Over 40 STEAM Resources… Creative Thinking, STEM, and PBL at FETC 2020

steam

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Greetings from FETC at the Miami Beach Convention Center in sunny Florida.  I am excited about an upcoming Keynote on Leadership and Motivation by Daniel Pink this Wednesday.  The last time I heard Pink talk, it was in regards to his book “A Whole New Mind“.  At the time, it opened my my thought process to the importance of thinking and the right brain. I thought it would be fitting to reflect on that last Keynote, over ten years ago, and share over 40 STEAM Resources as I get ready to hear a new Keynote by Daniel Pink. In regard to Creativity,  check out my last post, which covers facilitating and assessing Creativity in the classroom. I hope you enjoy and find the time to pass this along via email or a tweet. Thanks for being one of my nearly 30,000 readers a month and growing (Spread the Word… it is encouraging). Remember you can follow me on Twitter at @mjgormans. I look forward to learning from you! Enjoy the read, and what I know will be a creative journey!

Note: I am at FETC in Miami, Florida all week. Creativity continues this week with this STEAM post (with over 40 links), plus thoughts from a past Keynote  on Creativity by Daniel Pink.  We are all looking forward to his FETC Keynote on Leadership and Motivation in just a few days. If you are at the conference, feel free to look me up with a PM at Twitter (@mjgormans) or email (mjgormans@gmail.com). I would love to talk with you about amazing PD I can provide at your school or conference this year! Check out my Booking Page and please share and subscribe to this Blog. Now… let’s turn on that right brain and  get creative!

Over 40 STEAM Resources… Creative Thinking, STEM, and PBL at FETC 2020

It actually is quite obvious that the Arts should be included in STEM education. The idea of STEAM brings out the skills of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication that are so important in the work place. A look at the works of Leonardo da Vinci will attest to this! The very first time I heard the idea of integrating the Arts into STEM education was while watching a 2009 keynote made by Daniel Pink at the NECC  Conference in Washington DC… yes prior to ISTE Conferences!  I thought it would be fitting to share some of my notes from that Keynote over ten years ago. The ideas seem to be even more relevant today! If you have never read the book… then give it a read now. Please enjoy these ideas and enjoy the over 40 STEAM Resources that follow. Now… let’s take a step back in time over ten years and see how a Keynote can have so much meaning as we plan for the future. I know it will convince you to go full STEAM ahead!

November 8, 2009 (21centuryedtech Article by Michael Gorman)

Daniel Pink, the author of  A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, describes the increasing  role of right-brain thinking in the new  economies and describes the skills  individuals and organizations must possess in this outsourced, automated age. Using brain research, Pink advocates that left brain (orderly, logical, and linear) thinking, while still important, is no longer adequate to survive in the 21st Century global economy. He attributes this theory to the role Asia now plays in the global economy with automation being software driven, and abundance of material in the market place. In essence, routine work is disappearing! Pink advocates that educators prepare kids for their future (right brain), not our past (left brain). He suggests including skills in our curriculum that cannot be outsourced or automated. He includes such abilities as design, story telling, symphony (ability to see big picture), empathy, play, and meaning. One example used was Google’s idea to allow its employees 20% percent job time for self direction. From this effort, such big projects as G-Mail, and Google News have evolved. Finally, Pink suggested some ideas he feels educators should reflect and implement. Number one, explore the new metrics. IQ only accounts for 20% of success. We need to make sure we are measuring the right things. The next concept involves “getting real about STEM. Pink stressed that STEM must include the Arts because students must be taught to see. Engineering firms want people who have passion, are willing to be  life-long learners, are systems thinkers,  have multicultural values, and can understand interdisciplinary context. The third suggestion is to rethink motivation and look at intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. The fourth idea really caught my attention as Pink suggested moving problem solving out of the terrarium and putting it in the forest. He described the terrarium as an environment  that is much too clean, organized, and not real world. Problems should involve clarification, identification, multi-disciplines, several answers, non-perfection, exploration, challenge, and relevancy. Last, Pink suggests that artistic educational programs must be facilitated, encouraged, and practiced across the curriculum. China has an emphasis that states “Creative Arts are not a frivolous luxury“.  I am anxious to bring the arts concept into my next STEM presentation!  (2009)

Wow… seems like this message still works today! I am excited to see what message Pink has in a Keynote on Motivation and Leadership at FETC 2020. Now, lets turn up the STEAM and enjoy some resources!

