Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Personalized Learning Models: Webinar

As part of Connected Educators Month this October, we hosted another free webinar on October 29th for educators to share and connect online. We also invited a few more of our friends from our Journeys page to broadcast and share their experiences on personalizing learning.

Click on image or link below to get to the archived webinar:

We thank Lisa Welch and Wanda Richardson from KM Explore in Wisconsin and David Truss from Inquiry Hub in British Columbia for sharing about their schools even though there were some technical difficulties. We really appreciate their perseverance and humor as they shared exciting information with the audience.

Lisa came back to co-present with Wanda since they co-teach K-1 44 little ones together. Just seeing the redesign of the classroom with 2 classes in one large room was exciting. They shared about generative curriculum where learners are the architects of their own learning. KM Explore is designed around K-1, 2-3, 4-5 multi-age learning environments with collaborative teaching and learning. Mission Monday showcases strategies of Habits of Mind in very entertaining ways. 

Dave Truss is lead administrator for the Inquiry Hub provides learners blended instruction, reduced timetable structure, and a learner-driven inquiry approach to learning. Dave shared that learners follow their interests around topics and develop projects around these topics. As a small school, it is a community built around a learning commons environment. Learners have dedicated inquiry time to work collaboratively and independently on their projects.

After the technical difficulties with the platform, we worked with Steve Hargadon and Peggy George from Classroom 2.0 to set up future webinars with KM Explore and Inquiry Hub using Blackboard Collaborative. Dave has agreed to return for another webinar on December 17th with some learners who will tell their stories. Lisa and Wanda talked to all the teacher teams and we are looking for another time to talk about the co-teaching multi-age model at different grade levels. Cannot wait!

