Creating Positive Coaching Relationships Based on Collaborating and Communicating

Have you ever heard of the book, “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”? It is a book full of essays on life written by Robert Fulghum. It mentions a few short statements of things you learn in kindergarten that…

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Student Ownership With Rubrics

My most recent area of focus has been on learning about ISTE Educator Standard 6 – Facilitator. I have always been eager to find ways to encourage students to take ownership of their learning. It is so important for students to understand that their education, quite honestly, is in their hands. And while educators are there to help support, and guide, students self-motivation and determination can help boost them to an entirely new level of success. So when I was reading through “Facilitator” I was excited to see the focus on not only that concept, but also about challenging students to use creativity and innovation to solve problems and communicate knowledge.  Thinking of this standard, I was hoping to find a way for students to incorporate all of these things into one routine or process. This led me to my guiding question.  What digital tools can allow students to self-assess and track mastery of the ISTE Student Standards? In previous inquiries, I have looked into students having the ability to use their own creative process to demonstrate their understanding of concepts. My original goal was to try and find a platform that would enable students to have a visual checklist of sorts that showed the ISTE Student Standards with criteria to represent mastery. I then would utilize it for students to self-assess their skill level for each standard and have the opportunity to “check off” the standards that they have met, while being self-aware of the standards that they still needed to focus on.  After searching for a while, I didn’t find a specific platform that would allow for this process. However, it wasn’t necessarily the platform that I was after, but the process of self-assessing and coming up with a unique experience for students to demonstrate their competencies. I figured that the best way for students to do this, was to use rubrics.  “How Do Rubrics Help?“ “Rubrics are great for students: they let students know what is expected of them, and demystify grades by clearly stating, in age-appropriate vocabulary, the expectations for a project. They also help students see that learning is about gaining specific skills (both in academic subjects and in problem-solving and life skills), and they give students the opportunity to do self-assessment to reflect on the learning process.” Edutopia defines a rubric as “multidimensional sets of scoring guidelines that can be used to provide consistency in evaluating student work”. A rubric gives a set of criteria to match a skill set to a level of understanding. Rubrics can be not only used for teachers to grade students, but for students to better understand success criteria.  In today’s education world, students have more and more opportunity to demonstrate their understanding through endless mediums. While rubrics have been around for a long time as a way for teachers to grade students’ understanding or demonstration of skills, they don’t have to stay in the hands of the teachers. Using rubrics for students to self-assess, or allowing students to create a rubric for themselves can be an empowering way for students to not only take ownership of their learning, but also for them to deepen their conceptual understanding of topics.  #1: iRubric Student login Pros: Students have 3 options for rubrics… to build a new rubric from an idea, to edit an existing rubric, or to make a copy of an existing rubric and repurpose. Cons: The process to create an account has a lot of information to enter including first and last name, their state and zip code, and two challenge questions that you have to enter personal information for. I was able to create a generic account using “Studentonetwo” and other random information, however I would be uncomfortable having my students use this site and enter all that information in.  Teacher login Pros: You are able to search pre-existing rubrics made from other educators. For example, I found many ISTE standard rubrics that have already been created for immediate use!  I could see myself using iRubric to create a rubric for students and have them self assess on paper. However, I am looking for something that would enable students to display their “toolbox of skills” in an easy layout to immediately identify ones they have mastered versus ones to work on. iRubric is slightly challenging to navigate and I would be uncomfortable having my students create their own rubrics using it.  #2: Rubistar Without logging in, you can search for pre-made rubrics. However, I didn’t find rubrics specifically for ISTE standards when I was searching. The feature for creating a new rubric also continued to have an error code pop-up. While you may have luck searching the database, it might not be worth it due to the exorbitant amount of ads.  #3: Teach-nology Of the first three rubric creators I found, teach-nology allowed for me to create a rubric without having to create an account. While it was fairly basic and not entirely editable, it was easy to entire criteria in, and quite fast! A drawback for student usage would be the amount of ads. There are MANY ads. But for a teacher to create a rubric for students to use, this is a great place to start.  #4: Google Classroom Rubric Creator If you implement a Google Classroom, their rubric creator is an easy way to create a new rubric, reuse a previously created rubric, or import a template from Google Sheets, for a posted assignment. While this is extremely convenient and works effortlessly within the Google platform, it does not allow for students to work through the process of creating a rubric for their assignment, which was my main intention.  Mindset Shift As I researched ways for my students to display their mastered skills, I didn’t necessarily find an exact solution. I did find some great rubric resources for my students to be able to use to create rubrics and work through the process of thinking about their learning. But looking back to the original standard, 6c states “Create learning opportunities that challenge students to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.” So while I have found some great rubric creators, and I plan to use them at the beginning of the process to help demonstrate and scaffold, I am comfortable with students choosing the method in which they want to create their rubrics.  How do you help promote student ownership in your classrooms? I’d love to hear from you! References Create or reuse a rubric for an assignment – Computer – Classroom Help. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 2020, from Lane, M. (2018, May 14). 10 Data Tracking Apps You Can Use In Your Class Tomorrow. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from Murray, J. (n.d.). Technology in the Classroom Tools to Create Rubrics. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from Person. (2008, July 15). How Do Rubrics Help? Retrieved May 20, 2020, from Rubric Maker – Where to Create Free Rubrics Online. (2018, April 30). Retrieved from Schrock, K. (n.d.). Assessment and Rubrics. Retrieved May 20, 2020, from

