EdChangeGlobal 2018: July 21st 5AM EST Chat Guide

It was truly an honour to be part of the Ed Change Global 2018 online conference.  The title itself connects brilliantly with the ignited passion that I have for education in connection with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goalsglobal-goals-logo-share In all honesty, it is all I tend to talk about with family, friends, and colleagues whenever possible. The Goals are something we all need to be aware of and more importantly action in our lives no matter our age, positions, or location on this planet we call home.  Though I could go on for endless pages on why the Sustainable Globals, or Global Goals to some are an integral part to our world’s success, I will digress on focus on the 5AM – 6AM EST chat on the goals via a Twitter.

The chat will be an extremely open Question and Answer format using a Q1/A1 format.  If you happen to read this in time, I encourage you to put your answers in TweetDeck so as to generate diaologue among those participating.  The questions that are posted are merely guides; I have no expectation of direct answers.  Instead, what we would be wonderful to see is dialogue of questions, of responses, of idea generation as to how we can all better integreate Global Goals in our learning spaces and lives.  Here we go (yes, they are lengthy):

For all responses, please use: #ECGGlobal AND #ActionSDGs (it is a specific # meant for this chat that will be collectively archived and connected to the #TeachSDGs archive)

5AM EST Introduction: Introduce yourself with your prefered name, pronoun, and your role in education THEN head to Google My Maps – EdChangeGlobal2018: Fuisz’s SDGs Session and follow the directions.  We will be taking at least 10 mins for this.  Please ensure to share warm welcomes with each other and IF English is not your first language, please feel free to be bilingual or share a few words of your first language in this intro or anywhere in the chat for that matter.

 

515AM EST Q1: Take a moment to look at the Sustainable Development Goals no matter how versed they are in your own personal narrative.  If you could personally focus on one or two of these goals, what would they be and why?  Feel free to type your answer in via another medium and screen shot the response or use #G1 etc. to represent the goal(s) you wish to discuss.

 

525AM EST Q2:  If you have already integrated the Sustainable Development Goals into your learning space share how you have and student reactions/outcomes if possible. If you have not, and you are new to the goals, how can you see implementing the goals into your learning space?  Be sure to dialogue with each other, ask questions, dig into resources and share!

 

535AM EST Q3:  Think about your local community.  What are its needs in connection to helping to achieve the Global Goals.  Perhaps look at it through the lense of Service Learning or Experiential Learning.  We sometimes find ourselves stuck saying we are preparing our students for the real world when they already live in that world which we are ‘preparing them for’.  Thus, what opportunities can you integrate into your upcoming school year and how do they connect to the Sustainable Development Goals so that our students see how they can make a difference one small step at a time.

 

545AM EST Q4:  Please take a moment to read the incredible article on Lilly or watch this short video (Lilly Cleans up Litter)  Our youth have a remarkable resilience and perhaps a far more positive outlook on the future than many adults combined.  Our students need to see the positive in our world and many adults too; take a moment to find a positive article, video, or statistic that you can connect to the Sustainable Development Goals that has occurred in the past few years (so long as you can justify it as a positive growth in our world, then fear not of the timeline!)

 

557AM EST: Thanks, shout outs, doc for sharing resources etc.

 

The questions are well, an open opportunity.  Questions will be thrown in throughout pending on the participants as will resources from either myself or participants.  The end goal: spread awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals and intergrate them into our leanring spaces and lives. 

Hoping to see educators of any sort join in for any length of time or any question.  The more voices the better!

With an attitude of gratitude,

The Enthusiastic Learner

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On Guest Teachers/Educators/OTs

I admit that my time as an ‘occasional teacher’ was limited.  It was also done during a time, though truly not that long ago, where an online system was not used an emails were not a priority to be shared among occasional teachers and the teacher you were ‘replacing’.  What I do remember is feeling stressed coming into a school for the simple facts that I did not necessarily know anyone, had no idea of the layout of the school unless it was posted online, let alone an idea of how awesome the students were going to be that I got to learn with during my time in their learning space.

Fast forward to now, and I am the homeroom educator/lead learner.  I refrain from using the word teacher often due to numerous opportunities where students are helping me to learn based on their interests and expertise and could go for days about why I have switched the wording.  I digress.  Back to guest educators vs. occasional teachers. 

