Curriculum: Week of September 9, 2012

What’s Happening:

  • Check out the Free Professional Development section of the Curriculum Weekly . There are a plethora of golden opportunities right at our fingertips to learn something new, refresh skills, and make professional connections. The link will always be a work in progress and found in the left-hand column.
  • AIS student iPad distribution will begin this week for students who have paid the user fee. The iPads should be loaded with apps according to requests from departments and divisions that were made during last school year. Here is the complete list:  AIS student iPad suite of apps by division and department.
  • Physical Education curriculum is in the final stages of formatting and editing. The new document is an upgrade to reflect 21st century learning and thinking skills.
  • The Math Curriculum Outcomes Project will continue to support the ongoing implementation of the AIS Math curriculum.
  • Student literacy is being supported through the teaching of contextual vocabulary, IB command terms, and the use of the Cornell note-taking system which helps students to synthesize and apply learned knowledge.

Do you have something you’d like to share that is happening in your classroom? How are you using iPads to extend learning in your classroom? How are you making curriculum come alive for your students? Please let me (christina.botbyl@ais-kuwait.org) know so that I can share what is happening and provide you the support you need for success.

21st Century Thought of the Week:

Collaboration

Copyright All rights reserved by Birgit44

The expectation for collaboration that exist at AIS is stated in the IB’s Programme standards and practices document (Standard C1: Collaborative Planning). The emphasis on collaborative planning and reflection is inherent in the IB programmes. Best Practices in Teaching acknowledge the direct correlation between collaborative teachers and student success. Collaboration between teachers can be a powerful tool for professional development and a driver for school improvement by providing “opportunities for adults across a school system to learn and think together about how to improve their practice in ways that lead to improved student achievement” (Annenberg Institute for School Reform, 2004, p. 2).

Some rights reserved by Michael Connell

What collaboration looks like in 2012 may not always involve sitting face-to-face or getting our hands dirty. We may choose from numerous social networking platforms such as Skype, Twitter, Whatsapp, or blogging. Which platform we choose will be driven by our needs. As educators in the 21st century, we are able to enter into collaborations with members of our profession from around the globe at virtually any moment (Any Time, Anywhere).
Working together in the true spirit of collaboration takes time, effort, and commitment. (I wrote more about this here.) Lucky for us, AIS is committed to collaboration! There is collaborative time for professional development and planning built into all schedules: from grade level teams to department meetings to the Administrative Council to the Faculty Advisory Council. In addition there are numerous people in coaching roles to support collaborative planning. These individuals can be called upon to provide a variety of support (e.g., backwards planning, unit question design, implementing the writing process, integrating technology into a unit). From IB programme coordinators to tech coaches to literacy coaches to the curriculum coordinator, to Heads of Department know that there are many people ready and willing to collaborate with your team this school year.

Wishing you happy and successful collaborations this year!

Article(s) of the Week:

There are numerous apps that enable creation sharing without having to rely on printing (nor paper). Here is an article listing 50 apps that are out there for the sharing. Many of these apps have been requested to be included in the AIS Student iPad suite of apps in each division.

  • Here is a great list of education blogs listed by subject area.  If you are interested in seeing what other educators are writing and talking about in your particular subject area, take a minute and look over this list.  Consider setting up a Google Reader account so that blog articles come to you each week. If you would like help in setting up a Google Reader account, send a quick email and I can help.

App of the Week:

  Zite Personal Magazine

  • What does it do? Zite is a free personalized magazine for your iPad that automatically learns what you like and gets smarter every time you use it. Zite delivers all the great news, articles, blogs, and videos you want – and helps you discover new stuff that you’ll love. Zite personalizes your content automatically and gets better the more you use it. Gaming and tech? Motorcycles, cats, or vegetarianism? Create your magazine based on your choices from  thousands of sections and a smart auto-suggest tool. Get a head start on finding amazing content tailored just for you by automatically syncing Zite with your Twitter and Google Reader accounts.
  • How can it be used to support learning?  This is a great app for supporting personal interests and professional development. At the secondary level, students could easily tailor their Zite Magazine to include articles that might support their studies in Literature, Economics, or current events.

Video of the Week:

Did You Know?/Shift Happens – Version 6

Blog(s) of the Week:

Book of the Week:

Curriculum 21: Essential Education for a Changing World by Heidi Hayes Jacobs

What year are you preparing your students for? 1973? 1985? 1999? 2021? With this provocative question, author and educator Heidi Hayes Jacobs launches a powerful case for overhauling, updating, and injecting life into the K 12 curriculum. Sharing her expertise as a world-renowned curriculum designer and calling upon the collective wisdom of 10 education thought leaders, Jacobs provides insight and inspiration in numerous areas of teaching.