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Tools for Analyzing Formative Assessments

Have you ever considered the amount of time it takes to hand out, collect, grade, and analyze formative assessments and then use results to meaningfully plan for daily math lessons? I know this is one of those pieces of teaching that I don’t exactly look forward to. It is exhausting to plan time for exit tickets and then grade them DAILY in order to have information to help guide your next day of instruction. I have been pondering this task for a while now, and it has led me to questioning my methods of formative assessment surrounding math.  Using ISTE Educator Standard 5: Design, and ISTE Educator Standard 7: Analyst, I came up with a guiding question to help lead me on my quest for a digital tool that can help me design, and analyze my students’ formative assessments in a meaningful way, with a quicker pace.  “What digital tools can I use to quickly assess math understanding while also allowing for self-assessment?” Let’s lead with the standards: While searching, I found 3 great tools that all serve slightly different purposes.  Edulastic  Edulastic is a great tool that helps give a more formal formative (or summative) assessment. My favorite part of this tool is that it has an abundance of pre-made assessments that are matched to curriculum and standards. My district uses Eureka for math curriculum, and there are pre-loaded tests for every topic, mid-module assessments, and end of module assessments for every grade and every module. Also, the majority of assessments are graded by themselves (the more extended problems have a small piece that need to be graded by the teacher). This tool is wonderful! It even creates color-coded pie charts representing the students who were below standard, near standard, and met standard.  While Edulastic is amazing for more formal assessing matters, it wasn’t necessarily what I was looking for when searching for a tool to help with the day-to-day exit ticket matter… my search continues! Flubaroo  The next tool I wanted to learn more about was Flubaroo. This is a free extension that you add to Chrome. You can create self graded tests made on Google Forms and help formatting for assessments as well. I have had great success with Flubaroo on creating templates for my students, along with creating student info sheets that have been taken by parents on Google Forms and then reformatted to a Google Doc in a more user-friendly model. Flubaroo is a fantastic tool, and I know that the practical uses for education are abundant.  To use Flubaroo, you must have all students (or whomever your users are) complete their Google Form prior to submitting a template and using the Google Sheet data. Looking for more great info on Flubaroo? Here is a how-to link for all things Flubaroo: here. While this may not be a con for your usage, I am looking for a tool that immediately gives me feedback.  I continued to search for a tool that could give me immediate formative assessment data and it led me next to Socrative.  Socrative Socrative has a free version and a pro-version. I focused on the free version. On the non-paid version there are 4 main features: Quiz, Space Race, Exit Ticket, and Quick Question.  Using “Quiz” you can either create a new quiz or import a quiz using a shared code that another user has created. These can be organized by folder, and can be as long as you please.  On “Space Race” you can use a quiz, with altered settings, to use on space race. Here is a great video that shows you the steps to launch a space race and then also shows you the student display. Here’s the video: Next, “Exit Ticket”, which to my knowledge is a pre-formatted set of 3 questions. The first asking how well you understood the material in that day’s lesson. The second asking what you learned, and enabling a short answer response ability. And the last question, “Please answer the teacher’s question”.  The last option, “Quick Question”. Here you can set up a multiple choice, true/false, or short answer response for students. For the free version, it shows you results immediately, however you cannot change the options on the tool (you would have to display it for the students using a different tool, or writing the question and answer on the board).  I am most interested in Socrative for my daily formative assessment tool. I can see myself using the quick question tool throughout the lesson (even outside of a math lesson) to gauge a quick understanding, while using the exit ticket function for students to self assess. I would use that last question opportunity to add a problem to the board for students to solve and respond using Socrative. This would help me to immediately have them give me a rating of understanding for the lesson, a short answer for them to explain in words what they felt they learned about that day, and also an immediate response to a problem.  While Socrative may not be useful for teachers who would like a more in-depth, self grading quiz, or an assessment that has been pre-loaded and matched to standards, it is perfect for a quick check-in with students.  I would love to hear what you use for your formative assessments and quick student assessments! Comment below! References AMLE – Association for Middle Level Education. (n.d.). 8 Digital Formative Assessment Tools to Improve Motivation. Retrieved from Davis, V. (2017, May 8). Fantastic, Fast Formative Assessment Tools. Retrieved from Flubaroo Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved May 2020, from Free Formative Assessment Tools for Teachers. (n.d.). Retrieved May 2020, from K-12. (n.d.). Retrieved May 2020, from Top Tech Tools for Formative Assessment. (2020, January 30). Retrieved from

