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Sarah Bernhardt

PD Reflections  - 
 
In June I spent 4 days at the Design Thinking Institute at the Nueva School with a team of 4 other teachers, and it has given me so much to think about over the last few weeks - both "big ideas" as well as some of the "smaller nuances" that make design thinking successful in the classroom. One big idea that has stuck with me when thinking about planning for this upcoming year is that teachers "don't make up projects; they find real work" for students to engage with. A smaller nuance that I've found useful is that when teaching students to interview during the needfinding stage, it is less about having a predetermined list of questions or a survey planned out ahead of time, but more about eliciting stories from the person you are interviewing as a way of uncovering needs. But I think the most important idea underpinning all of this is the depth of Social/Emotional Learning (SEL) that is part of the curriculum. Students are taught specific tools such as an "emotional thermometer" and a "personal boundary bubble," an "internal critic/internal supporter," and many others. I was wondering if anyone has been to the Institute for SEL in previous years or is going to the one in August (it's in Chicago this year). The social/emotional learning that kids engage with through these tools goes way beyond what I've done with my classes during our morning meeting, and I'd love to dig into this more as a way of developing the mindsets kids need to be successful design thinkers but also successful little people who relate to each other with empathy and kindness. Looking forward to sharing and talking about this more in August! :)
Social and Emotional Learning Teacher Training Institute for K-12th Grade Educators and Administrators.
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Laurel Janewicz

PD Reflections  - 
 
Are Mathematical Practices Visible in Your Classroom?
I attended this session at the NCTM conference in April, led by Barbara Zorin, Patricia Hunsader, and Denisse Thompson, all from the University of South Florida.  

Seven Strategies that help you frame questions to build the mathematical practices (MP).  I've list which MPs each strategy addresses.  Some I know we already do, but some additional great ideas to build richer questions.  

Begin at the End:  MP 1, 2, 7
e.g. Given a set of data, instead of asking students to find specific measures of center, ask them, "What is the question if the answer is 30?  48?  55?  In what situations would we want to know the data in this context?"

Changing Conditions: MP 1, 4, 7, 8
e.g. Given a prism, instead of asking students to find the volume, ask them, "What are the new dimensions if the height is doubled but the volume needs to stay the same?  Cut in half?  Divided by 3?  Generalize the pattern."

Multiple Pathways: MP 1, 2, 4
e.g. Given a complex polygon, ask students to find the area of a shaded region of it in two different ways and to illustrate one of those ways on the diagram.  

Play the Critic: MP 3, 6
e.g. Provide two or more solution paths (one flawed, both flawed, both work) and ask students to critique them.  

Tell the Truth: MP 2, 7
e.g. Give a problem and ask, "Is this always, sometimes, or never true?"  This is good for problems that highlight common errors.  

Spotlight on Errors: MP 2, 6, 7
e.g. Provide sample student work that contains an error.  Ask students to correct the mistake and provide an explanation of the error that was made.  

What's the Story: MP 1, 2, 4, 7
e.g. Start with a non-contextualized expression or equation and ask students for a real-world context that would be modeled by it.  
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Marsha Rosenberg

PD Reflections  - 
 
The majority of teachers and teaching assistants at the ELC participated in an online course offered by Harvard University called Making Learning Visible; The Power of Group Learning and Documentation in Classrooms and Communities. 

Our learning was centered around these course Throughlines:

• What can teachers and students do to create and sustain learning groups within and outside the classroom?
• How does documentation shape, extend, and make visible children’s and adults’ individual and group learning.
• How do learning groups create as well as transmit culture, values, and democracy? What opportunities and responsibilities does this create?


We formed age level teams and engaged in collaborative learning activities in order to form adult learning groups and to discuss the learning groups we created in our classrooms. We spent time documenting our students' learning and then reflecting with each other and with our students on this documentation.  Each of us had final project called a “Zoom” or poster documenting a question we posed. We have been sharing our Zooms with each other and have all developed Action Plans for continuing our learning.

