Name That Initialism

Much like other fields of practice, education owns its share of acronyms and initialisms. One that is relatively new to the K-12 scene is OER. In the past decade, the OER movement has trickled down from its higher education roots and is now transforming the world of curriculum resources in K-12 instruction. 

This embedded video (2:27 minutes) offers a fun 30,000 foot introduction to OERs – check it out. Then read on to learn what OER can mean for public school districts like HSE!

In a nutshell, an Open Educational Resource is any electronic educational content that has been specifically tagged (public domain or Creative Commons licensing) as free to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute. “Content” ranges from individual items (a video, an article, a quiz question) to grouped resources (an interactive textbook, a curated lesson or unit) to entire courses.

In Spring 2017, HSE Schools joined the federal #GoOpen movement as a #GoOpen Launch District. As a Launch District, HSE will be incorporating some openly licensed educational materials over the next several years. In fact, we’ve already begun! Khan Academy, CK-12, and the lessons plans from Try Engineering are all examples of open educational resources.

Next time, HSE21 Shorts will explore the transformation of Astronomy class — from static textbooks and worksheets to open education extraordinaire.

 

Want To Be My Book Buddy?

One benefit of the combined Hamilton Southeastern Intermediate & Junior High campus is the opportunity for students to partner across grade levels. Many thanks to HIJ English teacher Ashli Cooper for sharing an experience in which older students are encouraged to read through leadership incentive, and younger students have the chance to read and learn along with the ‘older kids’!

Nook BUddies 2017 Matthew RandolfStudents are our future leaders, and what better way to show them that by offering them chances to BE leaders now. This year my eighth graders were challenged to write an “About Me” paragraph — something that, by eighth grade, they have done several times. The difference? This paragraph could not include their name. In these “About Me” paragraphs, the eighth graders’ aim was showcase their best qualities in an effort to appeal to a 5th/6th grade audience. Without knowing names, the younger students read and selected buddies based solely on the power of the 8th graders’ writing.  

Book Buddies 2017 Joseph HoangAfter connecting with their buddies in the library, students were asked to discuss what they like to read and select a book that would inspire all members of the partnership. Students set reading goals, exchanged e-mail communication, and discussed characterization and plot development as they worked their way through the novel. Eighth graders walked in  to every meeting with a plan, and they were met with thoughtful and engaging questions from their buddies.

In the end, students made text-to-self and text-to-work connections that were much deeper and broader than an assignment. Students posed challenges to one another, tempting each other with spoilers of the next plot twist or sharing a connection that inspired the other student to read just a little bit more. It is true that my junior high students led the charge in reading a book, but in the process we learned that the most important part of the “Book Buddies” process was most definitely the BUDDIES.

Panthers lead because we read! #HIJHpanthers #bookbuddies

Soft Skills & Messy Learning

IMG_7853 2At first glance, nothing looked “messy” in Señora Eisinger’s junior high Spanish class. I had arrived to help students connect their Canvas (Learning Management System) accounts with Office365, in particular, to a OneNote Class Notebook through which Señora and her students would connect digitally and collaborate over the coming year. When I entered, students were seated and still, reviewing the day’s objectives. All was peaceful. All was traditional and comfortable. All was quiet.

Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 9.33.57 AMDigital connection and collaboration, though, don’t lend themselves to quiet, traditional practice – and they are rarely peaceful to set up! There’s the matter of accounts – Are you logged into Canvas? Good. Now log into OneDrive on your iPad. Oops – No, that must be your personal account – you need to find your school account. What? You don’t see your Canvas course for Spanish class? Okay. Click here. Your page won’t load? Forget the wifi and sign in again.

Everyone had a different issue. Señora Eisinger and I ran from desk to desk, trying to troubleshoot each individual problem.

Then something beautiful happened. The first student to complete the process jumped out of her desk and began to help a neighbor. Pretty soon, students were huddled in small groups, helping one another with the connection process. The room was noisy; the desks were askew. And yet, 21st century learning was happening. In their troubleshooting to connect accounts, students were working together to solve a real classroom issue. These young teens were practicing the soft skills that today’s employers desire: the ability to work as a team, communicate clearly, and come up with creative solutions.

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By the end of class, 99% of students had opened their Spanish digital notebooks on their iPads, and were exploring content – thanks to the louder and messier process of teamwork and creative problem-solving. And now that the digital connections are made, these savvy students can move on to collaborating about more weighty issues. Now, about that earthquake in Mexico City last week…

 

 

 

Web Safety at School

GES12On top of the powerful web filters that HSE Schools has in place to protect our students, our schools use many additional strategies to streamline web access in order to keep our students safe. Thanks to Geist Elementary School for sharing these tips!

As we begin our second year with iPads in the elementary schools, the GES staff is more dedicated than ever to keeping students safe as they use the web. One way we do this is through the use of QR codes.

