It Conference Final


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  • Heather Fowler – English teacher at West Seneca West Senior, 6th year of teaching, 11th and 12th grade English and Creative Writing, MS in Education Technology.Jeanne Skotnicki – English Teacher at WSW, 7th year of teaching, 11th and 12th grade English, MA in English.
  • We want to try to tailor our presentation to you, so we need to know a little bit more about who you are and what you use in the classroom. Teachers/ administrators. (show of hands)On a scale of 1 to 5, how large is your professional network. Hold up one finger if you plan from our most common tools: district/state curricula, colleagues, popular media, and the local community. Hold up five if you’re using these resources along with blogs, wikis, Google tools, social networks, social bookmarking, video conferencing, etc. If you’re somewhere in the middle, choose 2, 3, or 4.
  • Our goal is to strengthen these skills in our students while reading, writing, speaking and listening. 21st Century skills include: Initiative and Self-Direction,Leadership and Responsibility,Critical Thinking,Creativity and Innovation,Collaboration and Innovation,Flexibility and Adaptability,Productivity and Accountability
  • To us this means, share, share, share!
  • No shared plan periods! The product = our curricula, reflected in our classroom and our curriculum maps! Examples: All new units since Fall of 2008 – Twisted, ROW, TKAM, Hunger Games, every presentation we have ever given…
  • Pooling our skills allows us to present more well-rounded lessons and curriculum to our students. We accomplish more and are accountable to another professional. We lead by example: students, department (book purchases), building (principal’s Ning), district and beyond. We reject the notion that one individual’s ideas are better than another’s; embracing flexibility makes us teachers who are more adaptable to change.
  • Our next step…
  • We facilitate not just learning, but leadership, discovery, self-awareness and awareness of others.
  • We approach lessons as facilitators in a community of learners, rather than as lecturers.
  • (Language from: Framework for 21st Century Learning.) Our classrooms are learning communities and our students are active learners. We, as teachers, take on the role of consultant allowing the students to direct their own learning—within certain parameters, of course.
  • From the final writing assignment for English 4, the Senior Reflection paper. We emphasized that students reflect upon their own learning experiences in it. The prompt was: "In English 4, ..." and a list of the units we completed. Their responses were to be a reflection on what they'd take away from the class, so all of their quotes are genuine; we did not point them to answer in any specific way.
  • Link to: Use this slide to give a “tour” of the Ning, noting blog posts, users, literature circle groups, comments and calendars.
  • Links to the respective pages and posts included. We also ask the students to sign a blogging contract which keeps their identities safe and sets parameters for courteous blogging behavior in case we need to follow up.
  • Students write for an audience other than the teacher. They have an awareness of that audience which equals more tolerant, measured responses. They write for a variety of purposes: to inform, to persuade, to motivate. They respond respectfully to their peers.
  • Once students are comfortable with the format of blogging, we ask them to incorporate outside sources into their blog posts in the form of links or direct quotes. Many students also incorporate pictures or videos into their posts. The level of Teresa’s writing jumped noticeably once she began engaging with topics other than herself.
  • Students must consider the topics they choose to write about with great care. They must determine their positions on the topic, and they have to gather, interpret, and analyze evidence to synthesize with their own ideas. All of this in order to write one blog post!
  • Students demonstrate their improved literacy through improved writing and blogging, responses to each other’s posts and successful completion of the Senior Thesis.
  • Our next steps: be more consistent about giving awards to student writers and featuring blog posts; ask students to comment on posts outside of their circle of friends in order to expand everyone’s audience and to get them thinking about new ideas
  • We hope to create digital student writing portfolios using Google Docs this year.
  • BB’s Notes – The colors represent the sources from which she took the information.
  • BB’s Outline – notes organized by topic
  • Ricky S. Draft
  • Using Google Docs, students can access their work from anywhere at anytime. They are more efficient. Students manage large amounts of information via Google Docs, improving their organizational skills. Students understand the legal and ethical issues surrounding research and accessing information.
  • Our next steps: Digital portfolios, paper submission - we plan to ask students to submit papers that are not appropriate for publication on a blog in this manner.
  • Groups organized by topic, NOT book. This allowed us to be more flexible in allowing students to read what they chose.
  • Show the whole page? URL: is an example of the final product, but the process was just as important, if not more!
  • URL: changes are made to the wiki page, they are logged in the history tab. The timestamps and usernames listed here let myself and the other group members know who did what on the wiki site. This came in handy while grading these projects.
  • URL: the scene conversations were logged on the discussion board associated with each wiki page. Students could discuss the content and its organization, and teachers could leave feedback with ease.
  • As Cory suggests, the act of creating a Web page engages students on multiple levels: they must think critically to analyze the literature they read and then synthesize that information with other researched information on their topic. Students must work collaboratively to pool their knowledge and information and are held accountable to one another for their contribution to the shared page.