My question was:
 What is a CONVERSATION ?  How can I have a conversation with my friends.
Here is my Zoom. I used speech bubbles to document the conversations:
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Paul O'Neill
owner

Upcoming PD  - 
 
Daily Differentiation - PD opportunity at St Mary's - Sept 5-6.  Any teachers wishing to attend - please let me know - we always support EARCOS weekend workshops in our local community.
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Paul O'Neill
owner

Upcoming PD  - 
 
Global Online Academy - Global Learning Networks 2015-16
As a Partner school with Global Online Academy, we are able to participate in their outreach and professional learning opportunities.

We have participants registering from around the world to engage in these deep dive professional development experiences. Eight very enthusiastic and talented independent school educators are ready to co-facilitate these nine month online learning communities throughout the 2015 -16 school year. GLNs start September 18, 2015 and end on May 31, 2016.

This years GLN topics are:

Libraries of Tomorrow
School Culture and Inclusivity: Leading and Managing initiatives
Lab Experience: Innovative Educators Connect
Early Career Educators: Building by Borrowing

Before the school year ends we are looking for more participants to register.
Global Learning Networks. Global Learning Networks are year-long professional learning communities that connect educators across schools as they explore topics relevant to their roles on campus. These Global Learning Networks, or GLNs, employ professional development best practices by providing ...
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Sarah Bernhardt

This is worth sharing  - 
 
This is an article I came across on the Heinemann website about actions that support growth for teachers and for students. Lots of re-quotable quotes here, but essentially she is describing how building community, inquiry and design, having mentors, sharing, and reflection are just as essential for us to cultivate within ourselves as teachers as they are for our students.
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I also liked this quote: "We know that being clear about our center and curious about our future feeds our interest in continually creating something new."
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Paul O'Neill
owner

Upcoming PD  - 
 
COACHING INNOVATION
As an affiliate of the Global Online Academy many of our students participate in online courses. As well there is a suite of Professional Development courses for teachers. 

Something that might interest those of you who are looking for leadership opportunities is the Coaching Innovation course. Glenda Baker will be teaching this course over summer. It's a quick and practical course that allows you to consider strategies for innovation.

Running for two weeks from 7/29 - 8/12 contact me if you are interested in participating.

http://www.globalonlineacademy.org/pd-courses/coaching-innovation/?term=all
Are you a technology specialist, teacher leader, department chair, curriculum coach, or other faculty member that works closely with teachers to help implement new practices? This is the course for you! Learn the thinking and techniques behind effective mentoring of faculty members.
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I'm also very interested, but wouldn't be able to fit it in during the summer.  Please let me know about the next session!
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Mark Schreiber

This is worth sharing  - 
 
New paper on the benefits of making in education out from Purdue. http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1099&context=jpeer
ASIJ Learning Hub
Learning professionals at The American School in Japan
View community
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Elizabeth Hubbell's profile photoMarc L'Heureux's profile photo
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Mark, great article and well worth the read.  How do we as an elementary school bring this to a level where our students can benefit from these experiences?  
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Chad Rickner

This is worth sharing  - 
 
Another plug for the positive correlation between movement and learning. 
Founded in 1943, ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) is an educational leadership organization dedicated to advancing best practices and policies for the success of each learner. Our 175,000 members in 119 countries are professional educators from all levels and subject areas––superintendents, supervisors, principals, teachers, professors of education, and school board members.
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Love this quote from the article, "Play, recess, and physical education are essential for many brain-based (biological) reasons...It can enhance social skills, emotional intelligence, and conflict resolution ability."
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Brian Walker

