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

communication

It would like to address the important skill of Communication.If you liked my past posts on Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity, then you are sure to like this post. It is filled with thoughts on Student Communication Skills 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! Check out my Booking Page and please share and subscribe to this Blog. Now… let’s get creative!

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

“Every art communicates because it expresses. It enables us to share vividly and deeply in meanings… For communication is not announcing things… Communication is the process of creating participation, of making common what had been isolated and singular… the conveyance of meaning gives body and definiteness to the experience of the one who utters as well as to that of those who listen.” – John Dewey

The idea of Communication really is more then a skill… it is a foundation for learning. A baby learns the art of Communication through the very need to Communicate. When students first begin their schooling they are are filled with the desire to communicate. They understand that communication is a two way street. Somewhere along the way learning in school begins to become a one way street. Students become communicated at , expected to absorb knowledge through listening. While listening is a communication skill, it is only part of the communication necessary for authentic learning to take place.

A classroom that allows students to not just listen, but to reflect and communicate with teachers, other students, and mentors provides a whole new scope to the standards and related learning possibilities. Various avenues of communication provide students different opportunities to learn while facilitating those important communication skills. Students can see how texting, emailing, video conferencing, Socratic Seminars, online discussions, and face to face conversation all provides different  takes when communicating. They begin to see how Communication connects with effective Collaboration. It is true that Communication pushes critical thinking by allowing the visualization of a student’s  thinking and the thinking of others. Students are allowed to see how creativity can be used to make their own Communication more powerful. Compare a Ted Style talk to a typical power point. Students must realize that a presentation is more about Communication then the technology prop being used.

The John Dewey quote …“the conveyance of meaning gives body and definiteness to the experience of the one who utters as well as to that of those who listen” presents an amazing picture of what learning in a classroom should look like. How do we create a classroom that exemplifies this style of powerful Communication? The teacher must be intentional and guide students. There still must be moments following student exploration and collaboration where the teacher provides or facilitates Communication. Concurrently, teachers must make sure that their lessons allow for students to practice all avenues of Communications!  Often, this practice can be seen in STEM and PBL classrooms. It is exciting to see students discuss, listen, debate, question, persuade, reflect, and explain their thoughts as they conquer the standards. What tools do we have that help provide and facilitate a Communication experience that provides the opportunity for authentic and deeper learning?

Welcome to the resources! I think it is important to define and promote Communication though its various attributes. The facilitation must be intentional with appropriate scaffolds in place. I hope you find the resources below helpful. Taking the journey toward students centered classroom rich in Communication 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 Communications in the Classroom

  1. Provides students the opportunity to own and internalize their learning by providing an explanation to others.
  2. Facilitates critical thinking by pushing students to visualize their thinking and the thinking of others.
  3. Allows students to practice actively listening providing other viewpoints while building empathy and understanding for diversity
  4. Supports the ability to Communicate in various ways depending on situation and resources available.
  5. Encourages students to reflect and  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 through reflection on multiple viewpoints, disciplines, and possibilities
  7. Provides an avenue to explore the strengths and weaknesses of different forms of communication involving face to face, virtual, oral, and written.
  8. Supports the power of individual and group voice.
  9. Provides important avenues of communication that allows for active listening, persuasion, healthy discourse, multiple viewpoints, and needed empathy.
  10. Builds the ability to convey a message though knowledge of content along with the ability to deliver a message in powerful and effective ways

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 which are all a part of important student Communication)
  2. Emphasize different modalities of Communication. ( Have students practice Communication using texting, acceptable social media, online discussions, video conferencing, face to face, and discuss these avenues strengths and weaknesses)
  3. Provide students with a Communication rubric. (Have them look at the rubric before an activity that demands Communication, and once again when they are finished)
  4. Make assessment of Communication 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; active listening, following or providing direction, explaining a view point,  selling an idea, and paraphrasing another persons idea. Concentrate on just one indicator while doing a lesson. There can even be an exit ticket reflection)
  6. Start a lesson out… with Communication. ( Find a current event or interesting article/media that students are interested in that relates to standards. Provides ways for students to explain their thinking while also listening to thoughts from others.)
  7. Post a Creative Communication 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 Communication activity.
  8. Make Communication activities and peer discussions part of your formative  and summative assessment.  (Move around the room, talk to groups and students, stop the whole group to make adjustments. Assign multiple ways to demonstrate learning… go beyond the reading from a PowerPoint presentation)
  9. Find ways to build Communication outside the classroom. (Think of ways to have students Communicate with other classrooms in the school, city, state, or world. Provide digital ways to connect with community and mentors)
  10. Plan for a school wide emphasis. (A learning culture that builds Communication is usually bigger then one classroom. Schools and classrooms that practice student owned/centered learning promote Communication. 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 Communication in the classroom. I want to provide you with some great resources that will give your some powerful tools to facilitate and assess the skill of Communication.  Keep in mind that students can also self assess and journal using prompts from a Communication Rubric. In fact, peer assessment using a rubric is powerful before a final presentation or competition event.

