Posted in education

Autism Awareness

autism

Autism is a condition that is greatly misunderstood.  As an educator, I learned very little about it while in school.  Most of what I’ve learned has been from talking to parents and attending presentations at my local University.  I’d like to think that is because I started teaching long before autism was as well known as it is now, but sadly it is my understanding from new teachers that their classes don’t focus much on educating those who might need us the most.

I also think back to the first time I had a student in my class who was labeled as “Autistic.”  Alex (not his real name) was funny, quirky, gifted and yes, autistic.  I realized I was lacking in knowledge, luckily his mom was not so she educated me.  I learned more from this one young man about life than in the multitude of forced professional learning on the subject of autism.

I decided I needed to know more about this thing called Autism.  How can I best serve the needs of this one child, and those to come later?  I’m far from being an expert, but I have a few resources that I’ve found helpful.

Autism Speaks  

Autism Spectrum Disorder Fact Sheet

 

I feel fortunate to have had Alex and his mom teach me more about autism.  A subject so vastly misunderstood, yet so important to our children.

I know there are many of you who read my blog who are probably experts.  What resources have you used to learn more about how to best serve our students who are autistic?  Please leave any resources in the comments to help us all learn together.

 

Doris

Posted in education, technology

#ETCoaches Book Study

LFTS

 

 

Today the weather is super cold and miserable here is The Texas Gulf Coast.  John is busy working on getting things ready for our tax accountant, I, on the other hand, am bundled up with hot chocolate and a book!

Guess who is having a better day?!

I started reading the book Learning First, Technology Second by Liz Kolb.  This is part of a book study, hosted by ISTE, with Ed Tech Coaches around the world.  I have loved the ISTE book studies I’ve taken part of in the past as I get such a global perspective.  It is also one of the reasons I love the ISTE conference!

Today is day two of our “slow chat” on Twitter.  Essentially we have one question a day to answer.  I love that because it allows me time to think about my reading.

As I started the book yesterday, one thing really resonated with me.  As an educator, we talk a great deal about “framework.”  In #edtech we discuss SAMR, TPACK and TIM Frameworks.  All have some validity to them, but they didn’t hit the mark of the learning comes first.  Kolb introduces us to her thoughts on the Triple E Framework.

In my mind, this framework makes a great deal of sense to the educator because it closely resembles a Universal Design for Learning.  As we move forward to help personalize learning for students; giving them a variety of ways to learn and to express their learning, #EdTech coaches have to follow suit with a variety of possibilities, not just one way of doing things.

 

Triple E Framework
from Learning First, Technology Second

 

The tool must always match the goal, not the other way around!

 

 

#LearningFirst1
from Learning First, Technology Second

 

I’ll post some of my thoughts and link to some of the quotes that resonate with me along the way.  If you are taking part in the study, then I look forward to learning with you.

If you are part of this book study with me, what are your goals?

Posted in education

Building School 2.0

I recently read the book, Building School 2.0.  The book is written with 95 essays on changes that should be made in education to help us meet the needs of every child.

I love the essays – they get you fired up and start you thinking.   How could this look in my school?  In my district? In my classroom?

What if a campus looked at their problem of practice, and asked teachers to pick and read just one of the many essays.  After teachers choose the essay that hits home with them, they make goals on how to improve their classroom.  Just a few baby steps here and there, nothing huge or grand, but progress.

Imagine if every campus did this – a few baby steps at a time, how a school would improve for each child.  How learning would improve across the board for all children.

Here is my Goodreads review of Building School 2.0

 

Building School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We NeedBuilding School 2.0: How to Create the Schools We Need by Chris Lehmann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a good book with multiple essay-style chapters that bring to light some of the changes that need to happen in education. These essays do highlight the changes that need to happen to assure that we educate all children, and not just a few.

This book really fired me up to share with others, I can see this being a great read as a faculty. I’ll write more about that on my blog – but this is a great book to start discussions amongst educators.

View all my reviews

Posted in education

Thinking About Innovation

 

innovation

I spent much of the past weekend in the car reading.  As a little girl, I found long car rides to be some of my best reading time.  Lots of quiet, the humming of the tires on the road and the dream of the adventure ahead of me always lent itself to quiet reading and reflection.  Our trip from Galveston to South Louisiana was the perfect road trip to reread some of my favorite passages.

Unlike those trips from my childhood where I’d bring a large bag filled with heavy books, I carried my laptop.  Once Ebook readers like The Kindle became available, I quickly moved all of my professional reading from books, to EBooks.  I can read a variety of texts at one time, and now my favorite books snaps can easily be displayed both in the book and on my Twitter feed.  I sometimes wish I could meet the very first person who thought of putting books online for readers.  What an amazingly innovative idea.  Making books available to the world at the tip of our fingers.  Great idea.  The lower cost of books, the ease of purchase and the ability to borrow books from a virtual library have opened up a lot of possibilities for this reader.

My travels this week had me reflecting on innovation.  After all, this blog is about how I inspire teachers to be innovators so it is something I think about and something I help teachers foster in their classrooms.

What is innovation what it could be and how to make it happen?  I reread part of some of my favorite books on innovation in our educational system, reread some of the notes I have on innovation from schools I’ve been able to spend time in.  I’ve watched countless TED talks.  My pre-Turkey feast weekend has been focused on how to move from saying we need to innovate and help assure it happens.

In The Book Creating Innovators, by Tony Wagner, he quotes a study how by the time our students are six that the school system has already squashed some of the curiosity out of our children.   I had to booksnap that quote.  While I’ve read it before, this time it really hit me.

How can an institution brought about to help our children prepare for their futures move past the limitations of the walls of a classroom and help foster that curiosity and innovation in our children?

That question is worth a great deal more reading and reflecting!  There will be more blog posts to come on this topic.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

stateofmind

Posted in education, innovation

Mobile Classrooms

bookmobilAs a kid, I loved when the bookmobile came to our neighborhood.  Living far away from a library, summer became a lonely place without a school library.  That weekly bus filled with wonder would show up at a local park and I’d run to get my weekly fix of The Happy Hollisters.  Our bookmobile wasn’t fancy, just a white bus with a bunch of books on shelves.

The learning came to me.  I sat on the ground outside the busy and the bus driver/librarian read us a book, then we hopped on board.  That mobile classroom was one of the reasons I cherished reading.

As I learn more and more about the science of learning, I have wondered a great deal about mobile classrooms.  Exciting busses filled with wonder.  The school bus would not take students to the school, it could be the school.  For students who don’t have access to the same experiences of some of their counterparts, this could be an equalizer.

Looking at this article, there are many of these mobile classrooms.  These classmobile learning labrooms could reach students where they are.  Enhancing their education by offering weekend MakerSpaces at a local park, STEM labs parked on a street.  Meeting students where they are and offering highly engaging activities is a great way to help us assure equity in education.

Have you seen Mobile Classrooms?  If so do tell me about it!