Here's the chat from the webinar:
10/29/2013 05:06:49: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: So excited to join in the conversation.
10/29/2013 05:07:11: Betty Wottreng: Love what you did with your space!
10/29/2013 05:07:15: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Great you are here Kim!!!
10/29/2013 05:07:28: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Hi Betty!
10/29/2013 05:07:36: Betty Wottreng: Hi Barbara!
10/29/2013 05:08:09: Nancy White from Colorado Springs: What a concept! Get students out of the "institution" look & feel !
10/29/2013 05:08:46: Betty Wottreng: We have those too, but I love your community focus with them.
10/29/2013 05:09:14: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Engagement is the most important piece for our learner - love that!!
10/29/2013 05:09:21: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: Love the free library idea! What a great service project!
10/29/2013 05:09:42: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Kim - this could be a great idea for Verona. Let's talk about that when we meet.
10/29/2013 05:10:38: Heidi from St. Paul: can you explain the logistics of generative curriculum when working with K-1?
10/29/2013 05:10:51: Kathleen McClaskey: Love the idea of ageless and gradeless
10/29/2013 05:10:53: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: ageless and gradeless - think about that
10/29/2013 05:11:04: Betty Wottreng: I love that concept of ageless and gradeless!
10/29/2013 05:11:10: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: Ageless and gradeless learners!! YES!
10/29/2013 05:11:30: Nancy White from Colorado Springs: The original 1 room schoolhouse model?
10/29/2013 05:11:34: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Heidi - we'll open the question to Lisa and Wanda after Dave's presentation - thanks for the question
10/29/2013 05:12:57: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: Ageless and gradeless- it is about their own personal progres
10/29/2013 05:12:57: David Truss from Canada: I have a long delay, so if I miss my que, let me know here. 
10/29/2013 05:12:58: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: Almost like that Nancy, but BIGGER!
10/29/2013 05:13:03: Kathleen McClaskey: How great is that! 
10/29/2013 05:13:09: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Everyone is welcome to ask questions that they can answer later - all questions and comments are welcome
10/29/2013 05:13:20: Kathleen McClaskey: Dave- are you hard wired?
10/29/2013 05:14:33: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Habits of MInd - community building - love listening with empathy and understanding
10/29/2013 05:14:47: Betty Wottreng: Kim - there is a little free library on the bike trail.
10/29/2013 05:15:20: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: There is! Stephanie Symes was trying to get one outside of SOMS. 
10/29/2013 05:15:43: Betty Wottreng: We need more of them!
10/29/2013 05:16:17: David Truss from Canada: I'm back:)
10/29/2013 05:20:58: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: We use the Essential 55 by Ron Clark and the books of Laurie Frank. We flip flop every other Monday- Essential 55 and Community Building. They are right. The students use the language and it is seen outside the classroom
10/29/2013 05:23:58: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: School designed around ideas - yes
10/29/2013 05:24:34: Betty Wottreng: So does a reduced timetable mean less FTF instruction?
10/29/2013 05:24:48: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: cross-curricular in nature - thesis statement around political cartoons - interesting
10/29/2013 05:25:16: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: No time frame on workshops is great!
10/29/2013 05:25:29: Betty Wottreng: Do your teachers create the online content, or are you using content from another source, or both?
10/29/2013 05:27:35: Nancy White from Colorado Springs: I would really like to know what kind of things they work on online. Is it research for their projects? Just drill-based work? 
10/29/2013 05:30:01: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: David- do manage the standards with Project Foundry?
10/29/2013 05:30:32: Betty Wottreng: yes!
10/29/2013 05:31:37: Kathleen McClaskey: The Inquiry Hub is in their second year
10/29/2013 05:31:51: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: Where do you begin connecting to community partners?
10/29/2013 05:32:15: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: It is! Thank you!
10/29/2013 05:33:02: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: My undergraduate degree is from Carroll!
10/29/2013 05:33:14: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: Mine too!
10/29/2013 05:34:19: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: What year? I graduated 1995.
10/29/2013 05:34:40: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: We like that idea too! Our parents used Home Depot for the lumber for our Little Free Libraries. The parents are a great part of the community of learners!
10/29/2013 05:35:00: Laura Lindquist from Verona, WI: Unfortunately I have to run - thank you for this! Looking forward to next time
10/29/2013 05:35:08: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: It is great how the kids invested their time in it. What a life lesson!
10/29/2013 05:35:12: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: Bye Laura!
10/29/2013 05:35:15: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Thank you Laura!
10/29/2013 05:36:39: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Who else is doing maker spaces?
10/29/2013 05:36:44: Kathleen McClaskey: Makers Space - Tell us more about that
10/29/2013 05:37:42: Betty Wottreng: new term...tell us more!
10/29/2013 05:37:51: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Maker Space Manifesto
10/29/2013 05:38:04: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: allows students to tinker
10/29/2013 05:39:01: Betty Wottreng: I love that concept. The Steve Jobs autob. talked about having spaces like this to encourage creativity and new ideas.
10/29/2013 05:39:22: Nancy White from Colorado Springs: School libraries are embracing maker movement in a big way here.
10/29/2013 05:39:35: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: Very nice! Young or old, we all need a space to create!
10/29/2013 05:40:10: David Truss from Canada: type a question, audio is not great
