Put it into Practice – Final reflections on DL

Credit: Daniel A D’Auria MD

Throughout DLMOOC, we’ve emphasized putting into practice the ideas we’ve talked about. In this final week of DLMOOC, choose one of these activities or make up your own.

  • On last week’s panel, Sonya Ramirez suggested these prompts for framing feedback for learning:
    “Once I thought…”
    “Then I saw…”
    “And now I see….”
    Complete these prompts as they relate to your understanding of deeper learning before and after DLMOOC.
  • Write a post (or make a video or create a poster or make something else) that shows how DLMOOC has affected your learning or your learning environment.
  • Choose a PIP from a previous week that you didn’t get a chance to do and do it now.
  • Share with the world your message about what deeper learning is and why it’s important. You can express this in text, images, video, a song, spoken word or some other way we haven’t thought of.
  • Write a short article about deeper learning in your own learning environment and submit it to the Deeper Learning Story Bank.
  • Think about how you might reuse, remix, or redistribute some of the DLMOOC content. It’s all open licensed and will be posted indefinitely, so spread the love!
  • Think about how you’ll leverage the connections you’ve made in DLMOOC into the future. Are there people you want to stay in touch with on Twitter or G+? Might you try doing your own Google hangout? Are there Twitter chats you might join?
  • Any of the work above would great to submit for a DL badge.

We look forward to sharing our reflections on DLMOOC and deeper learning.

Wk 8 – Live streams coming from DL2014

(This is a duplicate of the March 12 email sent to registered participants.)

Dear DLMOOC participants:

For this week’s discussion on exhibiting student work, we invite you to try this Put it Into Practice.

You can also respond to this tweet of the week: Tweet a picture of a space where you can imagine student work living. Use the hashtags #dlmooc #dlspace, and respond to others’ tweets with suggestions of how the space might be transformed.

There is no Thursday “Lens into the Classroom” session today.

Finally, we are excited to announce that the Deeper Learning 2014 conference will be live streaming several events for remote viewers:

  • Wednesday, March 26 – 9:15-10:15 am Pacific (Los Angeles) – Opening Session
  • Thursday, March 27 – 9:00-10:00 am Pacific (Los Angeles) – Keynote: Ron Berger, Expeditionary Learning & Polaris Students
  • Friday, March 28 - 9:00-10:00 am Pacific (Los Angeles) – Special Academic Mindsets panel

These events will be linked on the DLMOOC G+ community page and on Twitter.

We will also be having a DLMOOC meet-up during lunch on Thursday, March 27. If you were a part of DLMOOC or if you are interested in DLMOOC, join us at the DLMOOC tables!


Ben, Rob, Laura, Ryan, Karen, and the whole DLMOOC team

Put it Into Practice – Exhibiting student work

(a post from Lou Barrios, 8th grade math and science teacher, HTMMA)

This week’s “Put it into Practice” can be done with other teachers, with your students, or on your own.

I often struggled with what to do with the project once the students exhibited their work. The truth is that while I was really thoughtful about a lot that went on in the project, I was not nearly as thoughtful about how the project would live on.  I was moved to action after speaking to Jeff, a colleague from our high school who once told me a story that was quite piercing. He was watching a teacher from his school throw away all of his students’ work the day after exhibition, and he asked why do the project if it was going to end up in the dumpster. Now, I at least have the decency to store the project in cupboards and shelves for a month or so before throwing them away.  Anyway, the point is that students should have a place to see their products after all the sweat and tears have dried. Being transparent and upfront about displaying the end product makes it so students are that much more precise about the work they are doing.

Jeff Robin is an Art Teacher at High Tech High who does amazing work with curating projects, and he breaks down project curating quite well in this video.

Curating a project is not too unlike decorating a room. So, you want to add mirrors to make the room look bigger and not break the bank? Great! Just make sure when you bring them home from Ikea that they are the same color, evenly space them, level them, and they will look really nice. Symmetry, consistency and simplicity are beautiful things AND they don’t cost too much OR take too much time.

I am planning on stopping by Ikea on the way home to grab these $2 frames.

