Monday, August 7, 2017

Divergent Interactions!


I owe this blog post to my Grade 6 learners, after going through their electronic folders of evidence, reflecting and capturing the learning. As They are owners of all of their creations I wanted to save evidence of learning for future references.

Throughout the year, all learning is focused on how the learners develop their thinking of the learning process. As educators, we are focused on shifting our learning with our “students” learning. It is about meeting our learners where they are, believing in them as they believe in themselves for the potential of achieving.

As educators, we get attached to control and it becomes hard to accept letting go of students' ownership and responsibilities. It is finding ways to have our learners take full ownership, reflect and capture their process of learning. I find that when teachers feel they lose control they become more controlling. I always hear that “students” do not have enough experience to develop empathy. How do students grapple with issues and getting students to create while others are in mind?

The Grade 6 learners explored water as a local, national and global focus during Water Week February 17th. We focused on interdisciplinary learning and problem solving throughout the year about UN Sustainable Global Goals and Canada's interactions with the goals.

The Grade 6 learners were provoked through online discussions: Dr. Fox about Environmental Threat to Canadian Waterways, CBC documentary on FNMI communities and water pollution, read texts about Muskrat falls (Les Chutes de Muskrat), Is Water  Safe To Drink In Canada? (Est-ce que l'eau est potable au Canada?) La crise de l'eau, UN articles about water pollution at FNMI communities and Danielle Taillon an engineer from the University of Ottawa who shared her experiences with FNMI youth and provoking students with Engineering Discussions on a sustainable solution for water from Water Wind Design. Through their curiosities, some learners found the corruption over the history of unsustainable infrastructure of water plants.

All learners documented their research on water and the process of designing the water filters. It goes beyond the creation of the water filters. It is about the collaboration, critical thinking, developing character, citizenship and communicating the process of being innovators and creators.

The learners always take notes and document their own learning. When listening to English Hangouts with experts they type in French their new learning.  It is amazing how they take full accountability and responsibility at developing their thinking when listening to experts. Below is a sample of students documentation of her learning.



A Padlet of curation about the water crisis in Canada and the government's' investments over the years

Made with Padlet

Two samples of their researching in teams on FlipGrid, They all had a chance to respond and learn from each other I closed the others due to privacy




Please view the slides of Grade 6 Learners designs, documentations, feedbacks from experts engineers. Iterations, prototyping, testing, and reflections focusing on the competencies throughout the process.


Experiential learning of collaborative innovation has been the foundation throughout the year for the learners by interacting with several problem-solving projects during the year.

The learners persevered with their own challenges and inquiries to seek solutions. They have proven the mindsets to take risks, to be innovative by reflecting on the collaborative ideas and valuing each other's thinking during the process. They combined their thoughts and added values to each other's discoveries and learning.

The major inspiration is about the social and emotional development of skills, accepting feedback, determining next steps and understanding the ‘how’ of learning. The Grade 6 learners developed a sense of meaning and a purpose to persevere. It is about the equity in thinking and how they collaborated, encouraged each other, challenged the assumptions, encouraged ideas generations and group discussions. Learning is about the human divergent interactions and the emotional level to inspire momentum and qualities of building the confidence to problem solve as students invest in the process of learning. They built the trust and commitment to innovation, creativity, critical thinking and communication.

The learners grew empathetic as they became explorers & innovators by creating and always ready to take creative risks. They became divergent thinkers, respecting each other's thinking by embracing challenges and accepting failures. It is letting the students bring their ideas to life based on real applications, real feelings and building a culture to understand and experience others' feeling. It is abandoning their ego (Post on the Unlearning), having genuine concerns and the sense for building to nurture and help by being proactive and reactive.

Everything that we do in the classroom or learning environment has an impact on students' life not only in the classroom, also to their future. It is not only a shift of mindset of the students, also a shift of mindset for us as educators to take risks and accept failure as part of the process. (Blog Post on End of Year reflections)


What could we do to facilitate the human aspect to learning? Is to give every learner a voice, a choice, respect to them and to each other, valuing all contributions for a communal process of learning.