Over 40 STEAM Resources

  • NPR Where Science Meets Art – Some exceptional Podcasts integrating Science and Art. Many of these titles will allow for student reflection and questions as they begin to see how the Arts and Science can be integrated.
  • Arts Edge – A fantastic resource from the Kennedy Center hosting numerous lessons that integrate Art into the curriculum.You will discover a focus  on ways to support innovative teaching with the arts, and meet changing trends in education and to accommodate the ever-evolving impact of technology in our lives. This amazing collection of free digital resources—including lesson plans, audio stories, video clips, and interactive online modules—has been streamlined for easier browsing and upgraded to leverage best practices in educational media and multimedia-supported
  • BabbleDabbleDo –  This is a site that allows students to explore and engage with their right brain. This is important in our tech saturated world. This site provides that creative angle that puts kids in that out of the box mode while exploring concepts in science, math, and engineering.  The site proclaims that the best part of creating is the process.And I truly I believe that EVERYONE IS CREATIVE.
  • STEM to STEAM -The STEM to STEAM initiative, championed by the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), is supported by teachers, researchers, policy makers, students, and business people from RISD and beyond.
  • Why Scientific Innovation Needs The Arts – Explore this wonderful article from the Guardian that explains the connection between science and the arts. Great read to support STEAM thinking in any educational setting.
  • OER Commons – Take a look at these results from a search I did for  STEAM based activities. There are some powerful lessons that bring the arts into the classroom. Since it is OER (Open Education Resources) it is free.
  • Teach Hub Technology and STEAM – Take a look at these possibilities for connecting standards, technology integration, and STEAM.
  • Edutopia STEAM Resources – One of the finest education sites brings STEAM to the forefront. Enjoy this engaging journey.  You will discover information, examples, and tools related to incorporating aspects of the arts, design, and the humanities into STEM-based school activities.
  • Odyssey of the Mind – This  international educational program provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems.
  • Lemon Lime Adventures 50 STEAM Projects and Activities – Take some time to look through the various links on this page. You are bound to find some great possibilities that will fit your standards.
  • Autodesk Digital Steam Workshop – Digital STEAM projects are designed by Autodesk’s network of expert educators, designers and student alumni as exciting complements to core Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and Art (STEAM) curriculum. Each project aligns with common core and national standards and delivers measurable learning while using free software.
  • National Gallery of Art  – You will find organized into thematic units, each grade-level-specific lesson plan focuses on a single work of art and can be executed within one to two class periods. These lessons meet the National Art Education Association (NAEA) Visual Arts curriculum standards
  • Exploratorium – Take a look at the entire site, but especially explore the Art related material.  In fact this link brings you to the Tinkering STudio. You will find lessons that allow you to connect with other subject areas including the STEM disciplines. You will get a new definition of exploring through the Exploratorium,
  • The Art Institute of Chicago – Explore these wonderful lessons that cover Science and the Arts. It just might have you and your students look at Art in a whole different way. Best of all you will discover some STEAM possibilities.
  • Lesson Plans and resources for Art Integration – This Edutopia Article has a rich assortment of lessons and resources to integrate Art into curricular areas including Math, Science, and Design. A great read that will lead to some wonderful opportunities.
  • CIESE Online – CIESE  (Center for Innovation and Science Education) sponsors and designs interdisciplinary projects that teachers throughout the world can use to enhance their curriculum through compelling use of the Internet.  Each project has a brief description and links to the National Science Standards and NCTM math standards it supports
  • Masterpieces to Math – A wonderful article that focuses on how to incorporate art in math. Learn how to use Art to teach fractions, decimals, and percent equivalents. You will look at Math in a whole new STEAMie way.
  • Space School Musical – Your students will enjoy joining teenager Hannah on a trip through the solar system in this ultra-cool edu-tainment “hip-hopera” that uses song and dance to introduce the planets, moons, asteroids and more. Educators can download the lyrics for students to learn and perform the routines for themselves or just play the videos in class. There are also links provided for more in-depth activities.
  • Cardboard Challenge – Not everything needs high tech and expensive resources. A lot can be done with a cardboard box and a lot of imagination. Check out this amazing challenge from the Imagine Foundation. Take a moment to watch the video. You and your students will want to be involved with this amazing low tech, high engagement possibility.
  • KinderArt – Discover Fine Art lessons as they apply to all different subject areas. Lessons are searchable by grade and subject. Some great ideas to integrate with.
  • Share Space Foundation – The ShareSpace Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring children’s passions for science, technology, engineering, arts and math by providing innovative, interactive educational tools to educators across the country.  ShareSpace has reached more than 250,000 children across the globe through strategic partnerships and the engaging Giant Mars Map™.
  • Scratch –  With Scratch, kids can program their own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community. Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively . All of this is possible while essential skills for life in the 21st century are facilitated. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. It is provided free of charge.
  • Teacher Vision Art and Math –Students will enjoy participating in math class with our art activities for teachers of any grade level, from elementary to high school.  You will find opportunities to mix numbers with creativity and art activities that your students will love. There are lessons for creating counting books, crafts that encourage measuring, geometry printables to color, sculpting activities, and much more!  Introduce new concepts or reinforce topics your students have already learned.
  • Eurekus – This is a site with STEAM powered discovery. Discover the many free lessons that bring the left brain world alive in the the right brain.
  • Left Brain Craft Brain – Discover this blog with great activities and possibilities to engage the whole brain in the engineering process. It is a self-proclaimed mega monster of STEAM posts.  You will find some of the coolest science, technology, engineering, art and math projects from some of the most creative bloggers out there.
  • What is STEAM ? – This is an amazing resource site from the Education Closet. here you will find some great lessons that are aligned to the standards of STEM and Art curriculum. Be sure to read the blogs, links, news, and research. Be sure to check out all the possibilities on this site by clicking the menu. You will even find a STEAM-based magazine.
  • The Stanford Design School – Get ready for some innovative lessons that include the design process. You will find an abundance of material and resources to bring innovation to your STEAM program.
  • National Association For Music Education – Take some time at this site. Explore the curriculum along with awesome teacher resources. This is a great site that might tune up some of that important STEAM education.
  • STEAM Art Lessons – Take a look at these wonderful STEAM based art lessons from an amazing elementary Art teacher. There are some wonderful ideas for bringing the curriculum together.
  • How To Smile – This is an amazing collecting of some of the best educational materials, learning activities, tools, and services. They are all designed especially for those who teach school-aged kids in activity-based settings. This site is sponsored by a group of science museums dedicated to bringing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) out of the academic cloister and into the wider world. This is a great place to Make STEM happen!
  • New York Times Lesson Plans – I include this because you will find a collection of amazing lessons that cross all areas. Best of all, they bring the creativity and innovation into these lessons which is the foundation for the arts.
  • Art in Action – Take a look at these mini Art lessons that allow students to get in that right brain frame of mind.
  • PBS STEM Collection – PBS Learning Media has great resources. Check them all out. This link brings you to the STEM Collection.
  • Project Pals – A great article that looks at STEM/STEAM possibilities in the world of PBL for all grade levels.
  • Learn It By Art – Take any subject… you can learn it by using Art. What might you find?
  • Fizzics Education – Learn how Art and the Design Process come together to make great lessons.
  • Four Skills From STEAM Education – Check out this 2019 article from Teach Thought on the benefits of providing a STEAM Education.
  • EGFI – This is an amazing site for some wonderful STEAM Resources. You will find lessons ready to get your students designing.
  • Instructables – Check out these 100 STEAM projects for kids.
  • Full STEAM Ahead – A great collection of resources and ideas on STEAM from Concordia University in Portland Oregon.
  • 36 Resources for STEM Project Based Learning – If you’re a teacher or  looking for ideas for STEM project-based learning activities, then you’ve come to the right place.
  • The STEM Laboratory – These 50+ STEM projects are sure to keep little scientists engaged, learning and well-prepared for their STEM-filled future.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.   Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? In fact, I have a STEM is a Verb Session and Workshop I can bring to your location. I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. While I am booked through March of 2020, I do have some dates open starting in April of 2020! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Creativity: Facilitating and Assessing the 21st Century Skills in Education

creative

Welcome to my first post of the New Year! In fact, the year starts out with two amazing conferences … FETC and then TCEA. I am on my way to one of my favorites, FETC which happens to be in Miami Beach, Florida this year. It will be back in Orlando in 2021.  Presently I am close to 30,000 feet in the air flying from Indiana to Florida. It is a perfect time to write a blog since the wifi is down, but my creativity is up. It provides a perfect time to address the idea of Creativity in education (one of those 4C’s). If you liked my last posts on Collaboration and Critical Thinking (click links), then you are sure to like this post. It is filled with thoughts on Creativity including “I can” statement(s), classroom attributes, and assessment rubrics. I hope you enjoy and find the time to pass this along via email or a tweet. Thanks for being one of my nearly 30,000 readers a month and growing (Spread the Word… it is encouraging). Remember you can follow me on Twitter at @mjgormans. I look forward to learning from you! Enjoy the read, and what I know will be a creative journey!

Note: I will be at FETC in Miami, Florida all week. I thought this would be a great post to start my coverage of an amazing conference. Creativity continues this week with a STEAM post (with lots of links) and thoughts from Keynote Dan Pink. If you are at the conference, feel free to look me up with a PM at Twitter (@mjgormans) or email (mjgormans@gmail.com). I would love to talk with you about amazing PD I can provide at your school or conference this year! Check out my Booking Page and please share and subscribe to this Blog. Now… let’s get creative!