I like 8.5” by 11” because it’s so easy to put up student work without the hassle of cutting.  I also likes these frames because they can be held up by push pins, which makes it less difficult for students to put them up. I will go over how many frames we need per row and let my students do the measuring and spacing. It won’t be perfect; the first few times they put it up, but they will get to the point where they are all evenly spaced and level. This gives them another level of accountability and ownership over their school space and keeps this from being another thing on a busy teacher’s plate.

Action Items:

  1. Find a place in your classroom or school that could house student work.
  2. Ask your students what work they would be most proud of hanging up.
  3. Ask staff about creating a space where school-wide student work could live (sometimes 3D work needs more of a permanent space).
  4. Give students ownership over how the work is displayed
  5. Share some before and after pictures with the DLMOOC community through G+ or Twitter.

Put it into Practice – Assessing deeper learning

This week’s “Put It Into Practice” can be done on your own, but it is also a great collaborative activity, especially for content group meetings. The goal is to take existing assessment questions and rewrite them at a higher level of thinking using Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy and/or Arthur Costa’s Levels of Questioning. You can also move in the opposite direction and rewrite higher level questions at lower levels. The example below comes from a recent middle school math department meeting, but the exercise will work for any content area.

Bloom’s Taxonomy – A helpful infographic that organizes the different levels in an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing way. Bloom’s taxonomy divides educational objectives into three “domains:” cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as “knowing/head,” “feeling/heart” and “doing/hands” respectively). The inner and outer circles connect verbs for learning objectives with matching assessment types.

Credit: K. Aainsqatsi

Credit: K. Aainsqatsi

Costa’s Three Levels of Questioning (adapted from Noelle Combs); CC BY SA)- This table aligns Costa’s Levels with Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Rewriting math questions at a higher level – An example of a math department’s recent attempt of this exercise.

Put it Into Practice – Academic Mindsets

This week we are focusing on academic mindsets, and our friends at PERTS have created a survey to help assess your student’s mindsets.  Make sure you watch the screencast below to see how to administer the survey.


We have also forged a new relationship with Zaption to find new ways to share and interact with our videos. Share these videos about academic mindsets and have  discussions about them.

Student Choice through Genius Hour

(This is a guest post from Joy Kirr, adapted from her blog post “Genius Hour: An Avenue to Better Teaching.”)

Genius Hour is a project in which students are empowered to explore their own passions. The idea is to give students time to work on projects that are important to them.

The idea of Genius Hour and giving student choice has really affected how I teach. I focus on CHILDREN first, and then curriculum.

Credit: Denise Krebs

A big idea behind this time given to students is to show them that we value them. We think they should be learning what THEY want to learn, in addition to what we are expected to teach. This idea of letting students own their own learning and giving 60 minutes a week to “electrify your job” also comes from Daniel Pink’s book, Drive. Whether or not Google gives their employees 20% of their time to work on personal projects, this time can be given to children if administration is supportive of the idea.

I’d like to tell you what’s happened in my class this year, as a result of spending FORTY minutes talking about what genius is, and what it is not. We spent time discussing the seven “habitudes” of geniuses that Angela Maiers teaches about in Classroom Habitudes.

Here are some quips from my 7th graders that I’ve actually written down for a post such as this.

“These are great! We have some really creative people in this class!”
“That must be his genius!!”
“Look at what I did – it’s genius!”
“He’s got perseverance, creativity, AND imagination.”
“I worked on being ‘adaptable’ yesterday after school…”
“Please add me to the ‘resident expert’ list under ‘neat & organized.’”

My students are realizing what they’re skilled at, and with what skills they may need help. They have already started asking each other for help during our creative days (Dot Day being the most recent). They are relying on me less this year than any other group I’ve had, and instead going to each other. We have already started building a wonderful community of learners. I’m going to continue telling my students that they have genius in them. We all do.

Regarding the “20% time” we are giving students, first I have to say that I’m very fortunate to work where I do. Many teachers do not have any time to spare – to hand over to their students. Others who are allowed time for this need to make sure it ties to standards, and that students are graded on it. I have the luxury of attaching it to standards my way (see this LiveBinder and specific plans I’m using in 7th grade ELA), but I am also allowed leeway on how to use the rest of our time during the week. Here is a list of how, by implementing Genius Hour ideas in my classes, the concepts have seeped into the other 80% of our time.

