Monday, June 19, 2017

Design Thinking and UDL for Makerspaces in STEM and STEAM Classrooms

Some makerspaces are set up in separate rooms down the hall, in the library, or in another building. Kids may only be able to use the makerspace once a week or month. Some activities may focus on how to use the resources available and not connect the activities to the curriculum or around a real world problem. If this is how the makerspace is set up in your school, then your kids may not have access to the resources, materials, and tools when they need them, especially for STEM or STEAM. 

This is why we decided to focus on this topic for #plearnchat and created a planning tool for makerspaces in the classroom using the Design Thinking Process and Universal Design for Learning®. For more information about this process and the Planning tool, go to the post Design Thinking & UDL Planning Tool by Barbara Bray and Jackie Gerstein. 

We would like to thank Dr. Jackie Gerstein, @jackiegerstein for being the co-host for #plearnchat.

Dr. Jackie Gerstein's byline is, "I don't do teaching for a living. I live teaching as my doing . . . and technology has amplified my passion for doing so." Gerstein has been teaching in-person and online for several decades. Currently she teaches master's-level online courses in educational technology for Boise State, American Intercontinental, and Western Governors' Universities.

She believes that one of the roles and responsibilities of the 21st century educator is to share resources, ideas, and instructional strategies with other educators. Jackie actively blogs at and tweets at

Introducing Design Thinking to Elementary Learners
UDL and the Flipped Classroom: The Full Picture

The big question: How can a maker and design thinking mindset encourage deeper learning for STEM and STEAM?

We used the Q1, A1 format with the following six questions:

The questions scaffolded using UDL and Design Thinking to build a maker mindset. The conversations went deeper as the hour passed and brought up multiple retweets and resources. 

Charity Dodd @CharityDodd
"UDL provides Ss with supports so that they ask questions, create agency and take ownership of their learning."

Kathleen McClaskey @khmmc
"When UDL is used to empower learners and how they learn, then self advocacy and deeper learning can result."

Kristin Castello @kcastello93
"By providing multiple means of engagement/representation. Teachers ensure all students are involved in learning."

Kathleen Johnson @mskmjohnson
"By giving students freedom to express their own ideas and share with one another. Also allows students to give feedback to one another."

Mike Mohammad @Mo_physics
"Design thinking forces learners to put their ideas forward to be tested. They own the risk."

Carol Reinagel-5th @MrsReinagel
"Encourages innovation by giving students freedom to explore with no fear of failure."

Nancy White @NancyW
"I love the marriage of design thinking with makerspaces. It gives just enough structure for meaningful making. :o)"

Leslie Wise @runninthemiddle
"Makerspace Goals: Short--Learn new tech tools and projects over summer. Long--more cross-curricular maker opportunities."

Kathleen Johnson @mskmjohnson
"For math, UDL can allow students to show multiple representations of the same material to show they truly grasp the material." 

Lauren Kersey @LFKerz
"A culture that fosters risk-taking is a must have! And chances for teachers to collaborate authentically."

Jodi Moskowitz @JodiMos
"We know silos don’t work….learning doesn’t stick for long. CONNECTIONS are where it’s at!"

Submarino Pedagógico @buszoemocional
"Mindfulness can help Design Thinking in Education. Everything starts with oneself."

Congratulations to Kathleen Johnson @mskmjohnson for winning our book, How to Personalize Learning

Kathleen Johnson just finished her 3rd year of teaching after graduating from Clemson University in 2014. She works with all the freshmen at Greenville High School in Greenville, South Carolina teaching both Algebra 1 and Geometry. She has just begun classes to get her masters in Educational Technology from Boise State. Kathleen helps lead FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) at her school as well. She's currently a part of a digital learning community of 8 teachers from her school to help the entire school prepare to go 1:1 with chromebooks in the next 2 years.

"I really enjoy not just teaching my students but building relationships with them in other ways such as attending their sporting events, concerts, art shows, etc. My classroom is always open at lunch as well as I really enjoy when students come to eat with me in my room!"

