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Letting Go to Grow

Returning guest blogger, Jonnie Becker, shares her teaching/learning journey…

I was given a plant.  I can hardly keep up with school, kids, and a husband let alone a plant.  Thank goodness it was a spider plant, and a little neglect won’t kill it.  This summer, I finally noticed it had a lot of dead leaves and even the new ones would only get so big and then turn brown.  So, I watered it, moved the curtain so it would get lots of sunshine, I trimmed the dead parts off, and made it a priority. But it was ugly, and the more I worked on it the less beautiful it became.  I put a bottle of water by it so in passing I may give it a trickle, and I left it alone.  When I checked on it again some weeks later, it had long beautiful leaves that dangled and curled in a way I had never seem.

Every teacher I know has waged war in the battle over covering the content or teaching the kids.  There just seems to be so much pressure to make sure our students “know” all this stuff.  So we plan these elaborate lessons weeks and even months in advance.  Then we put the kids through all the hoops of these lessons.  Sometimes it all works great and we are all smiles.  So I think, wow, I am a great teacher.  But I am wondering, are they any more prepared for a future we cannot predict?  Yep, they know more, but how did they come to know it.  I did the work, I set them up to figure it out, I limited the ways they could fail or get confused.  Did I do more harm than good?

In implementing the IACOPI e-curriculum, I have been working hard to make my Face to Face (F2F) time more about each student moving at their own pace.  They are working on whatever part of our project they think they can do.  This has taken most of them by shock.  They are all trying to run the rat race when there isn’t any race.  Needless to say, I was feeling all their stresses.  They wanted to “get done” so we could move on.  I felt like I was needed to get them back on track, as if this strange place I had taken them to was OFF TRACK.

Oh, what to do!  Do I plan a great teacher led lesson, take back the wheel and steer the ship into port?  Nope, I let go!  I sat down.  Yes! SIT DOWN, in the back.  I watched them.  Guess what happened?  Leaders emerged, collaboration began, and they were learning without me. The classes where I followed them, where I spent our precious time together letting them show off their work, modeling how be make our room a safe place, and suggesting what they needed after seeing where they were are the ones that grew by leaps and bounds.  Yeah, we are not covering the mountain of content, but they went from yes/no questions to REAL hypothesizing. From not knowing they don’t know to knowing how to dig and hunt and then work it together.

Like my plant, my students came to me used to care that only let it grow to a point.  When the care style changed it became stressed and didn’t bloom or really grow.  Then going back to the old method would have killed it completely.  The plant, like our kids, knows how to grow-it is just in them.  If you try to control the growth it has the opposite effect.  When you let go, they create something beyond what you thought was desired.  All this time we were going about growing our kids all backwards.  Redefining the meaning of Teacher.

JB
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SymbalooEDU for IACoPi

SymbalooEDU for IACoPi

SymbalooEDU is a visual bookmarking tool that helps you to organize and share the best of the web with your students.

We are so excited to have the opportunity to work with IACoPi to build an online collaborative learning environment to facilitate teachers with integrating technology into the classroom.

Together we’ve created a custom Symbaloo for each of the major subject areas where members of the IACoPi groups can communicate and collaborate on valuable online resources for their course modules. The links to the Symbaloos can be found below:

http://iacopienglish.symbaloo.com
http://iacopimath.symbaloo.com
http://iacopiscience.symbaloo.com
http://iacopisocialstudies.symbaloo.com

Symbaloo Forums

IACoPi Forum A dedicated forum was created for IACoPi with subforums for each subject area to allow the group to post topics, ask questions and have discussions. Come join the conversation!

Iowa Training IACoPi members needing additional training on how to use Symbaloo can visit: http://iowacertification.symbaloo.com It contains a series of short tutorial videos, assignments and quizzes to help you get better acquainted with using Symbaloo.

Better. Together.

The passion behind IACoPi is very inspiring. We hope that through the process of working together we can grow and improve our tool for education.

Students

Even the students in Iowa are excited about Symbaloo. A student from Jordan Creek Elementary has created the following video to show how easy it is to use Symbaloo.

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Carver: “Printing Press Moment”

Preparing for the last large group meeting of IACOPi educators later this month, a small group of leaders met to discuss the plan of action. It was most fitting to have Mr. John Carver,  Superintendent from Van Meter, Iowa, speak to the group. As a leader in educational change in the state and across the country, Carver spoke about the struggles and joys that accompany change. He shared his own story about the transformation of Van Meter  into a 21st Century School, as well as his inspiring grandmother who predicted a return to “one-room schoolhouse” type of education. We appreciate the continued support of Mr. Carver in helping to give a voice to the innovative changes made by Iowa Educators! The following is a twitter story from his talk created on storify.

 

Read the story here

 

 

 

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Brief Overview for the July #IACoPi…

Guest Blogger, Monte DeArmoun is a 7-12 Social Science Instructor at Northwood-Kensett Jr./Sr.  Are You Ready For July’s #IACoPi Meeting?

We are a month away from meeting at the Sheraton Inn West in Clive for our July training and the continuation of the development of blended units for the modules. Hopefully you have been prepping yourself for using the eCurriculum this coming school year since our last meeting in April. The “Facilitating eLearning in a Blended Classroom” course is wrapping up for most of the CoPi group and starting for the Social Studies teachers. The CoPi Design Team has been planning the July training focused on providing the best possible training for you. There are roughly 20 members that have met via conference calls since the April training. Below is a tentative agenda:

Thursday, July 28

8:00-10:00 Registration

8:30- 10:00 Meet to socialize/network (Breakfast provided)

10:00-10:10- Welcome and agenda overview

10:10-11:00 Scope & sequence conversation

11:00- 12:00 Web 2.0 walkabout/Poster session

12:00-1:00 LUNCH (provided)

1:00-2:00 Symbaloo introduction and overview

2:00-2:15 BREAK

2:15-5:00 Module work

Friday, July 29

7:00-8:30 Registration and Breakfast (Breakfast provided)

8:30-10:00 Innovation Fishbowl

10:00-10:15 Director Jason Glass, Iowa DOE

10:15-10:30 BREAK

10:30-12:00 Module work

12:00-1:00 LUNCH (provided)

1:00-3:00 Module work

3:00-3:30 Blended Pedagogy video activity

3:30-3:45 Closing

I am part of the Design Team and member of the Blended Pedagogy subcommittee. During the Blended Pedagogy segment on the July training date we will discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of teaching in a Blended Classroom. See you all in July! “Better Together”

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