Are we allowing learners to question things why they as they are? How are we impacting learners’/students' learning journey and how are we impacted by them?

Monday, July 3, 2017

Willingness To Persevere With Learning Experiences


As educators, we grow with our students. The time we spend together reflecting, unlearning for new learning habits and thinking about the curriculum relevance and the compassion of the world around us.

I finally took the day to read 53 end of year reflections from my students. The reflections were based on:
  • What does success mean to you? After your experience of learning in Grade6
  • Should grading matter during the assessment for learning?
  • Feedback on: reflections, peer/teacher feedback and developing growth mindset during the learning process.

The students' feedback has confirmed:
  • Students needs are more important than coverage of the learning
  • Understanding the why and how of learning through criteria
  • Learning is full of surprising failures when persevering for the successes of the process
  • Learning is based on collaborative, creative and critical thinking skills
  • Learning is linking causes and factors to solving many problems
  • Feedback is accepting everyone's perspective about the learning process
  • Difficult thinking leads to better ideas
  • There are no barriers to success
  • Unexpected learning is part of the learning process
  • Learning is a process and it is never finished
  • Grading should only take place at the end of the process
  • Being successful is not at getting good grades it is about life learning skills
  • Educators need to be as curious as students' during the learning process
  • Educators to also have a growth mindset like their students
  • Observing and documenting students learning for next steps (reflective process on experiences)
  • Interdependence and interpersonal skills for learning and valuing students' thinking for an effective learning community
  • Creating passion for learning through real-world problem solving tasks
  • Creativity is having fun and being engaged in owning the process of learning

A Storify of tweets that I shared about students' reflections.



There is so much to share and learn from students' voices. Throughout the year I asked for feedback that has made me a better listener, less of a talker, allowing students to be confident at owning their learning and taking risks.  It has been a blast for students to drive their own learning and " we use to worry about getting it perfect but that is not the case anymore".

What unlearning will I be persevering next year with Grade 7 students?  What resetting of change will I be achieving for students' success? How will I be continuing the guiding of proficient learning through the 6C's competencies through Integrative Thinking and Design Thinking?


Something that I need to keep up to:







Sunday, June 4, 2017

Owning And Acting On Learning

Connecting to previous posts, Shifts in Learning and Honoring Within Learning of students' thinking journeys about global citizenship, a long overdue blog post reflecting on students values of exploring the Sustainable Development Global Goals. The focus of the blog will be on ownership of  acting on learning  while exploring the causes and factors of developing events affecting local, national and international communities

Giving the students the values of connecting creativity and pedagogical thinking while exploring and learning about the Sustainable Development Global Goals (#teachSDGs). The Grade 6 students focused on designing conceptions representing SDGs and bringing awareness, impacting the Grade 5 students daily actions.



As mentioned in the 10 reasons to pursue Sustainable Development Goals as educators it is our mission to have students take a lead. This year's Grade 6 students developed conceptions applying sensors (Hummingbird) and coding (ScratchX) to share their learning of SDGs with the grade 5 students.  This year's focus of taking national action by building water filters for the Frist Nation communities with mercury-polluted water.  

This blog post will focus on having students to advocate their own learning by deciding how best to reach their audience, to observe audiences' reactions during the presentation and to get feedback if the Grade 5 students were impacted.

Students' samples of the planned audio that were recorded for preparing the coding of the sensors. The planning was prepared to be presented bilingually.








A sample of a conception


There are many ideas to bring the Sustainable Development Goals to the classroom.


Dear supporters: RT this & the movement grows. Dear #globalgoals enthusiasts: Use #TeachSDGs verb & help us showcase great tweets4teachers. pic.twitter.com/rx29R5uNPo

From visualizing the ideas of the conceptions to the actual design. The students reflected on the process by using Life of a Project. Many students persevered with the programming of the sensors and became experts in guiding others as a learning communities. A reflection sample of the design process.



 The links of students' Blog posts explaining the process of the Sustainable Development of Global Goals.





The students always reflect on the competencies throughout the process. I am sharing 2 samples of  students' reflections on the 6C's http://npdl.global/  Their reflections are written at students' French level of expressing their lesrning.