This is worth sharing  - 
 
Our social learning, no matter who we are, is a continuous work-in-progress across our lifetimes.
+Marsha Rosenberg  and I were talking about this recent blog post from Michelle Garcia Winner this morning and the importance of understanding that when doing therapy with students with pragmatic language/social thinking challenges that we are in essence "aiming at a moving target."  It is also crucial to keep in mind that these challenges are rooted in how a student's brain  is wired and how they have developed."
Michelle's Blog. Details: Published on Monday, 23 March 2015 00:00. If Treatment Doesn't Offer a Cure, Then What's the Point? By Michelle Garcia Winner I recently spoke to a group of 200 or so parents and professionals in a conference setting. I was explaining that even with the best of our ...
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Thanks Brian.  Very interesting. 
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Laurel Janewicz

PD Reflections  - 
 
Fake-World Math: When Mathematical Modeling Goes Wrong
Dan Meyer is always an entertaining and provocative presenter and this session at the April NCTM conference did not disappoint.  

He framed the presentation around the following questions:
What is modeling?
What isn't modeling?
How do we get students to be good at modeling?
How do we get students to like modeling?

Not modeling:
I do/we do/you do.
Using concrete manipulatives.
Graphs/equations/functions.
Real-world math problems in superficial ways does not guarantee modeling.
textbook problems that say, "Hi, I'm modeling."

Modeling:
1.  ID variables.
What information matters and what information doesn't matter?  
2. Formulate models.
What's important for QBs?  Interceptions, completions, touchdowns.  Adding them all together is not a good model.  Subtract interceptions, weight TDs by multiplying them by 2, etc.  
3. Perform operations.
Most textbooks focus on this.  Companies have computer systems that perform these operations; the CEOs don't.  
4. Interpret results.
Also happens a lot in texts.  Since texts are great at 3 and 4, don't focus on those; focus on the work that isn't happening in books, the other steps of modeling.  
5. Validate conclusions.
The math is really great but you have to check your stuff in the real world.  Probability is the one area where students see it in the real world by conducting simulations.  

How do we get them to be good at and like modeling?
We want them to feel that feeling of needing more before they can start.  Let them be disorganized first.  Exploit others' curiosity.  Paper flattens real-world math so it's not at all interesting.  Ask them why answers might not match so they learn to think about are all the samples the same, what has not been taken into account, etc.  
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Hillary Storey

PD Reflections  - 
 
I just finished attending a 3 day teacher symposium at The Opal School for Children at The Portland, Oregon Children's Museum. The Opal School teaches nursery - 5 and is a Reggio inspired and inquiry based school that focuses on creativity and the environmental surroundings in learning. This was by far one of the best pd's I have ever attended because everything that was addressed was extremely relevant to what I have been trying to learn this past year at the ELC. There were many ideas and concepts that were the same or similar to what we try to do at the ELC and I am sure at ASIJ Elementary. 

The first day touched on the idea that we must allow children to experience the environment as it really is. We need to allow them to learn about  place - their place, where they live, their surroundings, etc... and we must encourage vocabulary building through sensory exploration of their surroundings. The speaker, Ann Pelo, gave an example of how the Oxford Dictionary for Children has removed words such as ivy, willow, acorn, pasture, heron, otter and replaced them with words such as attachment, broadband, chatroom, celebrity. She explained how this has created an environmental language deficit in children and affects their ability to comprehend and develop stories. When children do not have an adequate understanding of place they in turn do not value their surroundings and therefore we cannot ask them to care for what they do not value. We must work to develop a language of care as well - care for each other as well as our environment (outdoors, classroom, home).  She discussed how we need to encourage children to use their senses in exploration and learning and in developing stories. Stories and literacy are essential because they...
1. Create Community
2. See through the eyes of others
3. Playground for language
4. Show consequences for actions
5. Educate our desires
6. Help us dwell in place
7. help us dwell in time