Creativity: Facilitating and Assessing the 21st Century Skills in Education

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein

The idea of Creativity really is at the base of our culture. It seems it is one of those processes that machines still depend on humans to make happen. This idea of difficult machine reproduction with regards to Creativity, makes Creativity one of those growing skills for career opportunities. It seems that machines and automation have been able to replace so many services supplied by humans, but creativity is still one attribute that humans seem to have the upper hand on. It is for this reason that education must nurture and facilitate Creativity in students. A classroom that promotes Creativity puts students at the center of learning. Student inquiry is promoted and often used to engage and promote a passion for learning. Students are provided learning opportunities that promote problem solving that is often initiated by the students. In a Creative classroom culture, students are encouraged to think outside the box while connecting real world authenticity to important content standards. They are encouraged to use their creativity to deal with real world situations. Students’ thoughts and ideas are honored and perseverance through an iterative cycle is encouraged. In many ways, students become practitioners of real-world careers.

How does this happen? The teacher must be intentional and guide students. There still must be moments following student exploration where the teacher provides or facilitates explanation. Concurrently, teachers must make sure that their lessons go beyond Bloom’s remembering and understanding. This demands an elaboration that promotes connections and transfer of encouraging student Creativity!  Often, this practice can be seen in STEM and PBL classrooms. It is exciting to see students discuss, debate, question, and build as they conquer the standards.

Welcome to the resources! I think it is important to define and promote Creativity though its various attributes. It must be intentional with appropriate scaffolds in place. I hope you find the resources below helpful. Taking the journey toward student Creativity is a wonderful and rewarding journey for you and your students. Start out taking a few steps with a rubric, a student reflection, or a small lesson. Before you know it your students will take you the rest of the way.  Please enjoy the resources below and be sure to share with others!

Ten Reasons to Promote Creativity in the Classroom

  1. Provides students the opportunity to own the process and internalize their learning.
  2. Facilitates critical thinking by pushing students to look at and invent possibilities.
  3. Allows students to take risks that can support thinking that is “out of the box”
  4. Supports the design process that can be incorporated in all disciplines and supports STEM thinking.
  5. Encourages students to visualize their thinking and important concepts in content and connections between multiple content and real-world concepts.
  6. Allows for the progression from surface learning, to deeper learning, to a final transfer of learning that in return supports authentic and new understanding.
  7. Provides opportunity for unique, thoughtful, and powerful communication
  8. Supports possibility thinking and a growth mindset that comes up with hidden, original, and unique possibilities.
  9. Provides important avenues of collaboration that allow for active listening, persuasion, healthy discourse, multiple viewpoints, and needed empathy.
  10. Builds a balance between the logical and sequential thought processes, allowing for intellectual growth of the whole mind.

Ten Ways to Facilitate Student Creativity in the Classroom and School

  1. Intentionally go beyond remembering and understanding with Blooms (The standards often force teachers to get students ready for the test… which means we miss analyzing, applying, synthesizing, and most of all Creating.)
  2. Emphasize the verbs in the standards. (It is the verbs that allow students to do. When they are doing… Creativity can flow.)
  3. Provide students with a Creativity Thinking rubric. (Have them look at the rubric before an activity that demands Creativity, and once again when they are finished)
  4. Make assessment of Creativity an ongoing effort. (While the teacher can assess, have students assess themselves. Self assessment can be powerful)
  5. Concentrate on specific indicators in a rubric. (There are various indicators such as; thinking outside the box, risk taking, originality, questioning, empathy toward others, growth mindset, innovation, and design thinking. Concentrate on just one indicator while doing a lesson. There can even be an exit ticket reflection)
  6. Start a lesson out… with Creativity. ( You can turn Bloom’s upside down. Find out how having students Create can lead to analyzing, synthesizing, understanding, and remembering, while opening with some wonderful  engagement.)
  7. Post a Creative Thinking Poster in the room. (This poster could be a copy of a rubric or even a list of “I Can Statements”. Point it out before a creative thinking activity.
  8. Make Creativity part of your formative  and summative assessment.  (Move around the room, talk to groups and students, stop the whole group to make adjustments.)
  9. Find ways to bring a Makers’ Culture to the classroom. (So many schools are building a Makers Space. Perhaps we need to build a Makers’ Culture that happens in any space leading to Creativity and innovation.)
  10. Plan for a school wide emphasis. (A culture that builds Creativity is usually bigger then one classroom. Schools and classrooms that practice student owned/centered learning promote Creativity. Develop school-wide vocabulary, posters, and initiatives.)

Keep in mind that learning actually has three transitions. These include Surface Learning, Deeper Learning, and Transfer of Learning. They are all necessary if we are to engage students in authentic learning that provides real understanding. Surface Learning builds the foundation while the Deeper Learning provides rigor and important meta-cognition. When students begin to Transfer the Learning to experiences in the real world situations we begin to see Creativity become an important factor. This is a big reason for success that is found in PBL and STEM.

I have been mentioning rubrics and assessment tools through out this post. To me, these are essential in building that culture of Creativity in the classroom. I want to provide you with some great resources that will give your some powerful tools to assess the skill of Creativity.  Keep in mind that students can also self assess and journal using prompts from a Creativity Rubric.

Ten Resources to Help with Assessment and Facilitation of Creativity

Habits of Mind – I think this is an awesome place to help teachers facilitate and assess critical thinking and more. Check out the free resources page which even has some wonderful posters. One of my favorites is the rubrics found on this research page. Decide on spending some time because there are a lot of great resources.

PBLWorks – The number one place for PBL in the world is at PBLWorks. You may know it as the BUCK Institute or BIE. I am fortunate to be part of their National Faculty which is probably why I rank it as number one. I encourage you to visit their site for everything PBL.  This link brings you to the resource area where you will discover some amazing  rubrics. One provides for the idea of Creativity in a PBL Unit. You will find rubrics for grade bands K-2, 3-5, and 6-12. This really is a great place to start. You will need to sign up to be a member of PBLWorks. This is a wonderful idea, after-all it is free!

Microsoft Innovative Learning – This  website contains some powerful rubrics for assessing the 21st Century skills. The link will bring you to a PDF file with Critical Thinking rubrics you can use tomorrow for any grade level. Check out this two page document defining the 4 C’s and a movie giving you even more of an explanation.

New Tech School – This amazing PBL group of schools provide some wonderful Learning Rubrics in their free area.  Here you will find an interesting collection of rubrics that assesses student learning in multiple areas. These are sure to get you off and started.

AACU Creative Value Rubric – The VALUE rubrics were developed by teams of faculty experts representing colleges and universities across the United States through a process that examined many existing campus rubrics and related documents for each learning outcome and incorporated additional feedback from faculty.

Project Zero – The Creativity Module helps students develop their capacity to think creatively and to see the creativity embedded in things and ideas around them. Challenges of creativity are everywhere in daily life–wherever it is important to think of new ways of doing things, to look at things through new eyes, to go beyond conventional ways of thinking, to stretch beyond the obvious.

Destination Imagination – Destination Imagination (DI) is a volunteer-led nonprofit organization whose purpose is to inspire and equip students to become the next generation of innovators and leaders.

CRE8Iowa Instant Challenges – Great way to great Creative Energy flowing. Instant Challenges published by Students for a Creative Iowa are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Please provide appropriate credit if you share any of these Instant Challenges on your Web site or blog.

Imagination Foundation – This a wonderful site to find ideas and projects that students will enjoy as they turn on their Creativity.

