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 ( know so that I can share what is happening and provide you the support you need for success.

21st Century Thought of the Week:


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 March 18, 2012

What’s Happening:

  • Teachers are looking at curriculum documents! Curriculum is not intended to be a collection of binders on a shelf. If a curriculum document is to be lived, it needs to be looked at, discussed, questioned, unpacked, aligned, updated, and taught! The Curriculum Coordinator is here to support teams in the process.
  • Teaching units are being updated on the Atlas system. 🙂

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:

Vlacek, Rudolf. Landscape. Photograph., 6 July 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2012.

It is difficult to dispute that technology is changing the learning landscape. Learning has quickly moved from an activity that happens within four walls requiring an instructor to a mobile process that can easily happen any time, anywhere. The ability to learn anything at any time in any space supports the freedom of individual choice. Everyone now has the ability to tailor an individual program to meet personal learning goals. A person can choose to learn independently, self-paced, synchronously, asynchronously, face-to-face with a friend or an expert located on the other side of the globe.

The blogosphere is one example of technology’s impact on independent learning. Just a decade ago my reflections on my teaching practice might have only been able to happen over coffee with a colleague, in my head, or in a personal journal. These options each provided a very limited audience, most frequently an audience of one: me. Now I can offer up my reflections, wonderings, frustrations, successes, and questions with a simple click of the “Publish” button on the right-hand side of my screen. At that moment my potential audience immediately multiplies exponentially. This particular act of publishing in the life of a learner exposes writing to a world of reviewers and commentators who can offer peer review, advice, or even a mentor relationship. The option of the world as an audience vs. the audience of one offers a variety of perspectives that enriches the learning experience in ways that were previously limited. Blogging allows anyone to write for a live audience in real-time, rather than an audience of one, e.g., the teacher with a red pen.

Individual learning can easily be paired with collaborative learning experiences. An individual can partner up and share in the creative process. This can be done independently or through online workshops such as the 1001 Flat World Tales Project. The 1001 Tales Project provides “a global writing workshop between international and public schools around the world.” In this format, students and teachers can find others with whom they can connect and create. The Flat Classroom Project site is a hub that serves as a classified listing of online classroom collaborations that deal in “real-world scenarios based on The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman.” The endgame is the flattening of classroom walls allowing students to learn with others in one large classroom developing cultural understanding. This is all made possible through the advent of Web 2.0 tools. These are exciting interactive opportunities that would have been challenging, if not impossible, to accomplish in that time period known as B.I. (before internet).

Learning is currently anything but a lonely journey. An individual can seek as little or as much companionship as required throughout the process. Technology offers access to a partner, a teacher, an audience, or a critic to those who seek. This public is always ready to view, comment, collaborate, subscribe, follow, edit, and create. Anyone. Any time. Anywhere.

Article(s) of the Week:

In Learning from four viral events, Seth Godin outlines lessons to be learned from recent ideas that have gone viral during March 2012.

How can the curiosity of teachers inspire students? Answers to this question are offered in Why Great Teachers are also Great Learners.

App of the Week:

Remember everything with Evernote. Evernote is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go.

Video of the Week:

Has the web sparked an educational revolution?

Blog of the Week:

Always Learning is the blog of Kim Cofino who is a technology facilitator currently working at Yokohama International School in Japan. On her blog she reflects on her own teaching and learning as she works with teachers integrating technology into curriculum.

Book of the Week:

It’s no secret that people learn in different ways, so why, the authors of this book ask, “can’t schools customize their teaching?” The answer to this problem, the authors argue, is “disruptive innovation.” In Disrupting Class, the authors present the idea of “disruptive innovation.” The premise is that an audience in need will benefit from even a faulty opportunity to fulfill that need; in education, the demand for individual instruction could be met through infinitely customizable online computer-based instruction. The authors offer a visionary solution.