Class site:
Grad school blog:
Twitter: @mskmjohnson

"Remind yourself it doesn't hurt to try. Encourage and help other teachersAsk for teachers to come watch and gain feedback. "
Kathleen Johnson @mskmjohnson

How to Personalize Learning is your practical guide to getting started and going deeper with personalized learning. Corwin has offered our followers a 20% discount code. Go to Corwin Press and use the discount code N169O6 for your own copy.

Join #plearnchat for the month of July for #Bookchats on specific chapters from our book, How to Personalize Learning.

 Monday, June 26th 10-10:30p ET
BookCampPD for overview of Bookchat

On alternating Thursdays in July with
Kathleen McClaskey and Barbara Bray

July 6th 
7p ET, 4p PT
Chapters 1 and 2 (Kathleen)

July 13th 7p ET, 4p PT
Chapters 3 and 8  (Barbara)

July 20th 7p ET, 4p PT
Chapters 4, 5, and 6  (Kathleen)

July 27th 7p ET, 4p PT
Chapters 7 and 9 (Barbara)

We archived the entire #plearnchat about Design Thinking and UDL to create Makerspaces for STEM and STEAM classrooms below for your convenience and as a resource.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Global Collaboration Projects

"Modern learning must be global, providing intercultural understanding and collaboration to personalize learning, achieve curriculum objectives and bring the world to students. This calls for a shift in pedagogy, a shift in mindset and the integration of digital and online technologies." 
---The Global Educator

It was wonderful that Julie Lindsay, author of The Global Educator, and Linda Ullah who designs global projects and online courses were our guest hosts for the May 22nd, 2017 #plearnchat. Here are quotes from our guest hosts.

Linda Ullah @Linda_Ullah
"Globally literate people understand diversity, culture/language allowing them to live/work together in peace. 
Give students the opportunity to become aware of and appreciate each other’s cultures."

Julie Lindsay @julielindsay
"A modern learner is connected, communicates reliably and “flattens” walls to enhance learning. 
A global education leader has many guises - a teacherpreneur, an outlier, a learning concierge - less hierarchy, agile leadership."

The questions on the back cover of The Global Educator helped us consider more questions. How do we navigate these new waters of networked learning? What model can be developed for globally connected learning that will support classroom teachers, education leaders and higher education? So using these questions and more, we came up with this big question:

"What can educators do to guide learners to connect and grow as global citizens?"

We used the Q1, A1 format with the following questions:

The conversations were fun and engaging with a twist. It seems like Twitter changed some privacy settings so some people and their tweets didn't show up in the feed. We recommend checking your privacy settings and turning off protected tweets if you plan to participate in a Twitter chat. We searched and finally found the missing tweets and added them to the Storify archive below. We appreciate the quotes and participation from so many awesome educators who we added here plus we included some graphics on global collaboration from Julie.

Meredith Johnson @mjjohnson1216
"Children without the benefit of growing up with cross cultural relationships can develop deeper understanding from online community."

Lisa Guardino @LisaGuardino
"So many skills can be learned and modeled through teacher and student collaboration. But most of all, it builds empathy."

Francois Provencher @jfprovencher27
Emerging technologies help in providing tools to meet outcomes. However, the technologies are not the "why": they are the "how".

Jodi Moskowitz @JodiMos
"In today’s world it's essential for students to be connected in authentic ways. This is today’s world. School must match the real world!"

Shelly Vohra, Ph.D. @raspberryberet3
"Helps to develop important skills like communication, problem solving, examining different perspectives, thinking, but most important are the habits of mind; empathy, fair mindedness, open mindedness."

Bonnie Lathram @belathram
"All learners on the planet deserve relevant and meangingful learning opportunities. This is the imperative."

Mollie Nye @mollienye72
"While learning to appreciate/honor/value our uniqueness and differences, we also see our similarities."

Noah Geisel @SenorG
"When Global Collaboration is done well, I think it's the bedrock of learning that will be remembered in 10+ years, because it's still impacting lives." 

Anne Mirtschin @murcha
"Leadership styles are changing. They are becoming more organic, collaborative, global & for anyone who is passionate."

