17 August 2014

Sunday Salon: What I Read Online August 11-17

 Kentucky specific

One of the most fun things I've had the opportunity to do in my new job at The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky was calling two of the grant award recipients to let them know they received an innovation grant.  Read about the grants for innovation here.

Pretty cool when Kentucky makes The New York Times.  In this article, you read about a university partnership with the community in Bowling Green.

I'm always interested in learning about how we ensure students are fed because it's hard to learn when you're hungry. Catch my post from last year on this topic or read this new article about Lexington participating in a new federal program to feed all students at 27 of our local public schools.

Effective Teaching

Read about how leader, Dr. Kiela Snider, a National Board Certified Teacher, used the NBCT process to turn around a failing school.

Another controversial week surrounding the Common Core took place in social media, so I enjoyed reading this blog by Sarah Brown Wessling where she debunks myths associated with the Common Core.

Anyone who knows me at all knows about my knee jerk reaction and passionate advocacy opposing worksheets in schools.  Check out this article shared by Lauren Hill but guest blogged by her daughter's first and third grade teacher, Shelly Praria.  Even the title of the worksheet "I Remember That Worksheet" Said No Child Ever! makes me want to shout in agreement.

Overall life in general

Have you ever considered telling a story about what you do? In this article, Alexandra Franzen shares how to tell people what you do and be remembered for it.

Speaking of story, if you haven't checked out the magazine Cake & Whiskey, you should definitely read it for a fresh perspective on women in the business world. The magazine is beautiful and in our online dominated world, this magazine presents itself primarily in print with gorgeous photos and stories to enjoy (and minimal advertisements). The article I read originally appeared in print, but was shared online this week in remembrance of Edith Flagg.

Finally, I'm always looking for healthy lunch alternatives for my sons since they want me to pack their lunches every single day, every single week, every single year.  That's hundreds of peanut butter and banana sandwiches. We don't buy lunchables, but I certainly don't nail all the healthy suggestions by Lisa Leake either.  Her blog is always inspiring though!

12 August 2014

Kentucky and Colorado Teachers Collaborate to Create Units of Study with LDC Modules Embedded Within

Seattle, Washington
From Seattle to Colorado to right here in Kentucky the collaborative spirit has been an important  productive struggle for teachers and partners participating in the Common Assignment Study (CAS). In the CAS, Kentucky and Colorado teachers continue to lead the way with the implementation of new standards in both states.  For the past year, teachers from Kentucky and Colorado have been collaborating to create units of study containing embedded Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) modules.  Hundreds of students in each state have been impacted by these high quality units, and dozens of teachers have learned from one another about what makes an effective unit and what quality student work looks like.

This summer we expanded our participation from 24 Kentucky teachers to 64 from five different Kentucky districts. Colorado has similar numbers of teachers from multiple districts participating in the study. To launch the expansion, The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky hosted Colorado educators and all our CAS partners twice this summer. We held the first session in northern Kentucky at Dixie Heights High School in late June. High School English Language Arts teachers and middle school history teachers joined forces to revise the units they implemented in 2013-2014 based on the results of student work they analyzed together using CAS partner created protocols. Joining us at this work session were school and district leaders from participating sites because we continue to learn the importance of school and district leadership with ensuring successful implementation. The leaders need to hear from teachers about what they need (time is always a big one) for collaborating with colleagues.
My son running XC on beautiful day in Lexington, KY

Our second session, in mid-July, was held in Lexington at Edith J. Hayes Middle School, and included a larger group of high school social studies, middle school English language arts, and both middle and high school science. Following the same protocols used at the June convening, teachers again worked to refine lessons and collaborate with teachers experienced in the CAS project and teachers joining new for the first time this year. This intentional design allowed teachers new to the project this year to work collaboratively with teachers who created the initial units last summer. This approach, though not easy, encouraged the newly joining teachers to take equal ownership of the units they will teach in 2014-2015.