  • Our next steps: ask students to create digital writing portfolios using wikis in Creative Writing class
  • Our next step…
  • URL: For each class meeting, we post our lesson procedures to the blog as a new article. Each article contains links to resources and uploaded class materials. This works really well for absent students. They don't have to miss a beat! Students can comment on a post when they have a question.
  • URL:
  • URL:
  • We learned that just because something useful exists, that doesn’t mean the students will flock to it, or even remember it’s there. This year we plan to reinforce our students’ awareness of the class blog by asking them to visit it (in class) for specific reasons, such as retrieving a particular piece of information or downloading an assignment.These reflections serve as a reminder that what works well for one student may not be useful to another. This idea is one of the reasons we try to vary our strategies and tools in the classroom. Some kids love the Ning, others hate it. Some love Google Docs, others are frustrated by it. So it goes.Our next steps: get the students on this page from day one, even including some sort of response activity so that they know it is there.
  • It Conference Final

    1. 1. Teaching 21st Century Teens<br />Jeanne Skotnicki and Heather Fowler<br />
    2. 2. Introductions<br />
    3. 3. Who are you?<br />1<br />5<br />Image source:<br />
    4. 4. Goals<br />Share our philosophies, ideas, and tools for creating a twenty-first century classroom.<br />Define what a twenty-first century learning community looks like to us and our students.<br />Provide an opportunity for you to brainstorm, discuss, and share ideas. <br />Be resources for you!<br />Model collaborative thought process.<br />
    5. 5. Agenda<br />Framework for 21st Century Learning<br /><br />What makes us innovative<br />Our teaching philosophy and rationale<br />Our use of Web 2.0 tools and technology <br />Nings (Blogging & Discussion boards)<br />Google Docs<br />Wikis<br />Class Blogs<br />Brief Q &A Sessions<br />
    6. 6. Innovative Teaching<br />
    7. 7. Collaboration = Innovation<br />Old-School<br />21st-Century<br />
    8. 8. Why Innovate?<br />“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”<br />--Charles Darwin <br />
    9. 9. Student Reflection<br />“You and Mrs. Skotnicki did seem to have a unique teaching relationship with how all of your classes seemed intertwined and in a way almost like we had two teachers.” <br />--Kyle P.<br />“I absolutely loved it! Both of you collaborate often, share your ideas and always teach what you think is best for your students to learn. Anyone would be lucky to have either one of you as an English teacher, just like I was.”<br />--Kristen M. <br />
    10. 10. How Can I Collaborate?<br /><br /><br />Other resources: curriculum maps, educational Web sites, individual teacher Web sites and blogs. <br />
    11. 11. Brief Discussion<br />How do you collaborate? <br />How could you collaborate? <br />What do you see as the biggest roadblocks to planning and/or teaching collaboratively? <br />Any other questions? <br />
    12. 12. We Facilitate<br />
    13. 13. Our Teaching Philosophy<br />“The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts but learning how to make facts live.” <br />--Oliver Wendell Holmes<br />“A teacher is one who makes [herself] progressively unnecessary.” <br />--Thomas Carruthers<br />
    14. 14. A Community of Learners<br />Students learn actively by participating in blogs, wikis, and discussion boards.<br />Students demonstrate leadership and responsibility by self-monitoring their content and digital presence. They are 21st Century Citizens.<br />Assignments require students to think critically and respond creatively.<br />
    15. 15. Brief Discussion<br />What is 21st-century learning?<br />Why should educators embrace 21st-century learning? And, to what degree?<br />How can you let your students take the reigns (with your help) and become more self-directed? Any particular units? <br />Any other questions? <br />
    16. 16. From Theory To Practice<br />
    17. 17. Student Reflection<br />“The technology used throughout the course was fairly new to me. I had never blogged before or commented back and forth in a discussion group. Each unit that incorporated a writing aspect helped fine tune my writing skills or some other aspect of my literacy. I learned how to incorporate technology into my homework and pulled a little bit of it into everything I did in high school during the year.” <br />--Tom C.<br />
    18. 18. Ning<br /><br />Customized, private social network <br />Uses: student blogging, literature discussion boards, publication of photos, videos and other media<br />
    19. 19. English 4 Ning<br />All 275 students enrolled in English 4 participate<br />300-word blog due weekly<br />Topic choice = ownership of writing<br />Authentic audience and feedback<br />Students monitor and filter their digital presence<br />
    20. 20. English 4 Ning<br />
    21. 21. Blogs: Implementation<br />Discuss with building administrators first<br />“Sell it” to the students<br />Did You Know 2.0 <br />The appropriate language lesson…<br />Do account setup and initial assignment in class<br />Give timely feedback<br />Require revision! <br />“I Really Hate…” Blog Post<br />“Why We Blog” Post<br />
    22. 22. Demonstrating Their Skills<br />