Edutopia Creativity – Check out this section of Edutopia for some amazing articles to plant seeds of Creativity in you school or classroom. Enjoy the possibilities.

I Can Statements for Creativity

  1. I can practice originality by creating and generating my own ideas for any given situation or task.
  2. I can practice my own sense of curiosity while exploring, researching, and building.
  3. I can explain my own ideas and concepts and interpret new concepts I learn.
  4. I can analyze, extend, change, and assess my own ideas, and ideas from others for possibilities and accuracy.
  5. I can invite opportunities to explore, reflect, create, and rigorously come up with solutions.
  6. I can not only find answers, but also take my answers and create new questions.
  7. I can take risks and accept failure as I search for solutions and answers.
  8. I can practice empathy, understanding, and resolve in my working with others.
  9. I can use my visualization and imagination to think outside the box while integrating multiple possibilities and answers.
  10. I can use a design process to answer problems both simple and complex.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.   Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? In fact, I have a STEM is a Verb Session and Workshop I can bring to your location. I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. While I am booked through March of 2020, I do have some dates open starting in April of 2020! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Authentic Project Based Learning, Santa Believes in PBL… Do You?

pbl

Did you know that Santa believes in Project Based Learning? It’s true… in fact, I have worked quite hard at finding evidence that supports this conclusion.  Upon further reflection, it occurred to me that not only does Santa believe in PBL, he practices many of its positive attributes at his workshop. By now you are thinking… what is this connection? Let me explain my reasoning by giving you an overview some of the essential elements in PBL.  Of course, I will attempt to show you how I believe Santa has put these elements into his practice.  Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very magical to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet. Check the provided  PBLWorks for some great free material on PBL and some awesome PD services offered by PBLWorks … of which I am on the National Faculty. Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  May your holiday be filled with magic! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Authentic Project Based Learning, Santa Believes in PBL… Do You? – Mike Gorman  https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com

It all started on a recent visit I had the pleasure of taking to the North Pole.  It was actually a once in a lifetime experience, one that I will always remember. While I promised Santa I would not divulge secrets I discovered, he did hand me a manuscript and gave me a wink. I could see the amazing sparkle in his eyes as he waited for me to discover a power he was already aware of. I looked at the cover of this torn and faded, yet delightful looking, old book.  I could tell it had been constantly used due to the lack of North Pole magical dust on its soon to be engaging pages.  I spent the next few hours looking through a wonderful collection of written journals. This manuscript was entitled “The Santa Projects”.  How did he know my yearning to learn more about projects?  I then remembered that, of course, I was sitting in front of Santa. He probably had quite a database of everything I had ever dreamed of or desired from my very first teddy bear. Here was a compilation of all of the important projects ever done at this amazing place… at the top of the world. Here were the projects that Santa had brought to his entire staff in order to engage, motivate, educate, and provide means of collaboration and communication. The first project caught my eye. I couldn’t help but smile as I read each of Santa’s journal entries. Allow me to share one of his projects with you.

The Santa Projects –

Project Name – Mission Possible…. The Big Delivery

Need To Know – (An outstanding project is based on a student need to know. It is this desire that promotes engagement and excitement in children. It provides the motivation for learning significant content.)  Santa Notes – It will be important to communicate with all of the elves and various staff my desire to travel the world in one night delivering toys to all of the good girls and boys. We will have a meeting, record everything in Santa Docs, based on what we will need to know to make this mission possible. As we answer these important questions I will mark them off our collaborative list. I anticipate a few questions such as,  “Given that the earth is rotating… how many hours do we really have for our trip?”

The Driving Question – (The Driving Question is the key to any effective PBL project.  This question must be direct and open a student-centric understanding of what is to be eventually accomplished and learned. While giving the students a sense of mission, it is proactive and open-ended.)  Santa Notes – After working with various teams we have decided that a good driving question could be as follows: How can we devise a plan to deliver presents to all the good children in the world in one night? I know this will be exciting for the elves and I am sure the reindeer will be clamoring to get their hoofs into it. I am certain our journey to finding this answer will not only raise more questions but will also provide the rigor my staff thrives on.

Voice and Choice – (An effective project must allow for all students to have a voice and a choice. This might allow students to pick an area of study or may give a selection of various final products to demonstrate learning. This voice and choice allow the project to have individual meaning and relevance to each student.) Santa Notes – I must allow all of the workers at the North Pole to participate in a meaningful way while holding them accountable to the Driving Question. Who knows what contribution each group and individual might be able to come up with. In fact, I have already heard that my engineers are drawing a picture of a sleigh. Not sure I know why, but maybe I will learn from them.

21st Century Skills – (Students must be allowed to use skills that are authentic and provide real world opportunities. Teachers must provide learning opportunities and facilitate important skills including collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. It is important to also assess these skills as part of PBL.) Santa Notes – I plan to utilize team building activities to help facilitate project success. At the North Pole, we must realize that in order to pull off this miracle it will involve a collective wisdom from the entire crowd. We will use modern North Pole technology including Santa Docs, Twinkler, and Elfmodo to collaborate. In fact, I noticed the elves are already building a new system “The Magic Net”. It is supposed to connect the North Pole with the entire world of children’s desires. I am not sure why, but I am sure I will learn from them.

Inquiry and Innovation – A good PBL study will allow students to not just come up with answers… but also discover new and amazing questions. This will allow students to think outside the box as they remix, create, and innovate. It assures a final product that shows the learning that was acquired from the initial Driving Question.) Santa Notes – Everyone at the workshop is finding out that there is not an easy answer to our Driving Question. It seems we are getting more questions than answers right now. I have encouraged our staff to use Santapedia and NorthPoleOogle but they say it does not always give the answer… again more questions. I have told everyone to tinker… something they have experience with at the toy shop. They did come up with a new gift they called Tinkertoys which could be a hit. I had to get them back on track. Outside, I have noticed the reindeer jumping from the fir trees and one is even playing with a red light bulb. I know it seems very hectic… but I do feel we might be on to something.

Feedback and Revision – (Students must be allowed to obtain feedback through critiques from their teacher, peers, real world mentors, and themselves. Through this, students must learn to reflect and revise to create a better product as they travel a road of formative assessment.) Santa Notes – I am finding myself encouraging all my workers to reflect and critique themselves and others. This is can be more valuable than always using one of my NPARs (North Pole Assessment Rubrics). In fact, I saw the engineer and elves constantly critiquing each other on what they called OBETB (Operation Big Enough Toy Bag). Perhaps if I do a little check with one of my formative assessment rubrics I will find out what that is all about.

Public and Authentic Product – (Providing students with a public and authentic audience is crucial in the design of a good PBL learning unit. It brings meaning and provides motivation for a final product that represents the quality and rigor that should be expected. This audience can be face to face or could be virtual using the World Wide Web.)  Santa Notes – I am so excited for the workers here at the North Pole. Tomorrow night they will be presenting their plan for Mission Possible…. The Big Delivery to a live audience of the North Pole Geographic  Society, Magic Bag Engineers, Animal Aviator Experts, Portable Light Bulb Innovators, The Association of Sleigh Vehicle Workers, and NEXRAD.  It will all be available on Santa Vision. Having all of these experts in the audience will ensure that all involved will take great pride in their work while demonstrating what they have learned and have now made possible.  I am still puzzled as to why we have invited the Animal Aviator Experts and NEXRAD. Sound like a high flying idea!