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QR Code to San Diego Zoo Kids  

Teachers create QR codes often to provide students with a way to go directly to one particular web page – no ‘searching’ necessary. For example, Krista Beck’s first grade students recently used QR codes to travel directly and link to two websites they’ll be visiting all year.

The students first scanned a QR code that took them directly to the GES Student Links web page; then they created a shortcut to this page for their iPad home screens. The first graders will use this shortcut to directly access approved sites throughout the year. Next, Mrs. Beck’s class used a QR code to connect to the GES Library’s Symbaloo, an icon-based collection of curated web links that students will also use in first grade. A shortcut to the Symbaloo was added to iPad home screens for future reference as well.

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The GES Symbaloo provides safe access to approved websites.

QR codes and Symbaloos are two easy safeguards to make it less likely that a student will arrive at the wrong destination, and they eliminate the need to enter long or complicated web addresses – sometimes time-consuming with our youngest learners. With less time spent on typing addresses and finding particular websites, more time is devoted to the real task at hand: learning!

QR codes can be created through sites like www.the-qrcode-generator.com or www.qrstuff.com and then printed or projected on to a screen for easy access. Symbaloos can be built by anyone. A free account is available at www.symbalooedu.com .

Surgeon General

Dr. AdamsWelcome back, HSE21 Shorts readers! We begin the new school year with a timely real world connection. A member of our community, Dr. Jerome Adams, was recently confirmed as the new Surgeon General of the United States! Before Dr. Adams is sworn in next week in Washington, D.C., he graciously took time to interact with students at Geist Elementary and HSE High Schools.

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At Geist, Dr. Adams spoke with second, third and fourth grade students about components of healthy living. There’s something especially powerful when the nation’s top doctor talks about turning off the TV and getting outside in the sunshine! And if the nation’s Top Doc does push ups…

In the high school setting, Dr. Adams spoke to students from Biomedical Project Lead the Way courses as well as the Black Student Union, We the People, and several government classes.  In preparation for his visit, Dr. Adams had teachers and students read this CDC article on recent public health achievements – these achievements, as well as continuing public health challenges, provided the basis for great discussion between Dr. Adams and the students.

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 2.49.26 PMHSE21 Shorts asked teachers to describe Dr. Adams’ impact. Here are responses from Biomedical Innovations teacher Ashly Heckly:

Aside from just having a ‘title’, Dr. Adams seems to speak to significant pressing issues. What will you be able to tie in to your curriculum from his talk?
In Biomedical Innovations we are currently studying public health at the local, national, and global levels. We have been discussing the top five health issues of the 21st century, what the solution would be to these issues, and what would have to happen in order to make these solutions a reality. During this unit, we will also be studying the work of epidemiologists and how they analyze patient symptoms, test results, and other clues to successfully pinpoint the specific nature of the disease and the source. Students will end the unit by writing and presenting a grant proposal outlining an intervention plan for a particular disease, illness, or injury. Dr. Adams gave students a ‘from the field’ perspective that help them see how applicable what they are studying is to real life!

What was the reaction of the students to Dr. Adams?
Dr. Adams discussed the opiod epidemic and his conversations with high school students that are addicted to heroin. It shocked the students to hear of high school students being addicted because that is not the face that comes to mind when they think of drug addicts. They also didn’t realize that they could become addicted after only doing a drug one time and that many people are becoming addicted after taking prescription medication prescribed to them by their doctor.

The students appreciated that Dr. Adams offered them multiple view points when discussing different issues. It helped them realize that these issues are very complex and that the answers aren’t always black and white.

Dr Adams GeistThe students also admired Dr. Adams’ outstanding character traits. They were so grateful that he stayed to talk and take a picture with each student that waited in line. They were also amazed at how humble he is even though he has many great achievements.

Thank you, Dr. Adams, for your generosity of time and talents in our community. We wish you much success as you lead the charge to find solutions to our nation’s most serious and pressing health issues.

Final Exam…In the OR?

HeckleyFinalcollageCramming for finals. Memorizing hundreds of useless (now Google-able) facts that were promptly forgotten. Most all of us can recount at least one nightmarish exam saga in our high school or college past!

Assessment of learning is changing, though. It’s becoming more authentic, more reflective of the real world, and much, much more meaningful. Consider the final exam that Hamilton Southeastern High School science teacher Ashley Heckly designed for the seniors in her Biomedical Innovations class this week. In Mrs. Heckly’s own words…

fullsizeoutput_7b6Biomedical Innovations is designed for students to work through open-ended problems focused on health challenges of the 21st century. After having students work in groups throughout the year, an independent paper and pencil type of final did not feel right. Instead, I decided to transform the presentation lab into six operating rooms where students would work through the final as a group. The final was composed of six “surgeries” based on problems we studied throughout the year. The students recorded their answers to each problem on the paper body. To complete the experience, students dressed in their lab coats and received hospital ID badges, scrub hats, masks, booties, and gloves.

To get the full exam experience, don’t miss this one minute video recap!

