Can you believe it? The first quarter of the school year is already coming to a close! This upcoming webinar is all about reflecting on what we’ve done so far in the classroom, and inspiring what we have left to do!
I’ll be answering your questions, calming your uncertainties, clarifying your confusions. Anything I can do to be of service to you!
AICE General Paper teacher? Check.
AICE Global Perspectives teacher? Check.
AP Seminar teacher? Check. Check. Check.
You’re all invited and can all equally benefit from the convo!
For those of you who completed the survey I sent around previously, I’ll surely be making use of that data by addressing the trends I saw surfacing, but I also invite you to post your burning curriculum questions to the edPioneer Facebook page. This’ll set fire to online dialogue and support we can benefit from all year! Join this interactive community…power in numbers, y’all!
CLICK HERE to visit the edPioneer Facebook page and post your burning curriculum questions.
I’ll be sure to answer ’em during the webinar (and you know I’ll give you a shout-out while I’m at it!).
Oh, and for those of you who ‘like’ my FB page by November 1, I’ll be sending you a special email surprise 😉 It’s a little resource doozy I think you’ll like 😉
Not sure if you can make it? Sign up anyway to let me know you’re interested, and I’ll keep you in the resources, replays, and materials loop.
Let’s go confidently into that good Quarter 2, friends…sign up for the webinar today where you’ll get the inspiration and energy you need to fight the good fight toward holiday break, and set goals for your new year!
Simply click the image below to get at it 😉
This Thursday, September 22…
edPioneer is pleased to announce the launch of its FREE Webinar Series! For the first online exchange, I will talk with you about implementing the Inquiry Research Project, which is a great way to immerse your students in modern, global issues via research while giving them their license to drive the learning process!
During this webinar, I will guide you through setting up, facilitating, and assessing the Inquiry Research Project, along with adding in some tips and best practices along the way including sequencing suggestions and pacing remarks. A live, Q&A session will follow the presentation to address any of your lingering, project-related questions.
Join me for some professional development fun. Sign up TODAY by clicking on the image below! Spaces are limited!
(Need points? Professional development ‘Certificate of Completion’ available! NOTE: Please speak with your school or district prior to this event to ensure its eligibility.)
If you’re a teacher in my school district, today marks the LAST day of summer freedom.
In case you need some cheering up, I thought I’d write a quick post to say, hey, go get ’em this year! We’ve got the biggest job on earth, so hopefully your brain runs on solar battery and the summer has topped you off with a lil’ rechargable energy.
If not, I have some inspiration to throw your way, so here goes…
August marks a season of rest, respite, and rejuvenation for our profession. It’s a time when spirits are high and a fresh white board is waiting for us to color with our trade. August is also the time we begin our ceaseless search for new ideas and innovative approaches to shake up our material.
So to help you on your quest for a fresh start, check out this little bit I put together for my favorite people in the world…YOU! By clicking on the image below, you’ll get instant access to this super awesome guidebook in your inbox, AND you’ll officially be part of my newsletter tribe where there are many, many exciting resources like this to come!
CLICK BELOW and get planning!
Just as a reminder, the Global Pen will be migratin’ on over to the edPioneer landscape by September 1 🙂 I hope you’ll set up camp with me so we can navigate this brave, new, 21st century world of education together!
Cheers to another year of awesomeness!
Unexpectedly OUT for a day? I’ve got the universal sub-plan for you!
If you’re a subscriber to Upfront Magazine, this will be especially beneficial, but honestly, the linked handout can align with virtually ANY current events magazine you provide for your kids!
- Class set/Consumable set of semi-recent Upfront Magazine edition (or other)
- Individual copies of the Core Ideas handout
EMERGENCY LESSON PLAN:
- Distribute the __ edition of Upfront (or other) Magazine
- Distribute the Core Ideas handout
- Ask students to first survey ALL articles in the magazine before choosing ONE to focus on for the assignment.
- Students must select ONE article from the magazine and complete the corresponding questions contained in the Core Ideas handout.