Curriculum: Week of April 22, 2012

What’s Happening:

  • Check out the (very beginnings) Free Professional Development section of the Curriculum Weekly . There are a plethora of golden opportunities right at our fingertips to learn something new, refresh skills, and make professional connections. The link will always be a work in progress and available in the left-hand column.
  • Have a iPad app recommendation for the AIS teacher/student iPads? Use the link in the left-hand column iPads @ AIS to find the procedures and online form to make your request.
  • Taking Charge of your Professional Development is coming to you as an end-of-the-year professional development opportunity. This will be a series of three one-hour long workshops. Finally, here are the “further details”!
    • Wednesdays, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., ES Muliti-Purpose Room
        • May 2: Welcome to the blogosphere of learning! Find out about the numerous blogs written and maintained by professionals in all areas of interest. Discover how to use an aggregator to collect and organize blog sources on your desktop and mobile devices.
        • May 9: Join the blogosphere! Learn how to share your ideas and passions with the world via your very own blog. The basics of setting up and maintaining a blog for personal or professional purposes will be covered.
        • May 16: Learning in 140 characters or less. Discover the world of Twitter and what it has to offer you as a lifelong learner and professional educator. Learn about tweeting, tweeps, hashtags, following, retweeting, shortening URLs, and setting up your own Professional Learning Network.
        • Sign up using the Google form below. You don’t even need to leave this page!

Do you have something you’d like to share that is happening in your classroom? How are you using iPads to extend learning in your classroom? How are you making curriculum come alive for your students? Please let me know so I can share what is happening and provide you the support you need for success.

21st Century Thought of the Week:

Collaboration

Collaboration in Education-

two or more co-equal individual voluntarily brings their knowledge and experience together by interacting toward a common goal in the best interest of students for the betterment of their education success.

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaboration#Education

Some rights reserved by Roger Smith

We are all familiar with the expression “two heads are better than one.” When more than one set of ideas is put forth and discussed the benefits to all involved can be truly amazing! The article Maximizing the Impact of Teacher Collaboration highlights the importance of keeping collaboration on track to increase productivity. Working together in the true spirit of collaboration takes time, effort, and commitment.

Time needs to be carved out of schedules. Sometimes that time is provided. Other times we have to find (or create) the time. It is essential for people to take the time to sit together, to  talk, to listen, and to really hear. Taking the necessary time to process and reflect is also important. So often it is so much easier for each of us, as individuals, to just “get ‘er done!” On a team of one (is that really a team?) where there is no discussion, projects can move a lot faster. BUT, are the results of these projects as worthwhile with no input from others? Are they as valid?

Effort is vital in putting forth ideas and taking them to a level that Stephen Covey refers to as synergy. In my mind, synergy is collaboration nirvana. Through the fruits of the labors (in this case ideas) of each individual something better results. The effort to collaborate prevents the development of empirical islands. This effort helps individuals to feel supported rather than isolated. What level of effort are we willing to put forth is shaping new ideas through the combination of my idea and your idea?

According to dictionary.com commitment is “a pledge or promise,” an “engagement; involvement.” The onus to collaborate falls on the shoulders of many. An institution must often promise the time needed for collaborative projects, while employees must pledge to use the time to engage in creating together. How committed are we to engaging with others? In listening and supporting?

The expectation for collaboration is stated in  the IB’s Programme standards and practices document (Standard C1: Collaborative Planning). The emphasis on collaborative planning and reflection is inherent in the IB programmes. Best Practices in Teaching acknowledges the direct correlation between collaborative teachers and student success. Collaboration between teachers can be a powerful tool for professional development and a driver for school improvement by providing “opportunities for adults across a school system to learn and think together about how to improve their practice in ways that lead to improved student achievement” (Annenberg Institute for School Reform, 2004, p. 2).

Article(s) of the Week:

Why iPad? – thoughts from the EdTechTeacher team

App of the Week:

HootSuite for Twitter

      • What does it do? HootSuite lets you manage multiple social networks in one app. You can manage your social media profiles, like Facebook, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Twitter from almost anywhere (e.g., iPhone, iPad, iTouch, and desktop).

      • How can it be used to support learning? Certainly a useful tool from a professional development standpoint! There are so many learning opportunities available via social networks. HootSuite allows users to organize and categorize information into manageable chunks.

Video of the Week:

Everything is a Remix

Podcast/Blog of the Week:

Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips provides short, friendly tips to improve your writing. Covering the grammar rules and word choice guidelines that can confound even the best writers, Grammar Girl makes complex grammar questions simple with memory tricks to help you recall and apply those troublesome grammar rules. Whether English is your first language or second language, Grammar Girl’s punctuation, style, and business tips will make you a better and more successful writer.

Each podcast episode deals with one grammar point and is typically well under 10 minutes in duration. Learn how to properly use an ellipsis, write an email message, differentiate between affect and effect, possessives, or how to speak like the Irish.

Mignon Fogarty is the host of Grammar Girl and founder of Quick and Dirty Tips.  Prior to becoming a grammar guru, Mignon was a magazine and technical writer, and an entrepreneur.  Mignon has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University.