New year, new adventure, new resumé

Every time I sit down to write a blog post I look at the date of my last post and I’m like…really!? It was that long ago?! I have only posted twice this year. What?! I have so much more to say than that! And then I remind myself of all the amazing, fulfilling things that are taking up my hours (besides sleep).

  • My full time job as an Instructional Coach (Technology Integration) at #AISQ8 is going as well as it has in my 6 years in the position. We’ve moved offices this year (yay for a true Learning Commons!) and I truly enjoy coming to work.
  • I coached 2 sports last year (u14 girls’ soccer and track & field) and my 1st of 3 seasons this year just started (u14 girls’ soccer, JV girls’ soccer and track & field).
  • I spent an amazing spring break & summer at home in Pure Michigan with family. We just can’t resist our adorable nieces!
  • Jeff and I spent 2 wonderful weeks in Italy (our first time back since he proposed in 2008) and I soaked in every minute of my 8-day Cognitive Coaching Foundation course.

Oh…and I’ve been working as the Managing Director (and Marketing Manager) for COETAIL since March! I bought hardcore into the COETAIL philosophy as an Online ’13-14 participant and I was pumped when they announced that they were hiring in February…so I applied for every position! If you’re a current, grad or potential COETAILer, you’ve probably received an email (or several) from me since March. It’s been busy but I have loved every minute of my new challenge and I feel supported by the entire COETAIL team and community. As Jeff and I continue our life adventure, I can’t wait to see where the amazing connections we have made take us!

I finally took the time to update my resumé (to complement Jeff’s) and thought I’d share it here with my professional/life update. I hope that school years around the world are starting off well!

Click here to view PDF version

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Entering the #MYPscience Classroom – Seeking Connections

Some facts:

  • My undergrad major was Chemistry. I graduated 10 years ago.
  • I worked in a raw materials pharmaceutical lab. That was 9 years ago.
  • I am certified to teach Chemistry. I passed the PRAXIS 5 years ago
  • I’ve tutored a few students in science during the last 5 years.
  • I’ve never taught a science class.
  • I will be teaching an MYP 5 science class for the remainder of the 2016-17 school year.

So there’s all that. My biggest fear is that I won’t be able to find the balance to be both a good teacher and a good instructional coach (without going insane). Oh…and I’m currently coaching track & field too. My biggest hopes are that I will make meaningful connections with students and positively impact student learning. Weighing it all, this is a great opportunity to get back into the classroom and experience teaching science with a supportive & collaborative 10th grade teaching team.

As I start to tune in to both the content and the pedagogy of teaching science, I’m looking to connect with anyone who:

  • has successfully transitioned from 1 teacher to another during a school year.
  • teaches MYP 4 or 5 science (I’m especially interested in integrating ATL skills, the IB Learner Profile, concepts, global contexts & statements of inquiry in everything we do).
  • uses protocols with (HS) students.
  • uses visible thinking routines to help (HS/MYP) students better understand science.
  • integrates technology in the teaching & learning of (MYP) science.
  • balances the responsibilities of leadership & classroom teacher.

#AISQ8 has some amazing educators and I’m excited to collaborate with the department. However I’d love to expand my PLN as I take some risks this year. Say hi, suggest educators I should connect with or whatever you see fit. Sending lots of gratitude into the universe!

Technology Integration & Collaborative Planning in #IBPYP

Although my default compass point is West, the last 4+ years in a Pk-12 instructional coaching role have allowed me to hone my East skills. More and more I strive to make a systemic impact on student learning (a large part of why I left the classroom). Below is one small way that this plays out in my daily practice.

After attending the PYP Collaborative Planning workshop in October at AISQ8, my desire for trying to figure out how to better collaborate with my colleagues in order to positively impact student learning increased exponentially (it was already pretty high). Thankfully, Sanja and I were invited to each of the ES grade level planning meetings for the upcoming units. Our goal during this first round of meetings was to be non-judgmental observers, providing input only upon request, in order to better understand the structure and flow.