As The Fund's Initiative Director for this project, one of my favorite parts is the equal focus on process and product. Yes, we're working to create units, rubrics, and protocols, but we are also experimenting with collaborative processes across school, district, and state lines. I'm not alone in thinking collaboration is a valuable part of our Common Assignment Study.  When asked what they liked about the collaborative process at the summer convenings, here's what we heard from some of the teachers...

"collaborative efforts of a lot of great minds"

"I liked that we came from different backgrounds"

"multiple perspectives"

"Collaboration was streamlined, and everyone was more comfortable speaking up"

"Again, collaboration with like minded experts always leads to new and productive ideas.  I always get better with my craft when surrounded by comrades."
Loveland, Colorado

Other posts about this project by me & by others

Common Assignment Study Gears Up for Second Year

Online Tools for Collaborating Across States

Common Assignment Study Post 1

Bridging the Digital Divide in Classrooms by Brison Harvey

Introducing Common Assignment Study  A three part post by Brison Harvey

A Storify all about the HS English Spring Unit by Colorado Teacher, Danny Holloweg

10 August 2014

Sunday Salon: What I Read Online August 4-9

Kentucky Education Happenings

In Kentucky we have a new evaluation system called the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System. This article in the Lexington Herald Leader includes quotes by teachers, principals, and KDE effectiveness coaches. 

In this post, Kipp Hottman reflects on his time at the Let's TALK conference earlier this summer. He specifically notes words from an inspiring speech by Dr. Felicia Cumings Smith about how we all need to work together to get things moving. That's what I love about education in Kentucky, we have movers and shakers here and I couldn't be more proud to be part of the movement.

Art & Literacy

I was so impressed with this article and the photographs about a New York artist who camouflages models into New York City landmarks that I looked for more articles on the same topic. Actually, a Twitter friend sent me this other link to a video showing the art of Liu Bolin. I watched this video twice a day for three days in a row because I couldn't get enough of the amazing art presented here.

When thinking about unit planning and curriculum, does it get much better than an exchange between Grant Wiggins and Jim Burke

For years I have been following the happenings at City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, and then I had the opportunity to visit this past winter.  This week I was excited to learn they are publishing an 80th birthday celebration collection of Diane di Prima's poetry.

Doing School Differently

Five schools in Michigan are rethinking learning spaces.  This article about flexible learning spaces is a must read if you're hoping to switch things up at your school.

Check out this article about helping students innovate as young entrepreneurs.

I am all about interdisciplinary learning--always have been.  A great quote from this article/book chapter "Only in school do we have 43 minutes of math and 43 minutes of English and 43 minutes of science."  Yep.  That's just about right, and why don't we change it?

What if we considered workplace/schoolplace satisfaction of teachers and students just as Google considers workplace satisfaction a key to their success? Read about why people matter at Google.

This article and infographic about jobs for our students by 2020 was fascinating.

Hiking & Being Healthy

While sitting here with my leg in a UK blue cast, I dream of hiking again this fall.  Well, then I read this article about a friend of a friend from North Carolina who came face to face with a grizzly bear at Glacier National Park.

Jennifer Pharr Davis and her company, Blue Ridge Hiking in Asheville, North Carolina continue to provide thoughts and considerations about hiking and trail life. In this particular post, she discusses the positive and negative of trail records. (In case you didn't know this--Jennifer Pharr Davis currently holds the record for the fastest thru hike of the Appalachian Trail--46 days!)

In this Mother Jones article by Chris Mooney, he suggests science says we should stop work and take a walk at 2:00 pm each day.  Sounds good to me.

Issues that Matter to Me

This well written op-ed about how our country thinks about torture was very thoughtful.

This TED talk and article provide hope.  The Terrorist's Son: A Story of Choice, by Zak Ebrahim with Jeff Giles. A young man discusses how he turned from his father's terrorist ways and decided to choose empathy.

I'm not a huge sports fan, but I was impressed to learn this week that the NBA has finally hired a woman as the first female-assistant coach.  This matters to me because I believe women should be able to compete in any job they desire.