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 Communication 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. In harmony with this article on Communication, be sure to check out the  Presentation Rubrics. 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 Communication 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 Communication rubrics that assesses student learning in multiple areas. These are sure to get you off and started.

AACU Rubrics – You will find some great  written and oral communication rubrics. 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 Visual Thinking Core Routines helps students develop their capacity to think critically while expressing their ideas and listening to others.

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

CTE Online – Check out these PBL Projects that emphasize Communication Skills.

Positive Psychology – Check out these 39 Communication Skill activities.

NSFR Protocols – These are a must view for those trying to find protocols that allow students and teachers to practice Communication skills that will make a difference!

I Can Statements for Communication

  1. I can explain my thinking regarding an idea or concept to others.
  2. I can actively listen to others and repeat what I have heard.
  3. I can provide productive feedback to others.
  4. I can practice good presentation skills including proper speech, eye contact, voice inflection, and knowledge content.
  5. I can practice good listening skills including eye contact, positive body language, and helpful feedback
  6. I can use multiple ways to effectively communicate including written, face to face, and digital.
  7. I can determine the best form of communication for different situations while finding the most effective resources when explaining or presenting.
  8. I can practice empathy and understanding as I discuss with others.
  9. I can use imagination and creativity to present an idea.
  10. I can employ my knowledge and enthusiasm above any technology or prop when presenting a concept, topic, or idea.

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 mid April of 2020! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Project Based Learning Goldmine… Over 86 Amazing Videos To Generate That New Project For A School Or Classroom

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Have you ever wanted to get some great ideas that could be the start of a new PBL or school program. You will enjoy look at these videos which represent some wonderful ideas. In other words… be sure to especially take note of the link that takes you to all of the Follett Challenge winners for the past five years. 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 important to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet. Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  May you have a wonderful and rewarding 2020! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Booking Info – Also, think about having me come to your school or conference event in 2020. Dates are filling fast. I am a PBLWorks (BIE) National Faculty and have also consulted and provided PD for Discovery, PBS Learning Media, Alan November, ISTE,  FETC, Wilkes University (written and teach PBL course), and hundreds of educational institutions across the country.  Think about a keynote, workshop, or even a multiple day workshop on a subject such as PBL, STEM, Tech, and Makers. I provide educators with practical and useful resources and information that they can apply the next day! Check out my Booking Site.

Project Based Learning Gold… Over 86 Amazing Videos To Generate That New Project For A School Or Classroom – Michael Gorman (21centuryedtech.wordpress.com)

I have been honored to be selected as an annual judge for the Follett Challenge.  Over 130 schools and districts took the Follett Challenge last year and I have the unique opportunity to view and vote from the selection of finalist for the grand prize.   All winners including the 10 people’s choice winners and 9 semifinalist for the 2020 Follett Challenge will be announced on March 23, 2020.

Now let me tell you why you want to watch the videos that these students and teachers have created.

  • Perhaps you are a teacher or librarian that is looking for some amazing PBL ideas that you can replicate in your school.
  • You might be an educator looking for that special school project to involve students.
  • Or you are looking for something to inspire your own creative thoughts inspiring that next great lesson or project.

You will be amazed as you watch these wonderful video experiences. You will see that the Follett Challenge is a program that  rewards top-notch educators who are aligning their curriculum to teach 21st century learning skills.  That Goldmine is coming up under my favorite part heading in this article!

After viewing you may decide to check out the Follett Challenge website next year for your own school or district. The program dates for this year included an entry period starting in October with culmination in December. Learn more about contest information and submissions along with this year’s prize information starting with one grand prize and nine semifinalists earning a combined total of $150,000 in material. Add on another $50,000 for those “Peoples’ Choice Awards”.

The PBL Goldmine…. Now for my favorite part of the Follett Challenge Website.

I call it a wonderful goldmine of PBL ideas. In fact, I feel like a winner from just viewing some of the wonderful possibilities. Click here to view over 86 winners going back to 2013. You will find a video of each winner along with some of the most authentic PBL ideas collected anywhere. Take note that there categories include elementary, middle, and high school! Viewing these wonderful school and district project ideas will make you smile. Better yet, you might be ready to make it happen at your school next year!  Keep in mind that come March 23 there will be up to 19 more added! Wow… I am sure you will find a PBL idea!

Thank you for joining me as we both discover some amazing educational thoughts and ideas!  Please take a moment to share this post with other educators across the world.  Please accept my invitation to you,  which is the opportunity to be a part of 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.  Best wishes to you as you mine for PBL Gold!