When we focus on a process of learning owned by the students, they make a difference in their own learning and among their community of learners too. When sharing the Grade 6 students also collected data if they have impacted the Grade 5 students. It was very powerful for students to reflect on the collected data after presenting the causes, factors, and reasons of the Sustainable Goals. They interpreted the data by using the ladder of inference in order to analyze and  conclude if they have impacted and empowered the Grade 5 students.





Many schools from around the world have taken actions by connecting with others for problems solving and making a difference. By following #teachSDGs on Twitter you will discover many projects from around the world. This is an example by Sean Robinson High School Students.

As educators, we must continue to inspire students' creativity with lasting impacts from around the world by reflecting on how other nations endure many difficulties for survival. It is building compassion for taking actions by impacting their own lives and the life of others. Harnessing and encouraging Global perspectives for investigating, recognizing perspectives, communicating and taking actions in becoming global citizens.

What learning opportunities are we creating for students to take risks and take actions toward local and Global communities?

Friday, March 17, 2017

Honoring Within Learning

Building a culture of risk takers, thinkers, motivators who self-assess and self-regulate is a process that is explored from day one of school and is continuously explored throughout the year. It takes time, and the key to success is letting students explore, reflect on their own actions and determine their next steps.

Competency-based learning is when students own the process and build their learning based on multiple perspectives by valuing their own thinking and others. When students are immersed in their learning they are reflecting on the process of what, how and why of learning.  The students are dealing with their habits and developing their social and emotional learning when they are reflecting during the process. Students' reflections on competencies during the process allows the authenticity of seeing themselves as designers of their learning.  The students need to know their voices matter, communicate effectively and self- assess to take action. 

I am sharing the recent causal models From Rotman I-Think Initiative of students interpersonal experiences while focusing on the causes and the factors of real world events.  Some experiences are shared on the last post.

During the causal model, the students are builders and agents of their own learning.  During the process the students contribute their voices with confidence, they are engaged in collaborative meaningful and purposeful conversations on real world issues.  

This is the students' third experience with the process of thinking through the causal model. The students identified five of the six competencies that they would highlight during the process of the integrative thinking.  The competencies are based from the 6C's of Michael Fullen's Pedagogies For Deep Learning.
  • Collaboration: Managing dynamics and applying the empathy process of listening, respecting all views and learning from others
  • Critical Thinking: Collectively thinking and sharing ideas throughout complex stakes and events and their causes. Keeping on asking "what causes this/that?" linking causes and factors of the sustainable global goals
  • Creativity: Asking questions that connect to the causes and factors to further inquire and challenge the thinking possibilities to world problems or issues.
  • Self-regulation/Character for Deep Learning: The responsibility for learning, to stay focused on listening, questions and communicating to add knowledge
  • Communication: listening and valuing ideas, building on others' ideas, reflecting and analyzing the communication as a team and considering multiple perspectives, maximizing diverse thinking, linking and analyzing my classmates' knowledge of the varied sustainable goals.
Below are slides of students focused collaborative thinking and images of the causal models



Some samples of reflections of the competencies during the integrative thinking




The students were also recording their conversations during the thinking. The recordings are evidence about their responsibilities to the interdependence of critical thinking and knowledge building. 



I have combined some audios, most were hard to listen to as you could hear the tapping of the markers while writing.
Warning when listening, turn the volume down!


While interacting and interdependently thinking about the causes and factors of global sustainability the students contribute with confidence in meaningful and purposeful conversations on real world issues.  The students become problem solvers that affect the construction of the factors and the causes to produce meaningful change and contribute to the thinking.  

The students become inclusive and they target at finding these causes and factors and be involved in asking and listening that leads to constructive knowledge of learning. The students have a clear purpose and they are aware and dependent on each other for the learning.  The students are motivated and persistent with each other to build the model. 

When students are exploring learning through the causal model they are honoring their own learning and other team members.  The learning happens among them within them respectfully sharing, questioning, analyzing, eagerly inquiring to further connect their learning.

Through this rich Integrative Thinking process, the resilience and the perseverance of responsibility to learn together is enriched, from thinking about what they know what they have learned to critically listen and share.

