Author Archives: bsullivan35

About bsullivan35

I am an English teacher working with great students at an independent school in Ct.

What Can a TED Talk Do for a Young Person’s Idea?

Our #StudentCentered #PBL class was unpacking the complex topic of Ocean Pollution, and towards the close of academic period, the class came to a consensus that we should view this TED Talk as part of our homework. That conversation was interesting and fun because Boyan’s talk here was recorded when he was a teenager in high school. Let’s have everyone view this tonight and make a brief comment (2-3 sentences) in Standard English. What about this TED Talk do you find inspiring? Or write a comment about the specific moment where you feel that Boyan relates to his audience with words or images or both. Check out the email folder for other written homework.

Advertisements

#PBL Challenge for Today’s Class

We made great progress on the 19th century newspaper article regarding the local 18th and 19th century slaves from Suffield’s history. Now we need to curate our information, create a driving question, and acknowledge the skills required for more learning. So, let’s create four groups. You can decide the make-up of the groups. Once you gather, decide what labor is required and then divide the tasks evenly. Let’s publish the post and tweets by the end of class.

Goal: can we achieve the productive “hum” that we met on Saturday? https://twitter.com/caisct_pbl/status/1081261701994082305

  • One group to finish as best they can the transcription.  
  • One group to create a blog post explaining what we have in this document as well as what we want to learn. This can be one large or two small paragraphs.  See the criteria for making a blog post in our Google Drive folder.
  • Twitter research team: who in our academic network can help with this question? Who else outside our academic Twitter network can help?
  • Compose sophisticated tweets with crystalized prose; the prose should be in a form of a question and add hashtags that tap into content areas as well as skills (such as #PBL for project-based learning).

Day Two: Challenge Extended. While we achieved our “Productive Hum” yesterday in class, we did not complete the task. There are several reasons for that; our work is complex and collaboration is challenging. That said, let’s continue with the missing parts of the above goal and add a new challenge because completing the work above does not require all fourteen team members. New challenge will be to find our more history about the woman who ran the Austin Tavern, which was a famous colonial destination. You will now read legacy work about George Washington and John Adams’ visits there. In Lea’s post: https://caisctpbl.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/john-adams-a-complex-reporter/

And Jackson’s post: https://caisctpbl.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/george-washington-and-his-affect-in-suffield/ https://caisctpbl.wordpress.com/2017/02/28/george-washington-and-his-affect-in-suffield/

Driving question: What should be Mary Seymour Austin’s record in Suffield’s history? https://founders.archives.gov/?q=suffield%20Author%3A%22Austin%2C%20Mary%20Seymour%22&s=1511311111&r=1

Great #PBL Step: PQP Protocol for Peer Review

peerreviewOne of the most essential parts of building a productive atmosphere for learning in any classroom is sharing what you learn. Another important ingredient is giving and receiving useful feedback. The most important part of the process is to do this in a positive spirit. With all of that in mind, we must give feedback on each other’s work in a useful and kind way (remember the class motto?). So, moving forward, please be an active agent in creating a more positive and productive learning environment.

We’ll follow these these PQP steps when we comment on each other’s blog posts. To start, let’s have everyone make at least one sentence for praising the post, one sentence for poising a question about the post, and one sentence for suggesting how to polish the ideas in the overall post (which include text and complementing media). Feel free to write more than this amount. Also be mindful that a good blog post has media the complements the prose and the proper categories and tags are selected (and “uncategorized” is de-selected). Most importantly, compose your comments in Standard English. Stay positive!

Some links for more learning on the topic: http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/peer-review-narrative-122.html

How Can We Teach & Learn Innovation Skills?

how-I-built-this.jpghttps://www.npr.org/player/embed/562887933/563105739

Let’s have fun learning about how the founders of this now ubiquitous App Instagram developed this Billion dollar model, and then we will examine how we can adopt elements of their success story as we begin our first steps in our own project-based learning journey. So how can we use this Instagram’s story to teach the dynamic disposition and positive attitude a student needs to cultivate in a project-based learning classroom?

It is very fascinating to hear the early iterations of Instagram (see more here: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/07/instagram-used-to-be-called-brbn/373815/) and then realize all the changes they made to make the app what it is as a working app today. That process that is narrated here is design thinking, which is a process we will explore more this year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design-based_learning

Perhaps an important moment in their start-up was when they followed the advice to ask their users about what they enjoyed about their app rather than investing time into wondering what others who are not using the app would want. What did they learn from this part of the process?

