest and brought energy to learning (I even used them with students when I was a classroom teacher!).  Below you’ll see the guidelines for our Quickfire and if you click on the image, it will take you to the Thinglink with live links.Quickfire Challenge

Teachers then had to share their creation on a Schoology discussion board.  Note that they were only given 10 minutes to complete this task.  Here are three examples of what they created and shared.  When you take a step back to think about it, it’s actually pretty cool.  We gave them NO instruction on how to do any of this, from the technology they picked to uploading to a Schoology discussion board.  They had to play with it and they were immersed in creation with a looming deadline.  Was it stressful?  Yes.  Was it meaningful? Yes.  Did they enjoy it?  After it was done :).  We had everything from videos to Haikus.  They also got to see how allowing for choice with a choice board was simple and meaningful to the learner, because they experienced it as their students would.

TPACK Meme

SAMR Popplet

SAMR Meme

After this recap, we then discussed how Edcamps work and how you “vote with your feet”.  We then asked the teachers what they wanted to learn that day.  Now, we did do some pre-planning when it came to this and planted some seeds because we weren’t sure what teachers would do in the face of being given total choice.  We knew we wanted to have at least 6 sessions going at one time.  We thought of 3 sessions which we knew teachers would be looking for and created a “Playlist” of resources that they could explore as a part of their breakout discussion for a bit of scaffolding into the open world of Edcamps.  We also planted some seeds in terms of talking to a few teachers ahead of time and asking them to share their learning interests if the crowd got quiet- luckily we did that because teachers were at a loss initially when posed with the challenge of getting to voice what they wanted to learn.  Once a few of our seeds spoke up, it got the ball rolling and we were able to find teacher facilitators for each session.  We purposefully did not facilitate any sessions. While breakouts were occurring, we rotated through rooms to offer conversation or answer any questions of difficulty.  We made sure to have an “App Playground” during all breakout sessions to assist teachers who simply needed to focus the day on growing their technological knowledge in terms of the functions of the iPads and apps.

Session 2 Session 1

When we returned from the breakout sessions, we had a “Show what you know SLAM”, which is a derivative of an App Slam or Demo Slam that you see at Edcamps.  We asked teachers to share something that they learned in a breakout session, which prompted lots of “Ooohhs and Ahhhhs” from the audience.  Of course, each teacher only had 1 minute to share what they learned, so it was a rapid fire race to talk about their big takeaways.

Show What you Know SLAM

Overall, we had a lot of great feedback about the day.  What would we change?  We would notify all staff to come with ideas for conversation topics that they were interested in.  I believe that if we do this again, now that all of our teachers will have 1:1 experience under their belts, the conversations will spark more readily and their comfort with guiding their own learning will also increase now that they have exposure to this style of PD.


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How did we get our Teachers to Start Talking Nerdy?

Collage from our speedgeeking event

All geared up with our new League of EdTechies badges, combining our creative super powers, we were able to develop a dynamic and fun professional development that engaged our peers and allowed for teacher leadership.  A colleague of mine mentioned the idea of “Speed Geeking” last year and we finally had a chance to employ it when February came upon us and love was in the air!  Let’s first share the results of how this opportunity lead to igniting some sparks…

The best thing happened directly after this PD.  I was in a breakout session room cleaning up and a teacher who is more cautious with exploring new technologies came up to me and said, “I’m going to go home and play now!”  Best. Thing. Ever.  Continuing that, I received about ten emails from non 1:1 staff that evening sharing ideas and excitement.  When I walked into school the next morning, there was a huddle of five teachers discussing the PD and their ideas from it near the office.  Exploration and collaboration were occurring!  There was energy!  I then collaborated with a teacher on how she could do this with her students and we brought Speed Geeking into the classroom to explore note taking strategies when researching.