Christine Rogers EdD @TheChristineRog
"Before becoming globally minded, we need to create a class that is open to ideas starting with being open to each other."

Congratulations to Pam Hubler and Shelly Vohra for winning The Global Educator

Julie offered to send her book (PDF versions) to two of the participants of tonight's chat. So we picked 2 times in the chat and look who came up.

Pam Hubler @specialtechie is the Personalized Learning Coach at A.C Corcoran Elementary in Charleston, SC.

Contact info for Pam

More information about Pam on #plearnchat 7/6/15

Shelly Vohra @raspberryberet3 is an Instructional Coach and PhD Candidate in Educational Technology for the Peel District School Board in Ontario, Canada.

Shelly's Linkedin
Shelly's Website:

More information about Shelly on #plearnchat 8/24/15

Congratulations to Cathy Benge @CathyBenge1, who won our book, How to Personalize Learning

Cathy Benge has taught 4th and 6th grades at elementary level, 6th grade Literature in middle school and then earned her M.Ed. in Library Media Sciences (graduating May of 2017!). As Library Director at Longfellow Middle School, Cathy has implemented the Read-A-Latte Cafe. A year-round fundraiser selling snacks and fruit juices to everyone and coffee/tea to adults, the cafe has brought in nearly $1,000 since March! Cathy is also writing grants, proposals, and letters to prospective private donors to fund ideas and activities. In the past two and a half months, she has been awarded over $3,000 in MakerSpace items and English and Spanish fiction titles for her middle school library.

Cathy is looking for ways to connect her students to the world around them! You can find her on Twitter @cathy.benge.1, #oklaed, #oklamakerspace, and FaceBook’s Future Ready Librarians. An enthusiastic participant in the edcamp movement, Cathy is co-hosting Oklahoma’s first edcamp for Librarians, Tech Educators, and Literary lovers this summer -- EdCampMoreThanBooks, July 13, 2017! Click here for more information or register on eventbrite.

"So many students in my town don't leave our state… It certainly helps starting with meeting people of other cultures and values. In a non-diverse area of the world, I want to bring in as much diversity as possible!"

"Isn't it imperative that learning be made relative? The goal of education is independent, fully functioning adults working in the world."

Follow Cathy on Twitter: @CathyBenge1

How to Personalize Learning is your practical guide to getting started and going deeper with personalized learning. Corwin has offered our followers a 20% discount code. Go to Corwin Press and use the discount code N169O6 for your own copy.

We want to thank Linda and Julie for co-hosting #plearnchat and
providing resources. We highly recommend The Global Educator for our readers.

Save the Dates for our next #plearnchats

 Mondays: 4pm PST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST, and 7pm EST
June 5th   TBA
June 19th TBA

We archived the entire #plearnchat about Global Collaboration Projects below for your convenience and as a resource. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Passionate Learners

How do we engage and empower all learners to be passionate learners?  Building relationships with learners is the first step and learning to break the rules of a traditional classroom is key to create new learning environments where the learner takes charge of their learning.

Pernille Ripp, author of Passionate Learners: How to Engage and Empower Your Students, weaves an important narrative in her process to transform herself from"teacher as lawgiver to teacher as relationship builder". She shares stories and suggestions on how to shift practice so the learners take a more prominent role in the classroom.

Big Question:  

"How can teachers create learning environments that nurture passionate learners?"


In collaboration with Pernille, we came up with these questions to guide the chat.

We used the Q1, A1 format and asked the following six questions:

Educators from around the world joined #plearnchat to talk about Passionate Learners on May 15th with our Guest Host, Pernille Ripp author of Passionate Learners: How to Engage and Empower Your Students. The tweets were purely incredible with over 450 tweets in this one hour conversation about Passionate Learners! Here are just a few tweets that we would like to share.

Here's a few quotes from #plearnchat:

 Meredith Johnson @mjjohnson216 
"Design goals with involvement of "WE" rather than individuals."

 Ellen Burdge @eburdge
"Identify Ss strengths and passions, keep it public, so others can seek out those students as needed."