(Podcast Time: 6:30) Isn’t it fascinating that the best thing for any entrepreneurial is failure? The founders of Instagram cite Eric Ries and his ideas about the process of a lean startup. “Don’t ask why people don’t sue your startup. Ask why people who continue to use your start up use your startup.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_startup 

(Podcast Time: 8:00) One of the founders tells a story of being burnt out and going on a break. Does he really take a break? Why type of thinking does he do on this “break” and how does it help the next iteration of the product of Instagram?

(Podcast Time: 9:00) Style topic. Did you notice how the music delivers a great downbeat when the divergent thinking that one of the founders has when his then girlfriend and now wife provides an insight while walking on the beach?

(Podcast Time 12:00) Just appreciate this moment. No response necessary. This is my hook for our audience!. “It was trial by fire; so many chances to fail. Kept working; all nighters. The amount we learned in that first year was crazy. It was fives years of college in one.” I would make this the hook because I’m an educator, and the producer here chose a more entertaining hook.

(Podcast Time: 17:30) There is a great conversation about how the story of success is never linear. It’s always dynamic, an up-and-down journey. Reflect on this moment and also reflect on how the founders keep their eye on the experience of the user. Do you have a personal success story that was not linear and had several “false starts” along the way before you achieve a degree of success? Write a 3-6 sentences here about that experience. We’ll share these moments in class and expand more on them.

(Podcast Time: 23:00) Around minute 23 they discuss the currency that feeds an entrepreneur. Explain in your own words this experience and its value. Then reflect on our course description and explain what experience will make our experience valuable.

(Podcast Time: 24:00) They reveal another great moment where they learned a lot through failure. This moment had to do with a mistake. What was the mistake? Could the mistake been avoidable? What else did they learn about the relationship they had with her users?

What do you think of the founders’ thesis about luck and talent? What role do resilience, grit, and optimism play in capitalizing on luck?

Many people define a person’s mindset as an established set of attitudes, what did you learn about the mindset of these innovators? Does it help you realize your own mindset(s)?

Women’s History: #PD Launch for #PBL Among #CAISCT Ts & Ss

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 1.07.33 PMWhat famous Connecticut women made history in your community? Who is making history now? What significant woman’s contributions to your community history has been overlooked? Forgotten? Undervalued? Start researching and writing about your local history. We will plan to do the same research and share research methods when we published our discoveries on this CAISCT PBL blog. Bill Sullivan’s class will also be putting on a community presentation to the town’s historical society in April of 2019 where the students will share what they learn and show how they learned it. In some ways, CAISCT students and teachers can find their own venues to add more depth of authenticity to the way they share their local history discoveries with their community. Perhaps it is best to consider this work as another form of service learning.

Curious about using a classroom blog and student-operated Twitter account to accommodate project-based learning? Plan to join our day hike for the 2018-19 academic year and dive into this authentic, local history challenge. Any CAISCT learner is welcome to collaborate on the CAISCT-PBL blog and Twitter account. So provide your students the opportunity to write history and appreciate the discipline form another perspective. They will soon learn that Connecticut’s history is complex, and one ingredient of our historic inquiries acknowledges that a local history perspective will CAISCT learners shed a new light in the historiography of Connecticut’s narratives. Lisa Leveque from Rectory School and Bill Sullivan from Suffield Academy will share their students’ learning experiences while working on one blog during the 2016-17 academic year in which they investigated freedom and slavery in the pivotal year of 1774 as well as the 2017-18 academic year, which pursued homefront issues of WWI.

Bring your day hike bag and learn about next year’s inquiry into Women’s history and set your students on an adventure course where they explore possible nominees for the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame in their community. http://cwhf.org/induction-ceremony/induction-process#.WvxbmNMvzaYWomen’s History: PD Launch for #PBL #CAISCT Teachers.

Got HOT Log? A Great #PBL Assessment

Higher.order.thinkingSimply stated, a HOT Log (Higher Order Thinking Log [log = systematic record, journal of one’s intellectual expeditions) explains what you have learned, what you want to learn next, and what skill(s) you will apply for your discovery. Because we will categorize each HOT Log on the blog, we will be able to access anyone’s discovery when we begin to synthesize our information before our final presentation. As a class we will assign students to compose individual HOT Logs ritualistically (every 7 or 10 days) or sometimes the research process prompts us to do so sooner or in groups. Sometimes when the student(s) discovers an interesting collection of sources, primary or secondary, it is best dive into the source and upon. Likewise, when students make discoveries together or when the class makes multiple important building block moments, students can team up and compose these HOT Logs together. The most important feature of the HOT Log process occurs when students follow up with the PQP peer review process.

