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Showing posts from March, 2016


It’s nearing the end of term 3 here and I have a little time for reflection.  As a part of their final exam, students are working on their digital portfolio for my class. As I reevaluate everything that I am doing,  I am struggling with the “why” and “so what of ” of the portfolios.  So it’s time to revisit the why of the portfolio in my class and let that inform what the function of it in my course.
Currently in my class, the portfolio has become a vehicle for students to catalog and present summative assessments.  Each page is categorized by objective. On a given page, students state the unit objectives and embed their summative assessment.  In addition, they provide reflective feedback on the unit in terms of what helped their learning and didn't help their learning.  
The portfolio has become a place for these student artifacts to be curated and organized based on learning objective. The fact that it’s organized by learning objective prescribes the artifact that needs to be o…

Navigating the AP Crush

We are a few days away from spring break.  When we come back from break, I will have 4 weeks with my AP Physics students before they take AP Exams in Physics 1 and 2.  After the exam, we will have roughly 5 weeks together before the end of the school year.  Now, I will have no problems covering the content before the AP Exam in either class.  I will definitely be able to teach them all the content.  The issue I have is that there will not be enough time for them to actively learn the content before the exam date.
If all of my students were taking the AP Exam, it would be easier to focus the students on a common goal of this exam.  But, only about 50% of my students are taking the exam.  It would be my dream to be able to create multiple paths in the AP classroom, but I’m not there yet.
So really the frustration is coming down to two areas.  The first is the amount of content students need to master in a short amount of time to be ready for the AP Exam.  The second is the fact that all …

Random Points & Imprecise Percentages

I finished reading Thomas Guskey’s On Your Mark last night in preparation for a discussion we had today on grading as a part of our PD at Brookfield Central.  As a part of the preparation for the discussion, we were asked to read an article on grading and share out our thoughts in an Ed Camp style environment. Different rooms focused on different practices.  I was shocked to realize we had been talking for almost an hour when our time was up.  I felt like we had just begun digging deep.  It was a great feeling to hear these conversations occurring with a positive mindset.

Every once few months I read, see, or hear something that really makes me realize the box I’ve placed myself in.  The box that has been revealed to me this week is the box of using percentages to guide grading.  Like anyone trying to look outside of the box they are in, these views may seem a bit fragmented.  It’s my hope that putting them down will help me see the logic in the truth Guskey puts forward.  So here are …

The Guest

I was privileged to be asked to write a guest blog post for Epiphany Learning about using podcasts as my primary source of PD. It turned out great thanks to some wonderful editing by Heather Doucette.

Why Podcasts are My Primary Source of Professional Development for Personalized Learning and EdTech It's usually best practice to address the why first, but before we do that we need to be clear on what a podcast is. In the simplest terms, it is an audio program (or it could be video) that is available to download (or stream) to an portable audio player or computer to replay at your convenience.

 I also created a ThingLink for my favorite education podcasts from the post.

A Leap for Me Is a Baby Step in Personalization

I’ve been on the journey to bring personalized learning to my classroom for 3 years now. It seems that every time I think I’ve taken a big step forward, I look and see that in the grand scheme of bringing true voice/choice/agency to my students, I’m still add drops to a big bucket.  That’s not meant to be a cynical statement. It’s meant to see how much room I have to grow.  In an attempt to try to take another small leap forward, I tried something different with my current unit in AP Physics.  This might seems like personalization 101, but it was a big leap for me in terms of demand and supply.

The unit I’m focusing on is Electromagnetic Induction.  Without getting into the physics of it, it is easily the most difficult concept for students to grasp in all of AP Physics.  This is the topic that students have shown the most difficulty with on the AP test.  In fact, it is the free response question which tends to be the lowest scoring on the entire exam.  Many students in fact leave it b…

A Global Canvas

Canvas hosted their first Global Twitter Chat today.  It was hosted by Canvas Badge Jedi Jared Ward. I was able to attend the full hour. It was great to hear from Canvas users around the world.  I added some new people to my PLN and learned about some new tools to check out.  Below are some of my personal highlights.

I look forward to more of these opportunities from Canvas.

[View the story "My Takeaways from 1st #CanvasChat" on Storify]