Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Be Sure to Play in Traffic

All of our mothers at some point warned us about playing in traffic. They wanted us safe and secure and sought to protect us from the dangers that were lurking on a highway.

More recently, this "go play in traffic" phrase has been used to tell someone off or to get rid of them. A negative connotation has been built for this phrase.

As for me, I have made it an intentional point to play in traffic this year, and I hope other teachers have too.

When I get busy as an educator (which seems like it is just about all the time), I tend to remove myself from the bustle of school life in order to complete tasks. In other words, the temptation for me is to move away from the traffic in the building in order to think and work.

Work and reflection time is important, but so is playing in the traffic of school life. Hanging out in the faculty work room often leads to impromptu conversations about learning and life. Sometimes this is an opportunity to listen to the challenges of a colleague or to pray for them. Intentionally being a presence in the school halls opens provides chances for relationship-building conversations with students, or simply enjoying the fact that they are in our school.

Participating in traffic builds relationships, learning, empathy, and understanding. I still have the tendency to want to remove myself from the traffic of the school building, but being intentional about playing in traffic is very rewarding and an important part of a welcoming school culture for students and for our colleagues.

So go play in traffic today!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Learning Alongside Students -- My #PBL Project

As we enter the third quarter of the school year, the students in Lights Academy, our project-based personalized learning academy at Lutheran High School, are preparing for their most significant project of the year. This year the focus of this project is some sort of innovation in an area of interest and passion for the student.

I have long thought about two things related to student projects. First, that I as a teacher should demonstrate my passion for life-long learning and make that transparent, and second, that the best way to have empathy for what students experience during the school day is to actively mirror their experiences in some way.

To that end, during the third quarter I am going to be completing a project alongside my students. My innovation is more of an iteration and it is related to the baseball research I do. Students will help hold me accountable and seek to ask probing questions to ensure that my project is the best that it can be, just as I do for them.

Linked below is my project planning document. We use these documents in Lights Academy to guide our inquiry and provide a path for deep learning. Each student has a similar document for their work.

Dave's Project Planning Document

I am hoping to learn more about what my students experience as well as learn more about my own interests and passions through this project. I will likely be writing more about this process in future posts.

Do any of you intentionally create learning opportunities for yourselves alongside your students? If so, share your ideas as a reply to this post.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Lights Academy Project -- The Secret Guide to Getting Hired

Here is a student project from a Lights Academy senior. For those of you not familiar with Lights Academy, this is the personalized, project-based learning academy I lead within Lutheran High School -- a place where students may pursue learning interests and passions of theirs with incredible depth. This is the third year of Lights Academy, and we continue to have some amazing results with students.

Below is found a YouTube video of Kyle Venberg's project, entitled The Secret Guide to Getting Hired. It is designed to help high school students navigate the job hunting and interview process. Below the video is a link to all supporting material for this project.

Click here to view all project material.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Words for 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all my loyal and new FaithEdTech readers!

The onset of a new year is often a time for reflection on the past and a renewal of efforts for future improvement. Perhaps you have seen the recent approach taken by those at My One Word and other similar sites. This idea is to focus on one word for the year, selecting a word that allows one to proactively address aspirations for improvement in the new year. This idea has become quite popular, as evidenced by the growth of the #OneWord hashtag on Twitter.

I thought about using this method of focusing on a single word for the year. Upon further reflection, however, I found this approach to be too limiting. After all, life has so many facets that it seemed awkward to select one word and then shoehorn all my other ideas and goals within that word. So instead I chose four words, setting my own pattern and approach to that idea.

Here are the words I selected:

Worship -- honoring my God and Creator with greater joy, reverence, and awe in all that I do, and being conscious about consistently recognizing God's grace and provision in my life.

Explore -- being willing to step outside my comfort zone in trying new cooking recipes, investigating new neighborhoods in the metropolitan area where I live, reading a wider variety of books, and identify new ways to better serve my family.

Reflect -- making the effort to visit other classrooms in my school to evaluate my own classroom strategies, embed a reflective process more intentionally with my own classes and in my own professional work, and identify successes and challenges in using the words I chose for this year as action words.

Write -- a commitment to more intentionally share what I am learning, how I am growing, and with what I am challenged with others, allowing God to use me to help all whom I meet, in person or through digital technology, with these thoughts when possible, but more importantly, provide me with the opportunity to use my writing as a tool for reflection.

So there are my words for 2017. Do you have a word or words that you selected? If so, what are those words? If not, what might your words be? How might you best honor the gifts God has given you during the coming year?


Monday, November 14, 2016

Follow FaithEdTech by Email

If you find value in what is shared here on FaithEdTech, consider following this blog via email. That way you will not miss any post that aids your work as an educator, challenges conventional thinking, or points to the future in education.

Simply find the words "FOLLOW FaithEdTech BY EMAIL". This is located under the title banner on the top of the blog site on the left hand side.

Type in a valid email address for yourself and then press the Submit button. A quick verification email will then be sent to the address you submitted. Complete the verification and you are all signed up for FaithEdTech. It is easy, fast, and allows you to never miss a post. Follow FaithEdTech today!