Significant Content – (A PBL final outcome should provide evidence that students learned the required content set forth by curricular standards. While the 21st-century skills are important… they should complement and be used as tools for learning this content. The project is the process!) Santa Notes – Wow… while everyone has become better communicators, collaborators, and critical thinkers I see that the important concepts needed to make this project a success have become a reality. All of the workers, elves, and animals understand the important North Pole curricular concepts of magical engineering, animal aviation and linguistics, possibility planning, and bottomless bag technology. Most of all, they have discovered the wonderful skill of miracle manicuring. I really do believe in PBL!

As I was sitting in front of Santa there were two more elements that appeared before me like magic. I read the text as fast as it appeared. He looked at me as he winked and smiled… as if he was about to go up a chimney. I soon realized he had even been aware of some of the new ideas found in the new Gold Standards. Of course, he was aware! I continued to read with delight as I discovered even more amazing magic!

Reflection – (It is this process that demands the important skill of metacognition. It is not until a learner thinks about the learning… that real learning takes place. Educators must allow students time to reflect as they build their own understanding of important content and concepts.)  Santa Notes – I have always enjoyed the work of John Dewey… after-all he was always on my good list. I encourage all the workers at the North Pole to reflect on what they learn while as they build and innovate on all the products at the workshop! It is amazing to see all the learning that takes place as we constantly create a wonderful experience for all the boys and girls throughout the world!

Authenticity – ( It is important that students have an authentic learning experience that is meaningful. Allowing students to make a difference to their surroundings and the world outside the classroom is essential. Education must be real and provide the students that important… so what… to learning.) Santa Notes – Authenticity might be one of the most important qualities we promote. After-all like PBL… the North Pole experience is about making it real!

As I handed this precious manuscript back to Santa,  I thanked him for confirming my belief in how powerful a project can be. Upon my return, I continued to learn more about Project Based Learning and discovered the power it has for providing authentic and powerful learning experiences for students. This knowledge just might be the very best gift I ever received from Santa. I’m still smiling as I recall the other projects I read about in the wonderful book on my very special visit. Projects with names like the ones you find below.

  1. I Can Get Down the Chimney… How Do I Get Up?
  2. The Big Blizzard… Can We Find a Way to Light the Path?
  3. Conquering the 24 Hour Cookies and Milk Dilemma!
  4. Reindeer… Keeping their Minds to the Ground!
  5. Making and Keeping It Real!

I hope you enjoyed this very special message that Santa shared with me. Please take a moment to share this post with other educators across the world.  Please accept my present to you,  which is another year of postings, by subscribing by email or RSS and follow me on Twitter (mjgormans). You will also find a treasure of resources covering 21st-century learning, STEM, PBL, and technology integration for the classroom. Again, take a moment to share this blog and even give it a re-tweet so that other educators can experience the magic of PBL. May you find the peace, joy, blessing, and magic of this very special season… and to all a good night! Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! i also have a new one day workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer planning!

FETC – I am one of the official bloggers for an amazing educational conference early next year.  I will be bringing you some of the biggest news in education this January in Miami… along with reasons to attend in the next couple months. I do want to encourage you to you register now for the 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference.  For additional information and to register, visit fetc.org/register or call toll-free 1-800-727-1227.

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To All Educators… I Believe In You… A Special Letter From Santa 2019

santa2

Welcome to a very magical entry… one that has been a traditional post each holiday season. It is a time of year that I wish to express my gratitude to those wonderful educators that have welcomed me at their schools, webinars, and conferences and also join me at this blog and on twitter through out the year. I would like to share with all of you a very special letter I found under my Christmas Tree  many Christmas Eves ago. I have made it a practice to put it away, until just a few weeks before Christmas each year, with the idea of sharing it with educators across the world! Please take a moment to read this very special letter from Santa! He takes a moment to describe the magic that you as an educator make happen every day! While you are at it, I would appreciate that you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog  and follow me at on Twitter at (mjgormans).  Also, please take just a moment to share this letter by providing a retweet, and feel to copy and distribute (please give reference).  In this way you can help spread the magic!  My next seasonal post is… PBL at the North Pole.  May your holidays be filled with magic! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! i also have a new one day workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer planning!

FETC – I am one of the official bloggers for an amazing educational conference early next year.  I will be bringing you some of the biggest news in education this January in Miami… along with reasons to attend in the next couple months. I do want to encourage you to you register now for the 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference.  For additional information and to register, visit fetc.org/register or call toll-free 1-800-727-1227.

A Letter From Santa…. by  Michael Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com) ….Twitter (mjgormans) (Please share this through Retweet with others!)… Mike

Dear Teachers,

I have been meaning to write this letter for a long time! It is a letter that I feel is long overdue and with the elves getting all ready for my long ride, I finally found the time! I have been watching teachers for many years and I am amazed at the work they do. I have come to a conclusion that the teaching profession, like my own, must be filled with bits of  magic! Please let me provide ten statements of evidence for my belief.

1.  I travel the world one night of the year visiting all the boys and girls of the world. The teaching profession works with every boy and girl all year long. This equates to each teacher fulfilling educational needs for 30 – 200 children each and every school day. Seems like magic to me!

2. I deliver presents to all the boys and girls. From my Toy Repair Shop statistics I find many of these gifts are broken or no longer garner a child’s interest within months!  Yet teachers find inner gifts in every child. Teachers nurture these inner gifts  until they develop into true presents that will last a lifetime.  These kinds of gifts sure seem like magic to me!

3. I keep my naughty and nice list for every child. Some people believe this job is pretty amazing! Yet when I look at the teaching profession, teachers provide a constant evaluation of all their students! Their list covers all the aspects of developing and learning which they report to children’s parents and to the children themselves! This evaluation is based on a wide variety of observations, data, and student performance.  Teachers will then use this list to help improve each and every student! Wow, keeping track of every student’s ability and prescribing ways to be successful must really be magic!

4. I leave presents to students who are on the nice list and who believe in me. Teachers work with all children because they believe in every student. Teachers continue to do so, even when students stop believing in the educational system’s ability to help them achieve.  That type of persistence has got to be magic!

5. I have operated my workshop using the same technology for hundreds of years and it has worked for me. Then again, I work with children when they are asleep, delivering presents in my own way. Teachers work with children when they are awake and they have spent time learning how to engage children using googles, blogs, phlogs, glogs, prezis, and all these other words I really don’t know! Being able to teach, transform, and accommodate for this new digital generation must really be magic!

6. I have made it a practice to leave coal behind for children who do not make my good list! It seems every year the same children always get the coal. Teachers refuse to leave coal, in fact, they are working hard at leaving no child behind. To work towards a goal of leaving no child behind is a true act of magic!

7. I read the news and I am always so thankful to read all the nice articles about my work. It really does provide me with motivation to keep up my vocation. I read news articles about the education profession and it seems that most articles are unsupportive. Yet, teachers keep working hard at providing success for their students! These teachers must be operating on a little bit of magic!