Trevor Bryan @trevorabryan
"Discuss and develop plans for when things aren't going well. Help give students control when things are out of control."


Nneka McGee @nnekamcge
"When Ts and Ss create safe places where failure is recognized as opportunity, learning potential is optimized."

Mike Mohammad @MO_physics
"Simple Change - students choose a non-content skill they wan to improve on over the course of a year."

Rusty May Inc.  @RustyMayInc
"Replace the word failure with attemot and teach and model the idea that making attempts is how learning occurs.

 Kathy Kramer EdD @kramerkathy
"metacognition and reflection are important in supporting learners to take ownership. Exploring with Ss purpose for learning."

Rola Tibshirani @rolat
"Recognizing Ss are all experts, reaching to each other 4 learning. Nurturing passion 4 learning, taking actions abt learning."

Charles Martin @Mr.CharlesMartin
"Build strong relationships and earn the trust of our learners."   

Marisa Hoskins @MsHoskinsTech
"Learning to enjoy and gain knowledge from the process-rather than just the end result."

Lane Walker @LaneWalker2
"It's imp to ensure every Ss has loads of opportunity to feel successful. Every S has strengths, we need to notice."

Patty McGee @pmgmcgee
"Ownership grows when our feedback is learner-centered. What is this S doing, almost doing, not yet doing? Offer next steps." 


Congratulations to Kate O'Leary, @Kate0Oleary, who won our book, How to Personalize Learning

Born and raised in Southern NH and currently living in Charleston, SC. Graduated in 2005 with a B.A. in Elementary Education from Boise State University. In 2009, graduates with an M.E. in Elementary Administration from Grand Canyon University. In 2013, obtained National Board Certification for Early Middle Literacy.  Relocate to South Carolina where I was a pilot classroom for Personalized Learning through the Race to the Top Grant. Due to the work of the pilot classrooms and collaboration with an amazing team, we were able to redefine our teaching pedagogy. It truly is amazing what we were able to accomplish with our students working together. I have spent the last four years truly redefining what education looks like in the classroom for teachers and students. Students are given choice and flexibility in all aspects of their learning. Currently, I provide mentoring for first year teachers and professional development on the implementation of Personalized Learning in the Pinehurst Elementary School in North Charleston, SC.

Follow Kate on Twitter

In addition to Passionate Learners, Pernille has also authored Reimagining Literacy through Global Collaborations and this summer 2017, Passionate Readers: The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child. Pernille is also the creator of Global Read Aloud.

Here is a quote from Pernille in the #plearnchat:

"I wrote my book so others could learn from my mistakes and
give their students more ownership"

How to Personalize Learning is your practical guide to getting started and going deeper with personalized learning. Corwin has offered our followers a 20% discount code. Go to Corwin Press and use the discount code N169O6 for your own copy.

Save the Date for our next #plearnchat

Mondays: 4pm PST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST, and 7pm EST

May 22nd

Topic: Global Collaborative Projects
Hosted by Barbara Bray @bbray27 with guest hosts Julie Lindsay, author of The Global Educator and Linda Ullah, world traveler and coach.

We archived the entire #plearnchat about Passionate Learners below for your convenience and as a resource.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hacking PBL to Make Learning Personal

According to Ross Cooper and Erin Murphy, authors of Hacking Project Based Learning, "Despite the hype surrounding PBL, it is seldom made a reality in our schools and classrooms." We were very lucky that Ross @rosscoops31 and Erin @murphysmusings5 joined us as co-hosts on our 4/17/17 #plearnchat with the topic Hacking PBL to Make Learning PersonalRoss and Erin's book guides teachers through 10 Easy Steps to PBL and Inquiry in the Classroom. They worked with us to come up with the big question:

How can PBL create an environment and opportunities where learning is personal for all learners?

Ross and Erin came up with the six questions for the chat that we used and Pam put in a graphic below. We use the Q1, A1 format:

Educators from all over the world joined #plearnchat for the topic Hacking PBL and PL on April 17th with our great co-hosts. The tweets were going by so fast that we noticed our chat was trending the whole time. Wonderful conversations!

