Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Instructional Planner + Curriculum Mapper = Useful Data

Well, my mind is definitely overflowing with ideas. One of my thoughts that I hope to put some work behind SOON is getting back into my discipline of mathematics: look at a course and put pencil to paper on looking at concepts, taking those concepts and putting together Enduring Understandings, using Dr. Erickson's work we all had a chance to experience on October 4. I have said to a couple of people that if I was back in the classroom, trying to make sense of this, I would find this particular work more than a little intimidating for me! So what better way to face it than head on :) riiggghhhhhhtttttt!!  I am excited to begin this, maybe this weekend I will be able to "carve" out the time to start.

My next step for Curriculum Mapper/Instructional Planner is to hop over to the Mapper side and see what mischief I can get into. I have not done a lot of exploring yet and I know this is where the power to have deeper conversations around data will happen. It will be hard work for all of us to get to this point, but I am looking expectantly to being able to see the beginnings of our fruits from all the thought, conversations, training and work all of us have been doing with this piece of curriculum design over the past year and a half.

Our trainer, Ann Nelson from Newton, will be back with us on December 9. I think we will leave our team meeting times as is - Content Teams in the AM and District Leadership Team in the afternoon. I know some of us will get a double dose, but honestly, I see that as a positive. Please remember our task between now and then is to have at least one unit in IP, work with it, and when the unit is done (been taught) send it to Curriculum Mapper. If we all strive to do this before Dec. 9 we will have a much better experience with Ann. The time with her will be dependent on our follow-through!

I will come and help however I can! It was also suggested by another member of the teams that if anyone is interested on the teacher workday coming up, maybe within the same building, take an hour to put heads together. I had another idea for study group type stuff and that would be to visit buildings at a good time for that building (AM, PM, lunchtime), being available for anyone to work, ask questions etc.......Any comments, suggestions????

Lastly, I have had minimal contact with additional teachers that are showing interest in learning more now opposed to next year. That is perfectly OK! At the same time I don't want anyone feeling like they CAN'T start to explore. Just know that I am willing to come to you :):)

Enjoy the Fall weather, falling leaves and slowing falling temperatures! Be safe and look both ways before walking underneath that ladder looking for your black cat! Happy Haunting this Halloween!!!!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stop the World and Let Me Catch Up!

Hey everyone! I don't know about you, but after this past two months I am ready to to try to catch up with my shadow! We have been increasing our knowledge and skill immensely, beginning with Curr Mapper/Instr Planner on Aug 9-10, UbD on Sep 22-23 and then yesterday with Concept Based Learning. We now need to  process all this and see how all these connect. That is no easy feat, especially when the daily world of our work tugs at our sleeves and pant legs, constantly demanding our attention to the here and now, the minute by minute decisions we must make. I hope that as we meet this month, Oct 14 and next, Nov 4, we take time to do that processing, looking at how to orchestrate things for our district.

My initial thoughts on how they connect: Concept-Based Learning is the very bottom foundational piece to taking us and our students to a deeper level of understanding. Understanding by Design is that next layer, putting the big ideas, enduring understandings and essential questions into an instructional unit and curriculum design process/format. Then the tool used for "getting this on paper" is Instructional Planner. The other part of that technology tool, Curriculum Mapper will assist all of us in seeing how well our Concept-Based, Enduring Understandings hook our ICC standards, as well as other district level standards (such as perhaps music specific standards), showing gaps horizontally and vertically. Once there, we will all be able to have much richer conversations about how to "fix" those gaps, instead of searching for them. My thoughts are no where complete, but as I try to think about how it all fits, I think I am getting a clearer picture all the time - but I believe it is because I am pretty much forcing myself to ponder on it. Since no one is stepping up to stop the world so I can catch up, I figure I better look for even more ways to work smarter.

Well, thanks for reading - leave a comment, give your thoughts a chance to be heard.  Let the group know if you see different connects, think I am way off, etc. Remember we are learning together.

Enjoy the rest of this week - such beautiful weather!!