Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A month into the school year and.....

 ...the school year is busy! Busy with students learning their schedules, busy with teachers learning their schedules, busy with parents getting back into the routines of early mornings, sports, homework and supporting the learning that exudes every moment of the day and week!  We are nearly at the point in the school year where our school is like a beehive, humming with the precision of nature, feeding the hive, tending the hive and working to support a community. It takes a commitment to and from our students, families and community for this success.

Our school celebrated Open House tonight. There were tired teachers, tired parents and tired students but that did not stop the Open House from humming! By the end of the evening the excitement and enthusiasm brought everyone together in a celebration of a new school year, new students and families and new dreams setting the stage for our school year.

Stay tuned.......
coakes photo

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Co-teaching and co-planning for optimal student learning!

Co-teaching and co-planning

Summer time is a laid back time where co-teachers can think about, design and plan for the upcoming school year without the rush of the school day, school week and after school activities.  In my district staff members are given time to collaborate and work on classroom lessons, projects and assessments for co-taught classes. This co-planning time is valued and valuable. It is a good opportunity for co-teachers to share and teach each other the content and how best to differentiate materials for students.

Roadmap to planning

Choose materials and share with co-planners.
Review the course syllabus and match to the school calendar, be sure to include holidays, school activities, school vacations and plan to give major assessments at optimal times.
Design a course calendar with variations in instructional delivery, variations in projects, provide student choice and provide differentiated levels to meet the needs of all learners.
Design a course calendar and include  homework assignments, projects, video materials, with links available where possible to foster student independence and to simulate online learning.
Look at materials used from previous lessons and tweak and add accommodations.
Cull the Internet for best practices and awesome materials that others have built and shared. Be sure to acknowledge all their work! Share your awesome materials with others, leave a trail so that others can acknowledge your work, too.
Check individual education plans and 504 plans for more specific details on how you may accommodate the learning objectives and learning materials for your students.

Reflect and review

Plan time to reflect and review your plans and how the students are managing the materials and your instruction. Time is the biggest excuse we use and it is the one thing we have control over. Make time to make explicit changes based on  your shared discussions and shared decision making.

Ask your students

 Lastly, remember to ask your students what changes will help them, what projects they liked, what helped them learn the material best!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What is in your summer PLN?

Educators love summer! Some days it means I can sleep in a bit later, well maybe not later since Seraphina has her own clock.
 Somedays it means I can have that extra cup of coffee while reading through emails! Other days it means I can check in my Diigo account and look at the links that interest me. But the most fun I have is when I am on the workshop presentation  circuit. This summer I kick off with a google day at the NH Summit at Pinkerton Academy,July 22, 2015. Then I move on to Tilton Academy, Aug. 5 and 6th, 2015. Next is GAFE Peak in nearby York, ME on August 26, 2015.                                            

You can also engage through many virtual offerings. My good friend Vicki Davis, the energizer bunny, is presenting at the following. " I'll be presenting how to Differentiate Instruction with Technology at the Teachers Leading Teachers Online Conference this upcoming Friday. You can register and have the video delivered to you if you can't attend. Dozens of top teachers will be presenting their practical advice at this conference. Hat tip to AJ Juliani and John Spencer for putting this together! JOIN US.

There are many blogs you can check out and spend a whole day jumping link to link as you go deeper into the material. Some of my readings include:
From Maine
From my virtual listings

Share your favorite summer time PLN. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A bonus after shoveling for two days! Blizzard Juno 2015

Beth Goodwin and I are all shoveled out and ready to head to ATIA 2015 Orlando. Each year we present at this fabulous conference and share some of the digital tools we are using with our students from Maine.

Why do we do this? By presenting at this conference we share with other special educators, parents and service providers. We share tried and true ideas and digital tools that have worked for us.  

As a bonus, we learn so  much from participants in this conference! And what better place to be than in the sunshine when we get a day off from shoveling!