10/29/2013 05:40:43: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: Yea for play!
10/29/2013 05:41:02: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Lisa - you are so right - play is important and not just for K-1
10/29/2013 05:41:15: Kathleen McClaskey: 7 Ways to transform learning 
10/29/2013 05:41:20: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: If you think about it, we all go home and play!
10/29/2013 05:41:55: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: We should be able to learn through play, young or old. 
10/29/2013 05:42:10: Nancy White from Colorado Springs: Here is great example of maker space: Discovery Center for Make/Hack/Play:
10/29/2013 05:42:22: Kathleen McClaskey: Play=Learning Experience
10/29/2013 05:42:36: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Visitors say --"it feels good" - really neat place to learn
10/29/2013 05:42:42: Kathleen McClaskey: Thank you Nancy for the link
10/29/2013 05:44:10: Nancy White from Colorado Springs: More from St. Vrain:
10/29/2013 05:44:19: David Truss from Canada:
10/29/2013 05:44:42: Nancy White from Colorado Springs: Awesome - thanks, David!
10/29/2013 05:46:00: Heidi from St. Paul: so, it sounds like the learning plans are theme-based?
10/29/2013 05:46:02: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: What format do you use for the PLP? Website? Powerpoint?
10/29/2013 05:46:49: David Truss from Canada: - A great school to follow on their 'Connect blog' is the Calgary Science School 2 highlights from the first link are 'Work that Matters' and the 'Points of Inquiry' Model
10/29/2013 05:46:55: Heidi from St. Paul: do you survey kids? how do you discover their interests throughout the year?
10/29/2013 05:47:06: Betty Wottreng: I still "tease" my kids who are college aged, saying they should ask for a new lego set for Christmas. ;)
10/29/2013 05:47:50: Heidi from St. Paul: are parents involved in sharing learners' interests?
10/29/2013 05:48:03: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: Wanda and I need to head out in about 5 min
10/29/2013 05:50:01: Betty Wottreng: Lisa, David and Wanda, thank you so much for sharing! Your work is inspiring many.
10/29/2013 05:50:04: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: Heidi, we send the learning plans home through Google Docs...both learner and parent get them
10/29/2013 05:50:29: Betty Wottreng: David, I couldn't hear the rest of you sentence...we aren't just covering curriculum...
10/29/2013 05:50:52: David Truss from Canada: "Uncovering" - discovering, not covering
10/29/2013 05:51:26: Betty Wottreng: Love it...thank you. Staff sometimes get stuck on the "covering"...
10/29/2013 05:51:34: Tracy Hanson from New Hampshire: This has been very inspirational. Thank you.
10/29/2013 05:51:42: Heidi from St. Paul: @ Lisa Thank you. Do parents help create the plans too? How are their interests uncovered? Interviews? Conferring? Surveys?
10/29/2013 05:51:47: Kathleen McClaskey: It is about practice not homework
10/29/2013 05:51:49: David Truss from Canada: Our 'homework' is a suggestion of an hour a day... not prescriptive.
10/29/2013 05:52:14: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: Sometimes the kids create the plans and sometimes parents will send ideas! 
10/29/2013 05:52:32: Kathleen McClaskey: Minds on fire!
10/29/2013 05:52:34: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Cannot lose the love of learning - engagement is the most important piece
10/29/2013 05:52:35: Heidi from St. Paul: @Lisa Thank!
10/29/2013 05:52:42: Heidi from St. Paul: Thanks!
10/29/2013 05:52:46: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: Thank you all!
10/29/2013 05:52:52: Kim Schaaf from Verona, WI: Thank you!!
10/29/2013 05:53:02: David Truss from Canada: Thanks for having us join. I'm sorry about the technical issues. 
10/29/2013 05:53:22: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: Dave - don't worry about that. We are so honored to have you here with us
10/29/2013 05:53:23: David Truss from Canada: Collaboration and adult learning is key
10/29/2013 05:53:34: Nancy White from Colorado Springs: Wanda, Lisa & David - thank you! This has been so helpful. Barbara & Kathleen - thank you, too!
10/29/2013 05:53:56: Betty Wottreng: I so enjoyed this. Thanks for arranging this. I
10/29/2013 05:54:11: Lou Howell from Iowa: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This has been great! I look forward to more!
10/29/2013 05:54:16: Lisa Welch from KM Explore: Bye Dave!
10/29/2013 05:54:36: Betty Wottreng: I have to leave...have a good evening everyone!
10/29/2013 05:55:56: Nancy White from Colorado Springs: David - do you offer any special times for visitors to come to your school? :-)
10/29/2013 05:56:41: David Truss from Canada: I think I'm done connection wise.
10/29/2013 05:56:55: Nancy White from Colorado Springs: Would be awesome to see in person!
10/29/2013 05:56:57: David Truss from Canada: I have students give tours.
10/29/2013 05:56:58: Kathleen McClaskey: @Dave We are putting Inquiry Hub as a model on our site. There have been many requests to see models.
10/29/2013 05:57:11: David Truss from Canada: They do a better job than me.
10/29/2013 05:57:45: David Truss from Canada: We can arrange visits. 
10/29/2013 05:58:02: David Truss from Canada: So true.
10/29/2013 05:58:32: Kathleen McClaskey: @Dave Do you have any video to share about your school?
10/29/2013 05:58:48: Jason Ellingson from Collins-Maxwell CSD (IA): This has been very informative. Much to think about!
10/29/2013 05:58:49: Nancy White from Colorado Springs: I need to get going-- so glad I was able to tune in today - gives balance to some of the things I see coming from #inacol13
10/29/2013 05:59:13: Lou Howell from Iowa: Not at this time.
10/29/2013 05:59:25: David Truss from Canada: @datruss on Twitter and on Gmail
10/29/2013 05:59:39: David Truss from Canada: nothing yet, just the garden 
10/29/2013 05:59:50: Barbara Bray from SF Bay Area: @kmexplore @inquiryhub
10/29/2013 06:00:16: David Truss from Canada: I summarize here: 
10/29/2013 06:00:31: David Truss from Canada: Thanks and sorry for the delays. I'll go to starbucks next time and get some real web access;)
10/29/2013 06:00:51: David Truss from Canada: @inquiryhub yes
10/29/2013 06:01:30: David Truss from Canada: Thanks. We'll Skype soon and fill in the blanks from today! Bye.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Architects of their Learning: KM Explore

