Thursday, November 8, 2012

Global Citizenship

I did a presentation for the Tennessee Association of Independent Schools on Monday. The topic of the presentation was "Developing Global Citizenship in 21st Century Students". I hope that those who were in my session came away with 3 main conclusions :
1. Global competence is essential for students in the 21st century.
2. Global citizenship is best taught through relationships with people in other countries.
3. Globalizing your curriculum is not an "add on" but rather it is best integrated into things you are already doing in the classroom.
My school has decided to use the Asia Society's Global Competence Matrix to frame our Global Studies program-Investigate the world, recognize perspectives, communicate ideas and take action.  I think teachers are somewhat overwhelmed with the enormity of this concept, so I used my presentation as a sort of "how to" guide for teachers and administrators. I am including some of the slides I used in hopes that you might be able to get started helping your students become Global Citizens. Remember, ONE STEP AT A TIME!! Just pick one thing new to try.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I went to Harvard!

I can't believe it has been so long since I updated this blog. New Year's resolution--update blog more often!!
One of the most exciting things I have done professionally, was being given the opportunity to attend Project Zero at Harvard last summer. PDS sends teachers every summer, and this past summer, sent five public school teachers as well. The experience was outstanding in every way and I am so appreciative for the opportunity. If I had to sum up what PZ is, I would say that it is "Thinking about thinking." Of course, this hardly sums it up!
So many times in our classrooms, we focus so intently on the content that we stay in the Knowledge/Remembering levels of Bloom's taxonomy, and we leave little time for reflecting, thinking, evaluating, creating, etc. Project Zero's mission is to "understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts, as well as humanistic and scientific disciplines, at the individual and institutional levels."
My professional development goal for this year is to implement what I learned at PZ and use thinking routines to encourage deep thought and reflection. These routines "make thinking visible" and help students cultivate thinking skills. More information about Visible thinking and thinking routines may be found here.
I am evaluating my questioning strategies and trying to incorporate questions that lead to deeper thinking. One way I am doing this is to put question starts in front of me (and the students) as a reminder. The bulletin board above is designed to help us "dive deeper".
The great thing about the thinking routines is that they may be used in any subject area or grade. One of the sessions I attended was "Artful Thinking". It centered on using works of art and/or music in the regular classroom to strengthen learning and understanding. The possibilities here are endless. I have used classic art pieces to teach and think about Bible stories. The I see, I think, I wonder thinking routine really gets students (even the quiet ones) involved and thinking.
Okay, so my stint at Harvard was only a week long. It was an amazing week that has changed the way I teach. We were taught by noted authors and teachers like Howard Gardner, Ron Ritchhart and David Perkins, among many others. There were people there from all over the US and world and I learned so much from everyone I met. I will continue to post ideas that I use or see used in my school.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Lifelong Learning

I just spent two days attending the Martin Institute for Excellence in Teaching's Summer Conference in Memphis. The theme was Teaching for Tomorrow. In his opening remarks, Lee Burns, Headmaster of PDS, quoted hockey great, Wayne Gretztky, saying "I don't skate to where the puck is, I skate to where it is going to be." As educators, we must look forward to what education will look like in the 21st century. One of our guiding questions for the conference was, "What does it mean to be well educated in the 21st century?" There were many great thinkers and presenters on subjects ranging from Twitter to Leadership, Differentiated instruction to glogs. My brain is full! This conference renewed my passion for teaching and reminded me why I love my profession. I am still reflecting and absorbing all I heard but here are some of the ideas and strategies I want to improve upon and/or implement this year.

*Giving students a larger audience for their thoughts, ideas and work. This can be done through class blogs, voice threads, wall wisher, wikis, videos (like this one I did with my JK students) and many other Web 2.0 tools. When children (and adults, for that matter) feel they are being heard, it is very empowering for them. I have also found that when students know that their work will be presented to parents, friends, on the web, etc., the quality of their work improves dramatically.

*I want to be more of a contributor and collaborator with my online Professional Learning Network. I have primarily been a "taker" on Twitter and PLN sites. I plan this year to contribute, give help, collaborate and comment more.

*I am so inspired by the leadership at my school, and particularly, our headmaster. He has set in motion a "big picture" model that I hope more private schools will embrace and implement. He says we are a private school with a public purpose. You can read more about it here. So what does that mean for me? I hope to broaden my students' idea of community. Just as we have obligations to our families and friends, I hope they will recognize their need for involvement in and commitment to the Memphis community and beyond.

*I did a presentation on Google Earth, which again reminded me of my need to continue learning, sharing, and collaborating. See previous post for information.

*I am going to explore the following sites and find ways to use them in my classroom and share with others. Search for lesson plans and resources by keyword or State standards make interactive posters improving education strategies and research and Learning management systems

There is so much to learn! How could anyone ever be bored?

PS- great article about the conference