The last two days were filled with so much learning I was able to attend several incredible sessions that pushed my thinking and provided me with a ton of great resources. I'm excited to be able to share them with other teachers this school year.
First, I attended a session about redesigning classroom spaces. Their presentation gave some great ideas for re-purposing furniture to create a more welcoming and effective classroom space. It reminded me a lot of an article I read about Caves, Campfires and Watering Holes by Ann W. Davis and Kim Kappler-Hewitt. You can find their presentation, which includes video classroom tours, here.
Next, I attended a session by Noah Geisel focused on Chrome Extensions for literacy. As a math teacher, it was cool to check out the Chrome extensions Hypothesis, Diigo and Stackup and learn about how they can be useful to support learning in English classrooms. Each extension has slightly different functionality. Hypothesis and Diigo allow students to annotate articles and engage in conversations with their peers and the world. Stackup provides students with a online reading log that shows their time spent reading on different topics and the reading levels of the articles they have read online. It was fun to play with each of them and think about how they can be used in the classroom.
I also presented Ignite talk called "Why Educators Should Share". This was a reprised version of a previous Ignite talk I did during 2015, where I stressed the importance of teacher blogging and social media sharing. You can watch it below. I have also included the slides, which include the script in the notes.
After lunch, I attended Kevin Crogan's session, focused on planning learner progressions. His model helps teachers differentiate different levels of understanding and provide them with the vocabulary to guide learners in designing their own learning progression. You can find his presentationhere. Below is an example of his incredibly helpful planning document filled out.
I then attended a session by Galen Mitchell, focused on Universal Design. She did an incredible job illustrating the difference between differentiation and Universal Design and how we can approach creating lessons differently. Focusing on student choice and flexible lessons, Universal Design is a refreshing lens on providing students with lessons that support their learning as individuals. You can find her presentation here. Below is an excellent tweet that shows the comparison between differentiation and Universal Design.
Next, I attended the inspirational Keynote of Rusul Alrubail. While I have been fortunate enough to be exposed to many equity-focused keynotes over the past year (see previous blog posts), I feel lucky to have made such a personal connection to Rusul. She shared an inspiring message focused on elevating student voice, kindness, empathy and the importance of representation and authenticity as an educator. Below is a collection of my favorite tweets from Rusul's keynote.
Last, but not least, I engaged in a conversation with Mustefa, an innovative strategist, around design thinking and the importance of understanding context to solve a problem. Very often companies come up with complicated procedures for engaging in design work, when a straightforward and simple thinking process can help us solve our problems. Once we can identify our context, we can then consider the challenges that come up and the corresponding opportunities and risks for each challenge. From there, we can take action in the ways that best support reaching our intended goal. Mustefa emphasized how it is not necessary to engage in a complex set of structures to really tackle our problems, including those involving systems of inequity. Once we have a solid understanding of the context, anything is possible.
How has your week been at InnEd CO? What great equity-focused Keynotes have you heard?
Please share in the comments below!
This week, I am lucky enough to attend InnEdCO for another year. I am always so excited to see so many familiar faces and add new people to my network of incredible educators. Below are some highlights from Day 1.
I also had the chance to hear Ken Shelton present an opening keynote on the importance of student voice in our schools. He talked about equipping students with the tools they need to amplify their voice to share with the world. There is great power and responsibility in sharing our stories and he did a wonderful job illustrating this idea with relevant stories and touching student narratives. You can watch videos of some of his talks on his website.
I was also able to attend a session on #techquity from Kevin Riebau. This session touched on finding the intersection of Essential Skills and Culturally Relevant Education to create better instruction to prepare students for success. I greatly appreciated the combination of a formative check-for-understanding and application time built-in to the session. This made sure they could pace with the audience understanding and provide an opportunity for the new learning to stick. You can check out the presentationhere.
What are your highlights from Day 1 at #InnEdCO17? Please share them in the comments below!
Mattea Garcia is a passionate creative educator dedicated to improving the student experience. This blog is dedicated to reflections on educational technology tools, instructional coaching, and educational equity.