Below is the main presentation we utilized for our professional development and an overview of how it all came to be.  We had some goals which of course drove the decisions we made:

1.  Continue our discussion of TPACK and apply it to a lesson design that was coming up in the next trimester

2.  Model meaningful technology integration

3.  Allow for play and creation

4.  Make it applicable!

We are fortunate enough to have support from our awesome administration, so we were able to use 1.5 hours of our 2 hour monthly staff meeting.  Here’s the breakdown of how The League of EdTechies provided this professional development for our 75+ member staff:

Preparation:

The League of EdTechies voted on some of the core apps that they felt would be important to all staff moving forward with our 1:1.  We selected apps that had a range of complexity so that everyone would have an option to learn something at their level.  We selected 6 apps and paired 2 League members per app.  They created samples of how each app could be used in the classroom.  Naturally, they created artifacts geared towards instruction and assessment- they did a phenomenal job!  We emailed all staff members about a week before the staff meeting and reminded them to download Notability if they had not done so previously.  This was a HUGE key to the flow of our PD because we could jump right into application and did not have to go through the hoops of downloading during the PD.  We also had them bring a learning target that they would be focusing on next semester so that we could keep a strong focus on context and application during our PD.

Delivery:

  1. We started by getting everyone into our Schoology staff course where we house all of our staff meeting notes and taught them how to download a PDF and import it into Notability.  This ties in with our idea of embedded PD- we didn’t give them much direction on how to use it other than about a 2 minute tutorial of the basics they needed to know to work with the document for this experience.
  2. We then went right into Speed Geeking by giving a short, one minute intro into what they needed to do as participants.
  3. The League Members were split up in somewhat of buffet style tables, we had 2 tables per app and split The League presenters up so that we could keep our groups small.  We gave them 2 minutes to present their app to each small group.
  4. To keep the energy high, we played music when the two minutes were up.  Of course we had to include classic mood-setters in our playlist like some of Marvin Gaye’s greatest hits!
  5. We had the presenters rotate and kept the rest of the teachers seated for ease of transition.
  6. When the rotations were complete, we regrouped and began our discussion of TPACK and repurposing technologies for educational purposes.
  7. Teachers had to then apply their knowledge to the learning target that they brought with them.
  8. After applying their knowledge of TPACK, we had them select a breakout session to further explore the technology that peaked their curiosity during Speed Geeking.  (We used Socrative to embed formative assessment technologies into the PD also)
  9. The goal of the breakout session was to create an artifact that the teachers could use in the next semester (keep in mind, the majority of teachers only had 1 iPad in their classroom this year). We limited the amount of tutorial we gave teachers in the breakout sessions, pointed them to resources to help support their technical understanding, and encouraged them to explore and play with the technology. Very similar to the feel of a PLAYDATE.
  10. At the end of the PD, teachers completed an exit slip in Schoology and were awarded a digital badge signifying their reflection and participation in exploration of one of the certain apps.

 

Presentation:

 

Participant Notes:


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SAMR Brainstorming Guide

Here’s a “SAMR Brainstorming Guide” that I created for the teachers in our district to provide more guidance on how to swim in the different levels of The SAMR Model.  This guide was provided in conjunction with professional development.  For more information on The SAMR Model, visit http://www.hippasus.com/rrpweblog/.

Click here to make an editable copy of the Google Doc for your planning purposes. 

Creative Commons License SAMR Brainstorming Guide by Candace Marcotte is licensed under a

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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Embedded Professional Development

We started the year with a clear goal in mind: our professional development (PD) revolving around technology would not be in isolation, it would be embedded and would serve as a modeling opportunity for teachers to see what meaningful technology integration looks like. We shifted away from standard technology training by carefully placing these pieces within applicable PDs that teachers already had to focus on as a part of our district’s strategic plan (curriculum, instruction, and assessment).  While we did have district professional development days where we were able to embed technology integration practices into topics like formative assessment, our easiest and most-frequent vehicle for embedded PD came from taking advantage of opportunities like our staff meetings.