I continue to explore and reflect about the competencies of deep learning through Integrative Thinking with and from my learners. I reflect on how students unpack and arm themselves with the confidence of communicating, self-regulating, self-assessing, analyzing their thinking and their classmates when persevering in solving many real-world problems and allowing them to honor their thinking and others. 

What are the powerful learning experiences that we are allowing for our students to be constructors, owners, and reflectors of honoring their learning? 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Shifts In Learning

My learners and I continue to shift our learning and evolve through competencies for authentic learning connections. We continue to experiment with learning, reflect on and iterate the learning in order to embrace the winding road of rich learning practices. Shifts in learning involve learning to happen with the students, being engaged with them, sharing and reflecting during the process in order to allow the shift and the depth in the learning.


As mentioned in previous blog posts learning practices embrace clear purposes, success criteria, feedback from the teacher and peers, and opportunities to self-assess and have students determine their own progress and success. (My previous post on reflecting)


Reflecting continues to pave the way to deepen our daily experiences. There is no linear learning or planning. Our learning is always based on how we are going to demonstrate thinking and having content as an equal partner with cognition for my instructional practices and for the students' learning outcomes. In this blog, I am going to focus on the latest learning experiences and unpack our shifts in our learning. These learning experiences are many opportunities to also pique students' curiosities.


The students are reflecting on their own growth on a daily basis. The competencies are also explored and highlighted during the process. The students focus on how the learning experiences develop their growth and next steps through competencies. When I am planning the learning experiences, I am also referring to the competencies.


Our school board, the Ottawa Catholic School board has been building experiences of competencies with their schools for the past three years based on Michael Fullen Pedagogies for Deep Learning.




As I catch up to my reflections on our shift in the learning process, at this time my learners are becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable and are capable to independently refer to their habits as they are applying and reflecting on the competencies for learning. (Post on the Unlearning) The students are thinking with flexibility and paying attention to details when reflecting on real world experiences and audiences.


Connecting to real world learning through the Global Goals For Sustainable Development in relation to Grade 6 Social Studies Curriculum of Canadian Interaction With The Global Community has lead to the process of explorations that began in January through the visual arts and drama as students still continue to investigate local, national and international events.


The learning shift for the students has been done by becoming open minded while focusing on social justice, political and economic impacts to the environment. When reflecting on these experiences they are rendering to real world accountability.


After watching 360o videos of Virtual Reality about the "The Displaced from NYTVR, which it could be viewed on 360o videos on Youtube.






We were lucky to also have a camera spot on Exploring By The Seat of Your Pants with Inger VanDyke who captures images from tribal Africa. This was an interesting hangout for the students as they reflected on how happy these cultures are and how immersed they are with their simple daily life expectations.






Students interacting with the presenter and documenting their new learnings.






We also followed up on events by reading, listening and viewing many links online from our local, National and international news on xenophobia, human rights, Children rights and twitter from United Nations and UNICEF.  

Of course the exposure to many perspectives and contexts matter. This blog focuses on students' reflections and their journey to further explore empathy by observing, listening and sharing their thinking during class discussions. The students are reflecting on their own growth by being concerned for the planet and relating their learning to social, economic, political and environmental impacts of all human actions. I am amazed by students' reflections and their courage of being authentic to their emotions and embrace the shift of learning about themselves.


The pre and post reflections focused on Citizenship, "thinking like global citizens, considering global issues on a deep understanding of diverse values with genuine interest in engaging with others to solve complex problems that impact human and environmental sustainability." (Fullan &Scott 2016 p.6)


The students have taken action on environment sustainability while exploring the production of energy. They have designed and built sustainable cities on Minecraft with zero emission and they partnered with Natural Resources Canada with Mr. Meli Stylianou for feedback about zero emission housing and with Dr. Marianne Hatzopoulo for urban sustainable cities. I should have blogged and shared students' thinking of the process of environmental sustainability. I will share some evidence.




Mr. Meli met with all groups on their sustainable housing.




Dr. Marianne Hatzopoulou offered feedback online with all teams about their mine craft samples of sustainable cities and infrastructures.