Here's a few quotes from #plearnchat:

Carol Reinagel @MrsReinagel
"Learners should have a say in their PBL direction. Listen to them, know their strengths. It should fit in the way all our PL does."

Paul O'Neill @PaulONeill1972
"The buzz of explosive curiosity followed by learners taking ownership and making transferable sense of the learning"

Yvette Rosario-Perez @yvetterp2
"If we get students curious and excited to learn more, then we connect the next project to student interest and the real world and repeat."

Christine McCartney @mrscmacc
"Debriefing and reflection stage of PBL is critical...even when projects don't come to fruition. So much learning happens there."

Michael Vose Ed.D @KHS_AP
"PBL is where we can learn from artists and musicians. When it's right it's in the groove."

Tamara Letter @HCPSTinyTech
"PBL is successful when one question is answered and another question begins. Learning doesn't stop ---projects do!"
Lenette, M.Ed. @lmhawkhill
"We know PBL is successful when students can EXPLAIN the process. When students are EXCITED to discuss it with others. When students make connections to previous/future learning."

Carol Varsalona @cvarsalona
"Essential questions have lasting effects - build thought process - lets students inquire deeper into studies."

Nancy White @NancyW
"Backwards planning. Standards are required, but curriculum is more flexible. Also, standards are the floor -- not the ceiling."

d ryer @dryer83
"My favorite parts of PBL hiding all the curriculum behind big topics/ideas with my students but following through all the PBL parts."

Susan Zanti @SusZanti5
"Teachers must reflect on the teaching and learning --- ensure that formative data drives instruction so that assessment is authentic."

Mike Mohammad @Mo_physics
"Curriculum outcomes need to be written to provide space for learners to make connections between content and interests." 

Noa Daniel @noasbobs
"The curriculum is the vehicle, but students build the road and drive the inquiry. The journey can take them beyond the expectations."

Mark Levine @LevineWrites
"Inquiry is learning. You can't have students show thinking without it. Inquiry is the opposite of teacher on a stage."

There were so many more we wanted to add but ran out of room. Make sure you check out the archived storify below for all the fantastic resources and graphics shared in the chat.

Congratulations to V. Ellen Burdge, @eburdge, who won our book, How to Personalize Learning

Ellen Burdge is Director of Teaching and Learning at the French American International School in San Francisco, CA. She is an Organizational Coach trained by the Center for Right Relationships. Ellen is blending her background and experience of more than 20 years in education as a teacher/professor, facilitator and team leader with the innovative skills of Organizational and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC) in her role at FAIS in San Francisco. With varied experiences in International schools around the world, Ellen is passionate about tapping into the potential of relationship to build more collaborative partnerships and teams to improve student learning. 

Follow Ellen on Twitter and LinkedIn
Twitter: @eburdge

The tips in this book truly demystifies what PBL is all about with 10 hacks that construct a simple path educators and students can easily follow to achieve success.

"Start by building trust. Provide time for conversations. Ask rather than tell. Allow for dissonance. Model the practice."  
 Erin Murphy @murphysmusings5

"When we talk about process over product, it's important to realize what this actually means, rather than using it as a buzzphrase!" 
Ross Cooper @rosscoops31   

How to Personalize Learning is your practical guide to getting started and going deeper with personalized learning. Corwin has offered our followers a 20% discount code. Go to Corwin Press and use the discount code N169O6 for your own copy.

Save the Dates for our next #plearnchats

Mondays: 4pm PST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST, and 7pm EST

May 15th (4 weeks)

Topic: Passionate Learners
Hosted by Kathleen McClaskey @khmmc and Pam Lowe @prlowe91 with guest host Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp, author of Passionate Learners and Passionate Readers

May 22nd (1 week later)

Topic: Global Collaborative Projects
Hosted by Barbara Bray @bbray27 and Pam Lowe @prlowe91 with guest hosts Julie Lindsay, author of The Global Educator and Linda Ullah, world traveler and coach.

We archived the entire #plearnchat about Hacking PBL and Personalized Learning below for your convenience and as a resource.