Center for School Change Conference-- Grade Proposal : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

Center for School Change Conference--Grade Proposal

-- Anonymous, May 07, 1999


Center for School Change Conference

In the beginning of February, I attended a conference which was sponsored by the Center for School Change. This is an organization which provides grant monies for school reform projects in rural Minnesota. Center for School Change is also part of the Humphrey Institute and has access to the Ananberg Foundation. Twice a year they sponsor a conference for interested Minnesota schools. This is the second Center for School Change Conference Ive attended, and like the first one, I found this one to be very enjoyable and interesting.

The first session I attended was titled, Learning: Todays Vehicle for Communication ... and Technology: Todays Highway for Learning. The facilitator for this session was Beverly Logas. She is a 3-5 grade multiage teacher from Discovery Elementary, which is located in Buffalo, Minnesota. The students at this school use the internet to examine technology in the world. With the knowledge they collect, students go out into their community and use what they know to create and combine experiences which go along with their school curriculum. Then, they post what theyve learned on private internet sites in order for their parents to share in what theyve learned.

There are several strategies Discovery Elementary uses, beginning with stating a problem. After the problem is stated, students are encouraged to recall anything they may know on that particular subject. Next, in order to promote the students higher level thinking skills, teachers involve students in skills where they use choice motivation, multiple comprehension, memory, demonstration learning and then students are made responsible for reporting to everyone else involved with the project. Second, students learn to ask the right questions. This involves stating what they know and the teachers stating what kids are suppose to know. Then a list is made, comprised of things the students want to learn about. Third, students and teachers assess what they need, whats available, and what type of resources have. Fourth, students learn, and communicate about learning, by listing their considerations for software which depends on flexibility and cost. Fifth, both students and teacher look at authoring software, considering its maximum flexibility, and how it will tie in with their curriculum. They also need to decide if it allows for growth as its being utilized, and if it can be converted for sharing with parents. Sixth, students decide on their peripherals. Details like expense, curriculum integration, portability, and how well these items can be integrated into presentations are the considerations. Seventh, students explore templates by listing the advantages and disadvantages. Eighth, students decide what type of communication theyre going to use in their presentations, get feedback from parents, and have teacher keep records of the learning that has occurred before and during the current year. Ninth, students learn the hypertext Mark Up Language (html) and how to store in the image folder. Finally, the tenth strategy is to create webfolios, making sure they are html based, online accessible, password protected, e-mail linked, able to be added to, and can accept text, pictures, sound, and video.

After all the strategies have been applied, the next step is to assess where the learning has occurred. The students learning is usually demonstrated through community projects, various clubs, extra-curricular activities, personal trips to the library, zoos, science museums, and finally, on family trips. In essence, technology has enhanced communication about learning, increased parent involvement, and assisted in understanding about education in general.

The second session I attended was a presentation on Responsive Classroom. The facilitator was Karen Swenson, a 5-6 multiage teacher from Falls Elementary, which is located in International Falls, Minnesota. Karen presented a short overview of this social skills curriculum which, reaches for high social and academic goals based on the theory that kids instinctively want to be good. Everyone who attended this session participated in a sample morning meeting, which is a big component of this curriculum. This included how to facilitate it, expectations involved, and even games to play. I really enjoyed hearing about Responsive Classroom, because I am going to be attending a workshop in July where I plan on learning all the techniques involved, and hopefully will be able to apply them to my classroom next year. I, also, am doing my research project on a study associated with this curriculum.

The last session I attended was called Surviving the Profiles of Learning - Elementary Issues. The facilitator was Terri Anderson. The purpose of this session was to update teachers and administrators on the graduation standards, as well as giving us a chance to tell how far our school districts are coming along in their implementation.

I learned that the latest, as of February 1999, was that the people in charge (whoever they are) are considering doing away entirely with the performance packages, reducing the objectives from ten to five, and possibly just using a standardized eleventh grade test.

We, also, were informed that some school districts, such as Goodhue, and its surrounding areas, were writing up some of their teachers, based on insubordination. This was due to refusal of implementing the grad standards.

Finally, we were given names and addresses on a couple of magazines which will keep us currently updated on the grad standards. We were also encouraged to write to our representative concerning any questions or things wed like to see changed.

I enjoyed this conference very much. Not only did it provide a wonderful little vacation in the dead of winter, but we were given valuable information on updates, new curriculums, and ideas for projects and activities. I took home some good ideas Id like to try in my classroom and Im looking forward to the attending another one of the Center for School Change conferences in the future.

-- Anonymous, May 07, 1999

Hi Dawn,Karen Beth and Kim, The meeting on Friday with Terri Shannon produced some helpful suggestions for all cohort members. The particular suggestion for your group is that you need to do a broader review of the literature to formulate your question. (You may come up with a similar question, but need to review more of the literature in the field.) This is all part of the learning process to write the best research paper possible. We will be in touch. Thank you, Mary Ann

-- Anonymous, June 06, 1999

Moderation questions? read the FAQ