As students focus on global issues, as to which they are presently planning to take action with Students Who Teach the Sustainable Development Goals. They have begun their designs of informing their local and global community and hopefully, I will be able to share their process of design.


Below are some images of the Grade 6 reflective shift and expressions of where they are now with their thinking about global issues, global perspectives, diverse values and understanding their place in local, national and global life. The reflections are written in French and I will be translating them.







I am proud of how my learners are progressing with their emotions and sharing how they are moving forward by thinking about the future and how it is real and it impacts everyone. The process of reflection about the Citizenship competency has allowed them to accept where they are at, how to move forward, embrace change and emotional exposures to other people's experiences, needs, and concerns from global, local and national events. They have become listeners, observers, curious, caring and sincere to understand than approaching people with a mindset.


The classroom is the beginning for the learners to explore and invite open-minded curiosities about diverse world values and views. The students will continue to make these global connections, differentiating facts, thinking critically and taking their learning deeper. They will continue to reflect, express their self-awareness and think how to impact others through social change.


How are your students reflecting on the change of their feelings and emotions towards real world problems?

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Reflecting

Blogging is my platform for thinking and reflecting about my learning journey with my learners who make me a better teacher every day.


My #Onewordfor2017 is Reflecting, for us as educators and for our students.  If we need to become self-directed learners and our students to be on the same path, we all need to reflect! As educators we know a lot, what is important is the doing of what we know and reflecting about the failures and the successes to make a difference in our learning.


Reflecting is a process, it is more than an event or a task with the students in the classroom. Our students are our teachers as we reflect on how to think, apply, collaborate, communicate, retry, persevere, change habits and create together.  It is a process to allow students the time to reflect on the skills required to lead a path of recognizing their habits for learning. Bringing awareness of what is thinking? What skills are applied? It is a research-based process of students applications while unpacking their learning.


I have been fortunate in the past 6 years that I have taught students for 2 or 3 consecutive years allowing reflections on daily skills. Throughout the years students have become confident risk takers and leaders of their learning. Reflections were the indicators of their thinking process and assessment as and for learning to determine goals and strategies for learning.  It is more than just reflecting on what has been learned, it is how the learning took place on conceptual and competency-based learning.

It involves observing behavioral actions in which they have become cues for learning to take actions. How students' actions impact their learning? The reflecting process is about encouraging students' insight on learning. It is a way for students to control their own learning and to foster their own growth.


Students' reflections are based on:
  • Identifying their learning goals
  • Co-creating or determining criteria of the process from content, concepts and skills required during learning tasks
  • Experiencing that learning is more than just acquiring knowledge, it is behavioral actions developing their skills
  • Being aware of their behavioral change during the process
  • Becoming their own architects of how to develop their skills by reflecting on specific dimensions during tasks of the 6C's
  • Be aware of their perceptions of unlearning to change habits for their learning
  • To further inquire their learning in relation to real life experiences
  • To explain about how they are acquiring/applying skills during learning tasks
  • Reflecting on effective and ineffective strategies during learning
  • Aware of interpersonal perspectives for learning
  • Interdependence for learning during collaborative learning
  • Developing character responsibilities
  • Tension is learning- always working on inclusion
  • The new learning acquired from others
  • Their contribution to the learning process
  • Reflecting on feedback from the teacher and colleagues about the learning process


During learning, it is the scaffolding of reflections that I make the students aware of. It is the signaling of the thinking based on which skills the students are applying during the learning. Giving the students opportunities to make meaning of their learning. The reflections could be applied at the start of the tasks, during and at the end. The intent is to compare and draw the causal of their learning outcomes, it is producing personal insights and learning from all of their experiences.


Through reflections and sharing their reflections, the students build their perspectives of their learning growth and accept the classwide peer pair learning approach in which students take turns as leaders and learners. The students become cooperative learners making meaning by sharing their reflections. Once students reflect about their skills developments, their ego falls away. They monitor their problem solving and build the habits of empathy, trust, perseverance and flexibility of working together when they share their reflections.

How valuable will students’ reflections be to impact their learning?