This week, we took some time to review some completed capstone websites with the focus on audience. I previewed Jen Ellison’s “Game On,” and Nai Saelee’s “Personalized Learning” capstone websites. This was an incredibly valuable and timely assignment! Even though we’ve had access to these sites for sometime now, going through and specifically looking at audience was extremely useful as we begin the first steps towards creating our own capstones.
The driving question for my capstone is “How Can We Use Partnerships to Improve the Early Literacy Skills of Primary Students?” My three action research cycles have utilized out-of-classroom relationships with people in Kindergarteners’ lives in order to provide tutoring in alphabet knowledge. Each round has enlisted a different relationship: parent-led intervention, after school program staff and middle school cross-age tutors, and finally, sibling tutors.
While my objective has been to improve the early literacy assessment scores of struggling Kindergarteners, my capstone could appeal to a wider audience than just Kindergarten teachers. My action research has hinged on a few concepts that could be applied to different grade levels:
As we build our capstones this summer, I am grateful to have this awareness so that I can be mindful about keeping it open to a broader audience. I also want to remember to emulate Ellison’s theme of “Anyone can do this!” I truly appreciated the enthusiasm I felt for the topic as I clicked through her capstone, due to the clear and straightforward composition of her pages. I hope I can accomplish this with my capstone. At least I have a clearer picture of where I want to go.
One thing is also clear: we have our work cut out for us!
GAME ON: Level Up Learning
The story of her journey to “classroom 1.0” was interesting and inspiring to me as I head into a second grade classroom next year. It was encouraging to follow her path towards finding what works for her, standards to work from, and the general development of her ideas. Jen breaks down all the needed components of a game based class and explains how to modify what you’re already doing to turn your class into an awesome game. Her content makes me feel like gamification is very “doable” and she showed how assignments would look before gamification, and how to modify them to include gaming elements. Jen also presented some creative videos that show how she collaborated with school staff to gamify social emotional learning! Although a few components of her site are geared towards tech teachers, most of her project felt like it was targeted directly at me. I think Jen did a great job of providing ideas, resources, and “think alouds” through her journey in a way that is inspiring and encouraging--not overwhelming or distant.
The intended audience for this project is math teachers considering personalized learning as a way to meet the needs of students in the 21st century. On her Home Page and Learn More Page, Saelee offers some great videos and tools that explain to the audience some of the whys and hows of personalized learning. While the majority of the lessons on Saelee’s Lesson Page are specifically suited for middle school math teachers, she includes many resources that anyone could find helpful: engaging videos, infographics, and additional resources that provide background, summary of benefits, and instruction around the topics of:
In the process of viewing these sites and considering the intended audience, I’ve discovered more about how I’d like to open up my idea to as many different types of educators as possible. Though Saelee’s research is directed toward middle school math teachers, her topic could be of interest, and her site a benefit, to nearly any teacher. I will try to keep this in mind as I design my Capstone and be as inclusive as possible.
Touro’s Cohort 16 in the Masters in Innovative Learning program is an amazing community. Although we all come from different backgrounds, levels of experience, and areas of teaching, we come together to learn and grow as educators--supporting one another all along the way.
My goals in joining this masters program were to challenge myself by stepping outside my comfort zone, and finding new ways to improve my practice as a teacher. This program has been so much more. Technology and innovation, design for learning, equity, action research cycles--and all of this learning has been alongside an amazing group of people. The high standards set by everyone involved in this program have elevated my learning and challenged me continuously. Each week, reading my peers’ blogs, checking out their work on the homework log, seeing their assigned presentations come to life on Wednesdays, participating in discussions--all of these things have impacted my thinking as an educator permanently. Equally impactful, is the nature of the people in this cohort. I’ve been a teacher for 18 years and have never met a group of people more kind, helpful, patient, and POSITIVE about growing as educators--ever!
Having one more semester of really hard work to finish this rigorous program seems like a lighter load, knowing that I share it with this group of people. I believe that positive cohesion already thrives among us. I know that we will continue to support each other through emails, zoom meetings, in person meetings (always preferred for the hugs), REMIND messages, texts, blog entries and responses, and even google doc sharing as we have over the past year.
As we move closer towards our Capstone projects, I think that focused and organized peer feedback with this group could really elevate our thinking. Since “presuming positive intentions” seems to be already naturally built in to the culture of our cohort, perhaps the classic “I like/I wonder” protocol would be a great way for us to give feedback to one another. Having an “I like/I wonder” protocol in place would leave room for both constructive criticism as well as new ideas and considerations.
Even though the next couple of months will be intense, I am looking forward to increased collaboration and accelerated learning with all of my amazing cohort peers. It is also my great hope that we continue to communicate after finishing this program, since it is a rare and wonderful thing to be included in a group of such positive and encouraging educators!