GuestTEacher

Sparked by a colleague’s post on Twitter, the wonderful Spencer Burton, I thought I would share the practices that I am using in welcoming guest educators into our co-learning space.  It is important to note that these practices are evolving as feedback is continually welcomed by those who learn with us in an effort to support others who come in the future.  In point form, and with a few images attached, here I go:

What is most important to my students and myself, is that our guest educator feels welcomed and so a new practice my students and I are applying to our learning community is respectfully asking our guest educators to share a bit about them either prior to coming to our class or the day of. Occasional teacher, supply teacher, substitute teacher,  these are titles that do not give way to feeling welcomed let alone part of a co- learning community; guest educator is far more welcoming and open to the sense of community we all crave (least I think). 

As soon as I know who the wonderful guest educator is, I reach out to them asking simple questions like (note we see the email of our guest educator based on the call out system we use):

  • how has your year been so far?
  • have you been to our school before?
  • do you speak French or any other languages?
  • are you comfortable sharing a bit about you so my students can know about you before you come to our learning space (this a new practice as of Nov. 10th!)

Below are two docs, modified for this post, that are shared with the guest educator on a timeline that fits their coming to our school.

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General whole school welcome note (in brief)

Fuisz: Guest Educator Notes (day of)

It is important that communication is open between the homeroom educator and guest educator as soon as possible where possible. We, as homeroom educators, have a huge role to play in the success of the day for our students and our guest(s).

Creating a welcoming space for our guest educators should be a priority.  Occasional teachers denotes a somewhat lesser than mentality and that is not who these individuals are. These are well educated, professional educators just as homeroom educators are and they are not there to replace us for the day but instead, guest educators are there to create a different learning opportunity for our students that varies from their perhaps daily routines.

Guest educators create a unique opportunity for our students based on their own personal backgrounds, learning passions, and simple interests in being an educator.

I invite and challenge any educator reading this to reach out to their guest teachers as early as possible, to set up a welcoming space for them by reminding your students of the unique opportunities that stem from having a guest educator, and to welcome feedback from your guest educator so that you can be better prepared for future opportunities. Instead of asking your guest educator ‘who are you in for today?’ ask, “what class are you learning with today? and let the guest guide the rest of the information. 

There is much more to shapost but alas, it gives the idea of where this educator stems from in her choices of welcoming guest educators.

Yours in learning,

The Enthusiastic Learner

(as an aside, I am intermediate educator and STILL believe that all of the above applies to any learning space.)

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Sustainable Global Goals: Make it your Personalized PD this year & beyond

As I venture through my summer, I seem to find myself discussing the Sustainable Global Goals (SDGs) with whomever will listen and wherever I can. Inspired by the Personalized PD convo I had with the wonderful Adnan Iftekhar, I thought it was time I put my thoughts into action where the idea is concerned and get as many educators intrinsically connected/motivated to incoporate the goals into their classroom learning.  I also cannot think of a better Personalized PD opportunity than ones connected to SDGs.

In the spirit of trying to be to the point, I am following my last post with this similar plee for colleagues from around the world to embrace the Sustainable Development Goals. global-goals-logo-share

As educators, we have a responsibility to share the goals beyond our classrooms but more importantly, to educate ourselves so that our students recognize the passion connected to this global iniatiative.

So, as a challenge to educators far and wide, I urge you to look at the padled link. Watch a video, explore a site, add a resource following the basic model of the other posts. We can achieve the goals by 2030.

Sustainble Global Goals: Personalized PD Padlet

screenshot-padlet.com-2017-08-12-13-21-25

Yours in learning,
The Enthusiastic Learner

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Sustainable Global Goals: the best learning in a nutshell

Part of my brain wishes to stop with the title of this post; truly.  However, I know this would not be helpful in expressing the deep rooted need for educators, no matter what form you take, to bring the Global Goals for Sustainable Development for 2030 to life.

If perhaps you are reading this post, and do not want to pursue any further then do myself and more importantly, future generations a favour and look at the two links below or the image:

Image result for global goals

For those sticking it out for a bit more, here I go.

With honesty and passion in mind, I cannot think of a better time, a better moment, or an idea to oppose the integration of the Global Goals for 2030 into any learning space across the globe. They are, in essence, a way to make this world a better place for everyone on all levels. They embody what it means to be an active global citizen and foster a sense of global community like no other.

While I look to classroom learning opportunities on a regular basis for my students, this is one that will not ‘trend and disappear’; the goals are here to stay and it is up to us, as teachers/educators to bring them to the forefront of learning no matter the student’s age.  As I browse through the Ontario curriculum for grade seven and eight, I see nothing but endless opportunities for students to inquire about the world around them through the lense of the Global Goals to become the active citizens that we know our future generations need to be.