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Learning and Leading with Twitter

ISTE Standards for Educators 1 & 2 My latest focus on my journey towards digital education leadership has been focused around the first and second ISTE Standards for Educators. These two standards are about being a learner and being a leader… which through my research, I have learned go perfectly hand in hand.  I was mostly interested in 1b and 2c and how “participating in local and global learning networks” can help to achieve 2c. In our current teaching and learning model of remote education, I have seen the importance of not only starting to use new digital resources and tools, but the critical need to be able to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of these resources. It isn’t impossible, but it is unrealistic for each teacher to spend the time researching and exploring every single digital resource or tech tool that they come across. And this is where those “local and global learning networks” can come into play! This led me to my essential question: Focusing on remote learning… how can educators support each other to help advance understanding and implementation of technological tools. Let’s get started! What is a PLC/PLN/GLC? Whether you call it a “professional learning community”, “professional learning network”, or “global learning community”, we are essentially referring to the same thing; a group of people that come together (physically, or virtually) to discuss ideas, question one another, and further thinking on a specific topic.  Andrew Miller, an Edutopia Blogger, writes about how to create effective PLCs. PLCs (professional learning communities) are groups of educators that come together to collaborate and learn from one another to help improve student engagement and achievement. He states that “a learning team constantly engages in a cycle of learning: analyzing data, setting goals, and learning individually and collaboratively, as well as implementing and adjusting practices to meet the needs of all learners.”  His post “Creating Effective Professional Learning Communities” is a great resource to help get started in PLCs, you can find it here. There are tons of ways to get into PLCs… your school, your district, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and so so many more. I personally was in “PLCs” on my social media accounts without even realizing it!  One of my faves on Facebook is Not So Wimpy Fifth Grade Teachers, an insanely gracious group of teachers who share so many resources and support their fellow teachers like nothing I’ve seen before. (Also not as “professional”, but a learning community nonetheless Fitness for Teachers, a group that give advice and encouragement on how to stay healthy while teaching).  And on Instagram I follow some incredible groups who share resources, provide professional development and give inspiration: Get Your Teach On and Teach Your Heart Out. While all of these are fantastic ways to get hooked up with PLCs, I am on a mission to expand my horizons. Being a millenial – I have been aware of the existence of Twitter for quite some time. I even tried it out when I was in high school… and quickly decided that it wasn’t for me. Fast forward to my teacher prep classes, and it was suggested again for me to make an account to help come up with ideas for lessons… and again I decided I didn’t need a Twitter and that I had a community in my cohort, and that was good enough for me. Well, now a decade after I pushed Twitter to the side, a pandemic hits and teachers’ “traditional” strategies are all out the window as remote learning becomes our “new normal”. Once more, I am walking towards the “Twitter” light – and I LOVE what I see.  Twitter image attribution Flickr user sylviaduckwirth; 50 Of The Best Education Accounts On Twitter Here is some of my original learning: “Hashtag” – an easy way to sift through posts and find ones that are specific to the information that you are looking for “Ed chats”- a set time to log in and collaborate over a set topic Networking – connect with other educators by following them!  Posting – share your findings with the world! Tweetdeck – a website to use with Twitter that allows you to follow hashtags You can also schedule tweets to post! (Thanks to the amazing @mheinema1, Digital Learning Coach Extraordinaire who introduced me to this tool!) Steps to get started Start following users to add to your network! Here are some great handles that I follow that focus on digital education:  Once you have followed some people and are ready, you can get in on the fun! Here are some great hashtags for teaching and learning: Remember, you can just follow others and search hashtags until you are comfortable being part of the conversation. Twitter has the ability to bring teachers from all over the world into one community, to explore and evaluate digital resources and share their findings and success together.  What are your Twitter findings? Drop a comment below! References Goal-Setting for Teachers: 8 Paths for Self-Improvement. (2018, September 24). Retrieved from ISTE Standards for Educators. (n.d.). Retrieved from Miller, A. (2020, January 4). Creating Effective Professional Learning Communities. Retrieved from Rubin, A. (2020, January 16). How to Build a Teacher PLC in 3 Easy Steps. Retrieved from Serviss, J. (2019, November 6). 4 benefits of an active professional learning community. Retrieved from