Mike Gorman (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? I am a PBLWorks (BIE) National Faculty and have also consulted and provided PD for Discovery, PBS Learning Media, Alan November, ISTE,  FETC, Wilkes University, and hundreds of educational institutions across the country. 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. I am now almost booked through April. Perhaps you need to think about summer conference dates or PD needs and it is not too early to think about the 2020/21 school year! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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Project Based Learning and Ground Hog Day… A PBL Connection Beyond A Shadow of A Doubt

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Welcome to my Groundhog Day Posting.  As you know this  last weekend was filled with Ground Hog Day and Super Bowl, and the amazing TCEA conference is this past week. All of you in Austin… enjoy your week. If you are a fan of PBL,  I think you will enjoy my story. This is a true venture into my right brain!  Just saw Dan Pink at FETC! You may wonder how I connected groundhogs with 21st Century Learning.  It wasn’t easy, but after I found out that Punxsutawney Phil had a Facebook account, I couldn’t resist contacting him. I do have a link to his Facebook below in my closing.   I have some great posts coming your way involving PBL, STEM,  Makers and Tech Integration.  Most of all, thanks for being one of those over 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). (21centuryedtech). I  hope you enjoy my very special Ground Hog  PBL story. May spring soon be with you! – Mike

Project Based Learning and Ground Hog Day… A Connection Beyond A Shadow of A Doubt

Welcome to another post which I hope brings a smile to your face. It was earlier this month when Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his temporary burrow which is a simulated tree stump at the rural site of Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Once again he will looked for his shadow and then speak in Groundhogese, giving the weather forecast for the next six weeks. Or so the story goes…  I recently had the opportunity to contact Punxsutawney Phil using  his Facebook account and he gives a different side of the story. One that he says is much more reliable and has perhaps been misinterpreted due to poor translation of his Groundhogese. My updated version of Google Language Converter translating Groundhogese to English gives an interesting and possibly more accurate account.

Many years ago according to Punxsutawney Phil, there emerged a theory that the earth was becoming flat. This theory networked throughout the groundhog community since their tunnels and burrows allowed for word of mouth communication to spread throughout the groundhog world. The thought of the earth becoming flat alarmed the groundhogs due to the changes it would bring to their vast array of tunnels. The earth changing from a curved surface to a linear flat surface would change their way of life and the very way they traded and worked with groundhogs of different parts of the world.

This realization caused a massive change in the groundhog educational system. A national program called NGLB (No Groundhog Left Behind) was drastically changed and reformed. You might say it turned into a new program called  ”A Race To The Top”. Something most groundhogs were familiar with if, they wanted to see daylight! Rather than memorizing groundhog history and standards, young groundhogs were given a Driving Question that asked them to plan for a future they had not envisioned yet. The groundhog students learned to problem solve, work cooperatively, research, and use high order thinking.  They were excited by this authentic challenge. The transformation led to an era of creativity and higher order thinking. Groundhogs were soon using both their right and left brain “A Whole New Mind”. It was during one of young Punxsutawney Phil’s Project Based Lessons in school that the very first Ground Hog Day came to be. You could say it was a real world presentation that the entire world tuned into, although some of the translation may have been lost especially among humans.

It was long before the internet, so Phil had collaborated with other student groundhogs across the miles. They decided that once a week in the summer they would go outside their boroughs and calculate a mathematical triangulation of the sun and their shadow.  By calculating the changes in their shadows they could then figure out if the earth really was becoming flat. To be more accurate, they picked one day each winter do the same.  Of course they were certain to collaborate, and all did their experiment on the same day, which ended up being February 2. The groundhogs realized that due to cloud cover not all would see their shadow, but were hopeful that enough would, which would render their data reliable.  As time went on, this practice became a lifelong learning experience.

The groundhogs discovered two things from their experiment.  First, the earth was not becoming flat in a physical way but in a virtual way. This flattening sensation involved the way groundhogs connected and worked with one another throughout the world. Even more interesting, an unintended consequence had also been discovered. The Feb 2 Groundhog Day of experimentation and analysis was getting attention from humans. Word spread across the groundhog world. The advent of the internet and technology allowed groundhogs both young and old to communicate through email and twitter about this human curiosity. The groundhogs were surprised to learn that the humans thought their mathematical triangulation of sun, earth, and shadow was a weather prediction. The groundhogs were amused, but understood after studying the ways of the human school system. They found the human child had no time to inquire, apply, and synthesize due to the vast amount of facts that humans held important. There was no time in the human curriculum to prepare for future needs, the past and its traditions were much too sacred. They were amused that anyone might think a cloudy day predicted the next six weeks of weather!

Punxsutawney Phil told me that he looks forward to every Feb 2 and is constantly reminded how his personal learning community, which started when he was young, discovered the real meaning of a Flat Earth. He also pointed out that as an added extra to the day, it gives all groundhogs an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse of the human race. As Phil stated, “I often wonder what shadow of a thought those humans may be reflecting on”. He also let related that if you wish to know the weather, at least for the next ten days, the Weather Channel does a pretty good job! If you really want six weeks, then check out the Groundhog Network!

Thanks for joining me for another reflective look at 21st Century Learning. If you wish to learn more about Groundhog Day check out this article found at National Geographic. You can also visit Punxsutawney Phil Facebook Site. Please feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mjgormans). 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! – 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? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy Makers, 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. My 2020  calendar is filling fast. In fact, it might be time to begin thinking about the summer  and start of school of 2020! Look for contact information at the Booking Site.

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

steam

Image Creative Commons

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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