- Have students create a FactFinder Flashcard using the Summary format
- Have students Journal about the topic by voicing their thoughts in response to what they read
- Have students formulate an overall opinion about the issue, then complete an Opinion-Proof argument in response
- Picture Notes it!
Though I would never give up my summers off or my guaranteed holidays home, there are times in the school year when I wish we had 365, not 180, to teach to this curriculum. There’s just so much to do in so little time!
This always gets me thinking…how can I maximize the opportunities for learning in my classroom?
In my opinion, the best thinking cap is the one fashioned for freshmen, so if I’m going to solve this puzzle, I need to be pondering like a pupil.
I remember being 15. Grades were never an issue because–lucky for me–school was something I did naturally. I was a natural-born nerd 😉 But I definitely had those days where classroom content failed to mesmerize me for whatever teenaged reason.
So what does a student do with his or her time when he or she is not immediately engaged in the lesson? Why, survey the scene, of course.
Lots of times I found myself staring at the walls…
- I’d read and re-read the signs hanging about;
- I’d question the writing on the board–does that homework message pertain to me or is that for some other class?
- I’d sketch an image I saw on a poster;
- I’d practice vocabulary definitions in my mind from the word wall;
- I’d try to memorize a poster adage (“What’s right is not always popular, but what’s popular is not always right”…that hung on the podium of my sophomore year professor, lol).
Anything to pass the time…
- because it was Friday,
- or because there was a pep rally next hour,
- or because softball try-outs were that day…
- because Mrs. __ is repeating herself from yesterday,
- or because I hated reviewing tests,
- or because I already knew everything about topic x…
- OR because I knew nothing about topic x and I intended to keep it that way…I was as stubborn as I was smart, lol.
Sometimes it was educational dazing, sometimes it was just plain dazing. But even still, what I visually stared at always stuck.
As amazing as we are as teachers, we have to allow for the margin of error that not ALL students are ALways engaged at EVERY moment during our class. No matter how much they love and adore us for our dynamic enthusiasm for the job, they have Life weighing on their minds, just as we do.
Is this like teaching by osmosis?!? Perhaps we could mark it up to ‘differentiated instruction’ ?!? 😉
* * *
At its core, asking teachers to turn inattention into learning is like asking someone to successfully saw another in half. Surely this feat is merely illusion, right?
Today, while talking with a colleague about how super-nerdy-cool this year’s Upfront poster ‘line’ is (themed, “Great Moments in History”), it inspired me to create the following classroom visual, which I will share in visual format below…(Danielle Eddy of Boca Raton High School, I dedicate this post to YOU!)
Reaching out to our student population from a multitude of mediums…we work hard, we work smart!
As faithful followers of the news, we know the 2013 summer headlines…but how do we teach them?!
Here are a few renditions of the “Hot Seat” I explored in each of my classes yesterday as we informally chatted about the summer’s news. Feel free to chime in with different ways you approach current events discussions/ideas-sharing/student engagement with your teen population…we’d love to hear a variety of these approaches for use on future current events projects!
- LOW TEMPERATURE…Try the “Boy v. Girl” Game-Style Challenge…inspired by my fellow colleague (props to Ms. Lisa Maultasch!), I split the class into boys versus girls. I wrote each of the ‘Hot Seat: Summer Sizzle’ issues on index cards to start. If it was the girls’ turn to go, they would send a representative up to sit in the Seat. That girl would select a card, doing her best to give “sufficient” evidence of her understanding on the topic. If she could not, the floor would be given to the boys’ team, who would collaborate as one, collective voice to determine a proper response. Any boy could then step up as the spokesperson to relay the answer. If they were correct in their knowledge of the issue, the boys got to take the index card from the Hot Seater girl who could not provide sufficient enough input. Then, this same scenario happened in reverse: a boy would approach the Hot Seat individually; if he could not provide sufficient knowledge on the selected summer headline, the girls could formulate a response collectively and the best team won the index card. Tally up the cards won at the end, and voila! Credit, extra credit, homework passes, participation points, or what-have-you in the way of incentives. More importantly, a baseline awareness was created regarding local, national, and international news.