Our students are not the difference makers of tomorrow but the leaders of today; a slight paraphrase from that of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  The Global Goals are not intended to scare our youth but instead to inspire them to be creative change makers that collaborate with each other in becoming global citizens. Their backyard is no longer limited to that of a small patch of grass or gravel, instead many students today have the opportunity to explore the world from nearly anywhere and connect together through their unified efforts of achieving the 17 Global Goals.

We seek ways to connect our world and seem to think technology is that link; I would argue that the Global Sustainable Goals are the world’s connecting link. In many ways acts as our curriculum to follow in multiple languages and perhaps someday all of the world’s languages. As an educator, as a teacher, how can we not at least acknowledge these goals and spread their message of positive change in our classrooms?

It is my goal to blog semi-regularly about what my community of learners is doing to better understand the Global Goals and to show the possibilities can be endless in a classroom if we let creativity and curiosity surrounding the goals lead the way.

So, for the ‘teachers’ of the world who read this: make the Global Goals for Sustainable Development part of our summer PD. Here is how you can start:

Transform our world: The Global Goals (via Participate.com) 

Teaching Sustainable Development Goals via Microsoft

Incorporate the goals throughout your planning for next year with student voice and identity in mind. For the educators at heart, share the goals with your family, friends, and neighbours; what have you got to lose by doing it right?

If we are going to make these goals a success, we need to take them seriously, apply them to classroom learning, and embrace them as opportunity and hope for a better world for all.

Yours in learning,

The Enthusiastic Learner

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Social Media, Students, and Digital Citizenship: #ONedSs is born

As I sort through the many amazing hashtags that appear on Twitter and various other social media sites, I always smile at the potential learning opportunities that they yield for students and myself.

Then I begin to reflect upon the continual learning that revolves around digital citizenship and how often we refer to it in class.  But yet, how many of us truly allow our students to use social media in class for its positive potential where they can apply their digital citizenship learning first hand? Sure, I know this is not possible for all grades or classrooms let alone students but I cannot help but wonder about the possibilities that exsist through letting students use social media both in and out of the classroom.

There was a quote shared with me quite some time ago now and it appeared again today on my Twitter feed thanks to an amazing educator,  Amanda Anderson. The quote speeks for itself in many ways. Would we place a child in water without a safety device knowing they have not swam before? Of course not.  Why then, knowing that students have access to so many social media platforms, are we letting them do such on their own when so many lessons can be shared in class?

 

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Photo Thanks to Amanda Anderson

There are, of course, pages upon pages of ideas and counter-ideas that can be shared on the thoughts of using social media in the classroom but for the sake of this post I am going for the positive and throwing out an idea for Ontario educators and beyond.

On Feb. 1st, the wonderful Mr. Janna , his students of #r8a, and the students of my class @CitoyensdeGlobe embarked on a student led Twitter chat using the #ONedSs. They were discussing leadership. Questions were co-created and students were guided on how to use TweetDeck and to interact online live and in the moment. Was every tweet perfect? Of course not. Was there learning in each moment? Absolutely.

#ONedSs Feb 1st was truly a wonderful learning opportunity for both Mr. Janna and myself, more importantly, it was an amazing authentic learning opportunity for our students. The proof is the archive of the chat. Then the thought struck me and a few others to turn #ONedSs into a true # where it is used whenever possible by students, for students.

The idea of #ONedSs is one that my class would like to see grow and perhaps, in some way monitor for proper social media use. Here is how it can work:

  • your students share their thoughts using #ONedSs
  • your students share their questions
  • your students share their work
  • your students reach out to perhaps run a chat
  • your students… what else can you think of?

#ONedSs can be a place where students of Ontario create meaningful diaologue with each other and open up the doors of further possibility for learning.

Will there be some difficulties? Of course. This in mind, George Couros today noted at OCDSB’s DLL conference that we should ‘Always err on the side of positive’. I think this is one of those times. (thanks Karsten for the quote!)

So, let your students shine and let their voices be heard via #ONedSs. Let them swim in a good way through social media so that they do not sink down the road.

Yours in learning,

Allison

 

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Why I Communicate with Parents/Guardians of Intermediate Kiddos – and like it!