8. I have thousands of elves, of course the reindeer, and the  community of the entire North Pole to assist me. Teachers work every day, many times by themselves, as they provide new opportunities for their students! Carrying that load alone must be much heavier than my bag of toys. It must really be magic!

9. I receive many a thank you and millions of pictures of happy faces as children open their presents each year. Teachers don’t always get a thank you, or may never see the present get eventually opened. When they do, appreciation may come from decades later!  A thank you that appears after many years must be the result of pure magic!

10. I discovered a light in Rudolph brightens up a dark, foggy, or snowy night so that I can deliver joy to all the children across the world. Teachers provide the light that brightens our world in both the darkest night and brightest day! It is the light of learning and knowledge!  The ability to keep that light burning  bright  must take a quite a bit of magic!

You see, I have found that magic does not come easily! It is made possible only by those who work hard and keep believing, and seek what they know is possible! As you can see, there must be a great deal of magic in the education profession! Please continue to keep this magic alive and know that you are all on my good list! After all, I had to learn all that I do from somewhere! So from across the years I know I have many teachers to thank!   Last, to all teachers across the world… I really do believe in you!

Thanks for all the magic,

Santa

(Please share this through Retweet with others!)… Mike

I hope you enjoyed this very special message from Santa. Please take a moment to share this letter with other educators across the world. It will truly help bring out the magic in our profession! Please accept my present to you,  which is another year of postings by subscribing  and following me on Twitter (mjgormans). Think about contacting me (Booking Infoto see how I might fit into your conference or school PD plans. (mjgormans@gmail.com)! Again, take a moment to share this blog and even give it a re-tweet so that other educators can experience the magic.  Next post… PBL at the North Pole  (subscribe now) ! May you find the peace, joy, blessing, and magic of this very special season… and to all a good night! – Mike Gorman  (21centuryedtech.wordpress.com)

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Critical Thinking: Facilitating and Assessing the 21st Century Skills in Education

collab

Welcome to a series of posts dedicated to 21st skills and assessment. In this post, I wish to elaborate on Critical Thinking. The idea of critical thinking is very important. In fact , I believe that when critical thinking begins… real learning has been sparked! Now that is exciting.  I want to provide you some great reasons, ways, and resources to make this happen in your classroom, school, or district. Most of all, I want to thank you for being one of those 30,000+ visitors a month and over 14,000 subscribers. Also, remember that I can come to your conference or school district and provide engaging, authentic, practical, and purposeful professional development . See booking info and please contact me anytime at (mjgormans@gmail.com).  Last, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way this school year…So Sign Up Now and please pass this on with a retweet!   – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! i also have a new one day workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer planning!

FETC – I am one of the official bloggers for an amazing educational conference early next year.  I will be bringing you some of the biggest news in education this January in Miami… along with reasons to attend in the next couple months. I do want to encourage you to you register now for the 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference. Why now? How about saving $150 with Super Saver Rate before November 1.  For additional information and to register, visit fetc.org/register or call toll-free 1-800-727-1227.

Critical Thinking: Facilitating and Assessing the 21st Century Skills in Education

I believe that Critical Thinking is the spark that begins the process of authentic learning. Before going further, we must first develop an idea of what learning is… and what learning is not.  So many times we hear our students say, “Why am I learning this”? The reason they ask is because they have not really experiencing the full spectrum of learning, and because of this are actually not learning to a full rewarding  extent! We might say they are being exposed to surface learning and not authentic (real) learning. The act of authentic learning is actually an exciting and engaging concept. It allows students to see real meaning and begin to construct their own knowledge.  Critical Thinking is core to learning. It is rewarding, engaging, and life long. Without critical thinking students are left to a universe of concepts and memorization.  Yes… over twelve years of mediocrity! When educators employ critical thinking in their classrooms, a whole new world of understanding is opened up.   What are some reasons to facilitate critical thinking with our students? Let me begin:

Ten Reason For Student Critical Thinking in the classroom

  1. Allows for necessary inquiry that makes learning exciting
  2. Provides a method to go beyond memorization to promote understanding.
  3. Allows students to visualize thoughts, concepts, theories, models & possibilities.
  4. Promotes curriculum standards, trans-disciplinary ideas & real world connections.
  5. Encourages a classroom culture of collaboration that promotes deeper thinking.
  6. Builds skills of problem solving, making implications, & determining consequences.
  7. Facilitates goal setting, promotion of process, and perseverance to achieve.
  8. Teaches self reflection and critique, and the ability to listen to others’ thoughts.
  9. Encourages point of view  while developing persuasive skills.
  10. Guides interpretation while developing a skill to infer and draw conclusions.

I am excited by the spark that critical thinking ignites to support real and authentic learning in the classroom. I often wonder how much time students spend in the process of critical thinking in the classroom. I ask you to reflect on your typical school day. Are your students spending time in area of surface learning , or are they plunging into the engaging culture of deeper (real) learning?  At the same time … how are you assessing your students? So many times as educators, we are bound by the standards, and we forget the importance of promoting that critical thinking process that makes our standards come alive with understanding. A culture of critical thinking is not automatic, though with intentional planning  it can become a reality. Like the other 21st century skills, it must be built and continuously facilitated. Let’s take a look at how, we as educators, can do this.

Ten Ways to Facilitate Student Critical Thinking in the Classroom and School

  1. Design Critical Thinking Activities. (This might include mind mapping, making thinking visible, Socratic discussions, meta-cognitive mind stretches, Build an inquiry wall with students and talk about the process of thinking”
  2. Provide time for students to collaborate. (Collaboration can be the button that starts critical thinking. It provides group thinking that builds on the standards. Have students work together while solving multi-step and higher order thinking problems. Sometimes this might mean slow down to increase the learning.)
  3. Provide students with a Critical Thinking rubric. (Have them look at the rubric before a critical thinking activity, and once again when they are finished)
  4. Make assessment of Critical Thinking an ongoing effort. (While the teacher can assess, have students assess themselves. Self assessment can be powerful)
  5. Concentrate on specific indicators in a rubric. (There are various indicators such as; provides inquiry, answers questions, builds an argument etc. Concentrate on just one indicator while doing a lesson. There can even be an exit ticket reflection)
  6. Integrate the idea of Critical Thinking in any lesson. ( Do not teach this skill in isolation. How does is work with a lesson, stem activity, project built, etc. What does Critical Thinking look like in the online or blended environment? Think of online discussions.)
  7. Post a Critical Thinking Poster in the room. (This poster could be a copy of a rubric or even a list of “I Can Statements”. Point it out before a critical thinking activity.
  8. Make Critical Thinking part of your formative  and summative assessment.  (Move around the room, talk to groups and students, stop the whole group to make adjustments.)
  9. Point out Critical Thinking found in the content standards. (Be aware that content standards often have words like; infer, debate, conclude, solve, prioritize, compare and contrast, hypothesize, and research. Critical Thinking has always been part of the standards. Show your students Bloom’s Taxonomy and post in the room. Where are they in their learning?
  10. Plan for a school wide emphasis. (A culture that builds Critical Thinking is usually bigger then one classroom. Develop school-wide vocabulary, posters, and initiatives.)