    23. 23. Communication and Collaboration<br />"Once I was fearful of people's opinions clashing with my own, or fearful of what they'd think about me, but I'm a stronger person due to the blogs. I was able to communicate what I thought with not only my classmates, but all students and faculty members in English 4.”<br /> --Steve B.<br />“I enjoyed reading blogs about things that I don’t usually put much effort into learning about and seeing what my classmates thought about different issues. Blogging was a way to express what I was feeling and show others what I thought and cared about.” <br />--Amanda W.<br />
    24. 24. Information Literacy<br />"I believe that the weekly blogs helped me most in writing skills I need for the rest of my life. They forced me to draw inspiration from somewhat unlikely sources. Also, I discovered that I could write longer, more organized work. An important matter is that I could interact with others and still get credit for schoolwork.” <br />--Evan D. <br />“…I started to then research topics on things that would interest me. Sometimes even things that would just hit the news that day. I started to become my own little reporter. I even felt like sometimes I was making a difference in some of the students [sic] lives.” <br />--Teresa S.<br />
    25. 25. Critical Thinking<br />“When I began to write my blogs, I discovered feelings about certain things that I never even knew I had. Sometimes without truly sitting and thinking about your thoughts on a particular idea, and/or writing them down, you don’t always know how you feel. This unit forced me to look within myself and discover what I believed in, and how I felt.” <br />--Katlyn M.<br />
    26. 26. Demonstrating Literacy<br />"All of the positive comments and feedback I received on my posts really gave me the confidence to want to write more and more. I loved it for the sheer fact that it made me work on my writing skills and allowed me an outlet to say almost anything I wanted, in a poised and organized way. I even started my own independent blog and received an internship from the main site."<br />--Caitlin B.<br />
    27. 27. Brief Discussion<br />How could/do you use this tool in your classroom? <br />Any other questions? <br />
    28. 28. Google Docs<br />
    29. 29. What Is It? <br />Free, Web-based document sharing tool including word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications.<br /><br />
    30. 30. Uses & Implementation<br />Notes, works cited, outline, Senior Thesis drafts<br />Students create accounts and share documents with teacher<br />Teacher monitors student progress on assignments, giving timely feedback<br />Environmentally friendly<br />Student groups can share folders within Google Docs<br />
    31. 31. Notes Example<br />
    32. 32. Outline Example<br />
    33. 33. Draft Example<br />
    34. 34. 21st Century Skills<br />"Googledocs [sic] kept all my notes organized and I knew I would never lose them. With all my notes organized, typing my six page essay wasn't very hard at all. I knew what order to put everything in."<br />--Julia C.<br />"Using Google Docs taught me to organize my information in a way that forced me to cite my sources."<br />--KelsieT.<br />
    35. 35. Brief Discussion<br />How could/do you use this tool in your classroom? <br />Additional thoughts or questions? <br />
    36. 36. Wikis<br />
    37. 37. Uses & Implementation<br />A Web site that multiple users can edit, sometimes simultaneously. This Web site can have one or many pages, depending upon your purposes. <br />Students worked collaboratively in groups during a literature circle unit designing the layout and content of a site dedicated to common topic. <br />Multi-media: videos, photos, poetry, textual quotes, Web pages, news articles<br />
    38. 38. War and Power Wiki<br />
    39. 39. Being A Soldier Revision History<br />
    40. 40. Children And War Discussion Board<br />
    41. 41. Student Reflection<br />"As much as I knew about war, having to connect books, movies, songs, and other pieces of literature seemed like it was going to take a lot of work. After doing some research [sic] the analysis skills from previous units in the year really helped me breakdown the different pieces and put the web site together fairly easily. I was able to develop better partner skills as we had to work in groups of three to put the web site together. As a group [sic] we all worked on little parts and analyzed different backgrounds of literature. By putting together this website, not only did it help skills with working together [sic], but also organizing and developing an actual website." --Cory E. <br />
    42. 42. Other Ideas For Wikis<br />Log classroom activities and resources<br />Ask students to become experts on a topic and create wiki pages that share their finding with the rest of the class.<br />Create study guides for a novel or a unit. <br />Shared work space for group projects. <br />
    43. 43. Brief Discussion<br />How could/do you use Wikis in your classroom? <br />Other thoughts?<br />
    44. 44. Class Blogs<br />
    45. 45. English 4 Class Blog<br />
    46. 46. English 3 Class Blog<br />
    47. 47. Creative Writing<br />
    48. 48. Our Next Step<br />“Yes, yes, yes. If you miss a lot of school and are late EVERY day, they definitely help!”<br />--Madeline M.<br />“I forgot we even had that blog. I think I used it once.” <br />--Stephanie W.<br />
    49. 49. Questions?<br /><br /><br />