Another way to describe this Project Based Learning writing assignment is to think of this task as an intellectual reflection on your next step towards our goal of finding more information about members of the Connecticut 20th Regiment. You should explain what skill you will use to learn this next topic or research step.

In 500 words, make a claim about the necessity to explore one, specific resource (article, book, periodical, web site, historical society, historian (even better if we can Skype him/her}, historical library [I am a member of The Connecticut Historical Society), movie, technology or other research tool, learning lens, such as Place Based Learning, etc). Your short paper will evaluate the potential importance of this source for our investigation as well as building upon our research story.

In terms of skills, click here (http://www.pinterest.com/bill0353/ } to reflect on the possible skills you will need for your next steps.

Be sure to include an informative and pithy (concise and forcefully expressive) title and embed complementing media (video if possible, clear and interesting image, audio link, etc).

Citation standard. Let’s have a list of sources at the bottom. You can type “source:” with a colon after it. Then create a hyperlink to your actual source. If it is a book, create an interesting link associated with that book. You can be creative as long as the reader knows exactly what source you used. If it is an image, let’s type “photo credit” and then paste a hyperlink for the image.

A range: lucid, logical, sequential, includes a valuable source or resource. Well-written following rules of Standard English. 500 word range achieved in a concise and fluent manner. You also articulate well the skill you will require for your next intellectual step.

B range: there is a missing ingredient or prose contains issues of Standard English. Overall logic or sequence of ideas may need to be addressed.

C range: Length and other significant issues.

Just One Way to Leverage a Classroom Twitter Account for #DoingHistory

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 9.26.25 AMThe following image was captured from our classroom Twitter Account (https://twitter.com/caisct_pbl) and resides in our shared Google Document, which is one of the many documents in our Shared Google Drive #PBL folder. Students are working in pairs on writing original history about three Connecticut women who served in the #SignalCorps Unit during World War I. Elizabeth Cobbs recently published an amazing book telling the national story of this untold chapter in American history. It’s titled, The Hello Girls. I suggest that you order it for your school library so that students can enjoy this topic when they encounter the usual WWI topics in the typical US History Survey approach. The current World War I commemorative process rightly celebrates this forgotten episode, and our class is trying to dig a little deeper into the aspects of Connecticut history that illuminates this important story. We call these moments in our #PBL approach: #CTUntold

Many colleagues ask me how I use Google Docs in class, and I think some are afraid to ask me how I use Twitter. Here’s a great moment to explain both.

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 9.42.30 AM

First Draft of Tweets

There are four small groups writing history about this topic, and everyone is approaching the stage of a good rough draft. We then thought it would be good for students to see what kind of feedback they could receive from experts outside our classroom before I grade a draft. Some teachers call this a #flatclassroom (paste #flatclassroom into the search bar of any Twitter account) moment because we are using social media to reach beyond the traditional walls of a classroom for this educational and authentic connection. Here are drafts of Tweets that we are peer-editing together in class before each student Tweets it from the one classroom account. With a standard of lyric poetry and a zeal to write unwritten history, I set a high bar for a tweet in that the composer should reflect on audience and have clarity of expression as well as a specific question (inquiry drives history!) that will hopefully illicit more useful information. I have included screen shots of some of this process.

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 9.39.49 AM

Second Draft of Tweets

As an educator and English teacher, I find revising Tweets to be akin to collaborating on poetry. We really want to refine our communication and be sure our question is clear. The first screen shot is early in the process and students are still in the composing stage. That’s good because writing is a process. The second shot is a more revised version from our collaborative work in class. Of course, the most final draft is on the Twitter Account itself. You will see that we take a little time in the Twitter Account window that opens when one begins composing a tweet and revise there one last time! Then rubber hits the road and the real test of authentic writing occurs. Will anyone respond? Follow our work here: https://twitter.com/caisct_pbl

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 9.59.37 AM

26 Minutes for Response Time

PS: I drafted this post after class, and before I hit the blue publish tab, The Connecticut Historical Society answered the students 26 minutes after they Tweeted! Wow! Get thee to Twitter, fellow educators. And model appropriate use, good manners, and excellent prose.