We still have a lot of (collaborative) work to do in figuring out how to best be part of the unit planning process. However this week we wanted to follow-up with teams. My Eastern (and Western) tendencies came out in taking (extra) time to draft a standard email that we could use across the grade levels. We wanted it to be focused on teaching and learning, not simply technology. I used a What? So what? Now what? structure to guide our communication. Our goal was to make sure teachers felt heard before (re)introducing our ideas. Below is our general structure and an example.


Good morning/afternoon grade _ team,

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your 3-block planning for the ______ unit. We appreciated the peak into the teaching and learning that is occurring in grade _ classrooms.

What
What the unit planner says, what we heard them say
During your discussions, we heard you focus on…
We heard you say that technology might be integrated in the teaching and learning in the following ways…

So what
Connection to Learning w/ Technology Standards
In the Teaching and Learning with Technology document released by the IB last year, they introduce the AID lens. The three principles (Agency, Information & Design) are intended to aid and extend teaching and learning. Based on your unit planner and what we heard you say, your unit might be viewed through the ____ lens where ___.

[A future version will focus on our new standards that are in development.] The Learning w/ Technology Standards are AIS standards that are we are currently drafting and piloting. They are based on the ISTE Standards, ALA Standards and IB documents. Based on your unit planner and what we heard you say, your unit connects to _____ (strands). Specifically, the following standards might enhance student learning:

Now what
Our ideas
Based on and in addition to this, some ways that we might be able to support you in integrating technology would be_________. These also connect to your ______ (Common Core) standards.

How can we support you and your students as you continue to create opportunities to make connections outside our school walls?

How can we support you in using the AID lens to consider how subject areas and themes can be combined with technology to create new learning experiences?

How can we support you and your students as you continue to create authentic, real-world assessments?

Looking forward to continuing to collaborate with you in order to positively impact student learning!

 


Good morning/afternoon grade 1 team,

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your 3-block planning for the How Do We Express Ourselves unit. We appreciated the peak into the teaching and learning that is occurring in grade 1 classrooms.

During your discussions, we heard you focus on students inquiring into cultural identity and expression. We heard you say that technology might be integrated into the teaching and learning in the following ways:

  • Research
  • Search engines accessible for grade 1 students
  • Netflix (Human Planet)
  • Video recording interviews during the International Day

The Learning w/ Technology Standards are AIS standards that are we are currently drafting and piloting. They are based on the ISTE Standards, ALA Standards and IB documents. Based on your unit planner and what we heard you say, your unit connects to Global Communicator and Collaborator and Knowledge Constructor. Specifically, the following standards might enhance student learning:

  • Global Communicator and Collaborator
    • GCC1: Students choose the appropriate platforms and tools for meeting the desired objectives of their creation or communication.
    • GCC3: Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.
    • GCC4: Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.
    • GCC5: Students use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.
    • GCC6: Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.
  • Knowledge Constructor
    • KC1: Students plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits.
    • KC3: Students curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions.

Based on and in addition to this, some ways that we might be able to support you in integrating technology would be to facilitate connections to other countries, schools, and students and investigate/share grade level appropriate research databases. These also connect to your Speaking and Listening (Comprehension and Collaboration) and Geography (G1 and G2) standards.

How can we support you and your students as you continue to create opportunities to make connections outside our school walls?

How can we support you and your students as you continue to create authentic, real-world assessments?

Looking forward to continuing to collaborate with you in order to positively impact student learning!

Days 1-3 of #CriticalFriends Group Coaches’ Training at #AISQ8

I’ve participated in Critical Friends Groups for the last 3+ years at AIS. Thanks to Christina (now a NSRF International Facilitator!), CFG Coaches’ Training was brought to Kuwait! Sixteen educators from 4 different schools in Kuwait participated in the first 3 days of the training. One of my hopes for the 3 days was that I would go to school on Sunday morning feeling inspired, not tired. During the next 3 months we will practice facilitating protocols in our own contexts and then reconvene in March for days 4 & 5. Afterwards, we’ll officially be Critical Friends Group Coaches and be able to lead our own CFGs!