Students can choose where (and how) to sit, as long as it’s safe and not distracting to them or others.
Students can write in response to a prompt of their choice, as long as they write in relation to our goal or focus for the day.
Students decorate the room. Many put up their own ideas made at home.
There is no teacher desk. It is converted into a student station, with supplies for students to use whenever they have a need. (They can also sit there!)
The only front of the room is when we have the projector on. The rest of the room is fair game for where the speaker (me or a student) stands. (I’m actually always on the move.)
Student passions are used as catalysts for discussions or writing, or reading, or…
Students give book talks.
Students read what they choose.
Students take pictures for our movie updates for parents.
Students have blogs for authentic purposes – not for grades.
Students are asked, “Why not?” more often than they hear the word, “No.”

 I am no longer the “sage on the stage.” I am truly the “guide on the side” for most of our lessons. Implementing Genius Hour in my classroom has made me ask these questions (from p34 of The Passion-Driven Classroom) every day: Who is in charge of learning at our school? Who does the most work in our classroom? Who does the creating, constructing, producing, performing? The answer must be: The learners.

Many teachers remain disconnected from their students. As Angela Maiers and Amy Sandvold share in The Passion-Driven Classroom, “96% of teachers reported that creativity should be promoted in the classroom. However, when asked which students they actually preferred to teach, teachers chose the students who were most compliant” (5). “Messy” learning, which is what Genius Hour is, and times when the learners are working the hardest, is difficult for me to see with my “old school” eyes. I like order. I appreciate quiet. … But the things I HEAR from students during these “messy” times are precious gems. They alert me to the fact that students are learning, and enjoying the process simultaneously. That’s what it’s about. And that is how implementing Genius Hour has affected my teaching during the other 80% of the week.

Credit: Denise Krebs


Putting personalization into practice – Student voice and choice (Wk 4)

Students do not care how much you know until they know how much you care!  Below is a list of activities designed to cultivate a culture of personalization in your classroom. Please select one or more of these activities to Put it into Practice this week!  You will have a wonderful time getting to know your students on a personal level.

  1. Invite a student or youth to lead or participate in a staff meeting.
  2. Have a conversation with a student about schools in general or their own education in  particular.
  3. About Me Cards (5 min)
    On the first day of school have students fill out an index card with the following information: name, birthday, worst educational experience, best educational experience, first impression of the class, what they hope to learn in your class, and three things they want you to know about them in order to ensure successful collaboration. This allows you to get a quick glimpse of your students as you begin the year.
  4. Class Meetings (15-60 min)
    Have students sit around the room in a circle and begin with recognitions. Recognitions are a time for students to recognize the positive actions of another student (not a time for “shout outs” because then it becomes a popularity contest). The teacher then introduces a topic and writes it on the board, then a student facilitates the conversation and makes sure that the group stays on topic. The topics can range from classroom issues, assignments, projects, content related issues, personal struggles, or world events. The student facilitator rotates every class meeting. The meeting can be as long or short as the teacher desires. The teacher is not involved in the conversation but is an active listener. This allows the teacher to learn about student viewpoints and interests in an informal way. It also permits students to sharpen communication skills and interact with all of their classmates.
  5. Dear Teacher (5 min)
    Have students write a quick letter about anything that is happening in their life about every two weeks. It allows them to share something with you privately and it enables you to get a quick snapshot of where they are at personally. For a class of 25 students, it only takes about 5 minutes to read their little note but the benefits can last a school year!
  6. Low-High (10-30 min)
    Each student briefly states their lowlight of the week and then their highlight of the week. This can be done in advisory or in a regular class. This allows teacher and students to get a snapshot of what is happening in everyone’s life. Students can share advice when it comes to lowlights and they can celebrate the highlights!
  7. Lunchtime Love (lunch period)
    When you feel as if there are certain students that you aren’t making a connection with, invite them to have lunch with you and try to learn more about their interests and struggles. There is something about eating with someone that can help them open up. Try to keep the number to 2-4 students.
  8. Personalized Planning
    Choice is king (or queen) when you are working with teenagers or any students. Whenever possible allow flexibility in projects, assignments, books, problem sets that provide students with an opportunity to incorporate their own passions and interests in their work.
  9. Running Journal (5 min)
    Students journal through prompts related to subject matter or free writes and the teacher responds to students. This allows for one-on-one communication in an informal way.
  10. Student Interest Surveys
    When all else fails, there is nothing like a simple survey to help you find out more about your students!  Create your own “personalized” survey to help you establish better relationships with your students.