- MEDIUM TEMPERATURE…Try the “Groups” approach…students organize into teams of 4. The Summer Sizzle Headlines are hanging via index card on the board. First, groups discussed what they know and/or what they learned via interview about the headlined topics. Then, as a group, they determine THREE issues they’d like to present to the class when in the Hot Seat. (It’s amazing how a single group might pick all environmental issues, or all political issues, or all entertainment issues…showing interest in and paying automatic tribute to the General Paper THEMES without even realizing it!). Put groups in the Hot Seat and have them ‘school’ the class on the issues they chose while audience members draft one-sentence summaries in their notes for each of the issues discussed.
- HOT, HOT HEAT!…Try the true-to-form, HOT Seat…students elect to approach the Hot Seat on their own accord; they are there individually, as opposed to group support. Since it’s the beginning of the year, I allow them to pick the Summer Headline they are most comfortable with to discuss. They begin by explaining the issue in its obvious form
Once they finish up their basic summary, however, I bring the heat: I delve deeper into the issue by asking them questions that span beyond the obvious. Specifically, I encourage students to look at a single issue from a variety of lenses (political, environmental, social, etc.), and from multiple levels (local, national, international).
Want to know what I mean by this rather abstract bit of advice?! Well, you’re in luck because I love a good model…
But, patience is a virtue! Take the extra time to observe the dialogue string below, which models HOW to probe students on the issues, and how to guide them toward GP connections:
So GP Student A walks into the classroom…
Teacher: Student A, what issue do you elect to explore?
Student A: I’d like to talk about the recent WILDFIRES occurring in the U.S.
Teacher: Ok, super! Tell me everything you know.
Student A: Well, there are lots of wildfires breaking out in dry states in the West like in Arizona, and California, particularly near important landmarks like Yosemite National Park in the Sierra mountain-chain region. There was also the Beaver Creek fire in Idaho, I think it was.
Teacher: So how does this impact us on a national level?
Student A: Basically it destroys our environment. Like, when the wildfires hit places like Yosemite, it’s destroying entire habitats and animals and plants unique to this environment. My mom mentioned the Sequoias native to the region. Also, I remember reading that the wildfires are posing a threat to the water supplies in California and the Bay Area. Since water is our most basic and essential need, if we don’t have it–well–people in this area could die.
Teacher: Wow, amazing observations about the wildfire’s impact on our environment. Points earned for knowing your stuff!
Student A: Whew! Awesome! (smiles, and relief at surviving the Hot Seat)
Teacher: But wait a minute, let me approach the same topic from a different angle for a minute…
Student A: (uh-ooooh-face)…
Teacher: It makes sense that the wildfires are destroying our environment, but how might they be hurting our economy? Consider that for a minute. Take your time and think about the connection between fire and $$$$…
Student A: (puzzled face, followed by light-bulb)…oh, wait, yeah…soooo…if the wildfires destroy parks like Yosemite, it hurts the economy because then tourists don’t get to visit this site, which is pretty popular otherwise. If the fires destroy what there is to see, no one is going to come to visit it. Our economy takes a hit because that means less tourists spending money there, whether it be on food or hotel or admission tickets.
Teacher: Brilliant connections made between wildfires and our economy. Ok, now that we have a foundation of knowledge, let’s talk about how it can be woven into a GP essay. In essence, what is the “GP Relevance” of this information we’ve studied? Well, there are lots of SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY prompts on the GP exam. A lot of the times, Section 2 of the GP exam will ask you to write essays that cater to the following style of essay prompt: To what extent can we rely on modern technology to control otherwise unpredictable events? So, Student A, let me ask you this…is it possible to beat Mother Nature with modern tools, i.e Technology VERSUS Earth, Air/Wind, Fire, Water…?
Student A: Yeah…totally…I mean, we can use technology to fix pretty much anything today.