Example Schoology Staff Meeting FoldersBefore our pilot year started, we were able to easily identify that Schoology and Notability would be two huge pieces of our year. We knew that we needed to increase the competency and understanding teachers had with these two programs before full 1:1implementation the following year.  So, how did we do this without having to hold half-day PDs on how to use the technology?  A few months into the school year, we had our entire building join a Schoology course that held all of the items from our staff meetings (files, links, etc.).  We had the teachers take pre assessments and post assessments in Schoology if there was professional development delivered in our staff meeting that day (ex., creating valid assessments).  The files, which were posted in Schoology, we then had teachers import into Notability and use their iPads for note taking just as the students would.  Here’s the cool thing about that:

  • We were modeling the workflow process without ever having to explain it.
  • Authentic learning was taking place because the focus was not on the technology, but was instead on the purpose and experience

I remember that when we had our first really paperless meeting(which I brought some paper copies to, in order to model printing out a few for students who like to have paper copies), we had no teachers ask for it.  Keep in mind that we have about 75 certified teachers and additional support staff (social workers,admin, etc.), which brings our staff meetings to about 85-90 people, all at varying levels of tech skills. Not. ONE. Asked. For. Paper.  They were willing to take a risk after being given only a 2 minute overview on how to take notes inNotability.  Why were they willing to take this risk?

  • They immediately applied everything we showed them in that quick 2 minute intro. (We didn’t front-end-load them with all of the “Wows” of the application or give them 20 steps to remember at a later time, plus examples, etc.)
  • We only told them what they needed for that moment (writing tools, zoom in to draw, create a text box, add a page, scroll, and erase).  They weren’t given a laundry list of things that they didn’t have a chance to apply, so they didn’t immediately feel like they would never be able to understand the tool.
  • We did turn up their anxiety a bit by having them use it right in that moment without any preparation.  We made some of them uncomfortable, but did not push them too far.  They did not have the time to choose to shut down because they had to authentically apply it right in that moment.
  • We planted 1 teacher at each table that had experience with the applications.
  • We encouraged play, exploration, and sharing at the tables.  If you learn a cool trick, share it!  We wanted collaborative learning.
  • Collaboration made it fun!

Staff PD Example Schoology Exit SlipWe continued to use Schoology to house staff meeting materials and encouraged Notability for recording information on those electronic documents throughout the year. Casually, we would insert new features of the programs (a discussion in Schoology one month, adding sticky notes into Notability for a jigsaw activity the next, etc.).  Now that we had established this culture of play, exploration, and sharing, we were able to run these integration opportunities without any tutorial whatsoever.

As the year went on, we began to integrate other applications.  Need to take a vote on the dress code at the staff meeting?  Use Socrative.  Having teachers read an article on the web about CCSS? Use Subtext and let them share their takeaways and questions as they read.  Want to get staff to a web resource?  Create a QR code and have them scan it. Slowly, our teachers were being exposed to the power of the tools that all of their students would have the following year.

Continuing the momentum, we introduced “App Attacks” at one of our last staff meetings. Because we were modeling so much, we wanted to make sure the connection to classroom application was concrete and was also inspiring idea generation.  The term “App Attack” came from a teacher who was involved in the brainstorming of this idea.  We had explained what “App Slams” and “Demo Slams” were, but were looking for a more expansive view so that we could include websites, apps, etc. and we wanted it to not be about the tool, but to be a mass brainstorming activity where the teachers shouted out what they could do with the tool.  We wanted to use our collective powers to attack the tool and determine how many classroom applications we could generate…in 1 minute!  So was born, the “App Attack”.  After all of the staff members completed a Google Form with an image inserted in it about hallway expectations, we had a 30 second explanation of what this new “App Attack” was.  Then, the timer was set, and the staff members began to shout ideas out.  In one minute, we collected 16 classroom applications for using a Google Form with an image and we had more people who wanted to share, but the timer went off.  Why was this strategy successful?