Next was Susan Mackay, a teacher at Opal School. She shared that she had a challenging group of students this past year and how her original plan of having students work on a collaborative project about  the environment turned into a collaborative project about creating a community. Once the students were able to establish a strong community and trust with each other, they were able to move forward on further collaborations. Her point was that, the same learning was accomplished but it just revolved around a different subject matter than what she initially anticipated. She discussed how she needed to make sure her students were able to become problem solvers, develop empathy, and create a trusting environment before they could move on to other things. I really appreciated her honesty with regard to her challenges as a teacher. I liked how she shared what she learned through these challenges.
The second day involved talks and morning activities with Steve Davee from Maker Ed and Julie Ann Gilleland from Think with Things. They shared how they are pushing initiatives and learning through creation of things using every day objects. I got to work with my table in creating using a variety of objects that we all brought from home. We used normal every day items such as stones, lids, bottle caps, paper, led lights, batteries, etc... Each table had a prompt such as "Think like a Viking" or "Think like a scientist" and we needed to create an image or setting or objects related to the prompt. What was really interesting was just all the amazing ideas that started to come out as people spoke and processed together. They discussed playful literacy and how to document and acknowledge the stories that come out of play. Also as teachers we need to pay attention to students as they share stories. Are they able to create on their own or do they rely heavily on peers to help them create.
The afternoon session coincided well the the Harvard MLV course I took in the spring. It discussed how through documentation, we improve our listening and can develop better lessons and also better validate what are students do.
The last day we spent the morning in all the classrooms and got to play and create with all sorts of materials - inks, foil and shiny things, different kinds of paper, cardboard, moving sculptures, observational drawings, clay, environmental and plant materials, etc... In most of these sessions we were encouraged to spend the first 20 minutes working in silence on our own projects and then we were allowed to speak as we worked. This was a very interesting exercise and I was really surprised how hard it was for me to come up with an idea of what to create most of the  time. Then I realized that in the beginning, it is fine that I don't always have an idea and ideas can come as I just randomly begin the creative process. This is important to keep in mind - if students do not have an initial idea for a story, project, creation, it is fine and I can help them begin to create and learn how to develop ideas during the process.
The afternoon ended with another speaker, former ASIJ teacher, Kimie Fukada who addressed the topic of listening. She shared aspects of the Reggio approach to listening by Carlina Rinaldi and asked us to think about the consequences of not listening to our students.
I would like to thank the PD team for allowing me to attend this fantastic symposium. I definitely would love to attend next year as well. I feel like what I learned was completely applicable to me continuing to understand how to be a better teacher and how to better relate to my students. Thanks everyone! I took a ton of photos but will attach them in a separate post later.
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Sounds like an awesome experience! Can't wait to see the pictures and hear all about it:)
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Rebecca Sentgeorge

PD Reflections  - 
 
Last summer, I was on a quest to write a new Visual Communications course for the high school after it’s absence from the line-up for several years.
 
I began by spending countless hours in the immersion stage of planning my new course.  I read Communicating through Graphic Design by Kevin Gatta and Clare Mowbray Golding.  I did web searches to learn about to content and structure of Visual Communications courses at other high schools.  I spent time looking at what was done in the past at ASIJ, did webinars on the new arts standards and thinking how they will be used to shape this new course.  I did images searches to collect exemplars for assignments and created a visual archive for my students to access in Pinterest. I collected and collected and collected. There was more out there but I couldn’t explore forever, I had to stop knowing that there was more out there waiting for me later.  

Then I began two stages at once, reflecting and making meaning.  I discovered that I had too many ideas and too many directions that I wanted my program to go.   I needed to winnow out, to modify, and delete before, I could even begin to write my curriculum.  I divided the information I wanted to cover into a Vis Com 1 and a Vis Com 2. I decided where I wanted my Vis Com students be at the end of class and separated what I had collected into categories. I created PowerPoints for resources in the class for some of the basic concepts in Visual Communication.