I have taught at the intermediate level for a few years now, well, 6 to be exact. Throughout this time, I have communicated with parents on a near weekly basis.  Now I know, communicating with parents is nothing new to many of you but alas, I still seem to receive some interesting looks and push-back from colleagues when I say I send emails on a weekly basis to the folks/guardians of my homeroom INTERMEDIATE class. Such conversations are by no means filled with negativity but they do include thoughts of ‘our students should be sharing the info, not you’ or ‘does not not open a pandora’s box of communication with parents/guardians’ and so on and so forth.

Though the aforementioned ideas from colleagues may be true, I cannot help but think that the positive outcomes of weekly communication with parents/guardians at the intermediate level far outweigh any such thoughts.

The long standing adage ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is perhaps at the centre of why I wish to communicate with parents/guardians. By sharing the big ideas of what we are doing on a weekly basis means parents/guardians might be able to share their own experiences or open a great door of possibility to their kiddo or even the whole class. The expertise and connections that parents can bring to a classroom is truly priceless. In fact, communication with parents has recently landed a fantastic opportunity for students in my school to be part of First Lego League.

My weekly emails look like the image below. They are simple, intentional, and relevant towards supporting student success. There are even times that videos, short articles, or images are shared within these emails that will help parents/guardians better understand what it is their kiddo is doing in class (and possibly at home).

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If we wish for our students to succeed, communicating what is happening in our classrooms/schools with parents/guardians should be part of our regular practice even at slightly more spread out than my weekly efforts. The benefits of communication with folks for the sake of student success far outweigh that of any apprehensions that one might have.

On that note, I am happy to be back blogging. It was actually a parent I met during ‘Meet the Teacher’ night who so kindly noted their enjoyment on reading through some of my posts.

Keep communicating everyone however best you can; you never know what opportunities may arise from a simple email or note home.

Yours in learning,

The Enthusiastic Learner

 

 

 

 

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Keeping up with the Twitter Posts

Sure, I am playing with the title of a show that I am pleased to state that few of my students know but alas, it is true.

I decided to take a true Twitter break during my March Break. I took a solid 6 days away from the 4 accounts that I support by deleting the app from my phone in an effort to avoid any temptation.  I admit, the first two days were rough. The whole FOMO (fear of missing out) was not something that I felt but more so this odd addictive sensation of needing to check my phone for a notification or DM was apparent. A bizarre sense of simply being in touch with Twitterverse was something I did not think would happen but alas, I truly felt that I needed to check my account.

Four days in and a shift in my mindset arose. I quickly realized my true dependence upon checking Twitter for reasons that I could not fully explain but for the fact that I wanted to be in touch with the world.  For this reason, this simple ability to connect with the world, I will stay connected to Twitter but alas, I hope to never feel this feeling of dependence on an application that I found to leave me feeling anxious and stressed; feelings mirrored by a colleague of mine during his break from the social media platform.

While away from Twitter, I certainly noted a stronger connection made back to the person I used to be; the one who read daily in paper format, who ran for the fun of it, or who said to friends and family ‘let’s get that game of Quiddler going okay’?  All of the above happened but at the quality of attention that it deserved; I often found myself checking my Twitter account versus being fully present in the moment.  Being present in the moment is one of the benefits that rendered itself apparent during my break.  I also came to a few realizations about the impact Twitter possibly has, based on colleague conversations, towards teacher development.

The possible negative impact that Twitter extend towards a teacher due to the many tweets a day showcasing the amazing work happening in classrooms around the world.  Such posts certainly can act as an inspirational opportunity but for some, it can transfer into a sense of being overwhelmed by what they are not doing to promote student growth and opportunity in the classroom.  In essence, keeping up with Twitter can seem all too much to some and as they bring new ideas into the classroom based on what they see, they may be doing as such without effective thought as to why they are implementing this new idea.

Twitter

Classroom Twitter – Before we had our account.

By no means do I wish to state this is true of all teachers or perhaps I am completely off my rocker, something that happens more often than not.  I also realize that the way in which Twitter is used is completely dependent upon the person using the application. Sadly, for those that I talked to over the past few days in a face-to-face format, their realizations about Twitter and the need to be more delicate towards its use mirrors the thoughts presented in the post.

So perhaps this is a bit of a Rick Mercer Rant.  I would be hypocritical to say that I do not adore Twitter, I do. I just now, after having an account for a mere two years, recognize that my use is not about keeping up with twitter verse but more, ensuring that I am connecting with those that will inspire my practice and in turn, foster a strong sense of community among my students due to our online presence.

Yours in Learning,

The Enthusiastic Learner

(and yes, I do find some irony in the fact that I have not posted in months and yet I chose this to be my first topic of return. C’est la vie non?)

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