Teacher: Prove it 😉
Student A: Ummm…well, hmmm…like hurricanes, we can tell when a hurricane is coming. That’d be technology trumping an unpredictable event, right?!
Teacher: That’s definitely a start, Student A, but you seem unsure. Let’s put our heads together to make sure. Audience, what do you think? To what extent can technology control unpredictable events like natural disasters?
Audience 1: Oooh, I know. Like how Student A said, when it’s a hurricane, we can use technology to predict the path of the hurricane before it harms us. We have the option to evacuate in advance. A couple of years ago, during Hurricane Willow, my family and I drove north to my Grandma’s in Tallahassee to avoid the storm. We boarded up and left.
Teacher: Good point. Technology is definitely a friend to us in Florida, where we are hurricane-prone.
Audience 2: Yeah but in other parts of the U.S., natural disasters like tornadoes aren’t as easy to predict no matter what technology we have available to us. Sometimes natural disasters just kind of drop out of the sky without warning.
Teacher: A valid argument, but where–SPECIFICALLY–have we seen this? Can you provide a concrete example to further support your logic?
Audience 3: I know! How about the Moore, Oklahoma, issue from the summer…didn’t they have, like 10 minutes to evacuate, or something like that?
Teacher: 16. They had 16 minutes. Props for the concrete support, (Audience 3)!
Audience 4: Well what about the sinkholes we looked up? You don’t even get a minute’s warning on that one. The one that happened in Orlando came out of nowhere! One minute you’re standing there, and the next…well, the earth gives way and just kind of swallows you up…
Audience 5: My family and I go to Orlando every year for New Year’s…
Audience 1: Yeah, so that’s GP relevance on the LOCAL level, right?!
Teacher: Exactly. So you’d agree that sometimes we can predict and prevent Mother Nature’s wrath whereas other times we cannot…
Audience 3: Yes, it just depends on where you are and which natural disaster your area is prone to.
Audience 4: Yeah, it’s based on the circumstances.
Teacher (smiles)…thinks to self: ‘mission accomplished….’
This is the best case scenario because students are listening to one another and benefiting from each other’s contributions. Listening to one another probes further thought. The teacher takes a back-seat, merely guiding, as the conversation unfolds. The students draw upon the task that was their homework to fuel the challenge that is their classwork. The highest levels of critical thinking are tested as they discuss the issue together!
What else can you do to immerse your students in the headlines of summer? Submit your experiences here! Who wouldn’t benefit from a fresh approach to common practice?! Pay it Forward!
Happy 1st Day, GP Colleagues!
I sure hope the first day back in the GP classroom treated you well!
In honor of the new school year, I have a VIU…Very Important Update…regarding the new year…
Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, there is one basic adjustment to the GP exam that we MUST be aware of…
It regards how many prompts are on the GP exam. Traditionally–as you may have learned from my previous PowerPoints, covering overview/basics–the GP exam has consisted of 15 prompts from which students are asked to select TWO, so they can write TWO, full essays within the span of TWO hours…
However, PLEASE NOTE that this year’s syllabus will be cutting a single prompt from each of the three sections; therefore…
THERE WILL BE 12 PROMPTS TO CHOOSE FROM ON THIS YEAR’S GP EXAM AS OPPOSED TO THE TRADITIONAL 15.
It is super important that you make your students aware of this change in the General Paper 8004 syllabus! Any previously-released exams you share with them will showcase 15 prompts, so just make them aware that the test they will see this May/June will include just 3 less prompts, one omitted from each section to drop us from 15 to 12 options total.
Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but we want clarity across the curriculum, and we want to make sure No Student (or Teacher!) Is Left Confused.
For more information, check the AICE: General Paper 8004 Syllabus for the 2014 administration.
Best of luck to you this semester 🙂
Happy last-Friday-of-Freedom, GP Teachers!
In honor of THIS special Friday, I’m going to share with you what I’ll be giving my students NEXT Friday…just smile and think, oh hey, there’s still THIS Friday, which means I’m still off!