  • The focus was on what they are already experts in:  their content and their classrooms.
  • It was unexpected.  (Who gets to randomly yell out at staff meetings…or in life?)
  • It created energy.
  • It created a bit of good anxiety because staff wanted to get their ideas in before the time was up.
  • It was an activity that focused on the collective knowledge of everyone in the room.  One idea would spark another, and so on.
  • It was fun!

Using the above-mentioned strategies for embedding PD into pre-existing meetings and professional development allowed us to create teacher buy in.  We didn’t have to sell the value of what we were talking about because we created the value from the experience.  We were showing, not telling and it had an impact.


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Summer Reflections…in the Fall

Every teacher knows that summer really doesn’t mean that things slow down when it comes to brainstorming, learning, gathering ideas for lessons, and professional growth.  Before we know it, the school year has started and we’re getting to know new staff, students, and setting goals for ourselves for the new year.  This summer has been one of those summers that has flown by for me due to awesome professional development opportunities, weddings, and prepping for the middle school entering the 1:1 iPad pilot (our district is now 1:1, first through fifth grade).  I’m happy to report that the iPads have been deployed, MAP testing is over for the fall, and I’m now having time to reflect on what a whirlwind it has been!  So, here come a few posts that I’ve been brainstorming all the while.

This summer, I had the opportunity to participate in the Summer Institute in Digital Literacy at the University of Rhode Island.  I was in the company of technology educators, advocates, classroom teachers, library specialists, higher education instructors and professors, and journalists.  Our goal was to dig into what digital literacy is and how we can support our students in becoming more literate.  Hearing from others in different areas of the field of education and from the media field helped me to see that “text” can be anything.  We read images, billboards, search results, videos, infographics, printed literature, app settings, etc. While the process in which we read, interpret, and analyze those different forms of text may be slightly different, we are still pulling meaning from and comprehending each of them.  This seems like such a basic idea, but it was one of the first times that I really had actual time to process this.

While at the institute, I had the opportunity to present a session with a Michigan State colleague, Bill Marsland.  Resources from our presentation, “Catch You On the Flip Side: How Educators can Explore Digital Literacy Through Flipped Professional Development” can be found here.

Another twist on the conference was that we all participated in an inquiry based action project.  My partner, Jeremy Hyler, and I took the time to explore grammar education in the 21st century.  How could we take grammar practice and make it more motivating and meaningful for our students?  This exploration is one that I have researched before with my MAET coursework.  Grammar instruction is typically static, rote practice.  Yes, we put a rubric with graded assignments that focuses on the application of these concepts and rules, but is the connection really there for students?  Jeremy and I determined a structure that would allow for an inquiry approach to grammar instruction utilizing blended learning.  This approach calls for student ownership and allows students to analyze how text is compared across mediums.

Strategy:

Grammar Smackdown Cover

Step 1.  Students view a “teaser” video that has an example of a grammar concept/rule in it and some examples and non examples of the concept/rule which can be found in current text they are reading.

Step 2:  Students are given resources to access to try and figure out what the concept/rule is.

Step 3:  Students update their grammar portfolio, or what we referred to as their “Grammar Smackdown”, which has been created in Google Presentations.  Here, they must determine how this concept/rule looks in different mediums.  Also, they will utilize the speaker notes within Google Presentations to cite their sources and to put the ideas into their own words (seen below).

Student Grammar Example

By going through this process, it challenges students to think about the differences between formal and informal communication.  It reinforces the idea of how images can represent an idea, how we should be responsible digital citizens and cite our sources, and how we communicate with different audiences.   They first take the concept/rule and input an example into the template for the research paper, they can see what is appropriate in academic writing.  By taking that same concept/rule and plugging it into the template to fake Tweet, Facebook post, Instagram post, text message, and email, they are then able to see patterns and differences that arise when writing in these different contexts.  It allows them to see what language looks like in the 21st century, across platforms.  Hopefully, inspiring them to write for the correct audience and purpose in future circumstances!