KM Explore is a K-5 elementary charter in Wales, Wisconsin in Kettle Moraine School District that embraces the notion of a ‘generative curriculum’ grown from the collective voices and choices of the community of learners, families, and educators of the school itself. Learning at KM Explore is on a continuum where each learner is on a self-propelled journey embedded in a community of learners. We have been following the planning and opening of KM Explore and decided to expand on what we've learned from the teachers] journeys to more about the school's philosophy, background, and implementation of the model to share with the world.

Why is KM Explore a Personalized Learning Model?

KM Explore involves learners in the design of a different kind of school.  By being multi-age in structure, community-based in function, and integrated in its curriculum design, KM Explore learners provide evidence of learning in a manner that is meaningful to them.  A fluid and adaptable schedule removes traditional boundaries of learning. Integrated curriculum design, the creative process, and high level questioning is woven throughout the learning experience. The fundamentals of reading, writing, and math are foundational to this generative curriculum as they are embedded and integrated into the day-to-day work.

Lisa Welch and Wanda Richardson are the K-1 co-teaching team who we have been following on our journeys page who taught with Susan Blaesing in a K-2 team at Wales Elementary. This year, all three teachers along with others are part of an exciting adventure with KM Explore that has a "foundation" with the following pillars:

  • Optimal Learning Spaces
  • Generative Curriculum
  • Multi-Age Learning
  • Habits of Mind
  • Collaborative Teaching and Learning

This is their story about their new journey and this model...

Optimal Learning Spaces 
We try to get out into the community in order to experience real world learning and the awareness that we are part of a larger group of people who help us as well as the other way around.  We have a strong connection with the public library near us and also make use of the village that our school resides in, the neighboring community that has a fish hatchery, "mini-downtown" area, military academy and another community where we are collaborating with a fine-arts school. 

Inside Explore, you will find furniture similar to a home-setting where learners are encouraged to move and find comfort while learning. The furniture is movable and can be arranged for collaborative work as well as quiet space. 

We also encourage "anytime, anywhere learning".  It is not uncommon for learners to access their learning plans at home and come to school with artifacts of their learning. This type of learning is embraced and welcomed at our school.

Generative Curriculum 
Through these connections and the discovery of our community at large, we have generated learning. For example on a walk to simply notice the street names around us, we discovered a LFL (little free library). This became a learning experience and a resounding interest in creating LFL's of our own for the community. We are currently in the process of gathering the wood, and volunteers to help us build. Some parents have even offered to have some LFL's right in their front yards! 
Another example would be a walk we took around the playground. While walking we heard the nearby high school band practicing for the homecoming parade. Some of the kids stated that they wish they could be part of the  band.  After a discussion in the classroom, we all called the high school band teacher on speaker phone and asked about the possibility of being part of the band. We collaborated with the high school students and marched in the homecoming parade with them! 

Multi-Age Learning
We have three different groups of learners; K-1, 2-3, 4-5. Though the learners are in groups due to logistics, we like to embrace the notion that we are "ageless and grade-less". Learning goes along a continuum and the CCSS are used, but are not necessarily grade specific to each student.  We look at each individual learner and their learning plan is made to reflect their abilities and has the rigor to nudge them just a little bit further. This "just in time" type of learning is more meaningful and correlates with competency based learning. The plan has specific goals based on the ability, personality and learning style of the learner who is NOT average. The goals are different for each child in reading, writing and math. It is more of an RTL - response to learner type of plan. As a learner goes through a plan, the next one is revised to show either the next step or a continuation of a goal that is yet to be met. 

Habits of Mind 
At KM Explore, we know that the whole child is important and there are certain skills and mindsets that are simply not traditionally acknowledged through academia. These habits of mind play a vital role in life-long learning and the ability to meet goals as well as create new ones. We are currently focusing on the habits of  persisting, managing impulsivity, thinking flexibly and listening with empathy and understanding.  Currently, our guidance counselor helps with these habits and the terms are common place in the classroom.  Each week, the learners also listen to "Mission Monday". An example can be found here.  Through these videos the children have a mission each week, and for the rest of their lives to think about the message that is given and to apply it to their daily interactions with peers, family and the community around them. The goal is to also employ these habits to their daily goals in learning.

Collaborative Teaching and Learning  
Learners are encouraged to collaborate with peers to meet their learning goals. There is much talking and collaborating throughout the school. The noise level sometimes becomes higher than in a traditional classroom, but is also embraced as evidence of learning through collaboration. It is exciting to hear and be a part of! 

Teachers also model and work as a collaborative team with themselves as well as learners. No learner is thought of as an individual teacher's "responsibility", but rather we work as a team to create the best learning environment for each child. We see the daily modeling of collaboration come through in our learners actions within the classroom. 

With these 5 foundation pillars we can undergo the important work of personalizing learning for each child. When we think of a learner "building" their knowledge, these pillars are the foundation that holds everything up and the roof then becomes personalized learning. Under this roof, the learning is designed and all that the children do is a unique design of their goals and aspirations.  

Our goal at KM Explore is to help a learner be an architect of how their learning will look. Just as each building in a community looks different, each plan the learner builds will look different as well. If we start this "blueprint" right away in kindergarten, their is no telling what their "building" of learning will look like into high school and beyond!

Join us in a Connected Educator Webinar with Lisa and Wanda so you can hear in their own words what learning is like at KM Explore along with David Truss from the Inquiry Hub.
New Personalized Learning Models Webinar
Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 5pm ET