How do we help students make connections? 91/180

We recently received over 30 inches of snow, and that meant snow days for our teachers and students!  Check out how our Library Media Teacher, Barb Jaindl was inspired during a snow day!

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.21.58 AMThis post was contributed by Barb Jaindl, Library Media Teacher.

More Than One Way to Dig Snow

Snow days can be an opportunity for teachers to uncover other gems to share with students, too. When I spot something worth a closer look on Twitter, like the infographic in this online article and details supporting it, I quickly open another social media tool called Pocket to file and label it to share in the future.
As soon as the snowstorm left enough snow on the ground and street, I was out my back door taking off on my cross country skis.  That snow was different than the snow I coasted on later that day and definitely by the next.  Once I was back home and sipping on warm hot chocolate, this infographic encapsulated some scientific points for me in an easily readable and visual format and allowed me an opportunity to dig deeper — before I headed back outside to dig my way out of the snowstorm.

I’ve been waiting for the first good snow to share great read alouds like Pulver’s Axle Annie, Keats’ The Snowy Day and Martin’s Snowflake Bentley in the school library.

What do grades mean to our students? 88/180

When students receive a grade on a paper or a project, what does it mean to them?  Do they take the time to read the feedback? Does the grade and/or the feedback help them improve?

One uncommon dot is an idea of “gradeless” classrooms. Listen to this TLTalkRadio podcast to hear what one thought leader in the field, Starr Sackstein, thinks about grades.

Season 2: Episode 13 – Hacking Assessment – Interview with Starr Sackstein [Podcast]

How do games affect engagement? 85/180

IMG_8658Yesterday during a professional development day, SHS teacher Jennifer Brinson led groups of high school teachers in BreakOutEDU simulations. During the collaborative game, we worked together to solve clues to unlock the BreakOut box. We worked together, used our resources, and finally experienced success!  The challenge was not easy and certainly required 21st century skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, communication, collaboration, etc…. For me, the best part of the activity was the reflection at the conclusion. Teachers were asking questions like: I wonder how many students you would lose when it gets difficult? How could I use this in my class?  Wouldn’t it be interesting to read a reflection piece after this activity?  As a small group, we talked about scaffolding for students, offering hints, etc.  How would this game motivate students to engage with each other to solve a problem?