Tag: critical thinking

The Kids are Alright

Quick update from the blogosphere in Room 306-

 My grade 5’s are THIS CLOSE to reaching their Hundred Blog Challenge!

Students have been asked to post a class total of one hundred blog posts using www.kidblog.org, a child-friendly and safe program for individual student blogs. We’ve been exploring ways to “shzoosh up” our posts with images, links, videos, and voice clips as well. The work is incredible, and I am so pleased to have one hundred percent engagement.

So what makes blogging so great? In their 10-year-old words, writing their own blog:

“makes writing a journal more fun”

“helps me organize my thinking”

“makes me want to tell a story”

“is a good way to showcase my work”

“makes me think more about what I’m writing and who might comment on my work”

Sounds good to me!  So the next step… a BLOG PARTY!

Then, we’ll continue to dig deeper with quality blog comments on one another’s posts, as well as prepare for the next step of challenging family members to view and comment on student blogs.  STAY TUNED for links to student blogs here!

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PLC’s and Assessment

As we approach the end of our school’s first PLC cycle, we will be looking at where we were, what we did, and what comes next. But first, a reflection:
We headed out of the blocks with gusto this year- Literacy themed learning with a focus on critical (Higher Order) thinking and imbedded technology-

we identified four marker students (ideally a Level 1,2,3 and 4)-

and not only created a divisional professional learning community, but met regularly, discussed and revised, and patiently tackled the learning curve of becoming a “technology school” within our board. So, in honour of this achievement…. CHEERS!

So what comes next?

With examples of student work on the table, we will be encouraged to ask the tough assessment-based questions- what learning occurred? Is there growth? Which strategies were effective? What comes next?

The following exerpt is from EDUTOPIA, on a series I have been following on “Becoming a 21st Century School”. Ken Kay states that once the work is one the table, we have some important questions to ask:

“Does the project display adequate mastery of core content?
• Does this student work illustrate mastery of at least one of the 4Cs? (Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity) Why or why not?
• What instructional strategy do you suspect supported this outcome?
• What additional instructional strategies might have enhanced this student work? Why?

Ask teachers to bring at least one example of student work that he/she believes illustrates some aspect of 4Cs mastery. Then facilitate small and large-group discussions focused on the four questions above.”

We certainly have the ability to adapt this to our PLC framework, with Critical Thinking being one of our target focus areas.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the framework and expectations to report back on the success of our work. What is key, is remembering that we are learning together, growing together, and keeping the focus on our student work.

The best practices we are developing today will continue to determine not only WHAT our students learn, but HOW they learn it.
We’re on our way!!