Conventions of Standard English

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Knowledge of Language

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

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Summer Reflections…in the Fall by Candace Marcotte is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


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iPad 201

As our district is implementing a 1:1 resource allocation for iPads next year, it has been so exciting to work with staff members and prepare them for the upcoming adventure! Some of our teachers have had access to iPads by being involved in the pilot and/or seed program. Knowing that we have staff members who have never used an iPad, to teachers who now almost solely use their iPads allows for a big span in the learning curve. So, in trying to plan professional development for all of the district staff…how could we make sure to meet their individual needs?

To insure that everyone is prepared for next year and that everyone continues to grow, we developed two main courses for staff members to participate in this summer. In addition, the district technology facilitators worked to create a “Summer Bucket List” and start-up guide to encourage exploration and use of the device in technical and FUN ways! I had the privilege to develop “iPad 201” which focuses on the educational frameworks for implementing technology integration. As we work to transform the mindset of what technology integration truly means, we wanted to model innovative integration while supporting instruction and the Common Core State Standards .  Our goal was to make the content highly accessible and highly relavant to their needs.  I considered these questions during planning:

  • What do all teachers already do?
  • What affordances can technology provide in completing these tasks/processes?
  • How can we support district initiatives to make the transition seamless?
  • How can we differentiate within the course?
  • How can we encourage exploration and play in the course?

The content covered and the way in which it was delivered in this course was all done for specific reasons.  Here is reflection on some of the choices you will notice:

  • Course Content:  The scope and sequence of this course was first developed to provide a mindset and lens for viewing technology integration.  After having an understanding of TPACK and SAMR, we can then look at our standards through a different lens to see how we can employ technology purposefully to meet the needs of our students.
  • Inclusion of CCSS shifts and best practices: To make this meaningful PD that was truly integrated, we wanted to create a connection to practices that educators are already familiar with.  Highlighting best practices (formative assessment, classroom management, differentiation, etc.) allowed us to make this connection to how we can utilize technology to assist in processes that we are already familiar with.  In terms of the CCSS shifts, our district is adopting the CCSS as our curriculum in the upcoming school year.  To allow our teachers to see the affordance of technology to addressing these shifts, this was included.
  • Use of Google Presentations for content delivery: models meaningful repurposing of technology, as it mimics an interactive ebook feel but does not require a learning curve to develop since our teachers are familiar with Google Apps.
  • Linoit board:  Formative assessment and to guide discussion, easily translated to classroom use as only 1 teacher account is needed to allow for the board and lots of collaboration and sharing!
  • Utilization of Web 2.0 tools and not apps:  Thera are a few reasons for this…1.  Teachers do not receive app codes until the first week of August, as we wait for the new fiscal year;  2.  Focus is not on apps, but on the instruction (don’t want to create an “app-slappy” climate); 3. Serves as a reminder that the devices are connected to the Internet (sounds crazy, but it’s easy to get sucked into “App Land” and forget that Web 2.0 tools still apply).

By using the forms of content delivery and the tools in which we utilize throughout the course, we work to increase the digital literacy of staff members by exposing them to the tool in a casual way- letting them get the feel for it instead introducing it by creating accounts, identifying features of the tool, etc.  Modeling the use of these tools (Google Pres., Linoit, Easel.ly) throughout the PD creates an awareness of the tool, a comfort level with it, and sparks ideas for further use in their individual classrooms.  Teachers get to learn the features by actually using it, not by feeling pressured to keep up with directions on how to use it.  The whole feel for the course was not meant to be a “Show and Tell”, but to set the mood to “Collaborate and Create”.  We flipped this PD experience, as the learners are coming to the session, already having watched the two initial videos.  This allows us to jump directly into discussion and allows for ample time to make connections to best practices, the CCSS, explore, and create!

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iPad 201 by Candace Marcotte is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at candacemarcotte.wordpress.com.