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Professional Learning Networks: Connect, Relate, and Create

The digital world offers many ways of connecting with fellow professionals beyond your typical day and location. Instead of waiting for the weekly professional development meeting or your planning period to connect with your school bestie, educators can access Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) and get suggestions, answers and numerous perspectives within a few minutes. Innovating Pedogogy (2016) … Continue reading Professional Learning Networks: Connect, Relate, and Create

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EDTC 6106 Module 5: Extending Tech PD Beyond Educators to Support Wider School Community

As I reflect on this quarter of my Masters in Digital Education Leadership, I feel I’ve truly come to question more behind the scenes operations of Professional Development in my district and become more inquisitive to answer questions not only for myself, but also for colleagues and our school community.  For my final blogpost this …

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Administrators Role In Tech Integration

This quarter in my Masters in Digital Education program, I’ve truly begun to question decision making behind the scenes and how those decisions are both shared and acted upon by district staff.  Continuing to look to ISTE Standards around Professional Development and Program Evaluation, I further wanted to explore how administrators advocated for technology needs …

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Motivational Factors and Barriers Shape Teachers Perceptions of Professional Development

This week we are continuing to look at ISTE Coaching Standard 4b: Designing, developing, and implementing technology rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment. What does that mean exactly?   Reflecting on years of various forms of PD I’ve attended, I …

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EDTC 6106: What Role Should Technology Play in Professional Development?

Starting a new course for my Masters in Digital Education Leadership program has me looking at Professional Development through the lense of ISTE Coaching Standard 4b. Having previously looked into how to increase participation in Tech PD, I’m now considering factors that promote best practices for designing and implementing PD based on clear evidence. This …

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Educational Technology or Tech Instructional Coach within a specific subject area? EDTC 6106

For the past couple weeks, I have explored ISTE Coaching Standard 4b – Design, develop, and implement technology-rich professional learning programs that model principles of adult learning and promote digital age best practices in teaching, learning, and assessment. To try to understand how professional learning specifically impacts the use of education technology. Our learning objective for this module expected … Continue reading Educational Technology or Tech Instructional Coach within a specific subject area? EDTC 6106

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