Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What I learned from DoInking a Sample Video!

My students have been researching a famous scientist, engineer, inventor, architect, or mathematician for the last 3 weeks in the library. I am on a fixed schedule so I have been using this mini-project to teach them how to do citations, research via books, using our library catalog to find websites and how take notes and write things in their own words and not plagiarize. What I learned from this project is that I am a poor example and influence. But I am using it as a teaching vehicle. The culminating project is a green-screen video that we are doing within a pizza box or an Explain Everything video. Here is my poor example. Notice you can see my hands; I remedied that for students by buying green gloves. Notice also that I did not practice what I preach; I did not cite my sources… at all… I did this on purpose because I am going to grade this project in front of my students with our rubric. This project gets a failing grade because even though I wrote all the words, not citing my sources is plagiarism. I think I will get their attention.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

My Life as a Lead Learner

I'm in a writer's workshop this morning and I liked the exercise so much that I thought I would turn it into a blog post. The instructor, Dr. Andy Fishman from the PA Writer's Workshop always brings out the best in me because she gets down to the nitty-gritty and she builds teachers up. We all are learning so much and are doing some actual writing which we can turn around and use as mentor texts for our students.

Here is what I wrote this morning as an exercise.

My students have no idea what to think of me when they walk into the library. I have a sign up that reads, "in this class we are all learners and we are all teachers." I learn from my students every day. We all teach and learn together. If I can't figure out how to do something and they know how, I take a back seat and say, "show us."

Why I never thought of allowing them to talk out their research topics ahead of time is a mystery (but you can bet I will do it now!). I guess I thought they would all choose the same topic if I allowed them to talk to one another, but don't they do that anyway? So, what am I afraid of? I will try it next time. That's what lead learning is all about, learning to do it better!

Lead learners are models for students. As the lead learner I admit to my students that I use Google when I want to know something but I also model how I use keywords to refine my search so that what I really want to know floats to the top of the search results. I also use the information I find to search for more information. The four words I hate the most are, "I'm done my research." There is no such thing and as the lead learner I model lifelong learning. Being a lead learner is a lot like being a real-life mentor text!

Thanks Dr. Fishman for giving me some great ideas and mentor texts and a blog post!