Friday, November 11, 2016

11.11.2016 Links List

Here are some links that may be of interest to you as educators that I have recently discovered:

Thursday, November 10, 2016

School PBL Website

From my last post you know that I had the privilege of working with teachers and schools in the New York area last week. What you did not learn in the post is that one of the schools with which I have consulted for nearly two years, St. Timothy's Christian Academy, was also a part of the learning event.

St. Timothy's is using an interesting model for incorporating project based learning (PBL) in their school. Four days a week a regular curriculum is carried out in this school. On the other day, a significant portion of the school hours is dedicated to multi-grade projects.

This school has made amazing progress in applying this model to their educational offerings. To that end, a group of their teachers created a website entitled PBL at St. Timothy's to share what is happening in their school. This site includes project links, lesson plans, PBL strategies and best practices, and student and teacher resources. Contact information is provided so educators may ask questions of these teachers and learn from their experiences.

Here is an example of what is happening in their school:

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Session Resources -- LSA Conference

On Friday I had the privilege of leading three sessions at the Lutheran School Association (LSA) conference at Long Island Lutheran High School and Middle School. I facilitated a session on formative assessment and two-part workshop on project based learning (PBL) design.

As I do for all of my leadership sessions, I gathered a wide variety of resources for future use for participants. However, if you can benefit from these resources as well, that would be fantastic.

I particularly enjoyed leading the session on formative assessment since the process generated a lot of valuable discussion. In addition, participants seemed to appreciated the wide array of ideas an links connected to formative assessment -- ideas which may be immediately implemented in the classroom.

Here is the link to these conference resources:

LSA Conference resources

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

LEA Convcation Sessions

The Lutheran Education Association (LEA) Convocation is being held Thursday through Saturday in Grand Rapids, MI. I hope to connect with many of you there as we celebrate the gift of Christ's ministry to children and families that we share.

Nearly two years ago I was tasked by LEA to put together a learning strand for educators surrounding the idea of instructional design in the digital age. To that end, there are a series of four sessions I will be leading at the Convocation. Feel free to join us for any or all of these sectionals.

These sessions were designed to fit together and challenge all of us to consider the emerging design principles and elements that are now possible for learning in the digital age. What is different about the space for these sessions is that we will be using tables rather than the traditional speaker/audience format. Our space is designed to spur conversation with each other, peer learning, and instructional construction. In addition, in a traditional conference format (or even in our own classrooms) the learning is designed for a specific target group but may not fit the needs of many in that group. Through peer interactions, the learning becomes more personalized so that each educator has the opportunity to learn and grow in a way that fits their needs. In addition, these sessions are created to adapt to the needs of a wide variety of grade levels and school circumstances.

Each of the sessions will be held at the Amway Ambassador West space, found in the hotel adjacent to the convention center. Here is a brief overview of each session:

10:30-11:30 -- Technology and Instructional Design: How has the digital age changed instructional design? How is it still the same? And what does a hot air balloon ride have to do with this topic? Come and find out.

12:00-1:00 -- Digital Citizenship in the Digital Age: What could/should digital citizenship look like in Lutheran school? What elements are essential across the grade levels? And what do tattoos have to do with all of this?

1:30-2:30 -- Understanding and Applying Student Directed Learning: What are the benefits of ceding a level of control of the learning process? How can we help students follow and pursue their God-given interests and passions? And what does O'Hare International Airport have to do with student learning?

3:00-4:00 -- Instructional Design Workshop: This is the time for YOU to practice, create, design, and get feedback for lessons and activities that you can use in the classroom immediately upon your return, applying technology and instructional design to meaningful and dynamic learning experience.

Please join us these sessions. I look forward to the learning and the conversations!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

7.6.2016 Links List

Here are some links I have compiled over the past several days that may be of interest to educators. Many of these links I identified at the recent ISTE conference in Denver. I am still going through materials and notes from that conference, so another links list may follow shortly. I hope you find something of interest and of us to you as an educator.

Here are today's links:

Constitute -- A site that has complied the texts of most major government constitutions of the world. A very valuable site for government studies.

SafeShare -- Looks to be similar to ViewPure. Both are tools to "clean" YouTube videos so that ads and comments are removed. Great for showing video content in a classroom without worrying about what might pop up.

Pixlr -- Free online tools for editing images.

Google CS First -- Google's introductory tools for learning to code. Based on what I saw at ISTE, look for these offering to expand in the future.

Formative -- A service that provides a variety of tools for formative assessments in classrooms. Since I have long championed formative assessments and have felt that these are underutilized by teachers, I look forward to experimenting with what this site has to offer.

Article: The Future of Learning is Going to Be Empowering (and Scary!) -- This is a really interesting read for anyone connected to education, include parents, school boards, policy makers, etc. Personally, I don't find the future of education to be scary. Rather it is exciting! I am thankful to be alive and serving in education

The Spanish Town That Runs On Twitter --  Fun read about one way social media is being used.