That's what being a connected learner is. My connection with #clmooc has expanded my focus from one classroom and one teacher, to a networked community from which I can give just as much as I can learn.
Here's a network, a small one:
Note: You can enlarge the MindMap and click the related links.
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I've made several connections by following blogs of people I admire and learn from on Twitter and in other communities. Here you see and can link to the Two Writing Teachers and Grant Wiggins. Their blogs brought me information about projects, workshops, rubrics, and checklists. I had already read about and started using the question strategies noted in the Right Question book, but Grant Wiggins brought it new dimension.
I designed a project based on a focus question:
"Thousands of kids from Central America are entering the United States illegally -- and alone."
Students wrote and considered open and closed questions before reading an article about it. Then they answered their top three questions.
By this time I had read the blogs and Grant's book, so I designed an authentic task that would include several Common Core State Standards as students collaborated, investigated, discovered relevant content, designed a campaign, and edited each presentation:
"With a team of peers, collaborate to create an informational or persuasive campaign for an audience of your choice to share the information you research about "Thousands of kids from Central America are entering the United States illegally -- and alone." Each team member will create a project for your campaign that meets the expectations of an investigative researcher and project designer. Together, your artifacts will present a thorough, factual, and detailed explanation, and perhaps solution, of the topic. "Along with the task, considering the Common Core State Standards, I drafted a set of Essential Questions which we will consider all year:
Essential Questions:I had already drafted a rubric, and now revised it to include the Standards and the five topics of the Essential Questions. Finally, I created draft checklists that explain the rubric and allow students and I to connect and confer on the progress and growth of their work. We now have authentic work: Kids Alone.
- Investigate: How do researchers investigate successfully?
- Collaborate: What strategies and processes do collaborators need for success?
- Discover and Develop Content: How do readers and writers determine and develop relevant, accurate, and complete topics?
- Design and Organize Presentation: How do publishers design and organize content for their audience and purpose?
- Edit Language: Why and how do editors and speakers use and edit with the rules for standard English grammar and language?
Student chose their focus, audience, and purpose and began their investigations, collaborating in teams. I confer with each team as we discuss the checklists and transfer our progress to see how we meet the expectations on the rubric.
Here are the project documents:
As we work on our campaigns, students are connecting with each other and with me. I provide feedback towards learning goals and standards, and peers teach peers as well. Here is one example from a team of four students: Debate: Are You For or Against Obama? There audience is bloggers, and their purpose is to consider both sides of an issue.
So, through my connections in blogs, on Twitter, and through blogger's books, I have developed a learning progression that differentiates student learning, expects high standards of work, and provides a venue for students to connect and collaborate as well. Since many have chosen to publish work online, their connections could grow globally.
We are all connected learners.
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