Every time I engage in #CFGwork, I learn more about myself and my profession. My biggest takeaway from this weekend was that my West-ern tendencies support me as a facilitator but I was able to channel my East & South and allow others to make meaning from participating in & facilitating CFG work. I am most grateful for the opportunity to do CFG work with colleagues outside of my school. It was enlightening and refreshing to connect & grow with other educators in Kuwait (not something we do very often!). I already can’t wait to gather with them in March to finish our training! It’s Sunday…and I’m definitely still inspired and not too tired 🙂

Here is the learning that we shared (via Twitter) during the first 3 days of our training. Below are the pictures I took to record & share my experience.

My 2016-17 Professional Service Goal

Looking back over my blog since I have left the classroom, I find that I write more posts during times that I am uninspired. While I was in the classroom, I used my blog as a reflection tool on my practice. Since then, I still use this space as a way to reflect, however when I feel inspired in my professional life I find that I spend less time reflecting here. I’m too busy doing “awesome” stuff! 😉 I want to get better at sharing & reflecting on the small stuff this year!

Today I finished my yearly professional goal. Since my goal this year is connected to online presence, I decided to share it here. This year we were challenged to include service as it is an institutional theme (along with assessment and inclusion). I knew right away what my goal would be and Dave helped me refine it yesterday. I’m excited to continue to explore how to best use social media to share the amazing learning experiences happening at AISQ8. I currently manage the official Twitter and Instagram accounts…I’m hoping that this year I will be able to help create policies and procedures that will sustain. I will be looking for support, feedback & advice as I embark on my professional service goal!

#AISQ8 DP1 French Blogs

Our IB DP1 Language B French students have just started blogs. The more authentic comments they can get on their writing, the better. It would be wonderful if you could comment (en français bien sur) or share their blogs with other French speakers (teachers, students, etc). See below for a note from their teacher & the links. Merci bien!


 

Bonjour,

Je suis en train de travailler avec mes élèves de DP 1 sur le thème de la Communication et les Médias . Ils ont créé des Blogs pour parler de la télévision.  J’aimerais vous demander une faveur, si vous avez un peu de temps, rentrez sur  leur Blog et laissez un petit commentaire. Ça fera plus authentique et ils vont devoir répondre à votre commentaire.

Je ne vous demande pas de les juger ou de corriger leurs fautes de langue. Je le ferai moi même, mais ils seraient tellement ravis de voir que d’autres personnes que moi s’interessent à leurs écrits.

Merci beaucoup,

Amel

Les liens des blogs:

Raj- https://rajfrenchblog.wordpress.com/

Leina- https://discoursindirect.wordpress.com/

Nicholas – https://cheznicholas.wordpress.com/

Vaibhav – https://chezvaibhav.wordpress.com/

Abeer – https://chezabeer.wordpress.com/ 

Last week’s project – a gradebook screencast for staff

We switched grade reporting programs this year. We’ve moved to an online gradebook that parents & students can access 24/7. Because we decided to stay with our current provider (Rediker) in order to keep all our student data, we have had to adapt TeacherGradebook to function properly for our IB programs. Although we’ve created lots of step-by-step written instructions, teachers still struggle to understand exactly what it is that they’re doing. We decided that giving them a more conceptual understanding of the gradebook might help them going forward.

I’m sharing this because I spent a significant amount of time working on it last week. And because TechSmith is pretty great to use – simple, intuitive, quick with lots of video editing options. My one complaint is that many sites (including WordPress) don’t allow you to embed the SmartPlayer (where all the really cool features are). Our Tech Director uploaded the necessary files to our school website so that I could share the blinged out version with staff (without having to upload to ScreenCast.com). I also uploaded the boring version to our Office 365 InfoSite.

Here is the (edited) version with all the bells & whistles. It has:

  • Clickable table of contents takes you to various sections of the video.
  • Click on the video whenever you see a link to open the website in a new tab. Your mouse pointer will change to a hand whenever the video is clickable.
  • Click the ‘table of contents’ button to search the video.

The boring version is embedded below. Enjoy 🙂

[Full disclosure: I recieved Camtasia & Snagit free because I’m a Google for Education Certified Trainer. But this post has nothing to do with that – I just love working with the products. AND they’re from my home state, Pure Michigan 🙂 ]