Encouraging Leaders Through Literature

Amazing how a simple conversation between educators can spark a cross-curricular, global, enduring learning experience.  Thanks to Mrs. Kussy & Mrs. Robinson (3rd grade) from Brooks School Elementary for writing up this incredible HSE21 project to share with us, to Mrs. Patrick (BSE Media Specialist) for the video story, and to the many third graders who, through Wikispaces, are teaching the rest of us about some wonderful, insightful books!

It started as a simple collaboration between us and Mrs. Patrick and with a goal: get powerful diverse books into the hands of third graders and effectively use them to help students learn to identify a theme and support it with explicit text evidence. The books the students are reading are in the BSE Library’s collection of diverse literature which was purchased through the “Windows and Mirrors” grant — an HSE Foundation Grant that Mrs. Patrick received in 2015.

We began with three simple goals for our students. First, read and enjoy books with diversity. Second, identify the theme and support it with evidence. Third, share it beyond our classroom walls. Of course, Mrs. Patrick had a brilliant suggestion to create a class Wikispace website as the avenue to share these beautiful books and the student’s thinking and writing. Each class created its own Wiki to do just that. Students are united together in one space sharing their thoughts globally while reading diverse global texts. Students began the year sharing responses and reflections in a personal space, notebooks. Then they moved to sharing reflections via a classroom space, Seesaw. So a natural progression was to move to a global space for sharing, a Wikispace.

Weekly, students are self-selecting diverse books of interest to read and share their thinking. As they do this, they are able to add to other classmate’s posts to support their thinking with more evidence. Our next step is to have digital discussions about their affirmation or opposition to the same pieces of literature.

Throughout this entire process students have had to opportunity to discover that they are connected in some fashion with leaders of the past or present, and realistic fictional characters. Naturally, this had led us as teachers to discuss global issues being addressed through the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Along the way students are discovering leaders, real and fictional, representing cultures and diversity from all around the world and are in turn identifying these places on the world map. As we step back and analyze the work the students are involved in, it is addressing every content area and more. All of this work is “Encouraging Leaders Through Literature”.

Learn about many diverse books on our class Wikispaces!  

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http://mrskussysclass.wikispaces.com/

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http://mrsrobinsonsclassbse.wikispaces.com/

ISTEP Breakout!?!

Round two of ISTEP, Indiana’s version of a state-wide, high stakes test, occurs this week. Across Indiana’s 300+ public school districts, classrooms have reviewed through all sorts of methods. Here in Fishers, skills are reviewed through collaborative, interactive and fun ways. One teacher in particular recently found a way to make skill review a fun and engaging learning experience: ISTEP BREAKOUT!

Similar to the trendy sites around town where teams of friends (or strangers) can embark on an ‘escape’ journey for a fee, Breakout in the classroom is a team activity. Student groups solve their breakout puzzle through collaborative problem solving. In the case of Mrs. Porzuczek’s class, breaking out meant solving math problems with puzzling clues – problems that reviewed important fourth grade math concepts!

Breakout kits can be purchased for classrooms now, but Mrs. P., a fourth grade teacher at Brooks School Elementary, designed her own Breakout experiences and bought her own supplies. I visited Mrs. P.’s class to ask how they liked the new review style – and, no surprise, the students loved Breakout. Just look at a few of their comments following the experience. (You can pause the slide show to read each comment fully!)

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A Day With No Bells

Student Choice Day 2Innovative. Creative. Fun! And a little bit risky. These are just a few of the terms that could describe March 3rd, the first (maybe annual?) Student Choice Day at Fishers High School.

Any teenager will tell you that in high school, their days are ruled by bells. On Student Choice Day, though, the bells were turned off. Teens lament that their days are full of “sameness”, the same classes, at the same times, day after day after day. Student Choice Day – well, it turned  routine upside down! Teaching and learning were as evident as ever on March 3rd. The process and content just got a make-over.

How did they do it? How did committed educators and some out-of-the-box thinking turn into what many students described as “the best school day EVER”? Listen in below, as FHS Assistant Principal Steve Loser (that’s a long ‘o’ sound) describes the evolution of FHS’ Student Choice Day. Then check out the mosaic of just some of the many course titles from which students could choose on March 3rd. Finally, enjoy a gallery of photos. What a day!

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March 2nd, aka…?

Dr. Seuss’ birthday, of course! At Harrison Parkway Elementary, the birthday of the beloved rhyming genius and children’s author is celebrated yearly in a big way. At HPE, March 2nd is Seussical Day! As part of her commitment to Read Across America, HPE Media Specialist Kristin Sager rolls out the red carpet every March 2nd, inviting family and community readers to come share a Seuss title. First and second grade students rotate through a half day of Seussical experiences, all designed to encourage the love of literature and reading.

Enjoy the slide show below of this year’s Seussical Day! (If reading via email distribution, click on post title to view slide show.)

 

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