Throughout the year, I collaborated with Glenda Baker in structuring my essential questions and the structure of this course.  It is still a work in progress and I view most of the units I did this year as prototypes to be reworked next time.   I see many, many ways to improve the course so the cycle will start again.  Note to self: cover less but go deeper still. 
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Wow, you gave some serious time and thought to your skill development. Thanks for sharing. 
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Paul O'Neill
owner

This is worth sharing  - 
 
Blimey. - it's not every day we get a letter from Buckingham Palace - Well done Grade 6 LASS students. 
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Now THIS is tweetable!! Can I have the jpeg? 
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Elizabeth Hubbell

This is worth sharing  - 
 
I'm learning more about Girl Rising, a non-profit that focuses on the impact educating girls can have on developing countries. I'd be interested in learning more and looking into how we might incorporate some of the curriculum that's just come out, especially at the HS level.
Upper Elementary School. Teacher Guide for the My Story lesson. Country Fact Sheet provides teachers with a broad profile of the country and has been broken into six main sections: guiding questions, general information, government, people, economy, and resources. Fact Sheet: Nepal ...
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Jeff Leppard

This is worth sharing  - 
 
ASIJ in Japan Times today
Profiles of four schools demonstrate the wide range of philosophies and curriculums that families can choose from.
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Carrie Bennett

PD Reflections  - 
 
Implementing Writer's Workshop:  Last year I made an attempt to use Writer's Workshop in my grade 11/12 literature elective.  It really was just an 'attempt' as I was not happy with the process or the results. This year, with the help of Penny Kittle and Stevie Quate, I tried again and had much more success.  Here is some feedback that I received from the students on using a writer's notebook: 

"When I first started the notebook I was very pessimistic.  I was skeptical that I had to write 2-3 times a week independently  because I hate writing... I started well, but soon broke into unorganized bits as I ran out of ideas... However, as I started to incorporate my opinions and ideas, I found myself writing without hesitation.  So far I have written almost 80 entries both required and independent.  The greatest thing I gained from this experience is that I started to read and write more.  Since my "Dear Diary" entries in grade 3, I have never written this much on my own." (David- grade 11)

"I have noticed that my thinking has significantly broadened...I have a clearer idea of my own views." (Reem- grade 12)

"It is the journal that I have always wanted to have.  I think everyone has great ideas and that these ideas should be preserved in writing...The notebook helped me understand myself and my style of expression."(Mark- grade 11)

"When I look at my writer's notebook I notice not only a growth in length, but also a growth in quality.  At first I used to show but not tell." (Haruka- grade 12)

"I've definitely gotten more comfortable with expressing my ideas and opinions in different forms.  More importantly, I've developed my voice in my writing; it has become more personal and more of my own style." (Anne- grade 11)

"I think having a writer's notebook has made me remember how nice it is to have a creative outlet.  Just this weekend I had to wait for a long time at a train station for a friend and the whole time I was just thinking about how nice it would be to have something to write on.  I ended up going to the convenience store and getting one for 70 yen.  After I started writing I hardly noticed the time go by". (Celestine- grade 11)
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It sounds like it is much like artists keeping a sketchbook as a record.
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Jeff Leppard

This is worth sharing  - 
 
Thomas Friedman quoted Tom Goodwin in today's NYT:
"Uber, the world's largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world's most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world's largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening." 
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Rise of the middleman economy. Reminds me of this article that I read: 
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Tech-has-given-rise-to-the-middleman-economy-5862352.php
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Elizabeth Hubbell

This is worth sharing  - 
 
I enjoyed reading this blog post about "In the Real World" by Karl Fisch...especially the list at the end.
"In the real world . . ." is a sentence starter you often hear in schools. In fact, I've said it many times myself. We need to stop. Our students spend the better part of 13 years of their lives in K-12 education. This is the...
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Yes! I liked this one too: In the real world, people don't spend 59 minutes discussing literature, have a bell ring, then spend 59 minutes discussing Algebra, have a bell ring, and then spend 59 minutes thinking about U.S. History.
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Glenda Baker

Upcoming PD  - 
 
Google Educator Group is getting together again on June 4th. It's an opportunity to connect with other educators and share ideas in a social setting. 
Time: between 5:30-7:00 Place: Hobgoblin, Shibuya.
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See you there! Hope other ASIJ folks can make it - an excuse to get out and about on a Thursday evening!
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