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A Shared Vocabulary

For those of you who are unaware, I am a huge proponent and user of Pear Deck in my classroom.  If you’re unfamiliar with Pear Deck as a presentation tool that increases student interaction, please check out some of my previous posts.  My continued use is fueled by my students overwhelmingly positive response to the platform. It continues to be the #1 thing my students site that helps them learn in our classroom. So when Pear Deck announced a new tool, I was super excited to try it out.

But, you don't have to have any familiarity with Pear Deck to use their new app.

The new app is called Pear Deck Vocabulary or Flashcard Factory.  It is a collaborative vocabulary tool that features integrations with Google, Quizlet, and Merriam-Webster.

Why is this a beneficial app? It allows learners to collaborate in going beyond simple definitions for terms or concepts. It asks students to collaborate to generate multiple representations for terms and concepts.  Then, it allows learners to evalu…
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Personalized Learning Tasks and Roles

Yesterday, I read a great post by Jim Rickabaugh dealing with the roles of learner and teacher in a personalized learning environment by looking at tasks. The roles were set up on a continuum. This article timed perfectly with a reflection on part of Students at the Center by Allison Zmuda and Bena Kallick on idea generation and task development I had in mind. These two works are the focus of my reflection here.
I think a key misunderstand teachers have when it comes to digging into personalizing learning is that for planning purposes, we no longer begin with standards but with student desires.  I believe like all good instruction, we need to start with the standards.  Think about it, standards are what we want all learners to know and be able to do as a result of passing through our educational system. That is why it is essential that we make sure that standards are representative of what we believe is important for learners to be informed and productive in their future lives. We need…

Practices in the Classroom are Practices for Life

In Students at the Center, Bena Kallick and Allison Zmuda identify 7 key elements to consider when designing student centered learning Goals Inquiry/Idea generation Task and audience Evaluation Cumulative demonstration of learning Instructional plan feedback In this post, I'd like to simply look at goals.
When thinking about goals we always need to start with the relevant standards. But, we can’t leave them in the "standards" language.  We need to be able to translate them into goals to be communicated at the teacher level and at the student level. We have to be ready to make our standards relatable to learners. We need to be willing to co-create the language of these student goals so that they make sense to learners. This may lead us to two sets of goals in two different languages (teacher and student) and that is fine as long as the intended audiences understand them as written.
Once we have these student outcomes, we can look at lesson design. The authors introduce the idea o…