For those that know me, I love learning, and am always looking for new ideas to try. My learning comes in the form of building and district collaboration, from my PLN on social media, attending conferences and Edcamps, and reading. Lately, I've added another avenue of learning: TED talks. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and was established with the intention of spreading ideas through short talks. Today I watched another TED Talk, titled Teaching Teachers How to Create Magic. During the talk, Christopher Emdin discusses the need to transform education through the magic of teaching and learning. By this he means, it's one thing for a teacher to focus on theories and content during their lessons, but unless they have engaged students, all the time they spend teaching the content will be for nothing.
As I listened to Emdin refer to the skill of engaging students as the "the magic of teaching," I began to reflect on the model lessons I've done this week, and the importance of using "hooks" to draw the students in, keep them engaged, or make them leave the classroom wondering what the next day's lesson has in store. While I cannot claim to be as engaging as the "person
person who can tell an audience to put their hands up in the air and they will stay there till he says, 'Put them down,'" I have used many hooks from one of my favorite books, Teach Like a Pirate, and hope that I will continue to learn and implement ideas I gain from TED talks and my other avenues of learning, with the ultimate goal of transforming my teaching and learning.
If you're interested in checking out some TED talks, here's a few links to get you started:
10 Best TED Talks of 2014
5 TED Talks Teachers Should Share with Students
Last Spring I answered a cryptic tweet from a fellow educator from Ohio. The vague tweet provided revolved around wanting to create a global poetry book. Not being one to miss out on an opportunity for my building's students to miss out on collaboration or publication opportunities, I signed up. Shortly thereafter, The World is My Audience (#twima) was born.
This fall, students from over 30 schools around the globe used the app Book Creator to write poems about their state. At the time, our fifth grade class was in the middle of a poetry unit, and I knew the creativity and love of writing this class embodies would be a perfect fit for this project. I met with the class and we drafted their poem "All About Iowa." This group of students never cease to amaze me, and I was blown away with the final version of their poem! The students were thrilled to hear their creation would be read by people around the globe, and have anxiously waited for months as the book was being compiled and ready to submit for publication.
Today, the collaborative project came to a close as the book was officially released, and is available for download at the iBooks Store. If you're willing, our students would love for you to download a copy of the eBook and leave a review! Our "All About Iowa" poem is on page 96. While it is the end of this project, plans have already begun for a second book, and there are many other opportunities available for global collaboration.
This quote has been sitting on my desk since I came across it on Venspired last Spring. As I interact with students and teachers in our building each day, I am frequently reminded of the power of sharing student work and student voice. I love having Google Docs of former students arrive in my inbox for feedback, working alongside teachers to publish student work on a Google Site portfolio, as an eBook, blog post, podcast, or video, and enjoy the look on a student's face when they realize someone outside their classroom has downloaded or commented on their work.
Publishing work doesn't have to be as grand as an eBook on the iBooks store, it's perfectly fine to start small. An easy step is to change the permissions on your Kidblog account, and then tweeting out a student's post with #comments4kids. This simple act will open your classroom and provide your students with a new audience. Educators and classes follow this hashtag, and will quickly provide motivating feedback. Whether you choose to start small, or join a collaborative writing project, your students will love sharing their work with a broader audience!