That is Building the site: I am driving myself crazy. Every time I think I am ready to move on, I get this great idea, and need to go back and make sure all the dots line up with said idea. This has led to a few annoying revamps, but I think the time was worth it. Even having a vague vision wasn't enough. I felt the checklist was supremely helpful. I do wish it had been clearer from the getco which material I would need from previous classes for the capstone site. It is a bit annoying sifting back through old homework logs from prior classes trying to find stuff.
Immediate use: I started using a similar blog format in my history class. I have them set up Weebly blogs and they were supposed to respond to critical thinking questions for homework and respond to peers. Unfortunately, the schedule of the current school I am at didn't allow for this to be successful, but I will definitely try again in the future. I also implemented lesson planning styles, use of Padlet and screencastify in the class, and other apps immediately. The kinds of apps and technology we played with here was great for me to experiment and see what I might use for my classroom. I implemented a lot of different pieces at different times over the past two years.
Finally, how do you plan to use what you’ve learning from this program in the future? That is a harder question. I have learned so much. I feel like it was possible to implement ideas immediately. I definitely think I will continue to experiment and research in order to continue to evolve my classroom. While my time at Touro may be ending, I feel this program has given me the necessary tools in order to be a successful life long learner in the field of education. I want to experiment more with project based learning, differentiation, and assessments. If anything, I guess the willingness to experiment, fail, and try again is now ingrained in me as a teacher. I also feel like creating a community of peers who are able to give me critical friend feedback is important to me as an educator and I hope to cultivate that at my next position.
Next year, my family is relocating to New York. I will be working at a new school, with a new culture. I am really excited to share some of my ideas, theories, and innovations. I look forward to taking all of my knowledge acquired here and sharing it at my new school.
One of the things I have really learned in this journey is this: Life happens, don't let it stop you.
What do I mean by that? When I started this program, I was a mom with three kids, 80% FTE in the classroom, in addition to home and community responsibilities. But, I wanted to be a better teacher. Was it a good time to start? Absolutely not! I was too busy, but if I didn't start then, when would I start. I had to edit, revise, and pivot. I wasn't able to take a full set of classes for a year, so with the amazing help of Dr. Redmond, I took a two year path. In the mean time, I had to move to another country, start a new job, had another kid, and thought it all, I made time for Touro.
This week, my husband and I had terrible food poisoning. Guess what? Life still kept happening. Kids needed to get dressed, lunches needed to get made, performance reviews needed to get written, report cards needed to get logged, blogs needed to get written, and capstone pages needed to get worked on. What will I let get me down today? Food poisoning, sorry buddy, ain't got no time for you today.
If it is important to you, don't let life stop you. There will never be a "good time". There will always be a stomach bug, a job change, school issues, kid issues, life changes, the holidays are coming. If you don't start now, when will you? The reason we do these kinds of things is because we have been conditioned to. We have been told so much "It's not a good time," that we started parroting it ourselves. Make it happen! Make the time. Whether it's for a Master's or for your family, don't wait until tomorrow.
My husband's hero, Casey Neistat, made a great vlog about this earlier this month. Her was specifically speaking to YouTube creators, but a lot of his advice will resonate with anyone. Basically: Do what you can't! Watch the video, you'll understand.
Being a good critical friend means giving me real thoughts. "Great job," isn't useful. I need concrete ideas of what works and what doesn't. The more concrete the critique (too wordy...move this here...what were trying to accomplish with...) helps me to figure out why I did what I did.
I may not agree with the critique, but then the critique will force me to explain why I did what I did and why I think my way is right. If I can't defend my position, then I can figure out how to explain my ideas in another way.
If I don't get real, thoughtful feedback, I cannot gain this perspective.
I am currently teaching at a one semester study abroad program called Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim (TRY). After spending time reading through their website, this was the only mention of technology I could find: "Students have access to the internet and, in some cases, can arrange for maintaining certain courses through correspondence with their home schools and teachers. "
The main focus of the school is the experience of studying in Israel for a semester. While academic courses from back home are important, the trips around Israel and history of Israel and the Jewish people is given priority.