I keep talking about the idea of surface learning and deeper learning. This can best be seen in  Bloom’s Taxonomy. Often we start with Remembering.  This might be essential in providing students the map to the further areas of Bloom’s. Of course, we then find the idea of Understanding. This is where I believe critical thinking begins. Sometimes we need to critically think in order to understand. In fact, you might be this doing right now. I believe that too much time might be spent in Remembering, which is why students get a false idea of what learning really is. As we look at the rest of Bloom’s ( Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create) we can see the deeper learning take place. and even steps toward the transfer and internalization of the learning. Some educators even tip Bloom’s upside down, stating that the Creating at the top will build an understanding. This must be done with careful facilitation and intentional scaffold to make sure there is some surface learning. After-all, Critical Thinking will need this to build on.

I have been mentioning rubrics and assessment tools through out this post. To me, these are essential in building that culture of critical thinking in the classroom. I want to provide you with some great resources that will give your some powerful tools to assess the skill of Critical Thinking.  Keep in mind that students can also self assess and journal using prompts from a Critical Thinking Rubric.

Seven Resources to Help with Assessment and Facilitation of Critical Thinking

Habits of Mind – I think this is an awesome place to help teachers facilitate and assess critical thinking and more. Check out the free resources page which even has some wonderful posters. One of my favorites is the rubrics found on this research page. Decide on spending some time because there are a lot of great resources.

PBLWorks – The number one place for PBL in the world is at PBLWorks. You may know it as the BUCK Institute or BIE. I am fortunate to be part of their National Faculty which is probably why I rank it as number one. I encourage you to visit their site for everything PBL.  This link brings you to the resource area where you will discover some amazing  rubrics to facilitate Critical Thinking. You will find rubrics for grade bands K-2, 3-5, and 6-12. This really is a great place to start. You will need to sign up to be a member of PBLWorks. This is a wonderful idea, after-all it is free!

Microsoft Innovative Learning – This  website contains some powerful rubrics for assessing the 21st Century skills. The link will bring you to a PDF file with Critical Thinking rubrics you can use tomorrow for any grade level. Check out this two page document defining the 4 C’s and a movie giving you even more of an explanation.

New Tech School – This amazing PBL group of schools provide some wonderful Learning Rubrics in their free area.  Here you will find an interesting collection of rubrics that assesses student learning in multiple areas. These are sure to get you off and started.

Foundation for Critical Thinking –  Check out this amazing page to help give you descriptors.

Project Zero – While it is not necessarily assessment based, you will find some powerful routines for making thinking visible. As you conduct these types of activities you will find yourself doing some wonderful formative assessment of critical thinking.

Education Week – Take a look at this resource that provides some great reasoning and some interesting links that provide a glimpse of critical thinking in the classroom.

Critical Thinking “I Can Statements”

As you can see, I believe that Critical Thinking is key to PBL, STEM, and Deeper Learning. It improves Communication and Collaboration, while promoting Creativity.  I believe every student should have these following “I Can Statements” as part of their learning experience. Feel free to copy and use in your classroom. Perhaps this is a great starting place as you promote collaborative and powerful learning culture!

I can not only answer questions, but can also think of new questions to ask
I can take time to see what I am thinking to promote even better understanding
I can attempt to see other peoples’ thinking while explaining my own
I can look at a problem and determine needed steps to find a solution
I can use proper collaboration skills to work with others productively to build solutions
I can set a goal, design a plan, and persevere to accomplish the goal.
I can map out strategies and processes that shows the action involved in a task.
I can define and show my understanding of a concept, model, theory, or process.
I can take time to reflect and productively critique my work and the work of others
I can understand, observe, draw inferences, hypothesize and see implications.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.   Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? In fact, I have a STEM is a Verb Session and Workshop I can bring to your location. I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. While I am booked through March of 2020, I do have some dates open starting in April of 2020! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Collaboration: Facilitating and Assessing the 21st Century Skills in Education

collab

Welcome to a series of posts dedicated to 21st skills and assessment. In this post, I wish to elaborate on collaboration. It seems educators and industry are all talking about the importance of student collaboration, but how are we facilitating and assessing this skill . I want to provide you some great reasons, ways, and resources to make this happen in your classroom, school, or district. Most of all, I want to thank you for being one of those 30,000+ visitors a month and over 14,000 subscribers. Also, remember that I can come to your conference or school district and provide engaging, authentic, practical, and purposeful professional development . See booking info and please contact me anytime at (mjgormans@gmail.com).  Last, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way this school year…So Sign Up Now and please pass this on with a retweet!   – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! i also have a new one day workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer planning!

Collaboration: Facilitating and Assessing the 21st Century Skills in Education

I believe that collaboration is a major key to learning. I feel that learning in the group is so much more powerful and productive then learning in isolation.  To hear students talk with each other as they cite important learning standards is exciting to see.  What are some reasons to see our students collaborate? Let me begin:

Ten Reason For Student Collaboration in the classroom

  1. Allows for important meta-cognition that has the power to promote understanding.
  2. Provides an avenue for teacher to listen and assess learning.
  3. Opens a window to visible thinking for both students and teachers.
  4. Allows students to unlock learning using multiple interpretation and explanation.
  5. Provides access to a vital success skills, important in future careers.
  6. Allows for the development of active listening and thoughtful interaction.
  7. Promotes empathy and understanding while supporting work in diverse groups.
  8. Teaches self-regulation and proper social interaction.
  9. Facilitates the art of persuasion and promotes positive and productive discourse.
  10. Guides and builds powerful skills that promotes inquiry and problem solving

While I am excited by collaboration in the classroom I am often greeted by educators that remind me that their students do not know how to collaborate. I often ask if their students have ever been taught to collaborate. So many times as educators, we are so bound by the standards, we forget the importance of building a collaborative culture. Great student collaboration does not just happen. It must be built and continuously facilitated. Let’s take a look at how, we as educators, can do this.

Ten Ways to Facilitate Student Collaboration in the Classroom and School

  1. Teach students how to collaborate. (This might include a fishbowl or providing indicators on a rubric, or a good video clip.)
  2. Provide time for students to collaborate. (Scaffold the collaboration if needed by bringing in questions and idea at various times.)
  3. Provide students with a collaboration rubric. (Have them look at the rubric before collaborating, and once again when they are finished)
  4. Make assessment of collaboration an ongoing effort. (While the teacher can assess, have students assess themselves. Self assessment can be powerful)
  5. Concentrate on specific indicators in a rubric. (There are various indicators such as; provides thoughts, gives feedback, etc. Concentrate on just one indicator while doing a lesson. There can even be an exit ticket reflection)
  6. Integrate the idea of Collaboration in any lesson. ( Do not teach this skill in isolation. How does is work with a lesson, stem activity, project built, etc. What does collaboration look like in the online or blended environment?)
  7. Post a Collaboration Poster in the room. (This poster could be a copy of a rubric or even a list of “I Can Statements”. Point it out before collaborating.
  8. Make Collaboration part of your formative assessment . (Move around the room, talk to groups and students, stop the whole group to make adjustments.)
  9. Point out Collaboration found in the content standards. (Be aware that content standards often have words like; discuss, come to agreement, debate,  and explain. Collaboration has always been part of the standards.
  10. Plan for a school wide emphasis. (A culture that build collaboration is usually bigger then one classroom. Develop school-wide vocabulary, posters, and initiatives.)