Back to next Friday, I’m going to give my students the “Hot Seat: Summer Sizzle” handout, linked here. They will have a weekend to take the list of people/places/events home and interview at least 3 people concerning the information on it.
The list on said-handout’s reverse side represents some of the current events/hot topics that took place this past summer, 2013. I am asking my students to INTERVIEW, as opposed to GOOGLE, these ideas because it will get them comfortable with talking about the issues, which is what a great deal of our class is all about 🙂
They will take the weekend to ‘research’ (aka, talk!) about as many of these people/places/events as possible. Then we will engage in a “Hot Seat” activity on Monday following. The Hot Seat can go down in a number of ways, but I usually ask for a few eager volunteers to start; I have them take a seat (5-7 max) in the chairs in the front of the room. The audience and I ask them the Hot Seat questions and they compete for points. If a panelist/Hot-Seater gets a question wrong and an audience member wants to take a stab at it, that audience member can replace the panelist/Hot Seater if the answer is right!
This is the first of TWO documents for this activity. As this is my first time running the ‘show,’ I still need to drum up a solid set of Hot Seat questions now that I have the working list of issues.
Speaking of which, am I missing a Sizzly Summer Headline? PLEASE submit! I was wracking (?!) my brain today between the many pre-school meetings, so it was–I admit–a bit of a scattered process as I tied my Hot Seat all up for bloggie submission.
Tout your expertise here by commenting below on summer issues not on the list!
One word to the wise…keep a close lid on outbursted answers and whispered ones during the actual Hot Seat…answers from panelists gotta (yep, ‘gotta’) be genuine for you to run the show authentically; and there also has to be enough focus from the audience so answers can be both heard and absorbed from the activity.
Otherwise, you’ll be in HOT water, Teach!
Adopt, Adapt, or Entirely Alter…Go Forth and let your classes (Academically) Prosper!
Props to Sunnie Petric (and her hubs) for inspiring this post, fellow teacher and Croatian 😉
If you teach in the same school district as me, there are exactly 8 1/2 instructional days left before summer kicks in…
Translation?! If you’re a first-time AICE: GP teacher, you have exactly 8 1/2 instructional days to build an arsenal of essays to stockpile for next year’s use!
One of the best things I could have done at the start of my GP career was to request that my students type up and submit a final version of their essays. That way, I had a file of reference for the future. If a prompt came up in FY11 regarding industrial development and I needed ideas to fuel a discussion in FY13, well, I let my former students’ essays do the work (rightfully so, because I was busy making alllll of the materials for everything else, ok?!)!
I checked my essay file on “industrial development” and boom…I had a stockpile of cool ideas written on student-friendly level that I could pull for reference!
During the year, I file student essays by STUDENT. That way we can track individual progress together. Once the year is through, I re-file essays by SUBJECT, so I can pull, based on topic, for future reference.
If you have not started an electronic portfolio routine with your kids this year (which I wouldn’t expect you to because GP is overwhelming enough the first time around!!), I would suggest you utilize these last few days to get one semi-started. You could do this in any number of ways:
- Ask students to pick their favorite 3 essays from the school year and type them up for regular credit
- Ask students to type up ALL of their school year essays for submission and give them extra credit
- Reserve 2-3 computer lab days to let students type up what they can
Henceforward, always ask students to do a typed revision of graded essay directly following. Have them send it to you electronically and store it in your computer files for reference. Give them credit for completion and also for improvement. (I grade revisions summatively, by the way, where they just get a Band score based on the official GP Rubric.)
For revisions, I might focus on one aspect of the essay for specific improvement…like,
‘…in addition to revising the essay based on my feedback, I am also giving you an additional grade on applying the recent concepts we learned regarding: improving introduction, beefing up body, closure in the conclusion, strengthening sentence structure, use of appositives, creative craft…’
etc, etc, etc,…! Or whatever other lesson you have going at the moment 🙂
Gentle Note: if you ever use a student’s essay for teaching purposes in the future, keep it anonymous and keep it positive! Aim to use students samples for good-practice modeling 🙂