Final Project – Unit 5: Assessment

Note: the instructional order of units 5 and 6 were switched to allow Unit 5: Redesigning the Learning Space to be taught before the beginning of the school year for many of the cohort participants.

I had already done some research into how to use technology to better inform my teaching through improved assessment but this unit really took me above and beyond. There are so many awesome new technologies available to make formative assessment easier and more effective. I have had the opportunity to explore Go Formative, Pear Deck, EdPuzzle, JoeZoo, and many more. The biggest piece that runs between all these programs is that teachers can get and give instant feedback from and to students so that we can be much more nimble and effective in our teaching.

Assessment Matrix


Final Project – Unit 6: Redesigning the Learning Space.

Note: the instructional order of units 5 and 6 were switched to allow Unit 5: Redesigning the Learning Space to be taught before the beginning of the school year for many of the cohort participants.

I really enjoyed this section of the course. I learned a lot about how to better utilize my space and make it more inviting to my students. I am really looking forward to seeing how it works once we are all in the space.

Update (8/28/16):

We have now been in the space two weeks. It is working out really, really well. This configuration has made moving around the room even with everyone in their seats the most fluid and easiest I have ever had. We have a large carpet space central to the room which is great for direct instruction and class meetings. We were able to transition from working at our tables to everyone in the meeting circle including adjusting tables and bringing chairs in less than 45 seconds, on the second attempt of the year. That is astounding. Last year it regularly took 2-3 minuts to make that transition. Granted it is a different group of students but that is still a fenomenal change. The students like the tables and enjoy using the “Idea Wall” whiteboard.

Learning Spaces Final Project Writeup

Read more below the break.

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The “Idea Wall” – Installing A Whiteboard Wall – On The Cheap.

As a part of the EdTechTeam Teacher Leader course we had to look at redesigning our learning space to make it more conducive to meeting our students’ needs. We looked at seating, arrangement and choice of furniture, and how we used our wall space.

I decided to use one of my walls to put up a 5.5ft wide, 8ft tall whiteboard. When I ran the idea by my principal he immediately dubbed it an “Idea Wall”. I installed it for about $45

On a lark I decided to also extend my whiteboard at the front of my room to the ceiling so that I could use it as a giant screen. This added a third sheet of panel board to my project and increased the cost to about $60 total.


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Final Project – Unit 4: Visual Literacy

Visual Literacy is very important to consider when we design our Flipped Learning lessons because we want our videos and images to be visually apealing and engaging to our students. Being aware of how to use images to good effect can greatly increase the impact of the media that we create to use with our students. When we teach our students to be visually literate we open their learning up to a whole new level because our brains process images much faster and more completely than they do text or sound.

In our age of Photoshop, Greenscreens, and other ways to change video and pictures visual literacy is incredibly important. When our students build their personal identity against the backdrop of the “perfect” pictures that they see on Instagram and other sites, many of which are faked or edited to present the apperance of “perfect” we need to make sure to educate our students about how those images impact them.

Perfect Takes Its Toll

These two videos are from an Instagram star who decided to leave social media because of the stress of having to remain “perfect”. We have to teach our students how to fully understand the images that they see so that they can make informed decisions.

Final Project


For my final project I made two infographics to help get educators on to Twitter to build their PLN.

The first infographic is why educators should join Twitter. The title is in “Twitter Blue”. The two sections of the infograhpic are a brick red and a purple both colors are vibrant while still allowing white text Read More »

Final Project – Unit 3: Flipped Learning

Flipped Learning has HUGE potential to reorganize learning in my classroom. The idea that I could drastically reduce the amount of time I spend in front of my students talking to them and engaging only a few of them is exciting. The difficulty comes in implementing it correctly. My students have very limited access to technology at home. Smartphones are common, tablets less so, and laptops and desktops are a rare beast. Even those who do have devices available often have limited internet access or don’t have internet access at all. Because of this I think that I would have to implement the Flipped Rotation or In Class Flipped model to allow my students to access the digital materials in an equitable (and productive) way.

My two lessons are targeted not at the students of my school but at the teachers. Our site is rolling out Google Apps for Education to our students in the fall and my staff do not understand the capabilities of Google Classroom, Google Drive, and the rest of the GAFE suite. These lessons are to help them start to feel comfortable with GAFE so that they will begin to integrate it into their teaching.

My first lesson is an Introduction to Google Classroom built around a Google Form. It is very basic because none of my teachers have used GC at all (as far as I know) and I need to give a brief overview and find out where they stand so that I can better support them.

My second lesson will be used later in the year to help them adapt the Google Drive Level Up Challenge to be able to use it with their students. They will have already done the challenge as part of our PD series.

Key learning to remember when using flipped learning.

From What is Flipped Learning? by

Flipping a class can, but does not necessarily, lead to Flipped Learning.

Flipped Learning Matrix

Final Project – Unit 2: Project Based Learning

Reflecting on this past year I know that my students had very little agency in their education. Our days and content were very structured. There were often open ended questions but not questions that pushed my students beyond a brief answer. I don’t find it suprising that engagement was often a struggle, particularly in the low parts of the year. Even before I joined EdTechTeam’s Teacher Leader Certificate program I knew that I needed something different to take into next year. Something that would push me and my students further, require all of the 21st Century Skills to accomplish, and engage my students more.

In April I went to the Google Apps for Educatin Sonoma Summit put on by EdTechTeam. While there I was really introduced to Project Based Learning (PBL) for the first time through Kevin Brookhouser’s keynote and sessions. There I started to learn about 20% Time and the impact it can have on student learning.

Next year I will be a TOSA and I will not have my own group of students so I focused my research on Genius Hour and how to encourage the rest of my staff to implement PBL in their classrooms. For my PBL research, I researched Genius Hour because it can be implemented on a smaller scale than 20time which should make it more attractive to teachers with impacted schedules. I believe with encouragement and support the teachers at my site will be able to move away from “unit projects” towards Project Based Learning and have a positive impact on the learning outcomes of our students.

With a little luck and a lot of hard work our students will go from having very little agency to having Genius Hour where they can reach for the stars!

Here is my Final Project for Unit 2: Project Based Learning.

Genius Hour – Higher Order Thinking Through Student Agency

Photo Credit: ScottNorrisPhoto via Compfight cc

As a part of EdTechTeam Teacher Leader program I had to research one type of Project/Problem Based Learning (PBL). I chose Genius Hour because I had heard some good things about it. Having researched it I think that every teacher should implement Genius Hour or some other form of PBL in their class. Even or especially teachers of primary grades. Genius Hour has the capability to catch the wonder of younger students and intensify their curiosity when it is still strong to help grow lifelong learners. While PBL does take a lot of time that can be difficult to carve out of a heavily scheduled school day the rewards far outweigh the difficulties.

I recently read Twitter that “school has the habit of crushing the curiosity out of students”. I wish I could remember/find who said it so that I can properly attribute it. The person who said it as part of their support of PBL. PBL is one of the ways that we can reverse the troubling trend of disengaged students. We need active curious learners who will shoot for the stars and help us solve the wicked problems that are so overwealming we ignore them rather than try to fix them, problems like global climate change.

Genuis Hour Research Presentation