I have been mentioning rubrics and assessment tools through out this post. To me, these are essential in building that culture of collaboration in the classroom. I want to provide you with some great resources that will give your some powerful tools to assess the skill of Collaboration.  Keep in mind that students can also self assess and journal using prompts from a Collaboration Rubric.

Three Resources to Help with Assessment of Collaboration

PBLWorks – The number one place for PBL in the world is at PBLWorks. You may know it as the BUCK Institute or BIE. I am fortunate to be part of their National Faculty which is probably why I rank it as number one. I encourage you to visit their site for everything PBL.  This link brings you to the resource area where you will discover some amazing  rubrics to facilitate Collaboration. You will find rubrics for grade bands K-2, 3-5, and 6-12. This really is a great place to start. You will need to sign up to be a member of PBLWorks. This is a wonderful idea, after-all it is free!

Microsoft Innovative Learning – This  website contains some powerful rubrics for assessing the 21st Century skills. The link will bring you to a PDF file with  Collaboration rubrics you can use tomorrow for any grade level. Check out this two page document defining the 4 C’s and a movie giving you even more of an explanation.

New Tech School – This amazing PBL group of schools provide some wonderful Collaboration Rubrics in their free area. These are sure to get you off and started.

Collaboration “I Can Statements”

As you can see, I believe that collaboration is key to PBL, STEM, and Deeper Learning. It improves Communication and Critical Thinking, while promoting Creativity.  I believe every student should have these following “I Can Statements” as part of their learning experience. Feel free to copy and use in your classroom. Perhaps this is a great starting place as you promote collaborative and powerful learning culture!

I can share equal responsibility in a group
I can value opinions of others
I can work with others in a positive manner
I can compromise with individuals and the entire group
I can use active listening
I can practice empathy
I can take time to think about what others saying
I can work with a group to determine best tools, resources, and methods
I can work independently inside and outside the group
I can value the various strengths, skills, and abilities of all group members

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.   Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? In fact, I have a STEM is a Verb Session and Workshop I can bring to your location. I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. While I am booked through March of 2020, I do have some dates open starting in April of 2020! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

 

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Part Two… Transforming STEM Education from a Noun to a Verb… 15 Steps

stemverb

Welcome to the second of two articles as I relate the importance of making sure STEM is considered a verb. The first post involved the “why”, and this second post provides 15 ideas for the :how”. There are a lot of definitions in regards to STEM education usually in regards to the nouns including Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.. As I reflect on my observation of STEM practice in my travels across the country I have become more convinced that STEM is a verb, and not just a set of nouns. In fact, STEM action is something all content areas can embrace as they engage students in authentic learning. I have some great posts coming your way involving PBL and STEM. Most of all, thanks for being one of those 30,000+ visitors a month and over 14,000 subscribers.

Also, remember that I can come to your conference or school district and provide engaging, authentic, practical, and purposeful professional development . See booking info and please contact me anytime at (mjgormans@gmail.com).  Last, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way this school year…So Sign Up Now and please pass this on with a retweet!   – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb!

Part Two… Transforming STEM Education from a Noun to a Verb… 15 Steps

I do hope you enjoyed that first post which I related the reasons “why” I believe that STEM must be considered a verb. I also included the necessary idea that STEM really is a part of all content areas. Please feel free to take a look if you missed it. Now that we understand the “why” it is important to look at the next steps that allow us to implement the “how” as we build a stem school culture. I suggest taking a look at these steps (ideas) and use them as you either build and/or vet your STEM culture of learning.  I hope you notice each one even starts with a verb. Perhaps that will help you as you complete an action plan. Please  feel free to share with others…  and enjoy your STEM journey!

  1. Think of STEM as a verb, not a noun. What are the skills that make up that STEM-based occupation? It can be seen that these skills not only include the Four C’s, but also components of each C.
  2. Create a clear vision and mission for STEM in the school or district. Make sure this definition is understood by everyone including those educators that may not think of themselves as STEM.
  3. Incorporate STEM thinking into lessons in all content areas. This STEM thinking includes the ability to problem solve, authentically learn, think in critical ways, invent, produce, persevere, collaborate, empathize, and design.
  4. Emphasize the skills that are needed in those future careers, not the career itself. While it is beneficial to learn about different careers, it is important to note that these will change and students may go through multiple careers. Many of the important skills will remain the same.
  5. Integrate digital technology in STEM when appropriate, and it is able to amplify the standard. An example might be to teach with real protractors before using a digital protractor.
  6. Incorporate PBL (Project Based Learning) and 5E lessons into  STEM instructional experiences.  These methods can provide the process for student ownership, engagement, and authenticity.
  7. Look outside of the classroom to incorporate STEM as an authentic learning experience. Use the community, country, and world to allow students to contribute  while allowing them to see  real world connections to content and skills being taught.
  8. Facilitate and assess (intentionally) not just content, but also the STEM (21st century and beyond) skills. Find, or build rubrics, that address the 21st-century skills which include the 4 C’s of Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, and Creativity. Understand that each of these C;s includes indicators and subsets that can be assessed. An example might be that  empathy is a part of collaboration or active listening is part of communication.
  9. Practice a STEM culture of learning… make sure that students are doing. This doing must include not only hands-on activities but also important metacognition. Students must not only do, but also think about what they are doing (which should be connected to the standards). Find ways to make this thinking visible. It is only when students do… and then think, that real learning takes place.
  10. Step beyond STEM one time activities and making. Build a STEM culture that builds inquiry, is supported by authenticity, promotes rigor, and allows for student self-regulation and  ownership of learning. Always keep the necessary curricular standards and skills at the forefront of STEM.
  11. Allow for student ownership while promoting real inquiry. Provide ways for students questions and inquiry, while intentionally building specific habits and literacy skills to find answers.
  12. Promote a culture of focused and engaging rigor allowing for student to face hurdles and eventually achieve satisfaction and success.
  13. Look outside your school day and find programs that students are excited about at home and after-school. Develop ways to bring these into the instructional day while mapping to curricular standards.
  14. Amplify with digital devices when appropriate, plan first before purchasing STEM technology equipment, and embrace those non-technology items that allow students to make.
  15. Allow for student voice and choice that align with both 21century skills and curricular standards in order to provide student engagement, inquiry, and purpose.

 

Opportunity – Stanley Black & Decker and Discovery Education  announced the Making for Good Challengea challenge encouraging students to develop a unique product that addresses societal and environmental needs. An extension the Innovation Generation: Making an Impact program, the challenge asks high school students to work in teams to design a product solution that will help solve an environmental or societal problem in their home, school or community. And the nationwide challenge will award up to $30,000 in scholarships, grants and prizes.  Read more about the Making for Good Challenge, visit innovation-gen.com and please consider sharing this news.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators.  As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the Websites! – Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.   Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? In fact, I have a STEM is a Verb Session and Workshop I can bring to your location. I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page.  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. While I am booked through 2019, I do have some dates open starting in 2020! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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