Wk. 3 Thurs. email

(This is a duplicate of the Feb. 6 email sent to registered participants.)

Dear DLMOOC  participant,

Just checking in as we are working our way through week 3 on students in the adult world (or wherever you happen to be in DLMOOC). We had a great panel discussion Monday. If you missed it, here’s the archive.

  • Our next Lens into the Classroom” session is today, Feb. 6 at 4pm Pacific (Los Angeles). We’ll be doing a consultancy protocol with teacher Randy Scherer looking at the following question: How does the school best help students derive and articulate meaning through the process of an internship experience? Some additional background information is available here.
  • Our Tweet of the Week this week is “In your own K-12 education, when did you have a chance to experience the adult world?” Tweet your response with the hashtags #dladultworld and #dlmooc
  • We have some fun Put it Into Practice activity options this week around visiting workplaces in your community, bringing outside experts into your school, and doing this “cold call” activity.

There are many great conversations going on in the main G+ community, in our smaller groups, and on Twitter. If you haven’t been a part of those, stop by and say hi!


Ben, Rob, Laura, Ryan, Karen, and the whole DLMOOC team

Week 2 Thurs. email

(This is a duplicate of the Jan. 30 email sent to registered participants.)

Dear DLMOOC  participant,

It’s been a rich week of looking at and thinking about student work, which started with this week’s panel discussion (now archived if you missed it). Here are some other activities for this week:

  • Our first “Lens into the Classroom” session is today, Jan. 30 at 4pm Pacific (Los Angeles). A high school teacher, Brandon Cohen, will be sharing his classroom dilemma about student work. You can read more about Brandon’s classroom and dilemma here.
  • If you or one of your students might like to join us on a future Thursday “Lens into the Classroom” session, reply to this email and let us know.
  • Our Put it Into Practice activity options this week make use of the EL student work archive mentioned by Ron Berger on this week’s panel.
  • Please invite your friends and colleagues to sign up for DLMOOC. It’s not too late, and we’ve actually designed the course for people to come and go as they like. Email it, post it on FB, tweet it — Join DLMOOC!

We think of DLMOOC as a lot more than readings and panel discussions. In fact, the ways our community interact and construct new meaning together are the core of the course. Thanks for all the great sharing in the DLMOOC G+ community and elsewhere!

Ben, Rob, Laura, Ryan, Karen, and the whole DLMOOC team

Put it to Practice Week 2: Looking at Student Work

Part of deeper learning is going out and doing something. Each week we will have a suggestion for something you can do on your own and something you can do with others (e.g. students, colleagues). We are trying to keep it simple but will also try to include a sample lesson for group activities. We recognize that we have a wide range of participants across K-16 and beyond so we would love to hear how you are sharing this material in your communities. To that end we hope you share your ideas, lessons, thoughts through Twitter, G+ in small groups or large.

Here are some ideas for how you might put this week’s topic of student work into practice:

  • With yourself
    Explore the Expeditionary Learning (EL) student work archive, High Tech High (HTH) student work, or some of your own student work. Pick a piece of work that strikes you, and share with your small group or the larger G+ community.
    Questions: What strikes you about the work? How does it reflect deeper learning? What could help this work better reflect deeper learning outcomes?
  • With a group
    Pick a piece or pieces of work from EL, HTH or from the work of your students and complete a looking at student work protocol through the lens of deeper learning.

Note: You may also choose to print out and use the six images that were referenced in the Monday panel discussion.