I was asked to attend the Model Schools Conference this year as a representative from my school. Never having attended the conference before I had no idea what to expect; however, I was excited to attend because, hello, it was being held in ORLANDO! Below are the sessions I attended and the notes I took along with any reflections I might have about my experiences.
Keynote: “A Recipe for School Success: Leadership, Literacy, and Laughter,” Dr. Sue Szachowicz
My only note is the quote below. The rest of the time I enjoyed just listening to her and getting “pumped up” about what was in store for the rest of the conference.
“If your action inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
Digital Badges – Laura Fleming (@nmhs_lms), Session 106
I was pleased to see that there was a session being led by a school librarian and on a topic of interest! While she did specify that you could use the digital badging for student and staff learning, I was more interested in the application for staff development. She also indicated that for those who might not be at the ready to jump in and create their own program, you could give teachers her site and they can earn badges through her school. She’s also willing to give anyone who wants it her digital badge “package” if you want to use it to jump start your own program – so you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Simply contact her.
- Worlds of Learning – http://worlds-of-learning.com/
- Worlds of Learning @ New Milford High School: Digital Badges in Professional Learning – http://www.worlds-of-learning-nmhs.com/
- credits for learning:
- in & out of school learning (community service)
- informal & formal learning
- earned anytime/anywhere
- shared on websites, portfolios, resumes, college admission process, social media profiles…
- Siloed Badge Issuers = badges can’t be shared; badges can only be displayed in the platform where you earned them. ex: Smore, Edmodo, Kahn Academy.
- Open Badges can be shared/displayed anywhere. Badge creation examples:
- Job embedded coaching and collaboration for LMS
- Badge Platform (WordPress plugin) – Badgeos.org
- Examples of badge earner programs that have been developed:
- Allows participants to choose what they want to learn, when they want to learn it.
- If you use Credly, you can design your own badges and upload to the site – for example, have your students (art students) design your badges and upload!
Was a 15 minute demo session and was too fast for me to really get a sense of the program. Also, I have to say we’ve been burned by lesson plan/standards programs in the past so I may not have been in the best frame of mind to give it the attention it deserved. What I observed are lesson plans and assessments pre done/provided through Nextpert.
Brockton HS, Session 14
This HS was heralded as the “model” for what could be accomplished and how to turn around a school. The keynote speaker, Dr. Sue Szachowicz, was the principal at one time. I was particularly interested in attending to learn more about their literacy model. Instead, the focus was on discussion how the school is organized and on faculty professional development. This is all I have in my notes.
- Student council meets with the principal once a week.
- Teachers are required to do the chosen skill (designated/targeted skill that was undertaken in that year’s professional development) once a year and is scheduled by subject (documented in lesson plan – should appear in lesson plan at the designated time in the calendar year) and the student work is collected. The work is reviewed by teachers, department heads, asst. principals and at faculty meetings.
I understand my principal did purchase the book, so I’m hoping there is more information about the literacy program in there. Literacy/reading level is of a particular concern for us as our students have such poor reading skills – and we all agree that if students can’t read, they can’t succeed!
“Transforming a Culture,” Session #21, Al Fabrizio, Principal, Martin County High School, Stuart FL
This session made me think my school is already on the right course of action. It was all about data and tracking student progress. Identifying at-risk students and meeting their needs to help ensure they succeed.
- Today’s Meet – https://todaysmeet.com/itisgoodforkids we were asked to in a handful of words define the term “culture”
- Tweet at hashtag: #isitgoodforkids
- Culture is: Heart and soul of the school. – “the way we do things around here’
- “It’s up to me!” is the driving statement/mission for the school. The one for this session is “Is it good for kids?”
- Discipline Matrix – all students held accountable equally
- Holds class assemblies
- Student Policy Awareness Presentations w/ Student & Parent signatures
Creating Classroom Community to Motivate and Engage, Session #63, Jacob Clifford – firstname.lastname@example.org
Confession, I had to leave this session early to meet with my principal. There were supposed to be 10 principals and I only got to 6!! Sorry! This is another speaker who I’d love to hear/experience more of his workshops!
- Engaging and Motivating Students
- Think of your favorite class ever. What made that class so special?1.Community: The students had respect and positive attitude towards you and their peers. That class was comfortable and fun. 2. Buy-In
- Teachers are in Sales – not teaching. You have to sell it to you students.
- First day give them your first lesson that is the coolest thing possible. Not the syllabus and dos and don’ts This way they buy into the subject.
- Emphasize the BIG PICTURE. Not knowing – Pete Homes video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQ4o1N4ksyQ If very few of our students will use the content we teach every day, what do you REALLY want your students to walk away with? Bigger picture than the content.
- Acknowledge and correct their misconceptions.
- Give them problems/puzzles to solve
- Teach essential skill with experiential learning activities – (learning by doing). Skill – mastering skills requires practice. Don’t give up when it gets hard. Skill – get the job done first then celebrate. Finish strong.
- Make and honor a contract. No busy work is the biggie – everything you give them is designed to support the content and skills students need to learn and know.
- Focus on growth and progress. Have students pair up and complete exam correction sheets. Posting Exam Results so students know where they fall in the class average.
Digital Artifacts, Session #110, Gregg McGough, Penn Manor High School
This was supposed to be a 15 minute session, but I could tell he could spend hours and we’d sit and soak up whatever he had to share. He went way over his time, but I had to run to catch my next session!
- Aurisma app – hold it over a $20 bill (back) plays music and animates. Front just shuffles the bill.
- Evernote – where his students take notes
- Google Docs – where his students submit documents
- crowdsourcing is an expansion of responsibility – Jeremy Jernigan not direct quote
- Digital Globe – http://www.digitalglobe.com/
- First Attempt In Learning (FAIL)
- Zooniverse – https://www.zooniverse.org/
What’s Your Mobile Strategy? – Session #47, Jim Warford (@jimwarford), www.jimwarford.com
This was the session description: bolding and CAPS for emphasis is mine, not in the original description…
“What does it take to integrate technology into every classroom? In this HANDS-ON session, Jim Warford will provide the MATERIALS and RESOURCES to do just that, including DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS for using social media and a technology TOOLBOX for teachers and students. Participants should bring smartphones or tablets to use in the session (WIRELESS INTERNET NOT PROVIDED).”
Okay, first off, no hands on, no materials, resources, detailed instructions, or a toolbox provided. And second, this was a lecture and/or antidotal on how schools should be moving toward using mobile devices in schools. And then to not have internet in the session room …. not good, but then since the session failed to live up to it’s hype I guess the lack of internet wasn’t a great loss except it meant I didn’t have it to distract me. Yes, I’m being harsh, but to say I was disappointed is an understatement. If you’re going to advertise the above, you should provide at least SOME of what you promise. That all said, Jim Warford is an engaging and entertaining speaker and if it the description hadn’t promised one thing I might have enjoyed the session for his delivery alone.
- TodaysMeet – www.today.io/p1Rp
Overall, while this was an enjoyable experience, I felt that most of what I heard my school/principal is already undertaking: focus on data collection, tracking, reading/literacy development, etc. The sessions were more of an “overview” and not enough of a “hands-on” or something for me to take back and implement in my “classroom.” It was more of a theoretical or abstract and I guess I’m used to attending my own technology and media specialist/librarian conferences that are skills and “tools” based so this is a bit out of my element. Or I guess it was a 50/50 split between what I’m used to and the more “abstract.” I’m not sure I’m the best person to have been asked to attend, but I don’t guess it was a complete waste of my school’s dime! I did learn a few things that I want to give try or at least attempt to develop this year!