When it comes to technology in the classroom, this is left to the teacher's discretion. The unreliability of the internet makes it difficult to execute the class in the fashion that I would prefer to. I have also been surprised at the students lack of knowledge of "basic" Silicon Valley staples such as Prezi, Google Slide, and Kahoot. Their unwillingness to experiment is also surprising. I have made it my goal to get them into a growth mindset and have them move beyond their own limitations in technology.
The audience for my capstone is fellow classroom educators. I want to design a project that will give clear instructions for how to create a streamlined unit that will engage multiple learning styles on multiple levels. My vision is to re-create differentiation in the classroom. To do this, one has to re-create teachers’ idea of what differentiated learning should look like.
I will need to explain:
1) seven types of learning styles
2) effective lessons for each type learning style
3) What a streamlined unit plan looks like, vs. a typical differentiated unit plan
4) Action research on how most teachers differentiate in the classroom
5) Explanation of Universal Design for Learning Theory
Logo: This is a great, engaging logo. It is instantly clear what the author is trying to convey. Review: This is information for elementary educators. I feel that when you are trying to make a case for using technology as a substitute for traditional materials (blogging vs. pencil and paper) you have to work very hard to persuade people. Her home page has a clear goal, but then segues into Digital Citizenship, which isn’t an appropriate argument for technology substitution. Blogging is not a necessary skill for a digital citizen. It was an interesting presentation, but I wasn’t persuaded, therefore I cannot rule that it was effective. I didn’t feel that the argument was presented as clearly as it could have been.
Logo: Clear and to the point. Without reading anything yet, I can tell this site has something to do with harnessing the power of the blog in the classroom.
Review: It is a great concept, trying to create a blog project that can cross the barrier between classroom and the real world. I find this project much more compelling than the Dearborn project of a similar theme. The project is clearly for educators and it has practical real world applications. I found the idea clear and to the point. I liked the Gottfried capstone very much. It was very helpful to help me conceptualize what I would like to accomplish with my capstone.
LOGO: It is an interesting logo, but the word choice of “Classroom” & “Community” clashes for me. I couldn’t connect the message of the logo to the message of the capstone. Based on the logo, I thought it would be more about connecting the Classroom to the greater community.
Review: The audience for the capstone is educators at many levels, from the classroom to policy makers. I felt there were too many competing messages, I didn’t feel they were connected well. Creating a classroom community, creating a collaborative environment, creating an “academically safe” environment, and getting college ready. These are all important values, but how do they connect? How do I achieve it in a streamlined way? This was not clear through the capstone.
Evolution of the Driving Question:
I started out wondering what does differentiation look like in the classroom? Through interactions with colleagues and the two cohorts I have been apart of, I began to want to help teachers create curriculum which would be able to maximize the affect of differentiation to the maximum learners possible. Basically, I want to create an utilitarian differentiation education. (Totally easy, right?) My audience is my fellow educators.
I have all ready accomplished so much through the thinking this program has made me do, I feel it is almost chutzpah to ask for more! I have sharpened my perspectives and positions as an educator. What I hope to gain, in these final moments, is a solid foundation upon which to continue to develop my curriculum. I want people to keep questioning me, keep commenting, keep talking!
In the cohort, my expectations are similar to my classroom: Be respectful of your peers, stay on topic, ask questions!
I am an educator, an optimist, a believer, a mother. These are parts of a whole that only begins to tell you about who I am. These are all roles I have taken on, but to say that any one of these things is all I am or want to do would limit me in any number of ways. What do I want to do? I want to change education. Change begins with just one thought, one person, one will to achieve something different. How do I want to do that? I want to use the skills I have been given, use the information I have learned, and use the talent I was born with to impact the students, families, and schools I work with.
I was working at South Peninsula Hebrew Day School, when the headmaster there encouraged the staff to join the Touro Innovative Learning Cohort. Being apart of this program has encouraged me to think about how to marry my values as an observant Jew with the intellectual power of the Silicon Valley. I believe that being an Innovative Educator is being willing to re-invent, to pivot, to challenge the norm. This philosophy is what drives my passion as an educator.