Possible Course 5 Projects

Throughout COETAIL I have been challenged, in my pedagogy, tech savviness, and in how to make what I’m learning fit into my current job.  At times it has been very frustrating, I asked myself why didn’t I take COETAIL earlier when I was in the classroom. I would read fellow COETAILers posts with envy at what they were able to apply and do with their students. It took a mindshift on my part to find and celebrate the times I could apply my learnings with students (meaning my colleagues and sometimes the actual students in our school).

Coming up with a final project is challenging to me for a few reasons: there is so much I have learned that I want to try it all out, I’m not quite sure the route to take–do I take over a class of students or do I try and diffuse my learning amongst the staff?, and finally what is feasible within our school’s budget and readiness. I’m over ambitious by nature, but through lots of COETAIL reflection I have learned that pushing people or pulling them to where you want them to be isn’t always the best way to get there. I need to have patience and look for little bits of COETAILness I can introduce or fit into the already large amount of things we are asking teachers to do. I’ve learned that a lot of what my application of COETAIL looks like is setting the example for teachers through modeling, pushing the conversations further, and asking probing questions in meetings that cause teachers to reflect and think upon their current practices. 

Photo Credit: Hello World by David
Photo Credit: Hello World by David

 

Here are two options I have thought about, and I’m not done brainstorming.  I am still fumbling with an idea of a global book club for administrators, but right now it’s still marinating in my brain. Without further ado…

PROJECT 1: PASSION PROJECTS BLOG AND EACTALKS

Describe the project: What will your students do?

Students would do Passion Projects (Genius Hour) during their Dynamic Learning class. Students would learn how to blog about their progress, process, presentations, and reflections.  The blog would be a school wide blog so students could comment on other students in different grade levels. At the end of each learning period we would have a celebration in the form of EACTalks. Eventually I would love for our students to connect with other classes around the world or share our EACTalks. Ideally students would collaborate on a passion project with a student from another school like they are doing from a similiar COETAIL project I started in 5th grade.

How does this project reflect your learning from COETAIL?

Students will learn how to be prosumers, consumers, and digesters of digital literacy.  They would also learn the power of connecting with other learners around the world and creating a positive digital footprint during their research and sharing. The blogging would be a new tool at our school and would empower students to share their learning and comment on other’s’ learning. The EACTalks students prepare will focus on presentation design.

What goals do you hope to achieve with this project?

I want students to take ownership of their learning and understand they have something to contribute to our world. In addition to all the learning objectives for students, I want to model and set an example of ways teachers can integrate technology in an authentic and meaningful way.

Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

This combines learning outcomes from each of the courses into a multigrade level project. This will be a challenge to pull off because I am not technically responsible for these classes, so I will have to work closely with the assistants in charge of them. I will need to balance the instruction, management, and leadership at the same time.  I also think this is a great possibility for our school because blogging isn’t utilized and I’m hoping this opens teachers up to the idea of starting class/grade blogs.

What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

I am not in charge of the classes, so managing them and making sure they are following the unit plan will require me to be in constant communication with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade assistants.

What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?

The student-driven aspect and it being their choice will be a big shift for the assistants to manage.  We introduced it this year and some of them really struggled with letting students be free to make mistakes and reflecting with students on the process. Also, the presentation design will be a huge shift, the whole Zen approach. In essence, everything really revolves around the shift from “I am the teacher and you will do this project” to “I am a coach in your learning process, how can I help you?”.

What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

Honestly, I think the students already have the skills and attitudes that are required for this unit, it will just be about revealing them. On the skills side I predict students will have to learn how to create guiding questions,  search and filter information, find creative commons images for their presentations, and design great presentations.  As far as attitude, I think students will be surprised at how they can connect and learn from others around the world, and I also some students might need help in seeing themselves as the person in charge of their learning.

PROJECT 2: MAKERSPACES 

Describe the project: What will your students do?

I want to create portable Makerspaces for students around the elementary school.  I would want the students involved in the whole process to get the Spaces: brainstorming, fundraising/campaigning, creation of the space, making, and reflecting. Throughout the process students would create videos, PSAs, procedures, and displays about the Makerspaces.

How does this project reflect your learning from COETAIL?

Before COETAIL I read about Makerspaces, but didn’t think it was possible at my school (right now). COETAIL helped me see that pushing my school, myself, and my teachers, and my students is worth it because they will blow my mind. Also, I would really have to rely on my PLN to be creative with the spaces we have available and also with budget. I already got some feedback and resources on the Final Project Feedback doc I created.

What goals do you hope to achieve with this project?

I hope to empower students to create, make connections, imagine, problem solve, collaborate, and discover new things about themselves through the Makerspaces. I also hope to transform or cause people to rethink the learning environments in a school.

Why do you think this unit is a good possibility for your Course 5 project?

It would stretch my school in its approach to learning and give opportunities to make connections with students in a safe and innovative learning environment. For the project I would pull from all aspects of the course, mainly connectivism, design, PLN, problem based learning, game based learning, and social media.

What are some of your concerns about redesigning this unit?

Money, money, money.  Due to the economic conditions in Brazil our budget is very tight.  I’m not sure this can even happen due to the budget. I plan to fundraise or campaign to the board/parents for funds for the Makerspaces.

What shifts in pedagogy will this new unit require from you?

Valuing all learning and its importance to the whole child, even if it is outside the traditional curricular areas.

What skills and/or attitudes will this new unit require from your students?

Students will need to go through the design process, this will require them to track their progress and reflect on their different attempts and failures. In regard to the videos, PSAs, and displays students will need to learn good design principles. Students will need to be very open minded, flexible, collaborative, and reflective.

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